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Jun 17, 2014 07:34 PM

What's for Dinner #307 - the Sum-Sum-Summertime! Edition [through June 22, 2014]

School's out. Kids are splashing in the pool, canoeing at camp, or off gallivanting around Europe (jealous of THOSE kids, I am!). The rest of us are working. Such is life.

But we're eating well, right? Right! What's cooking?

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  1. Last night was Jerusalem artichoke soup. Delicious but rough on the stomach.

    Tonight it's Chinese. I finally purchased a wok so I'm stir frying some garlic stems with bacon. Steamed squash with chilli bean sauce will accompany.

    1. The asparagus dinner was successful, and my friend got some much needed TLC for dessert :-)

      The asparagus was perhaps a bit overdone (see the smooshy heads), and I had to cut the stalks in half due to lack of a decent sized pot..... but it was very tasty nonetheless. Plus I'm not a fan of the newest cooking trend that leaves the stalks near raw. Ick.

      Plenty of parsley butter to go over the spargel & burtaters, and enough smoked ham for everyone. Good, good, good.

      Today's a brilliantly sunny day, so we'll likely be going out for dinner. Something makes me think a beer garden (no way!) and a cute little French bistro (way!!) might be involved.

      With new hair color & cut to boot. Wunderbar :-)

      12 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        I agree on the cooking of asparagus. I hate hard, woody stems. Italians always cook their vegetables to melting tenderness, and that's how I like most vegetables -- with some exceptions.

        1. re: roxlet

          If they're peeled properly, you won't have either hard or woody stems (that sounds..... almost raunchy hahaha). I like it when it still has a bite, but that still takes more than a hot 5 minute water bath, which seems de rigueur these days.

          But I also don't like my asparagus melty :-D

        2. re: linguafood

          A new haircut and color requires showing it off in a cute little French bistro. I do believe it's the law. ;-)

          1. re: linguafood

            Crunchy asparagus is almost as unpleasant as crunchy rhubarb (a recent UK restaurant trend)

              1. re: Harters

                Man, I hate rhubarb in any incarnation. One of the very few foods I actively dislike.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    Rhubarb, ugh...

                    When I was a wee lad in the 70's, we had a next-door neighbor who was an interstate trucker. Once he ended up getting stuck with a 42' trailer full of rhubarb. Needless to say, thanks to my Depression Era, never waste anything grandparents who I lived with, we ate rhubarb for months on end.

                    My grandmother prepared rhubarb in ways that my child's mind did not think was humanly possible. She added rhubarb to recipes which it never should have been added to.

                    My grandfather grew so sick of rhubarb that he forbade her from ever bringing rhubarb back into the house again; and instead of arguing with him, she happily agreed with him.

                    So they took the remaining jarred and pickled rhubarb down to the church, and then handed it out to the needier people in the congregation. And that was it for the rhubarb.

                    Said anti-rhubarb policy was strictly maintained for over twenty years, until my younger cousin mentioned that she wanted to try rhubarb pie after one of her friends told her about it. So my Grandma made a few pies for her, knowing that Grandpa would never say no to his only granddaughter.

                    1. re: deet13

                      I only know rhubarb in pie, which I love...

                      1. re: deet13

                        Thankfully, I didn't suffer continuous rhubarb torture as a child, but my mother would cook it down to compote when in season and serve it as dessert or to be put in pancakes....I just fucking hated it, regardless of the amount of sugar she added.

                        It's popular, at least in the fatherland, to be served together with strawberries, which take away some of the nastiness, but I just can't abide what it does to my teeth (like spinach... but I love spinach).

                        One of my mom's favorite pies is rhubarb meringue. Blech.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          Lol! Poor tortured child! My personal hell was escarole soup. Talk about nasty texture!

                  2. re: linguafood

                    Champagne, snails, foie. Maybe a salad afterwards to cleanse the palate. A house special dessert should be optional. No more than two bottles of quality wine to both wash things down and lubricate table discussion.

                  3. Smoked haddock defrosts.

                    And, erm, that's as far as we've got with deciding WFD. Might be kedgeree. Might be a basic poach, with new potatoes and abutter sauce. Whatever it is, it ain't going to be anything exciting.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Harters

                      Don't sell yourself short. Poached haddock with new potatoes and butter sauce sounds exciting enough to me for a Wednesday night dinner.

                    2. Making an effort to use up what's in the fridge before making anything new, so even tho it's super hot, last night ended up being just simple spaghetti and meatballs.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jenscats5

                        That's what I'm doing tonight as well, jenscats. I *almost* brought the rest of the lamb steak into work for lunch today, but I reckoned the chimichurri sauce would not bode well (for me and everyone else!) if I had to talk to anyone after lunch. LOL So that's been left for tonight's dinner.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Definitely not if you happen to have an afternoon meeting! Haha! Will fridge-dive again for dinner tonight....will be interesting to see what I come up with!

                      2. There are some lovely-looking lamb chops defrosting on the counter, and I am trying to think of something interesting and delicious to go with those. Right now, I am noodling around with the idea of a barley and white bean salad. I think the later it gets today, the less I will feel like cooking given the predictions of heat and humidity, so whatever it is, I will make it this morning or early afternoon.

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: roxlet

                          You could make Greek-style lemony oven potatoes, or a side of orzo with tomato sauce and pine nuts. Tzatziki is, of course, also high on the list of proper lamb sides '-)

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Too many carbs, but those both sound AWESOME!

                          2. re: roxlet

                            Maybe not this time, if you havnt got the ingredients, but how about tandoori chops - a mainstay of Indian restaurants in the UK -

                            1. re: Harters

                              Yum. I would love that. I'll have to see if I can get rjbh20 to go along.

                              edit: Just looked at the recipe, and I don't think it will be happening tonight since they are frozen, and have to marinate for 12 or so hours! Less than that to dinnertime!

                              1. re: roxlet

                                I think even a 6 hour marinade would work for that recipe, roxlet.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  They're frozen at the moment, so I will have to see how quickly they defrost.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    Maybe try the cast iron frying pan trick?

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          It's not specific to cast iron, but a quick way to defrost meat is to put it on a material with high conductivity such as a dark iron pan. A dark sheet pan also works.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Frozen items defrosted on cast iron will defrost upwards of 2-3x faster than if just on the counter. The cast iron conducts a bit of "heat" and takes away the coldness more quickly. Lining the pan with aluminum foil helps even more.


                                            Granite countertops are also supposed to work more quickly in the defrost process.


                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Thanks both! I like the idea of lining the pan, but I have a question. The item is not covered loosely or otherwise, right? About how long does this take (I know, depending on the size) for a couple of 1" chops on the stove top, for example.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                This note about the granite helps explain why my butter has been getting so soft so quickly on my granite countertop. Never had one before late last year.

                                  2. re: roxlet

                                    Lamb's always welcome on my dinner plate, whatever the weather. I sometimes do a barley salad with grilled butterflied lamb. If you do the barley bean salad, I'd love to hear details. :)