Monday, December 29, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/29-Dec-14: The beans I put on after lunch for tonight's dinner didn't want to get cooked in time, so they're sitting outside freezing their booties off until tomorrow. Instead I defrosted some chipolatas (sausages); need to note the brand because they were a bit on the salty side. Roasted some broccoli and cauliflower, along with one sweet potato for Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Cream (web), which I saw in the CL I read through this morning. (One sweet potato was plenty for two.) For dessert, we split the last mango ice cream sandwich, which was a reasonable amount (as opposed to the whole one per person recommended in the menu).

Tuesday/30-Dec-14: Late start, then shopping today. Very crowded again, and all the checkout lines weren't open, so there was a bit of a wait.

Cooked yesterday's beans some more, then finished off Pork Stew with Red Chiles and Black Beans (web), about a 2/3 recipe. Red beans, since I discovered I was out of black beans; the red beans seem to be Dutch, so they could be quite old and that could be why they took so long to cook. It was good, but nothing special. Didn't much care for the added honey. Chocolate mini magnums for dessert. Ed was still wanting some chocolate, so I made some Angel's Dreams (TLWine, p33), which were quite good, even though we don't have proper glasses for such things.

Wednesday/31-Dec-14: Ed's been busy hanging new lighting over the kitchen sink. He spent the morning and afternoon occupying the sink area, meaning I couldn't start cooking till much later than intended.

Knowing we're eating out tomorrow, I planned a lightish food for tonight.  For the meal, there was Gingery Cauliflower Soup (Q&E, p13) and (more or less) Easy Potato and Pea Samosas ( web) with Fresh Green Chutney (Q&E, p113). The soup is an old favorite; usually we eat most of it, tonight only about half. This is not the same baked samosa recipe I've made before; couldn't find that one. I made six samosas (I ate one, Ed ate three) to use up the packet of filo that I started with strudel; now I've got some filling leftover for something else. The chutney used mint from the garden. Very unusual for there still to be mint in the garden at the end of December.

Ed thought we needed a picture of me making the samosas.

And I thought we needed a picture of him eating one.

For our late evening munchies, I made a half recipe of Baba Ghanoush (WofE, p334) using some roasted eggplant from the freezer. This turned out especially good. As go-withs there was a plate of carrots, cukes, red and green bell peppers, radishes, cherry tomatoes (for me). I defrosted a second batch of roasted eggplant to make a recipe from WS, but didn't have the oomph. Twas OK in the end because we didn't quite finish the first batch, but will have to do something with it in the next days. For some reason I was exhausted after dinner and Oscar and I took a nap in the rocker. Polished off a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream in the course of the evening; Ed and I were both a little loopy.

Thursday/1-Jan-15: Splendid lunch out today at one of our favorite restaurants. No further food needed.

Friday/2-Jan-15: Tonight was Carrot Ginger Soup (web; cookbooker) with the two extra samosas. For dessert we finished off the last bit of pudding with slogs of crème de cacao and cream.

Saturday/3-Jan-15: Went to mail a package this morning, only to discover that the post office closes at noon, not at noon:30. Stopped at boulangerie for bread and a three king's cake.

Oops, forgot to notice that the chicken for tonight's planned dinner wanted to marinate for four hours. Instead we had Chile-Lime Veggie Noodles (web; cookbooker). Three king's cake for dessert.

Sunday/4-Jan-15: I actually got the chicken on to marinate this morning so dinner was a half-recipe of Grilled Chicken Piquant (CL92, p166). Easy and really good. You're supposed to boil the marinade at the end to use as a salad dressing, but since I made a half dose, there really wasn't enough to boil for five minutes. I just made up another small batch to drizzle my store-bought greens (frisée, carrots, beets, cabbage, and whatever else). A nice plate. We finished the three king's cake and may try to get another before they're gone.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for Dec/no for Jan; #4 FotW: yes for Dec/no for Jan; #5 BREAD: no

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas dinner 2014

Fig Stuffed with Foie Gras and Salad of Watercress 

Nori Fettuccine and Shrimp with Garlic-Chili Butter Sauce

Spicy Rack of Lamb with Thai Red Curry Sauce
Haricots Verts with Sesame Oil
Basmati Rice

Mango Ice Cream Sandwich with Macadamia Nut Cookies and Tropical Fruit Compote

Bits of this meal got prepared over the preceding days. On the day itself, I got a typical late start and puttered away most of the afternoon. Nothing rushed and everything came together at the right sort of time.

We started with figs stuffed with foie gras, bought at the marché de noël on Sunday, one each, accompanied by a bit of watercress with vinaigrette. Forgot to take a picture of this, so you'll have to imagine a salad plate with a fat fig and a bit of green beside it.

For the next course there was a pasta dish from a mangled recipe (Dinners42, p91; cookbooker). There should been opihi, a Hawaiian limpet, but there were no limpets at the shop (lots of other crustaceans, so maybe they're not in season). Shrimp was given as a substitute, so shrimp there was. The pasta has nori sheets ground up with the flour and sesame oil as the fat (no eggs). Very tasty.

For the main, there was a lovely rack of lamb (6 points) with a tasty sauce (Dinners42, p93; cookbooker). Since the menu I was following didn't include vegetable matter, we had some haricots verts and a bit of basmati rice on the side (but no pictures) of those.

We finished off a bottle of red wine that we won in a charity hamper. The matching rosé, which we took to the choir party, was not bad at all, so we gave the red a chance for this meal. Not the best choice. It was definitely so-so. Drinkable but nothing interesting.

Dessert (Dinners42, p95; cookbooker) was good, if a bit oversized. There's a layer of mango purée at the bottom, then two halves of an ice cream sandwich, topped with some tropical and not-so-tropical fruit (mangos, kiwis, and some mixed berries). Rather than having a whole ice cream sandwich each, we could have split a single one and been fine. A super idea, though, especially because the real work can be done days before.

Altogether an enjoyable meal.

Monday, December 22, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/22-Dec-14: Dinner was a halfish verison of Tuscan Broccoli Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese (web), a recipe from Green Giant, using one of their products that I don't think I would buy after looking at the ingredients. Anyhow, I just kind of winged it vaguely using what I had. It wasn't bad.

Made up the soup for the mango ice cream for Thursday's meal.

Tuesday/23-Dec-14: We thought we'd do our shopping a day early to avoid the rush. Ha. We've never seen the parking lot so full. The shop was full but all the aisles were open, so there was little waiting time.

In the afternoon I made apple butter and the macadamia nut cookies for the ice cream sandwiches for our xmas meal. Not the prettiest things ever, but they'll do.

Dinner was Gegrilde Sliptong met Avocado-Citroencrème (web), that's grilled Dover sole with avocado-lime cream. Don't know if it was Dover sole, but it was some kind of sole. Lots of little pieces. Had do grill two batches of them. The sauce was interesting and we used it over broccoli and rice too. Then we split a classic magnum.

After dinner, I churned the mango ice cream, made up the sandwiches (three of them, rather than only two), wrapped them individually, and popped them in the freezer. We had one cookie each leftover. (We had split one earlier.) Actually the cookies were pretty good and easy to make. If I do them again, I'll make them smaller.

Wednesday/24-Dec-14: Off to the butcher to pick up our lamb rack this morning. Isn't it pretty?

