What’s for supper? Vol. 209: Anchovy, anchovah

What up, cheese bags? Here’s what we ate this week:

Okay, I can’t remember what we ate on Saturday. I’ve started getting groceries on Mondays to avoid the crowds of weekend shoppers who are just too patriotic to wear masks; so my menu cycle is now Monday to Sunday, and Saturday was just too long ago. I imagine we had meat, a starch, and possibly something green, but probably not.

Corned beef sandwiches

Corned beef went on sale after St. Patrick’s day, and I snagged several pounds for the freezer.

Damien cooked and sliced them, and we had sandwiches on toasted sourdough bread with mustard and Swiss cheese, liberally garnished with me grumbling about how hard it is to take a photo of a sandwich. Try it some time! It’s not easy. Grumble grumble.

Caprese chicken sandwiches, strawberries, fries

Just regular old frozen chicken burgers on ciabatta rolls with tomatoes, basil, provolone, salt and pepper, and olive oil and vinegar. 

You know, every time I need to write the word “provolone,” I have to Google “kinds of cheese.” I don’t know why this is, but I can never remember the name of it. It’s bizarre. I can remember “potrzebie” and “funicular” and “crepuscular” and “vermiform,” but I can never come up with the word “provolone” without help. 

The sandwiches were good.

Chicken caesar salad

I had a yen to taste real caesar salad dressing, which I never have before. Freshly grated parmesan cheese, raw egg yolk, minced anchovies, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, the whole nine yards.

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I would call it a howling success. The only fly in the ointment was this:

The dressing was great, though. I assembled all the ingredients and then just mixed them all together, as one does for dressing, somehow forgetting to read the second part of the recipe, which describes making a paste of some ingredients, then combining the paste slowly with the liquid ingredients, then gradually incorporating the beaten egg yolk drop by drop. Nope, just smushed up all in together and swizzled it up with a fork, and it was great. Zippy, even. Definitely making this again.

It was neat having a whole meal with such simple elements: Just greens, chicken, croutons, and that wonderful dressing. I made the chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano, broiled and sliced. 

Do I have a crouton recipe card? Nope, doesn’t look like it. Basically you just cube whatever stale bread you have lying around and drench it in melted butter, then season heavily with salt, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper, spread it in a shallow pan and toast it slowly, like on 300, for maybe an hour, stirring them up occasionally. The kids think my croutons are the best thing I make, which is kinda, hmmm, I mean it’s basically toast. 

Carnitas with pico de gallo, tortilla chips, pineapple

Damien snagged some Mexican Coke last time he was out, and so I was compelled to make these excellent carnitas following the recipe from J.R.’s Art Place. Pork butt in chunks, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and oregano, then cooked in Coke and oil with oranges, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves.

This recipe is so easy and good, it’s even delicious when you . . . *sob* . . . forget to turn the heat off, and it kind of blackens in the pot before you shred it.

I’m not kidding, though. Even though I totally overcooked it, the flavor was fantastic, and there were no survivors, I mean leftovers.

I made a big bowl of pico de gallo, which was on the mild side because I forgot to buy jalapeños and I forgot to add garlic, but it was still ZIPPY.

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I think my next project will be to make a batch of that sharp, runny salsa they serve in restaurants. I got turned off homemade salsa when my in laws were . . . well, it’s a long story, but for some time, they were living in a hotel room with two teenagers, two boxers, and a kitten, and my father-in-law had a sinus infection, and the only thing that would help was lots of homemade salsa. You know how hotel rooms have those heavy doors that sort of hermitically seal in the air? So we would go visit them, and I don’t know, somehow I got turned off homemade salsa. But that was long ago, in a vermiform universe far, far away, and today, things are much more potrzebie.

Here is some pico de gallo from ages past. This time around, I made it with sweet grape tomatoes, which I definitely prefer, even though they are a pain to cut up. 

Beef stroganoff on noodles

Bit of a puzzler here. I used some really excellent, fresh ingredients, but it still turned out bland. Possibly longer cooking would have given everything a chance to develop; I just kind of threw it together right before dinner. It was good! Just not the happy punch in the mouth I was expecting. 

