What’s for supper? Vol. 119: It is almost March.

Well, it’s February and everything is terrible. That’s my excuse for letting things languish around here. Someone spilled something on my computer again, and the quick and easy warranty process only took eleven steps and nine years to complete. Everyone is throwing up. Corrie is hallucinating sad gazebos in the heating vent, and won’t drink Pedialyte or breast milk, only tonic water (Schweppes). If I were in charge of the liturgical calendar, I would put Lent in a month where it wasn’t already so bloody obvious that everything will return dust, but what do I know. Anyway, soon it will be March. Right? Soon?

And, now that I have a computer again, we’ll have our podcasts up and running again asap. Thanks for your patience with that. We’ll also be transferring archives to iTunes and opening them up for non-subscribers, so stay tuned, you stay-tuners!

And now for the food.

SATURDAY
Cheeseburgers and chips

Husband makes good cheeseburgers.

SUNDAY
Pork banh mi, rice, spicy grilled pineapple

I’ve been thinking about banh mi forever, and the time was right. The recipe I used calls for beef, but pork is cheaper, and pork takes on more of the flavor. For this meal, I go around warning everyone that it smells like the Grim Reaper’s jock strap while it’s cooking, but the taste is really very good! This will demonstrate my marketing skills.

I took about four pounds of boneless pork loin, trimmed the fat, and sliced it as thin as I could. Then (this was actually Saturday night that I did this prep work) I put it in a ziplock bag with the marinade, which was:

2/3 cup fish sauce (this is where the “death crotch” smell comes in)
8 Tbs sugar
6 Tbs minced garlic
one onion, minced
a bunch of freshly-ground pepper

So this marinated about twenty hours in the fridge. I also pickled some vegetables ahead of time. I sliced about half a pound of carrots and two long, seedless cukes thin, and set them in jars with a mixture of water, white vinegar, and sugar. I wish I had added more sugar, and I kind of wish I had left the cukes unpickled. There were so many savory, spicy flavors, the sandwiches could have used more cooling.

Before dinner, I spread the meat and most of the marinade in a single layer and slid it right up under a very hot broiler. I turned the meat once so it got a little charred on the edges.

I toasted a bunch of sub rolls, and coarsely chopped a bunch of cilantro; and I mixed about a tablespoon of Sriracha sauce into a cup of mayonnaise. I also set out plain mayo, and some jarred jalapeno slices.

Sublime sandwiches. Just the best. You line the bread with mayo, pack it with pork, then stuff the pickled vegetables in the sides, and sprinkle cilantro over the top. If you do the prep work the night before, this meal comes together in a very short time.

I also made a bunch of white rice in my Instant Pot (affiliate link. I’ll make a small commission if you click through and buy one!), using the 1:1 method. (I took five cups of rice and rinsed it clean in a colander, then put them in the IP with five cups of water. Close the top, close the vent, and press the “rice” button. It automatically sets the time, and this rice comes out springy and a little sticky, which is how I prefer it for asian meals.)

The pineapple was pretty good, not excellent. I’ll try again in the summer, when we can use a real outdoor grill. I sliced two pineapples (does everyone know the easy way to process fresh pineapple?) into long spears, then tossed them with a sweet, spicy sauce made of 3/4 of a stick of melted butter, about half a cup of honey, and about a tablespoon of Sriracha sauce, and a little salt. Next time, I will use olive oil instead of butter, and maybe less honey.

I put them on a greased pan with drainage and put them up under the broiler while we were putting the sandwiches together. It took much longer than I expected for the pineapple to get singed — maybe twelve minutes, after I turned them once.

I liked the flavor a lot, and the slightly firey honey taste was a great accompaniment to the banh mi; but they got a little too soft during that cooking time. As I say, next time we’ll cook them over the coals. They were not bad cold the next day — almost candy-like. Weird, juicy candy.

The meal also made nice leftovers for lunch, with a bowl of rice topped with meat and veggies warmed up. Yum.

