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Dinner 2015 (Part 5)

Jon Savage

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Simple is good. Very good. This will be repeated often for the next several months.

 I have the figs and cheese. Headed to the grocery to get proscuitto shortly.

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Don't ask. Eat it.


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Yesterday was Sunday dinner on Labor Day Monday with my mom and daughter.  Our neighbors joined us for dessert. 


Roast beef cooked in the rotisserie oven:




Perfectly cooked, but a little tough.  This was a rib eye roast and should have been tender, but we actually needed steak knives (similar to Thanks for the Crepes issues).  The flavor was good, though.


Marlene’s Cream Roasted Potatoes:


Just gorgeous, as always.


Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts:


With pancetta.  New recipe and fantastic.  So much easier than my regular method of steaming, cutting in half and then sautéing in butter.  But it left the house a lot stinkier. 


Sliced tomatoes:



Marlene’s incomparable Yorkies:






With gravy:


I was really happy with my gravy.  I hate making gravy last minute and always do my turkey gravy ahead of time, but hadn’t tried it with beef gravy.  Yesterday I gave it a go.  Made a roux, deglazed with some red wine and then just used a carton of beef broth.  I added a little onion, pepper, thyme and Penzey’s Mural of Flavor.  I simmered it for a couple of hours and then refrigerated it.  Today I heated it back up, added a lot of water and a spoonful of Better than Bouillon and a little Kitchen Bouquet and let it cook down for a hour or so.  It was great – really rich and beefy.  And it turned out that I only got about one tablespoonful of drippings, so I was glad I’d done it!




Your labor day feast looks fantastic, especially Marlene's yorkies. I am a sucker for those. I have a good recipe from Joy of Cooking and Better Homes and Gardens, which I modify to warm the eggs and milk to room temp from Joy, then use Better Homes' proportions. I have three dozen eggs in the fridge, so popovers are on my menu soon even though I'll have to run the oven against the A/C. I'll try to make efficient use of the heat by also baking a dessert. What dessert did you share with your neighbor?


Sorry your rib roast was tough. That happens more these days. 


I also despise making gravy at the last minute, trying to keep the rest of the food hot, and otherwise running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I save drippings and freeze from previous cooks so I can make gravy or soups. It really pacifies my life when I can make a chicken, beef or pork gravy from frozen drippings while the current meat is cooking. Then I freeze the drippings from that cook. There is nothing like homemade gravy from real drippings!  

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Its very not here.


and I was not able to continue my Exp. with the IP and the FastaPasta.


but I did have previously IP' beets, plain and 'recycled pickled'   that's in the IP thread.


Previously I looked up " Beet Salad " on google.


many Rx's had Beets, (  :huh:  )  goat cheese, and toasted walnuts.


well ...............


I had some nice Bibb lettuce and toasted some walnuts from Tj's  I had some Silver Goat  ( a fav of mine ) from TJ's


so I made  Beet Bibb Boats w Silver Goat and toasted walnuts


go to the Tj's thread to see my thoughts on SilverGoat and how to deal with it.  its crumbly and can be messy .


Mise :


BWS mise.jpg


Bibb, Kalamata EVVO, Beets chopped a big finer, toasted walnuts ( fresh ! )  TJ's SilverGoat.


tomatoes were for later


Bibb Boats getting ready to Sail:


BB 1.jpg


w beets




w the Goat and some EVOO ( kalamata ) and those freshly toasted walnuts ( cooled ) :






rolled up and eaten  :  delicious  


I knew this would be good   but it was much better than expected.


I used Plain Pressure-Steamed beets


this might have been a bit nicer with a simple vinaigrette for some Bite


or I might have used some of the 2d hand picked beets.


the walnuts are best freshly toasted and cooled.


this is a wonderful hot weather dinner.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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PS  : Boats you say ?


you curl these up so they seem to be Boat-ish and eat them


a Semi-Roll Up


Gluten Free ! ( maybe )


Oppps   there was a last Pic Not Taken w some finely chopped green onion tops.


I guess in retrospect when you google Beet Salad


and get Beets  Goat Cheese and Walnuts


there is a good reason for this   they go together very nicely


the SilverGoat is mild,  this Cream Cheese that lighter, and a bit tart


this is not the Deliciously Smelly ( bard-yard ) Old Goat you enjoy with a Fresh Baguette and some nice


old red wine.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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I am doing a trial run for Thanksgiving, trying out some new ideas and techniques.  My sister always has resisted letting anyone else do the dinner before but last year right after dinner, she must have been really tired and asked what we thought about rotating the meal between the different families in the future.  I volunteered to do it this year.  I was pretty sure she'd forget or try to back out so when my DIL saw her at the restaurant where she works last month, she reminded her.  She started to waffle but Cassie said I had bought extra chairs and already had the menu planned.  That wasn't entirely true, but it made me start thinking ahead.  I wanted to find out how well the Nesco 18qt roaster would do on a big turkey and wanted to try a couple new recipes to see how we liked them.  Dinner tonight will be the turkey, creamed corn, buttermilk mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy and green beans.  In the next couple weeks, i plan to experiment with a few other ideas.  Others will also be bringing some dishes on the big day.





