Snow Day Recipes

An essential shopping list + 3 recipes



Photograph: ©perkmeup/istockphoto

In January, the holiday hype is over and the really dreary weather sets in. So what else is there to look forward to? Snow days of course! 

I have to admit, I love a forced day off of work. While I work in the food industry, I wish I had more time to cook with my boys, and snow days are the perfect time to slow down and fire up the stove. If you don’t mind braving the supermarkets and want to be prepared for the snow day, here’s my essential shopping list:

  • Instant Yeast
  • Ground Corn Meal
  • Milk
  • Cerignola Olives
  • 2 Shallots
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Bacon
  • Brie
  • Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Gruyere
  • Hard Salami
  • Ground Sirloin

*Note: I always have canned beans and tomatoes, onions, pasta, olive oil, basic spices and flour in my pantry. These are what I call "the basics." If you don’t have any of these, add them to your list.

After I’ve made my first cup of coffee and started a roaring fire, the boys wake up and we start the day with my all-time favorite bread recipe: No-Knead Bread by Jim Lahey of The Sullivan Street Bakery. It doesn’t get any easier, and you can enjoy fresh bread no matter how many days your “snow day” lasts!

No-Knead Bread

Yields one loaf (1.5 pounds)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus a bit more for dusting
  • ¼ tsp. instant yeast
  • 1¼ tsp. salt
  • Cornmeal as needed

Directions

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.
  2. Add 1 ⅝ cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Let dough rest at least 12 hours — preferably 18 hours — at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  5. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
  6. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  7. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.
  8. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.
  9. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  10. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up. It may look like a mess, but that is okay. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  11. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

My other favorite slow cook, snow day recipe is chili. It can be made early in the day and eaten for dinner. Here’s my fool proof chili recipe. 

Snow Day Chili Con Carne

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
  • 2 Tbs. garlic, diced
  • ¼ cups chili powder
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin, stir to coat the vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the ground beef and measured salt and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the beef is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices and beans, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the chili thickens and the flavors meld, at least 1 hour. 
  6. Garnish with shredded cheese and hot sauce.

My other hearty go-to favorite is this delicious and incredibly simple pasta gratin. It's the kind of recipe that makes you appreciate those slow days where you can pay attention to detail and work on creating. This is a dish you'll want to recreate time and time again.

Bacon, Cauliflower and Penne Gratin

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter for dish, melted
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • ¾ cups milk
  • 1 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz bacon, cooked until crispy and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 1 cup penne pasta cooked and drained.
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish. 
  3. Combine melted butter and bread crumbs in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and flour. Add the bacon and 1/2 cup of the Gruyere. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Drain the cauliflower and toss with the cream mixture and pasta. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and remaining ½ cup of cheese.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown.

Enjoy! If you decide to try one of these recipes, comment and let us know how it worked out!


With an extensive background in luxury event planning, honed at some of the country's most exclusive hotels, Jeffrey Selden leverages his two decades-long party history in his role as Managing Partner of his family owned business, Marcia Selden Catering and Event Planning. Whether it's an opulent party for 500, or an intimate private dinner, he holds an industrywide reputation as a power event-builder with a unique, creative vision and flawless results. Marcia Selden Catering and Event Planning has been named "Best of the Gold Coast" of Fairfield County by Moffly Media for several years running, and was recently honored by The Knot as “The Best of Weddings.”

 

Jeffrey Selden
Managing Partner
Marcia Selden Catering and Event Planning
65 Research Drive
Stamford, Connecticut 06906

 

 

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