Karla and I don’t often plan out a whole week’s worth of meals in advance, but when we do, we do it right. There is something incredibly satisfying about put together a dinner menu for the week, going to the farmers market to procure the fresh produce and other ingredients, hitting up the grocery store for the remaining missing items, adjusting as necessary, and then more-or-less sticking to the plan to craft beautiful, home-made, fresh and tasty dinners. Some of these were quick to make, others took a bit a preparation and effort, but all were fairly successful.
Not everyone has the time for more complex meals – as a person whose office is in his house, I am lucky enough not to waste minutes or hours on a commute to or from work – and I admit not everyone approaches cooking with a love for the art and craft of it – but it’s a worthwhile gustatory learning experience to try this out once in a while, whatever your skill level. Plus, cooking up and eating with your loved ones a fresh and satisfying meal is a great way to de-stress after a long day.
Menu of the Week – Chez Noodlehead
Whole Trout Grilled in Foil with Herbs, Butter, Garlic, and Meyer Lemon; Grilled Meyer Lemon for Squeezing; Grilled Baby Zucchini; Blanched Green Beans Smoke-Grilled and Tossed with Salt and Olive Oil and Meyer Lemon Zest [P, GF]
Finally I understand Meyer lemons. Slicing them thin and cooking them with the fish, the whole lemon could be eaten with it’s milder and sweet taste. Grilling the blanched green beans was an interesting experiment which added a nice smoked flavor that complemented the lemon zest and olive oil.
Croque-Monsieur (from Bon Appétit); Salad of Lettuce, Parsley,
Pears, and Meyer Lemon Tomatoes, Cucumber, and Bean Sprouts in a Goddess Dressing
I could probably just eat the béchamel sauce by itself. Cooked milk butter flour is a meal, right? Okay, les croque-monsieurs were pretty damn good – leave it to the French to smother a cheese and ham sandwich in a tasty sauce made of more dairy and carbohydrates, then bake it to perfection.
Cold Tofu Salad with Bean Sprouts, Mint, and Other Excellent Ingredients (from Bon Appétit) [VG, GF]
This recipe blew my mind. Other than charring some of the bean sprouts, no cooking was required (unless, of course, you wanted it on rice, which we did), and the complexity of the flavors is incredible. There’s just something unspeakably umame about soy sauce and lime.
Leek and Goat Cheese Tart with Thyme; Landjaeger and Cornichon Plate
Using a leftover store-bought puff pastry dough for the base, these tarts were fairly successful, although a bit dry despite the (what I thought to be) copious amount of olive oil I drizzled upon them. Next time: more goat cheese, probably mixed with another dairy item of a higher-moisture content (ricotta? cream cheese? just a bit of heavy cream?).
Quinoa Tabouleh; Baba Ghanoush; Homemade Falafel; Fresh Pita Bread [VG]
Fresh pita bread is ridiculously easy to make, even if it doesn’t come out perfectly puffed – a total active time of less than 30 minutes and probably an ingredient cost hovering around 10 cents led to 8 tasty, delicious pitas. Homemade falafel is equally as simple, provided you have the ingredients on hand. Likewise the other Mediterranean dishes in Friday night’s meal (the eggplant for the baba ghanoush was grilled with Monday’s meal, made on Wednesday, and almost devoured before Friday!). Note to self: next time don’t forget the Feta cheese nor the mint yogurt dressing.
Croque-Monsiuer: Bon Appétit (May 2014) – http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/croque-monsieur
Marinated Tofu with Peanuts and Charred Bean Sprouts: Bon Appétit (September 2014) – http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/marinated-tofu-with-peanuts-and-charred-bean-sprouts
Falafel Patties: Bob’s Red Mill – http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes_detail.php?rid=1611
How to Make Pita Bread at Home: The Kitchn – http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-pita-bread-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-90844