Every year, I tell the kids how strict the orthodox are in Lent, compared to us. No meat, no fish, no dairy, no cheese, no eggs, no oil on Fridays and most but not all Wednesdays, no brown or yellow or oblong grains, no oily fishies, and very few whiskered or blue-eyed mammals on the final week, which is known as Full On Horrendoustide. You can eat wax. I researched this rigorously and I don’t want to hear about it. The upshot is we westerners have it very easy, with our little meatless Fridays, and I also don’t want to hear about that. So every year I give my little speech, and then I go ahead and cook like I always do throughout Lent, except I feel bad about it. I try to avoid lobster, even if it’s on sale, which it is not.
So here’s what we ate this week:
I don’t know. Oh, Saturday was Corrie’s birthday, so we had calzones. I feel like I already wrote about this. I’m confused. Here is a picture on my phone that says “Saturday” on it:
My little cupcake. Now she is seven.
Beef stroganoff on skinny egg noodles
But her birthday was a different day from her party. Was the party Sunday, then? I’m so confused! I think the party was Saturday, but I did the food post on Monday, so I included Saturday’s food? Anyway, Damien cooked on Sunday. He used a Deadspin recipe for stroganoff and it came out fragrant and luxuriously creamy with very tender strips of beef.
But he forgot-a the mushrooms! These things happen. Still delicious. There was some kind of run on regular noodles and there were none to be found, so we had fancy skinny noodles. Don’t tell the ecumenical patriarch. (Actually it wasn’t even Lent yet by this point.)
Tacos al pastor with pico de gallo
I’ve tried a few different recipes for tacos al pastor, and I like this one the best. It takes a bit of work on the front end (you have to blister up the guajillo chilis, then de-seed them, then simmer them
before adding them to the marinade, which itself has quite a few ingredients, especially if you have to make a substitute for achiote paste, which I did).
I complain, but I will admit, I adore spending a morning making a marinade. If I have nothing else to do and there aren’t a lot of people climbing over me making mountains of toast and complaining about the kind of popcorn I got, it’s so pleasant, simply messing around in the kitchen.
I also made a big bowl of pico de gallo, although I forgot to buy any peppers, so it was just tomatoes, onions, lime juice, kosher salt, and cilantro. Actual recipe:Jump to Recipe
Here’s how pico de gallo should look, if you’re not lazy:
I, however, got lazy and did it in the food processor, so it was a little pulpier than necessary, but still sharp and tasty.
We got a big dump of snow, so we’re still cooking exclusively indoors. When it was time to cook, I got a big skillet nice and hot with oil and cooked the marinated meat in batches, to make sure it got a little bit seared, rather than basically simmering due to being squished.
The pineapple juice in the marinade made it so tender.
While I was cooking the meat, I broiled the chunks of pineapple on an oiled pan right up under the broiler, and heated up a stack of tortillas. My land, it was all so tasty. I can never get over what wonderful things happen to pineapple with a little high heat, the hot nectary insides right under the delicate trim of char. Amazing.
The marinade is not too spicy, just kind of smoky and warming. It was a popular dish altogether, and so pretty.
Tacos al pastor is one of my favorite Mexican dishes (and it apparently has a Lebanese shawarma influence, so that’s no surprise).
I wanted some lime cilantro rice to go with it, but we were low on rice. It was really a fully satisfying meal on its own, though, with some sour cream and cilantro thrown on top of the meat and pineapple and pico de gallo.
Your choice of corn chips or lime plantain chips on the side. Good stuff.
Fat Tuesday! We’re terrible at Mardi Gras. Nobody around here is doing anything remotely debauched, and nobody in this house would be excited about pancakes, so we went out to eat. Appetizers and everything! Corrie only went under the table one time. I got a bunch of photos of the teenagers looking away with an annoyed expression, so I’ll spare you those.
I decided to go ahead and have a steak, which turned out to be so huge, I could only eat half (I had the second half for lunch on Thursday). And a very fat Tuesday was had by all.
Marcella Hazan’s red sauce on spaghetti
It was suggested to the cook that, because it was Ash Wednesday, we could just go ahead and open a jar of Aldi spaghetti sauce, but it was counter- suggested that just because it’s a penitential day doesn’t mean we have to eat dirt. So in the interest of family harmony, we had Marcella Hazan’s miraculous three-ingredient sauce, and it was, of course, wonderfully savory and delicious.Jump to Recipe
I would say the penance came in when I could only have one helping, but actually I went back for another little scoop because nobody stopped me.
Grilled ham and cheese, Pringles
Nothing to report. Fell asleep sitting up on the couch, and then Corrie came down after bedtime, sobbing because there are three kinds of matter and they all take up space, but what about the ones that donnnnnn’t? People think they want smart kids, but this is a mistake.
Fish burgers, french fries, broccoli slaw
I just got some frozen breaded fish and and some fresh dill, and I guess we’ll have fish burgers with some kind of homemade tartar sauce, assuming I can stay awake. I don’t seem to have a broccoli slaw recipe saved, but I like it with all kinds of stupid things in it, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries and all kinds of bird food that nobody else wants. I’m sure they’ll all be gracious about it, and so will I, I’m sure. And a blessed Horrendoustide to you.
Pico De Gallo
quick and easy fresh dip or topping for tacos, etc.
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced OR 1/2 serrano pepper
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/8 cup lime juice
- dash kosher salt
Mix ingredients together and serve with your favorite Mexican food
Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce
We made a quadruple recipe of this for twelve people.
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes, broken up
- 1 onion peeled and cut in half
- salt to taste
- 5 Tbsp butter
Put all ingredients in a heavy pot.
Simmer at least 90 minutes.
Take out the onions.
I'm freaking serious, that's it!