Monday, August 25, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/25-Aug-14: Before dinner, I made some Blueberry Zucchini Bread (web).

For this week's pickled theme at IHCC, I made the Pork Chops, Mustard Sauce (Diaries, p51) again, this time with the cornichons included. Unfortunately, I don't feel like posting about it, so I'll just put the picture here and say we liked the cornichons in the sauce.

Served with Harictos Verts in Walnut Oil (Lunch, p216; HandyBook) and some nice garlicky smashed potatoes. Had some of the Blueberry Zucchini Bread for dessert. Very more-ish. Definitely a keeper.

Yogurt on overnight,

Tuesday/26-Aug-14: Shopping today.

Dinner was a half recipe of Fish Tacos (web) but with six tortillas between the two of us, since that's what was in the fridge. (These are French corn tortillas, which are not as good as the ones I get from the Netherlands; still one more dozen to use up before I can order again from the right place.) Made a Fresh Tomato Salsa as a go-with, but don't know where the recipe came from. Had a big salad as a go-with. We split a classic Magnum for dessert.

Wednesday/27-Aug-14: Dinner was Chicken with Mushroom and Lemon Grass (Diaries, p107), using up all the lemon grass I got recently. This was easy and tasty. For a side there was (sort of) Hot & Sour Stir-Fried Vegetables (Delightful, p55). I didn't have any cabbage or even another brassica, so just left that out. Pretty good anyhow. And some basmati rice. For dessert, a vanilla yogurt each. And a dog walk.

Thursday/28-Aug-14: Made some bread maker bread from the pain au levain mix.

Made a double batch of pâte brisée aka Tart Dough (Tenth, p256), one for dinner, one for the freezer. Dinner was Lemony Ricotta Summer Squash Galette (web), which was really nice. I used only zucchini, since yellow squash are only very rarely available here; the combination would be especially pretty. Finished the Basil Tabbouleh, which held up well, but didn't really go with the galette.

Friday/29-Aug-14: Yogurt on overday.

An easy dinner tonight. There was Curried Zucchini Soup from the freezer, needing only some salt, and grilled cheese sandwiches with bleu d'Aurillac and sliced tomatoes. Good stuff.

Beans on to soak overnight.

Saturday/30-Aug-14: Made some Cayenne Cornbread (BigGerman, p182) in the bread machine.

Beans were cooking most of the day and they still aren't done; wonder how old that package was? In the end I opened a can to make a soup for dinner to go with the cayenne cornbread. Both were good. Some double-chocolate mini-magnums for after. And then a walk looking for Sophie, out after dark again and all keyed up when we found her.

Sunday/31-Aug-14: The beans were improved by an overnight sit. Simmered them some more, then picked the meat off the ham bone and froze it all together for another day.

In the potager. we picked more cayenne (for the freezer), two spiny, fat cucumbers, and two eggplants. Time for some cucumber salad.

Dinner was pasta with Eggplant Sauce with Bell Pepper, Tomato, and Basil (MarCuc, p144; cookbooker). It was good. Two squares each of hazelnut chocolate for after.

I've not touched my Foods of the World cookbook for August, so I sort of arbitrarily declared August as a vacation month and shifted the rest out.

Sophie in late again.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 4,
This month: #3 PASTA: yes; #4 FotW: ; #5 BREAD: 0

Monday, August 18, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/18-Aug-14: A clear-the-fridge kind of dinner tonight. For the main there were Grilled Zucchini Pizza Slices (web) using some thick zucchini slices, no-tomato pizza sauce from the freezer, mozzarella, bacon (which is rather like Canadian bacon), pyramid goat cheese, chopped black olives, and Parmesan. Very versatile, this recipe, since you can use most anything to build the layers; we thought eggplant slices would make a good base also. There were two salads as go-withs. First, Betterave Rouge aux Noisettes (VPG; web), which is a classic sort of thing. I couldn't find hazelnuts (until I put the walnuts back in the freezer), but that was OK, since I don't have any hazelnut oil right now. But I do have walnut oil, so used walnuts instead. Then a made up salad with a home-grown tomato, a bit of home-grown cucumber, some home-grown basil, and shallot with a little vinaigrette. All good stuff if a non-traditional sort of dinner. Saved all the bits of leftover this&thats to use as a pasta sauce for a lunch in the new future.

