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Dinner! 2011


ChrisTaylor
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Harrysnapperorgans, I liked that variation on chicken pot pie.

Knaw, a wonderful tagine. It reminded me that chicken tagine is on my To Cook list.

DeliciouslyLekker, that stampot looks like good comfort food.

Dejah, I could eat that Chicken Marsala.

Here, tonight's dinner was Ham, Cheese, and Spinach Strata.

CheeseStrata012.jpg

I started with the recipe for Cheese Strata in Rozanne Gold's Radically Simple, but switched it around here and there as I was cooking. The strata is a savory bread pudding constructed in layers of ham, cheese, scallions, spinach and herbs. The top and bottom crusts turn cheesy crunchy, while the middle is creamy. It makes a delicious light dinner with salad.

The strata recipe caught my attention because it can be entirely prepped the day ahead. In fact, it's better if it sits in the fridge for awhile. Popping a casserole into the oven, then walking away, is my style of cooking for a weekday night.

To make Ham, Cheese, and Spinach Strata:

The ingredients: 3/4 lb day-old bread, 1/2 lb thinly sliced ham, 1/4 cup crumbled feta, 1/2 lb shredded mozzarella, 1/4 cup chopped scallions, 1/4 lb fresh baby spinach, 1 TB fresh thyme leaves, 6 large eggs, 2 cups Half & Half, 1/2 tsp hot sauce.

The method: Butter a 9X13 baking dish. Layer bread slices on the bottom, trimming pieces to fit. Cover with half of: ham, feta, mozzarella, scallions, spinach, thyme. Repeat layers, starting with bread slices, but reserve some mozzarella for the top. Dice some bread into 1/2" cubes, and scatter on top with the remaining mozzarella. Press down on the casserole with your hands to pack the ingredients. Whisk together the eggs, Half & Half, and hot sauce. (BTW, use the hot sauce. This dish really isn't spicy but that little bit of hot sauce keeps everything interesting.) Carefully pour egg mixture over the casserole. Cover, and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight. To cook, uncover, put the baking dish in the middle of the oven, turn the temp to 375 degrees, and bake for about an hour. Check with a skewer in the center for doneness. The skewer should not be eggy. I cooked my casserole for 1 hour, lowered the heat to 350 degrees and tented foil over the top (to slow down the browning), then cooked it for another 15-20 mins. Serve hot.

Rozanne Gold's original recipe is here:

http://rozannegold.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/morning-meditation/

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Kim, I agree with you. You certainly redeemed yourself with that Rib eyes with sautéed mushrooms.

judiu, Very artistic lamb shank dish.

rarerollingobject, What do you mean not photogenic? That Spicy Goan Prawn Curry looks super. The sous vide lamb fillet, as everyone can see, was done to perfection.

deensiebat, Kale pizza! Very dramatic looking.

Dejah, Very nice brown sauce for your Chicken Marsala. Great for the mashed taters.

Djyee100, as I remember, Ham, Cheese, and Spinach Strata is very labor intensive, obviously looking at yours, it was worth the effort.

Ann_t, great looking baked chicken pulao. Come on, leave the skin on! (Just kidding. I always remove the skin myself).

Make some sous vide razor clams on bean sprouts, served with naan bread to mop up the juice. I don’t know why I don’t make naan more often. So easy.

Dcarch

svrazorclams2.jpg

svrazorclams.jpg

Naan2.jpg

Naan.jpg

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Hi, dcarch. The naan looks great (I have a chicken curry in the works at the moment - chickens defrosting in the fridge). How do you go about it ?

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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dcarch, that food looks incredible but I'm more intrigued by what is going on in the top right corner of the razor clams photo..? Another fork bird of some sort?? Holding a clam shell?! Do tell.

Dinner tonight for me was a fig, rocket, walnut, jamon and St Agur blue salad:

figsalad.JPG

And pizza with prawns, lemon and mint:

pizza.JPG

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Had some beetroot I needed to cook so tonight's dinner was sous vide cooked fillet steak salad accompanied by beetroot in a yoghurt and horseradish sauce and pine nuts.

steak.jpg

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I couldn't resist these (a common theme, I admit) when I saw them on display. Sashimi-quality amaebi shrimps in great condition, around USD2.50 for the half pound pack:

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I did this for you guys - if it had been just me, it would just have been the shrimp in a heap. Yes, I know they are just in a heap. Wasabi & soy. I pulled off the heads and sucked out the tomalley, as we discussed here. An incredible concentration of deliciousness. These shrimp are good, too, because there's no vein to deal with, and because they're so easy to peel. I scoffed each in turn, head and meat, and they didn't last long. I have the debris saved for infusing in oil. Followed by a simple salad of mizuna:

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- with a dressing of neutral (in this case peanut) oil, grated onion and some men-tsuyu noodle-sauce concentrate and konbu ponzu. There's a picaresque tale behind that one if anyone wants to hear me rabbit on more.