Emptied the freezer to make chicken stock, which is in the natural refrigerator outside overnight.

Made Christmas Eve Beet Soup (Barszcz Wigilijny) (TLQuint, p15; cookbooker) for dinner tonight. Didn't make the "dumplings" go-with but used cêpes-filled ravioli instead. Pretty good, easy to make but takes lots of clock time (could be done a day before). Then a salad. Then some store-bought vanilla rice pudding (really good stuff).

Made pasta for tomorrow's dinner.

The tree is up and decorated. It's missing balls I've hung every year since 1969 I think. And it's got the puny European lights instead of the cheerful American ones. Next year we probably won't bother at all. Made me sad.

Thursday/25-Dec-14: Yogurt on overday. I got it mixed but forgot for an hour and a half to start it, so it will be a late night tonight waiting till it's done to put it away.

Boiled up the chicken stock and froze it.

Worked on our xmas dinner most of the day. No big hurry, just getting everything done. By about 7.30p, which isn't too bad for us.

Had lots of ideas this year, but settled on a three-course menu from Dinners42 (cookbooker), a gift book I've never used before. We had a pre-starter with a foie gras-stuffed fig each that we got at the market on Sunday. Oh my, these are good. One is plenty. (I've got four more in the freezer now for another "event"—they come in a six-pack.)

This is the kitchen with most of the prep work almost done. (Pasta exposed for the photo; yogurt jars finishing drying after the dishwasher.) The bone booties are ancient; I've been toting that half-used box around for ages.

Ready to eat ...

All cleaned up and ready to put away, which will happen tomorrow morning.

Friday/26-Dec-14: A lightish dinner tonight, P.F. Chang's China Bistro Garlic Noodles (web; cookbooker). This is all over the web, all with the same poor instructions. Pretty good to eat though. For dessert we had some store-bought panna cottas with mango-passion fruit sauce that was a bit too sweet.

Saturday/27-Dec-14: We had our main meal in the afternoon so we could go to a movie in the early evening.

We had a half recipe of Tuna-Swiss Baked Patties (CL88, p125), which turned out pretty good. I've never been very good at patty things, but these held together pretty well. I put one egg yolk (hard to halve a yolk) in the patties and used the white to hold on the breadcrumbs (panko). Served with steamed asparagus and trio rice. For dessert, I used up some leftover evaporated milk to make Memaw's Pet Milk Pudding (web). Easy and not bad. Seemed a bit thick to me and not as creamy as my mother's recipe (which doesn't invove evaporated milk).

Sunday/28-Dec-14: Dinner was a half recipe of Saucy Chicken Gyros (web), tasty and quite easy to make. It would be fast if you put the chicken on to marinate in the morning or evening before. Didn't make the tapenade, but opened a jar. For dessert, we had more pudding, with mixed berries.

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

Monday, December 15, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/15-Dec-14: On a shopping outing with friends today, I did a bit of shopping at Grand Frais near Limoges. Found some greens, labelled as chard, that looked more like bok choy. So I called it bok choy and made Spaghetti with Bok Choy, Poached, Egg, and Romano Cheese (web; cookbooker). Good stuff, this, and and easy dish to make. We shared a magnum classic (2/3:1/3) for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/16-Dec-14: Yesterday I bought a boxful of chanterelles so I could make Tagliatelles aux Girolles (web) for dinner. And pretty good it was too, although the proportions were a bit odd. For two servings, it asked 450g of chanterelles. They come in 250g boxes and that was plenty. Of course more would be nice, but not really needed. Then a big salad. Then some camembert (the house brand, not as good as others). Then some squares of chocolate with nuts and fruits. We're full.

Wednesday/17-Dec-14: Shopping today. Bought a frozen leg of lamb for a good price. Meant to buy a bunch of chicken thighs, but it turned out to be a mixed package with four thighs and three legs.

DInner was Baked Salmon, a recipe I got from EAT-L. Very simple and quite good. I broiled rather than baking, which probably wasn't such a good idea since the garlic and basil in the marinade got a bit crispy. Served with trio rice and Haricots Verts in Walnut Oil (Lunch, p216; HandyBook). Then we finished off the camembert and the chocolate bar with nuts and fruits.

Thursday/18-Dec-14: Eating from the freezer with odd bits today. Pork Paprikash with Spaetzle (MW@Home, p203) and with roasted cauliflower and broccoli. Then a mini magnum.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/19-Dec-14: Christmas is coming. Eh. Ordered a rack of lamb for our meal. And we bought a tree, a live one that will end up somewhere in the South Forty.

Dinner was a half dose of Cardamom Chicken with Yoghurt and Almond (web), which turned out quite well. It's not spicy hot, but spicy tasty.  As go-withs there were plain basmati rice and Carrot and Onion Salad (MJ1, p171), an old favorite.

For dessert, there was Banana Strudel (H2CEV, p880), easy to make and yummy to eat.

Saturday/20-Dec-14: Got our tree today, a live one, but that was about it.

An improv dinner. Sautéed some shallot, oesterzwammen (oyster mushrooms), and garlic, then added the leftover bit of sauce from yesterday's chicken and tossed in some raviolis with cêpes (from the freezer). And a big salad. And more banana strudel.

Sunday/21-Dec-14: Here is something I love about French cooking: This morning I read through a recent issue of VPG (which, I see, is now styling themselves just Gourmand, dropping the Vie Pratique bit). I read an interesting recipe called Terrine de Chou Frisée (dark green cabbage with crinkled leaves), Asperges Blanches (white asparagus), et Poissson aux Herbes. On one side is a little blurb titled "Don't lose anything!" that tells you "With the rest of the cabbage, you can make a velouté ..." and gives brief instructions for what sounds like a good soup. To which you can add some slices of a sausage to make a complete meal. How nice that they're considering leftovers from the beginning. (Terrine things are nice for parties. They travel well and usually serve quite a few people.)

Also on the magazine side, on the advice of a cooking friend, I recently bought an issue of Cuisine et Vins, which sounds a bit pretentious but seems to be chockful of good recipes. I clipped so many that I signed up for a 2-year offer. Like I really need another food magazine. And there's just not time to make all the interesting recipes that I see.

We went to a marché de noël today. Often I buy something for our xmas day meal, but that's already planned. I did splurge on some figs stuffed with foie gras. We'll have one each on the big day for a pre-starter or maybe between starter and main, and the rest will go in the freezer for treats on another day.

Dinner was Pan-Seared Scallops with Walnuts and Spiced Carrots (web). The seared scallops were nice; the sauce OK. Didn't have any walnuts, so used hazelnuts instead. The spiced carrots were just mashed carrots with cinnamon added; I added a touch of ginger too. Too much sugar added to everything for our tastes, even though I cut back quite a bit. Not sure why the nuts needed to be sugar-coated. For dessert we were little pigs and finished the banana strudel. That was good stuff.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 FotW: no; #5 BREAD: none

Monday, December 8, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/8-Dec-14: Dinner was a halfish recipe of A Night in Tunisia Pasta (with Harissa, Broccoli, Cauliflower) (web). Ed thought it was really hot, while I thought it was pleasantly hot. Nothing special, but nice enough. Roasted brassicas are always nice. Then a big salad. That was all.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/9-Dec-14: For lunch we finished off two single serving things from the freezer, so we weren't all that hungry at dinnertime.

