Monday, July 6, 2015

Fourth of July Weekend: The Food Edition

I hope you all had a good 4th of July weekend. I did. I managed to do a whole lot of nothing on the 4th. I went to the gym and they were doing a special holiday schedule and the class I took was 90 minutes long. I was useless the rest of the day. It's okay though, because when the boys went to go watch the fireworks I knit and watched some pretty craptastic cable.

First off for the weekend, I tried a new recipe. I have figured out that I'm kind of drawn to variations of the brownie cookie. So when I saw this one, I decided I could fit it into the weekend schedule. I let The Kid and his friend decide on the toppings. Sprinkles always win, but mint chocolate chips and butterscotch were also used and so were an unusual combination of all those things ... hmm. I saw in the comments of the recipe that after filling the wells of the mini muffin pans some bakers piped the remaining batter into circles. This is exactly what I did on parchment paper and I would probably do this again especially if I were going to use this batter for ice cream sandwiches. Ooooo!

Also up for the patriotic weekend were some ribs. Remember how I like to complain that I do not have a grill so I must constantly compensate? Smitten Kitchen had a recipe that spoke to the complainer (that's me) and I have to tell you they really turned out quite well. I did reduce the brown sugar, because the household is not super crazy about the too sweet mixed with the savory. We used some gourmet BBQ sauce on the side though we did try to make a bit of the sauce recommended in the recipe. It reduced too salty, but I admit to sprinkling a bit on my husband's potato salad. Hey guess what internet, it turns out I might not be so anti potato salad after all. Is it the dill pickle and the lack of hard boiled egg? I dunno. But I ate it and I liked it. :)

What are your feelings about potato salad? What's your favorite summer salad? I admit, I had planned on making pesto pasta salad with olives and bell peppers and artichoke hearts but I didn't really do much that day. I sort of acquired the goods, left the recipe out and mentioned this is what I wanted to make. It seemed while I took a shower and a nap (apparently I like naps and potato salads now. Who said your 40s aren't full of new adventures?) the Manfriend decided to rub the ribs and salad some potatoes. Once I was socially engaged again I sort of consulted with him from my knitting chair as he continued to execute and implement the meal.

It was impressive. "I'd" do this again. I'm really grateful that Smitten Kitchen provided various oven temperatures for different times. She's fantastically practical in her way of knowing you think you're going to have plenty of time for "slow and low" and then suddenly it's only a short period of time you have left. We opted to take the foil off the last 10 minutes and crank it to 400 to kind of crisp them up. They weren't crispy  crispy, but they were definitely good.

Lastly in the highlights of holiday weekend eating at home. I've featured these before, but I think they are becoming a summer food ...

Korean BBQ Shortribs. I know, I know, you're all asking, "But how, Ellen?!? You just told us for the 80th millionth time you don't have a grill! Did you GO OUTSIDE to a park where there is sunlight and people?!?"

hahaha, seriously I'm laughing at YOU now, silly Internet!

No! We used  our handy dandy cast iron skillet. The big one, because that's what the Man Friend wanted for some gift giving occasion last year.

It's just store bought marinade, but jazzed up with some cloves of garlic, white onion, and green onion and a little black pepper. When it's time to put them in your skillet, pull all the marinade bits off so they don't burn.

It creates this carmelization that makes you worry if your cast iron skillet will survive, but it's totally worth it. Just don't wait too long to clean your skillet :)

Maybe what made this meal taste so ... well, tasty, was that we made it together in the kitchen. I made the stir fried cabbage with a little fish sauce, garlic and white pepper and The Kid helped us make some home made karaage from 2 boneless skinless thighs that had to be cooked.  We rounded it out with some more left over veggies and steamed rice. It was a simple meal from a happy kitchen.

What did you eat over the weekend? I don't care if you're not American, I assume it was still July 4th everywhere and at some point and you ate, ha! I hope you ate well. And don't forget! Tell me and the rest of our pals about your summer salads!


