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What's for Dinner #227 - Finally, Summer! (thru June 26, 2013)

It's a new season, and a beautiful morning here in the metro NY area. How long before we start complaining about the summer, I wonder? Tonight, for us, there will be something involving salmon, but tomorrow, tomorrow watch out! Anything goes! It's my birthday, and I have been madly perusing cookbooks to come up with the perfectly decadent summer menu for rjbh20 to make for me and for some friends, one of whom has a birthday this week. Weight Watchers be damned!

What's on your summer menu?

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  1. Love WW be damned. That needs to be embroidered on a pillow! Please post your menu when you get it set Rox, would love to check it out. You should make RJB do a Chopped style challenge, LOL!

    Tonight is lobster fest with old friends, very stoked!

    From my other post:

    Stocked bar but the signature cocktail will be Boozy lemonade. I plan on making the lemonade with mint simple syrup and will add citron vodka and with a splash of St Germaine. I will have bottles of Rose and assorted whites on ice to serve with dinner

    Apps/nibbles:
    Marconi almonds
    Homemade hummus with pita chips and crudités
    Ina’s roasted shrimp cocktail
    Assorted cheese and crackers

    Main Course:
    Cups of clam chowder
    Lobsters steamed with new potatoes and linguica
    Lemon butter (natch!)
    Mixed green salad
    Corn bread
    do I need another veggie?)

    Dessert:
    Slices of watermelon
    3 kinds of homemade ice cream-ginger, peach and vanilla
    Some kind of thin almond cookie, usually get them at TJ’s or WF
    I’ll put out some Chambord as a drizzle for the ice cream for those who want

    Thoughts?

    ETA: and the weather is supposed be perfect so will be dining al fresco!

    11 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2

      We're salivating over your menu. And you don't need another veg!

      1. re: foodieX2

        Foodie that sounds sensational, a perfect celebration meal! I agree that you don't "need" another veg. If you wanted to add one though I'd suggest either grilled corn (break cobs in half so they're easier to fit on plates) or, roasted asparagus since it could be done ahead and served at room temp.

        Lucky friends!! Enjoy your celebration!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          Grilled corn sounds wonderful and a great addition.

        2. re: foodieX2

          Just delish, Foodiex2.... what time is dinner:)? On my way back East....

          1. re: foodieX2

            fX2, that is a sensational menu!! I agree that you do not need another veg, but if you want one roasted or grilled asparagus would be perfect. Have fun, I know you have been thinking about and planning this party for a long time!

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    Love the sound of your lobster fest. Fantastic spread.

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        damn, i'm late to the party.... leftovers?? hope it was amazing as it sounded!

                      2. It may be summer in New York. However, a look at the forecast for old York and, indeed, the rest of the UK, tells a different tale. Temperatures are stuck in the mid-teens and showers are forecast over the coming days.

                        Dinner comes from our "cooking the books exercise, which only has afew more books to run, The current one is "The Food of Italy", Claudia Roden, 1989.

                        We kick off with a Venetian style peperonata, where aubergine and peppers get a bit of a fry, along with onions and garlic. White wine and tomatoes go in and it boils away to reduce. It'll be served warm (not hot) with some bread.

                        Main course is written for sole, but she says you can use any white fish - which is handy as the supermarket fish counter didnt have any sole, and the first choice substitute (pollock) didnt look too great, so cod it is.

                        Spinach is wilted and the sauteed with butter and mixed with salt, pepper & nutmeg. Fish poaches for 30 seconds in white wine and butter. Fish comes out and wine is reduced. Bechamel made and wine/butter reduction stirred in. Spinach goe sina dish, fish on top, bechamel on top of that, grating of Parmesan and a few minutes bake.

                        Ice cream for afters.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Harters

                          What a lovely meal Harters. I have that book though I don't believe I've cooked from it. The peperonata in particular sounds wonderful and if there's any leftovers it sounds like the kind of dish that will survive quite nicely. Will you let us know how it goes?

                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            Well, it went reasonably well, Breadcrumbs.

                            The peperonata was absolutely fecking outstanding. Packed with flavour.

