Wasn’t that a long week? We’ve almost made it! Here’s what we ate this week:
I think burgers?
Saturday we also made Mrs. Peters’ birthday cake. This is from the delightful book The Seven Silly Eaters, which I was not yet familiar with when I wrote about positive portrayals of large families in literature.
In the book, this nice mom ends up catering to her seven picky kids more and more, and every day makes each of their favorite foods: applesauce, bread, eggs, milk, lemonade, and oatmeal. One night, exhausted, she realizes it’s her birthday tomorrow. She assumes the family has forgotten, but they haven’t, and the kids sneak downstairs to make their favorite foods for her as a surprise. But it’s harder than it looks, and they end up mixing all the foods together and hiding the mess in the still-warm oven overnight — and Mrs. Peters wakes up in the morning to discover the combined foods have transformed themselves into a delicious birthday cake for her (and from that day forward, the kids all pitch in with the cooking).
It’s a very cute story in non-irritating rhyme with a satisfying end, beautifully illustrated by Marla Frazee. The story and the illustrations both show an understanding of both the delights and the trials of family life.
Last week, when Corrie was home with a sniffle, she decided to make the cake as described in the book,
with predictable results.
I even left it in the oven for many hours at a very low temperature, just like in the book, because I uh forgot it was in there.
As written, the ingredients could not, of course, actually make anything like a delicious cake; but the author, Mary Ann Hoberman, did put together a recipe based on the story, so that’s what we decided to try on Saturday.
It turned out . . . okay.
It was exceedingly wet. Like, juice ran out when I turned the cake out of the pan. The flavor was pleasant enough, sort of like apple-y bread pudding. You couldn’t really taste the lemon, but the egg taste was prominent.
It was unclear if you were supposed to use cooked oatmeal or oats. Possibly using oats would have given us different results, but it did say “oatmeal” in the recipe. I also underbaked it, because I was so afraid of overbaking it, which I always do with cakes. Anyway, I didn’t yell very much when we were baking, and Corrie was pleased with her cake. Actually, she quit halfway through, even though it was her idea, and Benny stuck it out through to the end. And that’s our story.
I guess that’s our third fictional dessert, really, if you count the Earl Gray tea cake being something like an Amelia Bedelia cake, and the several lemon meringue pies we have made, also inspired by Amelia Bedelia. We have no plans to dip fish in chocolate as yet, although I spent a lot of time thinking about it as a child.
I was sick as heck on Sunday and went ahead and used Instacart for the weekly shopping like a millionaire. I hate Instacart. Last time we used it, the gal pestered me for every last thing (me substitute blueberry yogurt instead of mixed berry yogurt? YES, THAT’S FINE) and then delivered $260 worth of groceries to a fence company down the road (I mean a literal fence company. They don’t fence for anybody nefarious, as far as I know) and it took a full day to figure out what happened to the food, and almost a week to get my money back.
This time, the shopper did a pretty good job, but we still ended up with stuff like three peaches instead of three three-pound bags of peaches, and some kind of unexpected chicken, and (ptui) lean ground beef, and five cans of sour cream and onion Pringles.
Excuse me, Stackerz. Oh, did the kids carry on about how ridiculous that was! All those sour cream and onion Stackerz! Actually, I’m not telling them this, but that’s exactly what I ordered: Five cans of sour cream and onion Stackerz. I was sick and didn’t feel like clicking around to get a variety of different flavors, sheesh. It’s like a children’s book in here. Fussy fussy.
Chicken tortilla soup, giant quesadilla slab
I was feeling a little better — well enough to make soup, sick enough to crave soup, especially soup that gets you right between the eyes. I love this chicken tortilla soup from Two Sleevers.
I gathered up the very last of the outdoor tomatoes and put them in the food processor along with onion, lots of garlic, several chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, a giant jalapeño, and a ton of cilantro, and some salt, and you get this wonderful pungent base
and you sauté that in oil. I did it right in the Instant Pot, nice and easy. Oh my land, the smell.
Then you throw in your tortillas and chicken and some water and cook it until the chicken is shreddable.
