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Reconstructing Dinner

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  1. So far this year, I've made Thanksgiving leftovers soup -- chicken broth with turkey, green beans and, yes, left over sweet potatoes -- with swiss chard. The sweet potatoes add a sweetness and body. I had smoked the turkey, so the soup had a good depth of flavor. And Black Eyed Peas leftovers soup -- chicken broth with black eyed peas, farro and, well, beets. The color was down right disturbing, but the flavors worked surprisingly well. Maybe not a do-again, but not bad for a clean out the fridge kind of a soup. Having used up just about all the holiday leftovers in the house, tonight I made Tom Yum with black sea bass and clams. This was my first time making fish stock, and I will definitely do it again. And, of course, there is nothing like fish sauce and Thai chilies to make you feel alive. RD
  2. Tonight was my fist attempt at lamb chops (local lamb from MD, I'm happy to say). After marinating in oregano, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, I seared chops on both sides and finished in the oven. I read somewhere that it would take 10 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 140, which, to my surprise, was exactly correct. Unfortunately, the residual heat cooked them to 152 -- way beyond medium rare. I will adjust the timing in the future. I served the chops on top of beet tzatziki. Very good flavor, even if a tad overcooked. As a second course, arugula salad with blood oranges, shaved Parmesan and toasted pine nuts. The dressing was a simple vinaigrette with blood orange juice. Not bad for a Monday night dinner. RD
  3. I wrote about this a while back, but hadn't uploaded the picture yet. Pupusas with pulled pork. RD
  4. OK. It's not really the rib-mole torta -- that required immediate eating; no time for pictures. I made this one with pulled pork a while back. Not quite a sloppy or sinister, but tasty nonetheless. RD
  5. Let's see. . . I recently made Mexican Tortas with the meat from leftover rack of baby back ribs, which I heated up in mole (I make large batches and keep ice cubes of it in the freezer.). Sandwich also included avocado, cilantro, jalepeno, chipotle mayo. Not a fancy obscene sandwich, but it seemed pretty over-the-top at the time. Mmm. RD
  6. The key, and someone mentioned it above, is making sure that it is COVERED and cooked at a low temperature for a long time. Anything from 200-325 has worked without a problem. I generally wrap a Boston Butt (shoulder) in foil AND put it in a dutch oven with lid. I've had luck pouring a little liquid in the bottom (beer, oj, whatever), but with all the fat, that's not even necessary. One way to make sure you take plenty of cooking time is to start it right before you go to bed (in which case I keep a very low temperature) and check it when you wake up. House will smell fantastic. And don't even worry about internal temperatures. If, when you check it, the meat doesn't absolutely fall apart with prodded with a fork, it's not done. It should be very, very easy to pull apart. RD
  7. Homemade whole-grain bread toasted with butter, a soft boiled egg, salt and pepper. Oh, or homemade whole-grain bread toasted (see the theme?) with herring in mustard sauce. RD
  8. 1/2 mayo, 1/2 greek yogurt (I like 2%) gives tuna salad an extra twang. Mayo and chipoltes in adobo, as mentioned above. Great for tortas . . . or any other type of sandwich, really. And, yes, mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with greek yogurt, even good in tuna salad. RD
  9. Smoking the duck was an interesting experiment,. As TX BBQ is my comfort zone, the rub was a blend of salt, pepper and chili powder (and cayenne pepper because, well, because I like hot), and I used mesquite chips. I stuffed a local peach in the cavity, which didn't add flavor to the meat but ended up with a pretty amazing velvety texture. I think pureed it would have made a nice sauce, but I didn't think about it until later. After almost 4 hours in the smoker at about 225 I put the duck in a 500 degree oven for 10 minutes, which really did crisp up the skin. I had read that all the fat keeps the smoke from penetrating the meat, and I really found that to be true. Of course, the duck has so much flavor that it was still really tasty. Next time, though, I may just roast in the oven. Overall, the duck was really good. We ate it with one of our standard summer meals: homemade pupusas, cabbage and corn salsa (Boy coined "slawsa") -- a take on Salvadorian curdito , avocados and lime juice. (If you read the Dinner! thread, you might hhave come across this same dinner with pork. ) Anyway, the duck stood up nicely to the other very prominent flavors. I'm going to make mu shu duck with the rest of the meat and stock out of the carcass. Thanks for all the suggestions and comments. RD
  10. No scoring it is. I was leaning that way, but was overwhelmed by the conflicting recommendations I found on the internet. Thanks for verifying. RD
  11. I am going to try my hand a smoking a whole duck this weekend. TX BBQ style, rather than tea-smoked or Asian. Any thoughts on whether I should score the duck breast to release the fat while smoking? Better to let it melt under the skin? Any suggestions would be much appreciated. RD
  12. I don't think masa would work the same way, since the corn has been soaked in lye. Although I understand that hominy (and masa) have a much higher nutritional value -- since the lye eats away at the undigestible parts of the kernel. Anyway, I digress. I wonder whether you could grind your polenta finely in either a morter and pestal or food processor. Might work. This thread has been a treat to read. Growing up in rural TX, we always had hush puppies with fried catfish. This past weekend, we had hush puppies with steamed crab on the Chesapeake Bay. Might have to try making them myself one of these days. Thanks for the recipes and ideas. RD
  13. Good luck tomorrow. Please update on how the smoking works out. Pictures? RD
  14. There's a recipe for goat tacos in the July 2008 Gourmet. It calls for braising in the oven, but you might be able to modify the ingredients for smoking purposes. Perhaps the chilis, etc. (sans tomatoes) could be an overnight marinade? Anyway, you can find it here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/vie...AT-TACOS-242840. I'll be interested to know what you come up with. RD
  15. I think that there's a psychological aspect to this question, as well. Seeds suggest spicy -- not bell peppers, of course, but then this is a chili thread. I tend to like to emphasize the spiciness, so I would leave them in. I often serve home-pickled or fresh sliced chilies as an accompaniment -- whether the seeds actually make them hotter may be up for debate, but they LOOK hot. RD
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