I lied. I lied for the sake of a title. It only pleased about half the group. But it was a wonderful soup! Read on.
Domino’s pizza, birthday cake
Saturday was Benny’s birthday party, finally. She asked for a Gravity Falls-themed party, but she is old enough that her friends basically entertained each other, so I just did decorations and a cake and then let them go. So, just a bunch of red, yellow, and gold balloons, and a Bill Cipher zodiac tablecloth
plus a levitating, rather wrinkly Bill Cipher, who was still dripping glue when the guests came
and then outside, I set up a nice propane fire with a hot chocolate station and a s’mores station.
and that was that. Nobody’s been happy about the so-far-almost-snowless winer, but it does make it easier to throw a party!
The cake was well-received.
Just a chocolate box mix cake with frosting from a tub, decorated with details made of gum paste and colored with edible gold spray.
Gum paste stiffens when it’s exposed to air, much more so than fondant, and you can roll it very thin, so it’s a good choice for small or flat decorations. Some day, I’m gonna make gum paste roses. If my kids ever stop asking for weird cakes (challenge: impossible).
Then Damien picked up Domino’s pizzas and the guests jumped on the trampoline in the dark and screamed a lot, and it was a good party! I ran out to clean everything up off the patio afterward, because I knew there was a storm coming, and I managed to knock a glass bowl full of mini marshmallows onto the bricks. Smash! Marshmallows! Candy canes! Shards of glass in the darkness! Really wished I had made friends with the ants and the sparrows, but you always think of these things too late. Did not go to the ball. Instead dozed off on the couch while drinking seltzer and watching NYPD Blue, which was just as good.
Corn dogs, chips
Sunday it snowed alllll day, and it had been snowing all night, so we were prepared. Damien went to the vigil Mass on Saturday and then got up early to clear the driveway, and the rest of us went to the late Mass on Sunday, which was Epiphany. We were prepared for the strident guitars and the off-pitch, hairy-sounding violin and the whitest tambourine in the western hemisphere. We were not prepared for A RETELLING OF THE ENTIRE CHRISTMAS STORY SET TO LEONARD COHEN’S HALLELUJAH.
Epiphany indeed. Usually I sternly tell my kids not to criticize the Mass because it’s the Mass, but I am not made of stone. I did shut it down when they started proposing new liturgically-appropriate lyrics for “Blood On the Tracks.”
Anyway, we had corn dogs.
But you don’t really care for mustard, do ya?
Bacon cheeseburgers, Doritos
I still hadn’t gone shopping, because of the snow and I am a delicate flower, so Damien shopped for and made bacon cheeseburgers.
And very good they were, bacon cheeseburgers.
Oven roasted pork ribs, mashed potatoes, peas
I planned a simple make-ahead meal for Tuesday, because three kids had dentist appointments. One got sick the night before, so we cancelled her appointment, one got sick that morning, so we cancelled hers and then then dentist said they didn’t super duper want to get in the mouth of the remaining kid with two sick siblings. Fair. It was still nice to have an easy meal. I made the mashed potatoes in the morning and then put them in the slow cooker to stay warm, and made the pork ribs heavily salted and peppered and roasted until sizzling under the broiler.
I had mine with mango chutney, yum yum.
Oven fried chicken, chips, veg and dip
Wings were 1.99 a pound, so I got a bunch of wings and drumsticks and made oven fried chicken. Finally got around to making a card for this recipe, which is so easy and honestly comes out better than when I try to pan fry chicken.Jump to Recipe
I know this because I ran out of room in the sheet pan in the oven, and I didn’t want to make a second pan dirty, so instead I pan fried a few pieces (because it’s okay to make a second pan dirty as long as it’s on the stove? I don’t know) and I burnt the hell out of them, like I always do.
The oven ones turned out perfect, though.
This is a terrible picture. I’m just including it to show that it actually was just cooked in the oven, easily peasily. The chicken was actually amazing, and SO gratifying because I knew how hands-off it was.
Yes, I served chips for the third time this week. And also vegetables! With dip.
But do try oven fried chicken. It makes everybody happy, and you don’t end up with grease spattered everywhere.
Persian chicken and barley soup, pita
Thursday I knew dinner time was going to be crazy, because the kids had to be at the gallery to set up their life-sized Barbie house at 5 PM, and then the show actually opened at 6, so it was a great reason to try this soup I’ve had my eye on: Persian chicken barley soup. I followed the recipe exactly as written, except that it called for two chicken breasts and I was doubling it, and I only used about 2/3 of the chicken, and it was still the most chickenful soup I’ve ever encountered. I’m just saying, the chickens who contributed these breasts were on track to dominate at Sharky’s wet t-shirt contest at Hampton. So I ended up throwing a bag of shredded chicken in the freezer, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it again.
