Monday, December 30, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Dec-13: Shopping today, in the afternoon instead of in the morning. It. Was. Full. But we did our business and went on our way, forgetting stuff for tomorrow night that we'll have to do without.

Dinner was Braised Salmon with Tomato, Cinnamon, and Black Mustard Seeds (web). I had a long half of the salmon but used most of the spices to make the sauce. We liked! Served with rice (Ed wanted more and more sauce) and Tangy Green Beans with Ajwain and Ginger (SpiceKitch, p38), which is a moldy oldy favorite. Finished with some St Felicien and the rest of the Delice de Poitou (which they were out of at the store today).

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/31-Dec-13: Hmm...the yogurt maker hadn't turned itself off when I got up. Maybe 2014 will call for a new one?

Made some Herb Salt (HandyBook, originally Art) in the afternoon.

Sneaking in that fresh pasta for December, there was Tagliatelle Verdi with Field Mushrooms (PastaCarluccio, p16) for dinner. First time I've ever made spinach tagliatelle. Probably didn't get the spinach puréed quite enough, but we bought liked the streaky effect. I rolled to 6, which Ed thought was ok, but I thought might have been better at 5. Anyhow, it was good. Then a simple salad. And mini Magnums for dessert, although we probably should have skipped those. Watched a movie on the way to midnight and munched chorizo and olives and cheese and cornichons. Happy new year one and all!

Wednesday/1-Jan-14: A new year's luncheon feast a La Bellone today. Almost bedtime and we're still not hungry.

Thursday/2-Jan-14: Made some bird stock today, with maybe two birds and some other bits from the freezer.

Leftovers for dinner, the meat from the pintade and the pilaf, along with some steamed broccoli.

Friday/3-Jan-14: Soup for dinner. Better Than Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana (web; cookbooker). A definite winner. Then we finished off a bit of cindered goat cheese.

Saturday/4-Jan-14: Yogurt on overday.

Dinner was a riff off Poor-Coursin Paella (Secrets, p249). First time we've had it with tomatoes. Yummy dish, easy, versatile.

Fear the timer switch on my yogurt maker has bit the dust. For the second time, it didn't switch off when it should have. Maybe Mr. FixitMan can do something, otherwise I might be looking for a new one soon.

Sunday/5-Jan-14: Not much cooking today. Making a dent in the red curry sauce in the fridge, dinner was Pasta in a Thai Red Curry-Coconut Milk Sauce (web), which was easy and quite good. Some double chocolate mini-Magnums for dessert.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: no, #2 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for December, no for January, #4 BREAD: no for December; no for January

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas dinner 2013

A late start to the day and a small meal for the two of us this year.

The starter was Lasagnesandwich met Zalm en Basilicumdressing (web). Directly translated that's a lasagna sandwich with salmon and a basil dressing; clumsy and we need a better name, since this was quite good and would be a nice company dish, easy to assemble and can be done ahead. I made a half recipe with four lasagna sheets, cutting each in half for assembly, leaving squares of pasta. (The recipe actually has you cutting the stacks after assembly, but I think this would be a mess.) The basil dressing is olive oil, lime juice, and basil leaves, buzzed in the blender. First sheet, some smoked salmon with a bit of dressing, second sheet, thin slices of avocado that have been tossed with lime juice, third sheet, more smoked salmon and a bit of dressing, All topped with the fourth sheet. I decorated the top with some leftover bits of salmon and a pretty drizzle of dressing. Very well accepted.

When we went to the market to find something special for our xmas dinner, we had in mind some ostrich steaks or medallions of venison. But the ostrich vendor wasn't there and the venison vendor had only bits of meat for a civet (a stew). So that's what we had. I smerged recipes for Civet de Chevreuil from two books (SaveurFR, p238 and Petit, p625). Actually, chevreuil is roe deer, where my farm-raised venison was daim or fallow deer. The French recipe called for finishing the sauce with pig's blood (or even hare's blood per Larousse Gastronomique); I didn't see any of this at Leclerc and the butcher was closed when Ed went by, so I did without. The result was a very nice, tasty stew. The meat and veg marinated for over 24 hours, then the bits of meat were browned and everything simmered for several hours until tender. And tender and delicious it was.

Then we had a cheese plate with small pieces of three cheeses along with a bit of arugula and a plain vinaigrette. There was a tomme de savoie, St Felicien, and Delice du Poitou, a cinder-covered local-ish goat cheese (from the town where we visit the Bach à Pâques festival) with a lovely texture and taste.

Our dessert was Poire Pochée Chocolat et Vanille (VPG), Chocolat and Vanilla-Poached Pear. This was tasty enough, but nothing special. I bought long, skinny Conference pears, but when I should have bought short, fat Comice. And the chocolate seemed dried out, where it looks like I should have been able to spread it like peanut butter. Not a keeper.

(Ha, I've just found this recipe on the web, but in a version serving 6 rather than 4 as it was published in VPG. The picture in VPG is the same but cropped a bit and reversed. And, assuming the one for 6 is original, the one in VPG was cut back badly. Where there was 250g each of almonds, chocolate, and sugar, VPG has 170g almonds and 135g each of the chocolate and sugar. Now, I don't mind cutting the sugar back, but the chocolate wasn't right. I actually used less almonds, having gotten tired or chopping, and more chocolate but not the full 170g.)

Altogether a tasty and filling dinner, but not too much. And I see we've had the red tablecloth for three xmases in a row now; will try to do something different next year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Dec-13: Yogurt on overday.

Just realized this morning, after spending some time looking for a recipe I'd found on a blog, that Bittman's How to Cook Everything is a franchise, not a single book. Oops.

Argh, why don't I remember to start thinking about holiday menus earlier in the month? Spent more or less all day working out what we might eat for eerste en tweede kerstdagen, plus the rest of the week. Showered in the evening so we can get to the shop early tomorrow.

Dinner was Hard-Boiled Eggs Masala (Q&E, p41). I actually found this recipe on-line and overlooked it in a quick run through my Jaffrey books, but there it is. Easy and fast and yummy. Over rice.

Tuesday/24-Dec-13: Shopping this morning, early for us at 10.00, along with half of the Charente, I think. But they had all the checkouts working so it was fairly quick getting in and out. If you wanted smoked salmon, you were in luck. There's ordinarily quite a good selection, but for the last week, that has overflowed into the bin where they usually keep the discounted, expiring food, a place I always check out. Lots of seafood being bought. I found an expiring (big sale) small pintade that we'll have for tweede kerstdag as a variation on one of my planned choices.

Put the meat for the civet on to marinate for tomorrow in the early afternoon.

Got the xmas tree up today.

Dinner was a half dose of Pasta with Eggplant, Anchovies, Olives, and Capers (H2CE, p136). Used the haberno spaghetti that Jody&Steve bought, which was more like linguine and in pretty short pieces after its travels. Very yummy and spicy in itself. Then a salad. Chocolate with hazelnuts after.

Wednesday/25-Dec-13: Gray, rainy, an windy with some thunderstorms. No snow, but we did have a bit of hagel and a thunderstorm. Nice holiday dinner, with only the two of us. Made some ABM Authentic French Bread with one cup of whole wheat flour to go with.

