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My husband made baguettes for the first time so that we could have banh mi and they were fantastic.  We used this recipe and it definitely was a good one: https://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2007/05

Dinner party tonight: Hors D'oeuvre Homemade Cold-Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche, Home-baked Pumpernickel Julia Child's Chicken Liver Mousse [an outrageous recipe--heavy cream, a whole stick of butte

Tonight was vegan night at Casa TrelayneNYC and I'm snacking on some chilled diced pineapple as I type this... The first two pictures are approx. 1 kg of wild and cultivated mushrooms.

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14 hours ago, Pat said:

I'm really running out of ideas and energy. 

Yeah, that happens here too. Every week, doing the meal plan and the shopping list gets harder.

Friday was takeout from Mezcalero. I am working on bringing the contents of all cupboards under control, along with the freezer. This includes the bar. So I made frozen margaritas to go with the tacos and quesadilla.

Yesterday we had people over! PEOPLE! OK, 2 friends in the backyard. But PEOPLE! So we did the traditional Labor Day thing. Burgers on the grill with buns from Ravenhook Bakery, corn on the cob on the grill, potato salad, broccoli salad, watermelon, and chocolate cream cheese cupcakes. Also worked on drinking down the odds and ends of summer style beers.

Today, we are going to grill again. The husband is very excited to get to grill two days in a row. Steak (He's been on a steak streak. I think next week I will make him do chicken for me.), corn on the cob, shishitos. Leftover potato salad and broccoli salad. Lettuce salad. Leftover cupcakes. It will be tasty. 

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Running out of ideas? That happened a long time ago. I even got push-back yesterday from my favorite person who complained about the "regular rotation" so to speak. I can't blame her. I'm also getting tired of cooking the same things. And I'm surprised that you, Pat, expressed this sentiment. I'm often jealous of the variety of dishes in just one of your meals (those turkey wings sound good).

What I need to do is retire and spend some time with the many cookbooks we have. There are several from which I've made only one recipe. And I've got a stack that I've hardly touched, ready for contribution to the MoCo Library book store.

Last night was spaghetti with wild-caught shrimp, garlic, rosemary, and grape tomatoes. I peeled the shrimp and boiled the shells in a little water with bay leaves and added the reduced broth into the mix. Not bad but not really good either. I didn't think the flavors balanced out well. It was funkier, if you know what I mean, than I'd expected, probably because the tomatoes didn't add enough acid. Steamed petite green peas were the side.

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2 hours ago, dwt said:

I'm surprised that you, Pat, expressed this sentiment. I'm often jealous of the variety of dishes in just one of your meals

Seconded! I'm AMAZED at what Pat comes up with -- the variety of dishes in each meal and the use of dribs and drabs from prior meals. Also the use of freezer items from years ago!

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18 hours ago, dwt said:

Running out of ideas? That happened a long time ago. I even got push-back yesterday from my favorite person who complained about the "regular rotation" so to speak. I can't blame her. I'm also getting tired of cooking the same things. And I'm surprised that you, Pat, expressed this sentiment. I'm often jealous of the variety of dishes in just one of your meals (those turkey wings sound good).

What I need to do is retire and spend some time with the many cookbooks we have. There are several from which I've made only one recipe. And I've got a stack that I've hardly touched, ready for contribution to the MoCo Library book store.

I totally get this feeling. That is why I am constantly re-reviewing my cookbooks or checking out new ones from friends or the library and trying out new dishes. I love online recipes but unless I already have something in mind (like a specific ingredient or type of dish), I find it tough to get new inspiration - but actual cookbooks you flip through them and see an interesting recipe and then kind of tuck in away in your brain and come back to it. I did this last night when I cooked Stuffed Delicata Squash from the Shuk cookbook. I had flipped through it awhile ago and then when I got some delicata squash in my CSA, I scoured my cookbooks to find the one which I recalled had a special recipe for this specific type of smaller thin skinned squash. Once I found it in the Shuk cookbook, I got the rest of the ingredients and over the weekend made it as a special - different dish. I cooked it per the recipe with two changes - we had some non-beef eaters over and so I swapped in ground turkey - and I only had 2 squash from the CSA (recipe calls for 3) so I used the rest of the meat filling with a big red bell pepper. It turned out great with different spiced meat flavor.  I served it with rice pilaf (using Shuk recipe but wasn't that different from standard rice) which I added some pine nuts, sumac, and chopped parsley. To round out the mideast menu, I grilled some chicken with olive oil/zaatar basting along with our friend fresh garden salad. My wife made a great blackberry, peach cobbler for dessert.

