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What's for Dinner #294 - April Weekend Edition [Through April 29, 2014]

Spring planting yet? Not here - considering it can still get down to below 40°F at night, I'm not doing anything with the expected herb planting yet. However, some new potting soil and new pots have been purchased, so I'm getting ready. I almost bought a topsy-turvy tomato plant starter, but it just seems a bit odd. :-)

What's cooking this weekend at your house? Any produce from your gardens yet?

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  1. As for me, I'm going old school comfort food. Hamburger Stroganoff. This is from one of those old General Mills recipe cards from the 1970s (which I've adapted quite a bit).

    Sauté chopped onions and mushrooms in butter, add ground beef and some minced garlic, and brown. When it's all browned, add a couple Tbsp. of flour or so to the meat/veggie mix, depending on how much ground beef you're cooking (up to 1/4 cup flour), and continue "browning" a bit. Then add a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (I know, I *know*! But now I only use about a half can) and maybe some wine (red wine makes it kind of light purply-pinkish - but it's just me eating it so I don't care), and some ground pepper and salt (if needed, which it always is).

    Towards the end (about 10-15 minutes?) add a cup or less of sour cream after removing from the heat. I usually serve it over egg noodles with peas on top and a sprinkle of paprika. BUT....I just picked up a package of fusilli bucati and might use some of that. There will still be peas with paprika, however.

    And wine. Can't forget that.

    7 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      That sounds like a meal from my childhood. Yum.

      Why do we always feel the need to apologize for eating something that tastes good? I hate food police!

      I logged on hoping to find some ideas, 4:50pm and still no idea what to eat for dinner.

      1. re: Jerseygirl111

        Jerseygirl, when I can't think of something to make, I revert back to cream cheese scrambled eggs and toasted/buttered English muffin. Or I just pour and bowl of cereal. ;-)

      2. re: LindaWhit

        That is one of my favorite things to eat. Enjoy.

        I love those old recipe cards, too. Think I'll peruse some online for nostalgia's sake.

        1. re: gemvt

          This was one of three recipe cards I kept when I finally got rid of the entire lot (and the lime green plastic box they were housed in). I'd have to go digging into my 3-ring binder to see what the other two are....I obviously don't make it them often. :-)

          1. re: LindaWhit

            My stepdad still uses his green box when it's his turn to cook. My mom did make a "rule" though after the first few meals he made from it... she has to approve anything before he makes it haha!

        2. re: LindaWhit

          Didn't do the fusilli bucati - used the egg noodles, and I tossed in 2 Tbsp. of cognac while the meat browned. LOTS of ground pepper for a nice bite.

          Nom, nom, nom.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            I love that dish. But I don't add the wine. The wine goes into the glass :) Comfort food for sure.

          2. With 4 black thumbs @casa lingua, we leave gardening to the professionals (plus we're generally not around for the season), so -- besides a few inedible daffodils -- we still have to purchase our greens at the market :-)

            Tonight, however, is my last gig before our summer trip, and I will probably eat something at the brew pub when we're done. While perusing their new menu, I discovered they serve an appetizer of "fresh water shrimp", which has sparked my curiosity. Fresh water shrimp? Huh.

            Just had a tomato/celery/avocado salad for a very very late "breakfast" that should tie me over until later tonight.

            To make things just a leetle bit more exciting, the person who was supposed to cat/house-sit will probably not be available after all -- family crisis. While I feel absolutely horrible for them, it's definitely a major SNAFU, considering we leave a week from now.


            8 Replies
            1. re: linguafood

              Oh no on the cat/house sitting! Fingers crossed you can find someone to do so - are there any pet sitting services nearby that you can ring up?

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Possibly. We have one lead and also reached out to others who were interested before. Dayang. Why can't things just go smoothly for a change?

                1. re: linguafood

                  Been there, done that. Besides asking all of your friends and co-workers, consider using Angies List and asking at your vet's office.

                  Do you cook for the cats?

                  1. re: linguafood

                    Care.com is another source for finding pet sitters.

                    1. re: meatn3

                      Our preference would be for someone we wouldn't have to pay, but thank you for the suggestions -- I'll check them out.

                      And no, the dude is fine with canned (albeit *very* particular about brand/content) food, so no cooking involved.

                2. re: linguafood

                  I would gladly sit for that furry little cutie if I were near you. This is a real snag in the plans.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    oh i hope you find someone! how stressful!

                    1. re: linguafood

                      Being from NC I know shrimp (ours are fab). Fresh water shrimp? I don't think so!

                      Now fresh water crabs - yes!

                    2. Don't know what we are eatin' for diner tonight but just had Happy Hour with some mussels steamed in white wine, garlic, hot pepper flakes, parsley, & some V-8 juice. Some nice crusty Italian bread to grab the sauce and of course white wine to make us "happy"!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: PHREDDY

                        Phreddy - could you do this with clams? As much as I wish I did - I'm not crazy about mussels. Love clams though!

                        1. re: Jeanne

                          Not Phreddy, but I do a very similar prep with clams, so it should totally work.

                          1. re: Jeanne

                            Yes Jeanne,
                            I do it with clams and even tried oysters. I have used Littlenecks, and Steamers. Works real well. When doing the clams, we will sometimes put it over some linguine, as a main course.
                            Keep in mind we add the parsley or even cilantro at the last minute as it is served. The nice thing about this, you really cannot add too much of anything, except the red pepper flakes, if you do not like it spicy.
                            Unfortunately , clams and mussels are not something we keep in our pantry, but if in the market on a Saturday or Sunday, I get them and cook them that day. Not necessarily an impulse food/meal, but a real nice low fat /calorie snack.

                            1. re: PHREDDY

                              Thanks Phreddy & Ludmilasdaughter - will definitely try it! I know you said not too much of anything - but a basic recipe as far as to how much V8, wine, etc would be great and I can go from there.

                              Now I'm wondering if clams are like oysters - only eat during the R months. Sorry - that's what we do in NC with our yummy oysters.

                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              Please hold down the table because I wish to eat them all. All of them.

                              1. re: gini

                                Gini, I am with you. Pass the bibs, the napkins and a giant pile of crawfish.....

                          1. I am making chicken braised in milk from Jamie Oliver. It is browned and then braised with garlic, lemon zest, and thyme( the recipe calls for sage but we don't care for it.

                            Also, a baked "barlotto" with ramps from nearby woods and our chives. For dessert the last of 2013's frozen blueberries in a crisp with almond flour and coconut topping.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: magiesmom

                              Ramps, I have been longing for those. Sounds like a fantastic dinner!

                              1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                Thanks. Just picked the ramps today. Special dinner for my hardworking sweetie.

                                1. re: magiesmom

                                  Do you use the cinnamon stick in the chicken as Oliver calls for? I just can't wrap my brain around that flavor combination.

                              2. re: magiesmom

                                Yum, I haven't had that recipe in a while. It's very tasty.

                              3. Woo hoo to kebobs tonight. Steak, chicken, shrimp, green and orange peppers, baby bellas, red onion, heirloom cherry and pear tomatoes. I got a single breast half, 6 jumbo shrimp and a sizzler steak. James better be starving. I haven't made a marinade yet. Either Asian style or oregano vinaigrette. I am leaning towards vinaigrette.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: suzigirl

                                  Went with an oregano and parsley vinaigrette. I can assure you there will be no after pics because James and I will be partaking grill side al fresco on the patio by the spa. MMM, thanks lingua for the inspiration.

                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                      Thanks Christina. I haven't had kebobs in a long time so it was a real treat.

                                2. 15 slabs of ribs, 6 Cornish hens, 3 chickens, 4 sides steelhead, 2 sides salmon. All in a day's work at When Hog Productions.

