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What's for Dinner #292 - The Hippity-Hop Edition! [Through April 21, 2014]

Easter is on its way, and I will begin the preparations of my specialties starting Friday, but for those of the Jewish faith, Passover is well underway, and foodies are finding clever ways to cook without bread or other leavened foods.

What's for dinner as you celebrate Passover or prepare for the end of the Lenten Fast?

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  1. And now for something completely different - a clean-out-the-fridge meal. I have some fettuccine, and some of the country-style ribs. The ribs have been chopped up and will be heated up and *might* be tossed with the pasta and sauce, and I'm making a carrot-ginger sauce to toss with the fettuccine.

    Fashioned after this recipe - carrots are being boiled with a garlic clove, and will then be whirred together with some ground ginger, half-and-half and a bit of the cooking water if I need it using a stick blender.

    Peas alongside. Or on top. Or mixed in. A jumbly meal.

    http://weelicious.com/2012/03/14/carr...

    2 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      <<And now for something completely different >>

      Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle!

      1. re: steve h.

        Yeah, the idea was better than the execution. Not enough ginger, not enough garlic. Oh well. It cleared out the leftover containers.

        I think the carrot-ginger pasta sauce would be fine, with some of my oomphing. I also like the thought I had midway through cooking the carrots - roasting them with the garlic. Would give a nice roasty-toasty flavor to the sauce.

        At least the pieces of ribs had some heat from the sriracha used in the glaze.

    2. Spanakopita! I used fresh spinach and dill, and made the feta myself. Otherwise, I used a recipe very similar to Test4TheBest's recipe - after researching lots of places online, it seems like a good starting point. The brand of phyllo I bought was unusually thin, so I ended up using more layers, but next time I'll limit myself on the top layering. There are a few layers in there that didn't quite get fully cooked, and the overall dish is a bit oily.

      13 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          It's a lot easier than it sounds. It is SO much better than the storebought stuff though, especially if you start with raw milk.

          1. re: suzigirl

            Thanks! I'm enjoying another slice now ;)

            By the way, there is a trick to beautiful phyllo dishes: cut before they go in the oven. That way, they spread apart by themselves and don't get crushed when you cut them.

          2. re: Symmetry

            Love spanakopita. I make spanakopita triangles with my Greek mother every Christmas. Hundreds of them.

            The trick to not having a greasy phyllo is NOT brushing liberally with oil/butter. Just a random dabbing around each sheet is plenty.

            Sounds delicious!

            1. re: nothingswrong

              Thanks for the tip - I've only made spanakopita (pie-style, not spanakopitakia) twice, so I don't have a lot of experience to draw on. I have a question for you: do you think an oil mister/sprayer would be a good oil applicator for phyllo? I thought of it when I was in the middle of assembling my pie, and thought it might cut the time way down (wave mister over phyllo, place next slice, repeat).

              1. re: Symmetry

                Yes, definitely. Though to be honest, I have yet to find one that doesn't get clogged constantly. If you have a suggestion, let me know!

                The way my mother has always done it is with very very light dabbings of butter, no oil. Which is interesting because she NEVER uses butter for cooking, always olive oil, just like yiayia did.

                I think you can see how little butter is used in these photos. I believe she only melted down one stick for everything we made, and there was still butter left over in the bowl.

                Also I'd bet anything the areas of your spanakopita that were tough/undercooked were probably just phyllo that got dried out during prep. Given the whole thing seemed a bit oily, it probably wasn't from lack of oil/butter.

                 
                 
                1. re: nothingswrong

                  My father used one of these for six years by the time I used it, and it seemed like new...after a year of use, it had only needed cleaning once, after I failed to sufficiently strain homemade rosemary-thyme infused olive oil.

                  http://www.amazon.com/Misto-Brushed-A...

                  As far as the 'pita goes, I think you might be inside my head. I'll keep things moister (any tips? I used a damp tea towel) and lighter on the oil/butter next time.

                  I do see a lot of recipes that specifically say to use butter, or a mix of butter and oil. I made mine with olive oil (pretty good stuff, but nothing amazing - what I can afford, that is) and it turned out great. I can definitely taste that olive oily undertone, and it's pleasing in combination with the feta to me. It's such a simple dish, every player seems essential. Should I try butter instead?

