Look, I know food posts are fun posts, but today, in response to the request of +Pierbattista Card. Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, I’m going to make some attempt at a fast, and it happens that today is my adoration hour, so I guess I’ll actually be saying a rosary instead of just sitting there like a dumbass like I usually do. Please, if you’re the praying kind, pray with me for the Middle East, for deliverance from these horrors. I don’t know what else to say.
All right, so the other thing we can do is keep on living the beautiful, safe, full lives that God has granted us here in our peaceful country.
We did have some excellent food this week, including multiple pies! I’m leaning into cold weather cooking, and I guess if I can’t just crawl into bed between warm covers, the next best thing is wrap up my dinner in a nice warm pie crust. I feel like if I worked on that sentence, it might make more sense, but I’m just going to move along. Here’s what we had this week:
Italian sandwiches, fries
Always popular. I got Genoa salami, sandwich pepperoni, hot capicola, and prosciutto, and we had mozzarella, tomatoes, and red pesto. I meant to pick some basil, but I forgot. And then I sloshed a silly amount of balsamic vinegar all over my sandwich, which I secretly like, even though it’s not pretty.
And that’s-a my sandwich.
Chicken burgers, cheezy weezies
Sunday we went apple picking. Our usual orchard did not have apple picking for the public, because that late spring frost killed off so many buds; so we ended up driving to Washburn’s Windy Hill Orchard in Greenville, which is very nice, if a tiny bit on the La Grunta end of the spectrum. We met up with another family and picked our apples and fed some goats and then Damien waited in line for literally an hour to get some freshly-made cider donuts. They had a machine that was actually called “DONUT ROBOT” just like in Homer Price, but it wasn’t nearly as fast, and there were no diamond bracelets inside. Good donuts, though. And I insisted on getting my most-of-the-family photo, and the kids retaliated by . . . I guess holding their hands like Angel in Buffy? I don’t know what goes on.
Then we got home and had an easy meal of chicken burgers and cheezy weezies.
In my ongoing pursuit of health and wellness, I decided to have stone ground mustard instead of mayo, and you know what? It wasn’t very good. I did have a donut, though.
Tacos, tortilla chips, pineapple; apple pie
Monday was Indigenous Peoples Day, and the kids had the day off, and observed it after their traditional fashion, to wit: Implying that their parents are kinda racist, but also not wanting to eat any of the interesting food we suggested for Indigenous Peoples Day. So we had tacos.
Behold my no sour cream, no cheese, and no chips! I turn sideways, people question where I went.
Just kidding, I was just saving up my calories for pie. Benny and Corrie were in charge of cranking the apple peeler-corer-slicer machine:
while I made a quintuple recipe of this reliable pie crust:Jump to Recipe
We made three apple pies: One with a jack-o’-lantern face crust
and one with a lattice spider web crust:
The spider’s legs collapsed in the oven, but I thought he was still pretty winsome
and then I found a little pan and made a cute little pie for my neighbor Millie
Isn’t that adorable? I brought it over while it was still hot. She’s recovering very well from her broken pelvis, and is planning her spring garden.
I don’t really have a recipe for the apple pie filling — you just mix the sliced apples with sugar, a little salt, cinnamon, and little nutmeg, and mix it up, and then dot it with butter before you put the top on. I guess you can add flour if you want a thicker filling. Then you brush the top crust with egg white and sprinkle it with sugar. Bake at 425 for ten minutes and then lower it to 350 and keep on baking it for like half an hour until it’s golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
I like all kinds of pies, but apple is king.
Chicken bacon pie, roasted carrots
When I made the apple pies on Monday, I lined a big casserole dish with pie crust and rolled out a top and wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge, so on Tuesday, I just had to make the filling for this recipe and throw it in the oven.Jump to Recipe
You guys, it was SO GOOD. Damien said he’s never enjoyed chicken pie before, but he absolutely loved this, which is my friend Rebecca Salazar’s recipe. It’s supposed to have leeks, but they didn’t have any at the store, so I substituted celery. Amazing. Incredibly savory and just packed with happy flavors. It was also really fast to make (well, because the crust was already done). Most definitely making this again.
So first you cook up some diced bacon, then add diced onion and leeks (or, in my case, celery) and keep cooking. Then some thyme, pepper, and a ton of butter.
Then you whisk in a little flour, thicken it up, add in some concentrated chicken broth and thicken it some more, and add in cubed chicken and cubed potatoes. And that’s it. You pour this into the bottom crust
add the top crust, and then obviously you have to make it into a Mrs. Tweedy’s Chicken Pie, and brush it with egg yolk
and bake at 425 for about an hour. LOOK AT HER.
So beautiful. The filling was nice and thick, and the pieces held up well when I scooped them out, but not so well that it was gluey or gunky.
About half an hour before dinner, I decided we needed a side dish, so I found this roasted carrot recipe from a site I’ve used before, Recipe Tin Eats.
Another success! I’ve made glazed carrots before, but they have come out kind of mushy and swimming in syrup, which isn’t great. This recipe is quick and easy and the carrots get fully cooked and they’re sweet and flavorful, but not sticky or blurry.
