What a week! Summer is officially underway, emitting showers of sparks as it comes. If I finally figured things out, this post contains two videos.
Here’s what we had this week:
Grilled ham and cheese on sourdough
Saturday was twelve years ago. Let’s see if I took a picture of my sandwich.
Sometimes you takes the trouble to plates your dinner, sometimes you don’ts.
Chicken shawarma with vegetables, pita, and yogurt sauce; frozen grapes
It’s been too long since we shawarma’d. I marinated the meat in the morning and cooked it under the broiler, since it was too rainy to grill outside. We had the meat and onions with black and kalamata olives, feta, parsley, pita and yogurt sauce, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Frozen grapes are a splendid way to clear your head when you’re feeling hot and grumpy. Just remember to dry them off before you freeze them, or they will get a little jacket of ice.
I also feel like there was some vegetable involved, but I can’t prove it. What I did do was add my little portion to the worldwide onslaught of senseless food videos.
The occasion was that we have new knives like rich people, but I suffered a relapse and bought a meat chub like a poor. See, Damien and I discussed how we are now so wealthy, we no longer have to buy ground beef in opaque plastic printed with a photo of the meat allegedly inside, but can now treat ourselves to meat you can see! But on the other hand, this meat chub was so cheap. So I tried to make the best of it.Watch the video if only to hear Damien yelp as I severed the chub.
Chicken nuggets, cheezy weezies, snap peas
We were supposed to have this meal on Wednesday, so we could do party shopping and cleaning, then have a quickie meal, and then run off to see the city fireworks. But I spent so long prepping Tuesday’s meal, I ran out of time to cook it. So we had the nuggets. I amused myself by plating it nicely.
I AM AMUSING.
Sesame lime chicken, cucumber salad, cherries
This chicken was a NYT recipe I simplified and messed up a little. It was tasty. Not quite as razzle dazzle as I expected, what with the lime zest, fresh ginger, and fish sauce
but a pleasant, robust flavor. I’ll put a recipe card of my version at the end.
What made the meal was a lovely cucumber salad (recipe at the end), which I’ll be making more often throughout the summer. I really enjoyed the cool, vinegary cucumbers together with the warming honey and hot pepper. A great match for the lime and fish sauce in the chicken.
And the cherries, first of the season, were rewardingly luscious.
If you look closely, you can see that Corrie had put a bowl of blue Jell-o on top of her head, and then, upon hearing that I would be needing to wash her hair, she crushed a bunch of soap into her scalp to wash up. That girl tries.
July 4th cookout!
Honestly, this is the best day of the year. As many cousins as possible come, and we have three times as much food as we need.
Here’s the leftover meat, after we all ate until we went insane:
I daringly ate my burger with pepper jack cheese, and jalapeños instead of pickles.
It’s not a barbecue, though. I have finally learned that you can’t call it a barbecue unless you spend 172 hours smoking a brisket made of an entire herd of long-horned steer. If you call anything else a BBQ, the ghost of Sam Houston will appear and strangle you with a bolo tie. Me so sorry, me just dumb New Englander who not understand what meat is! All we had was hamburgers, hot dogs, beer brats, sugar rub chicken thighs, and mahogany clams, and it was just a cookout. We also had potato salad (recipe card at the end), an avalanche of chips, watermelon, all sorts of beverages and all sorts of desserts, and Clara made so many chocolate chip cookies that, if you stacked them all up on top of each other, they’d be enough for all the cousins. All the cousins, I say!
The potato salad turned out well. People who don’t usually eat it ate it (recipe card at the end).
As many people reassured me, the kids absolutely did not care that my patriotic layered Jell-o cups didn’t turn out like the picture on the internet. I also made frozen pudding and cream cups, and we had about a bushel of corn on the cob we completely forgot to roast, and ice cream we forgot to eat, and marshmallows we forgot to toast and another watermelon that I don’t even know what happened to it.
And the table top I classily made out of cardboard didn’t even collapse.
I ate a ludicrous number of steamed clams drenched in butter, onions, white wine, and lemon juice, and then wallowed around in Dark and Stormies for a while (dark rum, ginger beer, ice, and fresh lime).
And it was perfect. A wading stream and a trampoline, sparklers and glow sticks, American flags and twinkling lights, guitars, hammocks, salamanders and bug spray, fireflies, tiki torches, cheap beer, and fireworks, and my beloved family. Everyone should be so lucky.
Here’s the whole gang:
Leftovers, I do believe.
Okay, gotta go drive people around for a bit, and I will come back with the recipe cards this afternoon!
- 8 lbs boned, skinned chicken thighs
- 4-5 red onions
- 1.5 cups lemon juice
- 2 cups olive oil
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbs, 2 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbs, 2 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 entire head garlic, crushed
Mix marinade ingredients together, then add sliced or quartered onions and chicken. Put in ziplock bag and let marinate several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Grease a shallow pan. Take the chicken and onions out of the marinade and spread it in a single layer on the pan. Cook for 45 minutes or more.
Chop up the chicken a bit, if you like, and finish cooking it so it crisps up a bit more.
Serve chicken and onions with pita bread triangles, cucumbers, tomatoes, assorted olives, feta cheese, fresh parsley, pomegranates or grapes, fried eggplant, and yogurt sauce.
- 32 oz full fat Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- fresh parsley or dill, chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. Use for spreading on grilled meats, dipping pita or vegetables, etc.
sesame lime chicken
Adapted from a NYT recipe. Serve with cucumber salad for a wonderful summer meal, with rice.
- 16 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 8 breasts pounded thin)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 6 inches fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 12 garlic cloves crushed
- 8 limes zested and juiced (you need both)
- 1/4 cup peanut or sesame oil
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- diced chiles (optional)
Mix all sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken. Let marinate at least four hours.
Remove from marinade. Grill over coals or broil in oven, turning once.
Serve with cilantro garnish and chiles, if desired.
spicy cucumber salad
A spicy, zippy side dish that you can make very quickly.
- 3-4 cucumbers, sliced thin (peeling not necessary)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
- 1+ tsp honey
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
red pepper, diced
- 1/2 red onion diced
Mix all ingredients together. Serve immediately, or chill to serve later (but the longer you leave it, the softer the cukes will get)
- 3-4 lbs potatoes, scrubbed (peeled if you like)
- 3 ribs celery, stringed and chopped
- 1 med red onion, diced
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/8 cup vinegar
- salt and pepper
Put potatoes and the three eggs in pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, cover loosely, and simmer until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork (15 minutes or so)
Drain the potatoes. Fish out the eggs, peel, and chop them.
When they are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-sized pieces and mix them up with the olive oil.
Add the chopped eggs, celery, onion, and parsley.
Mix together the dressing ingredients and add to potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate and serve cold.
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.
Grilled clams or mussels in wine sauce
- 1 white or red onion
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- live clams or mussels
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups white wine
- 2 sticks butter
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
Prepare sauce: Coarsely chop the onion and sautee it in the olive oil with the red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper.
Add two sticks of butter and let them melt. Add the wine and lemon juice.
Light the fire and let it burn to coals. While it's burning down, sort and clean the shellfish, discarding any damaged or dead ones. (If they're open, tap them. If they don't close, they're dead. If they're closed, they're fine.)
Lay shellfish on grill until they pop open. The hotter the fire, the shorter the time it will take - five minutes or more.
Add shellfish to sauce and stir to mix.