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Oct 16, 2010 09:33 AM

What's For Dinner? Part LIV

Fall is definately in the air (at least where I live), which means changes in ingredient availability in the markets. This time of year, my tastes turn to casseroles, soups, braises; things which cook slow & heat up the kitchen and warm the soul. Those of you who are still having warm weather, I almost envy you right about now, then I remember the horrible heat we had this summer on the east coast and think yeah, not so much (lol).. So whether you're still eating based on the warm weather or inspired by the fall chill, we want to know...what's for dinner?

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  1. Thanks for starting the new thread, Cheryl. I can't link worth a damn, so I'd wind up saying, "The new thread is in Home Cooking, two more steps down and to your left, no, to your *left*!"

    Last night was fried chicken livers, with gravy on toast. It was interesting (the prep, especially, and I'm certain I made a few critical errors during the trimming). I expected a different taste entirely. They had a bitterness, but that could have been simply because I cooked the ever-lovin' life out of them. I read that a longer cooking can do that. I'm going to try them again, but in a pate.

    Tonight, inspired by recent posting on WFD, I am making pork carnitas. I've never made them before, so I've done a bit of research, and decided to go with David Lebovitz's recipe. I like that his recipe calls for ancho powder, cinnamon, and cumin. Some of the recipes I saw were a bit light on the seasoning.

    For the sauce, I'm either going with a salsa verde (store-bought, Goya), or making another batch of the mole inspired enchilada sauce I made for last week's enchiladas. I might make a cheese sauce in addition to those, as we are out of sour cream, and I'm feeling a bit lazy for a walk. I know that's a lot of sauces, but I bought the really big flour tortillas, and we might do these burrito-style, so they'll need a bit more moisture. On the side, I'm making Spanish rice from the pico de gallo I have on hand. I really need to include a veggie, but nothing I have on hand seems complimentary. I might do lima beans in a milk and butter sauce, maybe with a little cayenne.

    I'm picturing the lima beans and the carnitas meeting on my plate, and the lima beans, trying to fit in, saying, hestitantly, "Hola?" with the worst Spanish accent ever.

    4 Replies
    1. re: onceadaylily

      Thank you for my morning chuckle.

      To bad re; the livers. They are really delicious seared in a hot pan and eaten with a good amount of pink still in the middle.
      I've read that the bitterness can come from not cleaning them properly too.

      1. re: onceadaylily

        Yeah, i think the bitterness is in the cleaning. You're making me want to make some, even though i would be the only one eating them.

        Your carnitas sound great. I would personally go with a lighter sauce -eg, your salsa verde - so you don't overwhelm the delicious porky goodness. As a veggie side, how about a thinly sliced cabbage salad? lime dressing, sprinkled with oregano? But you did say you don't want ot go to the store....

        you are too funny! your lima beans are saying "Yo no soy Mexicano!"

        1. re: mariacarmen

          You two are probably right. I drained them, then I rinsed them (though I don't recall reading anything that instructed me to do that), and then I patted them dry before I trimmed them. Maybe it was just my batch of livers. They were pretty mushy (*more so* after I rinsed them), are they supposed to be?

          1. re: mariacarmen

            Re: a lighter sauce:
            My favorite version of carnitas has the pork on the side of the plate with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro, with some guacamole chunks of tops. You mix that right in with the meat, toss it into a tortilla with some radish slices, squeeze a little lime on top and yummmm. :)

        2. Didn't get my late night happy hour pizza dinner last night, friend was sick. So on the way home today picked up half a very delicious thin crust pizza (ala Cheeseboard, for those who live around here - from the newest branch of Arizmendi) for lunch for me and the boy. Mushrooms, queso fresco and pesto, yummmmm. And a scone. Fantastic carby lunch!

          Tonight, leftover beef stew with herbes de provence. oldsters didn't love it, so now boyfriend gets a crack at it (would someone please tell oldsters that beggars can't be choosers???). it has potatoes in it, so all we need is a salad. have to go check the fridge. i think we have cabbage but the BF - DRAT HIM - doesn't like gin (per inspiration by Harters in our last thread)!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: mariacarmen

            Beef stew is a funny dish. It has quite a few variations, and people get attached to 'their' stew. If I made a stew with V-8, the boyfriend would love it. Someday, boyfriend, someday.

            1. re: onceadaylily

              yep. i think the lavendar in the herbes de provence did not please the oldsters. my BF isn't fond of it either; i'm hoping he won't notice it. fat chance.

          2. Last night we had our good friends over for a dinner with more misses than hits.

            Started w/edamame "hummus"--mediocre at best. (I'd have done better to save the fuss and serve them in the pod, warm and salted.) At least the accompanying sweet potato chips were tasty ("Food Should Taste Good" brand--cumbersome moniker, but good products), and we had some marcona almonds for back-up.
            The main, pan-fried black drum meuniere, served over a bed of arugula, was a winner.
            Israeli cous cous (tossed w/grape tomatoes, oil-cured olives, parsley, toasted pine nuts, and sherry vinaigrette) was just ok.
            Another side, Moroccan carrot salad, was pretty, perfumey--and practically inedible. I had high hopes for this recipe (recently clipped from the NYT) featuring golden raisins, lemon juice, parsley, cumin and coriander seed. But even after I cut by half the amount of rose water called for, it completely overwhelmed the dish.
            At least we ended on a high note--with an ever reliable pear tart tatin w/a bit of vanilla ice cream.

