Everybody okay? We’ve been lucky so far here and don’t have a lot of food shortages, so we’re eating normally. In fact we may be eating somewhat lavishly, almost as if that is the one thing I can do. Here’s what we had this week:
Korean beef bowl, rice, snap peas, grapes
Old faithful. It’s such an easy recipe with just a few ingredients, and has so much flavor.
I used fresh garlic and ginger, but it’s also good with powdered. You can fiddle with the amount of sugar, too.Jump to Recipe
Grilled cheese with bacon and tomatoes, banana cream pie
I was looking for something more interesting than regular old grilled cheese. The first idea I found turned out to be grilled cheese with caramelized onions, which I mistook for bacon. So I says to myself, I says, BACON INDEED. I fried the sandwiches in bacon fat and put them in the oven for a bit to make sure the cheese was melted. You can almost see it leering at you.
My daughter informed me that this is no longer a grilled cheese with bacon sandwich; this is a bacon melt. She does live down the street from a diner, so she should know.
The banana cream pie was a tremendous pain in the neck. I decided to make homemade vanilla custard using this recipe, and it was delicious, but I think we ended up stirring it for about three hours. I had the foresight to make it the night before. Right before dessert, I put some sliced bananas in a graham cracker crust, spread the custard on top of that, added some more bananas, and piled fresh whipped cream on top. It was really good. There are few things better than homemade vanilla custard. Just get ready for a lot of stirring.
Believe it or not, my slice, pictured here, was the only one that fell apart when I dished it up.
Pork banh mi, pineapple
Still the greatest sandwich known to mankind.Jump to Recipe
I made the marinade and sliced up the meat in the morning, and Clara started some carrots pickling in rice vinegar and water.
Jump to Recipe
A little prep work, and then at dinner time you just spread it in a pan and broil it up
and you have yourself a wonderful meal.
Toast up some bread, spread it with sriracha mayo, get your meat and your carrots in there, add some cucumbers and cilantro and sliced jalapeños.
So good. I hear you can make this all different ways with all different meats, but I can’t imagine improving on this combination.
Oh, and fresh pineapple and cilantro is a wonderful combination, it turns out. I also bought a papaya, but it turns out they’re not really ripe until they turn yellow, which we’re still waiting for.
Cheese-stuffed sausages on farfalle
For you, my pets, I made a short video of myself stuffing cheese sticks into sausages. Please use in a way that will not bring shame onto your ancestors. (Sorry I forgot to turn the phone sideways.)
So as you can see, this is an easy if unseemly process. Then you just cook up the sausages in some sauce in the oven until they look truly monstrous
and serve it over pasta. I think I overcooked it a bit, and the cheese got kind of clotted.
I suppose I cooked the moisture out of it or something. Still a tasty dish.
Zuppa toscana, mashed butternut squash
On Wednesday I planned to try my hand at focaccia, possibly focaccia adorned with a beautiful floral motif made of chives and bits of pepper and red onion. Instead, I had a little come-apart, and had to sternly tell myself that I could try a new bread recipe on some other day, when I wasn’t having a little come-apart.
I did make soup, though, and an easy soup it is.
Jump to Recipe
You cook the sausage, you add in the onion and garlic, then sliced potatoes, then some flour. Then chicken broth and half and half, and at the end, kale and pepper. Don’t tell my doctor, but my favorite part is when you pour in the half and half and the orange bubbles well up from underneath the sausage. Bloop!
For the squash, I chopped off the ends, microwaved it for four minutes to make it easier to slice, sliced it in half, and baked it for an hour or so. Then scooped out the seeds, scooped out the flesh, and mashed it up with butter, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon. We seem to be out of chili powder.
Calzones, birthday cake
It is the birthday of Irene! Here are some calzones of ages past, since I forgot to take a picture:
Jump to Recipe
She finally decided against a Cutthroat Kitchen birthday party, and instead we went with a general theme of “wow, that is noisy.” Among her gifts were a battery operated Nerf machine gun, and a megaphone. The plan was to have a fire and roast marshmallows, make steel wool fireworks, and shake up some Coke and Mentos. It turned out to be windy and rainy, though, so we just did the Coke and Mentos. She absolutely loved it. I think the photos are currently on Damien’s phone, but she was one happy kid.
Her cake was a Full Metal Alchemist Somethingorother Symbol. I did a buttercream transfer, which means you print out the design, put something transparent or translucent over the paper, and use that as a guide to make the design in icing or melted chocolate or whatever. Then you freeze it, and when it’s solid, you flip it over onto your frosted cake. I won’t even bother sharing the photo, because there is no technique that compensates for migraine shaky-hand! But she liked it anyway.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
Korean Beef Bowl
A very quick and satisfying meal with lots of flavor and only a few ingredients. Serve over rice, with sesame seeds and chopped scallions on the top if you like. You can improve the flavor by using fresh garlic and fresh ginger, but powdered works fine, too. The proportions are flexible, and you can easily add more of any sauce ingredient at the end of cooking.
