Menu for the Week of August 14, 2016

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This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of Aug 14 2016

We have a busy week this week (a Yankee game with friends on Sunday and dinner with friends on Thursday, plus Kim has a Junior League meeting on Monday), but we still have four dinners planned and they should all be great.

The first dinner will be Tuesday night, when we continue last week’s “sauced” theme and make Swordfish with Romesco sauce. We haven’t quite landed on a side dish yet, but we’ll probably have the yellow squash left over from the Tomato and Squash Gratin Kim made Sunday morning to have for lunches during the week.

We’ll make a new recipe on Wednesday and have The Kitchn’s Ricotta Gnocchi with Peas and Herbed-Lemon Butter. This will also let us use up the gnocchi left over from when we made the Herbed Gnocchi with Mushrooms last week. We’ll probably pick up a bottle of white to go with this dish, though we may pop open a bottle of Prosecco we’ve been keeping in the fridge for an emergency, like a Wednesday falling on an odd-numbered day or the sun setting in the west.

The third dinner will be Friday night, when we’ll make a third recipe from the Kitchn: Spinach, White Bean and Taleggio Pizza. (We hadn’t planned this to be a week devoted to recipes from The Kitchn, but we’re pretty happy it worked out this way, since their recipes have always turned out great for us!) Tony has been on a bit of a pizza making kick lately and while he hasn’t quite graduated to making his own dough (though he is considering going all in and taking a pizza making class), he has been having fun experimenting with toppings and fancy cheeses.

On Saturday, we’re making out twice-annual trip to Greenport, Long Island. While our April and August trips both result in a haul of fresh goat cheese from Catapano Dairy Farm and fresh seafood from Southold Fish Market, it’s only in the summer that we can get the spectacular produce that Long Island is especially known for: sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, and all kinds of berries. With fresh seafood so close at hand, we will finally make Food & Wine’s Ligurian Seafood Stew, which we’ve been wanting to make for weeks now. We’ll probably pair this up with a Long Island wine and serve it with Spicy Grilled Corn. Tony suggested plain grilled corn, but Kim realized that the paprika in the chorizo that goes into the stew would match up with the paprika that’s added to the butter that goes on the corn, so we decided to up our game a bit. Depending on what other goodies we pick up at the farm stands on the road into Greenport, we will have a fun dinner on Sunday as well! 

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August 13, 2016 – Totally Sauced

If you’ve been reading our menu posts for the last two weeks or so, you know that we’ve been working hard to empty out our freezer. We’ve used up fish, veggies, meat, and even bread, but found that we still had a few freezer bags (five to be exact) of various sauces to deal with.

Inspiration struck last week in the form of an article in the New York Times food section titled “Five Sauces for the Modern Cook“. The theme of the article is that tastes have changed and evolved in such a way that we need to update the “five mother sauces” of classic French cooking. While we recognized three of the five – béchamel and hollandaise plus tomat – we had never heard of the remaining two (espagnole and velouté) and were only vaguely aware of the concept of the mother sauces. The five new sauces are very different from the classics. They are yogurt sauce, pepper sauce, herb sauce, tahini sauce, and pesto. When we read the last sauce, we remembered that it was one of the five (coincidentally enough) sauces we had in the fridge. And that’s when the idea came to us: we would make very simple dishes that allowed us to use up all our sauces: pesto, ginger-soy, green goddess, barbecue sauce, and romesco.

We started out with pesto sauce on Sunday, which we served over gemelli pasta that we had in the cupboard. We paired this up with Italian Kale Caesar Salad, which also let us use up the Caesar dressing we made when we had that same salad last week. The pesto had maybe picked up a little bit bitterness after having been frozen, but was pretty much as good as when we first made it.

We each had a night when we were solo for dinner (Kim on Monday and Tony on Tuesday), so we ate the last of the pasta, meatballs, and sauce that Tony made last week. On Wednesday, we used up the ginger-soy glaze, which we used on some salmon. We paired the salmon with some sautéed baby bok choy and as luck would have it, the ginger-soy sauce tasted great on that as well.

