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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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Broiled salmon from Hokkaido (one island to the north)

Kimpira gobo -- julienned burdock root and a couple of dried red chile peppers simmered with mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and cooking sake

Komatsuna (Japanese mustard greens) sauteed with sliced garlic

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Thoroughly strained butternut squash soup, with blanc mange for dessert. Lunch was thoroughly strained tomato soup. Snack was cherry jello. Breakfast today was plain lowfat yogurt. Lunch and dinner will be soup again. I will be very, very happy when I can eat solid food again. :P Will reward self with steak next week. :blink:

call me "chipmunk cheeks"...

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Fresh tomato salsa and avocado slices

Seared sea scallops (garnished with above)

Cheese and black bean quesadillas (ditto + lowfat sour cream)

Gratin of Yukon Gold potatoes and wild Coho salmon

I hadn't tried doing the potatoes and salmon this way before. I parboiled and sliced the potatoes fairly thin and made a layer of them dotted with butter, s + p. I baked them in a fairly small Le Creuset gratin dish, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes at 385F. Then I laid the salmon (<1/2 lb. filet) on top, skin side down. Instead of breadcrumbs, I topped the salmon with a few slices of parboiled potato I had reserved and sliced into thin matchsticks. (I coated the matchsticks with a serving tablespoon of lowfat mayo, added s + p.). Then I returned the dish to the oven.

My mistake at this point, I think, was covering the dish for the first part of the cooking time. I hadn't wanted it to brown too quickly, but doing this meant it didn't brown at all. After about 10 minutes of this, I removed the lid for another 5 minutes, then ran everything under the broiler for a final browning.

It was an improvised meal. I wanted to use the two lonely potatoes I had left and got the idea for topping them with a little salmon. When I bought the salmon, I decided to get a few sea scallops to make a small appetizer portion to go with the quesadillas. (Four sea scallops cost more than the salmon :blink:. In retrospect, I should have bought two scallops and halved them.)

The meal was good overall but took longer to prepare than I planned, so we ate too late.

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Mabo doufu -- Japanese interpretation of a Szechuan spicy tofu dish

Grilled Japanese sweet potatoes (satsumaimo). I should have oiled these or something before grilling, because they're dry-textured potatoes and the sides completely dried out during grilling.

Hourenso no goma-ae -- spinach dressed with ground sesame

post-971-1192410903_thumb.jpg

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Pan-braised Eco-Friendly pork chops

Sauteed chanterelles* with tarragon and creme fraiche

Polenta

Roasted beets with orange vinaigrette

Roasted kabocha squash

Spiced wine-poached Seckel pears

2005 Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone

*The chanterelles from Costco were tasty, but I can't call them sublime. Before cooking, the mushrooms had practically no aroma--they are highly aromatic when very fresh. And the flavor was a bit muted. I can only ascribe this to having been packed in plastic and chilled for who knows how long before I bought them. Still, For only $8.99 a pound, they were worth it.

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Southern Pole Beans

Mira Corn Muffin

Suncrisp Apple

Neal's Yard Lincolnshire Cheddar

* * *

After bringing home a pound of long, thick green beans from New Morning Farm, I consulted Vegetables from Amarenth to Zucchini, suspecting that Burt's Heirlooms might be pole beans. Zoe Crawford confirmed the theory.

So, I followed Elizabeth Schneider's recommendations by preparing a broth with a couple of chipotle chiles and a 1/4 pound of guanciale cleaned of its spices. Dumped the topped & tailed beans in whole w salt and sugar. Cooked them well over an hour, though I can't say they were limp and unctuous. More like edible since the pods were extremely thick and tough before cooking. Wish I had stringed the beans, too, since thick fibers held the two sides of the pods together. The beans within (name?) tasted very much like lima beans. Sprinkled w sherry vinegar. Ground black pepper. Crisp lardons from two of the strips of guanciale. More of a cultural experience than a revelation, though there's now pot likker to plump some pintos.

The muffins were courtesy of Dorie Greenspan's latest book on baking. I am not a fan of my silicon muffin pan, but used it out of laziness, making 6 large muffins instead of a dozen. Was very disappointed with the recipe until I accidentally put three of them back in the oven until the exterior became crisp and brown. Absolutely fantastic! I see why toasting is recommended in the book. Interior shot full of holes. Moist. Perfect end for the last ear of Toigo's corn.

As for the cheese, it's brilliant. Endorsed by Elizabeth, cheesemonger at Whole Foods, Georgetown. She uses wine words to describe its complexity. I urge thee to hi your hither.

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Last night was roasted cauliflower soup made with the first batch of stock for fall.

