Sorry, I know it’s Friday in Lent, sorry. Check out my meat anyway.
Lately I make four or five large, normal pizzas, and then with the last one I just go a little bit cuh-razy. This time we had two pepperoni, two olive, one cheese, and one with red onion, fresh garlic, anchovies, and pesto ricotta.
GOOOOD stuff. I don’t even want to eat pizza unless is has anchovies on it anymore. Get outta here.
Meatloaf, roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts
Terrifically romantic, I made two meatloaves, but Valentine. Here I demonstrate my method:
I don’t know how people even survived before silicone pans. Actually I remember there was a shop in town, Eaglewood Candies, that used to rent pans. For my eleventh birthday, my mother rented a Garfield pan and spent hours following the pattern of little bloops of frosting to make the design. I hope I said thank you! I do remember her saying, “Never again.”
Speaking of never again, here is the Raw Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze:
And here is how it turned out after cooking:
I’ve taken to adding Worcestershire sauce to my meatloaf, and using red wine rather than milk.Jump to Recipe
To continue or fairy tale-style Valentine’s Day, I cut a bunch of potatoes into discs and roasted them with Brussels sprouts with olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and it was pretty good.
I did cook this in two pans and then combine it in one to finish cooking while the meatloaf cooked. Sometimes I can’t believe someone like me has only one oven.
The original plan was to make deep fried potato blossoms with my onion blossom machine, but an astute reader pointed out that onions turn into blossoms when cut because they are made of rings.
If you cut something that’s not made of rings, it will come out less of a blossom and more of an octopus. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; but I didn’t feel a strong need to make potato octopuses for Valentine’s Day. If I do want to make pork blossoms, I would have to cut the pork into thin slabs and roll them into a spiral and then blossom them. Which I may! But not in Lent.
We didn’t really have dessert, because the house was full of fancy foods Clara had provided for the Valentine’s Day party earlier.
The kids also had parties at school, so I consider them well-valentined this year.
Vegetable lo mein, pork pot stickers, crunchy rice rolls
The plan was chicken nuggets and chips, but I had to run to the store, and I guess it was Chinese New Year. Chinese food at Aldi is actually –well, what’s several steps worse than a crap shoot? I guess just crap. But for some reason, I took a chance on their pork pot stickers, and they were excellent. And cheap! $3.99 for 20, so I got three bags.
I deep fried them and served them with some kind of ginger sauce I had. I also got a bunch of those sweet, crunchy rice rolls they sometimes sell, and I made a big pan of lo mein with sugar snap peas, green peppers, and fresh ginger.Jump to Recipe
I used spaghetti for the noodles, which is not ideal because it’s not wide enough to grab up much of the sauce. But it was a tasty and poplar meal overall. I don’t know why I never thought of this, but I finally bought one of those wire ladle skimming things for deep frying, and it’s made my life SO much easier, at least when I’m deep frying. I also got a nice deep and wide Calphalon pot at the dump, and that helps, too.
Shrimp cocktail, garlic steak, bread and butter, stray lettuce
Mardi gras! Damien was in charge of the menu, so he brought home a bunch of shrimp and steaks. One kid doesn’t like steak, so he made her a bacon cheeseburger. Then . . . he fried the steaks in bacon fat, with whole garlic cloves.
Bad picture, great steak.
Spaghetti, garlic bread
Ash Wednesday. I’m already doing intermittent fasting for weight maintenance, so Ash Wednesday fasting wasn’t that difficult. But I did have to say to a kid who had just sat down with a plate of hot buttered toast heaped with scrambled eggs, “Oh, hey, aren’t you 18?” and that was rough. Then we planned to eat at 5:00 and then book it to 6:00 Mass, but supper was a little late, and then I uh forgot to call one kid, so he ended up having about four minutes to eat before the Communion fast kicked in. I guess I’m just helping sanctify the whole family this year.
Then I had to take a kid to the bathroom during Mass, and that’s how I discovered I had a largish piece of parmesan cheese stuck to my eyelid. I use a fork when I eat, I swear I do.
Beef barley soup, beer bread
Soup day! I know someone who just serves soup all through Lent. I would totally go for that, but my family would murder me. I thought it was a good soup, though. I made it in the Instant Pot and the beef got really tender.
