My Week of Eating In

This past week I joined Cathy Erway in her Week of Eating In. When I first accepted the challenge, I figured it would be a piece of cake, since eating in is what I do best. What I hadn’t counted on was a work week from hell, and two full-day photo shoots, not to mention my usual bevy of extra-curricular gigs.

There were a few nights, where I nearly threw in the towel in favor of take-out, but I persevered and as a result I ate very well all week and saved myself a boatload of money. When life get’s crazy (when isn’t it?) it’s easy to compromise on quality, budget, and nutrition, but being a part of this challenge made me realize that it doesn’t have to be that way.

But enough chit-chat, here’s the daily play-by-play.


Breakfast: skipped… I know, not a great way to start the week.

Lunch: Grilled onion, gruyere and rosemary pizza.

Dinner: I was shooting photos all day for the box of a new kitchen product, so I had tons of props laying around including a crispy skinned snapper on spinach, grilled red peppers with garlic and capers, lemon meringue tarts, lemon banana tarts, and crème brûlée. I just noshed on the props for dinner.


Breakfast: A peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich on 7 grain bread from the office pantry.

Lunch: Leftover pizza from Monday

Dinner: Beef Cheek Confit with caramelized baby turnips and garlic scapes. I happened to have some wagyu beef cheek confit sitting in a tub of its own fat in the fridge, so I crisped the exterior and served it on a bed of turnips and garlic scapes that were caramelized in a reduction of the beef juice that was produced during the confiting process. To say it was incredibly rich would be an understatement. The beef cheek, barely held together by a matrix of gelatin, was redolent of five spice and soy sauce and burst into a pool of flavor as it hit my tongue. The quick sear gave the exterior a crisp crust, while the tender interior gave it a luxurious contrast of textures. Perhaps the best part was the turnips that were caramelized on the outside and took on all the flavors of the beef and garlic scapes. Look for a recipe this week.


Breakfast: Plum and Walnut Liberté Méditerranée yogurt from the office fridge.

Lunch: skipped

Dinner: Quick Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce. Yea, I know I’m a little crazy to attempt a roast on a weeknight, but it all came together in 40 minutes thanks to a few shortcuts, and I had enough leftovers for 2 more meals.


Breakfast: Meeting madness, no time for breakfast.

Lunch: Pizza with grilled peppers, grilled red onions, enoki mushrooms, asiago cheese and sumac.

Dinner: Udon noodles with a soup made from the remaining beef juice from the confit, topped with a stirfry of some leftover roast lamb, garlic scapes, green peppers, cumin and fennel. It was a leftover meal, but it came out pretty close to the Cumin Lamb noodle soup at Xi’an Famous Foods, which is one of my favourite noodle dishes of all time.


Breakfast: Fage Greek Yogurt with Honey

Lunch: skipped

Dinner: A 2 oz. cut of wagyu shortrib and a 3 oz. cut of wagyu flatiron steak, cooked tableside with onions and served with sesame oil and smoked sea salt. You can’t really see the marbling from this photo, but trust me, it’s there. I’ve always been more of a quality over quantity guy, but I think it’s epitomized in my preference of steaks. I’d rather have a few bites of blissfully tender and flavorful beef than a 24 ounce porterhouse. These miniscule steaks cost about $7 together and it comfortably fed 2 people with some brown rice and other accompaniments.


Breakfast: After the week I had, I opted for an extra 3 hours of sleep for breakfast.

Lunch: Okay, so this is the closest I came to cheating. I made a package of Shin Ramyun, but in my defense, it was heavily augmented. I added green peppers, garlic scapes and scallions to the noodles, and an egg was gently mixed in just before serving. I topped it all off with some shredded white cheddar (yes it sounds weird but it’s delicious) and the last of the roast lamb. No photo because I was too hungry to stop and snap pictures.

Dinner: I made some takikomi gohan with brown rice, burdock, baby anchovies, fried tofu, and carrots. This was topped off with some grilled unagi and a dusting of sansho powder. It was earthy, rich, salty and sweet and oh so satisfying. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything green to garnish it with, so no photo.


Breakfast: Pancakes with blueberry caramel sauce inspired by Savory Sweet Life’s post of the same name. I saw her post late Saturday night and realized I had all the fixin’s in my fridge. For my version I used some caramelized sugar I had made for a photo shoot and whisked in some butter at the end for more body.

Lunch: Rice from last night with some baby anchovies simmered with soy sauce and sansho berries (sichuan peppercorns), as well as some kabocha pumpkin pickled in nuka (fermented rice bran).

Dinner: Grilled Sablefish (a.k.a. Black Cod) marinated in miso, sugar, sake, garlic and ginger. Served on top of a bed of broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic and natto (japanese fermented soy beans). Look for a recipe this week.

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  • jenjenk

    oh man…EVERYTHING looks good, but holy cow…that Udon looks amazing. Me want. NOW!

