Monday, August 27, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/27-Aug-12: Pizza round 2, a loose interpretation of Chicken and Herb White Pizza (CL/oct11), using the store-bought pizza and turkey (still from Thanksgiving!). It was OK. Ed says my homemade pizza crust is tastier, if thicker, more like foccacia really. A bit of Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding for afters.

Tuesday/28-Aug-12: A neighbor brought a bowlful of plums. Made some Plum Amaretto Jam (SmallBatch, p50) and still have a quart or more or mirabelles left. Tomorrow maybe.

Pizza round 3. Ed didn't say "lunchtime" till 15.30, which would have made dinner way too late. So I popped the leftover pizza in the oven and we had that for whatever meal you call it at 16.00. Later we had some fruit.

Wednesday/29-Aug-12: Shopping today, pretty much following the list. Froze up the Vanilla Ice Milk (MC); I'd cut this recipe back by a quarter, but it was still a bit too much for my freezer.

Dinner was a half dose of Zucchini Rice Casserole (web, cookbooker), good but a long time in the cooking (nothing difficult, just time in the oven). Beforehand we had some "toasts" with chive Boursin topped with smoked salmon. Followed by a salad. Then we finished off the Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding.

Thursday/30-Aug-12: Had our main meal at lunch today, a half dose of Cashew Salmon with Apricot Couscous (web), very good. Would be a nice company meal probably. Then a salad. And then chocolate mini Magnums for an easy dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/31-Aug-12: After the little bit of rain, the squash plants are blooming like mad. The day turned into a kitchen day somehow.

Roasted another pair of beets from the garden. Made some Marinated Zucchini Sticks (Goldbeck, p67), which turned out to be pretty good, although we really didn't need them in the end. Then made again Chocolate Zucchini Cake (TooMany, p215). Used most of the Chinese cabbage I bought for Mama's Garlic Coleslaw (MC), which is a very nice coleslaw. Then there were Savory Grilled Potatoes (MC), which I did in the toaster oven rather than on the grill. The main was grilled kip filets with Chipotle-Sage Dry Rub (HC); a tasty rub, have a bit in the freezer now. Fridge is full of leftovers too.

Sally came for dinner after visiting Mike in the hospital. He may get out on Sunday after more than a week. Sent her home with some Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

Saturday/1-Sep-12: One of my weekly cleaning tasks is to "deep-clean" three shelves, i.e., all the books off each shelf, dust or vacuum, dust the books and replace them, considering if there are any candidates for recycling. Today I'm back to the beginning! The goal was to go all the way around in a year, but I think it's been a bit quicker, so maybe I need to slow down my pace.

Finished off the Zucchini Rice Casserole and Mama's Garlic Coleslaw for dinner. No dessert since we had Chocolate Zucchini Cake after lunch.

Sunday/2-Sep-12: Sort of ate our main meal at lunch today, two of us split one three-course meal at a vide grenier. In the evening, we had a big salad with some cooked chicken. And some Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 BREAD: no, #3 SOUP: no, #4 MIDDAY: yes, #5 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #6 PASTA: yes for Aug, no for Sep

Monday, August 20, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/20-Aug-12: The stone walls of the house have finally lost their cool. Even my cool reading corner is hot, i.e., inside temperature is 27C/80F. Thank goodness for the new a/c even if it's noisy.

Broke down and defrosted the big freezer this morning in preparation for the Toupargel delivery. Which was mostly shrimp and fruit and a stash of crèmes brulées. The freezer is stuffed, what with all the bakjes of zucchini soup variations.

Meals I've planned for the next days involve baking (what was wrong with me?), so we're off the plan for the next few days. Today we started with a munchie of smoked salmon on chive Boursin on "toasts", which are mini slices of bread, rather hard to find at the store in this non-holiday season. From the freezer there was the last part of the sauce for Fusilli with Cabbage and Tomato from February, this time with fusilli. I made more of the Zucchini and Feta Salad (WorldVeg, p640), although we didn't really need it in the end. Half went into the fridge. For dessert there was ice cream and mango slices.

Tuesday/21-Aug-12: Still hot. Had our main meal at lunch. We'd planned an early evening outing, but gave it up because it's just too hot to think about such a thing.

