A menu from Mooncusser, in your own kitchen – The Boston Globe

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Friday nights are confusing. It’s the weekend and you want a nice dinner. But you’re exhausted from the week so you don’t want to cook. And your takeout standbys are starting to feel just a little bit tired.
Mooncusser at Home is a neat solution — for customers who don’t want to dine out but do want the pleasure of a restaurant meal, and for the restaurant itself, trying to get through the last doldrums of winter while keeping staff employed.
Mooncusser chef Carl Dooley and crew offer take-home menus every Friday through the end of March. They’re not quite takeout, more like meal kits, with some simple assembly required. Instructions are included, and the meals can be picked up at the Back Bay restaurant or in Concord at sister establishment 80 Thoreau. Each menu has a culinary theme, be it Southern Italy (burrata with house-made focaccia, Sicilian seafood stew, fregola with Meyer lemon, arugula-fennel salad, and ricotta cheesecake with blood orange and almonds) or Mardi Gras (muffuletta salad, shrimp etouffee, chicken and andouille gumbo, rice, and king cake).
“Tuesday and Wednesday are a little slower at the restaurant, so we use those days” to create and assemble the Mooncusser at Home meals, Dooley says. “It’s fun and engaging for everybody, and it makes sure they get a 40-hour week. By the weekend, we’re full and back into the regular menu. Operationally, it makes sense.”
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One week, a Thai-inspired meal features green papaya salad, chicken laap lettuce wraps, rabbit leg khai soi, and rice pudding with mango, coconut, and palm sugar. I put the papaya salad in a bowl and mix it with the dressing. The chicken laap gets microwaved, and I arrange the lettuce, cucumber, and herbs on a plate so we can assemble our own wraps. For the khao soi, I heat the rich coconut broth and tender rabbit in a pot, boil water and cook the noodles, and portion both into two bowls when they’re ready. Then I garnish the bowls with crispy noodles, pickled mustard greens, and lime wedges, serving the intensely spicy chile jam on the side. For dessert, I just put the rice pudding in a bowl and add the mango on top. Everything I need is included, prepped and ready to go. Dinner is delicious and portions are plentiful, with leftovers for lunch the next day.
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For the remaining weeks, expect menus inspired by places like Greece and the Caribbean. “We’re thinking, we’ve got [crummy] Boston weather,” Dooley says. “Let’s make food from warm places.”
Mooncusser at Home meals are $75 for two people. Orders accepted through Thursday; pickup on Friday at Mooncusser (304 Stuart St., Boston, 617-917-5193) or 80 Thoreau (80 Thoreau St., Concord, 978-318-0008). For menus and more information, go to www.mooncusserboston.com or @mooncusserboston on Instagram.
Devra First can be reached at devra.first@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.
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