What's for Dinner - #81 - the Planting Month - May 2022

The month of May is when the ground has finally loosened from being frozen, and we can dig little holes, tuck in little store-bought seedlings (or from actual seed, if you have the space indoors to start seedling plants), and watch them grow into tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, beans, peppers, radishes, lettuce, parsley, and thyme.

Of course, Ol’ Man Winter sometimes tries to hang on by his fingertips in the very northern climes, but Mother Nature usually kicks his butt into submission for the next 6 months. As the Chiffon Margarine commercial said back in the 1970s: “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”

May is also warm enough for cookouts! TWGs (Those Who Grill) are or have already scraped off the remains of last year’s detritus, making sure the gas hoses are clear of spiders, getting out the wood chips for smoking, or they’ve just gone and bought a new grill!

So what’s cookin’ on your grill, and what are you going to grow in your planters or garden?

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Technically this was dinner on the last night of April but I’m feeling the May WFD vibe. Here’s Lebanese mezze from Korbani’s, our favorite bakery and deli in Methuen, Mass.

We made a first course out of their irresistible pita chips loaded with za’atar, with baba ganoush for dipping. Often I like to garnish my baba ganoush with a scandalous amount of smoked paprika. A dish of oil cured Moroccan black olives packed a punch of umami. Pow! Negronis expertly mixed by my husband.

We did eat more than the moderate amount of pita chips pictured, so we kept the second course light-ish. I heated Korbani’s lamejun on a pizza stone just until the edges were crisp so the middle didn’t dry out. Vegetarian grape leaves, cut in half, got a liberal dusting of za’atar. Did I mention that I never tire of za’atar? Aleppo pepper at the table in case we wanted to spice up the warm lamejun. We did.

Red grapes stood in for salad. Usually I would pair this with a village salad but hadn’t gone grocery shopping.

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Wow! May 1st!!! Woooohoooo!!! Beach club opening this month!! Bring on summer!!! A new Italian deli / market opened up “in the neighborhood “ so I dropped in on opening day to have a look around.

Out of the visit came a delicious pork only sauce to compliment their delicious store made sausage (2hot-sweet-broccoli rabe) served with their on premise prepared rigatoni. (picked up some ravioli for later next dinner!)

Delicious!

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Viet Style Beef Stew with Star Anise and Lemongrass, sort of a bo kho type thing. I couldn’t find fresh lemongrass and ended up needing to use the paste. I browned some marrow bones and put them in with the stew to simmer slowly in the oven (rather than on the stovetop as called for). 2.5 hours in the oven at 250F did the trick nicely. Lots of leftovers for the week, which is good because I think we’re going to be busy.

We had it tonight over rice, rather than rice noodles, at BF’s request.
Viet style beef stew

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Another specialty pasta shape that I am apt to purchase at Home Goods when I see something new-to-me was used in tonight’s meal.

Trottole (meaning spinning top) pasta,
sausage, broccoli, and sundried tomatoes with some beef stock, tomato paste, a bit of pasta water, a sploosh of heavy cream, and a healthy sprinkle of Parm-Reg, with more Parm-Reg sprinkled on top.

Wine was a glass of Cantina Zaccagnini
Montepulciano D’Abruzzo…

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Pappardelle al pomodoro con cozze. Nice kick from garlic & RPF. Simple, crisp green salad on the side with walnut vinaigrette :yum:


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Wow, tomatotomato, Lovely dinner and pictures!

We had a fusion dinner tonight, to use up lots of leftovers and disguise ingredients I love but family does not.

Tabbouleh, using up the last of the bulgur wheat packet. Had to buy a cucumber for it though. Some lettuce and parsley from the garden but the bulk of these were in the fridge needed to be used up.

Pickled charred peppers, made from Marion’s kitchen recipe.

Feta cheese, TJ zhoug, homemade tahini-yogurt sauce, leftover ajwain leaves raita.

Pita bread.

