Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kitchen goals old and new

This year's kitchen goals

So how have I done this year?
  • Eating a vegetarian or fish (main meal) twice a week was easy goal, not too surprisingly, I suppose. There were only a couple of weeks in which that didn't happen. Unfortunately, I didn't keep the numbers, but I'm sure there were quite a few weeks with three or even four veggie or fish meals. Not sure if I'm ready to commit to three times a week. Instead, I think I'll just count the number of veg or fish main courses each week. Those numbers will help me decide on 2013 goals.
  • Soup has been served just less that half of the weeks in the year, more often in colder weather than in warm. Think it's worthwhile to continue this as a goal, just to keep soup in mind.
  • We've actually had our main meal at midday more often than I thought, again just less than half of the weeks of the year. This is difficult because of the way our schedules work. I still think it's worthwhile, since my tummy, at least, is happier eating a midday than in the evening. Think this will continue as a goal next year also.
  • As for pasta-making, I haven't missed a month. But I must say that having this as a goal has kept me focused on making fresh pasta.
I do think that having goals was useful when it came to meal planning. In particular, I'm sure my pasta-making would slide if I didn't have that goal. But also, as I laid out plans each week (not that these plans get followed in the end), I checked against the fish/veg, soup, and midday goals.

Next year's kitchen goals

So I think I'll continue the goal-setting for another year.
  • One goal, something entirely new, is to make something from a cookbook that I haven't used, or have rarely used, at least once a week. Just when I started thinking about this, not really sure whether I could commit to one per week, Cookbook Sundays came along, and I've already hopped on board. Doing this means a little more research into finding recipes, not from my stack of clippings and notes, but by picking an unused book and rummaging through it enough to find something I'd like to make. It also means an extra blog post every week. (So far, my posts are the least interesting of the participants, and I seem to be the only one making a deal out of the book, but I'll follow along, for my use rather than.)
  • Around Thanksgiving, I was rummaging through my notebook of bread recipes and info looking for something or other, and thought I'd really like to get back to baking bread frequently, not necessarily with the bread machine. To this end, I asked Santa for Peter Reinhardt's The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and have started reading that. Although making bread once a week seems a bit much right now, I think I'll aim for that. "Bread" being anything yeast-ridden (does that include a nice rijstvlaai, I wonder?), for the bread machine, from my notebook, from Apprentice, or from other bread books.
  • I think I will continue the goal of making fresh pasta monthly, since I enjoy doing that but need the goal to keep it up. At least one of those months, I'll make a filled pasta. I still have a bit of a fear of this, since I've found it difficult before, but I expect it's a question of practice and I need the practice.
  • Every week I'll count how many vegetarian and fish meals I make.
  • Like last year, I'll aim for having soup at lunch or dinner (at least) once a week.
  • Like last year, I'll aim for having our main meal at midday (at least) once a week.
This almost seems like too much, but I'll give it a try.

Monday, December 26, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/26-Dec-11: In anticipation of company tomorrow afternoon, I made some eggnog, using the Eggnog II recipe from my old Joy of Cooking. It's ripening in the fridge now.

Then I made Eggnog Pear Pie (VegTimes, soon to be MC; cookbooker). I forgot to turn the oven temperature down when I put the filled pie in the oven, so the edges are a bit black, but the rest of the pie is yummy. Why they call it "eggnog", I haven't a clue.

Dinner started with lots of salad and the rest of the foie gras-stuffed magret. Good stuff. Then Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken (MC), quite good. Lots of sauce left, which will be good over pasta with some meat and a bit of veg, I expect. Also roasted up some more Brussels sprouts along with the end of the broccoli in the fridge. Followed by a slice of pie.

Tuesday/27-Dec-11: Real eggnog is real good. Yum.

For dinner I defrosted some zucchini-chickpea pancakes to make a little starter, topped with crème fraîche. Then there was some (defrosted) Zucchini Garlic Soup, the bounty of the summer garden. Then some pear pie. We're full.

I didn't participate in the last Cook the Books, because I didn't feel like finishing the book. This time the book is John Thorne's Outlaw Cook, which I read a few years ago. I thought I might dash through it again, and picked it up again with that in mind, but couldn't get into it. (I was surprised to discover that I've actually made, more or less, a couple of recipes from it.) Plus it's a bit intimidating that Thorne is going to judge. Think I might skip this one too. The next one is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I've actually never read this, or seen the movie, and Roald Dahl isn't going to judge it, so it might be just the thing to inspire a chocolate fantasy.