Tonight is penne with yellow tomato sauce with oven slow roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.

mmmmmm...Global warming

Dessert both nights are champagne chocolates (the best brownies ever) from Shoe Box Oven.

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Dinner tonight started out being improvised from odds and ends and wound up being a riff on Cincinnati 5 way chili. I sauteed some red and green onions and garlic and threw them into a small Le Creuset casserole with sliced Coleman beef hot dogs, a can of stewed tomatoes, and a can of (UK) Heinz baked beans. I put that in the oven at 400 until it was good and bubbly hot all the way through and some liquid had evaporated. I served it over fresh bucatini from Eastern Market, topped with shredded chipotle gouda and additional chopped green onions. I added a little cholula sauce at the table for some extra spice, though the cheese did a pretty good job too.

I was amazed at how well it came out. My husband has eaten 3 bowls of it :blink:.

My decision over what kind of beans to put in was made when I discovered I had a can of the Heinz beans, which are much less sweet than the US kind. (My initial idea was to do something with hotdogs and baked beans, but then I realized I had the fresh pasta I wanted to use as well. The thought of that with sweet baked beans didn't quite work for me.)

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Southern fried chicken (marinated for 12 hours in salted buttermilk, dredged in seasoned flour, pan-fried in a cast iron skillet)

Braised kale

Pureed kabocha squash

Ellie's Brown Ale

Spiced seckel pears, again

I baked a frozen thin-crust pizza for Veggie-teen, but the aroma of the fried chicken overwhelmed her scruples, and she devoured a drumstick.

The chicken came from the Dupont Market, and was tender, juicy and very flavorful. I put some cumin, ground bay leaf and ancho chile powder in the dredging flour along with sea salt and black pepper. I fried the chicken in previously used/strained corn and peanut oil, and the crust was crackly and irresistable. Many kudos from the family, which made all the clean-up worth the work.

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Wow, txaggie, your dishes look wonderful! Mmm, mushrooms.

We had an old standby tonight: ginger-glazed pan-fried pork (shouga-yaki) plated with shredded cabbage and julienned green pepper. If I learn nothing else the entire time I live here, I'm glad I learned about shouga-yaki. I also made a clear soup with sliced shiitake and cubes of cotton tofu.

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hearts of romaine with chopped tomatoes, grated Parmesan and ranch dressing

cheese-jalapeno quesadillas

cream of lettuce soup (romaine)

baked chicken legs (lemon, butter, s + p)

baked potatoes with butter

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Sunday:

Mizuna, Yamagata pear, and toasted sesame seed salad with a rice vinegar/sesame oil vinaigrette

Pan-seared pork chops with ginger-soy pan sauce

Boiled, then briefly broiled satsumaimo

Last night:

Ramen with pan-seared sliced pork, kamaboko (fish paste), and kimchi

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Last night:

Cauliflower gratin--it's actually more of a baked cheese fondue with cauliflower in it. A family favorite. Lots of thick, creamy cheese sauce to dunk bread in. Made with a combination of Gruyere, Vermont Cheddar, P'tit Basque, Monterey Jack and Reggiano.

Mixed green salad

2006 J & F Lurton Torrontes

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Last night:

Flemish Beef Carbonade (cubed chuck roast, vidalia onions, Rodenbach Grand Cru, thyme)

Mussels (mussels steamed in Corsendonk Brown, one vidalia, pork trotters)

Frites (twice-fried, with malted salt and mayo made with Drie Fonteinen Doesjel Oude Lambik)

Cheese and grapes (Gorgonzola Dolce, the manchego-ish one from Dupont farmer's market, a brie whose name I can't remember)

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The past two nights have been efforts at cream of tomato soup with puff pastry. The soup is phenomenal (just making it clogged my arteries, but it is good). Getting the puff pastry right has been challenging, though. The first night it went over the bowl as the recipe calls for but didn't rise properly. The second night, I baked the puff pastry separately, and it was used as if it were a bread accompanying the soup. (It baked up perfectly :blink: .)

I've been told the problem is using prepared sheets. I either need to make puff pastry dough myself or buy some that is plain dough rather than prepared sheets. I've still got some soup left, but I think I'll pass on further puff pastry experiments this time around, given the amount of fat and calories in the soup alone :P. (For last night's version, I added some fresh crab meat and cilantro to the soup.)

Both nights the soup was accompanied by a green salad and light vinaigrette (the first night had some chicken, but the second night was veggies and olives only).

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1 1/2 slices Prosciutto Americano ($1 each), right out of the plastic bag headed to the Claredon metro stop; half of one slice fell on the ground, so I threw it away.