I actually skipped the garlic and added cinnamon and a little chili powder. You just mix up the sugar and a few other ingredients and toss the carrots in it and roast them on a pan, turning them once. Easy and effective.
So yeah, it was a lovely meal.
I was quite pleased with myself.
Italian wedding soup, garlic knots
Wednesday I got up and decided to get going making meatballs for soup right first thing in the morning. So I’m standing there in my pajamas, throwing stuff in a bowl: ground turkey, fresh parmesan, some duck eggs, salt, pepper, fresh basil, breadcrumbs, milk, olive oil
and I’m making the little meatballs, thinking about Millie, making meatballs, thinking maybe Millie would like some soup, thinking about meatballs, and then suddenly I realize: HOLY CRAP, I’M SUPPOSED TO BE DRIVING MILLIE TO THE DOCTOR. I guess my guardian angel was speaking meatball that day, because that’s the only way he could get my attention. So I washed my hands and threw on a bra and got Millie to her appointment, and it was a good report! She’s healing well and has graduated from a walker to a cane.
Then I had a bunch of other nonsense to take care of, and finally got home and made the dang meatballs. I more or less followed this recipe from Sip and Feast, which has never steered me wrong
I ended up adding quite a bit more broth than it called for, and I used kale rather than escarole and spinach, and ditalini rather than acini de pepe, and I didn’t have parsley for the meatballs.
Still a damn fine soup. Very nourishing and delicious. I did bring a jar over to Millie, which she appreciated.
I had a couple of balls of pizza dough, so I made about 18 garlic knots. I just baked them plain, then tossed the hot knots in melted butter, garlic powder, and flaked kosher salt
They were pretty excellent.
I love soup and hot bread for supper. I grated up a little more parmesan to top off the soup, and it was so good.
Next time I really need to use acini de pepe. Any bigger kind of pasta just inevitably gets overcooked and expands too much, which is a less than ideal. It didn’t ruin the soup or anything, but that’s why you’re supposed to use acini de pepe.
Broiled tilapia, spinach and cucumber salad, coleslaw, Prongles, pears
Thursday I kind of ran out of steam for cooking. I think I was originally intending to make batter fried fish sandwiches, but it was about 12:30 and I discovered I had not bought sandwich rolls, and also I had zero desire to fry anything.
Pictured: Zero desire, in filet form.
Then it turned out Benny had a soccer game anyway, and I didn’t even get home until 5:00, and I had only gotten as far as taking the fish out of the freezer and complaining about it on Facebook.
So I took my friend Kat’s advice and lined a pan with parchment paper, drizzled a little oil on the tilapia filets, sprinkled them with salt, and broiled them for like seven minutes
and served them with melted butter and lemon wedges.
I put out some spinach and some cucumbers from the garden, and I made some coleslaw real quick (pre-shredded cabbage with a dressing of mayo, cider vinegar, and little sugar and pepper), and put out some nice juicy pears. Not bad for zero plan!
I really like fish. It keeps on being on sale at Walmart, so I guess I’ll keep cooking it until I don’t like it anymore.
Oh, here’s a picture of one of the sillier cucumbers from my garden:
I think this is the result of uneven watering, or something. Anyway, I ate it.
Mac and cheese
With a little hot sauce and a little mustard mixed into the sauce.
Basic pie crust
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 sticks butter, FROZEN
- 1/4 cup water, with an ice cube
Freeze the butter for at least 20 minutes, then shred it on a box grater. Set aside.
Put the water in a cup and throw an ice cube in it. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Then add the shredded butter and combine with a butter knife or your fingers until there are no piles of loose, dry flour. Try not to work it too hard. It's fine if there are still visible nuggets of butter.
Sprinkle the dough ball with a little iced water at a time until the dough starts to become pliable but not sticky. Use the water to incorporate any remaining dry flour.
If you're ready to roll out the dough, flour a surface, place the dough in the middle, flour a rolling pin, and roll it out from the center.
If you're going to use it later, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. You can keep it in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for several months, if you wrap it with enough layers. Let it return to room temperature before attempting to roll it out!
If the crust is too crumbly, you can add extra water, but make sure it's at room temp. Sometimes perfect dough is crumbly just because it's too cold, so give it time to warm up.
You can easily patch cracked dough by rolling out a patch and attaching it to the cracked part with a little water. Pinch it together.
Rebecca's chicken bacon pie
- double recipe of pie crust
- 1 pound bacon, diced
- 4 ribs celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bunch thyme, finely chopped
- 3 chicken breasts, diced
- 2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 6 Tbsp flour
- 3 cups concentrated chicken broth (I use almost double the amount of bouillon to make this)
- 2 Tbsp pepper
- egg yolk for brushing on top crust
Preheat the oven to 425.
In a large pan, cook the bacon pieces until they are browned. Pour off most of the grease.
Add in the onion and celery and cook until soft.
Add the thyme, pepper, and butter and cook until butter is melted. Add the flour and whisk, cooking for another few minutes.
Whisk in the chicken broth and continue cooking for a few more minutes until it thickens up. Stir in the chicken and potato and keep warm, stirring occasionally, until you're ready to use it.
Pour filling into bottom crust, cover with top crust, brush with beaten egg. Bake for about an hour.