Happy Friday! I am headed to adoration in a bit, and shall yell at Jesus about your intentions.
Quick covid report: Everybody in the house eventually got it, except for one kid, who is either supernatural, or somehow got false negatives on a LOT of tests. The other kids only got a little bit sick, happily, and some didn’t get sick at all. They are all completely better. I’m definitely on the mend. I don’t think I even took a nap yesterday! And my splendid covid rash actually retreated a bit yesterday, rather than spreading, for the first time since it made its debut. Damien has started running again, and I have slowly, carefully started up yoga. I’m wheezy, but not horribly wheezy. Today I’m exactly three weeks out from the day I tested positive, so I guess that’s pretty normal. In conclusion, covid is stupid but not nearly as stupid as it could have been, so, Deo gratias.
Spring has sprung for real.
The ticks are ticking, the dog is romping, Damien is battling the pool water, and away we go. Outdoor cooking season is fully underway, happily, as you will see.
Here’s what we ate this week:
Smoked pork ribs, cole slaw, chips
Damien made three luscious racks of ribs in the smoker with a sugar rub and mustard.Jump to Recipe
It doesn’t really taste mustardy; it just has a savory tang with a little muted fireworks aftertaste, and they are incredibly juicy and flavorful. I can never tell if these “cutting up meat” pictures look amazing to other people, or just kind of grisly, but they look amazing to me.
I took a picture of a demure plate with two ribs, but I was just getting warmed up.
I also had the great fun of briefly meeting an old friend who was selling her wonderful prints at a local craft fair. Do check out Rabbit Dog Fine Arts on Etsy for some really striking, lively work, very very reasonably priced. I, uh, bought four prints because I couldn’t help myself.
Italian sandwiches, french fries; lemon cake
Sunday was Mother’s Day, and I’m happy to report that, in a few short decades, I’ve successfully made the transition from having a painful, bitter day when I feel unappreciated and neglected, to getting showered with gifts and attention and feeling a little guilty about it. But not too guilty!
I requested Italian sandwiches and a lemon-based dessert, both very delicious.
I do love lemon desserts. We recently saw the Great British Baking Show with the Sussex Pond Pudding, which is a pastry with a lard crust that contains butter, sugar, and an entire cooked lemon. I think I would eat that? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I would eat that. I would eat that.
I also went to Home Depot to finally get started on some gardening, finally. I am at a point in my life where, yes yes, I live in New Hampshire, but I just don’t want to dig up any more rocks, at all, ever. So that means container gardening. But I don’t just want buckets of dirt all over the place, either. But I don’t want to pay for lumber. So I wandered around in the yard with a measuring tape making vague diagrams, got to Home Depot, made a wild guess about how many cinder blocks we might need (um, 60?), loaded up as many as we could pull on a single cart, and, full of anxious foreboding about the expensive, cell-like, somehow-still-inadequate structure I was going to build, and how bad it was going to be on the car to bring it home, I went off to find a second cart, and on the way, discovered that for about the same price I could buy . . . look at this . . . four galvanized steel window wells, that are food safe because they are galvanized steel, and are already designed to be jammed into the ground.
But they turned out to be $20 each, not $10 as I originally thought, so I put the back, and felt sad about it, and looked at the cinder blocks again, but then I thought about how rotten I would feel if I came home with nothing, and I decided that not feeling that way was worth at least $30, and I would just eat the extra $10, because it was Mother’s Day. So I abandoned the cinder blocks and bought four metal thingies instead. This is how I do math. This is how I live. It’s better than digging up rocks, I guess.
The plan is make two long ovals, with a few cinder blocks stacked up between the pieces to form the long ends. I think maybe we have a few cinder blocks in our yard somewhere, left over from my last boneheaded project. Those are free, because it was last year.
Anyway, I finally got started, and that’s the main thing. And we stopped at the local nursery and bought several varieties of lettuce, some Brussels sprouts, and some celery, which are all plants I can leave outside even if it gets cold again, which it will. We’re not doing seeds this year. We’re just not.
Cuban sandwiches, chips, carrots and dip; birthday cake
Monday we celebrated Moe’s birthday. He requested Cuban sandwiches on ciabatta rolls. I started the pork a bit late, and ended up just roasting it in the oven covered with tinfoil and with lots of salt and pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cumin, and doused with cider vinegar, and it was fine, if a tiny bit bland.
