Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Meal Plan | 04.13.14

When I was growing up our kitchen was closed on Sunday night.  I don't remember when this policy began but it was not awesome.  My sister and brother and I would lurk around the kitchen, obviously finding "nothing to eat" and being told that there was plenty to eat if we were "really hungry".  
This evening we closed up our own kitchen and pulled out this and that from the fridge to see what we could come up with -a baked sweet potato, leftover lentils and rice, roasted eggplant nearing expiration, the last of the arugula and some pine nuts.  I made the grown-ups a satisfying salad and a deconstructed version of it for the short ones. 

 I'm hoping this week's dinners will look like tonight's -a satisfying afterthought.  With Holy Week to think about and Easter feasting to anticipate, I'm ready for this week to look a little ...less.  

Monday:  Lentil Soup.  Made with yellow split peas and lemon and feta.  From Homemade Winter
Tuesday:  Mushroom Galette.  A way simplified version from BA this month.  
Wednesday:  Curried Red Lentil Burgers.  From Moosewood Restaurant Favorites.  Okay, not an afterthought.  
Thursday:  Pasta Night.  
Friday:  Potato and Leek Frittata 

Friday, April 11, 2014

ShopGirl | Bicycle Belle

I'm starting a new series.  I will feature shops that I love.  Then you pretend you are interested.  Simple enough.  Today I'm taking you to Bicycle Belle in Somerville.  How do I put this?  It's amazing -particularly amazing if you are dying to own a bakfiets and/or want to do so in the Netherlands.  I've been plotting my bakfiets purchase for several months now.  So far it has involved combing craigslist, buying a craigslist app to alert me of any posting of a cargo bike, joining the local bicycle listserve and lastly trying to get a part-time job to raise funds.  
When I stopped into this store today I had momentarily forgotten that I was coveting such a bicycle.  Innocently enough, I wanted to highlight this great little local business.  You see, after several cargo-bike-doors closed on me- mainly the job that I failed to secure I settled on buying a perfectly sensible bike trailer.  A bike trailer instead of a cargo bike.  A small investment instead of a large (medium-ish) one.  
So the owner and I were chatting and I was telling her about my cargo bike woes and she asked if I wanted to test drive a bakfiets.  And I said YES.  And she didn't even ask me to wear a bike helmet.  YES.  I sailed around the block, happy as can be.  

Once you learn to ride a bike, you never ever forget.  Even if it has a big thing in the front.  

Thanks, Carice!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Meal Plan | 04.07.14

Monday:  Lebanese Lentils (lentils cooked with rice served with a heavily dressed salad on top)
Tuesday:  Curried Split Peas over rice
Wednesday:  Fish Stew with Fennel and Baby Potatoes -new recipe to try this week
Thursday:  Hot Dogs with Sweet Potato Oven Fries.  Yes.  
Friday:  Flatbread of some sort.  I'm hoping it will be without cheese, topped with olive oil, sauteed mushrooms and arugula.  

I'm always exhausted when I plan my meals and shop for them on the same day.  I'm bent over the counter, hunting for recipes, writing down the ingredients I need, having told the girls we are leaving in ten minutes for the grocery store.  Ten minutes turns into twenty minutes and I'm kicking myself for having mentioned a stop at the playground on the way home.  We get back, lunch is rushed, groceries and couch cushions are everywhere.   Enter exhaustion.  I hope this ramshackle meal-plan will survive and carry us through another week.  

If you care to join me, here is the recipe I'm going to try from this month's Bon Appetit.  

Fish Stew with Fennel and Baby Potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil 
8 oz. small waxy potatoes, scrubbed, sliced 1/4" thick
1/2 medium fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt, ground pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1 1/2 lb. skinless flounder or fluke fillet, cut into 2" pieces 
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
lemon wedges (for serving)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Cook potatoes, tossing occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add fennel and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is soft, about 2 minutes.  Add wine, bring to boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 4 minutes.  
Add 2 cups water to pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.  Stir in creme fraiche.  Add flounder, cover pot, and reduce heat.  Simmer until fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes.  
Stir dill into stew; season with salt and pepper.  Serve with lemon wedges.  

I already have a list of substitues:  I'm using haddock instead of flounder, cilantro instead of dill.  And I'm going to salt at the beginning instead of at the end.  :)  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Meal Plan | 03.30.14

On this second to last day in March..

