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Dinner! 2008


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I just returned from the Napa Valley with tons of fresh veggies and fruits that we drove to the farms to buy~ you can't imagine what a treat it is when you live in the S. CA desert and beautiful produce seems to abound, but somehow you can't get close enough to obtain any of it without driving a couple of hours away :sad: .

Tonight will be a rustic summer vegetable casserole with a medley of squashes, the most luscious tomatoes, lovely basil leaves and fresh corn that I think I'll smoke first in a stovetop smoker; mixed with homemade San Fran sourdough (yep, I even made it to the City for food to bring home :biggrin: )breadcrumbs and some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery.

And, as redundant as it might be, bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes, basil and some balsamic I picked up at NapaStyle (need to use these tomatoes before they go).

I have a peach tart in the oven now, made with the sweetest peaches I've tasted in at least 30 years....I swear, I'm moving back!!! Life it too short to eat shoddy produce :raz:

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Last evening, outside, after a day of semi-gloss painting, and including a neighbor guest who happened by during cocktail hour: NY steaks, delicious farmer's market Romaine and beefsteak tomato salade w/homemade blue-cheese dressing, ciabatta from the Japanese-French baker.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Wow! After about two weeks of massive frustration and repeated attempts, Kim Shook finally filled in the missing piece of the puzzle, informing me that in order to post pictures, they must be resized to 640 pixels... :wacko: Anyway, all's well that ends well! Many thanks to both Mrs. Shook and Peter Green for the information!

So...I finally got to cook for my grandparents and few of their friends - my menu was pretty basic and didn't follow any real theme, but for a first attempt in a new kitchen, it turned out pretty well.

Bread with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil

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Pretty simple prep, obviously - delicious and crusty garlic and olive bread from a local bakery, with the classic Balsamic and Olive Oil.

Lettuce Wraps

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The prep

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I decided to go with ground turkey - I very much enjoy the flavor, and the people I was cooking for hadn't had it before

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Some of the bread and the Romaine leaves that were used for the wraps

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The finished product - browned the turkey, then added some hoisin and soy for the Asian influence. A bit of julienned carrot and water chestnut added a textural contrast and a bit of color - the herbs on top are some basil and oregano (two favorites of mine that I use too much :rolleyes: )

Marinated Flank Steak

I decided to go with flank steak due to the number of people I was cooking for, and the specific tastes of my guests.

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I started out by marinating the meat in some white wine, a bit of soy, chopped garlic (as essential to my being as water :raz: ) and onions, and fresh rosemary. This was left to marinate for about 9 hours, allowing the herbs and marinade to penetrate the tougher cut of meat.

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I reserved the marinade after, boiling it for a few minutes, then using it to baste the meat as it was cooking on the grill.

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The meat turned out quite well - grilled for 15-20 minutes on medium-high heat, and it ended up at a nice medium-rare :wub: .

Roasted Ratatouille

I never really knew what ratatouille was, but had a bounty of fresh vegetablesand found a nice looking recipe, so decided to test my luck. My ingredients included eggplant, red and green pepper, green and yellow zucchini, cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, sugar, red wine vinegar, and some red pepper flakes for heat. I started by dicing the garlic and onion and sweating them over medium-low heat. While those were cooking, I rough chopped the vegetables and threw them in with the garlic and onion. As soon as the vegetables had softened up, I added the tomatoes, using a wooden spoon to crush and release some of the juice and flavor. Finished off with some red pepper flakes to taste, sugar to counteract any bitterness, and some red wine vinegar.

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This is a picture of the ratatouille right before it went in the oven for a nice, long roast.

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Here it is - the end result (before wipedown and service, of course). As I said, (although I am most admittedly biased to my own cooking :laugh: ) the meat turned out great, and the ratatouille roasted up quite well - the vegetables really melded well together, and the liquid elements brought out the individual flavors of the ingredients.

Honeyed Shortcake with Creme Fraiche and Raspberries

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I must admit, I in fact did not make my own short bread lol :biggrin: ! I did, however, mix some honey and water, drizzled it over the cakes, added a dollop of creme fraiche and tossed on some delicious fresh raspberries.

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An admittedly simple dessert, yes, but I was honestly exhausted after this marathon - guess I just need more practice (which shouldn't be a problem)!! :laugh:

I apologize for the long post, and I hope to be able to put some more replies and photos on good ol' eGullet!

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Stir-fried chicken wings in black bean sauce, somewhat modified by adding chiles and using the aromatic sauce from yesterday’s chicken instead of chicken stock. Jasmine rice and Costco veggies.

I had no plan for tonight’s dinner, so at lunch I did a little googling and Mr. Bittman's recipe turned up. Not bad but I prefer the Liuyang black bean chicken from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. Ms. Dunlop’s recipe uses a whole head of garlic, adds dried chile flakes, rice vinegar, and sesame oil to the sauce, and calls for deep-fried skin-on chunks of chicken thighs.

ETA: I cross-posted with lhollers (Ihollers?). Congratulations on figuring out how to post, and I look forward to seeing more of your cooking.

