Well, in true KK fashion, things could NOT go smoothly. We started the morning with a non-working oven, but at 11am Mr. KK pulled through and replaced the lighter so we were back in business!
Did anyone else wake up at 5:13am and plan out the timing of the day? And then follow that up with timers set as reminders? No? Just me?
Welcome to Crazy Town, folks. Population: 1.
So once the oven was fixed we could get this day started! Not pictured below are the 1,000,000 cocktails I had.
My dad – MY DAD – made stuffed artichokes this year. They were delicious! He’s hired!
This year we once again decided to fry a turkey. Oh, except the pan we fry in had holes in it (which we discovered once Mr. KK put the oil in it). And we didn’t have another pan big enough to hold the oil and the turkey so we had to improvise. Broken-down fried turkey parts it is! And they were delicious!
We added a few new dishes to our repertoire this year:
Potatoes are one of the most perfect foods on the planet.
They are so versatile: you can bake them, roast them, hasselback them, mash them, french fry them, hash brown them, and even turn the into pasta. Very few foods an claim this amazingness.
As much as I love potatoes, I don’t eat the as often as I would like. This short, pear-shaped body would likely morph into a pineapple if I got the fries instead of salad every time.
But everyone once and I while, I treat myself (and, indirectly, Mr. KK). Last night was one of those nights. I busted out the big guns and made Gorgonzola Twice Baked Potatoes.
Gorgonzola Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe
2 Russet baking potatoes Crumbled gorgonzola cheese (exact amount depends on your taste; I tend to use maybe 1/2 a cup or a little more) 2-3TBSP of sour cream Milk Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Wash and completely dry potatoes. Place them on a baking sheet and piece them with a knife (about 5 good pierces per potato)
Bake the potatoes in the oven until they are crispy on the outside and a paring knife glides in easily, about an hour
Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle them (reduce oven temp to 400 degrees)
Hold the warm potato in your palm, and using a knife, slide off a little oval flap of potato. This will be the opening you will use to scoop out the potato. I usually do one that’s about a few inched long and an inch or two wide. It should just be across the length of the top of the potato (see photo below)
Scoop out potato from both potatoes into a bowl. Mash with a potato masher to remove any lumps.
Add cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix slowly. Add milk as needed to loosen the mixture just a bit – it should still have a very thick consistency and hold together.
Put the stuffing back into the potato shells, place stuffed potatoes back on the baking sheet.*
Warm and slightly brown the tops of the potatoes in the over for about 10 minutes (or as long as you need to get the filling hot and the cheese a little melty).
*At this stage, you can wrap the potatoes in foil and refrigerate for a day and then bake the next day in the oven at 350 until the are hot, then increase to 400 to brown the tops a bit.
Are these good for you? Not likely. Are they delicious? YOU BET.
These are probably one of my favorite ways to enjoy a potato. Though roasted baby potatoes with oil, garlic and rosemary are a close second. And the french fries from our favorite beer bar. Oh, and gnocchi. Who am I kidding? I like ALL potatoes. Except scalloped potatoes, which I feel are that second cousin of the potato that no one wants to invite to family reunions.
Speaking of adoring potatoes, my child doesn’t like mashed potatoes. Let me repeat that: my child does not like mashed potatoes. I’m not quite sure how this relationship is going to turn out, to be honest.
In fact, most of my decisions and plans revolve around food. I have been known to plan an entire vacation around how many restaurants we could eat at during our stay.
I always have food on the brain. When I worked in Boston many moons ago, we would all start talking about lunch around 10am. What should we have? Where would we go? Sebastian’s for salads? Big Al’s for chicken salad sandwiches? Chacarero for those flat sandwiches that were so good? And then halfway through the afternoon, I’d start thinking about what I was going to cook for dinner.
Fast forward a bunch of years, and not much has changed. I still think about what my next meal is going to be, or try and schedule my days around meal times. There is nothing worse than being trapped somewhere during lunchtime without having any access to food. I do my best to avoid hairy situations like this.