It's turned cold again, so. Followed by something I've been working up to: winter citrus meets the nursery, in natsumikan marmalade steamed sponge pudding with yuzu-natsumikan curd sauce.

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I've posted the sponge in this thread before. Saucing with curd is something I've been planning to do for ages. I didn't want something quite as thick as curd by itself, so I started with the juice of another natsumikan, fresh from the tree, mixed with honey. I added about the same amount of yuzu curd, but with the amount of juice out of one natsumikan, the sauce was going to end up too thin. I beat one more egg and got it to thicken back up to something like custard just in time.

Yes, the natsumikan are back in season again: the sponge has marmalade from the batch I made last May. Garnished with a couple of leaves from the tree. Aw.

Rich buttery sponge, tart-and-sweet, intense sauce. Yummy !

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Hi, dcarch. The naan looks great (I have a chicken curry in the works at the moment - chickens defrosting in the fridge). How do you go about it ?

Thanks Blether.

There is a thread about "Authentic Neapolitan Pizzas"

I just used some of the techniques from there.

dcarch

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dcarch, that food looks incredible but I'm more intrigued by what is going on in the top right corner of the razor clams photo..? Another fork bird of some sort?? Holding a clam shell?! Do tell.

Thanks. Yes, I bent some more forks.

I had conch and didn't want to waste the shells.

dcarch

lamp3-1.jpg

conch2.jpg

conch.jpg

snowcrab2.jpg

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There is a thread about "Authentic Neapolitan Pizzas"

So, choose good flour... long rise... and whatever flavour of oven jiggery-pokery lights your candle. I see.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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There is a thread about "Authentic Neapolitan Pizzas"

So, choose good flour... long rise... and whatever flavour of oven jiggery-pokery lights your candle. I see.

Actually, the thing that's important about that thread is the dough behavior under extreme heat and heat capacity of the oven. Once that's understood, you can make the dough do different things.

Let's talk about your shrimps, mizuna salad and yuzu-natsumikan curd sauce.

Actually, there is nothing to talk about. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying these exotic heavenly goodies, you just don't know what you have been missing.

Great photos. And thanks also for introducing interesting cooking ideas.

dcarch

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... Actually, the thing that's important about that thread is the dough behavior under extreme heat and heat capacity of the oven...

Of course I'm being flippant using the expression 'jiggery-pokery'. I've always been very comfortable with physics: I don't feel phased by the thermodynamics aspects at all. In fact I've found I can make great pizza that I enjoy very much using my home microwave/electric oven at 250C, and an ordinary aluminium baking sheet - no stone, no lumps of metal, no preheat any longer than the built-in one. I do find that flour & method are key.

I posted somewhere on eG about the things I was doing when I first got into that, back somewhere in the mists of time.

Actually, there is nothing to talk about. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying these exotic heavenly goodies, you just don't know what you have been missing.

Yes, that's certainly true. Lately I've found myself gravitating more and more towards exploiting what's available to me here - rather than just recreating things from back home. Both are enjoyable, but the former provides as good eating, for less money and trouble ! These 'exotics', here, are things that come cheap from the wholesale supermarket (shrimp), that I pick from the tree in the building's grounds (natsumikan) and that came as a gift (the yuzu). I'm embarassed sometimes that I've never made more effort to learn to prepare 'real' Japanese food, but on the other hand I have been able to find some few small ways to work with Japanese produce and ingredients. Anyway, this is the stuff I'm eating day to day.

You mentioned that you know yuzu. Natsumikan is an orangey fruit with a much more sour juice and a bitter character to the zest, just like seville oranges, and I've waxed lyrical (wittered on, at any rate) before about the marmalade I've made from it. The Japanese peel it and munch away at the fruit - too sharp for me, really, though I'll eat along to be sociable.

Your 'forks' are wonderful. You're making those yourself ?

Edited by Blether (log)

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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dcarch, In the interest of "full disclosure" I gotta tell you, those weren't my lamb shanks, but I sure did admire them! :biggrin: Thanks, anyhow!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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dcarch, your photos are fantastic.

These shrimp are good, too, because there's no vein to deal with, and because they're so easy to peel.

That's just cheating. :angry:

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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So many unusual and familiar foods to try and pictures to tempt: the sashimi shrimp, the pizza with shrimp, lemon, and mint...Jeff's lamb shanks, dcarch's presentations, beet root, Ann's roast beef...This sounds like a "thank you" speech from the Oscars!

Weekdays, back to simplier cooking for me due to time constraints and lack of energy after working with international students. Last night, Singapore Rice Noodles with char siu and quick stir-fried shrimp:

2SingS4526.jpg

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Everything everyone is making is looking so good!

Today I did something new for me. I made a Quiche! Bacon, kale and puff pastry. And another thing new for me, I added some of the trimmings from the crust for decoration. They didn't bake up as well as the crust. What should I have done to have them match the crust in crispy-ness?

