Hello, I have bronchitis. It’s a pretty mild case, but I’m milking it for all it’s worth, so let’s go ahead and say that’s why I haven’t written anything all week. And my car started leaking gas and the headlights both went out, which, you know, me too. So poor Damien has been doing all the driving as well as all his own work. It has not been a good week.
We did cook, though! A few nice meals this week. Here’s what we had:
Pork spiedies, cole slaw, chips
Here you can witness my complete disregard for cuts of meat. I got two hunks of pork and I don’t even know what they were, except that they were definitely two very different cuts. It always works out fine. This is actually the most important part of enjoying your own cooking: Just not caring that much. I guess it works for other people’s cooking, too. If I had to come up with a motto, it would be: Just eat it, okay?
Most of the wild mint has survived the cold weather, so I added plenty to this nice spiedie marinade, which is worth the slight hassle, and marinated the meat for several hours. .Jump to Recipe
Then I spread the pork in pans with mushrooms and red onion wedges and broiled it until it had a little char.
We ate it on sandwich rolls with mayonnaise, and it was tasty. I like this combination of meat, onion, and mushroom, because they all end up getting cooked to the right point at the same time. Juicy, tender meat, crunchy onions, and the mushrooms grabbed up so much flavor.
There was leftover cabbage from last week’s fish tacos, so I made a simple cole slaw, and we had chips.
Pork dumplings, hot and sour soup, white rice, sesame broccoli
Sunday, we expected (but didn’t quite manage) to be home all day, so we planned a rather elaborate meal. I thought it was delicious, but definitely a learning process.
I made the pork filling and sauce for the dumplings ahead of time, and then Damien and I experimented with different methods of forming the dumplings. I used this recipe.
We ended up with about eighty, I think.
The dough is not very pliable, but as long as you don’t overstuff them, they hold together well enough with a dab of water and a pinch. I ended up putting a teaspoon of filling in the center, folding it corner-to-corner, and then making crimps along the edge.
When we had a good supply, Damien started cooking them. The recipe calls for frying them in oil on both sides and then adding water to steam them.
This resulted in a gluey mess, and it was not a cooking method conducive to many batches. Some of the dumplings held together, but many of them got both slobbery and burnt. So we decided, hey, it’s our food, we can do what we want. So he just fried the rest and put them in the oven for a bit, to make sure they were fully cooked, and they were absolutely delicious that way.
We may have overcooked them a bit, because we’re a little paranoid about undercooked pork, but they were so nice. Crunchy and crisp on the outside, wonderfully savory inside, and the dipping sauce was perfect.
I won’t change a thing about the filling ingredients. It tasted exactly like what they serve at our favorite restaurants. I considered making handmade wrappers, but luckily Damien hunted down some readymade wonton wraps at the Coop.
Next time, we will probably deep fry them, though, so they get more evenly cooked. There will be a next time! I bought a little dumpling press (at 3:30 a.m., perfectly normal) and that should speed up the assembly next time.
The soup was another story. I used this recipe from Damn Delicious. It was SO so salty. Next time I will use low sodium soy sauce (which the recipe did call for, and I ignored!), and probably less of it. It also never took on that slightly — what’s a nice word for slimy? — consistency that you look for, but was just brothy. I just don’t ever have luck thickening things, and that’s a fact.
But I loved everything else about it. It was sour and tangy and rich and full of weird stuff, shiitake mushrooms, firm tofu, bamboo shoots, and those wonderful silky egg strands suspended all through it. If you have a cold, a bowl of this will clear out your head pretty quick.
All in all, a wonderful meal.
We had vanilla bean ice cream and fortune cookies for dessert. I was too wiped out to cut up the pineapples I bought.
I ended up eating the soup for lunch for three days and then regretfully getting rid of the rest. I made way, way too much of it, and it was just time. Next time, I’ll make something a little more accessible, like won ton soup, so more people will eat it! But I don’t regret making something that I really wanted to eat myself.
Oh, I did save out the leftover dumpling wraps, slice them thin, and fry them up in hot sesame oil, and the kids absolutely loved them. So light and crunchy.
We also had roasted sesame broccoli, but we ran out of oven space and had to eat it for a second course. Here’s my simple roast sesame broccoli recipe.Jump to Recipe
Back to basics! We may have had a vegetable, but I doubt it.
I feel like I did something to fancy these up a bit, but there’s no photographic evidence, so probably we just had chicken burgers.
Roast beef sandwiches
Chuck roast was $1.99 a pound, so I scooped up three nice big ones. I slathered them with olive oil and absolutely smothered them with a combination of kosher salt, ground pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Then I put them in a low oven, I think maybe 250, for about an hour and a half. And that’s it. It would have been swell with some overnight marinating or fresh herbs or whatever, but this was great.
My policy is to cook it rare, and if the little cretins want to throw it in the microwave, they can.
I sliced it as thinly as I could and then poured the drippings over it.
Moist and flavorful. We had it on kaiser rolls with mayo, tomatoes, and muenster cheese. I was too impatient to toast it and melt the cheese.
And onion rings from frozen. I do love onion rings.
I couldn’t find pepperoni in either supermarket, so all I got was black olives, and then mooched around for whatever else I could find for toppings. I ended up with one plain cheese pizza, one olive, one olive and ricotta cheese, one ricotta cheese, red onion, fresh garlic, and fresh basil
and one, ahem, ricotta, tomato, garlic, hot pepper flakes, and broccoli.
The broccoli isn’t quite what I was hunting for. I think what I really want is an eggplant pizza. What I really want is to be lost and freezing cold from a sudden drenching rain in Rome, and to duck into a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant and order a piping hot eggplant calzone, and have it be the best thing I’ve ever experienced with my mortal flesh. But failing that, I may try eggplant pizza next time.
Mac and cheese.
We certainly have a lot of cheese in this house. We certainly do.
Okay, that’s it! Boy, now I’m thinking about dumplings again. Soon, my pretties. Soon.
pork spiedies (can use marinade for shish kebob)
- 1 cup veg or olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp dried mint
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4-5 lbs boneless pork, cubed
- peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, cut into chunks
Mix together all marinade ingredients.
Mix up with cubed pork, cover, and marinate for several hours or overnight.
Best cooked over hot coals on the grill on skewers with vegetables. Can also spread in a shallow pan with veg and broil under a hot broiler.
Serve in sandwiches or with rice.
- broccoli spears
- sesame seeds
- sesame oil
- soy sauce
Preheat broiler to high.
Toss broccoli spears with sesame oil.
Spread in shallow pan. Drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Broil for six minutes or longer, until broccoli is slightly charred.
Baked macaroni and cheese
This is a vague recipe. You can change the proportions of the ingredients to make it thicker or thinner, more or less cheesy. I don't care!