Monday, August 29, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/29-Aug-11: Dinner started with a made-up sort of zucchini curry soup. Then some grill-panned pork chops rubbed with Angela's Aromatic Spice Rub from the freezer. Served with grits and some runner beans from Sally. Those really didn't do well; don't know if they were too ripe when they were picked or if I did something wrong. The idea of doing them with shallot-butter was nice, but the beans were pretty inedible.

Earlier in the day I made an apple tart using a Toupargel pâte sablée. Yucky pastry, sorry Toupargel. Spread the bottom with rhubarb jam, then lots of sliced apples (thanks to our new peeler/corer/slicer). Sprinkled the layers with brown sugar and cinnamon. Pretty good except of the icky crust. Also, this is the second thing in a row I've baked that was charred black at the center back. Don't know if I pushed the dishes too far to the back or if something else is wrong with the oven.

Tuesday/30-Aug-11: Dinner was a half-dose of Orecchiette with Pancetta (web, soon to be MC) accompanied by polenta-stuffed tomatoes. The pasta was easy and good (yes, it included zucchini), definitely a do-again. The tomatoes were inspired by a recipe from VPQ, and made a nice side dish. Cook 25-30g of polenta for every 2 people. Cut the top off and empty one tomato per person. While the polenta cooked, I sautéed the last bit of some lardons from the freezer, added a chopped shallot and then a handful of grated zucchini. (You could used any bits of leftovers here.) Stirred that into the cooked polenta and spooned the mush into the tomatoes. Topped with some of the herbed pyramid (goat) cheese, and popped into a 200C/400F oven for 20 minutes to brown. All good, but I'm very full.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/31-Aug-11: Shopping today. In the "bio" section, I found some stuff that purports to be tofu, but it looks weird, is good for ages, and isn't refrigerated. We'll see.

Dinner was Jean B's Shell Pasta and Black Bean Salad (soon to be MC). It's supposed to be better the next day. We won't know, since we ate it all tonight. Followed by last bit of some reblochon and then some cookies.

Thursday/1-Sep-11: Added a chopped chili to Cooking Light's wimpy apricot chutney, then made a starter/munchie with leftover brick surrounding goat cheese and chutney. Pretty tasty, but not sure how you'd serve this to company, since it's pretty messy as finger food goes and doesn't seem right for a plate. Oh well.

Dinner was Old Bay Roasted Fish and Vegetables (SimpSups, p164) with panga. Used Old Bay Blackening seasoning, rather than the regular stuff. A bit salty to my taste, but not to Ed's. Pretty good altogether.

Friday/2-Sep-11: Seeded 4 of our Beefsteak tomatoes today, big ugly things that they are, and made 1 cup of thick (and plain) tomato sauce. Will have to take some pictures of these one of these days.

Dinner was Penne à la Vodka (KnowHow, p245) , a half recipe of the sauce with almost the full amount of pasta. Quite tasty, with seeded plum tomatoes. Then a salad of mâche. Then some crème brulée from the freezer.

Saturday/3-Sep-11: I went with friends for an afternoon's outing to the Emmaüs charity shop in Angoulême. And came home with a set of pottery (15 salad plates, 15 soup plates, two serving bowls, and two platters all for €10) plus some tablecloths, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and an art book (that cost as much as the pottery). Now I need to find some solid blue dinner plates to go with the pottery; then we can ditch our old, very chipped Corning plates.

On the way home we stopped at a boulangerie to get bread. I also picked up two little quiches (one leeks, the other lardons) for a quick dinner since we were supposed to go out for a bat-watching trip this evening. The weather was not promising, so we skipped the bat outing that we'd planned to attend. We had a simple dinner of carrot sticks, some St Maure with the delicious bread I brought home, and some chocolate roses for dessert.

Sunday/4-Sep-11: Pizza tonight. A sauce of roasted red bell peppers from a jar. Grilled eggplant and zucchini. Mozzarella and goat cheese. Basil from the garden. Yum. Ed ate two quarters, leaving the leftovers in an awkward situation.

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

Monday, August 22, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/22-Aug-11: No bread in house. Made the old standard Authentic French Bread (Magic, p22, but out of head) on Rapid this morning, in time for Ed's breakfast.
Another oppressive day, maybe not as hot, but still very uncomfortable. Storm is forecast for tonight, with 85km/h winds. I'd meant to make pasta for tonight's dinner, but ended up taking a nap instead.

