Let’s talk about food! Hope you have plenty at your house. Here’s what we ate this week:
Brats, chips, strawberries
Damien boils the brats in beer and onions, then browns them up with more onions. Some of the kids eat theirs with still further, raw onions, but I feel that is too many onions.
Braised Pork All’arrabbiata, garlic parmesan mashed potatoes, salad, grapes
Someone mentioned this recipe on Twitter, and I happened to have two hunks of panic pork picnic in the fridge, aging rapidly. So I hacked it up and cooked it, and MAN IT WAS GOOD.
You brown the hunks of pork with salt and pepper, then cook up some onions, tomato paste, garlic, red pepper flakes, red wine, and diced tomatoes on the stovetop, then put it all in the oven for a few hours until the pork is tender.
Jump to Recipe
This is one of those recipes where you could really subsist on the smell alone. Fabulous. Nice and easy, too, and cheap if you can get pork cheap. The red pepper gives it a little dazzle up front, but it’s not super spicy, just very rich and warming. Of course you could adjust it to make it hotter.
I went with parmesan garlic mashed potatoes, which I somehow have never made before. They were a big hit. I put smashed garlic cloves right in with the water to boil the potatoes, and then mashed them along.Jump to Recipe
Check it out: I says to myself, I say, HOW WOULD IT BE if we were to put a layer of pork all’arrabbiata in a casserole dish, sprrrrread some garlic parmesan mashed potatoes on that, sprinkle it with a bit more cheese, and slide the whole thing into a medium oven to think about what’s it’s done until the top is nicely browned? I think it would be wonderful.
I know people use pork arrabbiata as a sauce for pasta, but that just doesn’t appeal to me. I think it would be great with egg noodles, though. Or on toast!
Asian meatballs, rice, steamed broccoli
I just love these tasty little meatballs. I had plenty of scallions and fresh garlic, which I chopped pretty coarsely, and I added some extra soy sauce. The only other ingredients are crushed Ritz crackers, kosher salt, and pepper. And ground beef, yes.
An easy, quick meal that just about everyone likes. I make a nice little dipping sauce, half soy sauce and half mirin, to give it a little extra zing. Damien prefers his with sriracha. These are flavorful enough that you could use ground turkey, if you really needed to, what with the war on and all, and they would still be good.
We had it with white rice and some broccoli which I’ll call “steamed,” but it was really drowned. I am not used to cooking frozen veg!
I actually skipped the chicken for mine and just had cheddar and jalapeños. Not my finest frying effort; whatcha gonna do.
I made the chicken by sprinkling it lavishly with chili lime powder and cooking it very slowly in oil, then slicing it up. I know I bought tortilla chips at some point, but they had disappeared off the face of the earth. I said I would slice up some sweet peppers, but I did not.
Omelettes and challah
I offered the choice of sausage, pepper jack cheese, or both. Then someone leaked the news that we also had cheddar, and there was a panic. I guess there has to be a panic about something.
The challah turned out great!Jump to Recipe
I made a double recipe, enough for two huge loaves, and my poor old mixer is getting so old and wobbly, I was afraid I would break it, so I pulled the dough out to knead by hand. Man, I am weak. That was exhausting. I eventually gave up long before it reached the required “feels like a boob” stage, cut the dough in half, and threw it back into the mixer a batch at a time, but I still rushed it a bit, and set the dough to rise when it was still pretty knobbly.
But like I said, it turned out great! I was most pleased.
It looks flat in this picture, but in real life, it was most pneumatic.
Look at the sheen on that crust.
I made exactly two nice, tidy omelettes, and the next ten looked like they were the best I could offer with my broken arm (I do not have a broken arm).
Two pepperoni, two olive, one plain. And them’s the facts. I used the leftover sauce Damien made last week.
Pasta again, I believe. This pandemic is taking on a distinct canned tomato flavor.
braised pork all'arrabbiata
- 5-6 lbs pork, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 3 medium onions, diced
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 5 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes with juice
- more salt and pepper if needed
Preheat the oven to 325.
Salt and pepper the pork chunks. In a heavy pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and brown the pork on all sides. Do it in shifts if necessary, to make sure all the pork gets browned.
Remove the pork from the oil and set it aside. Add the diced onions to the oil and cook a few minutes until soft.
Add the minced garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, a few minutes more.
Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce becomes thick.
Add the diced tomatoes with juice and combine with the sauce. Put the pork back in and stir so it's all coated with sauce.
Put a lid on, or cover tightly with tinfoil, and put the pot in the oven for at least two hours, until the pork is very tender and stew-like.
When the pork is done, the sauce should be thick, not liquidy. If necessary, simmer on the stovetop to cook off the excess liquid.
If the pork is very fatty, shove the pork to one side of the pot, let the fat collect on one end, and drain it out with a spoon.
Serve with parmesan mashed potatoes.
Garlic parmesan mashed potatoes
- 5-6 lbs potatoes
- 8-10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 8 Tbsp butter
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 8 oz grated parmesan
- salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes and put them in a pot. Cover the with water. Add a bit of salt and the smashed garlic cloves.
Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer with lid loosely on until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
Drain the water out of the pot. Add the butter and milk and mash well.
Add the parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and stir until combined.
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.
Challah (braided bread)
- 1.5 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
- 2 eggs
- 6-8 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp yeast
- 2 egg yolks for egg wash
- poppy seeds or "everything bagel" topping (optional)
- corn meal (or flour) for pan, to keep loaf from sticking
In a small bowl, dissolve a bit of the sugar into the water, and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir gently, and let sit for five minutes or more, until it foams.
In the bowl of standing mixer, put the flour (starting with six cups), salt, remaining sugar, oil, and eggs, mix slightly, then add the yeast liquid. Mix with dough hook until the dough doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl, adding flour as needed. It's good if it has a slightly scaly appearance on the outside.
(If you're kneading by hand, knead until it feels soft and giving. It will take quite a lot of kneading!)
Put the dough in a greased bowl and lightly cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for at least an hour, until it's double in size.
Grease a large baking sheet and sprinkle it with flour or corn meal. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll three into "snakes" and make a large braid, pinching the ends to keep them together. Divide the fourth piece into three and make a smaller braid, and lay this over the larger braid. Lay the braided loaf on the pan.
Cover again and let rise again for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 350.
Before baking, make an egg wash out of egg yolks and a little water. Brush the egg wash all over the loaf, and sprinkle with poppy seeds or "everything" topping.
Bake 25 minutes or more until the loaf is a deep golden color.