Tuesday/19-Aug-14: Went to Intermarché after my physio appointment and bought some lamb on sale, some for a dinner this week and more for the freezer. Also got fish for tonight's dinner. Walking through the veggie section on the way to check out, I saw they had some nice-looking sweet corn, so bought a pair of ears. Not sure why this store frequently has corn in the summer, while Leclerc rarely does and it's usually pretty icky looking when they do. Then our regular shopping.

Came home and made Rhubarb Cobbler (web; cookbooker). Our main was a half recipe of Clam Shack-Style Broiled Fish (web) which was quite good. Might use another flavoring instead of paprika next time. Served with, yes, corn on the cob and Parmesan Smashed Potatoes (web), a really yummy way to bake potatoes, right up there (and similar to) Dusolier's Perfect Roasted Potatoes. Cobbler for dessert. We're stuffed.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/20-Aug-14: Used the rest of the rhubarb and some frozen blueberries (as instructed, since they're not in season at the same time) to make some Bluebarb Jam (SmallBatch, p37). Not sure I had enough pectin, so we may have some bluebarb sauce to deal with later. Somehow I seem to have repeatedly bought sacks of sugar with pectin and boxes of just plain pectin. A friend is making jams for a charity this year, so I gave her all this stuff, leaving only a half sack of pectin (expired, but I wonder if pectin actually expires?). Guess I ought to buy a bit again.

Dinner started with Soft Asian Summer Rolls with Sweet and Savory Dipping Sauce (web; cookbooker). We had three each instead of one, but they were good. My packet of rice paper circles fell to the floor at some point, so about a quarter of each one was broken off, making them rather difficult to roll. The main was a half recipe of Hot and Spicy Chicken with Lemon Grass (MaiPham, p128) served over rice. Good stuff. Originally I thought this wasn't going to be enough, so I made some Cucumber Salad (Yaam Taeng Kwa) (Delightful, p51). In the end, we didn't eat this (beyond a munch), so we put the cukes and onion in a jar with their sauce and the remainder of the dipping sauce to have in the next days. Then some rhubarb cobbler.

Should have put chicken on to marinate for tomorrow's dinner but didn't feel like it. Will have to do it first thing tomorrow.

Thursday/21-Aug-14: Got the chicken on to marinate this morning. It turned into a half recipe of Baked Chicken Curry (MJ@Home, p88; cookbooker), which turned out to be quite good. Served with plain basmati rice and Pan-Grilled Zucchini (MJ@Home, p123). For dessert there was Yogurt Custard (MJ@Home, p276). This was tasty and about as easy as can be: equal amounts of yogurt and sweetened condensed milk, stirred together, then baked in a bain marie.

Argh, this was supposed to be my IHCC contribution for the week and I forgot to take a photo. Sigh.

Friday/22-Aug-14: Haircut day. We're in the process of growing it out. Really like it for the last month. Not so sure of today's result. I see we're going towards the way I had it just before leaving Houston. We'll see.

We were supposed to go out to see a friend's band this evening but Ed's not feeling well, plus he's extra tired from all the shutter painting, so we stayed in. Dinner was Shrimp Panzanella (web; cookbooker), a lovely summer salad. Too bad the weather isn't summery. We ate outside, but it was a bit cool.

Saturday/23-Aug-14: Defrosted the big freezer today. Whew. A handful of stuff MIA, things that I forgot to remove from the spreadsheet when I used them.

