What’s for supper? Vol. 331: Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

Happy Friday! Are you ready for some PEPPERSSSSSS!!!!!!!

But first, just like old times, there’s a little dust-up going on in my combox, which began when one reader wanted to know how it is that I’m over here eating kale salads and lean protein crumbles, but yet feeding my kids buttered corn dog nuggets and hot salt slop noodle casserole pie. A few readers jumped to my defense, which I appreciate very much, but the real answer is simple: I don’t like my kids. Please address any further questions to my menu planning assistant, who can be contacted here.  

I kid, I kid. I love yez all, more or less. 

The real question of the day is, WHAT DO WE DO WITH ALL THIS RHUBARB? 

Short version, I planted a rhubarb root in early spring, and it didn’t come up at all, but by the time I had given up hope, nobody in town was selling rhubarb anymore. Or so I thought! I stopped by the Cheshire Floral Farm, honestly mainly just to cheer myself up, because it’s so pretty up there. It’s a nursery built on top of a hill, and it’s the cleanest air I’ve ever breathed in my life. Even the birdsong has a special clarity, because the air is so clear. The man who owns it is 74 years old, and he has thousands and thousands of plants which he appears to know intimately, individually, and everything is thriving. He showed me the rows of pots with seedlings he has prepped for next spring. Next spring!

So I mentioned rhubarb, and he started hiking up to the top of the hill, and I panted up after him. There were half a dozen potted rhubarb plants about two feet high, and half a dozen smaller ones. He said, “This rhubarb has a history, you know.” It started as a plant in England that his grandfather grew, and they divided the root and brought it over, and he planted it here in New England, and off it went. I chose a smaller plant, and he knocked the seeds off and told me to dig a deep hole and fill it with manure. Then he kept walking up hill, so I followed, panting. We went through a gate, across a lawn, past a garden, and around a shed, and there, my friends, were three rhubarb plants, each as big as a Volkswagon Bug. He snapped off three stalks and presented them to me. 

So now I have rhubarb! Rhubarb for now, and for tomorrow, and for all my days to come, if I don’t screw it up. Usually I just make strawberry rhubarb pie, because it’s expensive and I only get it once a year, and that’s my favorite treat. But now I have plenty! What else do you like to make? Pickled rhubarb? Rhubarb jam? 

He also said you can chop up the poisonous leaves along with some tobacco leaves, boil them, and make an insecticide, which you use as a spray. I’ll probably leave that one alone, but I love knowing that there’s a use for the leaves besides murder. 

Okay! So here’s what we ate this week. And I apologize in advance, but I added in a lot of medical complaining, because it was that kind of week. 

Hot dogs

H.O.T. D.O.G.S., and I think fries

Cuban sandwiches, coleslaw, fruit salad

Sunday I took a big step forward with the patio, finally. I salvaged some pressure treated lumber from various old projects, and shoved them in around the perimeter, and staked them in place with lawn stakes. I rented a vibrating plate compactor and ran it over the soil. Then I roped the kids into trucking the gravel down to the backyard, spread that out, ran over it with a makeshift screed, and ran over it with the compactor several more times.

Then the dog ran over it several times, because of course he did. It’s fine. He’s helping compact everything. The gravel I ended up getting is not exactly what I wanted, but I did want to move forward, and I achieved that! So, hoot hoot. Next is sand, and then finally bricks. 

A few hours in, I remembered “oh, supper,” and I had a boneless pork loin or something, so I threw it in the Instant Pot along with several giant glugs of apple cider vinegar, some water, a lot of cumin and garlic powder and some salt and pepper. I pressure cooked it on high for 22 minutes and it came out non-beautiful but very tender and quite tasty. 

For the sandwiches, I had big pieces of sourdough bread, and I built them in this order: bread, mustard, Swiss cheese, pork, pickles, ham, more Swiss cheese, mustard. Mayo on the outside, fried in butter. 

There is no particular reason this heavy, greasy, carby sandwich appears to be leering at you. You’re just imagining it. 

