Every year for the month of December I post a holiday menu centered around a particular theme. Last year was an ode to seafood, which was a celebration of my maritimer roots. This year I’ve decided to look back once again but in a more personal way. This year’s theme is nostalgia. And no, that doesn’t mean I’ll be posting a turkey with all the trimmings, not that there’s anything wrong with that. When I say nostalgia I mean personal nostalgia. Dishes from my past holidays were either memorable one-offs or treats enshrined in family rituals. But of course, this wouldn’t be Rhubarb and Cod if they were faithful recreations. Expect twists galore as always. First up is this Jalapeño Cold Pack with Onion Bagel Chips.
I adore appetizers. It’s probably because I have the attention span of a gnat. I love small bites of many things. Committing to a full serving of anything sort of feels like settling. Especially when you have plenty of choices in front of you. I would rather order the full run of starters on a menu than a solitary main. And yes, I realize this is far from sane. Most people would rather have a ribeye than a side order of focaccia. But that’s not important. What is important is I love to design appetizers. From dips and canapes to sliders and skewers, tiny food is when my heart is. And today’s Curried Pumpkin Croquettes with Mint Chutney are some of my best work.
Hummus is a staple food in this house. My fridge feels naked without it, truth be told. And no, it’s not always a from-scratch gourmet situation. I’m not above grabbing a tub at the grocery store, particularly when I make the mistake of shopping while hungry. But when my stomach isn’t roaring and I have the gift of time and forethought, I prefer to make my hummus from scratch. And if I’m feeling adventurous, I like to fiddle with it quite a lot. Not all my hummus adventures are noteworthy. Some of them are noteworthy for less than positive reasons. But today’s Curried Red Lentil Hummus is a winner through and through. So let’s jump right in!
I realize we’re inching our way into fall and today’s Roasted Red Pepper Labneh with Charred Corn has summer written all over it but I don’t care. I can still sit comfortably on my back patio, and corn is sweeter and more plentiful than ever. And even the calendar is behind me. It’s summer until the 22nd and if current temperatures persist, I’m not even willing to accept that date as summer’s end. I’m not going to go on the ever-trendy tirade against pumpkin spice because I like pumpkin spice and I’m not against anything people find joy in. But I would like to live in this summery moment a little longer. So let’s temporarily banish thoughts of Halloween and dig into this labneh.