Dinner was Salmon and Dill Fishcakes (Diaries, p161; cookbooker) made with the rest of the frozen salmon. Nice texture, nice salmon taste, but otherwise missing a bit of something. Served with cascareccia with a sauce made of a beet I roasted a while ago, red onion and garlic, and pyramid goat's cheese. That was pretty good. Ed thought they were both good, but didn't go especially well together. Finished off the Yogurt Custard for dessert.

Sunday/24-Aug-14: Bbq night, although Ed forgot so it was a bit later than planned. Dinner was Grilled Lamb Steaks with Rosemary, Garlic, and Red Wine (Thrill, p150). Good stuff. Served with two fo the suggested go-withs: Grilled Eggplant with Olive Oil, Parsley, and Capers (Thrill, p298) and Basil Tabbouleh (Thrill, p313). Both good. We each had a double chocolate mini Magnum for the after-dinner Pogo walk, looking for Sophie who's still not in.

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

IHCC: Zest It up!

This week it's zingy citrus week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. And was also pasta time at home. Result: Lemon and Basil Linguine from The Kitchen Diaries (p130), another Slater recipe that's quick and about as simple as it can be.

For two, simply whisk together the juice of a big lemon, 75ml of olive oil, and 75g of grated Parmesan. When that's well-combined, thick and grainy looking, stir in some torn up basil leaves and lots of freshly ground black pepper. This is really quick to put together, but grating that much Parmesan does take a bit of time—even with my wonderful microplane. (And I used only about 50-60ml of olive oil, since that seemed like entirely too much.) When the pasta is done, drain it, toss with the sauce, and serve. That's all there is to it.

OK, it took a bit longer for me because I made some lemon fettuccine from scratch rather use using store-bought.

The first taste (or smell) is heavy on the citrus, but the lemon, cheese, and basil complement each other so well, making a really creamy sauce without any cream.

Check this week's post at I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what zesty treats others have cooked up.

Monday, August 11, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/11-Aug-14: An eventful day for our cats today. Oscar had most of his right ear, including a mastocytoma cancer, removed. Sophie, who's been really listless of late, has been diagnosed with, most likely, cystitis.

Since our local boulangerie is closed Mondays, when I got back from taking Oscar in for his surgery, I put a loaf of "sourdough" bread in the bread maker. This doesn't really taste very sourdough-ish, but it is pretty good and will see us through tomorrow morning.

Dinner was Chicken, Broccoli, and Bulgur Wheat Salad (web) with bulgur made from épautre/spelt. Another nice summery salad. Too bad we're not having nice summery weather. We split a classic magnum for dessert.

Tuesday/12-Aug-14: Shopping today; managed to come away without an impulse buy. The salmon I wanted came only in big pieces, so I used salmon from the freezer for a half recipe of Grilled Salmon & Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce (web). Can't say much for the frozen salmon. The sauce for this was good, and I'm glad that I made a whole recipe so I've got a chunk of it frozen. Then a big salad with cucumber and tomato from the potager. (The zucchini plant we bought is growing cukes, big fat spiny ones.) Then some store-bought vanilla rice puddings.

Sophie is much better on her meds, acting alert today, which is a nice change. Oscar's doing okay. His ear looks like a black hole, but that will improve when he can groom a bit and when hair grows back.

Wednesday/13-Aug-14: Slow-oven-roasted the tomatoes I bought yesterday and have them in the big freezer, still on the tray, to freeze separately overnight.

We ate pizza tonight before going on a torchlight tour of Montbron this evening.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/14-Aug-14: Had a hankering for pancakes for breakfast, so I made a half recipe of Ned and Crescent's Favorite Multigrain Pancakes (Gospels, p205).

Dinner was a lemony pasta sauce from Nigel Slater for IHCC. I almost made some Lemon Chive Pasta (PastaMach, p57), but forgot the chives. Then a big salad. Then two squares of chocolate with hazelnuts each. And a Pogo walk looking for Sophie, who's taken to staying out late again now that she's feeling better.

