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Jul 6, 2011 10:22 AM

What's for Dinner? Part 96 [old]

A freshened table is a lovely thing. I’ll not be cooking tonight, but I *am* making my market list, and would love to be inspired with the dishes all of you are bringing to the table. So, what’s for dinner?

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  1. I have a last minute date coming over and no time to shop. I have a really well stocked freezer for a single person but the only thing I could find that I could thaw in the microwave was chicken thighs. So, it's Giada's Roman chicken, which I have never had, adapted to what I have in the house, baked polenta, salad with anchovy vinagrette, and peach and blueberry tart. Also spinach asiago bread that's in the oven now. Never cooked for this person before so I hope it comes out ok. Lots of people I know have never eaten polenta so I thought about potatoes but everyone I feed polenta to loves it and asks for it all the time.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Floridagirl

      Your menu sounds very good. Bravo to you for not playing it too safe.

      Have a fun evening.

      1. re: Floridagirl

        Enjoy your date FG and please let us know how everything turns out. I've made Giada's Roman-Style Fettuccini with Chicken and it was one of the very few Giada dishes that we felt was lacking in flavour. . . just a bit bland for our tastes yet it seemed to have lots of tasty ingredients. I'm keen to see what you think. Your polenta and salad sound lovely!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          I added sliced onions to the recipe and also lots more garlic. I also used some jarred roasted peppers because I only had one fresh bell pepper. It seemed bland to me also, even with those additions so I took out the chicken and reduced the sauce and added a splash of red wine vinegar and some crushed red pepper. Then it was much better.

        2. re: Floridagirl

          Giada recipes are never disappointing for me. Have a fun meal!

        3. Tonight I'll be making braised balsamic chicken breasts over pasta with a bit of stir-fried spinach on the side.

          The spinach side wouldn't be my first choice for this dish in particular, but it's fresh and I can't wait to try it. My Mother grows several greens in her garden and brought me a bunch of picked-30-minutes-ago spinach just this morning.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Katrina_R

            Enjoy dinner Katrina, you can't get spinach much fresher than that!! How did you season it for the stir-fry?

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Dinner was great and surprisingly filling, we're both stuffed with no room for dessert.

              I used peanut oil and seasoned it with garlic, salt, white pepper, chili paste and a pinch of sesame seeds.

              It turned out pretty good, but I wish I'd have added a bit of sugar. I didn't realize how bitter the spinach would be. I tried a smaller leaf to get a feel for the spinach without even thinking that bigger leaves have a different flavor.

              1. re: Katrina_R

                I love the combo of flavours you used Katrina, sounds yummy! I had a similar "bitterness" experience w arugula last week and can definitely empathize.

            2. re: Katrina_R

              My Husband wanted dessert a few hours after our filling dinner so I made a batch of white chip chocolate cookies for him. I added a dish of mint extract for a nice break from the normal cookies.

              1. re: Katrina_R

                Did they also leave that baking soda feeling residue on your teeth? I think that happens when they get too much sun or something like that...

                1. re: inaplasticcup

                  Yes! Yes they did. My Mother said she's noticed the bitter taste with the larger leaves as well, but it all grew so fast she didn't have a choice. I'll ask her about the sun and if she's noticed the residue feeling.

              2. Raw albacore tuna, either in a poke or as tartare. I was gifted a piece last night and it was suggested I make a confit out of it and then tuna salad. It is still hot, hot, hot up here and a raw dish is far more appealing to me. Picked up fresh yesterday from a reputable fish monger, so I think it'll be ok raw to day.
                If it's poke, it will get sesame-chile oil and soy, with scallions and cucumber and some of that japanese togarashi. Steamed rice with a simple vegetable stir fry to go with.
                As tartar, I'll probably do minced ginger, olive oil and and some fine lime zest. With radishes and cucumber over lettuce, with a few crostini on the side.
                Watermelon for dessert. My 4th of July guests didn't touch the big one I bought for the long weekend, so it's watermelon for breakfast, lunch and dinner this week.

                7 Replies
                1. re: rabaja

                  Both versions of your tuna sound great rabaja, let us know which ends up on the table tonight.

                  Oh, btw, last year I had the same watermelon issue post-Canada Day and I ended up pureeing the pulp in the blender and making cocktails. My favourite was watermelon - basil w white rum.

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    That watermelon basil white rum cocktail sounds WONDERFUL, Bc!

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Thanks Linda, they're really refreshing and, a little unexpected. Guests just loved them.
                      I started making and finding uses for basil water a couple of years ago after finding an abundance of basil in my garden. Since I had some in the fridge when I pureed the watermelon, I thought I'd try the combo and it was an instant hit!

