Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 7th, 2015, 3:29 pm 

Watson » June 6th, 2015, 7:56 pm wrote:Sounds good. Next time I do find a flavorful one I'll save the seeds. I prepher the Acorn but the Butternut seems to be a more consistent flavor.


Agreed.

I also like kabocha squash (esp for soups, stews and curries), and calabaza (which is the variety used for canned pumpkin puree).
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on June 7th, 2015, 7:18 pm 

Yes Kabocha is one of my favorites, but had to goggle it. I had no idea of the name. It has a more meaty texture and just butter and a bit of salt. Spaghetti squash is a bit bland and watery but still good on occasion.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 10th, 2015, 11:30 am 

The only winter squash I truly dislike is the standard American carving pumpkin ... low yeild (too much rind and innards, not enough flesh), undersweet, and better suited for arts & crafts rather than cooking. Oh, and I'm not a fan of spaghetti squash ... too watery/stringy, and hard to judge optimal ripeness.

Just made a batch of honey-blueberry corn muffins.

Dinner tonite (if I make it out of the house) will be a classic 1920's style Long Island Seafood Casserole, with lots of sharp cheddar and ground crackers. I may post pics later, if sufficiently motivated.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 18th, 2015, 4:57 pm 

I made a pilgrimage to one of my favorite Chinese supermarkets today.

They have a discount buffet area off to one side (read: the meat bones and extra produce that would otherwise get written off as waste instead generates profit even at a discount, and serves as a draw for the local ethnic community ... very smart), so for lunch I picked some bittermelon with braised pork belly, and some stirfried braised beef tongue with cabbage, over rice.

Back to shopping ... I actually made the jaunt because I was looking for beef bones, but instead came away with a 12-15 lb bag of pork bones (butts & shanks) that cost me a measly $3 USD. Good deal. I just finished roasting them and they're simmering away as I type this ... will strain, defat, reduce and freeze the results. Great base for things like homemade udon and ramen soups. I could probably give Momofuku {David Chang, NYC} a run for their money, on soups. It's one of my many passions. ;)

Slim pickins for dinner though ... got leftover rice, so (as a tip of the hat to the late Jeff Smith) I guess I can add eggs, fish sauce, chilies, a few chopped nuts, a palmful of frozen peas from the freezer, and some gleanings from the garden (egyptian onions, a jalapeno, a gypsy pepper, and banana pepper), and a little of the roasted meat picked from the bones I'm simmering, so fried rice it is.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 20th, 2015, 1:00 pm 

Although beef bone broth would have been much more authentic, I used half the pork bone broth I made last night for a big pot of rustic Russian Borscht (I froze the rest for udon). I braised the shank meat in the broth beforehand to help nudge the broth flavor in a more 'beefy' direction. Anyway, nice color, came out great, and gelled nicely.
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Re: What's for dinner?

Postby Faradave on June 20th, 2015, 6:35 pm 

Yum! I can never read these without a napkin.

Looks like it'll be peaches for my supper...again. [~sigh~]
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 21st, 2015, 11:02 am 

I've seen cling peaches, but never hovering peaches. {0vo}
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 23rd, 2015, 11:16 am 

Before I forget, here's the borscht from a few days ago.

Borscht_lr.jpg


I like to use a dense rich clear bone broth as the base, with plenty of shank meat.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on June 23rd, 2015, 11:27 am 

I've concluded that Darby is a member of an alien race which wrote the popular cookbook, How to Serve Man, and is part of a team sent here to fatten us all up. (Of course, we in the developed nations are already doing a pretty good job, via the vast forces of corporate marketing)

If I start cooking this kind of stuff, I'm going to grow a borscht "belt" around my waist.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 23rd, 2015, 2:06 pm 

For the benefit of onlookers, here are the relevant snippets from the classic episode alluded to ...


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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 24th, 2015, 12:31 pm 

Had some time to kill before running errands today, so I have two 9x5" loaves of pumpkin bread with pumpkin seeds and sultanas in the oven. After an hour's bake, I unmold them (I use foil slings) and bake them unmolded for another 10-15 mins to dry out and crisp up the exteriors before letting them cool.

