Menu of the Week

• 07 March 2011

Last week's menu was full of good intentions, but turned out to be a comedy of errors. The recipes seemed fantastic, the ingredients on target, and I was excited to make all of them! However, despite strict recipe adherence (when trying new recipes, I always follow the directions closely), most of them just didn't turn out. Perhaps you've had the same experiences with some of these recipes ? Or perhaps you have some input? Here it goes:

Cassoulet with Red Leaf Salad and Crusty Sourdough - I've always wanted to try a cassoulet recipe--it's a favorite meal in France. So, when I spotted duck confit at a local butcher shop/charcuterie (Rainshadow Meats), I decided to celebrate the occasion by making Kelsey's cassoulet. It's an easy recipe--perfect for those of us slightly intimidated by the true, French versions. My family enjoyed it, as my kids are huge bean fans, but ironically had a tough time with the confit. Oh well, more for me and my daughter's preschool teacher :) Also, I used panko instead of traditional bread crumbs and loved the substitution. I've got to find a bakery here in Seattle that offers fresh bread crumbs. I used to buy them at Harmons and Liberty Heights Fresh in SLC. This cassoulet recipe was just 1 of 2 recipes from this week's menu that I'd make over again.

Pork + Tofu Stir Fry over Jasmine Rice and Steamed Broccoli - I tried recreating my stepmom's recipe and totally bombed...if anyone has something like this they'd be willing to share, I'd be grateful! I love the combination of ground pork and tofu for some reason.

Potato Leek Soup with Roasted Beet Salad, Roasted Parmesan Brussel Sprouts, Strawberries, and Rolls - An attempt to recreate a delicious soup from the Walrus that turned out okay (sans the truffle oil--mine expired sadly). I know there is a killer potato leek soup recipe out there, I just have to find it. If you've discovered such a thing, do share :) When the months are cool, I love to cozy up with a good soup and lots of delicious vegetable sides. I seriously love these brussel sprouts.

Warm French Lentils with Carrots + Leeks, Crusty Bread, Butter Lettuce Salad - my first attempt at a recipe from Ina's new book "How Easy is That?". I have to confess I was surprisingly disappointed. The lentils sounded so good and since I even had a package of French lentils I brought back from France (not sure why I did that...they are available at fine food markets everywhere in the States), it seemed like a match made in heaven. Sadly, this was not the case.

Hazelnut Encrusted Salmon with Parsley + Meyer Lemon, Roasted Asparagus, Herb Roasted Red Potatoes - a great way to use up all the herbs from the cassoulet and my favorite salmon recipe to date. This is a fabulous meal and is included in my "Recipes to Love" section--a collection of my favorite standbys.

Sunday Breakfast: French Toast Bread Pudding - another attempt at a recipe from Ina's new book--it was "okay". Love the concept of baked French Toast, but this one wasn't worth the money I spent on challah alone. So bummed!

image 1 - Iain Bagwell / image 2 - moi


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