                      For the watermelon cocktails, I also make ice-cubes out of the basil water and sometimes add some lemon zest for an extra kick of freshness. The ice cubes are also nice when added to a pitcher of water if you want something a little different on the dinner table.

                  2. re: rabaja

                    I vote poke, and can I mooch some off you? :)

                    1. re: rabaja

                      Poke won out in the end, and it was a fine batch.

                      Medium cubed fish got chopped scallions, jalapeno, and cilantro. I dressed the fish with tamari, chile oil and togarashi, as planned.

                      Some young lettuces were dressed in a rice wine-sesame oil vinaigrette and a scoop of warm (not hot) japanese brown rice went on top, to which I added the seasoned fish and some additional scallions and cilantro and cubed avocado. It was so delicious!

                      Next time I will try to plan ahead and get seaweed salad and tobiko. Not easy to find up here, but both are favorites of mine when having poke. Nice light meal on one the last of the hot days for a while (I hope.).
                      eta: I keep taking photos, but can't seem to get my computer to find them on my iPhone. So frustrating! Anyone know how to empty an iPhone of pics? They are already in a file on my computer.

                      1. re: rabaja

                        " it's watermelon for breakfast, lunch and dinner this week."

                        good for WW! (i'm working on a giant one myself this week.)

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          Exactly. I got it so we could have a healthy alternative. Everyone ate the pulled pork and cream rolls and blueberry-crumble bars instead.

                      2. So much has happened while I was away. I missed an entire WFD, and have some catching up to do!

                        We mostly ate out on our vacation, but returned with a bit of a bounty from the local farmers' market, cheese makers, jam makers, sausage makers, and even some truffles from the Brigittine Monastery, which supports itself by making lovely chocolates. Plus, of course we were in wine country, so quite a few nice bottles are now sitting in our rack.

                        Mr Nightshade was inspired to get his pasta maker out of storage, he is the pasta guy so last night he made fettuccine. Over the pasta we tossed a bit of everything: turnips and greens, beets and greens, walla walla onions, garlic, herbs, sausage and cheese. Mmm.

                        Later in the evening we shared a maple truffle (these are big, the size of a golf ball). We bought six for ourselves and have five more fillings left to try.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                          This must be handmade pasta week. I am now doubly inspired to make some pasta with the kiddies this weekend. I'm thinking pappardelle. What pasta recipe did you use, Nightshade?

                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                            It's just 1 1/2 cups organic unbleached flour, 2 large eggs, blended in the FP. Add water until it forms a ball, about 2 tablespoons. More flour as needed for dusting the ball and to pass through the machine. Pretty basic, and oh so good.

                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                              I *will* try this. I think I have been saying that I am going to try homemade pasta for a year now. I have all the equipment, I have the time...and now I have the recipe! ;)

                              1. re: auburnselkie

                                Oh, I hope you do, and come back and post about it!
                                I tend to anticipate that it will be a bigger deal than it is, really quite easy. There is a bit of a floury coating around the kitchen afterwards, of course.
                                Good luck!

                                1. re: auburnselkie

                                  LOL. Sounds like me. :) Thanks for the recipe, Nightshade!

                            2. re: L.Nightshade

                              so that's what that thing's for? seen them before and didn't know its' use

                              bnless/sknless chicken breasts soaking in buttermilk and herbs until dinner, they'll be rolled in crushed pretzels then either baked or lightly fried, depending.

                              brussels spouts with bacon and shallots.

                              light and airy smashed potatoes, with chicken broth and fried sage leaves & cracked confetti peppercorns.

                              Porto's pastries for dessert for the kid

                              water for me Dr. Pep for him

                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                I just saw your post LN, WOW what a wonderful vacation you must have had and what a fabulous bounty for your first meal home!! Mr LN's pasta looks spectacular, very impressive!! Welcome home! : )

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  Thanks so much, Breadcrumbs. We truly had a fabulous time. I know you also like to try the local specialties when you are away from home, and bringing them home just seems to extend the vacation a little bit.

                              2. I'm heading down to a cutting horse show in Brenham, TX tomorrow after work, so tonight I was trying to cook whatever won't last in my fridge until Sunday.

                                I made a simple tomato/garlic/basil sauce with a combo of farmstand tomatoes (from my last trip to Brenham) and grape tomatoes. I also added a half dozen crimini mushrooms. It was delicious and the leftovers will be lunch at work tomorrow.