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

My favorite comfort food. Called “American Chop Suey” here in New England…


Sure, each tostada has shrimp brined with salt, sugar, and a bit of baking soda for about 15 minutes, then cooked sous-vide for ten minutes at 70c. Poaching would work too. I used Florida pink shrimp and cut them in half after cooking for ease of eating, 3 shrimp/6 halves per tostada. First spread some mayonnaise on the tostada, put down the shrimp, and then top with Salsa Mexicana made with tomato, white onion, cilantro, jalapeño/serrano, lime juice, and salt to taste. Normally I would put some sliced avocado on top but didn’t have any this time, so just put some mayo on top. Also added some bottled salsa marisquera and served with some lime wedges.


DH manning the rotisserie tonight on the gas grill. My contribution was cold-oil fries from new-crop Kennebec potatoes, and a chopped garden salad.


We enjoyed an excellent dinner with our friends at Jasper Stone Italian Steakhouse in Monroe Township, NJ. We enjoyed an excellent Australian rack of lamb with a crispy potato ball on top of lamb stew (made from the lamb shoulder); Chilean sea bass in a yuzu ginger sauce with crispy rice; awesome crispy stuffed zucchini blossoms with pesto Trapanese and Nepitella; crispy crab cakes with a creole corn salad; French fries topped with crab, jalapeno peppers, old bay seasoning, and a Hollandaise sauce; It all went great with an excellent cabernet and Syrah.



Take-out Feijoada from Casa Tropical in Toronto tonight. Emmer’s plum almond tart for dessert.


Last guest chef at Turntable at Lord Stanley https://www.lordstanleysf.com/sept-nickballa this month before they will become a “regular” restaurant again - Nick Balla of fermentation and Bar Tartine fame.
He has an interesting background as he lived also in Hungary when in high school and so this night was an unique exploration of eastern Europe cuisine with many fermented components.
Overall very good dishes throughout the tasting menu, perhaps a little bit heavy on the bread based dishes (but not surprising with the eastern Europe theme). The desserts were good but didn’t reach the high level of the savory dishes.
Now we are looking forward to the return of Lord Stanley and also a future visit to Nick Balla’s cafe in Big Sur

Koji rye sourdough, smoked onion miso butter, pickles - cucumber, mushrooms, dill brined vegetables

Rainbow trout, beet, horseradish, roe

Liptauer paprika cheese, sesame cracker

Tsar Nicolai reserve caviar, potato bread, onion, dill, sour cream

Beef tartare, buckwheat sprouts, preserved eggplants, sesame, sumac

egg noodles, blistered tomatoes, turo cheese, bottarga

Sofia salad, lentil sprouts, whipped feta cheese

Gulyas - short rib, potato, pepper, onion, paprika

Madartej, peach, noyaux, fig

Palacsinta crepe, pink pearl apple, sorghum, hazelnut

“Cheese cookie”


Thank you!

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I see what you mean. To my eyes that menu needs more fresh produce!

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That’s something not unusual for eastern Eutopean dishes/meals


Dinners have been all about using stuff up and here you can see the almost empty freezer. Yay us. Mom is flying east tomorrow, movers on Wednesday, I can finally go home Saturday just in time for autumn in No. VA. Last night’s dinner was a chickpea chorizo salad and a great whipped feta dip that my niece made, both taken next door to the neighbors. They made seafood paella. During the meal, word was spreading about the WGA strike ending. Since most of the group works in related fields, there was merriment


Last night’s “Halftime dinner” was leftover sweet potato soup (heated up in the microwave) and ground beef quesadillas. I pre-cooked the ground beef, so when the 2 minute warning came for halftime. I started making dinner. I was ready for the start of the third quarter.


Great job on the freezer!


Must be something in the air. My friend in Orlando made this yesterday!

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Mixed veg in a banana leaf? I am intrigued…

Chorizo and conchihita pibil tamales, with fire roasted salsa and queso doble crema.

Oh, and a banana leaf.


I clearly need to take lessons from you. I follow Canadian football and most of the games during the regular season start after I’ve eaten so no fear of missing the game. But our season end championship (the Grey Cup) is at the end of November and kickoff is usually around 6:00. As much as I like cooking, I hate losing valuable viewing time to making dinner.

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Presently, I’m on Pacific Time. We don’t switch our clocks, so after the other states “fall back” an hour, then I’ll adjust dinner time. Right now half time for Sunday Night Football is about 6:40ish, our usual dinner time is 7:00pm, so a few minutes early coincides with Half Time (close enough).
And yes, I do my weekly “Meal Planning” around the NFL’s “Half Time” schedule.


Chingri Malaikari (shrimp with coconut curry sauce), from an Asma Khan recipe in her book Ammu, served with rice and peas. I used smaller shrimp than she called for and subbed some previously made garam masala for the one in recipe to keep it a little more simple on a weeknight.