Archive for the ‘Alden wouldn’t eat it’ Category

Sunday Dinner: Cioppino

A banged up recipe looks like a winner to me. I figure it’s been on the counter at least a few times.

So good. So so good. I miss it already.

As far as I can tell, “cioppino” is just a fancy way of saying “fish stew in tomato broth.” Zero research went into that assertion, so take it for what it’s worth. The recipe is in the intermediate category on, but the only difficult thing about it was restraining myself from sticking my face in the pot.

The various seafoods — anchovies, cod, shrimp, mussells and scallops — adds up to a spendy grocery bill. We won’t be putting on our table every week, but it joins the ranks of my favorite go-to special occassion recipes — fondue, stuffed artichokes mostly.

The only time, until now, that I tried cioppino¬†was in San Francisco — a speciality of the city. This is just as good. Please try it. And invite me over.

Recipe #11:
Cioppino: A Fine Kettle of Fish



Sunday Dinner: Dixie Fried Catfish

Swimming around in the bottom of the folder are little recipe cards from I-don’t-know-where. Until now, every Sunday dinner came from a recipe printed off the internet. (Is anyone still writing it “Internet”?)

These cards confuse me. Did Dad save them because he wanted to try them? Or did someone give them to him and¬† he just chucked them in the folder? A tour reveals no tofu or anything else he regarded with suspicion. Let’s call them good.

Once I got rolling I realized it was a non-recipe recipe. Basically: Dredge some catfish in cornmeal, salt and pepper. Fry it. Eat it.

oil blotches for legitimacy

To be fair, I’ve deep fried maybe three times in my life. I would not have known how long to leave it on the oil. So thanks for that, little card!

I paired it up with some mashed sweet potatoes, which both boys ate and so I will make every day for the rest of my life. Carotenoids for the win, yo! Next time I will mix in a little apple sauce, because I am tricky like that.

On the eve of yet another business trip, when my baby calls me by the sitter’s name twice, it feels extra good to get in a nutritional win.

I need to add another category called “My Mom wouldn’t eat it.” At least she ate the potatoes, too.

Recipe #9: Dixie Fried Catfish from a mysterious little card.

Paired with:

Recipe #10: Salade Nicoise with Conchiglie from Vegetarian Pasta

There’s no tuna, which means it’s not Nicoise. Right? It’s shell pasta salad. Another non-recipe recipe.

Sunday Dinner: Horseradish Burgers with Havarti

I ate a hamburger.

So I guess I’m not a vegetarian anymore. After 20+ years. I still am not prepared to do this outside my Sunday Dinner project, though.

I didn’t slingshot into an orgy of meat-eating. I wondered. I loved meat. I was not one of those people who rarely ate it. I ate it a lot. I liked red meat, medium rare. I wonder how I would feel about some of my old favorites, a gorgeous filet, pot roast. We may discover one of these Sundays.

This, though, was a good start because the recipe was super simple.

I went to Earth Fare and picked up some organic, antibiotic-free, grass-fed craziness. Came home and mushed it up with chopped up chives and a big scoop of horseradish. Threw it on the grill with the havarti coming in at the last minute.

Damon loved it. Alden and Elliot passed, bun or no bun, cheese or no cheese. I even made the little knuckleheads a horseradish-free variety. For no good reason, it seems.

My Dad loved a good burger, though, so I enjoyed making these for him.

If you love horseradish as I do, you should know two things. The first is to double the amount in this recipe. The second is to go to the Popover Cafe in New York and get the Real New Yorker Omelet. I don’t even like omelets.

Recipe #8: Horseradish Burgers with Havarti from Food Network.


Sunday Dinner: Beer-Simmered Bratwurst with Onions and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut

Back out of my comfort zone this week with a seriously meaty dish. Bratwurst was a good choice for a few reasons. It’s a very Cincinnati dish, by way of Cincinnati being a very German town. I love my hometown so much I might even make goetta some day. Also, our local Earth Fare makes their own sausages, which somehow makes it more palatable to me. And finally, Damon loves it. Loves it loves it.

