Food! Still important. Here’s what we had this week:
Birthday girl requested a cookout. We had a luau-themed party (and yes, I realize that a luau is a party, but the decorations were the only thing anywhere close to a luau, and that only in a passing and culturally insensitive way, so I’m calling it luau-themed. I know, nobody cares. I care.), and the kids got up early and made themselves a tiki bar for serving ice cream sodas.
I took the birthday girl and her friends to the beach, where we had it mostly to ourselves, possibly because of the driving rain. This happened last year, too. It’s okay with me.
She wanted the guests to decorate their own cupcakes. This, too, was okay with me!
Cookout for home folks, Columbian feast for me
On Sunday, we went to Mass and, after Damien assured me they would eat food, I just scarpered. I drove down to Revere, which is right outside of Boston on the waterfront, and had a sleepover with my friends. Check it out: Melanie Bettinelli, Elisa Low, and Kyra Matsui.
Oh my gosh, we had so much fun. We found ourselves a tiny little Columbian restaurant called La Esquina del Sabor, where we were welcomed like honored guests. While we waited for our food, they treated us to empanadas and some kind of fried cheese with pineapple sauce
I don’t know what kind of cheese it was — it was sort of sweet and firm, but a little bit runny. Heavenly. I will admit that I didn’t really know what I was ordering, but the whole place smelled so great, I didn’t think I could miss. It turned out to be a kind of Everything Soup
I could identify savory beans and possibly peas or lentils, sausage, big chunks of pork, I think fried plantains, possibly mango, avocado, and shoestring potatoes? on the top, with white rice and a fried egg on the side, and some kind of toasted flat bread. It was wonderful. Wonderful. It made me want to embrace the whole world and then fall asleep in its lap.
So then we stayed up until after 2 am drinking and laughing, slept late, woke up with the salt breeze coming in the windows, and sat on the bed eating baguettes and cheeses and grapes and salami with our coffee, and talking and laughing some more. That grey area in the window on the left is the ocean!
I had to drag myself away eventually, but Elisa and Kyra went on to many more adventures with more friends (and have visited at least two world class museums, so I fully expect another explosion of creativity). And what is the moral of this story? Internet friends are real friends. Oh, yes.
Bagel and egg sandwiches
I got home theoretically in time to make dinner, but all that scarpering wore me out, so the kids made supper. I mentioned ham, but had no takers.
Chicken salad with walnuts and feta
This is how you actually eat that big box of mixed organic greens you keep buying and then not eating and then throwing away, by the way. Don’t plan to have salad on the side; made salad the main course.
I put the chicken breasts in the Instant Pot with salt, pepper, and lime juice and set it to high pressure for about eight minutes, then did a quick release, let the chicken cool, and cut it up.
So we had mixed greens, chicken, diced red onions, toasted walnuts, and feta cheese. I had balsamic vinegar on mine, and it was very good.
Oh, and thanks to whoever suggested toasting nuts in the microwave! So much easier and less perilous than doing in in the oven. I just spread the nuts out on a plate (not even a single layer like you’re supposed to) and set it for two minutes, and they came out perfect. Toasted nuts make salads so much more exciting.
Chicken burgers, fake Pringles, frozen peas
Wednesday, Lucy had her 3-month visit to the endocrinologist. We love our doctors, but man that is a long trip. Happily, she is doing just great. Here she is enjoying a post-visit treat, because diabetes care comes in many flavors.
Chicken fajitas with salsa verde, yellow rice
I used to make chicken fajitas allll the time, a long time ago, and it was my signature Delicious Meal of Great Effort. So I was kind of excited about resurrecting this dish, even though I was just planning to use fajita seasoning packets. And what do you know, I’ve turned into a fancypants. It tasted fine; it just wan’t much to write home about.
I sliced up green peppers, red onions, and chicken breast, and marinated it in the spice mix for a few hours, then fried it up in some oil on the stovetop.
I made soooo much, thinking the kids would go gaga over it. I also thought I’d give them a treat by buying several boxes of that violently yellow “Spanish rice” stuff. Well, they didn’t care! Oh well.
I did make another batch of salsa verde, with tomatillos, onions, jalapenos, and lots of garlic
plus chicken broth, lime juice, a little sugar, and a ton of cilantro. Full recipe at the end.
I let it cook too long and it was very thick, but somehow I muscled through and ate . . . kind of a lot of it on the fajitas, with sour cream.
Fine, I like yellow rice from a box. I like it. I had taken the kids to the long-promised outdoor pool for almost three hours, and I was hongry. Then, after supper, I opened up a speech I’m giving next week, thinking it needed a little tweaking. It needed . . . a lot of tweaking. Thank goodness I ate all that salsa verde, to fortify me.
Pasta and sauce
With a little bit of end-of-summer-panic on the side!
I guess I just have one recipe card to share today: The salsa verde. If anybody knows what kind of Columbian soup that was, hit me up with the recipe! I don’t think my family would eat it, but I just want to know.
- 10-12 tomatillos
- 3 jalapeno peppers
- 10 cloves garlic with wrappers on
- 1-2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
- 3/4 tsp sugar
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 bunch cilantro
- olive oil for cooking
Preheat the broiler.
Put unwrapped tomatillos, whole jalapenos, garlic cloves with wrappers on, and peeled, quartered onions in a shallow pan, and broil until slightly blackened - about 5 minutes.
Let the vegetables cool. Pull the wrappers off the garlic, cut the tops off the jalapenos (but leave the seeds and insides), and trim the ends off the onions.
Put all vegetables inside a food processor, and add a big handful of cilantro and 3/4 tsp sugar. Blend until it's pulpy. It will be runny.
Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan and add the vegetable mixture. Heat, stirring, until it thickens up a bit.
Add 3/4 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup lime juice and continue heating, stirring from time to time, until it thickens up again.