Well! I’m fat; how are you? Here’s what we ate this week:
Bagel, egg, sausage, and cheese sandwiches; blueberries
Easy peasy weekend meal. There really isn’t much better than a lovely fried egg with crisp, lacy edges and a runny yolk. Goodness gracious.
The blueberries weren’t terrible, for Februberries.
Hot wings, sausage rolls, potato tornados, hot pretzels
Sunday, you may recall, was . . . something. Nothing. Nothing happened. Everybody liked it and there was nothing funny about it at all! Mostly what I did was cook and eat.
Damien made scrumptious hot wings with blue cheese dip and celery. He uses the Deadspin recipe and he says it’s very easy.
I had been meaning for several weeks to make sausage rolls, which is something Damien once mentioned enjoying as a kid in Australia.Jump to Recipe
I guess they are street food, to be enjoyed with ketchup. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to replicate them, but the basic idea sounded yummy.
OH, THEY WERE YUMMY.
I read a bunch of recipes and whittled it down to a very basic form. You fry up some diced onions and mix them up with loose sausage (I used sweet Italian sausage squoze out of the casings) and egg and some seasonings. Cut puff pastry into strips, lay the raw sausage mixture in a line down the middle of the strips
fold it up into a long roll, cut it into separate rolls, brush with egg, and bake. I put “everything” seasoning on some of them before baking, and that was a good idea.
Oh man, they were delicious. Flaky, buttery layers of pastry melding gradually into the savory filling. Absolutely fantastic.
I was truly surprised that none of the kids liked them! The tastes were not challenging in the slightest. I ended up eating them myself throughout the week. They were good cold. They were good reheated, if a little less perky in texture.
I really hope you make these. They are so easy, and really pay off in flavor and chompability. You can make them well ahead of time and keep them refrigerated
then throw them in the oven just before guests come over.
Okay, now you can listen to my sad story about the potatoes.
Around midnight, my Facebook feed switches over to other continents, and a couple of weeks ago, I saw some East Asian dad I’m apparently friends with showing off pics of his kids enjoying some kind of weird street food I had never seen. I googled around a bit and discovered they are called “potato springs,” “potato twists,” or, escalatedly, “potato tornados.” It’s a spiral-cut potato stuck on a skewer and deep fried. Intrigued, I googled some more, and found a recipe where a guy used crushed Doritos for seasoning. That is my kind of guy.Jump to Recipe
If you’re a street vendor, you will have a potato spiralizer; but if you’re an idiot, you’ll try using a cheese slicer first. You sort of hook the skewer into the slice part and press and turn the potato at the same time. In the video, this resulted in a potato neatly spiraled around a skewer. In real life, I got this:
So I gave up and stomped out of the kitchen. But then I thought, well, the problem was that the skewer wasn’t stable, and the potato kept slipping around, and what if I used a box grater, and anchored the end of the skewer on the inside of the box grater?
And that actually worked really well! I got halfway through the potato and it was all tidily coiled up on the skewer inside the box grater. So I kept going, and what do you think?
I grated the skewer in half.
So I got mad again and stomped out of the kitchen and complained about how stupid it was to Damien, and he fully supported me in giving up on this stupid project.
But then I thought, “But wait. Is there anything intrinsically superior about a potato in a spiral, or is it just that, when one has a spiralizing machine, that’s how it turns out? The point is to have thin, battered slices of potato on a stick, is it not?” So I decided to make one last try. This time I bring plenty-a gas! And I just took the freaking potato and cut it up into slices that weren’t attached to each other, and stuck them on a stick by the handful.
Then, uh, I did it eleven more times with eleven other potatoes. It’s not that my honor was at stake, exactly. I think I’m just dumb.
So I mixed up the batter an crushed up the Doritos and set it aside until it was time for frying in a few hours. This, it turns out, was a tactical error in what had heretofore been an entirely streamlined and efficient process. The batter is supposed to be thin, so you can just kind of slosh it over the potato sticks and fry it up. But when you make it ahead of time and leave flour-based batter sitting around for a few hours, guess what it turns into? Correct: Glop. This is doubly true if you have added Dorito crumbs to it, and the Dorito crumbs swell up and absorb all the liquid.
Well, by this time, my honor really was at stake, and I was still dumb. So I heated up a big pot of oil and, using the impasto technique I learned in the oil paint section of Mr. Bennet’s Portfolio Development class, I forced the batter in, on, and around the potato skewers. It didn’t want to stick but I made it stick, and then fried the hell out of them.
Some of them turned out, you know, fine, if not exactly elegant.
Some of them turned out like a cry for an exorcist
I managed this by showering them with kosher salt
They kind of reminded me of when those guys pour molten aluminum down into a termite nest and then pull it out of the sand, and then they put it in their house for some reason.
