Monday, May 16, 2011

guest blogger: rebekka of dear friend

I will never forget the first time I met Rebekka. She will always stand out to me as the tall gorgeous blonde in the vintage red pea coat holding cupcakes. She is an amazing blogger, artist, illustrator, chef, vintage lover, and friend. She is one of those people who lives life fully and with ease and you always wonder how she does it. I am so happy that she is sharing a few of those tips here with my readers. You are in for a treat!!

Well hello there! This is Rebekka Seale from Dear Friend. I'm an artist and illustrator, and dear friend and big fan of Melodie's, so it's an honor and a joy to be asked to post in her absence. 

Some time ago, over dinner, I shared with Melodie our weekly shopping, cooking and eating routine. My husband and I try to keep roughly 90% of what we eat local and seasonal, with the other 10% coming from a well-stocked pantry. So much is made of eating locally and seasonally these days, which is excellent, but I have found that there aren't many resources on how to do it simply, beautifully, and within a budget. Out of sheer necessity, or perhaps desperation, I designed a skeleton-like weekly meal plan for our little family, on which we've built some lovely meals!

The plan varies from season to season (in winter, there is a lot more soup!), but the basic bones are this:
Sunday: Cheese souffle, usually with a green salad. Simple, scrumptious, and we get to play with whatever local cheese we picked up at the market on Saturday.
Monday: Beans. On Mondays, we follow the ancient New Orleans tradition of cooking a huge pot of red beans and rice. I do this in the slow cooker, and sometimes I make white beans with rosemary or another variation. But, either way, I make a LOT, and we eat it all week for lunch, with fruit and cheese.
Tuesday: Dinner with friends, every week.
Wednesday: Whole Roasted chicken, with seasonal vegetables (and most always mashed potatoes!). After dinner, I put the carcass in the slow cooker with vegetable trimmings and make overnight stock. We freeze the stock and use it for soup, beans, and risotto.
Thursday: Omelettes or frittatas. These are especially fun to conjure up with different seasonal elements...fresh woodsy mushrooms, new baby potatoes...
Friday: Pasta! Endless possibilites here. Our favorites usually involve some type of spicy cured sausage and greens, or a simple aglio e olio with truffle oil.
Saturday: Saturday is a wild card. Saturday is the day we shop at the market, so sometimes we're inspired to come home and cook something splendid from the day's trip. But, very often, we go out to dinner, or grab pizza, or have dinner with friends.

Instead of being rigid, this meal plan can be very easily and loosely adapted to our schedules. Two things are necessary to make it work: 1. A weekly trip to the Farmer's market to buy eggs, meat, cheese, and whatever fruits and vegetables look alluring at the moment, and 2. A very well-stocked pantry. The idea is... if your pantry is well-stocked, you can make endless variations of endlessly charming meals. We use a pantry checklist from Alice Waters in her stunning book The Art of Simple Food. I have adapted it into an illustrated checklist that you can download and print!

Thanks, Melodie, for asking me to post! Have a marvelous time in NYC. Let's have dinner soon!


kayce hughes said...

Such a treat to "meet" you. Melodie has shared with me your weekly menu and you just reminded me that I forget to soak my beans! Hope to meet you for real one of these days.

Anonymous said...

I recently discovered Rebekka's blog and I am so charmed by her work and her gentle personality. This was a great post and I'm always looking to find out what other people do for meals throughout the week.

Natalie said...

This sounds magically marvelous... alluring, in a foreign language movie way... *you know they understand each other, but you wonder if it can ever truly apply to your self.*
I appreciate the simplified concept of anticipating the week, knowing there is a plan each day. I have been relying too heavily on "mood" cooking, and relegating meal preparation to the last minute, which invariably makes it a frantic and desperate act, instead of harmonious, gratifying.
I am going to visit your pantry list. But mostly I am going to remind myself, like a mantra, to plan, plan, plan, and keep it simple. Thank you!

City Girl (EC1) said...

Gorgeous post! Lovely food! I will definitely check out Rebekka's blog. Your's is lovely, Melodie, too! x

rebecca s. said...

i love reading posts like this that show how simple and lovely it is to plan, cook, and eat at home throughout the week. my husband and i follow a very similar plan and enjoy it thoroughly while many of our friends and family eat out and say they are too busy to take the time to cook, let alone actually enjoy it.

it's wonderful to see your post here, rebekka. your blog is beautiful.

Christy said...

We have been trying to get into a meal planning habit for months but always fall off the wagon. Thank you for the tips rebekka!

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