Thanks, someecards for capturing it so well.
It goes without saying that the main reason I work out is so that I can still eat and drink whatever I want. (Though that is starting to feel like a losing battle, but I’m trying!) I don’t like to diet, because I hate the thought of giving up things I enjoy eating. (And I’m sorry, spaghetti squash, but you’re just NOT a substitute for real spaghetti. No matter how much parmesan I use.)
Because there are simply some things that I will never stop eating. Even if the doctor suggests I stay away from my favorites, I may try and bargain with him.
10 foods I could eat for the rest of my life.
I tried to list out singular foods – not meals – that I could not live without.
Pimento cheese. If you’ve never had pimento cheese, I suggest you wiggle your way out from under the rock you’ve been living and join the party. Because pimento cheese is the most amazing creation since almost everything. And it’s versatile! While I enjoy eating it cold and straight up on crackers (pita chips, specifically), it’s also delicious warm on baguette slices, spread on a chicken cutlet sandwich, and as a topping on a burger.
Cheese. (I’m noticing a theme here). If I had to pick one specific kind, I’d have to say super sharp aged cheddar. Or the creamy cow’s milk deliciousness of Fromager d’Affinois. Third runner up: Manchego.
Avocados (and, in turn, guacamole). If you put guacamole in front of me, I will eat entire bowl, unapologetically. Bonus points for blue tortilla chips.
Chicken salad. There are many chicken salads out there that should be ashamed of themselves (cranberries do not belong in chicken salad. Neither do grapes). Chicken, mayonnaise, spices and maybe a little celery if you’re feeling frisky, and you have the perfect chicken salad. Pair it with Carr’s water crackers and it’s a meal.
Half sour pickles. Pickles make everything better.
Red wine. Wine is a food group, right? As much as I love beer, there’s something about having a glass of plum-colored greatness after a long day, or on a cold evening, or with an Italian meal.
Ice cream. It just makes everything better. I could never eat a cookie, cake or pastry again and I’d be ok with it. As long as I could have a bowl of ice cream. Peanut butter or Oreo, please.
Steak. A thick-cut rib eye, crispy on the outside, medium rare on the inside. Blue cheese butter on top? Well, if you insist.
Roasted potatoes. They need to be made exactly like my grandmother’s – crispy outside and warm and soft inside. Tossed with olive oil, garlic salt, regular salt and pepper. They’re so good they don’t need ketchup.
If you thought there’d be fruit or something healthy on the list, forget it! The whole point of the favorite foods list is that the items are SO GOOD you can’t imagine living without ever enjoying one of them again.
Now, if we’re talking meals that I could eat for the rest of my life, that’s a whole different story. Then we’re talking about the kk special pizza, tacos, penne vodka…
It’s Thanksgiving week, which means the madness has begun. Weekends will be filled to the brim with activities and shopping, cookie baking and present wrapping. Which means time during the week after work is precious, and I need to make the most of it.
This is the time of year, when meal prep becomes ‘whatever’s easiest’. That may be thawing a container of beef stew (like we’re doing tonight) or making simple meals with foods you can find in your pantry (like last night).
Yesterday was a big push to blow all the leaves in the yard for Mr. KK (despite half the yard having snow on it) and starting the holiday shopping and entertaining Little Mister for me. Knowing I’d be doing a VERY LARGE grocery store trip early in the week for Thanksgiving, I needed to get creative with what I had in the house.
Enter: Midnight Pasta.
This pasta dish is easy to make with pantry staples, and originated as the dish Italians would make as a midnight snack.
If you don’t like anchovies, you’re out of luck on this one. But I promise they create a deliciously salty pasta, you’d have no idea you were eating them.
