Happy Friday! It’s been a weird week and I’ve picked up a number of new readers. Welcome! I look forward to grievously disappointing you all.
But not today. Today, and most Fridays, we just talk about food, and nobody in the history of the world has ever been disappointed by food. Here’s what we had this week:
Buffalo chicken salad
Quick and tasty. Carton of salad greens, bag of shredded pepper jack cheese, some cherry tomatoes, some blue cheese crumbles, some of those crunchy fried onions that come in a tub, and buffalo chicken from frozen. Blue cheese dressing on top. All the speed of a frozen dinner, all the salad of a salad.
Please enjoy the dead dog in the background. (He got better.)
Ragù on fettuccine
Damien made an outrageously delicious ragù using the Deadspin recipe. It comes out different every time. He starts with ground pork and and beef and sometimes adds veal, but this time he bought a hunk of pancetta and ground that up with a meat grinder — a whole pound of it! — and whoa, it was amazing. If you think pasta must always have a tomato or cream sauce on it, you must try this recipe.
It was . . . well, I’m not proud of this, but I just googled “what does pancetta taste like,” because I stayed up late watching The Mummy and can’t think of a word for what pancetta tastes like, besides “salty.” One of the results that turned up was “unctuous.” Literally, unctuous means “oily” (think “extreme unction” when a priest anoints someone with oils), which has been extended to mean an oily, ingratiating, flattering manner. I’m trying to think whether pancetta is in some way gastronomically ingratiating or just literally oily, and I have decided that The Mummy is one of the best movies ever made, especially if you are drinking margaritas. (See below)
Also, I don’t know if you do this, but Damien has two pasta tricks: He salts the hell out of the water he cooks the pasta in, which makes it much more flavorful; and he saves a bunch of the water out before he drains it, and then he adds that back into the drained pasta, to keep it from sticking. I always used to use oil for this purpose, but pasta water works much better.
Vermonter sandwiches, strawberries
A very fine sandwich. I broiled some boneless, skinless chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and cut them into thick slices. Then plenty of honey mustard, and layers of bacon, thick slices of sharp cheddar cheese, and thick slices of granny smith apple. I usually make these sandwiches with ciabatta rolls or sourdough, but this time I used baguettes.
A VERY FINE SANDWICH INDEED. My only sadness was I couldn’t find the lemon juice, so the apple slices got a little brown before supper. Still good.
Tacos, tortilla chips and salsa
Taco Tuesday, nothing special. We just had jarred salsa, shredded cheese, and sour cream for the tacos.
I’m always amazed at how excited the kids are to have tacos if it’s Taco Tuesday. I would appreciate it if people could make up other exciting food days, when cheap and easy meals would be transformed into special treats just because of alliteration. I guess there’s Fish Friday, but somehow that never inspires cheers. I guess people just like tacos.
Korean beef bowl and rice
Old faithful. I used fresh ginger and fresh garlic, but you can totally squeak by with garlic powder and powdered ginger. Soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, a little sesame oil but you can use whatever oil, and boom. This is a great dish to make ahead of time, and then you just need to cook some rice and dinner’s set.Jump to Recipe
Sometimes I transfer the beef to the slow cooker and make some rice in the Instant Pot and then, get this, I wipe down the stove top before dinner.
Would have been good with some scallions and sesame seeds on top, like in this picture from another week, but I forgot. (I also forgot to take a picture this week.)
Also would have been nice with a vegetable side — I like sesame broccoli for this meal — but whoever was in charge of shopping (me) did not buy any vegetables.
Here’s the sesame broccoli recipe, anyway:Jump to Recipe
Chili verde, rice, plantain chips, margaritas
As we know, Cinqo de Mayo is Mexican for Thanksgiving. Or something. I don’t know, I was absent that day. All I know is it seemed like a good excuse to make chili verde, which I love doing. I love every step of the process.
First you char the peppers and tomatillos
and cover and cool them a bit, and then you pull the skins off (I decided to leave all the seeds in to keep it pretty spicy)
then you purée the peppers and tomatillos with onions, garlic, and cilantro
then you sear the pork (and you know how much I care about this dish because I took the trouble to cook the pork in five batches, so I didn’t crowd the pot for once in my damn life)
then you add the pork and the puréed vegetables to the pot and let it cook for the rest of the day. My goodness, the smell.
