A Table: Plates to Share with Friends

My name is Lauren Cerand, and I'm delighted to be a core member and new recipe editor. Please visit every Wednesday morning for a recipe or two inspired by the preview list:

Small Share

1 bunch Beets
1 Zucchini
1 bunch Japanese turnips
1 bunch Cilantro OR Parsley

Large Share

1 bunch Arugula
1 bunch Beets
1 Zucchini
1 bunch Japanese turnips
1 bunch Cilantro OR Parsley
1 Napa Cabbage
1 Bunch Kohlrabi
1 Cucumber

"This week we have partnered up with our neighbor Katchkie Farm to provide you with produce!  Lucky for us Farmer Bob had an excess of produce this week that will go bad if not harvested, and we have a severe lack of produce this week to give.  So it all works out.  Katchkie Farm is about 5-6 miles from us and is also certified organic."

The way I see it, this week's all about share plates, and brunch, the ideal meal for friends. Recipes are selected from The Best of Gourmet, 2006, which I won one night at a bar in Red Hook. Ah, the joys of youth.

Bubble and Squeak
(Fried Potatoes and Cabbage)
Serves 4

1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1 lb Cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Cover potatoes with cold salted water, by 1 inch and bring to a boil, then boil uncovered, until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 18 minutes. Drain in a colander. 

Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then saute cabbage with salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until tender, about five minutes.

Add potatoes, mashing and stirring them into cabbage while leaving some lumps and pressing to form a cake. Cook, without stirring, until underside is crusty and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately. 

Tomato Bread Pudding
Serves 6 to 8

5 cups (1-inch) cubes country-style bread (from 1 loaf), crusts discarded
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) whole tomatoes in juice, or equivalent fresh
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce such as tabasco

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400F. Toss bread cubes with butter in a 13 by 9 inch baking dish until coated. Puree tomatoes in a blender five seconds, then transfer to a small sauce pan along with water, brown sugar, tomato paste, salt, and hot sauce. Bring mixture just to a simmer, then pour over bread cubes, stirring   to combine. Bake, uncovered, until edges are beginning to caramelize, 35 to 50 minutes.

Serve with Buck's Fizz, or Mimosas (fresh squeezed orange juice and a solid bubbly, like cava or prosecco), and some sublime bacon. I prefer Mosefund's Farms bacon, from Branchville, NJ, available at New Amsterdam Market.

Lest you not feel as though you have the proper table setting, remember, ingenuity is always close at hand...

Notes a profile of the Duchess of Devonshire in the Financial Times: The fashion designer Oscar de la Renta was a regular summer visitor to Chatsworth in the 1990s, and the Duchess of Devonshire, chatelaine of the great country house in Derbyshire, felt that the flower arrangements for the dining table were becoming a little predictable... A lifelong lover of chickens, she pressed some of her favourites into service. A Buff Cochin cockerel of steady temperament, specially washed for the occasion, took his place in a rectangular glass container at one end of the table, with a pair of his consorts in a similar container at the other... The pièce de résistance consisted of newly hatched chicks, snuggled into little china baskets, with hay to keep them warm. The hens were so beautiful,” says the duchess. “Oscar de la Renta entirely understands hens.”

We should all be lucky to have such friends.

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