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Aug 23, 2014 06:46 AM

What's for Dinner #321 - Seasons Change Edition [through August 26, 2014]

The summer is winding down, the breeze is cooling a bit, a few leaves are changing color here and there, the summer season wanes as the new autumn season gains a bit of traction.

Cooking usually changes as well with the cooler weather - although I'm sure the last gasps of summer weather will keep the grills grilling, the farmers markets farmering with their amazing produce, and the lemonades lemonading to be enjoyed with the grilled foods and farmers market veggies.

What amazing food is going on your tables?

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  1. As for me, it'll be pork kebobs. I'll be marinating a cubed pork tenderloin in some orange juice and Moroccan-type spices (haven't quite figured that part out yet - I'll mash something up from various web recipes and what I have in my cabinets); they'll be threaded on some small wooden skewers and I'll grill them on my grill pan with some red onion and FM zucchini.

    Spicy mashed sweet potatoes alongside, I think, since I went and bought a bag of them last weekend.

    And Episode 3 of Outlander tonight. Yet another of those exciting Saturday nights for me! LOL

    11 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      OK, finally remembered that I had a ras el hanout blend from Williams-Sonoma, so that's what I used, augmented with additional ginger, turmeric and nutmeg. Mixed almost a Tbsp. of that with some olive oil and about 1/3 cup orange juice and marinated the pork cubes for several hours.

      They were grilled on my grill pan, along with skewers of zucchini and red onion chunks that were simply brushed with olive oil. The sweet potatoes were mashed with butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, some ground ginger and grated nutmeg.

      And I JUST realized that some homemade tzatziki sauce I had to go with the pork was forgotten in the fridge. I guess it's there for pork pita pockets for work lunches.

      There was a glass of Creme de Lys Chardonnay with dinner. I'm not sure about dessert - maybe some apricots drizzled with some aged balsamic.

      I also made another batch of my chicken corn chowder, as I realized earlier this week that I had brought all of what I last made up to Mom's. It'll give me some work lunches on the fly.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        Upcoming.......herself's "cheat's" fish pie.

        Cod gets poached. King prawns get cooked (no idea what she does with them). A cheese sauce is made and the seafood gets dumped in that. Separately from all this, rectangles (or prettier shapes) of puff pastry are being baked.

        A dollop of the cheesey seafood mix on the plate, topped with a rectangle of pastry and that's cheat's fish pie. Green beans alongside.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          I am using ras al hanout this week too. I got mine last summer in France. I looked forward to that trip forever, and it is SO over, except for a few spices. I better use them up. Anyway, I am using it with a LOT of ground lamb . Burgers, meatballs, kabobs, koftas (?) or some such.

          It will be "summer" here at LEAST through October, then the fires (and earthquakes?) will be done and we can get on with the mudslides.

          BTW, I buy what looks like shoulder chops when a local grocer has them on sale as "five for five dollars each". Not sure how good a deal that is, especially since I might be the only one eating it. Each package is marked about $7.50, but it ends up being about 8 pounds,so I could use some help figuing out how to prep and store it.

          1. re: Shrinkrap

            Shrinkrap, do they look like these pics?




            I call those shoulder steaks, and they are good for grilling. You could pre-make a favorite marinade, tuck them into a ziplock bag with the marinade, and freezer them for later use.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Some do. Are those all the same cut? I am noting the shoulder blade in each one. Most of mine have a cross section of rib cage with about 7 1/2 inch ribs along one edge.

              Good to know they might be good for grilling. I usually grind it and mix in bold flavors, and husband thought the last batch made a good burger. Didn't tell him until after he tried it, that it was lamb. Prior to that he would not even try lamb.

              1. re: Shrinkrap

                I did a search for "pork shoulder chop" and that's pretty much what came up - all seem to be the shoulder steaks.

                The Chicago Meat site has a good reference as to how to cook various cuts of pork:


                The Pork Shoulder Steak link
                says they're good for:

                Recommended Cooking Methods...

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Oops! mine are lamb. This picture below is from the store ad.

