Archive for the ‘Sunday Dinner’ Category

Sunday Dinner: Whole Roasted Chicken on the Cocorico

“on the Cocorico” took some thought. I didn’t know if it was a serving style, a la “on the rocks.” Or what.

Turns out a Cocorico is a roaster that looks like the novelty sombrero frat boys use for nachos.

My Dad would absolutely buy something like this. I will not. Dedicated as I am to this project, I can’t spend $70+ on an item I will never, ever use again.

I never saw the Cocorico in my Dad’s kitchen. I’ve never seen a chicken purported to be roasted that way. The mystery will stand.

If you’re up for it: Whole Roasted Chicken on the Cocorico from NapaStyle (which just happens to sell that Cocorico. Imagine.)


Sunday Dinner: Pulled Pork Barbecue

I set the plate down in front of Damon and said, maybe a little defensively, “I followed the recipe exactly.”

It wasn’t so bad. The recipe called for a vinegar-based sauce. I love vinegar, but this was VINEGAR. I grew up with the tomato-based variety of barbecue sauce, which I love like I love little kittens. I’m not even going to start the regional debate. I’m sure my friends at The Communal Skillet would be happy to get into it with you. For me, though, this sauce was more eye-watering than mouth. And after the leftovers concentrated in the fridge — whoa.

So I got this 5-pound pork roast — Boston butt. Research tells me that this is actually the shoulder, but whatever. I was relieved to see there was no bone. I’m learning to face down a hunk of raw meat, but I’m nowhere near sanguine (get it?) about it. Alden was not at all put off. And he did know what he was looking at. He helped me coat the whole thing with a spice rub, testing each one individually as we mixed it up. His verdict… brown sugar is awesome and paprika causes him to make a sound like a fog horn.

Here’s where I learned that all-day recipes crush my puny scheduling abilities. Friday afternoon, when I started this, I noted that the rub needed to sit on the roast anywhere from an hour to overnight. That extra hour killed my hopes of getting it on the table before kid bedtime, so overnight it was. Shift pulled pork dinner to Saturday night.

Alden’s birthday party was Saturday morning, but somehow we didn’t come home until 3. This had something to do with Alden, his friend M, and M’s mom being lost on nature center grounds for an hour+. But it also had something to do with me totally forgetting about the pork roast because I was having fun running around in the woods. Shift pulled pork dinner to Sunday.

I don’t know how Sunday got away from me. I put the pork in the oven for its 6-hour roast at around 3:30. So, sandwiches for dinner! I put Alden to bed that night and, as I often do, I dozed myself. Laying there in a dreamy haze I realized that my little experiment was still in the oven. Damn! Damn! I do not want to get up and fool with this at nigh-on-10-o’clock. What else was I going to do, though? So at 9:45 I was completely tired and staring at this meat that I was supposed to “pull” using two forks. Fork that, man. I lasted about 10 minutes and then started shredding it with my (washed! washed!) hands, burning my fingers and cursing as I went.

I don’t know. There are big pockets of fat(?) in the middle of the roast. Fat makes meat delicious, I realize. But big globs of it that bring their own gross texture? That can’t be right. I kept throwing big hunks of questionable bits into the garbage. The more impatient and frustrated I got, the bigger the hunks. I tried hacking some off with a knife. Some of the meat texture seemed strange. I threw that away too. I would say my 5 pounds of meat ultimately yielded about five sandwiches worth of barbecue.

Damon liked it enough to eat it all up in the course of a few days. I’d wondered, considering my past love of barbecue sauce, if this would be the dish that would catapult me back into full-time carnivore. It was not.

Oh, and the cole slaw. I’d already tasted the barbecue sauce so I adapted the recipe a little bit to help chill things out. I left out the red pepper and Dijon, and I also halved the onions. It was a good impulse. That I will eat right down to the bottom of the bowl.

Recipe #13: Pulled Pork Barbecue from

Sunday Dinner: Corn Grilled In Its Jacket

This should just be called Grilled Corn. No need to be fancy, Tyler Florence. Plus, is “in its jacket” British, like a jacket potato? Because really it should be called Grilled Mexican Corn.

Easy peasy recipe time. I have to make a confession, though. Or at least an admission. I steamed the corn in the microwave. I try to follow these recipes to the letter, but I am never going to knowingly jump through a bunch of hoops when I happen to know for sure (like Oprah for sure) that the best way to cook corn on the cob is in the microwave. Leave the husks and silks undisturbed so they will be tightly wrapped. Three ears for six minutes, and then let them stand for about a minute. You’re golden. The corn steams in the husk and is so, so nice. Plus, the silks slip right off, which is MAJOR when you’re making a lot of corn. And who makes a little corn? Everyone always wants more.

I picked up the recipe where you wrap the husks into little handles (very clever) and char it on the grill. I had some anxiety about putting on the mayo and cayenne. The corn looked so gorgeous, I was messing with perfection. Plus, mayonnaise? On corn? All that fear was for nothing, though. It’s just a little bit and it liquifies from the heat of the corn. It was wonderful. Such an easy way to dress up a summer staple. I adjusted down on the cayenne (toddlers) and up on the lime (because lime juice is awesome), but that’s personal preference.

A word of caution, though. I actually made the recipe again the next day. I can never leave a good thing alone. But we weren’t able to get really good corn — it was a little bit dry. It would have been okay (but not great) just steamed, but putting on the grill killed it dead. Chewy. Gross. Into the garbage.

Recipe #12: Grilled Corn In Its Jacket from

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.