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What's for Dinner #304 -- The Celebration Edition! [through June 8, 2014]

I know that most people here are not in celebration mode, but for us, the party is non-stop for the next 10 days. Everything is graduation related, though very few of the actual celebrations are ones that we are giving personally. Oh, we're having a small BBQ on Sunday, but after that, there is a party on Monday, the actual graduation on Wednesday with a lunch after, another birthday/graduation party on Thursday, and a fancy dinner our son has requested that we give for a few of his best foodie friends. With all that, I was happy to take the easy route tonight and make old-school tacos, a dinner particularly requested by one of our favorite Egyptians who leaves tomorrow.

Any other celebrations out there? Maybe the season and the appearance of wonderful fresh foods is enough to celebrate! What's for dinner at your house?

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  1. Simple dinner tonight-grilled Italian sausages, red sauce from the freezer, garlic bread and salad. Not quite a summer meal but more a mom-worked-all-day-and-is-exhausted meal.

    Our farm share officially starts this week so that will determine this weekends meals. Celebrating our newest addition-I'm officially a great aunt. Again! Will be coming up with some good freezer meals for my niece.

    2 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        My coworker who bought the CSA last year signed up again - although I thought she was going to go with a half-share this year for just herself. Nope - she got the full share! So I might be involved in the CSA again. We'll see.

        And congrats on your niece's baby!

      2. Rustic garlic chicken, roasted Parmesan asparagus, and mashed potatoes.

        I'd been feeling like my new stove was hotter than the old one, but tonight confirmed it. I've NEVER had chicken come look like this in three minutes. Obviously, I covered it with sauce, but it was quite lovely. The breast pictured was terribly dry, though, so there's definitely going to be a learning curve. (I'm normally a thigh gal, but the thighs on this bird were TINY. I don't know why I was worried about photogenics, since I just sauced it anyway. Oh well.)

        2 Replies
          1. Tonight's freezer dive has resulted in a package of mushroom ravioli being pulled. Ravioli will be tossed with more mushrooms, zucchini, garlic and tarragon sauteed in the good olive oil. Topped with a cheap-but-tasty Lithuanian knockoff of parm reg. Steamed asparagus with butter and balsamic on the side.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

              Reviewing the freezer contents tells me I'd best stop stocking up on pork t'loin at Costco and start cooking it. So it began tonight with a lovely moo gratiem from Wandee Young's old cookbook. Paired that with a quick pickled cucumber salad (p. 23) and threw a whack of fresh spinach in at the last minute to wilt on top. Served over some Basmati, it was darn tasty and ready in time to send the SO off to hockey with an hour before he has to play.

            2. I thought I could use the peach ginger jam I made to cook chicken but I guess I've lost my taste for anything with that much sugar in it, not that I've ever had a sweet tooth but I just can't do it- even in small amounts. They'll make great gifts, though! I'll have to pick up some no/ low sugar pectin and make another batch to keep- lord knows I have enough peaches!

              I did, however, make a very concentrated syrup from the peels and some jalapenos and fresno chilis that I hardly added any sugar to. I tried it today and it's freaking delicious! I'm going to bake 6 bone in skin on chicken thighs and glaze them after a pass through the broiler when the skin is super crispy. Sauteed zucchini noodles with lots of garlic are becoming a staple around here and I'm not feeling eggplant so I think I'll just slice some cocktail cucumbers in half lengthwise and grind some pink salt on them for the other side. Their crispness is addictive!

              And speaking of addictive, I picked a big handful of Padron peppers last night and will fry those up as a starter.

              4 Replies
              1. re: weezieduzzit

                I bet that jam would be awesome mixed with Sriracha for a meat glaze. And over cream cheese with something spicy for spreading on celery, cucumber slices, or crackers...

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  I was thinking the same thing re: the hot sauce and a cheese dip.

                  Also might be good mixed into salad dressings, marinades, etc. as a substitute for sweet ingredients like honey or brown sugar.

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    The almost unsweetened peach jalapeno glaze hit the right balance for me and would be what I would use for any of the suggestions. Since I rarely have anything with any kind of sugar in it any more (and it's been that way for so long now,) I don't think I could add enough Sriracha to balance the full sugar jam without really screwing it up. That *had been* the original plan but it just won't work (for me. I'm sure it'll work fine for the people I give it to.)

                    Since I can get no/ low sugar pectin there isn't really any point in trying to doctor anything anyhow, I'll just make something that works better for me. It's not like the first batch will go to waste, people are usually more than willing to accept a jar of fresh jam. :)

                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                      if you;re going to mix for heat, why not use the pepper jam (jelly?) that ypu've already made?

                  2. Another simple dinner... I marinated some chicken in pineapple juice, ketchup, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, it's a Cooking Light recipe. I grilled that, and made some pineapple and red pepper fried rice with leftover rice from last night. SO enjoyed it, and it was pretty easy. I'm not a pineapple fan but the chicken was very good and not pineappley at all. I left the pineapple out of my rice.

                    1. Dinner is becoming a desperate attempt to use up all the veggies the boyfriend brings home before they go bad. Since it's just one person eating them, it can be kind of a challenge. Today I had to use up half a bell pepper and a bunch of baby bella mushrooms. These two recipes got mish mashed:

                      Orange bell pepper stood in for the chili pepper since bf can't do much spice. So, shrooms, pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, and oregano got sautéed until nice and golden. It was layered in charred corn tortillas with cheese, greens, and olives (because he eats them on everything).

                      On the side, tortilla chips with a quick guac (avocado, lemon juice, cilantro, a few drops of hot sauce, s + p).

                      Another 10 minute meal. Easy peasy.

                      Tomorrow will be a rush to use an entire carton of cherry tomatoes. He hates raw tomatoes, so they will get manhandled before they are served.

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: nothingswrong

                          Last week I had a bunch of grape tomatoes that were almost "over the hill". I halved them & tossed them in a shallow roasting pan with garlic, fresh basil, olive oil and s&p. Put them in the over for 40 minutes at 400. Once they were cooled I pureed them in the blender. This freezes really well. I saw this on a cooking show earlier in the week, and I'm happy I tried it.

                          1. re: Barbara76137

                            Sounds very good! I usually will roast them, then puree with garlic, basil, nuts, s+p and olive oil to make Trapanese pesto: http://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/de... Sometimes I add cheese directly to the mix.

                            I make it a bit thick and use half of it for pasta, the rest eaten cold slathered on baguette slices or as a sandwich spread or for dipping pita chips.

                            Tonight I'm planning on making a pizza with an asparagus pesto from the Asparagus thread, and will roast the cherry tomatoes to top the pizza. I'll probably puree the remainder and freeze like you suggested. Thanks!

                        2. We're eating out tonight. Odd place a few minutes drive away. It offers two menus - one Malyasian, one South Indian. Decent food on both.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Harters

                            That reminds me of a night spent in Malaysia listening to a conversation between a Chinese Malaysian, a Malay and an Indian Malaysian about what time of the day to eat what food. After much debate and many drinks the eventually agreed on Indian for breakfast (dosa and tea), Malaysian for lunch and Chinese for dinner.
                            Enjoy your meal!

                            1. re: Frizzle

                              I'm laughing out loud. Sounds like a typical day at the hawker stalls in Singapore.

                          2. I found a new butcher that gets really nice grass-fed locally raised beef. Made a quick beef carpaccio to cool off on Saturday. It was nice and cold and very refreshing:

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: Cynic2701

                                love that! when we were living in a teensy town in northern Italy, my favorite thing was to walk to the next teensy town that had a fabulously immaculate butcher who would slice up beef for me paper thin for carpaccio. that, a drizzle of olive oil, capers and arugula were my lunch many a day. ahh, thanks for taking me back.

                                  1. Freezer diving came up with Skinny Taste spinach meatballs. A splash of Rao's and they will be served over good old spaghetti - not Prince but some other Italian brand.

