The spooky season is upon us, and Europe has already changed to wintertime. I have a full week only five (5) hours time difference between the US East coast and Denmark. Perhaps not a lot, but it’s amazing how much one hour can do for my weekly video call with my mum.
Our kids have been planning and preparing their Halloween customers for the past month. They have a very vivid imagination that included motorized vehicles. elaborate special effects, and expensive customers. Neither materialized and they decided on cute outfits; Minnie Mouse, Ravenclaw, and Griffindor.
The actual Halloween evening was a little subdued. Perhaps because the weather suddenly turned colder. Perhaps because people are still worried about COVID. Perhaps because parents bought all the sweets so why leave the comfort of the house. Nevertheless, we took our kids to trick n treating, and they had a blast. BUckets were quickly filled with all kinds of sweets – a parent’s worst nightmare.
One house that handed out sweets used tongs to handout sweets, to avoid kids touching their bucket and other wrapped sweets!
Street Taco Halloween dinner
Before heading out to load up the sweets buckets, I prepared a quick dinner; street tacos.
Well, the meal actually started Friday evening when I placed the flank steak in a pesto, olive oil, and a splash of apple cider vinegar marinade. I threw the bag into the fridge and fried the steak Sunday afternoon at 500F on the Traeger. Absolutely delicious and super tender.
It was served with corn tortillas, simple slaw, tomato/garlic mixture, and tabasco for the family members living on the edge. A quick and enjoyable meal, loading the kids up with energy before getting a sugar rush.
Cooking over fire prototype
It is no secret that I enjoy cooking food outdoors, and I have in recent years experimented with various cooking approaches; Traeger, Blackstone, and the Breeo fire pit.
All attempts have had various degrees of success, but broadly a great experience fueled by good friendship – the knucklehead gang has helped make this a fun journey.
Recently I had thrown a challenge to the knucklehead gang. I wanted to build a cowboy tripod hanging fire pit, with a think rim for cooking on.
We discussed the approach, materials needed, measurements, and some other design considerations through a long series of text messages.
After a few days, we had the design and materials list. It was going to be an epic project, worthy of the knucklehead gang’s labor, and would hopefully secure many more adventurous knucklehead gatherings.
The knuckleheads accepted the challenge on one condition; I would offer beer, cook meat, clean up my garage for the build process, and provide the music.
I bought the 42″ cauldron on Amazon, some oversized masculine chain, while the others provided the pipes for the legs, welded the tripod top, and shopped for essential screws, bolts, and other pieces.
In total, the cauldron cost us around $350. Hopefully, it’ll give us plenty of opportunities to use it, and I pray it will not be consumed by the rust in the pro-moist environment in upstate NY state.
We met last Friday evening to assemble the prototype. Little did we know that our planning had been so excellent that we could actually fire up the hanging fire pit that evening.
It is an epic cowboy cauldron, standing 8ft tall, ready to entertain the gang around and of course cook meat on. We might even invite a few more members to join our little gang.
For the boys, I prepared and served Armadillo eggs, smoked on the Traeger for 90+ minutes. I got the idea from watching Matt Pittman over on the Meat Church channel. I’ve named my version Dragon Eggs, purely due to the size of these suckets.
The eggs were amazing and offered a full meal to us grown men. As a side, I prepared smoked queso with chorizo.
Another huge hit with the knuckleheads, as we flushed down the food and snacks with some excellent cold Guinness and Sam Adam beers.
Disclaimer - it is a prototype. We have plenty of modifications lined up, and it needs a lick of paint.
Fire up the Traeger. Ready your Dutch oven. Go shopping, and let’s start cooking—another Sunday in the Kitchen with music on the magical Demerbox and wonderful aromas filling the room.
|Weekday||Snacks n’ Breakfasts||Lunch||Dinner|
|Monday||Hummus with crackers||Pigs in a blanket; cocktail sausages wrapped in croissant dough||Parmesan crusted chicken cutlets with lemon n butter sauce|
|Tuesday||Fruit Cups||Homemade roast beef (on the Traeger) with sauerkraut and melted American cheese||One-pot pork loin with vegetables and rice|
|Wednesday||Veggie sticks||Dumplings with soy dipping sauce||Taco Tuesday … but on a Wednesday … shrimp delight|
|Thursday||Fruit Cups||Noodles with teriyaki dressing, cucumber, and red pepper||Malabar prawn curry with spinach, and farro pasta|
|Friday||Milk chocolate sliders||Melted cheese sandwiches on home-baked buns||Falafel, shawarma, tomato/cucumber salad, hummus galore (take-out)|
One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!
Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is so much easier to make food in advance, although you need to invest several hours during the weekend to prepare the meals.
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