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Oct 21, 2013 04:41 AM

What's for Dinner #251 - The "Final Blaze and Annihilation of Fall" Edition [Through Oct 25, 2013]

The title of the post is from a poem called Summer Knowledge by Delmore Schwartz, and it always seemed to perfectly encapsulate the moment when the brilliance of fall becomes death of summer. Maybe too poetic, but I love it!

For those of us experiencing fall weather, there is a noticeable trend towards soups and stews. Grilling is now an activity best left to those in more favorably disposed climes. You get year-round outdoor cooking, we get the blaze of fall.

What is cooking in your kitchen?

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  1. Last night was a leftover feast, which is good because I was starved from an all day climbing fest in the peak of leaf peeping season:
    Camembert with rosemary oil crackers and some coppa
    mushroom risotto
    stir fried sausage, carrots, zucchini in red chili sauce
    green beans over rice with soy sauce and sesame oil

    And now it's time to cook again! Hope I can get to the grocer's post-work.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gini

      Love some climbing and leaf-peepng! some days, leftovers are the best when other activities take precedence:)

    2. My plan for tonight is imam bayildi. Haven't decided on a side yet---maybe cauli mash. Dilled sour cream cuke salad on the side.

      13 Replies
      1. re: ChristinaMason

        Sounds great, I want to grow some smaller, rounder eggplants next year in addition to Ichiban and Little Fingers for stuffing and for pickling whole.

        1. re: weezieduzzit

          Those are exactly what I'm using, the small ones. Some are shaped more like the Italian eggplant (oblong) and others are more rounded. Let's see how it goes! I'm thinking about steaming them a bit first so they don't soak up TONS of oil.

            1. re: ChristinaMason

              My deal is to salt, pat dry, brush lightly with oil and grill.

              No matter what, without having to slather with more oil (except to flip), if the heat is not too direct or high, the slices soften after a time, no extra oil needed, and benefit of at least slight smokey effect and grill marks add to any prep.

            1. re: ChristinaMason

              Worked out. The eggplant were surprisingly meaty and not super melty for having been lightly steamed, fried 15-20 minutes, and baked another hour. I used this spicy Turkish pepper paste, which despite being an amazing umami bomb, contains no MSG. Yum. I can see myself putting this on everything. I think I'll poach eggs in it next (with some diced tomatoes).

              Sides were cauli mash and, instead of the cukes, a delicious kielbasa from my favorite sausage-maker in Baltimore, Krakus. fldhkybnva, do you know about him? I'm afraid if you don't already, you will be at the beginning of a delicious addiction.

              Crappy cell phone photos:

              1. re: ChristinaMason

                Why did you have to say it? My credit card hates the words "umami bomb" it means it will get some exercise. The dish looks great! Krakus sounds really familiar but I can't place it. I will have to investigate this, I'm sort of over the selection at Whole Foods of "seasoned ground meats" as I call them. OK, now you hit me with likely two new things to bobble my head at.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  You will love Krakus. Really awesome propreitor, everything handmade, lots of condiments, reasonable prices:

                  The pepper paste I found at World Market on clearance. Don't see it on their website, but if you have a local store, it might be worth checking. Whole Foods may carry something similar.

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    Is this the same Krakus that makes those ubiquitous canned hams?

                    1. re: JungMann

                      I'm not familiar with the hams, but a quick google shows me they are definitely different Kraki!

                2. re: ChristinaMason

                  Wow; nothing like a drippy, tomato-ey spicy eggplant dish with cauli AND porky sides.

                  Can you quickly send me some cauli to go with my eggplant? Please? :)

                  1. re: gingershelley

                    It's a good stand-in for carbier cousins. We had chestnut cake with Blue Bunny vanilla ice cream for dessert, followed by a bourbon. I want to polish off the bottle of red, but it's not allowed near my new sofa, and I'm rather too lazy to sidle back up to the table.


              2. I'm planning noon dinner (steak) since I have an evening meeting. Ball tip steaks are marinating in a mixture of oil/red wine vinegar/Worchestershire sauce. Indoor broiling for these, not BBQ, since the first snow of the season is falling even though our trees are still green.

                Sides will be mixed veg and (inspired by the rolls discussion) 60-minute dinner rolls.

                16 Replies
                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                  "ball tip steak" - there's a cut I'd not heard about before, MidTT. Seems to be a Michigan name for a cut from the loin, per the Interwebz.


                  And ACK! on the snow!

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    It's a cut from the bottom sirloin, here's a nice image of the 3 cuts from this area - tri tip, ball tip, and flap

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Ahhh - right along side of the tri-tip (which I have had and like). Thanks!

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        very informative quick overview... I didn't realize those 3 were next to each other.

                        CL Lurvs them some 'flap meat', which on the West coast, IME, is never in the meat case....

                        1. re: gingershelley

                          My freeze is is loaded with flap. Ever since I discovered it, it's 9/10 the weekly Sunday steak choice.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            There you are, over near the Right Coast. "Flapland".

                          2. re: gingershelley

                            It's regularly available at a SoCal chain. It's so good. Hope that you can find it!

                            1. re: nikkihwood

                              I have NEVER seen 'flap meat' in any meat case in SEA - I am sure I could order at my butcher, but I am just saying, it is very uncommon up here.

                              What SoCal chain has it? We have 2 Kroger-owned chains (Fred Meyer and QFC), + Safeway and Albertsons for chain stores.

                              1. re: gingershelley

                                Ralphs - Kroger [almost weekly]
                                Von's - Safeway [but not on a regular basis]
                                I don't shop Albertson's so I am not sure if they carry it.

                                We buy at Ralphs. Wonder if it's worth inquiring about ordering at Fred Meyer??