                  One recipe said

                  "Shoulder chops are actually our favorite type of lamb chop. They aren't the most tender, and they certainly have a little gnarl and fat in them, but they have truly great lamb flavor, and we like all the little pieces of different muscles in them. Plus, they are far less expensive than other types of lamb chops and, after all, they are right next to the first rib chop. They are usually rather thin, so make sure you have a hot fire so they get some good sear on the outside before they have a chance to overcook on the inside"

                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                    Ahh, my bad. I think I read my pork kebobs post and your "shoulder chops" and just thought you had pork.

                    Yes, they're definitely chewier, and a quick cook on a grill or in a grill pan is the way to go after marinating.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      One more recipe link; this one a braise.


                      And a better picture from the same link.

        2. Yep, summer is definitely on the way out here in North Cheshire. Still warm enough to potter round the garden without a jacket. Noticed the rosemary looks decidedly poorly. It needs a trim and a feed and we'll see if it improves. If not, it's gone. There may be something serious with the soil as the adjacent bay tree is now very dead.

          As for dinner:

          To start - socca, Morrocan spiced sweet potato houmous (yeah, right), radishes.

          To continue - a lamb dish from Maria Elia's "Smashing Plates". This saw a leg, stabbed a bit and stuffed with slivers of garlic and then rubbed over with a mix of olive oil, lemnon juice, dill, oregano, cinnamon and cumin. Very Cypriot! It's then wrapped in greaseproof paper, tied with string and, as I write, it's been sitting in the fridge for about 3 hours and is just about ready to go in the oven, still in the paper, for 4 hours at 180C. Should be a pull-apart with a fork job. Alongside, roast potatoes and fried courgettes. Maybe a few broad beans.

          To finish - figs. Just as they are, cut into quarters. Finally found cheap ones in the supermarket - packs of three for £1. BNot big fruit but perfectly ripe.

          13 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              That lamb sounds heavenly. It's been *way* too long since there's been a lamb dinner @casa lingua. Needs sorted out.

              1. re: Harters

                I tell you now ......this is a killer lamb recipe.

                The meat comes out as "pulled lamb". The outer surface is absolutely delicious - the fat has gone a little bit crispy but the marinade ingredients really make it.

                Oh, and there's mountains of leftovers. The new Jamie Oliver book "Save with Jamie" has several leftover recipes - might try one. In spite of just about every recipe in the book having the fecking irritating phrase "season to perfection". Await Monday's entries to see what we come up with.

                  1. re: Harters

                    I have Jamie's Italy, Happy Days with the Naked Chef, The Naked Chef and love everything we've cooked from each. Don't tell me I need another. That lamb sounds delectable, though, and we Love lamb.

                    1. re: Gio


                      No. You can happily pass on this one.

                      We have his Naked Chef books which get used fairly regularly and the Italian one. His roast chicken from the first Naked Chef is how we pretty much cook it now and have ever since the book came out. But I don't think any of the others passed our major book cull a year back - we just never cooked from them. Never as good as the TV programmes suggest it will be. Apart from some leftovers recipes, this new book is disappointing. If you need another Brit book on the shelves, go for the Maria Elia one. I like Cyprus as a place to holiday and really enjoy the food. I wouldnt say this traditional Cypriot, or even Greek, food, but it has strong roots in the cuisine, with something of a British overlay to it (if you see what I mean)


                      1. re: Harters

                        Many thanks for your candid recommendation, John. The Elia book sounds as if it would be a good match for us, since we've enjoyed the Greek food we've cooked in the past. Is the Cyprus cookbook titled, "Smashing Plates"?

                        1. re: Gio

                          Now I want "Smashing Plates," too. Looked all over the Web for the recipe John mentioned and couldn't find it. I think I HAVE to have that recipe. Even if I have to buy a book for it. And not much of a discount on Amazon for used copies, either. Oh, well. Haven't bought a new cookbook in what? Three weeks? I'm probably overdue.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Gio - yes. Here's the link to Amazon UK (I didnt look for it on Amazon US)


                            1. re: Harters

                              Oh good! Thanks. Ordered! I'm also contemplating another Greek cookbook this one is by Diane Kochilas titled Ikaria. It's about The Island Where People Forget to Die, the recipes and culture.

