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What's for dinner #136 [OLD]

Since we're beyond 300 posts again, I've taken the liberty to start a new thread.

It's a beautiful sunny day in Happy Valley, although it's still on the chillier side. I have absolutely no clue WFD @casa lingua tonight. Got a kickboxing class that runs 7-8 (prime eatin' time for us), no way I'll eat beforehand lest I plan on throwing up on my sparring partner '-) .... and may not be hungry afterwards. I most *definitely* won't be cooking after I get back.

Perhaps our ingenious contributors will inspire me? What's on YOUR plate tonight?

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  1. Don't know yet, as I'll have a plethora of choices when I have apps and wine with a good friend tonight at what I consider one of the better local chain restaurants (small chain - Not Your Average Joe's). My friend has two boxes of Thin Mints for me. I mean, I'll have to pay for 'em, but still....MINE. So no homecooked meal tonight (although I do have two bi/so Frankenchicken breasts defrosting in the freezer. I guess that's dinner tomorrow.

    4 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      An amazing dinner out - two appetizers - a salad of mixed greens topped with warm almond crusted goat cheese, raspberries, caramelized pecans and raspberry vinaigrette, and then Shrimp Mozambique - crispy semolina coated shrimp with spicy garlic-saffron aioli. I'm *so* going to make this at home soon!

      1. re: LindaWhit

        And you're going to share how you made it, right?!!? That sounds great.

        1. re: weezieduzzit

          If I figure it out, I sure will! LOL These weren't large shrimp - probably medium. The bartender said they were fried, so they could be quickly fried in a small amount of oil. I think. :-)

        2. re: LindaWhit

          Oh that all sounds outrageously good Linda. Did you save room for the thin mimts?!! ; - )

      2. i love that "throwing up" is the lead-in to our beloved cooking thread....!
        you really don't get hungry after a work-out like that? i come back starving.

        as posted in the old thread, Frizzle's fantastic fennel beans, warmed up, and some kind of spicy chicken thigh prep. that's all i've got so far....

        1. Last night I made chicken corn soup PA Dutch style. Tonight we are having chicken fried rice. Had leftover rice from Thai over the weekend and leftover broccoli because I never know how much to buy, plus a bunch of carrots and there are peas in the freezer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: melpy

            Sounds yummy. I plan on making chicken corn chowder next week! It's on my "things to eat" list.

          2. Gonna start with some Fried Dill Pickles..........
            BBQ Swimps...........
            Salad...With Y'all Come Back Dressing...........
            Pistolettes..........
            Chocolate Ice Cream.........

            2 Replies
            1. re: Uncle Bob

              Y'all come back dressing? Do tell!

            2. Last night was one of those "what can I pick up from Dollar Tree?" nights that turned into a boyfriend's-on-Spring-Break-let's-buy-vodka night that turned into an unexpected-friend-showing-up-for-movies-and-drinks night. We ended up having pizza with pepperoni, pineapple and olives (cheap toppings courtesy of Dollar Tree, with a homemade sourdough crust) and Svedka vodka and grapefruit (courtesy of the neighbour's grapefruit tree) and supermarket chocolate cake (courtesy of the unexpected guest). A very satisfying meal, actually.

              10 Replies
              1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                BBL. between the 'throwing up on my sparring partner" from LF, and your vodka and dollar store menu, we are off to a hillarious start to thread # 136!

                I have enjoyed the very discounted (but same as expensive grocery store) pepperoni at my local dollar store, bought for pizza topping, so I get where your coming from.

                I like it, and the vodka and free grapefruit juice from the neighbor's tree:) Wish we could get that here in my neck of the woods. Best bet in the NW for cocktail juice would be apples in September...

                1. re: gingershelley

                  Aaaaaaaaaaahahahaha! I'm so glad you punctuate properly, gingershelley, 'cause I sure don't read that way!! I read your post and all I could think was, "gingershelley lives where they grow vodka trees, lucky beeya...".....

                  1. re: mamachef

                    Oooh a vodka tree! And I thought I was lucky to be able to pick fresh grapefruits!

                    1. re: mamachef

                      I sorry if I got excited, and my saying I 'liked it", let directly to the vodka and the grapefruit tree... didn't mean to say they were all growing together.

                      Tho, clearly, many of you wish it was possible to have a vodka and grapefruit tree!

                      I guess I would want my apple tree to be flowing with calvados and hard cider to accompany it's fruits!

                    2. re: gingershelley

                      I am consistently amazed by what I can find at the dollar stores here. Although I've found better pepperoni in the past (this stuff was greasy).

                      You're in Seattle, right? What about raspberries or blackberries? I grew up in BC (and went to school just across the water in Victoria) and there were blackberries all over the place at certain times of the year. I bet a blackberry cocktail would be great.

                      1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                        Well, BBL, we Do have amazing blackberries and raspberries, but they sure won't be at the dollar tree, and none fresh locally until late summer. I look forward to those local berries! Delish...

                        I still like going out to pick the blackberries on certain paths that you know aren't sprayed. Tho those are not local berries, but Himalayan blackberries that all of cut back if they are not our property - just glad some people don't do it, as that's what I make jam and pies with!

                        1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                          Ooooh. Blackberries are everywhere here (well, not quite yet, but they will be).
                          Blackberry cocktail is going on my to-do list!

                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                            I'm with you on that one LN, a blackberry cocktail would be almost better than a pie. Here's looking at you, August!

                            Now if only sooner than that, I can get my hands on some of our ethereal, bursting with flavor, do-not-transport local stawberries this year, I will be happy in early June:)

                        2. re: gingershelley

                          Used to exercise polo ponies through the grapefruit groves in the the Coachella Valley, and we would always wear loose shirts and stuff them with grapefruits!

                          This thread has definitely gotten off to a crazy start!

                      2. Dinner for tomorrow is made, potato and kale soup with sage sausage. Its really just a leftover gratin blended with milk and spices, and browned sausage.... I can't stand to waste food, and the gratin made enough for 8 servings (just 2 adults and 2 kids here), and soup is my go-to meal for using up any number of fridge finds. WFD is greek grilled pork chops with rice pilaf and asparagus. I feel bad because we had pork chops on friday also! Didn't plan that well!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mhurst86

                          creative use of leftovers. :) I'm big on soups, too. welcome to WFD!

                        2. Tonight....(i'm on the east coast) Just started with Kimchi and Vegetable dumplings...gently pan fried, with a glass of Pinot...Tonight Tri-tip, roasted cherry tomatoes, wild rice....
                          but first have to go see a client....

                          1. Last night I made a cheeseburger that just rocked. I don't make them often enough to have achieved any consistency, but this one came out great, lovely ground chuck with plenty of fat, the right amount of pepper jack, an onion that actually was sweet after I crisped it in ice water.... Obviously still thinking about it. WFD tonight is a small but gorgeous lamb chop, accompanied by Jamie Oliver's chard-cannellini bean dish with garlic, anchovies, RPF (might use Urfa) and lemon. Good to be cooking after a week in a hotel on a business trip.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: GretchenS

                              A good burger is many bites full of happiness.

                            2. I'm positive your MA partner will appreciate your discretion, lingua!!
                              I had all these big 'ol plans to hit up Oakland Chinatown for dinner ingredients that didn't involve me actually making anything major, as in I was going to buy red-cooked pork and make some bao to go with noodle soup, but since my car has taken a vow of non-compliance today, dinner's going to involve something along the lines of some ground sirloin shaped around the remnants of a blue cheese wedge I've been picking at by the spoonful, with a jus enriched with a splash of something alcoholic. I do believe I have an English muffin left over to serve it on, and if I can find some greens there may be a salad as well. If not, I'm going all multinational with some great wasabeans.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: mamachef

                                MommaChef, When stranded by the car, it is good to have sirloin and blue cheese at hand, and certainly something alchy in the sauce to cover!

                                I am so interested that you can BUY red-cooked pork in your local asian stores? I have to make my own. That is cool. Do you buy by the pound or what? Is this in a deli section or what?

                                1. re: gingershelley

                                  gingershelley, I'm privileged to have access to one of the finest Chinatowns in the entire Nation. Yep, I buy it by the pound, but it's at the meat counter, not the deli proper. If I was completely stuck on the bao, I'd make mine too, but today is feeling a little lazy now that I've given up all my big plans, so I'll just hold that thought. Oh, and they also sell half- and full- roasted ducks, and my shredded duck/fusion tacos are getting raves these days: Shredded duck with curtido. And a tot of hoisin. Goooood stuff, seriously. What recipe do you go by for your pork?

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    I'm so jealous mamachef! I love red pork. Especially if it is done right. I hate it when it comes out tough and/or dry. I like mine with hot chinese mustard, dipped in sesame seeds.

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      i don't know why i never think of buying roast duck when i'm near a big chinatown too! well, now it's going to have to happen.

                                2. I've finally come up with an easy-peasy dinner solution -- my 'heavenly tofu' recipe.

                                  I actually haven't made it in a while, but it's fast & scrumptious (10 minutes total including prep time -- the recipe is here somewhere on one of the million WFD threads). I'll twist it a bit in that I will layer scallion greens on the bottom of the bowl before the cubed soft tofu goes on top, so that they will get all steamy & saucy & more veggie than onion-as-a-condiment-like. I do that with my >gasp< *nuked* salmon and it always makes me wish I had more scallions.

                                  Side will be some lazy-ass store-bought dumprings stuffed with pork, cabbage and shrimp.

                                  24 Replies
                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    plenty of Chinese mommas steam their fish in the microwave, and anyone who tries to shame you for that is just a...well...it rhymes with "runt." :)

                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                      Yes, as I've pointed out to a "c u next tuesday" kinda lady recently -- it's a recipe we got from a good Chinese friend of ours.

                                      But not everyone's hip to those lil Asian kitchen tricks, I suppose '-D

                                      Tofu is being nuked as we speak. Longer this time so the scallions steam well, too.

                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                        Really, CM? The only person I knew who steams fish in the microwave is a confirmed bachelor and then the rest of us were rolling on the floor when he told us his secret recipe for making good Shanghainese fish. I didn't know it could actually be done.

                                        1. re: JungMann

                                          It's steaming, stupid (not you, JM)! Seriously. Veggies, fish -- the nukerator works magic.

                                          Not sure if a whole fish could fit (our MW is rather small), but it works ridiculously well with filets. The salmon in particular comes out just perfectly -- med-rare if you like it that way, but obvy it can be steamed longer, and in combination with the steamed scallions, the grated ginger & the oyster sauce, it's damn near orgasmic.

                                          But I suppose if one never tried it, one's opinion might differ '-)

                                          What was your and your friends verdict in the end?

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            Yep, whole fish. I've seen it in a number of different places. Think it got big in the 80s.

                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                              Hey, if the nuke's big enough - why not.

                                            2. re: linguafood

                                              He swore up and down that all you had to do was put a filet on a plate with your sauce and microwave it for a bit. We thought he was joking (though his roommate confirmed he does do this), so we've never tried. I usually steam whole fish in my wok, but I'll try getting filets and trying it out if it meets your seal of approval.

                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                Yep, that's pretty much all there is to it. It's one of those zero hassle / awesome results kinda dishes. They're rare enough...

                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                  Fish in the nuker has certainly got my attention! I love fish, and am always looking for ways to cook it for single servings. Salmon teriyaki is something I've been thinking of doing soon, I wonder how that'd turn out in the microwave?

                                                  1. re: RelishPDX

                                                    Well, all the recipe calls for is marinating your choice of fish (I do believe salmon works best, but it's also one of my faves) in your choice of marinade - I use black bean & garlic sauce, laying it on top of a bed of scallion greens, then top with your personal perfect ratio of oyster sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce & sriracha or other hotness deliverants, more chopped scallions (the light green and white parts) and grated ginger if you feel like it. It's not typically used, but I like the fresh bite with the sweetness of the salmon and the umami of the oyster sauce. Nuke for 4-5 min.

                                                    While nuking, heat up 2 tbsps of oil till smoking. Flash salmon with the hot oil when it comes out. Dig in. Lather, rinse, repeat.