                            The fish dish also tasted good - nice balance between the fish and the spinach but the bechamel needed to be thicker with some more "oomph".

                            I got the French Maroilles out well before dinner. It's getting nicely stinky, if not yet runny. A gutsy end to the meal.

                            Dinner tomorrow - restaurant in London. Back Monday. See y'all then.

                          2. re: Harters

                            I've gotten very used to your "cooking the books" exercise, Harters. I'm going to miss it. :-)

                            1. re: Harters

                              That fish dish sounds delicious -- and very rich!

                            2. Happy Birthday! I'm having turkey burger with sautéed kale. Simple but good. Then a lot of left over fruit and snacks from the dinner party I just had.

                              1. I have no idea. We have had company, been working on our garden beds (perennials), putting up a privacy fence, and now getting ready to travel to Virgina for vacation....
                                Oh yeah, husband decided to change washing machine water supply hose and valves, created a leak further up the line, so spent most of the day fixing yesterday/last night. We had McDonald's for dinner last night, I needed to use a bathroom! hahahahaha! But, he did fix it and did all of our laundry.
                                Probably leftover spaghetti from the other night. blech.
                                I get travel anxiety, and with some other stress, am ready to just throw everything in the suitcase and leave a day early.

                                22 Replies
                                1. re: wyogal

                                  That's a long trip for you, wyogal - safe travels!

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Thanks! Last year, we decided right before we left that we'd also travel to Mesa, AZ on the same trip! 7,500 miles! Loved every bit of it! This year, going through the "northern" route, Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Gettysburg. Then, will hit the National Mall in DC, and on to Va Beach! We'll come back through Kentucky, Missouri, etc.
                                    We figured since it costs as much to fly, and we have the time, we'd rather drive, see the country.

                                    1. re: wyogal

                                      wow, i would love to do the same someday soon...(i traveled by car from CA to MN once, but i was 8.) hope you enjoy!

                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                        I'm looking forward to it, the car is packed. We ordered pizza. Hope to get on the road about 3:30am.

                                  2. re: wyogal

                                    ... and the leftover spaghetti was awful. It started out awful. I used a jar of sauce, Tuscan Herb, I think. It was way too sweet, and the addition of wine, salt, and other seasonings just couldn't mask it. yuck.
                                    But, we are cleaning out the fridge! We leave early in the morning for our trip. I'd like to leave like at 2am, wouldn't mind even leaving today, but i do want to catch a couple of TV shows tonight, at least Mad Men! ha!
                                    I'm going to lobby for dinner out/take out tonight.

                                    1. re: wyogal

                                      Sorry to hear your dinner didn't work out wyogal. I know what you mean about those jarred sauces. I'd go to HomeSense (Canada's HomeGoods) and find myself coming home with various jars of wonderful sounding sauces...seemingly small batch productions from wine country or the depths of a small village in Italy or something) Inevitably they'd be horrible. Usually over seasoned or, way too sweet as you say. mr bc has forbidden me from brining any more of them home!!

                                      Have a fabulous trip!!

                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        Thanks!
                                        I think I'll stick to the bottom shelf, canned, "Four Cheese" sauce in the future. I prefer my own, homemade sauce, but my husband grew up with spaghetti sauce made with tomato soup as an ingredient, so I meet him halfway.

                                        1. re: wyogal

                                          Oh my, tomato soup. My mom's was no better... canned tomato sauce, french onion soup mix and oregano.

                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                            LOL suzi! For me, learning to cook was largely a measure of self defence. My Mom can bake but her cooking makes me gag just thinking about it. I posted about her "spaghetti" on the "worst things your mother cooked" thread but let's just say it involved an electric frying pan, chef boy r d spaghetti - rinsed of its sauce, a jar of ragu and some fatty ground beef...

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              I am just stunned by you saying learning to cook was out of self defence. I have said that exactly for years. Oh the scars. My mother was awful in the kitchen. She was also a meat cutter in the 70's so lots of off date meat. But, fodder for another fire.

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Breadcrumbs, I am almost literally rotflmao! That's quite the meal you had to deal with.....wow, just wow. I love that she rinsed the sauce off; that's the part that kills me!

