Cajun Salmon & Garlic Parsley Mashed Potatoes

If you had stepped into our kitchen at around 4 p.m. a few Wednesday afternoons ago, you would have seen our side door, the one that exits to the driveway and our upstairs neighbor’s black iron stairs, flung wide open. You would have seen smoke wafting from the stove through that door, intermingling with the 50-some-degree weather and bright blue skies of Nashville February. And you would have smelled the sea, not the dreamy, refreshing scent of ocean tides, but the pungent, unfortunate odor of smelly, gamey raw fish. Tim and I were testing a recipe. The idea of fish for dinner is nothing new in my family. My parents eat it once a week, at least. When we take my dad to restaurants, he looks for fish on the menu and asks the waiter, looking the guy in the eye and flashing a smile, if the chef might be able to blacken the salmon? And if you really could do that, boy, that would be great. While it’s true I didn't grow up sharing my parents' love of fish---nor their ability to treat … [Read more...]

A Sunday Salad

In the time since we last spoke, I did not make black bean soup; Tim and I took a look at our remaining refrigerator loot on Friday and, supplemented by his work lunch and a homemade weekend dinner from friends, spent the next three days eating sumptuously from its contents instead. Sunday, we did not go grocery shopping with the masses; we decided we hate grocery shopping with the masses (so instead we went to Indian food and took advantage of a free museum deal and pushed our weekly shopping routine to Monday afternoons). But here's something we did do: Sunday night, lazy and happy and on a mission to clean out our refrigerator shelves before the next day's shop, we made this large, filling, easy, simple salad---we're calling it a Sunday salad, because it's the kind of salad you make at the end of a long week of good eating, merging together all the remnants of the seven days past. … [Read more...]

A Beginner’s Week of Meal Planning

Last Saturday night, at a time when most people our age were out with friends or stretched out on sofas, unwinding in front of TV screens, Tim and I sat across from each other at our dining room table, a laptop and a weekly planner before us, and discussed our menu for the next six days. I'd read Natalie's blog post on meal planning the day before and, inspired, had told Tim maybe meal planning was something we ought to try. My husband, who, to his credit, is always much quicker to jump on board with my random ideas than I am with his, said okay. We would try meal planning, this concept people say simplifies your work weeks and lowers your family food budget. And while the idea of scheduling a week's worth of meals is nothing new or revolutionary, and while there's certainly nothing I write here that you wouldn't find in a simple Google search, I'm chronicling our first week's efforts here in this post anyway for two reasons: 1) Whatever the future holds for us, at least in terms of … [Read more...]