Thursday/26-Dec-13: Not the fancy dinner I'd planned, but nice enough. For a starter there was a loose version of Salade de Mâche aux Magrets de Canard (web). I used arugula instead of mâche and the basil vinaigrette left from yesterday. It was all good. For the main, there was a loose version of Chicken Stuffed with Rice, Pine Nuts, and Preserved Lemon Slices (MedHot2, p149). One, it was a pintade (guinea hen) instead of a chicken, since those were on sale when we shopped. Two, I didn't want to stuff the bird, so I spatchcocked it and did the rice separately. Three, my yogurt is plain old cow's milk, not sheep, sorry. And my preserved lemons were store-bought, not home-made. The rice turned out rather like a pilaf, quite good. The pintade was also good, although it was only rubbed with yogurt and paprika. For dessert, there was Cranberry Upside-Down Cake (MC 2BTried, apparently from Gourmet mag, Nov94). I reduced the sugar in the topping (or bottoming?) and in the cake itself, but it was good. After four courses yesterday, we couldn't manage the same today, so the nice cheeses are lingering on in the fridge.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/27-Dec-13: An unexpected Jaffrey dinner tonight, all off-plan. Started with Onion Fritters (Q&E, p20), i.e., onion bhaji, accompanied by Fresh Green Chutney (Q&E, p113) using mint from the garden that's hanging on very late into the season. Then a Garlicky Mushroom Masala Omelet (Q&E, p43). That's two eggy dinners this week; guess it's time to watch that a bit.

Saturday/28-Dec-13: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Vegetable Pad Thai (web). I made about two thirds of the sauce for half of the veg. Ish. Non-traditional, but quite good. For a completely non-tradtional finish, there was some St Felicien and Delice du Poitou.

Sunday/29-Dec-13: Dinner was an Asparagus Quiche (MC 2BTried), only vaguely following the recipe. Used the last pie crust from the freezer. Pretty good it was. Then a salad. Then some Lindt dark chocolate Pyreneëns.

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Dec-13: Made some Hot Milk Cake (MC) today. Moldy-oldy recipe; good stuff. For dinner we had Cranberry Chicken (MC), another moldy-oldy recipe, along with some steamed broccoli and trio rice. We've eaten well.

Tuesday/17-Dec-13: Off to Bordeaux to get a form notarized. Ate lunch out there; it was so-so. For dinner we had fruit and popcorn and watched TV and I ironed.

Wednesday/18-Dec-13: Didn't shop today. And no real plan for dinner. Found the recipe for Ottolenghi's Conchiglie with Saffron, Capers, and Raisins (web; cookbooker) in my stack and made that. A surprising combination of tastes, it made a pretty interesting dinner. We ate it all, then finished with the last bit of camembert.

Thursday/19-Dec-13: Shopping today.

Dinner was Smoky Maple-Mustard Salmon (web; cookbooker), quite good and easy. The recipe suggested ground chipotle as a substitute for smoked paprika. Huh? Served with orzo and some sautéed veggies, onion, garlic. shiitakes, zucchini, tomato, with a sprinkle of smoked paprika. All pretty good.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/20-Dec-13: Dinner was Lamb with Rosemary and Port (web), kind of so-so. The meat was good, but the sauce wasn't especially. Think the port was too sweet (I used tawny instead of ruby) and red wine would have been better. Served with polenta and steamed broccoli.

Saturday/21-Dec-13: Dinner was a half recipe of Curry Scallops & Cilantro Rice (web). Discovered at cookbooker I've made this before, but seem to have collected it again. Oh well, it's still good. Then a big salad. Then we split a Magnum classic.

Sunday/22-Dec-13: Off to the marché de noël at Chassenon today to look for goodies for our xmas dinner, not too successfully, though. Many of the food vendors seemed to be missing. We did get our tree and now have two days to get it up.

Dinner was David Eyre's Pancake (Essential, p813); I'd collected this recipe off a blog also. It gets raves everywhere. Only problem was the recipe says it serves 2-4, so we split one pancake but could easily have eaten a whole one each. Yum. For dessert I chopped up a kiwi, sectioned a mandarin, scooped out a (yellow!) passion fruit, and chopped an apple, then stirred in a dab of honey, lime juice, and a sprinkle of ginger (à la MW@Home, but without really measuring anything).

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: no, #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: no, #4 BREAD: no

Monday, December 9, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Dec-13: Yogurt on overday.

Tonight's dinner was a more or less half recipe of Cast Iron Chicken (web). This was yummy and really easy to make. Then a salad. And that was all.

Tuesday/10-Dec-13: Dropped a yogurt jar on the floor today ... and it bounced! Thank you, cork floor!

Dinner was Mushroom Curry (Q&E, p79), served over basmati rice, accompanied by Gujerati Carrot Salad (MJ1, p170). Tasty stuff.

Used part of a jar of yogurt for the curry, so there's yogurt on overnight even though it's a bit early for it.

Wednesday/11-Dec-13: Shopping today. Missed a DHL delivery; they used to come about 16.30, but this time they came at 15.00. Boo. But their online method of rescheduling has vastly improved.

Had an email from our long-time US forwarding company, asking for a notarized form authorizing them to act as our mailing agent. A form that has to be returned by the end of the year. I have a strong suspicion that the only way I could get anything notarized before the end of the year would be to fly to the US. Sorry, not going to happen. Well, I'd already been thinking about dropping them and getting magazines mailed directly here (since we're taking many fewer magazines these days). What an annoyance.

Dinner was supposed to be Sweet Potato-Topped Turkey Pot Pie (BH&G/oct13; web), using the rest of last week's chicken. But there were no orange sweet potatoes at the store. I prefer these and the recipe asked specifically for them. Instead I topped the pie with the nice Herbed Dumplings (CastIron, p68) from a similar-ish chicken dish I made a couple of weeks ago. Prefer the one from CastIron, I think.

Thursday/12-Dec-13: Dinner was a broccoli pasta sauce from the freezer, tarted up with some broccoli bits boiled with the pasta for the last minutes and some chopped walnuts. Then a salad. Then line dancing.

Friday/13-Dec-13: Both of us were out (in different directions) for the afternoon, so I put on a crockpot dinner, a half dose of Braised Beef with Anchovies and Rosemary (SlowItal, p147; cookbooker). Easy and pretty good, although 2" cubes of meat must be way too big. I did them smaller and they were still too big. Sauce was good. Served with spaetzle (from MW@Home and HandyBook) and some roasted asparagus. For dessert, two toetjes I bought the the boulanger this afternoon.

Saturday/14-Dec-13: This morning I made some tuna patties for tonight's après-concert dinner. Then we decided that considering how long (i.e., short) yesterday's concert was, we had time to have a pizza and go to a movie after. Today's concert, same program, was significantly longer than yesterday's. And there was a brief choir get-together afterwards, which Ed had neglected to remember. So we did some heavy munching at the gathering (resulting in a sugar buzz since the non-sweet stuff went fast) and went on to the movies. Tuna tomorrow.

Sunday/15-Dec-13: So, tonight we had Thai-Style Tuna Burgers (BH&G/may13; web). These were quite good, although I think serving them as patties, with the burger bun, would be fine. The two of us ate the whole recipe—no leftovers. Served with Mom's Cabbage Salad (MaiPham, p96), more or less. No mint, didn't soak the veggies. This was also good. Mini magnums for after.

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

Monday, December 2, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/2-Dec-13: It was Baked Orzo with Tomatoes, Roasted Pepper, and Zucchini (VeryBest, p217; cookbooker) tonight. Good it was. Thought to make a salad as a go-with, but decided there was plenty of veg in the dish. Recipe supposedly made 6 servings. Maybe as a side. Two of us ate it all as a main; might serve 3 with a salad.

Tuesday/3-Dec-13: First there was Green Soup from the freezer, an Indian-ish cream of pea soup. For the main I halved a recipe, Tartelette aux Crevettes, Curry, et Courgette (VPG, although I've found it on several different sites with the same picture). Instead of a proper tartelette, I used the last bit of the pumpkin pie crust to make "lids" for the filling. Easy and pretty good, it was.

Wednesday/4-Dec-13: Shopping today.

