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Dinner - The Polyphonic Food Blog

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My meal ideas just seem to keep getting stranger and stranger...

Wild Rice with Dried Cranberries, Golden Raisins, and Toasted Pine Nuts
Roasted Portobellos with Cranberry Sauce
Seared Grapefruit with Ginger Maple Syrup
Fried Banana with Jalapeno, Ancho Chile, and Cinnamon

 

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Leftover salad
Potato and mushroom soup
Whole wheat pita and baba ganoush
Vegetarian moussaka

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I did a catering earlier this week and we made Pork Belly Porchetta. There was a small section of belly that wasn't needed for the event so tonight I roasted it. I had my brand new chef's alarm leave in probe thermometer from Thermoworks so it was extra fun.

Over 3 hours at 3 hundred followed by 20 minutes at 515 {should hae been 500 so it got a little browner than I wanted. Served with pork dripping roasted potato.

Wine: 1981 Pine Ridge Stag's Leap Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon. Our second 1981 Napa cab is fine shape at almost 37 years of age.

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I have not cooked in a while, and tonight I had friends over. It’s been a little cloudy and windy here in the very deep southern part of United States, so hearty food was appreciated. 😉
Salad of baby kale and mixed greens with Caesar dressing and grated Parmesan Reggiano. 
Chicken paprikash made with white meat chicken, onions, sweet Hungarian paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, flour, chicken stock, tomato paste, sour cream. 
Kosher egg noodles. 
Sauteed cabbage. 
Organic cinnamon marshmallows coated in chocolate (purchased from my local hippie grocery store). 
This was a very homey meal, easy to make and lots of fun. 

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Sauteed marinated extra firm tofu
Brown rice
Steamed broccoli
Whole wheat pita and baba ganoush

Based on some idea that lodged in my head from a cooking competition show (I don't even recall which), I marinated the tofu in sriracha, soy sauce, and liquid smoke. I also added some garlic powder and onion powder. I figured it would be a pretty quick meal because there was a time constraint in whatever the show was, though he might have used white rice. I started marinating the tofu, then put the rice on and prepped the broccoli and garnishes. When the rice was finished and I turned it off to rest for 10 minutes, I started cooking the tofu. Right near the end, I steamed the broccoli in the microwave.

It looked nice plated, with the rice on the bottom, planks of tofu arranged on top and broccoli florets strewn over the plate. I garnished both the rice and the whole plate with scallion greens and chopped roasted peanuts.

I think I'll go with chipotle seasoning next time for the smoke instead of the liquid smoke. It came through enough that I was regretting that inclusion. Possibly I used too much, though it was just a few shakes of the bottle.

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Left overs. Kimchi Jigae from the freezer, rice, kimchi, sauerkraut.

Boulevardier. Old Granddad w/Luxardo Aperitivo, Capitoline white, Biter Truth celery bitters and Peychaud's whiskey barrel bitters

Kay: Negroni w/Brokers gin, Cocchi rosa, Luxardo bitters. 

Last of our first batch of homemade vanilla gelato.

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Dinner last night was really good but it sure generated a lot dishes, pots, and pans to wash... 🤨

Spicy Tomato Blue Cheese Soup
Cheesy Mixed Pasta Casserole with Mushrooms

I was craving tomato soup and remembered this Michael Symon recipe I've made a few times before, so dug it out. In order to give my husband soup without blue cheese, this time around I made it without cheese and gave him crumbled feta to add at the table, and I added blue cheese to mine before eating. Doing it this way, it made absolutely no sense (I realized at the table) to have gone to the trouble of straining the soup through a fine mesh strainer so it was completely smooth. The strained soup is absolutely wonderful, though.

I'd never made the Food and Wine recipe before and liked it quite a bit. The cheese is primarily Fontina (some Parmesan is sprinkled on the top), and it's not a huge amount. I followed it more or less to the letter, except instead of using a pound total of mixed pasta shapes, I used a box of tricolor rotini. I don't like rotini all that much and like the mixed colored kind even less, but for some reason I buy some periodically to make pasta salad. This summer I got the pasta and never made the salad. It worked perfectly in this. The three kinds of mushrooms were what really made the dish.

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Last night was green pasta with pesto from the freezer and TJ fresh English peas.  We had a side of greek turkey meatballs that I made with onion, egg, breadcrumbs, feta and some herbs.

