For two weeks I’ve been trying to make this for dinner. Two weeks. The first time it got shelved…I’m not sure what the reason was. It was two weeks ago, you know? Last week, it was on tap on the day I got into the car accident (side note: the insurance company totaled it), so it got shelved for takeout.
If I were to guess, I think The Wife would like it if I used the grill a few more times before the chill of autumn settles in. We have a detached garage that sits towards the end of our property. It seems like the din of fall makes the walk to and from the garage more like an arduous expedition rather than the same 40-step walk (from door to door) that I’ve done since assembling the grill in the spring.
(I would ask The Wife about all of this, but that would require us having a conversation about something other than The Kid or work. This is a seeming impossibility these days. And besides, we’re married. I don’t have to talk to her anymore.)
What I do know is that there are flavors that The Wife likes and those she loves. Cilantro falls into the later category. If she approved of such things, you would see her walking around with a wad of the pungent little leaves tucked into her lower lip like a hunk of Skoal.
Tomatillos are nifty little fruit. They have a husk and a sticky skin, which goes away with a quick rinse. Their flavor is earthy with a slight sweetness. They just beg to be matched with cilantro and onions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: My recent discovery of our families’ collection of 1970s era church cookbooks has been nothing short of a conversation piece around Al Dente HQ. The kind-hearted and well-intentioned women behind these recipes set cooking back years, all the while trying to kill their families with butter, shortening and lard. Not wanting to hog the glory and splendor for myself, it is my pleasure to share these classic culinary gems with you. These are the original recipes with very little editing. If you have one of these around your house or find one at your parent’s home, please contact me. I would love to get my hands on it.
RECIPE: Lumpy Soup
AUTHOR: Beverly Scaia
COOKBOOK: La Cucina Alpina, Solvay Tyrol Club Auxiliary
APPROXIMATE YEAR: 1971-72
WHY DID I CHOOSE THIS? Did I ever mention that the Tyroleans were terribly impoverished people? I know, you’re shocked, right? Immigrants. Poor. It’s like a repeating cycle of finding dirt poor immigrants, bringing them in and having them build/rebuild the country. Anyhow, when you are dirt poor, you make soups like this.
And remember, it didn’t have to taste good. It just had to be filling.
Lumpy Soup (Minestra di Fragolati)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup grated bread
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 eggs
- 4 quarts beef or chicken broth
Mix the first four ingredients and add eggs. Mix into a soft dough. If necessary, add a little water. Then put through a ricer into boiling chicken or beef broth. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes.
We’re back on the side for the first time in a while with a quinoa salad. This is the first time I’ve ever put together a salad from the ancient grain and, truth be told, I probably would not have done so if I didn’t have so much leftover from a recent dinner.
I made a cup of it with some chicken broth to go with the ill-fated honey-thyme pork tenderloin from last week. We barely put a dent into the side dish, leaving me with a bunch of cold quinoa sitting in the fridge. The plurality of quinoa salad recipes on the intertubes call for kalamata olives and feta as a Mediterranean salad. Easy enough. But, how to dress it? I didn’t feel like “Greek salad dressings” that are sold at the supermarket and olive oil and vinegar seemed bland.
So, in comes F. Oliver’s.
I’m currently writing on a MacBook Pro. I have an iPhone and iPad. I’ve converted probably a half-dozen friends and more students than I can count to the Cult of Mac. That said, Google is one of those stories that intrigues me greatly, from their products to their corporate culture.
Catching my eye recently was an article in the March 2013 edition of Bon Appetit that focused on Google’s commitment to providing their staff healthy dining options. The underpinning was the idea that they demand a great deal from their employees and healthy foods in the cafeteria reduces absenteeism and maintains productivity. From the article:
Though the cafeterias feature their share of decadent offerings (like crispy pork carnitas and butterscotch-pecan-cookie pie), they’re also strategically designed to “make it really easy for people to make healthy choices,” says Scott Giambastiani, Google’s head chef. Borrowing from the field of behavioral economics, Google’s tactics specifically encourage healthy eating.
The pork recipe from Saturday needed a starch and vegetable to complete the meal. In the interests of time, table space and the ingredients on hand, I opted to combine them. Continue reading Al Dente On The Side: Asparagus risotto
So, Swanson makes these little packets of super-concentrated broth called Flavor Boost. They sound like a neat idea, right? It’s like bouillon in a small packet and you don’t have to water down a dish with a ton of broth. I like the Knorr Homestyle Stock cubes in a pinch as a sauce thickener.
The Swanson little packets defied my skepticism in this recipe from Foodista. My primary worries were flavor and salt. I didn’t want a fake taste that was too salty. This was well-balanced and didn’t overwhelm.
WHAT WORKED: A little bit of liquid. I kept about a half cup of pasta cooking water and the liquid from the beans. Both brought a starchy thickness and built up the sauce a little.
WHAT DIDN’T: Not much. This went pretty well.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: The Kid dominated conversation at the dinner table tonight, so The Wife didn’t offer much more than a “This is good.”
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: It was 30 minutes from prep to table, so absolutely.