Dinner was a half dose of Risotto de Quinoa, Courgette, et Saumon (VPG), a risotto with quinoa (I used red because the regular stuff was out of date and smelled off) instead of rice. Not bad. Glad I tried it. Don't need to do it again. Then a salad. Then we split a classic magnum.

Thursday/5-Dec-13: Yogurt on overday.

Leftover roast pork and the pasta/veg thing for dinner. That was all.

Friday/6-Dec-13: The planned dinner involved soaking quinoa overnight, and I hadn't noticed. (Soaking quinoa?) So that's been postponed. Instead, I scratched my felafel itch. In the Netherlands I used to occasionally buy packaged felafels, that only needed to be heated, at the the health food store. But I haven't found these at the health food stores here. But I finally found a packaged mix at Carrefour. I mixed it up, added some extra spices (ground roasted cumin, ground coriander, and cayenne), then followed Bittman's instructions for baking—10-15min each side at 375F. Pretty good, and not greasy-fried. Served with Tahini Dipping Sauce (WofE, p359). As go-withs, there was Michotela (Cream Cheese and Cucumber Salad) (Roden, p65)——and Eggplant with Tomatoes (Roden, p286). The first is an old favorite; the "cream cheese" of the title is feta. The second was new to us, OK, but nothing special. My copy of Roden is falling to bits, but I guess it a bit wasteful to replace it and lost all the notes and smells of my old book. It's going to become a rubber-band book to hold it together.

Saturday/7-Dec-13: Rubbed the Chipotle-Sage Rub (from last summer) from the freezer under the skin of a spatchcocked chicken, plopped it on top of some chunked potatoes, carrots, garlic, and shallots. Popped all in the oven for an hour or so. Pretty good. For dessert with had chocolate maquises from the boulager.

Sunday/8-Dec-13: In the afternoon, I took the leftover pitas from Friday and made Cumin Pita Chips (Spicy, p36). Haven't made those in a while. A nice munchy.

Not feeling too good tonight, not feeling like cooking, no appetite. Defrosted some chicken adobo and served with rice and a quick sauté of shrooms, asparagus, and zucchini. That's all folks!

Ed forgot to mention this morning that there was only one yogurt in the frdige, so I didn't make. And don't feel like it tonight, so it will wait till tomorrow.

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

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

First we were going to be in the Netherlands for Thanksgiving. Then Oscar ended up with an abrasion on his cornea. We postponed our trip, then cancelled it. Meanwhile, planning a Thanksgiving dinner here didn't get along very far. Instead, I defrosted some slices of Tandoori-Style Roast Turkey Breast for our turkey bit.  As go-withs there were two old favorites, Indian Mashed Potatoes (Q&E, p90) and Tangy Green Beans with Ajwain and Ginger (SpiceKitch, p38), along with the last bit of tamarind chutney from the freezer. The green beans were some brought to us by a neighbor when their garden overflowed, very Thanksgiving-like. We served this with a bottle of the gold-prize-winning St Sornin rosé La Fenêtre. And there was a pumpkin pie for dessert. That's all, folks.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Fresh Way with Salmon

The Eating Well Rush Hour Cookbook
Editors of Eating Well
Eating Well Books (1994)
ISBN 1884943063

Somewhere (where?) I saw this book recommended then bought myself a second-hand copy since I frequently like recipes from Eating Well magazine. The book is organized into seasonal menus. When Ed asked for salmon for dinner, I found this nice menu, with Salmon on a Bed of Lentils (p207), Spinach & Citrus Salad (p208), and Cranberry-Pear Clafouti (p208),  planned it for the evening after shopping.

The whole menu takes about an hour to prepare and comes with a handy timetable for getting it all done. For this particular menu, you aren't rushed, but there are no "blank spaces" where you can have a rest or set the table. Nothing hectic, you just keep at it, step after step.

The lentil and salmon dish is rather French; I've made something very similar from a French cookbook. It's very simple to prepare. You sauté some shallots and garlic; add some chicken stock, lentils, a clove-studded onion, thyme, and S&P; simmer till the lentils are about 10 minutes from being done. Then add finely chopped turnip and carrot and cook till these are done. Finally put the salmon on top, steam-poach for a few minutes, and serve.

The go-with salad is also very nice. I might do this again with arugla/rocket/rucola, which would be just as good. Along with the greens, there are red onion slices that have been soaked in water to soften the taste, sections of red grapefruit, and a dressing of grapefruit juice, olive oil, grainy mustard, honey, and garlic.

And we finished off with a lovely clafoutis, using a winter pear and some cranberries, both roasted with some sugar before assembling the clafoutis. I did cut the sugar back on this recipe, using only 1/4 cup (rather than 1/3 cup) with the roasting fruit and two tablespoons (rather than 1/4cup) in the clafoutis batter.

Judging by this menu, this is a promising book, one I need to spend a bit more time with in the near future.

This post is shared with November's Cook Your Books challenge at Kitchen Flavors.

Monday, November 25, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/25-Nov-13: Dinner was Penne with Wild Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Pancetta (EAT-L), sort of. Used mushroom-flavored, chanterelle-shaped pasta. Used a sliced dried ham from the freezer instead of pancetta (not as fat). In the end it seemed dry, so I stirred in some pyramid goat cheese rather than add more oil. Good enough it was. Then a salad.

Tuesday/26-Nov-13: We were sitting around this afternoon quietly doing our things. Snap! Caught a little mouse behind the stove. Think it might be a juvenile, it was so small. Ed let it go down the broken brick road, quite a way from the house.

Dinner was Grilled Chicken Pasta with Chipotle Cream (web), sort of. Served over mashed potatoes instead of pasta, although, in retrospect, polenta would be better. Made more or less a whole recipe, which should serve 4-6, and we ate it all. Although Ed had trouble finishing his double portion. Used all the chipotles, unseeded, and it was nice and hot. Making a half recipe for two, over polenta would probably be fine. Roasted the last of the asparagus and some broccoli for a side. Split a Magnum classic for dessert.

Life without the internet is pretty weird, You don't realize how often you go to look up something up. And read mail. And check the weather and the news and ...

Wednesday/27-Nov-13: Yogurt on overday. Shopping today.

Ed asked for salmon, so that's what he got. I made a winter menu, "A Fresh Way with Salmon," from RushHour, p207, and posted it for Cook Your Books. If I don't feel like baking a pumpkin pie tomorrow, we'll have more of the clafoutis for our Thanksgiving dessert.

Thursday/28-Nov-13: Made two batches of Tart Dough (Tenth, p256). The first batch went for pumpkin pie, right from the Libby's label. The second went into the freezer.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was Indian-themed, since that the only turkey what was in the freezer. Pretty good it was.

Friday/29-Nov-13: For breakfast, we had some clafoutis, egg, milk, and fruit, can't be bad, right?

Pasta for dinner, yay! The sauce was a half dose of Pasta con Verdura (Top100Pasta, p64) made with tagliatelle cut from Whole Wheat Pasta (Fancy, p77). I made half of a dish that should serve four, but we will get three servings from it. Or, more likely, a side dish for two. Didn't follow Kennedy's instructions for making the pasta, but did it the way I usually do now, mixing by hand. Cut it at 5, which made a tasty, chewy pasta. Thought I'd make a salad, too, but there was more than enough food without it. And we finished off the very yummy pumpkin pie from yesterday.

Saturday/30-Nov-13: Went to a movie tonight. In the afternoon, we had leftover enchiladas and rice, followed by a salad.

Sunday/1-Dec-13: Yogurt on overday.

