Menu for the Week of July 23, 2017

This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of July 23 2017

We have another busy week this week, with lots of evening plans, plus a trip to Baltimore over the weekend for Kim’s uncle’s 60th birthday. Nevertheless, we’re trying a couple of new, simple recipes, which we think we’ll really enjoy.

The first new recipe is Food & Wine’s Cuban Flank Steak, which we’ll have on Sunday. This recipe features a simple marinade, made with lime and orange juice, as well as cumin and fresh oregano, plus a few other ingredients. The steak is served with mangoes, which is a fruit we don’t eat often and have cooked with hardly ever, if at all. We’re looking forward to the new experience!

We’ll have seafood on Monday night, in the form of Bon Appetit’s Broiled Salmon with Scallions and Sesame. Kim picked out a fun side salad to serve with the salmon: Ellie Krieger’s Snow Pea, Scallion, and Radish Salad. It’s a bit rare for us to make two recipes for the same meal during the week, but the salmon really called out to be paired with something interesting and this salad will fit the bill!

The rest of the week will be dedicated to leftovers. On Tuesday, we’ll have the rest of  the Cuban Flank Steak, again with mangoes. On Wednesday night, we’ll have leftovers  from a dish we made last week: Serious Eats’ One-Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts. This was a very wintry dish for the middle of summer, but it was worth making the apartment a little warmer! On Thursday night, we’ll have leftovers from a dish we made a couple of weeks ago that have kept safely in the freezer: Saveur’s Easy Chicken Parmigiana. (We should point out that while this recipe was indeed easy, chicken parmigiana is quite a bit of work. We have a newfound respect for Tony’s mom, who has made this dish on several occasions for as many as 14 people, plus an accompanying serving of veal parmigiana, because, you know, once you start parm-ing things, why stop?)

We’re really excited about our trip to Baltimore. Not only will we get to see Kim’s uncle and his lovely girlfriend, plus Kim’s mom and dad, we’ll also get to try some great restaurants. On Friday night, we’ll have dinner at The Severn Inn, a cool waterfront restaurant just outside of Baltimore. On Saturday afternoon/evening, we’ll celebrate Kim’s uncle’s birthday at the Two Rivers Steak & Fish House. Crabs feature prominently on both menus, in the form of crab salads and crab cakes, not to mention soft shell crabs, so we’ll enjoying having something we don’t get very often in New York City.

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Menu for the Week of July 16, 2017

This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of July 16 2017

This week’s menu features a mix of old and new favorites, plus a few totally new recipes to mix things up.

We’ll start the week off by making Food & Wine’s Piri Piri Chicken with Crispy Potatoes on Sunday evening. We made this once before and absolutely loved it. The piri piri sauce has an amazing depth of flavor with just enough heat to really perk things up. We’ll have this as leftovers on Thursday and we know from experience that both the chicken and potatoes reheat very well.

We’ll make a salmon dish on Monday night: Ina Garten’s Roasted Salmon with Green Herbs. This is one of the very first dishes we ever made together, back when we were cooking in Kim’s old, tiny kitchen and not our own new, tiny kitchen. This is a very simple dish, but the mix of scallions, dill, and parsley that goes on top of the salmon is a wonderful combination. We’ll have a green salad on the side to round things out.

Since we knew we would have plenty of dill around, we looked for another recipe that featured it prominently and remembered one we had made before: Food & Wine’s Shrimp and Lemon Skewers with Feta Dill Sauce. Our trusty cast iron grill pan will come in handy for this dish, as will our new metal skewers, which should eliminate the very real risks of putting wooden skewers so close to an open flame. We have some cucumbers left over from last week’s Greek Salad with Oregano-Roasted Salmon so we’ll work those into a salad to have on the side.

We figured we might as well take advantage of all (or almost all) of our cast iron cookware and found a recipe that will let us use our larger cast iron skillet: Serious Eats’ One-Pan Chicken, Sausage and Brussels Sprouts. This very simple dish will make for a nice Wednesday night dinner and some tasty leftovers as well.

We felt like making something different on Friday night and decided on Skinnytaste’s Southwestern Black Bean Salad. This is a pretty easy dish for a Friday night (or any night really) but it should be a nice way to wrap up the work week. We’ll add some protein to the salad to balance things out, but are not quite sure what that will be yet. We’ll probably see what we have in the freezer and go from there or maybe buy a piece of tuna on the way home and add that to the salad to mix things up.

