What's For Dinner (Part 41)

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Here we are. We survived the holidays and are taking it easy. Ordering up great food from our personal chefs. Having breakfast in bed. Lunching and shopping with friends. But then we wake up and find there are dinners to plan and the only shopping we are doing is at the local market. So let's get on with it.

We came from here. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1292128/

This message was edited Feb 1, 2013 10:04 AM

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

The photo above is from last week's bean canning. I canned beans last year and had a huge problem with the lids failing to seal. Made some changes this year and all was good. I've now got a supply of soy, garbonzo and red beans for quick use. Hopefully there will be time for black beans and black eyed peas this week.

I'm making a Moroccan lamb stew from a blade bone. Cumin, cinnamon, bay leaves, and garlic for seasoning, tomato juice from garden tomatoes and a variety of fresh veggies. It will be served with couscous. DD slaughtered and butchered this organic lamb. The blade has very little meat; just enough to give the stew a nice flavor after browning the bones for about a half hour.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Here's the mozzarella making effort before the ball was formed. The last photo is the steak and fresh mozz sandwich we had for dinner, along with a salad.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Also wanted to share a photo of the veggie strata. It was huge! I cut it in half and saved half for this past week. Great for quick lunches. The remaining half was cut again, wrapped and frozen. The last photo is a new kitchen toy...my anniversary gift Penn scales.

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Gainesville, FL(Zone 9a)

Are those dried beans you soaked and put in jars, or did you cook them. If you cook them, do you season them? Do they have a different texture or than a canned bean from the grocery store?

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Yes, those are cooked from dry beans. Last year I made chili with beans and seasoned beans. This year's batch is absolutely plain because it only takes a second to season them and then their use is not predetermined. The beans are soaked, or in this case quick soaked, by bringing them to a boil and boiling for two minutes then letting them sit. They normally sit an hour if they are going to be cooked and eaten straight away but I think one of the problems I had last year was too much expansion in the jar so I let them sit an hour and a half this time. They are then pressure canned at 11 pounds pressure for ninety minutes. They do have a very different texture. More toothsome like a freshly cooked bean. They also are more fragrant. I can't say why this is. Unlike commercial beans that float in liquid these take up all or most of the liquid in the jar and what's left is almost gelatinous; like a good stock. Because they swell to fill the jar a pint of these beans yields more than a similar can of beans. Meanwhile, I horde beans when they are on sale. In recent months Publix had b-eyed peas and black beans on sale, two pounds for 99 cents.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Laurel,
Please explain "more toothsome like a freshly cooked bean..." My freshly cooked beans are soft inside...is that what you mean?

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

IMO commercially canned beans have a more grainy interior and softer skin than home canned or cooked beans. My freshly cooked beans are soft inside too but they are not mushy. More like tender. I thought with the long pressure cooking time required of home canning they would be really soft but that is not so. As for the aroma, this is not just true of beans. Everything smells so wonderful when you open a home canned product. Tomatoes and beans bring you straight back to the summer garden and chicken stocks or soups smell like they do when they are simmering on the stove. Nothing like the aroma of the stuff in a can or box.

Anywho, I'll try to check back later but I'm off by sundown so if I don't get back here I hope there are some good dinners in the making.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I find the grainy interior on the canned beans is because they aren't cooked all the way. They leave way for seasoning and doctoring up at home, LOL!

I put canned Louisiana Blue Runner Red Kidney Beans in my slow cooker overnight, with my seasonings (chopped bell pepper and onion), and some seasoning meat (pickled [brined] pig tails would be IDEAL, if Texas had them...).

THEN, they're so right, you'd never know they were from a can!

Columbus, OH

I had to cook some cannellini beans because of this thread. I'm going to make jalapeno and cilantro hummus, with green shkug. Or however that is spelled, it's different every time I see it.