We didn’t make the The Kitchn’s Corn, Tomato, and Black Bean Tostadas with Creamy Cilantro Dressing last week like planned. We planned to make this on Thursday night, but Tony learned his bother was free and they decided to meet up for beers. So, we plan to repurpose the recipe and try it with the left over green goddess dressing. We’ll make this recipe Sunday morning to have it on hand as dinners or lunches for next week, which promises to be busy for both of us.

We made barbecued chicken Friday night using sauce that we originally made to use with pulled pork; the sauce worked just as well on chicken. We had a side of spinach sautéed with garlic, along with some store-bought cornbread. We paired this meal with a few River Horse IPAs for a fun Friday night dinner.

The last sauce we planned to use up was romesco, which we thought we would have with some swordfish and a side of sautéed broccoli and mushrooms. We planned the for Saturday but made a last-minute change. We read about an exhibit of the works of Alma Thomas at The Studio Museum in Harlem and decided to go and to have dinner at Red Rooster, a very popular Harlem restaurant that is only a block away from the museum. We’ll make the swordfish on Tuesday of next week instead. The mushrooms and broccolini have found their way into a spectacular, 12-egg fritatta courtesy of Kim. (Two at the Table hates to waste food just as much as we love to cook and it eat!). And to have around for the week, Kim will also make a Tomato and Squash Gratin using a recipe from the Kitchn.

And that is how we managed to make five sauces pulled from the far corners of our freezer into the basis for a whole week’s worth of dinners!

 

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Menu for the Week of July 31, 2016

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This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of July 31 2016

We have several fun events planned with friends this week, but will still make time to try three new recipes, two of which will let us use some farm-fresh vegetables (and eggs) that we have because our friend Krista was generous enough to give her farm share to us.

Before we launch into the week’s menu, we should tell you a bit about what we made for lunch and dinner on Saturday. We still had a piece of swordfish in the freezer because we didn’t use it to make the Food & Wine’s Ligurian Seafood Stew as we had planned to do two weeks ago. (We didn’t make the stew at all, but are determined to make it before the summer is over!) Instead, Tony used the swordfish to make Food & Wine’s Grilled Swordfish with Herbs and Charred Lemon Salsa for lunch on Saturday. The salsa was really delicious; the charred lemons (which we cooked on our trusty grill pan) gave the dish a real jolt of flavor. The recipe says the dish takes 50 minutes to make, but even accounting for the fact that we were only grilling one swordfish steak (versus the four in the recipe), it took much less time than that. We also had The Yellow Table’s Israeli Couscous Salad on the side, which was perfect accompaniment.

We kept with the seafood theme for dinner, but went to a totally different part of the world for our inspiration: Thailand. Our farm share vegetables included some beautiful summer squash and we had a can of coconut milk in the pantry, so we decided to use those ingredients to make Saveur’s Sautéed Squash and Shrimp with Coconut Milk and Chiles. Tony found this dish to be very easy to make; there were no complicated steps, plus he was able to get a lot of prep work done (like julienning the squash, which Tony did without losing any fingers) while the broth that is the base of this dish simmers. This was another winner, and was just like lunch: easy to make and super-flavorful. We will make this again but probably with some tweaks, like maybe adding some lemongrass and lime zest to the broth and some other veggies – like bean sprouts – to the squash and shrimp. Kim started us off with a delicious salad made with the lettuce and some of the tomatoes we got in our shared farm share, which she dressed with a lemon/sunflower oil dressing and topped with pickled onions and toasted peanuts.

