What's for dinner?

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Wisconsin Limey
Dinner tonight was something my wife & I eat quite often, Cajun Blackened Chicken Salad.

Chopped romaine with sliced celery, carrot, scallion and red onion tossed with a Tuscan vinaigrette and topped with tomatoes, feta cheese & egg slices finished with a sliced pan seared chicken breast with cajun seasoning.  Tasty, satisfying and good for you!

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Yum! That looks awesome. I'm a huge fan of chicken and salads. What do you use for your blackening spice mix? I know everyone has their "secret" mix. Would love to know the Limey Version.
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Decosta
Had a surplus of cooking apples so I made two batches of apple sauce. One was a Honey Apple blend of sauce and the other was Honey + apples with cinnamon to taste. Very yummy.

This morning, I chopped up some leeks, carrots and onions and laid it on the bottom of the slow cooker. Only managed to scrape my nail twice with the chef's knife. Still need to get to grips with my guide hand. Getting better though.

I then heated up some spices in a pan and then ground them up with a pestle and mortar. I then mixed some butter and garlic and mixed them all within a bowl. I then stuck that mixture in the middle of the chicken cavity.

Chopped up some apples and placed it on top of the chicken, poured in some cider and switched it on low. Hopefully the garlic spice mixture will melt and permeate though the bird as it cooks. The vegetables will then be a base for a stock and the chicken should take on the flavours.

It's really exciting thinking about how different flavours will affect the bird and it's good to experiment. Hints on cooking in a slow cooker to achieve maximum flavour uptake would be cool.


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Well it bombed, I got home after work and I got a question of what DID you put in the chicken. It tasted horribly and smelt horrible as well. (That was the words, they weren't being mean just telling me the truth). I was disappointed because who doesn't want to create good flavours. I tasted it and I can sort of see what they mean but hey, at least the chicken was still moist.

I then decided to make a more gourmet version of a chicken, bacon, brie and canberry sandwich that my wife likes. So using the chicken from above, I cooked up some crispy bacon, and mixed it with the chicken (which I added some mustard, lemon and mayo) to make a spread (I whizzed it). I then used melba toast as a base and used a square pastry cutter to make it all nice and square. Using thinly sliced brie, I then toasted it so it melted slighty, layed some cranberry sauce and then using the rest of the bacon, I crumbled it up to give a nice crunchy texture on the top.

I was quite pleased with it. Quite the presentation on the plate. I might try it again and post some pictures to show you.

So all in all, it was a flop but I am new to the cooking game so you're bound to have some major hiccups. Next time, I'll won't practice on a £6 chicken. I was so looking forward to using the bones to make some stock. At least my knife skills are slowly improving.

Now just need ideas for using up the chorizo.

 

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Decosta: At least you're getting honest feedback. My family just gives me compliments or finds something good to say about whatever I cook even if I know it's horrible.

I'd be interested in knowing what they/you thought was wrong. I really can't see chicken holding up all that well in a slow-cooker all day. I could be wrong, but it would seem to me that all the flavour would leech out after hours and hours of braising, not to mention what it would do to the texture of the meat.

"I was so looking forward to using the bones to make some stock."

What's stopping you?
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So sorry it didn't work out. I HAVE had slow-cooker chicken that turned out well, so don't give up on that idea.

With all that apple, though (including cider), duck probably would have been a better meat. It's a common and natural combination (though not in a slow cooker). I remember one restaurant in which I had roast duckling glazed with apple jelly and Applejack brandy with a Calvados sauce. YUM!
Decosta
Thanks for the reply, I've had slow cooked chicken before that has turned out well, this time I was trying to infuse some flavour into the chicken. I actually did it but not with a great taste. I think it was the cider, I think it was a flavour that we didn't actually like drinking. You live and learn :)

I doubt duck will ever be on the menu, the wife isn't too keen on it. I love it though :)..My yuck meat is pheasant :(
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The local organic farm had the first of those lovely little reddish-orange pumpkins this week, and the weather turns colder tomorrow, so dinner tomorrow is roasted whole pumpkin stuffed with leeks, spicy turkey sausage, endamame, and leftover cornbread.