Nothing like a freshly baked slab of pumpkin bread with a tall frosty cold glass of milk. Praise holy mother cow. :-)

Haven't decided dinner yet ... depends what strikes my fancy in the market today.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby mtbturtle on June 24th, 2015, 1:58 pm 

Imagerhubarb orange muffins

My rhubarb plants aren't doing so well yet - not large enough to harvest. So, I bought a bunch of rhubarb at the farmers market and had enough to double this recipe and made muffins out of them instead of bread. They made approximately 2 dozen with a baking time of 23-25 minutes at 350F

I also substituted 3/4 cup buttermilk for 3/4 cup orange juice and added 1/2 Tablespoon Ceylon Cinnamon


http://www.food.com/recipe/rhubarb-bread-88104

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons orange rind, grated
3⁄4 cup orange juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1⁄2 cups rhubarb, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

Line a 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
Whisk whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
Combine orange rind, orange juice, egg, and vegetable oil in a separate bowl; add to flour mixture.
Sprinkle with rhubarb and walnuts (if using).
Stir until moist but still lumpy.
Scrape into prepared pan.
Bake in centre of a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven about 1 hour, or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool.
Serve within 24 hours.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on June 24th, 2015, 2:05 pm 

I always thought of rhubarb as a weedy thing that grew out of control, every were. Now I have been thinking of putting some in my garden. Age does funny things to the mind.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 24th, 2015, 5:55 pm 

Ah, rhubarb ... my late mother was southern and she planted rhubarb when she moved into the house I grew up in. We had rhubarb pie every year, and it marked the arrival summer. That one plant kept going for 44 years, and when my parents finally passed I got one of my green-thumbed friends give the rhizome a new home, and it's still growing today. I have to get around to taking a cutting, since my friend is in very poor health now, and planting it here, at my current residence.

We always used it in a double crust pie (sometimes with chopped strawberries) with lots of sugar and instant tapioca as the primary binder/thickener. Sometimes we even ate ripe stalks raw, like celery ... dipping the ends in sugar helps balance the intense bitterness.

Later, as I developed some culinary saavy, I also worked out how to make a very refreshing slightly sweetened cold soup with it by grating, boiling and straining it. Good with a little greek yogurt too. I have a recipe somewhere, if anyone's interested ... havent made it in years.

Anyway, Rhubarb is one of the culinary touchstones of my childhood ... along with chowder clams, and bluefish.

BTW, a tip for growing rhubarb (from memory)... it likes plenty of room and lots of sun, and soil that's somewhat sandy and easy to drive roots though, and the roots go so deep that they usually dont need to be watered. They're somewhat similar to hostas, in that regard ... easy to care for. Trimming early low lying leaves to encourage it to grow upwards helps yeild a bigger and healthier crop. Discard the leaves which are toxic when harvesting. Stalk color is not a good indication of ripeness ... go by thickness.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 24th, 2015, 6:08 pm 

My wife has a week off from work, so perhaps I'll get to do some interesting cooking this coming week.

I scored two one pound tins of jumbo lump crab meat earlier, and some panko, so I think I'll make Maryland crabcakes tomorrow.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby mtbturtle on June 25th, 2015, 6:54 am 

last night for dinner! I had homemade frozen yogurt and fresh strawberries from my garden - it's a bumper crop this year

Imagestrawberries and frozen yogurt
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 25th, 2015, 9:19 am 

I've never tried making frozen yogurt ... do you just pop it into a countertop icecream machine, or is there another technique you use ?
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby mtbturtle on June 25th, 2015, 9:37 am 

Darby, strain the yogurt and then into the machine just like regular ice cream. It tends to freeze harder than ice cream but is creamy and soft if eaten right away.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 25th, 2015, 11:42 pm 

Cool. I love ice cream, but the calories and sugar of full fat ice cream are too much for me these days, so countertop frozen yogurt, if I limit the sugar, sounds like a very viable alternative. For flavor I could probably get away with just a dollup of fruit preserves, straight from a jar.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on June 26th, 2015, 2:57 pm 

Here's one of the crabcakes from last night.

crabcake_lr.jpg


These are baked, not fried, and are 90% crab ... there's just enough mayo, egg and panko to help it hold together. I get about 3 cakes out of a 1 lb tin of lump. They're the antithesis of the oily crab-flavored bread bombs you usually get in most restaurants.

