Weeknight Dinner Recap: Volume XXIX
Welcome to the twenty-ninth edition of Weeknight Dinner Recap! While this week didn’t feature our usual five nights of cooking, it did include one really big, exciting event: we moved!! Yes, finally, we moved into our new, beautiful apartment and have been unpacking, organizing and actually cooking ever since Wednesday.
Well, we cooked on Thursday. The day of the actual move was long and exhausting so we went out and celebrated with cocktails and French fries. Naturally. 😉
Let’s get to this funky, and celebratory, week of food, shall we?
Sunday: As a toast to the town we were leaving, we went to a neighborhood staple, La Morra, for some incredible Italian food and wonderful hospitality. We grabbed bar seats early (before 6pm because we are super young and hip) and had a relaxed, bittersweet dinner.
While I couldn’t wait for our move and the new home that we picked out only weeks earlier, the reality of the move and leaving our neighborhood hit me unexpectedly on this night. Would I like our new neighborhood? My new commute? Would our cat adjust? Answers to these questions will be in next week’s Recap.
Our old apartment was filled with wonderful memories, but I knew that this move was the right decision and so many new memories would be made. But that didn’t stop me from briefly tearing up (I’m just a big sap) while having a great bottle of wine and some really delicious dishes.
We highly recommend La Morra in Brookline, MA for some truly scrumptious Italian food; a special restaurant that we will always return to no matter where we live. What did we order? Amazing citrus risotto, a drool-worthy lamb ragu, and a perfect roasted chicken under a brick. Find La Morra in Bar Bites: Italian. 😊
Monday: After a busy day at work and then time at the gym, we opted for a much quicker meal this night since packing wasn’t entirely done yet. Whoops! Pizza to the rescue.
Walking to our local outpost of Oath Pizza, we found solace in the quiet surroundings and easy, delicious gluten free pies! Have you been here before? It’s awesome and super-relaxed. Plus, they have great protocol in place to ensure the gluten free pizzas remain gluten free. Yes, they make non-GF ones, but I personally tend to visit when it’s not too busy and the manager has often popped by our table to double check the gluten free requirement. Appreciated!
Oath Pizza gets my vote for those nights when you need a quick dinner, crave pizza, and feel no shame when you order three of them and *gasp* leave without any for lunch the next day... Pizza provided super powers for packing, I swear. 😳
Tuesday: Moving-day eve! Stress was high, exhaustion was a given, and we still had some packing left to do. But despite our consideration for an ultra-quick bite, I decided it would be better to enjoy another favorite, Orinoco, so that we could soak up one more local spot that we’d miss once our zip code changed.
If you haven’t been, Orinoco is located in Brookline Village and has awesome Venezuelan cuisine in a cheerful, relaxed atmosphere. Bar seats aplenty on a low-key Tuesday night, the rest of the tables were full of groups sipping the restaurant’s go-to mojitos and variety of Venezuelan specialties.
My order each time we visit (no joke) is two of the scrumptious arepas, preferably the pernil and pelua, which are rich in flavor and cheese (and meat) as well as being entirely gluten free! The restaurant offers a whole section of the menu to arepas and all are equally yummy and GF. Don’t worry, if you don’t eat meat, there are options for you, too!
Arepas are essentially a “pita pocket” made of corn; the dough is formed into a small circle, then split open, filled with goodness, and grilled on each side. A mini panini of sorts, you could say. All I will say is that they are absurdly delicious and I always have at least one or two whenever we go there. I paired mine with a coconut mojito - so good - and toasted our final night in Brookline.
Of note: arepas are very filling! We made it home to do the last-minute packing and were almost too full to finish! Just kidding. But I did flop down on the couch briefly before those final boxes were filled. 😉
Wednesday: Moving day! What a rush, what a blur, what a... move! Starting early, the moving company arrived before 8am and while we scurried around finding bits and pieces that didn’t make it into boxes, the team swiftly packed our life, and a lot of heavy furniture, into the truck!
Once they finished, we packed up our car with the remaining funny items, including our cat (precious cargo!), and made our way to the new apartment. Bittersweet to say goodbye to the old apartment, but well, it was time for a change. And that change includes a brand new home (apartment) with a washer + dryer, a gas stove, as well as two full bathrooms. Life is good!
The remainder of Wednesday, once the moving truck was fully unpacked and boxes were literally everywhere, was spent partially in shock (we did it!) and also spent at a favorite restaurant for an early-bird, we-are-done-moving dinner!
Thrilled to sit down for the first time all day, we rejoiced with cocktails and fries at The Bancroft where our favorite bartender helped us relax appropriately: espresso martini for me and a local beer for Seth.
I was so relieved that the move was done I barely noticed we showed up looking a bit more ragged than usual. I had on no makeup and a ponytail that had definitely seen better hair days. Reality, my friends! Thankfully, our “messy” look didn’t stop us even for a second from enjoying some major comfort food at the bar that we had (almost) all to ourselves.