It was supposed to be a whole meal, well, soup and dessert, from TLEastern today, but I didn't get myself organized to make the dessert. Dinner was Shaker Potato-Leek Soup (TLEastern, p9; cookbooker), which was pretty good and easy to make. Would also be vegetarian if you didn't add the crumbled bacon or used bacos (whatever those things may be called these days).

Wednesday/10-Dec-14: Shopping today. Having no idea what I'll do for the holidays, I bought a pintade (guinea hen) and two duck breasts (with the idea of making something similar to Shane's turkey roll, but with duck instead). All in the freezer now.

Dinner was Gebakken Pangasius met Mosterdsaus—Fried Panga with Mustard Sauce (web). I used cod (on sale today) and broiled the fish, rather than dredging it in flour and sautéing. For the sauce, I sautéed the onions, then added a bit of flour, then topped up with orange juice, coarse mustard, fresh dill, and a pinch of sugar as directed. The sauce was pretty good but would maybe be better with a stronger tasting fish like salmon. Served with some smashed potatoes  (pushed through a sieve) and steamed broccoli. For dessert, I buzzed up a bit of Coffee Ricotta Mousse (MW@Home, p307), using a dab of leftover ricotta, plus a bit that was frozen until the bakje jumped on the floor and broke. I don't really follow this recipe, but use it for the proportions, using Kahlua instead of instant coffee and brandy.

Thursday/11-Dec-14: Busy day today. It was the first meeting of my BookChatters group, where we sat around and talked books for an hour and a half. In the afternoon, I joined a scrabble group for a couple hours of play and chat. Fun.

For dinner there was leftover enchilada casserole with some rice&peas and guacamole. Then some little chocolate pudding cake sort of things I got from the café where we played scrabble. Lekker!

Friday/12-Dec-14: Dinner was a halfish version of  Penne al Cavolfiore e Panna (ClassPasta, p108; cookbooker), which was very good. Might be good with roasted cauliflower too. Then a big salad. Then we split a chocolate and nut "lollipop" that was part of a charity hamper than I won.

Saturday/13-Dec-14: Hadn't noticed that my planned meal needed quite a bit of wall clock time and I didn't feel like waiting, so scrambled to find a quick dish to use the defrost kip filets. We ended up with Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (MC), with trio rice and some peas and little onions. Mini magnums for dessert.

I'm puzzling about what we're going to have for our xmas meals. Could be guinea hen, could be duck breasts. But I have a bit of an itch for lamb. Or fish. Or ... ???

Sunday/14-Dec-14: The last carol concert this evening was followed by ... a dinner. Ed wasn't paying attention. I thought it was just drinks and nibbles, but it was drinks and food. Luckily I planned only a quick simple dinner, so nothing was wasted.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 FotW: yes for last month/no for this month; #5 BREAD: none

Monday, December 1, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/1-Dec-14: Tonight's dinner was Paprika Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts (EW sep/oct14; web). This was pretty darn good and really easy to make. For dessert we finished off the pumpkin cake, whew.

Authentic French Bread in the bread maker for tomorrow morning.

Tuesday/2-Dec-14: Dinne was Risotto with Morel Mushrooms (web), which was pretty good. I used dried morels, since the real thing is only occasionally available in special groceries, not our everyday one; and cooked it like a real risotto, adding liquid, bit by bit rather than all at once and simmering covered like regular rice. Then a salad. Then a square of chocolate with hazelnuts. That was all.

Wednesday/3-Dec-14: Shopping today. Dinner tonight in Limoges before a very nice concert. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Thursday/4-Dec-14: It was Madhur Jaffrey for dinner tonight. The main was a more-or-less half dose of Salmon in a Tomato-Cream Sauce (MJ@Home, p56; cookbooker). I made the recommended sides Swiss Chard with Ginger and Garlic (MJ@Home, p151; cookbooker) and Rice Pilaf with Almonds and Raisins (MJ@Home, p209; cookbooker). All very tasty, but the salmon was especially wonderful. Used spinach instead of chard, since the chard wasn't very appealing this week. Mini magnums for dessert.

Made up yogurt for overnight, but then realized we'd be gone in the morning before it was ready. Popped it in the fridge.

Friday/5-Dec-14: Yogurt on overday. Added an hour, since I started it cold from the fridge.

Used up the rest of the spinach tonight to make a loose interpretation of Orecchiette with Ricotta and Chard Pan Sauce (web). Fairly tasty, if nothing spectacular. Then a big salad. We were full.

Saturday/6-Dec-14: An early dinner tonight, since we're going out for a bit this evening. I made a half recipe of Egg Curry (web), which was so-so at best. Served with plain rice and Pan-Grilled Zucchini (MJ@Home, p173)

Sunday/7-Dec-14: Dinner was a riff off Chipotle Chicken Enchilada Casserole (web). First of all, cans of enchilada sauce are not something found in the shops here. In the past I've made the Chile Purée from TexMex to use as enchilada sauce. But my stock of dried chiles is low, so I looked for something else. And found Rockin' Robin's Raving Enchilada Sauce (web)—a major good find. Easy to make, with stuff that's usually on hand, and, it tastes like enchilada sauce ought to, thanks to the Gebhardt Chile Powder, I bet. Yes, I used the full amount, and, no, it wasn't too hot. Even after adding the max amount of chipotle powder for the enchilada recipe (wherein the enchilada sauce is embroidered with cocoa, chipotle, and garlic powders), the dish was no where near challengingly hot. The enchilada recipe is intended for a 6-qt slow cooker, which I don't have, so I assembled the whole thing as in Tijuana Pie (Mike Roy's Crock Cookery, p55), with layers of tortillas and filling. It worked pretty well, and we'll have it again later this week. I also made Mama's Spanish Rice for two and guacamole. Very tasty eating.

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

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
with Mustard Vinaigrette

Arrosto di tacchino con pancetta ed erbe aromatiche
(Shane's Roasted Rolled Turkey Breast with Pancetta and Herbs)
Thyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Haricots Verts in Walnut Oil
Cranberry-Port Relish
Buttermilk Bread Cloverleaf Rolls

Morgon 2005

Pumpkin Mousse

Another "light" Thanksgiving and no pictures this year. We had company and there were almost no leftovers.

We started with Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (web), a recipe I collected from EAT-L, served with a bit of rucola. I'd been warned that the recipe made way too much vinaigrette, and indeed it would have. Also, I found the acid-to-oil proportion way off. I used equal amounts of lemon juice and olive oil with a bit of mustard. It worked very well with the sprouts and arugla.

At Ed's request, we again had Shane's rolled turkey breast. This is delicious and makes a nice presentation, and it's not hard to make either. Couldn't find enough pancetta at the shop, so used some coppa. Doubt we could tell the difference. (I'm now almost at the end of the first roll of kitchen twine I bought, probably in the late 60s, maybe early 70s. There's maybe one more roast to tie with it.) Made a bit of gravy, thickened with potato starch, from the cooking juices. I love this turkey roll, but I miss the glamor of the whole turkey too.

