“How was your week?”, people ask. But are they ready for an honest, full answer?
Because for me, it was…
A busy week. Made of work deadlines, toddler activities, juggling writing, cooking, photographing between bath times, meal times and nap times.
A grateful week, for the precious help of my mother and support of good friends.
A stressful, anxious week, with the anticipation of big life changes and all the daunting effort, work and energy they require.
A flavorful week, rich with the bounty of summer produce and local farmers.
A hopeful week, with faith in the fruits of difficult decisions and doing our best in the present.
A sad week, for the helplessness felt in the face of the struggle, pain and suffering of loved ones.
An inspiring week, with lots of ideas and connections, things to express, to explore.
A tired, humbling week, longing for sleep and rest, a reality check that my brain and body cannot function non-stop.
A joyful week, of reaping other fruits, the things Pablo has learned without my teaching, the awe and wonder of watching grow what I sowed. A spontaneous thank you, or gesture to share food, a rythm or a song, a new skill, a desire to help, a willingness to try new things, a wish to connect with others, and sprouts of empathy in his demeanor.
Such are our weeks and lives, aren’t they? Never just one thing. They are in our image, complex, mixed, impossible to define. Therein lies their beauty. They can’t be labeled, or dismissed for being one thing, these nuggets, these increments of our lives.
So with the acknowledgement of last week, ready or not, we begin a new one. With a sweet treat, and a menu, to get us on our way…
It has been a while since I’ve shared our weekly menu, and a while since I shared a dessert recipe, so I shall fix that with one post. Crème Caramel, which is basically a cold caramel custard, is a classic dessert in France. You can easily find it already-made in the yogurt section of any supermarket. All schools offer it once in a while for dessert to children (you know, French schools serving a daily four course lunch to children and all). It is a combination of such simple ingredients (milk, eggs, sugar), makes a great sweet treat.
I had made this incredible Lapsang Souchong tea caramel some months ago for an ice cream, and had been looking for a way to use what was leftover. Since 99.9% of the time, our desserts consist of cheese and/or yogurt and fruit, it had been sitting in my fridge. Well, it has now found its purpose!
And then I came across the photo of a verrine (pretty edible things presented in a glass, basically) on a French website, and decided to simplify it greatly to create an easy, yet delicious and crowd-pleasing dessert perfect for a summer (or any season really) afternoon, or for a dinner party.
And now, on to the week’s menu:
Cheeses of the week: Following French tradition, I always offer a little bit of cheese at the end of every meal, between the main course and dessert. Rotation this week: Comté, Port Salut (cow cheese), and a lot of goat cheese these days, thanks to my collaboration with Vermont Creamery and the Kids & Kids campaign. (Have you been following the “Summer Goat Cheese Series“?)
Desserts: At lunch, I offer a fruit yogurt (or plain yogurt with fresh fruit), but at night, I prefer sticking to plain yogurt (regular homemade* whole milk, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk and Greek yogurt for extra protein) to avoid too much sugar before bedtime.
If you would like a particular recipe on the menu, feel free to contact me! (I marked with a * the recipes that will be the topic of upcoming posts).
Lunch – Picnic at the park
Boiled leeks and potato salad, cherry tomatoes and cucumber sticks, hard boiled egg, Babybel cheese & plum
Goûter (4pm snack) – Crème Caramel (recipe above!) and lychees
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Golden beet warm goat cheese salad
Main course: Oven-roasted pork ribs, grilled eggplant
Lunch – Picnic out again
Spring pea & herb salad, cherry tomatoes, avocado, roast beef, cheese and plum or peach
Goûter – Lychees
Appetizer / Finger Foods: White asparagus with tarragon yogurt cream sauce
Main course: Duck breasts with braised radishes and cherries*
Lunch at the park
Goûter – Nectarine
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Authentic Greek salad
Main course: Quails eggs en cocotte with smoked salmon, leek and zucchini from La Tartine Gourmande
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cold zucchini with mint vinaigrette
Main course: Bison patty with endive blue cheese salad
Goûter – Grapes
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Trying this Yellow Tomato Corn Gazpacho from What’s Cooking Good Lookingblog
Main course: Pan-fried Dover sole, broccoli spinach puree
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cucumber fennel slaw
Main course: Mushroom prosciutto tartine
Goûter – Peach
Appetizer / Finger Foods:Artichoke custard
Main course: Lamb chops with the herbed roasted carrots and pesto fromFood Loves Writing
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Choice of leftover appetizers: grated carrots, zucchini, and/or cucumber fennel slaw
Main course: Soft boiled egg, simple ratatouille
Goûter – Plum
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Grilled avocado with cherry tomatoes and herbs from Minimally Invasive blog
Main course: Clams in fennel shallot broth from Cannelle & Vanille
Goûter – Cherries
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Green beans cauliflower herb salad
Main course: Slow-cooker chicken thighs with endive, yam, goat cheese gratin*