I love sauerkraut. I love spicy, pickled things. This recipe, though, make my cabbage taste like a mouthful of vinegar. I added two liberal fistfulls of sugar and that brought it back to where I needed it to be.

Not to self: Don’t marinate bratwurst in expensive beer.

That’s not Bobby Flay’s fault. I just asked Damon to grab dark beer. Of course he bought Guiness. I don’t think the beer flavor particularly came through. We could certainly have gotten there more cheaply.

Also in the pot were these onions, which came out delish.

We served the whole mess with some pickled veggies.

My biggest miss was the lack of potatoes. The meal needs something starchy. I found out too late, though, that our bag of potatoes had sprouted enough arms and legs to fight for its life.

Recipe #4: Beer-Simmered Bratwurst with Onions and Red Cabbage Sauerkraut from

Another one this week, not from Dad’s file:

Recipe #5: Meatless Muffaletta from

Pretty good, although potent even for me. I might have preferred fresh tomato over sun-dried. I did take the olive mix, fresh tomatoes and romano cheese and pour it all over pasta the next day. Amazing!

Sunday Dinner: Cedar Planked Salmon with Maple Glaze

After my foray into raw chicken, with bones, and innardy things (although not actual innards) I tucked tail and ran back to familiar territory.

Y’all, this recipe was so, so delicious. Best yet of the Jim Seger Sunday series.

Two things to know about my Dad in relation to food:

1. He did not care about the nutritional information associated with his food. He wasn’t junk food eater, but neither was he temperate in his consumption (of anything). One night he served me a shrimp scampi floating in a broth of butter and served with huge hunks of crusty, buttery garlic bread. He was honestly suprised when I pointed out that we would pay for that in poundage. I still cleaned my plate, and you would have too. But I thought about it, and he didn’t. That isn’t so relevant to the current recipe.
2. He did not care how much food cost. He wanted to eat what he wanted to eat. Period. This will come into play momentarily.

What I know about cooking meat could fill a thimble. What I know about cooking fish could fill… a big thimble? One of those thimbles you might see at a country fair. Something for your shadow box. Ceramic. Maybe painted with a duck.

I do know how to text (barely) “FISH kindoffish” to 30644 and get instant feedback from the Blue Ocean Institute on whether my choice is sustainable or if it’s loaded up with, say, fire retardants and other poisons. I am trying to cut back on my heavy metal consumption. It’s super cool. Try it!

There’s some nattering back and forth about wild salmon vs. farmed. For me, I’ll take the cost of wild with the reduced contaminent exposure. We may not eat it as often, but I feel better about putting it on the table.

So I hit Earth Fare to get some free-range dinner, and I wish I could tell how much I paid per pound but I blacked out a little bit.

I also picked up the cedar planks and some maple syrup. You know what else costs a lot of money? Pure maple syrup. When did it get so expensive to be a hippie?

I held my nose and bought a $10 small bottle of maple syrup, rationalizing that what was left would make our weekend pancakes extra delicious.

The recipe called for one cup of syrup. Guess how much is in a little bottle? Yup.

So, not even getting into the other ingredients, the wild salmon, pure maple syrup and cedar planks kicked this recipe up into the umpteen gabillion dollar range. Which is not something my Dad would have noticed, but it got my attention. We could have eaten a pretty decent restaurant meal for the same cash, and someone else would have delivered drink refills to my kids.

Still, so delicious. And I will say that my palate is not sophisticated enough to appreciate the cedar planks. If you skipped those, ditched the wild salmon (that you can’t even be sure you’re getting) for farmed and brought in Aunt Jemima and you’d be in business for a reasonable cost. I haven’t tried that, so I can’t speak to the taste attrition. I think it’s worth trying.

Recipe #3: Cedar Planked Salmon with Maple Glaze from, sourced from Gourmet (RIP) November 1997.