I made a nice fruit salad with watermelon, mango, strawberries, and blueberries, and a quick coleslaw with cabbage and carrot with a dressing of mayo, cider vinegar, a little olive oil, and freshly ground pepper. 

Lemon pepper chicken, taboon, and muhammara (red pepper walnut dip)

Last week, I asked for more recipes with pomegranate molasses, which I had used so deliciously in the cherry walnut herb salad. Several people suggested muhammara, which is a Turkish red pepper walnut dip.

SEVERAL PEOPLE WERE RIGHT. I followed this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish, and made a triple recipe. It calls for two red bell peppers, but I had four red and two orange. I keep learning and then forgetting again that red and orange (and yellow) bell peppers are just green bell peppers at different stages of ripeness (and therefore sweetness). Red is the sweetest; orange is the medium stage. (Yellow, which I didn’t have, is the first “turning” stage.) But it’s all the same pepper. 

Anyway, I oiled and roasted them peppers, which is something I enjoy.

So pretty. 

These recipes always tell you to cover the roasted peppers with plastic wrap and let them steam themselves, to loosen up the skins; but I have found (by the scientific process of forgetting to do it) that this isn’t necessary. The skins come off just as easily if you just let them sit. 

So I pulled off the skins, which I enjoy, and yanked out the core and scraped off most of the seeds. This is about half the pepper flesh. 

And then you just whiz it up in a food processor along with toasted walnuts, olive oil, raw garlic, tomato paste, bread crumbs, of course pomegranate molasses, sugar, sumac, and salt. Now, this recipe also calls for Aleppo pepper, and says cayenne pepper is optional. I didn’t have either, and suddenly got an attack of the cheaps at the store, so I only bought cayenne.

Since I had so much dip, I divided it and added cayenne pepper (somewhat more than the recipe called for) to only one portion. 

Friends, for something so earthy, it is heavenly. This is one of these profoundly nourishing, joyful foods. It just tastes like it’s feeding your whole being. It’s wonderfully tart but not in an aggressive way. The heat in the peppered one built gradually, and it tasted good with chicken, with vegetables, and with bread. And just by itself. 

I made twelve little taboon breads. Last time I was a little unhappy with how they turned out, rather tough and chewy. Not sure if this is what caused it, but I realized that I forgot to put the pan in the oven to heat up before putting the dough on it to bake. This time I followed that step, and they turned out much more tender and fluffy. I love taboon. 

It’s so easy, and you can start it less than two hours before you want to eat. Fast as a quick bread, but with the texture and heft of a yeast bread. So good. It doesn’t puff up and separate into a pocket like pita, so don’t expect that. It’s more bready, while still being a flatbread, so you could use it for wraps, or for scooping or sopping purposes.

I just made very simple roast chicken breast sprinkled with a lemon pepper seasoning mix and cut up, and spinach, black olives, and cherry tomatoes.

Damien and I ate the muhammara steadily for lunch and snacks for the rest of the week. It was wonderful with those flattened pretzel chip things, and also really nice with baby carrots, and with cucumbers. I am completely sold on muhammara. 

Still happy to hear about more pomegranate molasses recipes, but if this is all I ever use it for in the future, diyenu


Tuesday I made a bunch of taco meat, put it in the slow cooker, and then I was like, screw it, I’m going to the ER. Here’s the most exciting part:

Yes, that is my blood pressure. No, I did not eat tacos when I eventually got home, even though they had ruled out heart attack, as well as cancer and pulmonary embolism. But I do not recommend this blood pressure, at all. 


Wednesday I wanted to get back to normal as much as possible, but I had lots of help! Clara made the shawarama marinade, Corrie made the yogurt sauce and Benny cut up the cucumbers and gathered and chopped the mint, and I had bought readymade pita and hummus, so it was just a matter of finishing everything up.

And very good it is, shawarma. 