Wednesday/28-Dec-11: Improvised a soup for dinner. Meant to loosely follow a recipe for broccoli-chicken-cheddar soup, but didn't quite make it. Took some cheese out of the freezer and Ed thought he would hurry along the defrosting, but putting it in a pan of hot water. It now looks something like CheezWhiz, which is one of the most disgusting food products around. The broccoli seems to have gone off, so I cut up some zucchini lurking in the crisper. There was turkey broth defrosted for something that didn't get made. And a handful of noodles. And some meat picked from Monday's leftovers. And a small can of corn. And the rest of the evaporated milk that didn't get used in the eggnog. Not bad altogether. Then some more pear pie.

Thursday/29-Dec-11: Shopped today. Bought some aillets again; these seem to be like green onions, but garlic instead. And, my, does the refrigerator smell (good?) when you open the door now. No plans for using them.

Dinner was Sauced Potato Casserole (Tassajara, p214), with slices of a smoked sausage tucked in amongst the potatoes. Very nice on a cold night. Salad after. Then the last of the pear pie.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/30-Dec-11: Made goat broth today. Have frozen it for some future use.

Dinner was Leek Bread Pudding, a recipe collected from EAT-L and available all over the web. Good stuff. Could be a side at a big dinner too. And a salad.

Saturday/31-Dec-11: Lots of finger food for munching in front of the TV this evening (Damn Yankees). For round one, there were (clockwise from lower right) verrines with an avocado mixture on the bottom, whipped cream and fromage blanc on that, and strips of smoked salmon on top—this was good all mixed together; olives from the marché de noël; toasts spread with soft goat cheese mixed with lemon zest and topped with smoked salmon (had to use up that 2-slice package, didn't I?); about a third recipe of Smokey Eggplant Purée (MedLight, p93) to use as a dip for ...; carrot sticks; cherry tomatoes stuffed with what was essentially a bland tuna salad.

Round two was store-bought: tapas on sticks (lemon chicken and herbed pork), plus little pastry packets (scallops, provençale, tapenade, and goat cheese). We had only eight of a package of thirty, but that make a quick munchie when you need something.

Had a good long reading session today and finished off the second book in the Durant's history of the world. Only nine more to go!

Sunday/1-Jan-12: Lovely lunch at La Bellone today. Nothing happening in our kitchen, but theirs was quite busy.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: yes, #3 MIDDAY: yes (if restaurants count)
This month: #4 PASTA: yes

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Chocolate Pasta

Antonio Carluccio Cooks Pasta
Antonio Carluccio
BBC Books (1999)
ISBN 0563384557

Yes, that what it says, chocolate pasta.

This is a book I bought a long time ago, but I've never spent that much time with it. I enjoyed Carluccio's TV shows and have others of his books that I've used, but this one never seemed to catch my eye somehow. Last week, I picked it up, as a unused cookbook, looking for a sauce inspiration for my monthly fresh pasta effort. When I saw the recipe for chocolate pasta, I figured I'd found my recipe—not to mention dessert for christmas dinner.

The recipe said it served four; having made it, I expect that might really be six. I cut the recipe in half for two and there was easily another serving available.

Cut in half, the recipe looks much like the one I most often use for fresh pasta, from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, but with sugar and cocoa added. Those extras, with no additional liquid, made the dough really stiff and much too dry. I added quite of a bit of extra water just to get it workable, but I'm sure it was still too dry. I could only roll it to 5 on my machine. It was a good think I'd planned to stop there, because it would have been impossible to roll it on 6. Here's the pasta waiting for its final preparation.

The recipe called for the pasta to be drizzled with honey and topped with chopped pistachios. Instead, I drizzled with crème anglaise (store-bought, sorry) before topping with the pistachios. Walnuts or other nuts would also be good, I think.

This is one of those things that I probably won't make again, but I'm glad I tried it. Now I know just what chocolate pasta is like.

This post is linked to this week's Cookbook Sundays.

Christmas dinner 2011

A small xmas this year, since neither of us were much in the mood for one reason or another. Simple table, simple meal.

For a starter, we again had slices of the foie gras wrapped with dried magret, bought at a marché de nöel. The vendor we bought from previously wasn't there, so we bought this from someone else, a very nice lady speaking very slowly and distinctly for the gringos. It was good, but neither of us thought it was as special as it has been in previous years. Here's Ed about to tuck in.

