Quarantine Week 9 – Only going a little crazy

As with all weeks, and I’m sure with everyone right now, week 9 had its ups and downs. As I publish this and am living through week 10, I feel like that is the lamest statement. Week 9 was fantastic…in hind sight.

Thursday (5/21) had to begin with satisfying my eggs Benedict craving. My sauce kind of broke at the end, but was close enough! I used thinly sliced deli ham instead of Canadian bacon…both because it is what I had and because my husband actually prefers it. I also made a beautiful loaf of Italian bread. The texture was great! For dinner, we had fried chicken legs and scalloped potatoes. The chicken was prepared in the air-fryer, but I’m leaning toward going old fashioned and deep frying next time. You just cannot get that horrible-for-you feel with the air-fryer. Or at least I have not managed it yet.

Friday (5/22) was pizza night. Our co-parent’s oven apparently went out and she realized this Thursday night after preparing two pizza crusts, so she delivered them to us Friday, and I made pizzas for dinner. I already had the fixings out, as we had planned on pizza for Saturday. One of the crusts gave me a bit of headache, so I turned it into a sausage, garlic and cheese calzone. The other one made a perfect cheese pizza for the kid. We had dinner on the deck and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Saturday (5/23), I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I substituted almond flour for half the regular and used a buttermilk pancake recipe so I could feel better about the nutrition, plus the buttermilk’s days were numbered. Oh, this is where I should mention that I recently downloaded an app for tracking the food in my refrigerator, pantry and freezers so I can further eliminate food waste. Yep, getting the refrigerator and main pantry input was a to-do. The rest is not yet finished.

For dinner Saturday night, I made Michael Symon’s Pierogi Casserole from #Symondinners. I don’t usually like to make two separate dishes, but I wanted to use up the last of that bacon I made, so I did a regular size portion for us meat eaters, and I made a miniature version for the shorter element of the household. It was incredible, and we ate leftovers for several days. I will say that it took me almost 2 hours to make even though he made it in less than 30 minutes on the show. I struggled a bit with the dough at first, but I think I could easily cut that time down if I tried again.

Sunday (5/24) was a very special night. We got take out. Yep, we finally ordered from our favorite neighborhood bar and grill. We over ordered in excitement, but it was so worth it. And don’t worry, we ate the leftovers later. It felt good to have a treat and to support our local business, but you can read more about the general experience in my posting Cracking the Door Open. I also started a brisket marinating for pastrami.

Monday (5/25), I continue my Symondinners fascination. I used his cauliflower salad recipe and created my own variation based on what I had available. I left out jalapenos because neither the kid nor the spouse like them, but I added pickled red onions and sweet peppers. I used a mango flavored balsamic and orange mint in my vinaigrette. On initial service, I did not use honey, but in putting away the leftovers, I added it, and I will say it was better with the honey. Oh, and I made a loaf of sandwich bread in the instant pot. Yep, bakers all over the world are cringing or rolling over in their graves, but it worked! It was delicious and the crust was a beautiful soft texture. Hey, it’s summer, and I gotta find ways to bake that don’t turn my house into a sauna.

Tuesday (5/26), I made braised pork shanks in the instant pot. I used a beer braise with an oatmeal stout that has been hanging out in my refrigerator for at least a year. It was good, but I will admit that the texture of the pork was not nearly as good as when done in a Dutch oven. Although it is possible that the difference was using beer. Maybe I’ll need to experiment more to make a determination on that issue. We served it up with the last of the scalloped potato leftovers, as they needed to get eaten.

Wednesday (5/27), I actually got all dressed up “cute” and put on jewelry. I drew the line at doing my hair and make up, so don’t get too impressed. I had been plotting for when I could make this dish I had come across that I believe was call white bean, cabbage and prosciutto pasta. I finally got the cabbage, and then I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. I found cabbage and prosciutto or cabbage and sausage pasta recipes. I found white bean and cabbage. Of course, If found white bean and every variation of pork. But I couldn’t find the recipe that combined them. So, I made it up. I sauteed cabbage, onions and mushrooms and then I simmered them all in vegetable broth. When the pasta was ready, I tossed it into the mixture along with the drained white beans and let them cook a couple of minutes. Then I removed it from the heat and added a healthy amount of grated Parmesan. It was delicious! The kid told me it needed to be listed on my blog site. I don’t think I’ve added it yet, but I’ll try to do that.

I also made a pumpkin cranberry bread in my instant pot. Yep, still using that thing for baking. I’ve pretty much decided my oven isn’t coming on if the temperature if above 75 degrees. Our kitchen gets really hot anyway…or maybe I’m just at that age…I’m okay with that too!

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