                                  9 Replies
                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      Great looking lineup, professional grade.

                                      Best to bring your own beer (pbr? no.). It's good policy to tip the chef.

                                        1. re: rjbh20

                                          Wow! Looks so delicious! That is ALOT of food! Looks like lot of people are going to be very happy!!!

                                          1. re: rjbh20

                                            Now THIS is the food-porn I have been missing!

                                            Nice job RJBH.... must get your advice on a smoker to put in the backyard....

                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                              I designed mine, David Klose in Houston made it. Klose BBQ Pits www.bbqpits.com

                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                Where the hell have you been? I have been wondering about you.

                                            2. Last night fried fresh Gulf red snapper skin on, in corn meal, a touch of flour, Cajun seasonings, and egg and milk drench. An app of shell on, butterflied Gulf shrimp in butter, olive oil, garlic, lemon and more Cajun seasonings done in the toaster oven.

                                              1. My husband spent part of the day fixing part of my raised garden beds so I can plant my veggies next weekend. I'm lazy and do everything except tomatoes and peppers straight from seed.

                                                No dinner tonight. We had a very late lunch and the pots I need to make the meatballs that I had planned need to be run through the dishwasher before I can use them. No, I can't hand-wash them. It is against my religion.

                                                I brought home half of my mushroom-swiss burger and most of my french fries from lunch so my husband can have that later if he gets hungry.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Njchicaa

                                                  Leftover burger and fries is always appreciated in this household. On to the gardening, down here, Houston, if every thing isn't up and kneehighish it's not going to happen. I now live in an apartment, and I miss my mega veggie garden, but I do have a mini patio farm and have picked a few better boys overwintered in pots. I know you folks have had a brutal winter, but I'd take some 40's Linda alluded to about now. The a/c runs nonstop while the sun is up, and they're about to virtually double the electrical rates in May.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      I know y'all get hammered on rates in the winter, it's all relative. Great luck on all your gardening, it sure is fun watching the efforts come to fruition!

                                                2. My eating has been terrible for months so I'm trying to rein it in by basically barricading myself in my apartment. Today i drank lots of water with lemon and cucumbers in vinegar and asparagus dipped in that old Moosewood Yogurt dill sauce.

                                                  For dinner, curried cabbage and peas from Appetite for Reduction.

                                                  1. Sadly I'm not really into healthier and veggie-friendly dinners. So to be somewhat healthier I made some maple glazed boneless pork chops...Hey it beats eating fried foods or pasta!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Lorry13

                                                      That sounds good. What did you use in your glaze?

                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                        The recipe is from Cook's Country http://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/5...

                                                        The glaze is basically maple syrup, cider vinegar, mustard (which I omitted), and thyme. I opted to also add oregano also.

                                                    2. Burgers are on the menu tonight. The house grind is 2:1 chuck to short rib. Deb is caramelizing onions to top the Land O' Lakes white American cheese. Lightly toasted Marty's Rolls will be the delivery mechanism. Crisps, classic Lay's, will be on the side. Beer (real beer) and wine will be on the counter. The Incredibles, a Pixar classic, will be on the plasma.

                                                      Winter was brutal here. None of the herbs in the garden survived except for the Zombie Chives.

                                                      27 Replies
                                                          1. re: steve h.

                                                            That looks awesome. Marty's, caramelized onions and LOL's cheese are perfect.

                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                              We have been having a fun argument here in our house about whether to grill it not grill our burgers buns. Thank your for your completely unintentional vote!

                                                              1. re: gini

                                                                Vote early, vote often. That's my motto.

                                                              2. re: steve h.

                                                                steve, that looks great, but a question: nary a condiment? I know you'll probably say the meat is its own condiment.... just curious!

                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                  The caramelized onions are so sweet that additional condiment isn't necessary. Chips and beer on the side and I'm good to go.

                                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                                    got it. I tend to gild the lily. must learn restraint. yums.

                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                        seesta, I am ALL about mayo, mustard(s), horsey, pickles (my homemade of course), tomatoes, etc.

                                                                        Gilding said Lily is part of the fun!

                                                                2. re: steve h.

                                                                  Short ribs in a burger, sick in a good way. I like to throw some in a crock pot to ad fat and flavor to a roast.

                                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                                    I think my chives are going on their sixth year. They are near impossible to kill!

                                                                    1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                                                      And they can be invasive, so some gardening manuals recommend planting the pot with the chives to keep the roots from spreading!

                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                        Yeah but chives don't spread that much. Not like mint (which it's pretty much essential for me to contain, otherwise it would take over)

                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                          I wish chives would spread more, as I love the flowers on my asparagus salads this time of year.

                                                                        2. re: roxlet

                                                                          Chives need to be dead-headed before the flowers go to seed. The seeds spew all over the garden. That's how they spread. I like to cut the flowers with a little stem and bring them inside to put into a vase. The flowers have a surprisingly sweet aroma that scents the room. Inside they're readily available to use in the kitchen. The same goes for garlic chives which have white flowers. Both garlic and onion chives border one whole side of my vegetable garden.

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            I guess I should have said I wish MY chives would spread more :-). And maybe they aren't because I am cutting every damn flower I can get my hands on to make salads with as soon as they are ready -- which should be momentarily. Since I have so few I usually just bring them in as needed. How long do they last once cut? I presume you treat them like any cut flower, lots of water changed frequently...

                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                              Right: "lots of water changed frequently..." Next bloom time just leave a few flowers to go to seed. However, you could let the flowers dry indoors and plant wherever you want. I wouldn't cover them though since the seeds remain on the open soil after spewing.

                                                                              Since the flowers are used as you do they're gone quickly however since I like the aroma I do leave some alone every now and then I'd say they last about a week. I find the onion chives fade more quickly though.

                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                I spent some time planting herbs in my deck garden and it is entirely possible that my potted mint did not survive the winter. Amazing!

                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                  Mine didn't. I thought mint was impossible to kill but this winter seems to have done the trick!

                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                    I can't actually fathom buying a mint plant. Must scour neighborhood for a freebie I can uproot.

                                                                                2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                  Mint's the really bad boys, your mother wouldnt let you play with. And she was right!

                                                                                3. re: steve h.

                                                                                  Ah, the cockroach of the herb world... what a fine beverage it makes in the Mojito!

                                                                                  Perhaps it should be renamed ' cockroach with rum and lime" ? :)

                                                                            1. A trip to chinatown inspired dinner tonight. I found some gorgeous japanese eggplant and made miso eggplant, a half recipe of this:
                                                                              Which should theoretically serve 3. Um.... No. Along with enough miso eggplant for three i had super fresh tofu i bought from the hole in the wall nook where i stood in line with chinese grandmas. I just drizzled the tofu with a bit of toasted sesame oil, soy, and some scallions.
                                                                              Munched some seaweed rice crackers while cooking, some of the good spicey candied ginger with tea for late night.

                                                                              1. I was in a blah space with eating for a while so I've been avoiding these threads since they just caused me to feel like the biggest slug ever...But getting my groove back!

                                                                                I attended a Cuban themed potluck tonight. Every single person (18) asked for my recipe and raved about the flavors! With picnic season and warm weather dishes around the corner I wanted to share the link with you all:


                                                                                The dressing gives the option of apple cider vinegar or lime juice. I went with the vinegar, tasted it and added some lemon juice to brighten it. I think had I used lime juice it would have been just right.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                  Super pleased with my first stab at pan frying shisitos! I'll cook them for a couple minutes less next time as I like them a bit crunchier, but otherwise as good as I've had in restaurants, woot. A wee sprinkle of shichimi was a nice addition to the Maldon salt. I roasted a trout in the oven to go with, and it was just right with fresh lemon on top. A great end to a perfect lazyish day of cryptic crosswords and gardening with the SO who's just back from a business trip.