At this point, I had learned that there was, in fact, nothing wrong with my heart, and all my lab work so far came back showing that I’m actually extremely healthy, except for when my terrible doctor takes me off my medication and makes my blood pressure go nutsy; so yeah, I had a big blob of yogurt sauce. Ugh, I guess I’m self conscious about my food pictures now. Boo. 

Aldi pizza

Thursday I drove up to the pulmonologist in Lebanon and they did all the breathing tests. I stopped to check on my parents’ grave (they are still dead, whew), and the lilac tree and rose bushes I planted made it through the winter, so that was nice! I said a decade and went on my way. Damien bought and served Aldi pizza, and Moe came by and helped with the driving. 

Spinach chickpea stew

Friday morning I found out that my lungs are very healthy, capable, and working fine! Which is great, except . . . you know, I still can’t breathe, and my chest still hurts, and my lungs still make a sound like bacon frying at night. Like, other people can hear it, so I can’t be making it up. I don’t know! I don’t know. I’m getting an echocardiogram at the end of July, and I’m going to look into chronic anemia and sleep apnea, because I don’t know what else it might be. It’s not the smoke from the wildfires, because this has been going on since November. Albuterol doesn’t help at all. Maybe I’m just making bacon in my lungs. If anyone could, I would.

ANYWAY, today we are having this lovely lemon chickpea spinach stew

the recipe for which you can find here at Saveur. This weekend I’m going to work on my patio without worrying it’s going to be my last act on earth, so that will be nice. 

Anyway, rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb. Allegedly that’s what crowds of extras on movie sets are supposed to say, in order to convincingly sound like they are having a conversation in the background. Someone smarter than me can write an essay about turning food into the logos. Imma go lie down.

taboon bread

You can make separate pieces, like pita bread, or you can make one giant slab of taboon. This makes enough to easily stretch over a 15x21" sheet pan.


  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 4 packets yeast
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer.

  2. While it is running, add the olive oil. Then gradually add the water until the dough is soft and sticky. You may not need all of it. Let it run for a while to see if the dough will pull together before you need all the water. Knead or run with the dough hook for another few minutes.

  3. Put the dough in a greased bowl, grease the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot for at least an hour until it has doubled in size.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400. Put a greased pan or a baking stone in the oven to heat up.

  5. If you are making separate pieces, divide it now and cover with a damp cloth. If you're making one big taboon, just handle it a bit, then put it back in the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let rest ten minutes.

  6. Using a little flour, roll out the dough into the shape or shapes you want. Poke it all over with your fingertips to give it the characterstic dimpled appearance.

  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until it's just slightly browned.


5 from 1 vote

Chicken shawarma


  • 8 lbs boned, skinned chicken thighs
  • 4-5 red onions
  • 1.5 cups lemon juice
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs, 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbs, 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 entire head garlic, crushed


  1. Mix marinade ingredients together, then add chicken. Put in ziplock bag and let marinate several hours or overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 425.

  3. Grease a shallow pan. Take the chicken out of the marinade and spread it in a single layer on the pan, and top with the onions (sliced or quartered). Cook for 45 minutes or more. 

  4. Chop up the chicken a bit, if you like, and finish cooking it so it crisps up a bit more.

  5. Serve chicken and onions with pita bread triangles, cucumbers, tomatoes, assorted olives, feta cheese, fresh parsley, pomegranates or grapes, fried eggplant, and yogurt sauce.


Yogurt sauce


  • 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)


  1. Mix all ingredients together. Use for spreading on grilled meats, dipping pita or vegetables, etc. 

What’s for supper? Vol. 330: Mercy and molasses

Once again I come to throw my feet at your mercy, and apologize for not having written anything (or, I did, but nothing that showed up directly here). The good news is, we finally got Damien’s car back from the shop, yay! The bad news is, it cost, like, all of our money. (Yhes, this is separate from the other unexpected car repair we had last week. That was my car, and Damien’s car repair was . . . sweatily doing math . . . five times more expensive.)

