What’s for supper? Vol. 76: You say potato, I say tomato

What’s new in my kitchen? WELL, halfway through a week positively bristling with extra activities, I was seized with a terrible compulsion to completely rearrange the room. And I did a good job!

I now have a dedicated potato shelf. Didn’t realize how much I wanted that. And a special bowl just for cabbage and power cords. And you no longer have to take the toaster off the shelf and put it on the stove and plug it in when you need toast forty-six times a day. And the cooking utensils are now next to the stove, in case you want to, like, have them when you’re cooking. And I pulled the sharp, rusty, fluorescent light fixture down, so now instead of getting your scalp sliced open, you’re only in danger of being electrocuted in the head.

My gin collection is no longer constantly tumbling into the sink. The window isn’t blocked with a Basket Full O’ Misc. The most-used pots are sitting on a shelf, instead of endlessly tumbling backward through that black hole where the corner cabinets, which block 85% of the heating vent, were installed to maximize space wastage.

I threw out the giant Sony radio/CD player/cassette player and two enormous speakers that we won in a raffle in 1998 and which hasn’t worked since 2013. Best of all, I kicked the Rubbermaid sock and underwear dresser out of the room. (Yes, I literally kicked it.) It’s my kitchen, dammit.

So, three walls are much, much improved, with future improvement feeling manageable. There is still one Wall of Shame, where I keep three overflowing laundry baskets, several belts, aprons, and fly swatters, two tote bags of tights, dozens of reusable shopping bags, a felt First Communion banner or two, four broken lunch boxes, wrapping paper, eleven cowboy hats, some glow sticks, flags, Christmas decorations, 750 ml of homemade vanilla extract, and misc. And that one movable cabinet is now over the other 15% of the heating vent. And you can’t plug in the microwave anywhere.

As my therapist would say, “Let’s talk about that next time.”

Oh, right, food blog. Here’s what we had:

Hamburgers, chips, hummus and carrots, root beer floats



One-pan “chicken bruschetta” with parmesan potatoes; garlic bread; salad; rice krispie treats

I love these one-pan meals. Sometimes they come together as astonishing revelations, like the bacon, brussels sprouts, and fried eggs with balsamic, honey, and hot pepper one.

Other times, like with the chicken bruschetta meal, they don’t really meld, and they feel a tiny bit gimmicky, but still: Here is a panful of different kinds of hot food that is yummy. What’s to complain?

(Hey, did you see that map that shows the boundary line between Potato Europe (top) and Tomato Europe (bottom)? (There are other maps, too, but this one went right to my heart.)

Them tomatoes were good, though. I would have been happy with actual bruschetta, skip the chicken.

Oh, dessert. A few weeks ago, I bought a couple of pan for making miniature shaped cakes on clearance, similar to these, but way cheaper. In my head, I had visions of elbowing a startled Nigella Lawson aside in my haste to sift a fine shower of cocoa powder over the tops of these elegantly turned-out confections, or possibly concocting a shimmering lemon-and-rosewater glaze using only my left pinkie.

Well, we made rice krispie treats. They turned out fine, if not completely commensurate with the picture in my head.

And thus the god of low expectations was appeased for another week.


Chicken burgers, fruit plate

I do love chicken burgers, especially with a little horseradish sauce. The fruit was cantaloupe, grapes, and strawberries.

Purty. It may be #&*^$*# snowing outside, but strawberries are on sale.


Spaghetti and meat sauce, salad

I fried up a couple of pounds of loose sausage and a couple of pounds of sliced mushrooms, then added them to some jarred sauce. Good enough for a rainy day.


Tacos, tortilla chips

Wednesday was the day I went berserk with the kitchen layout, so I have no memory of actual dinner. Just a bunch of running around in little circles, clasping my hands, and mooing throatily, “It just feels like there’s more space! It really does!”

Someone started a rumor that there were avocados, but there weren’t.


Honey mustard lemon chicken, cole slaw, frozen corn

This is a fine, easy recipe, good for potlucks or picnics. Coat some chicken drumsticks or wings in oil with salt and pepper, and roast them until the skin is crisp.
Make a sauce out of honey, mustard, and lemon juice, in whatever proportions seem nice to you, and mix the chicken up with the sauce while it’s still hot. Refrigerate several hours or overnight, and eat it cold. Very tasty, if messy.

I actually made the chicken on Wednesday, hoping to persuade myself that I had value as a human being because I can cook chicken ahead of time. On Thursday, I woke up and went running before I had my coffee, and felt terrible about myself all day, but good about my kitchen. Which just goes to show that you think you know a person, but you don’t. Even if that person is you. Then I got a haircut.


Tuna boats with cheese, maybe risotto, green peppers?

I suppose I will put tuna in hot dog buns, drape them with American cheese, and put them in the oven? Is that how you do that?


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11 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 76: You say potato, I say tomato”

  1. We went to Marin and San Francisco on job interviews for most of the week. There was lots of really overpriced food with some skipped meals. Last night it was $100 worth of Mexican food at a bar. He stood up and I sat on the only available bar stool. We were only trying to get a quick bite, and ordered three appetizers. When we got the bill I was like, “oh, it’s Mexican Sushi”. We thought we could trust the bartender by speaking to him in Spanish, asking him which tequila was cheap and good. Cheap and good was 30 bucks for two shots. I’m trying to justify that, with how fascinating the local wildlife was. I’m thinking that if you could count that as the floor show, it wasn’t so bad. The men and women didn’t mix, and there were guys in full suits looking uptight drinking hard liquor to Cumbia. I didn’t realize that men wore suit pants with their coats anymore.. They must have been lawyers.

