Weekend guests are always a welcome change of pace, especially when they make everyone in the house so happy. This weekend was particularly great because our guests surprised L for her birthday and she was utterly and completely astonished when she saw them.
Our Saturday birthday dinner was for nine people. I made it as easy as possible by putting together the ice cream cake during the week and by using some key purchased ingredients as time savers. Yeah, I know, it is whimping out and doesn’t seem very gourmet, but I’d rather spend time with my family. The first short cut is Soy Vay Veri Teriyaki marinade. I think it is the easiest way to make flank steak. I take the flank steak, throw it in a zipper bag, pour in some marinade, and zip the bag. Do this a few hours before grilling the steak and the result is tender, flavorful meat. Is it as perfect as a great homemade marinade? Definitely not. But, I haven’t found a great marinade that I love and it is veri veri easy (I may try the marinade that I used for the pork tenderloin next time that I have flank steak, though).
Second, Jade Sichuan Peanut Sauce is a condiment that I’ve been using for years to make cold peanut noodles. You take a pound of angel hair (or rice noodles) and cook them, drain and rinse them in cold water. Julienne some red peppers, carrots, and cucumbers (snow peas are also a good addition). Slice some scallions and chop some cilantro. Put the noodles and the vegetables in a bowl. Pour on about a cup of the sauce. Mix well. If you want the sauce to have a little bit more thickness, warm some (2 tbsp. or so) peanut butter and combine it with the sauce before you put it on the noodles.
So, I basically did very little work, and much of it ahead of time, for our family dinner party. The ice cream cake was a winner and we polished the leftovers off at snack-time today. The homemade toffee was great on the cake because we got “motherlode” chunks instead of the small pieces of bits-o-brickle.
This week is another non-standard week. S is out tonight and then goes away with J for some skiing (since she got shortchanged by L’s injury) on Thursday-Saturday. So, L and I have 3 nights of dinner where it is just the 2 of us. I think we’ll have meals that would not appeal to J – salmon, shrimp, and spicy food are some ideas. I’m leaving those days mostly open so we can decide together.
Here is the plan for the next couple of days:
Monday – Pea Soup, panini sandwiches with steak
Tuesday – Grilled chicken breasts, artichokes, herb roasted tomatoes
Wednesday – Pasta with Bolognese sauce (from my freezer), salad
Thursday – Little Shrimp Casseroles (Jacques Pepin), Asparagus
Friday – TBD
Saturday – TBD
Sunday – Dinner with friends