But more distractingly, I spent the whole week kind of in limbo, agonizing over some medical nonsense which is … not really cleared up, but probably not as bad as I thought? If only there were some way for doctors to communicate information to patients! Say, via phone, or email, or text, or mail, or on that stupid portal they’re always urging us to use. Sadly, this is not possible. Their hands are tied. So this week just plain sucked. I don’t know if you realize this about me, but I don’t like being frightened and in pain and not knowing what is going on. I’m different from other people! Not to mention the whole thing was set to a soundtrack of the world’s worst hold music.  But, nobody dropped dead at any point; not at all; so *at least three cheers.*


Brats, fries

We used to have brats all the time when we had a fresh diabetes diagnosis and we discovered brats are low carb, but we eventually ate too many brats and didn’t want any more brats (some of us). But now, enough time has passed and the brats are roaring back!

Let’s just sit back for a moment and enjoy that mental image, and maybe also the mental audio. 

I forgot how delicious beer brats are. Nothing like coming into a house extremely hungry and hitting a humid aroma cloud of hot beer, onions, and meat. 

Damien makes brats by boiling them for about twenty minutes in cheap beer with lots of sliced onions, plus chili powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and salt, and then grilling them. The brats are great, but I truly cannot get enough of those beer-boiled onions. Heavenly. I went back for thirds on onions. Six-year-old me would have been aghast. 

Chicken caprese burgers, broccoli 

Just frozen chicken burgers with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and sliced cheese, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. 

I was doing a million yard work and gardening on Sunday while Damien worked most of the week on draining, repairing, and re-filling the pool after the freak dog accident last week, very exciting. He had the brilliant idea to fill it with creek water, reversing the sump pump to draw it up. We’re not in a drought or anything, and the water is quite clean (it’s an extremely rocky creek, which is a good natural filter, and the kids already play in it all the time and nobody gets exotic rashes or anything), and he is filtering and chemically treating the heck out of it, so I don’t know why we didn’t think of this sooner.  (The alternative is filling it with the hose from our well, which would take all week and/or burn out our well pump, or buying water, which is SPENSIVE and would also take weeks.) Yay pool! We’ll be swimming soon, and that will be lovely. 

I don’t seem to have a photo of my chicken sandwich, so please squeeze your own mind grapes and supply a nice one here. 


Oh, that looks delicious. You even remembered to take the sticker off the tomato before slicing it! Nicely done. 

We had some kind of red Twinkies for dessert, for Pentecost. We. Are. Trying.

Burgers, potato salad, chips, watermelon, Oreo ice cream pie

Monday was Memorial Day. Our town didn’t have a parade this year, for some reason, and the next town did, but I slept too late to get to it, thereby ruining any chance of feeling self-righteous about the lazy people in my own town. The kids did have a little memorial service for Kyat, which parents were not invited to, which is okay because we didn’t want to get off the couch. 

I did make dessert, though. Benny had seen an Oreo ice cream cake in the store that looked pretty inviting, but the dang thing was $12.99, and the box was big but the cake itself was about the size of a donut. SO I SAYS TO MYSELF, I SAYS, we can do better than that!

So we found a deep, round plastic dish. I made graham cracker crumbs in the food processor and mixed in some melted butter, pressed this mixture into the dish, and then microwaved it for several minutes until it was sorta solidified. (This would have been better in the oven, but I realized that too late, and had already chosen a plastic dish. It also would have been better with a bit of sugar, but I forgot.)

Then Benny mashed a bunch of ice cream with a potato masher until it was soft, and we spread this on top of the crust. She jammed a bunch of Oreos and Oreo ice cream cookies into it, piped some Kool Whip ornamentations on top of that,

and drizzled the whole thing with chocolate syrup, and put it in the freezer for several hours. Boom, giant ice cream cake/pie.

Ice cream pies are a GREAT way to use up little bits of leftover ice cream, nuts, candy, syrup, sprinkles, cake decorations, or whatever sweet stuff you have in the house that isn’t enough for a full dessert in itself, and it’s a fun project for kids that they truly cannot screw up. Just remember to do it in advance so it has time to re-freeze. 