Meat night tonight, working on clearing out the freezer. Did, more or less, a menu from MJFamily: The Best Roast Pork, Ecuardor-Style (p127), Garlicky Cranberry Chutney (p127), Asparagus and Green Beans with Sesame Seeds (p128), and Rice and Potato Casserole (p128). The pork was yummy and really easy to do; definitely a keeper. For the chutney, I embroidered on the remains of last year's Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, yes, it's been hanging around the fridge all that long. Not bad, either. For the veg, I used frozen asparagus, which are pretty blah and needing to be used up, along with frozen yellow haricots verts (that makes no sense, does it?) from our neighbor's bounty. This dish was OK, but not wonderful. The rice and potato dish was OK. For afters we each had a mini Magnum.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: yes (once posted, plus others), #2 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for November; no for December, #4 BREAD: no for November and December

Monday, November 18, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/18-Nov-13: Yogurt on overday.

Dinner was Grilled Chicken Legs with Pomegranate Molasses (web). Easy-peasy and not at all bad. For the two of us, I used four thighs. The recipe called for six legs, and I was too late reading that it meant whole leg joints rather than just the leg part. So I've got a lot of the marinade in the freezer for another time. Served with Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta, and Olives (HowTo, p238) and some steamed broccoli finished off with garlic and red pepper flakes. Then we finished off the clafoutis for dessert. That was supposed to serve six, but ended up serving four. Oink.

Tuesday/19-Nov-13: I had lunch out with my drawing friends. Ed had leftovers for dinner while I munched carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes. Then we had a bit of cheese and Ed had an ice cream bar. That's all folks.

Wednesday/20-Nov-13: Shopping today. Shitakes, they had! And another odd little mushroom I've never seen before, but resisted buying.

DInner was Fried Fish Steaks (Q&E, p67) using lieu noir (in English, saithe or coley, does that help?) that was today's special. Very easy and quite good. I did a better-than-usual job of frying without getting the food too greasy. To munch while the rest of dinner was getting ready, there were some Spicy Cucumber Wedges (MJ1, p172). With the fish there was Rice with Peas (MJ1, p149); this is a really good recipe but make a *lot*. I made a quarter recipe of what should serve six and we had substantial piles of rice on our plates. And then there were Fried Aubergine Slices (MJ1, p99) that I broiled, using no oil, instead of frying. These were not bad, if a bit dry. For dessert we had two of the vanilla puddings I bought off the sale counter with a close expiry day. These still  have four days to go, so I'm not sure why they were there.

Thursday/21-Nov-13: Yogurt on overday.

Worked on the freezer backlog tonight. Cooked a pound of (blue) hominy in the liquid left from cooking carnitas. Saved out 3 cups of the hominy to freeze, then added some cooked pork and three cubes of chiptole-soaking liquid from the freezer. Voila! Pozole!

Some recipes have you soak the hominy before cooking. Others just have you cook it. I soaked this time, the first time I've tried that. Can't say I noticed any difference. This isn't the kind of thing you're cooking with attention; it just simmers away on the back burner till you're ready to deal with it. Think I won't bother with the soak again.

Friday/22-Nov-13: Dinner was Chicken with Herbed Dumplings (CastIron, p68; cookbooker). It's a recipe that serves six, so I made a third of the main recipe and a half of the dumpling recipe. Very tasty, but short on liquid. I made a salad as a go-with, but we thought this was a one-dish meal. Had some mini-magnums for dessert; these seem to have better chocolate than the classic ones these days.

Saturday/23-Nov-13: Picked the chicken carcass and made up some stock with that and other bits from the freezer. And deseeded and cut up the coeur de boeuf tomatoes I got on Wednesday and cooked them down. Tomorrow I'll finish them both up, freezing stock and tomato sauce.

Off plan for dinner. Made Fettuccine with Gorgonzola (30MinPasta, p50; cookbooker), using up the bit of Fourme d'Ambert in the fridge. Good stuff it was, if not low-fat. Then last night's salad.

Looks like we have a mouse in the kitchen again. Seems to have gotten into a packet of semolina. They wouldn't be so bad if they didn't walk around pooping. Poop, poop, poop. Have set the trap, raisin-baited, tonight.

Sunday/23-Nov-13: Yogurt on overday.

Froze up the tomato sauce today. Put of the chicken stock till tomorrow.

No mouse in the trap and no new mouse poop found this morning. But this afternoon Oscar seemed to be very interested in something behind the stove ... a mouse? A couple of hours later, Sophie actually caught a mouse in the kitchen when Ed pulled out some logs to light the fire. She played with it for a while before Ed managed to get it from her to take outside. It probably didn't survive.

For dinner there was a very loose interpretation of Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas in Creamy Avocado Sauce (web). This included salsa verde, not. No tomatillos to be found here and the canned ones taste tinny, so I don't buy them. I read a suggestion that  you could substitute with green tomatoes and some lime juice. The greenest tomato I could find was kind of yellow-orange, so I used that instead. Actually it wasn't too bad. Ended up making eight enchiladas, so we'll have two dinners of it. Made some Spanish rice, too, using part of the tomato sauce I just made. Then the last of the ice cream and frozen raspberries for dessert.

Hmm... I've used cookbooks this week, but can't really say that any of them are seldom-used. Guess I didn't manage that goal. I almost made pasta this week, but that doesn't count.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: no, #2 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #3 PASTA: no, #4 BREAD: no

Sunday, November 10, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/11-Nov-13: We went to the remembrance day ceremony this morning and were supposed to go to the lunch after, but didn't feel like it.

Dinner was sautéed duck breasts with Marsala WIne Pan Sauce (HowTo, p160), which is about as simple as you can get. Deglaze with some marsala, stir in a lump of butter, and Bob's your uncle, so to speak. Served with orzo with parsley and lemon and (roasted) Asparagus with Mustard Sauce (web). The sauce was good, although plenteous. I'll use the leftovers for a salad dressing. For dessert a dab of ice cream topped with some defrosted raspberries and a small slog of crême de framboise.

Tuesday/12-Nov-13: Yogurt on overday.

Leftovers tonight, the broccoli tart. followed by a salad. And then some cheese for afters.

Wednesday/13-Nov-13: Shopping today.

Working on cleaning out the freezer inventory (oh, it does want defrosting), I made Baked Pasta With Sausage, Mushrooms and Mascarpone (web; cookbooker). My (homemade) Italian sausage from the freezer was only 2/3 what was required, so I reduced the recipe that much. Good, it was, and we have one serving left. Then a big salad. For dessert, some squares of nice chocolate.

Thursday/14-Nov-13: Dinner was a half dose of Pasta con la Zucca alla Napoletana (web), using up that end of the butternut squash and a dab left from the canned pumpkin. Interesting recipe in the the pasta is cooked right in the sauce, rather than separately. Pretty good it was, especially with a dose of parmesan. Then a salad. Then we split a Magnum Classic.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/15-Nov-13: Lunch out for Ed's birthday. Absolutely no need for further food today.

Saturday/16-Nov-13: Dinner was a halfish version of Pizza aux Poires, Épinards, et Gorgonzola (VPQ), pizza with pears, spinach, and gorgonzola. It was surprisingly good. I used a store-bought pizza crust, turned out to be a cracker crust, while I prefer a more substantial crust. Rather than sautéing fresh spinach, I defrosted some leaf spinach and picked the big stems out; this was fine. A short 300g of gorgonzola and two pears. Layered: gorgonzola, spinach, gorgonzola, thin pear slices (that had been tossed with a bit of lemon juice), and pine nuts. Ed asked to have this again on a proper pizza crust. Also would be good as a pannekoek perhaps.

Sunday/17-Nov-13: Defrosted the chest freezer today. Don't know why I don't like defrosting. Such a chore. At least my spreadsheet is up-to-date now.