Late supper: The last of leftover white rice dumped into cauliflower-leek soup w extra chicken stock that was extracted by slamming the freezer bag repeatedly on the counter after running it under hot water.

Last minute, leaves pulled off of thick stems of arugula swirled in. Grated Pecorino. Black pepper. Generous drizzle of unfiltered olive oil on top.

3 raw almonds. 1 1/2 toasted walnuts. 10 pistachios. 4 dried apricots.

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Cauliflower gratin--it's actually more of a baked cheese fondue with cauliflower in it. A family favorite. Lots of thick, creamy cheese sauce to dunk bread in. Made with a combination of Gruyere, Vermont Cheddar, P'tit Basque, Monterey Jack and Reggiano.

I have had a request to provide a recipe for the gratin of cauliflower. I will give an approximation, because I don't really measure when I cook.

2 smallish medium sized or 1 very large cauliflower, stem and core removed, broken and sliced into pieces. (Not too small, or it'll turn to mush.) Steam until just tender (it doesn't take long).

Cheese sauce

3/4 stick butter

3/4 cup flour

3 cups milk (whole or 2%, not skim), more as needed

1/2 onion, chopped and sauteed in 1 tsp. olive oil or butter

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

small slug of white wine or dry vermouth

salt and white pepper

sweet paprika (optional)

4 cups grated cheese (use mostly semi-soft types, like cheddar, gruyere or comte, gouda, jack) and include around 1/3 cup of parmesan.

Make white roux with butter and flour. Cook briefly until it smells nutty. Add cold milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil and stir in more milk if it is too thick. Reduce heat and allow to simmer. Saute and sweat onion until translucent and soft. Add to white sauce. Begin adding cheese a handful at a time and stir as cheese melts. When all of the cheese is incorporated, taste and add salt as needed. Add the wine, a few grinds of white pepper and the Dijon mustard. You can add a little creme fraiche or sour cream, if you want it a bit richer.

Put steamed cauliflower into an oven-proof casserole. Pour cheese sauce over and stir to coat all of the cauliflower with the sauce. Add some milk if you don't have enough sauce. Grate some more parmesan on top. Sprinkle with a light dusting of paprika.

Bake in 350 degree oven for approx. 30 minutes, or until top is browned. Briefly run it under a broiler to brown the top, if it hasn't browned enough.

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Southern fried Eco-Friendly chicken

Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic

Collard greens

Store-bought biscuits (don't shoot me) with Toigo honey

2006 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Another correspondence:

Roast WFM chicken w sage from Gourmet Greens

Next Step potatoes mashed w TJ's Plugra butter and both sunchoke and milk from WFM

Spring Valley Chard braised w Twin Springs red onion and chicken stock, swirled into the mash

Pan juices reduced w braising liquid and lemon juice, then drizzled over vegetables

My store-bought biscuits: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from TJ

Best part: lemon squirted onto inner side of roasted skin while cleaning up

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Surprised myself tonight by making gnocchi with boiled red bliss potatoes. (I always have used Russets or Yukons in the past.) "Riced" 2 pounds of potatoes through my sausage grinder (skins on) and used one large egg, fresh thyme leaves and about 2 cups of flour. Dough came together quickly and the gnocchi held together really well during the boil without producing a dense, chewy finished product. They really stayed rather light and airy!

Accompanying sauce was made with what I had on hand: Italian sausage, white balsamic, canned tomatoes and canned artichoke hearts.

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Roast Dijion crusted, shallot breadcrumb stuffed, Leg of Lamb with pan sauce (Julia Child)

Roast Eggplant

Garden Salad with champagne shallot vinaigrette

Three Apple Pie (used the Cook's vodka crust recipe but wont do so again - it's easier to do, but less flaky than Joy of Cooking)

Chateau Meyney St. Estephe 2003

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Lacinato kale and cannellini bean soup --"ribollita-lite" with bread on the side

Polpette

Roasted asparagus

Artichoke hearts a la greque

Marinated roasted red peppers

Homemade ricotta

Spicy olives

Chopped fennel with olive oil and lemon

Leftover deep dish apple pie with vanilla ice cream

2005 Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo

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Saba no miso ni -- mackerel simmered with miso

Another round of the julienned daikon, carrot, and leek salad with sesame dressing

Steamed rice

Chile Verde over red rice and the last remaining tortilla
Mmm, tortillas and chile verde. These things, I miss.
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*Cavolo nero braised w red chili flakes, anise seeds, garlic & broth

I put ground fennel seed into my cavolo nero-cannelini bean soup. We just had it reheated for lunch with some leftover polpetti cut into chunks in the soup. I love that hint of anise flavor in the background.

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