Monday, August 26, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/26-Aug-13: Working on the freezer backlog we had some Thanksgiving turkey roulade for dinner (and there's still one last bit in there!). Then there was Acorn Squash à la George (MC), a moldy-oldy recipe, from Gourmet, I think, using one of our little winter squashes (not an acorn, which I've not seen in Europe). Good it was. I grated up a bunch of zucchini to freeze, then made Zucchini and Vermouth (Essential, p227) with some of it. Finally there was some Berry Tiramisu (MC), with marscapone from the freezer. Well-fed and full, we were.

Tuesday/27-Aug-13: Dinner was a half dose of Saucy Chicken Gyros (web), which was pretty good, grilled on skewers over the fire. The recipe includes tzatziki and tapenade. I made the tzatziki (the half recipe leaves lots for sauce for further eating adventures); opened a jar of tapenade for that taste. Served with Baked Zucchini Fries (web), an interesting idea. For dessert we finished the last two berry tiramisus, a bit soggier, with the fruit colors running, but still tasty.

Wednesday/28-Aug-13: Flew in an ultralight this afternoon. Stopped for a lovely dinner on the way home.

Thursday/29-Aug-13: Pizza for dinner. Making the dough, I absent-mindedly poured the water into the bread maker, rather than the bread pan, something I've always been afraid of doing. Not sure if it's going to survive. So I mixed the dough in the food processor, sort of following Bittman's recipe, but it ended up more like my regular recipe. Used half whole wheat flour. Whatever I did, it turned into a very nice pizza dough. Used a big jar of roasted red bell peppers to make up a bit lot of non-tomato pizza sauce; froze two thirds of it. Grilled eggplant, zucchini, and broccoli for the pizza. It was good. Some double chocolate mini magnums for dessert.

Friday/30-Aug-13: Shopping today and out for dinner. Not much action in the kitchen.

Saturday/31-Aug-13: Yogurt on overday.

Spent the day unloading the Ivars in the living room, reassembling them where they belong in the kitchen, and refilling them. As a result, I didn't feel like making what I'd planned, so we had leftover pizza for dinner. It was still good. Some vanilla ice cream and raspberries on toasted waffles for dessert.

Breadmaker seems to be working. Yet to make a loaf, but it did a short Bake-Only cycle without a problem.

Sunday/1-Sep-13: The Mini refused to boot last evening, so today was spent trying to get it back in working order. We're now trying to get it to work again, but it's still not happy. As a result, the planned dinner went by the wayside. We had some poultry sausages from the freezer, mashed potatoes, and green beans from the garden.

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

IHCC: August Pot Luck

Between kitchen renovations and the zucchini glut from the garden, there's not much serious cooking going on here right now. But today was shopping day, and shopping day means fresh fish. What better way is there to cook fish than Indian? A quick trip through Madhur Jaffry's books came up with quite a long short list of fish-for-dinner recipes.

Using up bits of garden bounty, I served the fish with Pan-Grilled Zucchini (At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, p173) and Fried Aubergine (Eggplant) Slices (Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking, p99), both of which I've made before. The zucchini is pan-fried (you could also pan-grill it) then sprinkled with a squeeze of lemon then some salt, freshly ground black pepper, ground roasted cumin, and cayenne. The eggplant is tossed with salt, turmeric, cayenne, and freshly ground black pepper, then pan-fried and served with slices of lemon. I've not done this yet, but I next time I'll cut the eggplant slices a bit bigger and add just a bit of oil with spices, then pan-grill or broil them.


For the fish dish, I finally settled on Grilled or Bhuna Fish Steaks from Foolproof Indian Cooking (p44), using some salmon fillets rather than swordfish (or other) steaks. You make a lumpy sort of paste of grated ginger, crushed garlic cloves, garam masala, ground cumin, turmeric, ground mustard, cayenne, lemon juice, salt&pepper, and maybe a bit of water. Spread this on the fish and let it sit while you get everything else ready. Then just pop it under the broiler or on the grill till it's done.


Visit this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what's turned up in this week's pot luck. I'm also sharing this with the newly discovered Cook Your Books, where I'll try to share monthly something cooked from a seldom or never used cookbook. Since this fish dish is the first I've made from Foolproof, it qualifies.

Monday, August 19, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/19-Aug-13: Gathered yet more zucchini this morning; we skipped yesterday and have a lot to show for that!. Lots of little winter squash to come soon.

DId an interim shopping today while Ed went to the brico.

Dinner was a half dose of Ravioli with Roasted Zucchini (web). Good, and interesting that the zuke was roasted instead of sautéed. Then a salad. Then some mini magnums.

Tuesday/20-Aug-13: Made half of Lemony Zucchini and Bean Pasta Salad (web). Using more zucchini and green beans from the garden. And good it was. That was all.