Vegetarian shami kababs from Cook with Manali website recipe - made with unripe jackfruit and chana dal. Family despises jackfruit, I love it. I had some in the freezer to use up. Shami kababs to the rescue! Ingredients and spices pressure cooked, ground to a paste, made patties, breadcrumbs to coat (my tweak), fried. Family loved these, major win!

I should not take pictures where the kitchen towel (pitas underneath) is the focal point!


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We had GLORIOUS weather this weekend - I spent most of both days outdoors planting, transplanting, weeding and admiring my handiwork. All of the kitties (three of them, strictly indoors) also got a brief trip outside (lap only, no actual freedom) to enjoy a little sun while getting their claws clipped. They loved every second of it!

Anyway, crudités and stuffed mushroom casserole was WFD - an improvised dish that ended up being delicious! Based on one of my favorite stuffed mushrooms recipes, basically I just made the filling (minced mushroom innards, sausage, onion, garlic, herbs, white wine, cheese) with double the normal amount of mushrooms and added a couple of eggs to bind, then topped with extra cheese and baked. Fantastic. Next time I would probably add a little extra wine and maybe some ricotta to moisten, as the egg dried things out a bit, but this will definitely be a repeat. When I make this as stuffed mushrooms I usually use breakfast sausage, but today I used hot Italian links and they were also excellent.

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Duck legs based on the Woks of Life Chinese braised duck recipe

posted in Duck inspiration

and soba with mushrooms and green onions, tossed with duck fat and pan juices.

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Last night’s dinner, but putting it here. Freezer meal of homemade hot and sour soup, with the additions of shrimp, and frozen peas + TJ’s soycutash, as well as frozen dumplings (Costco) Totally hit the spot after a busy day in the yard. Happy May & spring!



ETA: Distinctly non-photogenic! Sorry, should be in the gallery of regrettable looking food!! BUT it tasted good. :upside_down_face:

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Beautiful May day on the So. Oregon coast, not really soup weather but when I saw this on IG it screamed spring. White Beans in a Parm Broth with Peas, Asparagus, and Lemon. Romaine wedge with creamy Greek dressing, kalamata olives, orange pepper and peperoncini.
FYI Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy season 2 is on cnn tonight. 9:00 pdt.

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Shrimp and veggie tempura, an annual spring treat during asparagus season prepared by DH. Typically, he’d go with an extra-jumbo shrimp, but we had some 26-30’s to use up and he rolled with it. Veg included garden asparagus, and carrot and onion.

Served with steamed rice and homemade, soy-based dipping sauce.

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Got my very first wok (yes, it took me this long!), seasoned her up, and took her out for a spin tonight. Pad Kra Pow again. Had a little trouble with the eggs sticking, but otherwise all went swimmingly. Added green beans this time, on a tip from Kenji (I also got his The Wok book). Lots of thai chilies in this and the accompanying nam pla prik. Such a great, simple, and flavorful dish.

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Completely inauthentic chicken taco recipe with homemade flour tortillas (no tortilla press, so they are a bit misshaped). Chicken breast rubbed with a mix of hot paprika, paprika and oregano and seared in a pan for a few minutes. Afterwards used the same pan to cook some green cabbage and cauliflower. Served together as the taco filling and topped with a kohlrabi-jalapeno-cilantro “salsa“

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They look more than fine! flour tortillas are usually not made with a tortilla press, just the corn ones are.

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Tonight’s dinner was gado gado using green and purple cabbage as the veggies.

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I made a Vietnamese-ish slaw/salad loosely based on this recipe. I followed the dressing pretty closely (but subbed Lakanto for sugar and chili-garlic sauce for the chilies). My veg were CSA spring lettuces, shaved fennel bulb, cucumber, carrot, CSA radish, and jalapeno. Tossed in some shredded chicken breast poached in pho-seasoned broth earlier today. Topped with mint, chives, crispy shallots, and chopped peanuts.

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Defrosting Salisbury Steak tonight, but here’s some pretty lettuce I’ve been growing!


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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr