Hola, amigos. What gives? I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya, but there’s been all sorts of craziness going on. But enough about me. Here’s what we cooked this week:
Oh, well, we didn’t actually cook this, as it was Aldi pizza. I mean, we put it in the oven. Saturday was when we got home from our splendid ocean vacation.
Wait, I have a few last pic from last week! Friday was our last full day at the ocean, and after one final swim, the kids stayed at the house and had grilled cheese and candy, I believe, and Damien and I found a restaurant with a breezy terrace
and had llllllllobster. Note my expert technique.
You will find it much easier to crack open a lobster once you’ve had three cocktails made of lemonade, soda water, and blueberry vodka. It just makes you more dextrous overall. Oh, we also had fried calamari and seared tuna.
Dammit, I was okay with not being at the ocean, and now I want to go back. Ah well. I still can’t believe we got to go!
Four of the older kids didn’t come on vacation with us, and they had been implored and entreated and cajoled and importuned not to ignore bad food smells and not to let my flowers die and not to let the puppy become too egregious, and they listened! So it was a pretty easy re-entry. The pool had taken on a vibrant emerald hue, unfortunately, and Damien is still battling the algae. As of today, it’s only chartreuse, which is progress.
Burgers and hot dogs
I think? One of our kids was moving into her own apartment on Sunday, and there was some kind of secondary hullabaloo. It’s a duck blur (duck not included). Damien cooked supper.
Pesto chicken pasta
I finally actually cooked something, if not using an actual a recipe. I cooked the chicken breasts in the instant pot and cubed/shredded it and mixed it with farfalle. Then I added a sauce in I made in the food processor with lots of fresh basil, lots of fresh garlic, lots of olive oil, lots of grated parmesan, salt and pepper, and — here’s the secret ingredient — two jars of pesto.
Not terribly photogenic, but pretty tasty!
While I’m on the subject, did you know you can make pesto out of all kinds of things? The most traditional kind is pine nuts, garlic, basil, parmean, salt, and olive oil, but you can use other herbs and other nuts. I once made a spinach walnut pesto that was fab.Jump to Recipe
I need to revisit various pesti while we’re still livin’ it up on top. [sighs until dead]
Made it to the town pond around sunset for an hour or so.
We still have a few weeks left, right?
Honey balsamic Brussels sprouts with bacon and eggs
A great one-pan meal which I think is suitable for any time of the day.Jump to Recipe
It’s a simple recipe, and only a time consuming if you have to make vast quantities, mainly in trimming and halving all those Brussels sprouts, but it’s absolutely a crowd pleaser and takes no particular skill.
I wished I had had some crusty bread, but it was so good.
I didn’t even follow the recipe for the sauce, just sloshed together a bunch of honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder because I was too lazy to crush garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix it up with the sprouts and some chopped bacon, cook it all until the bacon is done, then crack some eggs over it, cook a bit more, and top with parmesan and hot pepper flakes. And I guess a sprinkle of holy water, if that’s the kind of day you’re having:
Tortas, grilled corn
A new dish for us! I had told Damien steak was on sale, and he said, “WAIT.” and sent me some recipes. I checked them out and it idea seems to be “Mexican things, but with bread!” Can do.
Damien seasoned the steaks heavily with chili lime powder and grilled them rare, then cut them in slices. I found some soft rolls, and I set them out with the meat, refried beans, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, lime wedges, sour cream, mayonnaise, and queso fresco. I toasted my roll.
Damien also grilled some corn in the husks over the coals, and I had mine just with lime juice. At some point I guess you could assemble the sandwich and grill the whole thing, but you’d need some kind of containment system. This was a huge shambles of a sandwich. I ate mine outside because it was cooler and also so nobody could see me ravaging it.
Chicken caprese sandwiches
On Thursday I finally got around to excavating the jungle of my container garden, and was glad I had chosen to buy some extra basil just in case. The slugs are so bad this year. Next year I’ll . . . do better. Take care of stuff. Or whatever. Anyway, the sandwiches were good. I guess I forgot to take a picture, so here is a chicken caprese sandwich of ages past:
I heavy seasoned the chicken breasts with salt and “Italian seasoning” (I think it’s just basil and oregano) and olive oil and roasted and sliced them. We had plenty of tomatoes, basil, and leftover queso fresco, ciabatta rolls, olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.
We were supposed to go to the drive in movies to see Inside Out and Monty Python Holy Grail, and possibly stay for The Big Lebowski, but I somehow misread the schedule, and they were showing It and Harry Potter and the Part Where It Starts Getting Crappy. So we went mini golfing instead. Corrie got the highest score, which means she won.
And now we are all set with mini golf for another eleven years.
Gosh, I hope drive in movies make a comeback because of the pandemic. Wouldn’t that be neat? The first drive in movie I remember seeing was Superman. I was wearing footie pajamas, and my father put the back seat down in the orange Subaru, and kept it down on the drive home so we could sleep.
Tuna boats, curly fries
And that’s it! Hey, I know this sounds stupid because I clearly have a very rich, full, and lucky life, with photographic evidence and everything, but I am actually massively depressed and have been for several weeks and I’m having a hard time climbing out of this hole. Please pray for me and I’ll pray for you, because I know I’m not the only one. Thanks. Duck blur over and out.
Spinach walnut pesto
You can play with the proportions to get the consistency you like. This version is cheaper than using pine nuts and all basil. Makes 2-3 cups of pesto for adding to pasta or spreading on bruschetta.
- 1.5 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 cups fresh baby spinach (can include radicchio, etc.)
- 2 cups walnuts
- 3 Tbsp minced garlic
- 8 oz grated parmesan
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Whir nuts in food processor until crumbed.
Add basil and greens, and whir until blended.
Slowly add olive oil and blend again.
Add salt, garlic, and parmesan cheese and blend again until it's the consistency you like.
Bacon, eggs, and brussels sprouts in honey garlic balsamic sauce
Adapted from Damn Delicious. An easy and tasty one-pan meal that would work for any meal. Great with a hearty bread like challah.
- 4 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 3 lbs uncooked bacon, cut into 1- or 2-inch pieces
- 18 eggs
- oil for greasing pan
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- parmesan cheese, grated
- red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400. Grease two large oven sheets.
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Mix Brussels sprouts and bacon together, spread evenly in pans, and pour sauce all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook until bacon is almost done (almost as crisp as you like it) and Brussels sprouts are very slightly browned, 18-20 minutes.
Pull the pans out of the oven and carefully crack the eggs onto the Brussels sprouts and bacon, here and there.
Return pan to the oven and cook a few minutes longer, just enough to set the eggs. The yolks will get a little film over the top, but don't let them cook all the way through, or you'll have something resembled hard boiled eggs, which isn't as good. You want the yolks to be liquid so you can dip forkfuls of fod into it.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes and serve.