BananaBirkLarsen's Profile

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What's for Dinner #324 - School's Back in Session Edition [through September 7, 2014]

No kids around these parts, but our move went as smoothly as it possibly could have and we even got our deposit back from the a-hole landlord (or rather, back from his wife -- he was all set to make us take him to court). I unpacked the kitchen today, which meant that I unpacked half of our total boxes, because that's how much kitchen stuff I have. The new kitchen's small, but makes up for it in cupboard and counter space. Only problem is the fridge doesn't work. At all. The freezer works like a fridge, so we've moved everything into the freezer and are trying to eat as much thawed out freezer food as possible. I had fish sticks for lunch. Tonight we're grilling a piece of salmon for me and a yak strip steak for the BF. Potato salad and possibly some guacamole on the side ('cause we have a ton of avocados). I'm making round 2 of my crabapple liqueur (this time with lemon and lavender), so perhaps I'll save enough vodka for a drink each. A warm drink, since our ice cubes have all melted.

What's for Dinner #322 - the pre-Labor Day Weekend Edition [through August 30th, 2014]

Packing up most of the kitchen hasn't done much for WFD -- mostly I've been cooking from the freezer and using the green chiles, zephyr squash and occasional tomatoes and tomatillos coming out of the garden. I made a roasted tomatillo-pinapple salsa over the weekend (to go with chicken mole made from a bottle). And I made an enormous batch of manicotti on Monday, stuffed with ricotta, basil and sweet italian sausage, with enough leftovers to last us for several lunches. Last night was green chile BLT's and red chile pan fries. Tonight will be rice bowls, meant to use up most of the random produce left in the fridge. Tomorrow, we might be going out to dinner with some neighbours. Friday is the burning of Zozobra, so dinner will be off the Burger King dollar menu, and dessert will be half cups of Sprite topped up with gin (to be drunk on the walk to Fort Marcy Park and tossed before we have to go through security). Not too much gin, though, because Saturday is moving day with an early morning, followed by a late night at work.

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

Isn't conversation usually the best part of dinner, anyway?

That tart looks gooood, and it sounds perfect for doctoring with all kinds of toppings. I'll have to give it a try.

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

Maker's Mark on ice is a great dessert all on its own... ;)

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

Last night was sort of a cobbled together dinner. Ground beef, diced potatoes, roasted green chiles (an assortment from the garden), garlic and chicken stock all cooked into sort of a stew, thickened with a bit of masa harina. Served in bowls sprinkled with goat cheese. Warm slices of buttered rosemary sourdough on the side. We split a chocolate bar -- medium dark, with almonds -- for dessert.

Tonight will be another improvised stew-ish type thing. Veal chuck, cut into chunks and braised with mushrooms, onions, sage and rosemary. In an ideal world, the meat will be starting to shred apart. Ideal or no, it will be served over rice with sauteed zephyr squash on the side. Probably some more of that chocolate for dessert.

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

We love the house we're in now, and have put so much work into it, that it's going to be sad to leave. But we're really excited about the new place, too, and about making it just as much our own. We don't move in until the 30th, but they've already let the BF start getting the yard ready. He's actually over there right now. I guess having to move is just one of the risks of renting. Also, our landlord was a power hungry a**hole. I won't miss dealing with him at all. ;)

What's for dinner #320 -- The End and the Beginning Edition! [through August 23, 2014]

For me, it's the end of living in the house we've lived in for the last two years, and the beginning of living in a new one. As for dinner, tonight was super simple. Thin cut pork chops, pan fried and finished with a spoonful of apricot jam and a splash of apple cider vinegar. A quinoa-carrot-cucumber-red pepper-apple salad with curry-yogurt dressing. Iced tea. Later, there will be bittersweet chocolate ice cream and the last episode of Les Revenants.

Accidentally refrigerated tomatoes 24 hours. Now what?

Sorry, I was responding to the perceived snobbery and wastefulness of thinking that once a tomato has been refrigerated, it should be immediately thrown away.

Aug 18, 2014
BananaBirkLarsen in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #319 -- Hot Town, Summer in the City Edition! [through August 18, 2014]

Thanks both of you for the good lucks. We're going to need it. And yes, a welcome change indeed. We actually spoke to a lawyer about the whole situation and, after reading 2 years worth of emails between us and our landlord, she said, "He sounds like a jerk. You should just move."

Accidentally refrigerated tomatoes 24 hours. Now what?

Right. So what's the big deal? They've already been refrigerated for days, if not weeks.

Accidentally refrigerated tomatoes 24 hours. Now what?

Uhh, the supermarkets I've seen the back of store their tomatoes in a refrigerated room, about the same temperature as your fridge. They are brought back up to room temp when they are displayed. At least where I work, everything but bananas, and occasionally mangoes and potatoes, are kept in the cooler. So unless you bought the tomatoes from a farmer's market, or grew them yourself, or the stores I've seen are not typical, there is no damage done. They were refrigerated long before you got your hands on them.