I also lost my phone and didn’t take any process photos, but it was an enjoyable soup to make. You fry up onions and then add garlic and shredded carrots (holding some back to add in later). I didn’t soak the barley, as suggested, because I knew I’d be simmering the soup all day.
Oh, I also turned out not to have any celery. You know, I don’t think I really followed the recipe all that closely. But usually when I make a soup, I just saute some stuff and then dump everything else in and just walk away, and this was a tiny bit more involved than that! Anyway I did pull some of the soup out and whir it up in the food processor and then add it back in, as suggested. I stirred in Greek yogurt, and used fresh cilantro and freshly-squeezed lemon juice.
I moved it to the Instant Pot and used the “keep warm” feature, and it thickened up even more, as I expected, with all that barley.
I threw some more cilantro on top, ground some pepper over it and squeezed on a little more lemon juice when I served up a bowl, and I put out some store-bought pita and rolls.
Heavens to betsy. What a charming soup. It’s just as nourishing and comforting as any chicken soup ought to be, but it had just the merest thread of complexity because of the cilantro and lemon. It was thick but not gluey or pasty or even heavy. Just . . . nice. A nice soup, through and through. Will absolutely make again. The recipe makes a lot, too.
Speaking of a lot, here are the girls in front of the Barbie house!
You can see some more pics of the interior here:
This was for their 3D art class, and the assignment was to make something using materials you find lying around. They acknowledged that the original task kind of got lost in the pink fever dream, but it was extremely impressive. So much work, and very nicely designed.
Oh, but speaking of soup, I meant to remind you that you can use your standing mixer (or a hand-held mixer, I suppose!) to quickly and evenly shred cooked chicken. For some reason I hate shredding meat, even when it’s nicely cooked and comes apart easily. The standing mixer takes care of it in a very short time. Hallelujah.
I recalled when we made sushi a few weeks ago that ahi tuna is actually not prohibitively expensive, at least not in a world where everything is prohibitively expensive. And when everything is prohibitive, nothing is prohibited. So I bought a bunch of frozen ahi tuna from Walmart, and today we’re having poke bowls, which is just diced raw fish along with whatever you want, as far as I can tell.
I am, in fact, still in bed (I basically work from bed in the winter, so sue me) and haven’t even taken the fish out of the freezer yet, but this is a super easy meal to throw together. Look!
I got some mangos that should be ripe by now, and we still have some nice short-grain rice left over from New Year’s Even, and I bought a pouch of those yummy chili lime cashews from Aldi, plus pea shoots and sugar snap peas, and people can just add whatever they want from the various bottles and jars of red and yellow and brown sauces rolling around in the fridge.
I think I also got some frozen shrimp, so I’ll probably just sauté that up in sesame oil or chili oil with a little salt and lime juice.
And even if it all goes wrongI’ll stand right here like a big ding dong With nothing, nothing on my tongue but What’s for supper?
What’s for supper? What’s for supper?
What’s for supper?
What’s for suuuuuuu
Leonard Cohen is a novelty act, there I said it.
so much easier than pan frying, and you still get that crisp skin and juicy meat
- chicken parts (wings, drumsticks, thighs)
- milk (enough to cover the chicken at least halfway up)
- eggs (two eggs per cup of milk)
- your choice of seasonings (I usually use salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and chili powder)
- oil and butter for cooking
At least three hours before you start to cook, make an egg and milk mixture and salt it heavily, using two eggs per cup of milk, so there's enough to soak the chicken at least halfway up. Beat the eggs, add the milk, stir in salt, and let the chicken soak in this. This helps to make the chicken moist and tender.
About 40 minutes before dinner, turn the oven to 425, and put a pan with sides into the oven. I use a 15"x21" sheet pan and I put about a cup of oil and one or two sticks of butter. Let the pan and the butter and oil heat up.
While it is heating up, put a lot of flour in a bowl and add all your seasonings. Use more than you think is reasonable! Take the chicken parts out of the milk mixture and roll them around in the flour until they are coated on all sides.
Lay the floured chicken in the hot pan, skin side down. Let it cook for 25 minutes.
Flip the chicken over and cook for another 20 minutes.
Check for doneness and serve immediately. It's also great cold.