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