As for this week, we’re planning to visit the Met Brewer (the new extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) Sunday afternoon with our friends Tom and Sharon and we’ll have an early dinner with them afterward, so we have no plans to make dinner on Sunday. However, Kim is currently making a tomato and mushroom frittata that will use the one of our farm share tomatoes. When she is done, Tony will use the beef and lamb left over from when we made Saveur’s Beef and Lamb Koftas a few weeks ago to make meatballs and add those, along with some pork we also had in the freezer, into a pot of leftover sauce (our freezer was pretty full!) so we can have some easy lunch and dinner options for the week.

We’ll start to say goodbye to the last of our vegetables (a beautiful bunch of kale) on Monday night when we make Epicurious’ Italian Kale Caesar Salad. We have a little cooked chicken in the fridge that we will add to the salad to make it  a little heartier. In addition to clearing out our freezer, we’re also clearing out our wine rack, so we’ll have the salad with a bottle of rose that we’ve had for a little while.

On Tuesday night, inspired by the great success we had making Real Simple’s Chile-Rubber Pork Tostadas, we’ll have The Kitchn’s Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Tostadas with Creamy Cilantro Dressing using the last tomato from the farm share. In keeping with this week’s theme of cooking with things we already have in the house, this recipe will let us use up some corn we have in the freezer and black beans we have in the pantry.

Kim will be at the New York Junior League Wednesday night for a meeting, so Tony will probably have the pasta and sauce he’s making on Sunday. On Thursday night, we’ll have dinner with Ben, one of Tony’s oldest friends who is in town for work. We haven’t picked out a place yet, but there are no shortage of options in New York City!

On Friday night,we’ll be making The Kitchn’s Herbed Gnocchi with Mushrooms. While we have experimented with making out own gnocchi in the form of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen’s Acorn Squash Gnocchi and plan to make them again, we thought it would be much easier to buy fresh pasta and use that instead. We’ll reach into the wine rack for another bottle to go with this dish.

On Saturday night, we’ll be attending our friends Jimmy and Elaine’s annual summer  cookout, which we look forward to all year long. We gave a shout out to their Seventeen at the Table extravaganza a couple of summers ago and know that this year’s version will be no less spectacular!

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Menu for the Week of July 17, 2016

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This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of July 17, 2016

We have some fun social plans at the beginning the week, so we won’t be making any dinners until Wednesday. We’ll start the week with a Yankee game Sunday night with our friends Janice and John, so we’ll have dinner at the ballgame. Tony is going out with his friends Monday night and Kim is going it with her friends Tuesday night, so the other party will be on his or her own to put together dinner from leftovers, like the Pissaladiere or Korean-Style Grilled Flank Steak that we made last week. Once Wednesday rolls around, however, we are going to start cooking passionately with four new recipes.

Wednesday night will feature a vegetarian dish:  Saveur’s French Lentil Salad with Blue Cheese. We’ve found that while we’re slowly drifting back to eating meat (but still less than we did before we gave it up for Lent), we still have out eye out for good vegetarian dishes. This one also plays into our new-found fascination with French lentils (and on-going admiration for Rachel Khoo), as shown when we made Rachel Khoo’s Green Bean Bundles with Herb Lentil Salad in May and Shepherdless Pie in February. We’ll pair this up with a  2013 Chateau Maucoli red suggested by Neil at Columbus Wine & Spirits.

On Thursday night, we’ll make Real Simple’s Chile-Rubbed Pork Tostadas. We haven’t made pork tenderloin in quite a while, so we’re looking forward to this dish–and the leftovers. We’ll have this dinner with a local beer, namely a summer ale, either from the Bronx Brewery or the Montauk Brewing Company. We did a quick audit and cleaning of the freezer on Saturday mooning and found that we had some leftover Tomatillo Salsa in the freezer, so we will try to work that into this dish as well, even if we just have it on the side with tortilla chips!

On Friday night, we’re planning to make something a little more extravagant: Jacques Pépin’s Chicken Jardinière (a recipe from the Kitchn). While we haven’t made many (if any) recipes from Jacques Pepin, we’ve made lots from the Kitchn, so we’re confident this one will turn out great. Well have this with a 21012 Costieres de Nimes from Chateau Cornut.

