As I do each week, I am planning my dinner menus for next week before I make my Saturday visits to the grocery store and farmer’s market. As always, I am looking for what is seasonal and plentiful at the market, and what is on sale at the grocery store, and I like to plan no more than 2 red meat meals in a week, and at least 1 vegetarian meal.
This week, summer’s bounty makes it kind of a crime not to make meals around tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, fresh herbs, and the transparent apples that make such good applesauce. I still have to include plenty of protein for my football player and his father The Carnivore, but I can at least work in as many of these lovely, fresh things as possible. This week, I’ll be relying heavily on Barbara Kafka’s cookbook Vegetable Love, which I have from the library. As always, if I cook her recipes and love them, I’ll pass them on in the blog with color commentary. (Although, if you can’t trust Barbara Kafka, you’re in trouble…).
Out to Dinner
Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Zucchini Custard and Homemade Applesauce
Pork Tenderloin is on sale this week, so I’m going to buy 3 or 4 pounds, which will give us hot, grilled pork tonight, and leftovers to make Cuban sandwiches on Wednesday. I’ll marinate the pork in some Italian dressing (my default marinade) which will give it some tenderness and flavor, but not flavor it so strongly that it will taste out of place in a Cuban sandwich. I think we’ll butterfly it for the grill. The Zucchini Custard is a Barbara Kafka recipe, and I make applesauce by coring transparent apples and cutting them into chunks, then cooking them on “Low” in my slow cooker all day until they fall apart. I then add sugar to taste, some cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg, and a bit of lemon juice if the apples don’t have much flavor. You could certainly peel the apples, but I like us to have the fiber from the peels, and transparent apples have very thin skins.
Pasta with Pesto, and Tomato Slices with Fresh Basil
Pesto is another summer-bonanza food that I love. It freezes beautifully, as well, so I’ll at least double the recipe and freeze some for when all of this fresh basil is gone. I’ll toss the pesto with a short cut of pasta (orchiette is my favorite because its so cute) and serve it with sliced tomatoes drizzled with some good olive oil, a little Balsamic vinegar and chiffonade of basil.
- About 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (I’ve also used walnuts and almonds)
- At least 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup hard Italian cheese (Parmesan or Romano)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place basil, garlic, nuts and 1/2 cup olive oil in food processor and process until smooth, scraping sides occasionally. If its too thick, add more olive oil. Add cheese and pulse once or twice to blend, taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
Gazpacho and Cuban Sandwiches (and Maybe Plantain Chips)
Last week, I made the gazpacho recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, and I didn’t love it. I still love and trust him, and maybe I made a mistake, but I found that it tasted too bread-y (the recipe called for 4 slices of bread, soaked) and that the absence of onion made it less sharp than I like. This week, I’m trying Barbara Kafka’s recipe, which does not have bread and does contain onions. It would be more ethnically correct to have black bean soup with the Cuban sandwiches, but I can get black beans any time, and its tomato season so I’m all about gazpacho. The Cuban sandwich recipe is Bittman’s, and is basically roasted pork, ham, cheese and pickle on good crusty bread; I’ll post it if we love it.
Grilled Chicken, Parmesan-Breaded Fried Eggplant, and Greens with Oil and Vinegar
I will probably fall back on my Italian Dressing marinade again, and also tuck some sprigs of rosemary into the chicken breasts before they go on the grill. The eggplant recipe is Barbara Kafka’s, and sounds like a fabulous way to get my family to eat eggplant. As for the greens, I’ll ask the farmers at the market to recommend something that’s fresh and good and dress it with oil and vinegar or oil and lemon juice.
Pasta with Fried Peppers and Tomatoes, and Foccacia
The tomato and pepper sauce is another one of Kafka’s recipes, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find the “Italian Frying Peppers” called for in the recipe. This makes the second vegetarian meal in a week; I hope I don’t have a mutiny.
Burgers on the grill, Fresh melon and Potato Chips
Hey; its summer!