What’s for supper? Vol. 56: With a smile on my lips and a knish in my purse

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And then it was Friday. Here’s what we had this week:

Chicken enchilada and chips

Well, these were horrible. It was one of those meals where you start out with non-optimal ingredients, then get started late, then have a brilliant idea to cook it in a new way which will surely save time, then realize that it takes way longer than usual, and also doesn’t taste good, and then you finish cooking it in the microwave and throw it together in a panic, burning your fingers and cursing your own thickheadedness. And there really wasn’t enough cheese. Cheese!

For people with normal heads, I recommend Pioneer Woman’s recipe.


Pulled pork, coleslaw, onion rings, caramel apples
I have a confession to make. I’ve been saying I’ve been making pulled pork for a while now, but it’s really just pork. The “pulled” part is a lie. I’ve been cooking it for as long and at as low a temperature as I can manage in the oven, but no matter how long and how low I go with that pork . . . you know, let me start that sentence over. When the pork is done cooking, it doesn’t fall apart at the touch of a fork. It doesn’t even shred with some vigorous fork-and-knife action. If I put it in the standing mixer and blink, I get something the consistency of tuna fish. So I end up burning my fingers and cussing and ripping and mincing for half an hour with various knives as I reduce an unwilling roast into a disassembled state.
This is not how pulled pork is supposed to be.
And then came the slow cooker. I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe, sort of. Actually I just hacked the pork in half, threw a half in each pot, and glugged in some Dr. Pepper, a chopped-up onion, and a can of peppers in adobo sauce, and I set it to low and walked away.

About seven hours later, I drew out the meat, and it was so tender, it fell right apart. It took me maybe five minutes to shred up the rest with a couple of forks, just like the recipe says.

[img attachment=”124367″ align=”aligncenter” size=”medium” alt=”pulled-pork-with-forks” /]

Delicious. Didn’t need barbeque sauce. It was more of a slow, gathering burn than an explosive spiciness, and that was good.

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We ate in on sandwiches, with cole slaw and onion rings (frozen).

For dessert, we had the long-promised caramel apples. To my dismay, I accidentally bought the kit where you have to cook the caramel and dip the apples, instead of those stretchy sheets of caramel that you just wrap and heat. I did have fun making the caramel with Irene, who had never used a candy thermometer before. She kep up a running commentary while she stirred: “We don’t want it to get too hot. Not hard ball. Or hard crack. Or . . . [peering at thermometer] fish donut.”

[img attachment=”124371″ align=”aligncenter” size=”medium” alt=”irene-caramel” /]

In this photo, Irene is shown wearing her Rotten Ralph ear. There used to be two ears, but one fell off, so now she just wears the one ear in the middle of her head.

The caramel apples, I was perversely happy to discover, didn’t taste any better than the easy cheater kind that take three minutes to throw together.

We ended up with tons of leftover caramel, so I spread some graham crackers on a tray and poured the caramel over that. It tasted like exactly what it was. They certainly ate it.


Beef Barley soup
I used the crock pots for this, too. Into the pots, I dumped:
Beef cut into small pieces
Chopped onion
Chopped carrots
A few cans of diced tomatoes (and the juice)
Sliced mushroom
Crushed garlic
Beef broth (actually a few bouillon cubes and water)
Red wineI set it to low and let it cook all day.
We got home late and I couldn’t find the little pouch of barley, so I used the little pouch of quinoa and bulgur I’ve been avoiding. Cooked it in the microwave and threw that in the soup right before serving. Barley is better.I’m on the fence about this. I normally make this soup by frying up the meat and veggies first, and then throwing in everything else and letting it simmer all day. The Crock Pot took a little bit of the chomp out of stuff, which made it less interesting; but it was still good.

We also had biscuits, with the help of the four-year-old. The biscuit recipe in my otherwise-beloved Fannie Farmer is the one that always disappoints me, so I thought I’d look around for a new recipe. I came across the New York Times all-purpose biscuit recipe, which instantly provoked me by calling for “5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, preferably European style.” I suppose that means butter with hairy armpits, that lets the kids stay up late. Humph. I used non-preferable American butter, and ignored most of the rest of the recipe anyway. Two stars, New York Times. How dare you. How dare you.


Chicken nuggets, rice, peas

Boy, do I not remember Tuesday.


Hamburgers and chips

Wednesday I was in Springfield, MA, to address a Legatus group. For dinner, I had a gin and tonic, bacon-wrapped scallops, risotto balls, salmon, fresh rolls, and I forget what else. I declined the chocolate mousse with fresh strawberries. It’s rough, I tells ya.

Lovely people, wonderful evening. Back-a-home, my main lovely people had hamburgers and chips.

[img attachment=”124372″ align=”aligncenter” size=”medium” alt=”hamburger” /]

I’m going to assume from this photo missive that I forgot to buy ketchup this week:

[img attachment=”124373″ align=”aligncenter” size=”medium” alt=”ketchup” /]

Sorry, home people!


Pizza and carrots and dip

Thursday I was in Hartford, CT, to address another Legatus group. I had salmon again, because I really like salmon (this time in a savory cream sauce), but the pineapple pork tenderloin almost made me question my allegiance. Also the Wompanaoc signature salad, which has walnuts, cranberries, red onions, and I don’t know what-all.  More lovely people and another wonderful evening. Pizza back home.


I had a splendid lunch with Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut, who also invited some Facebook friends Kate and Aaron King and Evan Cogswell. We ordered in from a Jewish deli nearby, and feasted on pastrami sandwiches, a variety of snappy dill pickles, potato salad, chips, and o my heart (and I mean that both in a sentimental and in a medical way): potato knishes. Then I got back on the train and away I went.

Full disclosure: As I write, I’m still on a train, and it’s running a little late. They say that trains can make up lost time during the journey (see: trains are magic), but at this point, dinner is largely a figment of my imagination.

However, I have two leftover knishes in my purse, so I am all set.

Well, what did you have? I can only hope that, given the chance, you chose the salmon.

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