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What's for Dinner #331 - the Pumpkin Carving Edition

Shortly after I rejoined WFD, I had a detached retina and have been awkwardly bed-bound for the last couple weeks. I think I missed an entire WFD thread (also having been forbidden to read). Cooking withdrawal finally became so severe, that I did get up briefly to cook dinner tonight.

With limited time, and mostly ingredients on hand, I made...
Seared foie gras on sweet potato rösti with apple-thyme butter for the first course.
And grilled duck breast with peach gastrique; purée of turnips and parsnips with truffle butter; sauté of chard and leeks, for the main course.
Quite fun and we were very happy!

ETA the photos are reversed, first course last, I don't seem to be able to reverse them!

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month November 2014

This is Mr Nightshade, posting for L.Nightshade, who is recovering from retina detachment and is thus unable to post. Consequently she has not posted in Oct, but expects to be able to post in Nov. She has asked me to nominate SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE and GOOD FISH.

Anything new in Bellingham these days ?

Definite thumbs up on I & Wife from us. Complex aromas and flavors. Far ahead of the ultra-salty and single-note flavors from On Rice.

What's for dinner #329 - The Colorful Leaves Edition! [Through October 9, 2014]

Yikes! Eleven stitches, that's no small deal. You may have a true chef scar to show for it! Beautiful sounding recovery meal.

What's for dinner #329 - The Colorful Leaves Edition! [Through October 9, 2014]

Considering we had rather crummy grocery store scallops, and rather crummy white wine, this came out rather OK.
Barely seared (crummy) scallops on tomato compote with (crummy) white wine beurre blanc. Salad with quite decent blue cheese vinaigrette on the side.

I'm on my own for the next few nights, so I'm enjoying the solo dining posts here.

October 2014 Cookbook of the Month: "The Book of Jewish Food" by Claudia Roden

There is one report of the matzoh balls on the thread. I'm planning on trying them in the next few days. I love matzoh ball soup, and I've only ever made them off the matzoh meal package directions.

Oct 07, 2014
L.Nightshade in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #329 - The Colorful Leaves Edition! [Through October 9, 2014]

Your dinner sounds wonderful. I'm such a sucker for squash blossoms, and I never see them! I like how you treated them and carried the theme to your chicken.

Oct 07, 2014
L.Nightshade in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #329 - The Colorful Leaves Edition! [Through October 9, 2014]

Certainly Christina, here you go...
The crust is a spinoff (ripoff?) from the Leite's Culinaria recipe for a Mimolette-crust galette, here:

I used a tad less sugar than the 2T called for, and substituted crumbly gorgonzola for the mimolette (I've also used aged gouda in this recipe, which was lovely).

The filling was one thinly sliced apple, one thinly sliced bosc pear, about a cup of halved grapes, a couple Tbsp of raisins soaked in warmed applejack, the juice and zest of a small lemon, all tossed together. Once piled up on the rolled out crust, I topped the mixture with pine nuts and chopped fresh rosemary.
It baked at 350 for about 45 minutes. I love how the cheese in the crust gives off a wonderful aroma while baking.

What's for dinner #329 - The Colorful Leaves Edition! [Through October 9, 2014]

Thanks JungMann. That cocktail is lovely, and the color is beautiful; I highly recommend it!

Oct 07, 2014
L.Nightshade in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #329 - The Colorful Leaves Edition! [Through October 9, 2014]

It's been ages since I've posted in WFD, but I've been cooking some nice food lately, so I thought I'd give it a try now and then. We bought a lovely photograph from a friend of ours, and it seemed that the delivery by the photographer, her husband, and her father (newly located to our side of the state) would be a fun occasion for a dinner.

We started out with three types of crostini: fresh green pea with garlic, lemon, and tahini; chopped heirloom tomatoes with black garlic, white balsamic, and a bit of basil; and roasted radishes with anchovie garlic sauce. Along with the crostini, we sipped Petruccios made by our visiting intoxicologist.

Next course was a salad with haricot verts, sliced chiles, mandolined red onion, hazelnuts, and grilled shrimp marinated in olive paste.

I think we made the finest pasta we've ever made. Linguine, perhaps, felt more like spaghettini. We used the Ripert recipe for carbonara, with homemade crème fraîche, and homemade maple-espresso bacon. This particular photo looks gloppy due to poor exposure, but it was really quite good. A couple bottles of wine appeared along the way also.