                                    1. I was prepping my morning coffee last night when dinner popped into my head:

                                      Farfalle or penne pasta (whatever's in the cabinet or pantry), sauteed 1" pieces asparagus, red bell pepper strips, and carrot pennies, in a roasted garlic tomato cream sauce....maybe with some fresh herbs - not sure about that yet.

                                      I took out a cup of homemade chicken stock, 2 Tbsp. of roasted garlic (probably too much, but can refreeze what I don't use) and 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste from the freezer this morning to defrost. The stock will be simmered until slightly reduced with some of the roasted garlic and tomato paste added. A few Tbsp. of heavy cream added towards the end.

                                      Toss it all with the pasta and veggies, add a bit of Parm-Reg on top. A quick salad and a crusty roll, and it'll be dinner. With a glass of wine.

                                      So I guess it's sort of a "Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day" meal - just without spaghetti. And without meat sauce. ;-)

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Sounds delicious! I don't think 2 Tbsp. is too much. It's much milder when roasted.

                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                          I love roasted garlic, and agree it mellows, but I think it depends on how much pasta I'm making....at least enough for two meals (dinner and a work lunch).

                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                            VERY good dinner tonight - but it needed more garlic. WHY didn't I put the entire 2 Tbsp. of roasted garlic in there? LOL

                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                I know, I know. :-P

                                                BTW, I didn't use the entire 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste. I think I only used one Tbsp. The paste was strong enough in flavor that it didn't need anymore.

                                        2. Last night I made pan roasted King Oyster mushrooms over white beans and swiss chard, topped with a blob of burrata. Delicious! Chilled white wine to wash it down.

                                          I'm at work now, so no access to the camera. I'll see if I could post a pic when I get home.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Novelli

                                            Oh man, no wonder I didn't post the pic. Ugly as sin.
                                            But it tasted better than it looks! LOL

                                            1. re: Novelli

                                              Fishing for compliments again, are you? That photo looks positively diveinable.

                                          2. Tonight the SIL, BIL, and kiddos are coming over for dinner. It's hard to pull off a nice dinner before 8pm after work without some prep beforehand. Last night I marinated chicken, made pesto, and poured panna cotta into ramekins (er, coffee cups...) for dessert.

                                            Dinner will be:

                                            -roasted olives (the other half of the batch I made last week)
                                            -bocconcini and grape tomatoes, with aged balsamic for drizzling on the side (with a nod to the BIL's allergy)
                                            -porchetta-style chicken, broiled http://books.google.com/books?id=pRLT...
                                            -pistachio pesto gnocchi w/ Parm. Regg.
                                            -stovetop-grilled lemony baby zucchini and fennel wedges
                                            -vanilla panna cotta topped with macerated strawberries, and probably also a sprinkle of chopped pistachios

                                            There'll be lemonade and a simple Italian white to drink.

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: ChristinaMason

                                              Wonderful menu, CM ! I like the sound of that porchetta chicken, and erm... I have the book. So, you're broiling it instead of roasting. That ought to be delicious !!

                                                1. re: Berheenia

                                                  It's really good---especially on the grill. I added a little smoked salt to compensate.

                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                    Sounds like a great meal. Your in-laws are quite lucky to have someone willing to put in that much effort for a meal!

                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                      I can't stop roasting olives, they're so good that way.

                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                        Dinner was a little rushed because, well, 2-yos. are prone to meltdowns. And the BIL couldn't eat the panna cotta because the vanilla bean paste contains vanilla extract. Oops. He just had strawberries instead. SIL couldn't be persuaded to drink any wine, either, so I'm debating having a glass for my second dessert.

                                                        The cutest moment by far was my nephew tasting lemonade for the first time. The look of surprise at the sour, followed by a huge grin and "YUMMY!"

                                                        The obligatory shaky cell phone pics:

                                                        1. WFD: Tonight we're going to Malaysia for some Cashew and Chicken Curry. There's onion, garlic, ginger, green chilies, curry powder - I'm adding a bit more turmeric, tinned chopped tomatoes, bite size pieces of chicken - I'm using bl/sl thighs, a bit of sugar, yogurt, roasted then ground cashews, fish sauce, and cilantro. I'll use ghee for the sauteing fat.

                                                          For a vegetable side dish we'll teleport ourselves to China for stir-fried baby bok choy taking the pot of steamed brown basmati with us. The bok choy ought to pair nicely with the curry because it's quite a simple stir-fry with several of the same ingredients, namely sliced garlic, ginger, a little sugar. There is dark sesame oil, but a contrasting flavor can be welcome. Both recipes are straight out of "Bill's Everyday Asian", a cookbook I'm loving more and more.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            Wow, Gio. That sounds absolutely fantastic. I love the complexity of flavors you are incorporating into the meal.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              I will always tag along to Malaysia, hehe!

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                I'm getting to know Bill Granger's style since he relocated to the UK and has recently started to appear on TV. I think it seems to represent the best of modern Australian food - not full blown fusion but quite fusiony.

                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                  On the face of it the recipes look as if he were taking shortcuts somewhere but in reality the ingredients seem to me to be correct for what he's looking for in the end dish. You're right about the fusiony aspect, too, as he plays hop scotch all over Asia. The recipes usually do very well together, though, and we've been more than pleased.

                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                  What a lovely sounding dinner. I will check the library to see if they have that book.

                                                                  1. re: JanineL

                                                                    Thank you Janine. Everything was as delicious as we hoped it would be. Thankfully!

                                                                3. Some fellow members of my road and trails biking club are coming for dinner tonight. It is cool and gloomy outside so it looks like a good idea to make beef stroganoff made in my usual unconventional style with Pinot Noir and beef tenderloin served on some buttery egg noodles.

                                                                  An 8-year old cheddar with crackers and apples for an appetizer. Simple roasted carrots with butter, basil and fleur de sel for the vegetable. One of the guests is bringing raspberry sorbet for dessert.

                                                                  We have all been very busy lately so will probably catch up on portions of the French Open matches saved on the DVR.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                      Freezer cleanout continues here as well: 2 slightly freezer-burnt BLSL chicken breasts shall transmogrify into what looks like a tasty Thai soup a la Andrew Zimmern's here: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/th...

                                                                      I make tom ka gai relatively frequently but I'm going to use the tamarind soup base I got on a whim in Portland last month for the first time so wish me luck!

                                                                    2. re: Fowler

                                                                      sounds good - cheddar and apples, cycling and tennis all good things!

                                                                    3. WFD was WFL. or, I ate too much at lunch to really have dinner. we had another in a series of fundraisers for a local food bank that I was in charge of - a hot dog bar! I bought waaaay too many hot dogs - Costco, Hebrew National, and Caspar's (local) - and even a pack of Smart Dogs as a nod to the 2 vegetarians in the office (only one of who showed up, and she HAD NEVER HAD A HOT DOG IN HER LIFE, OF ANY KIND. she's Indian and a vegetarian from birth. she loved it! I gave her the pack to take home.) Accoutrements were four kinds of mustard (chipotle, whole grain, horseradish, and yellow), sriracha, ketchup, mayo, relish, chopped onions, marinated jalapenos, pickles, tomatoes, celery salt, my own kimchi, and grated cheese. Three kinds of buns (white, whole wheat, seeded - the first two were Milton's), two party-sized bags of chips (Lay's plain and Ranch Doritos ), and I even made some bacon-wrapped hot dogs. oh and a can of Dennison's chili con carne (no beans), nuked. whew! dogs were cooked in a combo of oil-less skillet, broiler, and a George Forman grill. I had two hot dogs and a bunch of chips and was not really hungry for dinner. went to a friends' house after work for a get together and late in the evening, after too much vino (ow), had a cup of tri-tip chili, which hit the spot.

                                                                      not sure what's up for tonight - we have a LOT of hot dogs left!

                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                        Beanies and weenies? ;-)

                                                                        OR chop up some dogs, do a quick-fry, and make a hash with some potatoes or something else and an egg on top?

