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Dinner! 2002


Priscilla
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We've recently switched to having our main meal at lunchtime, and a light meal or snack later on.  This method agrees with my hubby, who has lost weight and feels better, but for myself, I have mostly just noticed I have more work to do at lunchtime.  :confused:    This week I made the following:  On Monday, I pan fried pork blade steak w/ Louisiana Cajun seasoning, Baked Potatoes, Salad.  Tuesday: Fresh pan-fried razor clams w/tarter sauce, coleslaw, parslied boiled potatoes w/butter.  Wednesday:  One Pot Dish, which this time consisted of dried haricot verts soaked in Swiss beef bouillon (Muller), and then simmered w/ sliced potatoes, onions and Hempler's smoked bacon.  On the side I served a leafy green lettuce salad w/ avacado & mushrooms and buttermilk dressing (I cheated though, by making the dressing with Uncle Dan's Original Southern, which I love).  3.  Today I made Swiss Chard from our garden.  I cooked, chopped and mixed it into a cheese sauce I made from sauteed chopped onion in olive oil, flour, beef bouillon paste, milk, cheese, nutmeg, s & p.  I served it over sliced boiled potatoes, w/ another lettuce salad on the side.

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Blue Heron, I am very fond of razor clams.  They sometimes come out a little rubbery when I grill them in their shells.  I haven't tried frying them.  Do you have tenderness issues with them?  And do you think the secret is fast cooking at a high temperature, or giving them a little more time at a low temperature?  I would be interested in your experiences.

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Wilfrid, razor clams are also one of my favorites, too.  :smile:

wow..I have not heard of grilling them in the shell, nor steaming them in broth, both of which sound very interesting.  I would like to hear more about both of those presentations.  Are both of these methods for razor clams that are served alone as an appetizer, or as part of a main course?    ie. Would the steamed ones be served w/ steamed veggies and rice for instance?  How long do you steam them?  Are they served with a sauce in either case?

For the grilled ones, do you remove them from the shell to clean first, and then place back in the shell for grilling?  Or do you grill them intact?  I like to make oysters on the grill, and after they open, I spoon a little wine-butter sauce on them.

For pan frying razors, the secret is frying them quickly about 1 minute per side (or until brown) at a medium high heat.  I use a breading which consists of dipping them in seasoned flour, then egg, then Progresso plain bread crumbs.  If I am lazy, sometimes I just dip them in dry pancake mix that has been salted & peppered and fry them, (and skip the egg).  The neck portion is always chewier than the digger (which is soft and tender).  I actually like the necks the best.  

Have you been razor clam digging before?  I used to, and my dad and brothers still do.  The ones this season were nice big ones, about 6 inches in length.   Are East Coast razors the same as Pacific Coast razors?  If you'd like to see a site featuring everything you might ever want to know about our Pacific Coast Razor Clams, including pictures and instructions on how to dig, clean and cook them:   Click here

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I made a big pizza last night with spinach, mushroom, red onion, red pepper, and artichokes. Plus a tossed salad with more red pepper, more red onion, more artichokes, hearts of palm, cucumber and carrot. You know it's summer when the menus are extremely veggie-heavy.

My farmer's market STILL didn't bring back duck eggs this week. *cry* I think that's it for the year. I KNEW I shoulda bought them when I saw them! I wanted to make a wilted arugula salad with a poached duck egg.

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I was on my feet all afternoon Saturday doing an olive oil tasting, so I wanted to make myself something good for a reward, but didn't want to take a lot of time cooking. Portland's best fish monger is in the same market (Newman's in Irvington Market, Portland), so I bought a half pound of dry-packed Maine sea scallops.

Checked in Bittman's How to Cook Everything and adapted his recipe for grilled scallops stuffed with basil...

I used lemon mint, sorrel, and spring garlic because they're all in my garden right now...chopped fine, mixed with lemon zest, salt, pepper, and few drops of olive oil.

Made a slit in the side of each scallop (you need the bigger sea scallops for this) and packed a little of the herb mixture inside. Heated a cast iron skillet to smoking, skimmed it with olive oil, and dropped in the scallops...about a minute on each side...squeezed lemon juice on them and ate them really hot.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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As a mother of small children, dinner is usually far less creative than I would like. Trying to please young palates and my need for food adventure is one of the biggest challenges that I face. With Mother's Day coming, my husband asked me what gift I wanted. My immediate reply was, "I want to cook a nice dinner." Cooking is my passion. Although I don't cook professionally anymore, I still derive much satisfication preparing elaborate meals for my friend and family, even if it is a rare occurance.

