Happy Friday! Because it was somehow actually cheaper than continuing to have my old phone, I got a new phone with a fancy new camera, I haven’t had much chance to play around with it yet. That’s not true; I’ve had lots of time. I’m just stupid and easily intimidated by technology. What I’m trying to tell you is some of the food photos turned out a little weird and overly dramatic this week. You’ve been warned!
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Here’s what we had:
Little brown meal
That is what my parents used to call it when they were super poor in the kibbutz in Israel and all they could afford was, I think, hard boiled eggs and eggplant? That doesn’t make sense, though, because those things aren’t brown. Anyway, my father refused to eat either of those foods for the rest of his life, so they must have had them a lot. “Little brown meal” for us is when you’re all about delivering nutrients and that’s really your only goal.
On Saturday, that meant pizza rolls, two kinds of taquitos, and smile fries or whatever you call these misbegotten things formed from mashed potatoes in the very bowls of hell. (Don’t get me wrong; they’re delicious. But they’re not exactly food.)
When I say the kids liked this meal, you can believe I am telling the truth. I truly shudder to think how often I would have to serve it before they would refuse to ever eat it again.
We just had these a few weeks ago, but the kids suggested it and I didn’t have any other bright ideas, and boneless skinless chicken breast was $1.49 a pound. If you missed it last time, this sandwich is sourdough bread or ciabatta rolls, roast chicken breast, bacon, slices of Granny smith apples, slices of sharp cheddar cheese, and honey mustard.
And now for the world’s most dramatic Vermonter Sandwich photo:
Eh? Eh? It looks like it’s about to knock the casting director’s socks off with “And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going.”
Chicken quesadillas, guacamole and chips
These were fine. Boneless skinless chicken thighs were also $1.49 a pound, and normally I would do something tasty and middle eastern with them — in fact I have a number of tabs open, begging me to do just that, but [impulsively cuts Monday’s throat with my demon barber razor] I HAVEN’T THE TIME. So I roasted up the chicken with some oil and Taijin, sliced it up, and made a bunch of quesadillas and then burned most of them, oh well.
The guacamole turned out pretty well, though.Jump to Recipe
I have gotten out of the habit of keeping limes in the house, though, because I cut out my evening cocktail, so I had to use bottled lime juice. I also tried one of those rocking garlic press things that everyone keeps telling me will change my life, and I can say definitively: Meh. (That is an affiliate link even though I’m not actually recommending it, because what if you don’t listen to me and I earn a commission anyway?) It left behind some sort of garlic sheets — like the outermost layer of the clove — that I couldn’t get it to crush no matter what, so I really didn’t end up saving myself time or effort in the end. Is there a trick to this? I just went back to my trusty old squasher press, which is slow, but it does work.
Italian wedding soup, garlic knots
Tuesday was supposed to be taco day, but it just felt soupy. Italian wedding soupy!Jump to Recipe
I had a large pitcher of turkey bone broth in the freezer from the Thanksgiving carcass, so I defrosted that (and it looked quite photogenic in the process, let me tell you. Check out that ring of schmaltz)
and I made a bunch of little baby meatballs with ground pork, lots of freshly-grated parmesan, fresh garlic, fresh parsley, even freshly ground salt and pepper, and of course some eggs and breadcrumbs; and I fried them in batches in a little olive oil.
I blooped the fried meatballs into the broth, added a bunch of torn-up kale, and let it simmer all day; then about half an hour before dinner, I added some ancini de pepe and cooked it until it was soft.
Little more pepper and that was it. A little parsley and parmesan on the top.
Darn it, I underseasoned the meatballs. It really could have been a wonderful soup, but it was merely okay. The broth from the turkey was very nice, and the kale made the broth a lot greener than I was expecting. It doesn’t aways do that, so I don’t know what that was about. I mean like the color really got into the liquid. I dunno.
I also made garlic knots using premade pizza dough. Usually I made the knots and top each one with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder and salt, and then just bake them at 450 for (I have no idea, I don’t know how long anything bakes, sorry) but this time I baked them bare. Then I melted a stick of butter and mixed it with garlic powder and salt and poured that over the hot, baked knots and tossed them up, and holy cow, that was excellent.
I believe it was Staša — you know Staša –who suggested this method.
I had baked the garlic knots a greased pan sprinkled with fine corn meal, and some of the corn meal got mixed up with the butter and added a little texture to the whole thing. Gonna do it this way every time. Some fresh parsley would not have been amiss, either.
