A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Making Menus

I love making menus. I feel so happy when the balance is just right, using ingredients I have on hand—menu-making is not a success if I have to run to the store. Yet I don’t care to do too much meal-planning in advance, preferring to await inspiration as I get hungry or the important guest meal approaches.

I have a friend who wanted a menu cookbook, because she could never decide what to serve with anything. Wow. I like menu suggestions, they’re fun, but of course I always change them.

Katherine told me about an extended-family backyard picnic she served a few weeks ago. This seemed just perfect for that kind of summer occasion:

Pulled pork
Ciabatta rolls
Green chili macaroni and cheese
Baked beans
Pea and peanut cole slaw
Cucumbers and onions in sour cream dressing
Brownies and a heaping bowl of fresh, cleaned strawberries

I was pleased with last night’s dinner menu:

Cold Poached Salmon with Mustard Sauce
White Bean Salad
Cucumbers in Vinegar
Blueberry Tart

White Bean Salad
1/2 pound dried white beans (or canned cannelini beans)
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves

Soak beans in water to cover overnight. Drain and rinse. Add fresh water and cook beans with bay leaves until tender. Drain; discard bay leaves; salt to taste.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, cut in 3/4-inch cubes
1 white onion, cut in 3/4-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, chopped

Heat olive oil in large skillet and sauté onions and garlic until brown and very tender, about 30 minutes.

4 plum tomatoes, cubed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Gently combine beans and onion mixture with tomatoes, lemon juice, and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.


Eva said...

I am ridiculously hungry now...

I'll be away this weekend and should return with tales of backwoods cooking. Nothing to top yours, though.

Sambo cooks said...

sam said - the beans are now on the menu.