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (or less if you're not crazy about sweetness)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil (you can skip this, really, or use olive oil, but it adds flavor)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (or 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (or 3/4 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 lb ground beef
- scallions, chopped, for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
Heat the sesame or other oil in a skillet. Lightly cook then garlic, then add the ground beef and cook, breaking into bits, until the meat is all browned. Drain most of the fat.
Mix together the brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper flakes, and add to the ground beef. Or you can actually just chuck everything in the pan and stir it up right there. Cook a little longer until everything is combined and hot.
Serve over rice and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
Pork banh mi
- 5-6 lbs Pork loin
- 1 cup fish sauce
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 minced onion
- 1/2 head garlic, minced or crushed
- 1.5 tsp pepper
Veggies and dressing
- Sriracha sauce
Slice the raw pork as thinly as you can.
Mix together the fish sauce ingredients and add the meat slices. Seal in a ziplock bag to marinate, as it is horrendously stinky. Marinate several hours or overnight.
Grill the meat over coals or on a pan under a hot broiler.
Toast a sliced baguette or other crusty bread.
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 kosher salt
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.
- 2 lbs. sweet Italian sausages
- 1-2 red onion(s), diced
- 4 medium red potatoes, sliced thin with skin on
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 3 cups kale, chopped
- 4 cups half and half
- 9 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- olive oil for cooking
- 1/2 cup flour
Squeeze the sausage out of the casings. Saute it up in a little olive oil, breaking it into pieces as it cooks. When it's almost done, add the minced garlic, diced onion, and sliced potatoes. Drain off excess olive oil.
When onions and potatoes are soft, add flour, stir to coat, and cook for another five minutes.
Add chicken broth and half and half. Let soup simmer all day, or keep warm in slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Before serving, add chopped kale (and sliced mushrooms, optional) and cook for another ten minutes (or set Instant Pot for three minutes) until kale and mushrooms are soft. Add pepper. Add salt if necessary, but the sausage and broth contribute salt already.
This makes a creamy soup. If you want it thicker, you can add a flour or cornstarch roux at the end and cook a little longer.
Roasted butternut squash with honey and chili
- 1 butternut squash
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- chili powder
Preheat the broiler to high
To peel the squash: Cut the ends off the squash and poke it several times with a fork. Microwave it for 3-4 minutes. When it's cool enough to handle, cut it into manageable pieces and peel with a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife. Scoop out the pulp and seeds.
Cut the squash into cubes.
In a bowl, toss the squash with honey and olive oil. You can use whatever proportions you like, depending on how sweet you want it.
Spread the squash in a shallow pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder.
Broil for 15 minutes until the squash is slightly charred.
This is the basic recipe for cheese calzones. You can add whatever you'd like, just like with pizza. Warm up some marinara sauce and serve it on the side for dipping.
- 3 balls pizza dough
- 32 oz ricotta
- 3-4 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup parmesan
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-2 egg yolks for brushing on top
- any extra fillings you like: pepperoni, olives, sausage, basil, etc.
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix together filling ingredients.
Cut each ball of dough into fourths. Roll each piece into a circle about the size of a dinner plate.
Put a 1/2 cup or so of filling into the middle of each circle of dough circle. (You can add other things in at this point - pepperoni, olives, etc. - if you haven't already added them to the filling) Fold the dough circle in half and pinch the edges together tightly to make a wedge-shaped calzone.
Press lightly on the calzone to squeeze the cheese down to the ends.
Mix the egg yolks up with a little water and brush the egg wash over the top of the calzones.
Grease and flour a large pan (or use corn meal or bread crumbs instead of flour). Lay the calzones on the pan, leaving some room for them to expand a bit.
Bake about 18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Serve with hot marinara sauce for dipping.
Cheese-stuffed sausages in sauce
A completely degenerate dish. Serve over pasta.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Spread about 1/3 of the sauce over the bottom of a baking dish.
Carefully insert one cheese stick inside each sausage. If the end is already open, you can just thread it in. If not, cut a slit. Go slowly so as not to break the skin.
Lay the stuffed sausages on the sauced pan and pour the rest of the sauce over them.
Cover the pan with tinfoil and bake for 40 minutes or so, until the sausages are cooked through. You can take the tinfoil off toward the end if you want the sausages to brown up a little.
Cook some pasta while the sausages are cooking. Heat up some additional sauce if desired. Serve the sausages on top of the pasta with more sauce if desired.