On Saturday, we’ll continue our more recent, non-lentil-based obsession–the one with seafood–and we’ll make Food & Wine’s Ligurian Seafood Stew. Liguria is a crescent-shaped region in the northwest of Italy adjacent to France and with Genoa more or less at its center. We’ll have this dish with a rosé from the other end of Italy, namely, a 2015 Etna Rosato from the Graci vineyard in Sicily, which, as the name of the wine implies, is on the slopes of Mount Etna. (As an aside, a very interesting article on the exciting wines being made in the shadow of the still active volcano that is Mount Etna, which included comments from Mr. Alberto Aiello Graci himself, appeared in the New York Times Food section this past Wednesday.) Tony is planning to make a trip to the local fish market Saturday morning to buy the shrimp, red snapper, mussels, and cockles that go into this dish. Our freezer audit also turned up a lovely piece of swordfish, so we’ll probably use that in addition to the red snapper.

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Menu for the Week of July 10, 2016

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This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of July 10, 2016

After all the fantastic food we had on vacation in Nice and after taking several days to get back into the swing of things, we are truly inspired to cook this week. We have plans to make dinner every night except one (when we’ll have leftovers!) and five of our six recipes this week are new for Two at the Table.

The only “old favorite” we’ll make this week will grace our table on Sunday: Ina Garten’s Pissaladiere (and Green Salad). While on vacation, we had a fantastic, thin-crust version of this onion-and-sardine topped pizza and we’re going to try to replicate it. We’re making two key changes from when we made the recipe last. First, we’re going to cook the onions a bit longer so that they have even more time to caramelize. Second, we’re using larger (and fresher) sardines, rather than smaller ones from a jar. We’ll pair this dish with a 2015 Sanford Sta. Rita Hills Rose of Pinot Noir that Michael from Columbus Wine & Spirits included when he created a case of summer wines for us a few weeks ago.

We’ll make the first new recipe of the week on Monday: The Yellow Table’s Garlicky Shrimp with White Wine and Tomatoes. This should be a simple, delicious recipe and a great way to start the week. We’ll pair this with the last remaining (non-bubbly) bottle from our  summer wine case: a Centone Grillo from Sicily.

Tony will be on his on Tuesday night and will make Saveur’s Beef and Lamb Koftas with Mustard and Grilled Zucchini. He’ll take advantage of the farmer’s market that sets up shop near his office every Tuesday and buy some fresh bread to have with dinner. He’ll probably pair the koftas with a Montauk Summer Ale or Bronx Brewery Summer Ale – or one of each.

We both have plans Wednesday night and while we won’t be home too late, we will probably be home too late to make dinner. The simplest solution is to have the leftover Pissaladiere along with any leftover wine we might have.

Tony continues to be somewhat obsessed with one-pot dinners, so we’ll make one this Thursday, but one that is very different from others we’ve made before. We’re excited to try Yummly’s One Pot Yakisoba. It sound delicious and has the added advantage of making enough so that we can bring leftovers to work for lunch on Friday

We’ll try another Asian-influenced dish on Friday in the form of The Yellow Table’s Korean Style-Grilled Flank Steak. This will be a bit of a departure for us since we have made very little meat lately, but we’re looking forward to having flank steak for dinner as well as to making banh mi sandwiches over the weekend with the leftover beef.

Last but not least this week will be Saturday’s dinner, which is somewhat inspired by all the delicious seafood we had while in Nice: Saveur’s Mussels with Pale Ale and Spicy Aioli. We’ll buy the mussels for this dish Saturday morning, so that they will be as fresh as possible, along with two other key ingredients: pale ale, which is a key component of the broth in which the mussels are steamed, and crusty French bread, which will be critical to enjoying all the broth. We’ll pair this dinner with whatever pale ale we use to make the mussels.