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One of the ways we try to change up the menu is to look at what is in season at the farm market, and then at the seasonal recipes from the Post and the NYT. Tonight, that worked. We had calzones from the NYT tonight. (sorry, paywall) Very tasty, and leaves lunches for the husband this week.  And, of course, salad. (several years ago, I decided that we didn't always get enough veg. So we started having salad with every meal. We still try to add extra veg, but this way we get at least SOME green with every meal. Salad is easy and I like it and I don't have to think to make it. Sadly, I am picky about a lot of veg and so that makes my goal of eating more of them difficult.) Anyhow, the calzones had roasted tomatoes, pesto, and mozzarella. I changed it a little. The recipe calls for basil pesto, but I had garlic scape pesto in the freezer. So, rather than roasting the tomatoes with garlic, I just roasted them on their own and used the scape pesto. I added mushrooms as we had leftover mushrooms. I added chiffonaded basil to make up for the lack of basil pesto. There's a lot of basil in the back yard. Anyhow, those strike me as minor changes. I was going to add some artichokes too, but forgot until we were almost done eating. Ooops. Later, more of the chocolate cream cheese cupcakes.

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Last night dinner was reheated left over rice and noodles with sauteed tilapia with mideast spice blend for adults and fish sticks for kids along with plain steamed broccoli florets. Too add a punch of flavor (something I always want but my bland eaters don't always agree with) I stir-fried green pepper, scallion, and chopped kale with garlic, ginger, and soy.  Dessert was a mix of ice creams - turkey hill vanilla, Ben & Jerry's various chocolate flavors, and homemade blackberry chocolate chip.

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5 hours ago, KeithA said:

Dessert was a mix of ice creams - turkey hill vanilla, Ben & Jerry's various chocolate flavors, and homemade blackberry chocolate chip.

I like the dessert. Ice cream buffet is a delicious idea.

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1 hour ago, saf said:

I like the dessert. Ice cream buffet is a delicious idea.

Usually every summer we go to Ocean City, MD and make regular trips to Dumser's Dairyland. Having a variety of flavors was my consolation for missing those trips this year due to Covid.  Also on a lighter note - who doesn't like choices and more ice cream 😀

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1 hour ago, KeithA said:

Usually every summer we go to Ocean City, MD and make regular trips to Dumser's Dairyland. 

Every summer we go to Rochester (NY) and make at least one trip to Abbott's Frozen Custard. (Original location only - the others are OK, but Charlotte is the best) I miss other  ice cream places, but Abbott's is the best.

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This week was BLTs for dinner.  The first night we followed a recipe that called for subbing in fried halloumi for the bacon and serving on sourdough bread.  Tasty, but we have bacon in the fridge.  So, the next night we had it with bacon.  My husband got the last of the sourdough and I had mine on an everything bagel.  Last night was the last of the bacon, and we had used up the large tomatoes but had some cherry tomatoes that had been lingering.  We cut those in half and had the sandwiches on seeded bread.  The cherry tomatoes were tasty, but didn't stay in between the slices very well.  

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We had takeout Chinese 2 nights ago, so last night I used the leftover rice to make fried rice. Along side was steamed broccoli florets and sautéed cod fillets with garlic, ginger, lemon and butter.

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We had baked salmon with cumin/paprika spice, mashed potatoes with some sauteed onions, and green beans. Not too bad for simple dinner cooked up during virtual back to school night - especially because I had to make an almost second complete meal for picky bland eaters (i.e. my kids) of pasta with butter and salt (for kids who hate potatoes) and chicken nuggets.

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I had opened a jar of Trader Joe’s marinara sauce, and I was inspired to use a lot of things that needed using up to create a “pasta sauce.”

