May 2012 Archives

Mango Cod with Soba

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QUICK DINNERS: Cous Cous with Sausage, Greens, and White Beans; Baked Shells with Tomato and Mozzarella; Chicken Sausage and Ravioli Soup

I go through phases: sometimes I’ll plan a week’s worth of dinners, do the shopping, and make meals according to my schedule. And sometimes (really, more often), we eat by the seat of our pants. With just two un-picky mouths to feed, seat-of-the-pants works out okay, usually.

But truth be told, I love meal planning almost as much as I love cooking, and I’ve been thinking about sharing with you some of the ways I go about making sure that we’ve got home-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and dinners ’round here almost every day of the week. Meal planning for the quarter-life set. Would you be interested??

I love making fish for dinner, but it does involve more carefully planning, than, say a quesadilla. Fish goes bad after a day or so, and while I’ve been known, occasionally, to let a bundle of greens wilt or a mango rot, I’m not going to leave my $10.50 per pound cod to the same fate. Which means when I buy fish, I’m basically devoting myself to it. (And look–this dish uses up that mango!)

Potato Salad with Bacon, Egg, and Tarragon Dressing


ENVIABLE BROWN BAG LUNCHES: Caesar Wrap with Tofu and Broccoli; Grilled Ratatouille; Teriyaki Soba Salad; Fried Chicken Salad with Black-Eyed Peas and Buttermilk Dressing

Hope Memorial Day was relaxing, warm, beachy–or whatever you wanted your three-day weekend to be. I hung out at the beach with my family, Alex, and Finn and a new game of ladder ball. With the exception of the ride out on the LIRR, where I was packed between my bike and about a million other commuters, it was perfect.

(Ladder Ball!)

For lunch on the train, I packed a homemade Caesar salad–I can’t stop eating homemade Caesar since I made these–I tossed butter lettuce with the creamy dressing, Parm, celery, and some croutons. Hungry, I was shoveling it in when I noticed that the two women sitting diagonally across from me were pulling their lunch out of one of those Thermos bags.

Homemade fried chicken.

My favorite food in the world. I got serious food envy. And I got a little mad: my Caesar salad had seemed perfect, moments before. On twitter, @EatinistBitch advised that I “liberate a piece of their fried chicken and add it to your caesar salad.”

How to: Serve a Salad Buffet

Salad Round Up 1

1. Pesto Potato Salad | 2. Arugula Salad with Roasted Chicken, Black Quinoa, and Lemon-Tahini Dressing | 3. Lemony Kale and Roasted Mushroom Salad with Pecans | 4. Roasted Beet Salad with Ricotta Salata

Summer entertaining starts this weekend, and one of the easiest ways to feed lots of people is to make a whole host of salads in advance and line a whole buffet table with the colorful bowls. Put out bread and olive oil, then let guests fill their plates with these quick healthy recipes.

To put together a salad buffet, you’ll want to find some balance.

Around the Web

Here’s what I’m reading this week: Adam’s ode to Rancho Gordo beans (I’m obsessed with them too!); EcoSalon’s Baked Eggs in Avocado with Parsley and Goat Cheese; YumSugar’s Recipes the Obamas Love; and Faith Durand’s dinner party menus from The Kitchn.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp


DINNER PARTY DESSERTS: Amazingly Easy Rich Lemon Tart; Coconut Budino; Whipped Mint Ganache and Blackberry Tart; Nutella Soufflé

My new favorite night for dinner parties is Sunday. Alex and I had friends over this past Sunday, and I have to say, cooking and socializing did a much better job of closing out a weekend than pasta, TV, work, and Monday dread.

Traditionally, Sunday nights are for Alex and me to eat pasta and get ready for the week. If we had AMC, Sundays would be for watching Mad Men. But though I find that it’s tempting to anticipate Monday–make To Do lists, draft emails, finish work–it turned out that seeing friends trumped all of that. We relaxed, sitting around over a simple dinner with some white wine (though not a ton–it was Sunday) and chatting. Dinner made the weekend feel long.

Plus, it gave me two luxurious days to figure out a menu. The whole meal came out great, so even though this post is about dessert, a crisp, I figured I’d tell you about the rest of dinner, too. First, we ate a white bean dip Leora had made. Then I served the Roasted Salmon with Herb Vinaigrette from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, using Arctic Char instead of salmon. It’s a fantastic dinner party dish–uber-pretty presentation, but hardly any last-minute work. I’m going to be making it a lot this summer.

Brie and Red Pepper Crostini


FUN FINGER FOOD: BBQ Chicken Satays; Herb and Lemon Buttered Popcorn; Heirloom Tomato Brushetta; Sweet Pea and Crab Crostini

It’s a sad truth of NYC life is that hardly anyone just drops by, at least not without a phone call, email, g-chat, or text. It’d be nice if people did, but friends live all over the city, and I can’t imagine many of them winding up outside my door unannounced.

Yet somehow knowing that I have the ingredients to create an impromptu cocktail munchie (and an impromptu cocktail) should a friend buzz up unexpectedly makes me feel incredibly empowered, hostess-wise.

So if and when my neighbors and friends decide they’ll come by, I’ll have these easy cheese-covered crostini to serve them.