Menu for the Week of May 7, 2017

This Week’s Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of May 7, 2017

It’s a bit of an abbreviated menu for Two at the Table this week, as Tony will be away at a conference Tuesday through Thursday nights and we have a New York Junior League event on Friday night. Plus, we have some great leftovers from last week. Nevertheless, we are trying a new recipe on Saturday.

We’ll have leftovers on both Sunday and Monday nights. On Sunday, we’ll have The Kitchn’s Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas. We made these last week on Thursday, May 4th (no, not Cinco de Mayo; we had other plans for that night!) and they turned out great. It’s a very simple recipe made all the easier by the fact that everything is cooked in the oven. On Monday, we’ll have Saveur’s Honey-Glazed Roast Pork with Apples. This was our Cinco de Mayo dinner. It takes quite a while to make, so it wasn’t ideal for a weeknight, which is why we had fajitas on the “wrong” day — if there can ever be a wrong day to have fajitas! This dish also turned out really well: the pork was flavorful and juicy; the apples and onions were soft but not mushy; and the Big Ol’ Apple Wheat Ale from Coney Island Brewery was a perfect substitute for the cider called for in the recipe. (As a side note, we loved the Apple Wheat Ale — the apple flavor is very subtle and the ale, unlike other apples ales we’ve tried, is not sweet at all — and would suggest it in place of cider just about every time.) Since the oven was on anyway, we paired it with some roasted fingerling potatoes tossed in olive oil, thyme, and salt and pepper. While a dish like this might be better suited for a cold fall night, we caught a break because it was chilly and rainy in New York Friday night. Tony is also trying to figure out a way to turn the left over pork, onions, and apples, into a sandwich. Stay tuned…

Kim will be left to her own devices for a few night, but we’ll attend the kick off party for the New York Junior League House Tour when Tony gets back to New York City. The event will be held at the Brooks Brothers flagship store at 346 Madison Avenue. Tony is a big fan of the Brooks Brothers’ non-iron shirts and is looking forward to replacing a few of his favorites — at a 15% discount too!

We’ll make one new recipe this week on Saturday night, namely The New York Times’ Tarragon Chicken. Tony is a big fan of tarragon, a slightly sweet, very licorice-y herb very popular in French cooking. He grew up eating fennel from time to time, and drinking things like anisette and sambuca, and hoarding all the black jelly beans come Easter, so it’s safe to say he likes licorice. The chicken is very easy: it’s marinated in olive oil mixed with tarragon (of course) and lemon zest and then roasted for about an hour. We thought about having a fennel salad with dinner, but it seemed like licorice overkill, so we’ll just have a simple green salad instead.

We will have a licorice-flavored aperitif though, one that we enjoy and that holds a special place in our hearts: Ricard. We had never heard of it before we took a trip to Paris in 2012 and even then, we discovered it almost by accident. After braving — and barely surviving –the crowds at the Musée d’Orsay, we decided to skip the Louvre and instead went to the adjacent Musée Des Arts Décoratifs. There, we saw a fun exhibit on the history of Babar, the world-famous elephant in the green suit, and a truly fantastic exhibit on the marketing history of Ricard. We saw posters and print ads; glasses and serving trays; pitchers and carafes (Ricard is served diluted with ice water, so these items were a big part of the marketing effort); and television commercials from around the world. We were also introduced to the classic tagline: “A Ricard, or nothing!” After a few glasses of Ricard over the rest of our trip, we kind of forgot about it until Kim found a Ricard pitcher in a random antique shop in Hudson, New York. Thus was born our Ricard collection, made up of pitchers and carafes we’ve picked up in our travels. We brought back a bottle of Ricard from a trip to Nice, France, where Tony (slightly) impressed the owner of Le Marlin by ordering a glass before dinner, and remain on the lookout for additions to our growing collection.

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Menu for the week of April 30, 2017

This week we have a nice variety of dinners planned for Two at the Table. We started the week off somewhat on the lighter side in terms of cooking. On Sunday, we went to a Yankee game with our good friends Tom and Sharon during the day. We didn’t want much for dinner (as is typical after a Yankee game for us) so Kim decided to make Ina Garten’s Hummus and some crudité as a snack for us. It is also making for some nice snacks for Tony to take to work.

