A very happy New Year to you! I hope 2016 brings you all of what you hope and for which you have prepared.
I never look at the first of the year as some panacea that will wash away everything that happened before Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. However, there is always hope you can reach a little further, expand your boundaries and embrace change and growth. I wish this for you now and forever. From the Eve to the Day to the first brunch, this New Year bacchanal was held in Brooklyn. It is my first New Year’s celebration in the borough that highlighted old and new favorites and my best preparation of the necessary New Year’s Day meal.
For the Eve, my best man and I decided to re-hit up our latest favorite restaurant, Mayfield (@MayfieldR, 688 Franklin Ave., 347-318-3643, www.mayfieldBK.com). We dined there twice before and both times proved to be something special. The second visit brought me the buttermilk-fried quail with the best collard greens and spoonbread I have ever had. That needs to be on your “Must Eat list” right now!
We arrived to a bubbling Mayfield: zero folks at the bar, tables filled. We were seated at the bar until our table was ready. One I’m A Lady gin cocktail and the Redefinition rum cocktail later, we were at the table taking it all in.
We ordered an old favorite from our second visit, the awesome kale salad with ricotta salata, apples and pinenuts (I’ve been making my version of this salad ever since). I started with a half dozen oysters that included some East and West Coast varieties. For entrees he had the Berkshire pork chop saltimbocca and I the scallops with black truffle risotto and lardo.
We both agreed this meal wasn’t the best we have had from Mayfield, perhaps due to the volume of the night, but we will return again for the great service, atmosphere and, of course, the food. Thanks, Mayfield!
For the Day (and ultimately the coming year), you know I had to make some Hoppin’ John with stewed collard greens and rice—probably one of the best ever, if I do say so myself, mostly because of my limited cooking tools, i.e. one two-quart pot and a 10-inch pan. However, necessity is truly the mother of invention.
SCHOP! Tip #11.01
Need to rein in a large amount of greens into a small vessel? After stemming, tearing or cutting and washing, simply microwave batches in a microwave safe container, starting with two minutes on high, adding one minute at a time, just until wilted.
Like a dish of lasagne, I layered the sauteed (in the pan) seasoned rendered bacon and trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery) mixture and wilted greens, starting and ending with the mixture. A touch of vinegar and some time and you couldn’t tell me anything! BOOM!
Lastly, for the first brunch of 2016, my bestie and food companion Jason came out for an excursion to Bushwick to Northeast Kingdom (@NortheastKing, 18 Wyckoff Ave., 718-386-3864, www.north-eastkingdom.com). It is there we sat down to a seasonal, sustainable and local (a little foraged, too) contemporary American meal.
We were slightly put off by the dimunitive menu, but what we found was that this little list packed a big simple punch. Jason got his obligatory huevos rancheros and I the special sloppy joe.
From the first look at Jason’s meal, I knew every element of that dish was necessary and special, from the crispy corn tortillas to the seasoned black beans to the two eggs over easy. He confirmed it. My messy ground pork sammy included sliced jalapenos and a fried egg on a sweet and soft brioche bun surrounded by some damn good rustic homefries with onions and chilis. Plates cleaned, smiling faces, until our next visit … etc., etc., etc.
Brooklyn! Stand up! Thank you for setting me on my path to a prosperous new year! Big up!
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Follow AmNewsFOOD @NYAmNewsFOOD.