What’s for supper? Vol. 168: For the love of Miguel

What’s For Supper is back! I took a few weeks off — first because two Fridays ago was Good Friday, and then the next Friday was Exhausted Friday. But here we are again, and I have some lovely meals to tell you about. 

SATURDAY
Hamburgers, chips

It was a long time ago, but I feel like I remember Damien made these on the grill in the rain. I like him. 

SUNDAY
Chicken rice bowls, strawberry short cake

I didn’t have a clear plan for this meal, but it turned out well enough. Needs some tweaks, but we’ll definitely have it again in some form.  

I cooked some chicken breasts in the Instant Pot on high pressure for eight minutes with about a cup of Goya Mojo Criollo marinade, and then I shredded it and returned it to the marinade to stay warm. Then I made a big pot of white rice. I set out the rice, the shredded chicken, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, black beans, lime wedges, tomatoes with diced chiles, sour cream, hot sauce, and chili lime powder, and I heated up a can of green enchilada sauce. Everyone made whatever combination they wanted. 

I wanted everything.

I deliberately kept things bland so more kids would eat it, though. Damien and I agreed that it needed something crunchy, like corn chips, and maybe the rice and/or beans could have been seasoned. But overall, a quick and easy meal.

For dessert, we got some of those sponge cake shells (I prefer actual shortcake, which is just basically a sweet biscuit, but no one else does) and piled on sugared, lightly mashed strawberries and whipped cream. 

MONDAY
Chicken burgers, terrible potato salad

Despite years of evidence, I still firmly believe I can whip up some delicious potato salad without really thinking about it. Some of the kids thought it was great, but it was not. It was weird and bad.

I diced some potatoes and boiled them, then mixed them up with mayo, vinegar, hard boiled eggs, leftover scallions, dried dill, pickle relish, and paprika. These are all potato salad ingredients, but it is two or three recipes merged together in an unholy union which shall be potatonathema. I should have skipped the pickle relish, or the dill, or all that paprika. I should have skipped town.

TUESDAY
Salami caprese sandwiches, string beans, cheesy bread sticks

Always a hit, and so simple. Ciabatta rolls, genoa salami, fresh tomato, fresh basil, sliced mozzarella (or provolone works, too), olive oil, vinegar, and freshly-ground pepper and sea salt. Yes, it has to be freshly-ground pepper and sea salt or else you have to pinch yourself viciously the whole time you’re chewing. I don’t make the rules! 

We also had some cheesy bread sticks I got at Aldi. There was some dolor and confusion as, according to some, I allegedly announced we were having cheese sticks as a side, leading people to believe I meant cheese sticks; and then some people asked other people if they could eat their cheese sticks, and the other people said they could, because they thought they meant cheese sticks, not cheesy bread sticks. When I mentioned there were also nice, fresh string beans, well, that just made it worse.

WEDNESDAY
Tacos al pastor with pico de gallo

Something I’ve always wanted to try. I made the marinade the day before, and let me tell you, it was a pain in the neck. But it was fantastic. But it was a pain the neck. But it was so good! I think I need to find a simpler recipe that delivers the same flavor. 

This is a Mexican-Lebanese fusion dish. The BBC says:

How is al pastor different from carnitas, chorizo, pollo, pescado and other common taco toppings? For starters, by the way it’s cooked: the pork is first marinated with various spices (including achiote, which is native to Mexico) and then roasted by an open flame via the trompo. Next, the pork is carved off, placed inside a corn tortilla and topped with cilantro, onion and pineapple – much like lamb is shaved from a spit and served in some pita bread at a shwarma place.

I guess it’s the paprika, cinnamon, and cumin that give it a middle eastern twist, as well as the way the meat is supposed to be cooked. I did not happen to have a trompo, so I just put the thinly-sliced marinated meat in a shallow pan and shoved it under a hot broiler. For the recipe I used, from the cleverly-named site Carlsbad Cravings, you are supposed to slice the meat, then marinate it, then cook it, then chop it into bits, but I skipped the last step. No regrets.

First I broiled some pineapple spears on a greased pan. I love grilled/broiled pineapple. It amps up the syrupy sweetness, and the juicy pump under singed edges make an exciting texture. To me, okay?

I also made some simple pico de gallo from tomato, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a little salt

and I had my tacos with sour cream, meat, pineapple, pico de gallo, and that’s it. Magnificent.

