Menu 39 – Home Sweet Home

It’s Spring Break season here in NYC – so some people (not us) got away for vacation. Even if I’m not on vacation, I like thinking about it. Dare to dream.

One of the best things about taking a vacation is coming home. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? Back to your own bed, all of your clothes, your familiar surroundings. And cooking. Back to your own cooking. I love eating out but every night gets to be a bit much. On those nights when we return home, we’re often excited to eat our own cooking.

But not with a lot of effort. There’s unpacking to do and people are tired. So you need an easy and highly satisfying menu to cook on the night you get home from a vacation.

Grill to the rescue! So many benefits to grilling – the great outdoors, no kitchen mess, my husband does it. Everyone wins. But wait! Are we going standard burger and hot dogs? Not tonight, we’re not! We’re going seafood and making a few things that are super tasty on their own with no work. Grilled clams to start. That’s it. Everyone forgets about grilling littleneck clams but it’s the easiest thing in the world and SO satisfying. Next, break out that package of skewers you have tucked away. Skewer shrimp/chorizo/shrimp/chorizo (make the kids do this – kids love putting things on skewers). Since shrimp and chorizo are flavorful to begin with (and you’re tired because you just got home), you can grill those and leave it at that. If you want to do more, I’ve added a slightly fancier recipe below. Last, actual vegetables. Everyone likes grilled vegetables and since we are leaning Spanish we are spiffing these up with just the littlest bit of cooking (I know, you’re tired). The grilled vegetables are topped with a super simple garlicky mix of breadcrumbs. Everything is better with breadcrumbs.

And last, you want dessert. Spanish Rice Pudding. I did include a recipe below if you actually want to cook but I have a great cheat for you. Buy the rice pudding (Kozy Shack is the BEST), and then add just a little cinnamon and vanilla. It’s basically the same and easier.

See! Now you’re unpacked. You enjoyed a really simple menu that felt like vacation but had all the benefits of arriving back home. Life, and home, is sweet.

Menu 39 - 4 28 2016


Tips and Notes For grilled clams, you do just that, put them straight on the grill. Take them off when they open, which is likely after a few minutes. You can stop here and just eat them. Or you can add a little pepper and a squeeze of lemon. OR if you want to get a teeny bit fancy, put some herb butter on them like this one..


Only the smallest bit of non-grill cooking involved here:

If you want to make it yourself:

Menu 26 – Airplane Food

“Yay! Airplane food for dinner!” said no one ever. More like “I am running late and oh no there is McDonald’s but I don’t want that…guess I will buy in flight hummus and chips for $20.00”

Going on a trip? Don’t leave yourself in an airplane food lurch. Pack your own. You’re already packing clothes, it’s not that hard to pack yourself something good to eat on that plane. You’ll have to plan a little in advance (and cook) but how hard is that? And the leftovers you leave in the fridge for your family will make them miss you that much more.

There’s an amazing little shop near me called BKLYN Larder. If you’re in the neighborhood, go there and take your food winnings to Prospect Park for a lovely picnic. They have the World’s Best Travel Sandwich…Ham & Gruyere with Spicy Pickles. It’s life changing (so good, so durable, and so crave worthy). We’re going to make our own version for our fictional airplane ride.

Taking food on a plane is tricky – shouldn’t be smelly. There’s a chance the gruyere and aioli here might be a tad strong, but you’re not using much of it, so take the chance. It’s not like you’re taking egg salad on the plane (total travel foul).

What’s our menu? Treat yourself right and start with spiced nuts. You can buy them or make a batch yourself. They keep nicely and are a good way to pretend you’re in First Class. Bring some sliced cucumbers and add them to your iced water and you’ll feel downright spa-like. Next, the perfect sandwich. A little garlic aioli…not too much, a toasted hard roll, a few slices of shaved gruyere and the best ham you can find (sliced thin) and this is critical – a few slices of McClure’s spicy pickles. A good grain salad is a nice accompaniment – try Farro with Swiss Chard and Radicchio (grab a fork at a behind security deli). And to finish, bake yourself a batch of oatmeal cookies and take one (or two) on the trip. Have a nice flight!

Menu 26 - 1 21 2016

Tips and Notes

Buy some spiced nuts or make these:

Remember to take some sliced cucumber. It makes your water that much better.

The Sandwich: Inspired by BKLYN Larder: get the best ham you can find and have it thinly sliced. A hard roll – nothing mushy. A baguette would do. Good gruyere, also sliced thinly. Slice the roll, spread with a little aioli on one side (recipe here) and a little butter on the other side; layer your ham, then gruyere and a few thin slices of these pickles. Top on, press, wrap.

Farro with Swiss Chard and Radicchio:

Basic Awesome Oatmeal Cookies