The Perfect January Meal: From Local Food Blogs

Jan 10, 2012 at 1pm

Because I love the holidays so much (I'm totally OK with Christmas music in early November), I always feel a bit deflated in January, when twinkling lights have been re-boxed and scores of Christmas trees have been tossed to the curb.

I also miss the holiday tradition of delicious food shared lovingly among family and best friends. Everyone tends to cook less frequently at the start of the new year, tuckered out from a few too many turkey and cranberry kitchen benders.

But I think food is one way we can maintain the spirit of holiday comfort in non-holiday times. My ideal January meal recalls some of the decadence and togetherness of December while invoking a New Year's intention to streamline. It should be simple, but also have a bit of a potluck vibe, with a slightly odd crew of flavors that end up tasting awesome together.

This week, I went on a quest to curate the perfect first-month-of-the-year meal from the archives of three of San Francisco's best food and recipe blogs.

Oreganobrussels Photo courtesy of Heidi Swanson

For some resolution-style healthy eatin' that still tastes awesome, I'm starting with brussels sprouts with oregano pesto from my all-time favorite food blogger who changed how I cook (infinitely for the better). Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks writes beautiful recipes that taste delicious and complex but aren't that difficult to make. Because of Heidi, I've joined the brussels sprouts age and I've managed to trick my friends into thinking I'm a good cook.

KabochagnocchiPhoto courtesy of Turntable Kitchen

Next I'm making kabocha squash gnocchi with sage butter from Turntable Kitchen, a food-and-music pairing blog developed by Found Local Kasey Fleisher Hickey and her husband in the dreamy, foggy Inner Sunset. This recipe harkens back to the holidays with its comfort food persona and its teeny pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg.

ChipotlePhoto courtesy of Heidi Swanson 

I can't help but slip in another Heidi Swanson recipe inspired by one of my favorite recipes at Nopa. Heidi's version of Nopa's white beans involves chipotle and a hint of oregano (the brussels sprouts tie-in).

ChocolatePhoto courtesy of Irvin Lin

I'm wrapping up this January meal with some throwback chocolate hard shell on vanilla ice cream from local baker Irvin Lin's dessert blog Eat the Love. Hey, I've waited in the Humphry Slocombe line when it's much too cold to be waiting for ice cream, so I know you San Franciscans won't blink an eye at a quirk like ice cream in January.

I think it's going to be an early dinner for me. Happy January eating, people.

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