                                        2. re: linguafood

                                          Lingua - I can't find your heavenly tofu recipe and I'm jonesing for something Asian, spicy and delicious for dinner. Any chance you might post it (or link to it), please?

                                          1. re: EM23

                                            It's supposed to be in the 90s here tomorrow, so this is actually what I'm planning on having for dinner as well.
                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7273...

                                            1. re: JungMann

                                              Hey JM - thanks for jumping in :-)

                                              Not sure I'd consider it a summer dish, but it's always tasty.

                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                Your recipe sounds very tasty Lingua! Can I make this with silken tofu or must it be semi-firm? I'm new to the tofu society and need all the help I can get:-)

                                                1. re: EM23

                                                  I think the silken might be too soft, though I've never used it. I thought that stuff's only good for desserts and/or salad dressings?

                                                  And I actually use soft, not semi-firm -- unless that's the same. I think I have just proven to be no leader of the tofu society '-)

                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                    Ah, but you have a following for your "heavenly tofu" recipe so that earns you bragging rights in the society:-)
                                                    Anywho, in my typical bass ackwards way of doing things, I bought the silken Saturday and then waited to ask you for your recipe until yesterday. Guess this will be my science experiment later this week.
                                                    Thanks again!

                                                      1. re: EM23

                                                        I've used the silken tofu for this before, but rather than dice it, I heat it whole and eat it like a crustless quiche. Still as heavenly as the name implies.

                                                  2. re: linguafood

                                                    My apartment is oppressive in the summertime so anything I can make without turning on the stove is fair game when we're over 80 degrees.

                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                      Gotcha, that makes sense. And the 80+ degree weather should be coming up.... right now '-)

                                                      83˚F here today. Freaky. Great weather to grill, tho!

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        Little-to-no access to a grill is one of the prices of living in Manhattan, I'm afraid. I might could just buy dinner out, but then as a renter, there is also the *literal* price of living in Manhattan to contend with.

                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                          you know, i was in NYC in April 2010 and it was like 95 degrees! gorgeous days but sweltering.

                                                        2. re: JungMann

                                                          When I lived on the top floor of a walk-up in the city, summers were just awful. I had a window ac, but it was no comfort. I feel for you.

                                                      2. re: JungMann

                                                        Thank you JungMann!
                                                        I'm in NY too - craaaaazzy weather year so far!!!

                                                  3. Tonight, I'm making a batch of refried black beans, heavy on the guajillo, onion, and garlic, to use in tacos with whole baby lentils (cooked in the no-beef broth), and a slaw of cabbage and cilantro with a lime crema. There might be fried plantains . . . but I've been saying that for weeks. This batch just will *not* ripen. I will dutifully check the paper bag, but I've not much hope. There will also be potatoes. I could do a pan of really spicy roasted potatoes, but all that talk about rubbing them with olive oil and baking them on the rack has awakened a baked potato craving. I haven't had one in forever! I know, I know, tacos and baked potatoes? But It'll be fine. I'll just put serve salsa alongside.

                                                    And I'm having a food crisis. The boyfriend waited until we were in the checkout line last night, with a cart piled high with fresh bread and produce, to tell me that his brother had suddenly requested that the whole family come visit for Easter weekend--which is also the boyfriend's birthday weekend. We checked out, all the while going back and forth about me going (I *can't* get Saturday off, I already know this), and reached the car. That was when the mountain of groceries sunk in. Over the next two days, every spare minute I have (which is a scant allotment) is going to be spent cooking, and then stuffing as much food as I can into him before he leaves. Unless someone sneaks in and takes half of what is in my freezer, so that I can freeze new stuff. And I would prefer that you only take the bottom half. Which is mostly asparagus, and mystery foil packets.

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: onceadaylily

                                                      oadl sorry about your weekend, it sounds like it's going to be a hectic one. Oh, and as for potatoes and tacos...why not? I've had potato in tacos and they were terrific.

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Reading your reply, I realized that I could have made a damn fine pambazo, with black beans and lentils. And cleared out room in the freezer by thawing some rolls. Ah, next time. ;)

                                                      2. re: onceadaylily

                                                        Oh dear, all that food and pressure not to waste it! I do feel your pain oadl.... Is there anything in the freezer you can throw out to make room? I can nearly always find something I should have previously thrown out. :)

                                                        1. re: GretchenS

                                                          If I've the energy for a good old fashioned game of freezer tetris, I might give it a go . . . but I'm not even certain what I can freeze. I bought *so* many mushrooms for that lasagna, but really haven't the energy to cook it tonight. I've only frozen cooked mushrooms once, but was not happy with the results.

                                                          1. re: onceadaylily

                                                            Freezer Tetris! What a great phrase! And exactly what it is. :-)

                                                        2. re: onceadaylily

                                                          can you send any of the food with the BF? i mean, i know that's a loss of your food budget, but ....

                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                            No cooler, aside from one of those little totes meant to pack a lunch in. It's about a six hour trip in good traffic, and good traffic doesn't seem to be his destiny.

                                                            Thank god I didn't buy the chicken yet. I was going to sneak off and get one today to make the two things he's said he really misses since I went veg: my chicken soup, and chicken salad. I don't do anything really to those dishes that anyone here wouldn't do, but he's sworn they're the best he's ever had. I was going to surprise him with day-before birthday soup, and then he'd have the salad to work on through the weekend. Next week, maybe.

                                                          2. re: onceadaylily

                                                            OADL, I am in the same boat as you. I had plans for an easily baked up Easter lunch that would involve little more than me pushing and pulling things out of the oven for a few hours on Sunday morning. Now I find out that I will have to sing for about 8 hours of services from now through Sunday, meaning I will have little time to prepare for guests. I may still be in my cassock when they're set to arrive.

                                                            One of the quick items I'm thinking about setting out for an appetizer is bolillo rolls with refried beans and cheese, a sort of Mexican take on crostini. Would you care to walk a refried beans virgin through your process? I'm also thinking of making hasselback potatoes since everyone talks about them and I have never even tasted them before.

                                                            1. re: JungMann

                                                              You've your hands full, JM. Are you making your own bolillo rolls? First, I'll direct you to a very trustworthy blog: http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/200... and then tell you how I wander off the road into the brambles.

                                                              I no longer use lard or bacon fat, and have had to find other ways to create a smokier flavor than just using olive oil as a sub. I use an even mixture of olive oil and butter to cook my onions and garlic, use black beans instead of pinto, and then I add a few spices to toast a bit (cumin, and guajillo and ancho powder are my current favorites) before I add and mash the beans, and then I cook the beans over a low heat, flipping them and breaking them up as a crust forms on the starch, for five to ten minutes, and then I start adding the broth. I use Better Than Bouillon No-Beef broth, instead of bean water (guilty--since I went back to work, I've been using very well rinsed canned beans), and oregano when I add the broth, and my ratio of onions and garlic to beans is higher than most recipes. Most of my changes, as you can see, would really only work with black beans. If you use pinto, I beg of you to use pork as your fat, and then the onion and garlic will suffice to flavor the dish.

                                                              I think the most important thing is to make certain that you're being patient when you caramelize the bean starch. Your arms will be a wee bit tired at that point from the mashing, but it does deepen the flavor of the beans.

                                                              And you sing too. ;)

                                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                                JM, you know the process, tho, for Hasselbacks, right? a whole potato is used per serving, sliced very thin but not all the way though, to create the fan effect. they're served while hot and crispy and so i would think they would be neither quick nor something you'd want to set out for your guests like an appetizer. they're very good, especially when each slot is loaded with butter and/or herbs and/or garlic slices, but i think of them more as a side to a meat dish (like a baked potato).

                                                                below is an old picture of one i did a few months ago. you'll find lots of other pics/recipies of them online.

                                                                if anything, i think L.Nightshade's potatoes and peas with gremolata - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8418... - would make a fine dish to have out for your guests, or Frizzle's caramelized fennel and bean dish (i loved it cold.)

                                                                 
                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                  Thanks for the tips, MC. Do you have a link to frizzle's recipe? I'm down to the wire so I may need to guess at what I'll need from the store.

                                                                    1. re: Frizzle

                                                                      Thanks. Fennel turned out to be prohibitively expensive at the market, so I'll keep this in my pocket for when it's in season.

                                                            2. Last night in bed, I began thinking about quiche -- how I haven't made one in a long time, and lo and behold, this shows up in my in box this morning:
                                                              http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                              I didn't make the crust in the recipe since I already had a half in the freezer, and my only alteration to the recipe was to add some bacon to the filling. Everything's better with bacon. Cheddar, bacon, mushrooms. What's not to love? It's in the oven right now.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                That combo sounds perfect for filling anything. Me, for example :-)

                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                  roxlet that quiche sounds lovely but, with that story, tonight when you go to bed, I'd be thinking about winning the lottery if I were you!! Who knows what you'll find in your inbox tomorrow!! ; - )

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    i've been thinking of quiche lately too! haven't had once since maybe the 80s? high time.

                                                                    i didn't even know they made quiche without bacon. ( :

                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                      It was delicious, and I definitely recommend the bacon addition!

                                                                       
                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                        mmmmmmmmmm I CAN SMELL IT......What did you have with it?....

                                                                        1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                          Thank you all. We had a green salad with the quiche. It was really a lovely meal!

                                                                        2. re: roxlet

                                                                          Gorgeous. A good quiche is a thing of beauty. They are so often not good. But I know yours was great.

                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                              Funny, I've craving a broccoli and gruyere quiche lately. Maybe this weekend.

                                                                            2. Well, freak that I am, I have a log of what our menus have been each week for almost 2 years now. I make a menu for each week and change it up depending on what is on sale, etc. which also helps with my weekly shopping list, but I note it down and move on. So if you wanted to know what we ate on 1/15/11, it was Rib Eye/Hasselback Potatoes/Shrimp Cocktail. I try not to repeat too often unless we really, really like it (which happens too).

                                                                              That being said, DH asked for sloppy joes. I looked through my very long list and found that since I started keeping this list, they were not on it! So tonight will be - what else - SLOPPY JOES. It has still been rainy here (duh) so it will be a nice meal for a messy night. Still have some onions, red and green peppers I can dice leftover from the Tikka Masala and hamburger thawing. That is going on some sesame seed buns. Have some cottage cheese I think we will have on the side along with some canned peaches or pears. Depends on what I am in the mood for when I get into the pantry!

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                I don't think I've ever made Sloppy Joes, boyzoma, but they were one of our all-time favorites when I was a kid--no matter that they were made with a can of SJ mix. It was all smiles when the answer to WFD? was "Sloppy Joes." And it wouldn't have been unusual for my mother to have a pear half stuffed with cottage cheese while we noshed on the SJs. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                  OMG!!!!! The canned pear half on cottage cheese - we did that too! LOL

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    As it turned out, it was pears we used and that so hit the spot last night. The SJ's were good too. Well, now I can take those off my list for a while!

                                                                              2. I'm on my own for two nights, so cooking stuff my husband hates. New recipe of a sort I never make, cabbage and meatballs cooked in (diet) ginger beer with tomatoes, a little bit of honey. Will need some vinegar or lemon juice, definitely too sweet for me, even halving the sweeteners.

                                                                                1. If any of you have the Mozza cookbook, and you're a fan of fennel and/or anise flavour, I'd highly recommend the Pork Chops with olives and Sambuca-braised fennel. I made this for dinner on Sunday night and it was amazing. The veggies caramelized beautifully and their sweetness was further enhanced by the syrupy sambuca. Instead of pan-roasting the pork, we grilled it and then dusted everything w some fennel pollen. Those vegetables were the stuff dreams are made of in my books!!

                                                                                  Tonight we're having some grilled Caribbean style chicken along w some coconut rice with green peas (a dish from the COTM). Its so nice to have mild weather!

                                                                                   
                                                                                   
                                                                                   
                                                                                   
                                                                                   
                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                    Yum, that looks good. Do you think Pernod/pastis would work in place of the Sambuca?