I secretly love having dinner in restaurants before 6pm... nice and quiet! And now, I’m suddenly 90! If you’re wondering, Seth ordered their amazing burger and I had (all GF) a great wedge salad, creamed spinach with an egg on top, and uh, more fries! What?! We were celebrating. 😉
Thursday: Our first full day in our new apartment called for our first real meal cooked in our new, awesome kitchen! I had been waiting patiently (barely) for this day to come all month and was thrilled we could get back to cooking. Yahoo!
Dish: Chicories with Anchovy Bread Crumbs and Egg Yolk and Cumin Chicken Meatballs
Recipe: Due to massive time unpacking, organizing, and making our place feel like home as quickly as possible, we were starving. So we combined one of our favorite recipes for Cumin Chicken Meatballs from Dinner by Melissa Clark with a new salad recipe from Dining In by Alison Roman.
To make the meatballs gluten free we just used GF bread instead of regular and the only change necessary for the salad was to use Aleia’s GF breadcrumbs to make the anchovy breadcrumbs, which I’m still salivating over many days later.
Outcome: Just delightful! A terrific mix of crave-worthy flavors and new ingredients that really set the tone for our future cooking endeavors in our new home. Loved every bite!
First of all, we have made these meatballs before and they were as yummy as I remembered - and we made sure to do a double batch because hunger and they’re just that good! Easy to prepare and topped with a great green sauce, these are a must if you need a realistic chicken meatball after a busy day (read: no major time commitment necessary!). The bonus? They’re cooked in the oven under the broiler so there’s no oil from frying! A health benefit that I feel must be noted because we’re trying for some semblance of health most days! 😬
And then there’s the salad! Our first venture into the salad section of Dining In, and I’m thrilled all over again. If you didn’t know, this cookbook has reigned supreme in our house lately and I’m telling everyone it’s a must-buy for countless reasons including this salad. Radicchio, endive, salty GF breadcrumbs, and runny, raw egg yolk. I’m not sure what’s more delicious that’s served cold!
A different take on a more traditional bowl of greens, this dish will definitely be made again and I’m certain those Anchovy Breadcrumbs will be made and used for countless other reasons as well. Addictively salty and last for a while in the fridge, my next plan for them is to be used on avocado toast! 😎 All in all, a welcomed plate of great homecooking that made me even happier to be settling in to our new home (and kitchen).
Friday: Well! First day of work with my new commute and we had a vicious storm! But, I made it, and despite the winds howling ferociously and the rain pounding the pavement (and a lot of damage to homes all over the place), we made the smart decision to stay at home and cook that night.
Battling the storm to get what we needed from Whole Foods was an adventure, but the winds briefly died down long enough to grab the ingredients and get home safely. What’s better to eat during a Nor’Easter than a piping hot bowl of comfort? Nothing. 😉
Dish: Creamy Shrimp Risotto with Mascarpone
Recipe: This recipe is from the current issue of Bon Appetit magazine, which I am sure can also be found on their website. We followed it as written which was naturally gluten free! 👏👏
Outcome: Unbelievable! While it took hours longer than we had anticipated, thanks to from-scratch shrimp broth, it was well worth the wait and hanger that ebbed and flowed through the process! I’d recommend starting to cook this meal way before you actually want to eat so that by the time it’s ready (hours later) you are ravenously hungry and can enjoy/inhale every single bite.
We learned a lot from this recipe including, but not limited to, how to make shrimp broth/stock from scratch, how to make risotto so creamy you want to weep, and that fresh lemon truly does make everything even more amazing and delicious.
If you already knew how to do all of that, then congratulations to you, but for us, this recipe felt like a revelation in how to make a great dish (risotto) even more spectacular and special.
This was one of those meals where you take one bite, feel your life changing for the better almost instantly, and then continue to eat in silence with your dinner companion (my husband Seth! The chef!), until the only noise you hear is the sound of your forks hitting the empty plates.
Winning moment: we were barely able to control ourselves, but we saved just enough to have a little leftover lunch on the weekend which we heated up quickly in our microwave. Microwave!! We didn’t own one for years (yikes!), but our new apt has one in the kitchen and it’s absurdly convenient for moments like that. I know, I know, welcome to the 21st century, Mollie and Seth. Blah blah blah. Why, thank you! We are so glad to be here! 😉
And that’s it, folks! One whirlwind week of packing, moving, unpacking, and eventually cooking! And to say I’m happy it’s over would be an understatement! Let’s just chill for a while, make some great food, maybe bake something sweet, and sit on our giant couch. That sounds pretty perfect to me.
Hope you had a delicious, and perhaps calmer week than us! But if your life is just as (or more) hectic, then come join the party. We’re happy to have you!
Thank you for reading and eat well,
Mollie and Seth