Well, the kids ate them. I ate one, and felt that it would probably carry me through my potato needs for about eleven weeks.
The final verdict: Not a total disaster? I guess there are varieties with cheese and pleasant, piquant seasonings, and it would definitely help to batter them before the batter solidifies. My version would have been great if we had been walking around in the freezing sleet for a few hours and our fingers and noses were numb. Otherwise, it was just, wow, a lot.
We also had hot pretzels.
Chicken caprese sandwiches, fries
A fine make-ahead meal. Damien roasted some chicken breasts in the morning and sliced them up, and we put the sandwiches together in the evening.
Ciabatta rolls, chicken, tomato, basil, provolone, plenty of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and freshly-ground salt and pepper.
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, squash abbondanza
I started dinner going and then remembered we had a middle school planning committee thingy to go to, so I yelled some hazy instructions to the kids about how to finish it up and serve it. So I don’t have any photos of dinner, but I do have this:
Oops, my ringer was off. They did boil, drain, and mash the potatoes with butter and milk, and they did cook and slice the meatloaf. They also took the squash out of the oven, pack it into a dish, cover it, and send it directly into refrigerator exile without benefit of being on the table for even a minute. I don’t know what I expected. I threw it away the next day. I like butternut squash, but if you lose momentum, it’s really hard to get it back.
Here is my basic meatloaf recipe, if you care:
Jump to Recipe
And here is one of my squash recipes:
Jump to Recipe
Pulled pork nachos
I put a big hunk of pork in the slow cooker with a can of beer, about a cup of cider vinegar, several cloves of garlic, and some jarred jalapeños. I let it cook all day, then fished it out, shredded it, mixed it up with plenty of salt, garlic powder, dried onions, cumin, chili powder, and pepper flakes, and spread it on top of chips, and topped it with plenty of shredded cheese.
Shoved it into a hot oven until the cheese was melted and served with sour cream, salsa, cilantro, and limes.
I also put queso on mine because I’m too thin and people are worried.
Thin slices of pork sautéed in sesame oil with soy sauce, pea shoots, soft boiled eggs, shredded carrots, and cucumbers. I had mine with soy sauce and tabasco sauce.
We had a snow day and the kids went sledding, then the little ones watched The Sound of Music. A cheery supper for a chilly day. Sometimes I quick pickle the vegetablesJump to Recipe, but I didn’t bother, and no one seemed to notice.
It says ravioli, but I seem to have forgotten to buy any. I should have saved that cold squash.
- 2.5 lbs sausage, loose or squeezed out of casings
- 1 lg onion
- salt and pepper
- olive oil for cooking
- 1.5 lbs puff pastry dough (1.5 packages)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- "Everything" seasoning, if you like
Preheat the oven to 400.
Dice the onion and sauté in the olive oil until it's slightly browned
Put the raw, loose sausage in a bowl. Beat two of the eggs and add them to the bowl along with the cooked onions. Mix thoroughly.
Cut the puff pastry into six long strips. On a floured surface, roll them out until they're somewhat thinner.
Divide the sausage mixture into six portions and spoon it out into a long rows down the middle of each strip of puff pastry
Form the sausage mixture into a tidier strip, leaving a margin of dough on each side.
With a pastry brush, paint the dough margins on both sides.
Fold the pastry up over the sausage on both sides, to form a long roll.
Flip the roll over and lay it in a greased pan with the creased side down.
Cut each roll into six smaller sections. (You can make them whatever size you like, really.) Leave a little space in between rolls on the pan.
Brush each little roll with the rest of the beaten egg. Sprinkle with "everything" seasoning if you like.
Bake for 20 minutes until the sausage is cooked and the rolls are golden brown. Serve hot or cold.
Dorito fried potato sticks
- 12 small-to-medium potatoes, scrubbed, peel on
- 2 cups flour
- 4 cups water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 11 oz Doritos or your favorite chips, crushed into crumbs
- vegetable oil for frying
Slice each potato into as thin slices as possible, and thread the slices onto skewers.
If you're not going to cook them right away, you can keep them in water to keep the potatoes from turning brown. Try to fan the potatoes out so there is a little space in between but don't forget to leave enough room on the skewer so there's something to hold onto.
Start heating the oil in a heavy pot. Prepare a pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.
In a shallow dish, mix together the flour, water, and crushed chips. It should be thin and drippy.
Dip the potato skewers into the batter and spoon more batter over them, so the slices are thoroughly coated.
When the oil is hot enough (you will see bubbles form steadily if you dip a wooden spoon in), dip the skewers into the hot oil. Cook for several minutes until they are crisp.
Remove to a pan lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.