                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                      Welcome back!
                                                                                      That salad sounds wonderful!! Bookmarked for the near future.

                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                        I had some extra watercress and dressing so made this as a side for dinner tonight. The dressing is better the day of - the garlic becomes stronger after a few days. I used canned pineapple and it was fine. Attempted to brown it in pan sans sugar. It didn't really brown but the flavor was fine - my body does not do well with sugar at night.

                                                                                      2. Homemade pizza, wine, and the Kings game!

                                                                                        Busy cooking day for me. Started with pancakes. Then made pizza dough, 4 loaves of ciabatta, meatballs in sauce, pizza sauce, and cookies. Felt good to have the time to play in the kitchen. DH commented on how many times we had to do dishes. :)

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Aussieshepsx2

                                                                                          On days like that, I just let the dishes pile up, then go into my Zen spot and do them all at once with a drink.

                                                                                          Sounds like good eats today, and good eats to come!

                                                                                          1. re: Aussieshepsx2

                                                                                            That Kings/Sharks series is turning into a real fun series!

                                                                                            1. re: Aussieshepsx2

                                                                                              Pizza night here too. One with pesto, four cheeses, cherry tomatoes and sausage, one bacon, caramelized onion and cherry peppers (this one was tonight's winner) and one of our usual favorite, pepperoni, caramelized onion and green olive. We only eat one carb-heavy meal per week and we probably end up choosing pizza for our indulgence at least every other week!

                                                                                            2. We had dinner at our friend's house tonight. They had smoked a pork butt with a rub on it, served with choice of mustard or vinegar sauce. Our hostess made some roasted Yukon gold potatoes with onions and sea salt. I made mashed cauliflower with cream cheese in it - it's my favorite mashed cauliflower dish now.


                                                                                              DH made vanilla bean ice cream, and we served that with the hostess' homemade caramel sauce and a drizzle of mission fig balsamic vinegar.

                                                                                              1. Happy Saturday Night to all! Make it a great Sunday later. well here is our dinner. Memo to self.... eat some vegetables for cryin' out loud!

                                                                                                1. We hosted a listening party and potluck dinner with friends last night, it was a perfect excuse to make some springy food:

                                                                                                  -Israeli cous cous salad with basil-mint-walnut pesto, grated Parm. Regg., grape tomatoes, and diced zukes
                                                                                                  -creamy cucumber-dill salad with shaved onion
                                                                                                  -prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe
                                                                                                  -shrimp cocktail
                                                                                                  -smoked bbq chicken wings and homemade ranch dip - I made these using my Cameron's stovetop smoker and crisped 'em up under the broiler--awesome flavor! http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=1...

                                                                                                  Our friends brought baked brie, stuffed grape leaves, assorted cheeses, grapes, Peruvian chicken and rice w/ sauces, potato salad, bread, and other goodies.

                                                                                                  Wine flowed freely, of course.

                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                    Nice meal...The cucumber salad...what were the ingredients?...sounds delish,and since I have 6 cukes in the fridge..

                                                                                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                      It's just sliced cukes and onion in a dressing of sour cream, a little mayo, fresh snipped or dried dill, salt, pepper, white vinegar, a little bit of sugar, and some mixed seasoning (like seasoned salt or Forward) if you like.

                                                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                        Will be making some for a light, small plate cocktail party this afternoon.
                                                                                                        Thank you!

                                                                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                          Oh, that couscous salad with basil-mint-walnut pesto sounds great, Christina - recipe?

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            Of course, Linda. Sorry for the delay. It's been a hell of a weekend and Chowhound's reply feature on Android/Firefox blows.

                                                                                                            Here ya go:

                                                                                                            for the pesto:
                                                                                                            1 c. Italian basil leaves, packed
                                                                                                            1 c. mint leaves, packed
                                                                                                            2 cloves garlic, minced and sauteed for about 1 min. in 1 tsp. olive oil
                                                                                                            3/4 c. walnuts, toasted in a dry pan or oven and cooled
                                                                                                            2 lemons, zested and juiced
                                                                                                            salt and pepper to taste (around 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper)
                                                                                                            pinch of red pepper flake or dash of hot sauce
                                                                                                            enough olive oil to make a good pesto consistency (around 1/2 - 3/4 c.)

                                                                                                            for the rest of the salad:
                                                                                                            8 oz. dried Israeli couscous
                                                                                                            2-3 Tbsp. salt for the boiling water
                                                                                                            1/2 c. grated Parm. Reggiano
                                                                                                            2 small zucchini quartered legthwise and cut into small dice
                                                                                                            1 box grape tomatoes, rinsed and dried
                                                                                                            10 oz. package frozen sweet peas, thawed and drained
                                                                                                            1 tsp. olive oil

                                                                                                            To make the pesto:

                                                                                                            1. In a food processor, pulse the basil, mint, cooked garlic, cooled toasted walnuts, lemon juice and zest , salt, pepper, and red pepper to a coarse paste.

                                                                                                            2. With the machine on, drizzle in 1/2 - 3/4 c. olive oil. Process to a moderately smooth paste. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Set aside.

                                                                                                            To assemble the salad:

                                                                                                            1. Boil the couscous in heavily salted water until tender but not mushy (about 6-7 min.). Drain and rinse well with cold water. Drain completely and toss with 1 tsp. olive oil to prevent sticking.

                                                                                                            2. When the couscous is completely cool, toss with the pesto, tomatoes, peas, zucchini, and cheese. Taste for seasoning and serve.

                                                                                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                              Thanks SO much, Christina! Sounds very good - I can see asparagus working as a replacement for the zucchini as well.

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                Definitely---I almost added some blanched asparagus cut on the bias this time. This recipe makes a lot, so I suggest leaving the grape tomatoes whole to avoid any leftovers getting slimy. We didn't have any of those this time; this dish is definitely a party/picnic crowd-pleaser. Hope you enjoy it.

                                                                                                          2. Wow. We had a fantastic show, despite our dear drummer butchering one of the new tunes -- but thankfully, the room was up dancing their pants off & only a sad few noticed :-)

                                                                                                            A nice way to end our spring season. Never did get a chance to eat at the pub, so we ended up at the sushi/cocktail bar and shared tuna tataki and yellow chives with beef in XO sauce: excellent. Had a mezcal with tonic/soda, and went home.

                                                                                                            Not sure WFD dinner tonight -- might be wings at the local pub that's hosting the Sunday blues jam. Haven't been there in several weeks and should probably make an appearance before my Berlin sojourn.

                                                                                                            Enjoy your Sundays and don't think about tomorrow :-D

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                              Glad for the great show! Dinner sounds like the correct way to celebrate.

                                                                                                            2. Had friend stay with us last night so I got up early and made a bacon, spinach and goat cheese frittata. Great way to start the day.

                                                                                                              Heading north this AM to visit my sister who just broke her wrist. Poor thing! Then off to my sons rugby match in the cold and rain. But hoping that dinner will be fab. After the match we are going to stop by a German market/sausage place. I think some assorted smoked meats, spaetzle and garlicky spinach will be just what we need!

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. Responding to Linda's question in the OP about produce from the garden - we only grow herbs. They have to be perennial. They have to look good (we do not have a large garden so they go in amongst the decorative plants). And, of course, we have to like them. Everything's edible at the moment - several thymes, chives, garlic chives, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and bay. Although the bay is looking very sickly with yellowy leaves - I've fed it and hope it will improve.