Also at the marché, I bought some ostrich steaks from a farm in the Dordogne. These turned into Ostrich Medallions with Gin Sauce. The recipe was originally for emu, but ostrich works just fine. Before cooking, the bird medallions sat around for a bit with a coating of green peppercorns (I used pink, there being no green ones in-house), juniper berries, and garlic. For the sauce, the pan was deglazed with a mixture of wildfond (stock from game, since no beef stock was in-house), port, chopped shallots, and a dab of gin. Between the juniper berries and the bit of gin, that was the strongest flavor, although it all went together quite well.

As go-withs I made potatoes Dauphinoise (BEFCC, p51) and roasted up some more Brussels sprouts. The potatoes are a classic and this recipe always turns out well. For two people who have never particularly cared for Brussels sprouts, we're getting to be big fans of roasted sprouts; they're much better than steamed or, yuck, boiled.

And for dessert there was chocolate pasta, which got its own post, a different turn on my monthly pasta.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Banana Coffee Cake Muffins

Cinagro Farm, Family Favorites from the Farm and beyond...
Carol Engan Borrelli
Morris Press Cookbooks (2008)
ISBN 1605851795

This is a book that got raves when it came out. Plastic ring-bound, a bit homemade looking, it's the kind of book I usually like, but someone this one never grabbed me. I will try to give it a chance now.

This is the first recipe I've made from this book, and I wasn't overly pleased. The muffins were so-so, and I found the instructions a bit weak. For example, it says to mix butter, sugar, egg, lemon zest, and milk in a bowl. But it's pretty hard work to mix room temperature butter into so much liquid. Better to cream the butter and sugar first and then add the liquid-y things.

The recipe calls for 1-1/2 tablespoons of baking powder, which seemed like an awful lot to me. A quick look at other muffin recipes showed no more than 1 tablespoon, so I cut this back. The muffins rose plenty high even without the extra baking powder.

Oops, I forgot to add the topping. Sprinkled it on for the last 10 minutes of baking (which doesn't really work that well), but can't say it was missed. But we don't like our sweets over-sweet, so it wasn't a problem. (I've put the topping aside in case an excuse to use it turns up in the next days.)

The muffins were good enough, but probably not a recipe I'll make again.

This post is linked to this week's Cookbook Sundays.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Curried Creamed Eggs

The Best 125 Meatless Pasta Dishes
Mindy Toomay and Susan Geiskopf Hadler
Prima Lifestyles (1991)
ISBN 155958145X

This morning I went to make something else for Cookbook Sundays and discovered that I didn't have enough butter at room temp. By the time I got a chunk defrosted, other things were happening, so that recipe will have to wait a day or two.

Instead, tonight I ended up making a second recipe from The Best 125 Meatless Pasta Dishes, by Mindy Toomay and Susann Geiskopf Hadler. After a quick read through the book, I've got quite a few stickies marking recipes to try. This evening, for one reason or another, I didn't feel like making the dinner I'd planned, so I opted for Curried Creamed Eggs instead (which, I'm sure, means this book no longer qualifies as never or rarely used).

This recipe is fairly quick to make and, because of the peas and carrots, could even qualify as a one-dish meal, which is quite nice when you're feeling rushed or lazy. (Who, me?)

Two small problems with the recipe as printed: It says that it yields 8 main-course servings. But this must be only four. A quick glance through the book shows that other recipes are generally either 4 main-course servings or 8 side-dish servings. I suspect this is an error that didn't get caught in the editing. I also found that the sauce wanted more milk than shown. I expect the full amount of milk (1-1/2 cups) would have been fine for my half version. I started with a cup and then added a slog near the end to thin the sauce a bit.

Start by sautéing some chopped onions in butter (ok, I used shallots, and some garlic wouldn't hurt, I expect). When they are soft, stir in some flour and curry powder. When this is smelling nice, stir in the warmed milk. (I don't suppose this really has to be warm, but I set it in a pan on a very low flame when I started the onions.)

If all's going well, your pasta water will be coming to a boil about now and you can add the pasta.

And here's where I made a major change to the recipe. Instead of chopping a couple of hard-boiled eggs and stirring them into the sauce, while the sauce was simmering, I added two eggs and poached them.

When the eggs were done, I removed each to one of the little dishes I'd used for the chopped shallot and the flour/curry addition. Then warm the peas the sauce and add the sliced carrots to the boiling pasta for the last minute of cooking. Mix the drained pasta and carrots with the sauce and serve, topping each with a poached egg.