On Monday night, Kim had plans with her friend Alex to go to a lecture at New York City Ballet as part of the Here/Now Festival and then afterwards, Alex invited Kim to her home for dinner so Tony decided to go visit his mom.

Tuesday night features a recipe from kitchn: Sheet Pan Mustard Maple Salmon with Potatoes and Asparagus. We are excited to have another tasty salmon recipe for an easy weeknight meal! We plan to cut this recipe in half so that we have a chance to make a few other things later in the week.

Wednesday night we turn to Real Simple for some recipe help in the form of Bucatini with Kale and Ricotta. We think the combination of the hearty kale, crunchy pine nuts and creamy ricotta with the bright pop of lemon zest will be very tasty and will definitely make us wish our trip to Florence this May was even sooner! We’ll make the full amount of this recipe so that we have a few leftovers around for lunch later in the week.

Thursday night, Kim will pop by a Cinco de Mayo event at the New York Junior League and this theme inspired her to continue to the celebration with another recipe from kitchn: Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas. This recipe serves 8 to 10 people so we are definitely cutting it in half! Kim grew up in Texas and eating lots of fajitas so hopefully this will live up to her high standards.

Friday night when we have a little more time, we’ll try a new recipe from Saveur: Honey-Glazed Roast Pork with Apples. Instead of dry apple cider, we’ll use Big Ol’ Apple Wheat from Coney Island Brewery that was part of a case of beer we were lucky enough to win at silent auction at the New York Junior League’s recent Savor the Spring event, where we had a great time tasting many great delectable bites from around the city.

Saturday night we think we will take a break from cooking and visit our favorite local Italian restaurant, Gennaro.

Check back next week for another week of dinner ideas from Two at the Table.

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Menu for the Week of April 26, 2017

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

We had a fantastic day trip to Boston this past Saturday, with lunch at Saltie Girl in Back Bay followed by a nice, long visit to the Museum and Fine Arts to see exhibits of works by artists Matisse and Botticelli; author and illustrator Robert McCloskey; and photographers Imogen Cunningham and Henryk Ross, the last a truly moving series of photos taken by Ross in the Lodz (Poland) Ghetto during World War II. We ended the day with a leisurely stroll down Newbury Street, a visit to the Dirty Water Dough Company for sandwiches to eat on the train, and a mad dash to the train station when we realized just how leisurely our stroll had been…

Before putting together our menu this week, we took a look through the fridge and freezer to take stock of leftover dinners from last week and ingredients we had around. As a result, we’ll have leftovers twice this week, but will also try several new recipes.

Sunday night will be the first night for leftovers, when we once again enjoy Food & Wine’s Baltimore Style Crab Cakes and Warm Potato Salad with Arugula. The crab cakes were truly spectacular, probably the best we’ve ever had, and there really isn’t much in them besides a lot of crab meat and a few crumbled saltines (plus mayo, mustard, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce). The potato salad was the perfect side: relatively light, as it has no mayo in it, with just enough vinegar to be a nice counterpoint to the natural sweetness of the crab meat. The dish was easy to make, so the only challenge we’ll have tonight is how to re-heat everything without drying anything out.

Tony will be on his own Monday night, as Kim will be at a meeting for the New York Junior League, but we’ll make a new dish on Tuesday, one inspired be food we had at Saltie Girl: Food & Wine’s Tuna Ceviche with Avocado and Cilantro. Kim had a fantastic halibut ceviche for lunch and it put us in the mood to make it ourselves. The general  recipe for ceviche is very simple — mix fresh seafood with an acid (like lime juice) and some veggies (usually including onion) and let it marinate for a longish while — and this recipe just adds some avocado and cilantro to make things more interesting. Ceviche is also a perfect summertime dish, as there is no need to turn on the oven, so it is one we will probably come back to a few more times when the weather heats up.

Our cats George and Henry have their annual check up at the vet on Wednesday night, so we won’t have much time to make dinner. Wednesday will therefore be our second night for leftovers and we’ll have Real Simple’s Chicken Thighs with Barley and Peas.

We had some ground beef in the freezer; two brioche rolls and plenty of goat cheese in the fridge; and a jar of beer bacon jam in the pantry, so we thought Thursday night would be a perfect night to make burgers. If Tony can find time to make them today (and past experience says he will), we’ll top the burgers not with just goat cheese and bacon jam, but also Food & Wine’s Pickled Shallots.