Gainesville, FL(Zone 9a)

I happen to love cracker barrel green beans. I almost 'fell out' when I found out they start out as canned green beans. I keep hearing Anne Burrell talk about how much better she thinks garbonzo beans are cooked from dry instead of canned, going to give those a try. Not that I know what to do with a garbonzo. I also read how good white beans are for you, going to try them as well. I wonder how good the bean is for you if you have to eat them with corn bread smoothered in butter ;-o

Longboat Key, FL(Zone 9b)

kids make garbanzola hummus, which is good.

last year we started making cooked string bean and chick pea cold salad which is delicious. I do eat this for the high protein as I don't eat enough meat.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Kids are coming over unexpectedly for lunch and fortunately DH made a big pot of pasta e fagioli yesterday - the perfect thing for a mid-day meal on a snowy day. Last night our daughter finked out of dinner at the Greek restaurant because she was concerned about the roads, so we ended up at the local diner and had hamburgers. Nice for a change.

Missouri City, TX

On 4th cutting of broccoli - still wonderful! Thanks, GG.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

DH commented that we hadn't used our raclette-maker for a long time, so I promised him we'd do it this weekend. And then coincidentally 15-year-old DGD asked when we were having "that stuff that you grill in little pans on the table." I guess raclette is in the air. I'll probably just do potato chunks, raclette cheese, cornichons, prociutto and salami, and a big salad on the side tonight. I'm not sure how this will work with an almost-three-year-old, since the cooking surfaces get hot, but we'll watch her like a hawk!

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

That sounds like fun, Leslie.

Celene, the hummus was great, I bet.

Bubba, you're just trying to make us cold weather folks feel bad what with bringing up garden broccoli. It was in the low twenties on my side of Atlanta yesterday morning.

Helene, we eat a lot of beans instead of meat too. My conscience and my cholesterol fully approve.

Youngest son is coming for dinner. There will be a half breast of roasted turkey with garlic and rosemary and jerk chicken thighs. He'll have leftovers to take home. I've got left over potatoes to make croquettas de patate (potato croquettes). Also steamed broccoli with lemon juice and butter and roasted fennel. There is banana bread in the freezer.

Waiting impatiently for the canner pressure to come down from canning three pounds of black beans this morning.

Clay Center, KS(Zone 5b)

Bubba: more like 3 degrees here Saturday morning..envy you the broccoli, our fall/winter garden is long gone.
We are doing jalapeno poppers and a Pizza Hut super supreme "Superbowl special", lazy evening after a church pot luck at noon. I've learned to be selective at pot luck, hate coming home not hungry and then hungry at 9 - 10 pm.
Laurel, your canned beans are sounding better and better. Our freezer has been "over-stuffed" since the end of garden season. Need to give them a try.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Can't imagine three degrees. Hopefully the house is toasty.

I had to be on the other side of the city this morning. Went to Darius's favorite Atlanta mkt, Your Dekalb Farmer's Mkt.. Got lots of veggies including kale for seventy nine cents a bundle, organic popcorn, tea and fresh shucked oysters. The oysters were on sale so I got enough for two dinners this week.

Tonight we are having an Asian inspired dinner with oysters fried in panko, gomae spinach, grilled eggplants and red peppers.

Longboat Key, FL(Zone 9b)

First time I used panko last week. I like it.
Love fried oysters at Star Fish market in Village of Cortez. Fishing village.Very Quaint

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Sounds lovely, Helene. Costco is now carrying boxes with two foil packs of panko in a box. That's a lot of panko. Hope I can use it before it goes stale.

Eden's what's in your freezer? BTW, doesn't that sound like a great name for a thread? :)

The photos below are of yesterday's black bean experience and tonight's dinner, a grilled vegetable medley, gomae spinach and the oysters. Those things were enormous! There were only eight in a one pound container. They were as big as large chicken tenders. I ate two and SO ate three so more leftovers in store. Plus, there is another pound. I was thinking po' boys. You can tell I'm bored with the weather and the post holiday lull in work. I'm cooking my way through Winter.

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Gainesville, FL(Zone 9a)

O lord would I like to have that plate of okra. I dont know where its hot enough this time of the year to grow it, but if I could find it, I would buy it.
Your cooking your way thru winter, and Im eating mine. Looked into a gym membership today.