Not a bad dinner. Some chopped chives or even parsley on top would have been pretty, but we were ready to eat.

This post is linked to this week's Cookbook Sundays.

Monday, December 19, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/19-Dec-11: Dinner was falafel in pitas, served with Tahini Dipping Sauce (WofE, p359), some shredded lettuce, and a salad based on Cream Cheese and Cucumber Salad (Roden, p65), using feta and adding tomatoes.

Tuesday/20-Dec-11: At Lesley and Toby's do this afternoon (they run Sophie's cattery/spa), we munched so well for "lunch" that we weren't very hungry for dinner. So I made a big salad, one of those cleaning out the fridge jobs, and that was dinner. So much for menu plans.

Then we nibbled some of the chocolate coated walnuts we bought at the St. Sornin cave, where we'd gone to stock up on our favorite rosé, only to find that it was everybody else's favorite too and it's all gone. Maybe next year will be as good.

Wednesday/21-Dec-11: Shopped today; bought lots of goodies for xmas and new year.

Dinner was West Indian Salmon Patties (MC). Made 6; froze 3 for another time. Quite yummy. Served with leftover Jamaican rice and beans. Finished off the chocolate walnuts for dessert.

Thursday/22-Dec-11: Off-piste again. Had a curried egg thing planned, but decided against that recipe and opted for a half-dose of Curried Creamed Eggs (125Pasta, p230; cookbooker). I poached our eggs in the sauce, rather than stirring in hard-boiled ones, chopped. Think I prefer this.

Friday/23-Dec-11: Ed still sickie, so we didn't go caroling. For dinner I reheated the last of the Jamaican rice and beans (that was good, but the recipe made enough to feed a small army), adding some grilled sausages from the freezer. And a nice salad. Off to bed with us.

Saturday/24-Dec-11: This morning I made some Banana Coffee Cake Muffins (Cinagro, p3; cookbooker). Forgot to add the topping, but can say it was really missed. Neither of us really like that kind of sweet stuff. (Meanwhile, I've saved the stuff on the odd chance I might find a use for it in the next days.) Not bad muffins, but not especially a recipe I'll do again.

For a starter tonight, we each had a foie gras-stuffed fig, that we bought at the marché de noël last weekend. She had only six-packs of these, and when we said we wanted only two, she dug these out of the cooler and told us to put them in the coldest part of the fridge and we had to eat them no later than christmas day. Expect they were slight out of date, but we seem to have survived. The main course was a half recipe of Fusilli in Chick-pea-Walnut Cream, a xerox copy I got from somewhere, from a cookbook I don't have. The book has been on my want list for a long time, but this recipe didn't really up its position on the list. I've been running into lots of recipes using pomegranate molasses/syrup of late, and finally found a bottle, which was inaugurated for this. Can't really say it was noticeable. The recipe involved blending walnuts and chickpeas to make a creamy sauce, then cooking broccoli and tomato in that. Fairly so-so, probably healthy.

Sunday/25-Dec-11: Neither of us feeling very perky this year, we had a kind of low-key xmas. Kept the dinner small and easy, except for dessert, which was a bit of a struggle.

Yogurt on overnight. (Have made yogurt several times this week, it seems, but not recorded it. Oops.)

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP:no, #3 MIDDAY:no
This month: #4 PASTA: yes

Monday, December 12, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/12-Dec-11: Yogurt on overday. Finished off Kitchen Diaries, a fun read. I've already made a couple of good things from it and have lots of stickies on it.

Quiz tonight. Nothing much happening in the kitchen.

Tuesday/13-Dec-11: Going to dash through Outlaw Cook for Cook the Books. I've read it before and I've got another of Thorne's books on my read-me-soon shelf, so I don't want to spend too much time with it.

Dinner was fridge-clearing mishmash. First there was a more-or-less half dose of Egg Fried Rice (HotWok, p186). Not too bad. I see that I didn't let the cuke and corn cook long enough, and we thought they were a bit crunchy. With reason. Then there was a sort of hash thing with some red onion, broccoli, a tiny chicken breast in bits, and chunks of leftover baked potatoes I brought home from the choir party, jazzed up with the end of a Trinidadian spice mixture needing to be used up. Also not bad. And, of course, sriracha helps all. Then there was the end of the arugula-pear salad, with more lettuce added. The arugula was pretty soggy, but didn't taste bad. Tiny bit of Louise's christmas cake.