The pineapple is also supposed to be cut into chunks, but I left mine in spears – and again, no regrets. I used flour tortillas, which I prefer to corn, and which I warmed in the oven for 20 minutes before serving. 

So, that marinade. It’s not tremendously spicy, but instead has a warm, smoky, faintly nutty taste that’s set off gorgeously by the caramelized pineapple. Then the bright, piquant pico de gallo just makes it sing. Gosh, I wish I had some right now.

But as I said: Tremendous pain in the neck. I knew I wouldn’t be able to find dried Guajillo chiles in any local supermarket, so I bought them on Amazon. They came out of the bag flat and glossy, like fruit leather

but when I heated them up in a skillet to give them a singe, they puffed up like balloons, which was hilarious. (I have had kind of shitty week and I guess I was ready to be amused.)

Then you seed them and FOR THE LOVE OF MIGUEL DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES

then you simmer them to soften them up, which is lovely as well

and then you add them to the thirteen other ingredients in the food processor. One of the ingredients is achiote paste, which I also didn’t have, but which you can approximate by mixing together . . . eight other ingredients. So you can see how this was going. It wasn’t difficult, but it was a lot of ingredients! It was so tasty that I will make this recipe again someday; but I also wouldn’t mind if someone could suggest a simpler recipe. Also, you could speed up the process by not gasping and stopping to take pictures every few minutes, but where’s the fun in that?

We had tortilla chips to scoop up the rest of the pico de gallo. I’ll put a recipe card at the end for that. 

THURSDAY
Pizza

Damien made the pizzas while I lay down and practiced being tired. I’m getting pretty good at it!

FRIDAY
Spaghetti

Least that’s what it says here. I think Damien’s going to make Marcella Hazan’s amazing three-ingredient sauce (recipe card below).

And now my story is all told. I think Damien is making some simple syrup so we can celebrate Cinqo de Gringo in style this year. How about you? Anything neat going on in your kitchen?

Pico De Gallo

quick and easy fresh dip or topping for tacos, etc.

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced OR 1/2 serrano pepper
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • dash kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients together and serve with your favorite Mexican food

Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce

We made a quadruple recipe of this for twelve people. 

Keyword Marcella Hazan, pasta, spaghetti, tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes, broken up
  • 1 onion peeled and cut in half
  • salt to taste
  • 5 Tbsp butter

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients in a heavy pot.

  2. Simmer at least 90 minutes. 

  3. Take out the onions.

  4. I'm freaking serious, that's it!

 

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14 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 168: For the love of Miguel”

  1. I make a nice potato salad- roast potatoes in the oven with olive oil, minced garlic and chopped up bacon bits. Then while the potatoes are roasting, chop up sun-dried tomatoes, corn kernels (canned corn kernels or cut from the cob), avocado and put in a bowl. Whizz up some basil pesto (bunch of basil, a clove of garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and enough olive oil to form a paste). Take the potatoes out of oven and mix up with other ingredients and basil pesto. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt/pepper to taste. So yum. You can’t really make a mistake with this potato salad because you add as much or as little of the bits and pieces you like (ie. more corn or more bacon or more sun dried tomatoes as you like).

  2. My secret (well, Serious Eats’ secret) to foolproof potato salad is to boil the potatoes with a healthy dash of salt, sugar, and vinegar IN the water. Then sprinkle with more vinegar when the potatoes come out, as they’re cooling. Gives them a beautiful seasoning before you add anything else. I’ve been known to sneak a couple of chunks before I start mixing up!

  3. Hooray for the return of What’s for Supper? ! The most interesting thing I’ve made lately is curried chicken turnovers, which recipe I would link to if my phone’s “paste text” function were in a more cooperative mood, but you can probably imagine more or less how it goes: diced-up chicken (already cooked), apple, peanuts, and scallions, mixed with mayo, curry powder, salt, and pepper, spooned onto pie crust that gets folded over and baked. I burned the crust edges, but they were still pretty good.

  4. I thought “pastor” was mutton… but whatever the meat was, it sounds delicious. Perhaps the marinade could be made in bulk (at which you are an expert) and frozen it for the next 6 times you make it?
    Pineapple caramelized on the grill just might be my favorite food ever.

  5. The most exciting thing in my kitchen lately is the lettuce that is finally coming out of my garden in enough quantity that I can eat salads every couple of days. Given the fact that the nearest lettuce of any quality–i.e., not iceberg or browning romaine hearts–is a 180-mile round trip drive. Being able to walk twenty feet and get good lettuce is so exciting to me, I can’t even tell you.

