Friday, December 27, 2019

Friday Food: Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my fortieth birthday. Thus far in my forty years, perhaps my greatest accomplishment has been the fact that I've been writing down every single dinner I've cooked for 92 weeks.

Let's continue with Week 93, shall we?


Short version: Pizza, chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream

Long version: This was Jack's choice for his birthday meal, but it was two days late because this was when we had time to do it.

I made one cheese pizza, and one with spinach and green onion on it, plus half of that one had bacon and anchovy paste. And I didn't oversalt it this time. Yay me.

The chocolate cake was Great-Great-Grandma Bishop's cake, which I appreciate especially for the fact that the recipe as written makes only one 8-inch cake pan of cake. That's all we need for our family. More than we need, actually. A two-layer cake would be complete overkill.

I figured you needed a picture of the latest Ugly Cake.

A new low.

I was kind of amazed that Jack identified the 5 on his cake while I was putting the chocolate chips on. That was quite a feat given that he's just recently learned his numbers and that is a really whacked-out 5.


Short version: Elk, rice, green salad

Long version: I had been planning on making something a bit more involved, but it ended up being a very busy day with animals and outdoor things and I didn't get in the kitchen to make dinner until almost 5 p.m. I had already trimmed and sliced the elk, so I just cooked it quickly with some random spices. Nothing exciting, but everyone was fed in a timely fashion, so yay me.


Short version: Mexican elk and rice skillet, green salad

Long version: Diced elk, leftover rice, cheese, salsa, and Mexican spices. And this time, the very exciting addition of some frozen corn I bought for the children. Ever the indulgent mother, that's me.


Short version: More elk, bread and butter, frozen garden green beans

Long version: We went to the Big Town this day and I bought some pork chops for dinner, knowing I would be tired and would want something quick-cooking. And also maybe to have a break from trimming elk meat.

Then the pork chops somehow got left at the store. We weren't going to be driving 180 more miles to retrieve six pork chops, so it was on to Plan B, which I did not actually have planned. Serious bummer.

There was a big bag of thawed but untrimmed elk in the refrigerator waiting on A. to make jerky, so I trimmed some of that and seared it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. It was okay. As was the rest of this very hasty meal.


Short version: Elk and potatoes, green salad

Long version: A. made jerky this day, and with the meat he trimmed while he was cutting the elk for jerky, he made some elk with chili. It was just elk, garlic, salt, and red chili paste. After it had cooked down, though, it was too salty. So I added some diced potatoes to it, along with some more water, and cooked that until the potatoes were cooked and had absorbed all the liquid and excess salt.

It turned out pretty well, though I did add some sour cream to the kids' bowls to tone down the chili a little bit.


Short version: Merry Christmas! Have some rolled food.

Long version: Tamales are a very traditional Christmas meal in New Mexico. I love tamales, but they're always too spicy for me. So I figured I would make my own, exactly the way I want them. I found the corn husks in the tiny grocery store ten miles away.

The filling I made from beef rib meat and our own roasted green chilis, chili powder, cumin, salt, and a lot of paprika. The beef ribs don't fall apart like a pork shoulder or something would, so I put all of it in the food processor for a minute to get properly shreddy.

I used these instructions for the masa part of the tamales and the assembly. If you look at that, you will see why tamales taste so good: fat. The masa is almost four cups of corn flour and a cup and a quarter of fat. I used a combination of beef tallow that had rendered out of the ribs, and sheep tallow that we've had around since last spring.

Maybe a quarter of my tamales sort of fell apart while cooking, but the rest were incredibly good. Like, really, really good. Like, restaurant good.

Not to congratulate myself too gratuitously, but they were SO GOOD. They are most certainly time-intensive and somewhat tricky, but definitely worth it for a special occasion. I feel a tradition being born.

Tamale bouquet in a pot.

I also made a chocolate roulade, which is a thin, flourless chocolate cake rolled around whipped cream. This is not a cake I would make on a regular basis. There's a pot on the stove for a ganache, severely beaten egg whites to lighten the ganache, baking the cake, cooking the cake, whipping the cream, rolling the whole cake around the whipped cream, and sifting cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

It's a process. But it is also worth it. This cake is fabulous, and worth it every once in awhile. Like the tamales.


Short version: Elk, roasted potatoes, roasted bell pepper/ onion, green salad

Long version: When we were at the FFA Christmas dinner/program, the elderly gentleman who owns the mechanic's garage we bring our cars to stood up to let everyone know he had a truck parked in the lot with boxes of potatoes for anyone who wanted them. I don't know why he had the potatoes--he also donates pumpkins to every child at the school every Halloween, so he must have some connection to a farm--but we certainly took advantage.

We got three boxes of potatoes. They're Idaho potatoes, and they're HUUUUGE.

Teaspoon for scale.

Obviously, I have a lot of potatoes to use. I only needed to peel and dice two of those potatoes to make enough roasted potatoes for all six of us.

The MiL one time, after laboriously peeling all the tiny potatoes left from our potato harvest, drolly proclaimed that a bunch of tiny potatoes ought to be called "an irritation of potatoes." She would appreciate these potatoes. I do.

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


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!
S - shepherds pie, garlic bread, sautéed mushrooms & spinach
S - out after church - so, cheese, crackers, pepperoni, cashews
M - zucchini pizza, roasted potatoes & carrots
T - Christmas potluck - the roasted vegetables I took were a big hit. Thanks for the idea!
W - Christmas buffet
T - pizza, zucchini & spinach sautéed, chips
F - not sure yet

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Linda: It's funny how people zero in on any kind of healthy food that isn't raw vegetables. I mean, crudite platters are good, but cooked vegetables are better.

mil said...

Happy Birthday! And let the tamales become a tradition!

Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday! I read the blog faithfully and often think that my mother would have liked a particular entry or photo of the children. Mary in MN

sheila said...

Happy Birthday!

Lindsay C said...

Happy Birthday Kristin! I hope that your husband made dinner tonight or at least offered to do all of the dishes! ;)
p.s. How are the kids loving the new computer?

What were some of the items on the kiddos Christmas lists this year? I find it so interesting how kids from different areas of the country have different favorites! :)

Gemma's person said...

Happy Birthday to an incredible mom , wife and woman. I am amazed how much you get done and raise the kids to be normal. Well, what used to be normal.

Daisy said...

Impressive! I haven't been here in a while, so I don't know the story of the elk meat. I'll take a few minutes and browse!
Without a full week's menu, I can tell you that we visited the nearby meat market (everyone should have a nearby meat market) on Christmas Eve Day because they always have a barbershop quartet and often host Santa Claus. We had filled our Frequent Buyer cards, so we had earned a package of bacon, a lb. of ground chuck, and a really amazing ring bologna. With my frozen and canned garden veggies, that will feed us for a while.