Where would we be without the jus?
Saturday was the kindergartener’s birthday party. Every other year, she’s requested either a Spiderman party or a Frozen party. This year, she wanted both. The house was already pretty hemmed in with Christmas decorations, so we limited ourselves to a birthday tree
here pictured with limited edition Zooming Spiderman; and a snowflake web cake.
I call this cake “You Too Can Learn To Live With a Familiar Tremor.”
The pretty child was pleased.
I had a brilliant idea for an activity: Stained glass cookies. My oldest made this reliable no-chill sugar cookie dough before hand, and the guests had fun sorting and smashing Jolly Ranchers. I recommend triple bagging the candy before smashing it.
For these cookies, roll the dough fairly thick, then use your largest cookie cutters to cut shapes, and then use a smaller one (or a small-necked bottle) to punch out holes in the cookies. Then fill the holes with smashed Jolly Ranchers and bake the cookies on parchment paper. Here’s a pic from a previous year:
One guest was allergic to wheat, so she used the larger bits of Jolly Ranchers and arranged them on parchment paper around wooden skewers. We baked these in a low oven until they were melted and then let them dry, and they made pretty, if blobby, lollipops.
AND THAT’S IT. NO MORE BIRTHDAYS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR. (We do have a birthday January first, but NO MORE THIS YEAR.)
Hot dogs, chips
I had to do the Saturday shopping on Sunday, so hot dogs it warr.
Chicken cranberry pecan salad
This salad is supposed to have greens topped with grilled chicken, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, chunks of green apple, and blue cheese or feta cheese, plus a sweet vinaigrette of some kind. I forgot the cheese and the dressing and was too tired to cut up apples, so it was a little blah.
I cooked the chicken in the Instant Pot, I think 6 minutes of high pressure. I just chucked them in with a bunch of lemon juice. This produced chicken that was definitely cooked, yes it was. Oh well, not my finest hour. Moving along.
Korean beef bowl and rice
Still a winner. I used less brown sugar than the recipe calls for, and had a heavy hand with the ginger. Both improvements.
I served it over rice with chopped scallions and sesame seeds.
French dip sandwiches, baked potatoes, salad
This meal was the high point of the week. Honestly, it was only medium high. Not bad, but not the joyous mouth festival I was anticipating.
I used This Old Gal’s recipe, which calls for pepperoncini, beef broth, and Italian dressing seasoning packets. I don’t normally buy seasoning packets — just a random bit of snobbery, nothing to see here — but I didn’t have the emotional strength to look for a different recipe.
The meat obligingly shredded at the mere touch of a fork (if you like shredded meat, the IP is unsurpassable).
I toasted rolls, and actually toasted them, instead of burning them. I had my sandwich with lots of horseradish sauce and Swiss cheese, but some chose provolone or pepper jack.
Fancily, I dished out the dipping juice in ramekins I got at a yard sale. Sadly, Corrie heard “jus” and drew the wrong conclusions. When she found out it was meat juice, she got over her disappointment quickly and then just went ahead and drank meat juice out her special cup. She’s flexible.
I like this meal, but I think next time beef is on sale, I’ll skip the pepperoncini and just make it savory instead of spicy, maybe using red wine and onions along with beef broth.
There is way more juice than you can possibly use for dipping sandwiches, so I’m not saying you have to crumble your baked potato into the juice and eat it that way, but you might, rabbit. You might.
In closing: “au jus” means “with juice.” You can not serve “au jus” with your sandwiches, unless you also intend to ask for another scoop of “alamode” with your pie. Get it together, America. These are the things that separate us from the animals.
I sauteed boneless pork ribs in a pan and then, once they had cooled a bit, I sliced them thin. Then I used the same pan to cook up some mixed frozen stir fry vegetables. Another pot for ramen, and another pot to boil some eggs. I’ve made this entire meal in the Instant Pot, but that’s a lot of putting in and taking out, and nobody wants that at 6 p.m. on a Thursday when you still haven’t bought stocking stuffers.
We had crunchy noodles, scallions, a few sesame seeds, and hot sauce to sprinkle on top. A very satisfying meal for cheap.
A placeholder meal while I gather strength for the next few days. I keep telling myself I’m feeling better, or at least not getting sicker, but it’s a lurty die. Anyway, alllll my kids are home, Damien has an honest-to-goodness vacation this year, I managed to get some outdoor lights up to make the house look classy
(and discovered you can buy a light timer for $10!) and knocked just about everything else off my Christmas to-do list.
Our Christmas food tradition is a breakfast of cinnamon buns, bacon ($3.33 a pound for bits and pieces, which I actually prefer), grapes, pomegranates, orange juice, and egg nog; and a dinner of — well, there is an excellent Chinese restaurant 3/4 of a mile down the road, and I got nothing to prove.
Egg nog was, like, a dollar an ounce, so we’re making our own this year. Check it out: According to Serious Eats,
A team of microbiologists at Rockefeller University, in what sounds like a late-night-at-the-holiday-party-inspired bit of good science, proved that, at least in lab conditions, given an alcohol content of 20%, eggnog comes out the other end completely sterile after just 24 hours of resting. That’s cleaner than eggnog bought in sealed cartons from the supermarket.
The article above also concludes that egg nog does not actually taste better if you deliberately leave it in the fridge for a year before drinking it. Science!
And I guess that’s it from me until after Christmas! A merry and blessed Christmas to you, my friends. Don’t forget the jus.