What's For Dinner #77 - the "Let's Start Anew" Edition - January 2022

Today we crack open the binding of the 2022 diary of this Thing Called Life. Clean, blank pages are in front of us. What will be written? Well, that’s up to all of us.

My wish is for more kindness, more love, more smiles and laughter, more dreams come true, better health, and more incredibly amazing food and drink on our tables.

So how are you starting off this new year?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” —Albert Einstein


I had a horrible cooking day yesterday. Dinner, which I’ve made countless times before (chicken adobo), didn’t turn out. Then dessert was a total flop and had to be chucked. Two of the appetizers I made for NYE were just passable. And the kitchen was destroyed.

Anyhoo, it was a good thing I bought plenty of foods to serve that didn’t require my prep! I made a 7-layer dip with homemade smashed pinto beans (left dairy off a portion). Served with tortilla scoops and more salsa on the side. Other snacks were Castelvetrano olives and mini piquillo peppers, “pub” pretzels (basically ranch seasoned), grape tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, spicy sopressata, and salt and pepper cashews. I did cook lamb-beef meatballs in a spicy Cumberland sauce and soy-glazed peewee potatoes.

The wines were good!


Oooh, nice pick on the sparkling wine! All else looks good too, although I know things can go south in the kitchen occasionally. Damn frustrating too…if you don’t mind sharing, what was the failed dessert? (Curious minds want to know)


It’s 2022 and a new Cuisine and Dish of the Month are here! Happy new year, HOs!


I was trying to throw together something quick and easy while I prepped everything else. A blog promised you can make brownies from cake mix, so I tried to make cheesecake-swirled red velvet brownies. They were…not brownies. And I overfilled the foil muffin cups I’d hoped would look festive. Into the trash.

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Thanks. I’m sorry that happened! Sounds like a good idea and would’ve been tasty, but maybe untested before being put up on the blog?


I hate that some things didn’t turn out, @ChristinaM but what WAS served looks amazing! (I love the overhead table picture!)


Happy New Year to all! First cook of 2022 is teriyaki grilled salmon and thyme-parm risotto. One is marinading and the other is in the oven for 35 mins. then finished on the stove… early dinner so we can head to an outdoor sky lantern lighting on a buddies field. I’m hoping for better energy in 2022 but for now…


Latkes with caviar (from a restaurant)


Homemade Quiche Lorraine

and finished the night with banana soufflé with raspberry sauce


Thank you, Linda!

Not dinner but the first cooking project of 2022 is vegetable spring rolls. The filling is a simple one consisting of Taiwanese cabbage, carrot, scallion, powdered garlic and ginger, soy sauce, and seasoned rice vinegar. I double wrapped them to be on the safe side and they held up perfectly. Also to be a bit healthier, we brushed them with oil and air-fried them. Would they have tasted better deep fried? Of course, but I don’t think too much flavor/texture was lost.

Snacked on a couple and will have the rest with some Chinese takeout later.



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I’m adding sofrito

to pigeon peas I cooked last week for Bajan peas and rice.

Serving with traditional southern collards

And serious eats style pork chops. Still dry brining

Still early here.


That’s 7-layer dip in a flour tortilla with lettuce and corn chip crumbles. Last-minute dinner after a hike and beer with friends.


Not judgementally suggesting to put cooking scraps into compost. We use our municipal vegan composting service which is free to residents. Once we started doing that, I felt less angst about the food that Spring Onion was not eating (and that B and I couldn’t/wouldn’t eat, like bread crusts) or veggies that I forgot about/couldn’t get around to using.

ETA: Or maybe “trash” is metaphorical.


My sister has food scrap composting in Durham N. C. . Not free, but mind blown. Nice looking compost in exchange.

We don’t have it where I live, but new law, starting today, says we are now composting “food” in California.

For another thread.


Made the NYT Lemony Shrimp and White Bean Stew, as recommended by many of my food friends for dinner tonight, using some Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans.

I didn’t have leeks, so I used regular minced onions as recommended, and added asparagus in the last 2-3 minutes.

I don’t think it came out the way others have raved over it, but it was pretty good. And I forgot the slices of lightly toasted baguette in the toaster oven. I ate them after the meal was done, dipping them in the sauce.

Wine alongside.


Jan 1 is typically a no-cooking day chez moi because there are copious leftovers from the previous evening and a big meal planned for Jan 2 (DH’s birthday). Today was no exception. Had a steak quesadilla for lunch and noshed on leftovers for dinner, with our first cocktails of 2022 - a Manhattan and a white Russian-esque concoction of cold coffee, vodka, Kahlua and half and half on ice. Semi-dry January begins Jan 3 - wish me luck!


I’ve been sick for over 3 weeks and despite several negative home tests am not convinced I don’t have the Covid variant despite all three vaccinations. That said, husband took it upon himself to make our traditional French Canadian meat pies. I had to coax him through a couple of steps, but he did well. Love the moon and the stars he placed on top of them!


We do compost at home, but not animal products or oils.