Staple Meals

Michael Ruhlman recently asked in his blog what your staple meals are.

Our staple meals shift periodically, but here’s what’s been on heavy rotation here at LoE World HQ for the last year or so:

Roasted chicken thighs, any number of ways. Sometimes with a maple-mustard glaze. Sometimes doused with BBQ sauce and served alongside a pile of slaw. Sometimes just plain, with nothing but crunchy salt on the skin. (That one’s a personal favorite.)

Stir-fry, usually with chicken thighs and broccoli as the main features, because we all love it so much. I often make fried rice to go alongside, or we might have some Trader Joe’s potstickers with it as a treat. Lately I’ve played around with a better version of sweet-and-sour pork, one that avoids deep-frying and sickly sweet red glaze and instead focuses on fresh pork tenderloin, pineapple chunks and a pineapple-juice-based cornstarch-thickened sauce.

Grilled skirt steak, or sometimes butterflied leg of lamb. I like to marinate the steak with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, some soy sauce and some chopped green garlic before cooking it. Pan-roasted potatoes alongside.

Steelhead trout, simply crusted with herbs and baked in a hot oven, or sometimes pan-seared just to mix things up. Especially good with broccolini or asparagus. Basmati rice underneath. I used to serve this sort of thing with a tomato beurre blanc, but I’ve become less interested in beurre blanc recently.

I roast some type of bird at least once every other month. I like to do a whole turkey and then use the leftover meat for gumbo, or brown-rice jambalaya. I do a capon early every year. And I usually do a whole chicken stuffed with herbs and lemon once a month or so. Roasting and carving a whole bird makes me feel competent in a chefly way.

Turkey burgers, flavored with brunoised onion and worcestershire, pan-fried in an iron skillet and served on toasted whole-wheat rolls with lots of iceberg lettuce and some pickles.

My husband really likes sausages–brats, kielbasa, Italian, whatever–chunked up and stirred into a melange of sauteed peppers and onions with a can of tomatoes stirred in. He eats it out of a bowl.

Kibbeh on a green salad with tzatziki and grilled pita.

Ordinary pasta.


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