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Apr 23, 2013 10:06 AM

What's for Dinner #212 - The New York City area code Edition [OLD]

In our part of the world, winter -- or at least very early spring -- has made an unwelcome return. For dinner tonight, I am planning on something Mexican with chicken breasts. I ordered the COTM Rick Bayless book, but I fear it won't arrive in time, so I'm off to scour the internet for something interesting.

What's for dinner in your house?

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  1. Roxlet, this recipe is from the Bayless COTM and it's very good! I made it for 4 without the beans because beans aren't my thing and the portions were still very generous.

    Another snow day here today. I'm sorta getting bored... but at least a lot of housework is getting done. I might even mop the floors!

    Dinner tonight is some spicy italian chicken sausages and red bell peppers that are sauteed, then served on top of polenta. I've never made polenta before, so hopefully it all turns out. It's another dish where I'm going to make half tonight, and the other half tomorrow night.

    13 Replies
      1. re: juliejulez

        Are you using instant polenta or the slow-cooked kind? I've never made polenta before either, but became inspired to try it soon by watching them make it on the cooking show "Extra Virgin" on the Cooking Channel (such a great show!). Sausages + Polenta = a fantastic match.

        1. re: littleflower

          Slow cooked from corn meal! I did lie though, I have tried polenta once... I bought one of those tubes from Trader Joe's, cut into discs and attempted to fry them... it was not good. But I don't think I did it right, that was before I really figured out the whole cooking thing :)

        2. re: juliejulez

          Well that dinner was.... interesting. I must have left the polenta on the heat too long as it got pretty firm, I was hoping it to be more creamy. But, now I know for next time. It still had good flavor. I think I'd rather have polenta than mashed potatoes. This is one advantage of my SO traveling... I can experiment more with my food.

          Also, my sausages did NOT work out. They were raw huge ones (8oz each), and they just didn't want to cook through before the outside burning, so I thought I could cut one up and finish it that way, but the raw insides just oozed out when I did that. So I took the other one, which was still raw, and just squeezed it out of the casing and cooked that up... so it was more like sausage crumbles. I think I got the wrong sausages, I think these were meant to slow cook in a sauce, or to take out of the casings like I did.

          It looked horrible but it still tasted good and my belly is full, but thank god my SO isn't home, if I had served that hot mess to him he would have gone out and gotten a cheeseburger LOL! My plan to make the same thing again tomorrow night probably won't happen.

          1. re: juliejulez

            Sounds like a good save despite the trouble with the sausage. Two things you might try:

            -brown the outsides in a hot skillet, then add a little water to the pan (`1/4-1/2 c.), throw the lid on, and turn the heat down to a bare simmer.

            -brown on the stovetop, then transfer to a moderate oven to finish, as you might with steaks.

            Good luck!

            1. re: ChristinaMason

              Awesome, thank you. I will have to try one of those methods next time.

              It's weird, these sausages (from the butcher counter at Sprouts) are usually around 6oz each, and more narrow, but this week they were on sale, so they were 2 to a pound and very fat. I guess it's their way to get people to buy more? Who knows.

              1. re: juliejulez

                Maybe they were selling off a butcher's mistake? They do sound challenging to cook!

                A third and final option: you can gently poach the sausages in simmering water (can't remember if you need to prick them first or not---where's our resident German?), then sear in a hot oiled pan to finish. You risk losing a little bit of the juicy goodness into the water that way, but they're sure to be done! If you don't boil them too hard, they'll remain tender.

                1. re: juliejulez

                  yep, we do CM's number one solution all the time.

              2. re: juliejulez

                I think you pulled it off gracefully.

                1. re: juliejulez

                  When I do polenta I use 5 cups of water to one cup cornmeal (coarse ground) and it stays creamy. It will firm up as it cools, but if you reheat and stir it becomes creamy again with no additional liquid needed.

                  1. re: Westminstress

                    Good to know. I was just making one serving so it was 1/4 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup milk, per the recipe I was using. Next time I'll have to try using more liquid.

                2. re: juliejulez

                  Last night I went to make polenta (which I have made countless times), but I went out into the garden while it was simmering - big mistake - it was only for a minute - and I burned my polenta - rats! Big messy pan to clean today :(

                  got a second small pan out, and made some grits. Needed mush last night as well.

                  I was eating cross-culturally, tho, as mine went with my lemongrass chicken thighs!

                3. Currently have chicken thighs marinating in soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar and ginger. Once I get home, these get a pan-fry as they are basted with dark soy, sake and mirin to make chicken teriyaki. On the side there'll be braised napa cabbage with bacon and kimchi juice along with caramelized ramps with sea salt and a light basting of sesame oil and lemon.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Love the title as we'll be down in the city this weekend, although at the speed we go through each thread it may be on to a new one by Saturday.
                    Tonight I am shallow frying mustard panko coated chicken breasts and making a TJ's orzo mix and some broccoli crowns for sides.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Berheenia

                      Berheenia, I like the sounds of your simple dinner. I'm actually making some mustard panko coated pork next week :) How do you get the mustard flavor in yours... do you add mustard to the egg mixture, or mustard powder to the panko?

                      1. re: juliejulez

                        I buy it at Whole Foods for 1.99 a pint.

                    2. It's freezing here In the Boston area too. Brrrr. I had a lovely gumbo for lunch and it was just what I needed to warm up.

                      My husband is heading to the Red Sox game tonight (talk about cold!) so I will be spending the early part of the evening on a LAX field and then think I might treat us to a mother/son night out, if the homework situation isn’t too bad. I was thinking Thai as some tom yum goong (sp?) soup would be nice on a bitter night.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: foodieX2

                        A coworker is going tomorrow - when it's supposed to be close to 70°. I like her weather MUCH better than your husband's weather tonight!

                        1. re: foodieX2

                          It's semi-warm in Baltimore, but not warm enough for me. I'm really enjoying the heating pad snuggled against my back actually. A bowl of spicy gumbo sounds amazing right now!

                        2. Ahhhh, the original NYC area code! Appropriate that a New Yawker started this particular thread. :-D

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Original, and still in force -- at least for most of Manhattan, except, you know, those newbies. And people from the boroughs and elsewhere in the area, still refer to it as "The City."

                            1. re: roxlet

                              If I still lived in northern NJ, it would be "The City" to me as well. :-)

                              I've heard that 212 area codes are in high demand - people don't want the stigma of being a newbie. Don't know if they're still be given out if someone passes or moves. I vaguely recall the brouhaha when Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens got moved over to another area code from 212.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Yes, they're 718, and from what I understand, now that can even be hard to get!

                            2. re: LindaWhit

                              212, manhattan only, the other four boroughs 718. But then I remember no area cods at all!