Santa Fe: Farmer's Market lunch?

The red chile pork tamales at the little cafe inside the building are some of the best tamales I've had in Santa Fe.

Aug 16, 2014
BananaBirkLarsen in Southwest

What's for Dinner #319 -- Hot Town, Summer in the City Edition! [through August 18, 2014]

Haven't been around for a few weeks due to a rather stressful landlord situation that came about while trying to negotiate a new year's lease (the old one ends at the end of the month). Long story short, we're moving. But we've found a new place and things seem to be settling down a bit, at least as far as the drama is concerned (although there's still so much work to do -- packing and hauling and the the BF is going to try transplanting his beloved garden...)

Anyway, I don't remember a lot of what we ate the last few weeks -- my head wasn't in it. Two nights ago (after signing the lease on our new place), we had veal chops with a sage-rosemary-olive oil rub (herbs from the garden), with a cucumber and tomato salad and some reheated linguine tossed with olive oil, garlic and parm. Last night was beef stroganoff with mushrooms, red pepper and marjoram. Sides were boiled, buttered Yukon golds and a mayoless coleslaw.

Tonight will be either chicken green chile (our chile plants have been producing like craaazy) or chicken fajitas. Either one topped with a scoop of sour cream and served with rice, bacon-y pintos and flour tortillas.

What's for Dinner #316 - the Hot August Night edition [through August 4, 2014]

Every picture taken in my kitchen comes out in shades of brown, and all the food looks like it's made of wax. Just trust me that the cucumber salad was a properly vibrant green and the grainy mustard was indeed the yellow one expects, and that the pierogies were, in fact, a delicious combination of dough and potato. The sauerkraut was homemade and the cucumbers had a sharp sour cream and apple cider vinegar dressing, with sliced lime basil. Delicious, and perfect for the fall-like weather we've been having.

Tonight is this slow-cooked Korean beef (http://www.food.com/recipe/slow-cooke...), using beef shanks, skipping the onions (I realised this morning that I'm out), and adding a handful of pepper flakes. Homemade kimchi on the side, along with rice and this broccoli banchan (http://www.noobcook.com/broccoli-banc...) using broccoli and cauliflower florets.

What's for Dinner #316 - the Hot August Night edition [through August 4, 2014]

I know, right? I thought that getting legal drugs was the one upside to a serious injury... Bourbon and TLC on the side.

What's for Dinner #316 - the Hot August Night edition [through August 4, 2014]

Here's the braciole, still in pan. It turned out delicious, although the ravioli must have thawed at some point, because they were frozen into a block and kind of fell apart when I cooked them. Also, I made some sauteed zephyr squash instead of the cucumber salad. The last of the gin (1 strong drink each, with tonic and lime) and the last of some vodka I bought to make crabapple liqueur (another drink each, with tonic and lemon) on the side. Nick's supernatural brownies, with dulce de leche swirled in, for dessert.

Tomorrow I'm planning some purple potato pierogies with dilled goat cheese filling (which I made today), to be served with brats, homemade sauerkraut and the cucumber salad I skipped tonight.

Saturday will be a recipe I found for "slow cooked Korean beef" -- I'm using shanks instead of the listed chuck. My first ever batch of kimchi should be ready by then. Rice and stir fried broccoli and cauliflower will be the other sides.

What's for Dinner #316 - the Hot August Night edition [through August 4, 2014]

I got my wisdom teeth, but have had more than one dentist tell me that I "have a big mouth" and therefor don't need to have them removed. Hope the milkshake helps (really, what doesn't ice cream help?)

What's for Dinner #316 - the Hot August Night edition [through August 4, 2014]

Oooh, the poor puppy! She looks very happy now, though. Mine is a tiny chiweenie and I've had to pull her up by the harness a couple times when we've been charged by a much larger dog during a walk.

And I'm sorry to hear abut the virus and hospital stays. Sounds like a rough month -- although you've been making up for it beautifully with all that wonderful food and sunsets and beaches... Hope this month is a bit more quiet for you.

Jul 31, 2014
BananaBirkLarsen in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #316 - the Hot August Night edition [through August 4, 2014]

It's been so cool here recently at night, I woke up shivering this morning. I guess the hot day/cold night is a typical desert thing, but the summer rain has been happening in the evening instead of the afternoon this year and it cools things off right before it gets dark, and it stays cool until the sun's high the next day. Trust me, I'm not complaining.

We went thrift storing and crabapple picking yesterday and we were so hungry when we got home that I whipped up a quick salsa fresca using some overripe tomatoes from the fridge and a variety of chiles (ranging from mild to scorching hot) from the garden, along with a bit of minced onion, crushed garlic and some lime. We ate it with blue corn tortilla chips as a very late snack, along with a cup of coffee. Neither of us was really hungry for dinner until late, and then we both just scrounged something up from the kitchen. I had frozen fish sticks and a salad.