  1. what a great food post...although i did sort of chuckle, as I'm reading about your trip to the gym and looking at those chocolate cookies!!! We were just boring burgers and brats here....fruit salad, corn on the cob. Nothing exciting.

    1. Oh that is definitely not boring! I love me some brats and burgers. Corn is a summer must have! (We have to cut it off the cob for our resident brace face, but he still enjoys it) and fruit salad?!? Someone precutting fruit for me is the best way to eat it. Why does it always taste better when someone else cuts your fruit?

  2. I had the pleasure of last minute guests and so we did NY Hoffman hot dogs, potato salad, pickles and pudding for dessert! Your meal sounds wonderful!
    Glad you had agood dy!

  3. Let's see, we had hamburgers on the grill, potato salad and broccoli salad, cut up watermelon, tortilla chips and salsa, wine/beer/lemonade, and for dessert angel food cake topped with strawberries, and/or choc. syrup. Your ribs sounded very tasty, but it was too hot here to turn on the oven. Those shortribs sound yummy, too.

  4. Yum, yum! Your posts make me drool (and giggle). I didn't celebrate on the 4th - was working. We did get some ribs and pork and potato and pasta salad though we're having this week. I like some potato salads (mainly the loaded baked potato from a local store - sour cream, bacon bits and cheese ...) there are some I don't like and I hated it when I was younger.

  5. I love your food posts because I don't actually cook anymore, and seeing your photos makes me wish that I did.

    Potato salad, in my opinion, should have potatoes, hard boiled egg, pickles, a bit a pickle juice, and Miracle Whip. My sister makes the BEST potato salad. ;o)

  6. Oh, I'm so sad. Since I had a particular part of my anatomy yanked a few years ago me and summer salads (mayo type) do NOT get along and I LOVE potato salad with dill pickles. My all time favorite is plain old elbow macaroni salad with lots of celery seed. It will be my last meal if I have enough advance notice. Now I have to make due with only the green leafy type of salads-sigh.
    The Mister and I were just discussing the fate of all of our cast iron skillets. I had plenty but now can't find one anywhere.They can't just disappear. He is all into searing meats these days. He used my Le Creuset casserole the other night. What a mess.

  7. You do eat well, and how lovely to have a man that cooks. We don't have potato salad much here, and when we do it's just potatoes, mayonnaise and chives. The American versions always sound much more exciting. We don't like sweet things with salty things here either. I wrote down a very promising-sounding sugar free recipe for barbecue sauce the other day though.I made lentil and coconut curry on the 4th and said that they could eat it in front of Wimbledon (the tennis) as a treat. The littlest boy tried to move places without holding onto his plate, and his ended up all over the floor. Entirely predictable. Glad you had a good weekend. CJ xx

  8. SO funny. I love your posts. Men are meant to cook, really.
    Mine does. He prefers when I cook but he won't admit that.
    I don't like potato salad unless I make it. IM afraid someone stuck some hard boiled egg in it otherwise. YUCK.
    I just boil baby red potatoes and add low fat ranch dressing with bacon while its hot. That's it.
    I was bad on the 4th We were traveling. So I ate at a smoked pig place and it showed up on the scale big time. I didnt' really know that what i was eating was hush puppies ......they didnt put that on the menu part . I don't remember all....
    that trip exhausted us!

  9. We have been eating a lot of green salads lately, but on the 4th of July it HAS to be my Mom's macaroni salad. There isn't really anything *special* about it other than the fact that we had it for EVERY summer holiday starting with Easter and ending on Labor Day. It wouldn't be a holiday without it. ;-)

  10. My dad used to make potato salad a lot. I think homemade is the best. Thanks for sharing the rib recipe. I make Dave Lieberman's Memphis ribs all the time because I don't know how to grill.

  11. and now I'm a little bit hungry for brownie cookies! Ours was a very quiet weekend after our daughter left with her fiance. We had fun just being the two of us.