Dinner was Tagliatelles au saumon et à la vodka (VPQ mag, soon to be MC), wherein we showed I really wasn't paying attention. I measured out ten times too much vodka (it's those centiliters and deciliters again) and then it was jenever not vodka (Ed keeps both in the freezer). I had to boil off the alcohol. And the recipe asked for an enormous amount of parmesan, which I duly grated, but ended up putting some in the fridge. The dish was still good, and I'll make it again before long. Served with some mâche and the rest of the Zucchini and Lemon Salad, which kept pretty well.

Tuesday/23-Aug-11: Ate lunch in La Rochefoucauld today. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Wednesday/24-Aug-11: Dinner was a half recipe of Angel Hair with Zucchini and Breadcrumbs, a recipe from the web from a Nava Atlas cookbook I don't have. No angel hair, and not even enough spaghettini, which is my usual stringy pasta, but regular spaghetti worked OK. Quite a nice recipe, easy and fast. Then a salad with avocado and mixed lettuces. Then the end of two ice creams and some raspberries.

Yogurt on overnight (which should have been overday, so there'll be no breakfast yogurt tomorrow).

Thursday/25-Aug-11: Bought lamb at the store yesterday, but didn't feel like cooking either of the lamby things I'd planned. Instead I made an old TNT recipe, Lamb Vindaloo (Q&E, p33), really simple and really tasty. The only problem with this recipe is that it uses more than a pound of meat and we always eat all of it, where it should serve 3 or even 4, so we're well ahead on our protein right now. Accompanied by some plain basmati rice and Zucchini in a Yogurt Dressing (SpiceKitch, p58), another old favorite. Tasty stuff all.

Friday/26-Aug-11: Leftovers tonight. I made up a double dose of spaetzle (MW@Home, p203), twice what I would make to serve it as a side. Then I sautéed some onions and garlic, added some, yes, some zucchini and a splash of white wine, and steam/sautéed until the zuke was getting soft. Added the leftover chicken and sauce, then stretched the sauce a bit. All served over spaetzle. Not bad.

Saturday/27-Aug-11: Found a 1.5kg/3#5oz zucchini in the garden. Yes, we didn't go out to look yesterday (it was raining and we were away a lot of the day), but how can it have gotten so big in two days? Put 9 cups of grated zucchini in the freezer from this single zuke after making:

  • Zucchini Bread (MC 2BTried). Not bad. Surprisingly dark in color.
  • Zucchini-Lemon Muffins (MC 2BTried). Maybe like these better. Interestingly flavored with lemon peel and (not too much) nutmeg.
Inspired by the first of these recipes, I came up with a new "technique" for making these quickbread things. In a biggish bowl, whisk the eggs a bit and add any liquids (milk, oil, etc.) plus the sugar. Stir in the shredded zucchini, if that's part of the recipe. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, spices, leavening, etc.) onto a plate or a piece of waxed paper. Stir the dry stuff into the wet. Stir in raisins and nuts if using. Pour into pans and bake. Because the leavening isn't mixed with the wet stuff until just before you're ready to bake, this is a good approach for serial baking.

The giant globe zucchini (over 2#) that Ed found hiding at the back of the squash patch a few days ago seems to think it's a winter squash rather than a summer one. Its rind is turning orangeish and is quite hard. Maybe I'll call it a pumpkin and make soup or something. Or just admire it.

Also zapped up some Cilantro-Jalapeno Dip (Hagler, p13), using a chunk of the cilantro that Yvonne brought me. Put it in the fridge for a snack one of these days. Can't think the tofu would well. Unfortunately, I left it too long to chop up the rest and freeze. Bad me.

Collected some zucchini/courgette flowers this morning and made a half dose of Tagliatelle with Zucchini Flower Pistou (from Serious Eats) for dinner. Served with fresh pasta, topped with Parmesan. Yum. Then a simple salad. No dessert needed with all the zucchini bread and muffins around.

Sunday/28-Aug-11: Yogurt on overday. Lunch with Mike and Sally before a concert at the church in their town. Old standard Authentic French Bread (Magic, p22, but out of head) on overnight.

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/15-Aug-11: Nothing happening in the kitchen today since we attended a méchoui and ate our fill of spit-roasted lamb.

Tuesday/16-Aug-11: A cute little female mouse was in the live-trap this morning. Ed released it at the bottom of the South Forty. We'll see if she makes it back.

In the morning, I went up to help with the clean-up of the Mazerolles fête and stayed for lunch of leftovers and omelettes. Can't even think of further food. Ed ate the leftover Zucchini and Eggplant with Pork over rice.

Yogurt on overnight. English Muffin Bread (BigGerman, p15) on overnight.

