It’s fall! This means grapes! It means squash! It means . . . Korean food, why not! Come along and see; we have some lovely recipes this week.
Hamburgers, chips, veg and dip, watermelon
There was a little resurgence of summer weather, so Benny’s pal came over and helped her pick some grapes, and we had a little cookout. I spent a few hours working on my never-ending project, this ultra deluxe raccoon-proof garbage enclosure, with Real Hinged Door that Opens and Closes.
Eventually it will have a corrugated tin roof, and a locking latch, and it will be wrapped in welded wire fencing, and I really do believe I’ll finish it someday. Someday. Maybe I can be buried in it.
Ragù on fettuccine, garlic bread
Damien made his scrumptous Deadspin ragù, which uses ground pork and veal, shredded carrots and celery, and is just heavenly. You could feast on the aroma alone.
We spent a good part of Sunday and Monday evenings making grape jelly. Sunday we picked grapes, pulled off the stems, and cleaned them,
[this is supposed to be two sets of photos embedded from Instagram, but I can’t tell if they’re showing up properly or not]
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and Monday we did the actual jelly-making.
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We ended up with about twelve pounds of grapes, and I got to startle a few family members who weren’t aware we were making jelly.
I firmly told myself that the main goal was to have a nice time with Benny, and not necessarily to come out with some grade A jelly, and that was a good thing, because we achieved the former, but not the latter. We ended up with 4 jars of decent jelly,
and another ten jars of something more like syrup — in some cases, because I didn’t realize that, if you decrease the sugar, you need to buy special low-sugar pectin, and in some cases because I used the right amount of sugar but ran out of liquid pectin and used powdered, misread the directions, and just screwed it up generally. This is after I mouthed off about how my mother never used to read the directions and that’s why her jelly was always turned so weird.
Oh, I just used the recipe on the pectin boxes. I used Ball RealFruit liquid pectin, which was simple and easy, and Sure Jell powdered pectin, which was a little more involved.
I did learn that Concord grapes are very high in histamines, and if you get impatient with the potato masher and decide to mash them by hand, your hands will light up like Christmas trees. I learned that grape flavored Laffy Taffy is the exact flavor of Concord Grape jelly foam, which is kind of startling. And that’s all I learned. Maybe next year, we’ll just make juice.
Ciabatta rolls with spicy salami, prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes, red pesto, olive oil and vinegar, and a little fresh pepper.
We’ve been having this sandwich about once a week and I’m nowhere near tired of it yet. I mean not this specific sandwich.
Honey mustard chicken thighs with fall vegetables
A one-pan meal, nice and easy. Let’s launch the beginning of butternut squash season with a useful tip: To easily peel butternut squash, cut off the ends and pierce it several times with a fork, then microwave it for 3-4 minutes. You should be able to peel it with a vegetable peeler and cut it fairly easily after that.
So for this dish, you cut up your squash and potato, drizzle it with oil and season it with salt and pepper, lay the chicken on top, and then stir up a simple sauce and brush the chicken with the sauce. Then you just roast it all together.
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The sauce runs down into the pan, and vegetables pick it up, it all melds together, nice skin, everybody’s happy.
I had some leftover broccoli and carrots in the fridge, so I added those in halfway through the cooking, and that worked nicely.
This meal is subject to endless varieties of vegetables and seasonings, and you can make it all ahead of time. It all goes in one pan, but it’s easy for picky eaters to fish out the things they like.
Win win win. I don’t know why this picture looks like I took it through a butterscotch wrapper, but there it is.
Nothing to report. I do remember that I kept calling everyone for supper and they kept wandering off, so I got mad and left, and then two hours later Corrie tearfully claimed no one told her it was supper time, and I felt so bad, but then they told me she was on the couch reading Calvin and Hobbes and wouldn’t answer them, and they actually went over and shook her, but she refused to respond. I heated up a taco for her anyway, but by this point, I was confused about who I was supposed to be mad at, so I just sat on the couch and felt mad in general. Does it usually take this long to get used to getting back to school? I don’t remember, but I feel like I’m-a-gonna die.
Instant pot bo ssam with spicy walnut sauce, rice, pineapple
This recipe looks like more work than it really is. If you skip most of the extras, basically you just have to find the fattiest hunk of pork you can, slather it with big handfuls of salt and sugar, wrap it up, ignore it for many hours, unwrap and cook it for many more hours, slather some sauce on at the last minute and cook it a little more, then chunk it on the table to gasps or admiration.
Okay, so you have to make two sauces, but one only has three ingredients, and you can make the other one in the food processor. It contains your entire yearly recommended allowance for salt and sugar. This is one of those foods where people are just silent while eating it, and you think, “Maybe they don’t like it very much” but then they get up and RUN to the platter and get more. IT’S VERY GOOD. Especially the parts where the caramelized fat has basically turned into pork candy. Pork candy that makes you weep.
It’s supposed to cook at least six hours in a 300-degree oven, and I put it in way too late, so after a few hours, I moved it to the Instant Pot and cooked it on high for 45 minutes on the rack with a cup of water, then put it back in the oven for ten minutes to finish the sauce crust. You guys, it was PERFECT. Here is when it came out of the IP:
And here is after ten minutes under the broiler (and yes, I could have moved the rack down a few notches):
When you broke through the shiny, charred exterior, the inside was beautifully shredded and incredibly moist and full of intense flavor. I’ll be using the IP for this recipe from now on.
The pork itself is quite sweet and salty, not spicy, and most of the kids really liked it. The sauce that goes along with it is spicy and savory and strange. A little goes a long way, but you won’t want to miss it.
Bo ssam is supposed to be wraps, and I forgot to buy any lettuce to wrap it in, but nobody minded — we just ate the shredded pork with rice. You definitely want rice or something else mild to give your mouth a rest from all that intense flavor.
Mac and cheese
I used up only about 20% of the vast stores of leftover cheese that are cluttering up the fridge. However, I only made three pounds of macaroni, which is close to what people will actually eat, so maybe I won’t have created vast stores of leftover macaroni and cheese to clutter up the fridge. Maybe.
And now the adoration chapel has finally opened up again, and we signed our vaccinated asses up for a weekly hour on Fridays. I’ll pray for youse!
One pan honey garlic chicken thighs with fall veg
broccoli in spears
potatoes in wedges, skin on if you like
butternut squash, peeled and cubed
dijon or yellow mustard
salt and pepper
olive oil for drizzing
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare the sauce.
In a large, greased sheet pan, spread the potatoes and squash. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Lay the chicken thighs on top of the potatoes and squash. Brush the sauce over the chicken skins.
Roast the chicken for thirty minutes or more until they are almost cooked.
Add the broccoli, arranging it on top of the potatoes and in between the chicken. Return the pan to the oven and let it finish cooking another 10 -20 minutes so you don't die. The skins should be golden and the broccoli should be a little charred.