What’s for supper? Vol. 236: You will not even believe how much food

Hi! Hi. 

I haven’t done a food post since … Dec. 18? Is that possible? Since then, we had the rest of Advent and then Christmas, then Damien got appendicitis, then it was New Year’s and a birthday, then school started up again, and now there’s another birthday. Specifically, Damien’s birthday, and for his present, he got to keep his appendix. Did you know they could do that? They caught it early, and are treating it with antibiotics, no surgery. But if it acts up again . . . CHHHHHTTTT!! [that’s a throat-slitting noise, to indicate that someone is a goner. Corrie has been practicing it during Mass, so that’s how that’s going]

Also like this:

I guess I’ll do this week’s food round-up, then pick up some highlights from past weeks.

SATURDAY
Calzones, cheesecake with strawberries

Saturday (New Year’s Day) was Sophia’s birthday. The kids spent the day playing Dungeons and Dragons with the fanciest snacks Aldi had to offer. I didn’t get any good pictures because we hung up some atmospheric dungeon decorations (plastic tablecloths), and it was pretty dark in there. 

I made a cheesecake the night before, using a recipe from my friend Elizabeth. It was a tremendously delicious cheesecake, about a foot high, fluffy and creamy, no cracks.

I would share the recipe with you, but I’m pretty sure Elizabeth would CHHHHHTTTT!! me. But it turned out so well.

I over-baked it a little bit because we were watching A Day at the Races and I forgot to check it, but that just gave the top a kind of caramelized taste which was actually very nice (and now the kids know the “Thank you” — “Thank YO” bit, so it was worth it). I dipped a bunch of strawberries in chocolate, and then used the leftover chocolate to add a little drippy garnish.

I think the chocolate dip recipe is 12 oz of chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of shortening, melted together. The shortening is so it hardens when it cools. Note: Aldi chocolate chips do not melt well, so spring for name brand, but not Nestle, because they’re evil. It was partially a selfish choice to do this rather than make a glaze, because if you are someone who gets migraines from chocolate, you can easily pick this stuff off. 

The cheesecake recipe a bit of an ordeal (the ingredients all have to be at room temperature, and there’s lots of scraping and dropping the bowl, and it’s baked in a water bath, and you have to let it cool in the oven for many hours, and you have lost the bottom to your springform pan so you have to buy a new one) totally worth it. I made the crust with graham cracker crumbs, butter, and a bunch of ground walnuts I had leftover from when we made rum balls or something. We served it with additional strawberry glaze topping from a can, which I had bought when I thought January strawberries would be worse than they were. Whether Sophia liked it or not, I have no idea, as she is 15, and fifteen-year-olds tell no tales.

The calzones were well-received, though. 

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We didn’t notice until dinner time that the theme of the day was cheese: Cheese plates, calzones, and cheesecake. Not a thing wrong with that, either. 

SUNDAY
Pork spiedies, sweet potato fries

This is usually a tasty meal, especially if you let the meat marinate for a long time, but it turned out super bland.

I dunno what happened. I’ve used this recipe many times, and it’s usually pretty zippy. Oh well!

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MONDAY
Normal tacos, chips

Normaltacos. 

TUESDAY
Old Bay chicken wings and drumsticks, baked potatoes, carrots and dip

Not exactly a recipe. I sprinkled the chicken heavily with Old Bay seasoning and cooked it, then drenched them with melted butter and more Old Bay, and cooked some more to crisp up the skin.

For some reason, possibly because I was very hungry and because I couldn’t find the Old Bay seasoning and almost resorted to making a homemade approximation, I thought this chicken was going to be AMAZINGAMAZING chicken. And it was just good and nice.  

WEDNESDAY
Vermonter sandwiches, salad, king cake

Very popular sandwiches. Toasted sourdough bread, a thick slice of grilled chicken breast, a few pieces of bacon, a thick slice of sharp cheddar, some slices of tart Granny Smith apple, and plenty of honey mustard. Some people use deli meat and add turkey, and some people use maple mustard. Just follow your heart. This is a bad picture, but a wonderful sandwich. 

We got confused with fake Sunday epiphany and actual epiphany, but Clara leaped into the breech and made a wonderful, pneumatic king cake, stuffed with sweet cream cheese filling and glazed with some kind of lemony thing,

with colored icing and sprinkles, and a lucky . . . uh, baby. 

