Rather pretty photos this week! I love being able to eat dinner while the sun is up, but a close second is being able to take food photos while the sun is up.
Here’s what we cooked this week:
Italian sandwiches, fries
Wow, Saturday seems like a long time ago. I think we had various salamis, capicola, prosciutto (Aldi prosciutto. We’re not millionaires) and provolone, with some red pesto. Looks like I was too hungry to take a photo.
Ina Garten’s roast chicken and vegetables
The chicken is stuffed with lemon halves, entire heads of garlic, and sprigs of thyme,
and then you have beautiful heaps of roasted, caramelized carrots, onions, and fennel. Damien also added ten sliced potatoes.
Very moist and scrumptious. I just sat there eating fennel and carrots like a complete vegetable goblin.
Chicken burgers, chips, crispy shredded Brussels sprouts
Shredded Brussels sprouts is a new-to-us thing. I preheated the oven to 425, cut the stems off two pounds of Brussels sprouts, and sliced them thinly with the food processor, then spread them in a thin layer on two large parchment paper-covered pans with olive oil, honey, salt, and lots of red pepper flakes, and chopped walnuts.
Then I forgot about them and parts of them burned a little, so I switched pans and stirred them up a bit and cooked them a bit more, and they turned out . . . pretty good.
I was hoping for something a little more crunchy, and this didn’t quite get there, but reminded me a little bit of coleslaw. Probably if I had spread it out more thinly, they would have gotten more crisp. Damien thought it was great as it was, and I did like the flavor a lot. Nice to have something new for a side dish, and I can imagine tons of variations in what you add to the Brussels sprouts. It’s also a great way to stretch a small amount of vegetables. I can imagine adding in carrots.
Mexican beef bowls
Kind of an inelegant photo, but a very tasty meal.
One kid said, “Wow, I never tried this food before. I just assumed it was gross. But it’s delicious!” What do you know about that. Wait till you find out I was right about everything else, too.
There wasn’t a ton of meat, so I wanted to make sure there were plenty of other good toppings. Namely, yummy beans. I made them in the instant pot, and I thought they were quite toothsome.Jump to Recipe
I also sautéed up a bunch of sweet pepper and put out sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, scallions, and skillet roasted (skillet roasted? Is that a thing) corn with Taijin seasoning, some corn chips, and a big pot of white rice. I forgot to put out the lime. wedges. The star of this meal is the wonderful gravy from the meat, and the star of the gravy is Worcestershire sauce, which I love even more now that I know it has tamarind in it.
Very rich and piquant meal.Jump to Recipe
Cumin chicken with chickpeas, onion salad, homemade pita
Last time I made pita bread, I complained about what a huge amount of work it was. I think that was mostly due to the newness of the recipe (I have massive baking anxiety, and every step feels monumental), and the fact that I quadrupled it. I gathered up my courage and tried this recipe again, and it was actually very simple. You just stir up the dough and knead it well, let it rise once,
divide it, roll the pieces into rounds,
and slap them in a hot oven for threeish minutes, and hope they puff.
It takes a long time if you are making 32 of them and can only fit three on a pan, but there are far less pleasant ways to spend a morning than rolling and baking 32 pieces of pita bread.
I did try pan frying one, and it turned out so flat and rubbery, I went back to the oven method, which was working well enough. While I was complaining about it, I apparently triggered a smart speaker command, so the next three-minute alarm that went off wasn’t just a chime; it was a perky woman’s voice saying “Three minutes the last one fried in the pan turned out really rubbery!” NOBODY ASKED YOU, PERKY KITCHEN ROBOT.
Anyway, everybody liked the pita. Next time I will bake them right before supper, because they are divine when they are piping hot; but even several hours old, they were still nice. (The same child who was amazed the Mexican beef wasn’t disgusting complimented me on the pita, saying he loved how tough and chewy it was. I did not murder said child, because soon enough he will be eating his own cooking, and then we’ll all see what’s tough.)
The whole meal was so good.
The cumin chicken is super easy. You stir up a simple yogurt marinade for the chicken in the morning (I used thighs and drumsticks), and then about an hour before dinner, spread some seasoned chickpeas in a pan, nestle your chicken in it, maybe throw some onions on top, and shove it in the oven.
The skin on this chicken is so great. The meat turns out really tender, but the best part is the skin, and it takes zero skill.Jump to Recipe
Also, Clara was juicing lemons for some reason, so she had some freshly-squeezed juice to spare for the onion salad, and wow, I forgot what a difference it makes over bottled.
It’s just red onions, lemon juice, chopped cilantro, and some salt and pepper, but it’s so bright and fresh, it’s really wonderful with the earthy flavors of the cumin in the chickpeas and chicken.
Make a nice bowl of garlicky yogurt sauce,Jump to Recipe
and it’s a perfectly balanced plate of flavors. Cool, bright, sharp, earthy, and then the sour-floury pita brings it all together.
Damien heroically took the three middle girls into Boston on the evening of St. Patrick’s day to see Conan Gray. They ate at one of Guy Fieri’s restaurant because if there’s one thing those kids can do, it’s commit to the bit.
