Sometimes I can’t believe a whole week has passed. This time, I believe it.
Here’s what we had this week. Some very tasty food, that’s what! including some highly seasonally appropriate dishes.
Pizza! and then lobster!
Saturday was busy-busy-busy, so we decided to try out the new Domino’s in town and see how their pizza is. You might think that of course all Domino’s will be the same, but I always remember how my grandparents went on a safari in Kenya in the 80’s and went to the Kentucky Fried Chicken there, and the chicken tasted very different, because the chickens had a very different diet! So you never know.
I sat here for a few minutes trying to figure out if this story is racist in some way, but I’m 90% sure it’s just stupid, so I’m going to leave it. The last Domino’s, you may recall for some reason, burned down back in January. For a college town, there are shockingly few places to get terrible take-out pizza, so now the order of the universe has been restored a bit.
Then, to restore it even more, Lena, who works at the meat counter and fish counter of the supermarket, brought home three hefty steamed lobsters, and butter, lemons, and crusty bread, and a shrimp ring with cocktail sauce.
I made a complete goblin of myself with my lobster while the kids looked on in horror and disgust, which is just the way I like it. Some of my kids think I’m horrifying, some of them bring me lobsters. Balance.
Clara threw herself a belated birthday party and invited some friends. This is the first time she’s planned and cooked an entire meal, and she did a spectacular job, and everyone had a lovely time. The menu:
Cinnamon garlic chicken
Stuffed bread with cheese and mushrooms
Olive oil rosemary cake
Here’s my recipe for the chicken (she made two).Jump to Recipe
Turned out great, juicy and flavorful. It’s a very simple recipe but the flavor really permeates the meat.
The hobbit bread recipe is in this post, and this time she did follow the recipe for the bread from scratch. The recipe is from An Unexpected Cookbook. Sometimes Clara makes large loaves, but this time, everyone got their own little loaf.
Stuffed with onions, mushrooms, herbs, and cheese.
I don’t think there was a recipe for the potatoes. She just added good things to chopped potatoes until it looked tasty, then roasted them. I didn’t manage to get any good pictures of much of anything, but here is the mulled cider and the roast potatoes.
We just tossed some cinnamon sticks and orange slices in with the cider and heated it up. Cider is expennnnnnsive this year, oh my!
And finally the cake!
The cake was a lemon rosemary olive oil cake from Parsley and Icing. This is a light, spongy, gorgeously-scented cake with plenty of rosemary in it. Clara used the icing in this recipe, except she used rosewater instead of vanilla.
We were going to set off a few fireworks I found under the bed, to make it a true hobbit party, but so many people were wearing cloaks and tops with long, flowing sleeves, we decided to go ahead and not set anything on fire.
And it was a great party!
Some of the kids absolutely delight in this meal, and I’m partial to it myself. I fried up some boneless pork chops in sesame oil in the morning, then sliced them up and reheated the meat in the evening with a lot of soy sauce. This isn’t a recipe so much as a confession, but darn it, I like soy sauce.
I also boiled a bunch of eggs and then completely massacred them trying to get the shells off. I seriously lost at least 40% of the egg material in the process, and the more careful I was, the worse it got. I know you’re going to give me your tips about how to slide the shells off in one easy piece, just as simple and peaceful as a spring morning, and all you have to do is simmer them for three minutes and forty seconds in a copper-bottom pot with enamel sides with the lid 2/3 of the way on, fitted with a little cone made of parchment paper (not wax paper) to redirect the steam, then quickly dump the eggs into an iron crock that is standing on the floor with coffee grounds in the bottom, cover it with newspaper, rap sharply on the lid five times with a wooden spoon and shout “AWAY! SHELLS, AWAY!” in a commanding voice, and then, if you recall Sonata form, you just sort of shake the whole pot in that pattern, but don’t burn yourself when you get to the recapitulation! Everyone does. But it’s easy, and then just like that, the shells come off, easy.
I like my way better, though. I like throwing away most of the egg and getting pieces of shell in with the food, and swearing a lot. So we had the eggs, and the pork, and also some crunchy noodles, sugar snap peas, baby spinach, sesame seeds, sriracha sauce, and hmmm I guess that’s it. Oh, I fried up some leftover mushrooms from the Hobbit bread.
I lined the bowl with spinach before ladling the hot broth over it. Oh, it was good. Salty supermarket bulk purchase good.
Couldn’t get regularer. I just fried up a bunch of ground beef with salt, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and onion powder, and served it on tortillas. I had mine with jalapeños and sour cream.