You’ve heard of the Infant of Prague?

Infant jesus of prague – Das Prager Jesuskind- El niño jesus de Praga. Prague

Now get ready for the INFANT FROG. 

I don’t know. Somebody turn this into a real joke and get back to me. 

THURSDAY
Gochujang pork ribs, rice, nori, pomegranates and kiwis

Now this was a very fine meal. I made a double batch of this excellent gochujang sauce

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which was enough to marinate about 15 pork ribs. Then I broiled them to a little char, and they were so spicy and good.

If you have boneless pork, you can cut it into little strips and marinate it along with sliced onions and matchstick carrots and sautée it all up together, and this is gochujang bulgoki, which is also a wonderful meal, but more time consuming. 

We had good rice leftover from New Year’s Eve, which I decided to cook rather than save for a special occasion, because maybe the world will end soon. We also had leftover nori, and some pomegranates I had forgotten about, and some kiwis that were sitting around neglected

and it was just a lovely meal. High flavor, low skill, just my speed. 

FRIDAY
Today is Damien’s birthday! He has requested bacon cheeseburgers, name brand Doritos, guacamole, and strawberry and chocolate ice cream, which I believe can be accomplished. He’s feeling much better, thank God. 

Okay! Now let’s pick up some loose ends. 

The last thing I wrote about was making noodle kugel for the last day of Chanukah, which turned out to be the day after the last day of Chanukah, oops. Well, we were out of eggs, oops, so I sent my son out to buy some, and then I baked it, but forgot to add the eggs. Oops. The one thing you can say about Jewish cooking is that it sure has a lot of eggs in this, so this kugel was . . . well, it smelled nice. I ate it, but it really wasn’t what it should have been. Gonna try again sometime, because the blonde rum raisins and apple bits were good.

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The latkes were very good, though.

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I had mine with a little sour cream and caviar because no one stopped me.

This seems like a good time to remind you that you can make latkes at any time of the year, and cheap caviar is still caviar.

Word on the street is you can just rinse the shredded potato in cold water, and that will be enough to keep it from getting discolored. You apparently don’t have to keep it actually in water. We learned this tip too late, but will definitely try it next time.

As I look through my photos, gosh, we did a lot of baking and sweets-making. I made rugelach, rum balls, and buckeyes; Clara made gingerbread cookies and Benny made chocolate chip cookies; and we strung popcorn and cranberries. Ugh, I have so many lovely Christmas photos languishing on my phone. Je suis overwhelmèd. Just tell me if you want any of these recipe I didn’t include, and I’ll add them in.

I also tried making beef bourguignon for the first time, using this recipe adapted from Julia Child. It was a lot of work. SO much work. It took all day.

We had it on noodles.

Doesn’t it look sooooo, so good? Well, it tasted  . . . fine. I would honestly just as soon have a cheesesteak, or beef stew I can throw together in 20 minutes. Just not worth the hassle. 

Now if you’re looking for something that is NOT a hassle, may I suggest baked brie, which we had on Christmas eve while decorating the tree?

It was just a little lump of cheap brie with some honey and pecans on the top, heated up in a little pan until the insides were gooey, served with crackers. My goodness, it was delicious. 

I also have this photo on my phone, and I can’t even remember what this means or why it was so funny

but we laughed pretty hard.

Christmas morning we had cinnamon buns FROM A CAN AND IT WAS FINE, orange juice and eggnog, and crazy grapes the size of plums, and for dinner we had a pupu platter take-out as usual. The next day, Damien made his fantastic Chinese chicken wings 

These chicken wings are like a three-course meal in themselves, with the crackling skin, the juicy meat, and then the whole skin-and-meat-together phenomenon. I’m not explaining this right, but they’re so good. 

I made the lo mein with ramen-style noodles, but it turns out I definitely prefer something wider. Still an easy, tasty recipe.

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Looks like we also had muffaletta sandwiches, which everybody likes. I made an olive salad in the food processor with manzanilla, black, and kalamata olives, marinated red peppers, and I think maybe some banana peppers.

Olive salad for muffaletta sandwiches is supposed to have a very particular balance of flavors, but I just throw in whatever we have in little bottles. I guess some olive oil and pepper and fresh garlic. 

We cut up some baguettes for the bread (I think real muffaletta sandwiches use a sweet, soft bread) and an assortment of meats, ham, smoked salami, capicola, and a little prosciutto, and I think maybe provolone? It feels like so long ago. This was the night Damien got appendicitis. I am not sure if he ever did get his sandwich. 

