Now I officially only write about two things anymore: Weight loss, and things I ate. Oh, and crying.
I have other stuff going on, but it’s all . . . yargh. I shalln’t lie, I have been having Kind Of A Hard Time Lately, as who isn’t, and the doctor wasn’t really able to discern if I am Medication Crazy, Lady Crazy, or Actually Crazy. The truth is that I might just be extremely tired from — you know — [waves hands ]–THE THINGS.
Everyone has their THE THINGS these days. Everyone’s so tired. You start out writing about going to an amusement park with your kids, and 900 words later: Oh look, it’s another excruciating personal meditation on
f e a r
how nice. Already did one of those this week, but let’s have another, waiter.
So Damien took me out for margaritas and I cried at him, because I am fun. Also I got a bundle of papers in the mail, and one of them was a handwriting analysis my mother had done for me. Basically an unexpected letter from my dead mother saying what kind of person she thought I was. And she charged me $7.50! Because she was trying to raise money for a Nigerian seminarian, who, of course, turned out to be a scammer. What I’m trying to say is, there’s been some ups and downs. But probably it’s the medication. (Brophy voice: That was no medication.)
Every spare moment has been taken up with the bathroom renovation that never ends, countless trips to [ptui] Home Depot, and neverending speculations on what might possibly bring the world’s weepiest toilet to finally dry its tears and — okay, now I’m projecting, but we really do have a massive condensation problem in there. But we are actually fairly close to the end of this renovation job. I myself put in three portions of actual wall, and waterproofed it all, and tiled and grouted it, and caulked it and put in trim. Where once there were moldy holes, there are now sound walls and floors, and it feels pretty good. And my parents’ house may actually go on the market in a week. And we managed to get to the beach, and we managed to do this thing and that thing, and we’re shopping for school supplies today, and just about everything is crossed off the list. There was a moment where I was applying grout to the wall and literally had my face right in the hole where the toilet used to be and a child came in and asked what was for dinner, and all I said was,”Please ask Daddy,” so if it seems like I had a lot of margaritas this week, that’s why.
Gawd, I never shut up. Let’s talk about food. Here’s what we ate last last week, because I never got around to writing a food post:
I think I actually mentioned making this, but posted about it before I took a photo, so here it is:
They were delicious. I peeled, deveined, and dried the shrimp, dusted them with … I think cumin, sea salt, and cayenne pepper, or something like that. Let them rest for a bit and then sautéed them quickly in olive oil and chili oil. Served on flour tortillas with shredded cabbage, cilantro, chunks of avocado, hot sauce, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Perfect summer meal along with some cool watermelon.
Meatball subs, grapes
Damien made the meatballs. I don’t know what he put in them, but they were tasty. We had them on rolls with sauce from jars.
Chicken caprese sandwiches, cucumbers, ice cream pies (?)
I split a bunch of baguettes and heated up some frozen chicken patties that were a special buy at Aldi. The “special” part turned out to be that they were in a box, rather than a bag.
Served with tomatoes, basil, sliced cheese; sliced some cucumbers.
We got home from Mass and I felt the strong urge to make pie. Then I was like, “No, don’t be silly, you’re far too busy for that.” So instead, I made 12 mini pies. Because they’re . . . smaller. I don’t know.
I made a double recipe of this reliable Fannie Farmer pie crust recipe
Basic pie crust
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 sticks butter, FROZEN
- 1/4 cup water, with an ice cube
Freeze the butter for at least 20 minutes, then shred it on a box grater. Set aside.
Put the water in a cup and throw an ice cube in it. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Then add the shredded butter and combine with a butter knife or your fingers until there are no piles of loose, dry flour. Try not to work it too hard. It's fine if there are still visible nuggets of butter.
Sprinkle the dough ball with a little iced water at a time until the dough starts to become pliable but not sticky. Use the water to incorporate any remaining dry flour.
If you're ready to roll out the dough, flour a surface, place the dough in the middle, flour a rolling pin, and roll it out from the center.
If you're going to use it later, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. You can keep it in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for several months, if you wrap it with enough layers. Let it return to room temperature before attempting to roll it out!
If the crust is too crumbly, you can add extra water, but make sure it's at room temp. Sometimes perfect dough is crumbly just because it's too cold, so give it time to warm up.
You can easily patch cracked dough by rolling out a patch and attaching it to the cracked part with a little water. Pinch it together.
and cut it into 12 pieces, and stretched them over upside-down muffin tins sprayed with cooking spray, and then baked them until they were browned, about 25 minutes.
They turned out great. Well, a few cracked, but that would be easy to avoid in the future with a little patching. Not terribly decorative, but perfectly functional.
The idea was the kids could fill them with ice cream and top them with cherries or whatever they wanted. I don’t know if they actually did this, as I was out drinking a tearwater margarita.
It was a Silver Star Margarita made with Hornitos Plata Tequila, triple sec and elderflower liqueur. When I ordered, the waitress said, “Oh, top drawer!” which made me feel guilty and defensive and angry, which, in retrospect, was probably not her intention. Did I mention how much fun I am? I am twelve miniature empty pie shells worth of fun.
Chicken caesar salad wraps (?)
Roast chicken breast, romaine lettuce, some leftover tomato and cucumber, some of those crunchy parmesan crisps, freshly shredded parmesan, and caesar salad dressing from a bottle, and pita bread. You do what you like. I think most people made wraps.