                                                                                                                As for dinner....... tortilla, salad, bread. As we're on the theme, chives will put in an appearance somewhere .

                                                                                                                1. Yes! the chard we had last night was homegrown, as were all the herbs. We have also had rhubarb. Only a week or so to the first broad beans.
                                                                                                                  Tonight is a lentil bake, which will use the stalks of the chard, and some celery, and a lot of home grown parsley. A simple salad with it, and some fruit and yoghurt for pudding.

                                                                                                                  1. It is a beautiful day here at the Jersey Shore. I was planning to have my husband set up the smoker to smoke a whole chicken, but he woke up, got a drink of water, and promptly went down to his Man Cave for a nap... I think I may wind up just roasting it instead. I pulled a pan of macaroni and cheese out of the freezer and we have leftover wedge salad from Friday night. Sounds like dinner to me!

                                                                                                                    1. It's cold and rainy here today... a perfect day to stay in the house and veg out. I guess I should maybe pack some boxes, but meh.

                                                                                                                      Tonight's dinner is just a layered chicken enchilada casserole, to use up some flour tortillas and a can of enchilada sauce I have on hand.

                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                        Cold rain, I'm jealous, seriously. Upper 80's today, a precursor to five months of 90 plus, and nothing below 70, ever. Can we trade? Food wise, just had some Creole fried wings, collard greens, and red beans and rice with Andouille from a local chain that destroys Popeyes.


                                                                                                                        Edit, also a darned fine spicy boudain link.

                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                          I'd love your recipe for your "just layered chicken enchilada casserole" Julie! Trying to come up with very simple things to make - have been back in my townhouse for only 1 month after 6 months in a motel - had a major plumbing break in my master bath in August while I was away - came home to a collapsed ceiling, ruined carpet, walls, floors, running water through the ceiling, etc. Was a disaster!

                                                                                                                          Now I'm back and have lots of boxes to unpack from what Disaster 1 had to get out of here - am looking for simple but yummy! And I can always make a salad to go with it to make it a balanced meal (ha!). Thanks!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                                                            That sounds horrible, but I'll bet you're glad to be back home!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                                                              6 months? That must have been some flood. Glad you are back at home safe and sound.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                                                                Jeanne, I SO get how that can be having worked in the restoration market of HO insurance; getting people back into their houses after a loss; it super sucks that you had to stay in a temp. housing place for so long.

                                                                                                                                Glad your back in your place and finding you way with dinner! Simple but yummy is the best.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Jeanne

                                                                                                                                  Being a plumber have seen the damage a dripping pipe can make...I feel for you, but glad you have rebounded, perhaps with a new kitchen?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                    The break was upstairs in the masterbath - slow spray over the 1 1/2 baths upstairs, effected the bathrooms, guest bedroom upstairs, complete ceiling in living area downstairs, a wall downstairs. New bamboo flooring in ALL of downstairs, new ceiling, new wall, paint job, new carpet in guest bedroom and new tile flooring in the master bath and guest bath upstairs. Love the new work but what a way to get it!

                                                                                                                                    I was gone for 9 days - a friend was feeding my cat. I figure the leak had been going on for about 4 days.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Jeanne

                                                                                                                                    Just now saw this, I apologize!

                                                                                                                                    Ugh sorry to hear about your flood! That happened to my grandparents awhile back, their upstairs neighbors had a leak in their water line to the refrigerator. Small leak, but big problems for them.

                                                                                                                                    It really wasn't much of a recipe at all! I used canned sauce. I baked some chicken breasts seasoned w/ homemade taco seasoning and then diced them up. I put some sauce in the dish, then 2 flour tortillas, then chicken, then more sauce, then cheese, then more tortillas, then chicken, then more sauce, then cheese, then more tortillas, then sauce, then cheese, and baked it at 375 for like... 20 minutes? I just let it go til bubbly.

                                                                                                                                    I specifically made it because it was easy and didn't dirty up a lot in way of dishes... really just the baking dish and a cutting board and knife (used pre-shredded cheese too). It was especially good the next day!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                      Thanks so much Julie! Will definitely do this! I already have a few of the ingredients - and I love any Mexican food (almost!).

                                                                                                                                2. Last night we had company and we were not sure of their taste in foods. I know they are not foodies and often eat popcorn for dinner (!!!!) instead of cooking meals....so, I erred on the side of caution and simplicity and had a great meal.

                                                                                                                                  Appetizers included champagne with 2 puff pastry galettes one was wild mushrooms in wine and cream, a bit of truffle, thyme and parm, the other one was a simple smoked mozz with salami. One of the guests didn't eat mushrooms (my instincts were right to have two!) but really liked "the pepperoni pizza one". Lol.

                                                                                                                                  For the second time in a month, cooking for simpler eaters, I made the copycat recipe of Cheesecake Factory sun dried tomato fettucini, grilled a large flat iron steak, and made a caprese salad of a huge hunk of tomato, fresh burrata, a scoop of homemade pesto all drizzled with a nice green olive oil. I made the copycat Olive Garden salad for the first course (they LOVED it). Dessert was Maui banana bread, with sliced banana, rum cream sauce, and whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                  I find it more of a challenge to cook for folks that don't have adventurous tastes, but it has been fun, too. Copycat recipes are a lifesaver on these occasions, and they are often really tasty!

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                    That all sounds very delicious. Could you point me in the direction of the Maui banana bread recipe? Also, would like to hear more about the rum cream sauce.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                      I use this recipe for Maui banana bread, with the addition of a few chopped maraschino cherries. The cherries make it "pop". It is very simple and has a nice clean banana flavor (if that makes sense):


                                                                                                                                      As for the boozy sauce, I just melt a few Tbs. butter, add a few Tbs sugar, add a few Tbs booze of choice (bourbon, rum or brandy) stir until sugar melts, is no longer gritty and thickens up....then whisk in a little heavy cream. It thickens/hardens in the fridge if you don't use it right away...if it makes it that far (just reheat). It is really good!

                                                                                                                                  2. It's a stay-at-home kind of day.

                                                                                                                                    Brunch was prosecco, burrata, prosciutto and some grilled tomatoes (oil and garlic) for color and sweetness. The burrata was dressed with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some sea salt and a gentle scraping of nutmeg. Rustic bread was lightly toasted and oiled.

                                                                                                                                    Supper will be a Zuni chicken. A decent California red will be paroled from the wine jail.

                                                                                                                                    Deb is braising a batch of short ribs in red wine. The ribs will make an appearance later in the week. The house smells great. Season seven of Burn Notice will be on the plasma. I refuse to be productive today on the grounds that I don't want to.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                        Don't Beach Boys on the box guarantee us some fine summer weather? More power to us all from such a dinner and soundtrack.

                                                                                                                                        Missed you Steve!

                                                                                                                                    1. A cold & rainy Sunday, so dinner was Four Bean Cassserole, recipe previously posted here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9059... made with some leftover spicy Prudhomme meatloaf (frozen in Feb) in place of the standard ground beef. Served with toasted whole wheat buns.

                                                                                                                                      Dinner Saturday was steak, sweet potato, and a very nice simple salad of diced cucumber, diced tomato, jar of marinated artichoke hearts with some of the liquid as dressing for the dish, on a bed of fresh spinach. Topped with snips of fresh chives from our garden. Leftovers will be our evening meal tonight, with some skillet-cooked diced fresh potatoes

                                                                                                                                      The mint is also up in the house-side herb bed. I'll be using that this week when I make May COTM p. 214 Cabbage Salad with Lime and Mint. All other garden herbs are a month away from purchase/planting.

