Friday! I just wrote one of these food posts, and I don’t know about you, but I’m totally ready for another one, cementing my notion that it would be best if I just settled into writing about food and nothing but food all the time.
There are, of course, plenty of people who do exactly this. In fact, they do far less food writing than I do. They write maybe one recipe a week, and it’s usually something like “Best Ever Summer Vacation Spice-’em-Up Celebration Wowzer Cake” and it’s, like, Betty Crocker red velvet cake mix plus a teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning (Amazon Associates link included), with eleven photos taken directly up the cake’s nostrils. But they also send out bi-weekly newsletters with optimized RPM plugins and native lazy loading, plus of course their static homepage has Gutenberg blocks that’s always running various tag managers in parallel to implementing UTM parameters; and because of this, they’re earning $600 a day with the wowzer cake alone.
I don’t begrudge them at all. Every six months or so, I think, how hard could it be? I’ll just look into it and do some very simple, basic SEO things just to streamline the site a bit and attract more viewers. Just simple stuff. So I open a tab, and oop! I’m fifteen years old and I’m back in Mr. Stockwell’s physics class and the board is full of strange markings that mean nothing to me. I have no idea what the hell he’s talking about, but I started getting confused back in October, and now it’s June and it’s far, far too late to do anything about it.
Inertia. I do remember learning about inertia. I guess that’s what we’re dealing with here. Plus also crying. Anyway, here’s what we ate this week:
I truly do not remember. I don’t have any photos, and I know we went shopping on Saturday, so it probably wasn’t anything good.
Sunday we did a massive amount of yard work. Damien did all the glamorous parts, like scrubbing and vacuuming out the pool, fixing the back steps, and weed whacking the dog area so he could shovel poop so he could mow. Then he washed up and made supper. Such a prima donna, that man. Meanwhile I really carried the family by transplanting daisies and watering my strawberries and whatnot. Everybody works!
Smoked chicken thighs, brats, chips, mac and cheese, watermelon, lemon meringue pie
Monday we finished up some projects and then I took the kids to the beach for the first time this year. Lovely little town pond. Less than lovely crowd, but maybe next time those particular folks will all have been sent into outer space by means of a richly-deserved fist. Memorial Day is often a little dicey.
For supper, Damien made his most excellent smoked chicken thighs with the spicy sugar rub. This rub is good on all kinds of meats, and you can adapt it however you want.Jump to Recipe
The sugar caramelizes and gives the skin a terrific texture, and the sweet and spicy combo of the seasoning is so good with a cold beer.
He also made brats boiled in beer with onions and then grilled, served with chopped onions, and my friend Laina came over and brought some swanky, melty mac and cheese with gorgonzola, which I’ve been eating all week.
We also had chips and watermelon, and Benny and I made a couple of lemon meringue pies.
This is a very simple recipe, with only a few ingredients. It’s not sophisticated, but it hits all the marks.Jump to Recipe
We decided to be fancy and pipe the meringue on, but we aren’t fancy enough to own a piping bag just now (sometimes we have one and sometimes we don’t. Nobody knows what causes this), so we used a plastic bag with a hole in it. Here was our inspiration:
And here were our results. They were a little. . . . cephalopodian.
Also, I left both pies out in a warm kitchen and they got very weepy before dinner (a common problem around here). But they still tasted fine, and we had fun. Gonna eat outside as much as possible this summer! Gonna eat as much as possible this summer, in general.
Southwest chicken salad
Someone really needs to wrench the word “salad” away from me. There was a base of greens, but it was laboring under a very heavy load of many other things.
Delicious things! I drizzled olive oil on some chicken breasts and seasoned them heavily with something called “elote powder,” which I believe has powdered cheese, chili powder, cumin, salt, and some kind of very sharp citrus in it, and who knows what else. It’s very orange. Then roasted the chicken and cut it into chunks.
I also splurged on some of those little multicolored tomatoes, plus avocados cut into chunks, chopped bacon, corn, and corn chips, and some kind of creamy chipotle lime dressing, I forget what I got. There’s a salad dressing for every possible desire you could have.
I absolutely loved this meal. The bacon wasn’t absolutely necessary, but it certainly won me some friends.
