Happy summer! This is the week that always starts to feel like real summer to me, because the big family party is over and we get going on all the other stuff we haven’t quite had time for, mainly lounging around, eating ice pops, and watching Buffy.
I didn’t get a WFS out last week, because of all the running around, so the quick version is: I don’t remember. Probably really easy, fast, boring stuff; except one day we had
Kielbasa, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes sheet pan dinner with honey mustard sauce
I have stopped consulting a recipe for this meal. (Here is one if you want, though! Jump to Recipe
I had three ropes of kielbasa cut into chunks, three pounds of Brussels sprouts halved, and probably three pounds of potato wedges with the skin on, tossed with salt and pepper and olive oil and spread on a sheet pan, and I cooked them at 425 for about 20 minutes. I mixed up a sauce from a bunch of dijon mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar or maybe wine vinegar, and pepper, kosher salt, and crushed garlic, then drizzled the sauce on the food
and stirred it up, and slid it back in the oven for another maybe 10-15 minutes until it was a little browned.
Sorry, not really a recipe, but you can just make it according to your taste and then cook it until it looks done.
I used to make this meal with wedges of cabbage, but the kids vastly prefer Brussels sprouts. I also used to make it with the sauce to dip, but now I do the “cook, then add sauce and finish cooking” thing, and it comes out flavorful and keeps everything from drying out. Great summer meal, easy and hearty.
And another day we had
Taijin chicken with scallions, mango, hot pretzels
This was supposed to be a NYT recipe, buuut I forgot to buy oranges, and you’re supposed to add orange zest and juice. So instead, I looked around furtively, opened a can of mandarin oranges, smushed up the contents, and dumped it into the sauce.
The original recipe calls for 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sea salt, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 tsp orange zest, 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and 1/4 cup adobo sauce, 6 garlic cloves, 2 Tbs. olive oil, and 1 Tbsp Taijin, which is the ingredient that caught my attention in the first place, but which we turned out to have two almost-empty bottles of, along with only a small can of chipotle chiles and only a little honey.
I also broiled this in the oven, rather than grilling it; so it was basically a Ship of Theseus recipe at this point.
But honestly, it still tasted fine. Kinda citrusy, quite spicy. If you like the taste of Taijin, you will like this chicken. It didn’t knock my socks off, but it was easy and tasty.
(I threw in some scallions, as directed, but those didn’t fare very well under the broiler, and weren’t terribly appealing.) For sides, I cut up a bunch of mangoes and served the hot pretzels I was too tired to cook the other day.
A decent if slightly weird meal.
Independence Day Party!
I spent most of last week scurrying around finishing the infamous patio, (which I am sitting on right now, and let me tell you, it is birdy and lovely)
and getting all the other stuff ready for the party, knowing all along that it was going to rain all day. I did have the option to change the party to Saturday, which was supposed to be sunny and hot, but not everyone could make it. Argh!
Eventually I decided it made more sense to have a family party with rain and all the family, then a family party with sun and lots of people missing. It was a good choice! It did rain quite a bit, but we had two canopies and a tarp,
and my sister brought another giant tarp which two of my brothers-in-law set up like a giant tent.
Easy for me to say it was the right choice, since I didn’t have to drive home long distance in soggy clothes, but it seemed like everyone had a nice time. I love my family and I’m so glad we get together like this every year. I didn’t put up my father’s monstrous (in size, I mean) American flag, because of the rain, and we forgot to read the Declaration of Independence, but it was still a very good party.
Glow sticks, snappers, sparklers, fireworks, shiny necklaces, and the dog got bossed around by so many little girls, which is his heart’s desire.
Our July 4th menu is not very exotic; we go for volume, rather than novelty. Damien cooked hamburgers and hot dogs, veggie burgers and tofu dogs, and three racks of pork ribsJump to Recipe
This year, in addition to the rub he usually puts on them before smoking, he sprayed them with cider vinegar as they cooked. They were done a long time after the rest of the food,
which actually worked out great, because it had gotten a little chilly by then, and we were all ready for a second course, and it was pretty great to sit by the fire gobbling up sizzling, tender ribs
I made potato salad and bought I think 18 bags of chips, and made several big platters of raw veggies. My brother’s BF also brought some delicious spicy peanut noodles, which everyone loved. We had watermelon, which we shared with the ducks, and for dessert, the traditional red and blue Jello cups with Kool Whip
as well as ice cream cups and brownies, which Benny made.
And then candy after the fireworks, to ease the pain of the party winding down.
Bunch more photos here if you want to take a look.
Monday we were all smooshed into a paste of exhaustion, so I cooked the leftover hot dogs and set out some cold ribs and that was perfect. The town fireworks we were planning to go to got rained out and postponed until July 28, to my great relief.
Tuesday we went with some friends to The Caterpillar Lab, which we’ve been meaning to do forever. If you’re anywhere in Southwest NH and looking for a way to spend an hour or two, this is an excellent little free visit, fascinating and educational for kids and adults.
We saw amazing things unfolding right before our eyes, on the counter at eye level, and also magnified on a big screen; and the staff was very chill and well-informed and ready to answer questions and chat about what we were seeing. There were lots of things for the kids to touch, and I liked how it was set up in a beautiful way, including a long wooden table set with decorative bottles, each holding a green branch with a different kind of caterpillar living on it, with an informational card on the table. Sort of reminiscent of a Victorian curiosity cabinet, but with things you could handle. A very pleasant and exciting way to spend a rainy morning.
