What’s for supper? Vol. 106: Thaint Thylvethter, pray for uth

Imagine an introduction here, won’t you? Here’s what we ate this week:

Us old folks WENT AWAY TO THE OCEAN. It was, as I’ve mentioned, our 20th anniversary, and we had a quick getaway. It was wonderful.


As we pulled out of our driveway on Friday night, my husband apologized profusely and then asked me to read him a letter from the ACLU to the Board of Alderman protesting the unconstitutionality of a proposed ordinance to require candidates to disclose the names of donors who help pay legal fees for an individual suing the city. Then he dictated a news brief about it, and I typed it out and we edited together in the dark as we drove south. This will give you an idea of how hard it is to switch gears into leisure mode. But we did it!

And oh, did we eat a lot. For dinner, the bacon-wrapped scallops arrived at the table still sizzling heroically in the pan, and then I ordered a lovely crab roll with gruyere. Luckily, the band was loud enough to cover the sound of Siri telling me how to pronounce “gruyere” to the waiter. Damien had some kind of good steaky thing, and we had cocktails until our brains caught up with the idea that we were on vacation. The fireplace and jacuzzi didn’t hurt, either.

Next morning, we had brunch out on the terrace with the bay sparkling below on two sides, the seagulls coasting past, and the trees fluttering in a breeze that was just stiff enough to scare away all the other guests, who kept getting their sorority hair in their mouths. I had a bagel with smoked salmon, chive cream cheese, copious capers, and vegetables, and Damien had eggs benedict with lobster, and a bloody mary.

We spent a contented day just wandering around this sweet little town, looking at stuff they don’t have any of back home. A very happy day. We had a late lunch of some beer with a dozen raw oysters. I ordered a cajun seafood bisque and a “tower of garlic bread,”

and Damien had some kind of good steaky thing, and candied bacon, which arrived on some kind of ridiculous bacon gallows.

We even had dessert! I had some kind of pumpkin praline cheesecake affair, and Damien had some kind of cavalcade of chocolate thing.


We came home late bearing pizzas, and the kids had cleaned the house like we told them to, and no one was dead. Good deal.  They got salt water taffy.


Cheese burgers and chips 

We had to scramble and get caught up from our leisurely Saturday. We still had pumpkins to carve and costumes to finish, and I had cleverly scheduled two dentist appointments on HALLOWEEN MORNING, and two more the next day! I feel like there was a sleepover in there, somewhere, too. We just pretty much swore off sleeping for the week, and I steadfastly ignored no fewer than six volunteer sign-up sheets for parties. Also one kid suddenly had to be Louis XVI for something completely unrelated to . . . anything, as far as I could tell.


Zuppa Toscana and beer bread

Blustery wind and rain all day, and we were one of the few areas that didn’t lose power, so I felt very smart for choosing this cozy meal.

For the soup: I squeezed the meat out of about two pounds of sweet Italian sausages and browned it up with lots of minced garlic and diced onions. Then I added eight cups of chicken broth, some red pepper flakes, and four large potatoes sliced in thin wedges with the skin, and simmered it for a while. Then I filled up the pot with chopped kale, covered it, and waited for it to magically shrink down where it belongs. Then I added a whole quart of half-and-half, and let it cook for the rest of the day.

You can add bacon, and you can thicken this soup up with a little flour if you like, but it’s splendid as is, and so simple.

I made this easy, excellent beer bread again, and it turned out great. I made two loaves, with a bottle of Corona and a can of some kind of summer ale, and it turned out sharp and sour, which I love. This is the breadiest quick bread I have ever found.


Hot dogs and Doritos

Gobbled down quickly as we raced to get costumes on. Here’s the gang this year:

Moe was a hungry vampire:

who nevertheless needs to keep in touch with folks:

Clara was a cheerful vampire:

and Benny was a vampire queen:

with somewhat loose teeth.

Elijah was Dr. Eggman:

Sophia was a fall fairy:

Lucy was Squirrel Girl:

and Irene was Rey:

Corrie was Wonder Woman earlier in the day

but by the time it was evening, she had become a puppy:

This year, I splurged on those fancy individual fangs that stick to your actual canines, but boy, were they a lot of trouble. Benny had lost her second front tooth in the morning, and her mouth was too raw for adhesive, so I got fanged up myself.

They weren’t really uncomfortable, but I sounded unspookily like Sylvester the Cat.


Deconstructed pork shish kebab

This is usually one of those “why is this so unreasonably delicious?” meals, but not this time. Either I skipped too many good ingredients in the marinade, or I didn’t let it marinate long enough, but there just wasn’t that much flavor. Or maybe I just have a cold and can’t taste anything. Oh well. In the past, I’ve used this spiedie marinade from the NYT, which is fabulous.

