Snow Days are for Comfort Food. And also all the days leading up to and after them.

It was predicted that our area of central NC was going to get hit with a whopper of a storm.

And for once, “they” were right. Sunday, we got approximately 14.5″. We usually average less than half of that in an entire year.

My choir gig’s Christmas cantata was canceled (and our second show at my day job), and I missed work Monday and went in late today after getting stuck trying to get out of our driveway.

Luckily, the recently relocated Flat 493 had prepared as we do best: with menus.

Turkey Congee with Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms

Our snowy weekend started Thursday night as I made stock for turkey congee. Congee is an Asian rice pudding, and it usually calls for everything to be done in one sitting, but #aintnobodygottimeforthat.

stock photo

Truth be told, we didn’t think this meal would be that exciting so, meh, what does it matter how we do the stock.

We were wrong.

So. Wrong.

turkey congee with crispy shiitake mushrooms

I don’t know if it’s the fact that the turkey was dry rubbed with a similar flavor profile or what, but holy heck, this was good.

It was warm and cozy, and while we used basmati instead of regular long-grain rice (because it was on hand), the texture mix of thick rice and broth and crispy mushrooms was amazing.

Other edits: we added the last of the Thanksgiving turkey bits and instead of all the separate spices the recipe called for, I used Chinese Five Spice because lazy.

Also, I didn’t add cilantro on top. Because it’s the devil.

I DID make homemade chili oil as suggested.

because why not

We keep dried peppers on hand to make salsa matcha. These bags have lasted forever and have come in so handy.

Hampton doesn’t even like spicy foods and he loved the pop the oil provided to the warm and earthy soup. He’s even making plans for using it in other ways.

But he needs to make more salsa matcha first, because we’ve been out for weeks.

Steak and Ale Soup with Mushrooms

Saturday, we had to hit the laundromat. A very glamorous part of homeownership is that the washer/dryer pair we wanted were backordered. But when your in-laws offer to buy major appliances as a housewarming gift and they suggest a certain brand and style – a few weeks of inconvenience is worth it.

I had suggested we just buy extra underwear and socks, but apparently we needed other things washed, too. I guess it was a good idea since I had to wear yoga pants to cantata rehearsal that morning as all my jeans needed some re-shaping laundry love.

Even if the very first machine I tried to use jammed and stole my money.

I digress… Saturday night we needed something fast-ish, but still hearty and warm before the snow started.

This soup was the perfect solution.

I will admit we did cheat and use stew meat vs. ribeye.

#textsfromFlat493

We also chose to top our soup with cheesy bread. A friend’s mom gifted us with a loaf of bread as a housewarming gift – along with salt and wine – and it seemed a perfect use.

please see the linked recipe for better pictures

The next day, we started our snow day proper with a simple egg and bacon breakfast.

"look casual"

By our dining room fireplace. Because we have a dining room now. And a fireplace in it.

Our dear friend Jenny had gifted a bottle of housewarming bubbles and Hampton used that and some rando juice (also left in our fridge by Jenny. We keep her favorite locally-made gin on hand, but almost always forget to have a mixer before she comes over) and elderflower liqueur to make those pretty seasonal-looking cocktails.

eggnog on deck
eggnog on deck

Sunday night we made baked pasta with TJ’s new Black Truffle Alfredo sauce. Hampton sautéed up some pre-diced pancetta while the pasta boiled, tossed it all into a pan with a few dollops of ricotta, and, in half an hour or so, bam, done.

#balance

Of course with our favorite house arugula salad so we had SOMEthing green. #adulting

Uncured Ham and Swiss Cheese Flaky Croissant Dough Squares

Monday started off with one of the best Trader Joe’s inventions ever. Topped with a runny egg (and fancy salt and the ends of some sad dill to make a better pic), and it’s just divine. Easy and fancy is my fave.

put an egg on it

We had every intention of cooking Monday night – but given that we had All The Baked Pasta leftover, we thought we should start making a dent in those.

Tonight, however…….

I don't care how not pretty this is.

Mashed potatoes + leftover steak and all soup with mushrooms  + some phyllo dough = way tastier than this pic looks.

It was Hampton’s idea to make a take on shepherd’s pie meets pot pie.

Turns out that’s already kindof thing, and it’s called tourtière.

We maybe added too much of the broth – hence the soggy edges – but it doesn’t even matter. Were we cooking this for someone else, I would have reconsidered, BUT – super tasty nonethefrigginless and one of our crazier clean the fridge/CHOPPED meals.

Also, while this baked: we had rehearsal. The Phoenix Theatre Co. is back at the Pittsboro Roadhouse for its A CHRISTMAS CAROL: The Dinner Show.

We were supposed to host the rehearsal at our house, as we are a central point for the company – but that whole 14+ inches of show thing….

So we used Zoom!

ain't technology grand?

This exact version of a cast performed together last year and we’ve all been involved for several years in one fashion or another, so rehearsing was really more of a technicality.

By using technology, we were able to do a line refresher and talk through costume and timing details in the safety of our own homes, from Charlotte to Durham.

Oh, yeah – and we do have some tickets left for Sunday night (;

Stay warm, y’all. And eat good.

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