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What's for Dinner? Part 101 [old]

(Note: A new What's For Dinner thread has been started at: http://www.chow.com/topics/802249 If you've got a comment on an entry below, go ahead and add it, but you want to post about a new dinner, please jump to the new thread. Thanks -- The Chowhound Team)

One hundred threads of wonderful dinners, enjoyed, and shared. I remember finding What’s for Dinner, and loving how much I learned from (and was inspired by) every poster. So I’m grateful that I get to start the What’s for Dinner 101, because that’s what it felt like to me. Okay, I’m annoying myself. Enough sappiness. What’s for dinner?

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  1. Just as redux of the black bean burritos with guajillo sauce, but this time I did a cilantro-heavy Spanish rice, and mixed a quarter cup of the sauce *into* the rice--oh, dear god, I had to restrain myself from just eating the rice--and then drizzled the rest of the sauce on top as I baked off the batch. I cannot get enough of these peppers.

    I might have to fetch a third burrito before I finally give in to sleep. Even though it's cold. And I'm full.

    9 Replies
    1. re: onceadaylily

      That sounds delicious, lily. I don't make beans often enough, I think. There's a bag of black ones waiting for me in the cupboard. Think I might have to take 'em out this week or next...

      1. re: inaplasticcup

        Thanks, Ina. Black beans are a particular favorite of mine (especially refried, which is what I made last night). I have bags of white, red, and limas that are actually getting dusty. I don't know why I feel the need to keep so many types on hand. I feel bored by the red beans just by looking at them.

        I doubled the beans last night, so tonight we'll either have more burritos, or just black beans and rice. And it just occurred to me that I don't have to cook tonight. Huh.

        1. re: inaplasticcup

          i used to not make them as much as I do now and I owe that to my crock pot really. It's so easy to just throw them in add water and cook on high for about 5 hours while you do whatever else you need to do. And you can do so much with the leftovers (refried beans, bean dip, tostadas, burritos, bean burgers, etc).

        2. re: onceadaylily

          How do you make your guajillo sauce? Mine always seems one dimensional and I'm not sure if it's me or my chiles.

          1. re: JungMann

            I doubt my chiles are any better (at the price I get them), but I'm glad you asked. I don't really care for mine 'straight', but it adds a wonderful flavor to whatever I add it *to*, and I've been wondering what I can do to make it better in it's own right. The hungry loves company. The recipe I stumbled upon a few weeks back is very basic: half an onion, a clove of garlic, four toasted and soaked chiles, one cup of water, and salt, blended until smooth (I haven't bothered to strain it, but I would if using it to soak pambazo). The raw onion seems to overpower it a wee bit for me, until I add it to a hot dish . . . and then it's love.

            I've had a few thoughts (nothing earth-shattering, though). One was to add a roasted garlic clove to add to the mix, another was to replace the water with something better, and then I was wondering about adding an oil to create an emulsion (I was playing with the idea of infusing the oil with oregano, since I love it in the types of dishes this sauce pairs so well with). I was also wondering if I could use the soaking water instead of plain tap, but haven't googled that. Google's probably going to tell me I'll die if I do it. I was also thinking about adding a pasilla to the next batch, or a very small amount of toasted cumin seeds. And, yeah, another thing, this sauce pairs so well with tomatoes that I wondered about introducing an acid in the sauce.

            No, I haven't been thinking about this at all. ;) Care to share your recipe with me?

            1. re: onceadaylily

              Mine is usually roasted guajillos, garlic, onions, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, oil, broth and a splash of vinegar. Oftentimes I'll add roasted tomatoes (bad tomatoes may be behind my failures) and other spices like cinnamon, cloves or allspice.

              I think you're onto something with the raw onion and clove. I'll try that with my tomato-less salsa the next time I need a sauce for chicken breast and let you know how it goes.

              1. re: JungMann

                See, you beat me to the acid. Are you roasting the dried chiles, or are you able to get fresh?

                1. re: onceadaylily

                  I have a Filipino palate; I put acid in everything. I've never thought to look for fresh chiles, though given the smallness of my NYC apartment, curing and drying chiles is just the hobby I need to frustrate my living situation. I already got a sound talking-to from my roommate for putting up too many preserves (it's only 5 quarts was my defense). Luckily I live a few blocks away from a Mexican grocer so I can walk over and procure dried chiles without taking up precious counter space.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    You're too funny, JM. I haven't seen fresh guajillos either . . . but I found dried at the first place I looked, and so I declared it a victory and stopped looking.

                    And I'm trying to imagine what would motivate me to complain about access to homemade preserves.

        3. Last night was multi-course leftovers:

          Tomato gazpacho
          Samosas (Costco!)
          Cold poached salmon
          Naan with hummus

          1 Reply
          1. re: DuchessNukem

            Oh, inspiration for Sunday rooftop dinner...poached salmon and garden dill yogurt! Thanks !

          2. Can't believe it's so far along already! Wasn't it just yesterday that part 100 was started? :P

            Last night was a quinoa, chickpea and spinach salad (with some other goodies in there too) with a smoked paprika dressing. Dessert was custard tartlets, with some extra for tonight.

            Tonight - I'm thinking crumbed fish and vegetables. Lazy days are needed.

            5 Replies
            1. re: haiku.

              Does seem like it's going a little faster, doesn't it? I think it's because a lot more people are chiming in with their meals, which I think is fairly awesome. :)

              What goes into your custard tartlets, haiku? Are they like the ones you find at the Chinese bakery?