I remember thinking I should put salsa on, but then thinking I didn’t want heartburn, and then putting jalapeños on. It really just wasn’t a very good taco, but it was undeniably a dinner.
Chinese pork roast, rice, mango and pineapple
Started the pork marinating the night before. I made it while the tacos were cooking. It really is easy as can be: Just equal parts of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sweet red wine (alas, I had no Manischewitz), and then a good scoop of Chinese five spice, and a large hunk of fatty pork.Jump to Recipe
I got it in a 300 oven about noon (I poured all the marinade in with it), and let it cook for five hours. I wish I had covered it, because it got fairly grisly looking. If you have been to the La Brea Tar Pits, it was like that, but it smelled much better. I made an effort to baste it, which you’re supposed to do throughout the sixth hour of cooking, but the marinade had gotten so thick and sticky, it was a lost cause. Behold, the Chinese roast wooly mammoth:
Still, you bash the side open, and my goodness, it was juicy and tender inside.
The outside is crazy rich, and a little goes a long way. I served it with just plain white rice (again, if I had covered it halfway through cooking, I would have had some of the marinade to serve as a sauce, but did I cover it, no), and then some pineapple and mango on the side.
Pretty popular meal. I had some complaints myself, but everyone else was pretty happy. This would be great meat to serve over something else, like ramen or bibimbap, but it was good on its own. Could have used some sauce.
Harvest chicken salad and roast butternut squash
The first butternut squash of the season! And first, a butternut squash tip. They’re just about impossible to peel raw, but if you cut the ends off and stab them all over with a fork and microwave them for three minutes, they become possible.
I peeled and seeded the squash and cut it into thinnish chunks, tossed it with olive oil, honey, a little kosher salt, and kind of a lot of chili powder, spread it in a pan, and shoved it under a hot broiler. It let it blister a tiny bit and then turned it once and moved it down lower in the oven, so it would be cooked all the way through and also done on both sides. Turned out perfect.
Sweet and tender with a little fire. Just great.
I’ve been putting off the salad part of meal for three weeks now. I guess I’m a little burnt out on salads. But the time had come, and it actually turned out really delicious. Roast chicken breast slices on salad greens with your choice of blue cheese or feta cheese crumbles, toasted walnuts (toasted in the microwave for three minutes), and dried cranberries, with a creamy Italian dressing. Diced red onion would have been good, but I forgot to get any.
This was a good meal! It had all those sweet and smoky autumnal flavors, like a Thanksgiving dinner, but without being too heavy. Very satisfying. Here’s another picture, just because it was pretty.
I got some frozen battered fish fillets of some kind, some sort of soft, rich rolls whose name escapes me at the moment, and . . . that might be it. We must have pickles somewhere, and no doubt I can throw together some tartar sauce. I wonder what I bought to go with it. What do people like me buy? Chips? That seems likely.
And we have a four day weekend, with some kind of workshops on Friday and then Columbus/Indigenous what-have-you on Monday. I do believe we’re contractually obligated to go apple picking this weekend, even though we’re already up to our bum bums in apples around here. And we did manage to buy pumpkins (they sold out absurdly early last year), and maybe we’ll plant some bulbs, and it’s well past time to change over the skeledecor. I’m so embarrassed, they’re still holding American flags, and they should be fighting a giant spider with swords by now. And now we’re off to try to trade in two bad cars for part of one okayish car, and make it back in time for adoration. Wish us luck!
Cinnamon garlic roast chicken
This is the chicken we usually serve at passover, but of course you can make it any time of year. Faintly sweet and nicely cozy, it's popular with kids and tastes good cold.
- 4-5 lb whole chicken
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
Preheat the oven to 500.
Mix the spices together and rub them all over the outside of the chicken.
Stuff the cavity with the garlic.
Put the chicken breast side down on a rack and roast for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 450 and roast for another 15 minutes.
Turn chicken breast side up, baste with pan drippings, reduce heat to 425, and continue cooking for another thirty minutes or until temperature reads 180.
Let chicken stand 20 minutes before carving. Also can be refrigerated and carved later, to be eaten cold.
Chinese pork roast
Marinate the meat overnight, and leave six hours for cooking. Serve over rice
- 10 lbs pork
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 3/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup sweet red wine
- 1 Tbsp Chinese five spice
Mix the marinade ingredients together and marinate the meat overnight.
Drain the marinade and put the meat on a pan with a lip. Cook at 300 for five hours. Cover with tinfoil if the meat is cooking too quickly.
After five hours of cooking, pour the reserved marinade over the meat. Every ten minutes for an additional hour, baste the meat.
Let the roast rest for ten minutes before carving.