Lots of firsts this week- first potatoes, green tomatoes, eggplant, and basil of the season, for us anyway. This week was sort of the last week of normalcy before the prep for my little sister’s wedding (in my backyard!) kicks into high gear, so I planned a few more complicated/labor intensive meals knowing that things are gonna be too crazy to cook like this in the next two weeks.
Fried Green Tomato and Bacon Sandwich, Pesto Potato Salad with Hard Boiled Egg. I fried up some bacon, then sliced the green tomatoes, dipped them in beaten egg, and then in a mix of half flour and half cornmeal, and fried them in the bacon grease. The bacon and tomatoes on thick-sliced brioche with a swipe of mayonnaise is pretty much as good as it gets, I think. The potatoes were cubed and boiled, then tossed with basil pesto and some chopped hard boiled egg. I liked it, but next time I’m going to toss the hot potatoes with a few splashes of vinegar before dressing them with pesto because they needed an acid.
Chou Family Potstickers, Chinese Cucumber Salad, Rice. China dinner! I’ve been wanting to try to make potstickers for forever, but have been intimidated by the process. But reading through this recipe made it seem pretty easy, and China was next on our list of country dinners, so I went for it. The recipe is a good one, but is flawed in the instructions for rolling out the dough- it calls for cutting the dough into 4 sections and rolling each into a log 5 inches by 1/2 inch in diameter, which doesn’t make sense for 4 cups of dough (there’s way more dough than that). So my first few dumplings used way way too much dough. It takes so little, maybe about a teaspoon, to make the 3″ round wrapper for the dumplings. Once I got the hang of it, it was a pretty simple process, but it took for-fucking-ever to shape them all. I thought the taste was great though, and I got to freeze half the uncooked dumplings to cook another time, so I’m happy with the process overall, I think. My friend Raven said a rice porridge and a jellyfish/cucumber salad would be traditional accompaniments to potstickers, but you’ll notice I flaked out and did a plain old cucumber salad and regular steamed rice. Everybody loved everything, though! Except for George, but he doesn’t like anything (except for *spoiler alert* risotto).
Thai Salad with Grilled Eggplant and Sesame Noodles. The linked recipe uses skirt steak, but I subbed eggplants for the meat. I brushed sliced eggplant with the marinade just before tossing them on the grill (brushed instead of tossed in the marinade to ensure that all the pieces got coated, otherwise the first few might’ve soaked up all the liquid). I grilled them until they were nice and brown and then chopped them up a bit more. I liked it! The eggplant is nice and meaty, and the warm/grilled bits were great with the mountain of cilantro and sesame noodles.
Beef Fajitas, Beans, Guacamole. It’s been raining here all week, and maybe all month? But the clouds parted long enough for me to grill up some skirt steak for dear ole Andy. I love the super simple marinade from the linked recipe (that torta is good too!). Beans and guacamole, I’m sure you’ll recognize, dear reader, are my favorite accompaniments to anything vaguely Mexican.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Rosemary, Lemon, and Walnuts. Henry’s, and possibly George’s, favorite dinner. People say they’re scared of risotto, because of all the stirring, I think. But it really doesn’t bother me much. George was super clingy while I was making this so I had to pull a stool up next to the stove and nurse him while I stirred. I didn’t mind because I like sitting so very much. Anyway, risotto. Saute the allium of your choice (I usually use onion instead of leeks because it’s what I’ve got), add the rice, skip the wine if you don’t have it (I never have it), and ladle in a half cup of hot chicken stock at a time, stir and add more as the rice absorbs it, repeat for 25 minutes or so, until the rice is just cooked. The butternut is grated and added at the same time as the rice, and it magically melts into the risotto and makes it creamier and gives it a subtle sweetness that works great with the parmesan and other garnishes. Henry ate three bowlfuls, and George finished his serving, making it pretty much the only meal that he’ll eat from start to finish.
Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Lemon Sauce, Sausages. It was late Friday afternoon and Henry and I were talking about dinner. I told him we were going to have roasted spring onions with sage pesto and a big kale salad. His response: let’s have pancakes and sausages. Well ok! We didn’t have any syrup, so Henry and I made a blueberry syrupy thing for them instead. He said it tasted like gummies (highest possible compliment) and we ate every last drop. Henry loves sausages so much that he said he wants his sixth birthday to be a sausage party, where you just eat sausages all day. His fifth birthday party is to be a bowling one, if you’re keeping track.
Avocado Toast, Northern Spy’s Kale Salad. I ate the spurned kale salad my own self for lunch the next day, along with avocado toast. It is a truly delicious salad, kale though it may be. For the avocado toast, here’s how I roll: toasted bread/smear of whole grain mustard/sliced avocado/squeeze of lemon juice/drizzle of olive oil/flaky sea salt/cracked black pepper. I think it’s just wonderful. The fellas ate ham sandwiches and potato chips.