I haven’t written anything for a while. Huh. There are several possible explanations for this phenomenon, each one duller than the last, so suffice it to say that I’ve been busy.
We have eaten very straightforward, Anglo-American comfort food all week, and (as always happens after a week without much spice) I am practically breaking out in hives in anticipation of cooking some things that are spicy, complicated and colorful. I am fully recovered from the holiday and the kid’s birthday extravaganzas, I have broken out the cook books that are chronically underused, and I’m ready to put my apron on, fire up the burners and get to work. As always, I am designing meals around what’s on sale, what’s fresh (that would be precisely nothing) and a balance of no more than 2 red meat meals and at least one vegetarian meal. Here’s what we’re eating on Forest Street this week:
Spaghetti with Meatballs, Salad and Bread
This is actually bumped forward from this week, because we have had two”surprise” dinners out. It is a serviceable and popular meal around here, but I was not going to turn down margaritas, tamales and a mariachi band with a cute guitarist to stay home and eat spaghetti made by me.
Kansas City Hot Wings, Oven Fries, Citrus Salad
This meal is also moved up from this week. The recipe is from Barbara at Bless Us O Lord, and it sounds very promising.
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Roasted Chili Verde, Rice and Corn and Avocado Salad
Here is where the adventures begin. The chicken recipe, from Isabella’s Cantina involves roasting my own chiles, and the Corn and Avocado Salsa is from the same source. It sounds fresh and flavorful and healthy, and maybe it will bring a bit of California sunshine into our winter-heavy Midwestern hearts.
Farfalle with Broccoli and Semolina Bread
This is a recipe from Giada di Laurentiis’ Everyday Pasta, which is very simple and gets a great deal of its flavor from anchovies. They will dissolve into an unnameable, salty, umami-laden sauce, but I will not be volunteering an ingredient list until the plates are licked clean. (By the way, I am counting this as a vegetarian meal even though its really not, because, really, how can you count 5 anchovies divided up among several people?)
Crostata Di Perrella and Green Salad
This is really a stuffed pizza with herbs, goat cheese, mozzarella and a litle prosciutto, among other things. The recipe comes from Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, which is lovely to look at and full of inspiration, but has many recipes too challenging for my actual family. This one looks delicious and like it may combine the downmarket, cheese-y fun of pizza and calzones with the elegance of great ingredients including fresh herbs.
Thai Beef Curry,Rice and Green Beans
Its been a while since I made this, it makes the crowd go wild, and there’s good, lean beef on sale. I am going to make it so hot that we all weep uncontrollably and then lie around ecstatic with endorphins (until its time for basketball practice).
Shepard’s Pie and Dilled Carrots
Back to the prosaic and somewhat bland, but life can’t be all fireworks and excitement. (Well it can be for a while, but there tend to be consequences involving rehab, jail or a hospital stay). The boys love their Shepard’s Pie, and while it isn’t quite as rough-hewn and authentic as what Gordon Ramsay whips up on the British version of “Kitchen Nightmares,” they’ll do just fine on our own little corner of the blasted heath.