                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                      Thanks CM. I think sambuca is the way to go with this as the sweetness it imparts is likely just as important to the flavours of the finished dish as the anise is.

                                                                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                      That looks fabulous, Breadcrumbs. I absolutely adore fennel and pork. That Mozza cookbook is sounding better and better.

                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                        Thanks ncw, it's a great book. We're 2 for 2 w the recipes so far and there are many more dishes we want to try.

                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                          OK, I'm pulling Mozza off the shelf soon. This looks wonderful, and I have yet to open the bag of fennel pollen we brought back from Italy. Do you cook much with it, or mostly dust it on the finished dishes?

                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                            I mostly use it for finishing dishes LN. It's great to brighten the flavours of dishes made w fennel. I have tried adding it prior to baking, roasting or grilling dishes but somehow it gets lost amidst the other flavours. For example, we'd gotten in the habit of sprinkling some on our (delivered) pizza so the last time we were making pizza from scratch we decided to add some prior to putting the pizza in the oven. Neither one of us could really taste it.

                                                                                            All that said, i have used it in my baking with great results. I made a rhubarb anise loaf and the fennel pollen mixed beautifully in the batter, infusing the bread with a wonderful flavour...and the house smelled amazing too!

                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                            That looks delicious. Would that the men in my family liked fennel or anise...

                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                              That's a shame roxlet. Maybe there's hope though. For mr bc anise was an acquired taste but that's now become a bit of an addiction!

                                                                                          3. I made chicken vegetable soup with half a leftover roast chicken that was in the freezer. Just before serving, I'll boil up some dried spaetzle and toss those in to make the meal a bit heartier.

                                                                                            For dessert, one of a dozen(!!) cupcakes I received by surprise delivery today. I may have to freeze the rest---too tempting.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                              and a nice vinegary salad with dilly beans. love those!

                                                                                              later: fresh-squeezed orange, lemon, and tangelo juices with brandy and Cointreau, topped up with ginger beer. not my best and not my worst cocktail ever.

                                                                                            2. I'm trolling for inspiration...
                                                                                              Maybe it's not the best place to be when I'm hungry. I want one of everything. I had dinner all planned out, but I'm still working, so I won't be able to start in time. Something soothing and effortless appeals; ramen would be perfect, roxlet's quiche sounds good too. I could murder some of phreddy's dumplings.
                                                                                              But if I don't get this work stuff straightened out soon, I may just have vodka and ice cream for dinner.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                  sometimes when I troll, I feel full from all the inspirations. I can just use my imagination and oh - I wish there was smell-a-blog or smell-a-vision, because we could all get full with each others dishes. Other times, I just crave what you all made and add it to my "to make" list.

                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                    My go to when I am is lost....pasta....cheese ravoli, with garlic infussed olive oil, some hot pepper flakes, some fresh basil and fresh shaved parmirigiano s&p...a glass of vodka with cranberry pomegranite, and a small green salad with evoo & good 8year old balsamic.

                                                                                                    It is always in the house...takes about 10 minutes start to finish, and clean up after a long day is essentially my cutting board and one pan....

                                                                                                  2. We went thrift storing today and I came back with an angel food cake pan ($1), a silicone bundt pan ($2) and the most beautiful stainless steel fondue set that looks like it has never been used (a mere $10). I'm going to attempt a cheese fondue for dinner tomorrow night, but I'm taking tonight off. My boyfriend is making pasta with Italian sausage and mushrooms. I'll probably throw together a salad of some sort for the side. If anyone has experience with fondue, tips would be greatly appreciated. This will be my first time.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                      oohhhh lurrrrrrve fondue.... may have to do the same soon for the boy and i....

                                                                                                      as for tips, it's been years for me so all i've got is just make sure your heat stays low and you keep stirring, that's what i remember. lots of good recipes online. make sure you use good cheese! little boiled potatoes are delicious in fondue...

                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                        Ooh, the boiled potatoes do sound delicious. After looking at a few recipes, however, I've decided to postpone the fondue until the weekend, since I'm missing a few ingredients and I'm going out of town tomorrow. But come Saturday, I will be dipping all kinds of things in cheese (assuming I can get the little flame mechanism to work)! In the mean time, I will be sitting back and admiring my $10 fondue set, which I found on Amazon today for $90 (http://www.amazon.com/Tramontina-Gour...). My guess is that it was an unwanted wedding gift, because it doesn't look like it's ever been used.

                                                                                                    2. Wet as a fish today! Better get started on building an arc at this point.

                                                                                                      Though I had to move my dinner plan indoors, it was still lovely. I was a bit rushed but it all came together famously well. A couple months ago I had a change of dinner plans and put my marinated chicken breasts straight in the freezer. Was concerned they would breakdown too much, but they were PERFECT. And bonus, all I had to do was defrost and grill (indoors).

                                                                                                      Dinner:
                                                                                                      Teriyaki grilled chicken breasts
                                                                                                      honey-chipotle baked beans (leftover, and wonderful accompaniment)
                                                                                                      caesar salad (using leftover homemade dressing from the weekend)
                                                                                                      Garlic and red pepper roasted zucchini
                                                                                                      coffee and shortbread
                                                                                                      Yum!

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: bblonde

                                                                                                        i'm not a fan of baked beans nor honey, but those sound really, really good for some reason.... the smokiness of the chipotle is calling me. looks great.

                                                                                                      2. Jamaican curry chicken.

                                                                                                        1. I had avocado to use up -- so I made guacamole, and I ate an awful lot of it with some Neal Bros or some other hippie tortilla chips. I also had a hardboiled egg.

                                                                                                          If all this weren't glamorous enough, consider three things:

                                                                                                          a) I ate the chips out of the bag;
                                                                                                          b) I scooped up the guac out of the bowl I made it in; and
                                                                                                          c) I held onto the egg with a paper towel and threw astonishing amounts of fleur de sel at it. Plates are for suckers.

                                                                                                          Ah the single life.. ;)

                                                                                                          (Seriously, though, I've just discovered venison sausage in my fridge; I thought my mom had just -- just, ha! -- brought me a roast. Venison. Sausage. I'll get all foodie again this weekend, I wager. :)

                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: megjp

                                                                                                            Good girl. ;) Try dipping that egg in soy sauce sometime.

                                                                                                            And why have I never before thought of getting my hard-to-buy-for older brother, who is an avid hunter who likes to cook, a grinder as a gift? Geez.

                                                                                                            1. re: megjp

                                                                                                              LOL! I just read this while having lunch, and THOSE types of dinners are sometimes just perfect.

                                                                                                              And glad to hear you'll be getting foodie again, meg. :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                Foodie in an excellent new location: for produce and spices, I'm between the less touristy of Toronto's two Chinatowns, and Little India. This is just south of Greektown. My local discount grocery has not only an "international" aisle, but several -- divided by nationality!

                                                                                                                I think this might be the cooking summer of Meg. Bless my friends who are foolhardy enough to try to lose weight around me.

                                                                                                              2. re: megjp

                                                                                                                i hope you were wearing mismatched socks, too.

                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                  S..s..socks? I can't promise you I was even wearing PANTS. :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: megjp

                                                                                                                    I just spit out my water! Now my screen needs cleaned and I PROMISE you I was wearing pants that almost - almost got damp! Thanks for the jollies. Maybe I need that glass of wine early!

                                                                                                                    1. re: megjp

                                                                                                                      ahahahaaha! if had HAD had something in my mouth i would have spit it out like BZ! hilarious!

                                                                                                                  2. re: megjp

                                                                                                                    The perfect newly-single dinner! Kinda reminds me of when my sister said to me scoffingly that her husband's brother thought that a Gin & Tonic and a bag of chips counted as dinner and I said to her, "It DOESN"T???"

                                                                                                                  3. After 5 days of nothing with a lot of spice I'm happy to be having doro wat and injera with leftover fauxtatoes (which go very well together!)

                                                                                                                    I'll be perusing this thread and the Easter thread for side dish and dessert ideas... i was just informed that those are my job for Sunday with the inlaws (who really really like ham and I really really don't so I'm looking for a very filling side!)

                                                                                                                    1. Pan-grilled Coulotte steak w/Beurre Rouge
                                                                                                                      Potatoes au Gratin
                                                                                                                      Brussels Sprouts

                                                                                                                      While in the meat dept. at Safeway today, I found a package with two strips of coulotte steak in it, probably close to a half-pound each, that'd been cut today and looked great. Just couldn't resist, so dinner was born. Since I lost 4# in the past week (grrrr!!) I decided I could use some cream, so I bought stuff to make scalloped potatoes, and looked up a couple of recipes for it when I got home. Things I've known how to make by heart I usually don't look up, but lately I've been looking at different ways to do old things.

                                                                                                                      Since time immemorial, I've always thought that 'scalloped potatoes' was sliced potatoes baked in milk/cream plus seasonings and butter, and that 'potatoes au gratin' was sliced potatoes baked with cheese. Don't know why or how I ever got that division into my mind, but my grey matter was jolted tonight when I went looking for CI's Scalloped Potatoes, found none, but saw Potatoes au Gratin in The Best Recipe. But there wasn't any cheese in it. I thought perhaps there was a misprint! After a bit of research, I discovered I've been wrong about the difference (if there really is one) all this time. Well, ya learn something new every day.

                                                                                                                      I'm still not sure what makes 'Scalloped Potatoes' just scalloped vs. au gratin, but I'll figure that out sooner or later. Betty Crocker and her potatoes in a box is probably to blame! :) Regardless, these potatoes were very good and almost tasted a bit cheesy without any cheese. Hmm.

                                                                                                                      The brussels sprouts from last week looked like they needed to be used up before what's left of the snow peas, so brussels sprouts for the veg it was. Simple blanch on halved sprouts, then finished in butter. Lots of butter.

                                                                                                                      For the steaks, they got a sprinkling of Montreal seasoning, pan frying to medium-rare, then set aside for a covered rest while I whipped up the Beurre Rouge. Trés bien. Another satisfying meal.

                                                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                        I make what I called scalloped potatoes and ham and we love them. BUT, we usually add cheese as well. So - is it called "scalloped potatoes and ham" or is it "potatoes au gratin and ham"? You know what - I don't care. It's good. Add some creamed corn with it and I am in comfort food land. May have to put that on my list soon!

                                                                                                                        1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                          LOL, yeah, as I was putting the baking dish away in the fridge I was thinking about the same thing! (After having another bite of them, of course.) I like CI's idea of parboiling the taters in the milk/cream, then basting a couple of times as it bakes. The potatoes and sauce came out creamier than my old way of dumping everything into the baking dish cold.

                                                                                                                          It was just such a smack upside the head to learn that something I've known as one thing for decades, turned out it really wasn't. Even the wikipedia page for Scalloped Potatoes sends you to Au Gratin. :)

                                                                                                                          Creamed corn, hmm, interesting suggestion. Love it, but haven't had any creamed corn in literally a decade or more. One more thing to add to tomorrow's shopping list.

                                                                                                                          1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                            boyzoma, I always liked that dish growing up, but I think I've attempted it since without success. How do you make yours? :)

                                                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                              The way my mama did. Layer of potatoes, sprinkle of flower over potatoes, a little s&p, some minced onion and a pat or two of butter, then a layer of ham (always make this after having done a big ham for a holiday). Repeat layers until dish is full ending with the potatoes, minced onion, flour s&p and butter pats. Then pour milk over it till I see it coming up the side of the dish, cover and pop it in the oven for an hour or so at about 350. Remove lid, sprinkle cheese on top and pop back in the oven till cheese melts. Cream corn is always a must for us. Sometimes on the side and sometimes just poured over the scalloped potatoes and ham. Total comfort. It's actually on my menu for next week!

                                                                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                Excellent, thanks! Does the milk have to be a certain %? I'm definitely going to make this one night when I feel like a splurge. :)

                                                                                                                                Also: anything special with the potatoes? Waxy (e.g., Yukon Gold) v. floury (e.g., Russet)? How thick do you slice them?

