Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash & Shrimp
This is a recipe I stumbled upon because I had a Kabocha squash lying around the house from a recent farmers’ market trip...so I turned to the trusty google and found this FABULOUS and EASY recipe on Epicurean.com.  My husband loves Thai food and he thought that this was restaurant quality...we’ll definitely be making this one again, yum! http://www.epicurean.com/featured/thai-red-curry-with-kabocha-squash.html  
Gnocchi with Radicchio, Pancetta, Pine Nuts & Rosemary
I love making gnocchi...especially on a cloudy Sunday afternoon with a glass of wine in hand, fun and relaxing.  The one trick is that you really do need a potato ricer to get the gnocchi to be the right consistency.  I’ve tried other methods and shortcuts before, but finally had to give in and get a potato ricer and it’s worth it (great for uber-creamy mashed potatoes as well!).  This flavors in this recipe from the December 2010 Bon Appéitt are divine...but I don’t know how you go wrong with pancetta and rosemary.
Julia Child’s Coq au Vin

What can I say...it’s Julia Child’s Coq au Vin!  Cognac flaming, wine bubbling, careful and precise sautéing of onions and mushrooms....all resulting in an amazingly delicious Sunday dinner (I know the menu said Friday, but we got a little busy and had to switch things up). To be fair, it’s a bit of a labor intensive dish, but most of Julia’s classic dishes are and the payoff is well worth it.  Flavorful and succulent chicken, melt in your mouth onions and mushrooms, and a sauce that you’ll be tempted to lick off your plate!
Weekly Dinner Menus
My weekly menus are one of the key elements to living what I refer to as a SavoryGirl life...meaning they afford me a way to keep my passion for cooking and trying new recipes front and center in my otherwise busy life.  Over the years, I have developed a few philosophies that I try to develop my menus by...they’re not hard and fast rules just guiding principles that align with what is important to me personally and allow this system to work best for us:
  • Balance meat, fish and vegetarian meals throughout the week with a slightly heavier emphasis on the latter two
  • Seasonal menus...so for the most part you won’t see corn on the cob in the winter, for example. To be fair...I do eat bananas and pineapple all year round even though those are never in season here really
    • Keep in mind that I live in CA, so what’s in season for me (strawberries in the winter!) may not be in season for you...when that is the case I encourage you to choose frozen or canned alternatives.
  • Leftovers! I’m a huge believer in leftovers so they are regularly incorporated into the menus.
    • Remember that we’re only a family of 2, so if you also want to incorporate leftovers you may have to double or triple the original recipe
    • If you don’t love leftovers as much as we do and want to skip that, feel free to dig back in the archives to find a substitute recipe...or add a “DIY night or a recipe of your own (and please share!)
  • “DIY” Nights - on some nights there won’t be a detailed recipe to go along with the dinner and instead it will indicate “DIY” in parentheses, which means “Do It Yourself” or in other words, wing it! Experiment and create your own recipe for that dinner...these are often quick and easy dinners at my house or things that I have made a million times and can do on autopilot.
  • Eating Out - I also build in nights to eat out...because trying new restaurants is is just as important and fun to me as trying new recipes and cooking...especially when you live in a great food city like San Francisco!
    • Of course, you don’t have to eat out on the same night as I am so feel free to rearrange the menu to fit your schedule or pick an archived recipe to skip the eat out night all together.
One last word of advice...use short-cuts and your support system often! I am extremely fortunate that my husband, Christian, has a more flexible schedule than I do and is always extremely willing to help out. It wasn’t always that way, but we’ve learned and compromised over the past 10 years to foster the things that are important to us...one of which is regularly home cooked yummy meals that we can sit down and enjoy together at the end of a long day. So Christian is my best sous chef and dishwasher...find yours whether it’s a friend, roommate, spouse or kid...it’s worth it and it can help develop an interest in cooking in others while you chat it up and spend some good quality kitchen time together.
Chocolate Fondue

Christian is a true choc-aholic, so every Christmas Eve when we have our little family Fondue Party he is kind of just tolerating the cheese & meat fondue courses so that he can get to the chocolate course!  I think a lot of people assume that fondue is complicated or super messy, but really it's quite quick and easy.  It's also the perfect dessert for a party since it allows you to converse and have fun while playing with your food and indulging your sweet tooth!

The recipe below uses dark chocolate since that's our favorite, but you could also use milk or white if that's your preference.  Depending on how big your sweet tooth is, this should serve about 6.
Cheese Fondue

We are fondue lovers in our household...so much so that we even had our rehearsal dinner for our wedding at a fondue restaurant!  I love anything that slows down a meal and let's you play with your food while you have good conversation and fun.  Christian loves it for those reasons too...but I think he also has a lot of fond family memories of fondue since he grew up having fondue with family and friends every Christmas Eve, a tradition we've continued together.  So Christmas Eve is really our one time of year when we make fondue...and when we do it it's a full meal so this cheese fondue is followed by a meat/seafood fondue and a chocolate fondue.  But to be honest, the appetizer cheese course has always been my favorite!

When it comes to cheese fondue, I'm a traditionalist.  There are lots of recipes out there for Mexican cheese fondue or other versions but I absolutley love the traditional European style fondue which is what the recipe is for below.  This is another one of those recipes that I'm sure I got from somewhere, but I've been making it for so long that I'm not sure what the original source was and I think I've modified it a bit over the years.  Enjoy!