Motivation: We're all stuck indoors these days. For us, this means a chance to be more ambitious about what we eat which, in turn, means getting to cook out of those cookbooks which have been too-long ignored. We're particularly anxious to explore James Peterson's Glorious French Food, Joanne Chang's Meyers & Chang At Home, and Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. We're also rooting through old standbys like David Rosengarden's It's All American Food and Jean-George's The Asian Flavors of Jean-George.
Friday, May 1
Lunch: Sadly, this is the end of our recent batch of corned beef hash. Happily, there was more left than I remembered.
Special: At mid-afternoon, Deb decided that she should make a clafouti for the first time as she had some fresh blackberries on hand. She wasn't happy with it but I thought it tasted fine.
Dinner: I've decided that my all-time favorite meal is magret with fruit and salad. Since we had one more magret from the recent duck, that was a simple way to please.
Saturday, May 2
Breakfast: We usually have what my mother called a German Pancake for breakfast on Saturdays. I've been having a heck of a time getting it to spread out in the pan while cooking (this after 35 years times 52). This time I tried starting with a cold pan but forgot therefore to use any butter. The pancake was solidly stuck to the bottom! Happily, there were some raspberries to cheer things up.
Lunch: Time to clear away the left-overs! We had a little of the rack of lamb from Thursday and the belly portion of the salmon which we poached and had with Deb's signature tzatziki. And some more terrific Boston lettuce with Peter McCarthy's great buttermilk dressing.
Special: I've become enamored of fried shallots, a staple in any Vietnamese pantry and a great substitute for my favorite fried onion rings. It takes only a few minutes to get out the mandoline and slice them (much longer to peel them!) I still need to learn to take them out long before they look ready!
Dinner: We decided in view of our large lunch to simplify dinner to fettucine alfredo with my signature sesame seeds. It was much too dry: turns out Deb forgot the butter!
Sunday, May 3
Lunch: We didn't need much with Tomasz coming in a few hours so we tried out the egg salad recipe you may have seen in the Times (p3) a few days ago. It's Eli Zabar's attempt to come up with the Platonic ideal of egg salad and he succeeded: discard half of the egg whites and add mayo, salt and pepper (period!).
Dinner: We had extensive plans for Tomasz as usual and, as usual, only accomplished a few. He made mushroom soup accoring to Julia and he made the flatbread for the first time. The simple part was the kielbasa and sauerkraut.
Monday, May 4
Lunch: When Deb was sent to buy pastrami for the Reubens, she decided on some A/B testing. We had the pastrami from the Star today and it was very superior to that from Whole Foods which we had last time.
Dinner: Having eaten all the protein in the refrigerator, we reached back into the freezer for the final servings of Dayboat scallops from Maine. The Pernod-based pan sauce they send along a recipe for was so awful we didn't even serve it.
Happily, the terrific Boston lettuce Deb found at Russo's still had one round to go. The buttermilk dressing with champaign vinegar is still from Peter McCarthy.
Tuesday, May 5
Aside: About 1am this morning I woke up with a terrific pain in my left foot, constant and severe. This afternoon, the doctor told me that I'd suffered my first attack of gout! I can't imagine how people managed in the days before an effective treatment.
Lunch: Since I was effectively disabled, we didn't think too hard about lunch. At my suggestion Deb had bought some smoked turkey and so made sandwiches.
Dinner: Although I was feeling somewhat better, Deb jumped at the chance to try a macaroni and cheese recipe from her sister. It came originally from the Food Network and featured a loose creamy sauce and a crisp top. A fine version! Of course, few fried shallots would be a suitable garnish.
Wednesday, May 6
Lunch: Time for another portion of mushroom soup with crème fraîche and chives.
Dinner: And back around to that terrific romaine for more Caesar salad.
Thursday, May 7
Lunch: Just a simple mortadellal sandwich on Deb's focaccia.
Dinner: We were ready for some comfort food we'd not had for a while: spaghetti carbonara, the famous Roman dish which we prepare in the Florentine fashion (a la Bugialli), which means that there's some heat in there!