Another birthday! The birthday girl asked for Damien’s tiramisu. Without even having to ask, he got plenty of help from Corrie. Here, I ask Corrie about the ingredients she’s using:And now you know. (If you need it to be more specific, here is the recipe he uses.) He made it without shaved chocolate out of respect for my migraines. I forgot to take a pic, but here is a slice from ages past:
We love tiramisu, not only for the heavenly taste, but because we get to sing the song. When Irene was little, she used to sing the Kalamazoo song from Wonderpets — only she would go, “Tamazooooo . . . OHHHHHH!!!!! . . . Tamazoooooo . . . ” and on the “ohhhhh” part, she would tip her chin up and close her eyes and howl like a little wolf. So all day long, there was a lot of happy howling.
Cumin chicken with chickpeas and tabbouleh
I’ve had a hankering for tabbouleh for weeks now. Unfortunately, this meal did not dehanker me. I couldn’t find any bulghur, so I used couscous. That would have been fine, but I didn’t drain it properly, and it was soggy. The flavor was good, though, and I’m not gonna pretend I didn’t have it for lunch the rest of the week. I made it with lemon juice, kosher salt and pepper, tomatoes and cucumbers, and lots of fresh parsley and mint. And yes, that was me saying “Wait a minute!” out loud in the produce aisle, quickly googling “is wild mint edible” and then thriftily putting back the store-bought mint. Take that, invasive species.
I also put mint in the lemony onions, because I forgot to save back parsley; but I forgot to eat any onions, so I don’t know if it was good.
The cumin chicken with chickpeas and yogurt sauce and pita is a reliably yummy meal, and once again I must emphasize that if you never have the chicken skin that’s been roasted after marinating in cumin and yogurt, your life has been a sham.
I also intend to roast many more chickpeas this summer. These chickpeas in the picture are a little less crunchy, which is how the kids like them, Little olive oil and whatever seasoning you like, and if you take your time and roast them until they’re crunchy, they make a wonderful snack.
Grilled ham and cheese pita pockets, strawberries, fries
This is an ideal childhood meal. Adorable round sandwiches, fried gently in butter, cheerfully patterned like a giraffe, and stuffed with melted cheddar and a slice of ham.
So of course they all acted like I was serving them garbage stuffed with garbage. Ingrates!
Hamburgers, chips, raw broccoli
As you can see, I was eating a hamburger in bed. I had a reason, but I forget what.
BIIIIIIIG SANDWICHES, party mix, tiramisu
One morning, when Clara was a toddler, she was having a bad day, feeling sick, screaming at everything. We finally just put her to bed, and she slept for hours and hours, all day long. Clara was this teeny, weeny little person. Her middle name is “Petra,” but her sisters used to call her “Clara Paper,” because she was so fair and slight, with enormous grey eyes, a heavy mop of dark gold curls.
When she finally woke up, it was almost dinner time, and we asked what she would like to eat. She said in her squeaky little voice, “I want . . . I want BIIIIIIIIIIIG SANDWICHES!” and pointed straight up to the ceiling. So that’s what we call it now, when we have sandwiches with everything possible on them. AND TODAY, THAT LITTLE GIRL IS GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL.
So this Tuesday was Dora’s birthday, and she modestly asked for Big Sandwiches, party mix, and tiramisu for her birthday meal. For my big sandwich, I had roast beef and capicola, provolone, tomatoes, and bacon.
It turns out I can’t eat party mix unless I want to spend the rest of the day listening to my heart try to escape from my chest, so that’s exciting. The bacon stays, though.
Here is the birthday girl admiring how well her new salt lamp deionizes things and whatnot.
Faintly gingery pork, peppers, onions, mushrooms; corn on the cob
I cut up a bunch of pork, Corrie cut up a bunch of peppers, and then I called Clara and told her to cut up a bunch of green and sweet peppers and onions and mix it all together with a bottle of ginger salad dressing. This is how most meals get made at my house: as a group effort, over the course of many hours, with phone calls. It’s a miracle we don’t all just eat hamburgers in bed every day.
So I spread it all in some shallow pans and stuck it under the broiler.
I had it in my head that everyone loves this meal, but it turns out I love it and everyone else has been barely tolerating it. OH WELL. To be fair, the marinade turned out to be extremely bland, and did not produce the gingery wonderland I was anticipating.
I also boiled up some corn on the cob. Shucking the corn helped Corrie through that awful, painful transition between watching TV (happiness) and not watching TV (intense and intolerable suffering).
Drunken noodles with beef
I’ve made this once before, after modifying a Jet Tila recipe. My recipe card is at the end.
I did all the chopping and stuff in the morning, and had it all laid out in separate bowls like on a cooking show
so it came together really quickly when it was supper time. You boil up the noodles and set them aside, then brown up some garlic, add egg and peppers, then add beef and onions, then put the tomatoes, sauce, and noodles back in, and heat it all through. I made TONS of it, because I can’t help myself. Happily, it’s good cold.
I’m not sure if it was better this time, or if I was just hungrier because I didn’t snack on a full meal’s worth of ingredients while I was still cooking. Either way, it was delicious. A really zippy, flavorful sauce, but not too terribly spicy (and some people added red pepper flakes). The fish sauce mellows out just enough and is right at home with the beef and tomatoes.
A great all-in-one meal, and you could use different kinds of meat or seafood. One of my kids put parmesan cheese on it. I don’t even freaking know what to say. Don’t do that.
Tuna boats, smiley fries
According to tradition, we’ll be going out to eat with the graduating senior, while the people at home toil with tuna. I’m not sure what I will order, but she chose an Italian restaurant, which is always good, and someone else will be cooking, which is always always always always good.
Okay, here are the recipe cards!
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
- 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
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 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.
Drunken noodles with beef (after Jet Tila)
This is a less-spicy version. For more heat, use jalapenos or other hotter peppers, leave the membranes and seeds in and add red pepper flakes before or after cooking.
- 6 Tbsp soy sauce
- 6 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 9 Tbsp fish sauce
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp Sriracha or hot sauce
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 6 oz fresh basil leaves in a chiffonade (sliced into thin ribbons)
- 30+ oz wide rice noodles
canola oil for cooking
- 8 Tbsp minced garlic
- 8 eggs beaten
- 6 serrano chiles or jalapeños, seeded and sliced thin
- 2 lg onions, sliced thin
- 4 oz fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 2-3 pints grape tomatoes, halved
- 3-4 lbs roast beef, sliced as thinly as possible
Cook the rice noodles according to directions, and set them aside.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Heat a very large sauté pan with oil and brown the minced garlic. Add chiles and beaten eggs, and scramble in the pan until the eggs are in cooked bits.
Add onion and sliced beef and cook until beef is barely browned.
Add cooked noodles, tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, and sauce.
Keep stirring and combining until everything is saucy and hot. Serve immediately.