We used dressing from a bottle, but if you’re feeling ambitious, my renegade homemade dressing has no technique and is pretty snappy.
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
Just mix it all together, you coward.
I ended up tearing up my pita and just having a dinner of bits of things, which is the kind of meal I like the best.
I went on such an insane snacking frenzy, I had no desire to eat dinner, but I made some pizzas that looked nice, anyway. One cheese, one pepperoni, one garlic, olive, anchovy, and ricotta, and one garlic, olive, and feta.
Canobie! Lake! Park!
Last Wednesday was the last day trip on our list for the summer, and it was a pretty great day. Canobie Lake Park is a wonderful place, clean, friendly, beautiful. You can head over to my Facebook page to see a few photos of I posted if you like.
We brought a picnic lunch to eat in the parking lot, and the only park food be bought was Dippin’ Dots, the Ice Cream of the Future. I didn’t have any, so I still am unclear about what constitutes its futurosity. At this point, I’d rather it remain a mystery. We stopped at Wendy’s on the way home, and it was hands down the absolute worst Wendy’s experience of my life. I was openly mocked for hoping they would give us our drinks, and the fries were about 30% full. Still, the Son of a Baconator is a damn fine sandwich.
I think we had nachos
This was 47 years ago
I have no idea
Still with me? That was the previous week!
Now here’s what we had this past week:
Damien shopped for this meal and put it together.
It looks like . . . a baguette with prosciutto, provolone, spicy salami, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and fresh pepper. Gosh, I wish I had some right now. And some nice green grapes. Grapes are coming back in season, so that’s fun! What would we do if there weren’t always some fruit coming into season.
Chicken bakeadillas and guacamole
Feeling like an absolute degenerate, I bought a couple of rotisserie chickens to make into quesadillas, because I knew I wasn’t going to be up for shopping, then cooking chicken, then frying quesadillas. Well, it turns out I also wasn’t up for frying quesadillas, even though Clara shredded cheese for me. So I got the idea of making a giant baked quesadilla in the oven.
You guys, it turned out great. Not quite as tasty as an individually fried quesadillas, but more than serviceable, and so much easier. I sprayed a large pan with cooking spray, then covered it with six large overlapping tortillas, then shredded cheese, then shredded chicken, more cheese, chili lime powder, and another layer of overlapping tortillas. Then I drizzled it with olive oil and spread it around a bit and sprinkled it generously with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Baked at 400 about 15 minutes.
We cut it into slabs with a pizza cutter and served it with sour cream and guacamole.
You could easily add all kinds of things to this: Salsa, beans, whatever. You could make several layers of tortillas with different fillings in between layers. You can do whatever you want; you’re the chief of police!
Vaguely middle eastern chicken
I doused some chicken breast with spices from a jar that said “KAFTA” and broiled it. Sliced it up and served it with raw spinach, carrots, tomatoes, feta, all kinds of olives, and some yogurt sauce. I didn’t have much pita, so I cut it up into triangles and made a nice fan shape, and this created the illusion of plenty.
Or maybe it actually was plenty, and I’m just insane.
I also cut up a watermelon into chunks and served that along with dinner. A fine summer meal, if not quite the shawarma everyone kept asking if it was when they saw me setting all those olives and feta out on the counter.
If you do want to make shawarma, AND YOU DO, here’s my recipe:
- 8 lbs boned, skinned chicken thighs
- 4-5 red onions
- 1.5 cups lemon juice
- 2 cups olive oil
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbs, 2 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbs, 2 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 entire head garlic, crushed
Mix marinade ingredients together, then add chicken. Put in ziplock bag and let marinate several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Grease a shallow pan. Take the chicken out of the marinade and spread it in a single layer on the pan, and top with the onions (sliced or quartered). Cook for 45 minutes or more.
Chop up the chicken a bit, if you like, and finish cooking it so it crisps up a bit more.
Serve chicken and onions with pita bread triangles, cucumbers, tomatoes, assorted olives, feta cheese, fresh parsley, pomegranates or grapes, fried eggplant, and yogurt sauce.
And don’t forget the yogurt sauce:
- 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.
Confused alligator noises
I spent most of the day working on the bathroom and making multiple trips to Home Depot and various other supply stores, and around dinner time, I left the house while hastily voice-to-texting the kids that I had left frozen hot dogs, frozen meatballs, and a leftover rotisserie chicken on the table, and they should heat everything up and eat it while I was out. They opted instead to let the hot dogs and meatballs thaw out, eat the chicken cold, and have some ice cream. This is fine. Damien brought home some sushi for the two of us, and then I stayed up past midnight tiling behind the toilet.
I think the people at home had pork. On Thursday I took a bunch of the kids to the town pond for several hours, and then Lena and I went fabric shopping because the living room curtains are moldy (I mean they have been moldy for years, but it suddenly got to me), and then we went to Margaritas, which we’ve been talking about doing all summer, and here it is the end of August.
To a casual reader, it may seem like I go to Margaritas and drink margaritas and cry constantly, but it’s really only about once a week that I do this. And I only cried a little bit! I would say that, considering how many margaritas I drank, I really barely even cried at all. They were delicious, thanks. We both had the steak chimichangas and told some very funny stories. Or so it seemed at the time. Listen, I’m a good tipper and I didn’t spill anything.