By SIMCHA FISHER with additional reporting by CORNELIA FISHER
Happy Friday! It’s summer for another, like, eleven minutes, and we’re squeezing the last few drops out. We told the kids we couldn’t afford to go to an amusement park this year, and we were right, but then, I don’t know, we went anyway. Do not take financial advice from me. All I know is eat fried dough & lie.
Here’s what else we ate this week:
Smoked ribs, cole slaw, chips and salsa
Saturday morning, I drove up to see some of my siblings and tend to our parents’ grave a bit. Look, ma! I remembered soapy water and a scrubbing brush!
Did some planting, sat on the grass telling some old stories in the hot hot sun, left the cemetery and got some lunch, and then drove back home, and one of my sisters was able to come too and join us for a bit, much to the dog’s delight. And of course everyone’s delight, but the dog was very especially delighted.
Damien smoked up a pile of ribs most wonderfully, and made a big bowl of coleslaw.
He made his nice spicy sugar rubJump to Recipe
and smoked the ribs for about four hours, then brushed them with Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce and gave them a little char in the fire, and then moved them into the oven for a while, just to make absolutely sure they were cooked all the way.
They came out so juicy and tender.
I guess I must have gone shopping on Sunday, and Damien made supper. I have no memory of this day at all.
From the looks of it, I had been suffering from some kind of pickle deficiency. Took care of that.
Blueberry chicken salad with homemade croutons
Roast chicken breast on mixed greens with fresh blueberries with diced red onions and homemade croutons. I forgot to buy nuts, and for some reason I decided to get a wedge of parmesan instead of a bunch of feta, which was a little sad. Then, to be perfectly honest, I ate so many hot buttered croutons right out of the oven that I didn’t really feel like eating a chicken salad, so I skipped supper, and then I think I had a bunch of crackers and fruit roll-ups at night, and I feel like I also ate some candy. Not been my most stellar week, nutritionally. I got really excited about having lost four pounds, and have been celebrating by oh you know.
Also it’s the end of summer and I’m sad. Which is the only appropriate way to feel, and if the reason you don’t feel that way is because you live in Arizona, then that’s just an inappropriate place to live. Have some croutons, it will help, temporarily. Have some ice cream.
I also forgot to take a picture of the salad, but here is a similar salad from the past:
Moe moved out and left behind some of his bougie sesame rolls, which I also made into croutons and also ate.
The idea of chili verde has become more and more insistent over the last few weeks, and finally on Tuesday it manifested itself right on my stovetop.Jump to Recipe
Actually it was much more fun than that, in that I got to unwrap a dozen sticky, crackly little tomatillos and chop the heads of a variety of peppers
rrrrroast them up
pull their skins off and then hurl them into the food processor with a bunch of onions, an entire peeled head of garlic, and a big bunch of cilantro. And I seared up some lovely seasoned pork in hot oil until it was crackling brown, and then into the big heavy pot goes the meat and all the peppers and whatnot, and I let it simmer for the whole rest of the day. The dog got so much pork fat that he became overwhelmed and started to growl at it (not at me; at the pork fat. He’s not smart), which I understand completely. I also am not smart, but I do know how to make chili verde.
Sometimes I break up the meat into shreds after it cooks, but this time I left it as hunks. Sometimes I add some chicken broth to loosen up the pepper sauce, but this time I just let it be. Served it just plain, with cilantro and sour cream. Forgot to cut up limes.
My friends, it was so good. AND THO THPYTHY. Spicy enough that it required me start talking funny. At no point did I remove any seeds or membranes from the peppers, and I stand by this! I do kind of regret not making a pot of rice or anything, and in fact went around spooning up extra pepper sauce from other people’s bowls.
I went to bed happy, but the next day, things that were not entirely excellent occurred in and around my stomach. Totally worth it. But next time, I’ll make rice.
I had also intended to grill some pineapple spears, and totally forgot. Grilled pineapple is ahhhhmazing. The juice turns to golden-sweet nectar and the little charred bits set off the creamy sweet flesh of the rest.
Especially nice with a little vanilla ice cream. IF you’re the kind of person who always has ice cream in the house, which I now am.
Canobie! Lake! Park!
This was the day! We left a mere half an hour behind schedule, and I only took one wrong exit. I actually heard my GPS say “sorry,” which I don’t really understand, but we got right back on track, parked, ate our supermarket sandwiches, and it was off to the races. Well, Damien had to sit in the parking lot and listen to a hearing for a while and then write about it, but then he was off to the races, and we had a great day. Canobie is a wonderful place, clean, friendly, safe, well-run, and beautiful.
Here are more photos of the day on Facebook, if you want to take a peek. I ate a piece of fried dough the size of a
and here is where I am reflecting that I’m not looking forward to school starting at all, but on the other hand, Corrie is watching me write and, whenever my fingers pause, she shouts words that she thinks should come next. I’m know I’m only writing about fried dough, but still.
Okay, so it was a very large piece of fried dough, and I ate it all, and then we stopped at McDonald’s on the way home anyway, and when we got home, I waited for the kids to get out of the car and then I ate some of the emergency diabetes candy that was in the glove box. This is why I generally steer clear of sugar. Once I have a little bit of it (or a lot of it, like a piece of fried dough the size of, okay Corrie, the size of a ROCK), then I turn into a panicky sugar-seeking machine.
Old Bay chicken drumsticks, carrots, and chips; homemade ice cream
The plan was to spend all day at the beach, according to a summer-long sword of Damocles promise, but various situations conspired against me, and instead a friend came over, we made ice cream, and we did some back-to-school shopping, which I’ve elected to make easier on myself by doing it in tiny increments, over and over again over the course of several weeks instead of getting it all over with at once. I am just chock full of good ideas these days. Then we went to a thrift store and to *ptui* Spirit.