Wednesday/17-Aug-11: Dinner was a half dose of Ziti with Mushrooms in a Marsala Cream Sauce (KnowHow, p245). First thing I've made from this book, pretty good. I used some mushroom-flavored trumpet-shaped pasta instead of ziti. Served with sautéed zucchiniwith some lemon juice and shredded basil tossed in right at the end. And a simple salad of shredded carrot with a lemon vinaigrette. (All the lettuce in-house was well-past its use-by date and got tossed.)

Thursday/18-Aug-11: Shopping this afternoon.

Made some Zucchini Drop Cookies (TooMany, p212). My my good. We ate enough that I had to jettison dinner plans and we just ate a big salad of mâche and roquette with more zucchini and Asian Dressing (MDSalads, p61). Now I have to think about recombobbling the plan to use what I bought today.

Friday/19-Aug-11: Hot day today, hotter coming. Dinner was a very nice summery salad, collected from the web, Green Goddess Pasta Salad with Herbed Scallops (soon to be MC). For two, it asked for 6 sea scallops, 3/4-1#; I had 400g, which were 16 altogether, and they were the little ones. Sea scallops must be huge. Anyway it was good. Some reblochon for after.

Saturday/20-Aug-11: And hotter today; overnight will be 24C/75F outside if we're lucky. Inside is hotter. The reserve of cool in the stones seems to have been exhausted.

Sophie was out all night, meaning neither of us slept very well. I called from two doors about 4am to no avail. At 7am, she zoomed in the terrace door, eager for dinner/breakfast. She was out for a while today, but came in early and hasn't asked to go back out.

Only one zucchini harvested today. Plus some cherry tomatoes. There are lots of bigger tomatoes that will be ripening in a couple of days. Another bumper crop to harvest. One ear of corn doesn't feel very substantial. The haricots verts and favas that I planted between the tomatoes, following a suggestion in some magazine or another, are buried by tomato plants, which are quite lush.

Dinner was, surprise, stuffed zucchini, using some cooked shrimp from the freezer and some leftover brown rice. Ok, and helped by jalapeño tabasco or sriracha, depending on the plate. Some frozen fruit juice "popsicles" for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/21-Aug-11: Hot overnight and hot, hot, hot overday. And I had a thawed chicken to cook.

For a starter there was Zucchini and Lemon Salad (GreeneGreens, p400). No red bell pepper in house, so I used roasted ones from a jar. Picked some big cherry tomatoes and used those. Thinly slicing a peeled lemon was challenging. Altogether a nice salad that would make a good starter for company since it can be done ahead.

Then Weeknight Roast Chicken (CI mag, sep/oct11). This was good enough, but maybe more trouble than it was worth. And certainly not in the range of what I call weeknight (i.e., meal on the table in 30 minutes), since the chicken takes about an hour and a half to be ready. Served with garlic smashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. No dessert needed.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: no, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: not yet

Monday, August 8, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/8-Aug-11: I pigged out on cantuccini today. The scale will tell the tale tomorrow morning.

Leftover pizza for dinner (yum). Not much else happening.

Tuesday/9-Aug-11: Off to Poitiers for a movie today. Lunched there beforehand. Nothing happening in the kitchen.

Finished reading Cooking Know-How, by Bruce Weinstein, on the way. Intended for beginning cooks, no doubt, but I still used quite a few stickies and have added a few recipes to the ToDo list.. He takes a type of recipe (e.g., pasta with cream sauce), explains the steps well (the whys and hows), then gives a table showing variations on the theme. Very well done.

Wednesday/10-Aug-11: Yogurt on overday, Shopped this a.m.

Made a batch of Guiliano Hazan's Homemade Sausage (30MinPasta, p161) for the freezer.

For dinner, I sautéed a panga filet; coated with bread crumbs, parmesan, and herbs; and topped with the last of Ed Giobbi's Sweet Red Pepper Sauce. The leftover zucchini/rice/feta casserole alongside. And some broccoli and mushrooms. Then a bit of cheese. Then some berries and some scrapings of ice cream on a toasted waffle.

Thursday/11-Aug-11: Half recipe of Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Strips with Sesame Spinach (collected from EAT-L). Skewered the chicken and grilled under the broiler. Used arugula instead of spinach, and didn't wilt it. Pretty tasty altogether. Served with some corn on the cob that I found at Intermarché this afternoon. Berries and ice cream for dessert.

Friday/12-Aug-11: Came home from pètanque and made a guacamole snack with two avocados needing to be used up.

For dinner, I made Zucchini and Eggplant with Pork (MC), which says it serves 2-3, but looked more like 3-4 to me. And I didn't feel like eating at all, so just sipped a digestif while Ed ate.

Saturday/13-Aug-11: Made the sauce for Buttermilk Ice Cream (MC).