                                1. re: nikkihwood

                                  Up here, I would probably ask at QFC - it is our more 'upscale' Kroger chain. I might just do that as now very curious!

                      2. re: MidwesternerTT

                        Have you had the ball tip steak before? Last week I bought a few sirloin round tips which I think are the most similar to this cut. The first one I tried was not so great, so I'm pondering what to do with the others.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            MN and it didn't stick long. Just winter's "warning shot across the bow" in nautical terms. The planned lunch today became planned dinner tomorrow - we got invited out for lunch. I have had the ball tip steak before, which is why these are marinating. We got several, individually wrapped and frozen, as part of a very welcomed "meat gift pack". The first pair we just grilled, the second pair were used in kebobs (so marinated about 4 hours), and this last pair will be marinated (overnight now) and broiled.

                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                              You must be getting what we had here in CO at the end of last week... a quick lil dusting that went away by the end of the day.

                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                Cooked them this evening after all, since my spouse had heard my departing words "I'll be back after 6:30" as "I'll cook dinner for us when I get home, at 6:30."

                                Steaks came out quite tender (but not mushy) and nicely flavorful after 9 hours of marinating in the oil/red wine vinegar/Worcestershire combo. No salt or pepper needed.

                                Dinner rolls, made with half whole-wheat flour, half white flour and 2 T. sugar (recipe said 2-3 T) were OK for flavor but a bit more dense than I'd like, even though I allowed an extra 10 minutes of second-rising time. Next time I'll use all white flour or find a recipe that's designed for whole wheat flour (more sugar, maybe, to interact with the yeast?)

                          2. Last night was French toast for the guys. I had drinks with a couple of neighborhood friends.

                            Tonight, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and broccoli rabe. I have more pear sauce in the crockpot today. This time I added some chopped, dried apricots and fresh ginger. Terrific over plain yogurt.

                            LOVIN' the cool temps!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tcamp

                              Love the idea of pear sauce with fresh ginger!

                              1. re: tcamp

                                Those were some seriously delicious mashed spuds. I used a mix of potatoes from my CSA - yellow, white, a couple of little blue ones, and one orange sweet potato. I prefer a coarse mash so the different colors were visible in the finished product. The wonderful taste I attribute to the crème fraiche I added so I could empty a container. Yum. Leftovers for lunch!

                              2. It's one of those times in my life that work is a nightmare with everything happening at the same time. It's the end of a rotation for me so with that I have to prepare a presentation for the department as well as study for an exit exam alongside my usual work amidst my interviews for fellowship. I'm thrilled for my first interview this Friday but that means I need to pull the rest of my life together before I pop out of bed to make it to the airport on time for a 6 am flight to Boston. I imagine my meals will be pretty quick and easy this week but I'm definitely feeling the soups and stews, roxlet.

                                Tonight's dinner will be a warm and cozy stuffed turkey tenderloin. I can't get enough of the Aleppo pepper and really want to finally dive into the smoked paprika from Penzey's so last night I seasoned the bird with Aleppo, lemon pepper and smoked paprika and stuffed it with lamb merguez sausage and Red Leicester cheese. I'll smear it with hummus tonight and pop it into the oven to be served with chard dressed with a Feta-Tahini dressing.

                                And, it's official! SO will be back Monday at noon!!

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Just a fly in/fly out when in Boston? If you have time for lunch, post on the Boston board - they should be able to help with some recommendations.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    I wish I had time for lunch or dinner. I'll be arriving at 730am and leaving at 550pm. It should a quite interesting harried day. I spent a few summers in Boston and would love to visit a few places now that I have bigger culinary boots.

                                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Well, I must say that this idea was a great one! I've had a very very very long exhausting day filled with sleep-deprived, overwhelmed emotional rollercoaster issues like a little child who needs to just lay down for a few weeks. It didn't help that I had another interview sprung on me for Wednesday...what, Wednesday as in less than 2 days from now? I'm luckily feeling soooo much better thanks to finally putting together a super long weekly checklist and enjoying the best dinner I've had in a while. I thought I'd share a plate of food from my kitchen that was actually colorful rather than the usual brown-umami-drab. Cheers to a better Tuesday and thoughts of sitting on my couch Friday night when I return from Boston with my hands full of glorious cheeses-all cheese at Whole Foods is 25% on Friday, how could this cheesehead not be happy?

                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      Sounds crazed... U are doing alot to even really cook, with that schedule.

                                      I still can't wrap my head around smearing a roast with hummus (among us - never can resist that one...), before cooking, but otherwise - sounds excellent!

                                      Merguez n' smoked paprika are a match made in heaven. I would take my hummus as an apeteaser while making the main:)

                                      1. re: gingershelley

                                        I was skeptical of the hummus "crust" as well but it's quite delicious and a nice variation on the usual way I eat it as a dip at room temperature. I've been told many classic preparations involve warm hummus and it keeps the roast nice and moist. I'm addicted to this Mergeuz sausage and Harissa-anything.

                                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                                        fldhkybnva, Good luck with your interview Friday! I consider almost nothing more stressful than interviewing. That and waiting for medical test results. :-)

                                        I am sure you are going to impress them. It is very easy to get stressed over (at least for me) so what I did was started thinking of it as just trying to get to know someone and making a new friend. They ask you some questions, you ask them some questions, etc. Sure, it is not that simple, but it helps take some of the stress off.

                                        I had an interview once in Boston and it was similar in that it was fly in/fly out the same day. My SO INSISTED I find time to get to Legal Sea Food and bring back a tub of their chowder which they sell "to go". I do not know if that is just a touristy kind of thing but my SO really liked the chowder when I got home.