Made my first ever split pea soup today, it looked like a glob of green mashed potatoes. Ive put some more chicken broth in and hope it will fix itself.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

We had Chicken Stew with Shallots, Cider and Butternut Squash for dinner tonight. It's a Cooking Light recipe which called for 2 pounds of mixed boneless skinless thighs and boneless skinless breasts, but all I had were split breasts and drumsticks, all with bones and skin so I used those instead. I think it was probably better that way anyway, since the bones add depth. We all really enjoyed it; excellent flavor, and even both DGDs had seconds. The sauce was delicious and I served rice with it. Yum. I will definitely be making that again!

Clay Center, KS(Zone 5b)

Last night we had the last of the frozen stuffed peppers from last fall. Today is hot italian sausage and again use some of the chopped multi colored peppers. The question is really what else is lurking in that freezer, I've pledged to work on using up and not replacing atleast 30 percent of it!

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I managed to lose track of you guys! I was wondering why there was no cooking going on. lol

I made a garbonzo & black bean with roasted red pepper hummus for a super bowl party. I was a bit heavy with the lemon & garlic so it was very flavorful! The hostess came over to tell me one of the teens had plopped himself in front of the bowl and was just eating it like it was his dinner. I guess it was a hit. (When I tried some hummus from a bowl in the room where the TV was, it was awful. Amazing how fresh made well is so much better. And yes - from dried beans).

I made a number of batches of a vegetable braise last summer and froze quite a few servings for later. It was like a taste of summer when I pulled one out for dinner the other day.

We are now enjoying leftover speghetti squash topped with a very thick sauce of my roasted tomato sauce with tons of sauted onion, red pepper & mushroom. Oh so good!

Glad to be back in the kitchen with you guys!
Tam

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

GG, the market has the origins of all their food but I don't recall where it came from. That okra was only half. The other half is going into a chicken, hot sausage and veggie soup today. I think we are having casual company tonight. Soup and mezze, derived from leftovers, are on the menu. There's mushroom/chicken pate, extra sharp white cheddar, baba ganoush, left over oysters with a remoulade sauce, roasted garlic and parm fennel and I'll make garlic toasted pita.

Glad your with us now, Tammy. The hummus sounds super. I've used all kinds of beans but never mixed and like you, we like it with punch. Smoked paprika is nice or a little chipotle in adobo. I add one of those or a little hot pepper from the garden. Hummus freezes so well too.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I add cumin & ground cayenne to the hummus. And I didn't think about freezing it! I didn't take it all with me so I will freeze that for later.

A tad off topic - I'm thinking of skipping the venting hood over my cooktop in the kitchen reno. Now I have a useless downdraft so haven't effectively had any venting for the last 15yrs. For many reasons, I want to skip it altogether. If you were buying a house and didn't see a vent, how big of a deal would it be to you?

Tam

edited: typo on my view of the downdraft. It is useless (not useful).

This message was edited Feb 5, 2013 1:11 PM

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

People go on what they think they know. Most people think you absolutely have to have a vent hood over the stove. So, they'll expect to see one.

Until you explain to them how your downdraft has effectively controlled the venting issue for the last 15 years, and extol the beauty of the open-"ness," withOUT the cumbersome vent hood...

JMHO...

Gainesville, FL(Zone 9a)

This is just me, but I took alot of houses of many list, if the stove was not vented outside. A stove that just sucks the air up but then blows it back in the kitchen, was a no go. Its like greasing down the whole kitchen. Also, being so hot in fl most of the year, fighting with the AC wasnt a option either.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Most states require venting to be in code compliance. I understand the reasons for not wanting venting, cost being a big one with something stylish and in an open situation. I have a fairly efficient down draft with an electric range. One reason we have not replaced the current range is because it would require venting across six feet of open ceiling and up through my dressing room closet. This would mean a fair amount of sheetrock work if I didn't want to go with the industrial look or a creative solution like a large false beam.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Ours would need to go 14' and out of the face of the house. I have not used any vent (downdraft never worked well enough to bother) and just checked the ceiling about the cook top. There is absolutely no sign of any grease or other residue after almost 15yrs of use by me (and another 10-15yrs from prior owners). I do see that it may be a code issue since its a natural gas cooktop.