Some expensive imported salami from Fresh Market that I didn’t really like got chopped up and thrown in with onions and garlic, and when that was all cooked down, I added shredded chicken that I had cooked several nights before. Into the sauce went lots of herbs, a decent amount of red wine, and finally a bunch of really good black olives that I had pitted. The end result was definitely greater than the sum of the parts, and I really enjoyed it. I served it on some cheese tortellini that also had to be used. 
 

 

 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, dcandohio said:

I had opened a jar of Trader Joe’s marinara sauce, and I was inspired to use a lot of things that needed using up to create a “pasta sauce.”

Some expensive imported salami from Fresh Market that I didn’t really like got chopped up and thrown in with onions and garlic, and when that was all cooked down, I added shredded chicken that I had cooked several nights before. Into the sauce went lots of herbs, a decent amount of red wine, and finally a bunch of really good black olives that I had pitted. The end result was definitely greater than the sum of the parts, and I really enjoyed it. I served it on some cheese tortellini that also had to be used. 
 

 

 

 

 

I only use the Trader Joe's "traditional marinara", not the flavored varieties. It is like a clean canvas for anything you add, plus it costs under $2. 

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7 minutes ago, Mark Slater said:

I only use the Trader Joe's "traditional marinara", not the flavored varieties. It is like a clean canvas for anything you add, plus it costs under $2. 

Yep. A good product for certain applications. Not too much sugar or sodium in that marinara, either. 

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Sunday means grilling for the boy. Beer can chicken is one of his favorite things to do. Tonight it had an herb rub (lemon garlic caribbean mix from a lovely assorted box of spice mixes that a friend got us for Christmas). Corn on the cob. Also carrots, and he has a squash, one of those orange ones. Asiago cheese bread. Later, chocolate angel food cake and absinthe ice cream. I appreciate the existence of chocolate angel food cake. I don't like regular angel food cake, and I do like chocolate. And since I like to make ice cream, I appreciate recipes that use up all those egg whites that I have in the freezer.

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Last night was make your own taco night/use up leftovers/clear the fridge. Warmed up a variety of corn and flour tortillas we had along with a choice of toppings: plain or spiced grilled chicken, chopped red onion, chopped parsley, seasoned spaghetti squash (from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook's squash taco recipe which is easy and good), canned black beans, crumbly goat cheese, steamed cauliflower, and boiled green beans.  I also made a salsa with the same attitude - grilled an assortment of CSA fresh chillies and a large peach half and after seeding the chillies threw all of that along with a chopped ripe tomato, lime juice and salt and pepper in the mini food processor. I didn't know exactly what the chilies were or how spicy they would be but the peach and lime juice mellowed them nicely to a medium spice.

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It's been a busy cooking week! (And everything else too.)

Salad every day.

Monday: Baked potatoes with pulled pork from the freezer.

Tuesday: Pasta with corn and basil (NYT recipe)

Wednesday: Sheet pan chicken with plums and onions. Very good. (NYT Recipe)

Tonight: Taquitos (chicken leftover from Sunday grilling, tortillas always in stock. Had to make a run to Mt Pleasant for avacados)

Dessert of the week remains chocolate angel food cake with absinthe ice cream.

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Whew- long time no chat... if you all have been wondering where I have been, I will give you a small clue.  More to come on all that.  Poor hubby had lots of late nights order pizza, popeyes, cava and souvlaki bar. 

Tonight was penne with homemade marinara and chicken sausage from Stachowskis.

Last night was jacked up ramen with soft boiled eggs, seaweed and a little gochujang.  

The night before spaghetti with pesto, green beans, corn and shredded chicken.

Some other recent meals: Charleston gold rice with potlicker from greens made into risotto, roasted corn, okra, eggplant with shredded chicken over rice, dal makhani with rice and roti, chicken curry leftover dal, more roti, cedar plank salmon with caesar salad. Lots of tacos/burritos- (steak, bean, chicken, veggie). 

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Still muddling along here :). The turkey picadillo I made back a couple weeks ago turned out to be very versatile in different applications. I don't like serving the same thing again and again, but it doesn't seem like eating the same thing over and over when something can be reborn in several distinct dishes.