So, bread, mustard, pickles, Swiss cheese, pork, ham, more cheese,
and fried in an alarming amount of butter.
I pressed the heck out of the sandwiches with in iron frying pan as they fried,
and then put them in a warm oven to seal the deal, by which I mean the cheese.
This picture makes me laugh. This sandwich looks like it has its mouth full. Happy murfmay, Mofef! That is what the sandwich says.
He requested a whale shark cake,
and maybe if I had had more time time to prepare, it would have come out better, but maybe not.
Meatloaf, baked potatoes, salad
The secret of my meatloaf is I don’t make it very often, so the kids think it’s a treat. And it’s really pretty good; it’s just that there’s only a certain amount of good that meatloaf can be. My meatloaf has red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and fried onions in it. I always think I should make a gravy to go along with it, but it’s really fine as is. It’s meatloaf.Jump to Recipe
Certainly looked portentous coming out of the oven. I’m pretty happy the sun is up for dinner again.
We had baked potatoes and salad. Did I already say that? I think I already said that. Well, here’s proof.
Yakitori chicken, rice, sesame string beans
Now this was a tasty meal. I made the sauce and Damien cooked the chicken on the grill. He used half the sauce to baste the chicken as he cooked it,
and then we served the other half for dipping. The meat comes out sweet, tangy, and gingery, and wonderfully glossy.
You don’t have to marinate this meat; it gets plenty of flavor from basting. I made a triple recipe of this sauce, but I massively increased the amount of fresh garlic and ginger, and I cooked it considerably longer than she said. I cooked it through the entire third movement of Mendellsohn’s “Reformation” symphony before it thickened up.
We used skinless, boneless chicken thighs but did not bother cutting them and putting them on skewers, but just sort of unfurled them and grilled them whole. They were wonderful that way, but technically they are not yakitori, which really is supposed to be on skewers. Although [snort, snort] technically “yaki” means “roast” and “tori” means “bird,” so I guess it depends if you want to be pedantic, or just, you know, eat the yummy chicken.
Everyone was very enthusiastic about this meal. Served with sesame seeds and chopped scallions and more sauce, as you can see, which had a sharper, brighter flavor as a dipping sauce than it did when basted onto the chicken. Gosh, it was so good. I wish I had some right now, but it’s Friday, so I’m having some fwiggin yogurt and hummus and carrots.
Chicken burgers, cheezy weezies
Everyone was also very enthusiastic about this meal, served with mayonnaise. And buns from Aldi.
Seafood lo mein
We haven’t had lo mein for a while. I just bought some linguine or fettuccine, I forget which, for the noodles. Basically you just need something flat and slurpy that will pick up the tasty sauce and make a happy home for whatever you want to add in.Jump to Recipe
I often put in sugar snap peas, asparagus, or shrimp.
This time, I bought a little bag of mixed seafood from Aldi, which seems to have shrimp, scallops, some kind of shellfish, and misc. I’m a little concerned about the various cooking times it will need, but only a little concerned.
Okay, that’s it! Here’s some recipe cards for yez. Do try the yakitori (or whatever) sauce.
Smoked pork ribs with mustard rub
- 2 racks pork ribs
- 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- Yellow mustard
- salt and pepper
The night before or several hours before dinner, mix together the rub spices.
Spread yellow mustard all over the rack of ribs and apply the rub. Cover and refrigerate. Let it come back to room temp before cooking.
Light the fire and let it die down. Put the meat on the grill off to the side, where it will get indirect heat. Put the cover down and let it cook at least four hours.
Add salt and pepper, then separate the ribs and enjoy.
Meatloaf (actually two giant meatloaves)
- 5 lbs ground beef
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 8 eggs
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup milk OR red wine
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
plenty of salt, pepper, garlic powder or fresh garlic, onion powder, fresh parsley, etc.
- ketchup for the top
- 2 onions diced and fried (optional)
Preheat oven to 450
Mix all meat, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, and seasonings together with your hands until well blended.
Form meat into two oblong loaves on pan with drainage
Squirt ketchup all over the outside of the loaves and spread to cover with spatula. Don't pretend you're too good for this. It's delicious.
Bake for an hour or so, until meat is cooked all the way through. Slice and serve.
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.