In this space, I will skip the part where I complain about how tired I am and what a long week it is and how busy we all are. Food is good! Here is food:
Nothing to report. Actually Damien tried frying some of the burgers up in an iron frying pan in butter, rather than broiling them in the oven on a slotted pan like we usually do. It was good, I didn’t think it made that much difference. I asked him if he just likes me fat and he said yes.
Caprese salad, garlic bread, pork roast, strawberry almond cream cake
Damien and Clara made supper. Or, more accurately, they made three suppers, but we ate it all in one night. And oh, what a three meals it was!
He made a red sauce from this Deadspin recipe, and the pork roast after a NYT recipe. I’ll make a recipe card for the end, because I think it’s behind a paywall, and he just picks the fattiest pork he can find, and we can never find fennel fronds, so that makes it a brand new recipe! Look how scrumptious.
You make a kind of paste out fennel seed, rosemary, sage, crushed garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and olive oil and rub it in good. Damien made it the night before and I don’t know if it was the long marinating time or what, but it absolutely fell off the bone. So insanely juicy and tender, and the fat crisped up into this wonderful crust that would have been a meal in itself. Man.
The pasta sauce was also wonderful. It’s unexpectedly spicy and sweet. You really should try it.
Clara based the cake on a recipe from An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. Lena also made a heart-shaped chocolate cake with Benny and Corrie, apparently because she’s vying for sainthood. I didn’t get any dessert pictures, but I did catch this in medias pasta picture that captures the scene nicely.
Yep, we still have Christmas lights up outside. They are on a timer. It’s cold and icy out there. I do believe we’re just going to get used to them.
Split pea soup, hot pretzels
We’ve read Owl at Home many times and we’ve watched A Christmas Carol many times, and yet at least half the kids have never shuffled themselves backward into a wingback chair with a bowl of hot split pea soup in their laps. So I made some. Most of them didn’t eat it, because, well, you know. It tastes great, but it sure looks like it has already made the acquaintance of someone’s digestive tract and then retraced its steps right back into the bowl.
Tasted good, though! I didn’t have leftover ham and couldn’t find a ham hock, so I just bought a big ham steak, chopped it up, and chucked it in. Damien and I both thought it would have been even better with bacon instead of ham. So let it be written! Recipe card at the end.
Egg and sausage sandwiches on bagels, hot chocolate
I had a sudden need to be loved, so I made a big pot of hot chocolate. My basic recipe per cup: One Tablespoon of cocoa powder, two tablespoons of sugar, heated and stirred into syrup with a little water. Then add milk and finish heating. We also happened to have moshmeddows in the house.
Oven-roasted pork ribs, honeyed Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes
Corrie and I prepped the veg and potatoes in the morning so we could have a tea party with a clear conscience. She is a big help as long as you are not in any kind of hurry.
Such a simple, satisfying meal. We made the mashed potatoes in the morning and then heated them up in the microwave at dinner time.
The Brussels sprouts, I trimmed and halved, spread in a pan, and drizzled with olive oil, honey, and wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and roasted until they were a little charred; then I moved the pan to the bottom of the oven so they could finish cooking while the pork took a turn under the broiler.
I understand that some people don’t have a broiler in their oven. I am so sorry.
Roast beef sandwiches, tater tots, sweet peppers and onion dip
All week, I was planning to make ropa vieja, a beef stew with peppers, which is the national dish of Cuba. This led to a long, frustrating conversation about what Cuba is. Corrie is three. She has a lot of questions.
Anyway, I somehow forgot to buy both pimientos and roasted red peppers, and I had my doubts about this meal anyway. I would definitely eat it, but for everyone else, it looked like a big pot of disappointment with olives, smoked paprika or no. So at the last minute, I decided to just make sandwiches, which everyone likes.
I crusted the chuck roasts heavily with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and browned them on all sides in a heavy pot in very hot olive oil. Then I put the roasts in a pan in the oven at 350 for half an hour or so. I let them sit for a bit, then sliced them up and spread the meat in the pan and slid it back in the oven for a few minutes to bring it from way too rare/quite rare to medium-rare.
I’m actually embarrassed at how many sexy pictures of roast beef I took. If I went blind, I bet I would lose fifty pounds.
Boy, I’m glad I didn’t make ropa vieja. We had the slices of hot beef on long boys with horseradish sauce and provolone, toasted up a bit in the oven, with tater tots and sweet peppers with french onion dip. Look at these peppers!
Hashtag no filter! Take that, January evening with wet ice falling out of the sky!
Pasta, garlic knots
Usually I put butter, salt, garlic powder, and parmesan on the dough before baking, but Staša suggested I bake them first, then toss them up with herbed, garlicky butter.
I melted butter and olive oil together and added garlic (powder; couldn’t find the garlic press for fresh), salt, and chopped-up basil and let that sizzle up a bit. I liked it? Not sure if it was better than the other way, but definitely a good way to do it. I mean, I ate three of them, whatever.
And that’s a week! Whadja have? Anything good? I need to start all over again.
- 6-8 lb fatty hunk of pork
- 1/4 cup rosemary, chopped
- 2 tsp chopped sage leaves
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 lemon, zest thereof
- 1-1/5 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Score pork all over.
In a food processor, blend all the rest of the ingredients together, adding oil in last.
Rub paste all over pork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least six hours, preferably overnight.
Bring pork out of refrigerator an hour or two before cooking. Preheat oven to 450.
Put pork in shallow, rimmed pan and cook for 35 minutes.
Reduce heat to 325 and cook another 3 to 4 hours. (Boneless roasts will cook faster.)
Split Pea Soup
Looks terrible. Tastes perfect.
- 1/4 butter
- 1 onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 pound dried split peas, rinsed and sorted
- 1 ham hock (can get away with skipping)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 6 cups chicken broth (+ 2 cups water)
- 1 cup diced ham OR 1/2 lb bacon, fried crisp and broken into bits
In the pot, (using sauté button if using Instant pot) melt the butter and sauté the carrots, onion, and celery until soft.
Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
Add bay leaf, thyme, split peas, and ham bone and stir.
Add the broth. If using stovetop, bring to a boil, turn to low, cover loosely, and simmer for an hour until peas are soft and soup is thickened. Add diced ham in last fifteen minutes of cooking.
If using IP, cover, close valve, press "cancel" and then press "soup/broth." Cook, do natural release, open lid, add diced ham, and press "slow cook." Let cook for 15 minutes.
Remove ham bone, if you used one. Stir in plenty of pepper. Leave the bay leaf in because whoever finds it gets good luck or whatever.