On The Menu

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Saturday
  • Falafel with all the fun falafely fixings as follows:
  • Zahav’s Tahini Sauce: This is the creamiest, lightest, most luscious tahini sauce I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. And, I have an Israeli husband. Translation: we have tried just about every version of tahini and hummus everywhere, including all over Israel. This is, hands down, the winner. The link will take you to Michael Solomonov’s recipe for hummus tahini (which is also unbelievable), but the sauce recipe is in the instructions. The first time I made his tahini and hummus my husband swooned. And then he proceeded to make dinner reservations at Solomonov’s restaurant Zahav, which is 3 hours away mind you. So yes, we made a road trip to Philadelphia just to dine at Zahav. His food IS THAT GOOD.
  • Zahav’s beets with tahini and dill: use up more of that wonderful tahini sauce you just made. This salad has turned beet haters into true beet lovers. Magic!
  • Roasted red pepper salad with harissa
  • Sumac onion salad: thinly slice red onions. Toss with mint, lemon juice, salt and sumac
  • Israeli salad: Finely chop the following and mix with lemon juice and salt and pepper: red onion, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, fresh mint and/or parsley

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Sunday

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Monday
  • Leftover falafel: the beauty of all that work on Saturday — the entire feast makes great leftovers.

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Tuesday
  • It’s the anniversary of the day my husband proposed — 13 years ago! We are going to our favorite Italian restaurant, Cinghiale. It works out nicely that our “anniversary” falls on a Tuesday this year as it’s half-priced bottles of vino on Tuesdays at Cinghiale. And, they have one heck of a wine cellar.

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Wednesday
  • Leftover Burmese stew

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Thursday
  • Lucky Peach lamb burgers: These were on my list to make all summer long. Well, I never got around to it and I cannot wait any longer. Summer be damned!
  • Roasted green bell peppers and onions

Dinner Party Drama!

What do you do with a magnum of Bordeaux that is ready and MUST BE OPENED? You cook a bunch of French food and invite a few friends over to share.

Le Menu:

OOH LA LA BORDEAUX WINE DINNER

Hors d’oeuvres

Smoked salmon with cognac-caraway creme, cucumber, toasts: I made my own homemade mayo for this. ROCK STAR appetizer!

Soft-cooked eggs with fresh lemon mayonnaise: another use for homemade mayo. The stuff is delicious and can be eaten with a spoon. It tastes NOTHING and I mean NOTHING like the jarred crap. Make it yourself and you shall see. 

Marinated olives: easy to make, easy to eat.

Foie gras and jam sandwiches: these were just plain fun. 

Principaux

Boeuf Bourguignonne: no intro needed here. 

Greens with mustard vinaigrette

Crusty bread

Dessert

Bittersweet chocolate mousse with fleur de sel: OH. MY. Where has this recipe been all my life? This is a chocolate lover’s dream. It’s also gluten-free and dairy free of all things. Just chocolate, water and muscle! 

I thought I was so cool and prepared. I made just about everything the day before the party — mayonnaise, sauces, marinades, dessert, even the beef (it’s better the next day anyway). I also did all the shopping and was calm as can be the morning of. I went to the gym without a care, knowing that I had very little left to do in terms of party prep. Or so I thought.

My darling husband didn’t properly shut our refrigerator door the night before. Gone. Everything tossed. And I mean everything. Our fridge was 80 degrees so out went all of my homemade jams, pickles, sauces, curds, not to mention everything I had made for the party.

Alas, we did a remake! And everything came out even better in my opinion. Crazy day, but certainly a fun evening with friends.

 

foie gras & jam

Foie Gras & Jam Sandwiches

 

 

smoked salmon 2

Smoked Salmon with Cognac Sauce

 

Mayo

Homemade Mayo

Bottega

Make your reservations. NOW. It take weeks to get in and believe me, you don’t want to miss this BYOB restaurant. We have taken to making future reservations after every meal at Bottega just to ensure we snare a spot.

The menu changes frequently so everything was new at our recent visit. The consensus? We would absolutely order everything again. And again. And again.

Lamb tartare — toothsome, mild and delicious.

Grilled radicchio salad with gorgonzola — THIS is a salad I will dream about for months to come. Seriously. I am still thinking about that lovely combo of bitter grilled lettuce and sweet pillows of salty, creamy blue cheese. Salad dreams do come true, apparently.

Skate wing with brown butter and capers — buttery, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Bavette steak with red wine sauce — simple, meaty and perfect.

My dinner of the grilled salad and steak easily ranks among the top 10 meals I’ve enjoyed in the past 12 months. Probably in the top 3. It’s quite possibly #1.

As you can see … oops …

Bottega

On The Menu

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Saturday

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Sunday
  • Lamb loin chops with rosemary and garlic: I will rub these beautiful chops down with a bit of oil, slather them with a paste of rosemary and garlic and then treat them to a sear in a super hot cast iron skillet. I plan to finish them off low and slow in the oven.
  • Caramelized cauliflower puree: Even better than mashed potatoes. Roast cauliflower florets drizzled with olive oil for about 25 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Puree with a bit of chicken or veggie broth (you can even throw in a nub or two of butter) and season to taste with salt and pepper. I like to drizzle on a bit more olive oil and hit it with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan just before serving.
  • Celery and tart apple salad: What to accompany the rich, unctuous lamb and the sweet, creamy puree? A crisp, tart salad that will provide crunch and liveliness. Although the recipe calls for radishes, I plan to use a tart green apple instead. If I had radishes around, I would probably use both.

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Monday
  • Bistro dinner salad with salmon and roasted vegetables: Put that leftover salmon to work. Gently warm the fish and flake it over a bowl of lightly dressed roasted veggies and greens. Sprinkle with toasted nuts and a squirt of lemon.

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Tuesday
  • Omelets with caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and goat cheese (yes, we are having these again, although I may change up the ingredients. It’s my go-to weeknight dinner).
  • Butter lettuce salad with apple and lemon

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Wednesday
  • Gal’s Night Out! 

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Thursday
  • Chicken mafe: This is a West African dish that just looks too interesting not to try. Quite frankly, it has peanut butter in it, so I am SOLD. I will likely amp up the heat factor and swap out the starchy vegetables for bell peppers and cauliflower instead. A one dish wonder my friends!