Lunch was Zucchini and Chickpea Tagine (web), a half recipe with all the spices. Served over couscous. Yum! Instead of dinner we had ice cream with (defrosted) mixed berries. Supposed to be cooler tomorrow, under 30C, but it will be a long time I fear before the house loses its heat.

Buckwheat Bread (BigGerman, p38) on overnight.

Wednesday/22-Aug-12: Visited Emmaüs today to take some giveaway household stuff and clothing. Still looking for a kitchen table; no luck this visit. There's an organic food stand at the entrance; I bought two giant tomatoes, totalling over 2 kilos! Tomorrow I'll see them and make some tomato sauce for the freezer, since it doesn't look like we're going to get enough to do that. Zucchini seemed to have slowed down a bit (we've stopped watering), but the fridge is still full of them.

Shopping today. Not much off-piste buying.

Dinner was Grilled Salmon and Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce (web). I've made similar sauces, but this one included tomatoes (cherry toms really, but I used bigger ones from the garden) and toasted, sliced almonds. The zucchini is grilled also, then sliced and tossed with most of the sauce. Good stuff. Served with trio rice and a big salad. Some double chocolate mini Magnums for dessert.

Thursday/23-Aug-12: The giant tomatoes I bought yesterday made 3 cups of tomato sauce. This really isn't proper tomato sauce, but just tomatoes cooked down and puréed. Good though.

Dinner was Warm Broccoli and Potato Salad (MDSalads, p15), a old favorite. Usually we manage to eat it all, but not tonight. Still too hot.

Friday/24-Aug-12: Lunched today in La Rochefoucauld. Only fruit for dinner.

Saturday/25-Aug-12: Pizza for dinner, with grilled eggplant and zucchini (surprise!), roasted red bell pepper pizza sauce from the freezer, pyramid goat cheese, chopped mozzarella balls, black olives, etc. Not the best every, but not bad.

Sunday/26-Aug-12: This morning I realized that I was supposed to use the boughten pizza dough, rather than a home-made one. Oops. Looks like we'll be having pizza again shortly.

Made the "broth" for some Vanilla Ice Milk to freeze tomorrow, part of a quest to use up an abundance of milk. The other half of the effort was a half dose of Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding, a recipe collected long ago from EAT-L.

Dinner was Coriander Meat Balls with Yoghurt (web), which wasn't bad. I had about 25% extra cooked lamb, so adjusted accordingly. The meatballs could have used some zing, maybe some red pepper flakes or cayenne. Instead of frying tiny meatballs, I made them a bit bigger and baked them in my mini muffin pan. (And burnt the s*** out of my arm getting it into the oven. I'd forgotten that it's so big it has to ride the rails like a separate shelf.) Served with rice and a salad of home-grown tomatoes with basil and a bit of feta. And a dab of Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding for dessert, very chocolatey with cocoa and 85% chocolate.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: no, #2 BREAD: yes, #3 SOUP: no, #4 MIDDAY: yes, #5 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #6 PASTA: yes

Monday, August 13, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/13-Aug-12: Dinner was Spicy-Sweet Glazed Shrimp (web) which was essentially grilled shrimp basted with a sauce of sriracha and honey (approximately 1:2). Since sriracha is pretty sweet in itself, this turned out to be a  nice combination, that could be used on chicken or other meat. For a salad, I started with a recipe with roasted beet, green beans, and onion. The beet was already roasted. I roasted up the last of the neighbor's green beans (still have some of the yellow ones left), then some onion, and then a couple of mushrooms that were wanting to be used up. Tossed this with a splash of balsamic vinegar, then topped with some crumbled blue cheese (also need to be used), and the beets. Surprisingly, the beets were the bit that didn't fit in, so we both ate these separately. Good try, though. All alongside some polenta. For dessert, the last of a bit of Raspberry Sorbet topped with some mixed berries.

Tuesday/14-Aug-12: Dinner was Fresh Linguine with Garlic, Herbs, and Goat Cheese (web). "Herbs" it says, but there's only tarragon. And there was no fresh tarragon in the store, so I used dry. Tasted fine. I put a stickie on the cutter box to help me remember to try rolling only to 5 (rather than 6) before cutting. This cutter makes pairs of strands that aren't really separate, so you waste a lot of time pulling them apart. Maybe if the dough is thicker, it would cut better? Then a salad. And some mini-Magnums for dessert.

