Weekly Eats: May 16-22

I wouldn’t call Sunday night’s dinner a disaster, but it was a bit disappointing. It all started with buttermilk. Or I guess, to go back to the very beginning: it started with Helen’s broken ankle. How bad do we feel for Helen? BAD. Some people have the misfortune to break their ankle once. Some very sad people break their ankle a second time. Alas, Helen has gone for broke, and broken hers a THIRD time. Clearly she needed some cake.

So on Saturday, the kids and I (poor Melisa in bed with the stomach flu) baked a cake for her. It was another Smitten Kitchen everyday cake. And it called for buttermilk. Who has that on hand? No one, and though the recipe did offer a way you could create it at home with milk and vinegar, the comments posted seemed to indicate it wouldn’t be quite the same. I went to the store and picked it up….

The cake was good: lemony, filled with blueberries (no raspberries at the store) with a sugar crust on the top. It’s another one-layer cake, so it IS actually perfect for everyday (breakfast lunch and dinner is my vote). There’s some dissent on whether or not it was better than the cake I made a few weeks ago. Helen and her gang ate it all so I guess it passed muster.

Long story a little bit longer: we had extra buttermilk, of course. So I was VERY EXCITED when I got the idea of buttermilk marinated chicken from the June Martha Stewart Living. I marinated breasts on the bone all day in a mix of buttermilk, rosemary, thyme and garlic. And, well, they were OKAY. Fine, really. But for an all-day marinade I guess I want more of a punch when I take that first bite. I’m going to stick to lemon marinades.

The other thing we made last night was that Spring Vegetable Quinoa I had on the menu for last week (but didn’t get to make). Quinoa will be an interesting sub for rice pilaf as a side. The texture is fun, a little lighter than couscous and not as flaky. I would not make this on a weekday night; it’s simply too much prep. And the taste, while great, I think was largely owed to cooking the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water. Here’s the verdict: I’ll try quinoa again, but probably a simpler variation on this recipe (and btw, don’t buy red beets for it, it will turn your quinoa pink).

On to the weekly menu:

Sunday night: Buttermilk Marinated Chicken on the Grill with Grilled Asparagus and Spring Vegetable Quinoa

Monday night: Guess who found pea tendrils at the farmer’s market this weekend (guess who got to go at all? Me me me!)?  Never had them before, but the Bon Appétit May cover has been calling. So tonight, it’s Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas & Pea tendrils. Doesn’t it look good?

Bon Appetit: Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze & Pea Tendrils

Photo: Craig Cutler

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Olives, How simple is that?

Wednesday: Chicken Stir-Fry with Red Pepper, Basil, Cilantro, Scallions over Rice. Inspired by my forays over to The Pioneer Woman and particularly, her Monday Night Stir Fry.

Thursday: Wasting away again in burritoville

Friday: Marinated Flank Steak, Grilled Zucchini & Toasted Baguette

Saturday: Pizza night! And this time I mean to have the asparagus and pancetta flatbread pizza I mentioned last week.

Whew! And I didn’t even get to the part about the kids sleeping until 8:15 yesterday morning. Found time to go through my recipe binder! Some new things to try next week…

Happy eating, and with any luck, I might get to one of those brown butter recipes I’m still obsessing over.

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