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Hot Soup.


Earlier – Edible amaranth (Tandaljo Bhaji) w/ fish balls [Venus] & soft tofu chunks in chicken stock, plus garlic (Music) & pre-softened dried shrimp tossed in rice bran oil before quenching w/ the stock. Eaten w/ a bundle of Fookchow (Fuzhou) wheat thread noodles (福州綫麵) (Flour vermicelli) softened directly into the soup in the bowl.


The soup cooking.



The wheat thread noodles.


The simplified character for noodle is used on the box.


Noodle bundle (these are very brittle in the dry state) plopped into the soup in the bowl.



All folded in and softened, about 30 seconds later or thereabouts. (Some of the vegetables were also folded over the noodles for a minute after the pic was taken)




Plus hot tea.




Later – The remainder of the soup left in the pot augmented w/ more soft tofu, diluted a bit, and trimmed basil (Italian-type; several generous handfuls) wilted in and the mixture simmered for less than a minute further.  Bowled w/ some of the (once-dried) shrimp dredged up and plonked on top. Yes, I like to use basil as a vegetable quite frequently.



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I made popovers today because Kim Shook's looked so appealing yesterday. I threw in a chopped scallion because I had some beautiful fresh ones from the Asian market, thinking it would taste sort of like a scallion pancake, and while they weren't bad at all, I'm not sure if I'd do it again. Husband seemed to like them better then me. He ate two, while I only ate one. I have been known to eat as many as three.  :smile:  :blush:


His dinner was also much more appropriate to the popovers: leftover rib eye steak, baked potato and grilled Vidalia onion. I also steamed some Shanghai bok choy from the Asian market.


I had leftovers from the Chinese takeout joint I went to last night to go with my popover and bok choy.


Popovers are classic with rib roast or steak, but I eat them for breakfast, snacks or anytime. An amazing little quick breadstuff that leavens itself on the eggs and heat alone. People sometimes disparage English food, but you gotta give 'em Yorkies, shephard's/cottage pie and Sunday roast.

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Thanks for the Crepes, when I was visiting a bed and breakfast south of Abilene Ks. several years ago I got a recipe called Prairie Puff with Seasonal Fruit.  It's one great big breakfast popover made in a cast iron skillet and it's really good.  I later found out that it's a close derivative of a Dutch Baby which is made with ham and cheese.  I'll list the recipe for the Prairie Puff if you want. 

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Thanks for the Crepes, when I was visiting a bed and breakfast south of Abilene Ks. several years ago I got a recipe called Prairie Puff with Seasonal Fruit.  It's one great big breakfast popover made in a cast iron skillet and it's really good.  I later found out that it's a close derivative of a Dutch Baby which is made with ham and cheese.  I'll list the recipe for the Prairie Puff if you want. 


The Dutch Baby we made in Seattle in the 70s was a giant popover/Yorkshire pudding baked in a cast iron skillet, served with lemon juice, butter and powdered sugar.  Lovely.  

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" Country Style " pork ribs, IP'd


you can look up and fined out what these are. They are very common.  Much cheaper that Baby Backs, and even SparRibs when on sale.  They go on sale frequently.


3 lbs or more to the pack.  They come w the bones and boneless.


As a Student of the Pig, Ive always thought boneless was the way to go.  Now Im not so sure.  when boneless go on sale Ill take a closer peek on what's in the pack.


$ 1.99 / lbs for bone in CSPork :


CR 1.jpg


4.37 lbs.  these are cut thicker than usual, and I liked that idea.


CR 2.jpg


look at those Ugly trance's of fat.   I trimmed them off.


CR 3.jpg


5 of the 6 in the pot.  with the leftover char sui and duck powder I used the other day.


the sixth hunk would have fit OK on the top, but I was not looking for trouble.


I did a 30 min pressure-steam, did the quick release away from my cabinets but:


take your time w the release.  the steam goes right up to your ceiling and unless you want to paint it again soon


release slower so the steam does not get to the ceiling.  my 2 cents.


I tested the meat and thought 5 more minutes might be nice.  in the end it did not need this, but was not hurt by it.


the glaze :


CR 5.jpg


TJ's orange marmalade and some chili oil.  Id use more chili oil next time as the heat of the oil dissipates under the broiler.