                                                                                                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                  I use my food processor to slice now days, so not too thick, but not too thin either (you're not making chips after all). I have had success with both types of potatoes. It's whatever is around (although I tend to have Russets more often than Yukon since they are on sale. Also I use whatever milk is on hand. Right now, 1% is in the fridge so that is what I would use. But it doesn't really matter. Some people warm their milk up first, but I never have. I do put a sheet pan under it as it tends to drip while baking. I also use non-stick spray for the casserole dish and the lid. Makes for much easier clean up.

                                                                                                                                2. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                  This is pure Joy of Cooking from the last century - my cooking bible in my youth and more! I heated the milk..

                                                                                                                                3. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                  Check out the CI recipe from The Best Recipes, which is what my husband uses. The potatoes are cooked in the milk/cream mixture before being layered with the cheese and baked. Simply divine!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                    will do. i like having it on hand for these kind of all-American dishes.

                                                                                                                              2. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                Relish, this is a touchy topic - the ol' scalloped vs. au gratin....

                                                                                                                                I am in the camp that says au gratin has no cheese, and scalloped is with cheese. But, technically au gratin is for the pan, and scalloped is a reference to how the slices of potato lay down in a dish.

                                                                                                                                We have this discussion here as the Frenchman makes the best Gratin Daphinoise in the WORLD, and all it is is cream, milk, potatoes, s&p and a garlic clove. NO CHEESE EVER. Many recipes for that dish include cheese, so we finally decided it is a regional or a 'how your famly does it' thing.

                                                                                                                                So I never have to worry, really, anymore about the au gratin or scalopped thing, cause all we ever have is Gratin Daphinoise! :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                  This is interesting gingershelley; I didn't know there was a controversy! I thought gratin could be anything that had that crusty top baked on. Cheese or no cheese.
                                                                                                                                  I used to hate my mom's scalloped potatoes, so I've never tried making them. But I imagine that, made well, they could be great!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                    The Frenchman is a sworn member of the Parmentier Society, so the potato is sacred to him.. The Gratin Daphiniose is indeed, a dish of glory. I love it, and I am not a potato crazed person. If it weren't for the calories, I would ask him for it every week! Once a month is about all I can handle, waist-wise.

                                                                                                                                    I have tried to make it a couple of times for friends or family, at a holiday when he was off in France, but sadly, I can't get the perfect balance of cream to potato so far. Sigh....

                                                                                                                                  2. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                    Interesting, thanks! And that your impression was just the opposite of mine as to which name went with the cheese. (I'm still blaming Betty Crocker—something tells me if I look at a box of Scalloped Potatoes, it'll have no cheese in it.)

                                                                                                                                    I have to say, this was one of the best potato dishes to come out of my oven in ages. Usually I just do Potatoes Lyonnaise because it's so dang easy and tasty, plus I like the browned bits.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                      I remember those boxes from "Betty". Seems to me they were "chips" with some kind of sauce packet (kind of like Mac & Cheese). Maybe milk and butter, just can't remember. But hey, back then - that WAS fast food! Micky D's wasn't even around back then in my neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                      Glad your potatoes turned out, Relish. Looking forward to the next time you make this whole dinner AND my invite!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                        It was a meal worth repeating! You're invited next time. The potatoes tasted of being slightly oversalted when I heated some up at lunch today, but that could have been from what I was drinking or something. Will look into that though. They tasted fine last night.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                      um, ok, let's have that recipe! i mean, do you have any specifics as to amounts, s'il te plait?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                        I hate to say it is always done by 'look'; Thinly sliced yukon golds (a must). Rub a gratin dish with a clove of garlic. Layer in a couple of potatoes, dribble with cream to cover. S&P. A splash of whole milk. Repeat until full - very full - with cream being the last item added to fully cover potatoes.
                                                                                                                                        In fact, often, a final drabble of cream is added after the pan is in the oven. Allways put foil or a pan under it, as it will bubble over; in fact you want it too, so that the top of the potatoes is as cooked in cream as the bottom.

                                                                                                                                        The key seems to be to cook it for a long time; JF cooks it at 425 for about 45 minutes, then turns the heat down to 375-400 for another 30-45. The top is never covered, and is allowed to get very dark brown, making a cream crust as it were. If it turns out right, then the potatoes have absorbed the cream and milk, and form a solid mass almost, with a thick, creamy slurry holding them together. Tastes like nothing but perfect potatoes and cream. SO GOOD!

                                                                                                                                    3. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                      Relish, the whole dinner sounds fabulous. I'm only sorry that my invitation apparently got lost in the mail.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                        Don't feel too bad, Gretchen. Mine got lost too and I only live across town! (there were 2 steaks in that package, right?) LOL

                                                                                                                                    4. a jam-packed night! left work at 6:00, stopped off at meat shop to buy 4 very large b/s chicken thighs, walked home, cooked, ate, made the BF his coffee, and was out the door to have drinks at a friend's home by 7:30, no lie! and THEN i had two slices of pizza! oy vey, no wonder the jeans turn away when they see me coming....

                                                                                                                                      since i had the fennel beans, i went with a sort of mid-eastern/north african/croation?/who-knows-what prep on the chicken. spiced them up copiously with s&p, granulated garlic, thyme, aleppo and sumac (we were out of zatar so i improvised), fast sauteed them in the cast iron, then stuck the whole ting into the oven for 10 minutes. warmed up the fennel beans. sliced up some cabbage, red onion, scallions, made a sauce with mexican crema and ajvar (was out of harissa too!), charred some tortillas, and voila! middle-eastern/north african/croation dinner was served. the ajvar i know is found all over but i had it in Croatia, so that's what i associate it with. mixed it up with the crema, some lemon juice, a little granulated garlic, and s&p. decent, but not my favorite. the chicken was wonderful - crispy fatty chewy spicy yum. the beans, i'm sorry to say, do not hold up to heating, in my opinion. i like them much better at room temp. all in all, though, a very good dinner, if i do say so myself. and yet, when pizza showed it's face,accompanied by white wine, bubbly, and an amazing cab at my friends' house, i caved.

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                          Looks delicious! What a cool and imaginative combination of ingredients.

                                                                                                                                        2. I had taken out some bone-in/skin-on Frankenchicken breasts to defrost a few days ago. This morning, I made a marinade of 1/2 cup of light olive oil, 1/4 cup of the honey-ginger white balsamic vinegar I bought a few weekends ago, 1 tsp. of salt, 1/2 tsp. ground pepper, 1-1/2 Tbsp. of Braswell's ginger honey, 2 tsp. of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. of ground ginger, and 1 tsp. of crushed-in-the-palm Herbs de Provence.

                                                                                                                                          (And YES - that's three different gingers - wanna make something of it? LOL)

                                                                                                                                          Shook it all in a jar until blended, then poured it over the chicken chests to marinate in the fridge. They'll be roasted when I get home, with sides to be rice pilaf and steamed asparagus. *Most* of the chicken will go into chicken salad for work lunches for the next couple of days (P.S. Probably with some chopped crystallized ginger added - that's FOUR gingers! :-D), as I won't need anything for dinners (previous leftover meal from earlier in the week and I'm hitting up Dali on Friday evening for dinner, as their giant strawberry dessert called Fresones are BACK! Nom, nom, nom. :-)

                                                                                                                                          1. Yesterday's work has thrown off all my plans! Mr. NS brought home a pizza which we tarted up a bit with our own additions. The plan for tonight (as I'm working a short day today), was hand-made tortellini. But now I've got yesterday's raw whole chicken pouting at me from the fridge. So tonight is Melissa Clarks' chicken on a bed of carrots and crispy chickpeas, side TBD. Tortellini will be postponed to another day, as those ingredients will keep.

                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                              crispy chickpeas woke me up..... fried?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                That's what I thought when I read the recipe title, but no. They are tossed with lemon, oil, garam masala, salt, and pepper, and roasted under the raised chicken. Clark claims they end up "as tempting as bacon." I have my doubts about that.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                    I came across some soaked chick peas in the freezer so I am attempting some version of what you described. I'm just roasting them in a cazuela though, not under a chicken -I'm sure that loses something, but I think the olive oil, lemon and gm will be really good on their own! So far they smell pretty damn good too. Thanks for the inspiration!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                                                      Cool idea, those chickpeas were great. I reviewed the entire dish in the COTM thread, with photos. Don't want to double post, so I'll link it here for anyone who is interested:
                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8418...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                        it's just beautiful. just when i think i have a favorite chicken recipe.... now i'm going to have to buy a rack.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                  Love tortolini....with bologanese.....or ....cheese and garlic.....let me know how it turns out....

                                                                                                                                                2. I'm going to a friend's house for dinner (and she's an excellent cook, so i can't wait), and left the crockpot for the boy. 3 large pork chops marinated for 2 days in sambal olek, gochujang, granulated garlic (i ran out of fresh), little bit of leftover kimchi and its juice, sugar, white vinegar, and today i threw in a bunch of cilantro, scallions and coins of ginger. there's leftover rice in the fridge which passed the smell test. he can eat the chops as is or pull them out and stick them under the broiler to char.

                                                                                                                                                  before my dinner out, tho, at the oldster's i'm going to make rice, a fried egg, canned black beans that i'll doctor up A LITTLE (remember, no flavor required), and caramelized fried plantains. this dinner i know he'll like, unless he had an egg for breakfast which for some reason means he cannot have one again for like 48 hours.

                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                    Look at you, cooking for everyone before you go out and play. Such a dear you are!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                      mc, tell your oldster that mine says eggs don't matter after you turn 80. Unless yours isn't there yet. ;) Mine, having been a 2 eggs a week guy as long as I can remember, now has 2 eggs for breakfast every single day, says it is one of the pleasures of old age. And I agree with LN, you are such a nurturing one!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                        GS, mine's 83, and he doesn't care so much about the cholesterol thing (or whatever the scare used to be) as that he just doesn't want an egg for dinner if he's had one for breakfast. i sure don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                        thanks, both of you! cooking for the oldster twice a week is the least i can do to relieve my sister who lives next door to him and has to deal with him all the time!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, I get it. Mine (85) probably wouldn't want another for dinner either, now that I come to think of it. Funny, he doesn't mind wine with lunch and AGAIN with dinner. :)

                                                                                                                                                          My sister (AZ) has had oldster duty for past month and before that he was with my aunt (CA) for awhile but he is flying home tomorrow so will be back on my watch. Thank heavens for sisters and aunts but I wish they were not so far away. I have a pork stew for him that, with some rice, should meet the monotone requirements.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                            "montone requirements" - love it. we'll have to write the Beige Food Cookbook someday. it will be a public service.

                                                                                                                                                            if ONLY my dad would have wine 2x a day! the man has a beer once a year, maybe.

                                                                                                                                                            he told me last night that he liked the meal i made but today he says he doesn't want the beans again. so, home they're coming with me.

                                                                                                                                                            it is hard having relief so far away but yeah, it's great you get that much time "off" knowing he's still be well-cared for and loved!

                                                                                                                                                            still not sure what we're doing for dinner, chez nous....

                                                                                                                                                    2. Last night's dinner was Liver with onions & gravy, rice pilaf and collards for the bf; a bowl of cereal for myself. I can only eat beef liver about once a year and then, I have to have a taste for it. I did have no bake chocolate cheesecake for dessert though. I figure it makes up for not eating the liver (lol)...

                                                                                                                                                      Tonight it'll be chicken parmesan with garlic bread and a huge salad of mixed lettuces, roasted pear tomatoes, cukes and shallots topped with roasted tomato vinaigrette, maybe a parmesan frico if I still have the notion to make them in a little while.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                        Amazing....last night I started with dumplings....went to see customer and my loved one made liver, onions, green peppers and cliantro with white rice , roasted cherry tomatoes and zuchini...with a little ketchup.....i was good to go...I have that about 3 times a year....i sneak it in under my doctor's radar......

                                                                                                                                                      2. We scored a Wed night early eve gig at a local watering hole, so tonight will be rather simple: BLTs!!!

                                                                                                                                                        Open-faced for moi, 'normal' for my mister, kumatoes, thick-sliced hickory smoked bacon going in the oven as I type this, Duke's mayo, boring green lettuce on top of Wegmans multi-grain toast.

