Monday, June 28, 2010

This week in the kitchen

Monday/28-Jun-10: Made some raspberry preserves in the morning, the same small batch recipe I used last year. It didn't seem to set up very well, but it smelled good while it was simmering. Otherwise, this was leftover day, with lunch from picnic and from yesterday at Sally and Mike's. At dinner time there was a salad.

Tuesday/29-Jun-10: Bought some juice at the grocery and put some popsicles in the freezer. For lunch we had the last of the leftovers. Dinner was Almond-Crusted Grilled Salmon with Garlic Sauce (License, p165), which turned out to be one of those recipes I'm glad I tried, but don't need to do again. Served with Courgettes aux Olives (C&Z, p139; soon to be MC), a nice addition to the zucchini repetoire, and lemon-parsley orzo. Dessert was some rice pudding from the grocery.

Wednesday/30-Jun-10: It's hot today. For lunch we had a big salad from a sack of mâche with beet shreds. Used last night's sauce (there's still more left) and the almond-cumin crunchies, along with the last bit of mozzarella from the fridge. It was good. For dessert we each had a fruit popsicle.

In the evening, we had our usual sandwiches and an unusually big plate of fruit (one plate for the two of us), that Ed thought needed a picture:


Thursday/1-Jul-10: For lunch, I browned one of the tins of mole that Jody gave us for xmas and added the leftover pork roast, a can of corn, and a can of chopped chilis. It was good and I've frozen one serving for another time.

Friday/2-Jul-10: Didn't make it to the Montbron market this morning, so again no chard tart. Lunch today at Le Roc du Boeuf. Only some munchies for dinner. Hot.

Saturday/3-Jul-10: We had sandwiches at the bric-à-brac in Montemboeuf at lunchtime. In the afternoon I made the plum-limoncello tart, which was pretty good in spite of all the things I managed to do wrong. For dinner we had a sorrel omelette. This turned out really good. The sour of the sorrel goes well with the creamy eggs. Followed by a salad and the tart. And a walk with the dog.

We've been eating the fruit popsicles every day. That's a nice, small treat on hot afternoons.

Hmm...I've just discovered that I've had my dates screwed up for the last few weeks. Corrected now.

Sunday/4-Jul-10: Last night we decided we make a grocery run this morning and get the makings for a bbq with hamburgers and potato salad and whatever other food consistent with the festivities we could think of. But one of us slept till almost 11.00 and the shops close at 12.30, so those plans got cancelled.

At Ed's suggestion, I made up some popsicles with half milk and half fruit juice. Tomorrow we'll see how these are. We split a piece of the plum limoncello tart after our lunch.

For dinner, I defrosted some of the Toupargel merquez for the bbq and made some Mediterranean Couscous Salad with Roasted Vegetables (MC 2BTried). I forgot that I used our zucch earlier in the week, so there was only eggplant for the salad and roasted red bell pepper strips from a jar. It was good anyhow. The merguez was much better than the horrible ones we had last year when Rob&Cindy&Ray were visiting. For dessert, we ate more of the plum-limoncello tart. We have one more piece left to split now.



CookbooksEtc Ingredient Contest 2010

  1. 23-May/28-May: strawberries — Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula and Goat Cheese
  2. 29-May/4-Jun: cheese — Spinach-Stuffed Anchos
  3. 5-Jun/11-Jun: whole wheat flour Ned and Crescent's Favorite Multigrain Pancakes
  4. 12-Jun/18-Jun: ground pork or pork sausage Curried Rice Noodles with Ground Meat
  5. 19-Jun/25-Jun: blueberries Tarte Amandine à la Myrtille
  6. 26-Jun/2-Jul: salmon Almond-Crusted Grilled Salmon with Garlic Sauce
  7. 3-Jul/9-Jul: potatoes
  8. 10-Jul/16-Jul: elbow macaroni
  9. 17-Jul-23-Jul: tomatoes

Monday, June 21, 2010

This week in the kitchen

Monday/21-Jun-10: For lunch, I made a broccoli-shrimp stir-fry very loosely based on Seafood Broccoli Stir-Fry from my MC 2BTried cookbook. Good enough, but nothing worth keeping.

Out of bread again. Made some Cornmeal Bread (BigGerman, p35) so we'd have something for breakfast.