I also finished the butternut pear soup I had made.  (Topping it with a little cheese and bacon made it just a little more interesting)

Last week was salmon curry with ramen noodles one night, homemade turkey green chile verde tamales with rice, beans, salsa and guac another.  We have been doing a lot of delivery recently just because Hubby has been sick and I have had events.  I'm hoping to convince him to grill some steaks since it is halfway decent out at night.

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Big salad (iceberg, radicchio, radishes, cucumbers, chickpeas, tomato, green bell pepper; mustard - anchovy vinaigrette)
Pumpernickel bread and butter
Sauteed kale agrodolce with raisins and pine nuts
Baked chicken breasts en papillote with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives

The kale was from a Bobby Flay recipe. I substituted honey for the sugar called for in the agrodolce component. The chicken idea came from skimming through one of the more recent editions of Joy of Cooking. I keep going back to my cookbooks to try to make better use of them and justify the space they take up.

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More big salad and pumpernickel
Eggplant, tomato, pepper, and potato stew

I made the stew from half of the leftovers of the moussaka from the other night. The recipe for the moussaka didn't work too well as moussaka, but with a little creative effort, it transformed into a pretty good stew. Don't know what I'm going to do with the other half of the leftovers. The recipe made a lot.

The inspiration for the stew came from a recipe in The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook Volume II: Cianfotta Lucana. I doubt I would have come up with the stew without seeing that recipe. I'm keeping track of it to make in its own right some other day. The main difference would be the broth in mine derived from what was left of the original sauces on the moussaka. (The sauces never properly thickened.)

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More leftovers. Frozen mushroom enchilladas w/home made salsas. Great remainder of the bottle of Vinco Biancoperso. Value prives orange imported by Williams Corner. Tangy, almost apricot/peach but in a not too fruity way. Last of the Kirk & Sweeney 23 year rum. 

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Thursday night: Kay cooked. Kimchi jigae w/mushrooms, tofu & rice. Vegetarian. Then amazing baby bananas from HMart Fairfax. Tiny and custardy. 

Makkoli

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Sheet pan meal: chicken, red peppers, cubanelle peppers, potatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and carrots roasted with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and lots of olive oil. 

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Last night was old-fashioned meatloaf like Mom used to make, barded with bacon and basted with tomato juice during cooking. We also had buttered peas with fresh dill and pepper, roasted za'atar cauliflower, and brown rice.

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Assorted leftovers last night: tofu, brown rice, broccoli, cauliflower, and chicken. I made a (very) quick peanut sauce to accompany by whisking ponzu sauce with peanut butter and a splash of water.

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Got two mullets filleted at Grand Mart. Pan fried in a little potato starch. Deglazed the pan with capers and white wine.  Sauteed king mushrooms, sliced top to bottom, after marinating in a tiny bit of sesame oil. ABout half was thry added some soy and the remainder of the oil from the marinade. Salt & Pepper. Cooked them pover fairly high heat til glazed.

Cenatiempo Grantiefo Bianco from Campania.

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Up till this month, I'd always associated lo mein as being a carryout recipe, and not something to make at home.  Turns out it's really easy and very tasty, which I found out when we made chicken lo mein last weekend. 

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We did a big steak salad tonight.  It start out as this wrap recipe but we decided to cut up the lettuce, added a green bell pepper and cucumber and tossed it into 2 bowls for a very delicious dinner.

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Iceberg lettuce and radicchio, radishes, tomato, white onion rings, and green bell pepper; vinaigrette
Baked eggplant, potato, and tomato casserole with fresh mint, feta, garlic bread crumbs, and mozzarella
Mini spiced lamb meatballs served over sauteed onions, green pepper, and spinach
Lemon, mint, and garlic yogurt sauce
Trader Joe's cauliflower tabbouli

The casserole was the last rearrangement of the moussaka that didn't quite work out as written. I was originally going to add the lamb to it but decided against in case it was a fail. It worked out fine, and the lamb and spinach were great on the side.

 

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I had bought habareno lime tortillas at Trader Joe's on something of a whim and wasn't sure what to make with them. At first I thought burritos, then tacos, then stacked enchiladas, and finally I settled on a dish I called encharitos, burritos enchilada style. Mostly that means that, instead of tightly rolling filled tortillas in a casserole, I made tight bundles. I also used refried beans, which I almost always use in burritos but don't usually use in enchiladas.