As go-withs there were Thyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes (web) and Haricots Verts in Walnut Oil (Lunch, p216; HandyBook). Both were good. I like the haricots verts, but they're not a good dish for this meal really, since they need to be cooked in the interval between courses and take just a bit too long. Might try parboiling them ahead of time to shorten the final cooking time, then just finishing in the oil.

And, of course, there was Cranberry-Port Relish (MC), a recipe that came from VT originally, but I've reduced the sugar. It's a really good and simple-to-make cranberry sauce. So much better than the canned stuff.

I made some cloverleaf rolls, because that nice soft white bread is so good for soppy.

All with our last bottle of Morgon bought direct from the vineyard. Although Beaujolais isn't supposed to be drunk old, this was still very good. Beaujolais seems to go well with turkey.

And, finally, there was some Pumpkin Mousse (MC; CL86, p88), which is kind of a crustless, "light" version of pumpkin pie, pretty in parfait glasses.

Monday, November 24, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/24-Nov-14: Dinner was a third recipe of Tatin Pomme et Magret (VPG). Can't find it online, which is too bad. A funny thing about VPG is that that sometimes, as in the case, provide a recipe, and then the house chef, Cyril Lignac critiques it. In this case, he said it wasn't interesting to mix the duck and the apple; you should just make the tatin and cook the duck separately. I took a sort of intermediate course. There were no aiguillettes at Leclerc (that's the small muscle attached to the back of the breast, as in a chicken breast), so I bought some slices of magret. I used these to line two dishes, filled them with the sautéed apple, then folded the sticking out bits on top. This baked for 30 minutes, then I plopped the dishes upside down onto plates and sprinkled with poppy and sesame seeds. Pretty good this was, and easy. For a side there were some boiled potatoes and some sautéed grated zucchini (the last bit from the freezer) and peas, with a bit of garlic, homemade Mrs. Dash, and mint leave. All was good.

Tuesday/25-Nov-14: Tonight we tried out the new pizza van that's coming to Mazerolles on Tuesday evenings. Pretty good they were.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/26-Nov-14: Shopping today. Managed to come home without two of the veggies for tomorrow's meal. Ed went back for one of them, only later did I discover the second. Hope the market tomorrow will have that one. Don't know what happened. I remember weighing them. Maybe I put them in the wrong cart, or let them by the scale.

Made the cranberry jelly, roasted Brussels sprouts, and made tomorrow's dessert. The fridge is stuffed. Usually at this time of year, we can use the natural outdoors refrigerator for veggies and such, but it's still way too warm for that this year.

Dinner was Spice-Crusted Salmon (web) which was pretty good. I cooked it under the broiler, rather than in the oven, which caused some of the spices to burn, but we just scraped that bit off. Sides were polenta and steamed broccoli. That was all.

Thursday/27-Nov-14: Not haricots verts at the market. Ed brought some back from Intermarché after choir practice. They were the kind cut to the same length and packaged, and weren't in the best shape. Luckily I could retrieve enough to serve four from the two packages he brought.

Made a Pumpkin Cake (MC) while I was busy cooking, which we didn't serve in the end.

Friday/28-Nov-14: Ate out tonight.

Saturday/29-Nov-14: Dinner was Courgettes with Lemon, Caper Dressing (web), which could be a side dish or could be served as a side dish. It was fine over tagliatelle Then a big salad, using the rest of the roasted Brussels sprouts. Then we ate the last two pumpkin mousses. I'm stuffed.

Sunday/30-Nov-14: Dinner was 4-Minute Spicy Garlic Shrimp (web), a recipe I collected from EAT-L, but found on the web. Four minutes, it's not, but it is pretty fast. I made up some Montreal seasoning, which I've never heard of. Used frozen shrimp, so I just marinated them in the olive oil, garlic, and pepper flakes for a good long time, then heated the skillet and dumped it all in. Served with rice and steamed broccoli. More pumpkin cake for dessert. (We've been having in for lunch.)

Yogurt on overnight.

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/17-Nov-14: Leftover roast chicken for dinner tonight, along with some steamed broccoli. That was all.

Tuesday/18-Nov-14: DInner was Baked Chickpea Burgers (web), not bad for a veggie burger, if a bit dry. I ended up with eight, rather than six, patties. We ate four and I've frozen the other four. No bun, just patties on a plate. Mostly topped with sriracha. Then a big salad*. Here, there Then some mini magnums.

The burgers asked for some Mrs Dash seasoning, so I found a recipe on the web and made up a quarter of that. Still have some left.

*Big salad: In NL, I'd buy 75g of frans sla, mixed lettuces, for a side of dinner salad. Here, the best I can do is a 100g sack of lettuces. Haven't seen a place where I can get the amount I want.

Wednesday/19-Nov-14: Yogurt on overday.

Shopping today. Meant to buy salmon, but it didn't look very good. The tuna looked good, though, and we haven't had any in a bit, so that was our fish for the week. In the veggie section there were some really nice-looking (big) cauliflowers 2/€1.99; I bought 1/€1. (Cauliflowers at Leclerc often look like they've had a hard life.) All meaning a replan of the week's menus. Oh well.

Dinner was an old favorite, Balsamic-Glazed Tuna (MC; web). The recipe is from a 1999 Cooking Light; I just found it on the web. Definitely a goodie. For a side I roasted the end of a broccoli, along with some of the cauliflower bought today; all sprinkled my faux Mrs Dash and tossed with a small slog of olive oil and some chopped garlic that's be odorizing the fridge for a few days. And some crozets nature, tossed after draining with a bitter butter, parlsey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and black pepper. For dessert, we each had a little pot of store-bought caramel au fleur de sel Guerande. Pretty good, if not a favorite.

Thursday/20-Nov-14: Made some Chocolate Zucchini Bread this afternoon, using a recipe I collected from EAT-L that was very similar to another recipe of the same name from EAT-L, but using less zuccchini and more vanilla.

Dinner was Spaghetti Carbonara with Poached Egg (MC), good stuff, followed by a salad, followed by some Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

Friday/21-Nov-14: Working some more on the cauliflower, tonight's dinner started out to be Tuna-Cauliflower Casserole (MC), but ended up a bit different. When I looked in the pantry, I discovered there was only one can of tuna, instead of two—inventory failure. Ok, I'll use a can of crabmeat with the tuna. Picked up the tuna can, the lid pushes in and pops out in a kind of funny way. Hmm... And when I popped the lid, liquid erupted. Never seen that with a tuna can before. Didn't quite know what to make of it, so I tossed it. The casserole looked a bit skimpy, not to mention pale, so I added some strips of roasted red bell pepper from a jar. Usually we eat all this casserole, but tonight we didn't. Guess we'll have some for lunch one day soon. Followed by a big salad.

Saturday/22-Nov-14: Made up about a third recipe of Kaye's Pickled Green Beans (MC), in anticipation of Thanksgiving dinner, although it's not sure we're going to do one yet.

DInner tonight was a Moroccan lamb dish from the freezer, served over couscous, along with halfish doses of Spicy Carrot Salad (MedLight, p114) and Tunisian Zucchini Salad (MedLight, p117). We were full.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/23-Nov-14: And, using up that cauliflower, tonight we had a half-dose of Cauliflower Paprikash (MJ@Home, p202), with paprika flown in fresh today from Hungary (a joke probably only understood by Hilltop Herb Farm afficiandos). Well, not quite, but it was recently bought there as a gift and sent to us. Yummy stuff. And a big salad.

