This is something I’ve always wanted to be able to do. So naturally, when I read the review of An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, I made plans to go out and buy the book. I describe myself as a dump and run cook. I like to be creatively lazy when I cook. I want a good, hearty meal full of wonderful flavors, and on the weekends I can spend the time to make just such a thing. But it has to be good. I’m not so skilled I can save a failing experiment at every step. Nor am I good enough to know how something will taste just by looking at the recipe; or at least not always.

In the chapter entitled How to Stride Ahead, Ms. Adler speaks about roasting vegetables in advance of their use. I’ve done this from time to time, but after reading Ms. Adler’s advice, I’m now realizing it’s something I should be doing regularly. You’ve seen this video, right? It inspired me when I saw it. And I followed its advice and ate wonderful roasted vegetables for not one week, but almost two. I had great side dishes all week and wonderful colors in my lunches in the dead of winter.

Menu planning is not new to me. I’ve done it for years, often posting my weekly menus here. But a list (even a list of yummy things) is not inspiring; and more and more I’ve found it hard to actually make what I’ve planned. I don’t expect to live slavishly by my menu. There will always be a night or two a week that I don’t feel like cooking (long days, high stress, going out – whatever). I have stuff in my pantry to deal with that. And there’s always take-out.

So, this morning I shopped. I bought Butternut squash, beets, and carrots. We have sweet potatoes and white potatoes aplenty. I’ve got thawed italian sausages and thawing steak. I have two roasted chicken legs with back and won-ton wrappers. And I have about 1/2 a loaf of aging bread.

Here’s the plan:

  • Cook up the last of the bacon in the fridge. Crumble it for future use.
  • While the bacon’s cooking, dice (around 1″ pieces) and toss the squash, some carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, and some salt. Spill it out on a pan or two. Roast along with 8 potatoes & 4 sweet potatoes whole. ~40 minutes. This might take a couple of batches.
  • Scrub the beets clean, put them in a dish with some water, a drizzle of olive oil, some pepper and salt and cover tightly. Roast until done.Check at ~40 minutes, probably will take an hour.
  • Meanwhile, make Gozya filling of roasted vegetables (instead of spinach), some corn & sausage meat atop the stove. Fill the won ton wrappers and pan fire them. Store any leftovers for the twice-baked potato skins.
  • Make bread pudding with the aging rhy bread. Make a simple vanilla sauce to go overtop; but don’t cook it yet.
  • Grind down the last of the bread into crumbs. Mix them with some herbs, and set them aside.
  • Broil the steaks, make a lettuce salad with a basic vinaigrette (which this time, means more than just olive oil and red wine vinegar) and serve it with twice-baked potatoes.
  • In the hot oven, cook the bread pudding and drizzle the bread crumbs with olive oil. Put the breadcrumbs under the bread pudding and allow them to bake.
  • Store the vegetables in mason jars (beets separate with an extra drizzle of sesames seed oil). Wrap the skins well and store in the fridge.

Wish me luck.

Menu for the week:

Saturday: Roasted vegetables (Sweet, Plain, Butternut squash, carrots, beets);
Steak & mashed potatoes (roast ’em and save the skins);
Bread pudding with cranberries & vanilla sauce
Honey oat loaf bread (bread machine – prep it the night before — dry in one bowl, wet in another)
SundayMeatball Marinara & green salad,
Carrot Cake & frosting (tonight’s desert)
Maple Corn Muffins  (for breakfasts)
Hard boiled eggs (min 5) (for breakfasts)
Cornbread sugar cookies (for lunches during the week)
Set up the machine so that there’ll be fresh bread ready by dinner time.
MondayEasy Black beans and yellow rice, Salad with creamy vinaigrette
Tuesday: Chicken sticks & twice-baked potato skins with bacon & roasted root vegetables
Wednesday: Risotto with Butter Chicken (already made & frozen), green salad
Start the oat-wheat loaf
ThursdayRoasted vegetable soup, FBI-PIO
Oat-wheat loaf (not the bread machine) – start in the am; finish before guests arrive.
Friday: Hamburger helper or tacos or actual hamburgers