Menu: Cozy Winter Evening

January 14, 2009


Every time I’ve wanted to complain about the weather this week (“I can’t feel my toes!”; “Let’s move to southern California or better yet Maui!”; “When’s our next vacation?”; “Is the sun still yellow, I wonder, because I don’t even remember”; “Why, Chicago, WHY?”), I visit and type in my grandparents’ zip code, which has frequently elicited an air temperature well below zero and a truly horrific “feels like” temperature (which, I’m convinced, is just a cruel feature and should be ashamed of itself for even thinking of it).  If my grandparents can handle this Alberta Clipper, so can I.

When this doesn’t work—times like this morning, when I was engulfed in a whoosh of fat snowflakes that threatened to knock me over and successfully killed my hair for the day on my way into work—I instead try to go to my wintertime happy place, which involves an overstuffed couch, a crackling fire and hearty food.  In reality, our couch is rather sleek and understuffed, if anything, and our fireplace is gas-powered, so crackle it does not.  But hearty food—we’ve got that in spades.

Take, for instance, the cozy dinner I’ve cooked up in the image above: a thin wedge of butternut squash galette to start the evening; a plate heaped with a scoop of wine-braised beef shepherd’s pie, glazed red onions and lightly dressed spicy greens; all rounded out by a winter-be-damned finisher of salted caramel ice cream.  A meal like this could almost make you crave a winter night.  Almost.

So, this is new. Today is the first of what I hope to be a series of “menu” posts—a compilation of recipes already featured on this site into a menu, based around a theme (like “Cozy Dinner”) or season (like winter).  I’m envisioning a “menu index” to complement the Recipe Index.  I hope it will become a one-stop shop for you when you’re stumped with the age-old question “What’s for Dinner?” or when you’re dreaming up your next shin-dig.  Ideas and feedback are welcome!

Cozy Winter Evening Menu

Butternut Squash Galette

Wine-Braised Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Glazed Red Pearl Onions
Baby Greens with Brynn’s Vinaigrette

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

23 Responses to “Menu: Cozy Winter Evening”

  1. GREAT idea, Kristin. I love the idea of being able to hop on your site a few days before a dinner party for some inspiration in menu form. This one has my mouth watering already…I can’t wait to see your future posts!

  2. GS Says:

    re: menu format feedback. I like “one stop menu shopping” because I get new ideas of my own or I can simply be lazy and rely on the author’s menu arrangement! re: menu format idea. Do you have any make-ahead menus for a busy gal? Thanks for all you do!

  3. sue bette Says:

    Love the menu idea! I hear you on the dreary weather, after moving back from California to Vermont I am struggling!! I’ve been wanting to put together a shepherd’s pie for a while now – so thanks for getting it rolling! Looking forward to more menus in the future…

  4. lucy Says:

    i love your pictures! would you mind telling us what program you use to create a collage like this?

  5. Bong Says:

    I love this site! I linked you up on our own food blog – 🙂 Hope you could also drop by. Thanks!

  6. Erin Zackey Says:

    Oh, I do love this idea as menu planning is SO helpful for busy mom me! Thanks!

  7. Mari Says:

    Menus are a fabulous idea and I think your first menu is mouthwatering, now if I could only find any kind of pearl onions in this country!

  8. eggsonsunday Says:

    Fantastic idea – I love it! -Amy

  9. Gena Says:

    Terrific idea Kristin…now all I need is to con AB into making the meal, and we’re in business.

  10. Laura Says:

    The Butternut Squash Galette is one for the recipe files for sure!

  11. holler Says:

    Wow, that ice cream sounds good! I am off to look at the recipe! Nice post 🙂

  12. I HEAR you on the cold weather. I went to college in Chicago and it was a killer. My view of winter has been permanently changed! Your menu looks wonderful, and I like this new idea for your blog!

  13. Melissa Says:

    I think the menu idea is great!

    I miss the beauty of the snow living here in SoCal, but I know day after day of it can be painful to live and work in.

  14. Blessing Says:

    SO smart. (Also, California’s uncomfortably hot if that makes you feel any better… though I suspect it won’t.)

  15. Thanks, everyone, for the positive feedback! I’m excited about this new feature.

    GS: Great idea for a make-ahead menu. On it.

    lucy: I use one of the programs that creates mosaics of Flickr photos. There are several out there — just Google.

    Mari: I think small shallots would work in pinch.

    Gena: Barely a month married and already conning our husbands are we?

    Melissa and Blessing: Please, please, please enjoy California for me! : )

  16. Mandy Says:

    I agree with you on the “not feeling my toes” part! Less than 10 minutes walk to the train station is all it takes to freeze my toes! 😦

  17. Jennifer Says:

    I know, isn’t the weather insane here in Chicago? I walked my kids to school, my eyelashes froze, I was making my lunch, went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and my eyelashes had melted and my mascara was all over the place, I looked like a racoon! Too funny! At least I came home first before I went to work, or else that would have been bad!

    I love your site, and like your idea of making a whole meal around a certain theme. I’ll be coming back again!

  18. duodishes Says:

    Wow, do you eat this well every night! If so, we’re impressed. Actually, we’re impressed even if you don’t. We say ice cream no matter how cold it is!

  19. Deelish Dish Says:

    I love this menu! I’m all about cozy and recently made Shepherd’s Pie. And glazed pearl onions make me swoon. Nice job!

  20. Hillary Says:

    Your menu looks really tasty! Last night (when it was subzero temps here in Chicago) I cozied up to some turkey chili!

  21. Wow, can I come over for dinner? Just found you blog and will definitely follow!

  22. And oh how I would love to be surrounded by snowflakes! Great idea to post assembled menus!

  23. Katie Says:

    I’ve been doing this for years and find it quite a useful tool! Glad to see others doing it as well! 🙂

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