"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumn Arrives In The Rose City

Condi and Moamar

     October is harvest season, and this past week has been an especially extravagant one for us.  We have a quarter pig in our freezer, and fresh winter squash from the garden.  Cyrus is making red meaty sauce to go on top of pasta, and this is the first real fall meal of the season.

     The red meat sauce has spent most of the day simmering down, and has a little bit farther to go.  Earlier this after noon, Cyrus took part in the Monster March as part of the Sellwood Band.  He had a successful zombie costume, last night, Mom and Dad were Moamar Qaddafi and Condoleeza Rice, and on Friday I won a costume contest at the Cleveland Cross-Country teams Halloween party for my Katy Perry costume.  Tonight though, only the spaghetti is dressing up.

     The red sauce is almost done simmering, and the pasta is on the stove.  Dad's loaf of bread came out of the oven a few minutes ago, and the squash is only a few minutes behind the bread. The squash was a roasted delicata squash drizzled with olive oil and dusted with brown sugar.

The meal was excellent.  The red sauce could have simmered for a few extra minutes, but it worked out because dad's bread was a little crunchy and could wipe up the extra juice.  A great way to begin the fall.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

     One of the things Sunday Dinners have done is show us how every weekend holds something memorable.  The Sellwood 5k was this morning, and mom ran the apple sale that coincides with it.  Cy and I ran the 5k, which is 3.18 miles, and enjoyed the festivities.  This afternoon we got a few well deserved hours of rest to, among other things, read the paper.  This evening, (yes it's completely dark, at 7), we had the Quick family for dinner.  As far as I can remember, they've never come for a Sunday Dinner before.
     Because we had to meet certain dietary requirements for the Quick's, this was one of the more challenging recipe searches.  But ultimately, we found one, an ancho chili marinated skirt steak on a salad of black beans, roasted poblano peppers with onion, cilantro and red bell peppers.  The poblanos and steak are on the grill, and everything else is ready.  The Quick's are here, and it is time to eat.  
  The steak salad was awesome.  The steak was immensely flavorful due to its marinade. The beans were sweet, and the roasted poblanos, tomatoes and red bell peppers balanced them out.   In addition to the steak salad, we had Mark Bittman's No knead Bread, which has somehow become a Sunday Dinner staple.  The steak salad was from Sunset magazines October 2011 edition, and is definitely recommended.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Short-Short Cakes

     Dad is out of town this weekend, a produce conference in Atlanta, and Cy wanted to make strawberry shortcake for dinner.  What, you ask?  Isn't strawberry shortcake traditionally a spring dish?  Well yes, it is, but today, it has been indistinguishable, from spring.  We were at OHSU in the morning, and the sky was clear and beautiful.  The warm weather has persisted throughout the day, and now the strawberry shortcake seems oddly fitting.
     Strawberry shortcake is rather simple, just mix the shortcake ingredients, bake and serve.  It was this easy for Cy, only a few extra minutes spent on figuring out how the food processor worked.  Food processors are very complicated after all, with all their fancy technology.

   The strawberry shortcakes were excellent.  The strawberries had great full flavor, especially for frozen California strawberries (never buy California strawberries, they're mostly water and not as much sugar or flavor).  The whip cream was sweet and full as well, and the biscuits were perfect.  Not off flavor like past shortcakes, and not burnt at all.  Excellent strawberry shortcake.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marathoners Are Crazy

     In 490 BC, the Greek soldier Pheidippides ran the the 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens, to deliver a message after the Battle of Marathon.  Legend has it that after delivering his message, he dropped dead.  Today, the marathon is a popular recreational sporting event, and more than 500,000 people finish at least one marathon every year in the United States.  Today, is the Portland Marathon and among the 20,000 participants is our crazy Canadian aunt, Paula.  (There's a distinct possibility that all Marathoners are crazy)
     After I finished manning a water station near Mile 8, Dad and I came home and tried to find a Greek dish, with plenty of protein for Paula.  It was surprisingly easy.  By the time we started, we were done.  After peeling onions and chopping parsley, the most complicated things we had to do were find bay leaves (in the very back of the spice cabinet) and open a can of tomato paste.  Then it was into the oven for dinner.

The "Power Burner"

     After two-and-a-half hours, the beef stew is done, and Paula has yet to return from her marathon.  This has been a long but simple meal, and all that is left is the orzo to accompany the stew.  While it never hindered us, this is the first ever Sunday Dinner in which we have a fully functioning stove.  Our previous stove had had only three working burners since November 2009, only a few months before the first Sunday Dinner.  After that, the glass on the oven cracked, and the door wouldn't close all the way.  Finally, the heating element inside the oven broke.  We had to get a new stove, so we did.  In addition to actually working, it has a few interesting features, namely the "Power Burner".
     Dinner was amazing.  The meat fell apart on your tongue, and the walnuts added a crunch to every bite.  The orzo helped to soak up the juices and one down some of the sharper flavors.  I can not believe we didn't come across this recipe sooner.  Not only was the food amazing, we spent maybe 10 minutes actually cooking.  Page 450 of the green Gourmet cookbook, not the quickest, but one of the easiest and best meals ever.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


     Kids that live in Multnomah County are very lucky.  For one week during sixth grade, every single one of them goes to a summer camp and studies the ecology there.  This week is Cy's turn  in the woods, and he leaves this afternoon.  This means, of course, that he won't be able to cook dinner.  But it also gives us an opportunity.  One of the things about Sunday Dinners is that until now, they have been only dinners.  But since he can't cook tonight, he cooked this morning.
     Cyrus made créme brulée, and while I was asleep for most of the cooking, I got there at the end, for the most important part: the flames.