For our birthday as kids my brother and I got to pick where we would go out to dinner as a family. Inevitably we would choose Sakura, a Japanese restaurant, or India House. Not your typical choice for a seven or eight year old but we were pretty adventurous eaters. I always used to say it was because we were born in Saudi Arabia, but given that we moved to Vermont when I was 2 months old I am guessing that might not be the whole truth. But we did grow up eating Middle Eastern food my mom would make as well as other wordly foods. When I was in high school my mom and I started a tradition of cooking a themed birthday meal. A few of my braver friends were willing to partake in our Middle Eastern, Indian, and Thai themed dinner the year my mom had taken a Thai cooking class when she joined her brother on his trip around the world. My adventurous eating doesn’t go much further than wanting to try different ethnic cuisines, but I blame that on getting sick a few too many times while traveling. Takes the wind out of your sails a bit. But that is definitely something I’ve brought to our home palate. I like to throw in some dishes from different cuisines each week to keep things interesting. Granted they are usually very dumbed down versions of what is probably an extraordinary dish when made properly, but using what I can easily get my hands on and what is quick we get some very fine meals. This week I mixed some Thai and Middle Eastern flavors. Eating Well’s newest edition has a feature on quick weeknight India meals, so look forward to seeing some of those in the upcoming weeks. Meal Plan & Grocery List
Monday: Grilled Steak Salad with Eggplant & Veggies, Grilled Corn & Grilled Herbed Bread
- The name of this is actually Steak Salad with Tomatoes & Eggplant but I thought I would change it to more accurately reflect our dinner. We grilled eggplant, red onion, and bell pepper along with steak and it was super tasty.
- My simplified version of this recipe is to oil, salt, pepper and sprinkle a little oregano onto the cut up veggies. Travis grills them, chop them up, drizzle with red wine vinegar and voila.
- Travis also buttered up some bread with basil and grilled it for a hot second to go along with our salad.
- And what summer meal is complete without grilled corn? Since the season is coming to an end we are getting in as much corn as we can until next year.
Tuesday: Pasta with Pesto and Sautéed Greens
- This is my answer to too many greens and basil. I sautéed three different bunches of greens, mizuna, beet greens and komatsuna spinach together and served them with pasta.
- I still haven’t tried making pesto with sunflower seeds as I would hate to ruin it, so for now we still have traditional pesto that Stella has to miss out on. But if anyone has tried it and can recommend it one way or another, let me know!
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken & Peach Chopped Salad
- Grilled peaches are such a delicious summertime treat. This salad called for nectarines but when in Colorado in the summer, use peaches.
- I threw in a bunch of extra things we had laying around: cucumber, shredded carrot, chopped cabbage, avocado, grapes, and sunflower seeds.
Thursday: Thai Grilled Fish with Brown Rice and Green Beans
- I’ve been trying to find more summer grilled fish recipes and came across this when I was looking. It fits all my criteria of being quick, easy and expanding my fish horizons.
- I used flounder instead of red snapper or tilapia. It absorbed the flavors well and was a good substitute but we pan fried it since it was so thin.
- In the sauce I halved the sugar and added a little basil and mint too.
Friday: Middle Eastern Braised Cauliflower, Lamb Chops and Israeli Couscous
- I’m going to pat myself on the back for this one. For the first time in my recent and not-so-recent memory I cut up and used fresh tomatoes in a dish rather than canned. We have been getting more than Stella can keep up with in our CSA so instead of letting them go to waste I cooked with them. Crazy!
- Since this cooks down for long enough it worked out well, but I still prefer the skinless version I am given with canned tomatoes.
- Travis grilled the lamb chops and there was enough sauce from the cauliflower to serve with the couscous.
- I would probably double the spices next time and add a little cinnamon too for some extra flavor.