Weekly Menu — 2/23/2013

Week of February 23rd

Saturday:
  • We are headed to a new local restaurant tonight with friends. I have been looking forward to testing out Fleet Street Kitchen for weeks now, so expect a review to follow shortly. 

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Sunday:

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Monday:

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Tuesday:
  • Leftover Burmese food

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Wednesday:

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Thursday:
  • Leftover Burmese food (if there is any), otherwise I will whip something up on the spot. Likely a simple frittata with vegetables and cheese. 

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Friday:
  • Friday night date night! We are going out. 

Wilted Red Cabbage

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large fresh sage sprig
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 6 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about 1/2 of large head)
  • Splash or two of sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted caraway seeds

Preparation: 

Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sliced red onion and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in bay leaf, sage and dried crushed red pepper. Add sliced red cabbage and vinegar and cook until wilted and tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add more vinegar to taste and sprinkle with toasted caraway seeds. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

A Trip to Tunisia for Dinner

Yes! I nailed my poached eggs! And then I immediately whipped out what I now call my successful poached egg boogie. I am doing it now. Check out this beauty below (the egg, not my dance):

Perfectly Poached

Perfectly Poached

There is nothing quite like a perfectly poached egg (NOT the kind that you dump into an egg poacher. That is a STEAMED egg, not a poached egg). A true poached egg is the kind that takes some practice, but is well worth it in the end. My eggs last night turned out beautifully, with perfectly cooked whites and a creamy, oozy center. Add a touch of Maldon sea-salt for crunch and a drizzle of good quality olive oil and you have yourself a perfect edible package. This kind of egg can top off all sorts of dishes — a bowl of pasta, vegetables and fried rice, roasted root vegetables and wilted spinach — just about everything is better with an egg on top.

The rest of the dish was good too and I plan to put the meal into my vegetarian recipe rotation. A simple Greek vegetable salad with cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, feta and fresh oregano rounded out the meal. Dress it simply with lemon juice, olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar and be prepared to feast.

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

Julia Child’s Roast Pork

This tenderloin recipe looks deceptively dull, but truly packs quite a bit of flavor. It’s best on the grill but was also delicious in the oven last night.  It did seem on the salty side, however, so I recommend a light hand with the shaker. The recipe as is allows for plenty of leftovers, which can easily be re-purposed into spectacular lunches. I foresee thinly sliced pork sandwiches and cubed pork to top off a feta and beet-green salad with a citrus vinaigrette.

I wouldn’t waste my time again with the charred lemon-shallot chutney. It wasn’t bad, just not worth the effort and the pork can definitely stand alone. Plus, the chutney looks like pond scum.  See for yourself below.

Chutney

Chutney

Dinner Dance Night

It was last minute on a Friday night when my husband and I, itching to put on our dancing shoes, decided to try out a dinner/dance event at an area hotel.

I knew we were in trouble when the eager young hostess greeted us and shouted, “whatever you can see, you can eat!” I don’t even know what that means. But my weirdo/borderline creepy alert sensor kicked into high gear immediately. My husband and I glanced at each other, eyebrows raised, and tiptoed around the corner and into the “dinner/dance” area of the very small hotel.

Let’s just say the scene was far from the fantasy in my head. So far removed, in fact, that I was as disappointed as a desperate-to-be-wed girlfriend on the receiving end of a small velvet box that contained a Pandora charm rather than a diamond sparkler.

My Vision: White linen tablecloths and candles (tealights at the very least for goodness sake).
Reality Check: Flowery vinyl tablecloths, paper napkins and centerpiece bowls filled with candy conversation hearts.

My Vision: Romantic lighting, glossy furniture and chandeliers reminiscent of a swanky speakeasy.
Reality Check: Rickety tables, uncomfortable metal folding chairs and a knickknack-filled room reminiscent of grandma’s covered sun-room. With a big messy kitchen clearly visible.

My Vision: Ok, I wasn’t expecting a sit down dinner with white-glove service, but come on, I was expecting at least a carving station, a fresh green salad and a glass of red wine.
Realty Check: Kitchen counters piled with random plates of food (Ah, now I understand the “if you see it you can eat it” bit). Limp shrimp cocktail. Blocks of cheese. Baby carrots. Gray meatballs in broth. What appeared to be boiled chicken. Oh, and an oddly sweet warm white wine on offer.

My Vision: Sweeping dance floor, big band music, couples doing renditions of the Waltz, Rumba and Foxtrot on the gleaming hardwood floor.
Reality Check: Old wooden floor marred with an accident-waiting-to-happen raised electrical socket, 3-piece twangy band of sorts, the rare couple doing a stand and sway.

Clearly my romantic notions that conjured up visions of New York City’s The Rainbow Room far exceeded the reality that was the Peralynna Inn in Columbia. I do give them credit for trying, but whatever the event was, it was NOT a dinner/dance. I suppose they did attempt to feed people, but it was nearly impossible to dance to a band that didn’t play dance music. And my husband and I will dance to ANYTHING. We have danced to bad karaoke. We have danced on the horribly uncomfortable Chattahoochee at an outdoor pool party. We have whipped out a Foxtrot in between tables at a restaurant. We have danced when there IS NO DANCING. So when I say the music did not inspire anyone to “get jiggy with it,” I am not kidding.

We would have left immediately after eyeballing the scene, but we were expecting friends. Thankfully, they were great sports about the whole event and the evening was worthwhile as we had the opportunity to catch up with them. Clearly, however, we’ll be getting our dinner and dance kicks elsewhere.