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Menu for the Week of July 3, 2016

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This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of July 3, 2016

Having just got back from an amazing week-long vacation in Nice, France, where we enjoyed one wonderful meal after another, we are very inspired to try some new recipes this week. Since we also know that work will be crazy as we catch up from a week where we both completely unplugged, we’re setting our sight on new but relatively simple recipes.

We’ll make the first of these Tuesday night: Real Simple’s Lemon-Dijon Salmon with Potatoes and Green Beans. We had lots of fantastic seafood in Nice, so we thought it would be fitting that the first dinner we made after coming home was seafood. This is a very simple recipe, but one that promises to deliver a lot of flavor.

We’ll continue the seafood theme Wednesday night, when we make The Yellow Table’s Parchment-Roasted Redfish. We’ve made parchment roasted fish before, but this will be our first time trying the Yellow Table recipe. We’ll be using red snapper and finishing the dish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, both of which we bought in Nice.

On Thursday night, we’ll make a dish that we planned to make a few weeks ago but didn’t get around to: Delish’s Zucchini and Brie Frittata. This should be another very easy dish to make with the added benefit of producing leftovers that will let us up our breakfast game in a big way from granola with fruit!

We had an absolutely delicious lunch on the last day of our vacation, which included a super-thin and incredibly delicious pissaladiere, a pizza topped with caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies. While we have made pissaldiere before, it is quite a bit of work, as it takes about an hour to get the onions cooked to the right flavor and consistency. Since we’re really in the mood for pizza, we’ll make something simpler: Delish’s Mushroom-Fontina Pizza. The recipe is made with a fried egg on top, but we’ll skip that step, just because we’re not in the mood. We’ll also repeat what we did the last time we made pizza: we’ll take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for the entire day. We found that when we did this, the dough was very easy to work with, which made it possible to roll it out into a very, very thin crust. Sometime soon, but not this time, we’ll run the pizza dough through our pasta maker to see just how thin we can get it!

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Menu for the Week of June 5, 2016

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This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of Jun 5 2016

We have a fun mix of old and new recipes this week and, with apologies to Michael at Columbus Wine and Spirits, enough half-finished and unopened bottles of wine in the apartment that we’re going to wing it as far as wine pairings.

On Sunday night we’ll make Epicurious’ Spicy Oven-Fried Chicken, which you may remember we made once before, with pretty good results. We’re going to try a few of the changes that Tony mentioned in his write-up for this recipe, namely, cooking the chicken in two batches (if necessary), skipping the step of drizzling the chicken with butter before it goes into the oven, and turning up the spiciness a notch or two. We’ll make enough to have leftovers so that we’ll have a quick dinner on tap for later in the week when we’re busy. Fried chicken + beer = happiness, so we’ll pair this with a cold IPA to cut through the heat a bit.

We’ll continue with our pescatarian ways on Monday with Food & Wine’s Greek Salad with Oregano Roasted Salmon, another dish that we’ve made successfully before. We’ll have to see what wines we have on hand to pair with this one, but a crisp white is probably going to be our best bet.

On Tuesday night, we’ll make a new dish: Epicurious’ Lemony Milanese Chicken with Arugula Salad. We seldom make foods that require breading and frying, as it can be a little time-consuming and a little messy, but this dish is easy enough that we’re going to give it a go. We’ll try our luck with a lighter red or even a rose for this dish.

Tony will be at a work event on Wednesday, so Kim will be left to her own devices. We have a very easy recipe planned for Thursday: Grilled Open-face Ham, Brie, and Arugula Sandwiches, which should be a snap to make. We’ll try serving some of the bread and butter pickles that Tony made last weekend on the side, or, if these prove to be too sweet, some cornichons we bought at Le District last Sunday. 

We’ll have the left over fried chicken on Friday night and make another new favorite on Saturday: Real Simple’s Linguine with Broiled Garlic and Clams. We’ve made this dish before and enjoyed it very much; it’s easy and incredibly flavorful. We should have another bottle of white stashed away somewhere, so that will be our wine paring for this dish.

 

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