MONDAY
Beef barley soup, pesto beer bread

I diced an onion and about five carrots, then put them in the IP with about a tablespoon of minced garlic, some olive oil, salt, and pepper. I used the saute setting until they were a little soft, then added about a pound-and-a-half of cubed beef. When the beef was brown, I pressed “cancel,” then added two small cans of diced tomatoes with the juice, 3/4 of a pound of sliced mushrooms, a cup-and-a-half of red wine, and seven cups of beef broth. Then I added one of those little packets of mixed grains from Aldi, closed the lid, sealed the vent, and set it on high pressure for eleven minutes.

There is a “soup” button, but I’m too old to learn how to use it. Anyway, this turned out swell, and only got the one pot dirty. I left it on “stay warm” for the rest of the day.

I have had this little jar of pesto in the cabinet forever, so I decided to add it to this good old reliable beer bread recipe. I made two loaves. It was . . . okay. I guess I like pesto and I like beer bread, but they don’t do much for each other.

I mean, I ate it. I ate a lot of it.

TUESDAY
Fish tacos with guacamole, tortilla chips

Pretty guac, how I love thee. I could have eaten just guacamole for supper.  Four avocados coarsely chopped, about a cup of grape tomatoes, the juice of two limes, lots of salt, some chili powder and freshly-ground pepper, a few teaspoons of minced garlic, and maybe 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro. I only had jarred jalapenos, so I minced about 1/8 cup of them, and it worked out fine. I forgot onions, but didn’t really miss them. Zippy and good.

GUAC PIC

We also had shredded cabbage, sour cream, salsa, and lime wedges with frozen fish and flour tortillas.

WEDNESDAY
Hot dogs, tater tots

This was when the throwing really gathered speed.

THURSDAY
Chicken and salad, fresh croutons

Not everyone was sick, so we still needed food. I just doused the chicken in Italian salad dressing and shoved it under the broiler, sliced it, and served it with some bagged salad mix.

CHICKEN SALAD PIC

We had tons of bread left over from this and that, so I cut up a bunch of it into cubes, mixed it up with melted butter, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder, and put it in a pan in a 300 oven for about forty minutes. Everybody likes croutons.

FRIDAY
Giant pancake and scrambled eggs

That’s what it says on the blackboard, anyway. We’ll see whose tummy is ready for that.

Oh, there was no food post last week, but I do have a few photos to share. The birthday girl went sledding with her friends, and then Elijah genially manned the hot chocolate bar when they got home.

Our hot chocolate recipe: For each mug of hot chocolate, you put into a heavy pot: one heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder and two heaping tablespoons of sugar, and stir it up with a little water. You heat this paste until the sugar melts a bit, and then slowly add the milk, plus a little vanilla if you like. I made two crock pots’ worth of hot chocolate, and the guests could choose whipped cream, marshmallows, and rainbow sprinkles.

Decorations were just paper snowflakes on threads, but I liked how the cake turned out. I frosted it with chocolate frosting, then laid a paper snowflake on it and used one of those squeeze sifters (affiliate link) to sift powdered sugar over it. Then I carefully pulled the paper off. Ta dah!

It would have been lovely as is, but the birthday girl requested little candy balls, so we added those on the edge. This stencil technique is great if you want a complicated design but have shaky hands. Whatever design you want, google that + silhouette, then print it out and cut it out carefully. Then go ahead with the frosting and sugar as above. Very dramatic, and almost no skill required.

I feel like there was something else I wanted to tell you, but now I forget. It is almost March, right?

11 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 119: It is almost March.”

  1. I’ve done the stencil with powdered sugar on chocolate cake with crosses for communion cake – arrange fresh berries around for color. It is super easy. I like your snowflake theme!

