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Dinner! 2011


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Mgaretz, I wouldn't mind eating some of that stirfry right now, & I'm not even hungry.

Kim, what a great Easter meal. Congrats to Jessica. I loved the coconut cake and cupcakes, too.

MiFi, delicious-looking dinners. Any recipe for the fondant de canard?

Tonight's dinner, a chance to empty out some ingredients from the fridge, freezer and cupboard. I made Bean and Kale Soup. Black-eyed peas and kale from my CSA went into the soup, along with pancetta, onion, carrot, celery, fresh savory & thyme, and a small dried cayenne pepper (which gave the soup a more spicy kick than I intended. Next time I use less. :rolleyes:) On the side, fresh-baked cornbread from some blue cornmeal in my freezer. I put grated parmigiano-reggiano for garnish at the table. Dessert was sweet Murcott tangerines that I bought at the market yesterday.


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Hi all!

So tonight there was a graduate-student iron chef competition that me and a friend entered... The theme ingredient was lime, and you could make anything you wanted on that theme. So I present to you...

Ginger-lime shrimp cakes, with a avocado, mango, and grapefruit salad. Served with a guajillo chile sauce and a cilantro-lime crema, and topped with a fried lime supreme. We didn't win (and god knows our plating isn't good - the crema was too thin and spilled all over the plate, and our composition was off for a plate so small)... But hot damn did the food taste good!


Here's a link to the recipe for the shrimp cakes -- I replaced the lemon zest with lots of lime zest. Seriously, these things are so good its ridiculous. I've made them in all sizes, from tiny one-bite sizes to almost burger sized. Also amazing is the fact that they re-heat super well -- still moist and delicious. And last thing I'd add is that everything on this plate tasted better with that guajillo chile sauce. Just Guajillos, toasted and rehydrated in boiling water, then blended with some of the water, lime juice, honey, and a pinch of salt. YUM.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/recipex/msg0305233028834.html (scroll down for shrimp cake recipe)

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When life gives you lemons... you cook with them!

Tonight was asparagus with shrimp and carrots in a lemon/coconut sauce.


A friend gave us some fresh lemons and the juice and the zest became the base for the sauce to go with the gorgeous asparagus we picked up from the farmer's market last weekend. The sauce had the lemon, soy and fish sauces, cream sherry, coconut cream (the sugary pina colada stuff), chili sauce and a touch of cumin. Stir fried with garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Served with white basamati rice.


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Further to what Mark said above....when life (or your CSA) gives you Rainbow chard, make stuffed chard leaves.


Stuffed with ground beef (I've used a mix of turkey and pork, all pork, and I think they'd be dynamite with ground lamb), egg, garlic, parsley, toasted pine nuts, some milk and spices/herbs, then braised in chicken broth, lemon juice, sauteed onion, garlic and the chopped chard stems, drizzled over with e.v. olive oil. Pull the chard packets, reduce the sauce and swirl in some sour cream or thick yogurt. Served with couscous pilaf and quartered cherry tomatoes. Very, very good use for chard leaves.


"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Emily_R, the shrimp cake looks like a winner to me. I like the idea of the fried lime supreme, too.

No competition for dinner at my house. (Only one cook.) I took it easy with a stirfry of beef, onion, and asparagus in a sauce of ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Sometimes I cook this stirfry with fermented black bean instead of oyster sauce, and that tastes good too.


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Technically this was lunch, but oh well!


Matar paneer bhurji ("scrambled" paneer and peas) with my trusty so-easy-it-can't-go-wrong bread.

The bread is very simple to make - half semolina, half white flour, plus a handful of sesame seeds and a little anise (today I used kalonji instead, because I am all out of anise). Oh, and salt. Mix yeast (preferably fresh) with sugar and warm water as usual. When it's frothy, add it to the dry ingredients with a slug of olive oil and enough warm water to make a dough. Knead well till it is silky and bounces back when you touch it. Then shape into a round loaf and leave for an hour in a warm spot on the (greased and with a sprinkle of semolina on the surface) baking tray you will cook it on. Bake for 20-30 minutes. I like it warm straight from the oven, but it is lighter if left until cool before cutting.