                                                                        OR chop up some dogs and do a quick-fry, and add them to mac 'n cheese?

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          all good ideas for the future, but I am actually hoping to NOT have hot dogs tonight! I feel bloated just thinking about them. we'll see. I do have goat cheese and crackers, and if I get home in time, maybe i'll pick up some asparagus and do something like Gretchen's dinner of the night before last. something snacky, but not hot dogs.

                                                                          plus, the BF eats sausages when i'm out for dinner. don't ask me why, that's what he almost always does. so now he has hot dogs galore!

                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                            Well, the beanies and weenies was a bit silly, and I know you like your egg topper dinners. :-)

                                                                            I agree with freezing them - use 'em up later.

                                                                        2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                          I love that you gave her her first hot dog! I once had a vegetarian Indian coworker who had just moved here. She ate the same thing every day for all her meals at work (vegetables curries with rice).

                                                                          I started bringing her freshly baked cinnamon rolls from the bakery down the street, French fries with ranch dressing, margherita pizza, grilled cheese. The look on her face after trying all these new foods was priceless.

                                                                          Freeze those hot dogs! I can't think of a way to use them up aside from eating them straight. Although my ex MIL was kind of a lush and after we eloped, we stopped by her house. She insisted on serving us lunch. Kraft mac'n'cheese from the box with cut up hot dogs in it. OMG, bless her heart, but I had to politely pass on that one.

                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                            yeah, she and I have gone out to nice restaurant dinners a few times, so she's eaten lots and lots of other things, just not what is arguably our national dish!

                                                                            and definitely going to freeze some dawgs.

                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                              I hear you loud and clear. James' mom made something called hot dog casserole when we first got together. Hot dogs in a tomato sauce simmered until the sauce was like tomato paste and the hot dogs had the texture of Vienna sausages and covered in cheddar cheese and nuked. Pass after the first go round. UUUGGGHHH.

                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                  I know....disturbing. Try to eat that and be nice.

                                                                                2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                  Wow. At least mine was recognizable. That sounds absolutely awful.

                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                    Funny thing is James loved it and tried to get me to make it. Umm, no.

                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                  John Fox (chowhound's Hotdoglover) would be proud.

                                                                                  Well done.

                                                                                2. Add me to the "clean out the freezer" bunch here. Diced chicken thighs dug out from the freezer stir fried with zucchini, jalapeno, snap peas & green onion. All the veggies were from either mine or a neighbor's garden....can't get any fresher! Grated fresh ginger, soy, mirin & hot sesame oil were the "sauce". Had a crisp cucumber salad with more of the same Asian inspired ingredients.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. Ideally, tonight's dinner will be smoke roasted beef back ribs, artichokes and boiled potatoes with butter and herbs. But we may be out of charcoal until payday (a week from Friday) and it is still way to hot to use the oven. So if that's the case, dinner will be pork and mushroom chow mein, using the noodles from a Dollar Tree 5 pack of Top Ramen, some little cubes of pork sirloin I bought weeks ago intending to make kababs, clamshell mushrooms, julienned carrots and slivered asparagus. Cocoa sorbet will be dessert for either dinner.

                                                                                    Also, not edible, but cooking nonetheless, I made my first successful soy container candle last night. It's been a challenge, because I didn't want to use any synthetic fragrance, only essential oils. Right now the whole livingroom smells like star anise and bergamot, so I'm rather pleased with myself.

                                                                                    22 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                      I made some soy candles a few months back and it went much smoother than I'd anticipated. Love the idea of your scents.

                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                        I had a bunch of problems right away, mostly due to the fact that my wicks were too small and I was adding the essential oils directly into the wax instead of dissolving them in a carrier oil first, but I found a couple of really good forums and hopefully it will be smooth sailing from now on. I'm thinking that if I can perfect my formula, I may be able to sell them on etsy or at the local farmer's market. Did you do container candles or molded candles? I want to try votives, too, but that's a whole 'nother ball game.

                                                                                        1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                          I did them in votives, since it ended up being the cheapest route I could find. I actually used microwavable soy wax and it was easy as pie! I melted it in disposable paper bowls to avoid mess, and then divvied up my oils in each of the bowls to make different scents. I didn't bother anchoring the wick down with anything, just held it with one hand and poured wax in with the other.

                                                                                          The biggest problem I had was impatience, and I went and wiggled the wick on 2 of them before they set like an idiot, which left fingerprint indentations on the surfaces.

                                                                                          Probably the child's version of what you made, but they looked great and were almost too easy!

                                                                                          You should definitely try selling on Etsy; I've had a store on there for years to sell prints and art and was able to support myself with it for quite a while.

                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                            Your candles look beautiful! I have the impatience problem too, and haven't been anchoring (or centering) my wicks either, although I know I'll have to do both if I want to sell them. I've got my scent issues and burning issues worked out now, I think, so on to the wax texture issues (mine is crinkly) and then I'll worry about the fine tuning.

                                                                                            It's funny -- I started making candles as a way to save money (because even though we're poor, the bf and I are both freaks who are willing to spend way too much on scented candles...) and now I'm hoping it could be a way to actually make a bit of money. We'll see, we'll see. It's slow, because I have to wait for every second paycheck to buy new supplies. I learn so much each time, though, that I think I can get them right if I keep at it.

                                                                                            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                              Well, I think it's very resourceful of you. I am constantly amazed at the price of scented candles! I have a gf who will pay upwards of $50 for them, and she gets a new one every month. It just seems insane to me, no matter how great they smell or look.

                                                                                              Good luck with your venture, and yes, I think practice will make perfect!

                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                It's crazy what people will spend on candles. I used to work in a little shop where we sold candles for $40 apiece and they just flew off the shelves. That's actually when my love of scented candles started... because I worked there I got them for half off, and I got to take home any that were cracked or damaged.

                                                                                                1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                  Lucky you!

                                                                                                  The only thing I can really understand about spending so much on candles is the inability to recreate their scents at home. I scoured the internet for hours looking for oils to use to try and create my ultimate scented candle to no avail.

                                                                                                  There is a candle shop in West Hollywood that I used to spend an hour at a time in with one of my gfs because their variety was just insane. So were the price tags--the one I was fixated on was $80 and was maybe 6" tall by 4" wide. Umm, no thanks.

                                                                                        2. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                          Your candle making brought me right back to the '70s. This earth mother made candles, carved usable glasses from old wine bottles, and all that heady hippy stuff.

                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            Wine bottle glasses! Any details on the carving process? I certainly end up with a fair number of empty wine bottles around here...

                                                                                            1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                              I am not Gio, but we made those in grad school. Gio probably has a better process but here is what we did:

                                                                                              Purchase one of those glass scoring tools that people use for making stained glass decorations. Stand the empty wine bottle upright and score a line around the perimeter of the bottle as far from the bottom as you want the glass to be tall. Put the bottle in the oven, then remove it and run an ice cube along the score line. While holding the top of the bottle in your right hand and the bottom of the bottle in your left hand, CAREFULLY bend (do not twist) and the bottle will crack exactly along the score line. All you have to do then is file the edge smooth and you will have a wine bottle glass.

                                                                                              Just an FYI, I do not recommend people do this. I am just reporting what worked for us.

                                                                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                That's just what I did, Fowler. It was all the rage with my hippy dippy crowd. We all had a try then went on to something equally insipid.

                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                  Gio, I prefer to not think of it as insipid. You are I were the pioneers of recycling glass. Instead of just throwing the bottles away like most normal people would have done, we had a greater vision for the health of Mother Earth and repurposed those wine bottles as glasses. :-D

                                                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                    I think I used the glasses for home made candles because I had cut mine double old fashion size.. I can't remember what we did with the top half. At the same time I was baking all our breads and pastries, even sourdoughs with my own starter, and yogurt was made weekly. This was the era of Whole Earth Catalog and Earth Mother News and I was fascinated by all back-to-the-land projects.

                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                      The top half are great for putting over candles at outdoor parties if it gets breezy.