                                                                                                                                                        Maybe I get to snack on something during the break other than beer....

                                                                                                                                                        1. Cooking for company this week, so it's been a little crazy. I made a double batch of bolognese on the weekend. On Monday I made pasta, somehow, between five and dinner, which was served casually, buffet-style, as the basketball final trumped any notion I had of a sit-down dining room affair: lasagna bolognese and tossed salad; fresh strawberries and cardamom shortbreads for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                          Last night it was boiled crawfish (w/thousand island-ish dipping sauce) for a starter. After the table was cleared of newspapers and crustacean carapaces (talk about casual!), actual plates and utensils were brought out and dinner was served: oven-baked BBQ-style baby back ribs, potato salad, southern-style (cooked-to-death) green beans, campari tomatoes and cucumbers in vinaigrette; lemon tart.

                                                                                                                                                          Out to a friend's home for a birthday dinner tonight; out to dinner again tomorrow night.

                                                                                                                                                          The jeans are screaming "don't even come near me."

                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                            your jeans and mine must be in cahoots.

                                                                                                                                                            but damn them, your dinners are so worth it!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                my dear nomadchowwoman, how does one get on the guest list?

                                                                                                                                                                you only think i'm joking.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                  Believe me, I'd love to have you--and y'all--on my guestlist. And I'd love to be on yours.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                    if you're ever in D.C., give me a holler. and I'll do the same when we head to New Orleans (assuming you there or nearby). it's on the bucket list.

                                                                                                                                                              2. I needed to use up some bits and bobs in the fridge and freezer, so tonight that meant baked stuffed peppers. I usually approximate a family recipe that is braised in tomato sauce and doesn't include cheese, but this time I took cues from Cook's Illustrated.

                                                                                                                                                                In place of ground beef, I used spicy country sausage (Tennessee Pride--something DH picked up on a crazy clearance). Browned, drained, and mixed the meat with a little bit of cooked brown rice, wilted shredded cabbage (a surprisingly delicious addition), some leftover Ro-Tel tomatoes, parsley, sauteed garlic, onion, and the pepper caps, and a little Italian-blend shredded cheese. A spare egg yolk that was hanging around went in, too. More tomatoes and ketchup (ew, blame CI) on the bottom and ladled over top, then sprinkled with cheese and into the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                40 min. later, that's what was for dinner, along with a green salad with light peppercorn parmesan dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                Chocolate pudding cup for afters.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                  It has been ages since I've had a stuffed pepper--another thing my mom used to make occasionally. But I'll bet they're even better with sausage.

                                                                                                                                                                  Time to go off and consume more calories. My friend's a wonderful cook, and she'll be going all out for her beau's b-day, so there will be calories, plenty of them.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, sausage is a definite improvement (fat will do that :) ). Next time, I'm going to go for an Italian turkey sausage, lots of parsley and garlic, and maybe sun-dried tomatoes or pine nuts. Fancy time!

                                                                                                                                                                2. I've decided to just rework the menu to fit as much in as I can. Goodbye ratatouille, goodbye mushroom lasagna, goodbye Mediterranean meze, Instead, I'm making a baked pasta, with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, onions, garlic, olives, and cannellin beans. The recipe I am loosely following calls for mozzarella, but I'm using a mixture of havarti, fontina, and parmesan. It also wants me to use a ridged pasta, but I'm subbing either gemelli or . . . pippette. I know that the pippette wouldn't hold it's shape as well, but it's calling to me. Garlic bread and salad to go with. Here's the recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ba...

                                                                                                                                                                  I stuck a quarter of a head of cabbage into the fridge yesterday, and *clearly* did not seal the bag well enough. Every time I open the fridge, it smells like raw chopped cabbage. Which is to say, not very pleasant. Grrr.

                                                                                                                                                                  Also, I just want spicy peanut noodles for dinner. Grrr, again. Craving came out of nowhere. Hello, delayed gratification--I almost didn't recognize you.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. New poster, Hi.
                                                                                                                                                                    I'd never tried tripe, never really wanted to, it looks disgusting, but after buying a Simon Hopkinson book last year, and him recommending it, and reading about it on a few blogs, I was intrigued

                                                                                                                                                                    The idea came back to me recently, so I bought some last week, and tonight was the night.
                                                                                                                                                                    The recipe I used was Simon Hopkinson's tripe with spring onions, ginger, chilli and coriander, from The Good Cook.

                                                                                                                                                                    I must say, the texture when cutting it raw was enough to put me off, and the sound it made, and that it was all stretchy, but I ploughed on.
                                                                                                                                                                    I adapted the method to the slow cooker.

                                                                                                                                                                    I had read this blog post:
                                                                                                                                                                    cookingthebooks.type...
                                                                                                                                                                    Now, I didn't have a hangover, but the thing about the smell is relevant. It made my house smell like a farm, which is off putting, and I'd definitely recommend a day in advance.

                                                                                                                                                                    As for the finished article, well, it was interesting.
                                                                                                                                                                    Definitely from a cow, yet mild, not slimy at all but sort of squashy, but not in a bad way.
                                                                                                                                                                    The other flavours were good I thought, though daughter didn't like the star anise flavour.
                                                                                                                                                                    Not sure I'd make it again, it was OK, glad i tried it, and I ate a whole bowl (I made sweet and sour chicken and rice too), but maybe not great enough for a repeat.

                                                                                                                                                                    Daughter ate two pieces though, and just asked that I leave out the star anise next time!
                                                                                                                                                                    I think that's high praise from a ten yr old.

                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Muggglewump

                                                                                                                                                                      Welcome! Your 10-year old sounds like a real chowhound! :)

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm with you---tripe is tolerable, but not my thing.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Muggglewump

                                                                                                                                                                        Welcome, Mugggles! :-) And a fine Chowhound-in-the-making in your daughter - she's braver than I would be with the tripe.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Muggglewump

                                                                                                                                                                          Hi Muggglewump.....The first time I had trip was at a buffet in a friend's house....it was ok....but after seeing it raw, I don't think it would be om table of my last meal...Make sure you tell your daughter after she is 21 about your Tripe experience....

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Muggglewump

                                                                                                                                                                            mw - making tripe at home - very impressive! and welcome! I've always loved menudo, and i had an absolutely wonderful dish of tripe in Florence that i still dream of, but I'm not sure I'd make it myself. and yes, your daughter sounds like a budding CHer!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                              I read this as "a budding Cher" which is something entirely different. :)

                                                                                                                                                                              Welcome to CH, Muggglewump!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Muggglewump

                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't realize tripe had a smell until I cooked some in a shared apartment and became the object of everyone's shared ire. Adding a bit of vinegar to the mix helps tame the scent. When I make tripe it's usually heavily sauced with a spicy tomato sauce with chickpeas or simmered in a stew. Your recipe sounds like a great change of pace.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Muggglewump

                                                                                                                                                                                That may be the most memorable first post ever! Welcome, Muggglewump! Not only is your daughter clearly a CH, but you are obviously an intrepid cook. Look forward to your future posts...

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Pork souvlaki, quinoa pilaf, braised cabbage, garlic bread and strawberry rhubarb pie with a scoop of pralines + cream ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                  please send a plate my way! yum, esp. the ice cream w/ pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I almost froze going to the bank and the store earlier to get fixin's for bean and cheese tostados tonight. Figured with a pound of beef for dinner last night, I could do vegetarian tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Made them by simply spreading fried tortillas with a thick layer of refried beans, then cheese, nuked, then lettuce, avocado, salsa, and a dribble of diluted white vinegar on top that pooled underneath them like it's supposed to. Hit the spot.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Must go to bed early tonight. Long day tomorrow and I'm still not warmed up after that long walk.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The oldster liked his blackbeanriceeggplaintains dinner last night, or so he said.... sometimes that just means "i like it now, but don't try to feed me those beans again." So the rest of the beans are coming home with me. The BF liked his Korean-ish crockpotted pork chops. my girlfriend prepared a divine Nicoise salad and a yummy rice-pasta primavera dish, served with a light and tinkling Vinho Verde. so, everyone was happy last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                    tonight.... not sure.... will look here for inspiration throughout the day. get cracking, peeps!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Last night was a less than exciting dinner - sigh. Went to use up a small portion of pork tenderloin from the freezer, but didn't marinate it long enough. Very bland. Did a simple asian marinade with soy, garlic, ginger, some garlic-chili sauce, sugar and a dash of fish sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Side of cold peanut noodle salad with cukes, shredded carrots and lots of scallions. Some how it ended up kind of gluey. Every once in a while, that happens and I can't quite figure out why - rather than slippery and refreshing, which is what I want. So ate the gluey noodles with the pork mostly cut up into it, since it was so boring. Got on through it, and on to another, hopefully better meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Tonight the Frenchman and I are trying a new burger joint in his neighborhood. Looking forward to some great fries - hopefully sweet potato, and a salad with good blue cheese dressing, and a nice pink juicy burger!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Last night I worked super-late, got home, and no dog. Oh crap, it was Wednesday not Tuesday, meaning he was at doggie daycare which had long since closed (not to worry, it is also the doggie B&B, just a fairly expensive mistake, not actual dog abuse). Clearly I was in no shape to be handling sharp knives at that point (right, LW?). Dinner was kielbasa and the rest of the chard-and-cannellini, a surprisingly good combo.

                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL on NOT handling knives after a long day at work. Good call, Gretchen. I hope the pupster is fine this morning after the overnight at doggie nightcare. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          P.S. The finger nail has fully grown back - just slightly numb, which my sister says will last upwards of a year from the slicing and dicing.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, a PT told me that all hand injuries take upwards of a year to heal. And he LOVES the doggie B&B, no problem there, it's just the price of a nice dinner out, that's all. Speaking of which, WFD is a sort of carbonara-ish thing with asparagus thrown in and prosciutto instead of bacon. A favorite spring-time meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                              Nom nom nom on the carbonara-ish thing for dinner tonight. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                ditto that nom for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                aw, the pup had a mini-vaca that he probably didn't even appreciate!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                  oh no, he appreciated it, partied his brains out all night, I am told. Good, because it turns out it cost the price of TWO nice dinners out. Won't make that mistake again....

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "partied his brains out all night, I am told"
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Those young'uns, staying up all night with their carousing... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I've got a large chicken thawing on the counter at home (hope I don't food-poison us!) and am still deciding what to do with it. I'm thinking about skinning, butterflying, grilling, and basting it in bbq sauce. Probably grilled zukes and a salad on the side, along w/ some "grillin' beans" (mostly for the man).

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                              That sounds great! We got our weekly Sichuan fix tonight, but I foresee some more grilling over the weekend. Looks like my man might deliver his legendary lamb shish kebabs on Sunday (eating lamb is about the extent of what we do to "honor" a non-event for us).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                Hard to go wrong with grilled lamb, unless you cook it to death. NOM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Instead of bbq sauce, I dug an unopened bottle of Caribbean "green sauce" out of the depths of the cupboards and slathered the chicken with that and a little agave syrup (in addition to a rub of ground allspice, aleppo pepper, seasoned salt, onion powder, and s&p). It was pretty tasty---really a random condiment!

                                                                                                                                                                                                The real star was the zukes, however (olive oil, dill, lemon pepper, s&p). Zucchini is just one of the best vegetables ever IMHO (up there with green beans and eggplant).

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Its Thursday, which means soup (at least until it gets warmer). I hear it even snowed again in the Gresham area this morning. So tonight, since all the fixings are there, it will be new england style clam chowder. Thick and creamy with just a hint of bacon. And speaking of bacon, maybe some BLT's to go with it. Works for me and DH will be thrilled.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Last night we used up a bunch of spring onions and thanks to the great replies to this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/842359 we tried the Momfuko ginger and scallion noodles. http://m.saveur.com/article/recipes/G... and even did the quick pickled cucumber http://momofukufor2.com/2010/01/quick...

