Monday, October 31, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/31-Oct-11: We forgot to get bread while we were out yesterday, so I made some Authentic French Bread (Magic, p22, but out of head) on Rapid this morning, so we'd have bread for lunch. Then I made sandwiches of the leftover Mediterranean chicken burgers, with mango chutney and slices of cucumber. Not too bad.

Dinner was a half dose of Pork Chops with Hot Garlic Sauce (MC), grilled on the stove. Tasty. With some polenta and some roasted broccoli with garlic and a few slow-roasted tomatoes.

Tuesday/1-Nov-11: Some replanning involved for today. Most restaurants are closed on Tuesday, so we had our anniversary lunch out on Sunday. I thought I'd make some lamb cutlets with quince jelly glaze for a special dinner, but remembered I've got crockpot lamb vindaloo on for tomorrow, so did a replan. Made an interesting menu I found on the web, but discovered this evening that I made the wrong main course, which explains why the menu was so unbalanced. Will have to repeat the sides with the recommended main course before too long.

So, dinner was Ancho Chile, Shrimp, and Pasta (SimplyRecipes), a very tasty and quick main course. I served it with a couscous pilaf (totally useless because of the pasta, but the leftovers will make a nice salad one of these nights) and North African Spiced Carrots (EatingWell), which were very tasty. Some tiramisu from the freezer for dessert.

Put the lamb for tomorrow's vindaloo on to marinate overnight.

Wednesday/2-Nov-11: Yogurt on overday in the yogurt maker. Lamb Vindaloo (R&WSlowCook, p112, cookbooker) on overday in the crockpot. When we got back from the zoo, I boiled off the extra liquid from the vindaloo while the rice cooked. Pretty good, although nowhere need as hot as vindaloo should be. For dessert there was toasted Belgian waffle topped with defrosted raspberries and some raspberry sherbet.

Thursday/3-Nov-11: Cupboard is getting bare. Shopped early last week and late this week.

Dinner was Spaghetti Carbonara with a Poached Egg (MC), followed by a salad. Simple and tasty.

Friday/4-Nov-11: Shopped this morning.Dinner at our local quiz tonight (where we wiped out the competition), so nothing happened in the kitchen.

Saturday/5-Nov-11: Nice dinner tonight. Started with a little salad made from the leftover couscous gussied up. Then Coquilles à la Florentine (MC 2BTried), which apparently came from Cooking Light a long time ago. Quite nice, although a bit of the instructions seems to have gotten lost at some point; all the online versions I've found have the same problem. Is the sauce under, over, or mixed with the spinach and scallops? Accompanied by some orzo, a trifle too lemony tonight. Then a big salad.

Ended up with Pear Clafoutis (H2CE, p642, cookbooker). Very nice this was. Comice pears.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/6-Nov-11: Working on my preserved lemon stash, dinner was Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons (NAfrica, p61). Turns out that I made this before (in July), but didn't mark the book at all and managed to keep the page spotless. It was good again. Served with couscous and a repeat of the North African Spiced Carrots. Pear clafoutis for dessert.

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

Monday, October 24, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/24-Oct-11: Last week at Leclerc they had one-portion Alsacian choucroûte dinners to be reaheated in your microwave or in a bain marie. Each included zuurkool, a long skinny worst, a short fat worst, some slices of what looked like gekookt worst, and a slice of what looked like casselerrib, plus a small boiled potato. I bought some extra potatoes and made a Dutch stamppot this evening. Rather nice on what turned into a cold, rainy evening. Maybe I've noticed this before, but I think I prefer the Dutch sauerkraut; can't really say what the difference is, but somehow tastier. Have leftover potatoes and zuurkool, maybe for tomorrow.

Tuesday/25-Oct-11: Shopping today between various appointments in La Rochefoucauld. This weeks's choucroûte dinners n offer were not as nice as what I got last week, so we felt good about that impulse buy. During lots of waiting time, sitting in the car, I read through Made in Texas: H-E-B's 100th Anniversary Cookbook, a fun read. Tagged some recipes to try. I wish there had been more pictures of some of the old stores. I have found memories of the "pointed" HEB
on McCullough near my grandparents house in San Antonio. Long gone.

Dinner was Pork Chops in Mustard Sauce (MC), accompanied by the leftover potato-zuurkool mush, and followed by Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Pine Nuts, Feta, Basil, and Lemon (MC), made recently as a main. The sauce was actually a honey-mustard sauce. I used the Charente honey of flowers than I bought at a market recently. Flowers indeed. Even after the carton was closed, I keep looking for the source of the flowery perfume odor. Lovely.

