What’s for supper, INTERSTATE TRAVEL EDITION! This past weekend, my lovely friend Elisa gave me a ton of her frequent flier miles and hosted me at her house near Dallas. That’s how I got to go to my very first Byzantine Divine Liturgy, and I also had my very first trip to HEB, where I had to argue very strenuously to avoid coming home with a set of genuine cowhide koozies. They were HAIRY, that’s why.
Elisa and her husband and our friend Theresa made sure I ate very well, and on Friday I had my very first Ethiopian food. MY LAND, IT WAS WONDERFUL.
I had, uh, I forget. It was some kind of bits of lamb in a kind of gravy, plus a lentil thing, a spinach thing, and a beet thing, and it was served on top of injera, with extra rolls of injera on the side.
Injera is fermented flat bread. It’s made of teff (one of the earliest plants ever domesticated by humans!), and it’s very floppy and spongy. It looks like a sea creature or maybe some kind of fungus, but it’s soft like a pancake, and it has a tangy, sour taste that turned my brain absolutely crazy, and I ate about half an acre of it.
All of it was completely delicious. The spinach and beets were familiar flavors, but the spicy lentils and lamb had at least two or three spices that I couldn’t identify. I think there may be an Ethiopian restaurant in Brattleboro, so I know where I’m dragging Damien soonly.
Saturday we took a train in to Dallas and just walked around so I could gawk at the city, which was, I’m sorry, ʳᵉᵃˡˡʸ ᵘᵍˡʸ. It was clean and interesting and there seemed to be plenty to do, and it was full of nice babies, but gevalt, that architecture! What! Why! Yeesh. Splendid choice of food trucks, though. We ordered a couple of sandwiches, one brisket and one some kind of chicken lime arrangement, and had them cut in half so we could share them. Both very tasty. Elisa said the brisket qualified as decent Texas brisket, so I could cross that off my culinary list.
We briefly crashed a wedding at the cathedral, and then popped into the art museum to see the Chihuly flowers, and not one but two metro riders immediately identified Elisa as a kind woman who would listen to them patiently, even though they were talking at least 60% nonsense (one in English/??, one in Spanish).
Then we checked into a hotel for the night and ordered a stupendous pizza, with prosciutto, a balsamic fig reduction, some kind of creamy goat cheese sauce, arugula, pistachios, and I think a few more things.
But not before we made a quick stop at a grocery store, where I made gawking Yankee noises about how big the avocados and limes were. Well, I’ve never seen such big avocados and limes!
Sunday was Divine Liturgy, and we met our friend Debbie, and a few others, and also I saw my nephew, but thought to myself, “Ha, that looks like my nephew,” but did not say hello because I assumed he wasn’t really in Texas. I assume he saw me and didn’t say hello because he didn’t recognize me. We’re … we’re good at other things, in our family. Not good at recognizing people.
Then for lunch we went to a Mexican restaurant and I had carnitas and rice and some kind of incredible beans, with several different wonderful sauces. Lovely.
Then we went to HEB and I really was impressed. It was the biggest store with the most THINGS in it I have ever seen in my life. I wandered around taking photos of things that impressed me, like how thick they cut their pork chops, and eventually Elisa got me a Texas dish towel, and we met our friend Lindsay.
For dinner, we made sushi back at the house, using a sushi bazooka, which I turned out to be slightly too dumb to use properly, but it was fun.
Here is Elisa’s sushi, which was much more photogenic than mine:
And then I flew home the next morning! The plane sagged slightly toward the back, because that’s where I was sitting, full of injera and brisket and beans and sushi. But no koozy! But I was extremely dehydrated, because I had spent the last four days talking and talking and talking nonstop with my beloved friend, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
Next time I go to Dallas, I promise I will tell more people! I know I missed seeing tons of people that I would truly like to see. It was just kind of a zooming visit and there just wasn’t time to do a lot of meeting up.
I am not sure what Damien fed the kids while I was gone, but I believe there was a general feeling of “woo hoo, now’s our chance!” in the kitchen. As there should be. There was a birthday party and a bakery and an ice festival and a lot of candy and popcorn involved.
Before I left Dallas, I ducked into a Mexican shop and picked up some snacks I knew we didn’t have back in New Hampshire. The kids were . . . taken aback.
