Every Lent, I try to work out how to write an entire post about food on Fridays without being a complete monster. I futzed around with some html code for a while, trying to get the food pictures to be blurred out with a button that says “remove custody of the eyes” that you can click to see the food, but it stopped being funny long before I figured it out. So here’s some food, you suffering bastards.
Turkey bacon wraps, mozzarella sticks and jalapeño poppers
This was popular last week, so I made it again, even though I know this is a tactical error. It could be the most fabulous dish in the world, but if you make it too often, it becomes loathed. Still in the grace period, though.
I had mine on a multigrain wrap with smoked turkey, bacon, spinach, tomatoes, lacy Swiss, and horseradish sauce. Lots of good sharp flavors. But I have not yet figured out how to arrange the fillings for a wrap in such a way that they are both photogenic and in the right order for wrapping and eating.
I also bought some miscellaneous frozen snacky things and heated them up. I have to say, Aldi’s bacon has improved immensely in flavor, but their version of jalapeño poppers is nothing to write home about. The texture is bad and it just tastes harsh and slimy. No bueno.
Linguine with clam sauce, homemade bread, salad that nobody touched
I made Pioneer Woman’s recipe. It sure is easy, and it’s pretty cheap for a fancy-tasting meal, even if you use fresh lemons and parsley and heavy cream (which you should). Specially yummy with freshly-grated parmesan cheese, which Fishers can have for a treat.
With some trepidation, I made French bread, hoping against hope that my initial success with this recipe wasn’t just a fluke. It wasn’t! The bread turned out lovely. I made up a recipe card for four loaves, with a few adaptations and reassurances.Jump to Recipe
I didn’t score one loaf deeply enough, though, and the poor thing sploded.
My father came over, bearing a used glockenspiel. Yes, he asked first, and yes, I said he should bring it over, and that we wanted it. We do! We’re just … taking a little glockenpause for a few days now.
Oh, I had my heart set on making mango royale for dessert, but my little plebes requested ice cream pie, instead.
We made it with graham cracker crusts, two kinds of ice cream, chocolate and strawberry and butterscotch sauce, Frozen II marshmallows, and of course blobs of store brand kool whip. It was, of course, delicious.
Beef vegetable soup; hot pretzels
I thought the kids were still bananas about beef barley soup, but I got a wilting, “oh, okay” response when I told them I was making it, so I switched plans mid-shopping and decided to make minestrone, but with beef. So it had onions, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, wine, pasta shells, beef, and mushrooms. The result was hearty, but a little incoherent, and the broth was thinner than I would like.
Next time I’ll add some tomato paste and probably skip the mushrooms, and add peas. I wrote up a recipe card incorporating the changes I’ll make next time.Jump to Recipe
I sold it by calling it “Little Bear Birthday Soup.”
This is the exact look I had on my face while I was serving it, too.
It went over okay. There was leftover bread and also hot pretzels.
Mardi Gras, and Corrie’s birthday!
We killed two birds with one stone and went to Chili’s. The original plan was to go to one of those Japanese restaurants where they put on a little show and cook things right on the table in front of you, but when I asked one of the kids if she wanted to go there, she said she wasn’t sure, because she doesn’t really like Italian food. So we went to Chili’s.
The birthday girl ordered nothing but side dishes: Fries, steamed broccoli, mandarin oranges, and corn.
We had a nice time! My kids may be goons, but they care about each other.
And then sometimes spontaneously tell the entire plot of Gawain and the Green Knight while waiting for the food.
Then we came home and had some cake. Corrie had requested an Otis (from Milo and Otis) cake with a pink bow.
I made the bow and tongue by putting Starbursts in the microwave for a few seconds, mooshing them into shape, adding details with a knife, and freezing them. I’ve been meaning and meaning to try my hand at fondant, but honestly, this seems just as good (as long as you can find the right colors), and it has to taste better.
She was pleased with my efforts.
She was pleased, pleased, pleased all day long.
She finally unwrapped the giant dinosaur we bought when it was on sale in December and have been hiding in our bedroom since then. We have a pretty small bedroom, and it also has a treadmill, a sewing machine, a folding desk, a heater, and miscellaneous heaps of garbage in it, so the oversized dinosaur was something of a trial for us all. I had to keep covering and re-covering it with a blanket, and it kept poking out. It got the point where Corrie would come in, see a piece of tail or snout sticking out, and go, “oops!” and cover it with a blanket herself, so it wouldn’t ruin the surprise. However, five-year-olds are magical and unpredictable creatures, and she was delighted with her surprise dinosaur, and promptly named it “Tall-y Tall.”