You tell me where I went wrong. I sautéed some diced onions and fresh garlic with some ground beef and drained the fat; then I added several diced anchovies and let them cook in. Then a ton of sliced mushrooms, lots of red wine, salt and pepper, plenty of sour cream, and then right at the end, a generous handful of fresh dill. 

What do you think? Longer cooking? More anchovies? Probably it needed more anchovies. 

Requested tuna noodle for the young parsons, maybe sushi for the elders.

We are going for a surprise parade birthday party for some kid (I guess you lean out the window and shout happy birthday? I’m unclear on the details, but it sounds hygienic), and if, on the way home, someone accidentally falls out of the car right outside the Chinese restaurant right when they happen to be coming out with the sushi we ordered, so be it.

caesar salad dressing


  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about two large lemons' worth)
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 4 raw egg yolks, beaten
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan


  1. Just mix it all together, you coward.


Pico De Gallo

quick and easy fresh dip or topping for tacos, etc.


  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced OR 1/2 serrano pepper
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • dash kosher salt


  1. Mix ingredients together and serve with your favorite Mexican food

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14 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 209: Anchovy, anchovah”

  1. I usually do beef stroganoff with cubed beef chuck (we only have four people eating solids, though, so our food budget is a tad bigger) and 3 Tbsp paprika per pound of meat. I mean there are other ingredients, too, but the paprika gives it some oomph.

  2. Here’s a way to remember provolone:

    …and if you’ve never seen the movie, it’s a hoot! Full of politically incorrect caricatures; like I said: a hoot!

    Thanks for all you write, Simcha; I like reading all your posts, and appreciate your insights into what it means to be human, fallen, redeemed, and living that out in this world.

  3. Sorry to comment a bit late, but in regards to the stroganoff recipe, an old one I use has a little ketchup in it. That sounds weird, but it’s just a tiny amount, and for some reason, it works. It also used some Worcestershire sauce (which contains anchovies). Both go with the sour cream, mushrooms, and beef really great.

    We love homemade Caesar salad dressing. Ours uses a coddled egg, which is boiled for one minute. It’s basically about raw, so I’ve never understood why it didn’t just use a raw yolk. But it didn’t and I’ve been told not to mess with the recipe by those who like the dressing, so I don’t. So, that egg gets coddled. It will never get to experience the real world and get hard boiled. (Yeah, that sounds like a lame dad joke.)

    Thank you for the food posts and recipes, and the insights into cooking for your family. I always enjoy reading what your write.

  4. Food is sacred and precious. May there be no hunger on the face of the Earth. Thus says the Lord: “When I was hungry, you offered me food.”

  5. It looks like you ate really well this week!

    FYI – Zippy is the mascot of the University of Akron, which is my husband’s alma mater and my hometown school. And whose fabulous Newman Center (ranked #18 in the USA for its faithfulness) meets at and serves my parish, for which I am so very grateful.

    Zippy is a very charming kangaroo, a good sport, and is possibly one of the only mascots – professional or non-professional – who is a female. Because she has a pouch.

    So don’t let anyone razz you for using the word zippy. She would be delighted, and my heart belongs to Zippy!

  6. Did you saute the mushrooms by themselves, with salt and pepper, till they were nice and brown and tasty on the outside? I think it’s important to get the mushrooms right, for flavor. I do also put some cream in, at the very end, and let it brown up in that magic way a cream sauce can.

  7. Re: stroganoff problem: you used ground beef? Wasn’t that your problem, right there? My mom cooked pretty straight-up, lowbrow 50’s versions of those old American classics, but even she would not have thought ground beef was good enough for stroganoff.

    1. Mexican Coke is made with cane sugar, rather than high fructose corn syrup. I think it affects the flavor and also maybe the caramelization process or something? I’ll have to try it in the future with regular Coke and see if I can taste the difference.

    2. Mexican Coke is so, so much better. It’s made with sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup (ptooie!). There’s a coffee shop near us that sells bottles of Mexican Coke. I used to walk over there to get one, when I was still drinking soda. Mexican Coke was my last holdout.

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