Man, that was a fast week. The kids were on vacation, so I had the time to cook a bit more than I have in a while. Some tasty meals! Come for the recipes, stay to see the worst thing I’ve ever done to my car.
Here’s what we had:
Burgers grilled outside, chips
First outdoor meal of the year! I’m very happy. I love eating outdoors, even though we seem to run through tabletops like nobody’s business, and, not wanting to sit at a topless table like a jerk, I always end up perching on a rock and balancing my plate on my knees like a jerk. But I had a dinner companion on Saturday, who perches on rocks and balances things on her knees for fun.
Grilled ham and cheese, veggies
A popular meal, as long as I don’t make it very often, which I do.
Beef shish kebab, roast corn on the cob
Great price on big hunks of beef, so I cut it up into chunks and marinated it.
I wish I had let it marinate longer, as it was still fairly tough. Good flavor, though. I browsed a bunch of recipes and then came up with my own marinade, which I wrote down on a piece of paper and then lost. Please clap.
Anyway, I threaded the beef on wooden skewers with onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and little tomoots.
I usually soak the skewers in water for half an hour to keep them from catching on fire and to keep the meat from drying out, but this time I was seized with skepticism, so I skipped that step. Guess what happened. So fine, so next time I’ll soak them.
I had a bunch of corn on the cob (from Florida, apparently. I don’t think of Florida as full of corn fields, but I guess it can’t be all alligators and headlines) but didn’t start any water boiling in time to cook it, and Damien didn’t have any space on the grill for it; so I heated up the broiler, slathered the shucked corn with melted butter, and broiled it for ten minutes or so, turning it once.
Then I sprinkled it with elote seasoning, and it was pretty good! Maybe a little bit dry, but it’s early corn anyway, so maybe that was inevitable. Definitely a decent, easy option. I do love corn that’s slightly charred.
Such an ornamental little meal.
If I told you how cheap lamb was, you’d plotz. It was so cheap! So I did that crazy easy recipe from Tom Nichols’ grandmother, and as usual, it turned out juicy, incredibly tender, and bursting with flavor. I used to go to a lot of trouble inserting slivered garlic into lamb, but believe me: This is a thousand times easier and it really tastes better.Jump to Recipe
So I roasted the lamb and sliced it up
and we had it on pita bread with spicy fries, tomatoes, fresh mint leaves, and plenty of garlicky yogurt sauce.Jump to Recipe
Freaking fantastic meal.
I love lamb so much, and the mint leaves and yogurt sauce made it truly delightful.
Bo ssam, spicy coleslaw, rice, pineapple, lemon meringue pie
I’ve been wanting to try this recipe forevvvvvver. It’s supposed to be a party dish: You serve up a gleaming mountain of a pork roast, and everybody gathers around and pokes their chopsticks through the crisp, caramelized skin, happily picking out scrumptious tender shreds of meat, which they then dip into various savory sauces and eat wrapped up in lettuce with a little rice. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
We didn’t quite get there. We got close! It was delicious. It was extremely late. It was juicy and screaming with flavor. It was not shreddy. It was the saltiest thing I have eaten since I just straight up ate some salt. The kids mostly loved it and said I should make it again, but that may possibly have been because it was three hours past normal dinnertime. I don’t know! I do want to make it again.
I used the recipe from My Korean Kitchen. You rub the pork with, like, an alarming amount of sea salt and sugar
wrap it, and let it sit at least six hours, or overnight. Then you unwrap it and cook it at a low temp for six hours. Then you slather a sugary mixture over it to finish it up with a nice rich crust, and then you serve it as described above.
As you can see, I had two smaller pork shoulders, rather than one giant one, so I reasoned I could get away with cooking it for closer to 3.5 hours. No dice. 4.5 hours later, it still wasn’t shreddy, but we were ravenous, so I called it done and sliced it up.
The flavors more than made up for the deficiencies in texture. I was also bowled over by the dipping sauce, which is made with (doenjang) soybean paste, gochujang (fermented chili paste), sesame oil, sesame seeds, honey, garlic, onion, scallions, and walnuts, all ground up together.
You guys, it was amazing. It was one of those foods that goes, “beep, bop, boop, KABLAMMO” in your mouth, one flavor after another. Really lively and intense. A tiny bit went a long way.
I also made the spicy Korean coleslaw she recommended, which had a lovely, bright kick, and helped balance out the intensely salty pork. I also cut up a couple of pineapples, and set out a big pot of rice and bunch of lettuce leaves.
Note: This meal is about 46,300 calories per serving. So go run around the block a few times, you’ll be fine. It’s so good.
And Clara, having made some rash promises to some Amelia Bedelia fans, came through with a lemon meringue pie. By the time it was time for dessert, the pies had slumped a bit, but they were still very tasty.
She used my recipe for cheater’s lemon meringue pieJump to Recipe
which is pretty easy, and has only a few ingredients and has a great, intensely lemony flavor.
On Thursday we technically went to an art museum and technically ate restaurant food. Promises were made and then technically kept. I complained about Thursday in an essay I just sent off to Australia, so you will just have to wait. The short version is: It’s a good thing I haven’t bought a new car yet, because this is what I did to my old car:
100% my fault, nobody got hurt, and you can totally still open the other two doors, so.
Kids are having Giant Chocolate Pancake, adults are having shrimp lo mein. No doubt some people will have both. Imma use my super simple lo mein recipeJump to Recipe
and throw some shrimp in there and no one can stop me. Except possibly Pfizer. We had our second Pfizer shots yesterday and I may be just a damp spot on the floor by Friday evening, in which case, the kids know how to make their own pancakes.
Okay, here’s the recipe cards! In case I didn’t heartily recommend the lamb gyros or the bo ssam enough, I’m heartily doing it again.
Tom Nichols' Grandmother's Leg of Lamb
- boneless leg of lamb
- olive oil
- garlic powder
- garlic salt
Preheat the oven to 325.
Slash the meat several times, about an inch deep.
Fill the cuts with plenty of garlic powder.
Slather olive oil all over the meat.
Crust it with garlic salt. Sprinkle with all the oregano you own.
Cover meat loosely with tinfoil and cook three hours. Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes.
- 32 oz full fat Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- fresh parsley or dill, chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. Use for spreading on grilled meats, dipping pita or vegetables, etc.
Cheater's lemon meringue pie
I like a pie shell made from several cups of animal cracker crumbs whirred into a sandy texture, mixed with a stick of melted butter and 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a dash of salt. Mix well and press into the pan.
- 1 pie shell
For the lemon layer:
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 lemon, zested
For the meringue:
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Preheat oven to 350
Mix together the condensed milk, egg yolks, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined. Pour the mixture into the pie shell.
Bake 10-15 minutes until the mixture has a little skin.
While it's baking, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites until it has soft peaks. Then gradually add the sugar until it has stiff peaks.
When the lemon layer comes out of the oven, spread the meringue over the top and make a little peaks all over it with a fork or spatula.
Return the pie to the oven and bake for another ten minutes or so until the meringue is slightly browned.
basic lo mein
for the sauce
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 5 tsp sesame oil
- 5 tsp sugar
for the rest
- 32 oz uncooked noodles
- sesame oil for cooking
- add-ins (vegetables sliced thin or chopped small, shrimp, chicken, etc.)
- 2/3 cup rice vinegar (or mirin, which will make it sweeter)
Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
Boil the noodles until slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.
Heat up a pan, add some sesame oil for cooking, and quickly cook your vegetables or whatever add-ins you have chosen.
Add the mirin to the pan and deglaze it.
Add the cooked noodles in, and stir to combine. Add the sauce and stir to combine.