Taking full advantage of "My Day," I prepared a Paella feast. First, I used lobster shells and heads, saved in my freezer from the last splurge, and simmered a rich lobster stock, which I planned to cook my rice in. Then, I combined short grained Valencia rice, saffron, chorizo, chicken breast, scallops, shrimp and scallops. All flavored, of course with plenty of onion and garlic.

To top it off, we enjoyed fresh Maine lobster w/ drawn butter and a Brut Champagne. I felt like I had gone to heaven.  The kids really enjoyed helping me in the kitchen as well, and learned how to shuck mussels, clean shrimp and cook live lobsters, which made them all shriek and laugh. What a perfect day.

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A sorely belated thank you, Miss J, for the pointer to the kedgeree discussion; I love kedgeree and it was enlightening.

Dinnerwise, it was just me and the Consort, and what I had conceived as a deconstructed Club Sandwich became more of a Cobb salad trip as prep briefly wore on, Gorgonzola turned up in there, and lovely Hass avocado (the BEST variety; hybridized a mere stone's throw from where I grew up), as well as what I'd originally intended, including the first nearly-mature hit of merveille de quatre saisons lettuce from my garden and a tomato the guy at the farmer's market said was called Shady Lady, very good flavor balance and a new one on me.  Grilled the chicken, boneless leg meat; even with a pretty good brush fire over the hill there, still grilled, but we are always good-citizen mindful of the sparking-ember mesquite startup.  Beautiful warm evening of a hot day, the one cat toying with an energetic, specimen-sized gopher, cold, cheap-ass "Nouveau" Trader Joe's was blowing out for Beringer, just right.

Priscilla

Priscilla

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

 

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sigh. Dining outdoors.

Sunday night: diced sashimi quality tuna with diced mango, chive jus, and caviar. B Edulis brought some Wellfleet oysters back from the Cape, so they appetized (!) straight from the shell, down the hatch.

Yesterday it rained and rained, and D. was outside at the market all day, so last night was Carnegie Deli matzoh ball soup.

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Echo on the sigh, Liza.  I cook outdoors in any weather, but I want to EAT out there too!

Sunday I went ramp-happy.  Used them in lieu of garlic to marinate shrimp (along with olive oil & parsley & bread crumbs), which were grilled.  The ramps turned the bread crumbs to paste, no surprise, but the flavor was excellent and the shrimp had a crunchy crust anyway.  

I also slivered ramp leaves into a wilted cabbage salad, and roasted a few whole ones along with some Greenmarket asparagus.  Might as well enjoy them while they last.  

I am in awe of the amazing fare you all turn out on weeknights.  I expect to be worshipped as a goddess if I broil a chicken!  Maybe if I were more organized...

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Ramps are fresh baby wild garlic. Only available for a few weeks in early spring. The bulb and greens are delicious. :wink:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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No, wild garlic. And yes, very pretty. And the shade of green they reach when cooked!  :wow:  :biggrin:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Wow do I envy you all your ramps.  Very good Bulgarian springtime lamb stew with fresh garlic greens, bet they were Bulgarian ramps, historically, don't you?  

Wonder if regular fresh garlic shoots at the farmer's market are comparable.  Ain't wild, for one thing.  Hmmm.

Last night, quick and dirty, we had spaghetti carbonara from Mario Batali's recipe, which, over years of working on this dish, quizzing Italian cooks and researching and so forth, was almost instantly recognized as the archetype when we first made it--everything one wants in one's carbonara, with a lovely lightness on the palate.  I think once again Mario's done all the work for us, like the good teacher he is.  Unctuous heavyness is a problem among inferior carbonaras, in my experience, a real flavor-killer.

Salad of cucumber and (peeled) tomatoes, thinly-sliced onion soaked in several changes of water to mildenate it as Marcella instructs, and red-wine vinegar briefly infused with garlic in the dressing.  Frenchy-french baguette from the Vietnamese bakery which supplies the Persian market.

