Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Simple Menu before Thanksgiving

I'm keeping it simple this week. For one, I just returned home from a gloriously long weekend in San Fransisco eating so well that I can barely eat my own food again. Duck Confit! Salmon Cozy! Acme Bread! I love trips like that - they rally me back to the kitchen with determination to improve my skills, menus and foraging. But I'm not quite organized enough yet so my menu this week is safe. Last night, armed with just a pack of basil and some chicken breasts, we had an old favorite, Chicken Pesto Pasta.

Tonight we enjoyed a meal make possible by the humble Yukon Gold potato: a Spanish Tortilla/Omelet and a new soup, Ham & Potato. I made the soup by sauteeing a chopped stalk of celery, a leek and 4-5 chopped Yukon gold potatoes. Then I poured in a 32 ounce box of that chicken broth I like so much (Imagine Organic) and simmered it for about 12 minutes. When the potatoes were tender, I turned off the heat and pureed the soup in my food mill (didn't feel like waiting to cool it for the blender). I strained it, too, into a clean pot and simmered it for another 10-15 minutes until it thickened a bit more. Then I sliced some of that lean Applewood smoked ham from TJ's and threw that it, along with a scant half-cup of milk and some salt and fresh ground pepper. After another 5-8 minutes of simmering it was ready, and it was superb.

Whole Foods has been giving away avocados lately ($1 each) so Carnitas with Guacamole and Spanish Rice will hit the table tomorrow night. This week we'll also see Salmon on Arugula or Mixed Greens, Roast Leg of Lamb with Taziki Sauce and Greek Salad and a Flank Steak Sandwich alongside some roasted veg from the winter farmer's market.

I'm also writing my Thanksgiving Menu and shopping lists for next week, and planning other meals to serve when everyone's in town. I'm thinking ahead about lamb burgers, chicken fajitas, and maybe spaghetti and meatballs. And yes, I've started practically every morning with eggnog in my espresso. Yum.

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