                  1. re: Symmetry

                    Okay thanks. I was gifted one by my mother which was defunct on arrival (new in box), and bought another from Sur La Table which clogged within its first 5 minutes of use. I just gave up :)

                    1. re: nothingswrong

                      To be honest, reading reviews on Amazon, I don't blame you. I guess he just got an uncommonly good one!

                      Seems to me like the Prepara model is the most promising...at least it's glass, and has a filter.

                      1. re: Symmetry

                        Yep, seems they all get clogged quite a bit. The one my mother gave me is the same one she uses, and she has no problems with hers. I think it's just a crap shoot!

                2. re: Symmetry

                  I use a pastry brush to brush the melted butter on the filo. I brush the whole sheet very, very lightly, rather than randomly.

                  I don't like spanakopita that hasn't been brushed with enough butter. The filo tastes like paper when it doesn't get the butter treatment.

                  If some of the layers below the very top layers were undercooked, the spanakopita might have just need a few more minutes in the oven.

                  Like you mentioned, I use a slightly damp cloth to keep my filo moist before I start folding. I don't expose the filo to any air until I'm ready to fold, and when I fold triangles, I only take 3 or 4 strips of filo out at a time, keeping the rest under the damp towel.

            2. Now every time I open this thread I will be singing Peter Cottontail. Hippity hoppity Easters on its way!!
              I am doing it again. Old school tacos, black beans and rice. I love these but they are quite a pain in the ass to pack for a lunchbox.

              2 Replies
              1. re: suzigirl

                This thread has me singing this, and I don't even know the words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKTUAE...

                Do you do burritos? Could be easier to pack and eat. Just wrap the tortilla up in foil to keep it in line.

                 
                 
                 
                1. re: nothingswrong

                  Ihave the lunchbox down. It just has so many fiddly bits to pack with all the lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa etc... that needs to be packed separately. Time consuming.
                  Now I have that song stuck in my head. Lol

              2. Just thought I'd pop back in here to say that the "Skillet Chicken Burgers with Ginger, Scallions, and Sriracha Mayonnaise" from Serious Eats was out of this world. The burgers combined with the Sriracha mayo, chopped and whole cilantro, and Romaine leaves had so much flavor it was difficult to stop eating. One was more than enough for me, didn't even bother eating the naan. I don't recall ever using ground/minced chicken for burgers. It's usually ground dark meat turkey or bison, but these were exceptional. Here's the recipe if anyone is interested:

                http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                8 Replies
                  1. re: Gio

                    Gio - is it easy to buy Kewpie mayo in Boston? I've never looked for it. Those look amazing.

                    1. re: gini

                      Hi Gini, I've not looked for the Kewpie either so I either use Hellman's or TJ's organic mixed with a little rice vinegar and sugar. Or just use straight mayo. There's a Japanese market in Medford, though, and I expect they would have it.

                      http://www.ebisuyamarket.com/index-en...

                      Here's a pretty reliable source for homemade Kewpie. I've never made it but the author is a noted cook of Japanese food and lives in Japan.

                      http://www.lafujimama.com/2013/04/jap...

                      1. re: gini

                        Kewpie mayo is available at Hong Kong Market in Allston (should be at pretty much any of the local Asian markets, actually) and even at Russo's, where it can be found in the under-the-display-counter shelves where snow peas and cucumbers are. (On the side facing the chard, radishes, scallions, etc.)

                        1. re: Allstonian

                          There's a Hong Kong Market in Malden which is closer to Melrose, so I guess I could look there for the Kewpie. But honestly, I think it may taste like Miracle Whip, just from reading the ingredients, so it hasn't appealed to me. Can you describe the taste, Allstonian?

                          1. re: Gio

                            Well, I like both mayonnaise and Miracle Whip, so YMMV. Kewpie is thinner in texture than American mayo, which has its own advantages in some applications. It's less eggy and it's sweeter, but not as sweet or as tangy as Miracle Whip.

                      2. re: Gio

                        I made these based on your recommendation, and we concur - they were great! Thank you for pointing this recipe out.

                      3. I figured I should cook the bigger pieces of meat in the freezer before it gets too hot out. Grass fed chuck roast has been in the crockpot all day (three neighbors have commented on how good it smells since the windows are open.) I added some onions and potatoes a few hours ago. Blistered green beans on the side and probably a green salad with the last of the mango, avocado, cuke, tomato, shallot, lime, sweet peppers salsa from a previous meal over the top of it.