What was for supper last week? Vol. 137: Ah’m a-splurgin’!

It was vacation week! We ate like kings!

Steak and lobster

We had a lot of kid activities planned, so Damien wanted to make sure we had one fine grown-up meal. (The kids had hot dogs and chips at home.) He packed up a cooler and we went here:

We swam for a while, with nobody else in the entire pond except for some loons and a bunch of amorous dragonflies. Then he made a fire and we had bread and cheese, strawberries and blackberries while the flames died down.

He put some steaks and lobsters over the coals:

The lobster only needed a few minutes on each side, and we ate it with herbed butter and lemons while the steaks finished cooking. I’ve never had grilled lobster before. The sweet flesh with a smoky edge is completely wonderful. The steak had a simple rub of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and came out insanely tender with lots of juice.


Also, having visible cooking marks on the lobster really helps me get over that last psychological “you are cracking apart and devouring an entire creature here, you psychopath” obstacle. It just looks more like food. Score another point for charring your food! I’ll take my charred lobster cancer like a man.

We also brought some peaches to grill (most desserts are out for me because they are migraine triggers), but we were both stuffed to the gills and couldn’t eat any more.

And that is how you kick off vacation week!

Buffalo chicken salad, fries, cherries

One of my kids has a job in a deli, and she’d been hungrily eyeing their buffalo chicken salad. I couldn’t find an exact recipe, but since she had never actually tasted it, I didn’t think I could really get it wrong.

I cooked a few pounds of pasta (I believe it was radiatori. Here is a nice guide to pasta shapes), then I took 3 large chicken breasts and put them in the Instant Pot with a cup of water, high pressure for 7 minutes. I cut the cooked chicken into chunks and mixed it together with the pasta and:

4 stalks celery diced
3/4 cup sour cream
10 oz blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
2 Tbs paprika
It was pretty good. Not knock-your-socks-off, but if you like buffalo sauce, it’s something a little different, and it sure was easy to make. It’s supposed to have carrots, but I don’t think that would have added much (but you definitely want the celery in there, for texture and to cool your tongue from the hot sauce). I also made plain pasta, which is what most of the kids ate, which is why there was enough left over for me to eat lunch all week.
I hadn’t really planned out any sides. I have a hard time coming up with sides to pasta salads. It’s like when my grandmother went to the pet store asking for food for her daughter’s Sea Monkeys, and the man said, “Lady, Sea Monkeys are food.” So I ended up with a kind of self-inflicted one-family potluck meal of buffalo chicken salad, french fries, and cherries. Well, they ate it!
Chicken caprese sandwiches

Now this was a good idea. I had more chicken breasts (I guess they must have been on sale), so I roasted them under the broiler with salt and pepper, then sliced them. Then we laid out chicken, sliced mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, prosciutto, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and let people build their own sandwiches.

I also put out some mayonnaise and pesto sauce, but I didn’t end up using it. This was an extremely tasty summer sandwich, very fresh and pleasant and filling. I should have used Italian bread instead of Kaiser rolls, was the only thing. Next time!


Tuesday was ocean day. New Hampshire really only has one beach, about two hours from us, and it’s terribly trashy at night, but gorgeous during the day. We brought along subs, nectarines, chips, and cookies from the supermarket for lunch, and managed to eat most of it before the very bold seagulls had their way with it. I love the ocean.

It was a completely wonderful day. We didn’t bring any shovels or buckets or kites or floaties or anything. Just played in the cold waves and the fresh breeze and the glittering sun for hours and hours. Irene got lost and we, um, forgot to bring Lucy’s insulin. But the lifeguards found Irene again and Damien squeezed some insulin out of a local pharmacy and it was still fun. I love the ocean.

For dinner, I had my heart set on eating somewhere that served food in plastic baskets and had sand in the bathroom, so that’s what we did. It was called Swampy’s Sea Shack or Chunko’s Squid Hut or something along those lines. There were a bunch of drunken louts singing “Sweet Caroline” over their beers. I had the calamari platter. The coleslaw was terrible. I love the ocean.

Deconstructed shish kabob; pineapple cucumber salad; Tweezlaires

I took a big hunk of pork and cut it into big cubes and mixed it up with wedges of red onion and green pepper. I had mushrooms, too, but they had gotten all slimy, alas. I stirred it up with a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes and let it sit for a few hours.

We briefly considered putting the food on skewers and grilling it outside, but we were still exhaustipated from the beach, so I just spread the meat and veggies in a shallow pan and put it under the broiler until it was a little blackened. Good stuff.

Again I needed a side dish, but hadn’t made solid plans. My friend Jennifer suggested this pineapple cucumber salad, which calls for pineapple and cucumber, which I had, and lime zest and fresh cilantro, which I didn’t. So I used bottled lime juice and chili lime seasoning. It was nice! Just something different. May try again when I have cilantro.

We also had Tweezlaires, because that’s what I told the kids we were having before I found the pineapple recipe.


Oh son. If you haven’t made bibimbap, then this is your time. It is absolutely the party that your mouth deserves to have.

