What's For Dinner #58 - the Uncertain Certain Summertime Edition -June 2020

Lots going on around the world. Uncertain times. But certain as well. It’s the summer in the northern hemisphere. So that certainly means grilling weather!

What’s cooking in your back yard?


Quick dinner of pre-made sausage meatballs in garlicky tomato sauce and Caesar salad after a long day of gardening. We got the grill dusted off and fired up last week so I anticipate more grilling in the next few weeks - gotta take advantage of the long evenings for outdoor cooking!


We won’t be using our grill or Big Green Egg for awhile because of the thick pine pollen. I don’t even open our windows until it’s gone. 2-3 weeks, depending on rain :o(


First dinner of June was an interesting one.

This is an ode to “I don’t give a f***” after an excruciating and long day at work, one that actually gave me a headache and almost had me go for takeout. But, I fended off the urges. Shake-and-bake pork chops, KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE, and some Brussels Sprouts and peas for color. Bon Appétit.

There was whiskey!


More inhalation of food. WSJ recipe for morel cream sauce with chicken was AMAZING. a little sweet, almost caramel-y, luscious, and the texture of the fresh morels really worked in this. I made the whole recipe even though i was only making a chicken thigh each, and a little pasta, and we finished it ALL. i’d serve it in a bowl with a baguette in hand next time and die happy.

oh, yeah, salad too.


For dinner tonight I made this beet and goat cheese tart (added a little parm regg, rosemary, thyme, and roasted the beets with granulated shallot and oo). Sides were sauteed beet greens with dried cranberries, aged balsamic, and chopped pistachios, a green salad, and chicken-spinach sausages. We polished off the whole tart - next time I’ll add some cream cheese to the custard. And maybe drizzle with honey or use honeyed goat cheese. I used rolled up aluminum foil as buttresses for the tart sides. Needed about 40 min. bake time.



I admire the restraint of the tart portion. I would have eaten the whole thing.


I ate half :laughing:


Sunday we had our first takeout (post covid) from the family favorite mexican place.

Everyone had different things - quesadillas, enchilada burritos, chicken soup, and Posole for me with a single enchilada suiza on the side. I also ordered a potato taco, but it was not what I was expecting.

The Posole was lovely, though I prefer the green kind. Big portion, so enough for a meal the next day.

We ordered (a lot of) extra refried beans because the kids love them, so tonight we made mexican food at home to accompany the beans. I made tortillas to use up some of the giant bag of masa harina - take 2, after watching a video, which made much more sense than my attempt to make them like chapatis :joy:. Discovered that I enjoy the homemade corn tortillas, even though I don’t like the commercial version - the home ones taste so much corn-ier.

Dinner was - quesadillas for one kid, enchiladas mole for another, enchiladas verdes for one adult, grilled mahi mahi for the others, “mexican” rice for everyone, plus big salads. Oh and the beans.

I’m pretty full just from cooking :joy:


Oh good Lord, @Saregama, it all looks amazing, and I can’t believe all the variety for 5? people. Agree with green posole preference, but I’ll take it any way at all and love it. Homemade tortillas are wonderful too, unless you happen to be near a tortilleria, where they crank them out all the time. I know how to make flour ones, but haven’t delved into homemade corn types. I want a tortilla press for that. I don’t know where you are in SoCal, but am getting a strong feeling you are in or near Orange County. If you want a great tortilla press, or if your sister might, if you go into far East LA, you can find these fabulous wooden ones that are amazing. I learned this from attending a catered event on the beautiful UCLA campus. Talking to the Hispanic caterers, telling them the food was wonderful, and asking about the tortilla press they were using, they told me where to find one. I haven’t seen one online, but haven’t researched very deeply either. I wasn’t able to make it to East LA on that trip. As far as good masa goes, if you don’t want to travel far, and want to make your own, I’ve found Bob’s Red Mill ground Masa to be fresh and very corny. I’ve made some tamales with it that turned out very well. Of course if I were making big batches, would go with something else. Hope you are able to return home soon; I once went on a long weekend ski trip that turned into 3 months. It’s hard being gone that long from your comfort zone.