Recipe for Midnight Pasta (aka: Pasta with Anchovies)
Salt (for the cooking water)
6tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 small can of anchovies, mostly drained
½teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
2tablespoons chopped parsley, optional
Parmesan for grating, optional (for me: lots of parmesan)
4 slices of bread, pulsed into bread crumbs
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. butter
Put spaghetti in well-salted pan of boiling water. Cook according to package directions until al dente.
Melts 2 Tbsp butter in small sauté pan over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and stir to coat. Toast breadcrumbs, stirring to keep them evenly browned. Sprinkle zest of lemon into breadcrumbs. Remove from heat when toasty.
While the pasta is cooking, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, without letting it brown. Add the anchovies, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. As they cook, they will start to melt. When anchovies are mostly melted, add capers and red pepper and cook for a half-minute more.
Reserve a 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and add it to the skillet with the anchovy sauce. Toss spaghetti to coat it with the anchovy sauce. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water to loosen up the sauce if necessary. Remove from heat.
Plate spaghetti and top with lemony breadcrumbs and parmesan.
Tonight, right before I put our dinner on the table, my Little Mister said to me, “Mommy, you make the BEST dinners!”
This warmed my heart, and I happily accepted this compliment, even though I had just plated the most typical four-year-old’s meal: chicken nuggets and steamed carrots (not really a dinner I was going to win any awards for).
I love food. I love cooking and I love eating out. I love trying new recipes at home, and tasting restaurant’s signature dishes. I’m a self-proclaimed (non snobby) foodie. I just enjoy good food.
So when the Little Mister came along, I couldn’t wait to bestow my knowledge and love of good food on my impressionable son.
One of my favorite parts of babyhood was when it was time for Little Mister to start trying solid foods. Each weekend I would steam and purée new foods, package and freeze them in single servings. Apples! Carrots! Sweet potatoes!
And the Little Mister loved every bite. In fact, the only food I couldn’t get him to like – despite weeks of trying – was avocado (how is that possible??)
Then we moved onto combination foods: puréed chicken soup, beef stew and veggies and chick peas.
As someone who loves food, and loves cooking, Little Mister’s love of food made me want to cry tears of joy. We were doing something right! Our child liked to eat different foods!
We progressed from there. Shrimp. Zucchini. Meatloaf. There was nothing he wouldn’t eat (except avocado, still).
But as time went on, and we entered ‘toddlerhood’ (cue maniacal laugh), my good little eater was nowhere to be found.
Suddenly, foods that he used to love, were met with a loud, “Blecch!” (even before a morsel was tasted).
Right before my very eyes, my wide-eyed little foodie lost his sophisticated palette, and almost over night we entered the dreaded chicken nugget phase.
There are about a dozen meals we can rotate for dinners, including:
Chicken soup (if it’s homemade only, and doesn’t have any “green things” in it)
Chicken nuggets (we prefer dino nuggets, and don’t even think about trying to pass off a genuine chicken cutlet in small shapes off to him, it will be met with, “Mom, what IS this?”
Meatloaf (most of the time, as long as there’s lots of ketchup)
Grilled cheese (it’s hit or miss with the grilled cheese, which we are sometimes told is “only a lunch food”)
Spaghetti with butter and cheese
Pasta with sauce (depends on the shape of the pasta, how soft the pasta is (he prefers al dente) and whether or not there is visible basil or oregano “green stuff” in the sauce
Mac and cheese (He prefers blue box, I prefer Annie’s)
Salmon (every third time I make it, as long as it’s drowning in lemon and there’s a promise of dessert if he finished)
We are lucky in that he does eat some vegetables: carrots, broccoli, string beans (sometimes) and peas.
When I think back to my childhood, I distinctly remember eating a cheese and mustard sandwich every day for lunch for 3 years straight in junior high. I’m pretty sure we had the same dinners each week on rotation. And I’m the first person who wants to order octopus at a restauarnt, or enjoy a big bowl of midnight pasta (made with anchovies).
So, there is hope for my Little Mister after all. And for me to keep my ‘best dinner-maker’ award.