Monday, June 13, 2016

Meal Plan • June 13

This weekend, as I was fed by some of the best chefs in the Southeast at the Southern Grown Festival on Sea Island, I was already flummoxed by how to put together a meal plan for the coming week.  I was eating so well, you see, and while I was inspired by these chefs, I was also intimidated to return to my own kitchen and come up with anything even remotely tasty after the foods I sampled.

And then, on the way to the Farewell Y'all Brunch on Sunday morning, we heard the news about Orlando, and the world shifted.  We took a walk on the beach before brunch, and I thought about the then-20-something people who had lost their lives.  While we ate, we found out the number was much, much higher, and things stopped making sense.  There we were, at an exclusive beach club on a breathtakingly beautiful island, with outrageous amounts of incredible food being set before us, and at the same time, there were hundreds of families in a horrifying limbo only 200 miles south of us.

It was sobering.


I hugged our friend a little tighter before we got in the car and headed back home.  I told him I love him.  Because I do.  I love our friends from way down deep in my heart and I think it is important to say it out loud.  The days are long, after all, but the years are short.

That seems to be my go-to response in these situations, but how scary is it that I have a go-to response at all?  How do we even live in a world in which I have a go-to response to horrific events?

And yet, here we are.  We got back home last night, and we reunited our little family, and we returned to our routines, and it seems absurd to even think about the fact that I need to come up with a meal plan, but the truth is that I do.  No matter what goes on in the world, I will need to feed my family.  We will need to sit at the table together and enjoy our dinner, even though (and maybe because) there are so many families tonight that will never have that chance again.

MONDAY: Kale & Cannellini Bean Risotto
This recipe is a family favorite.  The technique couldn't be simpler, and the final dish is comfort food at its best.  I needed comfort food today.

TUESDAY: Cheese Plate
I'm going out for dinner with a girlfriend, but the rest of my family is still going to need to eat.  The husband took a class on cheese making over the weekend with the fine folks at Sweet Grass Dairy, and we brought home an absurd amount of amazing and potently stinky cheese.  The kids cannot wait to dig into these treats.

WEDNESDAY: Thai Curry Noodles with Broccoli & Tofu
This is a new recipe, and I am looking forward to trying it out, but I may bake the tofu before tossing it into the simmer pot.

THURSDAY: Roasted Buddha Bowl
I love this dish.  Rice, topped with caramelized, roasted vegetables and crispy roasted chickpeas, and drizzled with a tart, creamy vegan sauce.  Also comfort food.  I think I'm seeing a pattern here.

FRIDAY: Smoky Potato Cakes with Kale & Ricotta, Salad
I have only made this recipe once before, but it was impressive for such an easy, quick-to-put-together dish.  Looking forward to trying it again.

SATURDAY: Mozzarella-Stuffed Arancini, Spicy Marinara
This isn't the quickest recipe in my arsenal, but it is an absolute crowd-pleaser.  The whole family gets excited about gooey mozzarella oozing out of a crispy breadcrumb covered ball of rice.  Serving it atop spicy marinara elevates the experience to a whole other level.

SUNDAY: I dunno, man.  It's Father's Day, which I suppose means I need to cook on my only day off.  I will almost certainly keep it easy.  Probably vegetable crudités with my homemade Blue Cheese Dip - it's one of Preston's faves.

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