Thursday, July 12, 2018

Friday Food: Summer Produce Gluttony

We have been gorging on cherries, black caps, watermelon, cucumbers, and green beans lately, and I'm not even a little bit sorry.


Short version: Chicken, potatoes, green beans

Long version: I had about six minutes to get dinner cooking while Charlie and Jack "watched" Poppy for me on the porch, so I separated the frankly enormous chicken leg quarters the MiL had bought ( while trying not to imagine what those Franken-chickens must have looked like when alive) and filled a big Pyrex dish with them. I seasoned them with salt and herbs de provence, because that's what I found first in the spice drawer.

There was a big cast iron skillet still on the stove from when I had cooked a ham steak earlier in the day, so I filled 2/3 of it with chunked-up new potatoes, the remaining 1/3 with fresh green beans (hooray for green bean season!), doused them both with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and slammed it all in the oven at 415 degrees until done.

Everything is easier when I can run the oven without heating the kitchen up to crazy temperatures.

And when the kids can eat chicken with their hands on the porch. Even little missy there got a bone, hence the big smile. That girl does love her greasy bones.


Short version: Bunless hamburgers, rice, sauteed zucchini and onions with red pepper sauce, cucumbers

Long version: The MiL had pulled out a random jar of red bell pepper paste that had eggplant and stuff in it too. It looked like tomato paste, but tasted like peppers and eggplant. So I stirred some of that into the zucchini. The MiL called this "clever." I just love an easy audience.


Short version: Celebratory London broil steaks, roasted new potatoes, green beans

Long version: We were celebrating because A. and Cubby made it back from New Mexico in the afternoon. Hooray!

I made a sauce for the London broil with thinly sliced onions, some old white wine the MiL wanted me to use up in cooking, plus some red wine, and a chunk of butter.

Do you know this trick of thickening sauces with cold butter? If you add a chunk of cold butter to a liquid sauce off heat and stir it around, the butter thickens the sauce without flour. I actually had to put a chunk in the freezer to chill quickly this time, as all of our butter was room temperature, which does not work.

It was a little too hot to be roasting anything in the oven (story of my life lately), but new potatoes are so delicious roasted that I did it anyway. I did not regret it.

The green beans were from the farmers market, and I am SO HAPPY it is fresh green bean season again. Did I say that already? Well, I am.


Short version: Beachy hamburgers, cucumbers and carrot sticks with curry dip, cherries

Long version: This was our Fun Beach Cookout Dinner. The hamburgers were, shall we say, very flame broiled. This extreme well-doneness combined with the fact that I let the kids eat theirs as sandwiches on some gross "split top butter flavored" white bread A. had bought on their road trip made for some pretty unappealing burgers.

Luckily, with kids, you put enough ketchup on it and they don't care.

The cherries were a bag from the grocery store I had bought that very morning. Because we had finished the bag I had bought from the farmers market on Saturday morning. The bag of grocery store cherries only lasted a day, as well.

Apparently, we can really plow through fresh cherries.

Is it possible to get sick of cherries? I'll do some research and get back to you on that.


Short version: Weird pork things, rice, sauteed bell peppers/mushrooms/onions, steamed carrots and broccoli, green salad, watermelon (with seeds, of course)

Long version: The pork was this really strange and unidentifiable cut labeled "Western style ribs" or something. They were long, thick-cut pieces with a thick layer of fat on one side. I was a bit perplexed as to their actual location on the pig, but it doesn't really matter, I guess.

Sometime in the afternoon I shook some vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder over them for the laziest marinade ever. Then at cooking time, I broiled them, flipping them several times, until they were mostly cooked, at which point I drained off the accumulated liquid from the pan, covered the pork in storebought barbecue sauce, and broiled a few minutes more.

It took me some time to learn that grocery store meat cooked in the oven should never be sauced at the start of cooking, because of all the liquid. That liquid is a major reason I dislike meat from the grocery store. Meat is not supposed to be wet.


My tip: Always add sauce after cooking and draining the juice, to avoid losing all the sauce in a liquid mess in the bottom of the pan. Yuck.

I have discovered that my enjoyment of a meal is in direct proportion to how many different kinds of vegetables I have on my plate. This time, as I made all of mine into a salad, I had seven: bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, and cucumbers. So it was a very enjoyable meal for me, which made a lot of cooking dishes that the MiL then washed. Sorry, MiL.

I also ate a rather impressive quantity of watermelon after dinner. I guess it's not just fresh cherries that are so easy to consume in mass quantities.


Short version: Happy ham steaks, vegetable melange with eggs, raw cucumbers and green beans

Long version: At about 2 p.m., I sauteed a bunch of vegetables (onion, garlic, new potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes) together in olive oil until the potatoes were soft, and dumped it all in a Pyrex dish to be covered with eggs and baked at dinnertime.

Good thing I did that early prep, because my watch stopped at 3:04 p.m. So when A. inquired about dinner, I airily waved him off with, "Oh, it's only three!" only to be informed that actually, it was 4:20 p.m.

Oh. Guess I'd better make dinner, then!

I cracked the eggs on top of the vegetables, put a couple of happy ham steaks (happy because they were real ham from the MiL's brother's pigs, which made me happy, if not the pigs) on a pan, and baked all of it at 400 degrees until done. I also put the ham under the broiler for a few minutes at the end, because ham should have some crispy parts on it.

Charlie will only eat green beans raw, so I gave him and Jack some while I was making dinner. Jack also ate the vegetable melange (do you like my fancy name?), but his brothers will have nothing to do with zucchini. Thus, raw cucumbers.

Then the MiL took the boys to a minor league baseball game in the Small City, and A. and I went on a date to get ice cream. Poppy came too, but she didn't get any ice cream. I had a cone of Perry's White Lightning, which made me both happy while I was eating it and sad that I will not be able to get it in New Mexico. Unlimited tortillas will not quite compensate.


Short version: Sloppy joes, pan-fried sweet potatoes, green salad

Long version: My optimistic plan when I took ground beef out of the freezer was to make barbecue meatballs. That did not happen. Instead, I browned the ground beef with onions and dumped the barbecue sauce right in there. Just like the meatballs! Except . . . sloppy joes.

The MiL had some random pita bread in the freezer that I thought would be good to help the boys contain their sloppy joe meat. That did not work out the way I had hoped. Still meat everywhere. Oh well. Mia always likes sloppy joe meals.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Saturday - Mexican chicken patties, roasted vegs.
Sunday - tuna melts, roasted vegs.
Monday - grilled pork chops, vegs.
Tuesday - Quiche, spinach salad, vegs.
Wednesday - salsa & chicken in crockpot served over rice, with spinach & avocado
Thursday - ate out, on vacation for a few days
Friday - ate out, on vacation
Saturday - will eat out as we are still on vacation