Lunch 1/4/23

Beef stew

So the first thing I ACTUALLY cooked for 2023 was a pot of beef stew on New Year’s Day. One year I made the traditional black-eyed peas and collard greens for New Year’s Day, and nobody ate it except me, so I haven’t bothered again. The cold snap we had over Christmas had me hankering for all sorts of hot comfort food, even though the weather here for NYD was quite mild.

Stew is always better a day or two later, and this was no exception. I warmed some up for my lunch a couple of days later, and it was delicious. I noticed that The Kitchn did a comparison of beef stews last week, too, and they chose Ina Garten’s recipe as the best one. The recipe I use is very basic, but the next time maybe I will give hers a shot.

Dinner 1/2/23

Swedish meatballs, boiled potatoes, peas, and lingonberry jam

We took a ride to IKEA for New Year’s Day to buy some assorted Scandianvian home goods, among which, of course, was a bag of frozen meatballs, a packet of sauce mix, and a jar of lingonberry jam.

Swedish meatballs are not particularly hard to make from scratch, but heating up some meatballs in the air fryer and making sauce from a packet is even easier. Plus, the end result is identical to what you get when you eat in the IKEA cafeteria. And, you can have as many meatballs as you want without paying extra!!

I did boil up some little red bliss potatoes and toss them with butter, salt, and pepper, so it’s not like I didn’t do ANYTHING. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

New Year’s Day 1/1/22

Beef pho

How could I possibly be hungry after all that food on New Year’s Eve?

Well, by lunchtime I was ready for something. I don’t know what the weather was like where you are, but our New Year’s Day was a dreary, rainy one, and when the weather is like that, I want soup. And if I want soup, I want pho.

We’ve only lived in Salem for a couple of years and are still learning all the many places to find good food (and there are MANY), but we did find a Vietnamese place in Beverly that we like enough to go occasionally. The place I like the best is actually a bit of a drive for us now, so we haven’t been for a while, but this place makes a decent bowl of pho, and my wife likes their egg and tofu banh mi.

My favorite beef pho combo has sirloin, brisket, tripe and tendon. I especially like the little nuggets of tendon, because they are soft and succulent in the hot broth. I can’t exactly say I love the tripe, but I have come to appreciate the…unique…texture enough to enjoy it when it’s there. This restaurant doesn’t offer either of those in their soup, unfortunately, but I get that they are trying to appeal to customers more than score points for authenticity. So this bowl was just sirloin and brisket. Good, not great, but perfectly acceptble on a rainy Saturday afternoon in January.

They say that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you’ll be doing for the year. If I can eat a lot more pho in 2022, that would be very nice indeed.