Sweet Vermouth Cobbler // A Thought For Food

Cocktails aren’t traditionally served at a Passover Seder. Often, there is wine. But because any grain or corn-based spirits are kitniyot (the hebrew word for the category of foods that are not allowed to be consumed during Passover), mixed drinks aren’t typically served.  In looking ahead to the holiday, I thought a libation using fortified wines, such as sherry and vermouth, would be nice for those wanting to mix up a little after-work drink.

I sipped my first cobbler just a few weeks ago at one of our favorite bars and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. The idea is simple: muddled citrus (typically orange), some sugar, liquor and garnished with seasonal fruit (citrus and berries) and mint. Sherry and vermouth are often a bit thicker in consistency and so a bit of soda water will help cut it.

After describing this drink to my mom, she pointed out that sometimes people include orange on their Seder plates. I had never heard of this before. Why orange? What symbolism does that have?

Here’s what I learned from a quick search online: In the 1980s, Dr. Susannah Heschel, a Jewish feminist scholar, was visiting Oberlin College. It was there that she witnessed students adding bread crust to their Seder plates as a way of showing their support of feminists and gays and lesbians, who they felt were excluded from Judaism. Heschel suggested that because bread is kitniyot, that they replace it with an orange slice (“I chose an orange because it suggests the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life.”). The tradition has continued, but now is used to represent any groups that may feel marginalized.

Sometimes a recipe isn’t just a recipe. Sometimes there’s something symbolic about an ingredient or dish that resonates with people. I certainly wasn’t expecting this cobbler to have such significance, but it’s nice to think there’s more to it than just a way to get people a little intoxicated.

Sweet Vermouth Cobbler // A Thought For FoodSweet Vermouth Cobbler // A Thought For FoodSweet Vermouth Cobbler // A Thought For FoodSweet Vermouth Cobbler // A Thought For FoodSweet Vermouth Cobbler // A Thought For FoodView full post »

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Shiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba Noodles

Decorating our little house has been a bit of a process. It had a lot of charm to start, but we knew that there were a few changes we’d want to make. Mainly, the wallpaper throughout. It had to go. It wasn’t offensive in any way. In fact, it was all very sweet, including the pineapples covering our entryway and hallway. Cute… but it had to go.

When we first moved in, we had the living room and dining room painted. The living room paper turned out to be a bit of a challenge. When the painter tried to remove chunks of the wallpaper, the plaster started to come down with it. In the end, we had to have quarter inch wallboard put up throughout the room.

We were expecting the hallway to pose a similar challenge, but, thankfully, it was smooth sailing. As soon as I walked through the front door, I was elated. It didn’t feel like we were coming into someone else’s home. It was our home. Of course, there’s still work to do. We have to decorate these newly painted walls. The process never seems to end.

While we had this work done, Eric and I spent a few days at my in-laws’ house. I had some time to do a little cooking and came up with a few dishes to share here. The beet dip was one… these soba noodles was the other. We always have a few packages in our cabinet and they make for a wonderful weeknight meal. I find broccoli, especially when charred a bit, to have a wonderful sweetness to it. Mixed with the shiitakes and the bright dressing, there are a lot of bold flavors going on in this bowl.

Shiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba NoodlesShiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba NoodlesShiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba NoodlesShiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba NoodlesShiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba NoodlesShiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba NoodlesShiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba NoodlesView full post »

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  • March 2, 2015 - 6:35 am

    Tori@Gringalicious.com - This looks fantastic! I love the simplicity of it and your photos are making me so hungry!ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 9:15 am

    Tieghan - I don’t know, pineapples on the walls sound pretty fun! :) ha!!

    Loving these noodles, totally my kind of meal!ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 10:45 am

    Cookin Canuck - There is something to be said for a good coat of paint to make a house feel fresh and new…and like your own! These soba noodles are something I could happily eat everyday, particularly with a good dose of those shiitake mushrooms.ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 11:01 am

    Naomi - This dish- so my kind of meal!

