Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

Reality-Based Menu – Après Thanksgiving Edition

Have you finally consumed the last of the leftovers?

We ended up with last-minute guests, which was wonderful!  And yet the leftovers…..so many many leftovers.  There’s a reason I only cook this food once a year – I may only actually cook it one time, but we seem to eat it endlessly.  Time to move on.

This week’s menu is deliberately lighter – still every-day easy, but hopefully also a little more “swish” as my mother would say.

  • Monday – Watercress Cauliflower Soup; Crispy Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs; salad
  • Tuesday – Girls at their Dad’s; I have plans
  • Wednesday – Steak Kebabs; Arugula-Cucumber-Scallion Salad
  • Thursday – Ham & Gruyere Omelets; Shaved Fennel, Radish & Apple Salad
  • Friday – Pork Chops; Garlicky Broccoli; Rice (link below)

I know what you’re thinking:  “Erm…exactly how reality-based is that menu, there, Maevey?  We KNOW what you’re like.”

True. But here’s the thing.  I actually have most of the ingredients at the house and I kind of need to use them.  Tonight’s chicken is thawing right now; for the soup I’m doing a short-cut and using frozen cauliflower (GASP – Frozen Veggies!!! My Word!); I have canned stock (seriously, when do I have the time to make stock – and I actually like to make it).  The kebabs are super easy:  cubed sirloin; marinated for a few minutes with a lovely rosemary/salt/garlic rub – broiled for about 5 minutes total; the salad takes a grand total of 5 minutes to toss.  The Omelets – frankly, this is the weakest link – there’s more work involved in this meal than the entire rest of the week – we shall see.  Pork Chops, broccoli, rice (do, please, stop over here – this is my favorite way to cook broccoli).

You see, it’s really not quite that big a deal.  I’m feeling pretty good about, but also am  not going to beat myself up if Chinese Takeout shows up one night.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday (feel free to post updates, including any rants if necessary, LOL).

So, what’s cooking at your place this week?




Reality-Based Menu – Talking Turkey Edition

It’s Thanksgiving and I’m not posting a menu because this week, we’re all about Thursday.

It’s funny how the subject of the meal itself can be rather volatile.  In my house it’s something of a sacrilege to even suggest a deviation from the norm. I casually mentioned that maybe this year we would just roast a turkey breast and forego the wings/legs since there are so few of us – Whoa, Nelly!! Break out the smelling salts!  You’d have thought I’d cancelled Thanksgiving.  Suitably chastised, I bought a 20lb turkey.  And I’m going to make them eat every last bite if it takes until Christmas.

This is my menu.  It’s vey similar to the one I grew up with, except that my mother added pearl onions to the carrots; we didn’t have green bean casserole; and there was always corn (because my youngest brother would have expired on the spot it we didn’t have it).  I’m not cooking corn because nobody cares.  Iseult, who doesn’t even tolerate dairy particularly well insisted that we much have the carrots (sans onions).

  • Roasted Turkey
  • Stuffing (but I’m baking it in a Bundt pan – no, that doesn’t mean it’s dressing!)
  • Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Creamed Carrots
  • Rolls of some kind
  • Green Bean Casserole (super doctored up with cheese and water chestnuts)
  • Pecan Pie (Angarad makes the one from the Silver Palate Cookbook and it’s divine).
  • Chocolate Marshmallow Pie (from the November issue of Food Network Magazine)

I know you’re reading this over and thinking – there are no sweet potatoes!  There is no cranberry sauce!  What is wrong with these people?  What can I say?  We’re kind of weird and I’m not having any guests who will eat them, so, nope, not on the menu.  OK Maevey, but there’s no Pumpkin Pie for cryin’ out loud!  Heh – that’s how we roll.

Anyway, I’d like to just take a small moment to wish all my e-friends a very safe and blessed and joy-filled Thanksgiving.

If you’re up for sharing your Thanksgiving Menu, please do.


PS – Here’s my tip – the best place to thaw your turkey is in a bathtub filled with cold water.  Seriously.  You have to drain it and refill to keep the water cold, but it really does work.



True Confessions Tuesday

So.  There’s this recipe I’ve been dying to make for a bit (Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara with Burrata) – in fact, it’s been on my menu plan for what, two weeks now?  So, uh, what’s the big deal Maevey?  Make the pasta already!

Erm, no.  See, this particular recipe called for long fusilli.  I looooooooove long fusilli and it’s ridiculously hard to find here in Chucktown.  There is a highly chi-chi-pooh-pooh shop over in Mt. Pleasant which carries it (and a whole lot of other highly esoteric items), but that would have involved actually going there.  It’s not that big of a trek, actually, it’s more than I’m just too busy (lazy).

Now, you’d think that, since I’d ruled out traveling the 20 or so miles for a package of thick twirley spaghetti, I’d just get some other longish, thickish, readily available pasta, like, oh, say, linguine.

Well, you’d be wrong.  That fusilli was burned into the brain – there would be no Carbonara with out it.

Whatever shall Maevey do?

She turns to Amazon, that’s what she does.

Yesterday 17 packages of pasta were delivered to my door – to be fair, it was a case (12 packages) of the Long Fusilli, but then if you also bought a 5-box pack of Bucatini there was an extra discount.

That’s right folks.  I was not willing to drive 30 minutes to the store to buy 1 bag of fusilli, so I ordered 17 packages of pasta.

Le Extra Double Shame.

NB – I  made it last night and it’s one of the most luscious things you can eat.  If anyone needs some long fusilli, I can help you out.


Reality-Based Menu – Reluctant Edition

It was a dark and stormy weekend.  Not the weather.  The world.

