It’s time for another color dinner, the penultimate in our year-long experiment in seasonal cooking! Not much grows in February in New York, so it’s a good time to pull out a color that makes for hearty winter meals without much use of produce: brown!  Not the most beautiful of colors, but certainly one of the most delicious: chocolate and coffee and dark ales, earthy mushrooms, grilled meats and fried potatoes, baked beans, brown rice, lentils and oats, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts, pumpernickel and other dark breads, raisins and prunes, tamarind.

And a hearty meal it was! We made a stunningly delicious and surprisingly creamy (despite not having any cream) chestnut soup from the Mark Bittman archives. We got a boule of dark pumpernickel bread from the farmer’s market, and served it with some homemade spicy brown mustard (which turned out a bit too spicy but we managed to salvage it at the last hour with a little honey and cinnamon). And, in keeping with the colored pasta tradition, we made a batch of bitter chocolate pappardelle — Bolognese style — which we topped with Julia Child’s own beouf bourginon. There was a North Indian brown lentil stew, a spectacular fig jam, a (vegan!) mushroom soup, brown rice with figs and toasted almonds, dark n’ stormies and some bottles of dark ale. And, as expected, many a sweet bite to finish: spicy chocolate fondue, chai panna cotta doused in a spiced red wine caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream Guinness floats with whipped cream and nutmeg, and some southern sorghum candy.

To feast!

color dinner no. 6: brown.

roasting chestnuts in the oven

we served the soup as a cold amuse-bouche to start, garnished with fried mushrooms and rosemary.

salvaging the mustard!

That’s cheese, not butter! (The mustard needed something to tone down the sharpness.)

making the chocolate papardelle


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