I cut the top off the pumpkin and clean it inside as if making a jack o'lantern. Saute leeks and spicy sausage of choice. Add endamame. Adjust seasoning - I often wind up adding a touch of Chimayo red chile and/or a bit of maple syrup, depending on how hot the sausage is and how sweet the cornbread. Crumble the leftover cornbread into the mix, just enough to help hold it together, and pop it all into the pumpkin. Pumpkin lid goes back on top, and the roasting pan with the pumpkin goes into a 400 degree oven until the pumpkin is cooked through. Let it stand a few minutes before serving so liquid is reabsorbed. Cut into wedges and serve.

I also love the fact that leftovers (if any) reheat beautifully. In fact, you can get a nice crispy texture on the re-heated wedge.

If you save the cleaned seeds and crisp them up with a little olive oil, salt, and chile they will go nicely over a small salad on the side.

I love fall food!

Wisconsin Limey
I use a version of Emeril's Creole Esscence (recipe widely available on the web) that I change up with some Indian ingredients.

2.5  Paprika
2     Kosher Salt
2     Granulated Garlic
1     Ground Black Pepper
1     Onion Powder
1     Cayenne Pepper
1     Reshempatti Chile Powder
1     Dried Leaf Oregano
1     Powdered  Thyme
1     Turmeric
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Hmm, that has me thinking, could you make a pilaf inside a gourd?

I must try this.
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Came up to Maine this weekend with the intent to make a sauce from the bomper crop of tomatoes that just keep growing on my back porch in Boston in my Earhtboxes.  

Stopped off at the local produce market and was really surprised to  finally find some salsify.  Picked some up along with snow peas and a spaghetti squash.

Went to the fish market and bought some haddock for me, wild salmon for my wife and a lobster for her friend.  Why cant everyone get on the same page??

Came home, made the tomato sauce and then popped the spaghetti squash in the oven with olive oil, S&P.

After peeling the skin (more like bark) off of the salsify, I continued to peel the salsify until I  had a bunch of linguine-like salsify.  Blanched the salisfy and then the snow peas.  After shocking them both in an ice bath, I julienned the snow peas.

Started steaming the lobster and then pan roasting the salmon and haddock.  Once the haddock and salmon were in the oven, I sauteed  some shallots, deglazed with some white wine and then added the salisify and the julienned snow peas.  Squeezed in some lemon and it was done.

Pulled the salmon and haddock and squash out of the oven.  Plated the fish along with the salsify and snow pea mix and some spaghetti squash.  Added some of the tomato sauce to the fish and the squash.  What a great meal.  Sorry I forgot to take a photo.

Oh, forgot the lobster for our friend who "just had to have lobster when in Maine."  Had to show her how to pull it apart and pick the meat.  I cant believe how much she missed.

An exhausting day!
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LOBSTER!!!!!!!!!!! I miss those North Atlantic critters......... aand I know how to pick at them!

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And I can get soft shells now for anywhere between $3.59 - $5.99 per lb.  Hard shells are $9.99/lb. (2.5 lbs)
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Tonight for me, a little white boy soul food from my childhood, Tuna Noodle Casserole. Simple yet yummy; it's hard to compete with memories. Took these photos with my phone.
Tuna Noodle Casserole 2
Tuna Noodle Casserole 2
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That looks great Chef.  Looks like tuna, noodles, mixed veggie, cheese and bread crumbs. What am I missing, what's the sauce?
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-Why make food for dinner when you can make dinner a culinary experience?

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The crust on top is actually crushed saltine crackers mixed with melted butter and parmesian cheese. The sauce is a mix of condensed mushroom soup, a little milk and chicken stock (from a box). A litle bit of shredded sharp cheddar cheese for flavor and binding.