From memory it's 2 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup mayo, 1/4 cup panko, 2 tsp mustard, 1 tsp old bay, 1 worchestershire, lemon zest, S&P to 1 lb of cold lump crabmeat. Mix it by hand, let rest 30 mins to set up, shape into 3 palm sized balls, spray with oil, sprinkle with extra seasoning, and bake on parchment for 20 mins at 400F. Drizzling with some melted butter optional. Easy peasy. Suggested wine match: pinot grigio or proseco.

As of this post, Lump crab wholesales for around $8-10/lb, and retails for $15-20 in my area, so divide that by three for the portion cost.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 13th, 2015, 4:25 am 

Dinner tonite is one of my perennial summertime favorites ... I call it tomato-dijon pasta. It's basically hot linguini fini tossed with a warmed balsamic-cpevo vinegarette that's been thickened with plenty of whole seed prepared mustard (plus a little creamy dijon for body) and garlic paste and then thinned slightly with some hot pasta water, then everything is tossed generously with lots of grated romano cheese and diced tomatoes straight from the garden.

We usually have it at least once or twice a week, throughout tomato season.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Watson on July 13th, 2015, 11:03 am 

Sounds good. Any pics coming?
Last evening, without much of a plan I browned up some ground beef, s/p, wilted in some slawed cabbage and steamed it with a generous squirt of sriracha. I added this to hot soft tortilla, mayo base, and topped with shredded cheddar and diced tomato. It was to full to wrap, so it was served omelet style.
It wasn't pretty, but it was so, very tasty. May have to do it again tonight.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 13th, 2015, 2:45 pm 

Watson » July 13th, 2015, 11:03 am wrote:Sounds good. Any pics coming?
Last evening, without much of a plan I browned up some ground beef, s/p, wilted in some slawed cabbage and steamed it with a generous squirt of sriracha. I added this to hot soft tortilla, mayo base, and topped with shredded cheddar and diced tomato. It was to full to wrap, so it was served omelet style.
It wasn't pretty, but it was so, very tasty. May have to do it again tonight.


I'll take a pic if my Wife asks for the same dish again tonite (we certainly have enough tomatoes and leftover pasta for it). The recipe has a long history behind it ... I got it back in 1989 when I went backpacking out west with an acquaintance whose estate I was caretaking at the time. He in turn got it from a chef in Miami about 20 years before that, and the chef in turn learned it from his mother at least 30 years before that, who emigrated from Italy (piedmont ?), so the recipe is at least 75+ years old. I can post a recipe, if any tomato aficianados are interested to try it.

BTW, my indigo red tomatoes are slowly coming in ... pretty indigo tops, but still green below and underripe. They set early, but seem to take a long time to ripen.

Not my photo, but close enough to what I'm growing ...

Image
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 13th, 2015, 5:51 pm 

I'll take a pic if my Wife asks for the same dish again tonite


This wasn't the best bowl for pasta, but everything else was in the dishwasher. Anyway, I sauced and tossed the pasta, then garnished with tomatoes. Those are sun gold and husky reds. The former are very sweet, and lower in acid than the latter. For this particular recipe, I actually prefer some super fresh meaty heirloom beefsteak tomatoes (if I can find them) ... the yellows in the photo are a little too sweet for this. Still yummy though.

Balsamicpasta_lr.jpg


Sauce recipe, from memory (for roughly 2 large servings of pasta):

Balsamic-Dijon-Garlic Pasta Dressing
> 1/4 cup Coarse Whole Seed Prepared Mustard (ex: inglehoffer)
> 2 tbsp Creamy Dijon Prepared Mustard (ex: grey poupon)
> 3 lg cloves Garlic, freshly pasted or microplaned
> 3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (regular strength, not the expensive older/sweeter variety)
> 2-3 tbsp Good Quality Olive Oil
> 3 tbsp Hot Pasta Water (just enough to warm and loosen the dressing into a sauce)

Shake sauce in a small jar, pop it briefly in microwave if needed to bring it to luke warm temp, then shake again.

