How would you like poached salmon with cucumbers cream and mint & sautéed grated zucchini with herbs for dinner? How about if it is paired with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread and a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and topped off with homemade brownies for dessert?
No, you don't have to go to an expensive restaurant for this feast. You can learn how to make it at Notakeout.com, which provides a complete menu, an express line friendly shopping list and a game plan to prepare a delicious, seasonal dinner. You can find tonight's menu here.
It's an ambitious project for a beginner cook like me, but I'm up for the challenge.
"Why wouldn't you just open up a recipe book?" asks my friend Blair, who is in town visiting from San Francisco.
"When I look at a recipe, I get overwhelmed," I explain. "The web site presents it to me in tiny steps, which I can manage."
Blair is on board. She helped me shop for the ingredients this morning and tonight, she'll cheer me on (and lend a helping hand) as I attempt to poach, sautée and bake.
Past notakeout menus have included: Pan Fried Pork Chops with Green Pea and Asparagus Ragout, Grilled Sirloin Steak with Herbs & Farro Salad, Braised Chicken Legs with Tomatoes & Sautéed Cauliflower, and Pasta with Summer Squash, Walnuts, Herbs & Hearts of Romaine Salad.
Alice Waters, a guest contributor (tonight's menu was adapted from Waters' "The Art of Simple Food") is a huge fan of notakeout. "Mealtime is a time for empathy and generosity, a time to nourish and communicate. I’m delighted that this global website will make it easier for families to come to the table, and back to their senses!" she raves on their site.
If you become a free subscriber to notakeout, you will receive your Menu and Shopping List every weekday morning via email or RSS. On weekends you're left to fend for yourself!
Elsewhere on the web, I'm inspired by Not Eating Out in New York, a web site started by Cathy Erway chronicling her endeavor to eat only home cooked meals.
If you want some reasons to not eat out, check out Erway's list. Her arguments are almost compelling enough to convince me to give up my favorite take out burritos and Moo Shu Pork.