tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal


You Never Can Tell

Good Evening, E!

Last weekend we tried to go for something simple... and somehow went overboard. How typical!

N came home with my favorite rosemary bread and a few types of cheese. You brought homemade plum chutney. The plum chutney went well with the Mt. Townsend Creamery Seastack.

cheese and chutney
cheese & plum chutney

I came home with figs, goat cheese, and culatello. I craved prosciutto wrapped figs. Last time I made them it was a mess. I found a suggestion on a blog to use a melon baller on the figs and then mix the fig innards into the goat cheese and use that as the filling. I tried that and it was much neater. If only I hadn't left them under the broiler too long! Thankfully they were still tasty.

figs & culatello
figs & culatello

As for dinner... well. Maybe it's best not spoken about. The steaks were cooked well but the meat was from "a working cow" as G put it. They looked good and marbled. Ah well. The leftovers were great on a sandwich later in the week.

N made rotkraut using this recipe. The only modification he made was to cut the red wine vinegar with some apple cider vinegar because my homemade red wine vinegar is a little under-acetic. It turned out really tasty!

E's plate

I massaged some kale for a raw kale salad. I destemmed the kale, tossed it with some kosher salt, olive oil, and lemon juice and then I rubbed it down. It helps break down the fibrous kale.

I tossed the massaged kale with tomatoes and a dijon vinaigrette and served it with mandarin oranges on the side. I had at least two servings of kale salad. I love kale.

catan 1
settlers of catan, first game

On Thursday, N said he was looking forward to playing Settlers of Catan (BGG), so I knew we were going to play it AGAIN.

He won the first game handily. I had an awful game and got completely creamed.

As for the second game, it was really close. I think all four of us were close. I really thought I was going to be able to pull out a win.

catan 2
settlers of catan, second game

Alas, you got it! Did you know that there is a Star Trek: Catan? I think the idea of a Klingon ship as the Robber is awesome.

While there was a bit of extra-curricular discussion on our end of the table about - what else?! - yarn, N pulled out Diplomacy (BGG) and punched all of the pieces out of the cardboard. N also showed off his non-cubic dice and he and G had a discussion about D&D. Really.

What, everyone doesn't have yarn on the dining table?
yarn table

A few rounds of Uno and the night was done for. Thanks for the plum chutney!

A catalog from Williams-Sonoma arrived in the mail this week, full of Halloween and Thanksgiving ideas. I'm ready for fall. Pumpkin and gingerbread all around!


Double Rainbow Birthdays

Good morning, E!

Last weekend we celebrated April birthdays and tax day. I opted for something low-effort since N is working on the bug restoration and I knew you were bringing birthday cake! (can't we just have cake for dinner?)


I picked up some ribeye medallions which N grilled on the Big Green Egg, adding just the tiniest bit of mesquite smoke.

For green side, I had vaguely planned to make Sass & Veracity's Kale and Apple Salad with Bacon and pecans but I had some green cabbage in the fridge that I wanted to use. I looked around the food blogs and found shutterbean's recipe for Kale, Cashew, & Mint Slaw which sounded promising, so I started there, intending to switch up the dressing.

It turned out that I kept the dressing but made a couple of other modifications. I added granny smith and gala apple slices tossed in lemon juice to the slaw. I had a hard time finding the type of cashews I wanted, but I found Sahale Snacks Sing Buri cashews and picked them up as a backup plan. I ended up using the seasoned cashews in the slaw, which gave an extra citrus element (pineapple) along with some spice (Chinese chile) plus sesame seeds to the slaw.

If I made this slaw again (and I will) but with plain ol' cashews, I would be sure to add additional citrus, chili, and sesame seeds to the dressing.

N also grilled some asparagus to go along with the steaks and slaw, though he and G were disappointed that I vetoed baked potatoes!

You brought red velvet birthday cake that I hope you'll write more about! It was delicious and N really enjoyed the difference between the icing between the layers versus the icing on the outside of the cake.


Thank you!

I wanted to play a real game but I was vetoed and we played stupid-ass Uno again. Maybe that's why I came back from behind and won. I keep thinking if I keep winning, maybe they'll stop picking Uno... but I think I am going to have to hide the cards.

As for next time, I'm thinking about something along these lines:

piggy wiggly

We shall see...


Mismatched Memorial Meal

Dear E,

Memorial Day weekend in Seattle doesn't bring with it the same "it's summer!" feeling as it does on the east coast... but the weather was nice, you requested fru-fru drinks (that we were happy to supply and enjoy!), and N smoked some beef!

mai tai
N's mai tais

N made a pitcher of mai tais with the appropriate garnish. I love maraschino cherries more than one should!

Early Saturday morning, N prepped a grass-fed brisket and the big green egg. He was a little worried and skeptical, having never smoked a brisket before (other than as pastrami). He went for the simple seasoning -- salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika -- and smoked it with oak wood for a few hours. It ended up tasty with a slightly over soft texture. Definitely passable -- I liked it.


Along with the brisket, I made a pea salad. I had been daydreaming about a light pea salad for a week and I happened across this recipe which sounded promising.

pea salad
pea and radish salad

I swapped out the feta for ricotta salata and added some baby greens instead of the pea tendrils. N didn't like the salad -- he said it needed to be either sweet or savory but walking the line of both wasn't doing it for him. I think feta would have been better than ricotta salata. I thought it was a refreshing salad.

Along with the brisket and pea salad, I made a semi-southern style potato salad.


