What's For Dinner #72 - Wait, Summer Is Almost Over? Edition - August 2021

A lovely scored and seasoned (just s/p) D’Artagnan magret duck breast, cooked fat side down in a stainless steel skillet starting from a cold pan until the fat was rendered (about 7 minutes over medium heat after you can start seeing the fat melt into the pan), flipped for 30 seconds meat side down, then into a 350° oven in a separate pan for about 6 minutes until it reached 130°. Pulled to rest for a few minutes while the sides were finishing up.

Sides were toasted Israeli couscous and a sauté of sugar snap peas, red and orange bell peppers and some local corn stripped from the cob, with a seasoning of s/p and Penzeys’ Tuscan Sunset blend.

The duck had a bit of warmed homemade plum ketchup on top.

Wine. And I love the antici-pay-yay-shun of a meal when it all clicks at the end.

Dessert will be a slice of a peach blueberry cake with vanilla ice cream.

FOOD NOTE: at least in my local area, Wegmans’ peaches are bland…nowhere near as good as the ones I got at my local Market Basket a couple of weeks ago.


Wowza. Thanks for sharing your method.

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Bacchanalia! What a feast.


We had friends over for drinks and snacks while the kids played. Later DH made stir friend ground beef with cabbage and carrots, the usual seasoning suspects. Quite tasty.


That makes more sense. I saw only up to the confit tomatoes and thinking to myself, “hmm, slim pickins this year. Well, at least tell her that the mussels look good (which they do).”

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here’s the recipe:

Tostadas de Aguacate

1 lg. egg
2 cloves garlic
1 lg ripe avocado
3 tbls. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of cayenne pepper (I subbed smoked paprika)
2 tsps. cumin seeds (i subbed ground cumin, but whole cumin is much better)
1 long baguette, enough for 40 slices

lend egg and garlic in a blender. peel and seed avocado, cut into chunks and add to blender, along with lemon juice. whirl until smooth. with motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil in a thin stream. Season with salt and cayenne. you can cover and put in fridge for up to 2 hours.

toast the cumin seeds in a hot pan until they begin to pop up in the pan. put the seeds on a plate to cool.

slice baguette into thin slices put on baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes or until golden.

pour avocado cream into a bowl and sprinkle cumin seeds on top, then serve with toasts all around for dipping.

it’s soooo yummy.


i know! and i even then forgot to add a whole night’s dinner, the salmon, sausages and potato salad! (added to description now.) i guess i forgot to take pics of those…

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Grilled prawns and pappardelle, shallot, tomato, sorrel, basil, white wine… and butter.


Panzanella salad with gazpacho salad dressing.

Yes, I have a lot of tomatoes.


I was SO PLEASED with dinner tonight!

Laab Gai / chicken larb - had cooked all the ground chicken the other day in anticipation of making this at some point. Lemongrass, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, chilli, lime juice, lots of fresh herbs. DYNAMITE.

Some realizations for the evening:

  1. Fresh (and plentiful) herbs make everything better
  2. I love this flavor combination across cuisines - larb dressing here, nuoc cham in Vietnamese, bhel in Indian: sweet, sour, spicy + fresh.

Side was broccoli slaw dressed with nuoc cham.

A tiny piece of serrano pepper managed to set my mouth on afire across everything… wimp!

Very non-traditional accompaniment of sushi rice - hey, it’s sticky, and I really don’t want to stock yet another type of rice.

One oddity I noticed when checking larb recipes was that most don’t include lemongrass, though every version I’ve eaten does. Strange.


Thank you!


REALLY cheated tonight. Was in Costco a few weeks ago and spotted this Chicken Tikka Masala by Sukhi. Made it tonight and it was insanely delicious. Better than any meal I’ve made with a simmer sauce or spice packet. Almost restaurant quality, dare I say it. Just heat and eat-- too easy!

Was served with rice, roasted cauliflower, and some Trader Joe’s veggie samosas.

Was lazy two nights in a row. Can’t make this a habit! :joy:

To drink: chilled chardonnay. Was in a rare wine mood!


i love this combo of flavors too.


Looks like a great spread! Happy birthday :birthday::tada:


Chicken shawarma was on the menu tonight. Hummus, babaganush as well as a crisp lettuce was on the menu as well


I’m so glad you made the toasted rice powder. It’s just not the same without it!

ETA: adding larb to my “soon to cook/eat” list

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I always do - I think it adds both flavor and texture!

I realized only recently that there’s also toasted flour in Burmese salads - in that case it’s besan / gram flour. Trying to get my head around that as a finishing ingredient - I’ve only ever toasted chickpea flour as a starting point for sweet or savory dishes…

Yes! Every time I make it I wonder why I don’t do it more often…


Mapo Tofu, with help from the good folks at Lee Kum Kee Co.


Green papaya salad (som tum) is a popular Thai dish. However, unripe papaya is not so easy to find. Using the same dressing, I substitute equally crunchy raw red cabbage & carrots. Here, that salad is topped with a poached salmon filet.


Nicely done! How long do you think you can store the toasted rice?

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo