Ho hum, what a dull week. At least we have food to talk about. Here’s what we had this week:
Cheeseburgers and candy
Halloween! We had some kind of complicated plan with multiple cars and pick ups and drop offs before trick or treating, so Damien bought a sack of Wendy’s burgers and distributed them to anyone who would slow down long enough to eat one, and/or could bend their arms enough to reach their mouths with their costumes on.
We had a really good costume year. Clara taught herself how to sew and made a dress and a cloak, and went as an autumn warrior elf or something.
Elijah spent about 900 hours cutting, shaping, sanding, gluing, and painting bits of foam, and came out with this incredible Mandalorian costume
Lucy and Sophia had store-bought costumes and wigs, Tsuyu and Ochako, which they bought with money they earned by working, and Lucy made her boots out of foam
Irene was Grunkle Stan (I made the fez and she made the 8 ball cane)
Benny was a fairy princess dragon
and Corrie was Jim from Troll Hunters
And that was that! Only about half as many people as usual were giving out treats, but they made up for numbers with enthusiasm, ingenious candy delivery devices, and of course candy.
Pulled chicken sandwiches, coleslaw, french fries
Wanted to try something easy but different. This didn’t knock anyone’s socks off, but it was fine. I served it with red onions and little dill pickles.
I used this recipe that calls for grated onion, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and bottled BBQ sauce, and it came out tasting exactly like I had just used bottled BBQ sauce. Next time I’ll either skip the extra ingredients and just do that, or else I’ll find a recipe that delivers more for the effort. It’s nice to have something else to do with chicken, anyway.
Beef barley soup, pumpkin muffins (and soul cakes)
A snowy, blustery day, great for soup and muffins. Beef barley soup is popular with more than half the family, which is pretty good. My version has onions, carrots, mushrooms, tender beef, tomatoes, barley, and a rich beef broth with red wine, and plenty of pepper.Jump to Recipe
I made it in the Instant Pot, but this recipe easily adapts for stovetop.
Poor Benny made her first batch of pumpkin muffins all by herself last week, and just as she was ready to pop them in the oven, the pan tipped over and it all flopped out on the floor. So she was especially glad to see these.Jump to Recipe
I think my baking soda may be a bit feeble, or maybe I just didn’t fill the tins high enough; but they turned out well enough, if not lofty and huge.
I made a double recipe, which gave me enough for 24 muffins and a large loaf. For the loaf, I added dried cranberries and sunflower seeds.
I had to leave the house while it was still baking, so it stayed in the oven a little too long and got too dry; but it was still pleasant and hearty. I’ll use this combination again, or maybe walnuts instead of sunflower seeds.
And it being All Souls Day, Clara made these lovely soul cakes, as I mentioned.
Good smell day at the Fisher house.
Asian meatballs and rice
Election day. I wanted something I could prep ahead of time and serve without a lot of fuss, because Damien and I were both out after dinner covering election results. So I went with Asian meatballs, which is a foolproof recipe.Jump to Recipe
OR SO I THOUGHT.
My fellow Americans, these meatballs were horrendous. I don’t know what happened. I was in such a rush and ended up eyeballing the spices, and, well, I guess I know what happened. They were so horribly salty and harsh and awful! Oh well. It’s a good recipe if you follow it.
That’s hot sauce, not ketchup. And no, putting hot sauce on your painfully salty meatballs doesn’t make them better. After I took this picture, I tried adding duck sauce, which also, you’ll never guess, didn’t help. I don’t even know what is wrong with me.
Chicken burgers, chips, quinoa and kale
I made a big speech about how I bought a bag of steamable quinoa and kale because I happen to like it, and they are welcome to have some if they want, but no one has to eat it, and they can just eat their fake Pringles, and they just aren’t allowed to give me a hard time about my quinoa and kale.
They did give me a hard time, though, the little creeps.
I happen to like quinoa and kale! Leave me alone with my mountain of quinoa and kale! Love is love. In this house we believe you should leave your mother alone.
A long-promised meal. This really is the queen of all sandwiches.Jump to Recipe
I guess this was the only meal that really turned out this week. I didn’t want to mention it before, but the mushrooms in the beef barley soup were a little past their prime, and I tried to pretend it was fine, but the soup was really not that great. And to be honest, I should have cooked this banh mi pork right in the pan, rather than on a rack, because it was a little dry.
But I did toast-and-not-burn the baguettes, and I pickled ever so many carrots,Jump to Recipe
and there were cucumbers, plenty of cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and sriracha mayo, and it’s a dem fine sandwich. A dem fine sandwich. Worth the effort.
It’s killing me that today is meatless Friday. We may even have some leftover rice, and I could be having a leftover banh mi bowl right now. I was talking it over with Lena and we agreed, we need more bowls of things in our life. Vote for me; I’ll get you a bowl of something.
Eggs migas with refried beans
I don’t even have to look; I can feel that we have 346 bags of tortillas in the house. The eggs are probably all frozen, but what the hell. We even have some refried beans, and that has made all the difference.