    We went home to our Airbnb rental which turned out to be a high ceiling Home Depot shed in a backyard, fixed up extra nicely with a bathroom. At a 100 bucks a night it was a win/win. Back at home my Mom fed the little ones for four nights and took Char Char on all of her errands. My thirteen y.o. fed them lunches and made sure they were certified to game. My niece took them to the Ninja Turtles movie, and my 26 y.o. came home yesterday for the weekend. The only one that missed me like her heart was breaking was my dog. She’s still ecstatic.

      1. Thank you Eileen! That’s so kind of you. (((hug))) He is in third round interviews with three solid possibilities (one in L.A. blech). It’s exciting and awful and wonderful at the same time. Santa Barbara can feel like a sleepy college/beach town. It’s always a nice getaway to come home to though. We left at the depths of the recession, when everything crashed. Now real estate is through the roof, exceeding the heights of the bubble, and we can’t afford the little house we lost, even though he’s qualified for a much bigger title. (It’s more expensive than Manhattan now). He has to go back again on Monday, but that position is east of the bay in the boon docks :/ Maybe that’s the dreaded answer to my prayers…But even that small town is ridiculously expensive because people commute from there to Silicon Valley. The fatalist in me says we will die broke and exhausted, paying off student loans and lending our kids money until we croak. I’m getting used to the idea.

  2. The food looks absolutely wonderful! But can we also have pictures of the “new” kitchen. Love to see the potato shelf.

  3. Reorganizing is fabulous fun. And if you got three out of four walls DONE in one day – well, hats off to you! No matter what size the project, I rarely get past the stage where everything has been taken out, but only half has been put away again. And it’s always the easy half. One of these days you should write a decorating/organizing/homemaking book, you know?

  4. I adore reorganizing rooms. I love it more than cleaning. I once had a friend who loved to clean–like, really disinfect bathrooms and clean floors and all that jazz-but hated reorganizing. We would have made a crackerjack home cleaning team, now that I think of it.

    This was a frustrating week, partly because I learned I am definitely lactose/dairy intolerant, and so am eating dairy free and mostly vegetarian just for me–but making regular meals for dinner. I would love to feed the family hummus and falafel for dinner, but I have meat-and-dairy eaters, so what can a gal do? Luckily my two middle kids love hummus, so I can get them to eat baby carrots that way. It’s also been Spring Break so I lack motivation in general to do nearly anything.

    Monday was rotisserie chicken and sides made at home–easy, and plenty of leftovers. Tuesday was the usual hot dogs/burgers.
    Wednesday was Mexican night, chicken in the crockpot and Spanish rice and refried beans and the fixings. I may have made some vegan brownies that were delicious but very fall-apart-ing, so not a raging success.
    Thursday it was clear there was a cold virus running around, plus I had no motivation to herd everybody to the table. So dinner was the old favorite, “Get what you want, when you’re hungry.” Surprisingly people like this, especially if I leave fruits and veggies in plain sight.
    Tonight will be soup and homemade bread.

  5. We had an exchange student from Japan staying with us for ten days this summer. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has ever motivated me to clean my kitchen like the visit of a strange teenager from another country. “If she goes home and says Americans are dirty, dagnabbit it won’t be because of MY house!” My mother thought I had repainted the cabinets . . . no, that’s just what they look like when you actually scrub them after 15 years.

    And I’ve lived in Texas all my life, and we never have enough cowboy hats. They must have found a wormhole into your kitchen. Maybe that’s how all the broken lunch boxes got there too.

  6. If it’s still cold……get chicago style hard rolls…..scoop out a bit of the doughy middle, fill with a mixture of tuna salad and chunky of Velveeta (YES velveeta, don’t start rolllin eyes at me) you can use some other soft melty cheese if you’re a purist) and roll them up in heavy duty foil…bake at 325 for like 30 mins, and serve hot and goopy. The doughy middle bits can be made into nice breadcrumbs in the food processor for another day.

  7. I’m going to try the bruschetta chicken only I’m going to swap out the potatoes for zucchini or broccoli. To me, potatoes don’t go particularly well with chicken and Italian style tomatoes. Congratulations on cleaning out and reorganizing your kitchen! I’d love to see before and after pictures if you have them and care to share.

  8. man! I haven’t had a tuna melt in forever. I love them! So much! My husband does not like fish, especially tuna, which he says he “used to like but then ate so much he got tired of it and can’t eat it anymore”. What the hell does that even MEAN??? I can see getting burned out on something for a while, but he hasn’t eaten tuna in the 15 years we have been together. I got over my “dark meat chicken triggers my morning sickness” aversion in less time.

    1. He probably means he never really liked it but he ate it when he had no money and if today he were put into a survival scenario, he’d still eat it before he went for the squirrels. I don’t know – maybe that just reflects how I feel about tuna. 🙂

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