Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Snow and Northern Inspirations

This weekend, the first snow of the season came to our area:
Camellias, cold and wet but still glowing:

And other flares of color amid the snow:

I was craving Old World spicy-sweet flavors as the snow softly fell: cloves and sherry, ginger and black pepper. We recently visited a market with a great variety of German holiday treats:

I took these festive, spicy sweets as the inspiration for Saturday's menu.
 Swedish Red Cabbage, a great recipe from Epicurious:

Above, made with wild blackberry jam and ground cloves: yum!
I was casting about for cauliflower inspiration, and my Mom mentioned a delightful recipe for cauliflower in  goat-cheese cream sauce when we chatted Saturday morning.
To make: steam cauliflower florets until tender, lightly season with salt and pepper. Gently heat cream in a saucepan to gradually thicken, then stir in goat cheese to taste. Pour over cauliflower and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes with fresh breadcrumbs, minced parsley and small dabs of butter.
Another super Epicurious recipe for the main course: Chicken with Shallots and Prunes
And circling back to the spice-cookie inspiration, pears baked with grated ginger and wine, a delicious echo of centuries past from Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of South-West France, garnished with marzipan-spice Zimtsterne cookies:

Monday's bento lunch with chicken, green apples, red cabbage, radish "heart", forelle pear, and spice cookies. Let it snow!


Lia Chen said...

It's great to see your snow pictures, love the red leaves ... what is that? Your bento is fabulous!!

sherimiya said...

Wow, snow!! I love to see the evolution of the bento, from first inspiration :)

hapabento said...

Fabulous! Beautiful images. Thank you for sharing your vision.

bentobird said...

Hi Lia!
Thanks for your lovely comments, as always! I think the red leaves are an exotic variety of red maple. What is the weather like in your part of the world right now?

bentobird said...

Hi Sheri!
I love that bento is such an open-ended medium that it can accommodate inspirations as varied as spice cookies, snow, Languedoc recipes, and ripe pears! Thanks for your visit and wonderful encouragement :)

bentobird said...

Hi hapabento,
Thank you very much indeed for all the inspiration and good energy you share!

Lil'chan said...

Your snow pictures are beautiful^^ Let me think, when it will snow here. The mountains around are already white ^-^
Yay, German Lebkuchen and Zimtsterne ;) I ate my first Lebkuchen for this year on friday at university. I think now is the time to buy some^^
Your meal looks delicious, and your bento, as always, too =)

bentobird said...

Hi Lil'chan!
How neat to hear your report from Germany! I just love the spicy holiday sweets from your country and the beautiful, late Medieval woodcut motifs with which they are packaged...wishing you a cozy and happy holiday season full of snow and Lebkuchen!

Anonymous said...

Once again, great little chronological story and progression! Thanks for sharing your art and inspiration with all of us, my Bird of Bento.

bentobird said...

Thank you my Jamison--glad you enjoyed this! See you soon!

Lia Chen said...

I am in Jakarta, Indonesia (South East Asia) ... we only have 2 seasons, rainy season and dry season. Now it supposed to be rainy season but still hot.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures and your bento is lovely! The snow is gorgeous, we only have snow on a few mountain tops here in Hawaii.