Progress on planning our Thanksgiving menu is slow. Sigh. Ed requests we repeat the turkey rollade, but what else?

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #3 PASTA: yes; #4 FotW: yes; #5 BREAD: none

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/10-Nov-14: I meant to roast a chicken tonight, but didn't feel like messing with it when the time came around, so I made, more or less, Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp (web) which turned out to be pretty good. Then a big salad. Then some squares of dark chocolate with hazelnuts.

Tuesday/11-Nov-14: Yogurt on overday.

We went to an excellent Remembrance Day lunch in Montemboeuf today (shared with Le Lindois and Mazerolles for some reason). Neither of us were interested in food this evening.

Wednesday/12-Nov-14: Shopping today. Last week the holiday chocolates and sweet were in the place; this week the toy section has enlarged and been decorated. Much too early. Sigh.

Dinner was Lex's Roast Chicken (web; cookbooker) and quite good it was. As go-withs there were gesneden snijbonen (I think these are called runner beans in British English; in US English, no idea; in French, haricots coco). And some rosemary potato wedges based on Dusolier's Perfect Roast Potatoes, which were good, but unnecessary considering that the chicken came with a sort of stuffing. No dessert needed.

Thursday/13-Nov-14: Indian for dinner tonight. The main was a half dose of Bangladeshi Fish Curry (MJ@Home, p58; cookbooker). As advised, I served with plain rice, a dal, and a vegetable. The dal was Bangladeshi Red Lentils (MJ@Home, p195; cookbooker). The veg was an old favorite, Pan-Grilled Zucchini (MJ@Home, p173; cookbooker). (I must check, but I think the spices on this are the same as  the Spicy Cucumber Wedges from MJ1. Ed preferred the mushy cooked zucchini, while I prefer the crunchy cuke.) That was plenty of tasty dinner.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/14-Nov-14: It was a salad of leftovers for lunch: Puy lentils, snijbonen, potatoes, red bell pepper. All tossed with a vinaigrette with a touch of piment d'Esplette. Turned out pretty good and cleared the fridge of lots of bits.

Yes, it does sometimes happen. There was fresh pasta in the first half of the month. I made some Whole Wheat Pasta (Fancy, p77) cut as taglliatelle to replace the pasta in Maccheroni alla Chitarra con Tartufo dei Poveri (Geometry, p158; cookbooker). The required pasta is not macaroni as we know it, but a long skinny pasta cut on a chitarra, a "guitar" of strings. The sauce, not truffles but mushrooms, is interesting because all the ingredients are ground in the food processor and then fried as the pasta cooks. Then a salad. Then I had a bite of a classic magnum while Ed had the rest.

Saturday/15-Nov-14: Lunch out today. Not much thought of food for the rest of the day.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/16-Nov-14: Dinner was Roasted Carrot Turmeric Soup (web; cookbooker), not bad. I used half vegetable stock and half chicken stock, but I'll still call it a vegetarian meal.  As an accompaniment, there were Chickpea Flour Pancakes (MJFlavours, p81; cookbooker). I got the recipe in email, but seeing it was from Jaffrey, I checked my books and found it.

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/3-Nov-14: Yogurt on overday.

Dinner was Curried Leek Tart Tatin (Dusoulier2, p164; cookbooker), which was tasty and impressive. Unfortunatly I always forget how much wall clock time is needed for this kind of thing, so we ate fairly late. We started with a grated carrot salad, a classic French thing, which is (note to self) better when the carrots are grated on the box grater rather than the microplane). Then the tart. The tart was made with Yogurt Tart Dough (Dusoulier2, p199; cookbooker), which was quite tasty. Might be worth trying again for something else; there's also a buckwheat flour variation. Ed was so impressed with the tart, he thought it needed some photos. Here are the chunks of leek, browned on one end, topped with goat's cheese:

Tucking the pie crust around the leeks.

And turned out à la Tatin for serving.

Tuesday/4-Nov-14: An early main meal today since we're going out this evening. Using up some lamb shanks from the freezer, I made Roast Lamb Shanks and Lentils (TLAmer, p28; cookbooker). Served with Shredded Zucchini (MW@Home, p87), an old favorite.

Wednesday/5-Nov-14: Shopping today.

Dinner was a half recipe of Merluzzo Pasta Puttanesca (web). (I actually got this from EAT-L, but it was just a cut-and-paste job.) The pasta was good, an interesting variation on a puttanesca bianca sauce with the fish included. Too much red pepper flakes, this from folks who like it hot. Think regular anchovies would be better than anchovy paste. I used real olives, chopped, rather than tapenade. The rucola was a nice touch. Then a big salad. Then some store-bought tiramisús, following the Italianish theme.

Thursday/6-Nov-14: Yogurt on overday.

Comfort food for dinner, a nice Dutch stamppot met zuurkool en rookworst. Yum. Of course it's French sauerkraut and a French sausage, but the same effect. Then off to line dancing.

Friday/7-Nov-14: Dinner was a half recipe of Linguine with Shrimp and Porcini (30MinPasta, p99; cookbooker), a really nice pasta. Then a salad. That was all.

Saturday/8-Nov-14: Dinner was Tangy Stir-Fried Pork (MC), using up the rest of my kumquats. My varkenshaas (pork tenderloin) was huge, so there was lots of meat, but it was tasty. Served with rice and a broccoli-mushroom stirfry. Chocolate mini mags for dessert.

Sunday/9-Nov-14: Ed's choir gave a Remembrance Day concert this evening. We had pizza afterwards.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: no #4 FotW: no; #5 BREAD: 0

Monday, October 27, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/27-Oct-14: Yogurt on overday.

Company gone. Back to a normal eating regime. Whew.

Dinner was, sort of. Chile-Lime Veggie Noodles (web). More or less the whole recipe for a generous dinner for two. Used shao-xing wine instead of sherry, only 1 teaspoon of sugar, and three eggs for the omelet part. Pretty good. We split a magnum classic for dessert.

Tuesday/28-Oct-14: Dinner was a half recipe of Summer Corn & Scallop Pasta (web). Pretty interesting and good. Out of whole wheat spaghetti (yesterday's dinner), so used linguine instead. Used canned corn.  Then a big salad. That was all.

Wednesday/29-Oct-14: Shopped today, then had a mid-day lunch of Baked FIsh with Kumquats and Ginger (Uncommon, p273), which is one of my two kumquat recipes. Served with haricots verts and shrooms. And some crozets, a kind French pasta, tiny squares, a bit thick. (Mine were nature, but the buckwheat version is traditional, I see. I'll get some of these, since that kind of earthy taste is sometimes nice to have.) For dessert, I bought some apricot pastry things which were tasty.

Thursday/30-Oct-14: Yogurt on overday.

Dinner was Arroz al Ajillo con Camarones (Garlic Rice With Shrimp) (web), which was pretty good. I made a halfish recipe. Cooked all the bacon this morning, so used lardons instead. My shrimp were frozen (thawed), but worked okay. I cut them in half lengthwise as she did. Having no green onions, I used shallots. Some parsley would have been nice for the color. Finished off the strawberry ice cream for dessert.