                                                                                                                                                                                                Seriously yum and a very quick dish to make - get your cucumber and sauce done and let them sit while you get the cauliflower nice and golden. The only thing we debated was whether the nori worked with the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Uninspired, but will be ever so good, Baked honey chipolte salmon fillets with tartar sauce (just mayo, dill pickle relish and finely chopped onion), frozen seasoned fries (so I can dip them in more tartar sauce), and sauteed mushrooms and asparagus. Mr. C is not fond of salmon, but will accept it every 3-4 weeks without too much grumbling. I'm okay with this, as I get to have half of his portion for breakfast the next morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Last night, arepas filled with some more guac, wilted spinach, and roasted red peppers. And chipotle aioli. You guys (probably thankfully for you) haven't been privy to my late arepa obsession; since last month when I found out about them, and subsequently found out about how easy they are to make, I've made them like a dozen times. I'm considering getting a tattoo to profess my love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tonight, quinoa spaghetti with some of mom's homemade meat sauce. It ain't fancy but it really takes me back.. she always sets aside a jar each for me and my sister when she makes a batch. Mmm.. I have a pub date with a friend who's a neighbour for a month more, and I can't think of a one-two combo to start a four-day weekend off any better. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: megjp

                                                                                                                                                                                                      have you had pupusas, meg? i love arepas but i really love the silkiness of the pupusa dough. i confess to never having made either myself. i'm lucky that i have both available to me nearby, and especially pupusas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                        NO, I have not. We don't get really pervasive South American or Mexican food here, for whatever reason (my guess: emigrés from these areas have the presence of mind to stay out of chilly chilly Canada :).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A quick google tells me it is eminently doable, and a quick mental review of my fridge (fake cheese) and pantry (masa, refried beans) tells me I may have to give this a shot for lunch today. Everything is closed for the holiday, so I'd decided to make this a close-to-home day anyway.. how perfect, thanks mc!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: megjp

                                                                                                                                                                                                          thanks to YOU! i'm just reading conflicting things now.... that masa is actually used for pupusas to, and is nixtamalized corn meal...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masa

                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pupusas

                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arepa

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maseca (generic: masa harina) is what I use for tortillas, and what I intend to use shortly for pupusas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            White Harina PAN (generic: who knows? It's like Kleenex = tissue and Ziploc = freezer bag) is what I use for arepas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The PAN is coarser than the Maseca; think fine sand versus wheat flour to get an idea of the difference I've noted in consistency when dry. This is likely where you're getting that one is silkier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Maseca dough tastes different from the PAN dough, likely because of the nixtamalization process. The PAN is more a straight-up cornmeal flavour, like polenta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            And in case you're wondering, in terms of dried, ground corn products, I also regularly stock corn starch, polenta, and a medium-coarse cornmeal. I realize now this may seem excessive!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll let you know if this doesn't go well; I am just going to get dressed (AFTER NOON, whee!) and then I'll start.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: megjp

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow wow wow. I'm afraid I'm going to eat these every meal for the rest of my life. I'm definitely impressed with how easy they are (I made a small batch and varied thicknesses/sizes to test), and I'm definitely impressed by the taste (with cheddar-style 'cheese' and chipotle refried beans). I didn't mess any of them up although, some being better than others, I know how I'll make these all from here on out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm chowing down on a couple right now with some green beans I tossed with S&P, oil, and cumin, then roasted. I ran down to the convenience store downstairs and picked up an ice-cold Coke to wash all this goodness down. Thanks again, doubly so now! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Triple-decker Club sandwich
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Waldorf salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looks like it's bacon night in Portlandia. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      While I was shopping for Easter dinner this afternoon, there was thick-sliced bacon in the butcher block case at the store that had to be 80% meat. Can't pass that up. Before leaving Freddie's, I had everything to make a classic Club, using up some of the sliced turkey from Sunday, that I'm happily munching on now. Swung by the deli to see what kind of side salad to add to make this a low maintenance dinner, and saw they'd just put out fresh Waldorf salad, one of my faves, so a third of a pound accompanies the Club. I like to make my own Waldorf, but it's a time-intensive effort for one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      To drink, a delicious orange juice I've just discovered. It's the house brand not-from-concentrate from Safeway, which uses all Valencia oranges. Really great stuff for bottled OJ. I'll be buying this from now on instead of one of the national brands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      But boy, would some clam chowder have gone well with this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Certainly looks that way. That bacon sounds fabulous! I love a good club sandwich. One of my favorites. Chowder would have gone well with your sandwich! Next time I'll make extra. We can have a "Portlandia Pot Luck". :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My first Tunisian sandwich. My sandwich was a whole wheat baguette filled with tuna salad, sliced hard boiled egg, harissa, cabbage salad, mushroom salad, hummus, olives, and some sort of turmeric & cumin vegetable salad. My friend bought my sandwich at a restaurant, but I liked it so much that I'll definitely be trying to replicate this at home. Anyone have a recipe for a good Tunisian sandwich?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Found this recipe online: http://food52.com/recipes/16400_tunis...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prima, that sounds mouth watering! I want one.... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I know it's customary for Christians not to eat meat on Good Friday (at least it's customary here in the UK). But we are athiests so tonight's cod is a coincidence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          A couple of rashers of smoked bacon, shallots and garlic get a couple of minutes in the frying pan. Cod goes in and gets a couple of minutes. Then peas and vegetable stock (as we've no fish stock) for another couple of minutes , then shredded Little Gem lettuce goes in along with a good dollop of creme fraiche. Another couple of minutes to wilt the lettuce and make sure the fish is cooked. And dinner's done. It'll need some crusty bread to mop up the broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It sounds a nice light dinner - just the thing after over-eating in Venice for the last four days (and the mega-greed that was last night's Indian take-away).

