Even though this has been a hectic week, what with the book festival (as you read this, I am off to pick up Lierre Keith from Baltimore!), I still managed to get a surprising amount of cooking in. Maybe it was because I intentionally didn’t schedule anything for the evenings, knowing I was going to be wiped out after a day of making phone calls and double checking everything to make sure we were prepared (I hope we in fact are).
Last Friday I made flank steak. I had one from our meat share, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, so I just tried the usual Julia Child recommendation: rub it with salt and pepper and a little soy sauce, and cook it just enough that it doesn’t bleed all over you when you cut into it. Or at least bleed all that much. The method for flank steak, as it is so thin, is to broil it for just a few minutes on either side. You also need to score (cut very shallow lines in) the top so that it doesn’t curl up. I’m wondering if that method would have helped with the brisket.
It still curled a little, but oh well. It wasn’t tough, like I thought it would be. It’s not melt in your mouth like some of the other cuts, but it’s still good.
I also made scallop potatoes, which was always a favorite of mine when I was a kid. My grandmother used to make them from the box, but would also cut up real potatoes and add them in to give it a little more substance. I seem to remember liking the real potatoes the best, as they were a lot less mushy than the ones that came out of the box. I was always fascinated by box scallop potatoes, which, before you cook them, look a lot more like really hard, translucent potato chips, which magically transform to mush when you add liquid. I, of course, made them from scratch, with lots of leftover Colchester potatoes. The process is super simple: slice and parboil the potatoes for a few minutes, then layer them in a dish with a little butter in between the layers. Pour milk, heated to just below boiling, with a little seasoning, over the whole lot, and bake. I also shred cheese on top. Eve’s, of course.
See? Just a little blood. The puppy licks it up when we’re done.
What else? Saturday I had a lovely dinner at a new acquaintance’s house, overlooking the bay (which I must admit was a sight which could easily have outshone the food, but the food was excellent). Sunday I had a little dinner party with my previous neighbors. I think I may continue to call them my neighbors, out of habit, especially as we have intentions of trying to cultivate regular Sunday dinners, so that we can keep seeing each other despite the move. Anyway. I made a ham steak from our buying club, a monstrous thing (in size) that I hadn’t the faintest idea how to cook. I gave that the Julia Child treatment too. Seared on either side on the stove, and then into a roasting pan with wine and a little water (should have been broth but I didn’t thaw any) and spices. It was ok. Kind of dry. Kind of boring, actually. Oh well. If we get another one I’ll just cut it up and put it in soup. There was a lot of debate about whether it actually needed to be cooked or not- it was smoked, but there are apparently two ways to smoke ham, cold and hot. One cooks it, one doesn’t. So we cooked it. If anyone has any better ideas of how to cook enormous inch thick slices of ham (with a bone in the middle), let me know.
I also made my usual butternut squash risotto, in an attempt to use the last of the butternut squash (turned out one of them was rotted), which resulted in using more squash than I actually should have put in (it’s not meant to be very squashy). To round things out, I made green bean casserole with two of the bags of green beans I had stashed in the freezer. But with canned cream of mushroom soup and canned fried onions. See! Even I cheat sometimes! One day I will actually learn to make this from scratch…
Monday and Tuesday were leftover nights. We’re actually finally getting rid of most of the leftovers, which is pretty exciting. I must be getting better at cooking normal quantities of things. Wednesday night I made minestrone. There was going to be zucchini in it, but when I thawed a bag of zucchini I realized the zucchini had some kind of pink coating. I have no idea what that was. But it didn’t look good. So the zucchini went in the trash (with the sad, rotted butternut squash). So this was just kidney beans, pasta, carrots, and tomatoes. And lots of broth, presumably chicken. Very filling, very yummy, very easy to make.
So it’s mostly noodles? Noodles are delicious.
Thursday was more leftovers… and tonight I’ll be eating dinner with Lierre Keith! Yay!