I made a mistake as a parent I would suggest anyone reading this with young kids avoid: for a while — and waaaaayyy longer than I should have — I made separate meals for certain kids who did not like (maybe even refused to put one bite in his mouth) of the general dinner. On a given night that could mean I made four dinners. I know, I know, I know! This is CRAZY and goes against every parenting book out there. I took the path of least resistance, what can I tell you? (And I know I’m not the only one out there.)
Need to cook for a crowd and want to make something ahead of time? That’s the way I prefer to cook when I have people over. That way I can actually enjoy my own gathering. I visit so many homes where the woman (because let’s face it that is more often the case than not) disappears into the kitchen so much it’s as if she’s not there.
Not fair, say I. So cook ahead and sit right down to enjoy a festive holiday drink. (And if you’re still seeking a special drink for this time of year, do check out our post last year on my husband’s Cranberry Corker. It is killer good.)
Janet here: No this isn’t a homonym lesson. I’m just noting an interesting concurrence: the week in which I make a fantastic leek dish was also the week the light fixture in the bathroom at Casa de Roomie (I live in two places if you’re not a regular reader) decided to become an unofficial shower as water streamed out of it one day just as I was about to head out the door to work. It was, obviously, an awesome moment.
Janet here: I love brunch. It just seems so decadent to eat a nice meal in the middle of the day, maybe with a mimosa or Bloody Mary, and relax around the table. As someone who wakes up each morning with an agenda (yes, even on the weekends), I need the excuse of being invited to or hosting a brunch to allow myself the time. Revealing I know.
Anyway we had a little family gathering over the weekend and I whipped up this little hash wonder, which was inspired by my favorite cookbook of 2011, Not Your Mother’s Casseroles by Faith Durand. The beauty here is using sweet potatoes instead of regular poatoes. It’s add a little sweetness and give the hash depth it normally doesn’t have.
The other day my mom posted about potato salad here. Unbeknownst to me before reading her post, she expected me to whip up a version of my own.
Gauntlet thrown? Check.
Challenge accepted? Instantly.
So, this weekend I made this insanely easy and fantastically flavorful potato salad. I’ve got a bit of a thing against mayonnaise (it’s not a hard, fast rule but more of a general resistance) and so I was excited to find a recipe (in that marvelous pull-out pamphlet my mom referenced from the Food Network Magazine) that went without. It was so good, in fact, that as we speak I have potatoes boiling for another batch. I’ll put some in a tupperware for a soiree we’re attending this evening and leave the rest in the refrigerator for my mother-in-law when she gets in to visit later this week.
And once it’s all gone? Yeah, I’ll be making it again. STAT.
I made the Herb-Vinegar version (#23), but here’s the total recipe list from the FNM for your mouth-watering perusal.
My only modification was using more potatoes (I think you could go up to a whole pound more. There’s a ton of dressing). John and I are thinking that sometime we’d like to throw some crumbled bacon into the mix, too.
Mike the Gay Beer Guy is obviously more forward-thinking than we are. He’s thinking ahead to fall and what would be best served with an IPA or a bourbon barrel porter, while we’re wondering what we’ll make for dinner … tonight. Anyway, it’s good to have people like Mike on this Earth. Thanks to him, everyone is better prepared.
Here are Mike’s thoughts.
Hi Janet, Hi Rachel -
My tastes in the beer I drink change according to the seasons, which means that now is the time for a big, flavorful IPA or a fantastic Belgian Saison, Tripel, or Witbier. As a brewer, I often forcing myself to think a month, two months, or ever 4-5 months into the future. Thus, this month’s posting is dedicated to the food and beer of the colder winter months. Why would I talk about stewing meat (and heating up my entire kitchen) in July when it’s more than 90 outside? Well, that’s simple … so I can brew my Bourbon Barrel Porter, of course. And what goes well with my Bourbon Barrel Porter? Beef Stew…
First our apologies. Mike the Gay Beer Guy did his part: He got his post about beer and risotto in plenty of time for his monthly post … and then we blew it. We meant to post it on Friday, we really did, but then M got sick and Rachel forgot and Janet didn’t check in because she was too busy and, well, here we are on Monday putting up Friday’s post.
But we know you know how that is so we’re hopeful to have your forgiveness.
At any rate, here are Mike’s pearls of wisdom. Enjoy!
Hi Janet, Hi Rachel. As both of you know, moving is a pain. I moved a few weeks ago, and my new kitchen is simply a chaotic mess … pots and pans everywhere, random ingredients strewn about, AND, in the middle of all this confusion, someone ordered the wrong stove and fridge, so we were stuck with only a microwave for a few days! Although the process of moving is a pain, a benefit is finding all of your kitchen items at the old place that were stuck behind things (I know I know, “things” is a very ambiguous word, but seriously … it’s all just THINGS). On cleaning, I stumbled upon Arborio rice that I had once bought to make risotto. PERFECT COMFORT FOOD. Here is my quick and easy risotto recipe, with chicken stock almost from scratch (I fudged a few things since I don’t have my kitchen completely set up yet.)
We had good friends over for dinner and Susan (she of Fake It Til You Make It fame) requested enchiladas. I blithely said sure and kept this little secret to myself: I had actually never made enchiladas before.
I know, I know, it seems incredible after this many decades of cooking but so it goes. I had made tacos and burritos and even fajitas but never enchiladas. I also had never eaten an enchilada — none of which I was going to share with Susan. After all, she can still whip out the Cool Whip story on any given day in front of anyone. (See same post on Fake It Til You Make It.)
First some bookkeeping: We are happy to announce that the winner of Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite is CC. Congrats CC — we’ll be contacting you by email — and thanks to everyone who entered!
Now on to Mike the Gay Beer Guy’s April post
It’s spring time … well it’s supposed to be. I think the weather in the Midwest is so much less stable than the East or West; it seems that every other day is something different. Like one day it is 70 degrees and sunny, and then the next day it’s below freezing and on the verge of snowing (yeah, for REAL! As I’m writing this, it was 65 yesterday, this morning it is in the low 50s, and tomorrow, when I’m planning to brew, it’s going to be a rainy 40 and falling for the next few days)(UPDATE: As I’m editing the post, Kansas City received a few inches of snow this past weekend… for REAL!?!?! And keep in mind it was in the 60s this afternoon)(And update from Janet, as I put this online, the East Coast is expecting up to a foot of snow, no joke!)