I just got back from an absolutely amazing extended birthday weekend at my in laws place. While there, my dear father-in-law treated my husband and I to two absolutely fabulous meals out (alone! without our son!). Meals that pleased the eye as well as the tongue. Meals that served as inspiration and kicked my creativity out of the doldrums.
I have definitely been in a rut of late. Always the same veg side dishes (kale chips, sweet potatoes or sauteed chard) and, even worse, I've gotten lazy. Very lazy. Very, very lazy. While we eat well, we don't eat WELL. Nothing that intrigues or enlivens the palette. Nothing that gets you to the table just a little bit quicker. Dinner has been something defrosted from the freezer, healthy and tasting good but safe, boring, dull. Same old same old.
This weekend definitely served as inspiration. Not only to start cooking new and different things but also to make a larger focus on first courses and side dishes. They've always been an afterthought for me, which is funny because I love vegetables. I'll start making salads and then fall out of the habit. The side dish will be an uninspired last minute addition. They should be just as important as the main or meat course.
I have this great desire to explore new cuisines, make our vegetable side dishes as unique as the main course and to present them in a beautiful way. I have been inspired a great deal by this blog. I have yet to make any of her recipes (that will be fixed this week) but I love the care and consideration she puts into her family's meals.
J is turning 3 next week and he has been showing a great willingness to try new foods. I need to seize this moment while I can. I really want him to grow up with a true appreciation for food and a love of trying new things. I think that can be fostered now. Plus this is really, really good for D and I. We need things to look forward to as well and we both like trying new things. It's going to be an adjustment and I know there are days it will be hard but I think I can do it. I know I can. Cooking is such a creative outlet for me, I need to start viewing it as a pleasure again rather than a chore.
Menu for this Week:
Monday - Tapas night! Featuring, albondigas (Spanish meatballs), patatas bravas and Catalan spinach
Tuesday - Halibut and Brussels sprouts in garlic cream sauce cooked in parchment and crisp pea salad
Wednesday - Grilled foccacia sandwich with prosciutto, parmesan and arugula (as good as it looks)
Thursday - Grilled pork chops, succotash and roasted root vegetables
Friday - Smoked salmon rolls with asparagus and spaghetti al limone