                                                                                                                                      1. I'm tired after a super long day yesterday but finally starting to feel like a real person again (I actually slept last night since I can breathe once again!) I think we're going to do stuffed burgers tonight. The man will probably have mushroom and swiss, I'll have white cheddar and green chili. I think there are some more zucchini ready in the garden, maybe a couple flying saucer squash, too. Those will get the butter and garlic saute treatment and a tomato and herb salad on the side.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                          Stuffed burgers!! Whoa. It was between burgers and steak for us.... but yours sound fab.

                                                                                                                                        2. Making a masaman curry, with some beef I dug out of the freezer. I remembered yesterday that I have a conference next week, so I need half as many meals. So just this, bread, and cookies. The beef is marinating in the curry with some lemon and coconut milk--the recipe didn't call for it, but I figured it couldn't hurt. I will cook it with potatoes and cauliflower.

                                                                                                                                          1. Change o' plans. It is sunny out and the temps are fairly reasonable (high 50s), so we've decided to take advantage of what seems to be perhaps the last chance to grill before they drop down to near freezing again. Ah, yes: "spring".

                                                                                                                                            In any event -- with our pending departure to the fatherland, we both were in the mood for a quintessential 'murrcan meal: a chuck-eye steak has been salted and is sitting on a rack to be brushed with olive oil, crushed rosemary & thyme; sides will be the first corn on the cob of the season (nuked 2 min. tops), liberally buttered and salted as well as one of my sweetie's faves: romaine, grape tomatoes, radishes with bleu cheese dressing which I just whipped up. I won't have a stick blender in Germany so might as well.

                                                                                                                                            Hungry now. Blues later :-)

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                              U go girl! Sounds like a great meal this side of the Fatherland....

                                                                                                                                            2. After a weekend of abstemious eating, I remembered there was leftover pizza in the freezer. It was heated up and inhaled. Spinach, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, cheddar, mozz, parm and Gorgonzola.

                                                                                                                                              1. Dinner is an experiment, especially since I've never done this before. But for *some* reason, homemade corn & ricotta ravioli has been on my mind for several weeks, so tonight's the night. I'm not going *that* homemade by making my own pasta - I'm using wonton skins.

                                                                                                                                                So - the filling is:

                                                                                                                                                1 cup of TJ's roasted corn
                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup heavy cream
                                                                                                                                                2 tsp. minced fresh thyme - maybe a bit more
                                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp. sugar
                                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp. salt
                                                                                                                                                1/2 tsp. ground pepper.

                                                                                                                                                That was cooked in a skillet over medium heat until the liquid was almost gone. Cooled, I whirled it in a food processor, then blended it with:

                                                                                                                                                3/4 cup ricotta cheese
                                                                                                                                                2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
                                                                                                                                                1 small egg, whisked.

                                                                                                                                                Into the fridge to "set". It was still a bit thinner than I'd like, but it worked.

                                                                                                                                                Onto a floured counter went a wonton skin, about 2 tsp. of the corn-ricotta filling into the middle. A wash of egg was brushed around the filling, and another wonton was laid over top. I pressed down on the edges to seal them, and cut down the edges with a knife, as I probably filled them too full so using a fluted cookie cutter wouldn't work. Onto floured parchment paper on a tray and into the freezer to chill down. They look pretty ugly, but hopefully they'll work after being cooked.

                                                                                                                                                They'll be carefully dropped into boiling water and cooked for 3-5 minutes, or until they float to the top of the boiling water.

                                                                                                                                                The sauce will be 1/2 cup of chicken broth, reduced a little bit. About 1/4 cup of heavy cream (this recipe uses up ALL the heavy cream in my fridge!) and 2 Tbsp. of butter will be added and the sauce will simmer until thickened, about 3-5 minutes, constantly whisking to prevent scorching. Minced rosemary and thyme will be added towards the end, and it'll be spooned over the cooked corn ravioli, with a smidge of grated parm on top.

                                                                                                                                                A small salad alongside with a lemon-mustard vinaigrette. There's wine. Especially since the salad and wine *might* be my dinner tonight if the ravs don't cook properly or break apart in the boiling water! LOL

                                                                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    Color me impressed! Sounds outstanding, please report back!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      Miserable failure.

                                                                                                                                                      Well, I take that back. Perhaps not a "failure" but definitely not ravioli as I would like ravioli. Flavor was pretty good; sauce wasn't bad, but not great; but wontons don't cut it for ravioli "dough". I'm a failure as a representative of northern Italy - or whichever area might use a cream sauce.

                                                                                                                                                      I still have 10 ravs in the freezer; not sure what to do with them - I had deep fried strips of the rest of the wontons to top a salad (instead of croutons), but I don't think these would work as deep-fried ravs.

                                                                                                                                                      :::Shrug::: Oh well, Sometimes you win, sometimes you spectacularly crash. ::::putting some Mercurochrome on my chin and scuffed knees::::

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        You could try steam-sauteing them, like potstickers - just put them into a non-stick skillet with a little oil and a little water, turn on the heat and cover the pan. Let them steam for a few minutes, then remove the lid and let the water evaporate - they'll brown in the oil left behind. They sound like they might be good with something spicy to dip them in?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                          Someone on Facebook recommended either pan-frying or baking them, but I like your steam-frying.

                                                                                                                                                          And yes, a spicy sauce would definitely add some oomph. For now, they'll remain in the freezer until I need an "emergency meal." :-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            I have two ears of corn in my house right now and that sounds really intriguing! Thanks for the idea, even if execution wasn't perfect.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                              I have two ears too. I'm thinking something like this: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... which I've made before. I find it best to just add everything to taste. The bf and I ate bowls and bowls of this stuff last summer very happily.

                                                                                                                                                              I also love LOVE LOVE corn on pizza. Usually I'll just do a thin crust pie with pesto or oil/garlic, cheese, roasted tomatoes, fresh corn, and lots of fresh basil or arugula. Taste of summer!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                That Epicurious recipe sounds very good!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  It is! Try it in the summer with good sweet corn. Sometimes I'll sauté an onion/shallot at the beginning too, or add chopped green onions at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                    Shallot and corn goes very well together. And, of course, there's bacon in the dish. *How* could it be bad? LOL

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          That's too bad. They sounded really good. Disappointing.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            Remove the filling and use it for a stuffed poblano.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              aw, sorry! I was wondering how the won ton ravioli would work... I was going to say the same biondanonima, re steaming/frying, as that's how the BF makes potstickers.

                                                                                                                                                              let us know when/if you eventually try it!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                Ahh, well - you always learn something when you experiment, right? And I haven't experimented in awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                At least it pulled me out of my cooking the same-old, same-old rut. What I *NEED* to do is pull out some of my cookbooks and thumb through them to see what strikes my fancy.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                I'd suggest keeping the sauce a little lighter. The virtue of wonton is that it is delicate and like asian noodles, slippery. Neither of which is like ravioli dough.

                                                                                                                                                                I made some gyoza ravioli a few months back. I don't remember exatly what I did but it turned out OK. As I recall I filled them with a little cooked crab/shrimp mix with a dash of cream. I heated them in water and tossed in a warm pan with butter and herbs, maybe sage.

                                                                                                                                                                I think your best bet is keeping things light. I'm guessing the heavy sauce overwhelmed the wonton. For my part, I've got shrimp shell stock in the freezer, and I'm thinking of doing another seafood gyoza ravioli, this time in a shallow bowl with the shrimp broth and a little aioli. A corn or tomato broth might be nice for your ravioli.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                                                                                                  I think that's whyI didn't like it as much, Chris. The wontons are definitely "slippery", and I thought they weren't cooked enough.

