A week of dinners 4.21.17

Coming up with dinner ideas day after day is hard. I've got ideas for you. Here's how this works. Every week I'm going to keep track of what I cook for dinner. I'll write up some quick notes and grocery lists for each day. Take what sounds appealing. Dinner is solved!

Sunday: Honey and zaatar-rubbed fresh ham, roasted, with a mixed greens, green apple and cashew salad (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and tamarind sauce dressing)

Groceries: 3.5 pound fresh ham, honey, zaatar (make your own), mixed greens, granny smith apple, cashews, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tamarind sauce

For the salad dressing I whisk 2 parts oil with 1 part vinegar with a tablespoon or so tamarind sauce, then dump in salad and dress with your hands. Get in there. You can wash your hands after. Fresh ham is not the same as cured ham! I roasted this at 450 for the first 1/2 hour, then turned it down to 350 to roast for another 3. For extra flavor, pour some broth and garlic/onion/herbs in the roasting pan.

Monday: Cromlet (eggy chickpea flour pancake) topped with sauteed Swiss chard, morels, poached eggs, crushed pistachios, and tahini.

Groceries: Chickpea flour, cashew or other nut milk (but you can even use water), eggs, Swiss chard or other dark greens, morels or other wild mushrooms, pistachios, tahini

I skipped the fennel salad and yogurt sauce from this recipe, but they look good. Everyone loved the cromlets. I doubled the recipe.

Taco Tuesday: Black beans cooked with ham bone, tortillas, cheese, salsa, greens.

Groceries: Dried black beans, leftover ham bone, chicken stock, corn tortillas, salsa (I like Xochitl), cotija or other cheese, salad greens or cabbage

There was plenty of meat left on Sunday's ham bone, so I soaked some dried beans a couple hours and then pressure cooked them with the bone and some chicken stock for 2 1/2 more hours.

Wednesday: Farro with basil and pistachio pesto and broccoli.

Groceries: 1 package of farro, basil, pistachios, Parmesan cheese, broccoli

Making your own pesto won't save you money. Surprise! But I do it anyway because it's so good fresh. No recipe -- I just eyeball it. One big bunch of leaves, a cup or so of nuts, half a cup or so of cheese cut into chunks, maybe a clove or two of garlic, maybe some lemon juice, and plenty of olive oil. Put it all in a food processor and go. Taste, see if you like the proportions, and adjust as you like. 

Instead of pasta I used it on farro, which I love for its dense chewiness. It feels so much more substantial than pasta. 

Eat those broccoli stems. Just peel off the tough outer layer and cube. 

Thursday: Super inauthentic larb with Swiss chard and coconut rice

Groceries: 1 pound of ground meat, ginger, fish sauce, limes, mint leaves, large-leafed greens like Swiss chard or lettuce, rice, coconut milk

Larb is a Laotian dish usually consisting of ground meat, fish sauce, fresh herbs and lime juice. I kind of wing it with whatever I have, in this case ginger and garlic. I was missing the fresh herbs (mint or cilantro) and lime, but everyone stilled liked it. Just cook the ground meat, add fish sauce, lime juice and herbs. You eat it with your hands using leafy greens. 

For this rice I just swap most of the water for coconut milk. It gives you a rich, subtly-coconutty flavor.

Friday: Back by popular demand, more comlet with salad. 

I try to avoid making the same dish twice in one week, but the heart wants what it wants, and who am I to refuse my people? I'll probably make a salad with this one.

Adriana Velez