That said -- and completely contradicting myself -- I've been relying on hotdogs much more than is usual, mostly since I've discovered A&H hotdogs. Boiled and served on a bun with French's mustard, these are apparently an old comfort food hitting a note. Vermont Bread Co. whole wheat buns are my preference and I've only been able to procure them at Yes lately. The white bread ones from TJ's are closer to what I ate as a kid, but I get the whole wheat ones when manageable. I haven't eaten this many hot dogs since I was a little kid.

Currently looking for inspiration from fall.

Tonight:
Pain au levain with butter
Pot roast, carrots, and yukon gold potatoes
Summer squash gratin with baby shiitake mushrooms

The pot roast was magnificent. I hadn't made it in so long, I looked through old recipes to refresh my memory and more or less followed this one. I used 1 cup of Kirkland cabernet sauvignon and 2 cups of water. Instead of beef broth, I used the remainder of some homemade dry French onion soup mix I had hanging around in the pantry. I mixed it with some flour to dredge the roast before searing and then dumped the remainder on top of the roast in the pot after adding the wine and before the water went in. That produced amazingly good gravy.

I used Yukon golds for the potatoes and they came out perfectly buttery. The squash was from the farmers market, as were the tiny mushrooms. I haven't moved from summer to fall squash quite yet. Bread from Souk. Their bread continues to be excellent.

The larger shiitakes had been sliced and sauteed and included in a white zucchini lasagna I made on Sunday. We had that with braised Roman beans and cherry tomatoes.

Other meals of note:
Orange-ginger chicken thighs and fried rice, green beans, and broccoli.
Baked tofu with chili crisp, soy, sesame, garlic, and ginger; roasted cremini mushrooms and cherry tomatoes; tahini soba noodles; and green beans.
Black bean and chicken quesadillas; hotdogs in whole wheat buns; roasted smashed potatoes; and, green beans and carrots. (Talk about a meal fit for a little kid 🙃.)
Stuffed roasted eggplant with feta, shiitakes, and green tomato.
Turkey picadillo stuffed peppers.

We've worked through several more items from the freezer, most from either 2016-17 or earlier this year. Some highlights: Chicken rice soup; Pumpkin beef stew; Chicken and orzo; Spiced lentils. Sweet potato bowtie pasta.

 

 

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Last night:
Iceberg lettuce, heirloom tomato, radishes, and vinaigrette
Pain au levain and butter
Smoky Pork Pappardelle

The pork sauce for the pasta took quite a while to make. Recipe from Food and Wine. It was pretty good, though I don't think I like it as much as the similar sauce for Mardi Gras Pasta. The flavor profile in this one is different, with the addition of such components as apple and vinegar.

The recipe calls for straining the solids off from the sauce. I didn't want to discard them so I tinkered with the seasoning a bit and repurposed in a ramen soup for lunch today.

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Grilling night!

Sadly, there is no more corn at the farm market. It is apparently done for the year. And I think that tonight's shishito peppers from the plants in the back yard may also be the last ones of the year. But we had some!

So, pork chops and peaches grilled (NYT recipe), shishito peppers charred on the grill, salad, cornbread, yellow summer squash for him (probably the last of the year). Later, vanilla ice cream and jam thumbprint cookies.

Oh, he also charred up some lovely anaheim peppers for me, and I turned them into chilis rellenos for the freezer with cheese, salsa brava, and leftover chicken.

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I had one of my go to meals last night. Salmon under the broiler, topped with a little bit of honey, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Roasted asparagus and leftover basmati rice rounded out the meal. I could probably eat salmon three or four times a week and not get bored with it!

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Toasted pain au levain
Salad (Iceberg, tomato, cucumber, chickpeas, pepperoncini, kalamata olives, stuffed green olives, feta; vinaigrette)
Leftover pot roast, carrots, and potatoes
Roasted king oyster mushrooms
Leftover squash casserole

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Saturday was tacos with leftover carne asada. I had grilled double the usual amount of skirt steak earlier in the week and was happy with how good it was the 2nd time around. I made guac from scratch but settled for salsa rosa from a jar (Green Mountain Gringo is quite decent. It was the winner in a WaPo taste test earlier this year).

Sunday was crab cake sandwiches, with Maryland crab from a recent ProFish order, and fresh steamed green beans on the side.

