“We’ve developed a menu for a week’s worth of meals based first on the season, using some seasonal local produce, but also trying to keep stuff simple for people so they can use lots of the same ingredients all week but in very different ways.” By focusing on a few ingredients that can be used in a number of dishes, Monday through Friday is no longer a daily accounting problem and more of a creative puzzle.
Hard boiled eggs and roasted fingerling potatoes that are key components for Monday’s Smoked Trout Nicoise salad can easily become Wednesday’s Sriacha Egg Salad Sandwich and a Spiced Potato Salad for Thursday to accompany a Cranberry Bean hummus made from the leftovers of Tuesday’s Cranberry Bean & Kale pasta. Dig?
Outside of this stellar lineup, Molly was able to recommend a few extras for those who felt like going above and beyond for themselves, or for those who might be lucky enough to have someone build the meal for them.
“Dessert is always a great addition to any meal.”
Homemade marshmallows are easy to transport and show a lot of creativity, while a cheese coarse or spiced popcorn can help shorten the gaps between meals. High-end vinegars can add extra depth and acidity, but Molly’s secret weapon is a bit more unexpected.
“Fennel pollen. It’s very floral, and has an unexpected taste that pairs well with most dishes.”
Smoked Trout Nicoise Salad with arugula, hard boiled eggs, roasted fingerling potatoes, olives, and caper dressing
By placing the trout, olives, potatoes, and eggs neatly atop the greens, it’s easy to bring the salad dressing separate. Adding the dressing to the side of the bowl will make it easy to toss together as well. Bonus tip: mustard acts as a great emulsifier to keep your olive oil and vinegar from separating during morning email catch up.
Cranberry Bean & Kale Pasta with walnut pesto
Beans can easily be cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge. By tossing these cranberry beans with freshly cooked pasta, fresh kale, and a walnut pesto in a sautee pan, you can start with a wonderful hot meal the night before that is easily cooled for a chilled pasta lunch on Tuesday.
Sriracha Egg Salad Sandwich with Kale chips
Mustard, mayo, sriracha and other spices can easily transform the hard boiled eggs from Monday’s lunch into a spicy new egg salad. Toasting the bun ahead of time, with a little olive oil will help keep it from getting soggy, while lettuce leaves or half an avocado can provide an alternate vessel for your egg salad. By dehydrating the kale in an oven until it gets crispy, the leafy green quickly becomes a salty, crispy side.
Cranberry Bean Hummus with seasoned pita chips, Spiced Potato Salad, and Melon Salad with fennel pollen
Fresh cut melon dusted with salt, pepper and fennel pollen brings a bit of sweetness to Thursday’s Middle Eastern spiced meal. Cranberry beans can be made into a tasty hummus by blending them with lemon juice, tahini, and some salt, while roasted fingerling potatoes can be combined with spices, vinegar and olive oil to tie the components together. Pita chips can be homemade by cutting a pita into slices, brushing with olive oil, and baking in the oven.
Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup, and Roasted Garlic Panzanella with seasonal cherry tomatoes
The soup was so great and easy that we just had to get the recipe. A panzanella-style bread salad is a great way to use up any staling bread in the house near the end of the week. Toss the cubed bread in sauté pan with olive oil and garlic cloves until they both turn golden brown. Mix with tomatoes and other seasonal veggies to balance out the richness of the bread.
Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup
Molly Schemper is the pastry chef/owner of FIG Catering, where she works with her partner Justin Hall to bring seasonal, organic catering options for 2-250 guests. More information can be found on their website, figcatering.com, or by calling 773-793-1035
2 English style cucumbers, peeled and diced
3 Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and cut
1/2 cup Spanish or sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced or grated
Juice of 3 limes
Salt & pepper
Sriracha, to taste
Water or vegetable stock as needed to adjust thickness
Combine in a blender and puree until smooth.