I didn't really like how it came out. I made a few changes to my family recipe -- left the skins on the potatoes, added bacon and diced dill pickles, used a lot less celery, and swapped half of the mayonnaise for sour cream and vinegar. It ended up too sweet for my taste.

We even attempted a new game this weekend, Amun-Re (BGG)!

amun re

The week after we played Ra, N did some searching on boardgamegeek and discovered Amun-Re, also designed by Reiner Knizia. He thought Amun-Re sounded like a good game and ordered it... or so he thought. Instead, Priests of Ra (BGG) appeared on our doorstep. Oops! I flexed my superior internet ordering skills and ordered Amun-Re for him.

Amun-Re is another auction style game. It took us a while (almost 2 hours?) to make it through the "old kingdom" phase while we were learning the rules. I think it is interesting how the first phase of the game we build and farm only to have the farmers and civilizations and our player ownership disappear -- until the "new kingdom" phase when we all attempt to land-grab certain kingdoms. The game did not have a lot of downtime and I think it will play much more quickly when we try it again.

The power cards were a little confusing since they were not obvious in their meaning -- I'm going to print power card cheat sheets to use during play for the next time. I also dislike the process of calculating points but I think that's just the nature of the beast.

We finished up the evening with a Bohnanza nightcap. It had been a few months since we'd pulled out the bean game and it was fun to end the night with it (even though I lost both games!).

the bean game!

I do love the bean game.


Jerked Obsession

Dear E:

While my mom was visiting last month, N made jerked chicken. The three of us (plus dogs) sat out on the deck eating dinner and it was the very best chicken I have ever had. After Mom went back to the east coast, he made it again and I ate the leftovers for days without getting sick of it. Even after days upon days of leftovers I still wanted more!

big green eggy chicken

This is why we had jerk chicken on Saturday. My obsession.

jerked chicken and biscuit

N cut the chicken into quarters and trimmed off as much fat as possible -- including under the skin. Between the chicken skin and meat he rubbed butter, garlic, sage, and rosemary. On the outside of the skin he used a small amount of butter (the leftovers from the under-skin application) and a lot of jerk seasoning and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours or so.

N set the Big Green Egg up for direct cook and filled it with charcoal. Once it came to 180°F, he put the chicken on, body cavity side down and slowly raised the temperature to 300°F. Because I wanted crispy, edible chicken skin (so bad for me but so tasty with jerk seasoning!), once the chicken was almost finished cooking, he flipped it so the skin side was down and cooked it for a final 15 minutes to crisp the skin up.

For the rest of the meal, it was so hot and I was too miserable to cook. I went the lazy route and just tossed together a quick salad of mixed greens, radicchio, cucumber, tomatoes, and raw onion (your favorite! ha ha). I also made Penzey's Creamy Peppercorn Dressing -- only with yogurt for a little extra tang.

saturday salad & cheddar-chive biscuit
salad and biscuit

We really liked your cheddah-chive biscuits! I tried to resist but ended up having a second. They were so delicious! I'm sad you are all out of the accidentally-purchased buttermilk now. Mmm biscuits!

After dinner we eventually played a couple of games of Bohnanza, our default mindless game these days. I know I'm getting a little sick of it now (and it's my favorite game!) but it seemed like too much effort to play anything else when it was so warm. Maybe next time (as I keep saying). N found a game he thought would be good for us: Wool Rules! Maybe we should pencil in a trip to the game store next weekend.


Conspiring Against the Green Stuff

Dear E --

I trust you are having a good start to the week! I sure seem to need a lot more coffee on Monday and Tuesday than Wednesday through Sunday. Maybe I'm not the only one?

I have received word that N has prepared corned beef and pastrami for their boiling and smoking on Saturday morning. We will be having a trial run of rye bread today or tomorrow (then it will become rye croutons!).

I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what sort of green stuff goes with corned beef and pastrami on rye. I am starting to think that the boys intentionally select meat products that do not "go" with the green stuff!

I'm browsing Mark Bittman's 101 Simple Salads for the Season (NYT link) for ideas even though it's summer-season-based. A couple of simple, vegetable-heavy salads could be the antidote to mass quantities of meat and carbohydrate.

I was also eyeing this Gourmet recipe for a Lemon Curd Tart with olive oil... maybe in a few weeks.

What say you?


Winter Vegetable Sides

Hi E!

I have been thinking about vegetable sides for this weekend. I only have a few things leftover from last week's farm share -- a bunch of celery, some braising greens, apples and pears -- not enough to plan from.


While winter up here in the Pacific Northwet is a whole lot milder than I am used to, I still find myself craving heavy, calorie-dense "vegetable" dishes -- gratins, thick soups, casseroles.

I generally stay away from these sort of dishes because they tend to be less vegetable and more cream, more cheese, more topping. I want more vegetable, not less vegetable!

I did find these interesting recipes that are... more cream and carb and less vegetable. Winter is hard.

There's always my staple roasted root vegetable "recipe," too. I've also taken the roasted vegetables and tossed them on top of a goat cheese filled tart -- but that takes us back to more cheese, more carb, less vegetable. Dammit!


Lettuce Wars

Dear E --

As you know, we are always trying to ensure that our meals have the appropriate amount of "green stuff" along with the requisite meat and starch the boys require.

lettuce wars
iceberg, red leaf, romaine

I provided green leaf lettuce for our burgers on Saturday. I like green leaf because it is crunchy and tastes like something other than water in leaf format.

N complained that he only likes iceberg on his burgers (please note that N likes other types of leafy greens at other times, just not on his burgers). I know G prefers romaine in all cases (but he is too polite to say anything).

Is it overkill to provide three types of lettuce for burgers for four people?

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