Spiedies, french fries, sugar snap peas
Another great summer recipe I’m happy to be returning to. A little bit of effort in the morning, and you can tumble home half an hour before dinner and cook up a very tasty meal.
The wild mint has come back, and Corrie was home from school with a momentary sniffle, so I sent her out to forage a giant handful, and we made the marinade together.
A wonderful marinade. Very sharp and summery and fresh. Olive oil, lemon juice, wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, a little sugar, a lot of fresh garlic, and a lot of fresh mint.Jump to Recipe
I had a nice fatty cut of pork and cut it into fairly big chunks, and let it marinate most of the day.
In the evening, pulled the meat out of the marinade, spread it on a pan, and added some large chunks of onion and bell pepper, and roasted it all.
I toasted some buns, spread them with mayo, and it was magnificent. The meat was incredibly tender, and had taken on tons of flavor.
You could add in cherry tomatoes and big chunks of mushroom, if you wanted. Spiedies are really supposed to be cooked on a skewer (the Italian word “spiedo” means “spit”), and that would be delicious, but this method turns out very well and saves a lot of time if you’re cooking for a crowd.
We had french fries, which I heroically avoided in favor of sugar snap peas. And that definitely made up for the way I’ve been digging out handfuls of cold gorgonzola mac and cheese all week. That is how it works!
I do know how to cook omelettes. I just choose to make them like this, instead.
Everybody had their choice of sausage, cheese, and mushroom, but nobody had the choice of whether or not I massacred their omelette. There were no survivors.
We also had orange juice from a can, and biscuits from a can. I took them out of the can and everything.
There’s fish in the freezer and a cabbage on the counter, and we do have limes and sour cream and salsa and tortillas, so I deduce I’m supposed to be making fish tacos. I guess I need to buy more avocados, though. That seems like a meal, right? Probably we have leftover corn chips.
Oh, I have one more picture in this week’s batch: A school lunch from earlier in the week, that really screams “June.”
and here’s a picture of a recent school day breakfast
Both total wins, because the breakfast has a protein (custard and meringue), fruit (lemon), milk (condensed), and grain (graham cracker crust), and is superior to last week’s breakfast, which was just popcorn, which is a whole grain, but also includes microwaving, which strips the nutrients of their healthful riboflavins, as I understand it from Mr. Stockwell’s physics class.
The lunch is even better, because it not only has a protein and is nut-free, it contains both salami (culturally enriching) and a secret message (“6S” spelled out in mustard, for “six salami”).
Smoked chicken thighs with sugar rub
- 1.5 cups brown sugar
- .5 cups white sugar
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp chili pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 20 chicken thighs
Mix dry ingredients together. Rub all over chicken and let marinate until the sugar melts a bit.
Light the fire, and let it burn down to coals. Shove the coals over to one side and lay the chicken on the grill. Lower the lid and let the chicken smoke for an hour or two until they are fully cooked.
Cheater's lemon meringue pie
I like a pie shell made from several cups of animal cracker crumbs whirred into a sandy texture, mixed with a stick of melted butter and 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a dash of salt. Mix well and press into the pan.
- 1 pie shell
For the lemon layer:
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 lemon, zested
For the meringue:
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Preheat oven to 350
Mix together the condensed milk, egg yolks, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined. Pour the mixture into the pie shell.
Bake 10-15 minutes until the mixture has a little skin.
While it's baking, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites until it has soft peaks. Then gradually add the sugar until it has stiff peaks.
When the lemon layer comes out of the oven, spread the meringue over the top and make a little peaks all over it with a fork or spatula.
Return the pie to the oven and bake for another ten minutes or so until the meringue is slightly browned.
pork spiedies (can use marinade for shish kebob)
- 1 cup veg or olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup red or white wine vinegar
- 4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 8-10 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4-5 lbs boneless pork, cubed
- peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, cut into chunks
Mix together all marinade ingredients.
Mix up with cubed pork, cover, and marinate for several hours or overnight.
Best cooked over hot coals on the grill on skewers with vegetables. Can also spread in a shallow pan with veg and broil under a hot broiler.
Serve in sandwiches or with rice.