Friday/31-Oct-14: Made a triple dose of apple butter this morning, made it in the Dutch oven so it wouldn't spatter too much. Ha. Ended up giving the backsplash, utensils, and stovetop a thorough cleaning. Used most of a cheap sack of apples. Tasted pretty good.

Boiled up so artichokes for a meal coming up.

Getting the fresh pasta in on the last possible day, dinner was a half recipe of Tagliatelle ai Funghi Porcini (Lorenza, p91; cookbooker). Used shiitakes, since there were no cêpes at the grocery this week. Then a salad. Two squares of chocolate with almonds for after.

Saturday/1-Nov-14: An anniversary today, but neither of us wanted yet another meal out after the last weeks and at least two more coming soon. So, we had our dinner in the early afternoon, a halfish dose of Poulet Sauté à la Bordelaise (Sautéed Chicken with Shallots and Artichoke Hearts) (TLProvFr, p43; cookbooker).

Ed brought home two points of flan for dessert. Then we took ourselves out to a movie.

Sunday/2-Nov-14: For dinner, there was a half dose of Fusilli with Sausage, Ricotta, and Fresh Tomatoes (30MinPasta, p165; cookbooker) using Hazan's homemade sausage. Good stuff. Then a big salad. For dessert, I used the rest of the ricotta from the pasta sauce to make my version of Coffee Ricotta Mousse (MW@Home, p307), including cocoa plus Kuhlua instead of coffee and brandy. Good stuff for next to no work.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for October/no for November; #4 FotW: yes for October/no for November; #5 BREAD: none

Monday, October 20, 2014

IHCC Nigel Slater summary

Slater's cookbooks have been favorites since I picked up Real Fast Food on a sale table. I love the way many of his recipes are more like suggestions of what you can do. I also like that his recipes are frequently for two, so there's no need for scaling back. So, I was eager to do the I Heart Cooking Clubs Nigel Slater challenge. I started off well, but lost the oomph to do the special posts near the end, even when I had made the meal. Oh well. Even so, I actually cooked more with Slater during this time than I posted.

I've reshelved my Slater books now (the challenge books tend to sit out on the table while the challenge is in progress), but now find there's no longer room for them. The 30-Minute Cook that I got just before this challenge started has no place. And I've got three more of his books on order, Kitchen Diaries II, and Tender I and II. Where will they go? My cookbook space is really being stressed out right now.

My Slater books 
  • 30MinCook: The 30-Minute Cook, by Nigel Slater (ISBN 9780141029528). This is my newest Slater book and a real winner. [8 recipes]
  • Diaries: The Kitchen Diaries, by Nigel Slater (ISBN 9780007241156). A wonderful read and full of delicious recipes. Worth the price for the slow-roasted lamb leg that I've done twice now, but didn't include in these posts. [5 recipes]
  • FastPuds: Real Fast Puddings, by Nigel Slater (ISBN 9780141029511). Haven't found that much interesting here (we're not really dessert people), but loved the one I made [1 recipe]
  • RealCook: Real Cooking, by Nigel Slater) (ISBN 0140252770). Not my most used of Slater's books, but still good. [2 recipes]
  • RealFast: Real Fast Food, by Nigel Slater (ISBN 0879516429), cookbooker. My first Slater book, bought on spec from a sale table. [4 recipes]

Recipes I tried 

PostRecipeBook, pageRating
PostLamb Sirloin Chops with Yogurt and Mint
very good 
RealFast, p240+++
Fragrant Brown Basmati Rice
less successful, slightly odd instruction, try again 
RealFast, p203+
PostHerbed Salmon with Garlic Cream Sauce
very good and easy
30MinCook, p118+++
Lamb Hash
simply and good, tasty with the simples of seasonings
30MinCook, p179+++
Lamb in Spiced Gravy
a yummy, Indian-ish way for leftovers
30MinCook, p179+++
PostChicken and Rice Salad
tasty, vaguely Asian chicken salad
Diaries, p187+++
PostBroiled Potatoes
cheesed up for a main, or a nice side
RealFast, p173+++
PostGrilled Fish with Chermoula
yummy fast fish
30MinCook, p124+++
PostPancetta and Blue Cheese Risotto
good risotto
RealCook, p169+++
PostShepherd's Pie with Spiced Parsnip Mash
very good variation on shepherd's pie
RealCook p119+++
PostEscalope of Pork with Asparagus and Cheese
30MinCook, pxx+++
PostA Shrimp Omelette
with potted shrimp
Diaries, p195+++
PostChicken Livers with Vinegar and Onions
something to try again with proper chicken livers
30MinCook, p201+++
PostFusilli with Olives, Anchovies, and Capers
more yummy pasta
RealFast, p119+++
PostGoat's Cheese and Olive Aubergines
nice starter
30MinCook, p33+++
PostPork Chops, Mustard Sauce
good with and without the chopped cornichons
Diaries, p51+++
PostGoat's Cheese and Fruit
starter or dessert?
30MinCook, p92++
A Refreshing Salad for a Hot Day
as it says
Diaries, p231+++
PostChocolate Almonds
oh my
FastPuds, p133+++
PostLemon and Basil Linguine
lemony deliciousness
Diaries, p130+++

This week in the kitchen

Monday/20-Oct-14: Yogurt on overday.

After cutting all the apples for an apple-cranberry clafoutis, I realized there were no eggs. Oops. Replan. Found Apple-Cranberry Crisp (web) and made that instead.

Dinner was, more or less, Eggplant Sauce with Tomato and Red Chili Pepper (ClassicItal, p161), not for the first time, with eggplant and cayennes from the potager. (Strangely the eggplant is producing again.) Then a small salad. The crisp was good.

Tuesday/21-Oct-14: Shopping today.

For a starter, there were some haricots verts in hazelnut oil with some garlicky sautéed oyster mushrooms. The main was Braised Ligurian Chicken (Essential, p491), a Jamie Oliver recipe, made with eight thighs instead of a whole chicken, so a halfish recipe by weight. A yummy sauce developed. Served with Italian Roast Potatoes (Essential, p300), which were a bit crispier than intended because I cut them too small. But good with the sauce from the chicken. Then we finished the apple-cranberry crisp, topped with some marscapone cream.

Wednesday/22-Oct-14: For lunch there was Hot Beer Soup (Heisse Biersuppe) (TLGer, p4). This is one of those glad-I-tried-it-don't-need-to-try-it-again recipes. Easy to make, a nice lightish soup. Cinnamon-sweet vs bitter. The sugar takes the edge off the beery bitterness, which made it more edible for me. Apparently this kind of thing was part of a medieval breakfast, but then I'd have expected it to have a heavier beer instead of a lager-type one. Oh well.

Thursday/23-Oct-14: Yogurt on overday. Lunch out today.

Dinner was Potato Soup with Cucumber (Feine Kartoffelsuppe mit Gurken) (TLGer, p5). This wasn't too bad at all.

Friday/24-Oct-14: Dinner was a repeat of Pancetta and Blue Cheese Risotto (RealCook, p169), with fourme d'Ambert as the cheese. Good stuff. Then a big salad. The three of us finished a package of Afrikas for dessert.

Saturday/25-Oct-14: Lunch out in Poitiers today before a wine tasting in the afternoon. Dinner was some fruit and toetjes that we bought at a boulangerie on the way home.

