Seasonal Flavors: Continued Winter Feasting

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by Elena Day

It’s difficult to transition into January, which is dark (the Christmas lights are gone) and generally cold and gray.   I do so hope this January will be seasonably cold with at least some snow to help rid us of a good percentage of insect pests.  We certainly don’t want too many stinkbugs reproducing this spring.

I advocate continued winter feasting and socializing  with hearty foods. The first recipe is Italian, more specifically Piemontese, a regional cuisine largely unknown in this country. The second is a Polish cake that is great as a desert or for tea or coffee dipping.

Brasato

  • Eye of round roast
  • 12 – 14 small onions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • stick cinnamon
  • whole cloves
  • rosemary
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ cup red wine/1/4 cup water

Peel onions.  Stick each onion with a small piece of stick cinnamon and 2-3 whole cloves.

Heat butter and olive oil with rosemary and Bay leaf in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Briefly braise each side of the eye or round, salting and peppering each side. Place in roasting pan and surround with onions.  Add wine and water. Cover and cook in 325 degree oven for 2- 2 ½ hours. Slice thinly and serve with onions and pan juices.

Mazurka

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1½ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • ¾ tsp of walnut (or almond) extract
  • 4 eggs

Beat butter and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating between additions.  Add flour, ground nuts and walnut extract. Place batter in large buttered and floured cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. Check center with toothpick or knife blade for doneness.  Let cool briefly and then overturn cake onto plate. Use a second “decorative” plate to turn cake right side up.