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

Monday, September 9, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Sep-13: Roasted a lamb shoulder (rather than a gigot, which was an option) today for Gigot d'Agneau Saint-George au Citron et au Yaourt (VPG). Started way too late for it to get done in time (also recipe wasn't very accurate about the time), so ended up throwing together a quick pasta dish with broccoli and the end of the blah blue cheese.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/10-Sep-13: The sink arrived hooray!

Dinner was the roast lamb, which was pretty good in spite of being reheated. Also Dusolier's Perfect Roast Potatoes, which were especially good because I followed the instructions about putting the roasting tray with oil and salt in the one when the potatoes start boiling. Also some roasted veggies, the end of the broc, a couple of carrots, and a little eggplant from the garden.

Wednesday/11-Sep-13: Shopping today. Got back to find a sack with 1.5kg of haricots verts and haricots jaunes hanging on the front-doorknob. Have to deal with those tomorrow. Might parboil and freeze a lot of them.

Had a bit of a Chinese itch. Tonight's dinner was Stir-Fried with Black Bean Sauce (HotWok, p74) with Stir-Fried Courgettes with Fresh Chilli (HotWok, p165) and rice. Both are old favorites, but it's been a while since I've made them. Makes me think I want to spend some time making some proper Chinese-ish food, as best I can considering difficulty getting a lot of ingredients. Restaurant Chinese food around here tends to be pretty low quality, served buffet-style.

Thursday/12-Sep-13: It was Elsie's Zucchini Pancakes with Sour Cream Sauce (CastIron, p124) again for dinner tonight. Good stuff too. Then a simple salad. That's all folks.

Friday/13-Sep-13: Time to start working on the leftover lamb. Tonight it was sort of a half recipe of Moussaka I (Secrets, p217) along with some Perfect Roasted Green Beans (now HandyBook) like I made last week. The leftovers section on Seaver's book is really useful. Then some ice cream and defrosted frozen raspberries.

Saturday/14-Sep-13: Scratched the Indian itch tonight. Dinner was Mushroom and Pea Curry (MJ@Home, p161) served with rice. Good enough, but not the best Jaffrey meal I've made. For afters we had a bit of ice cream with a slog of chocolate liqueur over.

Sunday/15-Sep-13: Lunch out today for my birthday, so nothing happening in the kitchen. Internet down in the evening till well past bedtime.

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

Monday, September 2, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/2-Sep-13: Computer order largely restored by the end of the day. Breathed a sigh of relief, then made the tart I didn't get to post for last week on IHCC, Ottolenghi's Caramelised Garlic Tart (web). Definitely a keeper. Ed ate half instead of a quarter. I see it's supposed to serve 8; that must be as a first course. Takes longer than advertised also. But not hard, and worth it. Served with a salad. For the dressing, I chopped up a seeded tomato and added to the leftover tzatziki. Good it was.

Laying of the floor was finished today! Still to be done are the baseboards, the join between the hard tiles and the cork tiles, and some other miscellaneous things. The sink and its counter will be installed on the 10th. Yay!

Tuesday/3-Sep-13: Looks like the next IHCC chef will be Donna Hay, whom I know next to nothing about. Have none of her cookbooks, none of them catch my eye, and I really don't need yet another cookbook anyhow. (Although, I do hope Santa will bring me one from Tessa Kiros, one of the early IHCC chefs.)

For dinner, I grilled some barely defrosted kip filets with vaguely Greek spices. And some steamed broccoli with garlic and a but if red pepper flakes steeped in olive oil. And some Lemon-Dill Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumbers, Olives, & Feta (web). This salad was a hit; would be great at a picnic sort of thing.

Wednesday/4-Sep-13: Yogurt on overday. Shopping today.

Dinner with a halfish recipe of Scamp with Lemon-Zucchini Sauce (CL88, p122). Ok, I used cod instead of scamp. This was dredged in cornmeal paprika-spiked cornmeal and baked; good, but a bit of chili powder might be nice instead of, or in addition to, the paprika. The sauce, I read now, was supposed to be cooked, but I made it as a relish. And very good it was. A bit like tartar sauce with a really good flavor. Then some trio rice and some Perfect Roasted Green Beans (web), which is indeed a very good way to do green beans. Especially nice because they came from our own garden. Mini magnums for dessert.

Thursday/5-Sep-13: A forgettable crockpot dinner tonight, Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloins with Cherry Tomato Salad (web). I cut the sugar in half and it was still too sweet. So, sweet but boring. The same sauce for the pork was used as the dressing for the salad (tomatoes, red onion, parsley, basil). Ho hum.

Friday/6-Sep-13: Made some Authentic French Bread in the ABM, out of my head, and using one third whole wheat flour.

Dinner was Elsie's Zucchini Pancakes with Sour Cream Sauce (CastIron, p124; cookbooker). Using one big zucchini (with one cup for the freezer), I made a whole recipe with half the sour cream sauce. What was supposed to serve 6 (as side servings, I suppose) served 2 as a main. Very good zuke pancakes. I didn't heat the sauce, just let it sit at room temp. Very good it all was. Ed said I could make the again in a week. For dessert, there was Peach, Almond, and Cardamom Clafoutis (Dusoulier2, p93; cookbooker), with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which was quite tasty although it didn't seem to get done enough even with ten extra minutes. Nevertheless it was very good and Ed had seconds.

Saturday/7-Sep-13: Yogurt on overday.

Defrosted the fridge again, since I seem not to have done it thoroughly last time. (I.e., if not completely done, water seems to end up  under the crisper instead of draining away. Moved it back into position, so things are closer to  normal in the kitchen now.

For dinner I defrosted the end of a turkey roll, cut it in slices and browned those, then made a bit of pan sauce with green peppercorns to go over it. And some sautéed zucchini (suprise!) and a slim slice of the caramelized garlic tart. Made a salad, but we didn't feel like eating it.

Sunday/8-Sep-13: Dinner was a halfish version of Creamy Butternut, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Cavatappi (web), a dish with possibilities. I forgot to buy a blue cheese last week, so went to our small local grocery this morning to get some. They had only roquefort, which both of us find a bit strong, and a bleu de Bresse, which turned out to be seriously wimpy. The winter squash we've got growing were, I though, supposed to have orange flesh, but they're kind of pale green, so the dish was not as colorful as it could have been. And we're out of eggs (none to be found at local grocery) so the sauce wasn't as rich as it should have been. The recipe calls for 8 oz cavatappi for four, which seems a bit light, so I used 6 oz for the two of us. Which was a bit much for the sauce. The walnuts were a good touch. Might do again with a proper cheese and a prettier squash. Also had a salad. And some double chocolate mini magnums for a dog walk.

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