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What's for Dinner #224 - The Calm Before the Storm Edition (through Jun 15, 2013)

Gorgeous weather here today, but more chilly, torrential rains forcast for Thursday and Friday. Seems like that will be a good time to the rest of the wintery meats (stew and osso buco) out of the freezer.

Last night was a first for me -- my classic meatballs, but made with turkey this time. They were a big hit, though everyone was in 3 directions and we never sat down to dinner together. There are enough meatballs left for heros today.

Tonight's dinner will be my son's choice--he leaves first thing tomorrow morning for a week to tour of Hawaii with his glee club. His glee club director us Don Ho's nephew, so I'm sure that they will see an interesting side of Oahu! And I'm sure he's going to love poké!

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  1. Last night, I got home at a reasonable 930pm and had more energy than expected so dropped my bag and headed straight to the kitchen to cook dinner! We used to have chicken cordon bleu weekly, but it fell off the weekly menu plan some months ago. I am in a current state of disinfatuation with chicken breast, but we had a pork tenderloin in the fridge and I figured it'd be a nice substitute. I usually use a combination of Muenster and Provolone but used the inspiration of a spin of cordon bleu to peruse the cheese counter a few days ago to find a new cheese to perk up the dish and settled on Sottocenere black truffles cheese. This was quite the elevated cordon bleu and sooooo delicious! The stuffed pork tenderloin was by far easier than the stuffed chicken breasts which is another reason I prefer it to the good ol' bird and the cheese was just outstanding. I didn't get around to a pan sauce but I think mushroom flavored wine sauce would be great with this dish.

     
    19 Replies
    1. re: fldhkybnva

      What a clever interpretation of a Cordon Bleu fid and how decadent it sounds with that fabulous cheese! I couldn't agree more about the mushroom wine sauce, especially with your truffle cheese. This is a Tuscan-sounding variation...oh to get your hands on some fresh porcini!! The escape me here in Toronto.

      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        Yea, my local Whole Foods only has them dried. I planned to grab some dried morels this weekend to try them for the first time and if so will definitely use the the rehydration liquid in a sauce.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          Great idea fid. I love morels with asparagus. We're fortunate enough to have both in season about now. The mushroom farmer at my market didn't have them last week so fingers crossed for this week!

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            After my last fresh morel experience (an expensive one at that), I don't think I'll ever buy them again. The image of 100+ dead ants is a tough one to shake, and the shrooms just weren't flavorful enough -- at least not discernibly more flavorful than the dried morels I've had -- to justify price and ant-o-cide.

            1. re: linguafood

              Oh yes, I do remember this which might be the voice in the back of my head which stopped me from buying them last week. Do you enjoy dried morels? It's only worth it to me really if they are flavorful.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                I found the dried & reconstituted morels to be more flavorful than their fresh counterparts.

                1. re: linguafood

                  OK, perhaps I'll give them a try. I'll probably saute and to serve with some form of meat, perhaps steak. Do you have any idea the dry to wet yield? I never know how many oz to buy dry which I think is also why I've avoided them

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    Depends on how much you're willing to spend. The package I bought cost $8.99 for 1/2 oz or 14 grams.

                    It's likely enough for a pasta dish, especially if you add other 'shrooms to the mix. And it would also be enough to top a steak.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      Great, thanks. Yea, I think it's in that price range at my local store.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        If you find that you fall in love with dried mushrooms, you might want to look into ordering them from Amazon or another online retailer - you can get much better prices and higher quality that way. Several reputable sellers have them for closer to $10 per ounce. I order dried porcinis in 1-lb bags - it's a huge savings over what you pay in the grocery, and they last forever in the pantry.

                        1. re: biondanonima

                          Great, thanks for the tip. I usually buy fresh but of course can only get a few varieties, namely Shiitake, Maitake, Crimini, and Oyster, easily in my area so online would be a great option. I always forget utilize 21st century conveniences. Do you need to just cover them with water or a larger volume?

              2. re: linguafood

                I can certainly empathize lingua, if I'd experienced that I think I'd be turned off as well!!

