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 Kristen, an American mom living in Paris with her infant daughter and husband. She’s the founder of The Kale Project, a bold endeavor responsible for bringing kale back to French markets and restaurants. She’s also the author of Savez-vous Manger Les Choux? and an upcoming food memoir, Bonjour Kale.
What’s Kristen’s Food Philosophy?
I cook 99% of the meals for our family with my husband taking Sunday night, which has become a nice routine for us. I think my biggest priority is to have as little processed food in our house as possible. I don’t buy snacks. Potato chips are an occasional guilty pleasure and I really limit our sugar intake. I like to can tomatoes every September for the year, make my own breadcrumbs, cashew milk, granola, etc. Not working full-time and being surrounded by the Paris markets has really made me think more about our food and I ask myself a lot, “Should I just make this instead of buying it?” I have yet to perfect hummus and I’m on a mission to replace Heinz Ketchup, which is a big deal since I am from Pittsburgh.
When I cook, my goal is to try to make our plates as colorful as possible, with greens having a prominent place whether it’s salad, chard, spinach, broccoli or kale. So much of what we eat is based on what I can buy at the market that is grown in France. If it’s grown outside the country, I really try not to buy it. We still indulge in cheese because it’s France and how can you not?!
What inspired this week’s menu?
Since having our little girl, I find cooking dinner – and trying new things – to be a wonderful creative outlet for me. I try to pick around 2-3 recipes from cookbooks to try during the week that look somewhat simple and are new to keep things interesting for me. I like to say that I only go shopping for groceries once a week but I like to do outdoor markets twice a week with Grady and then normally buy any fish or meat the day of (another perk of working part-time and living in a city!)
We’re just starting solids and I’m doing a mixture of baby led weaning and puree and so far, well, the food just ends up everywhere but where it should. I’m sure every parents remembers this stage. I think it being the end of summer produce and the beginning of autumn/winter is a good time to get started!
So what’s for dinner?
Sunday: Philip’s night, which means Spaghetti Bolognese or Sunday Roast. I am always in charge of the vegetables (and with the roast that means roasted endive, leeks and various roots)
Monday: Mustard Milanese Chicken from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Tuesday: Egg noodles* with a stir-fry of greens and steamed tofu with homemade peanut sauce (sauce recipe via Food 52) (we brought home freshly ground peanut butter from the Whole Foods Market machine in London)
*I have a manual pasta machine waiting for me in Pittsburgh and an Italian grandma waiting to give me lessons. My latest interest is going to be making my own.
Wednesday: Cod with homemade bread crumbs, roasted onions, zucchini, eggplant, red peppers and garlic
Thursday: Langostines aux armagnac from My Kitchen in France, brown rice, sauteed spinach, rainbow chard, red peppers, steamed beets with brown rice vinegar, olive oil and a few flakes Maldon finishing salt
Friday: Babysitter – we aim to try a new restaurant every week now that we can go out again! Our latest kick is old-school French restaurants serving country food like coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon
Saturday: Sometimes Lebanese, Pizza or sushi takeout or Philip might cook