Tonight we ate, more or less, Fast Roast Chicken (Cookwise, p402). I set the chicken, stuffed with rosemary and lemon pieces, on some chunks of potato, carrot, and parsnip. The oven didn't seem to get to the required temperature (500F). Not sure if the problem is the oven or the thermometer I'm using. The chickie was nicely done in about an hour. Not especially fast. Neverthesless, it was good. Then we ate a bit of cheese. And then some Apple Berry Clafouti (MC 2BTried) to help use up the sack of local apples I bought. Since Cookwise is a seldom used cookbook, I could have taken a pic and posted about it, but didn't feel like it. Enjoyed the eating, though.

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/4-Nov-13: Dinner was Zucchini and Butternut Squash Soup (MC 2BTried). A so-so soup that improved with the addition of some good hot sauce. Then a bit of cheese. Then we split a Magnum Classic.

Tuesday/5-Nov-13: Dinner was sort of a halfish dose of Scallop & Pepper Tacos (EW/jun13; web). Tasty, but I think they would have been even better over polenta. Then there was a salad of the remaining spinach, along with a sort of bacon dressing. For dessert, a toasted waffle with some mango chunks and a dab of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday/6-Nov-13: Shopping today. Thus, fish for dinner. The main was Nina Simonds's Broiled Halibut with Miso Glaze (Essential, p413). As suggested, I served with String Beans with Ginger and Garlic (Essential, p260); these were pretty good and easy to make. And some plain basmati rice. For dessert, there was Coconut Rice Pudding with Lime Syrup (Essential, p846; cookbooker).

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/7-Nov-13: For dinner, I made the Zucchini and Feta Gratin (MC), but with broccoli, which turned out very good. Think I'm going to write this up with my changes and call it my recipe. Served with a big salad. And then some cookies for dessert.

Friday/8-Nov-13: Used most of the neck of my butternut squash to make Butternut Squash Ribbons with Spinach Tagliatelle (web), well, really with basil tagliatelle, since that was the only green sort to be found. Quite nice, although the recipe was a bit weird. Maybe you can buy already sautéed mushrooms in the US? Then a salad. Then some cheese.

Saturday/9-Nov-13: Ed's Montbron choir had a concert this evening. We had pizza afterwards. Nothing happened in the kitchen, beyond some cleaining today.

Sunday/10-Nov-13: Made a Pumpkin Roll (MC) today to take to a party this evening, then didn't feel like going. Hope I'm not getting sick. Ed went and had a nice time. For dinner I had some corn tortillas with thinly sliced onion, tomato, and cheese, using up the ends of two bits.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: no, #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: no, #4 BREAD: no

Monday, October 28, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/28-Oct-13: Dinner was Bengal Red Lentils with Spices (Sahni2, p329) over rice. This recipe  has been well reviewed at cookbooker, so I thought I'd give it a try. Very good, yes! Served with the end of the Spicy Eggplant Stew with Potatoes, Mushroom, and Chickpeas, which was still good, if slightly past its use-by date. Oh well, guess we'll survive.

Authentic French Bread in the machine overnight.

Tuesday/29-Oct-13: Yogurt on overday.

Dinner was Pork Tenderloin with Plum and Juniper Sauce (collected EAT-L). Lots of the red plums I bought for these were bad, so I used the last of the yellow plums we've been eating. There was lots of sauce left so I buzzed it and Ed will have it on his morning bread (instead of the apple butter that I've been deficient in making of late). With it there were some pan-fried potatoes and some steamed broccoli. Jus a square of almond-chocolate for after.

Wednesday/30-Oct-13: Shopping today, but before that, the new kitchen counters were installed!

Dinner was some haddock filets à la meuniére, with the flour spiced up with some seafood spice, not Old Bay, but something similar. Served with White Wine Vinegar Pan Sauce (HowTo, p164). And some roasted broccoli bits. And some basic-ricotta tortellni. Followed by a salad. Then a a bit of hazelnut chocolate for afters (Lindt, too sweet it was).

Thursday/31-Oct-13: Dinner was Spaghetti Carbonara with a Poached Egg (MC) with a big salad. Good it was.

Friday/1-Nov-13: Yogurt on overday.

Our 40th anniversary together today. We ate out. Fruit for dinner.

Saturday/2-Nov-13: Had dinner at a restaurant with friends before going to a karaoke "do" there. No, we didn't sing. Now we can say we've seen that, don't need to do it again.

Sunday/3-Nov-13: Made Apple-Plum Butter (MC) during the day today. Also cooked up some tomato sauce from the 2.2kg of coeur de boeuf tomatoes that I got on Wednesday. Those make four cups of sauce, now in the freezer.

Meant to make an Indian lamb and spinach dish tonight, but couldn't find the lamb in the freezer. I must have used it at some point and forgotten to take it off the list. Went to the local butcher yesterday afternoon to get some, only to discover that he's on vacation this week. But, there's lots of pork in the freezer wanting to be used up. Strangely there seem to be no pork and spinach dishes. Major replan required. Made Pork Vindaloo (Q&E, p33), an old and easy favorite. (One of these days I need to make a proper vindaloo again, even better, but more work.) I think this may be the first time I've made this using the pressure cooker, which does make it quick, but you miss the lovely smells from the simmering pot. Served with plain basmati rice and a half recipe of Diced Potatoes with Spinach (WofE, p53), using only half the spinach I bought. Also made a half dose of our favorite raita (MJ1, p162), but forgot to serve it. Tasty eating.

Yogurt on overnight.

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/21-Oct-13: Worked a bit on the menu plan today; there are just too many good things to cook and not enough time to make them all.

Made a Pear and Chestnut Cake (Dusoulier2, p143) during the day.

For dinner I grilled the ostrich sausges that we got at a marché des producteurs in the summer. Served with polenta and the leftover broccoli and kumquat salad. Then a big salad. Then some yummy pear cake.

Tuesday/22-Oct-13: Yogurt on overday.

Picked the meat of the remaining half roasted chicken and made (more or less) Vietnamese Chicken Sandwiches (CL jan/feb13; web); serve on some oval pitas. Pretty tasty. For dessert we split a Magnum classic.

Wednesday/23-Oct-13: Shopping day. Dinner was Fish and Broccoli Pie (web; cookbooker). Quite good it was. With a salad.

BTW, it's looking like cookbooker may die. Possibly it will be taken over by a user cooperative. Or not. Sad. We'll see.

Thursday/24-Oct-13: Dinner was Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass and Turmeric (MC; web). Served with Asian Cucumber Condiment (MC; MWLowFat, p367), some garlicky spicy broccoli, and rice. The chicken was good, as was the cuke dish, which I haven't made it quite a while. We split a Magnum classic for dessert.

Friday/25-Oct-13: Chicken Fried Rice (web; cookbooker) for dinner. Pretty good it was too. I essentially made a whole recipe with half the meat. We had some chocolate and almond squares for dessert.

Saturday/26-Oct-13: Yogurt on overday.

Tonight was a half recipe of Salmon Cakes with Old Bay Aioli (web*). Pretty good but more like hash than cakes—I just don't have the patty knack. For go-withs, there was a grated broccoli stem salad (with carrots, a bit of onion, chopped walnuts, and raisins) and a bit of pasta.

Hooray, it's fall-back night tonight!

* The recipe is actually from Family Circle, but you have to sign up to the site to see the recipe. Sorry, no.

Sunday/27-Oct-13: Twas time for the annual Old Folks dinner in Mazerolles today, aperitif, five courses, including an entremet. We're stuffed, and both have a headache. Did we drink too much wine perhaps? Or maybe it was the mix of pineau, white wine, red wine, calvados in the entremet (kiwi sorbet), and champagne. Early to bed with us tonight.