              1. re: inaplasticcup

                yep, we got a lot of fine new newbies with the 100th thread.

                1. re: inaplasticcup

                  I did notice a lot of new names on the last thread. It's fantastic. Well done to those of you who keep it going!

                  I wouldn't know as I've never seen a Chinese bakery in SA. I think they're also called Portuguese Custard Tarts.

                  I lined some ramekins (sides and base) with shortcrust pastry (I think it's usually made with puff pastry, but it worked so well with the shortcrust pastry), pricked holes all over it and baked until very lightly browned. While that was going on, just made a normal custard on the stovetop - eggs, sugar, milk, a bit of cream, a little cornstarch to thicken slightly. Once the pastry was done, I poured the warm custard into the tart shells and popped it back in the oven. Don't fill it to the top as it will overflow - about 3/4 should be good. Remove from the oven when they're a nice brown colour at the top, and leave to cool. They will deflate. Eat cold or at room temperature. Delicious.

                  Did a Google image search, and they look like this:
                  http://www.bakerstreet.com.au/cake1.jpg
                  http://www.spicelines.com/L1070041bit...

                  These would have been made in a cupcake pan. I made mine bigger and in ramekins, as I only wanted to make 2 and didn't want to wash the pan :)

                  1. re: haiku.

                    Those sounds simple and delicious. I think they're a lot like the ones you find at the Chinese bakery only probably better because for some reason, all the ones I've ever gotten at a Chinese bakery have a slight hint of porkiness to them. :D

                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                      Easy quick dessert (if you're using the cheat's version of ready-made puff pastry, even more so :)).
                      Perhaps they're trying to combine the entree and dessert? :P

              2. Duck and mole enchiladas, taco salad.

                4 Replies
                1. re: DoobieWah

                  Now *those* sound delicious. I had a duck-filled chile relleno at a local restaurant once, and it was amazing.

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    Thanks, they were good.

                    I slow roasted the duck last Sunday and reserved the meat while rendering two cups of beautiful duck fat, (honestly that is what I was after). So last night I went ahead and froze the cooked breasts for future Chowing and lightly stewed the rest of the meat in OJ. The mole sauce I picked up at my local spice dealer; it's incredibly good.

                    Corn tortillas, duck and mole sauce. (A few toasted sesame seeds to top.)

                    That's it.

                    Really good.

                      1. re: DoobieWah

                        oh man, i made mole before from scratch and was pretty unimpressed, but with duck? and if i found a good pre-made sauce?? duck in any prep, really, totally sends me.

                  2. This may be because I am new but I am interested in how much time everyone spends cooking dinner. I find the thread inspiring. There are some wonderful ideas here.

                    It is probably grilled pizza starter with grilled marinated (chipotle, tequila, lime, garlic) shrimp, grilled corn-butter cooked tomatoes-cilantro-cumin salad, and potatoes in foil on the grill. And smores. I have both boys home at the same time and that's what they like.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: qandieladie

                      Welcome, qandieladie! :)

                      Dinner runs anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes for me, depending on how elaborate the meal, but I think 45 mins to an hour is more the norm.

                      How exactly do you make butter cooked tomatoes? I'm intrigued... ^-

                      1. re: qandieladie

                        I try to limit it to 60 minutes max, clean-up included. I get home somewhere between 5 and 6, and the other half gets home at 18h45, so I try to have it ready when he gets back.
                        Sometimes run over when I'm trying to make a more elaborate meal :). But I try to save those for the weekend.

                        I'm also curious about those butter-cooked tomatoes.

                        1. re: qandieladie

                          This summer I've been reluctant to spend more than 45 minutes making and eating dinner most weeknights. On productive weekends, I've done prepwork to make meals during the week a quicker affair, but more often than not, I just make do with whatever's lying around and won't heat up the house.

                          1. re: JungMann

                            Thank for your replies. Everyone thinks I am crazy if I spend an hour but that's just how long it takes. We still eat around 9 and don't always get all the dishes done.

                            1. re: qandieladie

                              I don't know about you, but I *hate* to feel rushed when I'm cooking. I'm much more likely to make mistakes (not reading a recipe closely enough, cutting myself, making a mess, burning something) if I feel pressured or pressed for time. Most of the time, cooking is my way of relaxing, something meditative. I'd just as happily spend an hour on it and do it well (without raising my blood pressure) than hurry things and feel stressed out.

                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                ChristinaMason - you are SO right. The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.

                                1. re: nvcook

                                  Couldn't agree more. I am pretty slow going in the kitchen and I hate any one breaking my chops when I am trying to cook. It's something I enjoy, and I don't like being bothered. Tonight, I had some one breaking my chops, and my dinner suffered for it. My chicken was dry, I never make dry chicken. :( And I left stuff out of my sesame noodles. My dinner was less then 'meh. '

                                  1. re: Matahari22

                                    I think I'm slow too but I don't care. That's why I don't get those cooking shows where it's all about the time. I don't think I have ever cooked anything in 20 minutes. ok, eggs.

                              2. re: qandieladie

                                If everyone thinks you are crazy, you are running with the wrong crowd! Keep hanging out with us, we won't think you are crazy.
                                You are right, it takes as long as it takes to produce something good. I try to keep it at, or under, an hour on weeknights, don't always succeed if I get inspired along the way. No limit on weekends.