Happy fiftieth birthday, What’s For Supper!
Totally by coincidence In your honor, we had not one but three parties this week, with probably a literal ton of delicious food. Here’s what we had:
Chicken Negimaki; Garlic fried rice
Mr. Husband back in the kitchen where he belongs.
This meal was ridiculous: Japanese Chicken Negimaki from Mark Bittman at the NYT. You pound chicken breasts flat, simmer some scallions in a savory sauce, and then wrap the chicken around the scallions, baste the whole thing with a glaze, and grill it up, then squeeze some limes over everything.
Crazy juicy and flavorful. Lots of preparation, but not too many ingredients, and not a lot of cooking time.
While he was cooking this, I made the fried rice, which I’ve never made before. I used this recipe for Japanese Garlic Fried Rice from Bear Naked Food, and, look, I added chunks of ham, because I like chunks of ham in my fried rice. I just had regular New Hampshire person’s white rice, so I cooked it up in the morning and let it chill in the fridge before frying it, hoping to keep it more firm.
The flavor was nice; the texture was acceptable, but I really need a wok. I bought mirin, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and more sesame oil just for this recipe.
The scallions, though, were FREE.
Why, you ask? Because last time I used scallions, I threw the chopped-off root ends in a cup of water and set them on the windowsill. They grew like magic. It was ridiculous. I think it’s ridiculous that anything ever grows, to be honest. I mean, where does it come from? What the heck? How do water and sunlight and time turn into new cells? But this was even more magical, because it happened super, super fast, from little one-inch stubs to a bunch of full-sized scallions in about a week. Crazy, man!
Well, I bought more scallions anyway, and didn’t use the home-grown magic ones. I was afraid they would be, like, makani ma nsibila scallions, and they would make our bellies blow up with an unholy wind that comes from nowhere and drags you back there with them, if you eat the magic sorcery scallions from nowhere.
Scallions are cheap. I bought more scallions just in case, and I’m not sorry.
A few months ago, I made the mistake of telling my four-year-old how I once had a little paper umbrella from a Chinese restaurant, and my father told me not to hold it out the car window, because it would blow away. But I didn’t listen, and it did blow away, and I was so sad.
My daughter (the only person I’ve ever known who felt sorry for cartoon Bad Prince John in Robin Hood, because he was calling for his mother, and did he ever get back together with his mother???) has been worrying about that umbrella ever since then. Sometimes we’ll be folding laundry or watching a show about manatee conservation, and she’ll look up suddenly and say, with a little catch in her voice, “Mama, someday I hope you get anuvver paper umbrella like you used to have.” So I got a bunch of paper umbrellas.
Don’t need no intergenerational tragic childhood ghosts around here, no how.
Cookout with BACON INSANITY BREAD for lunch, burgers and chips for supper
Sunday was my little niece’s baptism! I was really stumped for a side dish to bring, until I happened upon a recipe with a really annoying name: “Cracked Out French Bread.” We called it “Bacon party bread” instead, which isn’t terribly inventive, but at least it doesn’t make me feel like I should be paying reparations every time I say it.
You make a loaf of garlic bread and toast it, and then you spread it with a topping of shredded cheese, ranch dressing, and chopped bacon, and then you bake it again until everything’s melted. We used pepper jack cheese, and made a quintuple recipe. This is a food over which to lose your mind.
(Check out little blondie nephew on his tip toes at the food table.) This recipe is definitely going into the file for future parties.
That was for lunch. When we got home, I discovered a whole extra pound of bacon in the fridge, so we made bacon cheeseburgers. Look, we’re bulking up for winter, what do you want.
Oh, here is a picture of one of my other nieces and Corrie.
Brr, little girls. Good thing there were more juice boxes, or there would have been blood.
Monday was Labor Day, so we visited a wonderful gorge. I haven’t been to a gorge for many a year, so I wasn’t sure how it would go. The previous week, I had had the following conversation with a dad at the school:
Him: Hey, got any plans for labor day?
Me: Oh, we’re going to Such-and-such Gorge. I dunno, it’s a gorge.
Him: I haven’t been there.
Me: I haven’t either, but it’s a gorge, so how bad could it be?
Him: Ha ha, I guess so. Well, I hope you have a good time. [starts walking away]
Me: [for some reason shouting after him as he retreats]: IT’S A GORGE; HOW BAD COULD IT BE?
It wasn’t bad at all. We liked the gorge. Then we came home and had pizza.
Chorizo tortellini soup; Beer bread
The leaves are changing color here, so I decided it was probably cool enough to start making soup again. It wasn’t. It was hot and stickily and swampily humid. The soup (recipe here) was pretty good, though. I used a mild chorizo, which always startles me with its oozing profusion of blood-colored grease. Anyone know if the Chorizo Promotional Council is hiring?
Anyway, the slightly nutmeg-ish flavor of the sausage went very nicely with the ricotta in the tortellini. A good soup, which I will make again when it’s not a sauna in here.
Also note my beloved Loch Ness Ladle, which my 17-year-old daughter gave me for Christmas:
My 18-year-old made the beer bread using this recipe. It’s more bread-like than many quick breads, and I don’t even want to think about what kind of idiot you’d have to be to screw it up, it’s so easy. And you pour melted butter over the top before you bake it, just in case.
In other news, I’ve been watching what I eat lately. This marks a distinct contrast to my previous plan, in which I shut my eyes and use a funnel.
Small Group Cookout; Caprese salad
We were supposed to bring a side dish. The one thing that really grew well in our garden was basil, so I made a little caprese salad. I was too lazy to make a balsamic reduction, so I made a tray of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and sprinkled it with sea salt and fresh-ground pepper. I AM SO FANCY.
I was also too lazy to make bruschetta, so I just sliced up some bread. Most of the guests were kids, and they thought the sliced bread was amazing.
School cookout; Even Bigger Caprese Salad with Some Lami
The caprese salad from the other day wasn’t really a howling success, but I was getting a little burnt out with all the socializing and the recipe-thinking and the platter-bringing, so I made an even bigger tray of the same stuff, plus some assorted crackers and a pile of salami.
Every last bit got eaten this time, so you never know.
In closing, I would like to say that “RhymeZone” suggests, as a near rhyme for “fifty,” the word “kidney.” That’s what kind of world it is.
Okay, let’s hear your menus for the week! Also, tell me about your favorite foods to bring to a cookout or potluck. Tell, tell! If you’re blogging, feel free to leave a link in the comments.