What’s for Dinner: Week of July 27, 2015

What’s for Dinner is a series dedicated to what real-life families eat.  Each week, a parent shares his or her menus for the week and talks about the food philosophy behind it.  Want to read more? Check out our WFD archives.

This week we hear from Kristine, a French woman who has traveled the world and now lives in Paris with her husband, Eric, and daughter.  Like the other French families we’ve heard from, they tend not to meal plan and instead focus on what looks good at the market each week. I particularly appreciate that they prepare multi-course meals AND tend to incorporate dark chocolate into most of them. 

What’s your Family Food Philosophy?

We absolutely love food and have a very simple approach to it. If we like it, we’ll eat it!…and from veggies to tripes and pig’s feet, there is not much we won’t eat. I’ve never thought about food in terms of “food philosophy” but if I were to try, I’d say :

a) We eat whatever makes us happy

b) We keep it simple, fresh, as much as possible local and seasonal…and we don’t waste anything

c) Cherish your family’s secrets recipes (I’m currently working on putting together a family cookbook and there’s a lot of family dishes I love from my mom’s foie gras, to my grandfather’s “snow soup”, to my grandmother’s lamb with tapenade, or my uncle’s duck confit. It’s things I like to get back to. Also my grandfather still makes his own olive oil and shares it with the family…whenever I get a bottle I cherish it like gold. )

I am extremely lucky that Eric loves to cook and is fabulous at it (he also truly pulls in his 50% share of the parenting and house work). He does most of the cooking (I do the dishes ;)) and actually, he should be the one writing this article 😉 He loves to cook savory dishes, I love to cook deserts (usually on weekends because I have more time) so we’re complimentary. We both work long hours but Eric starts extremely early which enables him to pick up our daughter from daycare at 6:30pm and start cooking when he gets home. I take care of her in the mornings, get to work around 9am and I usually come home around 7:30/8pm at night. Getting back by that time is not negotiable for me, so that I can spend time with my daughter and put her to bed, even if that means I need to work from home later at night if I’m in a busy work period. So Monday to Friday, when I get home, diner is usually ready. We usually eat around 8:30pm / 9pm in the summer.

What inspired this week’s menu?

We never plan menus in advance. I don’t want to be that organized about my life. The only exceptions are when we invite friends over, then we like to have something in mind in advance.

Every meal is inspired by whatever is in the fridge from what we got at the Sunday market. Everybody eats the same stuff, toddler included.

Basically what happens is we go to our farmer’s market every week and buy a whole bunch of vegetables, fruits, and cheese as well as a few pieces of meat from the butcher that we cook for lunch on week-ends. We cook meat mostly on weekends because during the week all three of us are lucky to eat at great cafeterias (at work and at daycare) that will always serve meats/fish along with starch, veggies, and deserts. Then, since we’re huge consumers of carbs we’ll buy pasta, rice, polenta, etc, from the store.

So what’s for dinner?

Entrée: soft boiled egg with bread with lemon-spiced salt & pepper
Plat : rice salad with tomatoes and homemade vinegrette
Fromage : fresh goat cheese with bread (baguette)
Dessert : peaches, yogourt and some dark chocolate

Plat : vegetarian chili
Dessert : Kiwi and strawberries salad served with mint from our balcony and honey from the bees we have in my offices’ garden

Entrée : endive salad with fourme d’ambert cheese
Plat : pasta with eggplant and peppers
Dessert : strawberries with homemade sugar-coated cilantro from our balcony

Entrée : Tomatoes and fennel salad with some pieces of stale bread from the previous days, soaked in lemon and olive oil
Plat: pasta with Kalamata olives and zucchini
Dessert : dark chocolate and kiwis

Apéro : Gin & Tonic
Entrée : Gazpacho
Plat : pasta with roasted garlic and Portuguese cow cheese
Dessert : yogurt with raspberry jam and dark chocolate (can you tell I’m in love with dark chocolate yet?)

(we had yummy steaks at lunch)
Apéro : Red wine (for me) and a blond beer (for him)
Entrée : tomato salad with pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, calliflower and chia seeds (Eric runs a lot and discovered those in a book about the Tarahumara Indians who are expert runners) serves with my grandfather’s go-to dressing (red wine vinegar in which you soak finely chopped onions, olive oil, salt & pepper)
Plat : fusilli pasta with pesto and fresh goat cheese
Dessert : dark chocolate with apple & mango “compote”

(we cooked really good sausages for lunch)

Apéro : pretzels with gin & tonic
Entrée : tomatoes, celery, fresh basil and cilantro from our balcony, local fresh goat cheese, and my grandfather’s dressing served with walnut and grain bread with sardine “rillettes” (bought) with wakame seaweeds.
Plat : pan-fried zucchinis with eggplants, yellow, orange and red peppers
Dessert: dark chocolate, nectarines and figs

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