This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of Sep 10 2017
We took a little bit of a hiatus from blogging during August, but actually did quite a bit of cooking, making great recipes like the following:
The New York Times’ Skirt Steak with Shallot Thyme Butter: This was a very quick, very simple recipe. It only takes about 10 minutes to make the thyme/chive/shallot butter and, if you like your steak very rare like we do, just a few minutes more to cook the skirt steak.
The New York Times’ Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Cucumbers: We found this recipe in an article in The New York Times titled “A Quick, Satisfying Fix for Weeknight Chicken”. As a rule, we never make boneless, skinless chicken breasts, because cooking them to the right temperature often means overcooking them in general. We also almost never cook chicken of any kind on our grill pan, because it takes a long time and tends to make the apartment a little smoky. This recipe solves both problems by directing you to pound the chicken breasts flat to speed up cooking (we pounded them down to about a quarter of an inch thick, so they only took about 2 or 3 minutes per side to cook) and to marinate them to make sure they don’t dry out. It’s the kind of simple cooking trick that we should have been able to figure out on our own, but articles like this are part of any we love the Times’ Food section so much. We should add that the sauce for the cucumbers was delicious — and pretty spicy!
Food & Wine’s Charred Vegetable Salad with Halloumi: This recipe caught our eye not so much because it featured charred vegetables or even halloumi (though this ingredient, a semi-firm Greek cheese a little like mozzarella, was pretty intriguing), but because it includes fresh figs. It made for a nice, relatively light dinner.
Food Network’s Lemon-Thyme Chicken with Heirloom Tomato Salad: We made this recipe both because it features heirloom tomatoes, which are at their peak at this time of year, and to test the “pound and brine” method mentioned above. The method, not surprisingly, worked well with this recipe too and has become our go to approach for making chicken this summer.
The Homesick Texan’s Nachos and Ina Garten’s Gazpacho with Grilled Shrimp: This was a dinner we threw together on our own. We found ourselves with a lot of jalapeños when we over ordered for the spicy cucumber recipe, but fortunately, Tony found a recipe that solved the problem: Gimme Delicious Food’s Quick 10 Minute Pickled Jalapeños. After only a few minutes of work, we had a jar of delicious picked jalapeños. (Tony was on a pickling kick that day and also made a batch of dill pickle spears as well as Tasting Table’s Pickled Asparagus, which may very well be the most delicious pickled thing Tony has ever made.) The pickled jalapeños made Kim think of the Homesick Texan’s nachos, which, in true Texas fashion, consist of one tortilla chip, with a square of melted cheddar, and a pickled jalapeño on top. Kim also made a big batch of gazpacho, which is perfect for summer, and some simple grilled shrimp to round out a fun, tasty dinner.
Real Simple’s Spicy Steamed Mussels: Kim is obsessed with mussels and Tony is obsessed with finding new recipes so he can make mussels for her; these two obsessions came together quite nicely last Saturday night. This very simple dish, which we ate with toasted bread, was a perfect summer dinner that took very little time to make.
We have a somewhat busy week this week, so we’re only making four dinners. The theme for the week is experimentation, both in terms of the recipes we picked (all four are new for us and all sound delicious) and for at least two of them, how we will make them.
We’ll kick off the week on Sunday with Real Simple’s Tomato Tart with Mustard Crème Fraiche. This dish uses pre-made puff pastry, so it comes together quickly. It’s a lighter dinner, which is perfect as Tony has a Sunday afternoon of football, beer, and bar snacks ahead of him, and should make enough for leftovers on Tuesday.
On Monday night, we’ll make Jamie Oliver’s Tender & Crisp Chicken Legs with Sweet Tomatoes & Basil. With the weather starting to get chilly in New York City (we had more days below 80 degrees than above 90 degrees this past August, which is very unusual) and predicted lows below 70 degrees every day this week, this sounded like the perfect comfort food. We’ll have the chicken again on Wednesday.
Tony will be on his own on Thursday and decided to make pasta, specifically, Serious Eats’ Crispy Baked Pasta With Mushrooms, Sausage, and Parmesan Cream Sauce. He wants to try the recipe to see how it tastes, but is mostly making it so he can use our cast iron skillet and test Serious Eats’ technique of cooking pasta in a minimal amount of water. One of the main reasons we don’t make much pasta is because it can get a little messy; we’re hoping this technique works well enough to become our go to approach.
We’ll have dinner with Tony’s mom on Saturday night, but we’ll make mussels again on Friday night. (After all, we haven’t had them in almost two weeks!) This time, we’ll try Delish’s Mussels with Tomatoes and Garlic. This dish will also be an experiment, not only because we’ve never tried this recipe before, but also because we’re going to buy our mussels at a local fish market instead of going to our nearby Whole Foods or ordering from Fresh Direct. We figured with the amount of seafood we make, it made sense to find one more option for buying it.