Food + Wine

October 25-31 Mealplan

My 5 year wedding anniversary is this Saturday and since we got married in the Virgin Islands, it’s been our tradition to make a Caribbean inspired dinner on the special night. And we started a family tradition last year to have some sort of slow cooked stew or roast on Halloween night, that way I can put it all together during my son’s nap, and while we’re out ‘trick-or-treating’ and pumpkin carving, dinner is ready whenever we need it to be. I have a freezer-ful of meat at the moment, a lot of which is for slow cooking, so it may just have to be a stew-filled week! (Let’s hope the weather stays chilly…)
*Blackened Flounder and Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Potato Corn Fritters
(Anniversary Night) We ate a lot of conch fritters in St. John 5 years ago and since conch is a bit hard to find, I decided to make another type of fritter to have as a side dish. After posting the non-recipe for plantain-corn fritters last week, a reader wrote in about how she made hers with mashed sweet potatoes so that’s where this idea came from. And no wedding anniversary night is complete to us without downing way too many painkillers. Those drinks transport us right back to the Soggy Dollar Bar.
*Syrah-Braised Beef Shanks over Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
(Halloween Night) You don’t see a lot of beef shanks at HT but there were quite a few out today. Braising is one of my absolute favorite methods of cooking meats. The good braising cuts of meat are generally very cheap and the flavor is unmatched. The best part is, with a little bit of prep work done in the early afternoon, your dinner cooks itself.
*Cranberry-Glazed Pork Roast with Brown Butter-Sage Spaghetti Squash
I love that this time of year you can get all different types of squashes and gourds for incredibly cheap. The spaghetti squash is such a fun vegetable to eat, and is extremely simple to prepare. After it’s roasted, the flesh becomes stringy and resembles noodles. You can toss it with whatever sauce you like, but one of my favorites is browning some butter with fresh sage leaves and nutmeg, then sprinkling a good amount of Romano cheese over top.
*Apple-Pumpkin Braised Short Ribs with Root Vegetables
I got a lot of root veggies today..rutabagas, turnip roots and parsnips. And I always have carrots and different kinds of potatoes on hand. What I’m thinking of doing is making my short ribs like usual, but instead of braising them in red wine and beef stock I will use apple cider, pureed pumpkin and a bit of cream, scented with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. And at about the halfway point, add the chunks of root vegetables to the pot. Hmm….this one may be a contender for Halloween night too…
*Rosemary-Dijon Chicken Thighs with Roasted Beets and Broccoli
In addition to all the root veggies I got today, I also bought a gorgeous bunch of beets. They were my extravagant purchase of the week…meaning they weren’t on sale and I didn’t have coupons for them. Roasted beets are a favorite of mine, I think I could eat them once a week and never tire of their flavor.
*Grilled Cheese and Honey Croissants with Tomato Soup
Whenever there’s an anniversary, birthday or special holiday for us, G and I always have a champagne picnic for lunch. If the weather is beautiful, we go somewhere beautiful to enjoy it and if it’s dreary, we lay out a blanket on our living room floor and have a ‘carpet picnic’. So after this year’s anniversary picnic, I’m counting on having a lot of cheese leftover. I’ll make sandwiches out of whatever we’re left with and the whole grain croissants I got today at HT. And what’s perfect with a grilled cheese? Tomato Soup.
Happy Eating and Trick-or-Treating Everyone!

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  • Reply Anonymous October 26, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Wow, delicious-sounding meals here! I'm going right out to HT tomorrow and hunt for beef shanks–and all those wonderful root vegetables (but especially parsnips!)Thanks, as always, for all the great dinner ideas.

  • Reply Everyday Champagne October 26, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Parsnips are my favorite too…I've always said they're like a carrot with a temper. And I can't make my pot roast without them! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Anonymous October 27, 2009 at 12:28 am

    I came home from HT today with a clutch of parsnips, etc. and three packages (amazing deal!) of beef shanks! I wish I'd picked up a pomegranate too, though; your photo shows how pomegranate seeds transforms a lowly bean puree.

    Have you discovered yet what wonderful reduction sauces can be made with the pear-infused and fig-infused white balsamic vinegars available at HT?


  • Reply Everyday Champagne October 27, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Oh I'm so glad you found beef shanks- I was nervous that what I found was a fluke!
    I have never actually tried the infused vinegars, but can imagine their amazing flavor. If you find yourself out of your desired kind, it's actually quite easy to make your own… and great to give as gifts around the holidays!
    We had the braised shanks tonight for dinner and they were absolutely delicious. They slowly cooked all day in syrah and mirepoix and I served them over a mash of roasted garlic, turnip and white and sweet potatoes. Thanks again for your comments and let me know how your shanks turned out!

  • Reply Anonymous October 28, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    The beef shanks were wonderful rainy autumn night comfort food to come home to! I slow-braised them all day in red wine, beef broth, a lot of garlic, chopped onion, and fresh herbs. In the last hour before serving, I spooned off most of the greasy top layer of the broth, stirred in a little reduced broth/heavy cream mixture to thicken the gravy–and added some leftover chopped roasted turnips from another meal, some thin carrot coins, and some sliced mushrooms to make it a stew. Inspired by your menus, I served it on a puree of parsnips and white potatoes and roasted garlic. The accompaniment was thinly sliced brussel sprouts roasted with a little chopped local Grateful Growers home-cured prosciutto. There was a glorious garlic quotient here–and the meal was divine. I'll definitely make this meal again anytime I can find beef shanks. So thanks!

  • Reply Everyday Champagne October 28, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Oh that sounds wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing! And if you're the one who made the sweet potato-plantain fritters, thanks to you again because we will be dining on something very similar to that idea on our anniversary night!

  • Reply cary November 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    mmmm, i've never cooked beef shanks before. will have to look for them next time. thanks for the idea!

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