Happy Friday! Gevalt, what a week. Today, in just a little bit, I am going to a REAL NEUROLOGIST. I am very excited. And we had a busy little week, full of candy and screaming! Here’s what we ate this week:
Tacos for kids, Indian food for adults
Saturday was the last installment in our rolling 26th anniversary celebration. Damien and I took the kayaks out on the Ashuelot River down by one of the covered bridges. We paddled upstream as far as we could until an uprooted tree blocked the way, and then we floated gently back down again among the yellow leaves.
We took a little detour into — I don’t know what you’d call it, the equivalent of a cul-de-sac for a river. It was SO QUIET in there, and the buggies were jumping around on top of the water because no one would bother them, and a giant blue heron lifted off and flapped away. By the time we got back where we started, it was getting chilly and a little dark, and it really was time to go, but we didn’t want to leave quite yet, so we paddled under the covered bridge. I howled a little bit, because of the acoustics, and then as soon as we popped out the other side, I SAW AN EAGLE. I’ve never seen one before. Absolutely unmistakable. What a wonderful trip.
We stopped off home to change out of our damp clothes, and make sure the kids tore themselves away from that new Mario whatnot to get some tacos started, and we went to Royal Spice in Troy. We got an appetizer of assorted vegetable thingies, and then Damien got lamb saag and I got lamb biryani. Very, very fine.
I also had a laugh because the waitress (who was very nice) asked us if we wanted “Naan? Nyaaaayn? Bread?” We had all three, thank you very much. Also papadum.
Grilled ham and cheese, tomato bacon bisque
Sunday the plan was grilled ham and cheese, but it was so gray and drizzly, and there was this stray pound of bacon in the fridge, so I got the idea of tomato bisque in my head, and couldn’t get it out even after I looked up the recipe and discovered I was missing, like, five ingredients.Jump to Recipe
Not that it’s a complicated recipe, but it does have more than bacon and a can of tomatoes in it. But I realized if I had to run to the store, that would be an excuse to go pick up Clara and bring her to the house for pumpkin carving. So that was nice.
And dinner was very nice indeed! Perfect for a chilly, rainy day.
I also realized it really was getting cold, and this was a trend that wasn’t likely to reverse itself soon, so if I was gonna pick some mint for the winter, then today was probably the day. So that’s what I did.
I still haven’t fixed my food processor, so I made do with the Ninja blender, and blended it up as best I could with a little olive oil. My best wasn’t very good, and I lost a little enthusiasm for the project at this point, and then squunched the kind of uneven results into an ice cube tray,
and lost at least another 20% of enthusiasm when I saw what I had done. I dunno. I just wrapped it up and chucked it in the freezer, and next time I want some mint for a marinade or something, let’s see if I remember it’s in there.
I also have these ghost peppers in my garden. I don’t know what to do with them.
Why did I grow them? I don’t know.
I spent the rest of the evening putting the next-to-last last touches on the Halloween costumes. And I remembered to take the pizza dough out of the freezer!
My pride at remembering to defrost the pizza evaporated when I realized I had forgotten that the oven was still broken. So I did what any red-blooded American would do (?): I broiled the pizzas until the top was bubbly, and then put them on the stovetop, carefully rotating them over the hot burner, in an attempt to firm up the underside of the crust.
It . . . didn’t completely not work.
Good effort, edible pizza. And anyway, we had Halloween costumes to finish.
Hot dogs, popcorn
Tuesday was, of course, Halloween, so we had our traditional quickie meal, at a table graciously decorated appropriately for the day:
and then we were off trick or treating! Here’s some photos from the evening:
A successful night, and boy am I old and tired. Got home, lit the jack-o’- lanterns just to see them lit (nobody comes to our house because we don’t have sidewalks), and put on Army of Darkness, which I slept through.
I had just snuggled in under the covers of my bed when I suddenly remembered I was planning bo ssam the next day. And that means getting the meat going the night before. SO I DID. Hero! I’m a dinner hero.
Bo ssam, rice, kiwi
Wednesday was All Saint’s Day and we let the kids stay home from school because, not because of the saints at all, we were just tired. So tired! And there was a real hard frost. The nerve. We made it to the noon Mass with just a little screaming.
Wednesday I did remember the oven situations and was prepared to make the bo ssam in the Instant Pot and finish it up under the broiler, but Damien, who is the other hero around here, fixed the oven in the morning. I was so excited about it being fixed that I put the pork in right away, so it was done cooking at like 4 PM. So then I moved it to the slow cooker (not the Instant Pot, because I needed that to make rice) so it would stay warm but not dry out, and then back to the oven about ten minutes before supper with the little finishing glaze of brown sugar, sea salt, and cider vinegar that gives it that opulent caramelized crust. I use the My Korean Kitchen recipe, but I just do the salt and pepper overnight part, and then the brown sugar glaze part at the end. Very basic and easy, big return.
Everybody likes bo ssam! We had lettuce to wrap up the rice and shreds of meat it, and I added some sweet chili sauce to mine, which was tasty.
I also cut up a bunch of kiwis because I like to have something cool and juicy with this meal, because the meat is so outrageously salty.
A very fine meal.
Shakshuka (eggs in purgatory), soul cakes, pomegranates, pumpkin seeds
Thursday was All Soul’s Day and I must have my little joke and serve eggs in purgatory, which is basically shakshuka, and soul cakes.