I placed the cooked ribs in a bowl and added the glaze and gently mixed the meat + glaze to coat and placed them on the


pan to then go under the BVXL broiler :


CR 4.jpg


here they are ready to broil.  broil works much better than the high heat bake.  they are after all cooked through.


first side done.  you have to watch them, but can still enjoy a Personal Beverage while you work.:


CR 6.jpg


flipped and back under the BVXL broiler :


CR 7.jpg




delicious they were.  Meaty, Porky, Tender, glaze-y.


I did learn a bit as i was studying The Plate :


there are loin chunks here.  they were thinking of being dry.  remove them before you broil.


either leave those two hunks of fat on the pieces you see at the top or cut them off and place them on the top of the


Rib Pile.  No, its not so the pork fat 'bastes' the meat.  it doesn't.  you want to cook it and put it aside


either after being On Top of the Pork Mass or still connected to where its supposed to be.


Why  you say ?  Shread the loin chunks while hot.  finely mince the fat or even process it until smooth


( nice clean up, so use your smallest Processor )  then mix the fat and the shredded loin and


Pressto :  American " Q " rillettes.   that's why i think 30 min would have been fine and the loins did not need the


extra 5 mins's I think   nor the fatter meat.


I went back into the kitchen, not so much for seconds, but to confirm my studies so far :


CR 8.jpg


note those two pieces at the top, with the ribs sticking out :


CR 9.jpg


I was correct :  Beyond Delicious.  Close to Perfect !


( glaze and rub subject to personal preferences )


So what did I learn ?


get the CountryRibs  w the bone.  Look for thick cut


put the loin bits aside after the cooking.  leave the fat hunks on, or trim and place on top of the Pile to cook.


those to go later into rillettes ' Q '


I then though, had i tried this earlier in the week i would have gone back and asked for ( several ) packs of just the Rib Cuts


then realized those had the Loin.  the cuts w/o the ribs/loin if you go back an look are dark meat and fatty


very tasty those were too.


If I had not eaten so much , for science . i would have gone back this evening and gotten two more packs


and then made a dry rub for Carnitas.


But i can't move right now.


these were much better than the baby backs cheaper, more flavor  and with a lot of potential for 


top of the line second meals  i.e. carnitas.


if of course there were any left.


one last thought :


i have two small loin pieces left.  Ill refrigerate them


slice them thin tomorrow for a pork lettuce tomato mayo sandwich


it would work well.  Mayo fixes many things


so if you are not a fan of rillettes, try that.


BTW  the two images you see at the bottom are dupes.  I attached them in the wrong order, and deleted them


but they show up at the bottom and i don't know what to do about them

CR 1.jpg

CR 9.jpg

Edited by rotuts (log)
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Yesterday, I roasted a whole chicken for the first time in I don't remember how long. It was delicious! Tonight I took the leftover meat off the bone and reheated some of it in gravy and served it with buttered green peas. So tasty! I still have enough meat to slice for sandwiches and for making chicken salad. It was a big chicken!


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Labor Day dinner was a four pound halibut chunk.  Shared with nine others 




My Cape Cod fishmonger sold me this toro 


toro belly.jpg


I know it is usually made into sushi but that is not what I felt like doing.  I seared it briefly  and served it with tomatoes from my garden and local corn...




and we ate the rest in a nicoise.





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I was looking for the fresh halibut that was advertised in one of the flyers.They didn't get any in, but they had beautiful Manila clams, I I picked some up, steamed them and enjoyed them with a soy sauce/ freshly ground black pepper and lime juice dip before tucking into the steak.




Today was my first day back to teaching with the international students at the university. First day is always exhausting, so I opted for a minimal cooking meal: a BBQ chicken from Safeway, made a curry gravy with Glico cubes, oven baked carrot fries, and microwave corn on the cob. 




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Salad. Torn-up curly green-leaf lettuce & Napa cabbage heart, trimmed scallions, sliced celery inner stalks, halved artichoke hearts [Reese], blanched french-cut roma beans, rinsed & soaked salted Salina capers. Dijon mustard vinaigrette dressing.



Penne [Rustichella d'Abruzzo] with Hazan tomato sauce (from ripe farm tomatoes) & grated Parmigiano Reggiano.


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Thanks for the Crepes, when I was visiting a bed and breakfast south of Abilene Ks. several years ago I got a recipe called Prairie Puff with Seasonal Fruit.  It's one great big breakfast popover made in a cast iron skillet and it's really good.  I later found out that it's a close derivative of a Dutch Baby which is made with ham and cheese.  I'll list the recipe for the Prairie Puff if you want. 


I'd love the recipe Norm,


I have a around seven pounds of seasonal fruit (muscadines) down from nine pounds I bought at our local Asian market today because I made the summer tart from Ann_T's blog.




I also scarfed quite a few raw, and in my estimation, the recipe would be just as good with early fall fruit, and it was. 