Tuesday/22-Jun-10: Pizza for lunch today. Grilled the rest of the asparagus, some zucchini, and some eggplant slices; used some faux pizza sauce from the freezer, some grated (half-frozen) mozzarella, and some slices of goat cheese. Followed by a big salad topped with the leftover green bean/corn salad and sweet potato bits. Dessert was two Bonne Maman semolina custards. All good.

Wednesday/23-Jun-10: Never could find the cilantro pesto recipe I've made before, so I smerged a bunch of recipes I found on the web. Not wonderful, but not bad. Served a bit with fusilli and froze two more small lumps. Salad for the rest of dinner.

The new ice cream maker I ordered has arrived. I've put the bucket in the freezer where it has to freeze for 24 hours before making anything. Now I have to choose a recipe. The recipe book that came with it has some very odd recipes, including one with green asparagus purée.

Thursday/24-Jun-10: Put a pork loin roast in a very slow (275F) oven with some spices. Made some tortillas and shredded the meat. Didn't really work all that well, but we'll have a nice stew or chili or some such from the leftover juice and meat.

Raspberries are coming in fast. Seems like more than last year. I might have to make jam again.

Friday/25-Jun-10: The organic stand at the Montbron market still has chard, which I was planning to buy till I realized that I wouldn't be able to make that tart for several days. I'll try to organize next week to make that on Friday. There was some nice looking salmon also, but the same problem.

Quiz night tonight, so no meal at home. Defrosted a coquelet and started it marinating for tomorrow's choir picnic.

Saturday/26-Jun-10: Busy in the morning making our picnic meal, which was the "Memorial Day at the Pond" menu from Picnic. There was Citrus-Marinated Game Hens (Picnic, p14), using a coquelet instead, grilled in the oven. This was good and quite fast to cook. Last time we had coquelets Ed thought we needed a whole one each. This time, he thought his half was just right. Then there was Couscous Salad with Roasted Peppers (Picnic, p16), which was good even though I neglected to roast the pepper. And Marinated Green Beans with Toasted Almonds (Picnic, p18), which was also good. Had planned to make a small amount of ice cream, but couldn't find the recipe book that goes with the old ice cream maker. The Perfect Scoop and the book for the new ice cream maker largely have recipes that start with a cooked base, which has to be refrigerated a good long while.

Sunday/27-Jun-10: Lunched with Sally and Mike today prior to F1 and the England-Germany World Cup game. Took the leftover couscous salad and green beans from yesterday. Brought enough home that I won't need to cook tomorrow, just make a nice salad to go with.

Raspberries coming like mad right now. Will have to make jam or ice cream or something very soon. The berries are small, not as bit as those you see in the grocery, but tasty. The healthier of the two yellow raspberries that I planted will have some berries before long. Picked another fraise de bois; the three puny plants we've got left are sending out lots of runners. We may have to do something to contain them. Picked a cherry tomato from the one in a pot. There are lots to come, but this is the first. Tasty it was.

CookbooksEtc Ingredient Contest 2010
  1. 23-May/28-May: strawberries — Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula and Goat Cheese
  2. 29-May/4-Jun: cheese — Spinach-Stuffed Anchos
  3. 5-Jun/11-Jun: whole wheat flour Ned and Crescent's Favorite Multigrain Pancakes
  4. 12-Jun/18-Jun: ground pork or pork sausage Curried Rice Noodles with Ground Meat
  5. 19-Jun/25-Jun: blueberries Tarte Amandine à la Myrtille
  6. 26-Jun/2-Jul: salmon
  7. 3-Jul/9-Jul: potatoes
  8. 10-Jul/16-Jul: elbow macaroni
  9. 17-Jul-23-Jul: tomatoes

Monday, June 14, 2010

This week in the kitchen

Monday/14-Jun-10: Back from Nohant. Cooked some rice while we lunched and put it in the fridge to cool for some pineapple fried rice with scallops as James mentioned quite a while ago. Oops! No scallops in the freezer. Ended up making and easy old favorite, Curried Penne with Shrimp (MC, 365OneDish) only to discover that we were almost out of frozen, cooked shrimp too. Egads, inventory control is getting pretty poor around here. Made a salad with lettuce from the garden, the leftover asparagus, and boiled potatoes. For afters, we had about half of the chunk of Brie de Meaux that I got last week, along with the really good bread that we got at a boulanger in La Châtre as we were leaving there.

All the rummaging in the freezer reminded me to get the lamb out to defrost for a lamb saag attempt. Started a batch of yogurt that will be ready in the morning.