Since I hadn't exactly planned what I was doing and had to get a meal made, I meandered through a process of figuring out what to do as I was doing it. It came out pretty well.

I poached a couple large skinless boneless chicken breasts in water with bay, cracked peppercorns, and dehydrated onion. Then I further simmered the chicken on very low for a while in a big jar of salsa verde and some strained poaching liquid until it was easily shreddable. After I took out the chicken, I cooked down the liquid a little more until it was closer to the original salsa consistency.

I poured a thin coating of the salsa on the bottom of a casserole big enough to hold ten filled tortillas and used the same sauce to warm and coat the individual tortillas before filling. The layered filling was shredded chicken, green sauce, refried beans, shredded monterey jack, and a few fresh cilantro leaves. I folded them burrito style and they filled the casserole dish exactly full.

For the top, I decided to use a red(dish) sauce and so diluted what I called "tomato base" that I had left if the refrigerator from straining tomato soup. The tomatoes were somewhat spent after their previous work, so I pumped them up with extra sriracha (which had been part of the original soup). I diluted this with more of the chicken poaching liquid until it was a saucy consistency. I drizzled this over the casserole and then topped with shredded cheese. After they came out of the oven, I scattered a few more handfuls of cheese and some cilantro leaves. The cheese melted handily before we dug into the meal. I served these with extra lime for squeezing over and that really brought out the lime in the tortillas.

The rest of the meal was the remaining salad from the night before and the last of the leftover brown rice and za'atar roasted cauliflower.

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In the freezer we had bean soup that was mostly bean, tomato, onion, garlic & herbs. In the fridge we had romanesco, leek, tat soi, chard all from the farmer's market and an onion. The veggies got chopped & sauteed in olive oil. Added the soup and water & boiled til the veggies were soft. The result was a rich broth and the veggies retained their individual flavors. Sprinkled parm on top.

Drinks:

My negroni-esque Jalisco tequila, Don Cicio Rababaro, Bonal gentian apperitivo, Jerry Thomas bitters. Should have used a different bitter.

Kay: Jalisco tequila, Bonal, Barolo Chinato Cocchi, Bitter Truth lemon bitters

Wine: Tami Nero d'Avola 1/2 bottle using the coravin.

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We has some leftover pasta sauces in the fridge. We cooked up 250 grams of Opera pappardelle which is one of the best artisan pasta I have ever had. It has a great chew and heft which is perfect in pappardelle and it absorbed the liquid in the sauce perfectly. It kept its chew for the entire time we were scarfing it down {which, admittedly, was not long}

One container was wild boar sauce. The other looked like greens sauteed in garlic. But it was actually leftover green onion, leek and white wine from the cooking of clams. The combo was a little fish tasting but quite delicious. The Portuguese eat pork and clams, so why not?  A serendipitous combo and a delicious one too.

We staarted with crudite and crackers dipped in walnut sage pesto and Divina oven dried tomato & almond pesto.

We both reek of garlic but when you both do, neither one suffers! 

We finished our bottle of Tami Nero d'Avola from yesterday.

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My husband dubbed last night's dinner “Accidental Thanksgiving in January.” I had to admit he was right. The only part that was intentional was the cranberry sauce.  I realized I still had some from making a portobello mushroom dish earlier in the month, so I pulled that out to serve with the turkey cutlets I was breading. The meal was great...and reminiscent of Thanksgiving 🦃.

Turkey scallopini
Leftover whole berry cranberry sauce
Steamed broccoli
Leftover English peas with butter and mint
Maple spiced mashed sweet potatoes

 

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This made a nice plate:

Baked rainbow trout with garlic and lemon
Roasted fennel with Parmesan
Roasted yellow beets
Du Puy lentils with carrots, mushrooms, onions, and garlic; cooked in vegetable broth
Chopped avocado
Fennel frond garnish

The fennel was a Giada DeLaurenttis recipe that came out great. (The recipe says to slice them horizontally, but the video clearly indicates vertically, as does the photo evidence.) I sort of followed a basic NYT recipe for the lentils but added mushrooms and scaled the amounts in the recipe back. I used vegetable broth for the liquid. The lentils were surprisingly delicious.

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