Yesterday was my birthday and as has become a tradition from my husband and sons, I am to stay out of the kitchen the whole day and only do what I want. Pretty special! So I slept late, went for long bike ride, chatted with an old friend (actually my second employee who never forgets my birthday after all these years) from San Francisco and then some of us went to the movies to see J. Edgar.
Zach and his Polish girlfriend, Agata, made breakfast and lunch, while my husband and my eldest son made dinner. Breakfast and lunch were surprises to me while the dinner menu was my request. All were amazing!!
We have a bread recipe in our family from my grandmother that I usually make on each holiday. Since we were all spending Thanksgiving at my brother, Steve’s house in CT, Agata volunteered to make the bread. Yipee!! This is a yeast number with 2 risings and takes about 6 hours. So it was a treat to have someone else offer to make it! The most interesting thing is that her family has a really similar recipe to ours and she made a few modifications to match ours exactly, as she had tasted my bread last Christmas. Nowhere else have we ever run into this! Most people think of babka or some form of that when you say Polish bread but this is a slightly cakey, eggy version and she said we do it a little sweeter than her family.
She did a beautiful job!! See the photo – light, airy and just the right texture. So for breakfast she made us all a breakfast her grandmother used to make for her! Egg salad (with Tom and Ethel’s delicious farm fresh eggs) and another dish that is a mixture of fresh peeled cucumbers, Farmer’s cheese, creme fraiche, tomatoes, garlic and chives. For each bite, we put a spoonful of either one on a piece of toasted homemade bread, and it was yummy! Creamy, light, refreshing and different! All things I LOVE!
Right after breakfast, Agata got to work on lunch. From scratch, she made nearly 70 pierogis! They were delicious. They were stuffed with a mixture of sautéed onion, mashed potatoes and Farmers cheese and then topped with a light sauce of onions and bacon. Served with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc and we were all happy campers!! Just delicious!
So for dinner, our oldest son made me a terrific Rob Roy straight up. It is one of my favorite cocktails, right up there with a Tanqueray 10 straight up martini. A Rob Roy is essentially a slightly sweet Manhattan made with either Scotch or better yet, choose a single malt, like Oban. Add a lemon twist and I am set!
This drink, besides being delicious, always brings back fond memories of the first time I had it. It was at the Windows on the World restaurant at a special event for World Trade Club Members. This was the storied restaurant on top of the World Trade Center. We were doing marketing work for the private club, dealing with the legendary Joe Baum, and they were holding this single malt scotch tasting for club members and we were invited. It was like an accelerated wine tasting. You can get pretty loopy pretty fast and our host was from Scotland, enjoying every moment and Jules, our client, insisted I try this Rob Roy. It was a match for me! You should try it.
Zach, Agata and I played Bananagrams in front of the fire while dinner was being prepared. Because it was my birthday, they let me get away with “luvv” (I kept on getting those darn v’s) and “eazy”. It’s good to be the birthday girl!
I still didn’t win!
But I digress – on to dinner. We started with fresh shrimp sautéed in hot pepper, parsley, garlic, and olive oil, served with warm crusty French bread for dipping in and scooping up every last drop of the delicious olive oil, served with a ’97 San Marco from Tuscany – a beautiful Tuscan red.
Dinner was Chicken Scarpariello served with sides of spaghetti squash with a fresh tomato garlic sauce and oven roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with blue cheese. It was fantastic!! Wine was a Portuguese 2007 red from this wine store we recently found on the Upper East side. Check out Park East Wines and Spirits on York Avenue at 87th St. Tom Anderer is the Manager and very helpful. He is a certified sommelier.
Dessert was a lovely cheese plate complete with Medjool dates, Golden Delicious apple wedges and toasted walnuts.
Quite a feast! All so wonderful!
Tonight we’re having homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches – a break from the richness of the past 3 days. I hope your holiday weekend was also filled with wonderful family times and scrumptious food!