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Jan 9, 2013 06:27 AM

What's for Dinner #182 - Bleak Mid-Winter Edition [OLD]

Ready to have a go at warm, comforting foods to tide you through the cold and damp of January? Me too, except that we are expecting temperatures in the 50s today for an early January thaw. Really early, since we haven't actually had very cold weather yet!

I am starting dinner now -- split pea soup with ham. I have 3 Egyptian guests arriving at the end of the week, and I thought it best to find a way to use up the rest of the New Year's Day ham before they arrive. So the peas are soaking and the broth is bubbling.

What's cooking in your part of the world?

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  1. My husband is out of town until Friday, so it's just me and my daughter who is vegetarian. I've got a ham bone in the freezer from Christmas but I think I'll wait and cook with it on Friday.

    It's been raining constantly since yesterday and I'm loathe to go to the store so it will have to be something from the pantry. I think I'll have to do something with the leftover brisket or the lone chicken breast I have in the fridge.

    I'm so impressed you already have something started for tonight.

    1. I think I'll make a focaccia type bread and pull out the left over pernil, from the freezer, to make a pressed sandwich.

      I keep trying to find the right kind of bread for pressed and baked sandwiches. Hoping the focaccia is the right fit. I'm thinking roasted peppers, caramelized onions and whatever kind of cheese i have will be good.

      Salad on the side with nuts, feta, and dried cranberries.

      3 Replies
      1. re: thymetobake

        That sandwich sounds great.

        I think that any flat-ish bread is great for a pressed sandwich; focaccia is a great choice, as is ciabatta. But don't forget that in Italy they make a lot of pressed sandwiches with plain old white bread, and as long as the filling doesn't overwhelm the bread, they are delicious!

        1. re: roxlet

          think that any flat-ish bread is great for a pressed sandwich; focaccia is a great choice, as is ciabatta.

          'What she said" :)

          1. re: gingershelley

            Well, you were both right. The focaccia turned out great! It was an Artisan bread in 5 recipe. I think it's the best one I've made from that book. I was expecting it to be bland tasting but, man, was I wrong. The house smells intoxicating.

            The crust was just right for a sandwich. Most of their recipes yield a really thick crust (for me, anyway) which is great, fresh out of the oven, but not so good later. This was perfect and so easy. I see lots of hot sandwiches in my future. I didn't follow their recipe to a T, though. I combined a bit of James Beard with it.

      2. Wednesday is activity day/night so dinner is already cooking away in the crockpot: Honey Baked ham bone (nabbed from office potluck) in a black bean soup.

        1. Tonight we'll make one of our favorite weeknight meals - a warm bulgur wheat salad with roasted broccoli, grilled chicken, chevre, and artichoke hearts.

          4 Replies
          1. re: aching

            Gosh, that sounds good! So simple too, why don't I think to make that on a weekday?

            1. re: aching

              Aching - that sounds really delcious, and pretty healthy, care to share more?

              1. re: gingershelley

                Sure, sorry for the delayed response! This is the original recipe, which is excellent, and its very adaaptable. In the summertime we sometimes use grilled zucchini, and we chill the salad before serving. This time of year we like to use roasted broccoli instead of asparagus. Sometimes we throw in some sun-dried tomatoes as well. The lemon is a critical component in my opinion.


                11⁄2-21⁄2 cups chicken broth
                11⁄2 cups bulgur wheat
                1 bunch thin or medium asparagus, tough ends removed
                1 large or 2 small lemons, zested and juiced
                1⁄4 cup olive oil
                4 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
                1⁄2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
                3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
                1 chicken breast, grilled and cubed (optional)
                Kosher salt
                Ground black pepper
                1⁄2 cup marcona almonds, coarsely chopped (optional)

                • In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
                • Add the bulgur wheat, return to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
                • Grill or steam the asparagus as desired.
                • Let the asparagus cool, then chop into 1⁄2” pieces.
                • In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil.
                • Add the bulgur, asparagus, artichoke hearts, parsley, goat cheese (if using), and chicken (if using).
                • Toss gently.
                • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
                • Garnish with the almonds (if using).

                Makes 4 to 6 servings.

                Adapted from Food and Wine (August 2006)

                1. re: aching

                  Thanks Aching! That does sounds really good - I might try it with cooked lentils or quinoa as well:)!

            2. Had a 1/2 a sack of turkey meatballs in the freezer, so last night's repast was ooey-gooey mozzarella & parmesan cheesey turkey meatball sub sandwiches topped with baby arugula.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bacardi1

                mmmmy ooey-gooey just made my mouth water....

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  (Yeah - for me the cheese is the best part - lol!!)

                2. re: Bacardi1

                  OK, bacardi1, I now officially need to re-visit the meatball thread from DOTM, and make some for my freezer for 2013;

                  A cheesy-gooey meatball sub sounds awesome, if NOT on the slim down non-resolution for the year:), it is certainly in the 'delish-dish' I never think to make resolution file for the year!

                  1. re: gingershelley

                    Okay - well, this time I cheated. These were commercial turkey meatballs. I DO make my own, but when I find them on sale, I like to stick a bag in my freezer for a quick impromptu meal.

                    And Turkey Meatball Sub Sandwiches are definitely an impromptu delight. A loaf of Italian bread, microwave-thawed turkey meatballs (I halve them before adding to the sauce to help keep them from sliding out of the bread while eating), a small jar of Ragu "Pizza Sauce" from the pantry, & some shredded Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese that I always have on hand. Heat up the defrosted halved meatballs in the sauce, toast the bread, add meatballs/sauce to bread, top with cheese, run under the broiler, top with arugula (optional) & 2nd piece of bread; but into 4 sandwiches. Enjoy.