What's For Dinner #40 - 12/2018 - The Hearth and Home Edition

The last month of the year has begun! Holiday travel, cooking traditions and general craziness flavor December for many. Shorter days and cooler weather bring on a craving for cozy comfort.

What are you cooking?


I’ve had a hankering for soup for several days now. Baked Potato Soup/Congressional Bean Soup/ Scotch Broth…

It’ll probably be closer to the middle of December before I pull the trigger on one or more of these.


Is this similar to Senate Bean Soup? I love that stuff! I start with a meaty ham bone from the Honey Baked Ham shop.

The following has a bare bones recipe. But I found the Senate dining room menu from 1955 particularly interesting. Coca Cola is under Beverages but 7-up, ginger ale and Dr. Pepper under Beer and Soft Drinks. Lots of dishes people with stomach ulcers used to eat on the menu!


One and the same.


As usual for Saturday night, it’s a three courser. Or possibly a four courser.

The farmers market had mixed mushrooms - chanterelle, pied de mouton & eryngii. They’re going to be fried in butter with garlic to go on toast. Sprinkle of parsley to finish

Classic roast chicken. Roast spuds, Baked squash & steamed spring greens (yes, I know it’s not spring, but that’s what heartless cabbages are called here). Gravy, of course.

There may be cheese at this point. Mrs Bourne is a regular at the farmers market. She sells their farm’s Cheshire cheese. We bought some of the maturest she had and some of the Blue Cheshire. Both of these disprove the supermarket misconception that Cheshire is a mild cheese - supermarket buyers must never have tasted a proper farmhouse Cheshire.

Plum crumble to finish. And custard.


Another Senate Bean Soup article:


We stole the idea for this tart from a local French bakery. Puff pastry topped with mozzarella, caramelized onions, satueed bell peppers, and olives.


That’s just gorgeous.


A grey rainy day here in the piedmont of NC.

I’ve looked off and on for the last year for a cat to be a companion for The Circus Cat. It has been tricky finding the right animal that won’t be detrimental with Jojo’s physical issues. Found the perfect candidate last week and spent some time interacting and observing him. Adopted and brought him home last night. They are doing better than I had hoped! The 12 foot staring match has shrunk to 4 feet. A bit hissing from Jojo. The newbie is being respectful. We are working on a name…prior owners called him Zero.

I’ve been leaving them alone for brief periods to prep my dinner. Making a cheaters cassoulet. Leeks, carrot, white beans, ham, garlic sausage are the main players. Topped with bread crumbs!

Dessert will be short bread cookies and hot fresh cider. (The $2.49 fresh cider from Aldi’s rocks!)


Hope you’re blessed in Jojo’s & Zero’s relationship building exercises. New feline deserves a sweeter name.


Crispy Chickpeas…again…


Wife and I went out for an early dinner. We shared Sambal with brown rice, a tempura mix, duck rolls, shumai and a kani salad. Came home for matcha ice cream.


Do you have a favorite recipe?

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It was a long day. Visit with Mom and stuff for work.

Dinner relatively easy - seasoned a pork tenderloin with olive oil, s/p and Penzeys Tsardust seasoning. Pan-seared, then into the oven to finish cooking in a roasting pan. I added 1/4 cup of apple cider, just shy of 1/4 cup of white wine to the pan and whisked to pull up the fond. Added some honey-crunch mustard and dried thyme and whisked as it reduced. Mounted with butter and set aside until the tenderloin finished cooking.

Sides were baby roasted potatoes with olive oil, s/p, garlic powder and dried parsley, and steamed green beans with butter, marjoram and savory.

There was wine. Cheesy TV on the flat screen. I need something I don’t have to think about.


Welcome to your new kitty baby! I hope JoJo and Newbie eventually curl up together as my Alfie and Finn did 2 days after bringing Finn into the house. :heart:


Slow-cooker chicken tikka masala with green beans and carrots over Jasmine rice.


I “adapted” this recipe from Epicurious years ago, because it allowed me to use ground lamb:

. * 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 2 medium onions, small dice (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 carrots, small dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth(24 fl oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar or cider vinegar

Par boil barley in two cups of water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside the Barley.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook lamb, breaking up clumps with a fork, just until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer lamb to a bowl with a slotted spoon and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to pan and cook onions, carrots, bay leaf, salt, and pepper over moderate heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add broth, water, and barley and simmer, covered, until vegetables and barley are tender, about 10 minutes. Add lamb and vinegar and gently simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes (for flavors to blend). Discard bay leaf.


Congratulations on the new addition to the family!! I’m optimistic the kids will get along with each other soon enough.
Hot cider is so delicious…!


The lettuce situation is ridiculous. I couldn’t bring myself to pay nearly $4 for a head of iceberg, and after running all over the city doing stuff for work all afternoon i also lacked enough give a shit to go elsewhere.
Baby spinach for salad (meh, not my favorite) with a mixed chickpea salad thingy on top. Yikes, blurry photo!
And i found a small bag of sun chips! Very nostalgic for me, used to eat these all the time. Still tasty.
Kombucha a la carte not pictured

I’m craving chocolate so i’ll make some hot chocolate before long, there’s dark chocolate in the freezer that isn’t great for snacking and will work nicely chopped and whisked into some vanilla almond milk.


Great northern bean soup with ham hocks . Snowing outside. Wine to drink :wine_glass:. Cheers.