I was a young girl in that city.  And even then, in the 70’s there were threats of terrorism – indeed, it was not uncommon for me to come home from school and see several SWAT-type vans across the street (I lived across from an embassy which was frequently the target of terrorists).  I suppose I’ve always hoped that people grow out of trying to kill one another – unrealistic, yes, but what can I say – I’m sort of Pollyanna-ish that way.

This week’s menu:

  • Monday – Roasted Chicken Thighs; Cauliflower; Rice Pilaf
  • Tuesday – Girls at their Dad’s – leftovers, I think
  • Wednesday – Shredded Pork, Sesame Broccoli; Lentils
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • Friday – DIY dinner
  • Weekend – I’ll think of something

If I have the time, I think I’ll pick up a pear and some dried tart cherries and make a Clafoutis (this one, from Martha Stewart) and watch my favorite movie set in that city (Charade), and have my own little tribute.

Anyone else up for cooking something French this week?


True Confessions Tuesday

My preferred mode of reading is to skip to the end of the book and then work my way back.

I’ve been forcing myself to read linearly and find it extremely difficult.

(Yes – I like spoilers for my movies, too).

Now you know.

Le Sigh.

Edited to Add – that’s not really a confession.

THIS IS A CONFESSION:   I can honestly say that on innumerable occasions I’ve wanted to shriek to my family, at the top of my lungs:  “No – I don’t care if you’re hungry.  Fix a bowl of cereal.  Eat some popcorn.  Just please leave me alone because I’m at a really good part and I’d rather not kill you.”  Extra shame:  I still get that way. 


Reality-Based Menu – Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel Edition

Read and weep:

  • Monday – Chili (yep – that was it – while working or doing homework)
  • Tuesday – Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara (maybe) – and the only reason for this is that there actually IS a cauliflower in my refrigerator; also eggs and parmesan cheese (remember how I talked about maybe making it over the weekend?  Guess what?  I didn’t.  Quel surprise, non???).
  • Wednesday – Leftovers – because there’s still a lot of chili and there will probably be pasta
  • Thursday – Chicken-something and Salad (because there is chicken in the fridge and I have to cook it because there’s no room in the freezer because I go shopping and then don’t cook what I buy)
  • Friday – “The Tears of our Forefathers” (I saw that on FB a couple weeks ago and laughed so hard I damn near peed myself)
  • Weekend – I don’t know and I don’t care.  Nobody will starve.

This is a brutal week for me and for the people who live with me.  There are tests, play practice, the actual play itself, and there is work – a great deal of gut-churning, migraine-inducing work.  It’s always like this one week out of the month – this would be that week.

It’s these times when nobody cares about eating, but we should.  I know that good meals would help, but that would require a level of attention which is not possible from anyone.    Frankly, if I could, I’d order takeout every night just to cut myself a break (Well, Maevey, why don’t you just go ahead and order takeout every night?  Because instead of thinking ahead and planning, I spent the takeout budget on actual groceries.  Le Sigh).

Please, somebody tell me that you’re inspired to cook something nice for your family this week (it will give me hope…)



Friday Rant – Author Edition

One of my guilty pleasure authors just jumped the shark and it pissed me off so much I’d have thrown the book, but it was an e-novella and I’m willing to destroy my Nook over that BS .

I don’t get too wrapped around the axle if authors slide some of their political/sociological/cultural/religious viewpoints in to their fiction, as long as it’s in keeping with story line and is with consistent with the characters as developed.  But, if you’re going to neuter (and that’s what she did) a hitherto fore well-defined character just so you can fling  about your prog-in-good-standing-card (or con card, but that wasn’t the case in this particular instance), well, EFF You.  I’m not buying your stuff anymore!

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced this author didn’t even write the novella.  Clumsy execution and boring as well.  Dammit!



True Confessions Tuesday

I thought we’d have a new feature here Chez Maeve, one I like to call “True Confessions”.

This is a time to open up about the things we do that are actually appalling to our own sensibilities (and maybe that of others).

“But Maevey, I’m hardly so gauche as to do anything which might offer offense to my delicate sensibilities,” you say.

Well, fine.  It must be nice there on Mount Perfection.

I, however, live down here Humanville and have been known to offend myself on any number of occasions.

I’ll go first.

Yesterday evening I went to Walmart in my pajamas (they were respectable pajamas, but still).

Le Shame.



Reality-based Menu – Holding Steady Edition (Plus recipe link)

It’s Monday so this means we’re back for another rendition of “What’s Maevey going to attempt to cook at her house this week?”(heh!).

It’s even less impressive than prior weeks.

  • Tonight we are having Chicken Caesar Salads (we ended up not having them last week)
  • Tuesday – Girls are at their Dad’s and I’m making these Garlicky Smothered White Beans on Toast (but I’m adding some pancetta or bacon as well)
  • Wednesday – Chili & Els’ Cornmeal Biscuits
  • Thursday – Steak Skewers with Arugula Salad
  • Friday – everybody has plans, so no menu

Weekend – our weekends are hugely busy; I might make short ribs on Saturday (maybe – they’re easy, but you kind of have to check on them periodically); There’s a Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara with Burrata over at Love and Olive Oil which I’m dying to try, so maybe that.  Then out on Food52 I saw a great recipe for scallion pancakes and it occurred that this would be with a stir-fry.  Anyway, I’m not sweating any of it.  There is food in the house (most of it reasonably healthy) so nobody will starve.

This past weekend was sort of lazy for me.  Didn’t get a ton of things accomplished, but I work up this morning finally feeling like my head was clear.  Maybe I needed the downtime.

I’m going to try and publish a book post later on this week, but for right now, this is all I’ve got.

So, what’s cooking at your place?