Dessert was a galette with a gorgonzola crust, and a filling of apples, pears, grapes, lemon zest, raisins, and apple brandy. A sip of grappa on the side. Lots of good conversation; and an all around nice night!

Perhaps too many photos, but I couldn't edit down. Fell free to scroll by quickly!

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 1-3 (Big Flavor, Star Ingredients, Farming the Sea) Reporting Thread

Heirloom Tomato Salad With Black Garlic and White Balsamic, page 47, the crostini version.

I took the same ingredients, chopped them smaller, and let them sit for a while. I thought for crostini, the mix would be better served with the flavors melded a bit. Topped toasted baguette slices for one of three crostini served before dinner. Not as bright as the beautiful salad cookingonions made above, but very flavorful!

Oct 06, 2014
L.Nightshade in Home Cooking

The Local - Bellingham

I'm not a big Bellingham defender myself. We cook better at home without a doubt, but we don't like to do that every single night. We do have a few places we think are fine for when we don't want to cook. Maybe not big-city worthy but decent for an evening out. Every time I've posted about a good meal at one of these spots, someone has followed up by trashing the place and the food. I'm not inclined to recommend much any more.

*July 2011 Cookbooks of the Month, BATALI II: MOLTO GUSTO and ITALIAN GRILL

I was certain we had a thread for Molto Batali too! I'm so bad at going back to old COTM threads when I make something from a past book. Here I was ready to post, and no thread!

Anyway, from the same book that Breadcrumbs posted from above, I made the Green Pea Hummus with Focaccia Crostini. Fresh peas are briefly blanched, then whirled in the FP with tahini, garlic, and lemon, and topped with a swirl of olive oil and some sweet smoked paprika.

Easy and delicious. This was one of three crostini I made for cocktails and nibbles before dinner, two on toasted baguette, this one on toasted focaccia.

Oct 06, 2014
L.Nightshade in Home Cooking

The Local - Bellingham

Hmmm. I guess, unlike some Yelpers, we all had the good sense not to order precious stacked dishes in a beery pub.

The Local - Bellingham

This place has clearly taken a wrong turn somewhere. I haven't been in ages (hard to get me to go there as I don't drink beer), but when I went early on, I had bangers and mash, others at my table had fish and chips, and a few other basic things which I don't remember. We were six people, with six different plates, and everyone was pretty happy. Anyway, homey, not trendy, not artistic, not composed. Just basic and pubby, but good. Sounds like they're out of their wheelhouse now. Too bad.

Is there good food in Bellingham? Or Anywhere in Whatcom County?

Their menu is indeed very small. So if they were out of something, you probably had little from which to choose! I'm a bit nervous recommending, as you and I have different tastes it seems. I do have a friend who refuses to go there because of one bad meal. It's that unevenness thing again.

Is there good food in Bellingham? Or Anywhere in Whatcom County?

Pumpkin gnocchi? Made well?
Time for a visit to Vancouver. Never been to La Buca; it's now on my list.

Is there good food in Bellingham? Or Anywhere in Whatcom County?

Actually, I don't see where the OP does asked for dinner places. So if pub-ish food is what Bham does best, I think that's a reasonable recommendation.

RIP Roslyn's Brick Tavern

The name of the bar that served as the environment for some of the major characters in Northern Exposure was indeed "The Brick." While Rosalyn's Cafe Mural was shown in the opening, the actual activity in the storyline seems to have taken place in The Brick.
(Nothing to do with the food, etc. Just the supposed location of the TV show.)

RIP Roslyn's Brick Tavern

I'm not familiar with this place, just looked it up. They do claim on their website to be a set for Northern exposure. Maybe it was the inside shots?

Is there good food in Bellingham? Or Anywhere in Whatcom County?

The Real McCoy is really more like a little cocktail bar with small plates. But the small plates are more dinner-ish than, say Temple Bar. No communal seating, a few booths, a couple high tables with stools, a few stools at the bar, and a sofa-type area up in front. We went the other night and made a meal of three small plates: Grilled house-made flatbread with curried squash purée, roasted beets, and pecorino; Wild mushroom tacos with jicama cabbage slaw and avocado cilantro salsa; and Duck confit with kale chips, chèvre mousse, and balsamic glazed figs. Nothing earth-shattering but all quite tasty (the flatbread was our favorite, it's new on the autumn menu). Very attentive service, good bartender.