Jump to Recipe
made the shakshuka sauce and moved it into the slow cooker
(here’s the recipe:)Jump to Recipe
and prepped a bunch of pumpkin seeds, and then it was time to go again, and I had to stop at Walmart, and then I went to the school, and GUESS WHAT?
There was still some free fence on the side of the road! And there was no Dalek in my car anymore, due to me having forgotten. So this time, there was plenty of room. Sort of.
So then we got home, and the kids cut out the soul cakes. This year we did skulls, ghosts, and angels. There’s some silly little theological allegory there but we’ll just skip it
I added some detail with this weird dried fruit I had in the cabinet, that I got on clearance at the International Market a while back, and then I sifted some powdered sugar over them when they came out of the oven.
The fruit is called Tutti Frutti Mix, which implies in not one but two ways that there are two or three kinds of fruit in there. Right? “Tutti” and “Mix,” not to mention that “Frutti” is surely plural.
It turns out it’s just papaya!
It tasted fine, and the texture was pleasant. I was expecting a kind of gummy consistency, like those red and green cherries that go in one of those yucky fruitcakes, but it was chewy with a little edge, almost nutty. So there you go. I have a lot more of it (IT WAS ON SALE).
So first I made the pumpkin seeds
and I remembered to save a few dozen out to dry, rather than roasting them, so we can plant some nice big pumpkins in the spring. (I just tossed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with kosher salt and spread them in two shallow pans in a 350 oven, stirring them up every twenty minutes or so, for maybe forty minutes or an hour.)
When those were done, I baked the soul cakes, and when those were almost done, I started poaching the eggs in the shakshuka sauce
You’re supposed to have parmesan or feta, and parsley, for the top; but I didn’t have either. It was a nice sauce, though, with plenty of vegetables, and rather spicy.
I cut up the pomegranates I’d been withholding all week
and we had ourselves a weird little meal for All Soul’s Day
And that’s my story!
Shrimp lo mein
If I make it home alive.
Tomato bisque with bacon
- 1 lb bacon (peppered bacon is good)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 56 oz can of whole tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 46 oz tomato juice
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper
- crispy fried onions (optional garnish)
Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, chop it up, and drain out all but a a few teaspoons of grease.
Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the grease and sauté until soft.
Add tomatoes (including juices), bay leaves, rosemary, and tomato juice, and simmer for 20 minutes. Save some rosemary for a garnish if you like.
With a slotted spoon, fish out the bay leaf, the tomatoes, and most of the rosemary, leaving some rosemary leaves in. Discard most of the rosemary and bay leaf. Put the rest of the rosemary and the tomatoes in a food processor with the 8 oz of cream cheese until it's as smooth as you want it.
Return pureed tomato mixture to pot. Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat through. Add chopped bacon right before serving, or add to individual servings; and top with crispy fried onions if you like. Garnish with more rosemary if you're a fancy man.
- 1 cup butter, chilled
- 3-3/4 cup sifted flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp allspice (can sub cloves)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp cider vinegar (can sub white vinegar)
- 4-6 Tbsp milk
- powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
- raisins, currants, nuts, candied citrus peels, etc.
Preheat the oven to 350
Put the flour in a large bowl. Grate the chilled butter on a vegetable grater and incorporate it lightly into the flour.
Stir in the sugar and spices until evenly distributed.
In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs, vinegar and milk. Stir this into the flour mixture until it forms a stiff dough.
Knead for several minutes until smooth and roll out to 1/4 thick.
Grease a baking pan. Cut the dough into rounds (or other shapes if you like) and lay them on the pan, leaving a bit of room in between (they puff up a bit, but not a lot). If you're adding raisins or other toppings, poke them into the top of the cakes, in a cross shape if you like. Prick cakes with fork.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until very lightly browned on top.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar while they are warm
Eggs in purgatory
- 1 lb spicy loose Italian sausage
- 30 oz diced tomatoes
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 8 eggs
- parmesan cheese
- 1 thinly sliced onion
- 2 thinly sliced bell peppers
- dash chili oil
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste, if you like it firmer
- coarsely chopped parsley for garnish
In a wide, shallow pan, brown up the sausage and garlic (and pepper flakes if using).
If you're using onions or peppers, add them and cook until slightly soft.
Add the diced tomatoes with juice. Cover and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. Add the tomato paste if you want it firmer.
Make eight shallow indentations in the sauce and carefully break an egg into each one.
Cover the pan loosely and let it poach for six or seven minutes, until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are as solid as you want them to be.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese toward the end, and serve immediately in scoops or wedges. Garnish with parsley if you like.
basic lo mein
for the sauce
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 5 tsp sesame oil
- 5 tsp sugar
for the rest
- 32 oz uncooked noodles
- sesame oil for cooking
- add-ins (vegetables sliced thin or chopped small, shrimp, chicken, etc.)
- 2/3 cup rice vinegar (or mirin, which will make it sweeter)
Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
Boil the noodles until slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.
Heat up a pan, add some sesame oil for cooking, and quickly cook your vegetables or whatever add-ins you have chosen.
Add the mirin to the pan and deglaze it.
Add the cooked noodles in, and stir to combine. Add the sauce and stir to combine.