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Edited by C. sapidus (log)
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ETA: I cross-posted with lhollers (Ihollers?). Congratulations on figuring out how to post, and I look forward to seeing more of your cooking.

Thanks! It is actually lhollers (with a lowercase L haha) - hope to be posting more as soon as I can!

Edited by lhollers (log)
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Yes Sandra quenepas in the background.  One of my favorite things to eat along with passion fruit which is soo expensive in the US.

<sigh>

I ate a very ripe "parcha" quite a few years ago in my back yard and tossed the remains among the banana plants as fertilizer but instead, 2 passionfruit vines grew in that corner. I let one grow straight up and I nudged the other one so it would climb up the fence on the other side... a few months later I had a huge canopy that I could sit under to shield me from the sun while I ate more parchas that hung down all along the vines in various stages of ripeness.... made for delightful juices and "limbers" (frozen pops).

As for the quenepas, I've been able to buy them in the Mexican grocery stores in MD, but haven't had any luck with parchas. I depend on CARE packages from my mom who still lives in PR. I think if I go to Lancaster or Philly I might have better luck.

When I used to imbibe, I would place very ripe quenepas in a large bottle and pour white rum over it. Then I'd place it in a dark cabinet for a couple of months to cure. The end result was the most delicious concoction I've ever tasted.

<sigh>

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My fiance and I just returned from Costa Rica.

After a few days of gallos pintos and pollo a la plancha and a fairly expensive steak meal, last night I cooked a dry aged New York strip, a tenderloin, broccoli with cheese sauce, and a baked potato.

Whole Paycheck cannoli for dessert.

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Shelby - are you the cutie pie with the spoon on your nose in your avatar?

David - the pork roast is so succulent looking! I buy the best I can get, but mine never looks like that!

lhollers - lovely meal and congrats on figuring out the impenetrable imagegullet! That flank steak is just perfectly cooked!

Bruce - those wings look sweet and sticky and delicious - just the way I like them!

For Mr. Kim's birthday dinner last night, he requested steak, baked potato and salad (what can I say, he's a man :rolleyes: !). The salad was spinach and apple salad with hot bacon/red onion dressing:

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A wonderful rib eye from the Butchery, baked potato, Hanover tomatoes, asiago bread and the shrimp from "Flavors of Morocco" that suzilightning made and described here a while ago:

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The shrimp was really good and easy!

Dessert was purchased pastries:

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We are having friends and family over on Sunday to celebrate and I'll be making his real birthday dessert then.

I will be having a real cooking orgy this weekend. I'm looking forward to it. I'll be making the desserts for Mr. Kim's birthday celebration on Sunday and doing some cooking ahead for his fantasy football draft that I'm catering: chili dog cassserole, ice cream sandwiches with Tri2Cook's toasted marshmallow ice cream and Sugar Baby cookies. Can't wait!

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David  - the pork roast is so succulent looking!  I buy the best I can get, but mine never looks like that!

Thanks Kim. I buy about the cheapest cut of pork there is-Picnic Shoulder Roast. Just cook the devil out of it, very low heat for a very long time. This roast was cooked on the rotisserie-which meant that it basted itself with its own fat-for many hours. I think that's why it turned out so juicy.

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The Asian market in town recently moved to a much bigger location, which means they have a lot more space for more great products for me to experiment with.

I picked up some new ingredients that I hadn't used before to make a couple of dishes last night.

First, Fried Chinese Chicken Wings. I marinated the wings in soy sauce, ginger and garlic for about six hours. I found a package of what is called "Crispy Chinese Frying Flour" in the market.

While the product is made in Taiwan, there's a photo and caption on the package that says it makes crispy "Japanese Style Tempura." And to add to the global scope of the product, you mix the flour with coconut milk. I also added some panko bread crumbs to the flour and coconut mixture.

The wings were deep-fried in vegetable oil, then garnished with sesame seeds and served with green onions and a soy-honey reduction sauce.

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Next up, Korean Style Grilled Beef with a Cold Rice Noodle Salad with lots of vegetables. I used tri-tip steak and marinated it with a packaged Korean BBQ sauce. I cut the beef in thin strips and then put it on skewers and grilled it on the charcoal grill. I dressed the salad with citrus soy sauce. The beef is garnished with sesame seeds and fried shallots.

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Tonight we had chicken sweet potato hash with poached egg and poblano hollandaise sauce.  A dish I recently sampled at Mesa Grill in LV.  Didn't have a camera available but it was worth a picture.

HEY....I made this once a year or so ago for my MIL and myself from a recipe on the Food Network Site. Wasn't that poblano hollandaise sauce great? Great flavor!

Donna

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I originally got this idea from Art Culinaire, but naturally, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and decided to tweak it to my preferences. It's a grilled center cut pork chop with an apple cider-chicken stock redux glaze, served along with cornbread pudding studded with red bell pepper, zucchini, red onion, fresh herbs and aromatics, binded with eggs. cream and seasoning. It's simply amazing.