Wednesday/15-Aug-12: We ate at the commune's fête this evening. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Thursday/16-Aug-12: Shopped today. Not too much off piste buying. Dinner was a half dose of Baked Flounder (Essential, p401), with plaice instead of flounder, because that's what there was. This was good, but surprisingly bland; improved at the table with more salt. Served with a rice pilaf and (sort of) Green Beans with Ginger and Garlic (Essential, p260). For dessert there was Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf (web), quite a nice thing, although my blueberries mostly sank in spite of being floured.

A whole day passed with no zucchinis eaten or otherwise used. The pile is getting bigger. Next year, only one plant, we've agreed.

Friday/17-Aug-12: Busy day in the kitchen. Yogurt on overday. Oven-Roasted Tomatoes and beets a-roasting. Chicken stock a-simmering. Apple butter a-bubbling.

Dinner was Red Lentils with Zucchini (WorldVeg, p70). Pretty good stuff. Made a whole recipe and froze half. Served with rice and Carrot "Raita" (WorldVeg, p547), which was also good, a change from the recipe I usually use, slightly sweet because of the carrots.

Kip filets for Chicken Tikka marinating overnight.

Saturday/18-Aug-12: Two Indian nights in a row could be considered poor planning. Tonight we had some pretty good Chicken Tikka, an old recipe from my 2BTried cookbook (which I seem to have collected twice, since I found the same recipe, differently edited, in my Keepers cookbook). Did it under the broiler since it was really too hot to crank up the bbq. Used the last four filo sheets (these kept surprisingly well, back in the packaging in a ziploc in the fridge) to make Potato and Pea Samosas using the same recipe I used in February, but with half the potatoes, peas, and onions, and all the spices. The cook got to munch a bit of leftover filling, naughty. There was Fresh Green Chutney (Q&E, p113) as a go-with. I used up the neighbor's yellow green beans and the end of a sack of frozen green beans to make Tangy Green Beans with Ajwain and Ginger (SpiceKitch, p38), which is my go-to recipe when I need something colorful to brighten up a monotone Indian meal. No dessert at all, since we piggily finished off the Blueberry Yogurt Loaf at lunchtime.

Sunday/19-Aug-12: Authentic French Bread on this morning. Yogurt on overday.

Soup day. Batch #1: Friday's chicken stock and three globe zucchini became Zucchini Soup with Pasta (SoupBible, p33). I blended this up rather than leaving the zuke and onion in pieces. Pasta will get added when it's defrosted. Batch #2: Stock from the freezer plus one big regular zucchini became Cream of Zucchini and Carrot Soup (IsItSoup, p92). This needed cream cheese and I just happened to have some in the fridge waiting to be used up. (Only in the last couple of months have I see Philadelphia cream cheese at Leclerc. And a good thing because what I was using instead just wasn't as good. In NL, Philadelphia cream cheese has been available for quite a while as well as a decent substitute.)

Dinner was Middle Eastern Chickpea Platter (web), a really nice summer meal ready in about 20 minutes. Sautéed eggplant and garlic mixed with beans and parsley and a dressing of tahini, lemon juice and water. Served on a platter with tomato slices (deseeded), red onion slices, feta, and black olives. Just the thing for a hot night.

Just when I was congratulating myself on making a big dent in the zucchini population, we picked on huge and one regular of the straight ones. There are three globe ones growing. Sigh.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 BREAD: yes, #3 SOUP: no, #4 MIDDAY: no, #5 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #6 PASTA: yes

Monday, August 6, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/6-Aug-12: Made up the broth for Zucchini-Lemon Sorbet (web). It's a pretty green color (not yellow like the pic on the site). I used one globe squash, 350g after it was seeded. Reduced sugar to 1/2 cup (sucre de canne). The lickin's tasted pretty good. We'll see.

Finished off the Zucchini and Feta Salad and the Herbal Potato Salad for lunch.

Off piste already for dinner—just didn't feel like making or eating a filo tarte/pie, no matter how tasty. So I cooked some rice and defrosted a smoked sausage to make a stuffing for a pair of globe zucchinis  We started with Lamb's Lettuce and Beetroot (Salade de Mâche aux Betteraves) (BEFCC, p32), which is one of our favorite salads. Then we had our stuffed zucchinis, surrounded by a bit of tagliatelle tossed with cilantro pesto. Most everything from the freezer. Didn't feel like dessert. 

