All about the salads

Chickpea_Avocado_Salad_IMG_3276This week was all about a couple of yummy new salads. Other hits were Shane’s french fries (made in the Fry Daddy) and Rita’s Vegetable Garden Lasagne from the freezer.

But about those salads. The Sesame Almond & Avocado Spinach Salad  was delicious but all agreed it needed more olive oil. Oddly the Avocado Chickpea Salad needed more oil too, and more lime juice.  Both are hearty enough to pass as “meal salads” and are totally worth playing around with and doing again.
Avocado_Almond_Salad_IMG_3264

Stay tuned for next week’s plan and Christmas! Remember, kids are never to young to help out.

Helpers_IMG_3258

 

 

 

This week’s highlights, picks, and pans

WarmCornSalad_IMG_3238Challah_IMG_3243We pretty much stuck to the meal plan I had outlined for the week with a couple of insignificant exceptions. The clear winners this week were the Warm Corn Salad from Keeper’s cookbook and the Fennel & Orange Scented Challah from the New York Times, which was not on the menu but which we gladly devoured on Friday night.

The crustless broccoli and cheddar quiche was underwhelming. We all felt it would be much improved with the addition of more cheese and, you guessed it, a crust.

Pasta with Tomato Ginger Salsa & Creme Fraiche is always a hit and really is quite perfect for a weeknight, though I didn’t manage to get it on the table in 15 minutes as hoped.

Shane chose a top sirloin cut from the stash of beef in the basement freezer on Friday. It’s a cut we don’t usually buy and I like that having half a cow in the basement is expanding our beef-cooking repertoire. And by “our” I mean Shane’s.

Here’s the plan for next week:
Monday: Sesame Almond & Avocado Spinach Salad which I’ve never tried before but looks great, Weekday Grilled Chicken, Potatoes
Tuesday: Pizza Night
Wednesday: 5 Ingredient Turkey Chili (to test out for Christmas Eve, and because the vegetarian won’t be home for dinner), tortillas or quesadillas & salad
Thursday: Veggie lasagna from the freezer & a simple salad
Friday: Avocado Chickpea Salad (another new recipe), Steak from the freezer stash, Potatoes or Pasta (Shane and/or Rose’s choice)

 

This week’s plan

Keepers_Book_IMG_3230I thought it might be fun to post this week’s meal plan at the beginning of the week instead of the end. We’re trying some new recipes from the book Keepers, which my sister got me for my birthday because it’s all about weeknight meals.

The menu is below. Check back in later to see how we’re doing.

Monday: Roasted Chicken with Lemon, Rosemary & Sweet Potates, Warm Corn Salad with Butter and Lime (both from Keepers), and these brussels sprouts.
Tuesday: Crustless Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche (Keepers), Sausages, and a simple salad.
Wednesday: Pasta with Tomato Ginger Salsa & Creme Fraiche, and a simple salad.
Thursday: Pizza delivery night.
Friday: Store-bought gnocchi with the Drews’ summer pesto (from the freezer), Some kind of steak from that half a cow my family purchased, and a salad with tomatoes in it because my folks like tomatoes with their steak.

A weekend-long first birthday celebration

People often ask me if I’m glad I had Sid, him being a surprise and all. If you’ve ever seen me with my son, you know that that’s a completely ridiculous question. A person could not possibly adore another person more.

With that in mind, we spent the entire weekend celebrating the little guy’s first birthday.

The party started on Saturday with a bagel and cream cheese brunch followed by Tunnel of Fudge Cake (recipe below) with whipped cream. Oh yeah, the kid likes cake.

That night, we had a totally over the top meal of Oktoberfest Stew,  Polpette Frite, pasta and salad.

A few hours after dinner, Shane served up some hot wings, because he’s never made wings before, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try his hand at them.

Sunday morning we had a hearty brunch of eggs benedict (florentine for the vegetarian) and pancakes with the “Drews‘” homemade maple syrup.

Dinner was ad-hoc soup by my mom who makes the best ad-hoc soup, after which we cleaned up and collapsed.

Happy Birthday baby boy, you are so worth it.

• Tunnel of Fudge Cake •
from Pillsbury
35 min prep time, 4hr 30 min total time

Cake
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups butter, softened
6 eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose or unbleached flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups chopped walnuts *walnuts are essential to the success of this recipe and must not be omitted

Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
3-6 tablespoons milk

Instructions
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube cake pan or 10-inch tube pan. In large bowl, combine sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar; blend well. By hand, stir in flour and remaining cake ingredients until well blended. Spoon batter into greased and floured pan; spread evenly.

Bake at 350°F. for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is set and edges are beginning to pull away from sides of pan. Do not over-bake or your cake won’t have the tunnel of fudge. Personally, I think you can’t go wrong taking this out after 40-45 minutes. Also, a cake-tester won’t work, since the center is supposed to be all gooey. Cool upright in pan on wire rack 1 1/2 hours. Invert onto serving plate; cool at least 2 hours.

In small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients, adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Spoon over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides. Store tightly covered.