  • ila

    ack! everythings looks/sounds awesome (especially your unagi-don)… but i agree, working AND preparing meals (and doing other household stuff) is so difficult.

  • Melody Fury

    Neato, Marc :) It looks like you dined just as well, if not better and healthier! I know how it feels to have to skip meals too, it happens. Beautiful food as usual. I can sure go for some of those pancakes right now!

  • onlinepastrychef

    Congrats on being up to the challenge! You not only ate in, but you ate well–go, Marc!

    I often opt for the three hours of extra
    sleep over breakfast on weekends, too:)

  • PeterM

    Marc, who would wanna eat out when you have food like this? The beef cheek, rosemary pizza and pancakes…standouts!

  • jentinyurbankitchen

    I loved this post! I gotta say, you were pretty ambitious for the meals you made while at home. I can just imagine if I did the same exercise, the dishes would be so much more humble. :) Thanks for sharing. I love the pics.

  • LC

    I love Shin Ramen with cheese!! Although I favor a good ol' american kraft slice.

  • Syrie

    Nice work Marc. I think the beef cheeks and pancakes are my fave. Gorgeous meals.

  • The Rowdy Chowgirl

    Mmm! I want to come eat at your house! The pizzas looked especially good. I loved this post. When I cook, I usually try to make enough of something to last for 3-4 meals. The variety of your menu was very impressive!

  • amyepal

    This is an incredibly impressive week of cooking, especially during a busy week. I think I need to take a cue from you and figure out a way to keep more pizza dough on hand- I believe you said you use no-knead, right? Do you make a double batch and keep it in the fridge? The pancakes look divine!

  • norecipes

    Thanks Amy! I use the dough recipe out of Artisan Bread in Five
    Minutes a Day, but Jim Lahey's recipe in the NYT works great too.
    Aside from not having to knead it, the other great thing is that the
    dough gets better with time (turns slightly sour). I also make boules
    and baguettes with this dough that are better than the ones that come
    out of most bakeries.

  • Annie

    mmmmm…..your pancakes look divine

  • Rob

    WOWWWW! your food looks absolutely delicious!! i would kill to be one of your taste buds!

  • Divina

    Every day is a feast. (Well, for me it is). Everything looks divine. I hope we're neighbors and you'll share the food. :)

  • diva

    Your 'eating in' is my 'eating out'. I hardly ever eat out because I need to work within that student budget but even eating in for me is a bit stretching it although with bloggers like you, Deeba and many others, I'm finding it more exciting to keep cooking a different dish every day to save myself from going insane. Love the pancakes and your lamb udon noodle soup is just the ultimate!

  • Kitchen M

    Wow. Very impressive! I can barely make a post a week and my schedule isn't nearly as busy as yours. Congratulations! :)

  • Peter G

    You did exceptionally well…some of those dishes are stand outs! And those pancakes are “calling”me!

  • dropfood

    A nice try

  • Gabi

    I'll have to try out that pizza dough recipe. I have been doing a lot of gourmet pizza for fast homemade dinners this winter, but after one big fail pizza dough experience, I haven't tried again.

    I think the hardest thing about eating home cooked food all week is the lunches – it is always so tempting to pick something up. I have been trying to treat my fridge like a deli case and making up a bunch of tantalizing looking vegetable and bean salad varieties on Sunday to keep from straying too much.

  • Ju (The Little Teochew)

    I would eat in everyday if you were cooking!! Insane to dine out when you have GOURMET quality fare at home!

  • Manggy

    You should have called this the Week of Eating WELL! Well done!
    Am a little horrified that you skipped lunch, though :( (oh well, can't be helped sometimes I guess, but I've only ever done it maybe 3 or 4 times ever.)

  • we are never full

    loving your tuesday breakfast!!! i always have PB on toasted multigrain every day for breakfast (w/ some butter too) but that honey and banana – awesome! it's hard for new yorkers to eat in since we have so many excellent (and often cheap) options so close to home. kudos! we always make double dinner to bring for lunch to work. i think we buy lunch only once every 2 months (but boy does that bahn mi taste awesome when i buy it!).

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  • emiglia

    That beef cheek confit sounds absolutely incredible… looking forward to the recipe!

  • Cathy

    Holy. Crap. I'm so glad persevering turned out to save you some cash and I can't imagine eating better than this, out or in. Any week. I'm not worthy!

  • zenchef

    Man, i don't know how you do it! You're a blogging machine and everything looks great! It would take me about 2 weeks to write a post like this! Beef cheek confit? Yes, please!

  • eatingplaces

    I think it's so interesting to see what people are eating and why. Thanks for (diligently) putting this together.

    Plus, I'm inspired to make pizza now!

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  • Ellja

    wow! what a week! and sunday is my favorite day…. perfect with sweets and fish 😉


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