I was kind of not looking forward to more kitchen tasks after making a stir fry dish of minced pork with scallions, mushrooms, glass noodles and lots of other stuff that needed two hours of prep work, but provided our two-person household with a couple of meals apiece. It certainly doesn't help that since the first time I made it according to the recipe with sliced mushrooms. I like to mince them. They're nearly undectable from the pork once cooked in the dish, and extend the 6 oz. of lean pork into four satisfying portions. We also had a couple leftover popovers with scallions cooked into them. (Clarified to add that the popovers with scallions were cooked and served separately from the stir fry. Even I am not crazy enough to toss popover pieces into a stir fry  ) I definitely wont be doing that again. It was worth a try, but just didn't work.


Also, another caveat, for which I sadly am becoming infamous: When you read an aside in a recipe that glass noodles are very difficult to cut or separate when they are unsoaked and dry, heed it. While shopping at my beloved Asian market, I decided to save less than a dollar by buying a 7.75 oz package. I need 4 oz. for the one recipe I make. Well months later, I take the noodles out of the pantry to make my dish. I try my razor sharp filet knife I use for everything. I cannot describe to you how ineffective this was. Absolutely no affect at all. Then I pulled out my 10" serrated knife. This was much more effective (at spraying glass noodle fragments in a mostly backward radius around me, because the forward spray was caught by the wall and backsplash and ricocheted back. Finally, stubborn mule that I am, I broke out the sturdy kitchen scissors. These made a bit more headway, and I credit them with helping me to win the battle in the end. It took a lot of twisting and prying, and ignoring bits flying everywhere. At one point, I thought about getting the pruning shears. The last thing I cut with them are holly bushes which overgrow the sidewalk. They are poisonous. To my credit, I kept at it, twisting ripping and snipping with kitchen shears, until the bundle of mung bean noodles gave up the ghost and succumbed to being halved. Only a little was lost the the hinterlands of the floor and surrounding area. Took me a while to clean this up. Hmmm, ya think this may have contributed to my two hour prep time?  :laugh: At any rate, please do not try to divide a bundle of mung bean cellophane noodles larger than you need for your recipe, at home, or anywhere!


I did make Ann_T's summer tart or torte? because it was the easiest use of the fruit I found. I was not overwhelmed by the greatness of the recipe as many others have been. I'm sure that is my shortcoming, and not theirs.


I'm still intrigued by racheld's tale of muscadine pie under the magnolia's on a Mississippi plantation, and yet may still overcome my aversion to pie crust making.

Edited by Thanks for the Crepes (log)
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I've been away on the road for a few days. Some very average meals in very average restaurants. Basically, I have been eating in what we call 'transport cafés" in the UK (when we are being polite). What you may call 'truck stops'. Sometimes, very occasionally  the food can be excellent. It is usually mediocre and sometimes execrable. China is no different in that respect.


However two dishes stood out - in different ways.


The first was ordered by someone else. I tend not to order Sichuan dishes in non-Sichuan restaurants. Or Hunan in non -Hunan, etc., but these places tend to be non-denominational.


This was meant to be the Sichuan dish 宫保鸡丁 (gōng bǎo jī dīng) or as it is known in the west (but not Sichuan) Kung-po or Kung-pao Chicken. Famously, (but not to the cook, here) this is chicken with peanuts. This version arrived minus peanuts, diced carrots having been substituted. Whether this was due to an unfortunate, unexpected shortage of peanuts in the kitchen or, more likely, a mean cost-cutting move, we didn't bother to investigate. Life is too short.




To my surprise, the carrots actually worked well. They were slightly under-cooked and so had a similar crunchy texture to the missing peanuts. The somewhat odd taste (only because of disappointed expectations) was soon forgotten.


Elsewhere, in another meal, we were served this fish dish which looks like weeks-old roadkill in a puddle of something I'd rather not discuss. 




In fact it was the nicest thing I ate the whole trip. 红烧罗非 (hóng shāo luó fēi) Red Cooked Tilapia. Red cooking means braising in soy sauce. This was a perfect example. Perfectly cooked, delicate white meat to be picked from the bones and dipped in the umami-laden cooking juices/sauce. Three of reduced this very large example of aquatic life to a pile of bleached bones.


Anyway, home now. Tonight I cooked for the first time in what seems like ages, but is actually only three days. 




Thai style red curried chicken with sugar snap peas. Served with rice. The promised limes in the supermarket turned out to be green skinned lemons * - bah!   But I still enjoyed and a change from roadside Chinese.


* Unfortunately, the Chinese for limes, 青柠檬 (qīng níng méng), is literally 'green lemons', so I guess I can't complain! They don't really know limes, although the last time I bought them there, they really were limes. 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.


The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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