What's For Dinner #98 - the Pumpkin-Freaking-Everything! Edition - September 2023

Trader Joe’s makes everything pumpkiny. Including many things that should never EVER be pumpkiny.

The pumpkin spice lattes have shown up at Dunks and Charbucks.

Halloween decorations are out in full force. (Then again, so are Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations!) But it sells, so it goes out sooner and sooner every year. :jack_o_lantern:

I know kids are back in school, so school projects and sports are going to start taking precedence. Still grilling if you can, or going with a fast food run in between shuttling the kids here and there, or enjoying sit-down dinners where phones are put aside (and nothing on the table is pumpkiny)?

What’s cooking at your house?


Nibbles in front of the TV with steakhouse inflections - Spinach Maria, from Food and Wine mag, and Steak Bites With Gorgonzola Butter And Potato Sticks, from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook. Both excellent! IPA for him and rosé for me.


Had a good day off.

Leftover roast chicken, chopped up with some red bell pepper, cucumber, radishes, red onion, and shaved carrots, tossed with Romaine lettuce and Ken’s Parmesan Ranch dressing (a bit too much dressing), topped with small pieces of Manchego cheese. Gets the chicken, red bell pepper, and Manchego out of the downstairs fridge.



Boring but tasty: slow-roasted salmon with butter, soy sauce and lemon over jasmine rice with the last of the baby red Russian kale.


Kitchen reno is almost done! Shopping for odds and ends today. Last stop was Wegmans market.
Decided on their fried chicken and mashed for dinner.
Chicken was good, 10 minutes in the air fryer oven, nice and crispy. A little heat in the batter, not over cooked. Potatoes not so much. Kind of a processed taste. Not a fan. Left over slaw and it was almost KFC! Leftovers for the long weekend.


Yay for the good day off!


We enjoyed an excellent dinner at the Olive Bistro, a local Palestinian restaurant in Little Falls, NJ. We enjoyed Muhammara; arayes with meat; crispy zaatar chips; shrimp kebab; lamb kidreh, and fried kibbeh. It all went great with some excellent Malbecs.


Not much to look at but it hit the spot.

Charcoal grilled out hot Italian sausage and buttered hotdog buns. Leftover black eyed peas for me, a couple of pickled jalapeños and Fritos.


Tarragon-scallion roasted chicken. Baby garden peas. New-crop Yukon gold potatoes.


Shrimp saganaki (with fresh field tomatoes and feta), salmon plaki (with fresh field tomatoes, onions, lemon, oregano, olive oil, oregano), potato salad, corn, baked beans, plum cake


A big green salad with blue cheese and a Meyer lemon/garlic/olive oil dressing. Pasta sauced with a little Creme fraiche, Armenian eggplant spread, a little extra garlic, and parm. Really delicious!! Going by Jon’s market tomorrow to buy more of that eggplant spread to throw in the moving van. Fresca & gin cocktail to celebrate the end of a trying work week


Niku udon following recipe


BF made a Puerto Rican-style roasted chicken tonight packed with flavor. That crispy skin was unbelievable. I chipped in arroz con gandules and tostones. I used some of his mom’s sofrito for the rice-- she made a batch for us a while ago which we froze in an ice cube tray. We just pop one or two out as needed. Quite convenient.

Today almost felt like fall at times. Yesterday too. I know some areas of the country have experienced record heat this summer, but I feel like New Jersey was spared. So with slightly cooler temperatures, a chicken roasting in the oven was far from the worst thing in the world.

There was hot sauce. There was a martini.

Nights like this I especially miss my cat. He LOVED roasted/rotisserie chicken, especially from Costco. Even with all of tonight’s spices added to this Bell & Evans bird, I think he would have been climbing the counter.


That chicken looks scrumptious. As for missing your kitty… have you considered adopting a new furry companion?


Our final meal in Berlin took us back to the Turkish place for one more baba ganoush, wonderful grilled flat bread, and the star of the night: the special platter with lamb kebab, chop, loin, ribs, all grilled over charcoals. The scent of the seasoned meat permeates the entire restaurant, and it’s enough to make your mouth water (if you’re an omnivore, that is).

Connections from the airport hotel and back were super-smooth, so we were in and out of the city within 2 hours.

Off to the big metal box to cross the ocean towards home. Looking forward to being in my own kitchen again & recreating some of the wonderful foods we ate this summer :slight_smile:


Last night I made baked ziti (except fusilli) for mom and sis before going out with two childhood classmates (for a very long and cathartic evening, which started at Starbucks and ended at the iconic Chinese restaurant across the street from it).

Night before, we had a quickly improvised dinner because my cousin who came for tea (to celebrate the brother-sister festival I mentioned last week) stayed really late (we were all enjoying the conversation, especially mom, so that was a good thing). I took pasta from the previous night and turned it into farfalle with a light pesto cream sauce and bucatini with raw tomato sauce for mom, while sis and I had chicken junglee (wild) sandwiches (ie chicken salad with red onion and green chillies).


Yes, but we are content right now to not have the extra responsibility. But its a thin line.


I have enjoyed your overseas food adventures and commentary.


My dinner game is off :joy:

Tonight we had vegetable chow mein, paneer Manchurian, and chili chicken — the last was ordered in because I forgot to plan for a nonveg protein :woman_facepalming:t2:

I haven’t used these chow mein noodles before, and ended up over-cooking them (they are skinnier than capellini), but I think I may prefer them to the thicker hakka noodles… maybe. Will try them again.

Dessert was rasgullas and mishti doi (sweet yogurt made from burnt milk and palm sugar), two of my favorites.


Last night we hosted friends and did build-your-own pizzas. We started with G&Ts and snacks. My friend made the dough and we supplied the toppings, green salad with LindaWhit’s maple-Dijon balsamic vinaigrette, and brownies and cookies for dessert. The crust was fantastic- she used this recipe (she doubles the salt; said it’s too bland otherwise) https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018028-sourdough-no-knead-bread?smid=ck-recipe-android-share

For the pizza she did knead the dough a bit in her mixer. It was very hydrated, which made for a soft, pillowy crust.