This Week’s (Intended) Menu: French, Italian & Poultry, Oh My!

I was feeling ambitious when I started working on this week’s menu plan. I’m not only attempting my first crack at French cooking thanks to an unexpected gift of Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook from my mom, but also the first recipe of many out of Northern Italian Cooking by Franceso Ghedini and a pair of other recipes I hope to whip up pretty quickly. Both of the cookbooks rely heavily on big vats of sauce and stock that should be made ahead of time and while I do want to get to those experiences, I went with ones that didn’t require either. I’m also a little limited because our oven isn’t working, so I can only work with the top five burners. For what it’s worth, I don’t think about which meals will be eaten on which day, but here’s what I’m hoping to cook this week. Hopefully our darling daughter will not only allow us to run to the store, but also not freak out in the evening too much so I can actually cook. Fingers crossed.

Boeuf a la Ficelle (Les Halles Cook Book by Anthony Bourdain, Page 122) Bourdain translates the name of this dish as “beef on a string” but says you don’t really need a string anymore. Basically, you toss carrots, turnips, leeks and onion in a pot of water, boil and then cook the beef in there. Take the beef out, make a sauce and serve on a plate. I like the simplicity of this recipe and that it already includes a vegetable. Here’s hoping this will be a good introduction to French cooking.

Maiale Ubriaco (Norther Italian Cooking by Francesco Ghedini, Page 135) Again, I liked this recipe because it isn’t super complicated and doesn’t involve the red sauces that pack the front of this cook book. I’m really excited about getting to those recipes, but just don’t have the time yet. This Tuscan dish is explained as “braised pork chops with wine sauce” and involves cooking the chops in a skillet for a while, removing and then making the sauce. The only problem is that I’ll have to make another stop to pick up the dry red wine.

Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce (The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond, link) I’ve never cooked any of Ree Drummond’s recipes. In fact, I hadn’t heard of her before last week when I started seeing ads for her new Food Network show. I checked out her website and was blown away by her photos. Man, some of these food bloggers know how to snap pics! Anyway, I was looking around at her recipes and this one stuck out because I’ve got a lot of basil growing in my mini herb garden. I’m no stranger to pesto, so this one should be tasty and not too difficult (hopefully).

Grilled Chicken with Arugala (Food Network by Tyler Florence, link) This is the only recipe this week that I’ve cooked before. It turned out well last time and I’m hoping for a repeat performance. I’m a fan of pretty much anything with olives, so I’m guessing it will be!

There you have it. Considering it’s Monday evening and I haven’t made it to the store yet thanks to a generally cranky baby (notice, I didn’t say “colicy”) I might wind up dropping a thing or two from the menu. By the way, I’m always looking for interesting vegetable side recipes, so if anyone has any good ideas for what should go along with the pork chops above, let me know!

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