We’ll be having dinner out with friends on Saturday night, but Friday night will be pizza night, partly so we can use up some more things from the fridge, like yet more goat cheese, plus olives and anchovies. We’ll top the first pizza with caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies and the second “dessert” pizza with goat cheese with figs mixed in and arugula. Our real motivation, however, is less about keeping a clean fridge and more about trying a new recipe: Food 52’s No Knead Pizza Dough. Typically, when we make pizza, we use pre-made dough, simply in the interest of time. (Pizza dough isn’t hard to make, but it does take a little while, so it’s not the best things to tackle at the end of long day at work.) We thought it would be fun to make the dough from scratch and are excited to try a new recipe that promises to make that process as simple as possible. Speaking of simplification, we’re also turning to Food 52 for the real scoop on caramelizing onions. How long should it really take? Read the article and find out…

 

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Menu for the Week of April 19, 2017

This Weeks’ Menu: Two at the Table Menu Week of April 16, 2017

We have a busy few days ahead, with only three dinners planned, but we’re using three (technically four) new recipes, so it should be a fun week of cooking nonetheless.

Sunday is Easter and we will be having lunch with Tony’s family. It will be simple but tasty: sandwiches made with salumi from the local Italian deli. We’ll head home after lunch and gear up for our first Yankee game of the season, against the Cardinals. (Tony has always had an odd fondness for the St. Louis Cardinals, as it is the only non-New York franchise his dad was familiar with, even if dad did call them “Santo Luigi”!) We haven’t decided what sort of snacks well have at the ballgame, but as Tony discovered the Blue Point beer stand on opening day, and since it is right next to the Parm stand, we might have dinner already picked out for us. Tough call though, as the revamped Yankee Stadium menu now features Mightly Quinn’s Barbecue and Bareburger.

Tony will have drinks with his buddies Monday night, but will be home in time for dinner, so Kim will make The Kitchn’s Baked Risotto with Peas, Asparagus, and Pancetta. Kim has made some great risotto over the years, but this new recipes sounds perfect for spring. (Italian food segue: we went to Gennaro’s on Amsterdam Avenue Saturday night. Her quest to find the Upper West Side’s best Linguine and Clams was derailed by Gennaro’s always amazing specials menu, from which she ordered a spectacular seafood risotto, preceded by a fava bean and arugula salad. Tony had cuttlefish and ratatouille over polenta to start, followed by sausages with broccoli rabe.) 

Kim will be out with friends on Tuesday night so Tony will be on his own. He will probably have leftovers from our Saturday lunch, which was originally supposed to be our Friday dinner:  Food 52’s Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk. We have plenty of IPAs in the fridge, which will be a perfect pairing for this dish.

On Wednesday night, we plan to make Real Simple’s Chicken Thighs with Barley and Peas. This might be our first time making anything with barley and as luck would have it, it’s not stocked by Fresh Direct. A quick trip to Whole Foods (or more likely our local bodega, which as any good bodega does, seems to stock everything imaginable in a very small space) to get that key ingredient.

Thursday night will find us at the New York Junior League’s second annual Savor the Spring, a fundraiser featuring food and drinks from around New York City. We went last year, when we had things like chipotle pulled pork tacos and Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA. We’re super excited to attend this year and looking froward to new tastes, especially Cool Haus Ice Cream.

We’ll go a little more summery on Friday night when we make Food & Wine’s Baltimore Style Crab Cakes, which well serve with Food & Wine’s Warm Potato Salad with Arugula. The crab cake recipe is a very simple one: lots of jumbo lump crab meat; saltines and mayo to hold everything together; and some Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce to liven things up.

Dinner on Saturday will probably be very simple–possibly store-bought sandwiches–but eaten in a slightly unusual setting: an Amtrak train. We are planning a day trip to Boston to see a Matisse exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, so while we’ll probably have a fancy lunch, the train schedule means we will probably have to have a plain dinner. Well worth it, as we know from past experience, when we took a similar day trip to Boston see a fantastic Goya exhibit at the same museum. It will be a long day, to be sure, but very fun.

