And now for this week! Here’s what we had:
Grilled ham and cheese, fries, blueberries
It has finally been long enough, and I felt it was safe to have grilled ham and cheese again. Blueberries on sale, so I bought a bunch. They tasted very much like the blueberries of November. Kind of foggy, bloated, and old. I said the blueberries felt that way. The blueberries!
Pulled pork sandwiches, fries, string beans
Very basic pulled pork. I just put it in the slow cooker with a can of beer all day, shredded it, and mixed it up with a bottle of BBQ sauce one of the kids brought home from somewhere. It was tasty, but I forget the name, so I guess this is useless information for you.
Fish tacos with guacamole, tortilla chips
Whenever I go shopping, I think, “I wonder if we have tortillas? I know we have some, but do we have enough? Man, these are only $1.09 a bag. I guess I’ll grab a few.”
And that is how it came to this:
For the tacos, I shredded some cabbage. Normally, I serve the fish with cabbage, sour cream, avocados, salsa, cilantro, and lime wedges, but I decided to make guacamole. But I couldn’t find any jalapeños, so I used canned tomatoes with diced chili peppers in them. Meh. It was fine, not wonderful. The photo is of a more successful guac. Jump to Recipe
Chicken, zucchini, and mushrooms with chimichurri
A new recipe! I thought it was delicious. Really, anything is good with chimichurri.
The meat and veg chunks are supposed to be grilled or broiled on skewers, but I couldn’t find wooden skewers anywhere, so I just cooked everything in a pan under the broiler. You toss the chicken with chimichurri, then broil it along with the zucchini and mushrooms that have been tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You serve the meat and veg with more chimichurri. More and more chimichurri, until you can see your breath in the dark! Jump to Recipe
Recipe cards at the end.
Korean BBQ-style meatballs on rice, mango
Another new recipe! This was so incredibly simple (especially coming from the NYT from which I stole it) I thought there was no way it could be anything good, but it was quite good. Ground beef, scallions, crushed Ritz crackers, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Most of the kids liked it a lot. It was only very mildly Asian in flavor, which is probably why they liked it, but I made myself a little dipping sauce out of soy sauce and mirin, and that was deeeeeelicious. Damien had his with sriracha. I believe I will be adding this to the rotation. Cheap, easy, and popular. Jump to Recipe
I also made some quick-pickled carrots, because I wasn’t sure if there would be enough flavor in the meatballs. It definitely didn’t hurt to have them. Jump to Recipe
I was a little low on scallions, so I ended up using the fourth-generation scallions I’ve been sprouting and re-sprouting in a cup of water on the windowsill.
Pretty feeble specimens. I probably could have goosed them with a little sugar in the sprouting water, but the roots smelled like death, so I just fished out the best ones and trashed the rest. Sic transit etc.
Stuffed shells, garlic knots
I got this all made before noon, and felt pretty swell about myself. You could say the secret ingredient is CHEESE.
I had three balls of pizza dough. I cut each one into 12, rolled them into snakes, tied them in knots, topped them with butter and a little salt, and baked them on a greased, floured pan. A sprinkle of parmesan is good, too, if you haven’t used it all up in the stuffed shells.
They were pretty tasty, even with that silly Aldi shredded cheese that doesn’t quite quite melt. Jump to Recipe
Oven baked french toast, OJ
I finally decided to start calling it “oven baked French toast” instead of “French toast casserole.” And that has made all the difference. Jump to Recipe
My land, it’s been a week. Lots of drama with school and whatnot, and tonight we’re going to see my son in Chicago.
You know, people always wonder at how I can do all this stuff, and in all honestly, so do I. It IS rather a wonder. There’s only one way it makes sense, and that is that I really, really like to eat. Oh and I just have more Holy Spirit than the rest of your guys, that’s all.
But seriously, if I didn’t have good old drama-free cooking to fall back on for its therapeutic soothing magic, I would probably be in jail by now. Which is not to say I won’t end up in jail eventually, but it won’t be cooking’s fault.