Tacos and corn chips
Just boring, nothing to report.
Chicken cutlets with basil and provolone; homemade ice cream
Benny’s birthday! She asked for one of Damien’s specialties, the delicious Deadspin recipe for breaded fried chicken cutlets smothered in provolone with a secret fresh basil leaf, topped with a scoop of wonderful homemade red sauce.
I didn’t take a photo, but here is a previous one:
Full confession, I gobbled up my chicken and then went back and just got a bowl of sauce for seconds. I love that sauce so much.
She’s going to have her party this weekend, which is going to be ancient Egypt-themed with a sphinx cake, so she asked for just ice cream on her actual birthday. She wanted M&M and then, knowing I can’t have chocolate, requested a batch of strawberry so I could have some. (I have kind of mixed feelings about how thoughtful it is to request that I go out and buy strawberries, process and macerate them, and make ice cream, because she wants me to be able to eat ice cream; but on the other hand, I ate it, and it was delicious).
I used the Ben and Jerry recipe for both batches.Jump to Recipe
(For the M&M ice cream, I just made the sweet cream base, as described in the recipe, and didn’t do the strawberry part, but instead stirred in some M&M’s after the ice cream was done churning, before putting it in the freezer to solidify. I froze the M&M’s for a while before stirring them in, to keep them from blurring when I stirred them in.)
Easy peasy, but I managed to splatter cream all over the whole kitchen somehow. I was thinking about how annoyed I would have been if someone else had made it and then claimed not to know how it happened, but honest to goodness, I have no idea. I did clean it up, though! I live my life as all the characters in the Little Red Hen, simultaneously.
Yes, this is a Brideshead reference and a Shakespeare reference and a Little Red Hen reference all in one, FOR NO REASON. So far no one has discovered a use for my brain. I have been on Lexapro for over a month and it still does shit like this.
Uh I forgot to plan or buy anything. May possibly have been hoping the world would come to an end before supper. I don’t know, what are you having? Maybe we will have leftover ice cream. Maybe we will have eggplant and hard boiled eggs. Maybe the world will come to an end.
If not, here’s my little reminder that I have that monster list of recommended gifts! I’m about 18% done with shopping, myself, if that makes you feel any better.
White Lady From NH's Guacamole
- 4 avocados
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 medium jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 red onion, diced
Peel avocados. Mash two and dice two.
Mix together with rest of ingredients and add seasonings.
Cover tightly, as it becomes discolored quickly.
Italian Wedding Soup with pork meatballs
Lots of variations to this pleasant, nourishing soup with little meatballs.
For the meatballs:
- 4-5 lbs ground pork (can mix in some ground beef or turkey)
- 5 eggs
- 2-1/2 cups bread crumbs
- 4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped fine
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups freshly-shredded parmesan
- 1/2 cup butter for frying
For the soup:
- 3 lg carrots, diced
- 1 lg onion, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups white wine
- 3-4 cups raw kale, torn into pieces
- 2 cups uncooked small pasta like ditalini
- more parmesan and Italian parsley for garnish
To make the meatballs:
Thoroughly combine all the ingredients (except the butter) with your hands. Form them into small meatballs. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter and lightly brown the meatballs in batches. They do not need to be cooked all the way through, as they will continue cooking in the soup.
To make the soup:
Remove the meatballs from the pot. Put the onions and carrots into the butter and cook until they're slightly soft. Add in the garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant but not too browned.
Add the meatballs back in. Add the broth and white wine, the kale, and the pepper to taste. Simmer for several hours.
About half an hour before serving, add the uncooked pasta and turn up the heat to cook.
Serve with shredded or grated parmesan and coarsely chopped Italian parsley for a garnish.
Ben and Jerry's Strawberry Ice Cream
For the strawberries
- 1 pint fresh strawberries
- 1-1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the ice cream base
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
Hull and slice the strawberries. Mix them with the sugar and lemon juice, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.
Make the ice cream base:
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for two minutes until fluffy.
Add in the sugar gradually and whisk another minute.
Pour in the milk and cream and continue whisking to blend.
Put it together:
Mash the strawberries well, or puree them in a food processor. Stir into the ice cream base.
Add to your ice cream maker and follow the directions. (I use a Cuisinart ICE-20P1 and churn it for 30 minutes, then transfer the ice cream to a container, cover it, and put it in the freezer.)