Jump to Recipe
I also made two loaves of beer bread, which is so easy (one bowl!) to make and kind of fun. Here’s a quick video. (Next time I make a food video, I’ll turn off the washing machine first. And the radio. And I’ll take the marbles out of my mouth, and eat my spaghetti with a fork.)
Beer bread is spongy and tender inside, with a crisp, buckled crust outside.Jump to Recipe
The secret ingredient (besides beer) is an entire stick of melted butter poured over the top before baking. I thought the sharp, sour taste of the beer went very well with the slightly sweet, tomatoey soup.
Clara also made a few loaves of strawberry almond bread, which was heavenly. I’ll see if I can snag her recipe.
Quesadillas, chips and salsa
And here we are back at Friday again, what do you know about that?
How do you manage Lenten meals at your house? We generally just tone things down a bit, and I avoid any lavish, extravagant meals; but I don’t push lentils or anything, or avoid cloven-hoofed meats or whatever. I always feel bad about posting food posts on Fridays in Lent, but my brain pan is absolutely full and can’t deal with figuring out something that makes more sense.
Oh, today we begin our Friday Night Mandatory Lent Film Party! I guess I’ll post reviews on Monday like I did last year. Leaning toward The Keys of the Kingdom for tonight’s pick.
Also stay tuned for our new movie podcast episode later today! In this one, we review Rocky and Hard Times, filmed within a year of each other, Sylvester Stallone’s best and maybe Charles Bronson’s, too. Both movies about fighters, but vastly different in tone and otherwise. Podcasts are available to patrons who pledge as little as a dollar a month. If you’re a patron, you should receive a link to the podcast via Patreon every time a new episode goes up.
And here are the cards de recipe for the week.
Meatloaf (actually two giant meatloaves)
- 5 lbs ground beef
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 8 eggs
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup milk OR red wine
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
plenty of salt, pepper, garlic powder or fresh garlic, onion powder or minced onions, fresh parsley, etc.
- ketchup for the top
Preheat oven to 450
Mix all meat, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, and seasonings together with your hands until well blended.
Form meat into two oblong loaves on pan with drainage
Squirt ketchup all over the outside of the loaves and spread to cover with spatula. Don't pretend you're too good for this. It's delicious.
Bake for an hour or so, until meat is cooked all the way through. Slice and serve.
basic lo mein
for the sauce
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
for the rest
- 6 oz uncooked noodles
- sesame oil for cooking
- add-ins (vegetables sliced thin or chopped small, shrimp, chicken, etc.)
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or mirin, which will make it sweeter)
Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
Boil the noodles until slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.
Heat up a pan, add some sesame oil for cooking, and quickly cook your vegetables or whatever add-ins you have chosen.
Add the mirin to the pan and deglaze it.
Add the cooked noodles in, and stir to combine. Add the sauce and stir to combine.
Beef barley soup (Instant Pot or stovetop)
Makes about a gallon of lovely soup
- olive oil
- 1 medium onion or red onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2-3 lbs beef, cubed
- 16 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 6 cups beef bouillon
- 1 cup merlot or other red wine
- 29 oz canned diced tomatoes (fire roasted is nice) with juice
- 1 cup uncooked barley
- salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy pot. If using Instant Pot, choose "saute." Add the minced garlic, diced onion, and diced carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and carrots are softened.
Add the cubes of beef and cook until slightly browned.
Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the beef broth, and the merlot, plus 3 cups of water. Stir and add the mushrooms and barley.
If cooking on stovetop, cover loosely and let simmer for several hours. If using Instant Pot, close top, close valve, and set to high pressure for 30 minutes.
Before serving, add pepper to taste. Salt if necessary.
A rich, buttery quick bread that tastes more bready and less cake-y than many quick breads. It's so easy (just one bowl!) but you really do want to sift the flour.
This recipe makes two large loaf pan loaves.
- 6 cups flour, sifted
- 2 Tbsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 12-oz cans beer, preferably something dark
- 1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 375
Butter two large loaf pans. Melt the stick of butter.
I'm sorry, but you really do want to sift the flour.
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients, and stir in beer until it's all combined and nice and thick.
Pour the batter into the loaf pans and pour the melted butter over the top.
Bake for about 50 minutes until it's crusty and knobbly on top.