We are all sick, so today’s post will contain very little whimsey. Here is what we consumed:
Chicken burgers, chips, caprese salad
It may be chilly and damp, but the tomatoes are still tasty and abundant, so I made a big caprese salad for a side. Just tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, freshly-ground salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a bowl. I didn’t feel like laying out a stunning wheel of color on a platter, and no one complained.
Someday I’ll go to the trouble to make a balsamic reduction. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll die without ever having made a balsamic reduction.
Has anyone given Italy a prize for inventing this dish? They should get a prize.
Some of the kids and I zipped off to Rhode Island after Mass for a little housewarming party for my sister. Lovely day! I really like my family. And I heard a story about a Franciscan friar walking around Rome, dismayed to discover that all the public bathrooms are coin-operated. “If I don’t find a toilet soon,” he says, “I’m gonna pee in Brother Bush.”
After our trip to NYC, driving around East Providence holds no terrors for me. However, the East Providence Wendy’s on Eddy St., that got two stars on Yelp? Deserves those two stars.
Ham, peas, mashed potatoes
Benny’s heart’s desire. She has to have this meal a few times a year or else she turns into a sparrow and flies away forever.
The potato express her joy at suppertime:
I have to admit, it’s a fine meal. It has all three food groups: Starch, green, and ham.
Chicken shawarma; frozen grapes
I briefly considered frying some eggplant, but that’s more of a we’re-accustomed-to-the-school-routine kind of dish, and we ain’t there yet. No one complained. They like meals with lots and lots of little bowls of things.
I had put several pounds of grapes in the freezer, and they make a neat little accompaniment to a savory meal, very sweet and refreshing.
The green apple in the back is not for the meal. It’s a crab apple from our tree, Marvin, who is having a good year. The apples taste a little odd, so I sometimes make them into applesauce, which has a distinctive tart, smoky taste. I forget why the tree is called Marvin.
Spicy Thai chicken with basil (Pad Krapow Gai) on rice
A new dish. I had some misgivings about it, since it looked a little spicy for our crowd. But I figured at very least Damien and I and the older kids would like it, and the rest could have rice and leftovers. As it happened, though, every last moderately tolerant person in the house had somewhere else to be at dinner. So I was the only one who even tried it. I made tons, of course. Here is half:
I got the recipe from Allrecipes.com. It was tasty? I really like spicy meals with little nubbins of chicken. It gave the impression of having cashews in it, even though it didn’t.
So it’s chicken cooked with shallots, garlic, and peppers in a sauce made of chicken broth, oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar, with fresh basil stirred in at the end. It didn’t caramelize the way it was supposed to, so it didn’t get as dark as the recipe photo, but the flavor was nice and rich. A tangy sauce with fresh basil is always a revelation.
Probably not going into the meal rotation, though. If I’m going to hear that much whining about the smell of hot fish sauce, I need to be rewarded with banh mi.
Meatloaf, baked potato
Another long-promised meal. I make mine with five pounds of ground beef and two pounds of ground turkey. In theory this is to lighten it up, but in practice it’s because Aldi sells beef in five-pound packages, and five isn’t enough, but two would be too much, but their smaller packages of beef are priced higher, but ground turkey is less then two dollars a pound. Also, it lightens it up.
I also happened to have panko bread crumbs (I also had regular bread crumbs, but there was some kind of moth nightmare going on in there), which also lightened it up. I mean, it was still meatloaf, but it wasn’t grisly and heavy. Do you know how many meatloaf recipes tell you to make it in a loaf pan? I don’t understand that at all. You might as well just bathe in grease. I use a broiler pan with drainage.
We also had some amusing baked potatoes.
A small section of my brain is lighting up like it’s trying to make a joke about the potato, but that’s as far as I get.
Meatloaf recipe at the end. Irene suspiciously questioned me about the vegetable she found in her meatloaf.
Parsley. It’s parsley. The horror.
Tuna noodle casserole
They pestered me into putting this on the menu, and I thought I would take the opportunity to pester Damien to take me out to eat. Not that I have to pester him, but we’ve been so busy, we’re practically strangers these days. But I dunno. I have the world’s grossest cold and he’s about 36 hours behind me in incubation, so maybe we’ll just stay home and be sad.
Okay, so tell me about that potato. What’s the deal with that potato?
- 8 lbs boned, skinned chicken thighs
- 4-5 red onions
- 1.5 cups lemon juice
- 2 cups olive oil
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbs, 2 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbs, 2 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 entire head garlic, crushed
Mix marinade ingredients together, then add sliced or quartered onions and chicken. Put in ziplock bag and let marinate several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Grease a shallow pan. Take the chicken and onions out of the marinade and spread it in a single layer on the pan. Cook for 45 minutes or more.
Chop up the chicken a bit, if you like, and finish cooking it so it crisps up a bit more.
Serve chicken and onions with pita bread triangles, cucumbers, tomatoes, assorted olives, feta cheese, fresh parsley, pomegranates or grapes, fried eggplant, and yogurt sauce.
- 32 oz full fat Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- fresh parsley or dill, chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. Use for spreading on grilled meats, dipping pita or vegetables, etc.
Meatloaf (actually two giant meatloaves)
- 5 lbs ground beef
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 8 eggs
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup milk OR red wine
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
plenty of salt, pepper, garlic powder or fresh garlic, onion powder or minced onions, fresh parsley, etc.
- ketchup for the top
Preheat oven to 450
Mix all meat, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, and seasonings together with your hands until well blended.
Form meat into two oblong loaves on pan with drainage
Squirt ketchup all over the outside of the loaves and spread to cover with spatula. Don't pretend you're too good for this. It's delicious.
Bake for an hour or so, until meat is cooked all the way through. Slice and serve.