And here are this week’s recipe cards. My land, what a week.
White Lady From NH's Guacamole
- 4 avocados
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 medium jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 red onion, diced
Peel avocados. Mash two and dice two.
Mix together with rest of ingredients and add seasonings.
Cover tightly, as it becomes discolored quickly.
Dipping sauce, marinade, you name it
- 2 cups curly parsley
- 1 cup Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup dried oregano (or fresh if you have it)
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
Put all ingredients except olive oil in food processor. Whir until it's blended but a little chunky.
Slowly pour olive oil in while continuing to blend.
Vaguely Asian meatballs with dipping sauce
Very simple meatballs with a vaguely Korean flavor. These are mild enough that kids will eat them happily, but if you want to kick up the Korean taste, you can serve them with dipping sauces and pickled vegetables. Serve with rice.
- 2.5 lbs ground beef
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed finely
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup minced garlic
- 2 bunches scallions, chopped (save out a bit for a garnish)
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp ground pepper
For dipping sauce:
- mirin or rice vinegar
- soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 425.
Mix together the meat and all the meatball ingredients with your hands until they are well combined. Form large balls and lay them on a baking pan with a rim.
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Serve over rice with dipping sauce and a sprinkle of scallions.
quick-pickled carrots and/or cucumbers for banh mi, bibimbap, ramen, tacos, etc.
An easy way to add tons of bright flavor and crunch to a meal. We pickle carrots and cucumbers most often, but you can also use radishes, red onions, daikon, or any firm vegetable.
- 6-7 medium carrots, peeled
- 1 lb mini cucumbers (or 1 lg cucumber)
For the brine (make double if pickling both carrots and cukes)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar (other vinegars will also work; you'll just get a slightly different flavor)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp sale, preferably kosher
Mix brine ingredients together until salt and sugar are dissolved.
Slice or julienne the vegetables. The thinner they are, the more flavor they pick up, but the more quickly they will go soft, so decide how soon you are going to eat them and cut accordingly!
Add them to the brine so they are submerged.
Cover and let sit for a few hours or overnight or longer. Refrigerate if you're going to leave them overnight or longer.
Just a basic recipe. You can add meat to the sauce or spinach to the cheese, or anything that strikes your fancy. Serves about 10.
- 2 12-oz boxes jumbo shells
- 2 32-oz tubs ricotta cheese
- 8 oz grated parmesan cheese
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 4-5 cups pasta sauce
Cook the shells in salted water, drain, and rinse in cool water. Mix them up with olive oil so they don't stick together.
Preheat the oven to 350. Mix into the ricotta cheese all the seasoning, the parmesan, and 3 of the cups of mozzarella.
Spread a little sauce in the bottom of an oven-proof pan or dish. Stuff each shell with about 1/2-1/3 cup of cheese filling and lay the stuffed shells close together.
Top with the rest of the pasta sauce, and sprinkled the remaining mozzarella on top of that. Cover loosely with foil and cook for 45 minutes or longer, until it's bubbly.
French toast casserole
An easy, kid-pleasing meal, pleasant and cozy for breakfast, brunch, or brinner. Use any kinds of bread you have in the house. You can also add raisins, slices of apple, or whatever sounds good.
I'm not putting measurements in, because you can make this so many different ways, so it's more pastry-like or more custardy. Use the same proportions you'd use to make regular french toast and it will be good.
- bread, torn up
- dash of salt
- white or brown sugar
Grease a casserole dish or cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350.
Tear the bread up into chunks and spread them in the buttered pans.
Mix together the eggs, milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla, and pour the batter over the bread. Stir up the bread so all of it is wet.
If you like, you can let the casserole sit for a few hours to let the egg soak in, but it's not essential.
Sprinkle the top with more sugar and cinnamon, if you like. Bake for 40 minutes or so, until the egg is all cooked and it's a little toasted on top. Serve in wedges and drizzle with syrup, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or serve with jam or fruit toppings.