Tag Archives: food and community

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/18/2013

Gentle Readers, this August is far more marathon than sprint. I will spend more time in restaurants and other people’s kitchens than my own. That is the challenge and the beauty of life. I’m learning quickly that buying less is more, and now is the time to rely on the war chest that is actually my freezer and pantry. Depression era thinking has never been a more useful skill.

Frozen pizza options.

Frozen pizza options.

Once more on the road, we are celebrating with NYC friends this week. Obviously, I love to eat in this city. I love the street food, I love the random hole in the wall places, and I deeply love the latte from the barbershop in Williamsburg that I hope to revisit. But I digress.

Lamb gyro, extra hot sauce, from The Halal Guys!

Lamb gyro, extra hot sauce, from The Halal Guys!

This summer has been about community around the table–wherever that table may be. From my fellow CloudBunny who opened her home to us in New Orleans to the dynamo that is my Bestie Bride, food happens where it happens, and the people you are with are the most important part. Summer is a time to break from routine and live. We’ve done that.

One shot latte from The Parlor. It was dreamy.

One shot latte from The Parlor. It was dreamy.

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

Sunday: Malaysian food
If you haven’t tried this wing of Asian cuisine, get thee to the Google and find some near you. It’s a wonderful fusion of a lot of different cultures. Lucky us, this is the wedding dinner we’ll be attending. A blend of curry and spice without ridiculous heat, I’m a fan.

Malaysian dessert with a candle, complete with singing, from Laut in NYC.

Malaysian dessert with a candle, complete with singing, from Laut in NYC.

Monday: Street Food
I don’t know what it will be, perhaps Halal Cart or just a gyro, but I plan to enjoy it. A lot. I encourage you to go out and find what’s happening locally foodwise in the street. Some great ideas to be had, some great food to be eaten.

Street food in Barcelona: juice bar style.

Street food in Barcelona: juice bar style.

Tuesday: Salad and Pasta
Recovery food for us, we can always make something out of the pantry. It’s good to reset the palate back to normal after a lot of travel. I think this may just be a penne with red sauce night, side of Caesar salad.

Pasta with red sauce FTW!

Pasta with red sauce FTW!

Wednesday: Steak and Potatoes
It’s been too long since I went traditional. Let’s see what happens!

I am still missing this ribeye. Hello again.

I am still missing this ribeye. Hello again.

Thursday: Salmon and Green Beans, Bed of Couscous
As back to school looms near, so emerges my inner Betty Crocker.

Friday: Pizza!
Again, something we’ve not had a ton of, seems like a good time to start.

Smiling does not improve turkey bacon's taste. Just saying.

Smiling does not improve turkey bacon’s taste. Just saying.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Believe it or not, I’ll be in SF, and I think dinner should be about bacon.

Thanks for all of the suggestions you’ve sent my way. Keep it up! I am still seeking fabulous fried chicken and the very best in chocolate covered bacon. Game on!

Send bagels, egg and cheese on a roll, and Halal cart food to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Wednesday, Snack Wisdom: Travel Foods.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

The Art of the Effortless Party

Every once in a while, you meet someone who is truly a hostess with the mostest. For me, Gentle Readers, that person is Rocking Writer, who manages to toss together dinner for any number of people in a snap, have a party in the middle of a downpour, and never ever lets ’em see her sweat. She is the epitome of effortless grace in the kitchen, and The Practical Cook unabashedly studies her methods.

An Effortless Party Table with Flowers

An Effortless Party Table with Flowers

Top 5 Tips for a Practically Effortless Party

1. KISS. We all know this  one, keep it simple stupid. If you want an effortful party, make individual fussy appetizers and everything from scratch. If you want to go for something simpler, keep it simple. Limit the dishes to something salty, something sweet, something hot, something cold. Variety, but not too much of anything is key.

2. Flowers. The little touches matter. Put flowers on the table, instant party!

3. Nice Dishes. What are you saving them for? Now is the time to whip out the good and interesting pieces. Again, if you followed rule #1, clean-up won’t be so bad.

Close-up on the effortless party spread. Guacamole, pastry puffs, hummus, cheese, done.

Close-up on the effortless party spread. Guacamole, pastry puffs, hummus, cheese, done.

4. Buy Some, Make Some. This table proves a rule I’ve learned many times over at my annual Christmas dinner. People like pigs in a blanket. You can slave in a hot kitchen, or you can accept that some party foods are faves for a reason. Buy some dips, make one or two special things, save your energy for pouring drinks.

5. Invite Interesting People. Not food related perhaps, but key. Good conversation overwrites any eyebrows that might be raised about culinary choices. Remember, this is an effortless party you’re throwing, not a sit-down 5-course gourmet dinner party. Sometimes, the effortless party conversation can be about food. The Practical Cook loses no opportunity for field research!

So thank you to Rocking Writer for well, rocking, and for the invite. I am inspired and reminded that food and community are inseparable and important.

Are you an effortless host? Post your comments and tips, I need ’em!

Send your party invites and pictures to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, a product review: Frozen Polenta with Spinach and Carrots from Trader Joe’s.

2 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, Punt!