Tuesday/7-Aug-12: Froze up the Zucchini-Lemon Sorbet—sample tasted pretty darn good!

A mishmash of a dinner, although it was pretty, quite colorful. Ed grilled some saucisses de volaille, poultry sausages, along with some slices off an enormous zucchini (one that hid out during a rainy spell and ended up bigger than Ed's forearm). I sliced up the last roasted beet and topped it with a bit of yesterday's dressing. Used some of the neighbor's giveaway beans to make Haricots Verts in Walnut Oil (Lunch, p216), but with yellow beans rather than green ... haricots jaunes, perhaps? Thought it would be pretty to combine the yellow and green, but the green ones seemed mostly thicker, so didn't think the cooking times would work right. Tarted up the bit of rice leftover from yesterday with some onion, radishes, cuke, green bell pepper, and some of the leftover dressing from the potato salad. For afters we had a bit of the hard goat cheese crottin Ed got at the marché de producteurs. Then a bit of the Zucchini Ice Cream.

Wednesday/8-Aug-12: Yogurt on overday. We didn't get shopping today, waiting for a DHL delivery, which really was early enough to go afterwards, but we weren't organized. So dinner plans went awry and I really didn't feel like making anything at all. We ended up with a variation on Meat and Chickpea Curry, which is one of those recipes that gets pulled out when nothing else appeals. Used the penultimate bit of last Thanksgiving's turkey from the freezer.

Thursday/9-Aug-12: Shopping today. Roasted three more beets from the garden.

Dinner was a half recipe of Warm & Spicy Fish Salad (PatSalads, p95). Pretty good stuff, and easy. I thought the rub for the fish was a bit too salty and the salad dressing needed a bit of salt. Ed disagreed, so who's to tell.  Served with Marinated Zucchini, which is a recipe I've had forever, probably one of the first things I ever cooked for Ed. The recipe calls for cottage cheese with chives, which is decidedly not to be found here. (In NL, there was some lovely cottage cheese, German, I think, that I still buy when we visit to eat for breakfast. Here I once found some cottage cheese in an "English" section, but it was horrible.) I used Boursin with chives instead. Worked pretty well.

Friday/10-Aug-12: Busy in the kitchen today. Used most of the defrosted filo to make Viennese Fillo Apple Strudel (filo recipe pamphlet), which was pretty tasty. Again made the broth for Zucchini-Lemon Sorbet (web), and froze it in the evening. Made about 50% more than last time, just to use up the big zuke. Had a dab for dessert. Ed thought it was too sour; I thought it was good. Hmm... Also again made up the broth for Zucchini Ice Cream (web), this time puréeing the mixture. Used half the cinnamon; we'll see how that goes.

Dinner was Spinach, Zucchini, Feta, and Walnut Quina with Salmon (web). Interesting collection of tastes. Ed liked it better than I did. We ate the whole thing, but it would have easily served three. As a starter, it would serve something like eight probably.

Saturday/11-Aug-12: Dinner started with a little salad of sliced, roasted beet from the garden, avocado, and red onion, topped with the last of the beet dressing. The main was Cold Zucchini and Corn Soup (Soup4Seas, p90), more or less. For the final step, as I was heating the olive oil to sauté the last of the zucchini slices, I took the lid off the cooled soup and dumped the zuke bits in there rather than into the oil. Oops. Soup with raw squash. Not bad actually, although it would be better with slightly softer squash.

Froze up the Zucchini Ice Cream after the concert. Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/12-Aug-12: More Cold Zucchini and Corn Soup for lunch. Keeps well.

Dinner was off piste again. Made some chili with some frozen pork and barley I made for something else. Turned out pretty good. For dessert, we finished off the first batch of Zucchini Ice Cream, then (for comparison only, of course) the extra little bit of the second batch that didn't fit in the dish I froze it in. The second batch is much tastier, but not as creamy, maybe because the bucket wasn't cold enough. Just have to try again.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 BREAD: no, #3 SOUP: yes, #4 MIDDAY: no, #5 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #6 PASTA: no