  6. I’m 37 weeks pregnant so I’m eating a lot of popsicles and whatever my husband hands me! I did actually manage to make some roast potatoes and sausages, but that’s mainly because I’m still working and the hospital cafeteria is closed at night, which is honestly probably a god thing! I’ve hit the point where I can’t eat a full meal so I’m constantly making little snacks.

  7. It’s always strange to me that Tacos al Pastor aren’t as well-known in the US as a lot of other Mexican foods…I studied in Mexico and ate tacos al pastor multiple times per week. (This is partly because I don’t really like spicy foods and tacos al pastor generally are pretty mild.)
    Anyway, back in the US I’ve used “Frontera Guajillo Pepper Adobe Seasoning” with pretty good results. (It’s a paste and was on the shelves of my local grocery store in white suburban Chicago; it looks like Target and Walmart both carry it.)
    This recipe is also pretty yummy and (in my opinion) tasted pretty close to what I’ve had in Mexico in terms of flavors: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/burger-al-pastor-recipe-1924512
    So honestly, to save yourself work I’d just marinate pork chunks in the Frontera paste and the spices from the Marcella Valladolid recipe (and the pineapple juice!), and then skewer them with some pineapple chunks and grill them.

  8. May I offer my mom’s method of making potato salad? We never diced the potatoes before boiling; I think she’d cut them in manageable large chunks (we always used russet). No peeling. Then while they were still warm, she’d peel them–the peels come off pretty easily with a flick of a paring knife–and cut them up just a smidge more, and mix them while warm with Miracle Whip, chopped hardboiled eggs, salt, pepper and a good dash or so of paprika. I think because the potatoes were nice and warm they soaked up the seasonings in the Miracle Whip. I guess if you are hardcore against Miracle Whip you’d want to use mayo plus a little sugar and vinegar, to add more zip, and sometimes I do add tiny chopped garlic baby dills.

    I think when it comes to potato salad it is what madeleines were to Proust–whatever you grew up eating is the platonic ideal of potato salad, and it’s hard to get others to agree that what you like in potato salad is the gold standard. All I know is once we went to a neighbor’s for a barbecue and she’d made a huge vat of potato salad, and she was so proud of it b/c it was her mother’s special recipe and all of us politely tried it and tried not to look horrified/disgusted. *whispering* She put MUSTARD in it, of all things! And the potatoes were diced into teeny squares and mixed into the salad while COLD! *shudder*

    1. As for our week, it was a weird one, because the week before, we’d had to take a kid to the ER for what turned out to be a ruptured appendix. I spent most of Easter week in a blur of driving to the hospital, home from the hospital while my husband stayed at the hospital, stopping at the store to grab what I thought the non-sick kids would want to eat. Then we hunkered down at home while the kid recuperated, so we cleaned out the freezer and fridge and did potluck. It wasn’t until Tuesday this week that I was able to do a meal plan and actually go for a big shopping run. And then this week we decided to shuffle rooms around and reorganize the house. So when I finally made roasted chicken drumsticks (get you some Trader Joe’s garlic salt in the grinder), rice with gravy and frozen mixed veggies, it was the first time we’d sat at the table together since Easter Sunday.

      Tonight it’s fish sandwiches and Damn Delicious’ crockpot Parmesan Garlic Potatoes. Pizza on Saturday. Then probably tacos on Cinco de Mayo, but not exciting ones like yours!

    2. When I make potato salad I cook the potatoes in largish chunks and then chop them up while they are still hot. I immediately sprinkle them with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar, and mix it up. Put them in the refrigerator and when cool add everything else. This vinegar treatment gives it a nice back flavor before I add the mayo, onion, etc,

  9. I usually make an Polish soup for Dyngus Day (Easter Monday) called Żurek. It is a fermented rye soup with veggie broth, garlic and leftover smoked ham, ribs, kielbasa and served with hard boiled eggs and white (unsmoked) roasted kielbasa. Usually I buy the fermented rye base in Chicago, but this year I thought I would ferment my own rye. It’s really easy, but it takes about 5 days. You use boiled and cooled water, about a pound of rye flour, some garlic and some whole grain bread crusts. You put the concoction in a clean crock or large jar and let it sit in a warm place until it ferments. It turned out well and was cheaper than a trip to Chicago. Anyone want further instructions, let me know.

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