Drain freshly cooked linquini fini pasta, but do NOT rinse it ... instead, transfer portions to a tossing bowl, add the desired amount of sauce, toss briefly, sprinkle generously with grated romano cheese and toss again, then transfer to serving bowls and garnish with best quality diced tomatoes. Oh, and dont be stingy with the oil and romano, because they help balance the bite of the balsamic, and if you cut back on either it throws the dish out of balance.

BTW, here's an example of coarse whole seed mustard ... not too hot, not too sour, not too sweet, and no oddball competing flavors, and therefore just right for this recipe.

Image
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on July 14th, 2015, 8:16 am 

Yum. I do a lot of pasta with olive oil and balsamic, and agree you have to be generous with oil...balsamic can overwhelm easily. I often go with grated mozzarella or parmesan - romano doesn't sit with my palate quite as well, that's just a quirk of mine, I know most find it delicious. I want to try the mustard addition.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 14th, 2015, 10:13 am 

Braininvat » July 14th, 2015, 8:16 am wrote:I often go with grated mozzarella or parmesan - romano doesn't sit with my palate quite as well, that's just a quirk of mine, I know most find it delicious. I want to try the mustard addition.


It's 2 types of mustard AND garlic. Gotta use all three.

I adore parm and use it regularly in many things, but not in this particular recipe, which is firmly in romano territory. Try the baseline version I gave first, then try parm for comparison and see for yourself ... the creamy/musky/salty romano works better here than nutty/sweet parm, and unlike the latter it doesnt tend to clump in warm/hot dishes as much.

In general, I prefer romano for sauces & seasoning, and parm for eating, salads, blending, melting and stuffing ... that makes romano a bit of a 1 trick pony compared to parm, but that one trick (playing nice with sauces) it does rather well.

Oh, and I'm referring to REAL romano, not that yucky oxidized cheese-flavored sawdust that kraft sells in green tubes. {shudder}
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 14th, 2015, 10:19 am 

{double post self deleted}
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 14th, 2015, 11:52 am 

Breakfast today was homegrown gypsy pepper, jalapeno and swiss omlet.

Since I also had some spinach and bananas that were getting a bit long in the tooth, I also made a smoothie with half a frozen banana, milk, a palmful of baby spinach, half a scoop of unsweetened vanilla protein powder, crushed ice, a small dollup of peanut butter, and a little splenda. The resulting smoothie had a pale green appearance, similar to pistachio ice cream.

Theoretically, I could have replaced the spinach with some bacon bits, and renamed it "The Elvis Shake"**, but I was in the mood for spinach. ;-)

Any smoothie fans out there ? If so, post recipes if ya got em.

---------------
** Just to explain the gag to younger onlookers, in the culinary lexicon (sandwiches in particular) the combo of peanut butter, banana and bacon is known as "The Elvis". The "shake" is a pun referring to both the blended nature of this drink, and Elvis' signature dance move.
Last edited by Darby on July 14th, 2015, 12:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Braininvat on July 14th, 2015, 11:55 am 

Oh, and I'm referring to REAL romano, not that yucky oxidized cheese-flavored sawdust that kraft sells in green tubes. {shudder}


Absolutely. I usually try to find a place that specializes in cheeses, and put them to the grater. I like scamorza, which is a more robust cousin of mozzarella, but I haven't seen it out here in the sticks. I see your point about sauces, and following your baseline version of the dressing.

The Kraft tube-of-sawdust problem is also matched by the olive oil problem, where often cheap olive oils here taste slightly rancid from the moment you first open the seal. Your phrasing "good quality olive oil," is vital in this matter. A nutritionist told me once that I should refrigerate olive oil right away, to fend off rancidity.
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Re: Culinaria: What's for dinner ?

Postby Darby on July 14th, 2015, 12:07 pm 

I dont refrigerate oils because I keep my fridge on the cold side (34F ish), and most oils tend to start congealing that that temperature, and also absorb off flavors.

If oxidation/temperature is a concern, my advice is to buy your oil from places with a large turnover, and buy small containers that you use up fairly quickly. Better still, if you have a cool basement, you can do what I do and buy decent oil in restaurant sized 4-5 gal jugs, and use that to refill your smaller daily use container in your kitchen ... the large jug can be kept in the cool basement (vaccum sealing optional).

The only oils I refrigerate are highly perishable oils like meyer lemon or walnut oil, and even then I use them rarely and only buy the smallest containers I can find.
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