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Tonight was leftover salad with some extra lettuce and tomato added, leftover pappardelle and pork, and green beans almondine. Nailed the beans. Got them just the right amount of doneness and the almonds the right level of toasted.

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Tuesday's dinner was some baked goods from Souk, plus a bunch of leftovers and leftover-based dishes:
Cheddar scallion biscuit
Sourdough baguette
Creamy cauliflower & sweet potato soup
Chopped tomato and chickpea salad with leftover roasted baby eggplant
Leftover pot roast, carrots, and potatoes
Leftover squash casserole

The soup was based on a slow cooker soup recipe at Food 52. I had cauliflower left that I had roasted with the spices called for in the recipe, so I sauteed some onion and carrot, added chicken stock I'd made from the roasted garam masala chicken carcass, and the cauliflower. I baked sweet potatoes in the oven and added the cooked flesh to the pot. Heated everything through and blended it with an immersion blender. Finally, I stirred in some heavy cream (expiration date: late August) instead of canned coconut milk. I garnished the bowls of soup with cilantro.

The Souk baguettes are excellent. The scallion biscuit was strikingly sweet. Properly made but not a favorite.

Last night:
Carrot muffin from Souk
Leftover cauliflower and sweet potato soup; cream swirl, diced apple and pumpkin pie spice garnish
Leftover garam masala roast chicken
Brown rice
Stir-fried broccoli and apple; black vinegar; sriracha

This is the second time I've gotten the carrot muffin at Souk. It's a wonderful savory muffin but large, actually more tall than wide. It's good split between two of us. I spread a little butter on my part (negating the fact that the muffin is vegan:unsure:).

I was very pleased with how pretty the soup looked. I had half a Granny Smith apple left that I'd cut to make lunch so it got used two ways in the dinner. The apple was medium-sized but stretched really far. It struck me as interesting just how far one apple can be stretched. I'm noticing these kinds of things lately.

 

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Last night:
Salad (iceberg, tomato, cucumber, red onion, chickpeas, feta; Caesar dressing)
Warmed baguette slices
Leftover cauliflower sweet potato soup
Leftover pork pappardelle
Leftover green beans almondine

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That is gorgeous, Naxos. 👏

We had mostly leftovers last night:
Leftover salad plus hard-boiled egg
Leftover cauliflower sweet potato soup
Garlic toasts
Leftover roasted chicken
Leftover brown rice
Green peas

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Three friends came for dinner, and it was the first time I’ve had four people around my dining table since the pandemic began.

Caesar salad.

Red and yellow peppers stuffed with a sort of “pork burrito” filling. Onions, garlic, Cumin, smoked paprika, ground pork, black beans, cilantro, jalapeño, homemade salsa. 

Roasted asparagus. 

Blueberry Clafoutis. 

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Julia Child’s Chicken Bouillabaisse and a romaine, avocado and red pepper salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

I had all the ingredients except an orange for its peel which I bartered with a friend  for some Twin Springs corn.

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We had an appetizer of Fritos, cream cheese, and salsa. The meal was:
Baguette and butter
Baked salmon with smoked paprika topped with baby arugula salad
Leftover brown rice with peas

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I was in the mood for a steak salad, so we made this blackened steak salad the other night and I used the leftover seasoning mix on some chicken breasts the following night. I'm definitely keeping the recipe for that, if nothing else.  We added avocado and tomato, skipped the blue cheese since we had none handy. 

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Yesterday was grill day. Chicken thighs marinated with the last of the Cajun Power Garlic Sauce!, the last of our shishitos, carrots with olive oil and chili powder, acorn squash with olive oil and sunny spain spice for him. Also salad and 7 grain bread from Le Caprice. Miso strawberry ice cream and snickerdoodles for dessert. So, progress on eating down both the fridge and the freezer! (Freezer is WAY too full!)

Tonight is a freezer night. Well, the salad isn't from the freezer. But the white bean and Kale soup is! Also grilled cheese sandwiches on raisin pecan bread from Raven Hook, with bacon, and tomato for him. Yeah, those aren't from the freezer either. OK, the bacon is.