                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good lord, look at those tomatoes - the way tomatoes are SUPPOSED to look! Or are they peppers? Either way - just beautiful. Hope you enjoyed your visit to Venice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              They're tomatoes, Linda. Both photos taken at the Rialto food market. I assume that, even in Italy, the toms must have been intensively grown under glass at this time of year. Quality of seafood was outstanding - we really don't generally see that sort of standard here in the north of Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Venice was great. Enjoyed just wandering round the alleyways and paths along the small canals. Some really good restaurant meals, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              New England next on the list (I've sent you an email)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                So glad you enjoyed your trip. are you posting on the Italy Board, Harters?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOVE that fat white asparagus... and gorgeous octopus!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  MC - yep - reviews posted to the Italy board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We never usually see white asparagus in the UK. This looked fab.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'll check out the Email and respond if needed, but probably not until tomorrow morning, as I'm dining OUT at Dali tonight with friends. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, the Rialto Market--spent many an hour gawking at that plenty. Shopping there always brought out my congenital indecisiveness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Venice, you lucky things! I really admire how you and the Missus lead your lives...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just posted my request for Shropshire lunch spots over on the UK board, you mentioned you might have some gen for me on that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll be over there right away, Gretchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Welcome back Harters... those pics from the Rialto take me back. Sigh. Been a couple of years, but I still remember strolling through the market while they were setting up. I have great pics of fish on ice who are still all bent from rigor mortis they were so recently in the sea. And all those veggies arriving by boat, and a big ugly monkfish, whole on display... one of my favorite fishes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Your cod dish sounds nice and spring-y... I just might borrow that for tonight. Some fish would be delish:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I read your posts on the Italy board, they were mouth-watering! Have not myself been a big fan of Fiaschetteria Toscana, although many, including my parents, are. Some years ago we rented a flat at the end of the little calle that runs down the right side (facing the front) of FT and so got to peer into their (spotless) kitchen and watch prep as we came and went, several times a day. And yes, I embarrassed myself more than once simply standing and staring until they looked up and laughed at me. Good times...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Yesterday I made homemade mayo, which I used for dinner which was baked salmon. We also had my quinoa-rice pilaf, cauliflower with a cheddar sauce, a cold tomato & cuke salad plus an assortment of raw veggies because I had no lettuce for the usual green salad and I try to stuff the kids full of raw veggies whenever I can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        that whole dinner makes me green with envy. quinoa rice pilaf is so intriguing.... and of course, i'm jealous of your homemade mayo-making ability!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We just finished the last of the mayo. I need to make more and experiment with different acids. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That pilaf is my younger daughter's absolute favorite thing. She ate the rest of it for breakfast. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <That pilaf is my younger daughter's absolute favorite thing. >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ooh! Recipe/method, please! :) :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sure! I like to use a ratio that has no less than half rice for the total amount; it's usually more like 2 or 3 parts rice to 1 part quinoa. I like to mix it up with both red and white quinoa, and sometimes I toss in some bulgur as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I keep to a ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part grain, and I never rinse the grains. I know people have said that quinoa is terribly bitter without rinsing first, but I've never had that problem, but I do toast the grains first, which I've read might help.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I saute some chopped onion or shallot in a mix of butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, then toss in some minced garlic. Just when the onion gets soft, I add the dry rice/quinoa and toast for a minute or two over high heat, then I add the warm liquid - usually chicken stock, but water is fine too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cover tightly, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let sit at least 10 minutes, but don't crack the lid. I usually use a pot with a glass lid so I can see if the liquid has all absorbed before I turn off the heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sometimes I toss in some fresh or dried herbs with the onion, too. I usually finish it with a pat of butter stirred in, though my kids like to add a bit of grated parm to theirs. S&p to taste, and there you go. It doesn't take long and it is really good. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That sounds great; thanks for sharing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. It's been a while since I actually posted a meal to this thread. Work has overwhelmed; dinners have been mostly leftovers, with a pizza thrown in for fun. I have been cooking some, but posting over on COTM.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Last night Mr NS came to the rescue once again, as I continued to work late. He marinated and grilled a flank steak, made a relish of grilled peppers and onions, and whipped up some asparagus with vinaigrette and parmesan. A lovely end to a long day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I like the sound of that pepper-onion relish. Stealing it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds and looks heavenly. I'll have to add that combo the next time I do up a flank steak!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. RelishPDX with his/her questions about the MW-steamed salmon settled it -- it's WFD @casa lingua tonight, as my man's got a work dinner to attend, and he's generally rather meh about salmon, so I don't make it nearly as often as I'd like to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'll serve it with one of my favorite sides -- German-style cuke salad... another dish my sweetie feels decidedly meh about. There'll be a party in my mouth and he's not invited. HA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I'm curious too -- cucumbers don't sound like a typically German ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My goal is to like cucumbers before summertime. I really find the taste strong despite what, like, everyone else in the world says.. but I've gotten over food dislikes before, so I'm hoping this can be another in that illustrious group.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: megjp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Try kirby/pickling cucumbers. They are sweeter with thinner skins, smaller to no seeds. I find them more flavorful, but in a good way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: megjp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      megjp - I don't like cucumbers either as a rule. BUT that said, I love Tzatziki Sauce. I'm going to make some more of that soon. I'm thinking if I eat enough of it, maybe I'll start eating regular cucumbers sometime soon. (But I love dill pickles)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        boyzoma, I LOVE dill pickles; I feel heartened I'm not alone! People think I'm weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And Christina, I'll try pickling cukes - if it doesn't work out raw, I'll..well, make fridge pickles. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: megjp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I read on a thread (can't remember which one) that you can save the juice from dill pickles and add your own baby cucumbers and let them brine awhile and make your own pickles. Never tried it, but would be willing to give it a go once this jar of juice is available!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, there's two versions, actually -- and frankly, I haven't decided yet which one I'll make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's the oil & vinegar version (walnut oil & white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar in my case) with lots of dill, maybe some quick-pickled red onion... wait, strike that -- DEFinitely some quick-pickled red onion :-). That's basically it. The other version adds sour cream or crème fraîche.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The cukes are salted and drained beforehand. I can easily put away an entire cuke (here known as "English" cucumbers for who knows why) on my own in either of those preps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The vinegar/oil mix might be more of a southern German thing, since their tater salad is similar (w/out any creamy ingredient).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for that, lingua.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll swap you that for my east asian version (which goes great with teriyaki tuna, along with pickled sushi ginger) - thin slices of cuke in a dressing of rice wine vinegar, sugar, dark soy sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oooh, nice one, Harters! I'll have to try that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My "Asian" cuke salad is w/peanut oil, a couple drops of sesame oil, rice wine vinegar or lime, and fish sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Loves me some cukes. The perfect summer food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll let ya know when I'll get a whole fish to steam -- not sharing my salmon filet tonight, so sorry '-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am thinking of getting on this nuked/oil flashed salmon bandwagon for tonight... so Lingua, please do dish on that German Cuke salad in case I need to shop for anything this afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Think its WFD here in GS' casa Shangrila tonight:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I've just surfaced after a marathon freezer clean-out/inventory and I discovered things in the depths of that sucker that must have been around since ice was invented!! ; - )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Anyway, among the salvageable items I was happy to find some homemade (just not in my home) butternut squash ravioli that a friend gave to me. Those will be cooked and tossed in a brown butter sauce w roasted asparagus, toasted pecans and parmesan cheese. Sort of a spring-fall fusion dish!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also seem to have an abundance of sausage so when I hit the market tomorrow I'll be getting some fresh eggs and I plan to make some Scotch eggs in a variety of flavours. I found a recipe for baked version of this dish recently so I'm hoping I bookmarked it in EYB!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, Breadcrumbs, you were playing OADL game of freezer Tetris!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I need to get to that in the next week or so. Not sure what is at the bottom of that 'thing' anymore. The ravioli sounds good:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Freezer Tetris indeed gingershelley! I neglected to mention the 6 1/2 lbs of almonds in various forms (ground, slivered, chopped, whole...) I found. How does that happen? Safe to say I'm well-prepared for any impending world almond shortage. Sheesh, I may have caused it!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure what is lurking in my freezer. It's an upright - bought in the early 70's - still works - but has to be defrosted every so often. It's time to defrost soon. After finding my ex's frozen squirrel (that he wanted to take to the taxidermist) once that was marked like salmon - which I thawed out for dinner for guests, I try to keep the "tetris" down to a minimum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh my goodness boyzoma, reading your post while drinking tea turned out to be a dangerous proposition...needless to say there was tea everywhere when I burst out laughing at that squirrel. OMG, I don't know if I could ever recover from that vision. Thank goodness I didn't come across anything like that. The only "not for human consumption" items I found were in a bag that I thought might be tea. It turned out to be a bag of catnip toys!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs, and Boyzoma, I am seriously behind your "freezer games' in my world, as I have a chest bottom freezer in the in-house f'ridge; A choice I made about 5 years ago with the 'counter depth' fridge/freeze combo, that I know know leaves me rotating, looking under, stirring the frozen pot, looking for' anything I have put into that relatively small area that keeps me from trecking across the backyard to the detached garage where the upright freezer is; sigh. I need a bout of 'Tetris, to get to the bottom of the house freezer, and use the frozen scallops that I know are lurking there, and dig out the fig preserves, etc...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think there is no squirrel in there, but who knows these days! I may have catnip toys too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Needless to say, it was a quick trip to the store (we lived in the country and the only market available was a teeny tiny mom/pop place that didn't carry fresh meats)and the entree ended up being Banquet Frozen Chicken! I opened that stupid "salmon" and all I saw was "fuzz" and my initial shock was I thought the salmon had molded! Oh well, it makes for a good story years later, but I certainly was not happy at the time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And Gingershelly, love the catnip toys! I too have a bottom freezer in my house and the other freezer is downstairs along with my spare fridge. I do swap out stuff quite often so I can always see what is in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lesson learned. Never use the old "white butcher paper" to wrap your food these days. Of course back in those days, they didn't have food savers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yay! Butternut Squash Ravioli was a huge hit. I made a brown butter sauce w toasted pecans. Next time I'd add some peas as well. Everybody loved this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks Linda. Funny though, this morning I realized I forgot to add my asparagus! Not sure WFD tonight yet but rest assured, asparagus will be on the menu!! ; - )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That does look yummy! Great visual. Love brown butter too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks boyzoma and the nice thing was how quickly it came together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. We're meeting friends for drinks to celebrate a birthday, but if I have my way about things, dinner will be zu Hause tonight. I'm going to pre-prep some deviled salmon cakes, which we'll have with salad and a can (!) of cooked collard greens (!) that my DH insisted on buying. I have a feeling we'll both regret that purchase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Salmon cakes were great, but they were a fail as far as DH is concerned. I'd thought he was coming around to loving salmon, but the aversion (from childhood) is just too strong for him. I think the canned salmon must be esp. odious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  He gritted his teeth through the first cake and, when I asked if he was OK, confessed he couldn't do it and pushed the other aside. Poor thing. Luckily, there were plenty of leftovers (chicken, etc.) to choose from to round out his meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Poor Mr CM! I will be glad to have his! What a terrible thing not to like salmon cakes....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just enjoyed his leftover for lunch. More for me! He eats just about everything else, so I really can't complain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "But everyone loved the canned collard greens".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No? Yes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They were super-meh. Bland and overcooked. Yech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Well, the boyfriend had to get out of work early to make the drive to his brother's as we suddenly lost our headlights, and he needed to travel in the daylight. He'll visit the family mechanic while he's there, but this means I've lost my last opportunity to feed him until Sunday night. It's just me and the fridge. I'd forgotten to pick up harissa, so CM's soup is off the menu, but I've settled on playing with this one instead: http://www.closetcooking.com/2011/10/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A soup of roasted cauliflower, a mixture of crimini and button mushrooms, shallots, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, thyme, cream, and a little aleppo pepper. To go with, fontina crostini with parmesan gremolata. I'm thinking of brushing a tiny bit of dijon mustard on the crostini, under the cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, the soup sounds wonderful. In my book, you can't o wrong with anything that has cauliflower and any kind of mushrooms. I would absolutely love. Yummy, yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If I haven't said it yet, I'm glad you're back on the thread, boyzoma. And I really did like the soup. Roasting the cauliflower helped it stand up to the crimini a bit more than it would have, I think. But it definitely tasted more of mushroom--but I liked it. And the mustard on the crostini was perfect!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Ribeyes, zucchini and purple potatoes on the grill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The kitchen will become the Easter prep zone (just found out about a surprise birthday party tomorrow that will take the time I was planning on cooking,) just as soon as I find my freakiing spring form pan..... I can't even remember when I used it last. A trip to Target for another one might just be easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well weezie, did you find your pan or do you have a new one now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a new one. :) It's a 9x3" which is taller than my last one so I'll have an even taller cheesecake- which I consider an upgrade so it's for the best. I found it at the party store a few blocks away so it was even easier than having to navigate Target before a holiday. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm thinking of using Dorie Greenspan's lemon cheesecake recipe. Anyone tried it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Tonight, a simple supper of maple-chipotle baked beans and steamed Boston brown bread. Wow. I'm looking forward to mashing up the beans onto my English muffin for breakfast tomorrow! The kids plowed through the loaf of bread. There's just the small end piece left..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BabsW

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Did you make the brown bread Babs? I remember some stuff from a can when I was a kid, but I don't remember exactly what it was like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep. I mixed up the batter and steamed it in a cleaned-out coffee can for 2-1/4 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's a quick bread, no yeast or egg, and very molasses-y. It has equal parts rye, wheat and cornmeal, and I use buttermilk and maple syrup too. Oh yes, and raisins, too. Yum. :9

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Rump steak, chips, salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. It's been a busy weekend and tonight was spent cooking for tomorrow's Greek easter dinner with friends. Dinner was dolma (stolen from the big batch we made for tomorrow night) and a random cheese I picked up called fresco.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The dolma were based on a recipe my mother-in-law got off her Greek neighbour many years ago. They were excellent. The recipe called for a teaspoon of mixed spice which I didn't have so I did a quick search online and mixed up my own. I only had whole nutmeg so grated that, pounded some cloves and added the other ingredients from ground spices I had. The grated nutmeg came through beautifully. I feel bad saying this but I prefer the flavour in our batch to what she makes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Not been terribly ambitious in the kitchen lately. Too tired because too busy at the dang job. Organizing and supervising the delivery of a couple of million pounds of oversized freight will do that to a girl.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Last night, however, made Madhur Jaffrey's ground turkey (in my case, lamb) with Hyderabadi spices from "At Home with MJ", a book I need to get farther into. Scrummy. WW pitas and a grated cucumber raita/tzatziki with, squeezed the moisture out of the cukes so it wouldn't be too soupy, Greek yogurt, 1 clove of garlic, drated, and a tsp or so of dried mint.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tonight will likely be a chicken pie with the usual suspects from the bigass chicken I roasted last Sunday, biscuit topping, Salad of some sort with,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tomorrow pulling out the stops with a Silvena Rowe recipe from "The Food and Cooking of Hungary", a really rather nice book, wild boar tenderloin with sour cherry sauce. Wild boar courtesy of one of the Beast's "let's just order up some exotic-ish meat" moments. A soup before (maybe one from the book, or leek and potato, or...), roesti and salad with, and RLB's "Brownie Puddle" from "The Pie and Pastry Bible" for dessert. Not very Easter-y but we're not religious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Whoa. Wild boar tenderloin!! Please report, that sounds lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My goodness what delicious eats buttertart!! I'll be interested to see what you think of the boar tenderloin. I got one from the St Lawrence Mkt game vendor once and it wasn't as flavourful as I'd expected. I tend to buy the shoulder for ragu and the boar sausages on a regular basis but haven't purchased the tenderloin again. If yours is tasty I'll definitely give it another go as we really do like boar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The chops we got from these people just tasted like oldfashioned pork so I'm not sure what to expect. I expect it'll be tasty nonetheless.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chicken pie has maybe morphed into Chinese chicken salad with flour tortilla "green onion pancakes". Still haven't decided, good thing we eat dinner late around here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Can't wait to hear about it buttertart. Undoubtedly whatever you decided on will be lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looks like like good eatin' for Buttertart and the Beast's this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also featured a swell lunch at The Modern Bar Room, very nice Thai, and excellent Chinese today. You only go around once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. We just got back from a quickie overnight trip to Monterey (the boyfriend is probably transferring to the university there and we wanted to check out the area). Fresh crab for lunch, with bread and cocktail sauce (delicious for me, but not the best for he-of-the-chihuahua-stomach). Pizza for dinner. Fast food burgers for lunch on the road. When we got home last night we were feeling like something a bit on the lighter side and threw together a couple of salads with mixed greens, chopped ham, eggs, cucumber, tomatoes, pepper-cheddar cheese and homemade thousand island dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not sure what we're having tonight, but I picked up a tart pan at a yard sale this morning and am definitely seeing a quiche in the not-too-distant future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're like me.... some of my best kitchenware is from yard and estate sales (my perfectly seasoned already broken in cast iron dutch oven for $5, enamelware, my tart pan, all sorts of gadgets and gizmos.) I'm always always at them anyhow buying things for my business so I may as well check out the kitchen!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolutely! Sometimes people throw away the nicest things... My cast iron skillet was also a thrift store find for $4 or $5, as was my stainless steel cocktail shaker (and set of vintage martini glasses), my lidded ceramic baking dish, the fondue set I found last week...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Flexitarian friends coming for dinner (don't know what else to call them; the husband is (was?) strict vegetarian but recently started eating....pork.) And the occasional splash of fish sauce is OK. Not quite sure where he stands on meat on this particular day, so I've opted for a large spread of homemade mezze and a couple options for the Mediterranean-leaning main.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mezze:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -lemony hummus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -homemade pita bread - based on this no-knead dough http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2... ...will be attempting to bake the little rounds on my baking stone
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -dukkah w/ spicy carrot spread - http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2012/03/...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Frizzle's Syrian eggplant w/ yogurt - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8413...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -mixed olives - kalamata and spicy green marinated - purchased

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mains/Sides:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Greek-marinated grilled pork tenderloin - garlic, lemon juice, oregano, fresh rosemary, olive oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Maria Speck's artichoke polenta tart - http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_w...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -quinoa salad w/ cukes, grape tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro, dressed with Chow's roasted red pepper dressing - dressing here: http://www.chow.com/recipes/29671-spa...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -grilled zucchini w/ olive oil and za'atar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Trader Joe's prepared Greek-style Gigantes beans - http://www.thekitchn.com/product-revi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Drinks:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Alamos Torrontes, homemade cucumber soda, lemon-ginseng green tea

