Whenever we have a cold snowy day, I might enjoy speeding downhill on my ancient Flexible Flyer or skating until the twilight turns the sky pink and the snow blue, but my favorite snowy day activity is creating a comforting dinner, something simple and warm to contrast with the outdoor snow and ice.
This snowy day dinner of warm potato salad, oven-broiled chicken and carroty chocolate chip cookies is just the thing to serve to people who have been skiing, making snowmen or shoveling. Turn on the outdoor lights and try to count the snowflakes, while you enjoy this great meal.

Warm Leek and Potato Salad
with Shallot Vinaigrette

From “Lilies of the Kitchen: Recipes Celebrating Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Shallots, Scallions and Chives” by Barbara Batcheller, published by St. Martin’s in 1986.
6 medium red potatoes, unpeeled
6 slender leeks (thumb-size, if possible), well washed
2 tablespoons best olive oil
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 small sweet red pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne strips
1/2 cup frozen tiny green peas, defrosted
Freshly ground black pepper
Shallot vinaigrette (recipe below)
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
Snipped fresh chives
Minced fresh parsley

Boil the potatoes until tender but still firm. Drain. When cool enough to handle, slice them and keep warm.
Trim the leeks, leaving 1 1/2 to 2 inches of green tops, and slice them into 1-inch diagonals. Saute them in olive oil until just crisp-tender.
In a glass salad bowl, combine the warm potatoes and leeks, the artichokes and their marinade, red pepper and peas. Season with salt and a grinding or two of pepper.
Dress the salad with enough shallot vinaigrette to moisten, and toss gently. Garnish with quartered eggs and sprinkle with chives and parsley. Serve warm.
Serves 4 to 6.


Shallot Vinaigrette

1/2 cup fresh parsley sprigs
2 large shallots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons olive oil

Place the parsley, shallots, and vinegar in a blender and give them a few whirls to mince the parsley and shallots. Add the mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper and spin again.
With the motor running, add the oils in a thin stream. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Makes about 3/4 cup.

Oven-Broiled Chicken

“The Fannie Farmer Cookbook,” Twelfth Edition, published by Bantam Books in 1983, is the source of this reliable recipe.
What does the term oven-broiled mean? It doesn’t mean broiled in the broiler section of the oven. It does mean cooked (baked or roasted, really) at a high temperature (but lower than 500 degrees) in the oven.
Oven-broiled chicken tastes almost as good as barbecued chicken. The outside is very crisp and the inside is tender. This recipe calls for a small chicken cut in half or in quarters. You could just as well use chicken breasts with the skin on. Leftover oven-broiled chicken is great in sandwiches and salads. Cook extra.
2 1/2- or 3-pound chicken, cut in halves or quarters
3 tablespoons oil
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil the broiler pan. Coat the chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place skin side up on the pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees in the breast meat, 185 degrees in the dark meat.
Serves 4.


Carrot Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe for carroty chocolate chip cookies is from “The Carrot Cookbook” by Audra and Jack Hendrickson, published by Garden Way Publishing, 1986.
To make the recipe your own, you could substitute oatmeal or wheat germ for some of the white flour, and add chopped walnuts or pecans, or raisins.
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup soft butter or margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
12-ounce package chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Blend the carrots, sugars, butter or margarine, vanilla and eggs very well, and then add the flours, baking soda and salt, making sure that all are well-blended. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop the dough by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets, and bake until light brown, about 10 minutes.
Cool slightly and remove from cookie sheets to a cake rack to continue cooling.
Makes about 7 dozen tiny cookies or 2 dozen huge cookies.


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