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My mom served liver for dinner a lot when I was a kid, and she only made it one way, broiled, with a slice of bacon on top. No doubt you've heard the expression "like shoe leather." Well, it was probably first used to describe the way my mom prepared liver.

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I'll never forget how impressed I was the first time I was served a dish "en papillote." The parchment was beautifully golden brown and puffed. The aroma I enjoyed when I slit the pouch open was incredible. And even today, the thought of the tasty, tender vegetables and fish inside makes my mouth water.

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Gnocchi are little dumplings. They're mouthwatering, soft pillows of goodness. Like many other dishes that originate from Italy, the ingredients, as well as the sauce they're dressed with, varies by region.  Potatoes are a popular ingredient and the one most found in restaurants and homes on this side of the Atlantic, and as far I can tell, also the most popular in Italy too.

I had my gnocchi epiphany on a Thursday in Rome one cold, rainy November evening in 1996. It was American Thanksgiving. MrLear and I were riding a bus heading toward a dining area of the city that we read about in a guide book when we decided to hop off because we observed so many establishments with patrons milling around and checking out menus. The restaurant we ultimately chose was filled with smiling, happy people engaged in conversation over their wine and food - a very good decision our part, as we enjoyed a memorable meal.

It turns out that Thursday is "gnocchi day" in the Mediterranean. Well, maybe not officially but it always seems as if gnocchi (pronounced nok ki) are the daily special in trattorias and osterias then. Doesn't matter when you eat them though. Just do it.

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Clementines are delicious little pieces of citrus. They're like oranges, only a tad sweeter and seedless. Some poeple compare them to tangerines, some to mandarin oranges. I first tasted them in Spain many years ago. Actually, it was MrLear who found them in a little grocery store in Tarragona. These little bundles were so sweet and juicy and easy to peel that we could hardly believe our good fortune. Today they are widely available in produce departments everywhere, but hurry up. Their "season" --- mid-November through January --- is almost over.

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New Years was always the day my Babci, or grandma in Polish, would break out her stash of her favorite cookie, rum balls. It's almost funny to call it her stash, as it was always my mom, or me, who did the preparing.

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Good evening and welcome to the What's for Dinner Café, a place to share recipes and culinary traditions and discuss good food with cyber friends.

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Sat Nov 26, 2011 at 06:03 PM PST

What's for Dinner? v6.18

by Cordelia Lear

It seems that What's for Dinner had a misqueue this evening.

So, why don't we just share what we're enjoying this evening for dinner and look forward to next weeks diary.

Here's hoping that everyone had a peaceful holiday and will have a few hours to relax before getting back to work.

Discuss

Good evening everyone and welcome to the What's for Dinner Cafe, a place where friends gather on Saturday evening to discuss good food, share recipes, and ask questions about culinary problems they're encountering. So, go grab a beverage (i'll wait), put your feet up, and settle in for a few hours of food fellowship.

Our feature topic today is onion soup. It can be a lunch, a starter, or a hearty meal when you top it with a croute and grated cheese. All you need to add to the table is a salad and a glass of wine.

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Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 05:05 PM PDT

What's for Dinner: v5.39

by Cordelia Lear

What's for Dinner v5.39 was posted last night. We scheduled it for a requeue at 7:30, our regular time, but since I don't see it I thought I'd post a link to Bill O Rights's diary.

All Day Mexican.

Thanks for stopping by!

Discuss

"Cold soup"?

But of course! Soup isn't just made for winter. And it certainly doesn't have to be heated.

Now that old man winter has stopped blowing his cold air here in Southeast Michigan, it's time to think about serving one of our favorite dishes --- and often meals --- with a summer twist.  Cold soups, made with fresh, local ingredients of course, add a lovely dimension to any warm weather meal.

All of the recipes I'm offering here today can be prepared ahead of time. That's always goodness in my book because at the Lear house we get easily distracted with outdoor activities (and that stop for a cold one on the way home afterward) so having dinner already prepared in the fridge, or ready to toss on the grill, keeps us eating healthy, wealthy and wise.

So how about giving one a try? I promise you'll like them.

Here are the recipes for a few of our favorite cold soups.

Poll

Do you eat soup?

78%48 votes
11%7 votes
0%0 votes
1%1 votes
3%2 votes
4%3 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

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Well, miracle of miracles... Sort of anyway...

It looks like Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia) might actually appear in public - right here in Michigan. The North Oakland Republican Club's latest newsletter claims that Thaddeus will grace their presence on the evening of March 24.

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I’ve been sitting back and watching how the new “groups” feature works and have come up with a set of guidelines for our Saturday night What’s for Dinner? get-togethers. Now that the upgrade dust has settled, I think it’s time for operational plans and details. We’ve got to start somewhere and we can always make improvements and tweaks as needed.

I’m thrilled that ninkasi23 is joining me as a BlogAdmin. We’re both going to be involved in the coordinating, scheduling and messaging. Several of you have contacted us and volunteered to help. Thank you so much. It’s great to know that’s there are so many people interested in making sure this series continues.

So going forward, here’s how our series, What’s for Dinner?, will be organized.

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