Quiche-01.jpg

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Today for me was sushi. Took me about 20 minutes to make, and less than 10 to eat them all with friends... 5 plates done like this....

ps the Japanese lettering on the right was done with mango, daikon and cucumber and roughly translates to Eat Peacefully.

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alexP

Edited by Alex Parker (log)
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Judiu – thank you! We love cheese soufflés – they are good for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

deensiebat – that kale pizza sounds great and I don’t like kale!

djyee – that strata is GORGEOUS!

Dcarch – thank you. The razor clams look delicious, as does the naan. What is the sauce on the clams? It almost looks like salsa.

robirdstx – the quiche is lovely. As far as getting your sunburst to brown, I have two ideas – brush it with an egg yolk wash. If it still isn’t browning up the way you want, cover the edges of the crust with foil and run it under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Dinner last night was a reaction to the warm day:

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Salad with an olive oil and orange muscat champagne vinaigrette, the last bit of Ann T.’s gorgonzola garlic bread and chicken macaroni salad with pineapple and shallots (I think that macaroni salad should have been on a colored plate!).

As today was much cooler, I decided to braise some lamb shoulder chops that needed cooking:

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Served with yellow squash and onions and basmati rice.

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robirdstx: Perhaps the strips you used for the sunburst were too thin? I've never made quiche, so another inspiration from this thread! The puff pastry sounds very inviting as an alternative to regular pastry.

Kim: Love lamb any way, especially if there's sauce for the rice. Last night's was with carmalized onion or tomato?

I made "cheaters" beef vindaloo with Patak paste last night, over cumin basmati rice. But, I , too, have some lamb that needs using up. The weather's been atrocious, so may be lamb in the near horizon!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Kim and Dejah - thanks for the suggestions. Turned out hubby did not care for the puff pastry. He prefers regular pie crust and since he is the crust lover in the family, that's what I'll use next time and just forget about the decorations. :biggrin:

For crispy pastry over a moist filling, bake the pastry separately and put on the pastry strips or caps right before service. I once saw Joyce Goldstein illustrate this method. She made chicken pot pies in ramekins, only the filling (no bottom crust), and baked little circles of pastry separately on a sheet pan. Before service she topped each ramekin with a crisp pastry circle. She specifically said she followed this method because she doesn't like soggy pastry.

Another cooking teacher once told me to brush a raw pastry shell with egg white, then bake it. The egg white forms a veneer on the pastry that repels moisture. You don't taste the egg white. I've never tried this method myself. I did taste a quiche made by this method, and I thought the crust was pretty crisp.

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Kim and Dejah - thanks for the suggestions. Turned out hubby did not care for the puff pastry. He prefers regular pie crust and since he is the crust lover in the family, that's what I'll use next time and just forget about the decorations. :biggrin:

For crispy pastry over a moist filling, bake the pastry separately and put on the pastry strips or caps right before service. I once saw Joyce Goldstein illustrate this method. She made chicken pot pies in ramekins, only the filling (no bottom crust), and baked little circles of pastry separately on a sheet pan. Before service she topped each ramekin with a crisp pastry circle. She specifically said she followed this method because she doesn't like soggy pastry.

Another cooking teacher once told me to brush a raw pastry shell with egg white, then bake it. The egg white forms a veneer on the pastry that repels moisture. You don't taste the egg white. I've never tried this method myself. I did taste a quiche made by this method, and I thought the crust was pretty crisp.

Yes, I even thought about Carla's pot pie from this season's Top Chef after I made the quiche. I think I'll use that method next time I make a pot pie.

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Dejah – the ‘sauce’ for the lamb was a combination of sautéed onion, red wine, garlic and chopped tomatoes. The chops are braised in the sauce for an hour or so. It would be hard for it not to be good with all that, huh :laugh: ?

An extremely disappointing dinner last night:

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Two new recipes: Ginger glazed mahi-mahi, shrimp and pineapple fried rice and sautéed snow peas. The glaze for the fish was very good, but the mahi was extremely fishy tasting. The rice was fine, but bland – I’ll have to play with the seasonings a bit. We really liked the combination of shrimp and pineapple. And the snow peas were mushy. Blah. We ended up sharing a bag of Taco Doritos and watching 3 episodes of Jeeves and Bertie <_< !

Dinner tonight was supposed to be some country ribs with a hoisin bbq sauce. I thought I’d play with the bland fried rice a bit and use it as a side to the ribs. I put the ribs in the slow cooker before we left the house this morning to do some errands. I figured that we’d be back LONG before the 6 hours that the ribs were supposed to cook. Best laid plans. We didn’t get home until EIGHT hours later. The meat was literally falling apart. We ate a late lunch (at a chain restaurant called Café Caturra – awfully good soup, sandwiches and salad), so we weren’t hungry anyway. I’m thinking maybe carnitas for dinner tomorrow. <sigh>

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