Tuesday/15-Jun-10: Cooking really not on my mind today. Late lunch of Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Harissa (MC), only inventory control seems to have failed again, so it was black beans in place of the missing chickpeas. We finished off one of those Napolitain cakes for dessert. Oink. Now we have to flip a coin to see who's going to the boulanger this afternoon for bread.

Wednesday/16-Jun-10: For lunch, I made the lamb version of Beef or Lamb with Spinach (Q&E, p36, reviewed at cookbooker). Yummy!

The limoncello is straining. Certainly smells like lemon.

Thursday/17-Jun-10: Lunch was the ground meat variation of Curried Rice Noodles with Vegetables (H2CE, p174, reviewed at cookbooker), using ground pork for the CookbooksEtc contest. Another winner and a very versatile recipe.

Friday/18-Jun-10: Shopped today and come home with many things that now need to be used up. A surprise was finding blueberries to use for the next CookbooksEtc dish — and I've picked the dish too! Also ran into a treasure trove of cilantro. One box for cilantro pesto, if I can find that recipe, and another for whatever I can find. Need to sit down tomorrow and plan all the use-me-ups, especially the blueberries and cilantro. Earlier in the day I dropped in on the market in Montbron with Yvonne. There was an organic stand there with some good-looking stuff, a regular veggie stand with a good selection, a stand with volaille, and cheese and fish stands. Might be worth returning to. Both the market and the grocery store had good-looking chard today, so it might be time to replan the Swiss Chard Torte for Cooking Italy.

Tonight I finally make the Thai fried rice with scallops, although it was a bit "bare" since I couldn't find the shrimp paste I thought I had in the back of the fridge. Will try this again whenever I can find shrimp paste. It was pretty tasty as it was, but the extra oomph might have good. It was a very uncolorful looking plate, though. Grilling the scallops and plopping them on top of the rice might help, but better might be to stir in a lot of chopped cilantro just before serving.

Saturday/19-Jun-10: Lunch today was Papillotes de Bar aux Asperges (C&Z, p98, cookbooker), using flétan (halibut) instead of sea bass, accompanied by some parsleyed pasta and followed by a salad. The fish was a nice idea. Dusoulier has you cut the bits of asparagus in half lengthwise so they'll cook in the same time as the fish, but it didn't work. They should have been steamed halfway before assembling the packets. Next time ...

Later I made he Tarte Amandine à la Myrtille (C&Z, p188, cookbooker) for the CookbooksEtc contest. Very good and easy. We'll probably finish this off for breakfast!

Sunday/20-Jun-10: Blueberry tart for breakfast and as dessert after dinner. All gone. Yum.

Taking advantage of the first sunny, if a bit cold, day in quite a while, Ed agreed to barbecue our dinner. I defrosted two coquelets, spatchlocked them, and used the rub from Grilled West Indies Spice Rubbed Chicken Breast with Grilled Banana (Thrill, p165). This was really tasty. I've frozen about half of the rub to use again. Cooked some sweet potatoes like Dusoulier's roast potatoes, using a goodly dash of homemade cajun spice for flavoring; these were good. Made some Green Bean and Corn Salsa Salad (MC) ; also good. Have bits of both of these left. After finishing off the tarte amandine, we had a dab of limoncello. Lemony, but awfully sweet, and I didn't even use an especially sweet recipe. Think I'll put the bottle in the freezer, rather than the fridge, since it's probably better icier.

Started yogurt to be ready in the morning.

CookbooksEtc Ingredient Contest 2010
  1. 23-May/28-May: strawberries — Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula and Goat Cheese
  2. 29-May/4-Jun: cheese — Spinach-Stuffed Anchos
  3. 5-Jun/11-Jun: whole wheat flour Ned and Crescent's Favorite Multigrain Pancakes
  4. 12-Jun/18-Jun: ground pork or pork sausage Curried Rice Noodles with Ground Meat
  5. 19-Jun/25-Jun: blueberries Tarte Amandine à la Myrtille
  6. 26-Jun/2-Jul: salmon

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Halibut or Other Fish Steaks Sauced with White Wine and Anchovies

Cooking Italy Assignment
Halibut or Other Fish Steaks Sauced with White Wine and Anchovies, p300

It's decidedly not halibut season in this part of the world, so I decided to do this with skate fillets from the freezer, reducing the cooking time somewhat because they weren't as thick as the recipe asked. The flour-and-fry technique is fairly normal for thinner fillets, but seems a bit unusual on a thick cut as specified, but why not? At any rate, the fillets worked fine. Using two fillets totaling about 300g, I made half the sauce.