  2. I made one thing this past week. Salad soup. Hear me out.

    I hosted my medical group’s book club and we had Middle Eastern food. I hate to say this, but right now I never want to see falafel or hummus again (there were a lot of leftovers). But there was a whole tray full of salad left over and although I ate as much as I could there was still a truckload left. I thought I remembered reading that you could turn salad into soup, so I turned to the Internet (or as I like to call it, the world’s biggest cookbook) and sure enough. Recipes there were, I read just enough to get the general idea.

    I sauteed a chopped onion and clove of garlic, then added the salad and some water, then some chicken bouillon. (I used too much of the bouillon, so it was a bit salty.) Let it all cook down, then pureed it with a stick blender. The salad came with sliced lemons to decorate, so I tossed in a couple and let it cook some more. It was a bit tart at the end, I should have just used one slice. It was OK, good enough to eat (meaning I didn’t have to force myself to eat it) but I think this is the sort of recipe that you shouldn’t shoot from the hip, as I did. The saving grace of the leftovers was the yogurt-garlic-herb (dill?) sauce which is addictive! I’ve got to figure this one out as you can put it on just about anything.

  3. I once read some awful comic strip which said that February is the Monday of all the months. That kind of pisses me off because I can’t give up having been born on Monday. I also gave up commenting for Lent, but this was funny and being thankful is better than giving up being grateful or giving credit where credit is due.

    I hope the barfing stops. My three youngest never do that and I’m wondering why. We used to score the older ones on who did it with the most finesse.

    We just went to survey the damage of the mudslides in Santa Barbara. It was all so “thou art mud, and to mud thou shall return.” Such a reality check where you’d least expect it. Almost worst thing about it? The hills are denuded of vegetation from the fire, (the mountains there have never, ever looked like that!) and the drought is back with a vengeance. But if it rains? …More of the dusty red earth and giant boulders will come down. My grandma would say, “between the devil and the deep blue sea”.

    Boy, aren’t we cheery.

    I wish I could give thanks to the agave plant.

    This too will pass.

  4. Thank you for this. I feel Like your food post on Fridays is my treat for getting through the whole week and I can’t tell you how much I miss it when you can’t write it up. I hope y’all feel better!!!! I hope this week is better! Wanna know something crazy? I bought an instant pot in July. It is still up high in my closet. I am scared to death to try it. If you ever feel badly about yourself in anyway, just remember pitiful ol me.

  5. Fish sauce is an ingredient I weep to do without — and I don’t even cook Asian all that often. But it’s the BEST for salting soups: salmon chowder, cream of asparagus, sausage and lentil, you-name-it. Why should anybody listen to my culinary advice? Because I am an official Soup Wizard, sez all friends and family who’ve tried my soups. So that makes fish sauce an official Soup Wizard Secret!

  6. Pineapple prep is brilliant.

    Birthday cake effort is so worth it for kids. My Mom really rocked it when I was a kid and it made me feel so special. It’s one of the things I remember vividly from being a kid.

  7. Very pretty cake! Printable stencils are so nice. I made a horse cake with them once. My daughter wanted a pink horse cake for her last birthday. I am NOT a cake decorator and had no ideas…ended up printing out horse silloutes, putting them on wax paper, and piping white candy melts over them. And then I learned to spray the paper with a little cooking spray and tried again. Most of them peeled off pretty well, enough to decorate the cake anyway!

  8. Nope, sorry. Still February. I’m with you on the Lent thing. It’s like…just when I could really use a nice hot sweet drink, I’m supposed to be scrubbing toilets at the local homeless shelter and eating plain lentils on brown rice. (Knew a family when I was growing up who had brown rice for dinner Fridays in Lent. Just rice. No salt, no pepper, no butter, just PLAIN BROWN RICE. My siblings and I convinced my mom NOT to emulate them.)

    I’m never using fish sauce. Ever. Precisely because your descriptions are spot-on (I had a Nigerian friend who used it…and…I just can’t.) I think we’re finding here that you should stay in the writing field rather than in marketing.

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