Sunday/26-Oct-14: Another lunch out today, in Angoulême before Bill's train. Just some fruit for dinner, then off to a movie. Whew, no more meals out for a while.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 FotW: yes; #5 BREAD: 0

Sunday, October 19, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/13-Oct-14: The start of a hectic week.

Dinner was Curried Shrimp & Potato Kebabs (web), sort of a half recipe, except we had seven shrimp each, since that's what was in the package. I used all the curry powder and halfish of the rest of the stuff. Served with some steamed broccoli tossed with pesto from a jar. Pretty good altogether. The sauce for the kebabs went will with everything. Two squares each of hazelnut chocolate for after.

Tuesday/14-Oct-14: Jim arrived this afternoon. For dinner we had Pork Tenderloin Diane (MC), an old favorite. I used up our potatoes making some simple boiled potatoes, with butter and some frozen parlsley, since my parsley had kicked the bucket. And some carrots loosely based on Glazed Cumin Carrots (MC). We getting pretty vegetable-less the house now. And no shopping tomorrow.

Wednesday/15-Oct-14: We had our anniversary lunch out tomorrow. For dinner we had fruit and popcorn.

Using our tomatillo harvest, all five ounces of it, I started some Tomatillo Jam (p31, Tomatillo), leaving the fruit (vegetable?) to macerate in sugar overnight.

Thursday/16-Oct-14: Yogurt on overday.

Finished off the Tomatillo Jam. Probably a bit too gingery, since I neglected to round down in my recipe cutback. We'll see.

Lunch out today. Only munchies in the evening.

The VPG I'm reading has an article on The rabbit: a meat to rediscover. Must be a city magazine. Rabbit is certainly eating frequently out here in the country. People keep rabbits for food. It's available in the grocery stores. It's served in restaurants.

Friday/17-Oct-14: Jim left this morning, then we went to Limoges to pick up BIll. In between I put Chicken Vindaloo (p114, IndianSC; cookbooker) in the crockpot. Lunched at at frairie, then back for a vet appointment for Oscar, whose right eye has gone wonky again. Conjunctivitis perhaps.

For before-dinner munchies I made more Spicy Cucumber Wedges (p172, MJ1). For dinner we had the vindaloo, which was okay, but nothing special. And some basmati rice. And some Green Peas in a Creamy Sauce (p87, Q&E), an old favorite. For dessert we had some strawberry ice cream with a wedge of a chocolate tart bought at the frairie; strange combination, but both were good.

Saturday/18-Oct-14: Tried a dab of the tomatillo jam for breakfast. Interesting, a trifle too sweet perhaps.

Lunch at the Phoenix book sale. Dinner at the fête du vin in St Sornin. Not even going to run the dishwasher tonight.

Sunday/19-Oct-14: Today was the over-60s dinner at Mazerolles, a multi-course treat. Bill actually felt like eating a sandwich. Ed and I had only fruit.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 1
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 FotW: no; #5 BREAD: 0

Monday, October 6, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/6-Oct-14: We had lunch out today with friends. In the evening there was only popcorn.

Tuesday/7-Oct-14: Yogurt on overday.

VIsited a health food store and Grand Frais after my quarterly visit to the ENT today. Result: impulse buys, meaning replanning of next week's menus.

Dinner with Easy Marinated Griddled Chicken (web), which was good enough, if nothing spectacular. Served with some butternut squash gnocchi from the freezer with sage butter sauce and steamed broccoli. That was all.

Wednesday/8-Oct-14: Shopping today.

The first of my impulse buys appeared as dinner tonight as Pappardelle with Zucchini Blossom Sauce (web), interesting but nothing special. Then an old favorite Cold Beetroot with Cream (Pomiane , p180). For dessert, I had a small third of a magnum classic and Ed had the rest.

Thursday/9-Oct-14: The last time I made jam a couple of months ago, I re-used Albert Heijn jars. At least one of them sealed! It could have happened before, but we happened to be sitting in the room and heard it pop. Just remembered that this morning. Why?

So, IHCC being through with Nigel Slater, I've put my books back on the shelf. And they don't fit. I got one new book just before this challenge started and I guess that's the odd one out now. But I've got three more on order, waiting for the paperback editions due out later this year. Where are they going to go?

For a munchy while dinner was finishing up, I made Spicy Cucumber Wedges (MJ1, p172). The main was Fish FIllet in an Indian Way (30MinCook, p124), which was tasty, but a bit odd. The fish weren't really fried as described, but simmered in the sauce resulting from the yogurt and the cilantro sauce. As sides there were a half dose of Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds (Q&E, p88) and Turmeric Rice (Q&E, p100). We didn't think we wanted some for afters, but later decided that a bit of brie would be nice. Seems odd after an Indian-ish meal, but it worked.

In last week's shopping, I bought a cabbage. We've had three meals from it and there's still a chunk to use. I miss our Dutch greengrocer who would sell us a half cabbage or whatever.

Friday/10-Oct-14: Another impulse buy from Tuesday, a half recipe of Leek and Chanterelle Tart (Sunset, p298). The chanterelles we know in English are called girolles in French. I bought chanterelles jaunes, which have orange-yellow stems and brown caps. These were cheaper than the girolles, but still good. A nice tart, easy to assemble. Then a big salad. No dessert.

Saturday/11-Oct-14: Nothing in the kitchen today. We went to Poitiers for a concert and an overnight.

Sunday/12-Oct-14: We'd intended to go to another concert this afternoon and a pizza afterwards, but neither of us slept well last night, and we didn't feel like going out. So we ate from the freezer.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes/; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 FotW: no; #5 BREAD: 0

Monday, September 29, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/29-Sep-14: On the plan for tonight's dinner was a half recipe of Maltagliati with Aubergine Sauce (PastaCarlu, p32; cookbooker). Maltagliati means "badly cut," so it's handcut into random-ish shapes. It's actually pretty good with chunky stuff, but I think maybe I should just roll it to 5 rather than 6, since it could be hand-rolled, rather than machine-rolled. When I cut into my eggplant, I discovered it wasn't good. Broccoli was the only other veg in the fridge, so I used that instead. The veggies took a looong time to cook, so I added a bit of water and steamed them for a bit before finishing the sauce. Then a salad using the last garden tomato of the season. (There are some flowers now, but I expect it's too cool at night now to set fruit.)

Tuesday/30-Sep-14: Dinner was a half dose of Chicken in Red WIne Vinegar Sauce (web). Did this with chicken thighs. Really easy and tasty. For sides there was a carrot version of Broccoli Timbales (BEFCC, p58), there not being enough broccoli left to do it. No sauce for us. It's a recipe for four, but we usually eat two timbales. Serving a meal French-style, these would make a nice starter, the bit of sauce would dress it us a bit. And some orzo.

Wednesday/1-Oct-14: Shopping today.

Dinner was a half recipe of Spaghetti with Halibut & Lemon (web), kind of ceviche with spaghetti. And mashed potato mixed in there too. One of those recipe I'm glad I tried, but don't need to do again. Followed by a nice big salad. And three squares of chocolate with hazelnuts (finishing off the package, don't you know).