Friday/15-Aug-14: Dinner out tonight at the Mazerolles fête patronale, half a melon to start, braised ham and the ubiquitous beans for the main, salad and cheese for after, then a bit of apple tart. So, not much happened in the kit

Saturday/16-Aug-14: Thinking tonight's concert started at 17.30, I planned a crockpot dinner so it would be ready when we returned. But it turns out the concert was a 20.30. So I got the crockpot going a bit earlier than planned. Using four largish chicken thighs, I made a halfish recipe of Chicken Paprika (BeanSC, p87), using less olive oil than the butter asked. Turned out to be surprisingly good. As a go-with I made a full recipe (for four) of Spätzle (MW@Home, p203; HandyBook). This was really too much, so I'll use the rest in some kind of made up salad for lunch perhaps. Then there was a veggie side of shallots, broccoli that I'd parboiled in the spätzle water, and tomatoes from the garden, spiced with paprika. Made up, and turned out pretty and pretty good.

Sunday/17-Aug-14: Had an itch for fried rice, so tonight I made a half version of Thai Fried Rice (Khao Pad) (ThaiCC, p24; cookbooker). Good stuff. Itch scratched. We split a classic magnum for dessert.

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

IHCC: Moreish Meals!

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Moreish Meals, something worth coming back to for seconds. And thirds. And fourths.

Cooking time was a bit limited this week and it seemed like time to make something sweetly moreish, so I had a quick look at Real Fast Puddings, a Nigel Slater book I've not really used before.

In the Spring section, I found a recipe for Chocolate Almonds (p133). Exactly why this is a spring recipe, I'm not sure, but I had the ingredients on-hand and a bit of time one evening, so it seemed like a go.

These are really simple to make, if a bit tedious. Melt some chocolate in a double boiler, either real or improvised. Toast some unskinned  almonds in a skillet till them smell good. Sprinkle a good bit of cocoa powder on some waxed paper. When the chocolate has melted, stir in the almonds. Then use a small spoon to lift them out one by one (says Slater, but I did them in groups of three to five, please don't tell him!), roll them in cocoa, and set aside to cool.

My 200g sack of almonds and a 100g bar of chocoate made enough nibbles to fill an old peanut butter jar.

The DH said he'd try just one, but he didn't manage that. He also very nicely said that these would give some competition to our local chocolatières. Well, they are pretty good.

Visit the latest post a I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what moreish foods other folks have been making.

Monday, August 4, 2014

This week in the kitchen

Monday/4-Aug-14: Off to a movie in the afternoon, so a quick dinner. Spaghetti Carbonara with Peas (web). A little odd that the recipe wants to serve four with only 8oz of spaghetti. For the two of us, I made a whole-ish recipe with only 6oz of spaghtetti. Used lardon instead of bacon. Pretty good. Then a salad. Then we finished off the blueberry cake. A big piggy perhaps, but we wouldn't want it to go stale, would we?

Tuesday/5-Aug-14: Movie yesterday means shopping postponed till tomorrow. It was clean out the fridge night. I googled for recipes using smoked salmon and broccoli and smerged into a tasty pasta dish. It was really smoked trout, but I won't tell if you won't. For dessert with had a tiny bit of ice cream, finishing off a carton, topped with a bit of defrosted mixed berries.

Wednesday/6-Aug-14: Shopping today.

So, a few days, I came across a link to download a book called Good and Cheap (PDF file), written by a graduate student in food studies and aimed at people using food stamps. It looks to be a pretty good little cookbook. I hope they'll manage to get it printed at some point. Tonight's dinner was a half dose of Savory Summer Cobbler (G&C, p78), roasted veggies, topped with biscuit/dumplings. Pretty good, and very versatile, since it could be made with all kinds of veggies, as long as they roast in about the same time. Then a double chocolate mini magnum for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/7-Aug-14: We had dinner in Limoges this evening before a concert. Nothing much happened in the kitchen.