We had tons of leftover rice from Christmas and tons of leftover eggnog, which I always forget nobody really wants more than a sip of, so I made Instant Pot eggnog rice pudding. Nice and easy with a pleasant taste, but the eggnog flavor was very faint. Anyway, I used up the eggnog.

On New Year’s Eve, we had DIY sushi, plus lamb on crostini. I had been stashing away boneless legs of lamb for months whenever it was on sale. I used Tom Nichols’ grandmother’s easy recipe,

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and it was tender and tasty. Kind of weird combination of foods, and could have used a bit of cheese or horseradish sauce, but looking back, it’s a miracle we were all still upright at this point, much less making a coherent menu.

For the sushi, we had more than one setback, but ended up with . . . let’s see. Sushi rice, some raw tuna, cooked shrimp, and I guess cucumbers, pineapple, mangoes, and I guess caviar and ginger and whatnot. I feel like there was more, but I dunno what. I also tried something new, a Hawaiian dish of spam musubi, which is thin slices of spam simmered in a sauce and then cooked until crisp and caramelized

then served on a scoop of sushi rice with a strip of seaweed wrapped around it.

The spam by itself was more salty and harsh than anything, but together with the rice and nori, it was surprisingly delicious. One of those magical food equations where it adds up to more than the sum of its parts. 

There was a lot of leftover olive salad, so I ate it for days along with leftover lamb, and this gladdened my heart. It’s been a RATHER DIFFICULT couple of weeks, to be honest, but we did have good food! So much of it. I haven’t worked up the nerve to get on a scale yet, and Damien just brought pizza home, so. 

Calzones

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. 

Servings 12 calzones

Ingredients

  • 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.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. 

  2. Mix together filling ingredients. 

  3. Cut each ball of dough into fourths. Roll each piece into a circle about the size of a dinner plate. 

  4. 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. 

  5. Press lightly on the calzone to squeeze the cheese down to the ends. 

  6. Mix the egg yolks up with a little water and brush the egg wash over the top of the calzones. 

  7. 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. 

  8. Bake about 18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Serve with hot marinara sauce for dipping.  

 

 

Noodle kugel with apple and rum raisins

A cozy baked noodle custard. Some people make savory kugels, but this one is decidedly sweet.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raisins, regular or blonde
  • 1 cup spiced rum
  • 1 lb egg noodles
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 lbs cottage cheese
  • 4 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 apples peeled, cored, and cut into bits

Instructions

  1. Put the raisins and rum in a dish and let them soak for at least half an hour.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375.

  3. While the raisins are soaking, boil and strain the noodles.

  4. Strain the raisins. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and stir in the raisins, then stir in the drained noodles.

  5. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes or more, until the custard is set and the top is golden brown.

 

pork spiedies (can use marinade for shish kebob)

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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. 

Tom Nichols' Grandmother's Leg of Lamb

Ingredients

  • boneless leg of lamb
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • garlic salt
  • oregano

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325.

  2. Slash the meat several times, about an inch deep.

  3. Fill the cuts with plenty of garlic powder.

  4. Slather olive oil all over the meat.

  5. Crust it with garlic salt. Sprinkle with all the oregano you own.

  6. Cover meat loosely with tinfoil and cook three hours. Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes.

 

Noodle kugel with apple and rum raisins

A cozy baked noodle custard. Some people make savory kugels, but this one is decidedly sweet.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raisins, regular or blonde
  • 1 cup spiced rum
  • 1 lb egg noodles
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 lbs cottage cheese
  • 4 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 apples peeled, cored, and cut into bits

Instructions

  1. Put the raisins and rum in a dish and let them soak for at least half an hour.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375.

  3. While the raisins are soaking, boil and strain the noodles.

  4. Strain the raisins. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and stir in the raisins, then stir in the drained noodles.

  5. Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes or more, until the custard is set and the top is golden brown.

 

Potato latkes

Serve with sour cream and/or apple sauce for Hanukkah or ANY TIME. Makes about 25+ latkes

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs potatoes, peeled
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 6 Tbsp flour (substitute matzoh meal for Passover)
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Grate the potatoes. Let them sit in a colander for a while, if you can, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. 