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  Yes fid. I also like that combo sauteed in a little butter then I add in a splash of cream and toss in some pasta. So wonderful w a little grated Parm atop. I make this every year.

          2. re: fldhkybnva

            Wow, it looks soooo good. And very innovative. After the long days you've been having, you deserve a dinner like this!

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              That pork sounds delicious. Nice work!

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Wow. That pork looks wonderful. I have never thought of stuffing it cordon bleu style.

                1. A new shift rotation at work means I cook supper in the morning and take it along to work with me and eat it there. So my meals have to be good cold or be able to re-heat decently in a microwave.

                  Monday was spring pig pasta, a favourite of mine. Just a simple tasty sauce of blended peas, asparagus, mint, scallions and milk. It also reheats great, so was perfect to take to work.

                  Tuesday was lobster potato salad. I got the recipe off the SK website, but it is a barely altered recipe by Ina Garten. It was so delicious. I had homemade bread to go with. Plus there is plenty extra for my lunch today.

                  http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/0...

                   
                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Musie

                    Musie I'm so glad to read your post about that lobster potato salad. I just gave Ina's Foolproof cookbook to a friend of mine on Saturday and she'd flagged that recipe to make this week. She's an Eastcoaster so all things lobster appeal to her! It's good to know you enjoyed it. That's the thing about Ina, you can really count on her recipes.

                    Your bread looks sensational!

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      I think the simplicity and balance makes her recipes so successful. Although, this recipe was a little time consuming due to having to crack the lobsters, but it's good practice!

                      1. re: Musie

                        I'm lazy Musie. My fish counter will steam them for you while you shop then they crack them so all you need to do when you get home is extract the meat.

                    2. re: Musie

                      Hello, that lobster salad looks great as does the bread!

                      1. re: Musie

                        Your bread looks wonderful! What is that 6 braids? Impressive!

                        1. re: acssss

                          Yup, 6 braids. This is my second braided loaf and I found that braiding isn't as scary as many recipes make it out to be.

                          1. re: Musie

                            Not scary, but difficult - and you were a master at it - congrats!

                        2. re: Musie

                          Good lord, Musie - that bread AND lobster salad looks amazing!

                          1. re: Musie

                            That bread is making my mouth water

                          2. Poke is the best ever! I make it quite often, it's either poke or seared tuna but on a hot summer day it's fabulous with a sprinkle of furikake.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              Poke and other raw applications can be fantastics

                            2. Dinner was OUT last night with several friends. A fine grilled salmon with a lemon butter on top; rice pilaf, and beans. And white wine. :-)

                              Tonight, I dig into the CSA veg. I'm going to start with the bok choy - stir-fried with garlic and ginger and dry sherry. I'll probably make rice, and I'm hankering for more seafood - so I'll probably stop at WF on the way home to see what they have in their seafood case. No idea how I'll do that - I'll update later this evening once I've purchased something and figured out what to do with it!

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Garlic and ginger - ooh I love the smell it makes in the kitchen!

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Keen to hear what inspires you from the seafood case Linda. I so wish we had a WF nearby!

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Ginger, garlic and dry sherry are an oft flavor choice in my kitchen, it's great with nearly everything.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      OK, I ended up with wild caught mahi mahi. I saw some wild caught Alaskan King salmon, but at $29.99/lb, that was a major "No Freakin' Way!". I ended up just drizzling it with olive oil, and seasoning it with a blend of a vegetable rub - sea salt, basil, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, garlic, celery seed, red chile, and lemon peel. Pan seared it and finished it with about a Tbsp. of lemon juice for a bit of "sauce".

                                      The bok choy was done with said garlic and ginger and a healthy pinch of Aleppo pepper. I used 1 Tbsp. of grated ginger - why wasn't it gingery enough for me?

                                      So the meal was good but not stellar.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Nice.

                                        Baby bok choy in garlic sauce is one of life's great pleasures.

                                        1. re: steve h.

                                          Not baby bok choy. This was a very large head of full-sized boy choy from the CSA. It was good - I've got a mild after-burn going with the Aleppo pepper and ginger. Although the ginger still wasn't quite enough. :-)

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          Hi Linda, I love ginger as well. One suggestion for you is to crush some ginger and pour some evoo atop then refrigerate for a couple of days. Strain out the ginger then just keep your oil in the fridge - or I even freeze it (and don't bother draining) in a ziplock then break off pieces as I need them. That way you'll always have ginger oil on hand. It really does help layer the flavour.