And that’s it. I was going to put some beans and corn in there, but I wanted to appeal to as many silly eaters as possible.
We had it with a nice dollop sour cream, plus avocados and more cilantro, and I think some people had shredded cheddar cheese.
Just great. This soup has a sneaky little punch that builds up as you eat it. Really good for people with head colds.
I knew several people would be sad we were having soup for supper, and corn muffins would just make them sadder, so I made a giant baked quesadilla slab.
Spray the pan, put on a layer of overlapping tortillas, lots of shredded cheese, and another layer of tortillas, then drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle on some chili lime powder, and bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and the edges are crunchy. Carve into pieces with the pizza cutter. Boom.
Everyone likes it and it takes about three minutes to throw together. Nice easy side for soup, and they can’t moan at you for making just soup for supper.
Chicken burgers, chips, misc.
Strange burgers, weird burgers. I also decided I was going to clean out the fridge and make a giant, attractive charcuterie board of all the miscellaneous leftovers that are crammed in there making my life miserable. In my head, we had all sorts of delectable deli treats and wonderful cheeses, crisp vegetables and appealing tidbits just begging to be appreciated. In reality, there was six or seven dented, half-frozen hardboiled eggs, a handful of horrible blackened avocado in a sandwich bag, a large amount of rancid salami in various sizes and also some rancid gabagool, and some cold leftover tortilla slab, which . . . I mean, I will eat it cold, but I am not everybody. I laid it all out on a tray, smiled at it, scowled at it, and slid it into the garbage, and put out five cans of sour cream and onion Pringles, excuse me, Stackerz. I’ll show you a silly eater.
One of these days I am going to do something about the grout on my dining room table. But not today. Today, I’m not even going to bother sweeping the crumbs off before dinner.
Asian meatballs, rice, raw broccoli
When I first discovered this recipeJump to Recipe
I loved it so much. It was such a revelation. Lighter than normal meatballs, versatile, tangy, easy, exciting. Then I made it a few more times, and it turned on me. I don’t know what happened, but the last three or four times I’ve made it, it just wasn’t any good.
This time, I was determined to do everything carefully, use all the freshest ingredients, prep everything fastidiously in the food processor, measure everything meticulously, and time it precisely. The verdict: Still not that great! Way too salty, for one thing. So I have changed the salt from a tablespoon to a teaspoon. But it seems like the problems go deeper than this, and I cannot understand why. It grieves me. I want to retvrn but I don’t know how.
I did eat four meatballs, dipped them in soy sauce, because that’s what you do when something’s too salty. We also had rice and raw broccoli.
One cheese, one olive, one pepperoni, and one with sliced garlic, roasted red peppers, and anchovies.
Very nice balance of sweet and savory. Damien and I are thinking we will try a fennel, pepper, and anchovy pizza next; won’t that be nice? Ooh, maybe some spinach. I don’t know about the fennel and spinach together.
I also took my final crack at that soup, for lunch, and it will still magnificent. Look, it looks like tomato galaxy.
Of course there were plenty of rather gravid tortilla strips lurking beneath the surface, and lots of shredded chicken. The recipe calls for chicken breast, which certainly shreds easily, but I think I’ll use thighs next time, for a little more flavor.
That’s what one of my kids used to call “spaghetti.”Isn’t that crazy? So much harder to say that “spaghetti” or even “puhsketti” like a normal human child.
Well, I guess the only recipe card I have is the Asian meatballs, which don’t exactly come with a ringing endorsement this week. Maybe you’ll have better luck somehow.
Vaguely Asian meatballs with dipping sauce
Very simple meatballs with a vaguely Korean flavor. These are mild enough that kids will eat them happily, but if you want to kick up the Korean taste, you can serve them with dipping sauces and pickled vegetables. Serve with rice.
- 2.5 lbs ground beef
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed finely
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 head garlic, minced
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped (save out a bit for a garnish)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp ground white pepper
For dipping sauce:
- mirin or rice vinegar
- soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 425.
Mix together the meat and all the meatball ingredients with your hands until they are well combined. Form large balls and lay them on a baking pan with a rim.
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Serve over rice with dipping sauce and a sprinkle of scallions.