February 9th, 2014 ~ Weekly Dinner Menu

Weekly DINNER Menu Sign


Pan~Roasted Chicken Thighs with Sherry & Mushrooms  *  |  Brown Rice  |  Garlicky Spinach


Chicken Salad with Arugula, Almonds & Orange  *


Pork with Garlic & Oyster Sauce  *  |  Brown Rice  |  Steamed Broccoli


Garlic Soup with Rosemary~Polenta Croutons  *


Pan~Fried Scallops  *  |  Cauliflower Purée  *  |  Lemon~Caper Gremolata  *


Roasted Italian Sausages, Tomatoes, Peppers & Onion  |  Polenta

{  *  denotes a new recipe  }

It is Sunday morning and it is still raining…in sheets.  It has not stopped a bit since Friday.  Unlike last Sunday’s all-too-brief rainfall, this weekend we hit the jackpot.  Up North the precipitation has fallen in the form of snow with Squaw Valley receiving over 38 inches of the white stuff over the past 24 hours.  After months of parched conditions here in California, it has been a wonderfully wet weekend.

On Friday, as the rain took hold outside, I settled in front of the fireplace with a cup of tea and a pile of books…not surprisingly, cookbooks.  I had this week’s menu to plan and the opportunity to catch up with some old favorites…Nigel Slater, Alice Waters, Canal House… was too tempting to resist.  I tend to start my journey with Nigel Slater since, in both of his books, The Kitchen Diaries and Notes From The Larder, he writes in a journal-like style that follows the calendar.  This past Friday was February 7th and, coincidentally, there was an entry in Notes From The Larder sharing this date.  Mr. Slater writes about a lunch he enjoyed on a cold February day in Oslo.  He vividly describes the gray day and his lunch…

“eaten within sight of seventy white masts in a harbor with water like a black mirror…The monotones through the window aren’t altered by my plate of scallops, two if we are being precise, panfried, with a julienne of apple on top.  Creamy, buttery cauliflower puree, black pepper, and tiny bits of fried cauliflower complete the dish.  It’s a study in cream and white on a white plate, eaten under a stainless sky.”  ~  Nigel Slater, Notes From The Larder

Sitting in my own living room, looking out at a deep gray sky and listening to the clanking masts of the sailboats just below our house, I could not help but be drawn to that white plate and its contents.  I knew pan~fried scallops with a cauliflower purée would make it onto our menu this week.

A few notes on this week’s menu…some business travel, football conditioning before school & baseball practice after school everyday for Max , horses and a horse show at the end of the week will all make for a busy week.  Planning accordingly, I have chosen meals that can be prepared in an hour or less.

SUNDAY:  Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer, the ladies behind Canal House {cookbooks & blog} are another one of my go~to favorites when I am looking for dinner inspiration.  Years ago, when Michael & I lived in Princeton we were just a short drive from where Canal House is located in Lambertville, New Jersey, and we were frequent guests at Ms. Hamilton’s restaurant:  Hamilton’s Grill Room.  Cooking from these books not only brings back fond memories but I find their cooking style to be very similar to that of Mr. Slater’s…unpretentious, seasonal, authentic…with recipes for real food, to be prepared in real kitchens, by real people…everyday.  Tonight’s dinner, a recipe from Canal House Cooking, Vol. 3:  Winter and Spring…chicken thighs with beautifully crisp, golden skin cooked in a cast~iron skillet with mushrooms and sherry with a finishing splash of cream…will be a wonderful dinner on this wet evening.

MONDAY:  this recipe, from Nigel Slater’s, The Kitchen Diaries, is an easy follow-up to Sunday’s dinner.  I will pan~fry extra chicken thighs on Sunday and remove the moist tender meat with pieces of crispy, golden skin from the bones and refrigerate until I am ready to put our dinner salad together Monday evening.  This salad will be ready in no time…a perfect way to begin the week.

TUESDAY:  This is Madison’s last evening home before departing for a horse show in Fresno, returning on Sunday.  Since horse show food will be in order for her for the rest of the week, I wanted this evening’s meal to be a hearty, satisfying one…protein + carb+green veggies.  This recipe, from Nigel Slater’s Notes From The Larder, features lean pork tenderloin, garlic & mushrooms in a light sauce and will be served with simple brown rice and a heaping pile of steamed broccoli.

WEDNESDAY:  Wednesday soup night continues with this easy vegetable soup {very similar to this one}.  The addition of polenta croutons makes this a simple meatless meal.

THURSDAY:  Here they are…those scallops I was talking about earlier.  Similar to Mr. Slater’s lunch in Oslo, I will pan~fry the scallops and then place them on a buttery, silky~smooth bed of puréed cauliflower but, despite his description of the beauty in monochrome, I can already feel my desire for a bit of color on our plates as I write this post 4 days in advance of this dinner.  I am thinking a light, lemony gremolata will do just the trick.

Gremolata Collage

FRIDAY:  These sausages were a hit on Super Bowl Sunday so they are making a reappearance to kick off our weekend.  Depending on our mood at the time, it will either be Roasted Italian Sausages with Tomatoes, Peppers & Onions served over polenta with a lovely glass of red wine or sausage sandwiches & a beer…we’ll see.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Intro Collage



Have a wonderful week everyone!

K Medium


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