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Mar 17, 2012 10:03 AM

What's for dinner #133 [old]

It's another beautiful sunny spring day in Happy Valley.

While the student population likely has been working very hard since the wee hours of the morning to 'get their buzz on' -- which means that they soon will commence that other beloved tradition of passing out on some unfortunate fellow resident's lawn, not before urinating on it, of course -- I've been recovering from last night's very late night gig & and shall only make a quick venture to Wegmans in the hopes of finding some good-looking whole trout to throw on the grill, or big fat shrimp for kebabs. Perhaps some grilled asparagus on the side. A special fungal dessert might be in order to celebrate this day of craziness -- all in the safety of casa lingua, of course.

If I don't hit any students stumbling into the road on my way to the store, we'll all be happier for it.

The only question remains..... what are yinzes making for St. Patty's? Or is your dinner tonight decidedly "un-Irish"?

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  1. Here at Casa Harters, dinner has a distinctly Italianate theme.

    The starter comes from our current "cooking the books" and is our most used, most battered book - Real Fast Food, Nigel Slater (1992). I really could not do without it. And it's dead easy. Some pappardelle gets cooked and goes in to an ovenproof dish and are mixed with olive oil and some olive paste (we've got tapenade). Pine nuts and grated cheese go on the top (he suggests Gruyere but as with almost any Slater recipe it's pretty much adaptable to what lurks in the fridge - in this case mousetrap Cheddar). It then gets 15 minutes or so in a hot oven.

    Main is a magazine recipe for slow roast lamb shoulder. The meat got slashed about a bit and is then covered in a mix of chopped rosemary, capers and anchovies, crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon zest & juice. It goes into a roasting tray, sat on some onion wedges and the juiced lemon halves. There's a good three hours roasting at 160C. After an hour a glass of wine goes in the pan, presumabl,y the steam helping the cooking and providing the makings of a sauce.

    Veg looks like being steamed sprouting brocolli and sauted leeks.

    And there's a tiramisu flavoured ice cream for afters. Truth be told, it isnt very good (although it wasnt cheap) but it needs using up.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Lovely sounding dinner Harters! I like the idea of tapenade with pasta, especially as a side to lamb. Mmmm.

      1. re: L.Nightshade

        Linda's right, wonderful idea to pair the pasta with tapenade with the lamb.... that's a real stand-out of a dinner you've got there.

        1. re: mariacarmen

          Just to clarify - the pasta was a starter (in the Italian style) not a side for the lamb.

          1. re: Harters

            Even so. Nicely compatible thematically!

            1. re: Harters

              ah, very much an italianate dinner then, pasta was primi, and not on the dish with the lamb. even so, as Linda sez....

              1. re: mariacarmen

                Yep....just getting in the groove for Venice in a couple of weeks. Four dinners booked!

                1. re: Harters

                  don't forget to consider Trattoria Alla Madonna!

                  i think you may be just in time for moleche season - not to be missed!! tiny little Venetian soft-shelled crabs, lightly battered and fried, the most scrumptious tiny creatures you will ever hope to entice into your mouth, golden, crunchy and juicy, and Alla Madonna does them the BEST. ask around.

                  if you go, let Renzo, my favorite of the old waiters, do the ordering for you (after the moleche)... and give him my love!

                  1. re: Harters

                    I love all of your travels. And I'm envious. :-)

          2. re: Harters

            That lamb sounds wonderful. :9

            1. re: Harters

              Ok - that totally makes me crave leg of lamb now. Will have to make this rather soon, I'm afraid...perhaps as early as tomorrow. I have plenty of anchovy filets, too, these days b/c of my latest obsession w/Caesar salad.

              1. re: linguafood

                Oh, it was a good dinner - from start to finish. With the exception of the sauce/gravy whioch turned out to be oddly bittter. I assume this must have been to do with the charring on the onions. To rectify, we tried a good pinch of sugar. Then we added a squirt of ketchup (the saviour to many errors at Casa Harters). It was then OK, but still not at all a great success.

                If you can get shoulder, lingua, I think you'll have a better meal. I think leg may not have the fat to stand up to the long cooking.

                1. re: Harters

                  Hmmm. Not even low & slow? We do like our leg med-rare inside. I'll look for shoulder, too.

                  Actually, I could see your rub working really well on pork shoulder, too. Yumboski.

            2. We live in a student ghetto but mercifully there is public transportation so they are all heading downtown to maraud the Irish Bars and other watering holes in Boston. I hate it when St Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday as it means no drinks at the local for me and hubby.
              To compensate we went out for lunch to a restaurant known for it's homemade soups and had a really good corn beef and cabbage soup (I mean to track down a recipe for this soup). For dinner we are making a spinach lasagna with bechamel sauce based on a TwoDales post a few weeks ago. As I could not find fresh spinach pasta I am going with an imported no bake lasagna and a spinach filling which will probably involve cheese - possibly cottage- and some mozzarella slices but no tomato except for what is in the bolognese. Simple green salad, a good rosemary garlic rustic bread from a local bakery with enough non green beer and white wine to help us sleep through the return of our little friends as they stagger back- the train stops running at midnight .