Its gonna be expensive & very disruptive to install the venting out of the house. (I don't think I'd bother with a ventless type either). The downdraft is no longer an option due to new location. The kitchen will be on top of the original house' porch. Its a cement slab on who knows what (no access underneath). We'll snake the gas line over through a cabinet but no way to do with the larger vent plumbing.

Oh well... I keep remembering the addition we did 14 yrs ago. I got so worried about costs I cut some things I shouldn't have. I hope to avoid this mistake this time around.

And now...back to the regular topic of the thread: Dinner. I missed lunch today and am too hungry to cook much. I'll just put together left overs or perhaps an omelet.

Tam

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Tam, some folks object to any cooking odor in the house even in the kitchen. Why that's one of the reasons I cook so much. It's aroma therapy! lol I hear you on the topic of budgetary restraint. There are a few regrets here as well. Really when you consider the overall cost of any one specific item vs. the value of the house as a whole it should not be a deal breaker when it comes to a project as important as a kitchen.

We are having dinner company tonight. I'm on it. SO is peeling apples for an apple cranberry topping to go over toasted pound cake.

Clay Center, KS(Zone 5b)

Kitchen venting has never seemed that effective to me. I'm in to, as Laurel terms it "aroma therapy". Much of the time when I'm in the kitchen the air is filled with whatever is cooking in spite of whether or not the range hood is droning away. Tammy, you might interview a realtor or two as what they find about the issue. When I was in real estate in Colorado Springs we had a massive influx of folks from California who thought that air conditioning was mandatory. This was a time (in the 1990's) that even the most elegant homes in the pricier portions of the city were built without it. Even after you explained that it was really unnecessary 51 weeks out of the year, and a minor issue the one occasional week of "summer" they still looked unconvinced. I'm not sure the venting of a kitchen ever came up for question, but I agree it could be an issue with some.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

After being MIA for a week plus, I'm starting to think about cooking again. Everything mentioned above sounds wonderful!

Last Monday night I started throwing up blood again, and called 911 for an ambulance. They took me to the local hospital where they don't really have a good endoscopy team so the ambulance took me to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, NC, about a 2-1/2 hour drive. They put me on a ventilator in order to do the EGD without possibly obstructing the airway, and I NEVER want that to happen again. They repaired the Mallory-Weiss Tear and a tiny adjacent arterial bleeder in my stomach. I spent 2 days in ICU, and 4-5 in a regular room. I have enough punctures from IV's and blood draws and blood sugar finger pricks that I look like I was fighting with a porcupine. Both arms are black and blue from the armpit to my fingers. Total of 4-5 days being only allowed just a plain liquid diet.

Institutional Food, bleck! I did have a decent slice of grilled salmon with a baked potato and broccoli once I was allowed solid food. They sent me home via Greyhound, to the station downtown last night. Fortunately my neighbor had the day off and came to fetch me. We have a foot of snow on the ground, and it was 10º yesterday early in the morning, and a balmy 45º when I left Winston-Salem. I'm glad to be home, though.

They discovered I have a small aneurysm on the aortic arch, which we will watch and probably repair in 3 months unless it gets worse sooner.

I have a pack of beautiful duck gizzards in the freezer and can't decide what to do with them. They'd make a great confit but I don't have enough duck fat in the freezer from my Thanksgiving duck. I'm leaning towards an Asian style stew with fresh ginger, Sichuan pepper and star anise unless someone has a better suggestion. The fresh produce in the fridge will have to go in the compost pile tomorrow, and the milk and heavy cream was flushed today.

This message was edited Feb 5, 2013 9:21 PM

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Oh Darius! So glad you made it through what sounds like a very serious event. I'm glad you are back home and able to get some decent food again.