                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                    It sounds to me like it's a poetic way to replace the wine glasses that get smashed when you've had a few too many glasses of wine...

                                                                                                  3. re: Fowler

                                                                                                    Thanks for the details! I could absolutely see myself doing this. You know, I think I actually saw some of these recently, used as candle containers, sold at a fancy boutique near my house. The candles were all scented like different types of wine and were horrifically expensive!

                                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                      You're welcome! You could easily turn them into candles as well or if you even took off just the neck and shoulders of the bottle it could be a nice flower vase with the entire wine label still intact on the bottle.

                                                                                              2. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                It looks like the charcoal well has dried up until payday, so chow mein it will be. Pork chunks are being marinated in a soy-sugar-sesame-garlic mix and will be quickly roasted into what I hope will taste similar to char siu. Once cooked, these will be thinly sliced and added to the chow mein as described above. I was hoping to not use the oven, but at least it won't be on for the hours required to do the beef ribs.

                                                                                                Cocoa sorbet mix is chilling in the fridge and, once frozen, will be topped with strawberries macerated in sugar, vanilla and orange blossom water.

                                                                                                1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                  How did you make this cocoa sorbet?? I used to buy a Haagen Dazs chocolate sorbet, since I can't do the lactose in ice cream, and it was heavenly. They stopped carrying it at my local stores, but I would have a sugar cone with a scoop of that stuff every night in the summer and it was sooo good.

                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                    I used this recipe from the Scharffen Berger website: http://www.scharffenberger.com/pairin...

                                                                                                    To paraphrase:

                                                                                                    2 cups good cocoa
                                                                                                    1 3/4 cups sugar
                                                                                                    4 cups water
                                                                                                    1 tsp vanilla (I used closer to 2 and also added a pinch of salt


                                                                                                    Mix cocoa and sugar (and salt, if using) together in a pot. Add 1 cup water and whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the water and bring to a simmer, stirring. Take off heat and add vanilla. Chill in the fridge, then freeze in your ice cream machine.

                                                                                                    It's wonderful -- really dark and rich and chocolaty. Perfect with strawberries. I was thinking it would be really good with either coconut milk or coffee subbed in for some of the water as well.

                                                                                                    Here's a recipe for a proper chocolate sorbet as well. I haven't made it myself, but David Lebovitz has never failed me when it comes to ice cream. http://food52.com/recipes/17877-david...

                                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                      This sounds delicious. I don't have an ice cream maker but was offered one for free recently and maybe I'll have to go get it. I too think it would be great with coffee or nondairy milk. Thanks!

                                                                                              3. Barely-blanched (1 minute) asparagus with meyer-lemon, feta and thyme vinaigrette and sprinkles of feta and kalamata olives. Best batch of merguez I have made yet -- only ate one, the other two will be great in lettuce wraps with yogurt and mint. Truthfully, I almost lost the will to make the vinaigrette but could not "face" LW over a plate of naked asparagus. ;) Not sure WFD tonight, my dinner plans got postponed.

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                  Bravo, GretchenS! One of my hobbies is making sausage so I hope you will share the ingredients that you put into your merguez. Mine could benefit from some fine tuning and I would bet you are just the person who could help.

                                                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                    Fowler, I use this Epicurious recipe for the merguez http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... (I do not make the cous cous) with the following changes: I skip the fennel (not a big fan) and based on what I learned from Claudia Roden I add a good slug of olive oil to the meat and spices and then vigorously knead it all for several minutes until it's a big blob of paste. Then form the patties, spray or brush the outsides with oil and grill or broil on fairly high heat. This method gives a nice crusty exterior and a very light interior -- it is counter to all the millions of admonishments we have always heard not to over-handle the meat or it will get dense and tough. My notes say "do not be shy with harissa, do not skip olive oil, do not under-knead" so I guess at some point I second-guessed myself and got less than satisfactory results.

                                                                                                    1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                      thanks for posting that. It gives me a good reason to finally make my own harissa, too...

                                                                                                  2. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                    LOL! You can have your asparagus ANY way you want, Gretchen! I won't technically be "saucing" my asparagus tonight. Just not in the way I had noted in the asparagus thread. Although there will be that garlic-tomato-cream sauce for the pasta. :-)

                                                                                                    1. After a grueling (but fun and satisfying - SD loves her place and LOVES being in the city!) 4 day road trip to DC and back, we are ready to get back to our routine. But we are both still tired, the grill is not working and I want to get to yoga tonight. So - it's Chinese take out after class in. After all, tomorrow is another day!

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: iowagirl

                                                                                                        Ohhh. Chinese take-out. We haven't had any so far this year because I hate not knowing where the ingredients come from and especially what all the additives are. But I can tell you, in all honesty, I dying for some, so I'll probably cave sooner rather than later.

                                                                                                        If I only knew which was the least offensive among our locals. I know. It's tough being so virtuous all the time, isn't it. 'Scuse me while I adjust my halo.

                                                                                                      2. I am making fried chicken from a brand new book I posted about yesterday...Fried and True. I has recipes for fried chicken all over the world. The book has only been out for about a week. I'm making Country Pan Fried Chicken this evening. It calls for an egg and milk wash. I've never used egg with fried chicken before. I want to cook my way through the book. I'm going to have to return my library's copy and order my own.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                                                                          Sounds like a fun project. Please report back!

                                                                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                                                                            Candy, is everything deep fried?

                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                              Yup! The book is all about fried chicken. There is a recipe in the book that is vegetarian/vegan too. Still fried.

                                                                                                              My copy if the book is on its way.

                                                                                                          2. Hi dinner pals! Sorry to be so absent. I've just not been feeling well. I had that nasty cold last week, but hit the lab today for a quick blood sucking to ensure that's the only thing causing my blah...
                                                                                                            Pap managed to escape my cold, so that's the best thing.
                                                                                                            Tonight I'm making ground chicken meatballs to be served in a baguette sandwich with marinara and provolone and my standard spinach salad. Yum :)

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                              Glad to see you back here, and hope that you are soon on the mend!

                                                                                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                  Thanks ladies, I'm sure it's just "the bug". We've all known it well at some point.

                                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                    Feel better allie and yay! on your Pap not catching it!

                                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                      Hi gang! Just checking in to say that I'm just a little low on iron and a few other things, no biggie. With that in mind, Tonight will be STEAK!! I shall review all your wonderful meals to look for inspiration for the week :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                          Steak is a delicious remedy. Feel better!

                                                                                                                      1. Early Kings game tonight, so I have no idea what dinner will be. Maybe pizza and salad? It's been a pretty lazy week so far. Last night we ended up shopping until almost 8 so we stopped and brought home two sandwiches, one bbq chicken breast and one tuna melt for DH. Easy and yummy. Maybe the cooking inspiration will come back tomorrow.

                                                                                                                        1. Like Mariacarmen WFD is really WFL. I had a midday dentist appt and on top of that left my lunch in the car. By the time I realized I had no lunch it was 2:30! Lunch (yogurt, assorted berries and almonds) seemed less than desirable after being in the car since 7:30. While I have no problem with food left out, even in the insulated bag the yogurt was down right warm and who can eat warm yogurt and with leaky berries? Not me, so off to the sub shop I went. I ordered a less-than-healthy buffalo chicken wrap. Man was it GOOD but its now almost 5:00 and I am still stuffed. I don't foresee more than nibble later on tonight.

                                                                                                                          In the mean time I am struggling to come up with some summer worthy freezer meals for my niece. With a new baby its nice to take something out of the freezer for dinner but who want to heat up the kitchen in the summer or for that matter even eat a hot meal? This what I have come up with:

                                                                                                                          Soups that can be served cold or hot: carrot/ginger, leek/lemon or melon

                                                                                                                          Lighter casseroles like chicken enchiladas that can be made refreshing with some last minute additions. She could top them with salsa, diced avocados and sour cream.

                                                                                                                          Any other hot weather meals you keep in the freezer?