The recipe is quite simple. While you're sautéing the fish, you make a sauce of lots of chopped onions, parsley, white wine, and minced anchovies. (For anchovy-phobes, these completely disappear.) Once the fish is thoroughly browned, you add the sauce to the sauté pan and simmer for a bit, basting the fish. If you've got the room, you can push the fish to around and deglaze the pan a bit with the sauce. Plop the cooked fish on the plate, top with the sauce, and you're done. With thinner fillets like I used, the sauce should be started before the fish so that the onions are suitably soft. With the thicker, longer cooking steaks, it's probably sufficient to start them in parallel.


Not the most colorful of dishes, but it was quite tasty. I'll definitely consider doing this again, especially when halibut re-appears in the markets.

Monday, June 7, 2010

This week in the kitchen

Monday/7-Jun-10: A bit of an impromptu meal at midday, since I neglected to consider that Ed might not be eating too much after his afternoon dentist appointment. Made some pasta with broccoli and goat cheese and onions and garlic and shrooms. Wasn't bad. Then we finished off the nectarine Love Cake.

Tuesday/8-Jun-10: Working on two years' of French taxes today, kind of took my interest away from food. For dinner I defrosted a package of (5) chipolatas (pork sausages) from Toupargel and grill-panned them. They were quite good; we're hoping the merguez will also be good. Grease spattered everywhere, though, so there's a good reason to do these on the bbq or in a skillet in the future. Served with mashed sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of chipotle powder and Spiced Green Beans (IndLight, p174). The green beans were especially good; a bit of prep, and easy after that. I haven't made this recipe in quite a while; I'll have to keep it in mind.

Wednesday/9-Jun-10: For a latish mid-day meal we had Cooking Italy's Halibut or Other Fish Steaks Sauced with White Wine and Anchovies (ClassicItal, p300) Dusolier's Perfect Roast Potatoes, and followed by a salad.

I seem to be totally unable to choose a whole wheat flour recipe for CookbooksEtc this week. Have narrowed it down to a handful now, but still feeling indecisive.

Thursday/10-Jun-10: Didn't make it to the boulanger yesterday, so it was pancakes with whole wheat flour for breakfast. We had Ned and Crescent's Favorite Multigrain Pancakes (Gospels, p205). Good they were too.

Didn't go to the market today, but just grocery shopped. At the meat counter they had a whole pig's head. Wonder if I could ever cook one of these? Last weekend at Lavallette we had pâté de tête (a pâté of head of pork, head cheese?) that was quite good. Guess I should dig out a chartcuterie book and look for this one of these days. The butcher took the meat off a shoulder of lamb for me. Whip, whap, done. It would have taken me an hour to do that. But of course, I haven't planned well, and won't be able to make what I planned till next Tuesday, so it will go into the freezer.

Bought a lingue fillet on sale for dinner, that's ling in English—still not a fish I know. Tasty, but a bit bony for a fillet. It was an Indian-ish meal, all recipes I've made before. There were Grilled Fish Steaks (Q&E, p66) from the ling, along with New Potatoes with Cumin (Q&E, p91) to use most of the potatoes in the cupboard, and Carrot and Onion Salad (MJ1, p171). Nice meal.

Friday/11-Jun-10: Dinner at the music quiz this evening, so not much action in the kitchen today.

Saturday/12-Jun-10: For our midday meal, I made Mojito Chicken and Roasted Asparagus with Almonds (MC), but with shrimp as my notes suggested. Not bad at all. Served over rice. Store-bought panna cotta caramel, on sale this week, for dessert.

Later in the day I made some apple-apricot butter. Looking forward to trying this. And boiled up the last little potatoes from the larder to a salad later, maybe with the leftover asparagus. Hmm... have to think of something for dinner on our return Monday, that's easy and can be done before I'm off to gardening club.

Sunday/13-Jun-10: No cooking today. Off to Nohant for a concert at George Sand's place and an overnight in nearby La Châtre.

CookbooksEtc Ingredient Contest 2010
  1. 23-May/28-May: strawberries — Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula and Goat Cheese
  2. 29-May/4-Jun: cheese — Spinach-Stuffed Anchos
  3. 5-Jun/11-Jun: whole wheat flour Ned and Crescent's Favorite Multigrain Pancakes
  4. 12-Jun/18-Jun: ground pork or pork sausage
  5. 19-Jun/25-Jun: blueberries
  6. 26-Jun/2-Jul: salmon