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My Menu Plan

2014 March 23


Happy Sunday. It’s gloriously overcast and gloomy outside this morning and I am so happy to be curled up with a cup of coffee, kids running around in pajamas and Barefoot Contessa on the TV. Ina Garten is probably one of the people I admire most in the cooking world. I love her gentle demeanor, easy approach to food and yes, abundant use of salt and butter (life is short, friends…use real butter). I had the amazing opportunity to speak with her a little while back regarding a project and was so happy to see that she was as kind and warm in real-life as she is on her shows and in her books. This week’s menu unintentionally became very Ina-focused as I flipped through Foolproof again yesterday morning. It is just so good. Here is a look at our menu plan for the week:

Sunday – penne alla vecchia bettola (penne alla vodka). This is definitely a rich, indulgent pasta dish but since I haven’t made it in so long, it will be worth every bite.

Monday – crispy mustard roasted chicken served with arugula and baked sweet potatoes. This is one of our favorite chicken dishes – it is so flavorful and moist and relatively easy to make. I like to make it with breast meat so it’s a little lighter than the dark meat and serve it with a lemony arugula salad.

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday. We just can’t stray.

Wednesday – salmon with  melting cherry tomatoes (recipe below). This is a new one for us, so will report back.

Thursday – switching gears to Giada and trying her pork tenderloin with honey mustard sauce served with lemon mustard potato salad. Both recipes are from Giada’s Feel Good Food, which is also in heavy rotation around here these days. Clearly I am having another mustard moment.

Friday – take out. We have an event at Kai’s preschool that evening and it will probably be followed by some much-needed take out. Always leave yourself one night per week to let someone else do the cooking – I am sure even Ina does the same.

Have a great week!

PS – read about the time Gwyneth Paltrow went to cook with Ina. Sadly, my invitation was lost in the mail.

*print above via here

Recipe for Salmon and Melting Cherry Tomatoes via Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust:

Good olive oil

1 cup chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia

2 tsp minced garlic

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved through the stem

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tbsp julienned fresh basil leaves

2 lb salmon fillet, cut crosswise into 4 pieces

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium (10-inch/25-cm) saute pan.

Add the onion and saute over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Stir in the tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the tomato sauce thickens slightly. Off the heat, stir in the vinegar and basil.

Meanwhile, place a large (12-inch/30-cm) cast-iron pan over high heat for 5 minutes. Brush the salmon all over with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, and place it skin side up in the pan. Cook the fish for 3 to 4 minutes without moving them, until browned. Turn the salmon skin side down with a small metal spatula and transfer the pan to the oven for 8 minutes. (The salmon will not be completely cooked through.) Remove the fish to a serving platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Reheat the tomatoes, season to taste, and serve hot, warm or at room temperature along with the salmon.

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