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Last night:
Salad (romaine, hard-boiled egg, tomato, chickpeas, candied pecans)
Baguette and butter
Deviled chicken thighs
Pumpkin mac and cheese
Green beans with bacon sauce

I made the mac and cheese with penne rigate. It used up the last of the pumpkin puree from the can I opened to make muffins. The cheeses were mozzarella, cheddar, and a mystery shredded cheese in a soft cream of some kind that came unlabeled in a dinner delivery and hadn't been used.

Since I didn't know what it was, I tempered the mystery cream/cheese with the hot pumpkin sauce before adding. I needed to add quite a bit of pasta water to this sauce to get it to the right consistency -- it was way too thick -- but it came out really well. My husband loved this. I also added some excess bread crumbs that came with that delivery to the top.

As for the beans, my husband was the one who identified bacon in the little takeout condiment cup after we'd had the delivery dinner. I at first thought it might be some kind of sauce for the dessert and had held it back:ph34r:. It was excellent on the green beans, though. (In retrospect, I think the sauce was intended for shrimp and grits, as was something that was probably melted butter, fat of some kind, that I decided to brush on Sunday's salmon before baking. The shrimp and grits looked and tasted quite good without them, which is why I didn't realize where the mystery ingredients belonged at the time.)

The candied pecans and salad dressing with pecan molasses were leftover from the delivery, as was the baguette.

So, we've gotten contributions to multiple meals from the one meal delivery without having any of the central food items leftover, just the accessories. I'd really prefer labeled condiment containers. Just sayin' ^_^

 

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Tonight was eat more from the freezer night. While the salad and the pecan raisin bread were not from the freezer, the gorgonzola and pear ravioli were. Those were tasty with their butter and sage and wine sauce and some pecans. (recipe said walnuts, but I was out.) Quite tasty.

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Salad (Romaine, hard-boiled egg, tomato, cucumber chickpeas, candied pecans; vinaigrette)
Toasted baguette and butter
Iron Gate meatballs and pipe rigate* in tomato cream sauce; grated Parmesan

One item that I've ordered several times during the pandemic that has been consistently good (though not always consistently portioned) is the meatballs from Iron Gate, via NRG Provisions. Sometimes there are more meatballs; sometimes more sauce. There was more sauce this time than the last but still a decent number of meatballs.

I heated the meatballs and sauce up in a braiser while I boiled the pasta, and then added the last of a container of heavy cream to the sauce and mixed through. To finish I added the drained pasta and some pasta water and warmed it all through for a couple minutes before serving. Very good.

*I had planned on using a long pasta but got a Whole Foods order shortly before dinner and had two damaged boxes of pasta to deal with. They had somehow gotten partially soaked in something oily, the pipe rigate especially. It was odd because they were in a bag with all dry goods, and the only possible jarred/canned culprits had no leaks. I used half the box of pipe rigate and stored the remainder in a ziploc so I could toss the box. I'll have to do something with the orecchiette next, but that box isn't as bad. Giant delivery has been much better than Whole Foods during these times.

Final takeaway, though: Pipe rigate is pretty good paired with meatballs. I wouldn't have thought so.

 

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Tonight:
Leftover chicken thighs
Scalloped potatoes
Roasted multi-colored carrots with za'atar
Leftover broccoli

I used an Epicurious recipe for Gratin Dauphinoise because it called for a lot of milk and potatoes. Probably should have read the comments on the recipe before making it, though it got fairly high ratings. The takeaway: I normally do not put that much milk (plus cream) in scalloped potatoes, and plenty of it did not get absorbed into the potatoes or cooked off. The potatoes took an hour and 45 minutes (with me turning the oven heat up later on) and were done but just didn't seem right.

I was kind of disappointed because I had gone all out and even used a mandoline to get the potatoes thin enough. When I make this with hand cut (i.e., not super thin) potatoes and some milk poured into the corner of the pan before they go into the oven, dotted with butter on the top, they come out pretty "rustic," but I like the results better.

When making this, I realized that the Penzey's ground white pepper it seems like I just bought a couple years ago is ten years old and kind of meh, so I crushed white peppercorns with a mortar and pestle for the spicing portion of this. Very aromatic.

Anyhow, I have a lot of potatoes left to reheat and put a new twist on.

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