Winter Comfort

This Sunday, the Unbreads gathered for some stick-to-your-ribs winter comfort food around our newly decorated Christmas tree.

I had been craving a good French onion soup so that would be the focus. I wish I’d had time to make it the day before so that the flavors could meld, but it still turned out well! I also recently discovered the magic of aligot–a French dish of potatoes whipped with garlic and a cheese like tomme or cantal. The soup and potatoes go perfectly together and were a hit.

For the soup, I used Epicurious (link below). We did not have ramekins but not to worry! We simply toasted bread in the oven and topped each bowl with a couple slices and cheese. This worked well, I thought, because the bread was toasty on top but got soggy/soaked on bottom.


Millions of onions!



And then it was soup!



Cheese to go on top. Don’t skimp!


For the aligot, I improvised. Here’s how it went, more or less:

Grate the cheese you’ve chosen (cantal, tomme, even gruyere or cheddar). Quarter the potatoes and boil for 30 minutes with minced or sliced garlic. Save about a cup of the water while straining. Start mashing and add in stages butter, cream, and the leftover water. Taste as you go to determine how much to add of each and, of course, how much to salt. Now start sprinkling in the grated cheese.  As the cheese melts into the potatoes, the mixture will turn somewhat elastic. That’s the idea! Don’t forget pepper. Aligot is versatile and delicious, so give it a try!



I couldn’t figure out what meat to make so I decided to just go see what looked good at the grocery store.  That turned out to be a bad plan! I bought some organic pork chops and just threw them on the All-Clad with rosemary, but they were bland and blah. Oh well!







And we had a very special guest, everybody’s favorite dog/angel Timpleton!





Ich habe hunger

In honor of the final day of Oktoberfest, I decided to venture where no Unbread had gone before: I crafted a menu of German dishes. When I announced to the group what we’d be making, instead of saying “Auf Wiedersehen,” they were up for the challenge and said “Gehen wir!”

While preparing the meal, we munched on doughy pretzels with German mustard for dipping. Our menu included german potato salad served warm, german style creamed spinach, and jagerschnitzel. For dessert, I decided to take the easy route and pick up a German chocolate cake from my local grocer (not necessarily a traditional German dessert, but it was tasty!).

Timpleton was very curious about what was going on in his kitchen.

ImageThe meal was oh-so-rich and oh-so-filling.

We had lots of laughs and a Sound of Music sing-a-long (which, believe it or not, is a common occurrence at Urban gatherings).

No Urban Unbreads dinner is complete without a modeling shot or two.

As the night was winding down, Timpleton insisted that we move to the living room to let our food settle and relax a bit before our visitors made their treks home.

thousands of crepes!!

On Sunday, we celebrated Waverly’s birthday early with a surprise dessert….a crepe mille (thousands of crepes). It’s layers of thin, buttery crepes with pastry cream between them. It’s a light, awesome cake. We topped it with some melted chocolate and strawberries on the side. YES!!!!

– Suzannah & Susan

Continue reading

austro-hungarian goodness

For the past wintery month or so, I’ve been dreaming about a cozy homemade meal I had on my trip through Austria last spring with fellow Urbanites, Waverly and Nick. After a long journey on 2 trains from Zurich, we arrived in the mountain town of Kitzbuhel in darkness. The only restaurant open past 9 served the most comforting local meal–spaetzle and beef goulash. Wave & Nick ordered spaetzle topped with cheese and crispy onions. Over the next two days, we goulashed out…goulash soup, goulash with spaetzle…more than once a day.

We discovered the cutest like bakery to snag some authentic apple strudel. I have a feeling the snow topped scenery and adorable houses made it taste even better. The only place at home that has compared is Andre’s Bakery (but I mostly go for their NYC taste test winning chocolate babka). I have to say, the homemade strudel was a very big hit!

So here’s my Austro-Hungarian comfort meal:

  • Beef Goulash
  • Homemade Spaetzle
  • Sauteed Spinach w. garlic & golden raisins
  • Pear & Apple Strudel
– hosted by SUSAN

urban japanese

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last night, Urban took on Japanese cuisine. It was a great success. Trips to the gym, the sauna, and a dexter-watching session put everyone in good spirits with ridiculous energy for cooking. On the menu:

  • mixed vegetable hot soba noodles
  • sweet potato tempura
  • assorted sushi: tuna/avocado, spicy tuna, carrot/cucumber, inari
  • mochi ice cream

Soba noodles are made of buckwheat and can be served hot or cold–like the ones I love at Soba-ya in new york. Everyone took turns making sushi rolls, including tuna-avocado, sesame carrot-cucumber, spicy tuna-cucumber, and filled inari sushi. Inari is fried tofu soaked in a sweet sauce, filled with rice, so no soy sauce required for this one. We finished the evening with mochi ice cream, and drawing names for Christmurban secret santa!

hosted by SUSAN

read about the RECIPES

tortilla de patata

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you glance into practically any bar in Madrid, a big, thick tortilla de patata (or tortilla española) will be at the counter. It’s very simple, traditional, and delicious.

In the morning, Spaniards generally drink café con leche and maybe eat a piece of toast before heading to work. But around 11am, you get kind of hungry. So walk to a nearby bar or cafeteria for another coffee and un pincho de tortilla (a serving). But don’t hurry back to the desk and eat out of a plastic container (to-go anything is super rare). Instead, take your time at the cafe. If you’re craving some tortilla later in the day, you’ll find it as a bocadillo (sandwich) for lunch or on many tapas menus at dinner time.

The ingredients are no secret: eggs, potatoes, a little onion. But the thickness of the potato, of the omelette, the onion to potato ratio, etc. varies. After trying the torilla made by my señora’s mom, I prefer the potatoes sliced thicker. On this one, I used techniques from a cooking class taken through school and info from a popular spanish blog…still yummy.

Started by peeling and slicing, super thin, 3 small potatoes. Diced a little onion. Heat olive oil (could use canola or veggie) with 2 cloves of garlic, unpeeled. Drop in the potatoes when it’s hot enough to make a nice sizzle. Toss the onions on top. Won’t take long to cook…don’t let it brown. Drain (i reserved the oil). Beat the eggs and add the potatoes. Oil the pan, just enough to coat, and pour in the egg + potato mixture. let cook half way through and flip onto a plate…slide back in, let the other side cook, flip onto a clean plate, and enjoy. I topped mine with some zucchini for a little green…probably against the rules but a good combo.

~ Susan, in Madrid