I guess I haven’t written up a migas recipe yet. Don’t tell anyone I said that, but it’s basically matzoh brei for Mexicans. You slice some tortillas thin and fry them until crisp, then add in some beaten eggs and scramble it together. You can add in other stuff while it cooks, but I like to cook it simply and then serve the extras as toppings and sides.
And there it is. I’m projecting a win for everyone at dinnertime today.
Here’s the recipe cards for the week. Enjoy!
- 1 head cabbage, shredded
- 2 carrots, grated
- 5 radishes, grated or sliced thin (optional)
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 cup cider or white vinegar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pepper to taste
Mix together shredded vegetables.
Mix dressing ingredients together and stir into cabbage mix.
- 1 cup butter, chilled
- 3-3/4 cup sifted flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp allspice (can sub cloves)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp cider vinegar (can sub white vinegar)
- 4-6 Tbsp milk
- powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
- raisins, currants, nuts, candied citrus peels, etc.
Preheat the oven to 350
Put the flour in a large bowl. Grate the chilled butter on a vegetable grater and incorporate it lightly into the flour.
Stir in the sugar and spices until evenly distributed.
In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs, vinegar and milk. Stir this into the flour mixture until it forms a stiff dough.
Knead for several minutes until smooth and roll out to 1/4 thick.
Grease a baking pan. Cut the dough into rounds (or other shapes if you like) and lay them on the pan, leaving a bit of room in between (they puff up a bit, but not a lot). If you're adding raisins or other toppings, poke them into the top of the cakes, in a cross shape if you like. Prick cakes with fork.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until very lightly browned on top.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar while they are warm
Beef barley soup (Instant Pot or stovetop)
Makes about a gallon of lovely soup
- olive oil
- 1 medium onion or red onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2-3 lbs beef, cubed
- 16 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 6 cups beef bouillon
- 1 cup merlot or other red wine
- 29 oz canned diced tomatoes (fire roasted is nice) with juice
- 1 cup uncooked barley
- salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy pot. If using Instant Pot, choose "saute." Add the minced garlic, diced onion, and diced carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and carrots are softened.
Add the cubes of beef and cook until slightly browned.
Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the beef broth, and the merlot, plus 3 cups of water. Stir and add the mushrooms and barley.
If cooking on stovetop, cover loosely and let simmer for several hours. If using Instant Pot, close top, close valve, and set to high pressure for 30 minutes.
Before serving, add pepper to taste. Salt if necessary.
Pumpkin quick bread or muffins
Makes 2 loaves or 18+ muffins
- 15 oz canned pumpkin puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup veg or canola oil
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 3.5 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- oats, wheat germ, turbinado sugar, chopped dates, almonds, raisins, etc. optional
Preheat oven to 350. Butter two loaf pans or butter or line 18 muffin tins.
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture and mix just to blend.
Optional: add toppings or stir-ins of your choice.
Spoon batter into pans or tins. Bake about 25 minutes for muffins, about 40 minutes for loaves.
Vaguely Asian meatballs with dipping sauce
Very simple meatballs with a vaguely Korean flavor. These are mild enough that kids will eat them happily, but if you want to kick up the Korean taste, you can serve them with dipping sauces and pickled vegetables. Serve with rice.
- 2.5 lbs ground beef
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed finely
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup minced garlic
- 2 bunches scallions, chopped (save out a bit for a garnish)
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp ground pepper
For dipping sauce:
- mirin or rice vinegar
- soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 425.
Mix together the meat and all the meatball ingredients with your hands until they are well combined. Form large balls and lay them on a baking pan with a rim.
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Serve over rice with dipping sauce and a sprinkle of scallions.
Pork banh mi
- 5-6 lbs Pork loin
- 1 cup fish sauce
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 minced onion
- 1/2 head garlic, minced or crushed
- 1.5 tsp pepper
Veggies and dressing
- Sriracha sauce
Slice the raw pork as thinly as you can.
Mix together the fish sauce ingredients and add the meat slices. Seal in a ziplock bag to marinate, as it is horrendously stinky. Marinate several hours or overnight.
Grill the meat over coals or on a pan under a hot broiler.
Toast a sliced baguette or other crusty bread.
quick-pickled carrots and/or cucumbers for banh mi, bibimbap, ramen, tacos, etc.
An easy way to add tons of bright flavor and crunch to a meal. We pickle carrots and cucumbers most often, but you can also use radishes, red onions, daikon, or any firm vegetable.
- 6-7 medium carrots, peeled
- 1 lb mini cucumbers (or 1 lg cucumber)
For the brine (make double if pickling both carrots and cukes)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar (other vinegars will also work; you'll just get a slightly different flavor)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
Mix brine ingredients together until salt and sugar are dissolved.
Slice or julienne the vegetables. The thinner they are, the more flavor they pick up, but the more quickly they will go soft, so decide how soon you are going to eat them and cut accordingly!
Add them to the brine so they are submerged.
Cover and let sit for a few hours or overnight or longer. Refrigerate if you're going to leave them overnight or longer.