    And the house, I’m sure is coming along. The process is the best part-all the little joys when something is accomplished is the best feeling.ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 11:05 am

    Jenn @ A Toast to the Good Life - This looks amazing! I am always eager to try soba noodles – but for some reason never do – but this recipes so good and easy! I’ll give it a whirl!ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 11:34 am

    Gringalicious - This looks fantastic! I love the simplicity of it and your photos are making me so hungry!ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 12:16 pm

    Matt Robinson - Nothing better than making your house your own, lots of hard work but so fun. Especially if you can finish the day with a bowl of this. So good!ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 1:49 pm

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - “In fact, it was all very sweet, including the pineapples covering our entryway and hallway. Cute… but it had to go.” HA!!! Somehow, I know that feeling. Glad to hear you guys are settling in well. This noodle dish looks super tasty! We recently made a variation of your miso-roasted vegetables, and they were awesome! Paired them with brown rice, soft-boiled eggs, and a spicy-tart dipping sauce.ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 8:51 pm

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - This looks so simply wonderful. I think I need to be making this soon! Happy decorating (and de-wallpapering…oh, what a chore!)ReplyCancel

  • March 3, 2015 - 12:49 am

    Aida@TheCraftingFoodie - This looks absolutely delicious, and your photos are just gorgeous! I love stir-fry and soba noodles :)ReplyCancel

  • March 3, 2015 - 1:51 am

    Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits - It’s funny to think that there was a time when pineapple wallpaper was in vogue!

    I always keep at least one or two packages of soba noodles around the house for a quick and easy meal too!ReplyCancel

  • March 3, 2015 - 10:05 pm

    Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen - Decorating your home is an ongoing project for sure, we’ve been in our place for years and we are still slowly improving things. Enjoy the process!ReplyCancel

  • March 4, 2015 - 9:53 am

    Joshua Hampton - I don’t think the process of turning a house into a home ever ends. For myself, I don’t really mind because it’s a process I enjoy. The recipe, by the way, is gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • March 6, 2015 - 11:45 am

    Stacey | Kitchen Serendipity - This sounds delish Brian – I always have soba noodles on hand but never seem to make them. I am so making this. :)ReplyCancel

  • March 6, 2015 - 2:28 pm

    Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel - such a healthy meal. would go great with a cup of green tea :)ReplyCancel

Beet Dip with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese // A Thought For Food

There was a palpable energy on Friday night as we headed into the city for dinner. I suspect it’s because most people, like Eric and I, have been stuck inside for the last month. It was cold… brutally cold. So cold that it was dangerous to be outside for more than ten minutes. But that didn’t stop folks from going out. Boston businesses have been suffering, so seeing packed bars and restaurants was a nice sight.

This was a very social weekend for the two of us. There was dinner and drinks on Friday. On Saturday, we were invited over to our neighbors for “‘ninis and ‘tinis” (that’s panini and martinis). I got inspired to make some potato chips for the occasion, along with a bowl of cucumber salad. Six hours later and more than a few martinis in and we were all feeling pretty good.

Sunday was equally enjoyable (and, thankfully, warmer than it’s been recently).  We prepared brunch for some friends and then had more over to watch the Academy Awards. I put together a spread of baked brie, beet dip, and a large pot of wild rice and mushroom soup. We sat and ate and drank and laughed and said snarky things during the show. Is there anything better?

Going back to this beet dip. It’s an Ottolenghi creation and, therefore, it’s perfect. I first had it at a holiday party a few years back and have been anxious to make it ever since. And, so, now I have. Twice. In two days. It was that good. Minor adjustments have been made because, well, I’m not sure how many folks have za’atar in their spice cabinet. Of course, you can play around with this recipe as much as you’d like. The pepper certainly gives it some nice kick, but a little more couldn’t hurt. I also can’t get enough of the color. It’s striking and really brightens up a table. Just be aware that it’ll stain anything it touches, so keep it away from carpets and couches… and small children who might be likely to get it all over the place.

