Archive for the ‘Sunday Dinner’ Category

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.

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.


Stuffed Artichokes: Part 2

It all has to go sideways sometimes, right?

Oh, friends. It was not my fault. Well, actually it was my fault. But I didn’t realize that until I was well into writing this. More on that in a moment.

“Prep Time: 15 Minutes”

Have you ever cleaned and trimmed an artichoke? There was no mention of such in the recipe, but I invite anyone with lots (like, tons) of free time to stuff an un-trimmed artichoke. It’s possible, but will certainly take more time than just trimming the damn thing. Unless you’re wearing oyster gloves, and if so then I’m going to really doubt you’d have enough dexterity. Also, I’m really going to doubt you’re wearing oyster gloves.

“15 minutes” is crazy talk.

Next up is the ingredient list. I’m guessing that most people (including me) give a recipe a quick skim first to estimate time suck and expense. This one doesn’t look too bad. Eight ingredients. But the eagle-eyed reader will see that one of those ingredients is “Essence” which is defined on the next page as a combination of eight spices. Unless you keep a stocked spice rack, that’s going to double up your cost.

Also on the list is “4 artichokes, boiled until tender and cleaned free of the choke.”

I didn’t see it. My bad. Totally. But really, shouldn’t all the cooking process be in the instructions? So not all my bad. I thought it was hugely weird to bake artichokes without steaming or boiling them, but I’m not about to second-guess Emeril. The whole point of this exercise is that I’m making recipes that are foreign to me. Also, there’s no way boiling and cleaning out the choke is included in the time estimate. Rrrrrr.

Finally, made as intructed, the stuffing comes out gritty (even after adding more oil and cheese). The cayenne gives it an unpleasant sting rather than a pleasant heat making for an overall effect of eating hot sand.

It all started out so well.

The sad journey those artichokes went on, though, was sink –> counter –> oven –> trash.

Recipe #7: Stuffed artichokes from FoodNetwork.

Sunday Dinner: Stuffed Artichokes

My absolute favorite food. When I was little my Mom bribed me to take medicine with an offer of a stuffed artichoke.

That was around the time I used to fantasize that if I were some kind of royalty I could have someone on hand at all times with warm, freshly-cooked artichoke hearts, lightly sprinkled with salt. (NB: A fresh heart is nothing remotely like the canned variety.)

I have only eaten whole artichokes two ways. Stuffed with seasoned breading and cheese and then baked or steamed plain with lemon butter or mayonnaise for dipping. Both are so delicious that I don’t have any explanation as to why we don’t eat them more.

This recipe is different. The artichoke is boiled. The stuffing isn’t cooked. I had two issues with it, one my fault. I overcooked the artichoke. It was blissfully easy to fan out the leaves and scoop out the choke, but the heart was a little mushy. Disappointing. The second issue is that it seemed kind of like a “lite” stuffed artichoke. The stuffing quantity was enough to sprinkle through the leaves, not pack to overflowing. It also had a kind of bread salad quality to it. Tasty enough, but more garnish-y than hearty. That may really be a matter of taste, but I can’t get over my long history of stuffed artichokes done a certain way.

I’d like to find a version that comes closer to my Mom’s traditional recipe, with maybe just a hair lighter touch. It’s hard to improve on the best thing that’s ever come out of her kitchen. She will tell you the best thing is her meatballs, and everyone who knows us will probably agree with her. We’ll be able test both things, as there’s one more stuffed artichoke recipe (much more familiar to me) and also a hand-written interpretation of Mom’s meatballs in my Dad’s folder.

I want to do the alternative artichoke recipe soon. Alden actually took a shot at a few leaves, which is encouraging.

Recipe #6: Stuffed Artichokes from FoodNetwork.

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!