I brought a package of Cucharita Rica tamarind candy spoons
which are just little disposable plastic spoons with a blob of sort of spicy tamarind taffy stuck to them, very sticky and peppery. I love them, but I think I’m the only one;
some Nucita Barrita choc, vanilla and strawberry bars that the kids deemed “waxy but okay”
some Skwinkles Salsaghetti
which I bought mostly to horrify them, and they turned out to be even worse than I could have dreamed. Each packet has a little plastic tray containing a nest of watermelon-flavored gummy spaghetti, which slowly reveals itself to be also spicy; and it also comes with a packet of what I can only describe as candy tomato motor oil, which you are supposed to squirt over the top of your spicy watermelon gummy spaghetti, for some reason. It was truly awful.
I also got some Ibarra hot chocolate tablets,
which the kids would have been more excited about if Damien hadn’t gotten them Mexican hot chocolate tablets at the international market in town! Oh well, we are all stocked up for Mexican hot chocolate for a while!
And I got some local honey
and I got a pouch of horchata mix,
which Damien tragically misheard as “porchetta.” I don’t think he would have liked horchata anyway, but now he’s definitely going to be prejudiced against it.
Now I know that Mexico and Texas have really good treats to offer, that I could have brought home, but I wasn’t necessarily looking for the finest confections! I was looking for something to creep out the kids. This is how our relationship has developed and it’s too late to turn things around.
Monday is when I actually got home, so we had Domino’s.
Domino’s, for when everyone is exhausted.
Burgers and party mix
Burgers and party mix, for when everyone is still exhausted.
Even the burger looks tired. Blorp.
One-pan honey chicken thighs with potatoes and broccoli
Wednesday I finally went grocery shopping. This is a meal that comes together very quickly, but it’s a quite respectable, complete dinner. I made it with a few pounds of some rather elderly potatoes, skin-on; a dozen chicken thighs, and a few pounds of broccoli cut into spears. The recipe below also includes butternut squash, but I didn’t have any.Jump to Recipe
You cut the potatoes into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and then lay the chicken on top. Smear them with a sweet, thick sauce, and chunk it all in the oven and cook for about half an hour. Then throw the broccoli on, in between the chicken, and let it finish cooking.
The sauce is made with honey and brown sugar and gives the chicken skin a lovely golden glaze, and then it melts and runs down in between the chicken pieces and gets soaked up by the broccoli and potatoes, giving everything a pleasant sweetness.
Pretty popular meal, with just the one pan to clean, plus a little bowl to mix the sauce in.
Meatballs and ziti
Ground beef is on sale because of the Super Bowl, so I was forced to put meatballs on the menu. I followed the recipe from Sip and Feast, which always has good Italian ideas. These meatballs are simple but highly seasoned with fresh ingredients, fresh parsley, freshly-grated parmesan, and so on.
I was gratified to see that he makes his meatballs in the oven on a wire rack, just like I do. I always feel like I’m cheating by not laboriously frying them in a pan, but apparently the oven is a respectable Italian method, so there.
I put the cooked meatballs in the slow cooker with several jars of sauce and let them stay warm and soak up the sauce all day, and then served it all over ziti.
Pretty tired of our typical meatless Friday meals, so we’re going to have pepper and egg sandwiches. I got some kind of rolls and I’m going to sauté some red and green bell peppers and onions in olive oil, and then scramble some eggs into it, and serve that on the toasted rolls. And I’m going to make some fruit salad. And that’s what they get! And maybe some horchata.
One pan honey garlic chicken thighs with fall veg
Adapted from Damn Delicious
- 18 chicken thighs
- 2 lbs broccoli in spears
- 4-5 lbs potatoes in wedges, skin on if you like
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1/3+ cup honey
- 1/3+ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp dijon or yellow mustard
- 9 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- salt and pepper
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- olive oil for drizzing
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare the sauce.
In a large, greased sheet pan, spread the potatoes and squash. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Lay the chicken thighs on top of the potatoes and squash. Brush the sauce over the chicken skins.
Roast the chicken for thirty minutes or more until they are almost cooked.
Add the broccoli, arranging it on top of the potatoes and in between the chicken. Return the pan to the oven and let it finish cooking another 10 -20 minutes so you don't die. The skins should be golden and the broccoli should be a little charred.