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!