To my delight, both Dora and Moe came over, so I had all my little flock under one roof. 

We had yummy burgers which Damien grilled, chips, watermelon, and potato salad (just a standard recipe with potatoes, celery, hard boiled eggs, and a dressing of mayo, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper), and big wedges of ice cream pie for dessert.

Just a nice ol’ summer meal. 

Here I might mention that more than one family member is struggling right now, so if you could spare a prayer for my dear ones, I would appreciate it. 


Tuesday I was supposed to drive out to the seacoast to do an interview, but ten minutes down the road, my check engine light came on. Normally I’d be all “dooby doo, nobody cares about a check engine light, YOLO”and so on, but the Fates have been showing me certain things lately, and I says to myself, I says, I am not going to drive out to the seacoast with the check engine light on. Not today. 

And that was the right thing to do, even though after I cancelled, I plugged the car in to one of those computer things and it turned out to be just an oxygen sensor. And I didn’t even feel guilty, thinking, “oh, I made the wrong choice, I overreacted, this turned out to be nothing after all,” because SOMETIMES, my friends, you don’t have to do everything the hardest and most stressful way possible, even if the hard and stressful things won’t actually kill you. There aren’t any prizes for being brutal to yourself all the time, I promise. You’ll just wear your teeth down and give yourself ulcers. Be nicer to yourself than you would be to some random raccoon you meet in a parking lot, and see how that goes. 

Anyway, on Tuesday this random raccoon made some pizzas for supper: One cheese, one pepperoni, and one really cute one with prosciutto and arugula. You make a little salad with the arugula, some olive oil, and fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper. It’s also supposed to have thinly-sliced red onion, but I forgot.

Then you cook a regular pizza, but first throw lots of fresh garlic slices and chopped-up rosemary on it, and some olive oil and maybe salt and pepper. Then, when it comes out of the oven, top it with torn-up prosciutto, spread the arugula salad on top, and grate a little parmesan over the whole thing.

Then the raccoon can have a treat. 

It’s pizza that makes you feel special because [wipes away single crystalline tear] you are special. You are one special random raccoon. 

Jujeh kabab, cherry walnut salad, taboon bread, and rice

So, we’ve had a few good Middle Eastern meals from Saveur, and I got a hankering for something along those lines, so I poked around to see what else I could find. I got two recipes from them: Jujeh kabab, spicy chicken and tomato skewers;  and a cherry herb salad that works as a kind of relish or side salad. 

Spoiler, they were both denicious, as one of my kids used to say. Denicious! I will say that the spicy kebab marinade for the meat was way more exciting than the actual finished product, and although it was very good, I was a tiny bit disappointed, because the ingredients were so thrilling: orange zest, fresh lime juice, saffron, plus coriander and cumin, garlic and onion, and a few other things.

This is all in a yogurt marinade. Next time, for real, I’m going to make a double recipe and save half the marinade just to dip bread in, because it was so dazzlingly rich and piquant.

So I marinated chicken thighs for several hours, and then threaded them on skewers, and also skewered a bunch of cored Roma tomatoes, and Damien grilled them all over the coals. 

I think I will make this recipe again, but maybe skip the saffron, which is expensive, and tragically you couldn’t really taste it. It was good, don’t get me wrong! I guess maybe I just expected it to be explosively good, and it was not that. I also probably should not have combined a tomato dish with a cherry dish. But I made a point of tasting the chicken by itself first, so I could see how it was on its own, and it was still a tiny bit meh. 

The cherry salad, on the other hand, was tremendous. Just a few ingredients, and I really didn’t see how it could miss. Cherries, roasted Fresno chiles (it actually called for Holland chiles, which I could not find), lots of cilantro, toasted walnuts, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and POMEGRANATE MOLASSES. 