Priscilla

Priscilla

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

 

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Had a few friends over for dinner last night. Had to work late so it was a bit rushed.

Spanish "tit" cheese with quince paste on bread to keep everybody friendly.

First Salmon-trout (Sea-trout) of the season. Baked in foil with wild-thyme, chervil, shallots, scrape of lemon zest and a splash ofvermouth. I love Salmon-trout. King of fish.

Roasted Cauliflower with shaved garlic shoot, roasted new potatoes (in goose fat) , Vichey carrots, First Scottish asparagus of the season, petit pois (mushed with cream and butter added).

Apple strudel (disaster, filling too wet so mushy pastry :sad: ).

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Adam, what exactly was that cheese again?

Let's own up to my own disaster.  A brace of pheasant legs, each prepared differently:  one spread with mustard, sprinkled with season breadcrumbs, and grilled, the other seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper and baked with fresh thyme.  Horrid.  Dry and stringy.  In retrospect, I think this bird had probably been frozen.  Bringing will often save game when it's been frozen.  I think my cooking was okay - but ugh!

Then a pear and stilton salad, for which I forgot the walnuts.  The pear was actually too juicy, and I end up with a kind of chilled salad soup.

What's for lunch?

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Wilfrid, brining helps but partridge is basically dry and stringy. Best braised gently. Or wrapped in bacon. Or cooked in duck or goose fat. It's not your fault. :wink:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Excellent, Adam.  Do you have to buy them in pairs, like the bison testicles at Union Square?

Jinmyo, let me pedantic about the bird.  I wouldn't have bothered eating a brace of partridge legs.  Pheasant legs do at least have some meat on them.  Young partridge can be wonderfully tender if treated properly - I like to pot roast them, by which I really mean brown them quickly, then steam them slowly over a bunch of aromatic vegetables, wine and herbs.  As game birds get smaller, the legs do get impossibly stringy.  The pheasant legs had some meat on them though, so ought to have been okay for supper.

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brown them quickly, then steam them slowly over a bunch of aromatic vegetables, wine and herbs.

Good method.

Still don't much care for partridge myself, though. Dry sez I.  :wink:

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Wilfrid - "Queso Tetilla" is the cheese in question (a Spanish market has opened up next to our flat in Edinburgh, go figure). Looks like a womans breast, by reputation it tastes of "Kisses". Nice eh.

When I first saw this cheese I thought the resemblance to a big old straw-colored Hershey's Kiss was striking, and now it turns out there's a kiss reference in its story.  Funny old world.

A very nice cheese.  Would like to know, Adam maybe you will tell me, how does one properly slice it for service.  The shape makes it a little unwieldly, although folks seem to manage somehow, don't they?

Priscilla

Priscilla

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

 

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The type I buy (I always get a portion only, if I bought a pair I would start giggling like a teenager), is slightly different to the yellow rinded type (which is more aged). It is a fresh cheese, so ultra soft (think of the inside of a ripe Brie). I just spread it on bread and add the extra bits on top. There is no wrong way of dealing with a breast shaped cheese, just go with you feelings.

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The type I buy (I always get a portion only, if I bought a pair I would start giggling like a teenager), is slightly different to the yellow rinded type (which is more aged). It is a fresh cheese, so ultra soft (think of the inside of a ripe Brie). I just spread it on bread and add the extra bits on top. There is no wrong way of dealing with a breast shaped cheese, just go with you feelings.

Yeah, I buy a portion too, but what has been available to me is definitely sliceable, even interiorally.  I would like to try the soft fresh.

And pairs?  Is it actually sold in pairs, and I have been shielded from this by interfering cheesemongers, not unlike Victorians hoping floor-length tableclothes protected us from impure thoughts?

Priscilla

Priscilla

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

 

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The nice thing about being stuck at the office as I have been for the past several evenings in the last two weeks is that I don't have to worry about clean up.

The other side of the coin is that the food never comes up to par, and I never (rarely) get a chance for seconds.

Sunday:  broiled pork chops; spicy cranberry chutney; mashed potatoes; steamed broccoli; fresh fruit.  Made a huge pot of minestrone (meatless winter version) for impromptu midnight snacks the rest of the week.

Last night:  baked halibut with tomatoes, Kalamata olives and onions; spiced lemon rice; green beans and almonds, with a drizzle of almond oil

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