Thursday 22 April
If it's good after two days, it's great three days after that. Not to mention easy to prepare.
Wednesday 21 April
A last appearance of the wop salad, again as a topping for fish, but this time Trader Joe's frozen mahi mahi, sauteed quickly on each side. We placed it on a green salad: supermarket romaine lettuce and some puntarelle and radicchio from the early garden, tossed with the fruity olive oil our niece Joanna brought us from Spain, and some white balsamic vinegar.
Tuesday 20 April
Barbara was working at home, and the weather was a mite chilly, so a roast chicken was the perfect dinner. Since the herbs are so fresh and juicy in the garden, she skipped the canonical lemon and stuffed it with a sheaf of chervil, parsley, and lemon balm, with chopped tarragon leaves under the skin of the breast. And then, since she really wanted a crispy skin, she rubbed it all over with softened butter, and put it on a rack in a 450-degree oven for 10 minutes while she prepared the shallots, carrots, and waxy new potatoes to throw in the pan around it. Once the vegetables were tossed with olive oil and salt and went in the pan, the heat was reduced to 350. And by the time Holt got home, an hour later, there it was.
Monday 19 April
Barbara brought the giant Canadian Tire crockpot home, so we used it to slow-simmer a savory pottage of chickpeas on Saturday. It had Spanish-style chorizo from Kroger's, fried with onion and a slurry of the universal coriander and cumin, plus a shot of pimenton della Vera; it's always good to toast the spices in oil, Indian-style. Then the whole thing got stirred together, with more chopped onion and a can of crushed tomatoes. Served it two days later, when it had had time to think about itself.
Sunday 18 April
It was so nice to get back to Findlay Market, where the nice people had some big ol' poblanos they said they knew we would like. And we did. They got roasted and peeled, and the next night we stuffed them with a combination of goat cheese, boring IGA provolone, and sun-dried tomatoes. We were out of cornmeal for breading, so we baked them in the oven - unwisely, it turns out, as the melting cheese mixture was able to run out of the peppers much more easily that way.
Served the pepper-and-cheese puddles along with fresh ground-up tomatillo salsa, made with lime juice and the first tender spring leaves of cilantro - our favorite garden weed.
Saturday 17 April
Kroger's at Findlay Market must have changed their recipe - these Napa sausages were fattier and pinker than normal. Still pretty good, but shrank down quite a bit, as you'd expect. They went well with the heap of sauteed onions they were cooked with, though.
Friday 16 April
Kroger had a sale on what they claim is fresh, wild-caught cod. It looked good, and we had some green olives, so we made it Veracruz style. First, the sauce: sauteed onions and garlic with smoked Roma tomatoes from the freezer, pureed in the robo-coupe, then added a shower of chopped green olives and capers. A touch of cinnamon, plus ground coriander and cumin. When the sauce is hot, we slid the collops of fish in, and cooked till they stopped being translucent.
Thursday 15 AprilEssentially, this was another wild fandango on a leftover theme. There was a chunk of raw steak, and a dish of black beans with ham. We sauteed some onions and one precious green pepper (over a buck for a bell pepper?!), set them aside, and seared the piece of steak, which had been dusted with salt, coriander, and cumin. Sliced the steak, and served them all heaped in various ways on a tortilla with crema (yogurt, really).
Wednesday 14 April
Holt made the classic pork and porcini stew for Ben and Patti when they came to visit this past week. He used up the very last of our stock of dried porcini, but we hope to get some more when we're in Italy this summer. Let's hope the US customs beagle at the airport doesn't decide that dried mushrooms are contraband.
Anyway, when you have leftovers of pork and porcini stew, they can be chopped and loosened up with a little more liquid, and make an ideal sauce for pasta. Which we did and they were.
Tuesday 13 April
Holt planned something special but quick to fix for Barbara's gala homecoming after classes ended in Canada (hooray!). Ohio never looked so beautiful, with the redbuds and the crabapples in bloom, and the weather clear and balmy (unlike us - we are balmy, but not so clear).
Holt pan-fried some beautiful salmon fillets and topped them with olive-artichoke tapenade - okay, wop salad that he had made earlier to have on a quasi-muffaletta. He admits to being so naïve when he got to New Orleans that he thought wop salad was named for the sound you make when you chop up the ingredients.
To accompany, he made oven-browned snowpeas, an adaptation of our new favorite recipe for sugar snap peas:
1/2 pound (or whatever) of sugar snap peas - take the ends and strings off, if they've got any.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (no, really - that hot).
Toss sugar snap peas, shallots, thyme, and kosher salt in a bowl; spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes (6 for snowpeas) in the preheated oven, until browned and tender but firm.
And some bubbly, of course, because it was a celebration.