Sausage skillet supper

It’s predictable. Every year after the holidays, the other adults in the Alter/Burton compound go on a diet. So I wasn’t really surprised when it happened this year—nor am I completely out of sympathy. I know that they seem to feel better when the cut back on dairy and carbs. That regimen goes contrary to my personal belief which is that one should sort of follow the American Heart Association diet—moderation in all things. But I am not asked my opinion, and if it makes them feel better, I’m all for it.

I am, however, told what they will eat or not eat, and it sure messes up my cooking. Our routine is that we mostly eat separately during the week, especially since each of us often has dinner engagements. But we do Sunday night dinner together, as a family, and I always cook unless Christian really wants to cook something.

So this week I found a recipe for an easy lamb ragu that sounded wonderful. Nope, can’t do that. No pasta. Meat and vegetables only. Quote, “None of your fancy dishes.” On the other hand, I really do not want to cook plain burgers and a salad.

So tonight, for Sunday supper, we had seasoned lamb burgers, Greek potatoes, and salad dressed with a Greek vinaigrette. Explanations are due. The lamb burgers had just one slice of bread and 2 Tbsp. milk in them—acceptable, I assume. And they were delicious. The Greek potatoes didn’t, to my taste, live up to expectations. They were tossed in a vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, and water—I think it was the water that was the undoing. Another time I would coat them with a straight vinaigrette for more flavor.

The salad was delicious, but mostly because the tzatziki was a failure. The problem was that I didn’t have Greek yogurt, with which I can make a simple tzatziki with few ingredients. I tried to compensate with one that had lots of other ingredients—cream cheese, feta, red wine vinegar, and some other things. I didn’t have red wine vinegar, so I substituted white. And I was reducing the recipe. Probably if I’d done it scientifically by proportion it would have been fine. But I ended up eyeballing it. The result was a very thin mixture that tasted great but lacked the body and substance of tzatziki. So we used it for salad dressing—and it was good. Oh yes, I also didn’t have dried dill weed, so Jordan supplied it after the fact.

In spite of all that, dinner was a success–principally because the lamb burgers were so very good.

That wasn’t all my weekend cooking. I ate dinner out three or four nights last week, but Saturday night, home alone in the cottage, I had the best dinner of the week: a chicken/spinach sausage fresh from Central Market, cottage fried potatoes (is that the name? sliced raw and fried till brown, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside), and sauerkraut that I got just right. I sautéed a bit of onion and garlic in butter, added undrained kraut and some water, sprinkled it just lightly with brown sugar, and simmered it for twenty or thirty minutes. At the last minute I added a splash of white wine. I think it was the long, slow simmer that softened the acidic taste and yet left the kraut with its full flavor. So good.

Today I also made Chuy’s dip. I suspect Chuy’s is a Texas thing—I only know of it in Austin (where it originated, I think) and Fort Worth. But the recipe for their dip/salad dressing is online—and it’s great. Mayonnaise, sour cream, dry ranch dressing mix, cilantro, pickled jalapenos and juice, tomatillos, lime juice. I doctored it—way fewer jalapenos but more lime juice. Love that citrus flavor. I serve it with potato chips—good, sturdy ones from Trader Joe’s because I’m not a huge fan of tortilla chips.

Love my cooking weekends. Tomorrow, a bunch of work projects await on my desk, and I shall have to get down to business. But cooking was fun and relaxing.