Tam

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Yes, glad you are back home and doing better, Darius. I've never heard you mention but do you have liver disease? These are otherwise uncommon events. I think you mentioned you are diabetic but don't know if you are diet, oral meds or otherwise controlled. Keep us posted on the plans for the aneurysm repair. Do it ASAP. I think if I was in your shoes I'd be planning spirulina and chia seed shakes for dinner. Def not anything in confit. lol

Dinner party was great. I invented a new dessert. The toasted pound cake with cranberry apple topping included a healthy grating of fresh ginger, honey, and lemon zest in the cranberry apple mixture.Then realizing there was a small container of leftover grated cheddar in the fridge, I topped it like an apple pie. That was a hit! I didn't eat any but did taste the cranberry apple part before topping the pound cake slices.

Edited to add I took photos but need to go to bed. Will post tomorrow.

This message was edited Feb 5, 2013 11:32 PM

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Oh, Darius, what an awful time you've had. At least you didn't dither around, and instead called the ambulance right away. Sounds like a real nightmare, but you got yourself to the right place to deal with it anyway. Do take care of that aneurysm as soon as possible; it doesn't seem like something that can wait indefinitely. I hope that will take care of any health problems for a long time, though!

Re duck gizzards, I was reading somewhere that it's been noted that you don't really have to use duck fat for confit; oil will do just as well. You could use what duck fat you have and then supplement it with oil to cover. I love gésiers on a bed of greens, or with lentils.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Laurel, yes I have liver disease but I'm not diabetic. The diagnosis for quite a few years was fatty liver from big time chemical exposure in the R&D we did long before we had fume hoods. I washed my hands many times a day in chemicals like MEK, toluene, benzene, acetone, etc. like they were water. That's one of the reasons I use NO chemicals in my garden anymore, nor in the house. I do keep a can of wasp spray but almost never use it either.

The diagnosis only changed when they removed my gall bladder 6-7 years ago, and did a gall bladder/liver biopsy.

I had egd's and colonoscopies at first annually, then biannually for several years; the last time was in September when they said I wouldn't need another for 3 years because it all looked so good. This current episode wasn't varices.

Leslie, I'm certainly concerned about the aneurysm, but not really worried. It's small, and they almost missed it. My doctor thinks I may have had it for some time. I will get it repaired in May, or before if it changes in size. He thinks my body needs to fully recuperate from the traumas of last week and the ongoing kidney problems I had in Oct-Nov-Dec. first.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Darius - When I was in grad school, I worked with hydrofluoric acid while wearing flip flops and washed materials with trichloroethylene occasionally with my bare hands & always with no working hood. I loaded wafers into a furnace while it was filled with HCL. We would dope the silicon with arsenic gas. All that and *so far* I have noticed no ill effects. The early days of hi-tech were very cavalier about the chemical exposures & in the university setting, probably the least protective. I'm sorry you weren't as lucky as I was!

Tam

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

SO ran a silk screen production shop in our early years. They washed the screens with acetone and used toxic inks. OSHA came in late in the game and told the company they needed ventilation fans. I grew up in Miami where overhead spraying for mosquitoes was a regular affair. As kids, we'd be out in the streets playing while planes crop dusted and sprayed. I participated for years in a U. of Colorado study on residual PCPs. It's with me, my children and will be there for generations. That's made me a low chemical user in the garden.

I made a gallon and a half of yogurt and kefir yesterday. Enjoyed a glass of the later with grated nutmeg, cinnamon and honey while I canned blackeyed peas. It was like eggnog without egg.

The guys watched a Netflix banjo documentary after dinner. I served them tea and the apple cranberry dessert. The apple mix was hot so the cheddar melted.

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So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Laurel, the apple-cranberry dessert looks yummy! Do you have enough kefir grains to share some? My sister accidentally threw mine out.

I'll be making some yogurt later today since I got some fresh yesterday for a starter, but not the volume you make. I do mine in half-pint mason jars in the Excalibur dehydrator, usually a half gallon at a time. There's just me and my cat to eat it.

We lived on base in Key West (actually on Boca Chica) and the foggers came through every evening. Nasty stuff.

Tam, my health problems didn't start to show up until I was about 60. I hope you continue to be lucky!!

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