What really makes this though is the fresh carrots and brocolli instead of the "traditional" frozen peas and corn.
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Thanks, I'll have to whip that up some night for the fam!
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Tonight was comfort food night!  Moist & Crispy pan fried chicken with pan gravy, mashed taters, corn bread, and carrots & onions sauted in 50/50 then caramelized with brown sugar and finished with red wine vinegar.  I was going to plate one up for a pic but the fam destroyed it!  cool
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Tonight was Chef Jabob's Tuna Casarole.  Thanks for sharing that with us Chef, the whole family loved it! 
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Something I've been craving for a long time now, ever since the weather has gotten cold. When I started hallucinating it's scent (you know, when you smell a dish cooking that doesn't really exist), I knew it would only be a matter of time.

That's right! Chicken noodle soup. A little Asian fusion going on with the addition of fish sauce, baby bok choy and a little ginger. And yes, I'm aware that you're supposed to keep the noodles separate from the soup and add them to order, but....it's my day off! Plus, it's always forgivable to break a culinary rule as long as you're consciously breaking it. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Since my braised chicken thigh recipe was such a hit, (still our most popular post to date), maybe I'll do a proper chicken noodle soup article....just not today. This soup is mine!
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Chef,

That soup looks great.  All you need now are some potato latkes and you have the perfect Chanukah dinner. I'll post my latke recipe by tomorrow.

Elliot
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Looks yummy.

Stock, chicken, carrots, onions, celery, leeks, broccoli, thyme, salt, pepper, tagliatelle ? Maybe parsley? Can't really be sure what the dark flecks and the green flecks are. Could be a piece of broccoli fleurette, or thyme also. Maybe red pepper flake?
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Fried Prok Chops with pan gravy, rice pilaf, and baby carrots.  Not very fancy, but very good! Sorry for the washed out pic, my phone isn't the greatest camera in history. 

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@Elliot,

Would love a recipe for potato latkes. Looking forward to a future forum post.

@Zalbar,

The soup was pretty simple, since I was making it on my day off. Started by roasting some chicken thighs in the bottom of the pot, removed the thighs and used the residuals fat to roast some onions, garlic and ginger. Added baby carrots and diced potatoes; the starch from the potatoes adds a nice body to the soup.

Seasoned with a little fish sauce for a hit of salty umami. Of course the chicken thighs were added back in and gently simmered for about an hour (the base liquid was chicken stock with a little white wine). After the legs were tender, I shredded them off the bone and added back to the soup. Sliced baby bok choy and brocoli florets were simmered in the soup about 8 minutes out from serving.

Standard egg noodles cooked in a separate pot of salted water were strained and added to the soup at the last minute. The addition of thyme and parsley is always nice, but I didn't have any on hand. I think the dark green flecks you're seeing are from the leaves of the baby bok choy.
VisaliaCab
I made homemade ravioli and marinara last week for Valentines Day.  I made the pasta from scratch for the first time.  I tried doing the well in the flour but my eggs fell out and just had to get in there with the hands, but the dough came together.

I didn't have a pasta machine so I had to hand roll and cut the sheets in rectangles for the ravioli.  I made an Italian sausage with ricotta and parmesan cheese filling.  After I made the filling I laid out the pasta sheets, put a tablespoon of filling then covered them, cut them and crimped them with a fork.  They ended up a fairly good size, about 3 inches or so.  I let them chill in the fridge for a bit then cooked them in boiling water and served with the marinara.


For my first time they turned out rather well and tasted great with the homemade marinara.  I definitely want to get a pasta machine for next time.  

I tried to add a picture but couldn't.


















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A big soup dish of dashi with soba and fresh spring asparagus in it. On a complicated day, simple food is so relaxing.

Biggest problem: convincing the cats that the bonito flakes weren't for them.
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I put a gourmet twist on a classic tonight (actually I braised the beef last night). 

Braised beef bordedaise shepards pie with lightly saute'd carrots, green bean, and brocali, and dublinder cheese and a composed salad.  I consider it a successful dish, the flavors were awesome and the whole family loved it.  My only real critique is I think I should have reduced my braising sauce a little more, but I was nervous about scorching it. That and presentation is still killing me. :-)




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