In the interest of cleaning out the freezer (which is currently packed so full that things fall out every time I open it), I'm thinking of a quick chicken braciole for dinner tonight, stuffed with spinach, lime basil and mozarella. Some homemade sweet potato ravioli on the side (dressed in olive oil and garlic) and, I think, a cucumber salad. I discovered yesterday that the gallon of off apple cider I poured into a growler last fall and stuck in a cupboard actually did turn into apple cider vinegar, so I've got loads of acidic salads and quick pickles in my future.

What's for dinner #315 - Summertime... and the living is easy. [through July 31, 2014]

The light in my kitchen doesn't do this dinner from Sunday justice, but it was really, really good. A pork sirloin tip steak, dredged in egg and dusted with flour and minced, fresh sage before pan frying. The enormous zephyr squash from our garden, sliced and sauteed with onion and garlic, then finished with a squeeze of lemon and some crumbled basil chevre. And after all the talk of panzanella, I made a green version (I had no tomatoes) with tomatillos, sage and lime basil.

Monday night was quick fajitas with skirt steak, sliced onion and yellow bell peppers, slivered jalapenos (the surprisingly mild ones from our garden), hot ground NM chile, chipotle en adobo, lime juice and zest and lots of garlic. Topped with sour cream and a splash of red chile sauce leftover from our burritos the other night. Flour tortillas.

Last night (my Friday) was TJ's margherita pizza, with added bacon, mushrooms, garlic and a pile more of the mild jalapenos. Gin and tonics (with a slight upgrade on the tonic this week, although everyone was out of the good stuff). All consumed on the porch watching the sun set through the latest storm of the monsoon season.

What's for dinner #315 - Summertime... and the living is easy. [through July 31, 2014]

Another beautiful Vietnamese meal!

Jul 27, 2014
BananaBirkLarsen in Home Cooking

What's for dinner #315 - Summertime... and the living is easy. [through July 31, 2014]

It was soooo hot last night, and I had half a roast chicken, so we went with the current Vietnamese theme and did summer rolls. Shredded chicken, pickled carrot and daikon, lettuce and sweet basil. A quick dipping sauce made from peanut butter, lime, garlic, sambal, soy and sugar. Perfect for a hot summer night. (No pics, 'cause my summer rolls tend to not be as photogenic as they taste...)

What's for dinner #315 - Summertime... and the living is easy. [through July 31, 2014]

No jumping fish or high cotton, and I wouldn't say either of my parents are rich, but I'll give them both a thumbs-up on good-looking.

We had our second batch of green chiles fresh off the plants last night, so I made another green chile sauce, and also whipped up a red one with some of the ground hot NM chile I have in the cupboard. They were both used to make Christmas smothered breakfast burritos for dinner. Fried up some bacon, then cooked diced purple potatoes and onions in the remaining grease, then mixed the bacon back in. This, along with scrambled eggs and a bit of farmer's cheese were wrapped in tortillas and smothered with red and green. It was delicious, but would have been even better with a scoop of beans in each burrito.

The last of the chocolate and strawberry ice cream with fresh strawberries and raspberries for dessert.

What's for Dinner #314 - Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon Edition [Through July 26, 2014]

The plates were one of those amazing Dollar Tree finds! We have matching bowls, but could only find one matching small plate. I once saw the matching latte cups on a TV show.

Jul 26, 2014
BananaBirkLarsen in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #314 - Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon Edition [Through July 26, 2014]

Here's a pic of the final meal. The greens were stir fried with sugar, fish sauce, sesame, onions and garlic. And I replaced the cooked carrots and green beans in the potato salad with raw yellow pepper and cucumber. It all turned out great.

What's for Dinner #314 - Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon Edition [Through July 26, 2014]

A quick note: lime basil is just about the best thing in the world, and after last night, I can't imagine banh mi (or my life) without it. I want to go outside and eat the whole plant right now.

What's for Dinner #314 - Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon Edition [Through July 26, 2014]

The spice rub I use for BBQ spare ribs includes fennel seeds (along with a shitton of other herbs and spices) and it's absolutely delicious. IMO, those who give a fuck are usually missing out!

What's for Dinner #314 - Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon Edition [Through July 26, 2014]

The plan was to use up the leftover lemongrass duck in a pad thai, but I'm too lazy to go to the store for ingredients I don't have, so plans have changed. I'm thinking the duck would be good warmed up and served over greens sauteed with garlic and sesame oil, with this potato salad, topped with a handful of pickled carrot and daikon, on the side: http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/...

Worst Cooking show Buzzwords

I imagine it would be difficult for an airline to define "local" as they are in the business of moving people to far distant locations.

A Discussion on Vinegar

I let a batch of kombucha go too long once and it made something that tasted just like a really nice apple cider vinegar (although apparently kombucha vinegar is not a true vinegar). Wonderful in salad dressings.

I find that Chinese black vinegar tastes a bit like steak sauce and is great for grilling and in BBQ sauces. A dash in Mac and cheese is also great.

Also, balsamic reduced with fig jam and mustard makes a great sauce for pork or poultry.