Wednesday/26-Oct-11: Yogurt on overday. Oven-roasted tomatoes on overday.

Went to make dinner and discovered that the contents of my lovely box of mushrooms was covered by a dense white fur. Oops, no mushroom stroganoff for dinner tonight. Since I was already munching a bit of a sausage/salami I'd bought on sale, dinner became, more or less, Spaghetti with Salami and Peas (365Pasta, p55), a recipe we've had a number of times. Pretty good for last minute what not. Then a salad. Not as early as I'd like, but not too bad.

Thursday/27-Oct-11: Made pasta today, vaguely following the recipe for Mushroom Pasta Dough (PastaBible, p47). Second time I've made this, not really following the recipe closely. I soaked the dried 'shrooms rather than grinding them dry; used shiitakes instead of porcini/cêpes; omitted the extra egg yolk and 1tbl of olive oil; used 1 cup tipo 00 flour and 1 cup all-purpose (instead of two of all-purpose). No extra water required. Froze half for another dinner.

Made a little sauce of olive oil, garlic, and pepper flakes. The gas canister for the stove ran out while the pasta was good. Very annoying, since I was leaving shortly and didn't have time to fool with it. But it got done eventually in the not quite boiling water. Tasty.

Followed by a salad using one of the beets I froze up. Worked fine. The beet was still a bit chilly, but should be better if I remember to get one out of the freezer an hour ahead of time.

Friday/28-Oct-11: Dinner was a half recipe of Penne with Green Vegetables and Goat Cheese (SeriousEats, soon to be MC). Very nice. The kind of thing I'd make up myself, although I'd not likely have combined broccoli, zucchini, and (frozen) peas.

What really happens to all the missing measuring spoons in the world? Do borrowers come to take them away? I used to have a glut of 1/2 tablespoon measures (a favorite, 1-1/2 teaspoons, an amount I seem to measure frequently); now I have only one. Where have the others gone? Not many 1 teaspoons either. May be time to break out another set before long.

Saturday/29-Oct-11: A mixed dinner tonight, Mediterranean Chicken Burgers (from the web) and a made-up side dish, vaguely Mediterranean, using the leftover shell pasta and ricotta. The burgers were tasty, more Indian than Mediterranean, but a bit dry. It called for 2 tablespoons of olive oil, I added only 1 tablespoon (with 3/4 of the meat asked), but I wonder if that really made a difference. Needed salt too.

The stuffed shells were good. I had 10 shells left from last week's dinner. Defrosted some ricotta pesto and spread that on the bottom of a dish that held all the shells. Sautéed some shallots, then garlic. First thought to steam some broccoli and chop it it, but decided to finish off last night's zucchini. In 1/4" cubes, sauteed too. Mixed with the leftover ricotta, a squeeze of lemon juice, some pine nuts, and S&P. Filled the shells. Grated on some Parmesan. Popped in the oven till for a bit till they were starting to brown a bit. Good side dish. Thought about starting with some lardons, but decided against that; would have been a bit to heavy perhaps. Thought about adding a bit of chopped tomato, maybe an oven-dried one or two, but was a bit lazy. That might have been OK. Pretty good stuff.

Finished my read through Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys this evening. Very enjoyable. Recipes from this get lots of good reviews, so I'm looking forward to trying some of them.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/30-Oct-11: Lunch out today. Nothing much happening in the kitchen.

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

Monday, October 17, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/17-Oct-11: Not sure what to do with the Cook the Books book this time around. I've started it, but set it aside for a bit and haven't had the interest to start again. Young woman made a bad marriage, early and clearly doomed from the start, stuck it out for twenty year or so, finally broke free, and got her own life. Should be inspiring, but isn't. Thinking I'd rather spent my reading time elsewhere perhaps.

Dinner was a half dose Zucchini Sauce for Pasta with Tomato, Parsley, and Chili Pepper (MarCuc, p161). Used what were probably the last of this year's zucchini from the garden and one of the last tomatoes. Pretty good and fast. Some bits of cheese for afters.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/18-Oct-11: Used the broccoli to made a quiche for dinner. Pie crust (pâte brisée) from the freezer. Oops, found goat cheese was moldy so used a pyramid cheese instead. And créme fraîche. And a bunch of oven-dried tomatoes from the freezer, sliced. Not half bad.

Some raspberry sherbet for desert.

Fridge is much happier after being defrosted.

Wood pellet heater installed today. Now we're trying to figure out how it works.