Monday:  Chicken Tikka Masala.  My new recipe to try.  
Tuesday:  Chickpea Saute from Plenty. Did I wait long enough to make this again?  
Wednesday:  Lentil Soup
Thursday:  Black bean and Rice Skillet
Friday: Pizza.  Are you asleep yet?  

I completely burnt myself out last week.  I was in a tizzy about casting aside my winter routines and forging ahead to lighter meals for spring.  The ramifications: pizza was ordered on Thursday night.  And Friday became an easy frittata with potatoes and the leeks i hadn't used yet.  But it also meant I was eating a wonderful roasted vegetable salad for lunch each day.  I'm beginning to see Tamar Adler's approach to cooking as much less revolutionary and much more commonsensical.  Prep work pays off.  I don't know that I'll roast all my vegetables every Monday.  But I will sometimes.  In the same vein, I'm doing more prep today that usual for the week ahead.  I soaked all the beans I plan to use, and I'm prepping my chicken for tomorrow night and making the sauce as well.  This is all happening mostly because it is a dreary, easy Sunday afternoon.

I enjoyed reading this article this weekend.  I hope you had a nice one.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Meal Plan | 03.24.14 | Learning to Stride Ahead

I'm in the middle of reading An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler and her chapter on vegetables, Learning to Stride Ahead, is teaching me a thing or two.  This week I'm doing things her way.  She says, 

"Each week I buy whole bunches of the leafiest, stemmiest vegetables I can find.  Then I scrub off their dirt, trim off their leaves, cut off their stems, peel what needs peeling, and cook them all at once.  
By the time I've finished, I've drawn a map of the week's meals and created the beginnings of a succession of them.  Then each day I pick up where I left off."

I'm a little out of my element, but since I have a bad track record with making the transition to Spring in the kitchen I'm hoping this might be just the thing, even if a little less structured.

Monday:  (giant) lemon fennel beans over rice.  I don't love the word giant, but I can't wait to try this recipe tonight.  
Tuesday:  Vegetable Stir-Fry to be eaten before ice-cream
Wednesday: Greens Gratin -from An Everlasting Meal
Thursday: Heirloom Beans with Leeks from Simply in Season
Friday: End of the Week Vegetable Curry -An Everlasting Meal 

p.s. Anyone have a good recipe for fava beans?  I've got'em.  Now what. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Week Weary

It's going to be a crawl to the finish, but it's looking like I will live to tell the tale of this week behind us.  I always wondered what it would be like to take care of two sick babies.  I no longer wonder.  It wasn't that bad, and oh yes it was.  The pendulum was a careless thing for all of us -swinging about without the least regard for people standing in its path.  Moods changed as quickly as a gust of wind.  One minute we were up, the next we were down.  When I'm in a valley like the one we were in this week -it doesn't help (at all) to try to relay the facts and the nuances of the day to my partner.  It happened and you had to be there.  The only witnesses are people of the Age of Innocence.  They are short and they can't testify.  We were a little island -looking for the rescue of warm weather, looking for a bird to visit our bird-feeder, looking for an open table sit at and eat our honey sticks.  Alas. 

I know I can be dramatic.  I can brag some serious self-awareness and I know where I fell short this week, as a parent, as a person.  But it is a week like this one where it doesn't do much good to analyze every ounce of your existance.  It was one week.  And we weren't feeling really well -in Naomi's words.  Fine.  Let it go.  Let it be.  Save your droning for a warmer, sunnier, spring day.  

Have a great weekend.  :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Meal Plan 03.17.14

How are you fairing this week?  I know it's only Monday, but still.  Feeling a little stifled in our corner of the world.  Wish I had been more patient with N this morning before I realized she wasn't as well as she first lead us to believe.  I probably could have saved my "I'm not your servant, I'm your mom" speech for a healthier moment.  

Butternut Squash has been my faithful companion this long winter.  Tonight I will sauteed it in olive oil with a garlic clove crushed.  If you do this in a heavy saucepan and leave the lid on it turns into a delicious mash.  I will serve it over white rice.  I will douse mine with hot sauce.  

Monday:  Sauteed Butternut Squash over Rice.  Sorry, I just said that.  
Tuesday:  Lentil Soup.  We've missed you.  
Wednesday:  Leftover Sweet Potato Blintzes from last week. 
Thursday:  hmmm.  That may mean pasta.  
Friday:  Pizza.  I just made that up.  I'm good till Wednesday at least.