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Dinner! 2005


EdS
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Tonights dinner started off with a cocktail I read about in Dave's blog: El Diablo, these go down VERY easy!!

next up was gazpacho blanco made with a local bakery's summer corn loaf, drizzled with avocado oil and cucumbers and melon

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then shrimp ceviche tostados

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and grilled corn on the cob with marjorem butter

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I am jealous of those summer corn eaters, I still haven't had a really good ear of sweet white Maryland corn yet.

Dinner was late but very good:

Tomato and basil salad (the best tomatoes so far this summer), gruyere and parmesan souffle (so good!), and cumin and orange glazed carrots.

Dessert: blueberry crisp with a bit of almonds and ginger

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Shrimp & crab alfredo, served with stir fried chili/garlic brocc and bay biscuits. (Biscuits flavored with Old Bay, garlic & cheddar)

Had sliced pineapple for dessert.

Today is going to be one of those days.....

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Broiled polenta with a chanterelle mushroom/tomato sauce cooked in white wine & balsamic vinegar, topped with grated asiago cheese.

Vanilla Ice cream with melted peanut butter and chocolate syrup for dessert.(you know, for that gourmet part of the meal :) )

Edited by west2100 (log)
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I ate about 15 large (the size of a large plum!) fresh, plump figs. I halved them, then slipped in hunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and drizzled them with honey and balsamico.

Then I ate a plate of Korova cookies, fresh from the oven.

:wub:

What do you know: I had figs today, too! Only I topped them with goat cheese. I thought about drizzling honey on top, but discovered that it crystallized, and I was to impatient to melt it.

Fig-vi.jpg

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My mom bought a whole flat of figs for $25 Cdn (I don't know if that's cheap or not...but they were the sweetest, largest figs I'd ever seen in my life.) Soooo delicious....I couldn't stop eating them and now I'm sooooo full! (My honey crystallized too...I just popped it in the microwave.)

(And sheesh...your pictures belong in a cookbook! Thanks for posting your lovely pictures, Alinka. I always look forward to your Dinner posts. :smile: )

Edited by Ling (log)
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Thanks, Ling. Photographing food turned out to be so much fun.

I could've microwaved mine, too, it's true. But the figs were sweet enough on their own anyway. I liked the subtlety of flavors, honey would have probably been too assertive. Only it was a bit dry - I wonder if it would have been better if I'd mixed the goat cheese with heavy cream (and I do have some in the fridge!).

I keep dreaming about those Korova cookies ever since you gave the link. I need to finally bake them already!

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Bill, please talk more about the turkey and the process.

And, which sandwich will be the one you remember most?

The turkey itself was pretty simple - I bought a large turkey breast(s) at the grocery store, boned it and was left with the two large breast pieces. Did a simple dry rub - paprika, smoked paprika, onion powder, celery salt, garlic salt (I was out of garlic powder), brown sugar, dash of cayenne, salt and pepper. Smoked it on Sunday for about four and half hours at 230 on my Weber Smoky Mountain (see below) until it registered somewhere between 155 and 160.

One thing I did differently than in previous versions was to attempt to form it into more of a "loaf" shape in the smoker. Previously I've left it flat and ended up with a really wide, thin piece of meat. Shaping it gave me much more uniform cooking and a nicer looking shape. I'd probably brine it the day before if I was doing it again because it was a touch dry, but I forgot to do it on Saturday. Tonight, I sliced it and heated it briefly in a 350 oven until it was just warm.

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I preferred the one with the BBQ sauce (store bought, but a very good one - the Savannah flavor of the store brand at Balducci's, a "gourmet foods" store in DC). Mainly because it was a little less dry and because I was using *gasp* low-fat mayo :shock: .

This is the same turkey I used in the Cobb salad I posted a few days back.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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standard summer fare last night!

steaks, garlic bread and sweet Walla Walla onions done on the grill, new potatoes tossed with butter, fresh oragano and lemon thyme, summer salad.

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I have to get some figs!! Last time I stuffed them with a marble of blue cheese and wrapped them in proscuitto, baked until the meat just shrunk on them. drizzled with honey. YUM!!

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Tonight we decided to try to create our own "Indian Meatballs" that I saw in an earlier post.. They were good but didn't quite have the "Indian" taste that I thought they would. Made them with ground beef, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, TONS of fresh cilantro and ground coriander. We put that over couscous with toasted pita bread (no nan!) and had some fresh corn with lots o' salt and pepper. Desert was homemade brownies with Bryers Mint Chocolate chip ice cream and sprinkles. Anyways..on to the pictures!