I cut up a bunch of boneless pork ribs into chunks, and mixed them up with chunks of green pepper, red onion, and mushrooms, and spread it all, with the marinade, in shallow pans in a 450 oven until they were cooked, then I charred the edges under the broiler for a second.


All Soul’s Day: Eggs in purgatory and soul cakes

My little joke. Usually, liturgically-appropriate cooking is far, far beyond me. Everyone else is making Divine Mercy Sundaes and stocking up on smoked paprika so they can be sure their homage to St. Engratia is Portuguese enough, and we’re all, “Christ is risen! Pass the gefilte fish.” But this year, I was on top of it.

Eggs in purgatory is just eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce, similar to shakshuka, which I’ve made a few times. It’s supposed to be a good hangover brunch, I dunno. I looked over a few Eggs in Purgatory recipes and made a very simple version. I ended up making about twice as much as we needed, so I’ll give you a normal-sized version:

Brown up a pound of loose, spicy sausage meat in a wide, shallow pan (to make room for cooking the eggs later). Add about 30 oz. of diced tomatoes, several cloves of minced garlic, and about half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and let it simmer for a long time. (You can add all sorts of things: peppers, onions, chili oil, etc. and you can stir in some tomato paste if you want it firmer.) Make about eight shallow indentations and carefully drop an egg into each one. Cover the pan loosely and let it poach for six or seven minutes, until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are as solid as you want them to be. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese toward the end.

Then scoop out individual portions to serve.

You could add hot sauce or parsley or scallions toward the end, too.

The soul cakes turned out nice, if a slightly odd side dish for this meal. They are not much to look at, but they have a pleasantly old-fashioned, cidery taste.

I used this very easy recipe so I wouldn’t have to fiddle with yeast, which always turns on me. I again used the trick of grating the chilled butter, which makes it very easy to incorporate into the flour. My family doesn’t like raisins, but raisins would go well with these.



Thufferin’ thuccotash, I’m exhausted.

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12 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 106: Thaint Thylvethter, pray for uth”

  1. The food sounds awesome on your day away! Happy anniversary!

    The kids were very cute. Especially the fall fairy and the squirrel (what a great idea!)

    I have no memory of what we ate all week. Except for tomato pie on Friday, which was good but did not turn out as I hoped. I need more practice.

    For tomato pie:

    1 pie shell (no top)
    2 or 3 ripe tomatoes, or a pint of mixed grape tomatoes of different colors, chopped and well drained (do not skip this part)
    Julienned fresh basil
    1/4 cup chopped onions
    1 cup mayonnaise (the real thing, not salad dressing/Miracle Whip)
    1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    1 cup mozzarella, shredded
    salt and pepper

    1. Chop and drain the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir it in well. I let my tomatoes drain for 2 hours, and they were still too watery. You may need to press the water out or drain longer.

    2. Add the chopped onions and the basil to the bottom of the pie shell.

    3. Add the chopped and drained tomatoes on top of the onions and basil.

    4. In a separate bowl, mix the mayo and cheeses thoroughly. Add this to cover the tomatoes, leaving a little of the tomatoes showing around the edge.

    5. Place the pie on a cookie sheet lined with foil (you will thank me later).
    Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Cool to room temp, and then refrigerate. The pie is easier to cut when it is cold, but tastes better hot, so microwave the cut pie slices for a minute or so after you plate them.

    As I said, my tomatoes were apparently still too watery. I had to drain the pie after it was cooked because it was soggy and overflowed (although the topping had become puffy and browned). It was still very tasty, and my husband always happily eats and never complains about my cooking failures, which is earning him a place in heaven. If I make this again, I will lay a saucer on top of the tomatoes in the colander and put something weighty on it to drain the tomatoes more thoroughly. If you want to add a little tabasco, I don’t think it would hurt if you like your tomatoes spicy. This smelled so good cooking.

    1. oh, I was happy with it! I bought a set of furry leg warmers, sewed them together, stuffed it with poly fil, and sewed the ends shut. Then we just pinned it to the back of her vest. I priced fur, and it wasn’t any cheaper to start from scratch. I briefly considered buying a giant teddy bear from the Salvation Army and cutting off or sewing shut the features and limbs, but I think that would have looked pretty horrible.

  2. May I say, all the costumes turned out nice, but Benny’s turned out SPECTACULAR.

    Our Halloween included a sick as a dog family member and a commitment to work late the next evening, so it was limited to the toddler wearing his Yoda ears to vigil mass. He was happy though, luckily he’s too young to notice missing anything yet. Hoping for better luck next year. 🙂

    My dad used to make eggs like that, but over canned corn beef hash. Very greasy, and very yummy.

