The skirmish in the Ukraine has made me nostalgic for the Cold War days of my youth. While the bloodshed is tragic, and The Wife and I both know people with ties to the former Soviet state, I look at this with an almost melancholy memory for the days of yore. Back then, we knew who our enemy was: the yellow hammer and the sickle against the red field. The red menace of communism presented a constant global threat. But back then, we knew who and where we were going to bomb when something went awry. Now that everyone hates us — nations, religions, factions of people tucked in caves and on islands around the globe — it makes it a little more difficult to exist as an American in this world. I would take a semi-crazy Russian Prime Minister any day over the guy in Kandahar or Quetta that takes the Koran a little too seriously.
So, in celebration of the coming of the next Cold War, I’ve returned to watching movies of my youth: Rocky IV, WarGames, Red Dawn…nationalistic, anti-Communist and anti-war screeds. And, last week I made the Americanized version of the popular Russian dish beef stroganov. I know it’s a stretch, but it’s my stretch.
Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Beef Stroganov with Egg Noodles
At the risk of repeating myself, Pinterest does two things around here:
- It drives traffic to this site.
- It makes it helps me organize which recipes are on deck.
We’re going to focus on the latter here for now. I have six Pinterest boards and five of them are food related. One is a catch-all of miscellaneous food things. One collects all of the recipes from here. Another collects all of the desserts. A third features my restaurant reviews. And, finally, there is the Things I Want To Cook board. It’s where I toss recipes for later use. It replaces the little slips of paper that would pile up next to the stove, collected from skimming food magazines at Barnes & Noble. Now, I save the recipe for later, use it for meal planning and open up Pinterest for recipes each night. Continue reading Tuesday Dinner: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
It seems as if Meatless Monday has fallen into a delay pattern and become Meatless Tuesday here at Al Dente HQ. I like the idea of one meatless day a week and we had long done this unintentionally. The purpose behind Meatless Monday is pretty straightforward: take a break from meat, particularly those rich in saturated fat. The Meatless Monday concept has been a chance for me to branch out and try new things. That, I like. It hasn’t, though, led to a ton of healthy eating. As it happens, cheese is meatless. It’s loaded with saturated fat, but it’s meatless, as are carbs like pasta, rice and other grains. We have consumed more vegetables too, don’t get me wrong, but the challenge of cooking without a basic like chicken has been fun.
(If there is a reason to not like Meatless Monday, it’s the fact that Oprah-endorsed snake oil salesman Dr. Oz pushes the idea to the sheep that form a line to take whatever garbage he offers in the name of expert medical advice.)
Take tonight’s dinner, for example. It’s vegetarian, though not vegan, and has a nice shot of fat from the olive oil and cheeses. Plus the pasta, which will inevitably convert to fat during digestion. Yum!
Continue reading Meatless Tuesday: The Kitchn’s One-Pot Pasta
There’s a half-used tub of red miso paste in my refrigerator that I have moved eight or nine times. I bought it for…actually, I’m not sure why I bought it. But, it has been a nuisance of late, taking up space in a fridge where I could use more.
During my recent pawing of Pinterest to find a recipe for dinner, I came across a recipe for negimiso, a Japanese paste made with miso (usually a blend of red and white), onion and mirin. Negi itself is a special Japanese onion that, like a leek, does not form a bulb at the bottom. The native version is a little difficult to find here in the Northeastern U.S., so leeks would have to do.
Continue reading Tuesday dinner: Negi Miso Chicken Thighs
This was supposed to be dinner on Monday, but there was a cookout at the neighbor’s house and I wanted to see if it was possible for me to go two straight nights (and three out of the past four) without cooking. I was successful.
Today was the first foray into grilled pizza. I’ve heard about it and read a couple of pieces on the topic at Serious Eats by the genius J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. My primary concern was the dough sticking to the grill grates and I considered a pizza shell from a local bakery to avoid that problem. Unfortunately, or fortunately I suppose, the bakery near the house with shells was closed on Monday, leaving me to pick up a ball of dough at the highly vaunted and slightly overrated Columbus Bakery on Syracuse’s North side.
The prep here was two-fold. You really need a clean grilling surface so that way the char on the dough is burn and not leftovers from last week’s burgers. Regular scrubbing and a canola oil rubdown (for the grill, not me) took care of that. As for the dough, using enough flour while pressing it out is essential. I tried to stay in the area between copious and sufficient, because why do something right when you can overdo it?
Continue reading Tuesday dinner: Grilled pizza napoletana
I love chorizo. Have I mentioned that before? Anyhow, I also like poblanos and those make the odd appearance around the kitchen.
Serious Eats presents this version as a Mexican version of the Italian stuffed pepper. Now, I made something similar once before, but thought that I could get the two Mexican flavors I liked best together on one plate.
The recipe’s author intended this for a charcoal grill. The threat of rain and a 90-degree temperatures scared me inside and hunkered down into my air conditioned kitchen. I opted for a 500-degree oven instead. It worked just as well. Continue reading Tuesday dinner: Chorizo stuffed peppers
I love chorizo.
It’s always a good night when I can work in chorizo. I should make my own soon, but sometimes you just have to bite down and get some store-brand.
Now. the grill-pressed chorizo tortas at Serious Eats sounded like a really good idea, but I ran into a few problems:
- Forget about bolillo rolls in Syracuse.
- Wegmans in Dewitt has oaxaca cheese (a stringy Mexican cheese akin to mozzarella), but the one in Fairmount does not. So, a block of part-skim mozzarella had to do.
- The Wife doesn’t like onions. Sometimes I make her eat them anyways, but these sandwiches are so large that one more ingredient would have made them more cumbersome to handle. Continue reading Tuesday dinner: Chorizo torta
The Wife resented my implication that she hid the pine nuts on me last week.
She called me a name. She reminded me that she “can’t reach that effing shelf without climbing on something.” And, she reminded me that I was deflecting my own mistake on to her. I offered her the opportunity to rebut my claims, but she opted to take the high road (again). That high road stuff gets annoying after a while, which is exactly why she does it.
That, and hiding things on me.
Continue reading Meatless Tuesday: Linguine with pine nuts and asparagus