We have ballet tickets on Saturday night, so we’ll have a (somewhat) lighter dinner before the performance: Dorie Greenspan’s Mustard Tart, from Saveur magazine. We meant to make this dish several months ago, but we never found the time. It’s a bit labor intensive, but we’ll have all day to prepare it, so we should be able to figure it out!

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Menu for the Week of July 9, 2017

This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of July 9, 2017

Welcome back to another week of fun dishes with Two at the Table! A busy week means we’ll only make a few dinners. We’re returning to a few favorite dishes this week (one fish and one chicken) that we think you’ll enjoy as much as we do. For breakfast treat this week for Tony, Kim is going to make Easy Cinnamon Muffins.

We did not plan any cooking on Sunday as we’re going to the Yankee game with our friends Chris and Susanne. We will likely eat a bigger lunch than usual (we’re looking right at you, Mighty Quinn’s BBQ in Section 133) and probably go out after the game as well, so making dinner is the furthest thing from our minds today.

We’ll start the week with fish, namely, branzino and salmon. On Monday night, we’ll make the branzino according to Food & Wine’s Whole Roast Fish with Lemon and Herbs recipe. This dish is a variation on the New York Times’ Greek Style Fish with Marinated Tomatoes that we’ve made several times before, but features a salsa verde, which, we humbly suggest, Food & Wine should incorporate into the recipe’s title so as to do the dish justice. On Tuesday, we’ll make the salmon using another recipe from Food & Wine: Greek Salad with Oregano and Roasted Salmon. For this recipe, you roast salmon on top of fresh oregano sprigs, which gives the fish an amazing flavor. It’s quick and easy and perfect for a summer night.

We’ll have another all-time favorite on Wednesday when we make Rachel Khoo’s Lemon Lavender Chicken. This is not a dish we usually make in the warmer weather, but we both really have a craving, so we’re going to go for it!

We’re going to have to reassess our plans for Thursday night, when we hoped to have left overs from Real Simple’s Spice Braised Short Ribs. The problem is, we only made half the recipe and enjoyed the short ribs so much that there are none left! This dish was not too complicated, but a true labor of love on Kim’s part. It took lots of careful planning, as the ribs have to sit in a rub overnight and then braise for almost three hours, which does not include all the other steps. But what a return on the time invested it was! The ribs were fall-apart tender and the flavors in the rub–smoked paprika, oregano, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon–came together in the most amazing way. The smoked paprika and cinnamon really came through, with the combination of flavors making Kim think of coffee and putting Tony more in mind of chocolate. We paired it with a 2007 Chateau Plince Pomerol recommended by Neil at Columbus Wine and Spirits, which was the perfect complement. It was a big wine without being an overwhelming one and complicated enough to stand up to the complex flavors of the ribs.

Tony will be out with his high school buddies on Friday night, saying farewell to his good friend Lolan, who will be pursuing a graduate degree in Chicago. It should be a good time; these mini reunions always are. We’ll reminisce about the good old days and try to convince each other that we haven’t changed a bit since that day in September 1989 when we all first came together in the auditorium of our all-boys Catholic school to be told what a uniquely challenging and immensely rewarding adventure we were about to begin.

We’ll have a fun night on Saturday as we visit Tony’s mom Maria for dinner with our good friends Tom and Sharon. Tony’s mom will make fresh pasta and her homemade meatballs and sauce. The rest of us will pitch in with salad, dessert, and possibly a meat course, though odds are Maria will make a pan each of chicken and veal parmigiana, because how could one possible leave the table after only having had two plates of pasta and a couple of meatballs? We’ll play a fun Italian card game after dinner called Seven and a Half (Sette e Mezzo in Italian). It’s based on the same principle as blackjack, in that you play against the dealer and try to get to seven and a half without going over. (The Italian deck has only 40 cards: four suits (swords, cups, clubs, and suns/coins) of  Ace (1) through 7, plus three  face cards. In this game, the face cards are worth 1/2 while all others are worth their face value of 1 through 7). It’s a fun, challenging game, with lots of twists. Since the most common value in the deck is 1/2 (the 12 face cards), the total of a hand can build up painfully slowly only to be busted by a bigger card at the end. Unlike blackjack, there is also a wild card: the King of Suns/Coins, which can be worth any value from 1 to 7, or its nominal 1/2, but not, say 3 1/2. Last but not least, it is perfectly acceptable to bluff in the hopes of making the dealer bust, as there is no rule that says the dealer must stand on any given value.

