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BBQ at Nana’s house
We had insane-o weather on Saturday — huge gusting winds, spiky hail the size of golf balls, and thunder and rainbows, all at the same time — so we decided not to grill outside. My mother-in-law started making dinner and then had to run out, so she asked my husband to finish cooking. There were hamburgers, marinated steak on skewers, and sausages, and a big pot of homemade tomato sauce. An embarrassment of meats! So he started cooking the burgers and the steak, and put the sausages into the sauce, where they simmered away, making everything all nice and sausagey.
Then she comes back, and guess what? The sausages were for sandwiches, and the sauce was for my vegan brother-in-law, who was bringing pasta.
So my husband had to go out in the rain and the thunder and the wind, and get some more . . . you know, it seemed funnier at the time. To me. Some people did not find it funny even at the time.We were watching Flash Gordon again, too. If someone can explain to me why this has become the summer when we must watch Flash Gordon all the time, I’d be grateful.
Cuban pork, fried onions, cheese and guava on crackers, rice, frijoles, tres leches cake
My friend Elizabeth took a trip to her childhood home of Florida and sent me a gorgeous carton full of foods we normally can’t handle this side of the Mason Dixon line. She also made up a booklet of family recipes, including Pernil o Peirna Asada.
Well, we could have feasted on the smell alone. This dish was heavenly. You have to start it the night before, but it’s easy-peasy-Cuban-squeezy. My ten-year-old daughter did the stabbing and salt-rubbing part. I can lend her to you if you want to make this recipe. She’s tops at stabbing [looks behind shoulder nervously]. Ten is a tricky age.
Here’s the recipe:
-4-5 pork shoulder or ham that is uncured and uncooked (skin on if possible)
-2 cups sour orange, or fresh lemon or lime juice
-1 bay leaf
-2 tsp dried oregano
-2 tsp cumin powder
-2 Tbs salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-20 cloves fresh garlic (yes, 20)
-2 large onions sliced in thin rounds
-1/2 cup of roast dripping
-1/2 cup reserved garlic and citrus sauce
The night before, stab pork all over. Rub salt into holes, all over. May need more than 2 Tbs.
After pork is salted, put citrus, garlic cloves, and seasonings into a blender and combine. This is the mojo. Pour off 1 cup and reserve. Pour remaining mojo over pork and work it into the meat and the holes. Sprinkle with more of the spices listed above, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Let pork stand at room temperature for an hour before roasting. Roast at 325 for 3-4 hours or more (or less!). Do not cover with foil! Should be roasted, not steamed. You can very loosely tent if necessary. Baste hourly with 1/2 cup of the reserved mojo. It’s done when the juices run clear.
When roast is done, combine 1/2 cup of the drippings with the other 1/2 cup of reserved mojo, and sautee with the onions.
Slice meat and pour onions and juice over roast. Serve with black beans, rice, and plantains.
Okay, confession time. I couldn’t find pork shoulder, so I just grabbed the biggest piece of pork I could find. It had no bone and cooked up way faster than I was expecting; so if you’re a recipe scofflaw like me, keep an eye on that meat! It’s so hard to break the habits from our super-poor days, when “make sure you choose the right cut of meat” sounded like it was on the same fancy pants level as “you’ll want to eat this dish with a soundtrack of waves crashing, to bring out the natural flavor of the oysters.” Anyway, wrong cut and all, it was super delicious.
I also bought some plantains to fry up, which I’ve done before, but it was too damn hot.
We also had water crackers with cream cheese and guava paste. The four-year-old watched with towering suspicion as I put these together, and then ran around the house informing everyone that Mama was serving globber for dinner. Guava. Guava. Not globber. Savages.
Dessert was a tres leches cake that I threw together in about six minutes the night before, while I was half in the bag.*
The savages loved it.
*bag of staying up late. I would never.
Chicken nuggets, chips, broccoli and hummus
I was planning to make Cuban sandwiches (grilled sandwiches with layers of sliced pork, ham, cheese, and pickles with mustard) with the leftover pork, but guess what? There warn’t none. It was et.
We talked a little bit about picking some of that lettuce from the garden for a salad, but it’s all the way on the other side of the yard. I can either be virtuous enough to eat salad, or virtuous enough to plant a garden, but not both. You’re welcome, neighborhood rabbits.
Thai sweet bowls with rice and red noodles, mangoes
I’ve seen this episode of Portlandia about four times:
and it was pretty funny (“Show people dying!”), but I couldn’t stop thinking about those Thai Sweet Bowls (although when my son asked what was for dinner, he groaned, “Ohhh, it’s something ending in ‘bowls!'” What does that even mean? Savages.)
Here’s the Thai sweet BOWL recipe I chose. Would they eat anything like this in or near Thailand? No idea. It’s rice topped with cashews, cilantro, scallions, and chicken cooked in soy sauce, and covered with a creamy coconut curry made with fresh mangoes. I didn’t even bother looking for clover sprouts.
I thought it was a swell dish.
Per the comments, I reduced the sugar by more than half, and that was still extremely sweet. It went together very easily, and you could make all the elements ahead of time and then put them together right before dinner.
I also bought some kind of dark red rice noodles at Aldi (it was called “Taste of Thai” or “Dip Your Nippers into Thailand” or “Thai One On” or something), and they were the worst, just the worst. Glad I made rice. Aldi ethnic food has the disturbing tendency to taste faintly bus insistently German, no matter what it is. It’s like they have all the earnest good will in the world, and they’re going to follow the hell out of this Mexican recipe or this Chinese dish, but then . . . something happens, and it’s the wurst, just the wurst. ♪♫Bring your own bags über alles. ♪♫
Hot dogs, fries
I don’t remember Wednesday at all.
Grilled chicken thighs, weirdoslaw, frozen rolls
I had to run errands, so I asked my daughter to make some of her lovely coleslaw. It turned out we were out of (or she couldn’t find) many of the ingredients, so she made up this recipe:
Shredded cabbage, a cup of plain, fat-free yogurt, a cup of sugar, 1.5 cups white vinegar, juice of one orange plus some orange zest. It’s snappy! Very sweet and citrusy. I kept thinking, “Maybe if you added grapes, and apples, and other fruits . . . and then took out the cabbage . . . ”
The rolls, I took three bags of rolls out of the freezer, realized I didn’t have time to thaw them before baking, and then realized that they must have already thawed at some point. They were all in one big slab, and then they re-froze that way. So I put them back in the freezer. There, there, rolls. We’ll talk about this later.
Today is my husband’s last day at his current job, so the plan is for me to stop at the school at pick up the recycling, bring it to the dump, go home, pick up my daughter, bring her to the ear doctor, bring her home, pick up the boys at day camp, bring them home and pick up my other daughter, drop both daughters off at work, and then drive to my husband’s office in the next state so I can finally see his office for the first time! Then we’ll have a beer, and go home. And pick up my other daughter from work. I may settle for just imagining my husband’s office. I hear it’s full of globber.