Another week has come and gone and kicked my butt. Here’s what we had to eat:
All of Saturday was consumed with the installation of our new couch from Craigslist. Sometimes, living in a 5/8ths-scale house is just stupid, especially if you just got a swell deal on a truly enormous overstuffed sectional.
If you think Valentine’s Day is romantic, you should see my husband obligingly sweating his way through an absurd, five-hour, perpetually escalating “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation, and not even swearing.
Here, we see the old, faithful couch cast out after years of service, and the new one being broken in with My Little Pony and cheese sticks.
That’s how it goes. It’s a hard knock life for couch.
Shawarma is one of the greatest contributions the east has ever made to the west. Almost makes up for algebra. It’s even better if you marinate it starting the night before, but marinating all day is good, too.
Like a maniac, I bought sixteen pounds of chicken thighs, and by the time I skinned and trimmed them all, I was pretty much over the raw chicken experience, so I left the bones in and marinated and cooked them that way, rather than de-boning.
It wasn’t a mistake, exactly, but it definitely detracted from the delectability of this dish (NYT recipe here). This is a meal that you want to be able to gather up with eager fingers and pop into your mouth with glee, while mumbling insincere resolves to stop eating soon. Bones just slow you down.
We served it with pita bread, cucumbers, feta cheese, red pepper hummus, olives, parsley, and yogurt mixed with fresh garlic and lemon juice.
I also fried up some eggplant, but that did not turn out great. I couldn’t get enough of that cool, sharp yogurt sauce, though. Man.
I give this meal a A for content, B+ for execution. Wish I had gotten some tomatoes.
Penne with sausage sauce, salad
Snow day! Again! A good day for hearty pasta. Damien took the kids sledding, while I bravely stayed home and fried up diced onions and loose sausage, basil, and oregano, added a few jars of spaghetti sauce, and some red wine, and let it cook for a while, then served the sauce over penne with parmesan.
I also made hot chocolate again, which is why, this morning, I had to stop at the minimart and buy a gallon of milk for $4.79 to get us through the day. Humph.
Corn dogs, chips
I have no memory of Tuesday. Oh, wait: I remember seeing a plate holding a pile of tattered and discarded corn dog batter. Animals.
Oh, wait, I remember more. It was Valentine’s Day, which I like, so there. I made a cheesecake using this basic Philly cheesecake recipe, and it turned out just fine. (It did crack, but I don’t care.) I made a chocolate ganache which turned out garbage, so we just had strawberries on top. I also made some fudge using Skaarup’s Lunatic Fudge recipe, which is fast and easy, no candy thermometer required. I made it in a heart-shaped pan, because I like that.
Panic omelettes, biscuits, leftover chicken, salad
Because supper was going to be easy, I thought I’d go lie down for ten minutes and surf through Facebook until it was time to get things going. Next thing you know, I’ve accidentally made the acquaintance of some extraordinarily imaginative folks who, when they open their eyeballs in the morning, see nothing but a menacing horde of their fellow Catholics who are using NFP for the wrong reasons.
You know and I know that there is no worse use of one’s time than trying to make sense of a conversation like this, but I did it anyway. And so, suddenly, it’s half an hour after we should be sitting down to eat, and I’m just now staggering into the kitchen, wondering what would in the world would motivate someone to try and make marriage harder, and also where all the friggin eggs went.
(They went into the cheesecake, and also everyone has to make eggs on a snow day. It’s the rule.)
I usually make omelettes to order; but since I could only find eleven eggs, that seemed futile. So I made a six-egg omelette with pepper jack cheese, turned it too soon, got mad, and burned the rest. Then I ripped up some ham and did the same thing with the rest of the eggs. I divvied them up, and then discovered that my 12-year-old son was waiting for the next batch, which there warn’t none. SADNESS. Good thing I had made sixteen pounds of chicken not long ago.
We also had biscuits, which I made with Benny. Come to think of it, we made them before supper, so I can’t have been arguing about the scourge of wild, unrestrained Humanae Vitae parties at the same time. I guess that was a different day. Well, we used this recipe, anyway.
Japanese-style beef stew, rice, rice rolls
This seemed like a really swell dish — chunks of beef and sweet potatoes and fresh ginger slices in chicken stock with soy sauce, pepper, honey, and lemon juice — but it turned out no better than adequate. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it must have been more than one thing.
There weren’t any clean bowls, so I served it angrily over rice.
You know what’s going to make my cooking a lot better? Spring. So I can have some natural light to take food pictures with.
I also managed to cook it in a skillet, transfer it to a dutch oven, put it in the fridge, take it out of the fridge, transfer it into the crock of a crock pot, and heat it up in the microwave. Thank goodness for all these labor-saving devices. Next, I plan to pour the leftovers into one of those plastic bags that you seal up with a vacuum cleaner, then store it under my bed, sell the house at a stunning loss, and move into a wood-panelled van in Martha Stewart’s back yard.
Also on Thursday, I made 53 stained glass heart cookies, and Damien dipped sixty strawberries in chocolate, because I signed up to bring treats in for three separate classrooms for a belated Valentine’s Day party.
The cookies are not hard to make, but they take forehhhhhhhhver. You use this basic, no chill sugar cookie recipe, and cut out large cookies with a cookie cutter. Lay them on the baking sheet on parchment paper or silicone baking mats, cut out a smaller shape inside each cookie, and fill up the cut-out with crushed hard candies; then bake as usual, or a tiny bit longer. The candy melts and makes a little colored window, very pretty.
They turned out fine, if a little bleary. But they took forehhhhhhhhver.
Here’s a pic from last time I made it:
There are many things to love about shakshuka, and not least is that you can sing it to the tune of “Volare” and really bother the children. If I have time, I want to try this pita recipe. I have until 3:45 to come up with an irritating pita song.
Oh, Dean. Just shut up.