The rule is that very intelligent, imaginative kids come up with profoundly dull names for their toys and pets. This is the way. (She also has a smaller dino named “Dino-dino.”)
Her other big present was a Super Corrie outfit she’s been longing for. I was up until 2 a.m., and there was a lot of this kind of thing
but I finished it, by gum! And she loves it. Her powers are Rainbow Powers and Flying (and, if you hit her in the right mood, really fast cleaning).
(I hemmed it later in the day. I just needed to measure it first! The cape has a panel of sparkly blue down the back.)
Oh, here’s what I had at Chili’s. One of those miscellaneous American Buckets Of Shiny Food. It was good.
Ayyyy, Fat Tuesday.
Grilled cheese and cream of tomato soup
Ash Wednesday, of course. Grilled cheese and tomato soup from a can never tasted so good.
Hamburgers with mushrooms, chips, veggies and hummus
Nothing much to report. I had a carton of mushrooms left over from the soup, so I sliced them up and sautéed them in olive oil for the burgers.
I, virtuous, skipped the chips.
Pahster, I guess.
We have been on vacation this week, but my car has been in the shop, lying back and having money poured into it, so we didn’t go anywhere or do anything, and anyway, the first week of Lent is always a tricky time to go vacationing. It was okay, though! The kids just lurked about harassing each other and throwing popcorn and orange peels on the floor, and it was kind of nice. I like those kids. I wish they would eat my soup, though.
Makes four long loaves. You can make the dough in one batch in a standard-sized standing mixer bowl if you are careful!
I have a hard time getting the water temperature right for yeast. One thing to know is if your water is too cool, the yeast will proof eventually; it will just take longer. So if you're nervous, err on the side of coolness.
- 4-1/2 cups warm water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 4-1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
- 10-12 cups flour
- butter for greasing the pan (can also use parchment paper) and for running over the hot bread (optional)
- corn meal for sprinkling on pan (optional)
In the bowl of a standing mixer, put the warm water, and mix in the sugar and yeast until dissolved. Let stand at least five minutes until it foams a bit. If the water is too cool, it's okay; it will just take longer.
Fit on the dough hook and add the salt, oil, and six of the cups of flour. Add the flour gradually, so it doesn't spurt all over the place. Mix and low and then medium speed. Gradually add more flour, one cup at a time, until the dough is smooth and comes away from the side of the bowl as you mix. It should be tender but not sticky.
Lightly grease a bowl and put the dough ball in it. Cover with a damp towel or lightly cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about an hour, until it's about double in size.
Flour a working surface. Divide the dough into four balls. Taking one at a time, roll, pat, and/or stretch it out until it's a rough rectangle about 9x13" (a little bigger than a piece of looseleaf paper).
Roll the long side of the dough up into a long cylinder and pinch the seam shut, and pinch the ends, so it stays rolled up. It doesn't have to be super tight, but you don't want a ton of air trapped in it.
Butter some large pans. Sprinkle them with cornmeal if you like. You can also line them with parchment paper. Lay the loaves on the pans.
Cover them with damp cloths or plastic wrap again and set to rise in a warm place again, until they come close to double in size. Preheat the oven to 375.
Give each loaf several deep, diagonal slashes with a sharp knife. This will allow the loaves to rise without exploding. Put the pans in the oven and throw some ice cubes in the bottom of the oven, or spray some water in with a mister, and close the oven quickly, to give the bread a nice crust.
Bake 25 minutes or more until the crust is golden. One pan may need to bake a few minutes longer.
Run some butter over the crust of the hot bread if you like, to make it shiny and even yummier.
Instant Pot Everything Soup
- olive oil
- 1 med onion, diced
- 3 carrots diced
- 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 small cans tomato paste
- 2.5 lbs chuck roast
- 1.5 cups red wine
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 med potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
Put the onions, carrots, and olive oil in the pot and press "sauté" and then the "+" button until it reads 10 minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly soft Add pepper to taste.
Add beef and press "sauté" again, stirring occasionally until beef is slightly browned.
Add the rest of the ingredients, including 3 cups of water. Stir to combine the tomato paste. Close the top, seal the vent, and press "soup."
Quick release, but be ready for a bit of spraying!