Yeah, it was good. And I’m very excited to have something non-pie to do with cherries, which are just about in season. I can see this salad jazzing up lots of different meals, especially if they’re a little on the bland or earthy side. Or if you had a vegetarian meal, this is quite hearty, with the nuts.
I was a little worried about there not being enough food (which is what it will say on my gravestone), so I made a pot of rice and chopped up some fresh wild mint. I also made 12 little taboon breads.
This is the first time I’ve done this recipe with separate little breads, rather than one giant slab of bread.
Turned out fine, except I overbaked them by a few minutes and they were a little tough. Still nice to have hot, fresh bread with a very savory meal like this.
Not gonna lie, I was proud of myself for this whole meal. It was beautiful and exciting. I served the skewers with lime wedges and a little sumac for sprinkling. 
And I need to find more recipes that call for pomegranate molasses, which is AMAZING INCREDIBLE STUFF. It tastes exactly like I imagine Lucy Pevensie’s healing cordial. Restorative, and juicy.


The carnitas also turned out a little bit meh, probably because I seasoned the meat with salt, pepper, and oregano, browned it, and then made the highly dubious choice of cooking it in Cherry Coke Zero. I did throw in some oranges and cinnamon sticks and a jalapeño that was floating around the fridge, but it just tasted kind of weird, oh well, and then I just left it stewing in the Instant Pot on warm and the liquid didn’t have a chance to cook off, so it was tender, but more stew-like. Oh well. Here’s the recipe, and if you actually follow it, it’s tasty. 

Jump to Recipe

I was pretty burnt out by Thursday and just squonched up the meat and threw it under the broiler to crisp up.

and served it on tortillas with sour cream, shredded cheese, and jarred salsa.

No frills, oh well. Damien had volunteered as a chaperone for Corrie’s second grade field trip to Squam Lake, which is two hours away, and I feel like he deserved more than meh carnitas after a long, screamy day like that, but sometimes life be that way. 


Look at us, we made it to Friday. At some point during the week, two dump trucks arrived, because I told them to (?), and dumped sand and gravel, respectively, so now are two big heaps sitting in the driveway waiting for me to do something about them. And I will! I always do something about heaps, eventually. You know me. 

Tell me about Turkish food. Tell me about pomegranate molasses. 

John Herreid's Carnitas

Very easy recipe transforms pork into something heavenly. Carnitas are basically pulled pork tacos with the meat crisped up. Serve with whatever you like.


  • pork butt/shoulder, cut into chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • oregano
  • oranges, quartered
  • cinnamon sticks
  • bay leaves
  • 1 can Coke or Mexican Coke
  • 1 cup or less vegetable oil


  1. Sprinkle the chunks of pork with salt, pepper, and oregano.

  2. Put them in a heavy pot with the oil and Coke, oranges, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer.

  3. Simmer, uncovered, for at least two hours. The oranges will start to get mushy and the liquid will begin to thicken.

  4. When the meat is tender, remove the oranges, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Turn the heat up and continue cooking, stirring often, until the meat has a dark crust. Be careful not to let it burn.

  5. Remove the meat and drain off any remaining liquid. Shred the meat. It it's not as crisp as you like, you can brown it under the oven broiler, or return it to the pot without the liquid and fry it up a bit.

  6. Serve on warm tortillas with whatever you like.

taboon bread

You can make separate pieces, like pita bread, or you can make one giant slab of taboon. This makes enough to easily stretch over a 15x21" sheet pan.


  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 4 packets yeast
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer.

  2. While it is running, add the olive oil. Then gradually add the water until the dough is soft and sticky. You may not need all of it. Let it run for a while to see if the dough will pull together before you need all the water. Knead or run with the dough hook for another few minutes.

  3. Put the dough in a greased bowl, grease the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot for at least an hour until it has doubled in size.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400. Put a greased pan or a baking stone in the oven to heat up.

  5. If you are making separate pieces, divide it now and cover with a damp cloth. If you're making one big taboon, just handle it a bit, then put it back in the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Let rest ten minutes.

  6. Using a little flour, roll out the dough into the shape or shapes you want. Poke it all over with your fingertips to give it the characterstic dimpled appearance.

  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until it's just slightly browned.