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/2-Oct-14: Went to make dinner, got started in plenty of time, only to discover that the "stew" wanted to cook 1-1/2 hours in the oven. Yes, I should have read the recipe more carefully when I chose it, but given the ingredients, it's really unexpected. So, finished assembling this while making something to be eating in real time. And tomorrow will be easy.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Savoy Cabbage and Sausage Pasta Sauce (MarCuc, p176; cookbooker). Fairly simple and quite good, the sauce being onion, garlic, sausage, and cabbage, bound with cream and topped with parsley and Parmesan. Had a bit of brie that was on special this week for afters.

Friday/3-Oct-14: What I assembled last night and popped in the fridge was Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses (web). It was okay, but nothing special. A lot of fussy cutting-up of the eggplant, that's just going to be buried in the not-really-stew. (It's more like a casserole.)

Saturday/4-Oct-14: Yogurt on overday.

Party tonight that included dinner.

Sunday/5-Oct-14: I cooked up 500g of chickpeas during the day, some for dinner and lots for the freezer.

Dinner was Crusted Cornmeal Chickpea Potpie (web; cookbooker). An interesting idea that didn't quite work. Might be worthwhile tinkering with. (See cookbooker for details.) Then a simple salad.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for September/no for October; #4 FotW: yes for September/no for October; #5 BREAD: no for both months

Monday, September 22, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/22-Sep-14: Yogurt on overday.

Dinner was Pasta with Tuna and Olives (VeryBest, p210; cookbooker). My can of tuna was the same size required in the recipe for four, so I make all the sauce but only half the pasta. The olives should have been coarsely chopped rather than halved, but otherwise it was quite good. Easy and fast. Then a big salad.

Tuesday/23-Sep-14: It was supposed to be an IHCC dinner, for which I cooked a batch of chickpeas this morning, but I turned out to have missed a somewhat important ingredient, so made a quick change to Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry (web), which was OK, but nothing particularly special. Lots of veg, chickpeas, sweet potato, peas, and tomatoes, which was nice. A big dose of lime pickle helped the flavor. Served over rice.

Wednesday/24-Sep-14: Shopping today. Then a dinner buffet at an acoustic open mike event at a nearby restaurant.

Thursday/25-Sep-14: I was up early and off to an all-day mosaic "taste" class that included lunch. Good fun but tiring. Got home quite late. Had a small sandwich and fruit and off to bed.

Friday/26-Sep-14: Yogurt on overday.

In the afternoon I made some Homemade Sausage (30MinPasta, p161; Handybook). Lots for the freezer and a small amount for a coming dinner.

After that, I made myself at Pineaujito (web). I was a bit dubious about this idea, but it worked pretty well.

For dinner there was Sriracha Garlic Tofu with Mint (web), along with rice and Thai Carrot and Radish Salad (web). The main was quite good, but emphasized the crummy tofu we get here. Also, it should be cut slightly smaller, maybe in spears or somthing more interesting than cubes. Good flavor, though.  The salad was also good and went with the tofu very well. I haven't found any "sweet chilli dipping sauce," so used slightly less sriracha and added a dollop of plum jam. No lettuce, just served it plain. All good stuff. We split a magnum classic after. (I'd have really liked just a spoonful of pineapple sherbet, but there was none available.

Saturday/27-Sep-14: Before dinner, I made some Chipotle Brownies (web). (This is a recipe from Family Circle. I eventually managed to find the recipe there, but it was such a miserable experience that I wouldn't recommend their site to anyone.) I had only 1/2oz of semisweet chocolate (instead of 3), so I used a total on 4-1/2 oz of unsweetened chocolate. To compensate I didn't seriously reduce the sugar measure as I usually do. Instead of chocolate chunks added at the end, I had the tiny French chocolate chips, which are really quite good. We had these for dessert and good they were.

The main was Salmon with Curried Cabbage (web). (You'll find this recipe lots of places. Some of them will say it serves four, which is not possible. It's meant to serve one, and that makes sense. I doubled it.) I got this recipe from EAT-L, and didn't realizethat it was meant to be cooked in the microwave (duh) . So I sautéed the cabbage bit in butter and oil, then did the salmon under the broiler. Served with trio rice. Pretty good.

Set a pair of kip filets to marinate for tomorrow's dinner.

Sunday/28-Sep-14: Dinner was Grilled Tandoori Chicken (web), which was very easy to assemble and surprisingly good. I used kip filets, but I expect any bits of chick would work fine as long as they have a good long marinade. Cooked on the grill outside, thank you Ed. Served with Karhai Broccoli (MJ@Home, p148) and Turmeric Rice (Q&E, p100). Both of these are tried&true recipes.

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/15-Sep-14: Yes, it was my birthday. We had lunch out. Only a small salad for dinner.

Tuesday/16-Sep-14: Dinner was Spaghettini with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Herbs (web). And a small salad for after. For dessert we had popcorn at the movies.

Wednesday/17-Sep-14: Shopping today.

Dinner was Pasta with Sardines (web). First time I've ever cooked with fresh sardines. Smelly things they are. The dish was not bad at all, but nothing I need to do again. Then a big salad.

It was Oscar's turn to stay out after dark tonight. Computers shut down about 10pm because of thunderstorms.

Thursday/18-Sep-14: Dinner was Tarte de Tomate (TLProvFr, p50 in the hardback, not in the recipe book). At the grocery, I had the choice of Swiss Gruyère or French Gruyère, both lait cru, for €20.xx or €12.xx per kilo. I'm cheap so chose the French one, which was quite good enough! I did not use the recipe for pâte brisée in the book, but my now standard one from Judith Jones, Tart Dough (Tenth, p256). Whenever I make this I make a double dose and put half in the freezer. I don't make the prettiest crust every, but it's yummy, flaky, tender, all those things. The last extra one turned into this very tasty tart. I do think there was too much cheese (1#). Fresh out of the oven, it was difficult to serve because the cheese was so runny. I would do this again with about 300g or maybe even 225/250 (1/2#) instead of 450g. The grated parmesan on top was a nice touch, but the extra butter was overkill I think. A very nice combination of tastes, the gruyère, tomatoes, and basil. A keeper, if modified. Served with salad.

Computers shut down again at night because of forecast thunderstorms.

Friday/19-Sep-14: Tonight's dinner was meant for IHCC, but I don't feel like writing a post, so this will have to do. We had Delectable Pork in a Mustard Spice Mix (SpiceKitch, p88) accompanied by Yellow Rice with Potato and Cumin (SpiceKitch, p64) and Peas with Whole Cumin and Mustard Seeds (SpiceKitch, p48). Have made everything before; just see that it's exactly 16 years to the day since I made the exactly the same dinner! It's still good, and easy, but takes a bit of clock time simmering, made longer because one of the burners very annoyingly doesn't like to stay like. Ed says we shouldn't wait so long next time.

Saturday/20-Sep-14: Didn't feel like cooking this evening. We had the leftover tarte de tomate, more or less at room temp. Still tasty. More convinced that it was too much cheese. For a side, I lightly cooked some a roll-cut carrot,  then some broccoli. Chopped a shallot and a bit of parsley, added that to the sieve and poured the broccoli over that. It was surprising good for minimal effort.

Sunday/21-Sep-14: No cooking again today. Soup from the freezer. Followed by chocolate mini magnums. Then ironing.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 FotW: yes; #5 BREAD: 0