Wednesday/19-Oct-11: Shopped this afternoon. Cooked beets were on special, three 500g packages for next to nothing. The typical package usually has four beets, although it depends on their sizes. Once the package is opened, they seem get moldy fairly quickly, so we're lucky if we get three of them eaten. But there were not single packages available and they were cheap, so I went ahead and bought the set. I opened the unused packages, put the beets in individual sandwich bags and all those in one ziploc, and popped them in the freezer. No idea how they'll freeze. We'll see.

Dinner was disappointing. I intended to get it served early (we've been eating well after 8pm of late, which isn't healthy), but didn't manage somehow. Last week I found some tofu at a health food store, so tonight I made an old favorite, Tofu Cutlets (FastShulman, p131). Since the new stove has a proper broiler, I thought I'd try that rather than sautéing. But it didn't work very well. I followed Shulman's instructions to broil 5 minutes per side, but the first side was pretty black when I went to turn them over. Did only 3 minutes on the second side, but that was also too long. Nice idea, but ruined cutlets. Next time ... Froze the rest of the tofu.

Accompanied by a half recipe of Florentine Tomatoes (FastShulman, p171) and some rice pilaf. The tomatoes were pretty good, although there was lots of filling. This was especially good mixed with the rice.

Followed by a half recipe of Middle Eastern Beet Salad (FastShulman, p288), which was especially easy using already cooked beets. The spices are rather like ras el hanout, so I might try that next time. Added a pinch of cayenne too. Good.

Thursday/20-Oct-11: Dinner tonight was Greek Shrimp Scampi. Found this in my 2BTried MC cookbook, but, when I went to put it away, I discovered it was also in my Keepers cookbook. And I'd made twice before. Ha! Well, it was good again. Followed by a salad of mâche and the rest of last night's beet salad.

Friday/21-Oct-11: Dinner was Aubergine & Lemon Soup (Jamie, already MC). Very good stuff. It was supposed to make 4 servings (I was hoping to have another meal in the freezer), but there were only 3. For dessert I used some frozen blueberries to make Easy Berry Cobbler, which is indeed easy, and quite good for minimal effort.

We're working on eating meals at an earlier hour, having fallen into the habit of eating well after 8pm for several weeks now. Don't like going to bed with a full stomach.

Saturday/22-Oct-11: This evening we attended the wine festival at St. Sornin. A super occasion and we look forward already to next year. Nothing happened in the kitchen today.

Sunday/23-Oct-11: Had a goodly chunk of the remaining blueberry cobbler for breakfast. :-)

Dinner was Conchiglioni con ricotta e zucchine (soon to be MC, cookbooker), picked up from a blog, originally from Olive magazine, where it's know as Stuffed and Baked Ricotta Shells. (Kind of a dopey name, since the shells are regular pasta; the ricotta is only the filling.) Used some from this summer's frozen, shredded zucchini and tomato sauce. Good stuff! Followed by a big, simple salad.

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

Monday, October 10, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/10-Oct-11: The topic for tonight's Club Liseron meeting was pumpkins (i.e., winter squashes), so I baked a Pumpkin Cake (adapted from web, soon to be MC) to take along as part of the refreshments. And very good it was, with many requests for the recipe! The meeting wasn't especially well-attended, so I actually got to bring some home.

Dinner was leftover Indian Samosa Casserole, also good as leftovers. Made another dose of my regular raita (MJ1, p162) to go with it.

Tuesday/11-Oct-11: We finished the pumpkin cake off for breakfast, along with two small slices of chocolate cake leftover from someone else's meeting offering.

Today's big project was defrosting the fridge. It hasn't been cooling well (milk has spoiled) and we're hoping the problem was that it wanted defrosting. It's been acting strange for several months and I'm wondering if the last time I defrosted, which wasn't all that long ago, I did it too fast and there was still ice up the back of the fridge part. If it's not acting better in the next days, we may get to buy another one soon.

Found some old semi-sweet chocolate wanting to be used up and made Simply Special Brownies from the Hershey site. Iced them with the last of the cream cheese icing that didn't get used up for the pumpkin cake. Edible, but nothing special.

Dinner was Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Pine Nuts, Feta, Basil, and Lemon from somewhere on the web. Should have been a side dish or served over a bed of greens, but I served it with some pasta dressed with the last of the ricotta pesto I defrosted a couple of days ago.

Yogurt on overnight. While I was putting this together, Sophie, the nervy thing, jumped on the counter right in front of me. The chain reaction of getting her down resulted in yet another broken yogurt dish. We've broken three in the last three weeks, I think. Time to get down the box of spares.