Wednesday/21-Aug-13: Soup day. Made double doses, about four liters each, of two soups. First Curried Zucchini Soup (web). Made with chicken stock. Added 50% more curry powder and it still doesn't have a strong taste of curry. Maybe it will bloom in the freezer. Then there was Zucchini Garlic Soup (web). Used only a tiny smidge of the butter asked, plus a smidge of olive oil; used garlic broth; has powdered ginger added; tastes promising.

Dinner was, yes, more zucchini, a half dose of Zucchini Rice Casserole (web). Half of a recipe that should serve 12; we'll get 4 servings, a bit short. Had to improvise on some of the ingredients, and didn't bake the rice to cook it. Pretty good.

Oh yes, I also oven-dried some plum tomatoes. Got to use the timed cooking feature on the oven for the first time, since we went to a movie before they were done.

There are now only two smallish zukes in the fridge! With more on the vine, of course.

Thursday/22-Aug-13: Didn't feel like cooking tonight at all. So I asked Ed how he felt about going out to dinner. Not positive. How about eating the leftovers, he said. So we did, along with a tomato each (minimalist salad) and some corn on the cob. Then some mini magnums.

Friday/23-Aug-13: Shopping today, our "regular" one postponed since we also shopped on Monday. This week being pot luck at IHCC, meaning I could make something from Madhur Jaffrey, fish with eggplant and zucchini from the garden. Also shared this is Cook Your Books (see right column), which is a monthly thing similar to Cookbook Sundays.

Saturday/24-Aug-13: Out for an evening walk followed by a light dinner.

Sunday/25-Aug-13: Gathered yet more zucchini and winter squash plus a handful of haricots verts from the garden. I'm just reading that you can freeze slices of winter squash, so I may try that since we have lots in the house and lots more coming. Otherwise, I'll try to find a cool place to store a bunch of squash.

Oops, started to make a pad thai sort of thing for dinner and discovered I didn't have enough wide rice noodles. Onto the list with those, then replan. Made a half dose of Zucchini Sauce for Pasta with Tomato, Parsley, and Chili Pepper (Marcuc, p161). Had marked this to cook when I was making pasta, but the kitchen is in too much disarray for pasta right now.

Yogurt on overnight.

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

Monday, August 12, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/12-Aug-13: Last night I prepped the bread machine with Authentic French Bread on Rapid Bake; this morning I came down early and pressed Go. Result, a large lovely loaf, not as dense as it usually is.

Defrosted the fridge/freezer. Found enough bones and bits in the freezer to make chicken broth. The fridge now stands on the hearth tiles, facing the outside doors. Very confusing.

Dinner helped with the fridge-cleaning business. I lined two dishes with a tortilla each, added the leftover Spanish rice, then topped them up with a custard of one egg and some crème fraîche, spiced up with cayenne, chili powder, and a sprinkle of ground cumin. Pretty good those were. And some corn on the cob. And a half recipe of Green Bean and Napa Cabbage Salad (web). The green beans I had, store-bought plus some from the potager, weren't enough, so I added some snow peas to round it out. This is a really good salad; it would be nice at a potluck dinner or picnic.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/13-Aug-13: Work on disassembling the cabinets has started in earnest. One of the Ivars stands in the living room now; the second is unpacked; I'll pack up the third tomorrow to reassemble with the other. I wonder how many weeks they will stand there?

Dinner was Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp (web), broiled instead of grilled. Not bad. Served with polenta and a zucchini mish-mash, sautéed with garlic and shallots and some tomatoes. Some of the chocolate cake mini-magnums for afters.

Wednesday/14-Aug-13: Shopping today. And took delivery of 6m3 of wood for next winter; spend a lot of time putting that away.

Dinner was Grilled Swordfish, Chettinad Style (IndLight, p155). Ed prepped the bbq while I made Rice with Peas (MJ1, p149), Fried Aubergine Slices (MJ1, p99), and Onion Relish (MJ1, p174) as go-withs. All are repeats. The last time I did the eggplant, I think I broiled the bits, which I think I'll do again; fried eggplant is always oilier that I'd like. But it tastes good. For dessert with had some vanilla ice cream with chocolate liqueur (impulse buy at the store while looking for Kahlua).

Took down the third Ivar section today, but no time to reassemble.

Thursday/15-Aug-13: Dinner at Mazerolles' Fête Patronale this evening (followed by fireworks), so nothing food-wise happened in the kitchen. Three Ivars assembled and partially reloaded.

Friday/16-Aug-13: The peninsula cabinets are disassembled and moved into the center of the room, leaving a narrow aisle in front of the sink. The three narrow pantry cabinets are free of the wall. Ed thinks we won't have to move them into the living room, but just swing them aside. Which means I don't have to completely fill the Ivars since the boxes won't be needed. Hooray!