Vie Pratique Gourmand, the only French cooking mag I subscribe to, has been having a feature in each issue where they give you 20 or so ideas for things to do with a certain foodstuff. This week was cookies. Some possibly good, quickie desserts, including cakes made from cookies. Some weird ideas.

Been a chicken-y week, hasn't it?

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: yes (although this is probably the last time Dusolier2 will qualify as seldom used), #2 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #3 PASTA: yes, #4 BREAD: no

Monday, October 14, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/14-Oct-13: Leftover night. Sliced the remaining pork roast and warmed it with the rest of the broccoli parmentier. For a starter we had a simple salad of mâche and rucola topped with a bit on goat cheese on toast. That's all.

Tuesday/15-Oct-13: Anniversary lunch out today. For dinner there was popcorn, carrot sticks, plums, and cherry tomatoes in front of an old movie.

Wednesday/16-Oct-13: Yogurt on overday.

Shopping today. Found a package of "homemade" croissants, like biscuits. Will try in the next days. The brand is good, but there are a lot of questionable ingredients for something that should be essentially flour and butter.

For dinner I grilled swordfish and served with Thomas's Green Sauce for Poached or Grilled Fish (MrLatte, p178). I liked this OK, but Ed not at all. Have tons of the sauce left. Maybe will freeze it up to use by the drab in salad dressing or some such. Accompanied by some trio rice and some Perfect Pan-Roasted Green Beans (HandyBook) and a little salad made of grated broccoli stems, suggested by Dusolier in a box on the Broccoli Parmentier page—grated (peeled) stems with raisins, sunflower seeds, and a yogurt dressing. Used walnuts instead of sunflower seeds. Successful salad. Two squares of hazelnut-filled chocolate for dessert.

Thursday/17-Oct-13: Finally got some pasta made for dinner. Tagliatelle, to go with Porcini-Style Shiitake Mushroom Pasta Sauce (MarCuc, p152). Tonight's mushrooms were oesterzwamen (or pleurotes or oyster mushrooms) with cremini. Nicer with porcini and shiitakes, but those aren't to be found. Strange that it's the season for cêpes, but they are not to be found in our grocery. As a starter  we had Smoked Salmon Salad with Dill (BEFCC, p35), a nice little salad, quick to make. Neither of us are fennel fans, but fennel and cucumbers are a good combination.

Friday/18-Oct-13: For dinner tonight, there was Tom's Brick Chicken (CastIron, p63). I've done this before; a nice way to cook a bird. I actually started out to make a half recipe of Twin Roasted Chickens with Garlicky Bulgur Dressing (GreeneGrains, p90), but decided I didn't want to stuff a bird. Instead I just made the stuffing on the side. Good it was. And, using up the kumquats I bought last week, there was Broccoli and Kumquat Salad with Olives (Uncommon, p271). We finished off by sharing a classic Magnum. The chocolate on these just isn't as good as it used to me. Too bad.

Saturday/19-Oct-13: Yogurt on overday.

An unexpected dinner tonight, since we originally planned on going to the Fête du Vin at St Sornin tonight, but decided against it. So, we had a more or less half recipe of Shocking Pink Pasta (Dusoulier2, p115). Shocking pink, it was, too, beets and cream. I took the lazy way and used the staff mixer, but probably should have used the blender, since it was the sauce was a bit grainy. This is one of those things I'm glad I tried, but maybe don't need to make again. Although, it might make a nice starter or side dish if you needed a bit of color or a talking point at dinner.

Followed by a salad, topped with some blue goat cheese. For afters, a bit of Morbier. Both bought today at the Marché du Goût at La Rochefoucauld.

I have used quite a few seldom used cookbooks this week, but I haven't done separate posts for them. Sorry, just seems like too much trouble.

Sunday/20-Oct-13: Lunch at 4pm meant we didn't get to dinner till really late. I didn't really plan anything for today, since I thought we'd be eating out. Wrong. So it was a last minute, what-can-I-do-to-use-up-stuff-in-the-fridge sort of meal. I more or less made Spicy Eggplant Stew with Potatoes, Mushroom, and Chickpeas (WorldVeg, p196). A really tasty recipe. We split a Magnum classic for dessert.

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ligurian-Style Pasta Sauce with Raw Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, and Anchovies

Marcella Cucina
Marcella Hazan
Harper Collins (1997)
ISBN 0060171030

Marcella Hazan's recent death was a stimulus to add some of her recipes to the menu plan. I've used this book quite a lot, so it really doesn't qualify as a seldom used book, but it's been a while since I cooked from either of my Hazan books, so it seems appropriate to post.

Made with raw tomatoes, this dish is really like a tomato salad served on pasta. You start by chopping together some black and green olives, capers, and anchovy fillets. Then you peel and seed a mess of tomatoes (just a bit of tedium!) and cut them into narrow strips. Mix these all together along with some julienned basil, marjoram or oregano, minced garlic, and parsley. Add salt and pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil, toss everything together, then let the sauce sit for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. That's a salad, right? My sauce sat only for the time required to boil water and cook the spaghetti. It's hard to imagine it getting better.

The instructions say to assemble the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Since you're instructed to toss the spaghetti in the same bowl, small will definitely not do. It took the middle-sized bowl of the 3-bowl pyrex set to hold the sauce for a half recipe; the smaller bowl would have been too small. I put the pasta back in the pasta pot and did the tossing there.

Because of the tomato peeling, this is decidedly not a quick dish to make, but since the sauce can be made well ahead, it could make a nice company dish.

This meal in grateful memory of Marcella Hazan and the pleasure she has brought to the cooking and eating in our household.

This post is shared with October's Cook Your Books, where you can find lots of intriguing dishes folks have been making from their cookbooks.

Monday, October 7, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/7-Oct-13: Yogurt on overday. Boiled up and froze the chicken stock I started the other day.

Using up leftovers and odd bits, tonight we had Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Olives (MC). Not enough cauliflower, so added some broccoli. I think this was meant to be a side dish, but I stir the stuff into pasta. Good tastes.

Tuesday/8-Oct-13: Reaching a cookbook crisis point here. Looking for a missing book (which I later found on a completely wrong shelf), I gathered most of the cookbooks scattered throughout the house and started putting them away. In at least two places I don't have room for the books I have. May have to break down and, yipes, give away some books. Sigh.

Dinner was Spicy Sesame Noodles (MC) with shrimp, an easy oldy, but goody. Then a salad.

Wednesday/9-Oct-13: Shopping today. More raw beets on sale, so I bought some again; usually there are only ready-cooked ones.

Dinner was Maple-Miso Dijon Salmon (web), which was pretty darn good. Served with trio rice and a side of broccoli-mushroom-shallot-garlic. Leclerc has a small section of food just short of its sell-by date, heavily discounted, so I bought a pair of charlottes with red fruit for €1. The picture on the package showed the charlottes heavily covered with fresh fruit. What there was was a small spoonful of jam-like stuff. Edible. Barely.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/10-Oct-13: Dinner was Thai Chicken & Mango Stir-Fry (web). I had half the meat, but made all the sauce. This was fine, but a lot for two, although Ed doesn't mind eating more-or-less two servings, especially since the doctor said he was underweight. For dessert we had Easy Berry Cobbler (HandyBook), with blueberries and raspberries, and a dab of vanilla ice crea

Friday/11-Oct-13: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Ligurian-Style Pasta Sauce with Raw Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, and Anchovies (MarCuc, p134). Followed by a salad. And then the rest of the cobbler with ice cream. Oink.

Saturday/12-Oct-13: Continuing the Marcella Hazan theme, tonight's dinner was Roast Pork with Vinegar and Bay Leaves (ClassicItal, p419), using up a chunk of pork from the freezer. Served this with Baked Eggplant Slices (TooMany, p114), an easy favorite, and some especially nice fried potatoes. For the pots, I parboiled the potato chunks and drained them. Then finished off by frying them while I was finishing the rest of the meal. Stole the parboil idea from Dusoulier's Perfect Roasted Potatoes and the finishing by frying from Hazan's Pan-Roasted Diced Potatoes. Whatever works. We split a classic Magnum for dessert.