                                                                                                                          I also thought I would make a big batch of waffles for her to keep in the freezer like homemade eggos. She has a 5 year old too so these would make quick breakfasts for him that he could make himself.

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                            Freezer French toast also holds up very well. Just stick into the toaster. I try to do it often but I always end up eating too much of it while I'm cooking and it doesn't make it to the freezer.

                                                                                                                            Also pancakes freeze well; just reheat in microwave.

                                                                                                                            How about frozen chicken taquitos/flautas? She can reheat in the microwave from frozen and serve with sour cream, guac, salsa, etc.

                                                                                                                            Frozen pasta sauces? You could do tomato, pesto, cream, whatever. All she'll have to do is cook some pasta.

                                                                                                                            Similarly, how about stuffed manicotti or shells? You could portion out into single serve containers. My mom kept frozen spinach manicotti in 2 packs for us kids to heat in the microwave on busy school nights.

                                                                                                                            Maybe some grilled or roasted veggies? TJs sells grilled marinated veg like peppers, zucchini, eggplant, etc. that are good versatile additions to dishes, or can be eaten as sides or on their own.

                                                                                                                            Burgers? Marinated chicken breasts?

                                                                                                                            Pizza dough already stretched to shape, or par baked with toppings?

                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                              Love the idea of assorted pasta sauces! <head slap> I was just posting about freezing batches of asparagus pesto. Thank you!!!

                                                                                                                            2. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                              I have been known to crave things like baked mac and cheese even in hot weather and I find if I cut a pan into serving size squares and freeze them it tastes just fine when nuked. And it's always nice to have a stash of meatballs in the freezer. Maybe these ideas would work for the five year old.

                                                                                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                Idea for your hot weather freezer meals - Bags of diced cooked chicken that can be combined with any number of sides/sauces to make meals, or simply used to top salad greens. Provide a list of meals she can assemble using the chicken. Provide bags of Cooked rice pilaf, roasted veggies, pita halves (to hold chicken salad), can of diced water chestuts (in place of celery for chicken salad), herbed mayo.

                                                                                                                                Salad in a Jar - keeps for a week in the fridge, per the recipe sites.

                                                                                                                              2. Cleaning out the coolerator. There was asparagus and half of a very large baked potato.

                                                                                                                                I bought a shell steak today, a shade less than two-inches tall. The baked potato will be repurposed as cottage fries, the asparagus will be gently simmered, maybe topped with a shaving of Parmagiano Reggiano. We'll see. A decent red will be on the dining room table. Music TBD.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                  It was a good meal.

                                                                                                                                  Deb and I talked about sailing: not the good times, more like the hard times when we were still coming to grips with what ocean sailing really entailed. My screwups back then were monumental.

                                                                                                                                  We've come a long way.

                                                                                                                                2. Rjbh20 is finally home, but our lovely Egyptian is leaving tonight. Since he lives in Alexandria, which is a big fish town, he chose steak when I asked him if he wanted steak or salmon. (Salmon was new to him, and I'm not 100% sure it was love at first bite. There was some flat iron steak in the freezer, which I defrosted, and I prepped some asparagus and scallions to go on the grill too. I have a salad ready to be dressed, and rjbh20 is making Brabant potatoes. I'm driving him to Kennedy, which shows how much I like this kid. Usually, the only people I will take to the airport are family. I just detest that drive.

                                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                    oooo, does this man there's an opening at Casa Roxlet? LOL. Steak sounds good right now.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                      Yes, we will be without a houseguest, and soon without a boy, so we'll definitely be rattling around this old pile.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                        Ohhhhh, you know not what you just said, roxlet. ;-)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                          OOH, OOH, me, me!!!! I don't eat much and am a great housekeeper(22 years).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                            *raises hand*

                                                                                                                                            I eat even less and am quiet in real life... like a house plant.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                              I eat a lot am I disqualified? I'm very quiet though and love to clean.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                I eat a lot, I can be loud and opinionated, and I hate to clean. Can I come anyway?


                                                                                                                                                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                    Sure, but don't bring scented candles-- my husband hates them!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                  Sold! I could definitely use a good housekeeper!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                    roxlet says "rjbh20? I do believe we could continue the whole houseguest thing, if we're of a mind to do so. No, they won't be Egyptian. But they will be an assorted lot of characters from WFD - and you know how THEY all are!"


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                        That's good that everyone is invited. I didn't want to try and elbow my way up to the front of the line.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                      Grilled hanger steak with grilled scallions & asparagus, Brabant potatoes with Parmigiano, black pepper & truffle oil. All enjoyed by the the departing Egyptian. Ahmed, we will miss you dearly -- all the best.

                                                                                                                                                    2. My son helped me double pod fava beans (he really liked stroking the silky pods) and I used them to make a risotto with pancetta and a few peas thrown in too. I had a rocket salad on the side.

                                                                                                                                                      We had gelato on the way home from playing in the fountains at Georgetown waterfront this afternoon so a back to front dinner. I couldn't resist though. I had roasted strawberry and blood orange, he chose dark chocolate and salted caramel, which impressed the girl at the counter.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: helen_m

                                                                                                                                                        A chowhound already, that one. Sophisticated palate and all.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I want to turn my leftover chicken and asparagus into a pasta salad. The sauce was basically a gravy.... http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ru... I didn't realize I was out of wine until it was too late, so I just used more chicken broth.

                                                                                                                                                        I don't really want to just through the sauce out, but.... Obviously, it would have to be a hot pasta dish if I were to use that sauce. And I'm not fond of lemony vinaigrette type pastas.

                                                                                                                                                        Any ideas for dressing it? Should I just use the sauce?

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                          You could always freeze the remaining sauce for future chicken.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                            True. Things tend to get swallowed into the depths when I do that, but I could try! :p

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                            You could make a dressing for the pasta salad with mayo, lemon juice and zest (only as much as you like), a little garlic, lots of salt and pepper, a good glug of Worcestershire sauce, and some grated parm. If you have anchovy paste, squeeze a bit in, too.

                                                                                                                                                          3. I have been playing catch up. I missed last night. What wonderful posts have been up and my mouth has been watering.

                                                                                                                                                            Last night was chicken picatta, jasmine rice and green beans.

                                                                                                                                                            Tonight is a special request from James. Cottage pie with peas and a chopped salad with tomatoes and red pepper from the garden, cukes and a dill vinaigrette. That kills the dill.

                                                                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                We're weeks and weeks away from those. So jealous!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                    They are about fist sized. Not bad and very tasty. Nothing better than a vine ripe tomato. So much better than those horrid gassed ones that are hard as rocks. I had one for lunch today with just salt and pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                      I call those tomatoes "pink baseballs". :-)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                        As long as I don't call them bird food. I have resorted to wrapping them in foil so they don't get eaten before they ripen. I hate when the birds get them before I do. I was incredibly pissed last year when something (probably a raccoon) sampled every pepper I had. Didn't have the decency to eat the whole thing, just a nibble out of all of them.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                          The squirrels do that too. I wouldn't mind if they ate they whole thing but they simply take a bite, slobber over the rest and drag it off to rot. *I*hate*squirrels*. With a vengeance.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                            Absolutely. I'm with you on the squirrels. Also, they like to break off the stalks of corn before they're fully grown. They take them up into the cherry tree, munch on them, throw them down and laugh at you. They are also the reason we don't have bird feeders anymore. Instead of looking out of my kitchen window at the pretty birds, I used to see squirrels upside down feasting on bird food.

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't "hate" squirrels. I despise them.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                              I love squirrels, but probably because they are so rarely seen around here. If they were in my veggie garden, fuggeddaboutit!

                                                                                                                                                                              I did have a squirrel last year that would perch on the bird feeder in the front yard and literally wave his arms around to scare off any birds that came close. It was hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                              I have never had a problem with the squirrels eating out of the garden. Mostly it is the birds pecking holes in the tomatoes to drink the juice. And sadly, wrapping them in foil is just making them split. I am just taking my chances now I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm another who has no problem with squirrels. At least not them eating nuts and the like. Plenty is put out in cold weather, including on feeders which only the birds can get to.