                                                                                                                                                                  I do like the idea of steaming/pan-frying them a bit, like potstickers. And yes, with a lighter sauce. I was looking at three different recipes, and they all went creamy, which was definitely a mistake on my part.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  Donate them to two CH friends and ask them to come up with something special and report back to you!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                                    Hah! I wouldn't subject friends to these ravs, Phreddy.

                                                                                                                                                              3. Dinner ended up being grilled weisswurst, spaetzle that was sautéed in butter and topped with a generous sprinkling of parm after boiling and some wilted spinach/roasted garlic side. Delicious!!

                                                                                                                                                                1. For dinner I made a spring mint pea soup topped with chopped chives and a little dollop of sour cream, served hot. I also marinated some chicken breasts in greek yogurt, garlic, fresh ginger and sriracha sauce and turned them into skewers. We finished it off with some freshly made iced green tea with mint.
                                                                                                                                                                  I'll be back in the kitchen a little later making a soba noodle veggie salad for work lunches this week.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Oboegal

                                                                                                                                                                    Hey Oboegal, that soup and the chicken sound perfect together!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. In Toronto and the weather has been kookie! Grabbed some chives and thyme out of my planters yesterday, but nothing else was showing and today the thyme is crisp again!. The Beavers/Boy Scouts delivered their 'fert and dirt' we ordered from their fundraising drive ( a sign of spring!) and I'm in the mood to get things going. I'm alone for dinner tonight and had a two chicken thighs in the freezer so reverted to dried herbs (thanks to my garden last year) and had CRISPY AND TENDER BAKED CHICKEN (allrecipes.com). Preheat oven to 350F. For eight, bone-in, skin on(gasp!), chicken thighs, mix well equal amounts (1/4tsp or more) garlic salt, onion salt, dried oregano, ground thyme, paprika, ground black pepper. Arrange chicken on foil lined baking sheet coated with oil spray. Loosen skin on chicken and smooth some mixture between chicken and skin, and sprinkle rest liberally over chicken. Bake until crispy and not pink at the bone and juices run clear, about an hour. Should reach 165 F close to the bone.
                                                                                                                                                                    fyi, I made 2 thighs and used 1/8 tsp of each ingredient and baked for 40min. Glad I didn't have to share!

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                        thanks....my most medicinal nosh. : )

                                                                                                                                                                    1. We're eating greens from the garden here: kale, mustard, lettuce thinnings, some romaine, and baby bok choy thinnings, as well as overwintered bunching onions. None of those in dinner tonight, which is chiles rellenos with serrano shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Sliced rare sirloin on arugula with lemon vinaigrette & Brabant potatoes with Romano, black pepper & truffle oil. Steak was done sous vide to 120 then blasted on the grill for a few min. Bingo.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. Beer brats, peppers, red onion and red potatoes and a cucumber salad.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Today the bf and I barely slept in and then he went to work on some cars and I got in the kitchen. Made his pasta salads to keep in the fridge for lunch/dinner, and a fabulous raspberry almond cake.

                                                                                                                                                                            He came home early because he missed me so (ha, ha) and we finished the bed we started building yesterday. Or rather, I sat and watched as he attached the legs. Our project is complete! I'm so in love. What a productive weekend--so many projects done, lots of food in the fridge/freezer, a new bed (new mattress coming tomorrow), and I learned to upholster/tuft (don't mind the mess in the bedroom please, we were drilling/sewing/cutting wood in there).

                                                                                                                                                                            WFD--since the bf took off work, we are going to a dinner party in a few. There will be gigantic steaks on the grill, baked taters, and probably veggies of some sort. Homemade blueberry pie for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                              Your man is spoiled. That all looks delicious and so fresh. Snaps on the bed. It looks beautiful. I hope you post a pic when it is all together. I would love to see it finished.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                Those pasta salads were packed with fresh produce. I'm loving the offerings right now here in SoCal.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm going to have to buy new bedding I think. What I have doesn't go at all with this new bed. The mattress is coming tomorrow or Tuesday, and we ordered a HUGE sectional sofa which will come Friday. The whole house is getting a makeover!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                                                  Wonderfully! The bf went a little nuts with brackets and Kreg screws, trying to show me just how sturdy he could make it. I'm dreading the day I move; that thing will have to come out the narrow doors in many many pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm loving the upholstered headboard. Don't need a bunch of pillows anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Made a giant painting yesterday to hang above it, and I love the mini makeover for now (still shopping for new bedding).

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I was feeling like my life didn't have enough excitement this morning, so I decided to pop into the grand opening of Wegman's in Chestnut Hill. Crowds of people are funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                Anyway, I scored some nice looking cod and decided to roast it with olive oil, capers, sundried tomatoes, scallions, fennel fronds, and scallions.

                                                                                                                                                                                Alongside: smothered zucchini with basil and spinach with garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                To finish, chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate not really dipped pecans.

                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't believe you braved Rte. 9, gini! You're brave. How was Wegmans? I love going to the Northborough store...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    There was zero traffic coming or going. Maybe I just hit it at the right time. I was pretty unimpressed with the liquor store, but the fish counter was great. I didn't get close enough to the various prepared bars to comment, and the dry good section looks pretty similar to other grocers nearby. Produce department was large and varied. Cheese department service was sweet, but unexciting.

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's possible I'm not the perfect target audience (there's a grocery store between my t stop and my house I can hit on the walk home), but I can see it coming into rotation.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                      Their liquor store prices and choices at Northborough are pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm still surprised the road wasn't insanely crowded as well. That area opposite the Mall @ Chestnut Hill is always nuts. You definitely lucked out!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        I should clarify: most of their craft beer delivery didn't get delivered on Friday, so the selection was somewhat limited. The very helpful employee told me next week should be better stocked.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                          That's odd; the liquor store opened at the end of March, so they shouldn't have had any problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                    that cod looks amazing.
                                                                                                                                                                                    it makes me angry at the non-fish-eating BF. grrr....

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                      I believe there is some cod in my refrigerator, and this may be tomorrow's preparation.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                        It could have used some acid, for what it's worth! And maybe parlsey instead of fennel.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I would do parsley. No one in my house but me likes fennel.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Bought all the fixings for Beef Carpaccio but here it is almost 7PM and neither the husband or I have an appetite. Tenderloin is partially frozen and ready to be sliced, pounded, and plated. Guess I'll go ahead and prep to have it later tonight, or tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Last night's chana masala was a perfect choice for the un-springlike weather. It snowed. Seriously. Snow. And we barely had any all winter. Warm, spicy chickpeas were very welcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                        It snowed today too, and hailed, and wind-stormed, so we're definitely holding off on the spring planting, although the yard cleanup is ongoing.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Tonight, homemade Chinese take-out (due to the severe lack of acceptable schlocky take-out places in this town). Beef and broccoli in black bean sauce. Steamed white rice. Packaged spring rolls (from Dollar Tree, but they're actually pretty good) with bottled plum sauce for dipping. Hell yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                            It was pretty much just an improv. I took some flat round steak and sliced it really thin across the grain. Let it silk all day in 1 tbsp corn starch, 1 tbsp egg white, some rice wine a pinch of sugar and a crushed clove of garlic. Fried that up in some oil over high heat, added some soaked, minced black beans (the fermented variety, about 1/4 cup), garlic, ginger. Added some broccoli (florets and sliced stem). Added splashes of dark soy, light soy and rice wine. I think another pinch of sugar and a spoonful of Sichuan chili bean paste (because I thought it was a touch bland). I didn't have any stock, so I used the bean soaking water with a spoonful of better than bouillon instead. Finished it with a spoonful of cornstarch slurry and some chopped green onion.

                                                                                                                                                                                            More effort than takeout, but way better than what I've had since we moved.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Repeat of last nights dinner, I am good with leftovers!