                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            I bought a $9 jar of the Rao's marinara sauce thy everyone raves about. Didn't really like it. I just make my own these days. Doesn't really take much time.

                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                              Agreed Njchicaa. I make large batches of marinara then mr bc portions it out and freezes it.

                                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                                Yeah, I hear ya on home made. I've been cutting down on my tomato and potato ingestion (*sadness*), nightshade family, inflammation issues, so don't make much tomato sauce.
                                                My favorite is just a bit of onion and garlic, sauteed, then add crushed tomatoes (I use ones I have in the freezer, from farmer's market), and a bit of oregano.

                                                1. re: wyogal

                                                  Sorry to hear about your inflammation issues wyogal. Your version of tomato sauce sounds lovely.

                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Yeah, well, it's just the -itis years.... arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, etc. I think I am perpetually dehydrated, which doesn't help.

                                                2. re: Njchicaa

                                                  I wasn't too into the Rao's either. The only reliable jarred sauce for me is from the local Italian deli.

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    I would never use jarred sauce since making it is as easy as opening a can, but supposedly people like the Giada sauce from Target.

                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                      "I would never use jarred sauce since making it is as easy as opening a can"

                                                      Especially these days when if tomatoes are out of season, one can find good canned San Marzano tomatoes in just about any decent food store.

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Sometimes it's handy to have in the pantry for a quick meal. I usually oomph it up, use my own browned meat, etc. I also have made "Sunday gravy," I know how to make a good sauce.

                                              2. re: wyogal

                                                Long time no hear, wyogal. Plumbing is such fun. :-)

                                                Are you going to the ocean front in Virginia or more inland? I have spent some time in Richmond and the people out there are really nice. Some good food in that part of the country as well.

                                                Have a fun and relaxing trip.

                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                  Va Beach...
                                                  Yeah, I took a bit of a vacay from here, buttered bread and all....
                                                  ;)

                                              3. Happy Birthday's Eve roxlet! I'm very much looking forward to hearing what mr roxlet has in store for you tomorrow!

                                                The sun made a hasty exit and took all the blue sky along with it up here in the great white north. It's now warm, breezy and very overcast. Rain and even thunderstorms are imminent. We're off to run some errands and will see what the market yields today. I had 4 menu options in mind for today:

                                                1. Burgers, grilled veggies and potato salad
                                                2. Grilled pizzas

                                                (options 1& 2 seem implausible with the weather though)

                                                3. Gnocchi with peas, baby spinach and green garlic in a lemony cream sauce with a chx breast on the side for mr bc
                                                4. Take-out. If we're worn out after our shopping etc then this may well be the course to take.

                                                Stay tuned!

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  Bc, I think I'm inspired by the Carmine's cookbook that you cooked so many delicious-looking things from, and that I just received in the mail. So far, I think we will start with clams, clams, clams-- on the half shell, baked and casino. I'm pretty sure that the main is going to be lobster fra diavolo. Our friends are semi-veggie (for health reasons), and this meal will make everyone happy, but especially me! I'm in charge of making the marinara, which I will do later today!

                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    Love lobster fra diavolo! Having had it in ages. Thanks for the reminder.

                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                      I can't wait to hear what you're having roxlet. What are your thoughts on the book? Are you finding lots of dishes that appeal?

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        I like the book a lot, although the used copy I got had several pages torn from it. The seller has agreed to provide me with another copy. Somehow, this was a book that wasn't in my collection -- the over-the-top Italian-American restaurant book. Many of the items in the book are things I grew up on, but there are enough interesting riffs -- the pasta fagioli fritters for example -- that keep the book surprising. However, when you see recipes that are so vastly different than what you grew up with (the lasagna, for example), it's hard not to look at it and just say, "That's wrong!" But there is so much that appeals and I'm happy you shone a light on this book.

                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                          The lasagna is excellent but very time-consuming to make. I usually do 2 or 3 at a time and freeze the extra.

                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                            Glad you're enjoying it roxlet. I felt the same way you did. I have so many Italian books on my shelf yet up to a couple of weeks ago Carmines had escaped me. I'm loving it! Can't wait to read about your B'day meal! I have a feeling I'll be tabbing some more recipes!!