                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            ginger oil is a good idea.... you know, we've been cutting open fresh ginger, using what we need, and then leaving the rest out, on the counter in a bowl, uncovered, and the cut end dries up and the rest of it stays fresh and usable for weeks and weeks on end, retaining the same texture and juiciness.

                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                              Oh geez - I *have* some ginger oil in my pie safe pantry that I bought at Home Goods - that would have helped a LOT!

                                      2. Our antipasti dinner on Monday was lovely. I wish we could have dined al fresco but alas "June-uary" continues and it was damp and cold.

                                        I'm very excited about WFD tonight. I could not resist a stunning piece of Patagonian Sea Bass I spotted at the market though my wallet wept a little on the way home! Much as I love this fish I tend to avoid purchasing it as it's classed as "Not Recommended" by the Vancouver aquarium's Ocean Wise program. Interestingly though it is recommended as a "Best Choice" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. I'll take comfort in the latter as we dine this evening. Fingers crossed it stays sunny and warm as I'd love to grill it.

                                         
                                         
                                         
                                        19 Replies
                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          Are these antipasti fromCarmine's too? They look lovely. June-uary returns for us tomorrow. I love that word to describe it!

                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            Thanks roxlet. The first antipasti is from a wonderful cookbook by Rick Tramonto called Fantastico! - the book focuses on little Italian plates and antipasti. This was a Crostini with Chopped Egg and Asparagus. We love poached or fried eggs atop roasted asparagus but I'd never thought to combine asparagus with egg salad for some reason. What a revelation! They were the first to go. The middle dish is just my usual roasted Campari tomatoes and garlic. I got some beautiful local garlic at the farmer's market...the cloves were almost as big as the tomatoes!! I drizzled them with a balsamic glaze and served atop a platter of torn bufala mozzarella. The third plate is from a book called panini, bruschetta crostini by Viana La Place. It's a Crostini with Savory Mushroom Topping which really amounts to a hearty mushroom ragu. It was my first time using that book and it looks promising. I was re-arranging my cookbooks on Sunday and that's how I re-discovered these two books. I couldn't resist flipping through them and found a number of delicious-sounding dishes that will be perfect for the summer months when we tend to eat lighter meals in the evening (if it warms up that is!!).

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                My stomach just growled seeing your antipasti.

                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Great pictures. Great call on the Patagonian Tooth Fish, too. That's one ugly critter but it tastes so good.

                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      Those are fantastic pictures. What camera are you using?

                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                        Thank JM, that's very kind of you. The camera is mr bc's, it's a Nikon D50.

                                                        I'm embarrassed to admit this because undoubtedly the camera can take much better pictures but I have zero understanding of how it works. I basically just turn it on and twist the lens until everything comes into focus. I actually just purchased an e-book on photography in the hopes I might be inspired to read it during my commute home. I do enjoy taking photos and I'd like to get my own camera with a special lens for close-up photos (which we don't have for the Nikon) but given the investment I thought it made sense to read about how much work it would be first.

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          They are wonderful photos. What's the name of the e-book? I would like to upgrade my equipment from a standard iPhone/point and shoot camera and start to get into better food photography.

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                              This is a link to an e-book put out by a food blogger that focuses on food photography http://pinchofyum.com/tasty-food-phot...

                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                  Jj finds the best stuff. And she's fast too

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            Re the Patagonian Sea Bass: Monterey Seafood Watch just recently updated their recommendations and now does include Chilean Sea Bass among it's best choices, but only if it's from the Heard and McDonald Islands, Falkland Islands, or Macquarie Island. It's still to be avoided if it comes from Chile or a number of other places. See details here: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              Thanks Joan. That makes sense, I'd never seen it referred to as Patagonian before but I suspect it's to ensure folks know it wasn't from Chile. I was surprised to see it at my market as they only carry sustaiable fish and when I asked I was told they use the Monteray info.