 

 

The week in review

It was an exciting week here at The Steady Table. The little guy turned one. One! How cool is that? We celebrated with pizza (it was a Tuesday after all) and ice cream for dessert.

In the dinner department, we stuck to our meal plan and timing. For the most part, we did pretty well.

On the menu this week? Monday: My favorite chili (a vegetarian and a turkey version). Tuesday: Pizza from Upper Crust, a simple salad and three flavors of Talenti gelato. Wednesday: A delicious new pasta dish by Shane (which I will post for you when we make it again, soon). Thursday*: Salmon with dill sauce, potatoes, roasted peppers and a delicious and hearty salad. Friday: Pasta with creamy gorgonzola sauce and a complicated green bean dish.

In the middle of dinner tonight, my parents’ friend Greg arrived with an entire somewhat-local, pasture-raised, grass-fed cow that needed to be divvied up. So, more on that later.

* Thursday’s dinner was cooked by our guests, Ann & Gail, which was pretty great of them.

Post-Thanksgiving polpette

Dad_Fries_Polpette_IMG_3011Traditionally, my dad and Shane make Polpette Frite (fried meatballs) on the day after Thanksgiving. This year, my dad couldn’t make it to NYC due to his recent knee surgery, so the Polpette had to wait until Saturday.

They were just as well-received as ever. Rose dove in and took three straight away. We froze the rest for an easy weeknight meal. Sid and I stuck with pasta and red sauce.RoseDivesIn_IMG_3014Polpette_IMG_3013

 

 

Thanksgiving favorites

Thanksgiving_IMG_2982I always have trouble processing Thanksgiving because there is so much food. I don’t mean volume, which of course there is too, but rather variety. There are so many different dishes that they all kind of meld into a big Thanksgiving blur in my taste memory.

So, instead of telling you all about everything we had—and I assure you it was all delicious—I’m just going to tell you about the carrots. Company Carrots, my personal favorite Thanksgiving dish.

My grandma Lillian (or Didi), the Italian one, used to make these carrots for holidays. Truth be told, I didn’t like them as a kid and teen, but now I love them. I wish I could have loved them when she was still alive.

The carrots are baked with mayonnaise and horseradish, then topped with breadcrumbs and parsley. It’s an oldey-timey kind of a dish, but shouldn’t be dismissed for that. I have no idea the source of the recipe, but I’d guess a woman’s magazine.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Please post in the comments.

• Company Carrots •

2 bunches (2.5lbs) carrots, peeled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs
paprika
parsley

Heat oven to 375. Cook carrots in boiling, salted water for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Cut carrots in half and then quarter lengthwise. Arrange in a shallow square or rectangular pan. 

In a bowl, combine reserved carrot cooking water, mayonnaise, onion, horseradish, salt & pepper. Pour evenly over carrots, top with bread crumbs, dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered until lightly browned. Top with parsley and serve.Recipe_IMG_4445

Weekends are easy, sort of

Weekend_IMG_2940Weekends seem easy these days, at least this one did. With pancake batter in the fridge*, long baby naps, no stomach viruses, and staying home, it’s like we’re on the verge of having time on our hands, but not quite.

We did manage to get dinner made (twice), and the work week menu planned and shopped for. Some major achievements up in here.

On Saturday we had Salmon & Leeks Baked in Parchment, Risotto alla Milanese, buttered string beans with fresh mint, and some unbelievable homemade parmesan and almond crackers.

On Sunday, we had Kale, Cabbage & Farro Soup (the veg version, without pancetta or chicken broth), pork chops, and roasted potatoes.

Personally, I think Kale, Cabbage and Farro Soup is a meal in itself, and a perfect pre-Thanksgiving food (more on that here). However, when I told Shane I was making it for dinner, he looked as though I’d said I was planning to poison him. Thus the pork chops and potatoes.

*Thanks mom.

 

And that’s a wrap

FryDaddy_IMG_2920The Fry Daddy came out of storage tonight, and that can only mean one thing. You guessed it, Steak Frites.

SteakFrites_IMG_2929Sid fell asleep in my arms right before dinner, so that eliminated the screaming baby factor.

SteakFrites_IMG_2931Rita made bok choy with orange zest and a very delicious sauce.

And just for fun, here’s a photo of the chef on his way out to buy ice cream for dessert. What a guy.
SteakFrites_IMG_2935And that wraps up a successful week of meticulously planned meals, and a much more pleasant mealtime experience for all.

For the record:
Monday – Garlic Shrimp with White Beans and a simple salad
Tuesday – Pizza from Otto
Wednesday – Free Night
Thursday – Veggie Garden Lasagna
Friday – Steak Frites

 

Thursday: vegetable garden lasagna

VeggieGardenLasagna_IMG_2919Tonight was Vegetable Garden Lasagna, made by my mom last weekend, from the New Basics Cookbook. This lasagna takes forever to make but it totally worth it if you have the time. You can find the recipe here.

We served it with a very simple salad but you don’t even need a salad, it’s so chock full of veggies (or as Rose calls them “green things and vegetarian stuff”).

Thanks Mom.