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Menu for the Week of July 2, 2017

This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of July 2, 2017

We took a short break from posting last week, but we’re back at it this week with bunch of new recipes. We did try a few new recipes in addition to the one noted below–Kim made Strawberry-Buttermilk Muffins to have around for breakfast, Buffalo Chicken Salad from the Skinnytaste’s cookbook, and the Kitchn’s Honey Garlic Shrimp. All three recipes were quite delicious!

We’ll kick off the week with a special dinner: Rachel Khoo’s Crispy Skinned Duck Breast with a Cherry Sauce and Creamy Spinach and Polenta. We have some duck breasts in the freezer that we purchased during our last day trip to Long Island. We’ve been waiting for a good time to make them and with a quiet day planned and a slower-than-usual week ahead with the holiday, this Sunday seemed perfect. We made this dish once before and it turned out great, so we’re excited to try it again.

We’ll start our 4th of July celebration early and have dinner with our friends Tom and Sharon on Monday. They are planning an All-American Dinner in honor of the holiday: Tom will make burgers for our main course, Kim will make brownies for dessert, and we are sure all the other items Tom and Sharon are making will be delicious as well!

Since we’re having burgers on the 3rd, we’ll stick with that theme for the 4th, but lighten things up bit by making The Kitchn’s Salmon Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise. This recipe shows how easy it is to amp up plain mayonnaise: add some lime juice and lime zest and boom! You have lime mayo. One of our other favorite ways is to add some chopped up adobe in chipotle and bam–you have chipotle mayo. Okay, that probably exhausts the best possibilities, but you get the idea.

We’ll try a new chicken dish on Wednesday: The NY Times’ Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms. We’ll have mushrooms left over from this dish, as we bought a bit more than we absolutely need, so the extras will probably find their way into a frittata at some point this week.

We’ll have leftovers on Thursday night, from a dish Kim made last week: The NY Times’ Eggplant with Lamb, Tomato, and Pine Nuts. This was an incredibly savory and satisfying dinner that was that much better thanks to the one key ingredient not named in the title of the recipe: mozzarella cheese. Lots of good, fresh mozzarella cheese. We’ve already had this as leftovers once and it heats up very well, so we’re looking forward to having it again.

We’re back to the New York Times and another chicken dish on Friday, one that is different enough from the Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms, especially in preparation, to keep things interesting: The NY Times Flattened Chicken Thighs with Roasted Lemon Slices. The key to this recipe is cooking the chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet, skin side down, with a heavy weight on top (yet another use to which we will put our Dutch oven and yet another reason to wonder how we ever managed to do anything in our kitchen before we got it) to get the thighs nice and crispy. This dish can be served in the skillet in which it is cooked, which should make for a fun presentation at the dinner table. It should be a perfect Friday night dinner.

As you may have seen recently, The New York Times Cooking section now requires a subscription (to the section or the The New York Times overall). So if you don’t have a subscription, the links likely won’t work. We personally applaud the New York Times for take a bold stance in terms of paying for good content–we are happy to do so ourselves.

We’ll go big on Saturday to close out the week and make Real Simple’s Spice Braised Short Ribs. This dish takes quite a while to cook, as the short ribs have to braise for about three hours, but we don’t have any plans for Saturday. The apartment might get a bit warm, but that seems like a small trade-off for the prospect of the apartment also slowly filling with the smell of braised shot ribs. We expect the neighbors may come knocking!

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Menu for the Week of June 18, 2017

This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of June 18, 2017

We didn’t get a chance to post last week, but we did lots of fun cooking. We decided to go through our cookbooks for recipes, so the links below won’t always take you to the exact recipe, but will of course take you to lots of recipes worth trying. Here is what we made:

Monday: Smitten Kitchen’s Seared Halibut and Gazpacho Salsa with Tomato Vinaigrette. The recipe was fantastic–the fish was light and flaky, the salsa was a great complement, and the vinaigrette was just awesome–and made plenty of left over salsa, which we’ve been enjoying all week.