                                                                                                                                                                                When I say I have no problem that's apart from those pesky American immigrant grey squirrels that have all but decimated the numbers of our native red ones.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                      My tomato flowers haven't even bloomed yet, let alone spurred on some tomatoes. I am jealous! They look lovely.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Dinner tonight didn't go as planned... I had wanted to make foodiex2's asparagus pesto for a pizza, and I had half a bunch of asparagus left over from day before last. I went to pull it out of the crisper and it was literally MUSH. I couldn't believe it. So into the garbage it went.


                                                                                                                                                                      Made a quick crust that only rose for about 1.5 hours at room temp. Baked at 500 F. Topped with mozz, garlic, blistered cherry tomatoes, Italian herbs, a sprinkle of a pecorino/romano/asiago blend, and basil from the porch.

                                                                                                                                                                      Salad on the side: mixed greens, herbs, carrots, olives, and bell peppers with vinaigrette. Minimal effort and slowly forcing vegetarianism on the bf :)

                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                            Pizza looks so good. A lucky accident IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                              Gorgeous. Sometimes it's better when things don't go as planned!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. After what seemed like an eternity of leftovers from the dinners we hosted over the long weekend we are finally back to fresh produce.

                                                                                                                                                                                    We're suffering meat fatigue so dinner is just a big bowl of brussel sprouts. Halved, browned, a bit of chicken stock and capers added and a very generous sprinkle of parmesan to serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. A couple of rump steaks defrost.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Bag of supermarket salad to accompany. Crusty bread. Dollop of Bordeaux mustard (or French mustard as its always called in the UK)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Our first.... 'dinner' in London consisted of a few *massive* pints of lovely cider, accompanied by beer battered black pudding with a nice tart dipping sauce (Harters?), as well as battered fish fingers with tartar sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If the trend continues, I'll be craving proper vegetables and salads like crazy by Sunday.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Stopped into a Waitrose (?) supermarket for hotel provisions like cheddar, cold cuts and... cider, and had to pick up one of those whacky UK crisp flavors. Oy. This was baaaad, mmmmkay? Not a hint of steak, unlike the roast chicken flavor crisps I tried a few years ago, which were quite tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Today we're off to the Brixton street market for lunch, and possibly Sichuan food for dinner. Some pubs along the afternoon will make an appearance, as a good friend suggested we tube it out to Hampstead for a nice view of the city. And pints, of course. Natch.

                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                          More often than not, a sauce for anything black pudding will be mustard or apple based. Sound right?

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yep, Waitrose. Our poshest supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                                          London folk often mention Brixton market as a place for decent street food.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                            That could be it. It was pretty dark for a mustard base, but apple could be right. It was nice and tangy - perfect for the rich & fried black pudding.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Brixton was nice -- it was a bit overwhelming to have *so* many choices for food (never mind the fantastic array of fishmongers and meat markets!!), but we settled on a place called Brixton Village Grill'd, where the grilled fish of the day was a nice seabass (and only 7 quid!); my man had 6 lovely prawns with a VERY spicy piri piri dipping sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                              Seabass at seven quid is a steal. Even at my local bistro places it's 16 or 17 and that's without London running costs.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                It was a fairly small fish, but I was quite happy about that, given the deep-fry orgy that was last night's dinner :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                Off to Hampstead now for a few pints and a walk on the Heath (whatever that may be...) for a view of the city. Tah!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                            So jealous of Waitrose, I really miss it. Wholefoods is great but it's not the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Brixton Market too, you'll love it! I'd make a bee line for Rosie's or Franco Manca.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Have you got somewhere in mind for Sichuan? I love Ba Shan in Soho, or it's slightly posher (but less atmospheric) sister restaurant Bar Shu. Baozi Inn is good too, a cheap and cheerful option.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: helen_m

                                                                                                                                                                                              A friend of a friend recommended Oriental Dragon on Cleveland St. -- do you know it?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Not so much interested in the posh offerings (and I know there are a-plenty), what with the exchange rate and our general brokenness '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                Not been to it but the reviews look good!

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Last night I made an easy roasted pork loin with honey glazed carrots and broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic and chile.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's a gloomy, rainy day today, and that sounds perfect for such a day!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The inlaws are still here, but I've been unable to get home early enough to cook anything proper.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Last night we slathered chicken thighs with the rest of the herbacious pesto and grilled 'em up.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Alongside, several salads that were either previously made or whipped up quickly: lemony fiddleheads with onions, chopped tomato with basil in a simple vinaigrette, cucumbers in a sour cream-dill dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I made chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert (melting wafers are my jam right now) and we played several games of Quarto. They leave tomorrow and it looks like we have meat leftovers up the wazoo to consume this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow - great meal and sounds plenty "proper". I am sure the in-laws enjoyed not needing to decide what to cook and having such fun combinations served to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                During a recent 3-day visit to my sister's home, she apologized for not having had the time to cook dinners for us due to work hours. We assured her that she knows THE BEST take out places in her area and we truly enjoyed the variety. It left us all more time for talking during the short stay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You're so kind! They're back again tonight. I think we might go out....

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My neighbors are coming over for dinner. Wine and a few games of bocce in the back yard before a dinner of cacio e pepe on the deck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I feel like a little kid. We literally had a 6 month long winter and now it is finally feeling like spring/summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds fun, and I'm glad you're enjoying the nicer weather!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, nothingswrong. It was a great night. I did not drink but my neighbors sure did and we all had a fun evening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hey fowler, cacio e pepe is probably one of my families favorite meals. Everyone in my family regardless of age or taste absolutely love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JanineL

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Same here. Even my friend that lives a low carb lifestyle will put it on hold whenever I mention making my cacio e pepe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Dinner last night was snacky ala BF as I worked late. Leftover green beans, leftover steak turned into salad, leftover chicken turned into pate... and goat cheese, spanish meats, olives, salad, etc. Zactly what I wanted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And.... a late night hot dog snack which I totally regret. Puffy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That hot dog sodium will get you every time. But snacky dinner looks wonderful!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Total drool fest going on over here. Why must you tease me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Same. That spread looks so good. I wish dinner was like that every night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. finally used that bok choi sautéed in soy sauce, ghee and some 5 spice with onions and garlic - along side cod steaks made on the grill in foil packets and brown rice. I should make more meals like that - have been a bit heavy on the red meats lately

                                                                                                                                                                                                            tonight will be egg fried rice with the leftover rice some cabbage that is begging to be used up and pork if it defrosts in time

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                                              that bok choi prep sounds really good. I do like bok choy but tend do too little to it and sometimes I think it's boring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I never really know what to do with it - or 5 spice powder for that matter - it was not bad at all - I cooked the onions down in the fat and spices first then added thin slices of garlic then added the chopped bok choi and let it cook down adding soy sauce to taste - thickened the liquid with a bit of corn starch to make it more saucy - it worked - fresh ginger would have made it sing though - did not exactly know where it was going when I started

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. WFD: Grilled spicy Italian sausages; Potato and corn salad, on baby spinach; Platter of sliced tomatoes and sweet onion, chopped parsley, topped with cubes of feta, dressed with a simple drizzle of EVOO, balsamic vinegar, S & P.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The potato salad will be made with marble potatoes, the small sweet baby potatoes that are red, yellow, and purple. The corn was frozen last September. Chopped scallions, Kalamata olives and Aleppo will be scattered throughout. The dressing will be our homemade house vinaigrette. That's just a simple EVOO/Bragg's cider vinegar, dry oregano, S & P.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have never seen this type of potato - sound like it will look (and taste) great