(I actually have a bit of a moth and butterfly phobia, which I have been working on, but there was nothing flapping around being horrible and out of control, so the experience was well within my tolerance zone. Very different from a butterfly garden, for instance, which is a nightmare for me.)
Then we came home and played Forbidden Island, which I reviewed here.
Damien bought more meat and cooked more burgers.
We ate late and they were absolutely scrumptious. Definitely starting to get that vacation feel.
Wednesday Benny hosted a tea party, with animal crackers topped with Kool Whip, hot dog ends on toothpicks, and candy, and of course tea
and then we went to the library, and Damien brought home Aldi pizzas. Then I went on the library website and looked up their actual policies, and discovered that, newp, I’m not imagining it, the librarian is actually being a jerk to our family and possibly breaking the law. So we’ll see about that. Humph. (This is why, don’t talk to me about “ohhh, if only WXMYN could be in power, THEN we would see an end to all this terrible CORRUPTION! You give women a teensy tiny bit of power and they will find a way to abuse it. Which is not to say that women shouldn’t have power! Just don’t expect it to magically fix corruption.)
Thursday it was HOT HOT HOT (for New Hampshire), so I finally broke down and put in the air conditioner
Then I couldn’t put off shopping any longer, so I got some sandwich ingredients, and then when I got my other work done, I took four of the kids to the town pond, ahhh.
They swam for a while, and played Parco Molo, and then we had Italian sandwiches, cherries, and cheezy weezies.
What a lovely spot it is. I opened my Merlin app and it picked up something like twenty different birds. I did some actual reading from an actual book (The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope, who is so unkind to some of his characters), and wow has my life gotten easier than it used to be.
Moe and his lovely GF and I think Dora are coming by for dinner, and we’re having fish tacos (just frozen batter fried fish fillets) on tortillas with shredded cabbage, sour cream, limes, salsa, and I guess guacamole.Jump to Recipe
Am I forgetting something? Maybe I will make some lime crema.Jump to Recipe
I started some ice cream this morning, but it was so hot in the kitchen, the first batch (made with that Neopolitan trail mix from Aldi) didn’t freeze properly, so I turned on the AC and I’m currently making the second batch (strawberry with a little lime) in the cooler room.
The ducks are frolicking in the sprinkler
the birds are singing, lots of things are blooming, I’m sitting in the shade in my own yard for the first time ever, and if this ain’t the life, I don’t know what is!
sugar smoked ribs
the proportions are flexible here. You can adjust the sugar rub to make it more or less spicy or sweet. Just pile tons of everything on and give it puh-lenty of time to smoke.
- rack pork ribs
- yellow mustard
- extra brown sugar
For the sugar rub:
- 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp white pepper
Coat the ribs in yellow mustard and cover them with sugar rub mixture
Smoke at 225 for 3 hours
Take ribs out, make a sort of envelope of tin foil and pour Coke and brown sugar over them. close up the envelope.
Return ribs to smoker and cook another 2 hours.
Remove tinfoil and smoke another 45-min.
Finish on grill to give it a char.
White Lady From NH's Guacamole
- 4 avocados
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 medium jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 red onion, diced
Peel avocados. Mash two and dice two.
Mix together with rest of ingredients and add seasonings.
Cover tightly, as it becomes discolored quickly.
- 16 oz sour cream
- 3 limes zested and juiced
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients together.
So good on tacos and tortilla chips Looking forward to having it on tortilla soup, enchiladas, MAYBE BAKED POTATOES, I DON'T EVEN KNOW.
One-pan kielbasa, cabbage, and red potato dinner with mustard sauce
This meal has all the fun and salt of a wiener cookout, but it's a tiny bit fancier, and you can legit eat it in the winter.
- 3-4 lbs kielbasa
- 3-4 lbs red potatoes
- 1-2 medium cabbages
- (optional) parsley for garnish
- salt and pepper and olive oil
mustard sauce (sorry, I make this different each time):
- red wine if you like
- a little olive oil
- salt and pepper
- fresh garlic, crushed
Preheat the oven to 400.
Whisk together the mustard dressing ingredients and set aside. Chop parsley (optional).
Cut the kielbasa into thick coins and the potatoes into thick coins or small wedges. Mix them up with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in a shallow pan.
Cut the cabbage into "steaks." Push the kielbasa and potatoes aside to make room to lay the cabbage down. Brush the cabbage with more olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. It should be a single layer of food, and not too crowded, so it will brown well.
Roast for 20 minutes, then turn the food as well as you can and roast for another 15 minutes.
Serve hot with dressing and parsley for a garnish.
Ben and Jerry's Strawberry Ice Cream
For the strawberries
- 1 pint fresh strawberries
- 1-1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the ice cream base
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
Hull and slice the strawberries. Mix them with the sugar and lemon juice, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.
Make the ice cream base:
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for two minutes until fluffy.
Add in the sugar gradually and whisk another minute.
Pour in the milk and cream and continue whisking to blend.
Put it together:
Mash the strawberries well, or puree them in a food processor. Stir into the ice cream base.
Add to your ice cream maker and follow the directions. (I use a Cuisinart ICE-20P1 and churn it for 30 minutes, then transfer the ice cream to a container, cover it, and put it in the freezer.)