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Menu for the Week of April 9, 2017

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

Last week was our super-fun trip to the Catapano Dairy Farm. This week, on Sunday specifically, we’ll be enjoying some of the goat cheese we purchased during our visit. To start, we’ll have Goat Cheese Crostini topped with My Recipe’s Mixed Olive Tapenade. As our main course, we’ll have an old favorite: Ina Garten’s Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato. For dessert, we’ll make a cheese, fruit, and nut board featuring Catapano’s Peconic Bel, a semi-firm sheep milk cheese.

We’ll both have nights when we’re on our own this week. Kim will be on her own on Monday, when Tony goes to the Yankees’ home opener with friends he made during a past life as a health care consultant. While Tony will be home in time for dinner, he won’t be hungry after an afternoon’s worth of eating and drinking. Kim will be at a meeting of the New York Junior League on Wednesday, so Tony will visit his mom for dinner.

In between our two nights on our own, we’ll make a dish we enjoyed once before: A Spicy Perspective’s Garlic Lime Oven Baked Salmon. We’ll make a side salad of our own devising of avocado, red grapefruit, and red onion, with a dressing made from special red wine vinegar. What makes it special is that it was made (albeit unintentionally) from a batch of Tony’s dad’s homemade wine. We’re very anxious to try the vinegar, because if it’s good, there are about 4 more gallons of it!

We’ll try a new recipe on Thursday in the form of Food & Wine’s Red Wine BBQ Chicken. We were very confused by one of the ingredients, as we have no idea what “left over” red wine is, but we’ll figure it out. This dish was originally penciled in for Tuesday, but when we decided to make the salmon, it made more sense to have the salmon earlier in the week.

Tony had originally written in another recipe for Friday – Stovetop Chicken and Dumplings – but when Kim pointed out that would mean having chicken three nights in six days, we replaced that recipe with one that Kim found: Food 52’s Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk. We’ve had some good success with Indian-inspired food (like The Kitchn’s 30-Minute Green Curry Braised Salmon) as well as lentils (like Ina Garten’s Salmon with Lentils), so we thought it would be fun to combine the two.

We’ll have dinner out on Saturday night, probably Italian. One of our favorites Italian places on the Upper West Side – Pesce Pasta – closed recently and will reopen as a new restaurant – Il Gusto – sometime soon. In the meantime, Kim is on a quest to find another local place that makes Linguini and Clams that are as good as Pesce Pasta’s were. We’ll let you know what we find!

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Menu for the Week of April 2, 2017

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

We’re back! We’ve had a very busy start to the year and while we’ve been planning our weekly menus and cooking a lot of fun dishes (like Food & Wine’s Piri Piri Chicken with Crispy Potatoes and Southern Living’s Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya), we have not had time to post our menus. Now that spring is upon us and summer is not too far away, we’re going to get back to posting as regularly as we can.

This Saturday, we took our annual early spring trip to the North Fork of Long Island. The farmstands were still closed for the offseason, so we weren’t able to buy the beautiful heirloom tomatoes and fresh sweet corn that we look forward to so much. We were, however, able to visit the Southold Fish Market and buy the super-fresh seafood that we already enjoyed last night and will enjoy tonight and tomorrow night as well. We should also mention that we visited the Catapano Dairy Farm, where we not only purchased a lot of goat cheese but also got to play with a two-week old baby goat.

Dinner Saturday night — Beer Steamed Mussels and Clams — featured, as one would expect, lots of fresh mussels and clams. We started with some smoked bluefish pate (also from the Southold Fish Market), which we ate on slices of French baguette from The Blue Duck Bakery Cafe in Greenport. We paired the pate with a beer from the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company: their hoppy Otherside IPA. We managed to save one cup of beer to cook with and used it to steam the mussels and clams, which we enjoyed with the rest of the bread and more beer.

The Southhold Fish Market was featuring Peconic Bay scallops, so we decided we needed to make Ina Garten’s Coquilles St. Jacques, which we have enjoyed a few times before. The recipe comes from Ina’s Make It Ahead cookbook. While we typically don’t make things ahead, the amount of scallops we bought is more than we can eat in one sitting, so we’ll prep three servings of this dish, but only cook two tonight. Tony will have the third serving tomorrow, while Kim is at a meeting of the New York Junior League.

