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 22
Lunch: We've been trying to get some fresh Chinese noodles in the house for awhile. H-Mart (says Deb) doesn't carry any small Singapore-style fresh noodles so she got these fat ones. They were just fine for a simple pork stir-fry from Henry Chung's Hunan Style Chinese Cookbook (from a San Francisco restaurant).
Dinner: Deb wasn't feeling well and declined to have any dinner. I made do with some more Polish pickled herring and flatbread.
Saturday, May 23
Lunch: After splitting an everything bagel with cream cheese and chives, we needed only this burrata to be satisfied; the first of the season!
Dinner: Again, we'd put off making Ma Po Tofu for several days but it seemed just right for Saturday night. In fact, it was the best I've ever had including those in Changdu! Hope I can repeat it forever!
Sunday, May 24
Breakfast: We thought we'd be really fancy and have omelettes stuffed with both smoked salmon and (homemade) boursin but it was a bust: the salmon ruined it! Next time, just boursin.
Lunch: We reverted to that simple classic, Caesar Salad, with lots of anchovies on the side.
Dinner: Surprisingly, Tomasz has not had any experience in the US with American hamburgers. Since he's now cooking for himself, we thought we should give him a proper introduction which included grinding chuck roast into hamburger, cheddar cheese, raw sweet onion, lettuce and tomato.
And fries, of course! (But Tomasz said that fries were not known in Poland outside of foreign fast food outlets and that he'd rather eat roasted potatoes.)
We also thought he'd enjoy learning about iceberg lettuce which was for so many years synonimous with lettuce for Americans (as it was the first California vegetable to be successfully transported by refrigerated boxcar and the only lettuce available for much of the year). We put him to work to fashion the 1000 Island Dressing.
Monday, May 25
Lunch: To clear out the last of the homemade dumplings from the freezer: Mama Chang's and Duck, both from M&C at Home.
Tuesday, May 26
All "surf" and no "turf" today!
Lunch: We bought a small piece of salmon at Broadway to make gravlax (rather than the much larger piece we usually get at New Deal). It turned out to be just right for two lunch portions but the salmon was unfortunately inferior.
Dinner: Deb is always game for lobster rolls (after the Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village) and I put up no resistance. The only issue we have is with the small size of the commercial top-cut hot dog rolls; it means we have to make three rolls and split the third. Maybe sometime soon we'll get ambitious and make our own super-sized ones!
Wednesday, May 27
Lunch: We had a large quantity of homemade chicken stock in the freezer so when I saw these beautiful tiny cheese and mushroom tortellini at Cardullo's it was a no-brainer. They were terrific! We haven't had such good tortellini in brodo since Ristorante Cecco in Pescia shut down two years ago.
Dinner: Sticking with the Italian theme, we made a recipe from today's Times: homemade pappardelli with prosciutto and peas. Nothing wrong with it but not a winner.
Thursday, May 28
Lunch: The Baking Steel website has been featuring making pita bread, something I haven't tried in years. The surprise was that just out of the oven the bread has a hard crust, not the soft one found in commercial pita. I concluded that the difference is that the commericial product has been in a plastic bag which has distributed the moisture evenly throughout.
At my behest, Deb made some hummus for the pita bread to go along with the feta-pepper spread from Savan.
We recently got some exceptional California tomatoes from Amazon and Deb was motivated to make her wonderful tomato soup yet again. No complaints from me!
For dessert, I could fall back on Sevan's glorious tubular baklava. I won't have to make some more of my own until tomorrow!
Dinner: We've been feeling trapped by the very large quantity of top round roast in the freezer, so we went with an old favorite from Irene Kuo, Stir-fried Beef with Black Beans (and red peppers, onion, and straw mushrooms, which we'll cut in half next time).