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dessert:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Homemade banana ice cream with brandy-macerated figs folded in, topped with chopped pistachios - http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/345... , except we misread and forgot to whip the cream first. Oh well. Decaf coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Most of the food is ready to go. I'm still trying to convince DH we should eat on the floor on pillows around our long coffee table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This sounds so lovely CM, I wish I was coming. I even love your wine choice! That's so much work for you....very lucky friends!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thankfully, my man was willing to help this morning! Extra hands make light work. I'm ever so grateful he knows his way around the kitchen. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What an amazing spread - your friends are very lucky. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks so much! I just hope nothing goes wrong :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              These are the same friends who treated us to a huge spread for Chinese New Year, so I feel obliged to return in kind :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, and I forgot to mention---something DID go wrong. Our brand new ice cream maker, which I picked up at an office charity auction, broke after 3 seconds (grrr Rival, you suck!!). So we ended up making the ice cream by hand (salt, ice, metal bowls, a spatula...it wasn't pretty). It turned out more like soft serve, but the flavors were there. At least it wasn't banana-fig soup!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That was pretty much my reaction. Along with copious use of the f-word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Copious use appropriately timed. Grrr...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Especially after all that work on the other stuff. I remember trying to whip cream with a fork in our apartment in Taipei in the summer in the bedroom (the coolest place, the AC was in there) and crying from frustration. Along with many creative uses of that word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh my YUM! Has a little bit of the flavor of my Lebanese lunch. I never grow tired of Mediterranean food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That sounds like a feast. What a fabulous spread. It's making me crave some middle eastern food even though I've only just finished breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Frizzle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your eggplant recipe was definitely one of the highlights! I used one part Cabot Greek Yogurt, one part Brown Cow Cream Top (not sure if the latter is a local brand or not). Did the salt and micro-steam thing on the eggplant and it turned out really nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <Did the salt and micro-steam thing on the eggplant > before pan-frying, I meant to write. It was such a luscious dip! Definitely making it again. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm so glad it was enjoyed. It's lovely when others enjoy your favourite dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks! We quite enjoyed leftovers. They're WFD.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Dinner will be an easy one. I was out running errands in the morning/early afternoon, and came home with all good intentions of doing stuff around the house. However, a phone call from a friend about a situation I was unaware of had me a bit verklempt for the rest of the afternoon and I've done pretty much nothing but mull on that situation and how I'm feeling about it (hurt, surprised, odd, as well as a few other emotions).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So a small tub of meat sauce has been pulled from the freezer. Dinner will be spaghetti and sauce, with a small salad alongside tossed with a honey-ginger vinaigrette, as I've got tons of lettuce greens from my co-worker's CSA share. I'll be saladed out with all of this lettuce! And wine alongside, hopefully to tamp down the emotions (although it'll probably do the opposite).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Aw, I'm sorry you're feeling upset. :( Comfort food is definitely in order. Sometimes queuing up a good chick-flick/feel good film, too, is just the distraction you need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chick flick might be a good idea. I picked up "The King's Speech" last week at Tar-jhay - I've seen it already in the movie theater with my Mom, but might be a good night to watch it again. The other DVD I bought was "Precious" - probably *not* good to watch tonight. :-/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry about your news, and the hurt, lovely lady.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On a dinner note, I've never had honey ginger vinaigrette, but it sounds like something we'd both like here, so thanks for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (Precious is one of the movies that you're very glad you've seen, but not very glad to be *watching*. Maybe stick with Colin Firth.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I ended up watching The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Epic!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just the thing to cheer you up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, distracting, at least. Especially since I can repeat many of the lines, having seen it so many times (like the Wizard of Oz). Distracting at least until I attempted to go to sleep (brain chose *not* to shut down, as I had requested).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Linda - reading quickly I thought you were watching "The Ten Condiments."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now that could be just my sort of movie, L.N.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LOL! That would appropriately be right up my alley!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sorry Linda... someone ruined your weekend. i hope you feel un-funked soon. and you just pour yourself an extra glass of wine and shed a tear if you need too. you may feel better for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Extra glass of wine - check.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shedding tears - no. Not that drastic. Just rather unexpected actions from some people from whom I wouldn't have expected. I'll survive. :-) Thanks, mc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry to hear it, LW, comfort food was a good idea. Hope things seem better today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Our supper club is meeting tonight; the theme is modern Mexican. My contribution to the table will be duck tacos. Ducks are roasted, soon to be shredded and lightly sauced. For accoutrements, I've made a bowl of pickley cabbage, a pomegranate salsa, and a peanut and arbol chile salsa. Avocado will be set out, and some charred tortillas. For an after-dinner pre-dessert munch I've made pumpkin seed brittle with ancho chile powder and a light dust of fleur de sel. Some amazing sounding dishes have been mentioned by others, I can't wait!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Your dishes sounds wonderful - you are truly a gourmet home cook! Please take pictures?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That all sounds amazing. And that pumpkin seed brittle sounds *very* interesting. Enjoy your supper, LN.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks Linda and Lily! I've heard rumors of black truffle tamales. Dinner promises to be very interesting!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh! Can't wait to hear more about the supper club... sounds divine:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It sounds incredible! I agree some pictures please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i too cannot wait to see pics. those tacos sound divine. enjoy yourselves!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Did you say duck tacos? How does one get into your supper club, LN?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brittle sounds divine, too--can you point me to a recipe by any chance?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If only you were closer ncw, you'd be more than welcome at our supper club!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I will now take up a lot of space with the brittle recipe. I don't remember where it came from. I modified it by adding a spoonful of ground dried ancho chiles and a smaller spoonful of chile flakes, after the pumpkin seeds are in, and when it is liquid once again. As soon as I removed the top parchment, I dusted it lightly with fleur de sel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pumpkin Seed Brittle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 c sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ½ c water
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1/8 t fine sea salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ¾ c raw green hulled pumpkin seeds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            parchment paper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Put a 24- by 12-inch sheet of parchment on a work surface and anchor corners with pieces of tape. Bring sugar, water, and sea salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook mixture, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until syrup registers 238°F (soft-ball stage) on thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes (sugar syrup will be colorless). Remove from heat and stir in seeds with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring until syrup crystallizes, 3 to 4 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts completely (sugar will continue to dry and become grainy before melting) and turns a deep caramel color, 4 to 5 minutes more (seeds will be toasted). Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment and carefully cover with another sheet. Immediately roll out (between sheets of parchment) as thinly as possible with a rolling pin, pressing firmly. Remove top sheet of parchment and immediately cut brittle into pieces with a heavy knife or pizza wheel. Cool brittle completely, then peel paper from bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow, wow, wow. Thank you, LN. I absolutely love pumpkin seed brittle. As soon as we have a decidely not humid day, I'll be trying this. Love the idea of that chile kick!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, I've made this four times now, and although the process description is accurate, I've found that each step takes longer than the estimates in the recipe. Good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Tonight's dinner is one of ease and please. I'm serving my aunt's dish of "El Gloppo" (no kidding, I actually eat something by this name). For shame! Hounders would probably disown me with the canned soup-sour-cream-cheese-tortilla casserole this creates. But I had the ingredients, everyone will like it and I need to not have leftovers with Easter makings in the fridge. So I will serve this essentially cheese-enchilada casserole with salsa verde and for dessert an easy cherry crisp a la mode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lunch was the exciting meal for the day. Met up with a longtime friend who recently moved out of state at a wonderful Lebanese cafe. They have THE BEST falafel I've ever tried--made fresh, still burning hot from the fryer. I actually got the falafel plate which came with the falafel, tabbouleh, houmos, pita, and a pistachio baklawa for dessert. Our conversation continued over coffee at the bookstore. Love catching up with old friends over coffee on a rainy Saturday! Bonus: got some of the delicious tabbouleh and an Israeli couscous salad to go to put in my lunches this week

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bblonde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I believe I've had that casserole, but our family version was made with shredded roasted chicken. My ex-SIL-type person made a very decent version of it. Better than mine when asked to make it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I should make falafel tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. well dear WFD friends.... we've had bad news. my oldster was diagnosed yesterday with acute leukemia. prognosis very bad (he's 83, after all), but we're going the treatment route - his decision - at least for now. i'm sad and still in shock - i had no idea something like this could come on so suddenly. he's taking it well, tho he's worried about my sister & I going through the whole taking-care-of-sick-parent thing again, but that's what we're here for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            this will mean even more carefully bland dinners.... i'll be seeking solace here (but not ideas, since you all are the antithesis of bland-dinner-makers).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tonight, before his treatment starts Monday, he requested liver & onions. (poor guy, he's trying to counteract the anemia!) so i've got two pieces of liver soaking in milk. it's been literally 35 years or more since i made this dish - i hope it turns out good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and when i get home i'm planning on making tostadas with pan roasted chicken thighs on crispy fried corn tortillas, with some of that black bean gloop the oldster didn't want anymore, cabbage, grated cheese and habanero lime crema. tostadas sound soothing to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sorry maria. A big hug coming your way. Take good care of yourself and may you be nourished by the meals and community we share here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, maria. I'm so SO sorry. {{{{gentle hugs}}}} to you, my friend. Comfort food lessens the sting of such news. I'm sure your oldster will enjoy the dinner you make for him tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm really sorry to hear that, Maria. :( There are threads about others caring for chemo/radiation/bone marrow transplant patients on the board so even on CH you are not alone in the bland meal department!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My stepsister just survived cancer for the second time in her life (lymphoma the first time as a child, breast cancer this time, diagnosed just after having bariatric surgery!) I will ask her what her favorite post treatment meals were- I know bland was a requirement because of the gastric sleeve recovery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  *will be thinking happy thoughts for you*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    thank you all, so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and weezie, yes, i'm planning on checking out those boards very soon. and thanks about asking your stepsis. wow - two-time survivor! good for her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      very, very sorry maria. you've been through so much these past couple years. hang in there. best to poppa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aw, that sucks, Maria. My dad was diagnosed with two completely unrelated types of cancer around this time last year (although they were thankfully both treatable and he has been responding to treatment very well). I live quite far away from him and had to be supportive through email instead of in person, but you're definitely not alone. Don't forget to take care of yourself, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh mc, I am so sorry to hear this sad news! It is so tough to get a diagnosis like that. I know that you and your sister have been through a lot and now you will have hard days ahead. The best advice I can give you comes from my own very wise sister: always remember what they say on airplanes, which is to put your oxygen mask on first, before assisting others. All too easy for caregivers to neglect themselves and then everyone suffers. Lots of warm thoughts coming your way and I am sure we can help thinking of bland dishes as most or all of us have probably cared for someone in your oldster's situation at some point. My thoughts are with you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maria - I'm happy to see you here on the board after such difficult news. I hope you continue to join us, even if you're only reporting on something bland and smooth for your dad. I love what Gretchen said about getting your oxygen mask on first; do take care of yourself!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hope your dad was happy with his liver and onions, and I hope your tostadas soothed you. I thought of you last night, and felt like you were a part of our Mexican dinner, in spirit!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          thanks, CM, GS & LN! i went on a couple of the cooking for cancer patients threads and they actually scared me a bit, because they showed me how much is ahead. it was different with my mom - her disease definitely had its own challenges, but so many people know the effects of cancer and chemo so it's well documented what to expect. but, it will all be very helpful, i'm sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LN, my dad loved his liver & onions! i took a bite - it was pretty tasty. got home too late to make tostadas - we ended up splitting a take-out sandwich and fries from a place across the street. it was just right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i can't WAIT to hear about the mexican dinner, and see the pics!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, maria, wow. What a bummer. I have a softspot in my heart for your dear ole oldster after reading here about him and his likes/dislikes as he (and you & your sister) have adjusted to the loss of your mom. But at least he knows how well he is loved. I hope he enjoyed his liver and onions la