Tuesday: Food 52’s Cilantro Lime Salmon Cakes. We’ve made this recipe several times before, but we honestly think this was the best batch yet. We paired them with a simple green salad.

Wednesday: Elie Krieger’s Pork Picatta with Spinach and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. We made this with simple steamed spinach and left out the potatoes. This dish was so good that Tony may have discovered that he likes capers (a key ingredient) more than he thinks he does…

Thursday: Skinnytaste’s Baja Grilled Flank Steak Salad. Not only was this quick and delicious, but Tony was also able combined the leftovers with some provolone, pickled red peppers, and lettuce to make a tasty wrap for lunch on Friday.

Friday: Ina Garten’s Roasted Chicken and Radishes. This was a perfect way to end the week. The chicken was tender and juicy with a nice crispy skin and the roasted radishes were caramelized perfectly. Plus, we have leftovers! (Update: The leftovers were every bit as good as the “original” dinner. Warmed up in the oven, the chicken stayed juicy, the skin stayed crisp, and the radishes got even softer and more caramelized!)

As for this week, we both have plans with friends — we’re each having drinks with buddies on Monday night and then joining other friends at the Yankee game Friday night — and also plan to make several new recipes, so it should be a fun week all around.

We’ll have lunch with Tony’s family on Sunday afternoon for Father’s Day, but as his mom is not planning the usual Sunday afternoon food fest, we’ll make dinner Sunday evening. We’re making something light and simple: The Kitchn’s Shrimp with White Beans, Spinach, and Tomatoes. We’ll do some cooking before that too, to make sure Tony has lunch for the week: we will make a batch of The New York Times’ Skillet Macaroni and Broccoli and Mushrooms and Cheese.We made this once before not long ago and it was truly spectacular.

On Tuesday night, we’ll try another new recipe: Saveur’s Cilantro and Lime Chicken with Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad. The recipe calls for corn on the cob, so we bought a few ears as part of our weekly Fresh Direct grocery order. We’ll have to keep this recipe in mind for later in the summer, as our annual trip to Greenport usually results in us bringing home some fresh sweet corn from Long Island.

We realized that we hadn’t had eggs for dinner in a quite a while. They are simple to make and don’t require having the oven on for too long, so they’re a perfect summertime dish. We’ll make Food 52’s Frittata with Asparagus, Spring Greens and Fontina. Not only will this be tasty dinner, the leftovers will give us some options for breakfast and/or lunch later in he week.

Tony will have some leftover cilantro/lime chicken on Thursday night, while Kim is at a New York Junior League meeting. Friday night will be dinner at Yankee Stadium as we take in a game with our friends Lynee, Rich, Nancy, and Devante. This season, we’ve sampled food from newcomers Mighty Quinn’s and Bareburger and old favorite Lobel’s, so we’re not quite sure what we’ll try this time, but dinner at the ballpark (especially with a cold beer!) can never be a bad thing.

We’ll be back in the kitchen Saturday night, making something relatively simple but supremely comforting: Saveur’s Easy Chicken Parmigiana. The recipe calls for a quarter cup of Italian breadcrumbs, but rather than buy a whole container for just one recipe, we’ll use some panko breadcrumbs we have on hand and just add some spices and dried herbs to them. The recipe starts by making tomato sauce, so hopefully we’ll have some left over to use during the week. We might even feel compelled to call upon our pasta making skills, which we refined by taking a cooking class during our recent trip to Florence, to put the sauce to good use!

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Menu for the Week of June 4, 2017

This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of June 4, 2017

We’re back from a fantastic vacation in Florence. Inspired by all the great food we had to do some serious cooking this week! We will be trying five new recipes (four main courses and one side) and are going to try to invent something on our own as well. We’re excited to see how it all comes out.

We had lunch with Tony’s mom on Sunday afternoon. (The background for our weekly photo is made up of leaves from Tony’s dad’s grape vines, which he planted in the West Garden, which should not be confused with the East Garden, which is where Tony’s dad planted his peach trees.) We knew we would be having a small lunch, so we’ll be making The Kitchn’s One-Skillet Chicken with Garlicky Broccoli and Croutons, for dinner. It should make enough to leave leftovers for Tony for Thursday night, when Kim is at a New York Junior League meeting.

To have breakfast around during the week, Kim spent some time in the kitchen late Sunday afternoon to make two things: Skinnytaste’s Gluten-free, Dairy-free Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins and Fresh Direct’s Easy Baked Egg Cups, using tomato, spinach, and Parmesan cheese. These should get our days off to a great start.

