There’s a surprise inside

As 8-year-olds, we were giant fans of anything with a prize inside: Cracker Jacks, baseball cards, Lucky Charms, Double Bubble. No, we are too old to have begged for Happy Meals.

Perhaps it’s that fascination with hidden delights that makes cooks create things like arincini, those delightful balls of Italian risotto, wrapped around a hidden chunk of cheese, then lightly breaded and fried, until the cheese becomes molten. So this Wednesday, for Cheap Date Night, we’re making arincini, with an added surprise inside: in addition to the cheese, we’ll hide a crisp little chunk of our house-made pork belly. And then we’ll mound the arincini on a spicy red pepper tomato sauce. Two delightful plates for $10. Great with a bottle of Franco Marchesi’s Primitivo.

Inspired by … well, read on

Kathy and Justin are standing in the kitchen eating sweet pickles and peanut butter and discussing the week’s menu. (Blame the weird snack on Rainbow, who has returned, thank heavens, and who rhapsodized over PB&P.)

We are getting really tired of turnips and rutabagas, we said to each other between pickle and peanut butter bites. (We dispensed with the bread, and just spread the peanut butter right on the pickles. We’re true junkies.) We are oh so ready for LOCAL fresh lettuce, berries, squash, spring onions, peas, and oh, don’t get us started on eggplant and peppers and tomatoes.  Until then, we are making the best of a bad situation (i.e.: getting produce from California.)  This week, we are dipping our toe in the spring pond, and serving a salad of asparagus tips, snap peas, carrots and potatoes in a pancetta and chive vinaigrette.

The pickles and peanut butter inspired more great dishes for the week ahead. Here ya go:

  • Democracy Solidarity Dish of the Week: Grilled sturgeon kabobs in sesame lemon sauce with a warm Tunisian salad of carrot, olive, mint, garbanzo beans and feta cheese
  • Double thick cut bone-in Mountain Shadow pork chop, ginger orange ancho chili glaze, gnocchi in poblano pesto, scallion and radish slaw
  • Seared scallops, French green lentils, Hood River Organic mushrooms and pork belly
  • Duck confit, carrots, fennel, collard greens, in herbed cream sherry sauce, pate a choux dumplings
  • Timbales of cheese fritter, crispy pork belly, braised collard greens, farm egg
  • Vegetarian kitchadi wraps with bib lettuce and red onion mint raita

Riddle me this

Stu (reading the newspaper): What is the significance of the number 50?

Kathy (drinking a margarita): I don’t know … the age where your skin clears up but your hair starts falling out?

Stu: Nope. It’s the percentage of restaurants owned by women.

Well how about that. See you around Nora’s Table.




3 responses to “There’s a surprise inside

  1. I would want to eat Democracy Solidarity Dish of the Week even if I didn’t know what was in it. Even more so after reading the description. Love the sentiment. And all women-owned businesses!

    • Cathy, glad it sounds tasty! Since the dish is middle eastern (Tunisian influenced, in particular) I was thinking about all that’s happening in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, and thinking that putting a dish from that region on the menu this week is a bit of “solidarity” with people who are yearning for democracy.

  2. Hi — As you know, I love your blog and other e-messages, but Steve doesn’t always remember to forward them to me. Will you please add me to your “mailing” list? We are up to our eyeballs in Spring Break grandchild care; when it’s over we’ll be heading to Nora’s Table 🙂

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