In haste! In haste! Oh, what a hurry I am in. Here is what we ate this week:
We were in Boston, as I said. We were running very late and were starving, and really needed just anything to gobble down before the show, and we thought we had found a restaurant, but it turned out to be a nail spa, and I was just about to suggest stopping into a CVS to get some Combos and turkey jerky, when we found ourselves in the outskirts of Chinatown. The Dumpling Cafe was the first restaurant that was open, and there were lots of Asian families eating there, which seemed promising. The menu was long and overwhelming and the clock was ticking, so I chose duck buns at random. An excellent choice.
This is heart’s desire food: Piping hot, sweet and glossy outside, pillowy soft and tender inside, with a rich, savory heart of duck meat, and a tangy, gingery sauce for dipping. Amazing. Moe ordered some kind of seafood thingy and gave me all the bits with visible tentacles. Damien had some kind of pork and crab dumplings that came in a lovely little wooden steamer basket
and were incredibly juicy inside. Clara had some kind of vegetable thing, and Lena had some other kind of dumplings. So nice. So nice. Next time we’re in Boston, we’re definitely going back.
Pasta with Marcella Hazan’s sauce, garlic bread, salad, fruit, Italian ices
Sunday I had signed us up to make a dinner in honor of St. Clare for the Dead Theologian’s Society youth group, and I guess it takes 24 years of practice, but we did manage to go to Mass, run errands, shop, deliver the food, cook, and get a hot dinner on the table for a crowd of youth by 5:15. By which I mean I made a little fuss about how this was my project and I was in charge, and then Damien did most of the work.
I did rinse off some fruit, and it turned out pretty:
Of course there was way way too much food, but we wrapped it up and someone showed us where to leave it to donate it to the homeless shelter, so that worked out well.
Here is where I once again pester you to try Marcella Hazan’s miraculous three-ingredient red sauce that tastes so savory, you’ll think someone is playing a trick on you.
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The other thing to know is to salt your water heavily when you’re cooking pasta, and then scoop out a big bunch of the water before you drain your cooked pasta and keep it handy. Then, after you drain it, you can add some of the hot pasta water back in to keep it from sticking together. Tricks!
We opted for garlic bread made with garlic powder, since this was for the youth group and we didn’t want to terrify anyone with real garlic. (Here’s my confession: I prefer it with garlic powder myself. Or garlic salt. It just tastes good.)
Chicken caesar salad, pomegranates
Grilled chicken on romaine lettuce, freshly-shredded parmesan, caesar dressing from a bottle, cucumbers, and plenty of garlicky, buttery homemade croutons curated from our extensive collection of leftover hot dog buns.
Plenty of pomegranates left over from the Italian dinner. One of my children told me that, when you crack open a bit of pomegranate and unexpectedly find another little row of juicy seeds, he feels like a monkey who’s broken open a rotten log and found a little trove of termites; but in a good way. We’re all poets around here.
Gochujang pork ribs, sesame Brussels sprouts, rice
Haven’t broken out the old gochujang for a while. Used up the old tub and ordered a new one. I made a little sauce with gochujang, honey, sugar, soy sauce, and garlic and let the ribs marinate for several hours.
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One of these days, I’ll make full-on gochujang bulgoki, with the thinly sliced pork and carrots and onions wrapped up in little bundles with rice and seaweed. Boy is that tasty. But pork ribs marinated in the sauce and then broiled to a little char is also pretty good for a Tuesday.
I made the Brussels sprouts by trimming and halving them, drizzling them with sesame oil and sprinkling them with brown sugar, kosher salt, and sesame seeds, and broiling them in a shallow pan. (I broiled the Brussels sprouts most of the way first, then moved them down to a low rack and broiled the pork on the top rack.) They were pretty good. These were small and tender sprouts, and I liked having the sweet vegetables to go along with the spicy meat.
Bagel, sausage, egg, cheese sandwiches
On Wednesday, I succumbed to a sudden, fierce urge to clean out the refrigerator, which was . . . gloppy. You couldn’t pay me enough to show “before” pictures, but here is the “after.”
The entire middle shelf of the refrigerator is cheese. Cheese sticks, cheese balls, cheese slices, cheese blocks, cheese hunks, shredded cheese, and misc. I made only a very small dent in the cheese with the bagel sandwiches. There were also five open jars of pickles that I absolutely refused to put back.
You can also see that we’re slowly replacing original parts with Rubbermaid. Actually Rubbermaid is too rich for our blood; it’s pure Sterilite in there, baby. One of these days, I’m going to take a hot nail and make a hole in the side of the freezer door and string a bungee cord from side to side, and then we’ll have freezer door storage again, too.
We do have a second fridge, but it never helps, somehow. I don’t want to talk about it.
Vermonter sandwiches, chips
A very fine sandwich. A thick slice of grilled chicken, a thick slice of sharp cheddar, a thick slice of tart green apple, some bacon, some honey mustard, and toasted sourdough. Everybody likes meals that start out with this kind of table:
The only trick was, we couldn’t find my amazing apple peeler-corer-slicer machine anywhere. It’s not a very big kitchen, and I crawled all the heck over it, over and over again, and I have no idea where it went. Oh well. It’ll turn up. We survived.
Promised but not delivered last week. Last week, we had fish tacos with pico de gallo, which ended up as a rather pretty plate. Here’s a photo that didn’t make it into last week’s post:
Sour cream, shredded cabbage, fish, cilantro, lime, avocado, hot sauce, pico de gallo.
And my pico de gallo recipe:
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which I didn’t follow because I had thrown out the jalapeños in a snit of some kind or other, and then didn’t feel like chopping tomatoes, so I tried to make it in the food processor, which either I don’t know how to do, or else you can’t do that. So it turned out a little . . . floppy. Floppo de gallo. But it was still better that store-bought salsa, I thought, so there you go.
Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce
We made a quadruple recipe of this for twelve people.
crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes, broken up
peeled and cut in half
salt to taste
Put all ingredients in a heavy pot.
Simmer at least 90 minutes.
I'm freaking serious, that's it!
Gochujang bulgoki (spicy Korean pork)
boneless pork, sliced thin
in matchsticks or shreds
gochujang (fermented pepper paste)
Serve with white rice and nori (seaweed sheets) or lettuce leaves to wrap
Combine pork, onions, and carrots.
Mix together all sauce ingredients and stir into pork and vegetables.
Cover and let marinate for several hours or overnight.
Heat a pan with a little oil and sauté the pork mixture until pork is cooked through.
Serve with rice and lettuce or nori. Eat by taking pieces of lettuce or nori, putting a scoop of meat and rice in, and making little bundles to eat.
Pico De Gallo
quick and easy fresh dip or topping for tacos, etc.
jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced OR 1/2 serrano pepper
fresh cilantro, chopped
Mix ingredients together and serve with your favorite Mexican food