Sunday/13-Oct-13: Dinner was Broccoli Parmentier (Dusoulier2, p134; cookbooker), a tasty dish with brown rice and lentils on the bottom and puréed broccoli on the top. The two of us ate more than half.

For dessert we had two little pear tartelettes I got at the boulangerie this afternoon.

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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Peach, Almond, and Cardamom Clafoutis

The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen
Clotilde Dusoulier
Clarkson Potter (2013)
ISBN 9780307984821

Shortly after a friend remarked how surprising it is that there are many vegetarian French people considering how well they cook veggies, I got a notice of this book about to be published and knew I needed a copy. I've enjoyed Dusoulier's blog, Chocolate and Zucchini, as well as her first cookbook, for many years now.

This new book is arranged by season, making it easier to use what's in the market right now. When I came across this recipe for a claufoutis with peaches, I knew it was something I needed to make with the end of the summer bounty.

I first made this early in the month. It was very tasty but the recipe has a number of problems. My 8" square dish was very full of peaches. A clafoutis is typically not so dense with fruit. this mean that the dish was full almost to overflowing with the batter was added. In addition, my clafoutis baked for 50min (40min, the max time specified, plus an extra 10min) and was still runny in the center. It needs maybe 60-70min. I used the weights rather than the cup measures for the flours and sugar. 85g of almond flour (I used ground almonds, very common in the shops in France) was more like 1cup, rather than 2/3cup. (I didn't find it grainy at all.)

Like most clafoutis, this is fairly easy to assemble, especially if you have help to slice the fruit, and dirties only one bowl beyond the baking dish, so the clean-up staff is happy. I put the bowl on the scale and measured in the almond flour, all-purpose flour, sugar (less that asked), cornstarch, and cardamom (from a jar). Off the scale, I stirred in the eggs, then the almond milk. Then poured the batter over the fruit and put the pan in the oven. Feeling posh, we served it with a bit of vanilla ice cream.

Tonight, having some plums that were slightly under-ripe, I gave it another try. This time I used half the fruit, only about 500g (or 1#) rather than 1kg. Bingo, the claufoutis was not so dense with fruit and the dish was not overflowing. (Probably even less fruit could be used, so that the slices are only one layer deep.) I used only 80g of the sugar and added cow's milk rather than almond milk. I cooked it for 65min and it was perfectly done.

This is a nice recipe to have around when you have fruit needing to be used. Dusoulier says it's good for those peaches you get that never seem to want to ripen.

This post is shared with September's Cook Your Books.

IHCC Ottolenghi summary

Talk of Ottolenghi's three books was very much in the air last year. I asked at the Cookbooker forum which book I should get. Following the consensus there, Santa brought me Ottolenghi. In the course of the challenge, I made seven recipes from Ottolenghi, three from Plenty, and two from Jerusalem.

PostRecipeBook, page OR link (book)Rating
PostHarissa-Marinated Chicken with Red Grapefruit Salad 
yogurt+harissa is an excellent marinade
grapefruit salad delicious, nice starter perhaps
Ottolenghi, p119+++
PostPasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile
very good
web (Jerusalem)+++
PostWhite Chocolate and Cranberry Biscuits
Ottolenghi, p225+++
PostChilled Red Pepper Soup with Soured Cream
lekker cold soup
Ottolenghi, p94+++
PostSpiced Lentils with Cucumber Yogurt
web (Plenty)+++
PostPear and Amaretto Crumble Cake
nice, moist cake
Ottolenghi, p218; web+++
PostChicken Meatballs with Preserved Lemon and Harissa Relish
meatballs tasty but dry, with good relish
web (now seems to be here; can't determine cookbook, might be from a TV show)++
PostSaffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter
lovely yellow pasta with a tasty sauce
web (Plenty)++
PostZucchini and Hazelnut Salad
tasty zucchini salad
web (Plenty)+++
PostParsley, Lemon, and Cannellini Bean Salad
with red quinoa, a good salad
web (Jerusalem)+++
PostCarrot and Walnut Cake
good, but lots of work
Ottolenghi, p200+
PostChargrilled Broccoli with Chili and Garlic
my regular sort of broc, but grilled
Ottolenghi, p41+++
PostButtered Prawns with Tomato, Olives, and Arak
good, but a bit fat
Ottolenghi, p150++

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Sep-13: Yogurt on overday.

For dinner there was a half recipe of Indian-Spiced Eggplant & Cauliflower Stew (web) which #1 took ages to get done, much more than advertised time, and #2 was fairly boring taste-wise. Served with rice. For dessert, I used plums to make Dusoulier's Peach, Almond, and Cardamom Clafoutis (Dusoulier2, p93). I used only half the fruit asked, which was much nicer than before, everything fit in the pan, and cooked it much longer. Very tasty.

IHCC is moving on to Donna Hay for the next period. I don't really know her, but have heard good things. Nevertheless, I'm not going to participate. Instead I'll concentrate on posting for Cook Your Books, using some of my seldom-used cookbooks.

Have done really poorly on goals in the last couple of months. Hope I can get back on track in October.

Tuesday/1-Oct-13: We had our main meal at midday today in anticipation of going to a movie in the evening. It was a half recipe of Filet Mignon, Purée de Chou-fleur et Épinards (VPQ), that's a pork tenderloin (I think it is in English, varkenshaas in Dutch) with a purée of cauliflower and potato, with a dab on spinach on the side. Pretty good. The smashed cauliflower was pretty good, and served as a bed for the meat. The meat was glazed with a honey-soy sauce mixture that could have been a bit zingier. Then a salad with the first of our San Marzano tomatoes. And a bit of plum clafoutis.

After the movie (Blue Jasmine) we finished off the clafoutis.

Wednesday/2-Oct-13: Shopping today. Dinner was a half recipe of Grilled Swordfish with Artichokes, Tomatoes, and Olives (License, p170; cookbooker). There was no swordfish today, so it was shark instead. The fish is simply cooked, rubbed with olive oil, S&P'd, and grilled. The salady bit on the side is what makes this special. The artichoke is boiled, then grilled, and finally tossed with tomato (San Marzano from the garden), black olives, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and lemon juice. Served with orzo cooked in the artichoke boiling water. (Hmm...guess I should have taken a photo of this and done a post for my seldom used books. It was quite pretty on the plate, too.) For dessert we had half a classic Magnum. Since they don't want to carry the mini Magnum classics, we'll just cut it in half ourselves. (Mini classics were on sale recently at one grocery, but they had none in stock.)

Thursday/3-Oct-13: Yogurt on overday.

Roasted the beets that I bought yesterday. They don't usually have fresh beets, so I took advantage.

Dinner was Zucchini and Feta Gratin (MC). Yes, still working on zucchini backlog; thank goodness production seems to have shut down. I keep forgetting how good this is. Since I expect it would be good with any veg, I'm going to try this again before too long with broccoli. For a starter there was Cold Beetroot with Cream (Pomiane, p180).

Friday/4-Oct-13: Busy day today, my drawing group in the morning, and a haircut in the afternoon. The haircut doesn't sound like that much, but they've now moved 1.5hr from here; drive back was miserable in driving rain with Tomtom insisting that I needed to go cross-country rather than travelling on the highway. Grr... Between my two outings we had lunch out. For dinner there was popcorn, a plate of fruit, and the first episode of New Tricks season 9.