                                                                                                                                                                                          BUT.....made a great little apple galette, to be served with vanilla ice cream during Game of Thrones! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                              What's your blend? I made five pounds each cheddar jalapeño and olive parmesan last week, with a blend of chicken and pork.

                                                                                                                                                                                              My least favorite part of the process is getting the casings onto the stuffer tube. If you have a trick to make it easier or faster, I would be eternally grateful.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                Nothing out of the ordinary this time -- pork shoulder (nice fat/lean ratio as is), salt, black pepper, red pepper flake, sage, thyme & a touch of sugar. As to the casings, soak in water, rinse inside & keep the horn wet. Also make sure the casing is centered on the horn -- it tends to get one sided & bind up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rjbh20

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, that's the main issue I encounter - they slide to one side and then bind or tear. Very nice work!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Well, we're back from the road trip and happily discovered another incredible part of New Zealand while away. The Forgotten World Highway is a must do if you ever visit and are up for a (very) challenging drive with amazing scenery. We also discovered a great butcher's shop in New Plymouth that does a a fine smoked biltong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                We returned to our vegetable garden bursting with goodness so last night's meal was a golden beet salsa (beets from our garden and recipe from Jerusalem) and chicken pieces marinated in fermented white tofu. Gio put me on to this Andrea Nguyen recipe originally and this time I used Gio's approach with the fermented white tofu rather than the less funky red tofu I tried initially. What a knockout dish. We loved it and I can see it inspiring us to eat meat more often. You just marinate the chicken pieces in the tofu, five spice and honey and roast them. Too easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Tonight dinner will be fresh pasta with some greens to be decided from the garden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Frizzle

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am definitely going to try that chicken recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  By the way, we loved the Ottolenghi pasta with feta and yogurt. Thanks for highlighting the recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. after a great girls weekend in Murphys, CA - consisting of an abundance of wine tasting, cocktails, overindulgence, rain, sleet, SNOW, then beautiful bright sunny Simpsons skies, and pretty good food (the best of which was chocolate covered bacon - OMYGOD)... got home early afternoon and dozed/read for three hours while the laundry laundered. then made a lighter fare dinner of steak salad with roasted cauli. marinated the steak for a bit in olive oil, granulated garlic, fresh minced thyme (which i really think is my favorite herb with steak), & s&p. salad was red leaf lettuce, thinly sliced shallots and zucchini, steamed pencil asparagus, and then the cauli - which was steamed, rolled in a mixture of olive oil, hot toasted smokey chili flakes that we get from our local Thai place (packed a really good kick), more granulated garlic & salt, then roasted and cooled. steak was grill-panned and sliced thinly, then placed atop the salad so the juices could blend with the red wine/dijon vinaigrette. i was going to drizzle with some habanero olive oil i picked up over the weekend, but the dried chiles on the cauli gave more than enough heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  hit the spot and i feel so angelic after the weekend of devilry. although i did start off with a glass of dry rosé and blue cheese stuffed olives...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nice plate MC, but you usually include the "remote control".....along side the dish...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Bought a little local ham from the farmers' market. Scored it and studded it with cloves. Thinned some raspberry jam with Famega, and spiced the mixture with cinnamon and cayenne. Rubbed that over the ham and warmed it up slowly. Served with potato salad mixed with cottage cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The GF has the worst head cold you can imagine, and ham with her special potato salad/cottage cheese mixture was her request. I kinda love it too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. It's a busy day in the corner of the house I jokingly call "the office". The amendments to the book manuscript are done and the next job is to place some 200 illustrations where I'd like them to appear (although the publisher has the final word).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for dinner, we're going out. All- you-can-shovel-in Indian buffet. Yes, I know - please don't hate me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is a really good buffet, IMO. Housed in an old cinema, it's massive and massively popular with the local south asian communites - Anglo customers are very much in the minority. And, yes, I know - lots of ethnic customers do not guarantee a good experience - Denny's (US) and Harvester (UK) evidence my point - both absolutely packed with Anglos and both shite food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's the fun part of doing the book stuff, I'd think! Does the book have a lot of recipes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, it's been a fun afternoon - but I've only done Chapter 1. Keep getting distracted by tele-sales calls from guys wanting to sell me solar roof panels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for recipes, there are three at the end of each of the seven chapters and there's a handful more scattered round in the text. I've got a grand plan to try and interest one of the TV celeb chefs into doing a one-off programme cooking some of them - all the better, if s/he has an ancestor who saw service who I can research and the chef can go visit the battlefields. Bit of a dream I suppose, but ya never know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, Harters, I *love* this idea! Fingers crossed it works out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's an excellent idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How will you pitch the concept?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Obviously got to wait until the book's out - which may be 12 months. I think then the difficult bit of a pitch will be to the publishers. Although their business is at the popular, rather than academic, end of military history, TV spin-offs from their books has probably never been their thing. Assuming they buy the idea, then they have their own PR staff (who were very good about getting placement for my first book) who, hopefully, know their what's what.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are already awash with TV programmes about the war and I wonder how it's going to play when it actually gets into the centenary period. It may be that the media will consider there's been overload. But I reckon the PR folk might be able to contact the main chefs' PR companies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I reckon there's a programme there (which might mean I actually end up making some money out of this). It taps into folks general interest in food & cooking programmes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Makes sense. My take is your concept is a natural. Your publisher should have no problem pitching it at the local level. You might want to stockpile additional recipes just in case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      All the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Obviously got to wait until the book's out . . . ."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Old publishing pro here jumping in to say that there's no reason not to start pushing the idea the second galley proofs/first pass pages are available. And if your publisher's PR people aren't sufficiently savvy in this area, you might consider making the approaches on your own. Do you by any chance have an agent? Perhaps s/he has some connections. The sooner you start on something like this, the closer to book publication a TV show might appear, the better for both the book and the show. And for you, needless to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the tips, Joan. Appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And, to get this back on topic, dinner at Harters Hall features cod. For a sauce, red onions & garlic get a fry, followed by a tin of tomatoes, chopped black olives and some oregano (the pot in the garden looks perky). It simmers for a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cod gets a squeeze of lemon juice and seasoning and is baked for 15 minutes or so. Bag of spinach is just wilted under a kettle full of boiling water. Plating up sees the cod first, topped with spinach and then a dollop of sauce. Jersey Royals to accompany and some peas if the spinach doesnt look enough veg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cheese for afters. There's still a little Snowdonia cheddar and the farmers market on Sunday provided some of John Bourne's finest Cheshire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good advice and good to see you here, Ms. Joan!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dinner was fine - in the way that buffets are fine. And, yes, before you ask - I was very greedy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's funny how things go. I doubt we were out of the house a hour and a whole conversation we were having has gone up in a puff of smoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Time for coffee, sofa and TV.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here in NYC, there is an area that is called little India, in the borough of Queens. There are many lunch buffets, which I try about 3 times a year. I guess everything in moderation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I find that in the States, Indian buffets are generally much better than the Chinese ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. All these steak salads I have been seeing lately are making me crave one - I just may have to go down to the market at lunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      crazy weekend a bunch of things going on in the city festivals, flyers and the like- the houseguests went AWOL and left their dog for two days. I came home last night from a bike ride and beers at Manayunk brewing company to find them returned drinking my beer and having eaten my leftover pizza ;( - and mystified as to why I might be annoyed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I defrosted some Hazan recipe Bolognese for myself - it is always good to have a backup plan :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tonight was going to be some pork ragu along with polpette I took out of the freezer this AM but after seeing these steak salads I think that is what I want and the defrost should take longer anyway

