Friday again! Can it be believed? I’ll spare you the tiresome story of how I filled the refrigerator with food and then it filled itself with warm air, but I didn’t want to acknowledge what was happening right away, and so most of the meat and dairy went bad and had to be replaced. Like many things, it was my fault, for overstuffing the freezer, which blocked the vents, which prevented the cold air from reaching the fridge. Unlike many things, I was able to fix it, by throwing out a lot of stupid frozen crap and hitting the inside of the freezer with a wooden spoon. But then we had to buy all new food (or rather, Damien did, because I do not have a car), and that was a bummer. P.S. The car is also my fault.
Oops, I guess I didn’t spare you the story. Sorry. Well, here’s what we ate this week:
Saturday was the first day of our grape adventure, and of course I also went shopping. In retrospect, when did we do all that grape stuff? In the morning, I guess. Sounds like a good day for store-bought pizza. I really like Aldi pizza. The crust, in particular, satisfies some deep ancient transgressive urge to eat hot cardboard.
Grilled ham and cheese, raw veg and dip
Sunday was grapetime, part II. I had some ciabatta rolls left over from last week, so I used those to grill some provolone and ham, and that was pretty tasty.
If you look closely, you can tell I was sitting on the steps, eating my grilled cheese in the rain. Sometimes this is the way.
Burgers, chips, quinoa with kale
I snacked so much (on marshmallows, if you must know) while making dinner that I wasn’t hungry for a burger at all, so I just had a heaping plate of quinoa and kale (steamed in the microwave) and a big glass of grape juice for dinner.
Strange but satisfying.
Cumin chicken with chickpeas, lemony onions and yogurt sauce; homemade pita
Tuesday was dark and thunderstormery, so a good day for a warming, savory dish and a little bit of baking. This is another meal that takes very little skill but turns up tons of flavor. There is a bit of prep work, but then you can just slide a pan in the oven before supper and it’s a great meal.Jump to Recipe
In the morning, you make a simple yogurt marinade, and marinate the chicken. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are best, but drumsticks or wings are okay. The skin turns out really excellent, so I really recommend thighs.
You also make yogurt sauce and a side of lemony onions with cilantro. You can also prep some more onions and the chickpeas (you just drain and season them), but it takes like ten seconds. When it’s time to cook, you spread the chickpeas and onions in the pan with olive oil and a little seasoning, snuggle the marinated chicken in, and cook it. I make two big pans and switch their positions halfway through so they cook evenly.
The light was not cooperating, so this looks a little drab. In real life, the skin was a wonderful, varnished amber, and the chickpeas were shining like little gems. They are crunchy on the outside and hot and mealy inside, and the cooked onions are crisp and deeply savory. The chicken comes out incredibly moist and tender inside.
You serve this with the bright, piquant lemon onions with cilantro and the garlicky yogurt sauceJump to Recipe
and of course some pita bread. Most of the time I buy pita, but since I’m carless and it was raining, it definitely felt like a homemade pita day. I made a triple batch of this recipe from The Kitchn and I guess I’m going to need someone’s grandmother to come over and smack the back of my hands with a wooden spoon if I’m ever going to get better at making bread, but I had fun, anyway.
It’s an easy recipe. You just mix it all up, knead, let the dough rise once, and then divide it into lumps
and then roll it into discs and quickly bake or fry it. The kids remembered how the kitchen speaker was listening in and judging me last time I made pita and tried frying it, so the hell with that. This time, I baked it and I did it while everyone was in school.
They really came out lovely.
Not quite as airy and pillowy soft as the picture in the recipe, and by the time it was dinner, they had of course collapsed and turned a little tough; but I myself ate two straight out of the oven for lunch, along with a peach and a plum, and it was very good.
Chicken nuggets and fall pasta salad
Grabbed this lovely “fall shaped” pasta from Aldi several weeks ago. I overcooked it because I can’t help myself, but it was still pretty.
Not the most inspired pasta salad. I added olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a bunch of pesto from a jar, the last tomatoes from the garden, and the last string beans from the garden.
I had a terrible problem with beetles or something this year, so I got a very puny string bean crop. Oh well.
Gochujang bulgoki, rice
Great little Korean recipe, also quite easy, high flavor, moderate effort. The marinade is gochujang, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and a little sugar.Jump to Recipe
I sliced up a pork loin as thinly as I could and let it marinate most of the day along with several carrots and an onion sliced thin in the food processor. The carrots are supposed to be matchstick, but I do them different each time because I am a free spirit.
Then at suppertime, I got a big pot of rice going in the Instant Pot and fried up the meat in oil on the stovetop.
Everyone kept coming in to see what the wonderful smell is, which is always encouraging. I hit the honey pretty hard in the marinade, to be honest, because I wanted people to eat dinner.
This meal is supposed to have rice and lettuce and/or seaweed, but I forgot to buy either, so we just had rice. I did buy some broccoli to make as a side, but it went bad. So we just had the rice and bulgoki, and it was pretty tasty, if a bit spare.
In retrospect, there are some scallions on my windowsill that I could have chopped up for at least a little green. Oh well.
Mac and cheese
And that’s the end of that chapter!
I have spent the week prepping my busted underwater car to sell, trying not to take extremely low offers personally, and looking for a replacement. I may have found one! We shall see. Excelsior, right? At least we have macaroni.
Cumin chicken thighs with chickpeas in yogurt sauce
A one-pan dish, but you won't want to skip the sides. Make with red onions and cilantro in lemon juice, pita bread and yogurt sauce, and pomegranates, grapes, or maybe fried eggplant.
- 18 chicken thighs
- 32 oz full fat yogurt, preferably Greek
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp cumin, divided
- 4-6 cans chickpeas
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 red onions, sliced thinly
- 2 red onions sliced thinly
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- a bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 32 oz Greek yogurt for dipping sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
Make the marinade early in the day or the night before. Mix full fat Greek yogurt and with lemon juice, four tablespoons of water, and two tablespoons of cumin, and mix this marinade up with chicken parts, thighs or wings. Marinate several hours.
About an hour before dinner, preheat the oven to 425.
Drain and rinse four or five 15-oz cans of chickpeas and mix them up with a few glugs of olive oil, the remaining tablespoon of cumin, salt and pepper, and two large red onions sliced thin.
Spread the seasoned chickpeas in a single layer on two large sheet pans, then make room among the chickpeas for the marinated chicken (shake or scrape the extra marinade off the chicken if it’s too gloppy). Then it goes in the oven for almost an hour. That’s it for the main part.
The chickpeas and the onions may start to blacken a bit, and this is a-ok. You want the chickpeas to be crunchy, and the skin of the chicken to be a deep golden brown, and crisp. The top pan was done first, and then I moved the other one up to finish browning as we started to eat. Sometimes when I make this, I put the chickpeas back in the oven after we start eating, so some of them get crunchy and nutty all the way through.
While the chicken is cooking, you prepare your three garnishes:
-Chop up some cilantro for sprinkling if people like.
-Slice another two red onions nice and thin, and mix them in a dish with a few glugs of lemon juice and salt and pepper and more cilantro.
-Then take the rest of the tub of Greek yogurt and mix it up in another bowl with lemon juice, a generous amount of minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- 32 oz full fat Greek yogurt
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 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.
Gochujang bulgoki (spicy Korean pork)
- 1.5 pound boneless pork, sliced thin
- 4 carrots in matchsticks or shreds
- 1 onion sliced thin
- 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
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.