Saturday/5-Oct-13: Picked the chicken carcass today and made Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (web) in the crockpot. Pretty good it was, too. Also made chicken stock, which I'll finish off tomorrow. Also made apple butter. Also made up ground roasted cumin for my Indian dishes.

Sunday/6-Oct-13: We had the rest of the Zucchini and Feta Gratin for dinner, preceded by one of our favorites, Lamb's Lettuce and Beetroot salad (BEFCC, p32). And some Afrikas for dessert.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: no, #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: no for September, no for October, #4 BREAD: no for September, no for October

Monday, September 23, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Sep-13: Ed in the hospital today. Going to be a quiet week in the kitchen. For dinner I whizzed the leftover corn/potato/tofu stuff with some chicken stock and called it soup. Wasn't bad. Half a grapefruit for dessert.

Tuesday/24-Sep-13: Yogurt on overday. Lamb from the freezer for dinner with a nectarine for a starter.

Wednesday/25-Sep-13: Finished off the funny soup tonight. Had another nectarine for a starter.

Thursday/26-Sep-13: Actually cooked tonight. Boiled up some pasta and tossed in some broccoli bits. While that was happening, I sautéed some onion and garlic and chipotle flakes, grated some (English) cheddar wanting to be used up, and got out the crème fraîche. Mostly drained the pasta and broc and stirred it into the onion mixture with the cheese and a dollop of crème fraîche. Pretty good it was, for minimal effort. But three pots to wash. Thank you, dishwasher. Ed won't be home till Saturday. Boo.

Friday/27-Sep-13: Dinner from the freezer, a Moroccan pork thing, pretty good. Some ice cream and cocoa liqueur for an after-dinner treat.

Saturday/28-Sep-13: Ed's home today, hooray! For dinner we finished off the leftover broccoli tart, still good. With the bit of leftover dough I saved, I made a little apple tart, just enough for two. Served with a bit of vanilla ice cream.

Sunday/29-Sep-13: It's getting to be time to make chicken stock, so I roasted a chicken today. Used the nifty timer function on the oven to bake it while we were at a concert. I smerged some of the recipes I had for cooking a chicken using a bundt pan, kind of like the beer can chicken, I guess, but without the beer taste. Here it is, almost ready for the oven:

The chickie was pretty good, but can't see why it's better than plain roasting, other than the fact the the chicken isn't enclosed anywhere so the skin was quite crispy. The success is dependent on whatever rub or flavoring you use. I put some potato and carrot chunks in the pan to roast with the chicken; the larger bits were not quite done.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: yes (although it was really last week), #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: no, #4 BREAD: no

Saturday, September 21, 2013

IHCC: Oh Ottolenghi!

My attention has been elsewhere and the time with Ottolenghi has flown by, especially the last couple of months, so I wanted to do a nice meal for our going away party. I choose Harissa-Marinated Chicken with Red Grapefruit Salad from Ottolenghi (p119). And a good choice it was!

This dish starts with marinating chicken thighs in a yogurt-harissa mixture. Ottolenghi has you made the harissa paste from scratch. One day I will make some harissa from scratch, maybe using this recipe, just to see how it is, but this isn't the time right now. Instead I took the lazy way and used the store-bought kind. Morocco, having been a French colony, left its influence in the grocery store where tubes and jars of harissa and other interesting spices are easily available. So the marinade was especially simple, a big spoonful of harissa mixed with a smaller spoonful of yogurt. Plop this mixture into a ziploc with the chicken bits, squish around till everything is well-coated, then set it in the fridge overnight. Easy with very good results. The chicken is baked, then finished under the grill, and would probably be quite good on the barbecue.

The arugula (aka rocket or rucola) salad with red grapefruit was a delicious surprise. It's very simple, red grapefruit sections tossed with rocket, a dab of olive oil, coarse sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

The sauce for the bird bits was equal amounts of grapefruit juice and maple syrup, with slightly less lemon juice, a bit of salt, a pinch of cinnamon, and star anise. This all boiled for 20 minutes till it reduced quite a bit. The sweet-sour taste was a nice combination and complemented the spicy harissa left on the chicken.

Here are our plates waiting to go to the dining room:

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs and this month's Cook Your Books.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

IHCC: September Pot Luck

It's potluck time again and one last time I'm going back to Madhur Jaffrey. I had the intention to do something from Ottolenghi, but things keep preventing that from happening. And today was grocery day, so that means fish, and, as it frequently does, it means an Indian sort of fish dish as the center of the meal.

From Flavours of India (p195), there was Spicy, Pan-Fried Fish Steaks Chettinad. I used cod (rather than kingfish) and it did fall apart a bit, as cod is wont to do, but tasted delicious. You simply rub the fillets with a paste with ground coriander, cayenne, turmeric, ground cumin, salt, lime or lemon juice, and water and let them marinate for 15 minutes or so. Then fry them ... well, I grilled them to avoid the extra oil.

For sides there were Fried Aubergine (Eggplant) Slices and Cauliflower with Potatoes from Indian Cooking (p90 and p109, respectively)

With eggplant from the garden, I used all the spices (salt, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper) for half the eggplant asked in the recipe. This is really tasty but suffers from the oiliness that fried eggplant always does. Next time I do this, I think I'll just wipe the slices with a bit of olive oil before applying the spice mix, then grill them. Serve with lemon slices.

Since I had broccoli to be used and didn't expect to find any good cauliflower in the shops, I used broccoli instead cauliflower for the potato dish. They're both brassicas after all and the green makes a prettier plate. This is another dish that uses those cold boiled potatoes you keep in the fridge. Right. First you fry some whole cumin seeds, then add the cauliflower, er, broccoli and stir until brown spots start appearing. Cover (I added a slog of water) and cook over lower heat till the veg is mostly done. Then add the cubed potato, chopped green chili, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, cayenne, ground roasted cumin (the last of my supply—I need to make more soon!), salt, and black pepper. Stir and cook till everything is warmed through.

Altogether a nice meal, if not really Ottolenghi as I intended.

Visit this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what's turned up in this week's pot luck.

Monday, September 16, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Sep-13: Used up the rest of the lamb roast with a Frenchified Curried Lamb (Secrets, p225). I mean, who ever heard of curried lamb with red wine? It's good though. Served with some rice and some vaguely Indian green beans.

Tuesday/17-Sep-13: Today in the potager we discovered a ginormous zucchini that was hiding just two days ago. We think we'll just weigh it and then recycle it.

Dinner was a vegetarian casserole (MC 2BTried) that can be used with most veggies, zukes, broc, cauliflower, bsprouts, etc. So zucchini it was. And pretty good it was. Then a big salad. Then some vanilla ice cream with a splash of chocolate liqueur.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/18-Sep-13: Shopping today. Then there was a fishy Indian meal, that turned into a potluck for IHCC. While I was cooking our neighbor brought another big sackful of green and yellow beans! I really do have to take care of all these.

Thursday/19-Sep-13: Still working on the zucchini bounty. Dinner was a moldy-oldy, Zucchini, Corn, and Potato Tacos (MC). No taco shells at the shops, so I made some proper corn tortillas, which are better anyhow.

Friday/20-Sep-13: Froze up a bunch of little sacks of yellow and green beans this afternoon.

Used more zucchini tonight with another oldie-but-goodie, Zucchini-Tuna Tagliatelle (MC). And a bit salad. And that was it.

Put chicken on to marinate for tomorrow night. Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/21-Sep-13: An Ottolenghi dinner for next week's theme. Served with trio rice and some steamed broccoli with five green beans from the garden.

Sunday/22-Sep-13: Midday dinner today was Ottolenghi's Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie (web), using Fourme Ambert instead of gorgonzola. Very good it was. Then a salad with the rest of last night's rucola. Then some double chocolate mini Magnums.

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