              1 Reply
              1. re: Berheenia

                we went to one of our two favorite local watering holes last night and asked if they thought it would be crazy tonight. they said they didn't think so, as they're not an irish bar (our other place is - steering right clear of that)... but.... i saw a bunch of people coming over on the train dressed in green, and the parking lot across the street from us was filling up early... sooo... we may step out for a nightcap and find ourselves right back home.

              2. I'm not very creative here--company can rely on a fairly standard St. Patty's fare.

                Green apple martinis
                spinach dip in a pumpernickel bowl, broccoli
                boiled corned beef, cabbage, carrots, new potatoes
                cracked wheat rolls
                Bailey's cheesecake

                Plans for the evening are to enjoy the unseasonably warm March with outdoor fire and movie if the rain stays away, and if not possibly watch a movie indoors. I think I'll stay out of downtown. A Saturday night St. Pat's sounds like trouble to me.

                1. I did a twist on the corned beef and cabbage with a simmered and then baked corned beef, plus my version of cabbage and noodles (haluski). The kids don't like potatoes, so I had some buttered egg noodles on the side. Normally when I make haluski, I make spaetzle instead of egg noodles, but I hadn't realized that I was running low on eggs.

                  After reading several threads here at Chow on the corned beef, I decided to simmer for part of the time and then stick the brisket in the oven.

                  Here's how I did the meat: Place brined brisket in a large pot and cover with cool water. Add the spice packet that came with the meat and also toss in 4 allspice berries, 4 juniper berries, 2 cloves, several large sprigs of fresh dill, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

                  Remove the meat from the pot, cover it with a mixture of brown sugar, dijon and whole grain mustard, and bake it, fat-side up, uncovered in a shallow baking dish at 325 for about 15 minutes per pound. Then out it comes, for a 15-minute rest and then sliced at the table.

                  As a bonus, I strained and reserved the broth that the meat simmered in for use as a base for split pea soup sometime this week.

                  Everyone loved the meat. The texture is firmer and chewier than the soft and rather gelatinous meat you get just by simmering it, and the glaze was really wonderful. I think that the leftovers will make wonderful Reubens tomorrow.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: BabsW

                    My cb is sitting in cold water as I type. After reading the many threads on CB here the last two days I am paralyzed with too much information. I think I will steal your method, as I really want to do the brown sugar/mustard glaze and oven-finishing.
                    I am using a Snake River cb from costco, it's only just over two lbs, so I am imagining my final product will be around one lb.
                    I've only tried my hand at cb once before, maybe four years ago. It was the victim of too much celery. I have fantasies that this one will be so tasty I'll run back for three more, as I'd really like to eat my weight in reubens!

                    1. re: rabaja

                      "After reading the many threads on CB here the last two days I am paralyzed with too much information."

                      I had the same problem yesterday! I think this method is the best of both worlds, and let me tell you, that brown sugar and mustard glaze is so worth it. :) Enjoy!

                      1. re: BabsW

                        +1! And I can add a chuckle for 'wanting to eat my weight in Reubens" That will make me look like a Reuben's painting!

                        Off for the needed ingredients for my Chili Verde making today for the chili competition tomorrow (mentioned on WFD #132), to the mexican market, then on to Han's Deli for some sour rye. I like this kind of shopping trip!

                        1. re: gingershelley

                          It feels as though I ate my weight in pastrami Reubens this week!

                          Good luck with your chili cook-off!

                    2. re: BabsW

                      Your CB sounds really good. Unfortunately DH is not overly thrilled with CB and cabbage (but he loves a Reuben). I almost have him talked into one soon (although I didn't get that for today). But me? I love the stuff. I'll have to give your method a whirl.

                      1. re: boyzoma

                        Reubens are good eatin. :)

                        I don't especially like cabbage that has been boiled to slimy mush, so any other way to prepare it works for me.

                        I may have to make this dish this way each year.

                      2. re: BabsW

                        Yum, I'm debating whether to follow this method or the straight-up braise. Both sound good...

                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                          Yes, I think that corned beef is great either way. :)

                        2. re: BabsW

                          I got here too late to try the rub, but I always bake/braise my corned beef. I'm fortunate that my mother years and years ago purchased some Saladmaster "waterless" (it really almost is)stainless cookware. I just put a tiny amount of water in the 5-quart pot, dumped in the brisket fat side up, rubbed contents of the seasoning packet on top. put the lid on and cooked at 350 for an hour a pound (or so). Gave the 3 1/2 pounder an extra 30 minutes "for the pot" and it was perfect. Sliced beautifully and the fat was crispy and browned, the meat tender and chewy. The cabbage went into another Saladmaster on top of the stove with onion and bacon drippings and was cooked on top of the stove on the second to lowest setting..

                        3. Lobster rolls.

                          Plenty of meat left over after last night's meal. I sourced some "top loader" rolls at the local grocery store. Beer for me, Orvieto for Deb. Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" will be on the plasma.

                          Friday's lobster shells are sleeping in the freezer. Bisque is in my future.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: steve h.

                            Oh, lobster rolls *sigh* The bisque sounds nice, too. :)