  3. Oh, look, another week with no hospital food in it for me.
    Sat: All Saints festival, so hot dogs and chili at that. So grateful to them for having costume items to borrow there, for those of us who just are crummy at putting together both Halloween and saint costumes, but whose kids turn out to want a saint costume like everyone else there. Eldest did do her own Jacinta Marto costume though: skirt and top with a big hair bow on the side of her head, easy and authentic-looking.
    Sun: various leftovers from the previous week
    Mon: chicken soup with noodles left optional since I have a few weird kids who don’t like noodles, french bread (so proud of myself for making bread), pears
    Tues: Sonic had 50-cent corn dogs, so we had those
    Wed: leftover soup and bread
    Thurs: bacon (made by husband who can make bacon on the stove without ruining it), eggs, waffles
    Fri: cheese pizza (made by sainted husband), garlic bread, carrot sticks
    There’s some oregano in that pizza sauce, but apparently not enough; whatever I make this coming week will be heavy on oregano…

  4. I am the same with liturgical cuisine. I tried, I really did, for the six year old’s patron feast day, John Chrysostom. We had golden french fries, and carrots, and I made a “Golden Carrot Cake” (geddit?) but I think the message was lost. He did enjoy coloring his coloring page of St John Chrysostom, though. St Nicholas Day is always, always going to be ham and glazed apples because a long time ago we named our oldest in honor of good old Nick, and ham was one of his favorite meals, so it is written. I usually just make a cake.

    Anyhoo. Sunday around these parts is always a frozen lasagna, Italian bread (sometimes I really whoop it up and make garlic bread, and then whimper because it smells so good but I can’t eat none of it), and some sort of vegetable.

    Monday: Rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, fruit. I was preoccupied with filling up candy jars for a guessing game and making a “pin the dagger on Shelob” game as well.

    Tuesday: Mummified hot dogs made with crescent rolls, and did you know sophisticated 17 year olds like those too? Well, they do. Potato chips and a big raw veggie platter on the side, because I was trying to counteract all the candy. I think it worked pretty well.

    Wednesday: Candy hangover. Because it was a HDO, we went to Chik Fil A for dinner, and made it to 6 pm mass and everyone was well behaved. Twas an All Saints Day miracle.

    Thursday: Hamburgers, more mummified hot dogs to use up the last of the crescent rolls, baked potato bar (always a hit, even though I overheated the ready- cooked bacon for the potatoes. Hmph.) Candy for dessert.

    Friday: Planning fish sandwiches and spanish rice, probably frozen carrots or something like that on the side.

      1. We go full out Middle Earth on Halloween. My husband is Gandalf, the second-born was a hobbit, third born was a wizard, and the oldest donned his Strider costume to help pass out candy. (The youngest missed the memo and was Megaman.) My first thought was a pin-the-spider-on-the-web, but really, we’re going to help the spider? No. One year I made a pinata of the One Ring, you’ve never SEEN a pinata get whacked at so much, so ferociously.

        1. That’s awesome. 🙂 So y’all have a party at home?

          Our oldest is only two, so we’ve done a couple family costumes. Last year was team Rocket from the Pokémon cartoon (I was Jessie, hubby was James and baby was Meowth). This year was going to be Star Wars, but hubby was just starting to get over being really sick and had a commitment the next night, so we had to make vigil mass. I still have the Death Star painted maternity shirt though, and I’ll find a place to wear it, lol. 🙂 Toddler wore his Yoda ears to mass, so at least those weren’t wasted. 😛

          The LOTR idea is awesome though. Might steal that for next year.

          1. Yeah, our youngest was very taken with the idea of a “Halloween party”, and he has very low expectations, so the day was taken up with pumpkin carving, guessing the number of candies in jars (labeled with various names of Middle Earth characters we’ve created: hunters had animal crackers in their jars, gold chocolate coins for burglars, and so forth), and the Shelob game, trick or treating, and we ended the day by eating candy and watching Ghostbusters (we’d watched LOTR earlier that morning, while carving pumpkins), our traditional Halloween movie. We also had been doing run around “skirmish” type games–Live Action Role Playing–earlier in the week, in character. I was an elven hunter, and the oldest kid played bad guys with Dad as needed.

            Last year I carved a Gandalf profile pumpkin and a Smaug pumpkin, but this year my get up and go got up and went–I did one hobbit hole pumpkin before my 12 year old pushed me out of the way to carve his own hobbit hole pumpkin, and the third pumpkin I did a “Smiling jack o lantern” for my youngest, per his request.

            I highly recommend making a One Ring pinata, though–it’s actually easy. Take long skinny balloons, the kind used for balloon animals, blow them up (may need a pump for that, we did), and then you take, eh, two or three for each side, tape them together with duct tape into a ring shape, paper mache the heck out of those, pop the balloons and fill it up. Easy to hang, too. I didn’t make one this year because I forgot.

            The Death Star maternity shirt sounds adorable. 🙂

        2. It sounds like y’all have an insane amount of fun together. Thank you for sharing! That’s really cool and inspiring (as in I’m making that piñata…) to see.

          The Hobbit hole pumpkin is also an awesome idea.

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