I wasn’t planning on buying more bulk tomatoes at the farmers’ market this week, but then Kubena Farms had 15 lbs for $20, which was half of what I’d spent on my first round and too good a deal to pass up. These were so good, and had so few seeds that I got 11 pints of canned crushed tomatoes out of them. I’ve fallen further down the canning rabbit hole and when it came time to plan yesterday’s shopping list, I found myself listing canning projects instead of menu plans. I don’t know what exactly I love about it. I think it might be the Little House on the Prairie-style romanticism with stocking your own larder. From Little House in the Big Woods:
“Now the potatoes and carrots, the beets and turnips and cabbages were gathered and stored in the cellar, for freezing nights had come.
Onions were made into long ropes, braided together by their tops, and then were hung in the attic beside wreaths of red peppers strung on threads. The pumpkins and the squashes were piled in orange and yellow and green heaps in the attic’s corners.
The barrels of salted fish were in the pantry, and yellow cheeses were stacked on the pantry shelves.”
Yes, that. I want all of that. Here’s what we ate this week.
Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Caprese Salad, Crispy Potato Skins. I thought eating all these things together was weird. Caprese salad doesn’t go with mashed potatoes. I don’t know why I do these things. I saved the peels from the potatoes and tossed them with oil and salt and pepper and roasted them with the chicken for a crispy little snack that would have been delicious had I not burned them 😐 I also under cooked the mashed potatoes and they were lumpy and I didn’t add enough butter and this dinner just blew, honestly. So, yeah. Food bloggin’, y’all!
Crispy Thai Pork with Cucumber Salad. I learned about this recipe from Last Night’s Dinner, who has sung it’s praises all over social media. She’s right on all accounts. It’s easy as can be and outrageously good. I was so hungry when I was cooking it that I went a little weak in the knees at the smell of the ground pork sizzling in a hot pan with tons of garlic. If Emeril Live was still a thing that anyone thought about I would quote his “pork fat rules” catchphrase. But it’s not, so forget I said anything about that.
Sweet Corn Lasagna with Mascarpone and Basil. This picture ended up with one of those soap-opera blurry filters somehow. Probably some kid was sucking on the camera end of my phone again and I didn’t notice in time to clean it. But it’s appropriate for this recipe because it’s a Giada De Laurentiis one, and she’s got a sort of hazy soap opera vibe too. I find her objectionable. I can’t put my finger on why. Because she seems really fake and happy? Fake-ly happy? Too bougie? That’s probably a big part of it. Eat the rich and all that. Anyway, I don’t like her, but back when I had cable I loved her show. The food was pretty and the sound editor was really great. I loved hearing her crack open a head of garlic. This lasagna is really delicious and easy. You blend up corn with cream and mascarpone and basil, and layer this sauce with lasagna noodles and still more cheese. We ate it with a green salad with a lemony vinaigrette and the tart dressing was great with the sweet pasta.
Chicken Fajita-Esque Tacos, Beans. Central Market always runs out of regular ole flour tortillas by late Sunday evening, and you’re left with a choice of all the reject kinds- spelt and multi-grain and other things too horrible to contemplate. I chose these southwestern ones as the least objectionable option, but they were actually pretty great for these fajita-like tacos. I shredded leftover chicken and tossed it into a pan with sliced green bell pepper and onions that I had softened and crisped in a little oil. With the chicken I added a splash of stock, a little cumin and coriander and chile powder and just heated it though. We ate them with pepper jack and guacamole and sliced jalapenos.
Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. Henry and I made a summer wishlist of all the stuff we hope to do in the next few months. Henry wants to see fireworks and go to a baseball game and go bowling. I want to go camping at Enchanted Rock so we can see the Milky Way and eat s’mores. I asked Andy what he loves about summer and he said eating hot dogs off the grill. He’s so easy. We ate these with my first (successful) batch of fermented dill pickles. I had tried before with a small batch of cucumbers from the garden, and the recipe said that they’d be ready in 3-4 weeks. I let ’em go two before tasting them and they were overdone and too salty. A friend had a huge pile of cucumbers from her garden so she gave them to me and I tried again. This time I tasted the pickles much earlier, and found that they were completely perfect after just about a week of fermenting- they taste like regular pickles except there is a little tiny bit of something effervescent about them, which is such a fun quality for food to have. We also topped our hot dogs with a homemade dill pickle relish from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s book (so easy!) and everyone loved it. George called it candy and ate spoonful after spoonful of the stuff off his half-hot dog and left the dog and bun untouched.
Strawberry Buttermilk Celebration Cake. What an amazing week. We spent Friday celebrating marriage equality with rainbows and basking in facebook’s warm glow. Cake seemed the thing to do, and rainbow cake at that, but I didn’t know how we’d come up with all the colors we’d need to decorate. Opening the pantry solved that. We had checked out a book from the library that mentioned a girl finding a prize in her box of cereal. Henry had to know what that was about (we stick to the more hippie cereals that never have prizes inside), and once he was filled in, I said he could pick out a box of cereal with a prize inside the next time we went shopping. He picked froot loops because they came with an Avenger’s flyer. Anyway, they were just perfect for our purposes. (PSA that you shouldn’t put froot loops on top of your cake, though. They get bizarrely soft and chewy). So much love to every one of you!
LOVE the rainbow cake!
re: Giada – I think it’s the VERY BIG SMILE attached to a VERY SMALL PERSON which makes her look crazed. I like her in Next Food Network Star though. Yes, I watch that (hanging head in shame)
I love your successes, and it’s comforting to be reminded that the failures are normal too, and certainly not a road block for even bigger successes! Cook on, sister.