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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
  16. I agree with the last post: new or waxy potatoes are best. I tend for red and keep the skins on. Boil whole then cut in quarters. Vinegar while still warm is a must -- I get mine in the form of pickle juice. (Dill pickles, not sweet pickles). Celery, red onion, pickles, parsley. I also avoid the over-mayo problem, so I only use a little at first. If I need more of something, I add Greek style yogurt. RD
  17. I'm so glad I found this thread. I was looking for an appetizer for an upcoming dinner party, and I think ceviche fits the bill perfectly. Sounds like I should keep it simple. Boy Friend is allergic to salmon - can you imagine? - so I will probably go with tuna or red snapper (is that too daring?). Lime juice, minced onion, jalepenos and cilantro sound like a safe bet. RD
  18. Epiphany - cabbage and pasta. Who knew? A few days ago I wrote about our dinner of smoked pork, pupusas and a slaw of shredded cabbage with grape tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice. As an experiment with leftovers, two nights ago I sauteed the veggies and tossed them with fresh pasta. Wow. And there's still more smoked pork shoulder. So last night I charred tomatillos and onion and then sauteed with garlic. Added whole grape tomatoes and a small FROZEN piece of the pork shoulder, covered and let simmer for 20 minutes. A completely unorthodox cooking method, I'm sure, but it worked. The tomatoes split open and the pork heated through without drying out. It went very well stuffed in a tortilla with avocado and lettuce. Right, and there's still more pork shoulder in the freezer. RD
  19. Reconstructing Dinner


    Vitello Tonnato -- If you're ever in Piedmont, Italy, you won't be able to get away from it. Thin veal roast with a tuna, caper aoli. Very tasty. As mentioned above, good with pasta. I just saute anchovies, garlic and capers together in good olive oil. Maybe add some parsley at the end. I've been meaning to try a tapanade of the same ingredients (not the pasta, of course) for sandwiches or something. Maybe I'd use white anchovies for that.
  20. Two nights ago, cheese pupusas from WF well dressed -- smoked pork, corn salsa, avocado, grilled veggies, rice. Darn tasty, although homemade pupusas are better. Anyway, I smoked a 7 lb pork shoulder for Memorial day and was able to steal away a few lbs and freeze it. Wrapped in foil in a 300 degree oven, it reheats really well. Dinner last night was a wonderful combination of leftovers turned into Mexican pork tortas (sandwiches). Smoked pork shoulder, again, slaw (finely sliced cabbage, corn salsa, and grilled vegetables), avocado slices, queso fresco, lime and a drizzle of my latest experiment -- cilantro and garlic infused olive oil. I might use a less flavorful oil next time to bring out the other flavors more, but it was good. Oh, and I made chipotle mayo (half mayo, half greek yogart worked well). All this on toasted Kaiser rolls. The pictures didn't quite turn out, so I'll have to keep working on that part of it.
  21. Unfortunately, having to attend to the real world has kept me out of the kitchen lately, but I do enjoy all of the posts. Thank you for the ideas and inspiration. Hope to have some new ideas to share soon. - RD
  22. Apparently, my brother used to eat PB and PR (pickle relish). I assume that would be along the same lines as above. Maybe I'll give it a shot. Mmm. Maybe not.
  23. Tonight we ate: Lamb and pork meat balls with basil and mint. I added left over cooked basmati rice, which really lightens the consistency. Baba ganoush. I grilled (charred) two Confetti eggplant on the grill before scooping out and mixing with good olive oil, garlic, and lemon. Good smoky flavor that went quite well with the meatballs. Salad. Not that interesting, but reasonable. Lettuce, arugula and, well, canned Manderin orange sections. A quesadilla experiment. Since some of the rest of dinner had a vaguely Mediterranean flare, I added a small amount of chick pea flour to the masa harina. I put queso blanco, grilled vegetables and Tapatio between two tortillas and sealed them before throwing on a hot griddle. Not bad, but Boy thought not quite as good as the traditional tortillas.
  24. Tonight we had gumbo -- very dark roux, okra, smoked chicken and sausage over basmati rice. With choice of hot sauce: Tabasco or Crystal. I'm planning to add red pepper and shrimp to the left overs tomorrow night.
  25. First post -- no pictures yet, but I'll get there. Tonight we had smoked chicken tacos. Homemade corn tortillas, shredded smoked chicken (1 hour in smoker uncovered with mesquite chips, another 2 hours back in the smoker wrapped in foil.) with avocado, corn salsa, queso fresco, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Oh, and topped with my new favorite -- home pickled (sort of) jalepenos. I slice several jalepenos into very thin discs. Add white wine vinegar, salt and sugar, and refrigerate over night.
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