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Menu Planning Week 7

Three things are on my mind as I plan menus for the coming week:

  1. We’re having a heat wave (which is not nearly as much fun as the song would suggest)
  2. Monday is my husband’s birthday, and
  3. Tomatoes are good right now.

Taking all of the above into account, here’s what we’re eating on Forest Street next week:

Gazpacho and Panini.

The Gazpacho recipe is Mark Bittman’s from How to Cook Everything, and I’ll pass it on if we love it. I’ll pick up all of the ingredients (except the bread) at the Farmer’s Market, and turn them into cold, healthy, delicious soup. The paninini will probably be my standard good bread-smoked provolone-sliced turkey with a little mustard for kick.


Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Thai Red Curry, Sticky Rice and The Carrot Cake

Monday is Rob’s birthday, and he has asked me to make a beef curry he often eats at our favorite Thai Restaurant. The curry is called “Penang Neau” on the menu, and has beef and carrots in a very hot curry. We’ll have the curry with sticky rice and Mark Bittman’s chicken satay as an appetizer (with Melissa’s Peanut Sauce), with The Carrot Cake making one of its three annual appearances in its capacity as birthday cake.

None of the recipes I found for the curry looked quite right, but I’m going to use this one, substituting Carrots and onions for the mushrooms and spinach. If anyone out there is reading this (Jaden?!) and has a recipe for Penang Neau with carrots in it, could you share? Edited to add: I have since actually made this dish, and photographs and notes about the changes that I made to the recipe are found here.

Thai Red Beef Curry Recipe


500g lean beef strips
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 tbsp fish sauce
300ml canned coconut milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp Brown sugar
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 red capsicum (large mild pepper)
80g button mushrooms
80g spinach
4 tbsp chopped basil

Mix the beef strips with oil and garlic. Heat wok on high. Stir-fry the beef strips in batches 1 minute, removing each batch when cooked.

Before returning beef strips to wok, add capsicum (sliced) and sliced mushrooms with a sprinkling of water. Stir for 2 minutes.
Return beef strips. Add curry paste, fish sauce, coconut milk, brown sugar, chopped spinach and chopped basil. Toss to heat through. Then serve with boiled rice and fresh basil leaves.
Serves 4.


Grilled, Marinated Chicken Breasts; Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad; Rice; Blueberry Peach Crisp

Tuesday, we are supposed to be having some of our undergraduate friends to dinner, although I’ll have to cancel if the gaping ceiling hole and plastic covered floor persist in the living room (especially since most of the furniture that had to be removed from the living room is shoved haphazardly into the dining room where one might, ideally, wish to feed guests). Dinner will be the same either way; I’ll just turn up the volume if we’re having guests. The chicken will be prepared this way, the rice will be prepared this way, and here are recipes for the salad and the dessert:

Blueberry (and/0r other fruit) Crisp

This is a very versatile dessert that shows off the fruits of summer, but also moves beautifully into fall made with apples, pears or both. My favorite way eat it is for breakfast the next morning, cold.

  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 egg
  6. 6 cups blueberries or cherries (pitted), sliced and peeled peaches, nectarines or apples, or any combination
  7. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  8. 1/3 cup melted butter
  9. 1 Teaspoon cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Fill dish with the fruit(s) of your choice.

In a medium bowl, with combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and egg with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse sand with some pebbles in it. Scatter this mixture, as evenly as possible, over the fruit. Pour melted butter over the top, followed by brown sugar and cinnamon sugar. Bake for 3o minutes, and serve with ice cream.

Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil Salad

  1. 4 big, ripe, red tomatoes
  2. 8 ounces Buffalo Mozzarella
  3. Fresh Basil
  4. Olive Oil
  5. Balsamic Vinegar
  6. Kosher Salt

Although many restaurants (and home cooks) make lovely fans out of their tomatoes and cheese, I go for the rustic chunks. I cut the tomatoes into bite-sized chunks, cut the cheese into bite-sized chunks and mix them in a bowl with some olive oil, Balsamic vinegar and salt. Then I cut the basil into pretty strips by rolling several leaves together and slicing through the roll ( a “chiffonade”) and sprinkle the cut basil over the tomatoes and mozzarella.


Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce; Fruit Salad

The pasta is another Mark Bittman recipe from How to Cook Everything, and one of my favorite ways to eat tomatoes – tossed with hot pasta. I’ve made it before, but I think I’ll wait and give you a “real” recipe after I try it out so that I know I gave proper measurements.


Thai Peanut Chicken Stir Fry; Rice and Canteloupe

Sam said he wanted to help me make a stir-fry, and this one look good:

Thai Peanut Chicken



* 2 cups uncooked white rice
* 4 cups water
* 3 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
* 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into thin strips
* 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
* 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root
* 3/4 cup chopped green onions
* 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
* 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts


1. Combine the rice and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. Add chicken, garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is golden on the outside, about 5 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium, and add green onion, broccoli, peanuts, and the peanut butter mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until broccoli is tender, and chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.

Edited to add: we didn’t really love this dish when I actually made it. In our collective opinion, there wasn’t enough sauce, it wasn’t spicy enough, the flavor wasn’t very complex, and the chicken got tough with that amount of cooking.


Out to Dinner


Out to Dinner


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

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