                    2. re: Harters

                      I will be copying this soon! Would it work with shoulder low and slow?

                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                        Certainly well worth a try, Christina. It may even be better with the fattier cut. Whilst the cooking time is "slow", the oven temperature isn't "low" - 180C would be a normal roasting temperature but I assume the paper means it's baking rather than roasting.

                        1. re: Harters

                          Ah, right, missed that temperature conversion!

                    3. Friends are back from a 2 week long vacation. I had the bonus of watching their chickens and watering their garden in exchange for all the eggs produced and any/all bounty from the garden. I am going to miss all those fresh eggs!

                      In honor of their return we invited them for dinner. It's actually cool enough we might need to light up the fire pit! S'mores anyone?

                      The rest of the menu is:

                      Assorted nibbles-olives, nuts, roasted shrimp

                      Burgers on the grill served on homemade rolls and topped with grilled red onions and gorgonzola
                      Tossed caprese salad
                      roasted garlic potatoes
                      kohlrabi slaw

                      Surprise dessert from our friends.

                      I also have a batch of ginger simple syrup in the fridge just dying to be turned into a cocktail. Thinking of a spin on a dark stormy with rum, ginger beer and the syrup for extra ginger kick or maybe go lighter and make a ginger lemonade and serve with vodka over ice. Decisions, decisions!

                      10 Replies
                        1. re: foodieX2

                          Second try to post this. I have wondered about raw kohlrabi. Never tried it. Any advice or recipe you'd care to share? Thanks!

                          1. re: Berheenia

                            This has been my go to recipe this summer. I leave out the celery and have occasionally added a granny smooth apple. I use both purple and green kohlrabi. Its really good!


                          2. re: foodieX2

                            Ok so total kitchen fail last night with the hamburger rolls. I was trying to do way too many things at the same time-laundry, cleaning and making rolls. While measuring everything out the phone rang so I finished loading the bread machine while chatting with my sister. When the bread machine beeped about an hour or so later I thought the dough looked funny but took it out, dumped it an oiled bowl to finishing rising.

                            Fast forward a few hours and I go to roll out the dough and it still looks really flat. But I cut it up into rolls any way thinking they will puff up in the oven. Then I started questioning myself. Too much flour? Too much water? Bad yeast? yeast? jeezum crow I FORGOT THE YEAST!

                            It ended up not being too bad though. I spread two of flat disks with butter, sprinkled with salt and pepper and told my men it was my special "flat bread", LOL. They were none the wiser and scarfed them down.

                            The rest of meal went off without a hitch but way too much rum was drunk. Oh my head……

                            1. re: foodieX2

                              Good reuse of the "flat bread".

                              And some cawfee and sitting out in the sunshine should help the rum-head, foodie.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                On my second cup. Now need bacon. Or a steak and cheese sub….

                            2. Dinner last night was another go at Thai take away. This time Country Fried Rice, Crispy Duck, Seaweed Salad, and 4 complimentary Thai Rolls. Fabulous!!

                              WFD: Spanish rice with pork tenderloin, chorizo, sliced red and purple bell peppers, with beet greens subbing for spinach. It's basically a paella, at which I'm notoriously bad at getting "just right". It will be the third time we use the paella pan I bought mumble mumble years ago. That's how bad I am. Anyway, I have high hopes. COTC has to be made (yes, He bought another ton, time to start thinking about freezing some ears), and a simple salad will be served as well. Luscious nectarines will be available if anyone craves something sweet. They have been magnificent this season... large and very sweet from the farm market.

                              Cool day today but I'm not complaining. Summer return with a vengeance next week. I love watching how the seasons transition.

                              1. The local seafood store had King Crab legs on sale for $20/pound this morning so we picked up a bunch of those that I will grill and serve simply with a spritz of lemon then dip them in melted butter. We have a great bottle of sparkling Vouvray which should be a good wine match.

                                There is a Reggae band playing in a local park tonight so we will probably check that out after dinner.

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: Fowler

                                    Nice. $20/lb. is the sale price?! whoa.