We at home continued our tradition of acknowledging we don’t really like corned beef, and we had what may or may not be an authentic Irish breakfast instead. The Irish sausage wasn’t too popular last year, so we skipped that and had bacon, thick sourdough toast, roast potatoes, fried mushrooms, baked beans, roasted tomatoes, and eggs fried in bacon grease.
This meal gave the kids the impression that the Irish eat very well indeed. Oops.
I had some trouble getting so many different things hot at the same time, so I fudged it a bit, and the mushrooms (mushrooms, parsley, salt, bacon fat) started out well
but got a bit overcooked, and then I decided to broil the tomatoes in the oven
and long before they got any kind of char, they really collapsed. I don’t know if there’s another method of cooking sliced tomatoes so they don’t fall apart, or if that’s just how it be. They were good, just surprisingly fragile, kind of like the Ir–I’m sorry, somebody was shouting and I lost track of what I was saying.
I’ll let this hero round out the day for us all.
Happy Paddy’s day to him and only him 🍀 pic.twitter.com/CvgsINw5pV
— BrownSauce (@Brown_Sauceee) March 16, 2022
Vietnamese garlic noodles
Gonna try this simple recipe from the NYT, which says it’s a San Francisco dish. Butter, lots of garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, spaghetti, parmesan, and scallions. How often does the NYT run a recipe using ingredients you already have! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Garlicky, I’m guessing.
And we have St. Joseph’s day coming right up tomorrow! Although we’ll probably celebrate on Sunday, just because Saturday is always so crazy-go-nuts. Thinking of an antipasto of pickled vegetables and cheeses and cured meats,
spaghetti and meatballs (probably made by Damien),
and Clara may make zeppole, which is the traditional St. Joseph’s Day dessert, and which I mangled pretty severely when I tried.
I would like to try pannacotta with fruit (haven’t settled on a recipe yet), just so the kitchen doesn’t forget whose kitchen it is. We just finished The Great British Baking Show and a lot of Giuseppe’s recipes seemed highly desirable to me. But that is a lot of cooks in a small kitchen, so I think today we’ll plan out who makes what when.
This is also a lot of tasty food for the middle of Lent, but St. Joseph has been mucho helpful for our family and the least we can do for him is eat a lot. Just like the Irish.
Instant Pot black beans
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 16-oz cans black beans with liquid
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
Put olive oil pot of Instant Pot. Press "saute" button. Add diced onion and minced garlic. Saute, stirring, for a few minutes until onion is soft. Press "cancel."
Add beans with liquid. Add cumin, salt, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Close the lid, close the vent, and press "slow cook."
Beef marinade for fajita bowls
enough for 6-7 lbs of beef
- 1 cup lime juice
- 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 head garlic, crushed
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Mix all ingredients together.
Pour over beef, sliced or unsliced, and marinate several hours. If the meat is sliced, pan fry. If not, cook in a 350 oven, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. I cook the meat in all the marinade and then use the excess as gravy.
- 32 oz full fat Greek yogurt
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 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.
Cumin chicken thighs with chickpeas in yogurt sauce
A one-pan dish, but you won't want to skip the sides. Make with red onions and cilantro in lemon juice, pita bread and yogurt sauce, and pomegranates, grapes, or maybe fried eggplant.
- 18 chicken thighs
- 32 oz full fat yogurt, preferably Greek
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp cumin, divided
- 4-6 cans chickpeas
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 red onions, sliced thinly
- 2 red onions sliced thinly
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- a bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 32 oz Greek yogurt for dipping sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
Make the marinade early in the day or the night before. Mix full fat Greek yogurt and with lemon juice, four tablespoons of water, and two tablespoons of cumin, and mix this marinade up with chicken parts, thighs or wings. Marinate several hours.
About an hour before dinner, preheat the oven to 425.
Drain and rinse four or five 15-oz cans of chickpeas and mix them up with a few glugs of olive oil, the remaining tablespoon of cumin, salt and pepper, and two large red onions sliced thin.
Spread the seasoned chickpeas in a single layer on two large sheet pans, then make room among the chickpeas for the marinated chicken (shake or scrape the extra marinade off the chicken if it’s too gloppy). Then it goes in the oven for almost an hour. That’s it for the main part.
The chickpeas and the onions may start to blacken a bit, and this is a-ok. You want the chickpeas to be crunchy, and the skin of the chicken to be a deep golden brown, and crisp. The top pan was done first, and then I moved the other one up to finish browning as we started to eat. Sometimes when I make this, I put the chickpeas back in the oven after we start eating, so some of them get crunchy and nutty all the way through.
While the chicken is cooking, you prepare your three garnishes:
-Chop up some cilantro for sprinkling if people like.
-Slice another two red onions nice and thin, and mix them in a dish with a few glugs of lemon juice and salt and pepper and more cilantro.
-Then take the rest of the tub of Greek yogurt and mix it up in another bowl with lemon juice, a generous amount of minced garlic, salt, and pepper.