Wednesday/12-Oct-11: Shopping this afternoon.

Dinner started with A Radish, Mint, and Feta Salad (Diaries, p194), which was a very nice salad, I thought. For a main we had Baked Fish, Greek Style (Ackart, p24), with halibut fillets. Instead of fresh (or canned) tomatoes, I used some oven-dried ones from the freezer; these worked fine. The fish was quite pretty served, topped with the red, white (onions), and green (parsley) sauce. With a side of trio rice. And brownies for dessert.

Thursday/13-Oct-11: Finished off the brownies mid-morning. Otherwise, stayed out of the kitchen today. Dinner was leftover rabbit, with some extra boiled potatoes added. (It reheated well.) Followed by a salad of mâche and arugula.

Friday/14-Oct-11: Dinner was Greek Zucchini Cakes (MC 2BTried). Tasty they were, but not very (pan)cake-y. I added extra flour and they still needed to be very thin to hold together at all. Not sure what to do with the recipe yet. Followed by a big salad.

Saturday/15-Oct-11: Off to Ile de Ré for our anniversary. Nothing on the kitchen.

Sunday/16-Oct-11: Gone fishin'.

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

Monday, October 3, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/3-Oct-11: Quiet in the kitchen all day. Off to a quiz tonight.

Tuesday/4-Oct-11: Two chicken carcasses (maybe one of them was a guinea hen) and some thigh bones made a whole lot of chicken stock. Which is good, because there's none in the freezer right now.

Attended a birthday dinner tonight, so no cooking here.

Wednesday/5-Oct-11: Boiled the chicken stock a bit this morning, then, froze up it up. Out of tupperwares for storing it. Shopped later.

Dinner was Barley, Broccoli, and Cannellini Bean Soup (MarCuc, p90), a yummy soup. I forgot how long barley takes to cook, so we ate a bit late, but this is definitely a do-again.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/6-Oct-11: Finished off the cookies from the freezer from last year's CookbooksEtc contest. (CookbooksEtc recently folded completely unexpectedly when the owner shut it down, not wanting to hand it over to someone else.) Edible, but would have been better with chocolate chips.

Dinner was leftover chicken. The bread layer was really tasty. That's worth doing any time you roast a chicken. Served with some shredded zucchini (from the freezer!), sautéed then tossed with a bit of (thawed) ricotta pesto.

Friday/7-Oct-11: Nothing on in the kitchen today. We had a big lunch before boules today, so no need to cook.

Saturday/8-Oct-11: A lazy kitchen day. Went to make rabbit for dinner and discovered it wanted to marinate all day. So it will wait till tomorrow. Instead there was Indian Samosa Casserole (web, soon to be MC, cookbooker), kind of a samosa pot pie. Quite good it was, and will do for another meal. Served with my usual raita, Yogurt with Cucumber and Mint (MJ1, p162) and some mango chutney.

Sunday/9-Oct-11: A busy morning in the kitchen.
  • Yogurt on overday.
  • Rabbit on to marinate for dinner. The package I bought said entier (whole), but it also said pré-découpé (pre-cut). I could see that cuts had been made in the back. (Not all the way through, actually, but a good start, and the cuts allowed the rabbit to fold up nicely in the package.) Entier really means whole, unfortunately. When I removed the wrapping, the head was hiding under the label. Hmm... And it was chock full of innards, no guts, but heart, lungs, kidneys, liver. Not all tidy in a paper sack. The animals may get some of of this bounty. Ed's boiling up the head; not sure why. (The vitreous humor solidified. Pogo and Sophie got the meat.)
  • And some of Ninfa's Spicy Pickled Carrots (web) underway. I thought I had some chiles de arbol in my stash, but I didn't; so I used moritas instead. We'll see how that goes. Yipes! I forgot to set the timer (or didn't hear it?) at one point, and it boiled pretty near dry. 
At the bread fair today, I got green beans and potatoes to accompany dinner. Munched on some pickled carrots (lekker pittig!) while I made our main course, Fricasseed Rabbit with Yellow or Red Peppers (MarCuc, p286, cookbooker), which turned out to be quite good, much better than the last time I cooked rabbit. Served with boiled potatoes and Haricots Verts in Walnut Oil (Lunch, p216).

I started Harlot's Sauce, the next Cook the Books selection. As far as I can see, there's only one recipe in the book. Do you suppose everyone is going to make spaghetti with salsa puttanesca?

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: no (or yes if you count eating out), #2 SOUP: yes!, #3 MIDDAY: yes (ate out)
This month: #4 PASTA: no