What's for Dinner #59 - the Summertime Covid Blues Edition - July 2020

Oh my…the dessert fork just found a new home.


I know it has been a busy month when I just skip over the 321 posts. I’ve been cooking but nothing wild. We did host a very small outdoor bbq last week and I cooked everything. It was such a nice slice of regular. And I got one of my greatest cooking compliments to date. Our friend said she loved coming to our house to eat because she always knows the food will be amazing!

Tonight I had intended to do some sort of a taco. It kind of fell apart along the way and instead rolled into brown rice with seared scallops, corn salsa, guacamole and grilled zucchini. Still tasty!!


The sear on those scallops is perfection. Now I’m in the mood for scallops.


A recent FB memory prompted tonight’s dinner.

A mix of crushed saffron, cinnamon, ground ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, s/p, and olive oil was rubbed all over and under the skin of a Frankenchicken breast, then roasted until done (spooning the resulting liquid over top several times).

Leftover rice pilaf and steamed asparagus alongside.

Pre-game was V&L, game-time was white wine. Post game might be a Cuarenta y Tres.


Where were you? Looks and sounds divine.

It was at Pilgrim, and thanks. Ruston Way in Tacoma, Wa, a place called Dukes. Not affiliated with the popular chain in Hawaii. Tacoma is the nearest city to us, requiring a tolled bridge crossing. We’re on a peninsula. Island in the distance is named Vashon, and while not far, requires a ferry trip, unless you boat or fly a small plane over. It’s like stepping back in time, ergo the 70’s. Hmmm, maybe I should move there! But the ferries don’t always run due to mechanical issues, or dock damage, due to being crashed into. Would drive me crazy to be stuck!!

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We had some excellent takeout from Fernandes Steakhouse in Newark, NJ. We enjoyed a beautifully charred two pound porterhouse steak; grilled whole
branzino; a hot sampler consisting of garlic shrimp, clams casino, and fried calamari, and some crispy Spanish potato chips. It all went great with an outstanding Malbec.


After a couple hours cleaning up the museum I volunteer at with a couple of friends (and no AC) to prepare for our reopening in a few weeks, one invited us back to his house for celebratory mojitos in his secluded garden. I’ve never been a big fan. I think I’ve made myself one in all the years I’ve been of drinking age. Well, I guess my tastes changed because it was delicious. A lot smoother than a G & T, which is my usual summer cocktail.

I liked it so much that I made another (or was it two?) when I got home. There is a TON of mint growing in my backyard that some asshole must have planted years ago because it is relentless. But now I shall hold on to it for future cocktails.

Dinner tonight was homemade pizza using a dough recipe I found on All Recipes that was very easy and got the job done.


Summer Sunday Dinner. Grilled burger with red onion, tomato, pickles, ketchup and mustard, homemade deli-style health salad, pasta salad (it would be called mac salad if I had elbow macaroni) and grilled corn. A great way to end the day.


Yummmmmmmmmm this looks amazing!

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Baked penne and sausage. Uh oh. Me and pasta is never a good sign.


Turkey wing corn chowder. Made turkey broth a couple days ago, then today added carrots, freshly scraped corn cobs, spring onion, birdseye chiles, cilantro, slivered, dried up tortillas. Simmered, then blended with the stick blender, then added shredded turkey meat and the fresh corn off the cob. Also blistered padron peppers, dicing most of them up, added those in too. Topped with a few whole padrones, fried tortilla strips, cotija, cilantro, spring onions, and diced avocado. An itty-bitty quesadilla we split with the last slice of muenster on the side.


Yep, i’ve got tix to Barcelona/Lisbon in mid-Oct. I’m going to wait until probably late August and then see about getting a refund. I just don’t see anything really changing between now and then. And getting on a crowded plane for all those hours? NFW.


Oh and I forgot to add my favorite “new” cocktail from last night - a sherry martini. Hendricks, Dolin, and Oloroso, with a twist.


That’s pretty good lookin’!

I bought a “special” pan for cheesecake for my Instantpot years ago but haven’t tried it yet. Is this “New York Style” cheesecake? If so, do you have a link to a favored recipe?

I don’t recall ever making one, but my aunt Helen did, and I sure ate a lot of them.

I found this.


Not all cheesecakes are created equal. Some are no bake, some are creamier, some are denser, some are loaded with mix-ins, and some are intentionally burnt. OK that last one is pretty unique…check out my Basque Burnt Cheesecake to see what I mean!

But for a New York style cheesecake, it has a couple characteristics that make it a classic cheesecake. One major sign of a good New York cheesecake is the texture. It’s dense, rich and heavy which is why it’s tough to have more than one slice!

The reason why it’s so rich is due to the amount of cream cheese used in the cheesecake. Regular cheesecake relies on heavy cream and sour cream to thin the batter and create a silkier, creamier texture. New York cheesecake is heavy on the cream cheese which is why it’s so dense and rich.

Extra cream cheese isn’t the only thing that makes New York cheesecake so special. It also includes extra eggs and egg yolks to provide and smooth consistency. The egg also helps to bind together the cheesecake, giving it that tight texture.

New York style cheesecake is also always baked and contains very simple ingredients. It’s a no-frills cheesecake that packs a punch in flavor and texture. The distinct flavor can be attributed to the bit of sour cream and fresh lemon juice, giving it a slight tang."


Perfect summer night for putting some brats on the smoker. Combined with the Rick Bayless prawn cocktail made a fabulous meal. Cheers .


Carb heavy diced pork & white rice pie was WFD Sunday night. It was Day 3 for a tiny pork loin roast repurposed…


Dinner and dessert last night, wonderful ending to the week. Split a rib eye, first green beans from the garden, COTC, and fresh strawberry pie with a layer of cream cheese with lemon curd. Tasty!


First almost-local corn of the season, brought in from central Mass. Corn + olive oil + sea salt = happiness.


I used the grill to prepare everything on a sticky Sunday evening. Meatballs finished in harissa-spiked tomato sauce. Roasted broccoli with garlic scape and Marcona almonds.

It turns out we feel meh about roasted broccoli. One time trying that prep was enough for me.

Summer corn will be on repeat now that it’s around. Yay!


This calls to me… YUM!

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