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whats for dinner
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I've been using my thermal cooker quite a bit this winter. My favorite meals have a chicken stock base - soups, stews etc. I have the 7 Liter Saratoga Jack thermal cooker, so it makes a nice size pot for many bowls of soups and stews. I've been using it like an old caldron. I cook the soups, eat some and return it to the thermal cooker where it stays relatively warm. A quick warm up on the stove and it's nice and hot for the next meal. My body is craving this quick, healthy food and so I have it for two or more meals a day.  Once a week I roast a whole chicken in my Aroma Turbo Oven, giving me chicken leftovers. I make my stock from two chicken carcasses cooked in the thermal cooker.
Well, dinner tonight consisted of wild caught (by me) Alaskan Silver salmon (Coho) and home canned green beans from this past summers garden.
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Duck, turnip, red russian kale and peppers.

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CJ- the local diet is even more bland than mine - especially during the drought, it is almost a mono-diet of maize.  Dried maize boiled with beans, maize flour made into porridge, maize flour made into ugali- something like corn meal mush or polenta (with no seasoning, just maize flour and water) roasted ears of maize...fried dried maize (corn-nuts!) deep fried maize doughballs.  Maize cooked every which way but Sunday.  If they are lucky, they cook up some green vegetable to dip their ugali (polenta-like mush) into.  Rich folks will eat their ugali with some beef stew.  I asked my husband what they were eating 100 years ago... and the answer was basically the same, except instead of maize, they used indigenous starches to make ugali - cassava, millet, sorghum, sweet potatoes.  
Wow Burra, that looks fantastic.  Can you share some of your favorite ways to cook duck?  We raise muscovies, but my cooking skills are kind of limited.  Usually we either deep fry or dry-roast it.  My husband insists something must be done to get the "oily flavor" out of the meat.
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ok, not exactly dinner... we had frozen pizza together with the bread in the oven.

(some nice person posted that link in another thread here)

i used 4 parts 550type flour and 1 part full grain wheat flour.

1 used 1 kg of flour and made this bread from approx. the half of the dough. the rest is in the fridge (as in the recipe) to be used for pizza and another, smaller bread.
taste is nice, a bit yeasty. but i probably took too much yeast and overproofed the dough a bit. higher temperature and a dutch ofen would have made a better crust, i think.

did you check for chinese recipes for ducks? they make awesome stuff.
be blessed and good luck
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Yesterday's lunch was the watermelon and grape salad that I already posted in the vegan thread.


And dinner was spicy pork chunks with watermelon rind.  I browned the meat over the gas stove in a cast iron pan, added the spices, stirred in the watermelon rinds (they were leftovers from the fruit salad - just take the green outer skin off and chop up the green/white fleshy bit), popped on the lid and stuck the whole thing in the solar cooker for a few hours.  Served with beetroot, apple and zucchini salad.


We seem to have a bit of a glut of watermelon at the moment so I'm making up another salad today, maybe with a dash of lemon juice and a dollop of greek yogurt this time, then I'll freeze the other half of the melon for use in smoothies or desserts later in the year, and either freezing or dehydrating the rinds.  I think I need a bigger solar dehydrator for all this stuff that's arriving from the garden...
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Burra Maluca wrote:We seem to have a bit of a glut of watermelon at the moment so I'm making up another salad today, maybe with a dash of lemon juice and a dollop of greek yogurt this time, then I'll freeze the other half of the melon for use in smoothies or desserts later in the year, and either freezing or dehydrating the rinds.  I think I need a bigger solar dehydrator for all this stuff that's arriving from the garden...

Have you considered pickling the rinds?
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Very tasty buckwheat soup with mushrooms and dill )
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Mackerel with sweet potatoes and greens, mushrooms, garlic and coconut milk.


I'm becoming a huge fan of home-grown sweet potatoes. The tubers don't seem to grow overly big here, but the amount of greens you get from a whole plant seems to be a perfect balance for the amount of potato. Plus they are lovely soft gentle greens even at the end of a hot, dry summer when even the galega is looking a bit worse for wear.
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A mostly rooty dinner tonight. Carrots, beets and rutabagas from the garden. Frozen peas from the store. (The rutabagas were simmered in butter, garlic and milk. Then whirred up in the food processor with cream cheese and smoked paprika. Turned out pretty good!) We made salad with lettuce I picked yesterday also but forgot to take a picture.