            Keeping it simple tonight: I'm thawing a container of corn-and-crab chowder, which we'll have with a green salad and some warm, crusty bread before heading out to hear a jazz trio at a nearby club.

            8 Replies
            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              Sorry it wasn't a total success - hate when that happens. Too bad about the salad, i have been dying to make something with rose water, and am apparently properly leery of overwhelming a dish with it. Would you make it again with a lot less rose water? Your fish sounds awesome.

              1. re: mariacarmen

                Rosewater's something that needs a really light touch - just a splash. It needs to be a little background hint that makes the eater think "Hmmm, that's nice. Wonder what they've put in it". It's not a flavouring I'd really think about using in a savoury dish.

              2. re: nomadchowwoman

                I made edamame hummus ('edamole') exactly once, thinking it would be a nice edition to our cafe menu. It lacked depth, and I could just envision the backlash it would have caused, because it does *sound* delicious. And I almost bought rosewater at the Spice House this week, but didn't think it would be welcomed in my house. It's one of those ingredients that leads the recipe-writer to caution the non-native public to cut the recommended amount in half, if not more.

                But it sounds like you still had plenty to keep your crowd happy.

                1. re: onceadaylily

                  i have made edamame "as" mashed potatoes, with butter and cream, and that is awesome. as for rose-water i simply think the scent smells like grandmothers (please, mean no offense!) so i use orange blossom water instead. a little goes a loooooooong way, but everybody always asks what is that thing i'm tasting, lol.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I often treat white beans the same way, with an oil mixed with sage or thyme drizzled over them. A nice, simple creamy dish. And I just remember that I *did* once have something with rosewater in it. A few years ago, an acquaintance brought me a rice pudding he had made with the stuff. It was really overpowering. I guess I blocked that memory.

                    1. re: onceadaylily

                      Rosewater can be very powerful if you're not used to it. I use it for rice pudding but add only 1/4 tsp. to 2 c. of basmati if I had to measure. When I add it to my lemonade, I add drops to my highball. I've only once had someone tell me something I gave them tasted like soap.

                      1. re: JungMann

                        I've had a bottle of rosewater in my pantry for I don't know how long - definitely an impulse buy after seeing a recipe that sounded intriguing (that I cannot recall nor have I ever made). This is good to know re: the overwhelming power of rosewater. Very similar to Herbes de Provence - some people don't like the flowery smell/taste of lavender in the same sense as rosewater.

                      2. re: onceadaylily

                        re: mashed edamame. i buy them frozen and out of the shell at trader joe's or in chinatown. if i had to shell i would definitely never bother.

                2. I had breakfast for dinner tonight; scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar, crispy bacon, 12 grain toasted bread with ginger lime marmalade, fresh pears sliced.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    OH YUM. that makes me want to toss my beef stew out the window!

                    1. It's windy and cool here, so the end of the brisket got cubed up and is simmering in its broth with every cubed vegetable I could get my hands on (leeks, carrot, celery, garlic, shallot, yellow and red tomatoes, cabbage, Yukon gold potato, Italian peppers), a Maggi beef stock cube, a squirt of fish sauce, a drop of dark soy, some water. Stone soup.Rolls and old Canadian cheddar to go with.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: buttertart

                        That's upper-middle class stone soup. It sounds delicious. Do you have a particular brand of dark soy you like? I have a market near me that has *shelves* of various soy sauce, and I thought I'd try a dark soy (never have before).

                        1. re: onceadaylily

                          I buy Pearl River Bridge from China. My regular soy sauce brand is Kimlan from Taiwan (I was told to use it and no other by my teacher's mother when we lived in Taipei), I love it, very nice taste.
                          PS the soup also had some Turkish oregano and a bay leaf in it, and I served it with a splash of Gold Plum black vinegar. It was a bit too sweet, think I'll doctor it up with some sour salt. (Or maybe it seemed sweeter than it was because of the two deep-dish Tanqueray martinis I fell into before it.)

                          The pork shoulder for tonight is already in the oven at 300 deg F - we had frozen it and it's a big one...I hope 8-10 hours will thaw and cook mom cooked her roasts from frozen a lot of the time. Not sure of the accompaniments other than applesauce and spuds.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            I bought a bottle of Kimlan based on your recommendation. It is smooth and blends nicely into stir fries and dips. I'm looking forward to see how it does in the spotlight in adobo or jangjorim.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              buttertart, do tell - is Kimlan still very salty as many soy sauces are? I seem to have developed an aversion for "regular" soy sauce due to its extremely saltiness (at least to my palate) and tend to use ponzu or teriyaki sauce (yes, I know, it's sweeter than soy sauce) in place of it. Or I get the lowest sodium soy sauce I can find, but tend to cut way back on the quantity I use.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                It's not as salty in the regular version and they have a reduced-sodium one. Tastes great. Glad to hear you like it, JungMann. (I had Marion Woodman as a high school English teacher if that means anything to you...w/ref to your screen name.)

                              2. re: buttertart

                                Tested the roast at 6 and it was at 200 deg F - took the skin off and salted/peppered it, a little under the weather today and want "simples". Put it back in at 250. It basically boned itself - the bomes came out at a nudge. Presume all the connective tissue melted. red cabbage from last week, spuds and a Belgian endive and walnut salad for himself, sliced last of season tomato for me.