ETA - totally agree on the noise level at Rock and Rye. It's terrible. Then they play rather loud music, so people try to talk over that. Ugh. That room needs some baffles or some kind of softening.

Is there good food in Bellingham? Or Anywhere in Whatcom County?

Certainly Willows. But not a place you can just decide to bop over for dinner.

Is there good food in Bellingham? Or Anywhere in Whatcom County?

Haha! I knew we'd heartily disagree with each other on this one!

I agree that the way to go is to embrace the culture of a locale, I just don't think the local culture is Italian. Or Vietnamese, etc. We gave up on D'Anna's after a couple years of quite decent meals, then a over a year of just awful meals, swimming in grease and devoid of flavor. Mambo is hit and miss. I think Giuseppe's is actually decent. I liked His first place years ago (on Whidbey Island), shied away from this, now the third place, as I don't like theme park style restaurants. It's like Olive Garden on the waterfront. But a friend took us there after we returned from a few weeks in Italy, including a cooking school in Tuscany, and we were pleasantly surprised.

I think the culture of Bellingham is a pub culture. Not that we have better pubs than elsewhere (choose between Quinns and Copper Hog? Or the Local? No contest) But it's still the local culture.

So sure, if you're going to be here, you have to eat. And we do have some edible food, and an occasional good meal thrown in. Now if we still had Tivoli? Or Prospect Cafe? I'd have no trouble making a recommendation. My best bets are still what I stated above, Rock and Rye, and The Real McCoy.

QUICK BREADS! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (October 2014)

I absolutely love this idea! Well done!

Oct 03, 2014
L.Nightshade in Home Cooking

STUFFED VEGETABLES! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (September 2014)

Stuffed Anaheim and Pasilla Peppers.

A little late to the party, but I finally did a stuffed vegetable. All with leftovers, as part of a pre-weekend fridge cleanout. I still had the mix of pork and chorizo that I had frozen after using it for "hamburgers" in last month's dish. I mixed that with the leftover smooshed potatoes and black olives from an Eric Ripert recipe. Added some finely chopped heirloom tomatoes, and stuffed it into a couple peppers. Served with a squeeze of lime and a little dollop of sour cream.

Nice use of leftovers, in fact Mr. NS requested it go onto the do-it-again list.

Is there good food in Bellingham? Or Anywhere in Whatcom County?

I looked at your profile and see that you are coming from Seattle. Especially with that in mind, well, I will disagree with anyone who says there is a lot of great food in Bellingham. There is an incredible paucity of great food here, just as you remember!

Since you cited Spinasse as a memorable meal, I would caution you against trying any Italian here. If you must eat here, Rock and Rye can be decent (relatively new and still uneven), and The Real McCoy can be nice (all small plates, but you can make a meal of it). Neither one is up to Seattle standards.

QUICK BREADS! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (October 2014)

I was thinking about this too. I vote yes. After all, you could do a regular quick bread recipe in a muffin pan, right? But I'll happily go with the consensus.

Oct 02, 2014
L.Nightshade in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Thanks for the write-up and the tips. This is the kind of dish that appeals to me, if I make it I will take your experience to heart. Thanks too for writing your note in EYB; that is so very helpful!

Oct 01, 2014
L.Nightshade in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

(Grilled) (Coho Salmon) Over Black Olive Potatoes and Melted Cherry Tomatoes, page 210.

Mr. Nightshade came home with some wild salmon and a plan to plop it on the grill. So I really only did the potato and cherry tomato part of this dish, then dropped the grilled salmon on top. My cherry tomatoes were yellow, and I prepared them as directed. I also prepared the potatoes as directed except I didn't peel them and did a pretty rough mash. I plated them using a ring, which is not very evident in the photo due to the black olives and black plate. But it did look nice in person!

This was such an easy work night dinner, and came out feeling rather elegant. Loved the flavor combinations! And it's obviously a dish that works with substitutions and alternate methods!

Home Cooking Dish of the Month (October 2014) Voting

I was just thinking it would be fun to try smoking a duck. Or even duck breasts. I'll cross fingers for november too.