Menu for the Week of February 15, 2015

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Menu for the Week: Two at the Table Menu Week of February 15 2015

We have two exciting things going on with the menu this week. The first, which we posted about Saturday, is the wine and food pairing we will be doing Sunday night with Eric and Michael from Wines by the Flask. The second is that this week (Ash Wednesday, to be precise) marks the start of Lent. We always try to give up something for lent (last year it was desserts), not so much for religious reasons, but as an exercise in discipline and self-control. This year, we will be giving up meat: beef, pork, chicken – everything except seafood. We didn’t think we could realistically go entirely vegetarian, because we really like to make seafood, so this seems like a good middle ground that takes things one step past the standard “Fish Fridays” that Tony grew up with. This will be a little challenging, as we eat chicken and pork pretty regularly, but we’re up for it. Despite our mixed feeling about leftovers, you’ll probably see us making whole recipes more than half recipes, because we’ll have to plan for meatless lunches too.

For dinner on Sunday, the guys at Wines by the Flask gave us some suggestions for what would go well with Sauvignon Blanc, but also let us know that it would be just as interesting if things didn’t pair up perfectly. Kim planned the menu for the evening and decided to make: Rachel Khoo’s Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta TapenadeIna Garten’s Spinach in Puff Pastry, and Food 52’s Cilantro Lime Salmon Cakes with Chipotle Mayo. (Please note that the first two links will take you to Rachel and Ina’s websites, while the third will take you to the recipe for the salmon cakes.) We’ve had all of these dishes before, and we think they will pair up well with the wine, though were very interested to see how the cilantro, lime, and chipotle work with the wines.

Since we’re giving up red meat for lent, we decided to splurge on Monday and make filet mignon. No blue cheese, no compound butter, just simple, good, red meat. We’ll pair, that up with Weight Watchers’ Kale and Escarole Caesar Salad, which will let us use up the kale and escarole we still have in the fridge from last week. We’ll have the steak and salad with a 2013 Southern Right Pinotage from South Africa that Wines by the Flask picked out for us.

We’ve had a tradition over the past few years of making shrimp and grits to celebrate Mardi Gras. We’re going to try a new recipe this year: Skinnytaste Shrimp and (Kiss My) Grits. We’ll pair this up with an Abita Amber beer, which is brewed 30 miles north of  New Orleans, for a fun dinner. We’ll have to find a fun dessert too, because as is his custom, we are also giving up junk food snacks, like potato chips, and dessert for Lent.

Wednesday night will be the first day of lent, so we’ll be ready to start our mostly meatless month (give or take) with Food & Wine’s King Oyster Mushroom “BLT” with Basil Mayonnaise. We’ll pair this up with a 2013 Gianfranco Alessandria Barbera d’Alba.

On Thursday night, we’re making a dish that we had planned to make last week: Rachel Khoo’s Puy Lentil Salad With Goats’ Cheese, Beetroot, and Dill Vinaigrette. We had this on last week’s menu for Thursday, but when we got home, we were not quite feeling the lentil love, so we ordered in. We still have all the ingredients, of course, and it’s a vegetarian dish, so we thought it would be a perfect fit for this week. We’ll have this with a 2013 Louis Metaireau Muscadet.

Last but not least is Friday, when we’ll be returning to a favorite Food & Wine’s Winter Vegetable Chili. We figured we should make this once more before winter is over and parsnips, one of the key ingredients, are harder to find. Chili calls for beer, so we’ll have this with a Stone IPA, which should be more than hoppy enough to stand up to the spices in the chili. This dish, align with the lentils above, will give us some fun options for lunch next week.

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