I wanted to kick this week’s butt, but instead it kicked mine. I missed the mark and felt disappointed in myself. But then I reminded myself of a few contextual details worth consideration.
Two weeks earlier, in Week 33, I made some significant lifestyle changes regarding what I am eating and how frequently I am working out (I will talk more about this later). So two weeks in, I was not feeling great. My body was throwing a fit wondering if I was serious, or if these changes were just a suggestion. I stayed constant in my path, waiting on my body to get the memo and click into action.
This week was also the second to last week of school, which meant (no exaggeration) we had multiple school programs or parties or end-of-the-year events for our children EVERY NIGHT. We were swamped, juggling timing, dinner, transportation, clothing requirements, and instruments. Being present for four children at the end of a school year is no laughing matter.
I am giving myself grace. I showed up for my kids. I kept steady with my lifestyle choices. I got eight hours of sleep each night. The recipes will wait.
WHAT I COOKED
Herbed Fromage Blanc, Cooking for Jeffery
Tuscan Lemon Chicken, Back to Basics
Confetti Corn, Back to Basics
Honey Vanilla Crème Fraîce, Barefoot Contessa
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Greek Yogurt, Make It Ahead
Bay Scallop Gratins, Back to Basics
Fingerling Potatoes, Barefoot Contessa
Seafood Platter with Mustard, Cocktail and Mignonette Sauce, Barefoot in Paris
Tri Berry Oven Pancakes, Back to Basics
Warm Mushroom Salad, Barefoot in Paris
Grilled Steak & Arugula, How Easy Is That?
Rosemary Polenta, Family Style
Osso Bucco, Foolproof
Tres Leches Cake with Berries & Make Ahead Whipped Cream, Make It Ahead
WHAT I LEARNED
TUSCAN LEMON CHICKEN.
Praise the Lord for butchers who will butcher your chicken for you (I’m looking at you, Central Market!). And praise Him for the gift of rubbing a chicken with seasonings, laying it on a grill, walking away, and returning to a juicy bird full of flavor. The rosemary and garlic in this recipe are spot on. We stood around and ate this with our fingers in the Hurley House kitchen, delighted. I will be the first to admit that grilling is not my favorite method of cooking. My husband kills it in the grilling department, but it is not my forte. I grilled this chicken on an indoor grill pan, which produced a lot of smoke, but it worked. I suppose if I had a garden like Ina’s I would be more inclined to step outside and grill up dinner on a whim. Oh, Ina.
I absolutely do not approve of the fussy factor of this recipe. I make polenta. Then I chill it. Then I cut it. Then I dredge it. Then I saute it? Ummmm, no no no. I do not in fact do these things. Ever again.
GRILLED STEAK AND ARUGULA.
This recipe won’t win any awards in the creativity department, but for a summer dinner, it is spot on. Char-grilled steak, peppery arugula, shards of parmesan, and a lemon vinaigrette. It is quintessential Ina, and it was delicious. This is the kind of recipe that would be perfect for a dinner with friends, or make it once and eat it for lunch all week. It feels both light and substantial at the same time.
TRI-BERRY OVEN PANCAKES.
These are so cool! I definitely would not call them pancakes, but they are special nonetheless. The batter is somewhere between a popover and a crepe. At first I had no idea what to expect or what was going to happen. After heating butter in individual baking dishes in the oven, you pour the batter into the hot dishes, return them to the oven and wait. A few minutes later, they emerge puffed into irregular beauties begging for berries and maple syrup. I was so impressed! I don’t think I would make these for a standard weekend family breakfast, but maybe I would. They are the kind of dish that feels super special but really does not take any more trouble than traditional pancakes.