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.