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Once a year meal, pork loin cooked in PAPA's
My trees finally produce their first good crop and I got them before the raccoons did.
So I finally got to make PAPA Pork.
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Stir fry! with japanese red mustards & pak choy, but no cat.
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My wife is out of town for the week, and I need to sustain myself. When I’m flying solo, I like to cook large portions of easy stuff that I can eat for several days. Enter beans and rice, but this time indian. I love indian food. We bought a big ass bag of red lentils back in november and I figure that’s what I’m going to cook, besides I absolutely love lentils. After looking over several recipes for dal on the internets I picked this one. It seems simple and straightforward. The total cook time on the recipe is 30 minutes. Great! But I’m much more comfortable with a wrench or hammer in my hand than a knife or spatula. This took me about 2 hours with all the prep and including making the rice. Here’s the recipe and the link to the website where I found it:



1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cup diced yellow onion
1 green chili pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced (serrano for spicy, jalapeno for more mild)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium tomato, diced
Juice of one half a lemon
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


Place the rinsed lentils in a medium saucepan along with 3 cups of room temperature water. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick; cook for 60 to 90 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the onion, green chili pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are turning translucent.
Add the turmeric, cardamom, paprika, salt, and tomato to the pan. Cook until the tomato begins to fall apart, about 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
Stir the spiced onion mixture into the pot of lentils. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Taste and add salt as needed.
Garnish with cilantro; serve with basmati rice and naan.

For the rice:
2 tablespoons ghee
4 whole cloves
4 whole cardamom pods
1tsp whole cumin seed
1 cup basmati rice
1.5 cups water

In medium saucepan melt ghee over medium heat, add whole spices and sizzle till fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and stir for another 60 seconds. Add water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Remove cloves and cardamom pods before serving.

This turned out quite nice. I made a double recipe and I substituted dried chiles for fresh and 1 pint of canned homegrown tomatoes for fresh tomato because that's what I had.  If I were to make it again, I would use less ground cardamom. While it was not offensive, I found it to be a little cardamomy, with that spice being in front of all the others. If I make this again, I’ll reduce the ground cardamom 25%.

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Its been in the single digits for a few weeks now here in Maine so I have been taking advantage of the steady cranking wood stove. Stocks and broths on the stove daily full of good quality bones, fungi, vegetables, and medicine. herbs. These cologen rich broths are essential for immune support and will be the base for soups, stews, rice, or ramen dinners. This batch has venison shank which came from a roadkill i picked up in early november.
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Wow, what awesome ideas and pictures.

Eileen, I'd love to hear more about your thermal cooker!

James, I have yet to make lentils myself that I like to eat, but I like when other folks make them. I might try that red lentil recipe...

Frank, I'm with you on the bone broths though I make ours in crockpot since we don't have the RMH going long enough to support a pot on the barrel there.

Speaking of, tonight's dinner had chicken-bone-veg-scrap broth in it. A curried pumpkin soup to which I added fresh ginger, dried nettles and topped with fresh cilantro, tomatoes, scallions and a drizzle of macadamia nut oil.

Happy sigh. Warm food on a cold winter night.

Curried ginger pumpkin soup
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Frank, I'm with you on the bone broths though I make ours in crockpot since we don't have the RMH going long enough to support a pot on the barrel there.

Makes me wonder if a rocket mass heater could be made with a built in "haybox." Maybe a depression in the cob in the dimensions of a 6 quart pot. You could heat up your food in the pot (maybe on top of the RMH's barrel). Once the food comes to a boil, take the pot and lower it into the depression in the cob's mass, and then cover the pot with a lid and cushions. I wonder how long it would keep a pot at food-safe temperatures?
I'm cooking a LOT these days. It's been due to testing foods, (ala the gallstone and gout issues), trying to be frugal and use things up, trying to have warm/hot foods for most meals on these cold winter days, trying recipes in small batches to see if they work...which has meant cooking three meals a day, seven days a week (almost any way).

It's been a bit of a burden on my over-taxed brain to figure out what to make, so now I'm doing theme days. So far, I have:

Mondays - Thai or Indian - I love curries! And peanut sauce. Yum.
Taco Tuesdays - because tacos!!
Wednesday - Asian food
Thursday - squash
Friday - fish
Spaghetti Saturday - aka Italian food - because Paul thinks of lasagna as spaghetti cake and pizza as spaghetti pie!
Sunday - chicken

Paul can eat mozzarella cheese these days, and we found a beautiful vegan, almond milk ricotta, so lasagna has been a dreamy treat! Spaghetti cake for the win!! Haha!

Any way, we're mostly avoiding meat or fish except for Fridays and Sundays (and any leftovers from there). There are foods that are supposed to be super healing to the liver (and thereby the gallbladder) and these include lemons, artichokes, olive oil, so when splurging on chicken, this dish came across my radar.

Crispy Chicken Stew with Lemon, Artichokes, Capers and Olives

This is not my picture - it's from the recipe link above:

I was too busy cooking and then eating to take a pic!

There were leftovers - whew! I'm looking forward to cooking larger meals to have more leftovers again to make my life easier. Plus the theme nights are really helping me more than I thought!

What yummy thing is crossing your plate? How do you make cooking simpler in your household?

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Tonight I made what I called "Marco Polo Dinner."

Asian rice stick noodles, coated in dairy free extra garlic pesto, over a plate of garlicky sautéed veg. A fairly light, yet filling, vegan dinner for the win! It even had short cooking times for this super hot August evening.

Some think Marco Polo brought noodles from China to Italy, and the saucy noodles did a good job of hiding all the veg on the plate (like the children's game of Marco Polo!).

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