Archive for the ‘Sunday Dinner’ Category

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!

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.