Dinner was a half-recipe of Casareccia with Zucchini and Fresh Basil (web, cookbooker), which made for pretty small servings, but maybe that's ok for those of us trying to lost a bit of weight. Followed by a big salad. Followed by my adaptation of Coffee Ricotta Mousse (MW@Home, p307) to use up the ricotta not used in the pasta sauce. Actually, my version of this is so far off, using cocoa with maybe only a dab of coffee (not tonight), that I should just write it up and call it my own. Added a dose of chocolate liqueur too. All was good.

Not thinking I'm going to get a post done for IHCC again this week. Too bad.

Saturday/17-Aug-13: Zucchini and winter squash in the garden, one plant each, are going crazy!

Dinner was a half dose of Risotto con Gamberi e Acetosa (WildCarluccio, p20), a risotto with shrimp and sorrel. Yum. Then some Apricot-Almond Clafouti (web) made in the afternoon. Also yum.

Sunday/18-Aug-13: Went out for pizza tonight. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

IHCC: Gorgeously green!

Back in the kitchen with Ottolenghi this week for something green after a couple of weeks off with company. When I went looking for a recipe I found I had already collected a green one from Jerusalem, via Orangette, one of my favorite food blogs. This was Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile and it sounded like just the sort of green thing that we'd like to eat. And it was!

First you buzz up a sauce with yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and some peas (either fresh or defrosted frozen). This becomes a beautiful pale green sauce.

While the pasta is cooking (I used orecchiette, but any shaped pasta would be fine), warm a bit more olive oil with pine nuts and chili flakes (I plain old chili flakes here, having no Urfa or Aleppo or Kirmizi biber) for about 4 minutes, until the nuts are golden and the oil is red. Warm more peas with some of the pasta water.

Drain the pasta, put it back in the pasta pot, and slowly stir in the buzzed sauce. You do this slowly to avoid curdling the yogurt. (Actually, the recipe has you put the newly buzzed sauce into a big bowl and then add the pasta to that. To keep the head dishwasher happy, I usually save a dish by doing the mixing in the pasta pot.) Add the warmed peas, a lot of torn basil, crumbled feta, and some salt. Top with the pine nuts and chili oil and serve.


The recipe is advertised to serve 6. I made about half the sauce with about a third of the pasta as dinner for two. Maybe it was a bit saucy, but we didn't notice. It was very good. This will be one of our favorite Ottolenghi recipes.

Visit this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs to see the green things that folks have been cooking up.

This week in the kitchen

Monday/5-Aug-13: It was an Ottolenghi dinner tonight, a good one. Made a salad as a go-with, but we decided we didn't need it, so it waits in the fridge till tomorrow night. But we did have some ice cream and blueberries before we went off on our evening dog walk.

Lots of zucchini coming in now, we're trying to collect them smaller this year, but there are now three in the fridge and at least that many waiting to be picked. The winter squash is flowering now, but no further action yet.

Tuesday/6-Aug-13: Tonight's dinner, working on using up the freezer backlog, was a mishmash stew with two slices of a small ham, some hominy, mixed with some broccoli-chickpea pesto, some chili-soaking water, and a slog of real water. Not bad at all. Then last night's salad. Then we split the last mini-magnum (there was only one left in the freezer).

Ed poured the self-leveling stuff for the tiles in front of the fireplace again today.

Wednesday/7-Aug-13: Shopping today.

Dinner started with Zucchini and Beet Salad (MC). For the main there was Balsamic-Glazed Tuna (MC) with lemon-parsley orzo. And some Vanilla-Nutmeg Pound Cake (MC) for dessert. All old favorites.

Thursday/8-Aug-13: Had lunch out today, celebrating leaving Houston 31 years ago today. We were too full for dessert, so we had cake and ice cream for dinner.

In the evening we picked some produce from the garden. We're drowning in zucchinis again; found a big one tonight that we'd overlooked before. We'll pick as many zukes again in a couple of days. Little squash are starting on the the winter squash plant which has lots of flowers. One eggplant, a handful of green beans, and a cup or more of blueberries. Probably one more good picking of those.


Friday/9-Aug-13: Had lunch in La Roche today with Barbara before going on a guided walking tour that ended with coffee (not for me) and three mini pastries.

Dinner was Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Salad with Feta, Chickpeas & Mint (web). Used two zucchinis and one the eggplant above. Meanwhile, Ed brought in two more zukes, so the net change was zero. More pound cake for dessert.

Saturday/10-Aug-13: Yogurt on overday. Crockpot dinner, Persian Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts (web). I didn't have the fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish, oh well. I used four skinned, bone-in chicken thighs, Pretty good. Made up some saffron rice. Also some Shaved Zucchini Salad with Parmesan Pine Nuts (web). Have made this recently and it's still good, even though I didn't do the pine nuts and shaved parmesan bits. Then off to a concert.

Sunday/11-Aug-13: Cheese enchiladas tonight with Spanish rice from the freezer and some (unfortunately) cilantro-free guacamole. Comfort food dinner.

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