What's For Dinner #99 - the Orange is the New Black Edition -October 2023

Orange and black are the colors of the month.

Orange pumpkins and squash proliferate at the farm stands. Bat and witch decorations are flying off the shelves. (See what I did there? :wink:) Apples are ripe for the picking (not orange or black, but seasonal!) Candy corn has been on shelves since August (along with Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations).

Just stay away from Salem, MA this month. It’s an utter madhouse because of only one way to drive in and out, and parking is an absolute bear.

Speaking of bears, they’re started to load up their tummies for their winter nap, so keep that lid on your trash bins.

And humans are starting to cook those homey, warm braises and stews, making the house smell so good! What are you cooking?


The bears sure are roaming close to humanity. My niece has lived in the same house for many years and for the first time saw a big bear in her back yard. She remained calm enough to take a picture (cell phone cameras are just wonderful). We were all strunned.


Tonight I ate whatever dinner my kiddo didn’t finish (Korean mandu and Taiwanese pancake) followed by more pancake. No pics.


Grilled burger with american cheese on greens from the local farmer’s stand with sliced tomato and mom’s recipe for homemade thousand Island dressing. And some wine (and some whining watching the local FB team lose :expressionless:) Tastes much better than it looks.


One of our places in regular rotatio - Pausa https://www.pausasanmateo.com/ in San Mateo - still one of the best Italian restaurants on the Peninsula and on the same level as many well known places in the city. The charcuterie plate is still one of the best anywhere

Prosciutto di Parma, salame bresciano, wagyu bresaola, salame pitina, ciccioli, tigella, cunza, pickles, while grain mustard

Burrata, cucumber walnut pesto, persian cucumber gel, black mission figs, mint dust, pecorino romano

Butter lettuce, summer melon, pickled watermelon rind, Armenian cucumber, bee pollen vinaigrette, pecorino di fossa

Saffron casarecce, braised pork sausage ragu, crispy lollipop kale, grana padano

Bee pollen spaghettoni, scallop & halibut sausage, pork n’duja, pecorino romano

Lamb shank, saffron fregola, swiss chard, pickled leeks, pecorino romano, mint & ramp salsa verde, lamb demi-glace

“Peaches & cream”, graham cake, orange tuile, vanilla pastry cream, peach sauce

Peanut butter panna cotta, compressed summer fruits, peanut butter cake croutons, blackberry thyme granita, raspberry jam


Fettuccine with Salami and Peas.

Sauteed quartered dry salami slices until they just started to crisp in their own oil, added some minced garlic and cooked for 15 seconds, then splooshed in some white wine and reduced.

Added half a cup of chopped fresh tomatoes and a half cup of Pomi strained tomato puree and simmered for a few minutes. Then added some heavy cream and freshly ground black pepper. A handful of grated Parm-Reg to help thicken the sauce, and more simmer, simmer, simmer.

Frozen peas were added at the end, along with the cooked fettuccine, to heat everything up.

Topped with more grated Parm-Reg, and it was dinner. With wine.



Glazed, Asian-y wings and crispy Parmesan fries… The best of both worlds!


Leftover grilled ribeye from last night turned into nachos. Store bought tortilla chips topped with cheddar/jack. Since avocados have been flavorless lately I picked up some ready made spicy guacamole (not bad in a pinch). Sour cream and On The Border salsa complete the menu. Happy October 1st. Cheer up everyone. Thanksgiving & Christmas are right around the corner. J/K🙂


Filet of beef on the Big Green Egg (our outdoor burn ban has been lifted – yay!). Grilled zucchini and eggplant from the garden – some of the last of the season.

There will be brandied fruit for dessert.


Szegadin Goulash with pork shoulder, sauerkraut, onions, caraway seeds, regular and hot paprika, tomato paste and vegetable broth. Served with boiled potatoes and sour cream.


We enjoyed another excellent dinner at Koon Thai Eatery, in Hillsdale, NJ, including Fish salad with Crispy red snapper fillet, roasted coconut, shallot, cashew nut, cilantro, scallion, fried shallot, garlic chip, chili jam, lime, coconut cream; holy beef with Sauteed sliced Angus beef rib eye, garlic, chili, corn, oyster sauce, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, Holy Thai basil, garlic chip; garlic butter with Jumbo shrimp, shrimp roe, sweet shrimp paste, white pepper, coconut meat, Brussels sprouts, cilantro; crispy vermicelli with Tamarind, fried shallot, jumbo lump crab meat, green apple, shallot, scallion, calamansi lime, coconut milk; chicken bomb with Fried chicken thigh, shallot, corn, tomato, scallion, cilantro, fried onion, tamarind lime fish sauce; fried rice with Jumbo lump crab, egg, onion, butter, tomato, scallion, mushroom soy sauce, spicy lime sauce. Mung bean cake with coconut ice cream for dessert. It all went great with an excellent Zinfandel and cabernet.


I should make this; have kraut to use up.

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1st Sunday of the month meant fresh & frozen fish off at our local fishmonger. Picked up two beautiful swordfish steaks and a side of Arctic char, as well as about a pound of wild gulf shrimp. The frozen fish is for future meals, but the shrimp made it onto our plates - sautéed after being tossed with a little peanut oil & Penzey’s “Outrage” seasoning (salt, black pepper, red pepper, citric acid, shallots, lemon peel, white pepper, garlic, green onion) that has quite a kick. The shrimp were so flavorful they didn’t need more than just salt & a squeeze of lemon, and yet my PIC grabbed the tabasco. Le sigh.

Sunny crunch, the last of a hydroponic bibb, FM tomatoes, cuke in creamy lemon-dill dressing on the side.


One of my Hungarian grandmother’s specialties! I haven’t made it in years, but maybe once the weather cools down…


Pad Krapow Gai/Thai Holy Basil Chicken
Lucky to have a great Thai Market nearby that has Holy Basil on the Weekends in Season


Pre dinner snacko(usual, boring salad for dinner so I won’t bother posting a photo) Did up a bunch of caramelized onions, how could I resist?
Hummus/cocktail tomato/onions and a drizzle of EVOO on a sesame crisp.


Last night’s dinner was pork lo mein with a really big pork chop. I must have been really hungry when I bought it. Served with a locally brewed lager.


Ohhh man, where has this been all my life.


Home but haven’t cooked a full meal yet.

Tonight I cooked a bag of frozen broccoli and a bag of frozen spinach so there would be vegetables to eat with whatever else.

Whatever else ended up being chicken and cheese pupusas cooked from frozen.

Didn’t have the energy to make faux-curtido even, but the veggies were a good foil along with yogurt and calabrian chile paste.