Wednesday/14-Dec-11: Is it Wednesday already? Got the goat off the bone and into the marinade to make curry in the next days. Froze the bones to make stock in the next days.

Dinner was a half dose of Border-Style Shrimp (EAT-L, now MC), along with some yellow rice. Peeling the shrimp is a pain, but worth the effort. Would be nice to have some green onions, since that touch of color would be nice. Salad after. More christmas cake.

Yogurt on overnight. Finished off all our bread, so English Muffin Bread (BigGerman, p15) on overnight.

Thursday/15-Dec-11: Power went off last night for 2 hours, leaving yogurt half-done and bread waiting. In the morning, I restarted the yogurt and did the bread on Rapid. Not sure how the yogurt will be (tomorrow will tell), but the bread was yummy.

Yvonne called to invite us to a dinner for folks who'd helped her out with this and that. So the goat will marinate another day.

Friday/16-Dec-11: Uh-oh I don't have an unused cookbook meal planned in the next days. Have to think a bit about this tomorrow.

The goat curry is marinating another day. Shopping today, and lots more errands.

Tonight's dinner was Chicken Marsala (MC 2BTried), which was pretty good; half the chicken, all the sauce. With the mushroom pasta from the freezer and lots of broccoli.

Saturday/17-Dec-11: Finally got that Goat Curry (JamieMag) made. Pretty good and seriously hot—one Scotch bonnet worth is pretty strong. Served with Rice and Peas as suggested. Used a recipe from a Jamaican tourist site. Quite good this, although four people hardly made a dent in 3 cups of raw rice. The peas are actually red beans, of which the cupboard was bare, so I used black bean instead. I bought a couple of plantains to make fried plantains, another suggested go-with, but forgot to make them. For a starter, there Moroccan Zucchini Salad (MC), not Jamaican, but sort of similar in taste. For dessert there was vanilla ice cream with mango slices. We ate well.

Sunday/18-Dec-11: We had cake and champagne in the afternoon for Vanessa's birthday, so we weren't very hungry in the evening. Finished off the Pastina and Pea Soup (hmm...that was getting pretty old), and topped up yesterday's Moroccan Zucchini Salad with some leftover corn to finish that off.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: yes, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: no

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pastina and Pea Soup

Recently, while I was starting to consider my cooking goals for 2012, I thought that one challenge for myself would be to cook, every week or perhaps twice a month, a recipe from a cookbook that I've never, or at least seldom, used. I use many of my cookbooks, but there are quite a few that for one reason or another haven't seen much action. Earlier this week, my RSS reader had notice of a new post at Couscous & Consciousness, the blog from another Cooking Italy participant. Sue announced that she has taken over hosting Cookbook Sundays, whose goal is for participants to, yes, cook from cookbooks they don't use. Serendipity reigns, and here we are. This isn't going to be a 2012 goal, but one of the (limited number of) cook-alongs that I'm participating in. (Although, another idea for a 2012 goal might be to participate in these cook-alongs.)

On Friday Ed and I had originally intended to lunch out with friends, but this plan fell through. I had nothing in particular planned for dinner, so on the way out to go have my hair cut, I grabbed a promising unused book to look for dinner while waiting.

The Best 125 Meatless Pasta Dishes
Mindy Toomay and Susan Geiskopf Hadler
Prima Lifestyles (1991)
ISBN 155958145X

The book I picked up was The Best 125 Meatless Pasta Dishes, by Mindy Toomay and Susann Geiskopf Hadler. I'd seen this book recommended somewhere and managed to get a copy via Bookmooch. After it arrived, it went onto the shelf with other pasta books and has been patiently waiting for me to have a good look. Now I've had only a quick look, but I did manage to find what appeared to be a nice, quick soup for our dinner, Pastina and Pea Soup.

And very simple it was. Sauté some onion and garlic. Add water with some vegetable broth cubes and bring to a boil. Stir in some tarragon and white wine, and simmer for a bit. Bring back to a boil, add the pasta, and cook till al dente. (Pastina seems to be a name for any small pasta shape. Not sure I've seen the word before.) Stir in some half-and-half, frozen or fresh peas, and grated Parmesan. Heat and serve. Voila, you've got dinner—a light dinner perhaps, but that's all we wanted.

Nothing fancy here, but quite a tasty soup for minimal effort and with ingredients that are always in house. Some bread and cheese afterwards and we were quite satisfied.