I like to bake it until it's still slightly soft in the middle, but baked it a little more for people who preferred it less soft..more like a hunk of creamy cornbread stuffing. I cooked down the extra glaze with some butter and white wine, for a nice, shiny sauce to accompany the dish. Unfortunately, the cornbread pudding came out a little overexposed in the photos below *still trying to get my 'photography groove' on.

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Flickr Shtuff -- I can't take a decent photo to save my life, but it all still tastes good.

My new Blog: Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

"I feel the end approaching. Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur."

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's great aunt Pierette (1755-1826)

~Lisa~

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Shelby - Here's a link to the spinach salad.

David - the wings and the bbq tri-tip are both things I would really like to make! I've printed out both of your descriptions to help me. (BTW, thank you for doing that! I notice that you usually do give general directions when you post a meal and it's really helpful. It gives us pointers and lets us know what level of expertise we'll need.) I'll have to go for a prowl at our Asian grocery store.

Sunday dinner:

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eye of round roast, green beans, cheese potato casserole, biscuits. That roast is the one that someone posted about awhile back. You slice the eye of round in half lengthwise and heavily salt it and let sit. You then roast it at a very low temp and let sit in the oven awhile, then tented with foil for awhile longer. It's a CI recipe and we were so pleased with it. When I started hearing about this roast a month or so ago, I was very suspicious! I have never had any success with eye of round. My sister used to make roast beef with it and it was always, in a word, horrible. Dry, tough and tasteless and not at all helped with the Bisto that she made to go with it. She loved it because it was so 'wonderfully lean', but I hated it. This is very, very different. Mr. Kim says that he could eat it every week. I made a little pan sauce with some red wine, Better Than Bouillion beef, Worcestershire and steak sauce.

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Shelby  - Here's a link to the spinach salad.

David  - the wings and the bbq tri-tip are both things I would really like to make!  I've printed out both of your descriptions to help me.  (BTW, thank you for doing that!  I notice that you usually do give general directions when you post a meal and it's really helpful.  It gives us pointers and lets us know what level of expertise we'll need.)  I'll have to go for a prowl at our Asian grocery store. 

Sunday dinner:

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eye of round roast, green beans, cheese potato casserole, biscuits.  That roast is the one that someone posted about awhile back.  You slice the eye of round in half lengthwise and heavily salt it and let sit.  You then roast it at a very low temp and let sit in the oven awhile, then tented with foil for awhile longer.  It's a CI recipe and we were so pleased with it.  When I started hearing about this roast a month or so ago, I was very suspicious!  I have never had any success with eye of round.  My sister used to make roast beef with it and it was always, in a word, horrible.  Dry, tough and tasteless and not at all helped with the Bisto that she made to go with it.  She loved it because it was so 'wonderfully lean', but I hated it.  This is very, very different.  Mr. Kim says that he could eat it every week.  I made a little pan sauce with some red wine, Better Than Bouillion beef, Worcestershire and steak sauce.

OK, I give; where'd you hide the recipe for the cheese potato casserole? I didn't see it under casseroles, sides or veggies and it looks SO good! :rolleyes:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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judiu - that's because there is no recipe :laugh: . We had some leftover baked potatoes from the other night. I just scooped the flesh (that's not the right word, but I can't think of what I mean right now) out, added a couple of microwaved peeled Yukon golds and dumped in cream cheese, sour cream, grated cheddar, salt, pepper and heavy cream. I crammed it all in a little casserole dish and nuked it for a few minutes. Every single thing that I used was leftover from cooking done this weekend or last week. We always have leftovers when I make baked potatoes (Jessica and I should share a potato, but never do), so a couple of days later, it's potato casserole with whatever I have in the house. Sometimes it's just freezer Swiss cheese and Parmesan (there is always Swiss and Parm in my freezer), canned cream and dried herbs. But it's best when I happen to have some cream cheese, sour cream and cheddar!

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Went to Fox & Obel and found this incredibly looking fresh swordfish. Had to buy it. Also bought some skate, and kobe beef which is the best I have seen there in 1 year. Ill put the pictures of that up later.

One thing that I have been learning over and over is that when you have amazing ingredients it is better to tone down the rest of the meal/flavors. I have found that if I make complex sauces or accompaniments with a specific ingredient the original flavor of the ingredient gets lost. I used to just think that perfecting a sauce or preparation would further enhance a great dish but I am leaning more and more to the belief that when I deal with average ingredients, I need to step up the prep and cooking methods. When I am working with a quality material is is better to pull back and do very little.

This dish is Squid rice (I am going to have to start coloring the rice darker because the color it is now doesnt look great). Taste came out great though. I would like it to look really black. I will see if i can fix it next time.

Swordfish was seasoned and made in a slightly browned butter and rice vinegar mixture.

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Marinated, then grilled rack of lamb

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I took the marinade, added some honey, reduced by half and thickened it slightly with a buerre manie

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I served it with a baked potato and peas. We loved it!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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