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

Panko-crusted Alaskan halibut filets on storebought potato buns. A heavily seasoned mayo (Old Bay and minced scallions) and an undressed slaw.


Couldn’t make it to Plum Island, but we had a lobster roll at Fresco’s in Malden. Fresco’s makes teh best lobster rolls i’ve ever had.


Mr. B’s BBQ shrimp, cauli/corn grits. Salad of little gem, green oinon, cherry tomato, orange baby bell, muffaletta, oo&v dressing.


Stir fried eggplant with ground pork from Woks of Life - first stir fry Chinese eggplant, then ground pork with garlic, ginger, dried chili. Finish with sauce made from water, corn starch, light and dark soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, roasted sesame oil, oyster sauce, Shaoxing rice wine and white pepper


Pad krapow gai again, chicken and holy basil stir fry, with cucumber, rice, and fried egg.


Back from la Ciudad de México but I’m too pooped to write up the whole food extravaganza right now, but soon. Got back late last night and worked all day today (thankfully from home). After much indulging, BF made me a beautiful salad today, with the usual suspects, plus a dressing of his own concoction - a cucumber/cilantro vinaigrette. Very good! Then he had a little bit of México himself with some of the ground mole negro i brought back in 2018! (We froze it, and a few others, and now it’s time to get more - I’m going back to CDMX next month with friends!) Chicken enchiladas with Oaxacan black mole, and canned, doctored up, refried beans. I had a bite and they were delicious.


Have you put the cheese spread in mashed potatoes? I’ve heard it is wonderful, tho I have not tried it yet. Sometime.


I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday shopping in Chinatown. The local Business Improvement Area installed some new sculptures last spring to animate the neighbourhood and I think they recently added a few new ones. They are neat to look at - I wish they would do that downtown… I picked up my groceries while there and picked up some ribs at the take away counter to have ribs chow mein for dinner. I am including one picture of dinner ane one picture of my favourite statue.


Bluefish with an abundance of (balcony) tarragon. Cucumber and feta over (balcony) sorrel. This needed salt and/or vinegar and/or something other than what I put on it, which was just oil and pepper.




I’ve been using short cuts lately, since life is getting in the way of my plans. I really like the Spice Tailor kits.
Last night, I made chicken tikka masala, canned kidney beans dolled up with coconut milk, dried apricots, grape tomatoes from the garden and furry powder, and homegrown delicata squash peeled then braised with maple syrup, butter, crushed chiles and pumpkin pie spice.
I haven’t been on top of photos before serving lately.
Here is the kit I like. I also like their korma and butter chicken.


We had baked macaroni and cheese today with an obscene amount of cheese. Loved it but it is very rich so we have lots leftover which will be reheated for lunch for the next few days.

I used Cheddar and Gruyère as my cheeses, milk, cream and evaporated milk for the liquid and added garlic to the breadcrumb topping. A lot fancier than our usual one but it was nice to make a more luxurious version.


There is no such thing as an obscene amount of cheese!


That salad looks delicious! But I am curious about the dressing. Does your partner peel, seed then purèe the cucumber to make a creamy type dressing? It’s hard to tell from the picture…

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Last night’s dinner was homemade Spinach Pasta with onions, mushrooms and olive oil. Topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.


thank you!
He said he mashed up the cucumber and cilantro in the mortar and pestle, then added olive oil, lime juice, pinches of granulated onion/garlic, and another pinch of palm sugar which I could have done without.


love. what’s in the glass? and i love the glass itself, too.

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Pork and orzo stew

You can easily substitute stewing beef, veal ,lamb or even chicken for this dish, we prefer pork or veal.

Simmer the protein in lightly salted water for 30-45mins(Mom insists 1 hour + but that’s just crazy talk), skimming the “scum” frequently, to create a stock and reduce cooking time in the oven.

Dice one cubanelle or green pepper and one med size white onion and sauté in a mix of veg oil and olive oil(more olive oil than veg) with salt, black pepper and a pinch of dried oregano, till the onions have caramelized slightly and then add a table spoon of paprika(not smoked), cook for 45 seconds, add a table spoon of tomato paste and canned tomatoes(or diced fresh) and cook out for 30 seconds, add orzo(I do about a pack and a half) to the mixture and stir until the orzo is covered with the oil and tomato mixture, maybe 20-30 seconds, you can add fresh chopped garlic to this dish but that’s a no no in mom’s kitchen for some reason.

After the protein has finished simmering, add it to the mixture, stir and add the stock, how much you add is up to you, the more you add the soupier it will be(which is how Pops liked it), add salt and pepper to taste, I like it a bit drier and you can always add more liquid during the cooking process. bake in a 350 degree oven until the orzo is cooked, approximately 25-30 mins but that depends on your oven and how al dente you want it.

Ideally you should only have to use 2 pieces of cookware for this dish, one to simmer the protein and one to sauté the veg and bake it in the oven, no such luck at my mom’s place I use 3(eye roll) . A good cast iron rondeau or any oven proof piece that can hold the liquid should do the trick for the sauté and baking, and always check the seasoning during the cooking process and adjust accordingly. Serve with fresh, crusty rustic bread and enjoy!

Sorry about the vague ingredient amounts and quantities, but I just do everything by eye, mom used her hands and favorite tea cups to measure her ingredients so…

Remember, you can always add more of something to you recipe but you can’t take it away.

I used passata instead of canned tomatoes’ and it worked out really well.




Very nice, thank you! Sort of reminds me of pörkölt.

ETA: since you like that, you might enjoy this, one of my favorites: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pork-stew-with-sweet-hot-peppers-from-the-abruzzo-351490


Sis still under the weather, so mom and I continued with leftover city.

She wanted the tempered rice / Indian fried rice I made last night and some of the bucatini with fresh tomato sauce from a few nights ago.

I had the rest of the bucatini, and then made a toasted sandwich with the last of the masala pot roast, shredded and mixed in with the sauce and potato. So good!

(Sis had toast dipped in cold ginger chai, and dhoklas she made this morning which I softened for her, I made some more mashed potato but she couldn’t get to it.)


I forgot to mention that the annual Ganpati / Ganesh festival started a few days ago (goes for 11 days), so we made the annual laddoo offering. Then our neighbor dropped off some of theirs, and my friend sent me home with hers. We’re not close to being done yet :joy: