Here we are in filet of October. The weather has finally turned, the leaves are following suit, and while the pace is definitely faster than I'm used to, I love most of it. Some of the soccer practices, I can live without. But the running around outside? The rejuvenated dog? The boys who think raking is fun? Hot chocolate but no bulky blankets at football games? I live for this.
Monday: Leftover pork, rice, and probably beets, I have a bunch to roast.
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday, naturally.
Wednesday: Dad's choice. Mama's working. (Hah! That will mean chicken nuggets and pretzels for the kids, and Trader Joe's mac and cheese for dad. Betcha $1.) Though I have had requests for lasagne for dad and pesto quinoa for kids, so I will try to do that if I can get my act together before then.
Thursday: riffing from a Trader Joe's sample: TJ's bratwursts in a skillet with apples and onions, cooked down in spiced cider, mashed potatoes, something vegetably (wish me luck, if you read here much at all, you know "riffing" is not a strong point for me)
Friday: we scatter to the winds. One to a birthday party, the rest probably to the football game, either way: not much cooking for me, and probably leftovers if anything.
Also: our CSA has been very eggplant heavy so I was happy to see this recipe in Mark Bittman's dinner party matrix. Because I love my eggplant tomato sauce, but I have had enough of that. And I love it grilled, but grilling season is mostly over. And I'm eager to try the minty eggplant dip of Catherine Newman, but I am a ninny about guessing how to change things and don't have a broiler. So I might try the chickpea and eggplant stew recipe...we'll see. But I'm not losing another eggplant, that's for sure. Too yummy. So of course in making the NYTimes recipe I got distracted and forgot to dredge in flour, so now I feel incompetent to make a real judgement call on the recipe. Maybe it would have held together a little better with the flour, but as is, it worked. But--I would feel like someone who tried to serve it to me for a main dish (if that person was not a known vegan) would have some nerve. But it was a fine Chinese-ish style preparation with just enough kick to interest my hubans.
Meanwhile, last week I ran out of time to make the pork on its designated night and tried a chicken stir fry instead. I got the (raw) stir-fry sliced chicken at my market (yay, no touching raw meat) and used the Trader Joe's frozen stir fry veggies. After casing a few recipes, I fried the chicken in oil, added veggies, and when done, tossed in about a tablespoon of hoisin and a few tablespoons of soy sauce. And to my immense shock, my older one loved it, especially the edamame. So that's exciting: another easy freezer meal that 3/4 will eat. Wahoo! (And at least the picky one will eat rice.)
Interestingly (well, to me, anyway), I made the Chinese carnitas again and I seem to recall this is the second time that I have had a hard time getting it down to the sticky, dark brown glaze that the photo shows. The first time I made it, I was beating myself up for not reading carefully and boiling (lid on) for the first 90 minutes, and I think I turned it down for the next 90. But that was the only time I got it to the sticky glaze point. I also think I used 4lbs of bone-in ribs and swore I'd never make that mistake again, because the meat was so good we wanted more. But I think maybe with more meat (I used 3+ lbs of bone in, and 1 lb of boneless, which I didn't think would throw it off) it's harder to get that glaze. It's not a disaster; it's still really good pork, even without the glaze. But the glaze was the "so good it will make you cry" part of the original post. Without the glaze, it's just a stovetop version of my awesome crockpot pork roast with ginger. Sigh.
The lunchbox challenge remains challenging. At least I have one child who likes the same thing every day; the other one gets tired of things quickly. No sandwiches, no peanuts, no tree nuts, no hummus. And it has to be something he can eat fast because he cannot wait to get outside. So. There is that. He raved about a certain yogurt, put three multipack cartons in my cart at the store, and I thought, fine, that's easy, and one excellent lunch choice down...and halfway through the first carton, he was done. Booo. He might come back to them. He might not.
So, for more impressive menus, try I'm an Organizing Junkie! and check back here for my cooking misadventures to see how the week goes.