Anyway, one good idea I had was that, when we finally got home, I melted a couple of sticks of butter, poured them over the drumsticks, and sprinkled both sides liberally with Old Bay seasoning, and broiled them on both sides, with a little half-hearted basting halfway through.
Well, I did this eventually. First I pre-heated the oven and set up the pan of chicken with butter and seasoning, and then I went into the living room with a can of seltzer and my phone, and put my feet up, and gradually began to wonder why the smell of chicken wasn’t filling the house. The answer turned out to be “because you have to put the chicken into the oven.” Live and learn.
Delicious, because how could it not be, eventually? I served it with carrots and not hummus, because that turned out to be moldy, and chips.
Worth noting: When I was labelling photo files, my phone changed this one to “bowl of old bat chicken.” So what?
Earlier that day, we made two batches of ice cream, both using Ben and Jerry’s basic sweet cream base (two eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, 2 cups heavy cream). For one, I added 1.5 teaspoons of mint extract and most of a bag of frozen mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, and three drops of green food coloring and a good mixing before freezing it for five or six hours.
The other one got a few teaspoons of vanilla, a jar of halved maraschino cherries (drained), about half a bag of frozen white chocolate chips, and two big handfuls of cashews before it went into the freezer.
Both great! Both hits. The cherry one honestly would have been better with peanuts, which certainly would have been cheaper, as well. I was going for a sort of sundae-in-a scoop taste, but without chocolate, and this achieved that. I adore frozen maraschino cherries. They make me feel like a little kid who feels like a grownup.
I really love making ice cream. It’s like cooking, because once you understand the basics, you can more or less go with your gut about what will be yummy; but it’s like baking, because you do all the work in the front end and then just let it go, and end up with dessert. And I get the fun of doing something homemade with whole ingredients, but I know the kids will actually enjoy and appreciate it. Usually you have to pick either one or the other. But honest to goodness, if you see me eating anything with sugar it in today, please hit me with a rock, or a piece of fried dough, whichever’s bigger.
Today one kid had new student orientation, and then we’re going to do more school shopping with the remaining two kids who somehow still haven’t gone, and it’s supposed to rain, so we can’t go to the beach. I wish I was back on the carousel. I wish I was back in the ocean. Truly, if I end up just making more ice cream, there are worse things.
That reminds me, I have a really good fried dough recipe. Fried dough is easy to make, and if you do it at home, you can put a reasonable amount of sugar on it. Just a light dusting.
And you can make it in a reasonable size, the size of a small boulder.
Do it. Fry some dough. Maybe scoop a li’l ice cream on top. For tomorrow we die.
Makes about 15 slabs of fried dough the size of a small plate
- 4 cups flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp (half a stick) cold butter
- 1-1/2 cups lurkworm water
- 2 cups oil for frying
- confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
- cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)
Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cut the cold butter into bits and work it gently into the dough.
Add the water and stir until the dough is all combined.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rest for 15 minutes
Separate the dough into pieces and flatten each piece into a thin disk with your fingers. If it's sticky, put a little confectioner's sugar on your work surface.
Heat the oil in a pan. You can deep fry it or use less oil and fry it in a small amount of oil; your choice. The oil is ready when you put a wooden spoon in and little bubbles form around it.
Carefully lay the disc of dough in the hot oil. Let it cook a few minutes, just barely getting brown, and then turn it and cook the other side.
Remove the dough, let the excess oil drain off, and sprinkle it immediately with sugar and cinnamon if you like.
You can keep these hot in the oven for a bit, but they're best when they're very hot.
Smoked chicken thighs with sugar rub
- 1.5 cups brown sugar
- .5 cups white sugar
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp chili pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 20 chicken thighs
Mix dry ingredients together. Rub all over chicken and let marinate until the sugar melts a bit.
Light the fire, and let it burn down to coals. Shove the coals over to one side and lay the chicken on the grill. Lower the lid and let the chicken smoke for an hour or two until they are fully cooked.
Spicy Chili Verde
You can decrease the heat by seeding the peppers, using fewer habañeros, or substituting some milder pepper. It does get less spicy as it cooks, so don't be alarmed if you make the salsa and it's overwhelming!
- 5 lbs pork shoulder
- salt and pepper
- oil for cooking
- 2 cups chicken broth or beer (optional)
For the salsa verde:
- 4 Anaheim peppers
- 2 habañero peppers
- 4 jalapeño peppers
- 4 medium onions
- 12 tomatillos
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled
- 1 bunch cilantro
- lime wedges
- sour cream
- additional cilantro for topping
Preheat the broiler.
Pull the husks and stems off the tomatillos and rinse them. Cut the ends off all the peppers. Grease a large pan and put the tomatillos and peppers on it. Broil five minutes, turn, and broil five minutes more, until they are slightly charred.
Take the pan out and cover the peppers and tomatillos with plastic wrap or tin foil for ten minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, pull the skins off the peppers and tomatillos. At this point, you can remove the seeds from the peppers to decrease the spiciness if you want.
Put the skinned tomatillos and peppers in a food processor or blender with the onions, garlic, and cilantro. Purée.
In a heavy pot, heat some oil. Salt and pepper the pork chunks and brown them in the oil. You will need to do it in shifts so the pork has enough room and browns rather than simmering.
When all the meat is browned, put it all in the pot and add the puréed ingredients.
Simmer at a low heat for at least three hours until the meat is tender. If you want thinner chili verde, you can add chicken broth or beer. At some point, if you don't want the pork in large chunks, press the meat with the back of a spoon to make it collapse into shreds.
Spoon the chili verde into bowls, squeeze some lime juice over the top, and top with sour cream and fresh cilantro.