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hmmm.....houseguests are beginning to take advantage of a very good thing. And that's not good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm wondering where the patience for these house guests comes from. I couldn't muster that much patience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            short answer - alcohol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            long answer - I love this friend like a brother but he does wear my patience - despite many good qualities he can be very selfish and oblivious - his GF that is also visiting is lovely and considerate and seems to have a remarkable gift of tuning him out when necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was VERY angry yesterday I could have spent all day ramping up my anger and blown up when they returned instead I went for a bike ride and had cocktails with friends. I did make my displeasure known and my friend was totally mystified why I should be annoyed - the constant problem of "its not what but how" that I cannot get this person to understand. I could have turned it into a fight but it would have yielded nothing but a fight. I know his limitations well. I am irritated but in a week when they are gone I will miss them. As mentioned this friend is more like family - and tolerances for family are different - nobody else gets this leeway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              " the constant problem of "its not what but how" that I cannot get this person to understand."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Different wiring. I get it. But I still say you're a saint, JT. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                JTPhilly, seems you have mastered the art of loving your friend and accepting him for who he is. I often struggle with anger or shortness with people, and slowly, am trying to remember that we all have our own "special" shortcomings and strengths. Trying to change people or being angry at them for who they are is usually a waste of time and energy. Props to you for being such a wonderful friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Aussieshepsx2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I find much conflict comes from wanting people to be something they are not - the challenge is pushing people to be the best at being them - in this case I have seen the worst - so as much as I am was annoyed I am grateful and happy to feed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I relate to the short answer, I truly respect the long answer. You are a rare find.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    JT, tell them the beer were some urine samples you were saving for an upcoming doctors visit!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our motto for being houseguests is the following, "During the day, we entertain ourselves. At night we entertain you, and we make dinner." Never had any complaints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You make dinner??? I am sure you are much-sought after guests. We've seen the pics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Tonight will be burgers. Mostly beef with a bit of turkey mixed in. Lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onion and creamy burrata mozzarella. All on soft green chile rolls. Sides will be a salad of lettuce, mint, peaches (if they haven't been eaten by the time I get home) and goat cheese with blueberry vinaigrette and probably a few sticks of my home-fermented pickled asparagus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've been on a bit of a lassi kick recently and picked up some nice mangoes yesterday, so mango lassis if we want something sweet later on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Dinner will be eating up the immediate perishables in the fridge because I am taking my SO on a somewhat surprise trip to Paris tomorrow for a few days to celebrate their Birthday. I am looking forward to all of the great food, wine and time to relax together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow, surprise trip to Paris!! So nice, such a great present!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for your nice comment fldhkybnva. :-) Hopefully I will have some good notes to post on the Europe and cheese parts of the board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Enjoy Paris in the Spring! It is such a wonderful city with great food and wine. Have fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you for your kind comment, JTPhilly. I am really looking forward to the trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ooooh, how exciting! Paris in the springtime (or anytime) is delicious and romantic!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree, Ttrockwood and romance definitely went into the equation regarding where to go. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Today is DH's birthday. But we celebrated yesterday. On Saturday, I cooked up a large Chuck Roast in my DO for 6 hours. Also threw some pepperoncini. Refrigerated overnight and then yesterday morning, got all the fat off of it. Reheated and shredded it up. Packed it up in the car along with a bag of cole slaw mix, a jar of my slaw dressing, some rolls and chips and hauled it all up to the MIL's place to celebrate the Birthday. Had a late afternoon french dip out of that lovely tender meat. She supplied dessert - Coconut Cream Pie. A fun day was had by all. I just have to say - I love my MIL. Lucky me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds like a superb birthday meal - Happy birthday, boyzoma's DH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Happies to your bloke. And good party food as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And how nice to have lovely MiL. Mine has a very nasty streak in her, when she puts her mind to it. Likes nothing better than twisting the knife when there's familyconflict

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                How sad for you Harters. My first MIL was no prize either. I lucked out the 2nd time around. I've always told my DH that if we ever got divorced, I get to keep his mom! (But after 30 years, I doubt that's going to happen).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                HB to your husband, boy! Sounds like a nice celebration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Happy birthday to DH. Those sandwiches sound awesome. I am trying that sometime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Well, pardon me for bragging, but dinner tonight will have to be leftovers since our son is being inducted into the High School Cum Laude Society in the evening. However, leftovers are rjbh20's fabulous ribs and smoked chicken with slaw and potato salad. I'm thrilled about the whole evening!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Woot! Congrats to roxlet and rjbh20 and to your son!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Congratulations to all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow. Congrats to your son and your whole family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That is excellent news! Which level of Cum Laude? And where does he go to school? I know from experience some schools are easier than others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, let's see. Their school is generally ranked 5th in the US among prep schools, so I guess it's one of the easy ones, lol. And HS School Cum Laude is only Cum Laude, but they're Summa in my estimation. Top 10% of the class only.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No one said it was one of the easy ones. Which school in specific? Do you have the name so we can recommend it to others?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Congrats and those leftovers sound pretty darn good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Congrats, roxy. He looked quite dapper in that photo on the other playground.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Dayang. I slightly over-cooked the chuck-eye steaks. Hate it when that happens. Guess I'm used to cooking the chuck-eye roasts, and the steaks were naturally thinner. Oh well, still tasty as heck '-), as was the First Corn of the Year & the salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Went to the blues jam briefly but got bored fast, so came home early for Mad Men & finished the leftover salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This week I might have to go into starvation mode (j/k), with our departure only a few days away and myself not *quite* in the shape I had hoped to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            K-boxing & "clean eats" FTW. Maybe another serving of tartare and martinis is in order to start that off :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. went to the market at lunch as luck would have it London broil on sale - bought two big ones gonna do them on the weber tonight before the rains come this week with the rest of the lump charcoal - some grilled zucchini - potatoes and a green salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              also picked up some smoked sausage and other items for red beans and rice to make in the slow cooker with th ham bone I have frozen - that should be a good rainy night mid-week meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If I can do one thing it is make sure the houseguests leave Philly having eaten very well - this is a pleasure not a burden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seriously. Can I come visit? :) I love Philly; it's a true food-lover's city! Everyone we run into there makes food/eating recommendations--even the salesmen in Men's Warehouse! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Last night was lamb burgers. Also, brussel sprouts sautéed in bacon fat with chili paste and soy sauce. Plus a big, green salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tonight scattering three ways to basketball, scouts and a meeting so.....frozen lasagna and more green salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Tonight is easy - heat up the meatballs and sauce we made Saturday. Serve over some pasta, garlic bread, salad, and a glass of red. Go Kings Go!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. pork blade steaks have been sitting overnight in a rub of ground-up fennel seed, granulated garlic, and s&p, and will go on the grill pan for a very short while, will get a quick brush of molasses, then under the broiler to really crisp up. on the side I think will be crash hot potatoes with thyme and garlic, and an iteration of these wonderful shaved asparagus salads I keep reading about. I don't exactly know how to shave asparagus on the bias, tho, as my stalks are so pencil-thin I think they'll break... we shall see...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ohhh, I want that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wouldnt bother messing about being fancy with asparagus that thin - just chop it (may need a very brief steam if its too crunchy raw)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Hey all. Hope good weekends were had all around! Crazy busy for me in the last few days, so I haven't been cooking or computing much. A friend of mine's baby fell out six weeks early (and is in great condition), so a few folks have been taking turns bringing food around.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DWTS night here, so I'm keeping dinner simple. Just some tilapia filets in the oven, with some Italian herbs, and angel hair in a very light tomato sauce. Arugula salad with lemon. My tomatoes and herbs have been going nutty, so I'm excited to use them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          16 Replies