alice waters meets sloppy joe

October 19, 2011 Comments Off on alice waters meets sloppy joe

Foodie meets diner.  Alice Waters’ Art of Simple Food came a couple of days ago, and I’ve been salivating over it.  I managed a couple of meals at Chez Panisse in the San Francisco years, and the book manages to distill her philosophy well–pay attention to what you’re buying, don’t overdo anything, concentrate on simple flavors and textures, and keep things light.

That’s all fine, but the kids had been promised sloppy joes tonight, so we mixed things up a bit.  I made some fresh ciabatta rolls and bought some good looking fresh green beans and potatoes, per Alice’s instructions.  The sloppy joes themselves were out of Cook’s–simple stuff, just sauteed onions and garlic, ground beef, diced tomatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, and some spice.  And to class things up a bit, those are AOSF’s pan-fried potatoes and green beans with almond and lemon.  The potatoes were genuinely simple.  Slice some red ones, boil them until they’re just done, then fry them in olive oil for fifteen minutes until they’re nicely crispy.  Delish, and totally nommed by the kiddos.  The green beans weren’t much harder.  Boil the beans while toasting some almond slices in butter.  Toss them all together, spritz half a lemon on them, and salt ’em.  Mixed reviews, but the butter sure didn’t hurt.

All in all a good mix.  The potatoes got placed in the starch pantheon, right up there with double-fried fries.  And the sloppy joes on ciabatta were really nice–light, not too saucy, and the bread soaked up a ton of flavor without getting soggy.  O is earning her foodista merit badge.  She recognized the lemon in the green beans, and last night, after grabbing organic chocolate bars for dessert on the way home from big city pizza, she let me know that her bar must have had a pretty high cacao content.

MST3K tonight.


sloppy joes and smashies

February 10, 2011 Comments Off on sloppy joes and smashies

Just a bit proud of this one.  We had four of the sandwich buns left over and slowly getting stale.  I figured we had to do one sandwich meal.  Hammagas?  Done it a couple of times.  Not interesting.  Tuna melts?  Ha!  Then I ran across a good-looking sloppy joe recipe (are there any bad looking ones?)  And I realized that this should work–C likes hamburgers, sort of, but he really, really likes ketchup.  What is a sloppy joe but a hamburger soaked–no, steeped–in ketchupy goodness?

He was freaked when I suggested sloppy joes.  The name conjures up goopy textures, which he hates.  “Don’t worry,” I said, “you like everything in them.  Here, take a look at the recipe.”  He did.  Meat, ketchup, tomato sauce, garlic, onion, and…

“Brown sugar?”


He was sold.  The girl was less than enthusiastic, so I told her we’d make smashies, too.  These are an awesome Cook’s recipe.  Parboil some red potatoes, let them cool, then smash them onto a baking pan, douse them in olive oil and thyme, stuff them back into a hot oven, and roast them for half and hour.  As you can see, they’re ugly, but tasty.  (I should have used smaller ones–these didn’t parboil all the way through and fractured instead of smashed.  A subtle distinction, and one that escaped the kids’ notice, but the idea is to have roasted skins and mashed centers.  I’ll try again).

Both kids liked the smashies, which was no surprise.  And the boy loved the sloppy joe, which was nice.  “Definitely doing this again, Dad,” was the verdict, and he almost finished a whole 1/4-pound sammie.  The girl?  Desert island.  Rats.  I thought I might go two for two.  But I had made an error in strategy.  This afternoon, we did homework at Stomping Grounds, the more foodie cafe in town.  The deal with the kids is that they can get something to eat and drink while we do homework, and they did.  The boy got a grilled cheese sandwich and a fruit cup.  And O?

A full Nutella and banana crepe (which she gamely let her brother try), and a cup of “O’s hot chocolate,” which is made from heavy cream, bitter chocolate, and a good pound or two of sugar.  The waitress actually looked at me to make sure that combo was alright.  I have to say, it got her through her homework pretty quick, but it maybe, just maybe, spoiled her appetite a bit.

Movie night last night was Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster.  Tonight?  O picked Animal Farm. George Orwell is her new favorite author.  She loved this book and is in the middle of 1984. Her brother was skeptical, but we’re only halfway through and he’s already figured it out.  “The animals are just as bad to each other as the humans were to them,” he said.

“Yup,” said his sister.  “George Orwell thought that humans would be as bad as they could get away with to each other.”

Holy crap.  That girl can have a Nutella crepe any day she wants one.

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