The paneer bhurji is also very easy. Technically it is made with chhena, which is paneer that is not pressed for so long. Actually there is some confusion over the name of this dish as some people use grated paneer, e.g. paneer that is fully pressed. Other uses chhena like I do and actually call it chhena bhurji. I just call it paneer bhurji :) Freshness is a must, so make the paneer, cook it and eat it in quick succession. I just made it whilst the bread rose. Little tip for making paneer: If you use milk to curdle instead of lemon juice it tastes better and you get a bigger yield. Anyway, after making, just press the cheese enough to squeeze out excess water and make a crumbly cheese. Then you cook it with usual bhurji ingredients plus peas (i favour a simple version with cumin seeds, ginger, chillies, onion, tomato, tumeric, chilli powder, peas, fresh garam masala, fresh coriander and lemon juice). Eat immediately. Yum.

Edited by Jenni (log)
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Roast chicken c/o Thomas Keller's Bouchon book.



Easily the best roast chicken I've ever had. The chicken itself wasn't some organic bullshit bird of noble birth--it was a fairly cheap, 'humanely raised' bird from the supermarket. Will have to try this method with one of Saskia Beer's expensive (but very good) chickens.

To accompany: sauteed potatoes with onion confit (also from the book) and mushroom ragout (also from the book).


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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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Oven-Roasted Ribs, (still too cold and damp outside to grill on the barbecue), with Cabbage, Carrot and Cashew Slaw, (I didn't plan it to be a 3 "C" salad.

The slaw is very easy and goes really well with rich meats. Finely shredded Napa or Savoy cabbage, shredded carrot, cilantro, and chopped green onions. The dressing is lime juice, chili oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Stir in some ginger and garlic and toss into the slaw. Garnish with salted cashews.


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All of this food looks so good. I've really got to start photographing my food - this thread is so inspiring. Chris Taylor's lamb shoulder and Mifi's fondant de canard look especially delicious.

Tonight, we're firing up the grill to do some steaks marinated in red wine and worcestershire sauce. Green beans and croissant rolls on the side - nothing fancy, but a simple Saturday night dinner.

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robirdstx those look absolutely gorgeous. And delicious. The ingredients glisten with freshness and health. Are you based in the Southwest by any chance?

[edit: whoops, looked at your description and saw it's Southeast Texas.]

Edited by patrickamory (log)
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Just to start with an apology (or two)- I know this is late, after all Easter was a week ago but immediately after Easter Sunday I took the pooch and went off to visit my stepdad for a week at the seaside (the British version of the beach- no sand, lots of pebbles) so haven't had a chance to post until today. Secondly, I'm aware that what I'm posting doesn't constitute dinner but there's no topic for Easter Tea and having seen everyone's gorgeous devilled egg photos I figured I could sneak this in too. So here's the Easter tea I made for my family last week...


Devilled eggs- fast becoming a new family favourite, thanks to the fine folks at egullet who reminded me of how yummy they are.


Easter egg cupcakes- oh Lord, these were so rich and delicious.


Cupcake close up

photo 5.JPG

Easter cookies- bunnies and chickies- my four-year-old niece ate faaaaar too many of these and took a whole batch home too! A resounding compliment.

photo 3.JPG

The whole spread, which also included baguette rounds topped with garlic/herb cheese and cucumber slices, tea sandwiches filled with smoked salmon spread and watercress, and berries with plenty of vanilla-whipped cream.

All that and they didn't even get me an Easter egg :sad:

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Thanks for the compliments on Jessica’s Easter dinner – I’ve passed them on and she was very pleased. She peeks in here occasionally and knows what good cooks you all are!

Mark – Actually, I’m glad to know that you did your char sui with such a small piece of pork – we are only two here and I love having things that don’t take too long to use up (not a big leftover fan). The stir fry is gorgeous!

Djyee – I’ve printed out your notes on the soup and will be making that. Mr. Kim adores soup and kale and I adore black eyed peas – that soup will make both of us very happy, I think! Did you use chicken stock to ‘soup it up’?

Emily – I’ve also printed out the recipe for the shrimp cakes – they sound fantastic and perfect for summer. We’ve been getting an amazing deal on shrimp lately and my freezer is stuffed with them.

Chris – the roast chicken looks wonderful – all that glorious golden juice. I’ve gotta get my copy out and try that.