I added a few cups of chicken broth at one point, and while I was out of the house, someone helped the pork collapse into lovely tender pieces.
I had my chili over rice and topped with more cilantro, plenty of sour cream, and a little squeeze of fresh lime juice, with plantain chips on the side.
Heaven help me, I would murder someone for this meal, I love it so.
Later in the evening, Damien made a pitcher of margaritasJump to Recipe
which I forgot to take a picture of, but I had two, out of respect for Mexican Thanksgiving. Also people had been mean to me on Twitter all day, so.
Oh wait, I did take a picture. A strange picture of our strange house, including a list of INGREEDIANTS for a delicious sammicth.
Mac and cheese
Shoot, that reminds me, I have to make supper. Wish we still had some of those margaritas left.
Korean Beef Bowl
A very quick and satisfying meal with lots of flavor and only a few ingredients. Serve over rice, with sesame seeds and chopped scallions on the top if you like. You can improve the flavor by using fresh garlic and fresh ginger, but powdered works fine, too. The proportions are flexible, and you can easily add more of any sauce ingredient at the end of cooking.
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (or less if you're not crazy about sweetness)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil (you can skip this, really, or use olive oil, but it adds flavor)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (or 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (or 3/4 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 lb ground beef
- scallions, chopped, for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
Heat the sesame or other oil in a skillet. Lightly cook then garlic, then add the ground beef and cook, breaking into bits, until the meat is all browned. Drain most of the fat.
Mix together the brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper flakes, and add to the ground beef. Or you can actually just chuck everything in the pan and stir it up right there. Cook a little longer until everything is combined and hot.
Serve over rice and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
- 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.
Spicy Chili Verde
You can decrease the heat by seeding the peppers, using fewer habañeros, or substituting some milder pepper. It does get less spicy as it cooks, so don't be alarmed if you make the salsa and it's overwhelming!
- 5 lbs pork shoulder
- salt and pepper
- oil for cooking
- 2 cups chicken broth or beer (optional)
For the salsa verde:
- 4 Anaheim peppers
- 2 habañero peppers
- 4 jalapeño peppers
- 4 medium onions
- 12 tomatillos
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled
- 1 bunch cilantro
- lime wedges
- sour cream
- additional cilantro for topping
Preheat the broiler.
Pull the husks and stems off the tomatillos and rinse them. Cut the ends off all the peppers. Grease a large pan and put the tomatillos and peppers on it. Broil five minutes, turn, and broil five minutes more, until they are slightly charred.
Take the pan out and cover the peppers and tomatillos with plastic wrap or tin foil for ten minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, pull the skins off the peppers and tomatillos. At this point, you can remove the seeds from the peppers to decrease the spiciness if you want.
Put the skinned tomatillos and peppers in a food processor or blender with the onions, garlic, and cilantro. Purée.
In a heavy pot, heat some oil. Salt and pepper the pork chunks and brown them in the oil. You will need to do it in shifts so the pork has enough room and browns rather than simmering.
When all the meat is browned, put it all in the pot and add the puréed ingredients.
Simmer at a low heat for at least three hours until the meat is tender. If you want thinner chili verde, you can add chicken broth or beer. At some point, if you don't want the pork in large chunks, press the meat with the back of a spoon to make it collapse into shreds.
Spoon the chili verde into bowls, squeeze some lime juice over the top, and top with sour cream and fresh cilantro.
- 1 cup sugar for simple syrup
- sugar for glasses
- kosher salt or sea salt for glasses
- white tequila (we like Lunazul Blanco)
- triple sec
- lime juice
First make the simple syrup, and allow time for it to cool.
Combine the sugar with a cup of water in a small pot and simmer, stirring, until it is clear. Let cool. Damien puts it in a mason jar and refrigerates it.
Prepare the glasses. Mix sea salt or kosher salt and sugar in a saucer and add a little lime juice to wet it. Rub a lime wedge along the edge of the glass and roll it in the salt and sugar mix.
To make the margaritas, put some ice cubes in a cocktail shaker or mason jar. Add three parts tequila, two parts lime juice, one part Triple Sec, one part simple syrup. Shake until the lid gets cold. Pour the liquid into prepared glasses.