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The potato salad sounds delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Started the Kings v. Ranges with a Manhattan and snacks (salami, cheddar, and pretzels). The game was too tense for a dinner break, but finally, before OT started, we grilled up some pulled chicken quesadillas. Topped with shredded lettuce, avocado, and some tomatillo salsa mixed with plain yogurt. Good dinner, great Kings' win!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tonight is tennis so maybe that take out pizza will happen on the way home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Looking toward the weekend, I realized we better stock up on some good food to cook (hibernate with) as it is jam packed with sporting events. Kings, French Open Finals, and F1.....we are going to have to make an effort to get away from the tellie and get some of our own exercise in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Aussieshepsx2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Omg, that game was tense. I had like red cartoon like stress dude eyes by the time it was over! Quesadillas sound like they were a great plan!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Too funny. It was tense. We tend to get a bit loud at The Relegation Zone (that's DH name for our home bar/lounge) and the dogs freak out. So we have people yelling and jumping around then dogs barking at us and running for cover outside! All in good fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Aussieshepsx2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds like my SO watching games. Scares the dogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But, for Wed night's game we were at a new bar near our new house so he couldn't be as loud as normal... tonight we go to our old "home" bar where everyone knows us, so it should be a loud one :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The vegetable supply is short until I can stock up on discount staff veggies at work tomorrow, so tonight's dinner will be a bit cobbled together. I'm thinking lamb burgers with spring onions, fresh mint, cumin and parmesan mixed into the patties. Served between slices of challah with mayo, mustard, pickles and lettuce. Steamed artichokes with olive oil/lime/garlic for dipping. I have some frozen onion rings that would be good, too, but it will probably be too hot to use the oven. Either cocoa sorbet with the last of the strawberries, or the end of the watermelon doused with salt and lime for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Very nice cobbling! I can only imagine what you would do with a full food budget!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. well, I took out chicken thighs (bl/sl) this a.m., but then called the BF and asked him to take out the TJs pork belly too - I think i'll do something more marinade-intensive with the chicken for tomorrow night's dinner, and have the pork tonight. i'm thinking a bourbon/brown sugar/habanero oil glaze.... maybe some sweet potato wedges with a dipping mayo. and a salad. that's all I can think of, so far....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. My husband has a "work related appointment" tonight(which just means he is going golfing with guys from work and drinking/eating at the club house afterwards) so dinner will be just me and the kids. It is going to be very un-Choworthy. Corn dogs, macaroni & cheese, a basic tossed salad and carrot cake for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JanineL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hehe. Except for the corn dogs, I'm in!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I've been in one of those don't really feel like eating moods this week so WFD will likely be the same dinner I've had for literally 3 days now - ground meat of the day, cheese of the day, cream cheese, half and half and lots of Badia. Mix up the protein and cheese and it sort of feels like a different meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Farm share was little skimpy first week out but I am still going work dinner around it. We received the following that is then split in half as I share with friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 bag each of Spinach, Arugula, Braising Greens and Kale
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 smallish heads of lettuce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 bunches of radish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 spring garlic sprigs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 potted sage plant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So dinner is going to be a version of salad nicoise. I'll top a mix of lettuce and arugula with tuna salad. Added to that will be sliced radishes, sliced hardboiled eggs and some olives. I'll either add the spring garlic to the tuna salad or roughly chop and sprinkle over the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The kale will go into my morning smoothie and not sure on the braising greens yet. I guess I'll have to fight my friend for the sage plant! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Well, they have FINALLY torn down and removed all the old deck and are starting to put in the base of the new one. Part will be a brick edged pavement on the lower level and the rest will be raised.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Since we still can't BBQ (darn - it's lovely weather tonight) and we don't have a lovely deck yet to eat on, we will be making Beef/Broccoli/Mushroom Stir Fry using the leftover London broil from Saturday (sliced paper thin) and some chicken veg. pot stickers as a side. We will sit at our little table in front of the sliding back (open) door and partake of food and wine. Something good on the "box" to listen to! Dreams of the future!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Braised country ribs slathered in Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce, green beans simmered with a ham hock and new potatoes and angel hair pasta with butter, badia and garlic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Freezer wars continue: two really boring centre cut boneless pork chops surfaced and I can't bear to just chuck them. Though I love all other things porky, chops just don't do it for me anymore. No idea why I bought these, 'nor what to do with 'em. Maybe a simple stir fry with some bok choy, heavy on the soy sauce to mask their dullness...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ETA: got home to discover LA (Lurking Asparagus) that also needs to be used, and someone mentioned veal piccata in my field of vision so voila: http://www.canadianliving.com/food/po...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ima pound me up some flat chops :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Me neither but for some reason every time I see a thick chop I buy it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I know why I buy them - I make sweet/sour pork with chops like those. I also have a terrific stovetop pork stew recipe that uses cubed loin chops.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The piccata recipe was good but dang those chops lacked flavour. Midwest, I'd love a link to your stovetop stew recipe if you have one handy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Here's a paraphrase of the recipe - clipped from newspaper in 1990's and I wasn't able to find it online.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          by Bev Bennett, food editor for Chicago Sun-Times

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pork Stovetop 30 minute Stew for Two with Almond Rice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually about 50 minutes start-to-tabletop – paring/dicing takes 10 min., assembling stuff 5- 10 min.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For us this makes 4-6 generous servings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 tablespoons butter or oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ½ - 3/4 pounds boneless pork / pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 C.) ( may substitute 4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 clove garlic, minced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 small onion, thinly sliced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 T. flour (I omit)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 cup chicken broth (I use canned, use rest of can for rice)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 teaspoon curry powder /Garam Masala
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 cinnamon stick
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I OMIT for us - 5 crushed peppercorns,about ½ tsp cracked pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 apple, cored and cubed (peel first if thick skinned like Granny Smith apple)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes - carrot also is fine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ¼ c. golden raisins or regular raisins
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook about 2 minutes. (optional-Dust the pork with flour) Add pork to the skillet. Cook until pork is lightly browned on all sides, the onion has softened, and the pork is firm, and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Add cinnamon stick, curry powder, ginger and peppercorns and cook 1 minute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pour in the chicken broth, and stir up the browned bits in skillet. Add sweet potato and and apple. Stir well. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes while you make rice. Add raisins, cover and simmer another 5 - 10 minutes. Check potato/carrot for tenderness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Remove the cinnamon stick, salt to taste and serve with Almond Rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Almond Rice

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 T butter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 T. slivered almonds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ¾ C. converted rice or long-grain regular rice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 ½ C. chicken broth (I just use rest of lg can broth, plus water to get total liquid)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Salt and pepper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Melt butter in medium pan. Add almonds over medium heat until golden, 2 -3 minutes. Stir in rice & broth. Bring to boil, stirring once. Reduce heat and cover,simmer until rice is tender 18 – 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, thanks so much for going to all the trouble of typing it out, midwesterner, that's above and beyond. It sounds v. tasty -- I have cut and pasted it into the e-recipe file. I may just give it a whirl, since I still have lots of Costco t-loin in the freezerator! The chili you linked to has also been "transcribed" for future experimentation!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And also a link to another very nice recipe for a pork chili that foodcompletesme supplied last fall.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Suzi! Best dinner ever. I would pay money to be at your dinner table tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You are welcome at my table any time. Just bring me a loaf of that kick ass bread you make and that will be my dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I went to my local scratch and dent store and saw a can of green beans with potatoes with ham flavoring and said to myself " I can do better than that". When I got to the store country ribs were bogo and dinner just fell into place. Twas good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Ground turkey is up in the rotation so in an attempt to make it more lively I'll lean Moroccan and add ginger, preserved lemons, cumin, smoked paprika, onion and garlic, flat leaf parsley and an egg. We're low on veggies other than zucchini so in addition to zucchini there will be baby carrots cooked in butter and garlic until tender (but not mushy!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I grated the zucchini into the meatball mix, added turmeric to the spices which I sauteed with the onion and garlic before letting cool and adding to the meat mix. Oh, and skipped the egg- these were *very* good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sounds similar to that Ottolenghi recipe, the courgette makes the meatballs very moist. Must make it again soon, thanks for the reminder!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: helen_m