Dinner was Fettuccine with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic (Essential, p335). Very yum to me; Ed's not such a lemon fan, but liked it still. Then a salad. Then the end of the pave affinois.

After a couple of low-harvest days and a no-zucchini day, we just picked seven pounds.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/14-Aug-11: What a gloomy, gray,drippy day it was today! Hope nothing needed picking in the potager, because it didn't get done.

Found evidence that the droppings I've been finding on shelves are a very discriminating mouse, who prefers Figalous to all the other cookies, sugar, flour, dried fruit, etc., in the room. Have set a live trap and maybe it will catch the little booger.

Dinner was Zucchini Pancakes (Q&EVeg, p220). I used the biggest zuke we collected yesterday to make about 1.5 recipe, thinking I'd have some from the freezer. Not. Served with the thyme and rosemary version of the pyramid goat cheese. Yum. For dessert I froze the buttermilk ice cream and served with blueberries.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: no, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: not yet (but almost)

Monday, August 1, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/1-Aug-11: Off to a quiz tonight. Bread on overnight.

Tuesday/2-Aug-11: Shopping today. Dinner was Tequila-Glazed Grilled Chicken Thighs (CL/jun11, soon to be MC); quite good, but the recipe recommended on thigh per person which seems quite skimpy. We had two each, and some grilled zucchini, and some trio rice. Meant to bbq, but thunderstorms at dinnertime meant the broiler was called into the breach. For dessert we finished off the lemon sherbert with some chopped pineapple (needed the juice for the chicken glaze).

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/3-Aug-11: Dinner was a half dose of Shrimp and Arugula Salad (another CL/jun11, soon to be MC). Well, it wasn't arugula after all. My box was out of date and looked OK through the plastic, but when I opened it, I found it was smelly and slimy and not something I wanted to deal with. So a bit of mesclun it was instead. Supposed to be a 20-minute dinner, and might be if you didn't have to peel those shrimps. What a tedious job, and I've done it twice lately. Anyhow, the salad was good. Then a bit of chaource. Then a skillet upside-down cake with the pineapple left from yesterday's tequila marinade. I scaled the recipe down from Joy and it turned out quite well.

Thursday/4-Aug-11: Made 2 liters/quarts of curried zucchini soup as a first step in dealing with the zucchini surplus. Loosely followed a recipe from the web. The interesting thing about this particular recipe was that it included chopped apple for a touch of sweet in the curry.

Dinner was a pizza with, yes, grilled zucchini.First spread with pyramid goat cheese mixed with minced garlic, then some of Ed Giobbi's Sweet Red Pepper Sauce for Pasta (from the freezer), then the zucchini, chopped artichoke bottoms (also from the freezer), sliced mushrooms, chopped black olives, sliced mozzarella, and a sprinkling of oregano and lemon basil leaves. For dessert, a toasted waffle with blueberries and crème fraîche.

Friday/5-Aug-11: Made zucchini garlic soup today, this one with a bit of powdered ginger added for zip. Into the freezer.

Dinner was Zucchini and Feta Gratin (MC) followed by a salad. And the end of the pineapple upside down cake.

Saturday/6-Aug-11: A bit of a lazy day today. Intended to do some baking, but never found my round tuit.

Dinner started with Curried Green Pea Soup (TooMany, p155), a very old favorite. This time I used the new (heavy) cream that's been at LeClerc, but it actually seemed a bit too creamy. Next time I might try some milk with a bit of crème fraîche for richness. Then there were Zucchini and Chickpea Pancakes (MC), which we liked before and Ed liked this time, but didn't suit me as well. Served with a sauce of buzzed together crème fraîche, mango chutney, and cayenne. Some mini charlottes with red fruits (defrosted) for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/7-Aug-11: Spent the afternoon in the kitchen today. Finally made cantuccini, a longtime want-to-do project. Used a recipe that a friend got in an Italian cooking class. They're easy to make and pretty tasty, but a bit messy looking and not brown enough. Although I measured the flour carefully, there just wasn't enough to make a "soft dough". I added a bit more, but ended up scooping the dough onto the cookie sheet, rather than make worstjes. No problem, they'll get eaten.

Then I made some Chocolate Zucchini Bread (collected a while ago). Good stuff. And, hooray, no zucchinis needed to be picked today, but there are at least two tomorrow.

Dinner was No-Butter Chicken (soon to be MC), a recipe from the web. Low-fat Indian! Easy easy and it tasted good. Served with Zucchini in a Yogurt Dressing (SpiceKitch, p58) and plain basmati rice. No kulfi, so some ice cream with chocolate zucchini bread for dessert.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: yes, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: not yet