Kim with also be at meetings Monday and Tuesday night, so Tony will be on his own. On Monday night, he’s going to make swordfish kabobs. We have a piece of swordfish in the freezer and kabob skewers in the cupboard. He will improvise the rest, but will probably keep things simple and marinate the fish in lemon juice and olive oil. Herbs de Provence might make an appearance, or perhaps garlic and fresh oregano. Kim was nice enough to offer to make rice pilaf before she leaves for her meeting, so dinner should come together very quickly. On Tuesday night, Tony will visit his mom for dinner and she will make one of his favorites: Roasted Sausage and Potatoes.

We’ll try another new recipe Wednesday night: Food & Wine’s Feta-Brined Chicken Sandwiches. This recipe will let us use up some chicken breasts we have in the freezer from when Kim made Lemony Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad. Plus, we’ve had great success in the past making sandwiches for dinner, and we don’t think this recipe will be an exception.

We’ll make another new recipe, this one featuring seafood, on Friday night: Skinnytaste’s Baked Shrimp Taquitos. Kim will be in charge of making this dish, along with guacamole and salsa verde to accompany the taquitos.

On Saturday night, we’ll have a simple dinner directly inspired by one we had in Florence: Porterhouse Steak. (We should point out that we’re using the linked recipe as a starting point for cooking directions, but won’t be following is exactly.) The typically preparation of “bistecca all Fiorentina” is very simple: the steak — in our case, a glorious, two-inch thick porterhouse — is seasoned with nothing more than olive oil, rosemary, and salt and then grilled to rare. (We saw more than one menu that made it clear that rare was the only temperature at which the steak would be served, which was fine by us!) What makes the recipe a little tricky is that, based on what we’ve seen, the rosemary flavor does not come from, as you might expect, chopped up rosemary sprinkled on the steak. So, we’ll probably get a little creative and make rosemary infused olive oil, or at least use a rosemary sprig to brush the steak with the oil. We’ll put our trusty cast iron skillet to use to sear the steak on the stove top and finish cooking it in the oven. We’ll make a fun side as well, The Kitchn’s Smoky Creamed Kale, and maybe some roasted potatoes if we’re in the mood. We’ll have to get the appropriate Tuscan red for dinner, so a trip to Columbus Wine & Spirits will be in order.

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Menu for the Week of May 14, 2017

This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of May 14, 2017

We have a very abbreviated menu this week, with only one dinner and no new recipes, but for a very good reason: we’re taking a trip to Florence! We’re really looking forward to some time away, to the sites of Italy, and of course to all the great food and wine we’ll enjoy while we are there.

We’re had lunch with Tony’s mom on Sunday and afterwards, and then headed to Yankee Stadium to catch a game — and the ceremony retiring Derek Jeter’s number. We had dinner at the Stadium. Since we hit Mighty Quinn’s barbecue — a new comer to Yankee Stadium this season — on both of our last two trips, we decided to try something different. We shared the Lobel’s steak and fries, which was plenty of food for two people. During our next visit to the Stadium, we’re going  to try another new comer: Bareburger.

On Monday night, we’ll have leftovers: The New York Times’ Tarragon Chicken. We were very pleased at how this dish turned out when we made it on Saturday. It was very easy to make and really tasty. We had originally planned to have the chicken with a  green salad, but forgot to actually buy salad mix. Kim improvised by using things we already had in the house — peas, pancetta, and shallots — and made Bobby Flay’s Peas with Pancetta and Shallots. It was a perfect side, as the sweetness of the peas and shallots complemented the tarragon every nicely, while the crunchy, salty pancetta paired up nicely with the crunchy, salty chicken skin.

On Tuesday night, Kim will make Epicurious’ Lemony Chicken Milanese with Arugula Salad. We made this once before and it was as simple to make as it was delicious. We’ll probably order in on Wednesday night, as we’ll have to focus on packing for our trip and wrapping up any last-minute details.

We leave for Florence Thursday afternoon and won’t be back until the Sunday after next. We’re excited for the sites, of course, but are really looking forward to the food: fresh pastas, thick steaks, real gelato, and espresso. We’re going to try to document our trip the blog, so check back for updates over the next couple of weeks.

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