Lots of color this week! It didn’t stop being February, though. Here’s what we had this week. Recipe cards at the end.
Burgers, chips, salad
Nothing to report. Except that I had mine without salt, because of my fershlugginer blood pressure. Next time I’ll either put a little salt, or skip the burger and just go straight to the blasted heath.
Beer can chicken, berries, home fries
Damien made a couple of beer can chickens, using more or less this recipe. He wasn’t happy with how it turned out, but I’m not sure why. I thought it was delicious and very juicy.
It could be just that ineffable essence of someone-else-cooked.
You know, the first box of blueberries I picked up at the store popped open and blueberries spilled all over the place, and all I did was just make an actual, audible growling sound, like a possum, and kick them under the shelf. When did I become a terrible person? Probably longer ago than I realize.
Gochujang bulgoki, rice, roast sesame broccoli
You put in some effort mixing up the sauce and slicing the meat and carrots and onions in the morning or even the night before, and boy does it pay off. This dish will warm you up inside from your guggle to your zatch.
Gochujang (fermented pepper paste) is now one of the thing we always have in the house. It is ready to please. Well, ready to grab you by the scruff of your neck and then please.
The broccoli dish is nice and easy, too. Just chop it up and toss it with sesame oil, drizzle on soy sauce, sprinkle on sesame seeds, and roast. Yum.
I made the rice in the Instant Pot using the 1:1 method. You can make this meal with either seaweed sheets or lettuce leaves, and make little bundles of rice and meat to pop in your mouth. It’s so good.
Beef barley soup, pumpkin mumpkins
Not everyone in my house like beef barley soup and pumpkin muffins, but those who do love it so very dearly. I put a few minutes into trying to work up some kind of extended King Lear/Cordelia grateful child joke here, to follow up on the barely-perceptable Shakespeare joke in the first paragraph, but nothing happened. Hey look, soup.
Bizarrely, we were out of wine, so the broth was based in beef broth and tomato juice. It was still good, but wine would have been better. For my heart.
The pumpkin muffins turned out perfect, as always. These are the most tender, cozy muffins imaginable. I skipped the toppings this time.
I made thirty-six of them, and Benny ate probably thirty herself. She kept taking another muffin, cramming it in her mouth, and then shouting, “People keep eating all the muffins!” and we kept shouting, “You’re the one who keeps eating all the muffins!”
Roast chicken and salad
A DIY meal, with mixed greens, grilled chicken, cucumbers, feta cheese, toasted almonds, diced red onion, blueberries, and tomatoes.
The blueberries and tomatoes didn’t really go together, but they were both so cheap, I couldn’t resist.
I toasted the almonds in the microwave. Spread on a plate, two minutes, stir, one more minute.
Perfectly fine salad. I had mine with wine vinegar.
Shish kebob, except not; pineapple, rice
Pork was super cheap, so I bought three large hunks of it. The first went to the bulgoki, and the other two were destined for shish kebob. But it’s a lot of trouble to thread all that stuff on skewers, so I was gonna do deconstructed shish kebob, and just roast them under the broiler. I expressed this plan by writing “deconst-o-bob” on the dinner blackboard. I did this because the kids were already treating me like an idiot, but I felt like this would be a good means of getting them to treat me even more like an idiot, and it worked!
So when I preheated the broiler, the heating coil made a thrilling blue flash and a puff of magical smoke, and then it — oh, I can’t resist — it shuffled off this mortal coil. Ha.
So I decided to mix up some quick spiedie marinade and just mix it up with the peppers, onions, mushrooms, and meat, and cook it on the stovetop. I know from experience that it gets less pretty after cooking, so I took some lovely meat rainbow pics while it was raw.
Cooked it up in a little oil, and it was fine. Nothing to write home about, but a decent meal. We had some pineapple and rice on the side.
We spent the rest of the evening addressing the concerns of children who had eaten more pineapple than their soft palates were prepared to handle.
Gonna go shuffle off to the kitchen and make this now. I’ll keep it basic, just frozen batter-fried fish on tortillas with avocados, shredded cabbage, sour cream and cilantro. I feel like I bought some salsa.
Here’s the recipes for the things that aren’t self-explanatory:
- broccoli spears
- sesame seeds
- sesame oil
- soy sauce
Preheat broiler to high.
Toss broccoli spears with sesame oil.
Spread in shallow pan. Drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Broil for six minutes or longer, until broccoli is slightly charred.
Gochujang bulgoki (spicy Korean pork)
- 1.5 pound boneless pork, sliced thin
- 4 carrots in matchsticks or shreds
- 1 onion sliced thin
- 5 generous Tbsp gochujang (fermented pepper paste)
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 5 cloves minced garlic
Serve with white rice and nori (seaweed sheets) or lettuce leaves to wrap
Combine pork, onions, and carrots.
Mix together all sauce ingredients and stir into pork and vegetables.
Cover and let marinate for several hours or overnight.
Heat a pan with a little oil and sauté the pork mixture until pork is cooked through.
Serve with rice and lettuce or nori. Eat by taking pieces of lettuce or nori, putting a scoop of meat and rice in, and making little bundles to eat.
Chicken berry nut salad
Any number of variations. Use whatever fruit is in season and whatever nuts are on sale. Dried fruit is also fine.
- chicken breast, seasoned, cooked, diced
- salad greens
- blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, fresh or dried
- toasted walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.
- feta or blue cheese, crumbled
- diced red onions
- balsamic vinegar or other light dressing
To toast the nuts: Spread them in a single layer on a plate and microwaving them on high for three minutes. This is the easiest, most reliable way to toast nuts, which improves the flavor and texture immensely for salad.
You can also toast them in the oven in a single layer on a pan in a 350 oven for 6-7 minutes, but watch carefully, as they burn quickly.
Beef barley soup (Instant Pot or stovetop)
Makes about a gallon of lovely soup
- olive oil
- 1 medium onion or red onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2-3 lbs beef, cubed
- 16 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 6 cups beef bouillon
- 1 cup merlot or other red wine
- 29 oz canned diced tomatoes (fire roasted is nice) with juice
- 1 cup uncooked barley
- salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy pot. If using Instant Pot, choose "saute." Add the minced garlic, diced onion, and diced carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and carrots are softened.
Add the cubes of beef and cook until slightly browned.
Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the beef broth, and the merlot, plus 3 cups of water. Stir and add the mushrooms and barley.
If cooking on stovetop, cover loosely and let simmer for several hours. If using Instant Pot, close top, close valve, and set to high pressure for 30 minutes.
Before serving, add pepper to taste. Salt if necessary.
Pumpkin quick bread or muffins
Makes 2 loaves or 18+ muffins
- 30 oz canned pumpkin puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup veg or canola oil
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 3.5 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- oats, wheat germ, turbinado sugar, chopped dates, almonds, raisins, etc. optional
Preheat oven to 350. Butter two loaf pans or butter or line 18 muffin tins.
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture and mix just to blend.
Optional: add toppings or stir-ins of your choice.
Spoon batter into pans or tins. Bake about 25 minutes for muffins, about 40 minutes for loaves.
pork spiedies (can use marinade for shish kebob)
- 1 cup veg or olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup red or white wine vinegar
- 4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 8-10 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4-5 lbs boneless pork, cubed
- peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, cut into chunks
Mix together all marinade ingredients.
Mix up with cubed pork, cover, and marinate for several hours or overnight.
Best cooked over hot coals on the grill on skewers with vegetables. Can also spread in a shallow pan with veg and broil under a hot broiler.
Serve in sandwiches or with rice.