Haha, yeah, tasting as you go really adds up for me…

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Below are a couple pics of our first meal in June. We weren’t feeling well, and decided on faux Greek comfort food. We even got a little fancy by adding canned chicken. I present to you: Mock Avgolemeno. Note the careful mise en place. Incredibly time saving. :joy_cat:

My bowl congealed a bit before the photo shoot due to a call I needed to take.


Last day of the 4-day holiday of Ascension-Pentecote. H cooked yesterday, so there were pizzas. Pretty good this time I’ve to say especially the dough, it seems he is getting better with his special weber pizza oven, we ate at friends’ deck, people kept coming, we made 4 pizzas and we were 9.


A spicy one with Spanish sausage Souberssade, anchovies

capricciosa - asparagus, peas, cherry tomatoes, olives, artichokes, mushrooms fresh and marinated, Parmesan… and home grown arugula

4 cheeses - comté, roquefort, cancoillotte, parmesan, bacon


The pizzas look great.


Thanks, I showed him your remark, he is rather proud and happy this time. You didn’t see how he cooked, he was yelling and chased everybody away, couldn’t concentrate with the crowd around and the unstable fire.

I suspect that he is a better cook than I am at the end of the day. I’m a promiscuous cook while he is a monogamy cook that specialise in the few things that interested him. :rofl::joy:


Awww, hope you feel better. Like the idea of Mock Avgolemeno, easy and comfort food.

Want to join your inhalation!
Recipe please. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Thanks! It’s kinda trashy, with way too much sodium, but it weirdly hits the spot and is very comforting. Covid just gave me the courage to confess to eating that way, occasionally. If you want a more authentic quick version, you can use chicken with rice soup, beat up the egg yolks and whites separately and add lemon. Actually learned that trick from a lovely Greek cookbook author I met, and had the pleasure of spending a day cooking with. She was a late friend’s mentor.

ETA: please tell your H his pizzas look fabulous! He also sounds like my H in that he’s a monogamous cook too. He won’t let me even prep for him anymore. It’s more fun being promiscuous about it like you! :smiley_cat::joy_cat::smiley_cat:


here you go:

Roast Chicken With Morels and Cream
Morels are in season now, but dried ones work nicely here too.
TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes SERVES: 3-4

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or thighs
2 large shallots, chopped
¼ pound fresh morels or 1 ounce dried morels
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup vin jaune or fino Sherry [I used Manzanilla because it’s what I had]
¾ cup rich chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take cream from refrigerator.

  2. Arrange chicken on a sheet pan. Season generously with salt, pepper and thyme. Rub with olive oil. Roast until slightly browned, 25 minutes.

  3. If using fresh morels: Halve lengthwise and swish around in a bowl of cool water 10-15 seconds. Pat dry. If using dried morels: Soak in warm water 30 minutes, then wash thoroughly under running water. Pat dry. Strain the morel broth through a sieve and reserve ¾ cup.

  4. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue roasting until chicken is nicely browned, 20 minutes more.

  5. Make the sauce: In a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallots and cook until translucent, 3 minutes. Add morels. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté 3 minutes more.

  6. Increase heat slightly. Add vin jaune and simmer until reduced by half, 3 minutes. Add chicken stock (or morel broth if using dried morels). Cook until sauce is reduced by half, 4 minutes.

  7. Lower heat and pour in heavy cream. Bring to a simmer. Cook gently until sauce thickens, 10 minutes. Season to taste.

  8. To serve, spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with chives. Crusty bread, tagliatelle or white rice make good companions.



I got mine online, though not a wooden one.


it works really well. I’ve made corn tortillas several times and am always slightly disappointed. I think just using the Maseca flour instead of fresh masa is the problem. They just don’t taste all that different to me from store-bought when i make them with Maseca. I’m going to try making them with fresh masa sometime (masa made by actually grinding the hominy). There’s a mexi-mart nearby that sells it.