Friday/8-Aug-14: Lunch out with friends today. Only fruit for dinner.

Saturday/9-Aug-14: A bit of a busy afternoon in the kitchen. I got started a bit late, so dinner was later than I would have liked. First there was something more-ish from Nigel Slater.

Having found no cilantro at the shops this week, I made Tamarind Chutney (IndLight, p286) instead of a cilantro-mint chutney. For the main, there was Baingan ka Tikka (Baked Small Eggplants with Curried Vegetable Stuffing (TLInd, p18), not the most successful recipe. I think this got translated for servings somewhere, but not too successfully. The recipe called for six small eggplants, 3-4oz each. Nothing that small to be found here; my small eggplants were probably about 8oz each (I didn't weigh them). So I made a halfish sort of recipe. The recipe asks for 1/2 pound of green peas, about 1/2cup. At about 1 cup, I had only 2oz. Something wrong there. I just made what looked like a good amount of the stuffing veggies. After you've stuffed the eggplant halves, they are topped with  a paste of besan, cumin, and cayenne. These should be turned paste-side-down and fried. How on earth would that work? There wasn't enough paste to cover the tops and everything would fall out if you inverted them. I just popped them under the broiler for a bit, but I really think even that was wasted. Just baking would have been fine. We ate only one eggplant half each and the other two are in the freezer for an easy dinner some night.

As a go-with, there were some Spicy Cucumber Wedges (MJ1, p172). I also made some Baked Onion Bhajis (web), a recipe which got some really good reviews recently. Not a rave here, but worth another try. We thought the onion slices were too thick for one thing. Next time I'll make them quite thin. Also I didn't flatten the bhaji patties as I should have, so some bits were not crispy as they should have been. They are supposed to bake for two 25-minute periods, but were getting quite done (some burned edges) 15 minutes into the second period. Oh well. Good tastes mostly, but presentation not the best.

Sunday/10-Aug-14: Yogurt on overday.

Dinner was a nice summer salad; too bad it's rather cool and rainy for summer. It was Fried Zucchini, Pea, and Quinoa Salad (web), a good recipe for using up your garden basil, if you have any. Ed brought up two big tomatoes from the potager this afternoon; we had one of these sliced, with more basil, for a post-salad salad.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

IHCC: Serving Up Salads!

This week it's salad time with Nigel Slater and it's definitely salad weather outside. Being a bundle of indecision, I ended up making two Slater salads this week.

The first one was Goat's Cheese and Fruit from The 30-Minute Cook (p92). This is a salad of fresh fruits, with a dressing of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and walnut oil, topped by a crottin melted on a toasted baguette slice. Red currants and raspberries were the best looking fresh fruit at the shop this week, so I used that combination. This was good, but a bit odd. Should it be a salad starter or a combined cheese-dessert course? We both liked the bits individually, but thought the combination was odd. Maybe it would work better with autumny fruits like pears and figs, but there's still the question of what course it should be. Odd or not, we enjoyed it.

This evening we had A Refreshing Salad for a Hot Day, the July 19 entry from The Kitchen Diaries (p231). Well, sort of. Slater asks for a cantaloupe; I got a charentaise melon. (I live in the Charente, so this is local food here. Cantaloupes are rare.) Instead of Parma ham, I used slices from a dried French ham that a neighbor won in a lottery, but didn't want. There was no arugula/rocket in the shop so I used some leaves from a garden lettuce that is bolting. All served with a simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil with salt and pepper. Only when I went back to the kitchen to see if the main course was ready to come out of the oven did I realize that I'd neglected to add the mozzarella slices to the salad. So we used those to wipe up the bit of dressing left on our plates. The mozzarella was good by itself, and probably better if I'd managed to actually include it in the salad.

Last week I didn't post my dish, but you can see what other folks made Off the Spice Rack at I Heart Cooking Clubs. And be sure to check out what folks are doing for Serving Up Salads this week.