  2. Mix together the eggs, salt and pepper, and flour. Stir into the potato mixture and mix well. 

  3. Turn the oven on to 350 and put a paper-lined pan in the oven to receive the latkes and keep them warm while you're frying. 

  4. Put 1/4 to 1/2 and inch of oil in your frying pan and heat it up until a drop of batter will bubble.  

  5. Take a handful of the potato mixture, flatten it slightly, and lay it in the pan, leaving room between latkes. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, making several batches to leave room in between latkes. Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Eat right away or keep warm in oven, but not too long. 

  6. Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce or apple slices. 

5 from 2 votes
Print

Gochujang bulgoki (spicy Korean pork)


Ingredients

  • 1.5 pound boneless pork, sliced thin
  • 4 carrots in matchsticks or shreds
  • 1 onion sliced thin

sauce:

  • 5 generous Tbsp gochujang (fermented pepper paste)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 5 cloves minced garlic

Serve with white rice and nori (seaweed sheets) or lettuce leaves to wrap

Instructions

  1. Combine pork, onions, and carrots.

    Mix together all sauce ingredients and stir into pork and vegetables. 

    Cover and let marinate for several hours or overnight.

    Heat a pan with a little oil and sauté the pork mixture until pork is cooked through.

    Serve with rice and lettuce or nori. Eat by taking pieces of lettuce or nori, putting a scoop of meat and rice in, and making little bundles to eat. 

basic lo mein

Ingredients

for the sauce

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar

for the rest

  • 6 oz uncooked noodles
  • sesame oil for cooking
  • add-ins (vegetables sliced thin or chopped small, shrimp, chicken, etc.)
  • 2 Tbsp mirin

Instructions

  1. Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

  2. Boil the noodles until slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.

  3. Heat up a pan, add some sesame oil for cooking, and quickly cook your vegetables or whatever add-ins you have chosen.

  4. Add the mirin to the pan and deglaze it.

  5. Add the cooked noodles in, and stir to combine. Add the sauce and stir to combine.

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8 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 236: You will not even believe how much food”

  1. That Vermonter sandwich thing looks so good, and there’s no way I will be able to get anyone else in the family to eat it (except my oldest, God bless him). Since the pandemic my husband has taken over dinner most nights because I have to drive across the city to pick up my oldest from respite, and while it’s great that he’s cooking, he cooks variations on the same thing every night and I’m kind of sick of it. I miss cooking lots of different kinds of meals.

    If you are into wings, may I suggest adobating them? Buy some Puerto Rican-style adobo (a powder, Goya makes one), mix with equal parts cider vinegar and vegetable oil, and marinate chicken wings all day (overnight is even better). Then broil on both sides until they are cooked and super crispy. Maybe I’ll make them this weekend.

  2. Hooray, food post! Interesting to hear about the conservative treatment for Damien’s appendicitis. There have been a lot of studies about this option over the past year or so. I think the recurrence rate is fairly frequent… but I hope it works out and he doesn’t have to have surgery.

    The cheesecake is beautiful.

  3. My brother-in-law also made beef bourguignon for Christmas one year for us and also decided it wasn’t worth the hassle — the flavor wasn’t anything special.

    That cheesecake looks amazing! For some reason making cheesecake intimidates me but I want to try it.

    1. I used to make cheesecake like once a year, with mixed results appearance wise. Then I saw Pioneer Woman suggest making cheesecake in cupcake tins. Now I make the cheese cupcakes whenever I need to bring a dessert to something. If I’m bringing them to a family function (where we have a lot of carb counters) I use the mini cupcake tins and make them crustless for a simple lower carb dessert. I have found that in cupcake format it’s super easy to experiment with different flavors, toppings, and crusts. Depending upon what wrappers and plate you use, cheese cupcakes can look fancy schmancy.

        1. Yes! Everyone who’s intimidated by full blown cheesecake should try it. They’re super easy – and without a crust, they’re barely more difficult or time consuming than slice and bake cookies. And if you decide to do a crust, it’s still very easy and you can get super creative until you find a combo of crust, cheesecake, and topping that suits your fancy. The possibilities are endless! I’ve discovered the exact amount of cinnamon I like in my cheesecake recipe ( a lot)! and I’ve learned how to make a chocolate cheesecake.

  4. This looks yummy and like my kids wouldn’t eat it, but New Year’s Day was definitely Friday. I remember because it was so nice to start the year with a solemnity on a Friday. Clearly things went downhill from there.

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