Thursday Night Smackdown: Holy cheese-filled beef, Batman!

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It’s Thursday, I’m in love.

Tonight, from Susan Spicer’s Crescent City Cooking: herb cheese-stuffed beef filets with bordelaise sauce, simple roast potatoes and carrots, and green salad with cider dressing, apple, comte and hazelnut. This is the ultimate over the top need-to-impress-someone meal, and though it takes a little time to pull it all together each step is pretty simple. The cider dressing is something you’ll want to keep on hand at all times (in the fridge, in your backpack, in the glove compartment…), and the bordelaise takes the “tense” out of “intense” and replaces it with a puddle of drool.

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Hardly even a recipe.

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Anyone who would like to donate a Nikon D70 is free to do so at any time.

Shrimp + garlic + good butter + red pepper + pasta = tasty and satisfying homemade dinner suitable for the I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-but-I-can’t-order-
any-more-Pad-Thai-takeout nights. You say you don’t have those nights? You’re never too tired or stressed to whip up a nutritious balanced home-cooked meal? To you I say, we are women of action. Lies do not become us.

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Sometimes you feel like a nut.


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And sometimes you *really* feel like a nut.

Today was supposed to be leftovers for lunch day, as there is a container of blackened tilapia with poblano rajas and cream with my name on it in the fridge. Unfortunately (1) I woke up feeling like my head was being slowly crushed in a powerful, needle-lined vise, and I couldn’t make myself get on the subway to go to work, and (2) we don’t have a microwave at home. Plus, no matter how good the fish/poblano/cream combo is (and it is), I just wasn’t feeling the fish for my first post-headache meal this afternoon.

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What we have here is a failure to communicate.

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It was a dark and stormy night.

Waiter, there something in my… thing that was meant to be a terrine, but is, as we will soon see, not. Many thanks to The Passionate Cook for inspiring my first Abject Failure Blogging.

Although this blog has been savory-focused until now, among my circle of ravenous office-mates I’ve primarily been known as a maker of sweets. I haven’t had the time or occasion to do a ginormous layer cake, my dessert specialty. So when I saw that the theme this month at Waiter, there’s something in my… was terrines, I thought I could transfer my love of sweet, layered things into the terrine format.

I decided to do a sweet terrine riffing on the layers of flavor in a good Thai peanut sauce – peanuts, a little heat, some coconut, some ginger, maybe a little lime and sesame – and create layers of mousse, panna cotta and curd that would bloom on the tongue at different rates, gradually introducing all the flavors and letting them mingle. I settled on a peanut butter-chili mousse, a coconut panna cotta, white chocolate mousse infused with ginger and sesame, and mango-lime curd.

That was my intention. It sounds like a good one, doesn’t it? Apparently, the road to hell will be paved with my terrines. Watch out, because the mango-lime curd is slippery.

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Thursday Night Smackdown: Veni, Vidi, Vici, Ate

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Oh baby, baby; how was I supposed to know?

Tonight, live at the civic center: soy-glazed duck with portobellos, and soba noodles, spinach and radishes with ponzu sauce, all courtesy of Charlie Palmer’s Practical Guide to the New American Kitchen.

This week was my pick, and I went with this because I *love* duck, and I’ve never made it at home. Brian is not such a huge duck fan because he doesn’t like things that are good, nor does he particularly like things that are sweet, perhaps because he believes eating should be painful. Who can say? So I went with this recipe because it’s a departure from the usual orange or plum-glazed duck dishes, in the hopes that the Asian-inspired flavorings and soba noodles would compensate for the duck. Don’t you hate it when people try to make you eat duck? I know I do. Oh wait, I’m thinking of someone else.

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Leftovers for Lunch

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People who need ribs are the luckiest people in the world.

The only thing better than beer-braised short ribs are more beer-braised short ribs.

We had lots of rib parts from Saturday night’s ribstravaganza.* Rather than hunching over the kitchen counter and gnawing at the bones like starved vultures, I decided to try and turn them into a respectable dinner. After picking the first two shreds off the bone, I realized that this task would involve more congealed beef tallow under the fingernails than I had anticipated. But I had already started and my fingernails were already befouled, so I stuck with it.

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January Monthly Mingle: Comfort Foods

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This is where the ingredients picture would have gone if I had remembered to take it. Have some onions instead.

My favorite mid-winter dish to prepare on a cold, lazy weekend day: Belgian beer-braised short ribs. For this edition, I went with Asian-inflected short ribs with a hoisin-beer reduction, a blue cheese potato-parsnip puree, and some simple wilted spinach. It’s been a while since I’ve made short ribs, and I offer profuse thanks to What’s For Lunch Honey and the Monthly Mingle (for which this entry was written) for inspiring me to give it another go.

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Misshapen Friday Brunch Blogging

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I’ll take Potent Potables for $600.

A quick and tasty brunch, once again taking advantage of leftovers to make something much fancy-schmancier than I normally would with a couple of eggs.

Although my attempt at making a precious little omelette failed, as you’ll soon see, these flavors did not: Herbed goat cheese and balsamic-glazed caramelized onions with a little leftover spinach thrown in for good measure, all left over from a stuffed chicken breast I made Monday night for dinner. The tiny dutch oven holds our precious store of rendered bacon fat, which, when used in small quantities, adds a luscious fatty smokiness to whatever you’re cooking.

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Thursday Night Smackdown: Qui est votre papa?

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Voulez-vouz couche avec moi ce soir?

Tonight, from Claudia Roden’s The New Book of Middle Eastern Food: Lamb meatballs with eggplant sauce served over bulgar pilaf with pine nuts.

I’m going to admit it right up front: this was not my week to pick the Smackdown battle, and I was not overly psyched about these dishes; I have a backache and am a little cranky, and I really could have gone for some mac and cheese. But once one accepts the Smackdown (and buys all the ingredients… and has a spouse who’s really, really excited), one does not back away from the smackdown. Plus, spicy lamb meatballs. Yum.

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