Tuesday, January 4, 2011

365, Danish Cookies, and New Year's Day Brunch featuring Perfect Fried Eggs

Greetings everybody!
How is 2011 treating you? It's been busy and fun around here, as usual.
I decided to try doing the 365 Project on Flickr, where we upload one photo every day.  I did 120 days of 2010, and I'm hoping I can do much better this year.  I'm not going to upload every day, but I'm already taking photos every day so I think it will go well.  I plan to try to do some more editing than before, but we'll see.  You can watch my page here.  I'm in a small group of food bloggers who are doing 365, and you can watch that group here.
This year has brought the most excellent group of old friends into town in recent memory.  I've seen friends that I hadn't been in the same room with in years, and we felt privileged to host many gatherings throughout the season.  As often happens, the distance in time and space disappeared the instant they walked in the door, and we all felt as if we hadn't missed a beat.
I never know who exactly reads my blog, which frankly I prefer, so I'm always surprised when friends walk in the door and say "hey, I've seen this on the internet!". After writing here for all these years, I still feel surprised when people tell me they know my work.  It's been gratifying for me to have forums like this blog, facebook, and twitter to share my life with other people, and to keep up with their lives.  I've been spending less time in front of the computer, but as a result I've been valuing my computer time even more.
One of the wonderful people who came along this year was my friend John, who brought cookies all the way from Denmark, where he was studying last semester.  He said, "you might recognize these cookies from the big blue tins of your childhood."  Unlike those, these are the real thing, and they were delicious.
He explained that these little guys, pfeffernusse, were ubiquitous and that he was offered them wherever he went.  I told him that you can keep them in a sealed container with half an apple and they'll stay good for months.  I suspect this is why they're so ubiquitous.

After hosting a few get togethers over break, we felt relieved that other friends hosted New Year's Eve, where we all watched the Moon Pie drop.  (Central time can be a little unforgiving.)
Early in the season, I was bragging about our Berkshire sausage to a cook friend, and the subject of a New Year's Day brunch came up.  It sounded perfect to me, and friends agreed to bring their share.
I made some delicious cinnamon rolls.  Starting with a rich sweet dough.
Rolled out on my cool new cutting board, being sure not to use too much flour
Nice and even.
Brush with butter and add some cinnamon and sugar.
When you roll up the dough, it might look like this.
DSC09644.JPGJust squish it like this.
Slice with a long serrated knife every two fingers.
Easy.  You can see that the dough isn't too thick or too thin.
My friend made a caramel pecan topping for the rolls, which we put in the bottom of the pan.
I also fried up some of my perfect fried eggs.  I've written about this method before here, but I got a brand new little egg pan for Christmas and thought I'd use the opportunity to revisit the subject.
I start with a room temperature egg that I've cracked into a small container.  I pour it into the corner of a non-stick pan over low/medium heat that is angled to help the egg pool up in the corner.  It stays there until it sets and gets lots of salt and pepper.  One flip, and it slides out of the pan.
If you do it right, it'll be the same size/shape as the bread.
Some wonderful friends brought a full Bloody Mary bar, with spicy tomato juice, pickles, celery, olives, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, and Guinness.
So so good.DSC09666.JPG

My plate with the full menu: a fried egg over New Pioneer Coop's loaded potato bread, a frittata with feta and spinach, cinnamon roll, cottage bacon, and sausage with maple syrup.  My friend Joe made the bread, the pork and eggs were local, and every single thing was handmade!
I can see New Year's Day brunch becoming a tradition.  Especially if we have mimosas, too.
Old routines are returning and this season has come to a close.  I'm looking forward to a 2011 full of food, friends, and family.  And of course, lots of blogging.
Thank you for reading, and Happy New Year!

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