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to admit, I don't think I've cooked a single Ottolenghi recipe and don't have any of his cookbooks but I often see someone posting one of them and think "That sounds really good!" so I'm going to have to remedy the situation soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't have the books, but you can of course find his recipes online - I've made a couple - they are fab! and so many are veggie-centric - perfect for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Leftover salisbury steak, rice and peas was lunch. Dinner is a steamed artichoke with lemon butter for dipping, champignon cheese and genoa salami nibbles, and a glass of Naked mango smoothie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. A very unappetizing looking dish of food, but it sure smelled good. Chicken was marinated in olive oil, lemon, Dijon, garlic, and thyme. Mashed potatoes were made with butter and sour cream because there was no milk, half and half, or heavy cream to be found once the taters were cooked. Oops.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Salad on the side: mixed greens, herbs, carrots, olives, and leftover roasted tomatoes, and a grating of cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My favorite choc chip cookies for after. Milk chocolate grated into the dough, semi sweet chips, and bittersweet shards nestled in there too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, as for me I had leftover pizza cold from the fridge and some mashed taters as I was making them. That was the first pizza I've eaten in about a year and it was soooooooo good. I wish I could eat that all day every day. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cold pizza is great. I wish James were a bigger fan. He likes to make "pizza" at home on toast. Yes, you read that right...toast. Not a fan. I will eat them because a man cooked for me but they are pretty weird. Being single so long made him a bit "creative".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lol. The first time I made homemade pizza for me and the bf, I stretched us each a crust and set out toppings so he could do his own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I turned my back for a second and was horrified to see him layering sliced deli meats all over his. Roast beef, turkey, ham. Then the mozz I'd shredded, plus cheddar and jack from the fridge, parmesan. Then came pepperoni and tomato sauce, pesto, olives, baby carrots (WTF), spinach. His pizza was literally 2 or 3 inches thick with toppings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To him, pizza is a vehicle for whatever you can scrounge up in the fridge. I tend to think simple is best, but what do I know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pizza on toast. I used to make those when I was a kid. They never tasted good, but it was the novelty of being able to DIY that made me keep doing it. James sounds like a character.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    James could get behind that pizza. I tend to be in your camp and stick to the basics. I am forever amazed at how much crap he can fit on a sandwich. It gives me heartburn to watch him eat it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It *is* rather difficult to make mashed potatoes look sexy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But we all know they taste great -- especially with gravy '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Trader Joe's pork belly has to be hands down my favorite thing i've ever purchased there. It's just so versatile, and so easy. Tonight we browned and glazed it with a syrup made of cooked-down Makers Mark, brown sugar, and a half a Thai bird chili - to die for! I also made carrot "fries" - found some beauties on my way home at our farmers market - but despite what every recipe i looked at said, they did not crisp up to fry status. tossed with fresh minced thyme, and i'd made a sour cream/mayo lemon juice and chive dipping sauce for them - which ended up being a drizzling sauce since the carrots were too floppy to dip! i think maybe i put too many carrots on the cookie sheet. i tried putting them under the broiler for awhile and that helped, but still - rather limp. But really delicious nonetheless. And a salad of arugula, toasted pine nuts, shallots, a squeeze of lemon juice, and olive oil on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the BF said that syrup would go well over ice cream. ooh yeah, baby....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                and tomorrow night's dinner is half prepped already. took half the carrot greens and made a pesto out of them, and i'll serve it over the rest of the carrots - this time charred and roasted. chicken thigh pieces are soaking in buttermilk, olive oil, crushed garlic, minced chives and thyme. we'll see what else i come up with....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That is one gorgeous plate of food!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I make carrot "chips" now per this recipe: http://overtimecook.com/2011/09/21/sp... usually baking at 425.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The key is to slice thin and let them get a bit black even, to where they almost look inedible. They don't taste burnt unless they're super charred and they are the most addictive way to eat carrots ever. I will plow through several large carrots' worth and still want more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    thanks nw!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hmmm... recipe is for carrot chips... but of course it makes sense they should be thinner to crisp. I did cook them at 425, but I did overcrowd. i'm willing to try again sometime, tho, and cook them much longer. thanks again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        another to-die-for meal at chez mc!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Asparagus & hollandaise to start.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fillets of halibut to be roasted. A very improvised sauce of wine, butter & capers to be made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Accompanied by "tomato & rice pie", a recipe taken from Arabella Boxer's Book of English Food. An interesting book of recipes taken from the 1920/30s. Almost needless to say, these are middle class dishes which reflect the new fascination with all things American, together with the lingering concept that "good food" had to be French food. Mercifully, we've regained our cultural food heritage in recent years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is really just layering up cooked rice (flavoured with onion & herbs) and sliced tomatoes, topped with breadcrumbs & Parmesan and then baked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          >>>Mercifully, we've regained our cultural food heritage in recent years.<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am not sure if that is a positive or negative action/result..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Which wine will you be using with the halibut, Harters?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Whatever white Mrs H is currently drinking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not to pry into your personal life but I find it interesting you still use wine to cook. Is it something you've just find doesn't tempt you? If I remember correctly you gave up the bottle :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I did indeed give up booze (and cigarettes - on the same day). I look at it that this was my decision, my issue and not something I would want to inflict on others, not least, my partner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, yes, we cook with booze as before. Herself drinks as before. For the first ten years, I used have the calendar marked up with how months it had been - just to remind myself of the struggle. And, yes, it still remains a temptation and I imagine it always will. I still miss summer nights sitting on the patio with a bottle of Calvados and a packet of Rothmans. I don't miss the hangovers, nor the worrry that I'd end up in prison having killed someone with the car the next morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Definitely. I just asked since I've read a few threads about alcohol and cooking and wanted to hear your perspective which I think is a quite reasonable one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's a decision every ex-drinker needs to make for themselves. For some, it will be unacceptable to even have alcohol in the house, let alone use it for cooking. From time to time over the three years or so, I buy a bottle of alcohol free wine and am happy to drink that - although I know that if I was to drink it very regularly, it would be a small step to buying "real" wine. It makes a change from the sweetness of most soft drinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Harters, I never knew you had what you term as an "issue" with alcohol. I commend you for realizing that and taking steps to resolve your problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Whatever white Mrs H is currently drinking."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And that is which wine?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Harters, please report back on the pie? i'm always fascinated to hear about your cultural food heritage stories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was OK, Maria, but not a keeper of a recipe - after all, it was really just rice and tomato. Crispy cheesy breadcrumbs topping was definitely the best bit. Some you win, some you don't. Went reasonably well with the fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's leftovers which will, no doubt, put in an appearance at tomorrow's lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  By the by, the recipe was Boxer's reworking of a 1938 recipe by Eleanor Rohde in her book "Vegetable Cultivation & Cookery". Rohde was a gardener and horticultural writer, rather than a cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And further by the by, on the subject of cultural food heritage, my book publishers have been in touch to say that publication is scheduled for February. I've already seen the first draft of the cover which looks pretty good but I've suggested some tweaks. And I'm very pleased that they are sticking with my title of "Bully beef & biscuits" - with the first book, I had something of a battle with them over title (and photos).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought the combo of juicy tomatoes and rice, with the crispy topping, would be good. ah well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hooray for you, Harters! I will definitely be purchasing this culinary oeuvre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      VERY glad to hear they're sticking with that title, Harters! Because I like it. And that, of course, means everything to book publishers, right? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And I also will be a purchaser of this book, provided it's sold in the U.S. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ditto that! to the name and the purchase!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Boring, boring dinner. A reheated piece of chicken thigh. Some strawberries in cream. A piece of salted dark chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gini

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sometimes that's all you really need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. To quote greyelf Freezer wars continue:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Last night was a meat and rice melange stuffing for a couple of red bell peppers and the last two Pepperidge Farm whole grain rolls. Cottage cheese was the side.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tonight we're going out for dinner and a performance by a George Shearing tribute group