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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pizza on the Grill

Mushrooms, sausage, olives, and mozzarella
     Again this weekend, I was out of town on Friday night and Saturday morning, this time for an Outdoor School Student Leader training.  Mom sighed, "Your just growing up."

Plum Upside-Down Cake, by Mimi
     Today dawned bright and sunny, a beautiful not-yet really fall day.  To capitalize on the weather, I decided to make pizza - on the grill.  Cy did it about two and a half years ago, and while it was a wild success then, my plan still scared Dad.  That one would put a viscous dough on a grate full of holes does, admittedly, seem like a bad idea, but dough is very nearly a solid, and it becomes crispy quite quickly when you start to cook it.
     My original plan was to make four pizzas, but we downgraded that to three.  One goat cheese and roasted red pepper pizza, one pepperoni pizza, and one mushroom, sausage, olive and mozzarella pizza.  All the pizzas were awesome, and Mimi called the mushroom-sausage pizza the best pizza she'd ever had.  While I wouldn't go quite that far, they were some really good pizzas.  Now, I have to get to homework.  While it may have looked, felt, and tasted like summer today, it is most definitely the middle of the school year, tomorrow is, after all, the first day of October.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lazy-Man Enchiladas

     On Friday, I went to the coast for a cross-country meet.  Our team first went to Cannon Beach, where we ate dinner at a teammates vacation house.  Then, we travelled north to Camp Rilea, an active National Guard base, for the Seaside Challenge.  We spent the night on the base, in the barracks, and awoke in the morning to several helicopters, which we had assumed were just for show, lifting off.  After breakfast, we walked the course of our race, through swamps and sand dunes, and past a gate, with a sign that read "STOP! You are entering a live fire impact area  DO NOT ENTER."  The course, from that point on, held a few mud-pits, which I thought were probably shell craters.  It was probably the biggest meet I've ever been to, with approximately 3,000 runners. After the meet, I came back to Portland and found my family had continued on with the weekend.  Today, Dad had to go to the office, some sort of an IT problem, and Mom, Cy, and I went off on an excursion involving our favorite weekend activity: food.  We had deli sandwiches for lunch, while shopping for the dinner Cy would be cooking tonight.  By which I mean enchiladas.
      The chicken enchiladas that Cy wanted to make tonight are an easy family classic, they're actually the first thing he ever made for Sunday Dinners.  Unlike that first Sunday in January, however, we have the numerous fruits of our summer garden.  As an easy side, he's going to slice and spice some fresh tomato steaks.  The enchiladas are not true enchiladas, but Mom's "lazy-man enchiladas, really an enchilada casserole.

     The enchiladas were, as is always the case, excellent.  The tomatoes were juicy, and throughout the meal we spoke Spanish, or at least tried to, though I must say we did a pretty good job of it.  Dad only slipped into French a few times, and everyone else managed to hold their own.  Great enchiladas, and an especially fun meal.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


     As summer comes to a close this September, our garden is in it's last great spurt of activity before falling dormant for the winter.  Our plum tree's branches are weighed down with more plums than we can pick, and our kitchen counters are covered with the ripe tomatoes.  This end of season bounty is far more than we could ever hope to eat before it goes bad, so all week we've been making prunes, freezing tomato sauce and plums.  In addition, we need to eat a lot of it now.

     For dinner tonight, I'm making a tomato sauce, with a small fraction of our tomatoes.  For dessert, we're going to put together a plum crisp, which will also use a tiny fraction of our harvest.  Once Dad returns with phizzini fixings and ice cream to go with dessert, we'll be able to eat.

     The meat sauce was excellent, if you have fresh tomatoes, I definitely recommend using them in a sauce.  The plum crisp was good too, though there is some danger from ingesting so many plums.  They tend to move through an intestine at speeds, like, well, plums through an intestine.  The whole meal was a great way to use our garden's bountiful harvest, and there should be some left over for Cyrus next week too.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

If It Ain't Fried, It Ain't Cooked

     The first weekend of the school year is upon us.  Yesterday was the Trask Mountain Assault, an intense, muddy, cross-country meet in rural Yamhill County.  Last year, Cyrus ran in the open race, nominally representing Sellwood Middle School, and he planned to do so again this year with two of his friends.  But last week, the second day of school, he realized he had a broken thumb and had a MYS Jazz Band audition the same day, so he couldn't run.  Cyrus has a splint that he has to wear for about 6 weeks. We've taken to calling him Snap. Today was lazier, we took a hike around Mt. Tabor, (the only volcano within city limits in the U.S.) And got down to dinner - fried chicken, watermelon-tomato-feta salad and a green salad with homemade bleu cheese dressing.

          The fried chicken took awhile, allowing plenty of time to make the two salads.  The anticipation made it taste  even better. We might regret it when the paramedics arrive to administer nitroglycerin,  or in the morning when the entire house feels a bit greasy, like the inside of a fast food restaurant. But for tonight it was delicious. As they say in some parts of the world, "If it ain't fried, it ain't cooked."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

And We're Back! (Sorry For The Break)

     Well, It looks like we managed to miss all of August again.  Like last year, we've been on the road every Sunday. First we were in Maine, then I was at Cross-Country camp (Cy made dinner, but without me, nobody thought to write.)  The third Sunday of the month found me at work, and Mom, Dad and Cy at the summer swimteam end-of-summer potluck.  Last week we had just gotten back from our backpacking trip in the Gorge, and we got deli sandwiches and rushed off to Trek in the Park, for their last show of the season. Trek in the Park is like Shakespeare in the Park - only it is live actors performing Star Trek episodes.

     But now, it's September, and the impending doom that is the school year has forced us into a more rigid  schedule.  For now though, the weather is still warm, and the sun still shines.  Grilling season.  A hobo pack is currently on the grill, fresh dug potatoes from our garden, onions and carrots.  Waiting in the fridge is a meat I don't think we've ever cooked before.  As it turns out, you can buy whole sardines from the New Seasons meat counter.  And by whole I mean heads, guts, spines, eyeballs whole (brains too).  Six or seven inches long, they smell like, well, sardines.  We covered them in olive oil and salt, enough salt that I think if we leave them there long enough they'll be preserved.  At Mom's behest, I also made watermelon tomato salad, a summer classic.

     The sardines turned out great, though I must admit I'd rather just eat them from a can.  That way you don't have to clean eyeball chunks off of your grill.  The hobo pack was excellent, the potatoes warm and soft, the carrots, like all cooked carrots, sweet.  The watermelon-tomato salad was everything it always is, summery, sweet, and surprising.  An excellent way to end our summer.