Tuesday, April 17th:
Cowgirl Warm Brisket Salad with Roasted Veggies
Organic Greens & Chipotle Viniagrette
Pecos River Bean and Corn Relish with chips for dipping
Vegetarian Option: Portobello Mushroom Salad with Roasted Veggies
Dessert: Salted Toffee Chocolate Bars (aka, Grown-up S'mores) ($6)
Kids' Meal: Plain Potatoes & Steak ($6)
GYTTW Meal: Chicken or Paneer Tikka Masala with Jasmine Rice ($22 reg, $30 large includes naan)
Low Carb Add-on: Extra Portion of Brisket ($10)
As a kid growing up in Texas, I definitely had aspirations of being a cowboy. I spent many Decembers campaigning (without success) for Santa to bring me a horse of my own. I took riding lessons for years and spent hot, sweaty summers at camp in the hill country just in order to be able to ride to my heart's content. As I got older, however, I began to feel that the life of the cowboy might be a little too rustic for my tastes, seeing as how a girl might miss running water and cute clothes and hot rollers out on the trail. So I focused my attentions on riding English horses, wearing proper boots with a cute bun under my hard hat. It was more elegant, I felt, and even if I wasn't destined for horsewoman greatness, I felt myself becoming the glamorous and accomplished cowgirl of my imagination.
One fateful Saturday when I was 12 years old, however, I arrived to ride in a horse show and learned that my usual sweet horse had fallen ill and I would be riding a horse named Bones. Bones was a monstrous beast and smelled like trouble. When it was time for my group of 8 to go, I grasped the reins with sweaty palms and led old Bonesy out into the ring at a slow walk. The moment the instructor called for us to bring our horses to a trot, Bones was off like a shot, racing around the inside of the ring, lapping all of the other children trotting their horses at a nice, stately pace. I had absolutely no control and was simply clinging on to the saddle in the hopes of not breaking my neck. Around and around we went, speeding by everyone else, occasionally glimpsing the blurred faces of my parents in the crowd. Bones and I continued to gallop around the ring until well after the other horses and riders had returned to a slow walk. As Bones finally slowed down and we exited the ring, I cringed with with embarrassment as I accepted my 8th Place ribbon. Bones, on the other hand, stomped his feet and tossed his head with obvious pride at his clear domination over the other horses.
That, I'm sad to say, that was the end of my dream of being a famous horseback rider, unrealistic as that hope had been in the first place. (Though it may have been more realistic than my other childhood plan to win the All-Around Gold Medal in Women's Gymnastics and claim Mary Lou Retton's title as America's Sweetheart. Also, I'm pretty sure it was more realistic than when I became infatuated with Little House on the Prairie and thought that I could sew a bonnet just like Laura's. That bonnet did not look the way I had hoped it would at all.)
On the other hand, I'm happy to say that I do still love to ride horses and dream of the cowgirl life, and cowgirl food is an important aspect of those dreams. This week, Alex and I started talking about a salad menu and we quickly found ourselves salivating over the idea of tender brisket mixed with up with roasted veggies and smoky chipotle dressing. Perhaps a cowboy would just fire up a side of beef, but we cowgirls love a good salad too. Mix the two and you have a perfect dinner meal that will fill up cowgirls and boys alike - Cowgirl Warm Brisket Salad with Roasted Veggies!
We're also happy with this tasty little dish we've thought up - the Pecos River Bean and Corn Relish that can be enjoyed as a side dish or an appetizer with chips. Made with fresh lime juice and a little spice, it will brighten up the whole meal no matter when you eat it!
For dessert, we've gone back to the vault for one of our favorite dishes - Salted Toffee Chocolate Bars. Caroline (our baker last year) made it one week for us, and I literally could not stop eating this stuff until it was all gone. When she retired from her baking job with us, I was terribly sad to see her go for many reasons, but this dessert was right up there at the top. I begged her for the recipe, since I couldn't imagine a better dessert for this dinner, and she sweetly agreed to lend it! It's got every good thing you could imagine - chocolate, toffee, almonds and a little sea salt layered over graham crackers. It's terribly addictive, so just be sure you have a good hiding place figured out before Tuesday night rolls around.
As the Spring starts to get super-busy for everyone, it's a good idea to have a well-stocked freezer for those nights when you can't believe the week isn't over yet (isn't that the worst, when you wake up and have to think for a minute about what day it is, and then you realize it's only like Wednesday?). You will need a GYTTW meal in these cases, and this week we're making one of our favorites - Chicken or Paneer Tikka Masala. Tikka is always popular, and with good reason. We use seasoned chicken, mixed with potatoes and vegetables in a delicious, mild tomato-based sauce. Although Indian food might seem a little exotic for young kids, we've had really great luck with it - all of our kids (5 between me and Alex) - really like it and one even requests to take it for lunch in her "fermos (thermos)"to school. A large order includes Naan bread.
That's all we've got on the regular menu for you this week, although there is more good stuff over at the Mini Grocery Store. As a reminder, the Mini Grocery Store is not an actual store, but rather just a concept in my own head. Any Grocery Store items that you order with your main meal will be delivered with the rest of your food on Tuesday afternoon.
We're so glad to be back at work & hope to see y'all all out on the porch!
Claire & Alex
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