For his birthday, Tony asked for and received a sausage making class at White Gold Butchers. He thoroughly enjoyed the class and came home with about two pounds of fresh Italian sausage. We used half of it to make sausage and polenta and will pull the remainder out of the freezer and use it on Tuesday to make One-Pot Sausage and Peppers Pasta

Kim has another Junior League meeting on Wednesday, so Tony will head to Astoria to have dinner with his mom.

We’ve been making more Asian influenced dishes recently, and will make another on Thursday: Food and Wine’s Lemongrass-Scented Chicken with Honey Dipping Sauce. The chicken needs to marinate overnight, but that will be the easy part. Since we weren’t able to get the main ingredient — boneless, skin-on chicken breasts — Kim is going to try her hand at butchering a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast. 

We have plans to see a concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Saturday night, so we’ll probably have dinner somewhere near Columbus Circle, but Kim picked out a great recipe for Friday night: The Kitchn’s Baked Croque Monsieur Casserole. This recipe takes the traditional croque monsieur sandwich and casserole-ifies it. It should make for a very fun dinner and at least one or two brunches over the weekend.

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Menu for the Week of January 1, 2017

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This Week’s Menu: Two-at-the-Table-Menu-Week-of-January-1,-2017

Happy 2017!  A new year begins another week’s menu with lots of new recipes, plus our annual New Year’s celebration.

Our plan for Sunday night was to make Saveur’s Hunter’s Wife Chicken (Pollo alla Cacciatora). We decided, however, that with all the prep work we wanted to do for our 5th Annual New Year’s Indoor Barbecue, we were better off ordering in. This gave us time to make two cheese balls (a classic Southern appetizer that recently got a shout out–a two page article actually–in the Food section of the New York Times: “Peer Into the Cheese Ball“), one with nuts and one without; make a dry rub and apply it to a whole mess of pork ribs (a mess of ribs = 1 rack; a whole mess of ribs = 3 racks); and bake a Texas sheet cake for dessert. Check the blog later this week for the full menu from our Indoor Barbecue.

Tony will be off from work on Tuesday, so he’ll plan to make the chicken cacciatore then, so that we can have it for leftovers during the week. The recipe calls for 2/3 of a cup of white wine, so we’ll open a bottle of 2015 Chateau Laulerie suggested by our friend Michael at Columbus Wine and Spirits. When it comes time to have the chicken, we’ll open another bottle, a red, specifically a Henry Fessy Julienas 2013 Beujolais.

Dinner Tuesday night will be seared tuna with mole sauce. We’ll be using the Xilli mole poblano sauce that we purchased at the Start Small, Think Big Second charity event that we attended in the fall. We’ll have the tuna with a side of Food 52’s Roasted Corn with Lime, Parmesan and Chili. We’ll probably have an IPA with the tuna, to help offset the spiciness of the mole and corn.

One of our blog-related resolutions was to make more dishes from our ever-expanding collection of cookbooks. With that in mind, we decided to make Skinny Taste’s So Addicted Chicken Enchiladas on Wednesday night. Per the recipe’s instructions, we bought some pre-cooked chicken breasts to use as filling for the enchiladas. In order to save some time Wednesday night Tony will make the enchilada sauce on Tuesday. Just like with the tuna, we’ll have an IPA with this spicier dinner.

We’ll be making another dish from one of our cookbooks on Friday night: Lentil and Butternut Lettuce Cups from The Forest Feast. If you haven’t seen this cookbook, you owe it to yourself to flip through it, if not buy it, at your local bookstore. It features tons of photos, not just of the finished dishes, but of the ingredients that go into those dishes, and provides some very helpful tips on how exactly to prepare the ingredients. We thought we would be able to stump Michael with this dish, but he found a pairing very quickly in a Sevre et Maine Muscadet.

We’ll go in a very different direction Saturday night, when we make Rachel Khoo’s Boeuf Bourguignon with Baguette Dumplings. We’ve made this dish once or twice before, but have always left out the dumpling step, Making dumplings seemed like quite a bit of work and likely to go sideways, but we’re going to give them a try this week. A dish like this needs a great, big, French red, both for cooking and eating, so well open a couple of bottles of 2013 Chateau Haut Selve. And that will wrap up our first menu of 2017!

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