I sliced up some pork as thin as I could and set it to marinate in gochujang sauce, which I made with gochujang, honey, sugar, garlic, and soy sauce (proportions here).

I also sliced up a bunch of carrots and cucumbers very thin with the wide end of a cheese grater, because someone has absconded with the spindle part of my food processor. I set them to pickle in water with some white vinegar and sugar mixed in.

I made a ton of rice in the Instant Pot. It comes out good and sticky when you use the 1:1 method. When the rice was almost done, I fried up the meat in a skillet, and sliced and sauteed some mushrooms.

Then, when the rice was done, everyone put some in a bowl, and piled on their choice of pork, pickled vegetables, pea sprouts, and mushrooms, with sesame seeds, soy sauce, and wasabi sauce. And then a fricken fried egg on top. It’s so good. The various juices trickle down through the rice and you just have to focus on not passing out with joy before you get to the bottom.

Canobie Lake Park!

Friday was our long-awaited trip to the excellent amusement park that’s a couple of hours away. We went with the Girl Scouts, who picked up a big part of the tab, so we splurged on actual park food for lunch, and then we had monstrous ice cream sundaes around dinner time.

We stayed eleven hours. Would have been longer, but there came a crashing, thundering downpour and they had to close the park and evacuate everyone. We made our way to Papa Ginos. I don’t care what you say, it’s really quite good pizza. Also, we only ever seem to eat there when we are wet, exhausted, and completely starving. But I still think it’s good pizza!

And that’s what we did on our summer vacation.

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6 thoughts on “What was for supper last week? Vol. 137: Ah’m a-splurgin’!”

  1. Food made on fire next to water! Lobster! Amorous dragonflies!

    Ur probs pregnant now.

    We had glorious, glorious tri-tip made by my favorite fire-maker on the beach Saturday evening. There was almost nobody there because the fog kept rolling in and out, but it was lovely. I took my paddle board way out onto the ocean, and felt blissful as the board commanded that great expanse, and all of the little waves, that made the board go “thump, thump, thump” rhythmically. For a while I just sat down with my legs crossed, thinking enlightened thoughts. But even as I sat there feeling exultant, I thought of sharks. The water isn’t as clear this year (they say it will be an El Nino winter). You never can know entirely what swims beneath you. I have also passively listened to, or have been glued, to many, many hours of shark week. The comforting thing is that I have never seen a single great white in all of my years here. The shark week experts say that the warming waters have made the rays explode in population. The teenaged great whites that haven’t earned their monster fin yet, are really happy about all of those rays, which are their major food source. I contemplated my husband tending the grill, and the kids making castles. They were small and part of this great panorama of sky, cliff, sand and sea –details on a breathtaking living canvas. I headed back, and rode the waves in. Charlotte, Xave and my niece Lucia ran to meet me. They asked me if I would play “Up-y-over” with them. Up-y-over consists of standing in the breakers, just a tiny bit further than where they crash, and making that quick decision to either leap over the crest, or glide beneath it’s churning power. Ten minutes into glorious “Up-y-over” I felt IT like a gunshot. First time in my life–but I knew in an instant what it was. I instinctively blurted out words that would make a drunk, college girl proud, and slogged to the beach. The kids were alarmed. “Stingray!” I proclaimed. Everyone huddled around, gaped at the puncture wound between my toes and wrapped me up. The 22 y.o. and the 19 y.o. who had just arrived for dinner got on their phones and Googled. The people down the beach came to gawk. My husband poured wine down my throat and the little kids poured salt water on the wound. I became very tipsy, and very shocked at how painful the pain was, but I observed that it was a very localized pain–perhaps a 7 on the scale, and very much UNLIKE childbirth which is a 10 and an entire-full- body-near-death-pain. The cabana boy came over to commiserate. He shook his head when my husband asked him if he should pee on it. “Nah, that’s jellyfish” he answered with economy. “Did ‘j check if the spine is still in there?” The kids leaned in and peered at the bloody slice mark. “Yeah. that really hurts.” He said nodding. “There was a dude earlier that got stung, and he was crying like a baby.”

    “Of course he was.” I said slurring my words.

  2. Did I get the word exhaustipated from you? It’s one of my favorite words and we use it all of the time. Glad y’all had a great vacation week!!

  3. This all sounds amazing- every time I read these posts I feel chock full of ideas for meals…and then I grocery shop without meal planning, so I make the same old stuff every week. One of these years I will make Bibimbap!

    1. Also, a good substitute for buffalo chicken pasta might be the dip version- cream cheese, shredded chicken breasts, buffalo dauce, and blue cheese dressing all mixed and put in the oven, devour it with tortilla chips- so good!

  4. Your meals sound wonderful – how do you manage to have all the food on hand to make it?
    I think last week I was still experimenting with a new crock pot (I’m not ready to cope with an instapot). However, the weather here has been gorgeous – highs in the 70’s!!! in July!!! in stead of the usual hellish temps, so we ate a lot of homemade cookies. It’s amazing how I can forget what we ate just days ago.

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