Last night my son and I went out for dinner with old friends—a mother and son we met when the boys were in diapers. Our first time sitting across the table from each other since March 2020. It turns out, after a year-plus in captivity my son has turned feral. More feral than he was before, I mean. He blew bubbles with his straw. He picked the steak out of his tacos with his fingers (and of course, he eschewed all garnishes, just ate piles of chopped-up meat inside flour tortillas). He burped. He never even unrolled his napkin. Did I mention he’s 14?
I suspect we’re going to be discovering oddball effects of the pandemic for a long, long time.
Here’s the menu for next week:
SUNDAY: Optional prep. If you’ve got a few minutes, hard-boil a dozen eggs and make a batch of coconut bacon—you’ll be done in less than an hour, and you’ll have a leg up on several meals this week. Refrigerate both.
MONDAY: Vegetarian Cobb Salad from A Couple Cooks with sourdough bread. Remember a couple weeks ago, I said how fabulous composed salads are when you’re serving picky eaters? The Cobb is a classic version. Usually it has both chicken and bacon, but tonight we’re skipping the chicken—and the bacon is some of that irresistible stuff you made yesterday. Of course, if you’d like to just use the real thing, that’s cool, too.
Sheet Pan Eggplant Parmesan from Food & Wine. Broiling the eggplant instead of frying it makes this a lot less fussy—and a lot less messy. It takes a little time, but 30 minutes of it is just letting some salt draw the liquid out of the eggplant slices. Roast a third eggplant to use tomorrow night. This recipe serves 8, so you’ll likely have some leftovers—it reheats nicely for lunch! Add a loaf of Italian bread to your shopping list and make heroes if you like.
WEDNESDAY: Sabich from Food Network with Israeli pickles. Have you heard of sabich? It’s an Israeli sandwich, often eaten at breakfast. But I think we’ve established how much I appreciate breakfast-for-dinner, so… To make it, you stuff a warmed pita with roasted eggplant, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, and a lemony chopped salad. You’ve already got the eggplant and the eggs, and you’re buying hummus, so tonight you’re just making a salad and assembling. Of course, you can let your picky eaters choose what goes into their pitas.
THURSDAY: Sheet Pan Quesadillas from The Kitchn with a simple salad. I love this trick—making one giant quesadilla and not fussing with individuals. Add or subtract fillings to please picky eaters, as long as you can remember which corner doesn’t have the beans, and which one doesn’t have the corn.
Salad Ramen from Epicurious with hard-boiled eggs and coconut bacon. All the extra vegetables from this week can get used up tonight. Serve salad bar-style to please the picky ones.
Here’s the shopping list:
1 large head romaine lettuce (M, Th, F)
1 small head cabbage (W, F)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (M, Th)
6 plum tomatoes (T, W)
1 bunch scallions (M, Th, F)
1 avocado (M)
3 large eggplants (T, W)
2 cloves garlic (T)
1 lemon (T, W)
3-4 limes (F)
1 bunch parsley (T, W)
1 bunch basil (T)
4-5 Persian cucumbers (W, Th, F)
1 bunch radishes OR carrots (F)
2 cups large unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded coconut) (M)
Extra-virgin olive oil (M, T, W, Th, F)
Red wine vinegar (M, W)
Soy sauce (M, F)
Seasoned rice vinegar (F)
Toasted sesame oil (F)
20 oz. fresh OR 12 oz. dried ramen noodles (F)
Liquid smoke (M)
Sriracha, optional (M)
Dijon mustard (M)
Worcestershire sauce, vegetarian or regular (M)
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (M)
1 (15-oz.) can black beans (Th)
1 (24-oz.) jar marinara sauce (T)
Israeli pickles, optional (W)
1 (12-oz.) can corn kernels OR frozen (Th)
1 (7-oz.) can salsa verde (Th)
Sesame seeds (F)
Mild red pepper flakes, such as Aleppo-style or Maras, optional (F)
Bacon, optional (M)
1 dozen large eggs (M, W, F)
1 oz. blue cheese crumbles OR your favorite cheese (M)
1 lb. fresh mozzarella (T)
4 oz. parmesan (T)
1 lb. shredded Mexican cheese blend OR cheddar (Th)
Prepared hummus (W)
1 loaf sourdough bread (M, T)
4 whole-wheat OR regular pita (W)
10 (8-inch) flour tortillas (Th)
Corn kernels OR canned (Th)
On Saturday, paying subscribers will get the details on how it all comes together.
Stay safe, be kind, and get vaccinated.