David – I really like the sound of your slaw. Yet another recipe I’ve printed out this morning! Sound like I’m due for a spell in the kitchen!

Lola – Your Easter tea is lovely! The cookies are adorable and are those Cadbury mini eggs I spy on your cupcakes? I am absolutely stealing your cooky decorating techniques! We will be in England in less than two weeks and I plan on stuffing myself with English Cadbury while we’re there!

For dinner last night we started with our ubiquitous salad:


And then we got real trashy:


Sloppy Joe casserole (Sloppy Joe mixture topped with cornbread batter and baked) and CANNED all day Italian green beans with side meat.

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I’ve printed out your notes on the soup and will be making that. Mr. Kim adores soup and kale and I adore black eyed peas – that soup will make both of us very happy, I think! Did you use chicken stock to ‘soup it up’?

No, there's no chicken stock in it. When I cooked this soup, I decided to play with method to maximize the flavors of the beans and veggies.

To make Bean and Kale Soup: Soak 2 cups black-eyed peas overnight. There should be about 4 cups of beans after they have been soaked. Drain well, and set aside. In a large pot, heat some olive oil and add in 1-2 oz pancetta, chopped; 1/2 large onion, chopped; 1 carrot, cut in small dice; 2 stalks celery, chopped; 1 TB freshly chopped savory; 1 TB freshly chopped thyme; (optional) 1/2 small dried cayenne pepper; S&P. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is very soft, almost mushy. Add in the beans and cover with a generous amount of water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam, then lower to a simmer. Cook until the beans are very soft but still hold their shape, about one hour. If necessary, add more water as the beans cook. Meanwhile, de-stem the kale leaves and cut into thin strips. Blanch the kale, then cool under running water. Drain well, squeezing out excess water. Saute the kale in olive oil; set aside. When the beans are done, remove a generous cupful of beans from the pot and mash well. Return the mashed beans to the pot: they will give the soup a creamier texture. Stir in the kale. Taste and adjust for salt. Let the soup cook a few minutes longer. Serve hot, with a bowl of grated parmigiano-reggiano for garnish at the table. This soup tastes great with fresh cornbread.

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Tonight I did a Braised Chicken with Spring Vegetables and Apple Cider Butter Sauce. (You can join our discussion on Spring Vegetables here).

Believe it or not, the local Walmart Supermarket is now selling local, free-range, organic chickens. And this chicken was incredibly flavorful and tender. Sauteed first in olive oil and butter to crisp and brown the skin, then deglazed with chardonnary and chicken stock, covered and roasted in a 300 oven for 2 hours.

The vegetables were a mix of fresh English peas, asparagus, morels (dried-last season), and carrots. (I forgot to add the radishes that I had prepped).

The sauce was lemon slices, green onions and apple cider vinegar boiled down, then a dash of the chicken braising liquid added, strained and a stick of butter swirled into the pan, strained again.

Braised Chicken with Spring Vegetables.JPG

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deensiebat and David Ross, what great-looking dinners!

Need to get some of that asparagus!

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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Jenni, I liked your bread and the paneer bhurji. Such colors on the plate! I have some semolina lying around in a cupboard, I should try your bread.

For dinner here, another riff on spring vegetables. An oven omelet of artichokes, sauteed spring onions, spinach, thyme, garlic, and Parmesan cheese; more asparagus, this time steamed and tossed with Meyer lemon-butter; and a potato salad of red creamer potatoes with green garlic and sherry vinaigrette.


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David, your photo is testament enough that Wal-Mart can sell some good stuff. Wow.

Deensiebat - that pizza looks incredible. And it got me thinking - is the only real difference between pizzas and tarts these days the crust? Or the presence of tomato sauce? Cheese? All three? Are they brothers, in fact, or distant cousins?

Djyee - The omelet looks great, but I've got a similar question: What's the difference between a baked omelet and a frittata? I encountered an oven-baked omelet at a place I ate last week, and have now seen it a second time. I must find out the difference before my head explodes.

I got a sous vide machine the other day. Rosemary garlic chicken at 150F with some pancetta from Charcuterie (cooked in the conventional oven) and crispy sage leaves. The SVS really does seem like it's going to be a game changer for me.


Edited to change some phrasing that no one would have noticed in the first place.

Edited by Rico (log)


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