Is getting organized and finding balance the same thing? It’s a sort of existential chicken & egg conundrum. You need to get organized to find balance, you need some balance to get organized. I guess they both contribute to zen-ness. But then a friend once told me some recommend dropping lists all together and following organically what you want to do. Anything urgent will present itself when it’s time to do something about it. I find that outlook very attractive, but can’t say I’ve been able to make it work. Or to make it work to satisfaction. In fact when I do do that, I find myself torn between the feeling that I don’t have a plan pinned down and things are piling up and I’m a bit in over my head, and the fact that it just feels good to do what I decide to do (a great luxury, mind you) and the rest will somehow fall into place. It gives me the mental space to focus on the task at hand, actually. This past week was one of those dual weeks, where the impetus to follow my instincts (cook, try, have friends over several nights in a row) yielded joy and satisfaction, with a slight pinch of guilt for going off my plan a bit.
Here goes some images from our plates and our kitchen, followed by this 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: Morbier (a good cheese to introduce blue, as there’s that fine line of blue in the middle, not too overwhelming), Italian Truffle Cheese (so decadent!), Comté (a kind of Swiss common in France), Goat brie.
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).
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Zucchini & mint terrine*
Main course: Lamb with eggplant & parsley root puree
Goûter (4pm snack) – Watermelon & lychees
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Artichokes with vinaigrette
Main course: Tofu & baby bok choy puree
TUESDAY (My mother’s birthday!)
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Tomatoes, cucumber & hearts of palm salad
Main course: Salmon with mustard greens puree
Goûter – Plum pear compote with banana
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Chilled pea soup from TasteFood, my mother loved it so much she wants more for her birthday dinner! (Rest of dinner is still TBD.)
Main course: Chicken & sweet potato puree
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Lunch date with a friend and farmer’s market, we’ll see what we find!
Goûter – Plums & figs
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Leek whites with vinaigrette*
Main course: Soft boiled egg with sauteed parsley root* & crispy kale
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Blue potato, green beans and parsley salad
Main course: Beef patty with ratatouille*
Goûter – Peach
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Yellow & red tomatoes with feta
Main course: Clams in fennel & shallot broth from Cannelle & Vanille
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cauliflower, chives & green beans salad
Main course: Pan-fried veal liver with Red Chards puree
Goûter – Blackberries*
(*The reason you rarely see berries in Pablo’s menus is because I offer berries (all the ones I can find) to him at breakfast. So I usually keep the afternoon snack for stone fruits or other fruits. But we’ll be on the go, and blackberries will be convenient)
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Quinoa, tomato, cucumber salad
Main course: Trying the braised chicken with lemon & capers from The Urban Spork
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Endive & tomato salad, vegetable noodles
Main course: Shrimp scampi with three roots puree
Goûter – Cherries
Appetizer / Finger Foods: White asparagus in tarragon yogurt sauce
Main course: Cauliflower & Brussels sprouts gratin from Tasty Kitchen
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Edamame, broccoli florets
Main course: Turkey & rutabaga puree
Goûter – Apple-fig compote
Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cucumber Sorrel Gazpacho*
Main course: Roasted heirloom tomatoes with lamb & quinoa stuffing*