Beet Dip with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese // A Thought For FoodBeet Dip with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese // A Thought For FoodBeet Dip with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese // A Thought For FoodBeet Dip with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese // A Thought For FoodBeet Dip with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese // A Thought For FoodBeet Dip with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese // A Thought For FoodView full post »

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  • February 24, 2015 - 5:17 am

    Cooking With Erin - Sending warm thoughts! This dip looks amazing and I have all the ingredients in the house right now – even za’atar. 😉 I could eat beets every day – why not in a party dip??ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2015 - 7:52 am

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I just love the bright colour of this dip. Gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2015 - 8:45 am

    amanda @ fake ginger - This is stunning!ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2015 - 9:06 am

    Tieghan - You just cannot beat the color of this, so pretty!ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2015 - 9:46 am

    Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits - Ottolenghi recipes are always some of my favorites. I’m loving all the red beet hummus recipes I’m seeing lately. It adds such beautiful color to every dish!ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2015 - 11:29 am

    Millie | Add A Little - I love the colours and textures here – so delicious! The deep beetroot contrasting with the bright white goats cheese and crunchy hazelnuts!ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2015 - 11:37 am

    Anna | ANNAdventure - Yum! This dip sounds awesome! I would never have thought to use beets but it makes total sense :)ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2015 - 1:46 pm

    Christie Palmatier Daruwalla - I cannot wait to make this dip. We adore beets, plus it is an absolutely gorgeous color.ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2015 - 2:55 pm

    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles - This is so pretty! I just love beets, must try this. Hope you’re staying warm out there!ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2015 - 3:11 pm

    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl - Ninis and Tinis = yes please! This dip looks to die for. I just made hazelnut granola yesterday and I’m wishing I had saved some for this dip!!ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2015 - 9:47 pm

    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance - Everything about this works. And I love your addition of honey. Cold winter or not this is perfect to have!ReplyCancel

  • February 26, 2015 - 7:38 am

    Joanne - That pretty-in-pink color, though. Totally red carpet worthy!!ReplyCancel

  • February 26, 2015 - 12:55 pm

    Jeanne Horak-Druiff - Hah – I so agree – if it’s an Ottolenghi recipe, it will be PERFECT! :) Love the look and sound of this – can’t waot for hubby’s beetroot harvest this year!ReplyCancel

  • February 27, 2015 - 11:04 am

    Abbe @ This is How I Cook - I’ve made this also and totally love it! I prefer to wear a black shirt when I eat it. Just sayin’!ReplyCancel

  • February 27, 2015 - 12:50 pm

    8 Food Blog Links We Love | Support Paula Deen - […] Make this beautiful beet dip with goat cheese and hazelnuts the next time you entertain. (A Thought for Food.) […]ReplyCancel

  • February 28, 2015 - 7:34 am

    Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is - […] beet dip with hazelnuts and goat cheese. seriously […]ReplyCancel

  • February 28, 2015 - 8:20 am

    Just Cooking News / Currently Crushing On. - […] beet dip with hazelnuts and goat cheese. seriously […]ReplyCancel

  • March 1, 2015 - 10:11 am

    Francesca - Big giant yum.ReplyCancel

  • March 1, 2015 - 12:36 pm

    Amy Nelson Makechnie - Gorgeous – and so awesomely healthy. Thanks for this.ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 12:01 am

    Shiitake Mushroom + Broccoli Soba Noodles » A Thought For Food - […] house. I had some time to do a little cooking and came up with a few dishes to share here. The beet dip was one… these soba noodles was the other. We always have a few packages in our cabinet and they […]ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 7:18 am

    Fahmida Miah - I absolutely love your beetroot recipe. I am addicted to beetroots at the moment, from an eating and photography point of view. They are so wonderful to capture on camera. Don’t you just think nature’s colours are so gorgeous?.. look at that pretty pink-red.. I do prefer natural, fresh ingredients over anything processed any day! I will be making this soon! Thanks for the recipe http://www.intomytummy.comReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2015 - 11:05 am

    A Taste Of Madness - This is genius! I love beets! Also, the color is gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • March 6, 2015 - 7:58 am

    Friday Favorites | A Tasty Life - […] “Appy” Hour:  Beet Dip with Hazelnuts + Goat Cheese.  Not only is the color of this dip gorgeous but the flavor combination sounds too good to be true. […]ReplyCancel

  • March 23, 2015 - 12:01 am

    Spinach-Artichoke Matzo Kugel » A Thought For Food - […] Beet and Quinoa Tabbouleh Shaved Fennel, Apple and Quinoa Salad Cucumber, Avocado and Kumquat Salad Beet Dip with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese Pesto-Coated Carrots and Parsnip […]ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2015 - 12:34 am

    Half Baked Harvest - Made with Love - […] Beet Dip with Hazelnuts + Goat Cheese. I am so all into this. […]ReplyCancel