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Moby, that dish is spectacular!

Wednesday dinner:

A Catalonian-inspired quick fix. hard cooked eggs chopped and mixed with smoked paprika, capers, olive oil and parsley. Put that on top of homemade toasted sourdough and top with roasted piquilo peppers and white anchovies.

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Tonight:

Stuffed small green zucchini braised in a tomato broth. This is a traditional Lebanese preparation even though the stuffing (rice, ground pork, cilantro and Samen) this time was not strictly traditional. This is one of the ultimate comfort foods for me, and I love adding a good dose of Tabasco to my bowl :smile: .

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Dessert: Very simple and delicious. Pineapple with mint sugar, honey creme fraiche and a Paximadia (a biscotti-like Greek cookie).

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Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Dessert: Very simple and delicious. Pineapple with mint sugar, honey creme fraiche and a Paximadia (a biscotti-like Greek cookie).

gallery_5404_94_687035.jpg

Elie

Elie how did you make the mint sugar? I did pineapple with mint sugar a little while ago (I mashed fresh mint and coarse sugar together in a mortar)

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That is just about the only dish that will induce me to come back to Lebanese food right now. The sheer genius of putting dried mint in tomato broth. Looks wonderful.

I've been cooking a lot, but not photographing anything. Today was simple: saag paneer, indian style scrambled eggs, and naan.

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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Tonight we decided to try to create our own "Indian Meatballs" that I saw in an earlier post.. They were good but didn't quite have the "Indian" taste that I thought they would.  Made them with ground beef, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, TONS of fresh cilantro and ground coriander.  We put that over couscous with toasted pita bread (no nan!) and had some fresh corn with lots o' salt and pepper.  Desert was homemade brownies with Bryers Mint Chocolate chip ice cream and sprinkles.  Anyways..on to the pictures!

A few suggestions for next time around on how to get meatballs with an "Indian taste".

First off, ground BEEF will always give the wrong taste (IMO). Unless you really hate lamb, try using ground lamb. I sometimes use ground pork and while it's not particularly authentic, it gives more "Indian" taste results than beef, I feel.

Secondly, I am sure that some people in India must actually use breadcrumbs to bind their meatballs, but it's not all that common. More common is besan (chick-pea flour). Brown lightly in an unoiled skillet (stir constantly) to ensure that it will not taste raw in the final product. The besan also brings its own flavor into the meatballs.

Some people will also add an egg for binding in addition to the besan.

Thirdly, try frying your spices before adding to the meat, this releases the oils in the spices and gives a tastier end result. Do this in the same way as the besan described above, i.e. in an unoiled pan. Do not do it together with the besan or other spices if using - each has a different optimal time for being heated to maximize its flavor.

Fourth, try a combination of: coriander, black pepper, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, red pepper (as dry spices), together with lime juice, onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro, fresh green chilies, as well as the besan for binding your meatballs.

Fifth, often Indian meatballs have a small amount of cooked filling containing things such as pistachios, raisins, almonds, fresh green chili, garam masala, etc. Personally, I'm usually too lazy to take this entire extra step of cooking a filling, but I do tend to make a filling of, for example, a couple of raisins per meatball that have been tossed with a little garam masala (that has again been toasted to bring out the flavor).

Sixth, instead of radically changing what you do with the meatballs (as in the fourth and fifth parts above), try serving your meatballs with a freshly made chutney or in a spiced curry sauce. This is a very common way of serving meatballs in India. My suspicion is that the meatballs are often served in sauce/curry in India to make a small amount of meat go further. However, it also tastes good!

Happy eating!

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Last night was two recipes from "Fresh and Fast" by Marie Simmons... the menu was one suggested by them.

Oven-Roasted Vegetable Plate with Herb Dressing

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Cannellini Beans with Arugula and Golden Garlic (except my garlic wasn't quite so golden)

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Both recipes were very good!

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Dessert: Very simple and delicious. Pineapple with mint sugar, honey creme fraiche and a Paximadia (a biscotti-like Greek cookie).

gallery_5404_94_687035.jpg

Elie

Elie how did you make the mint sugar? I did pineapple with mint sugar a little while ago (I mashed fresh mint and coarse sugar together in a mortar)

I did exactly that, in a large Thai mortar! Just like you I also got the idea from Jamie Oliver.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I did exactly that, in a large Thai mortar! Just like you I also got the idea from Jamie Oliver.

Elie

that's so interesting because yours looks like it should (dry and crumbly) whereas mine went all wet and pasty in the mortar.

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