Now it's time to sit down for a good look through this book, with a packet of stickies at hand. A good proportion of the recipes, including the one I tried, are clearly marked "Almost Instant." This can be very handy for those days when time or energy for preparing dinner is limited.

This post is linked to this week's Cookbook Sundays.

Monday, December 5, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/5-Dec-11: Used up the first of Barbara's butternut squashes making Butternut Soup with Pear, Cider, and Vanilla Bean (Molly, p226), an interesting take on butternut squash soup. The flavors blend surprisingly well. Do get tired of peeling though; next one will be roasted. More of the Courgette and Chick Pea Filo Pie, cold, as a go-with. Filo could have used a perk-up in the oven, but it was otherwise good, especially with some lime pickle mixed in.

Made some Authentic French Bread (Magic, p22, but out of head) for the soup and for breakfast.

Tuesday/6-Dec-11: Very late dinner tonight, after Kaye worked with Michelle on the Club Liseron blog for quite a while. Luckily a quick, light dinner, little Drôme raviolis with pesto, both from the freezer. And a salad, with a formerly frozen cooked beet.

Wednesday/7-Dec-11: Shopped today.

Dinner was Salmon with Sorrel and Asparagus en Papillote (SeriousEats). Served with some boiled potatoes tossed with a bitter butter. Pretty good stuff.

Have been pondering my 2012 kitchen goals. One thing I've been considering is doing a recipe a week, or maybe twice a month, from a cookbook I haven't used much, or at least haven't used recently. This morning, I saw that Sue from Couscous & Consciousness, who was part of Cooking Italy, is taking over as host of something called Cookbook Sundays ... where you cook something from a book you haven't used. Serendipity or what? So it looks like this is going to have to be one of next year's goals.

Eating two vegetarian or fish meals a week has been an easy goal, practically no challenge at all. Considering whether I should extend that to three days, or just let it go for mow.

Probably will repeat the fresh pasta once-a-month goal. I've been doing this, but without the target, I think it would be difficult. (Which makes me think I'd better start thinking about December's pasta soon, since there are several holiday meals coming up. If I have pasta from the freezer, make fresh last month, does that count?)

Have been pretty much a failure at arranging to have our main meal at midday once a week. A bit better with soup, but not much. Not sure what I'll do with these next year.

Thursday/8-Dec-11: Finished off the Courgette and Chick Pea Filo Pie for dinner. Warming in the oven did the trick, crisping up the filo. Thought about a salad, but we both decided it would be too much.

Friday/9-Dec-11: Had planned to lunch out today, so didn't really have anything planned, and not much appetite anyhow. Made a whole dose of Pastina and Pea Soup (125Pasta, p56) and have leftovers for lunch or a starter one of these days. Pretty good for minimal time and effort. Not sure I've ever seen the word pastina used to name "any small pasta" before. A bit of Camembert for afters. (This is my first entry for Cookbook Sundays. Yes, it's Friday, but that will do too.)

Saturday/10-Dec-11: Dinner was Curried Oven Omelets, a recipes from somewhere on the web. An annoying recipe, asking for a can of coconut milk (what size?); telling you to season the sautéed onions "according to taste" with turmeric, chili powder, and salt before the remaining ingredients have been added; etc. The recipe called for 5 eggs to serve 4-6. Oh? I used 4 eggs, but only 3 would have done, since they were "beefed up" with milk and ricotta. Well, I'd forgotten to defrost ricotta (a shame, since the rest of the package is destined for another meal), so used cream cheese instead. An omelet under the broiler is really a frittata, I think. It was very pretty, all puffed up and browned. Then cut up and into the sauce with coconut milk, onions, and spices to taste. It wasn't bad, but nothing I need to do again. The omelet/frittata part was worth remembering. Then we had a big salad of rucola. And to fill us up we had a bit of the Christmas cake given to Ed by one of his choir members. Tasty, but heavy and too too sweet for our tastes.

Sunday/11-Dec-11: No one went to the boulanger yesterday, so this morning I made more Authentic French Bread (Magic, p22) for breakfast and lunch. Simple recipe, good bread.

For the post-carol conert choir party, I made a double dose of Spinach Salad with Pears, Pecans, and Feta (MDSalads, p28). OK, it was arugula and walnuts, but it was still good. Thought it would be a good idea to have something fresh, rather than cooked, but the Choir Mom already had a bowl of lettuce for the table. Oops.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: yes, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: no