Monday, April 27, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/27-Apr-15: Made some Croutons (Art, p172) with bread left from Saturday's apèro.

For dinner, there was pasta with a red pepper sauce from the freezer. Then a big salad. Then more of the cheese from the cheese box. That was all.

Tuesday/28-Apr-15: Yogurt on overday.

Cleaned the shelf with baking supplies today and found one unopened package of chocolate chips and three open ones! Time for some baking. With almonds, of which I also have a surplus.

Dinner was Hoisin Chicken with Walnuts and Mushrooms (30MinCook, p147), which was okay but nothing special. As sides there were basmati rice and Hot and Spicy Wrinkled Beans (Chinatown, p106), which I've made a couple of times now.

Wednesday/29-Apr-15: Shopping today.

Dinner was Chipotle Lime Salmon (web). Can hardly beat this, fast, easy, good. Served with brown rice and a made up avocado salad/salsa. For dessert some little crème caramels courtesy of Bonne Maman.

Thursday/30-Apr-15: Dinner was Mafalda Corta with Sausage in Saffron Cream Sauce (web), really good stuff, fast and easy. I recently learned that mafalda is the name for one of my favorite pasta shapes, the one I call mini-lasagnas. Then a smallish salad, topped with some of Monday's croutons from the freezer. Then the last two little crème caramels.

Friday/1-May-15: Holiday today and the weather has turned rainy. For a week or more. Sigh.

Dinner started with (sort of) Globe Artichoke Salad with Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise (web). Not globe artichokes, but the little violet ones. Didn't make my mayo from scratch, but added the minced preserved lemons to the end of a jar. No peas shoots (ha), but part of a sack of mixed lettuces. Wasn't bad though. For the main, there was a half recipe of Baked Orzo, Broccoli, and Cheese (VegClass; cookbooker). It was pretty good, a one-dish dinner kind of thing. For dessert, there were some apples baked in the Romertopf. I looked at several recipes, and then did my own thing. Good they were.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/2-May-15: Hmm...the yogurt had separated, first time that's happened. Seems to be caused by "cooking" it too hot (in the machine?) or too long (the same time as I've been using). A puzzle. Supposedly it's edible, by draining or stirring, but I still saved enough of what I had left to make a new batch.

Had our main meal at midday today, a half recipe of Baked Chicken Scampi with Potatoes and Zucchini (web). Not sure what was "scampi" about it, but it was good. The instructions aren't very good, at least the version I got via email, but it's worth doing. As a go-with, there was Belarussian Carrot Salad (web), which was a nice carrot salad, although it didn't go all that well with the casserole. The carrots marinated for only about 30 minutes, not 3 hours or more. Oh well. It was still good.

I haven't spent lots of time working on my recipe backlog, but I have been pretty vicious clearing out various stacks around the house. One folder, I ended up tossing all that I'd collected. I'm working on my bedside stack, six years' accumulation, picking up random handful every few days and saving or tossing. Tiny progress.

Sunday/3-May-15: Yogurt on overday, using the bit I saved from the previous batch. The separated batch is pretty sour.

Dinner was a half recipe of Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo (web; cookbooker). Really yummy this. And a salad. Then we split a magnum classic. We'll probably stop getting these; the chocolate is not very good and the ice cream just so-so. A shame since they used to be worth a walk across Amstelveen to get some of an evening.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #5 PASTA: no for April; no for May; #6 BREAD: no for April; no for May  #7 FotW: no for March/April; no for May

Monday, April 20, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/20-Apr-15: Without thinking very carefully, I planned an eggy dinner for tonight following last night's frittata. Maybe not, I thought last night. So a quick replan today. Grilled some merguez that I defrosted in the morning. There was an enormous sweet potato waiting to be used, so I made some smashed sweet pot (with oj and chipotle powder). Made Curried Carrot Salad (FastShulman, p284), without the capers since I seem to be completely without them, none in the fridge and none in the pantry (inventory failure). To use up a cuke and some green bell pepper, I smerged several recipes and ended up with a Cuke Pasta Salad: Boil up some tiny pasta (I used crozettes); peel, seed, and dice some cuke; shred some broccoli stems; finely chop some red onion; toss together with a dressing of crème fraîche, sherry vinegar, S&P. Not bad at all. No dessert needed.

Tuesday/21-Apr-15: Dinner was alfresco again. There was insata caprese, still early for real tomatoes, but it wasn't bad. Then some grilled bavettes that marinated most of the day. Served those with pasta tossed with Cilantro Pesto (PastaMach, p155). This pesto was a bit sharp, I guess from the garlic, but it was edible. That was all.

Wednesday/22-Apr-15: Yogurt on overday. I got up early to get it started, but forgot to push the Go button, so it will be done quite late. Oh well.

Shopping today. A big one. Lots of locally produced stuff on sale, including a fairly pricey bottle of cognac for Ed.

Really didn't feel like cooking tonight, so dinner ended up quite late. We had a half recipe of Merluza Merinera—Poached Hake Fillets with Tomato and Almond Sauce (TLS&P, p23).  (Hake is merlu in French, similar to the Spanish.) This was pretty good. Hake is a blandish fish, but has a  nice texture. Fairly easy to make, especially because ground almonds are readily available. Had planned to serve this with polenta, but found some new potatoes from the Île de Ré at the shop, so used those instead. Then a big salad. No dessert needed.

Thursday/23-Apr-15: In the afternoon, I made Yogurt and Fresh Pear Coffeecake (MC and GreenBook). This recipe is from an old newspaper clipping and makes and a really moreish cake.

Dinner was Tagliatelle with Provençal Red Pistou (web; cookbooker). The recipe says it serves 4-6; I made a half recipe, and it would have served three. Really yummy. Too bad I didn't make fresh pasta. Then a big salad, bigger than every because Leclerc had no 100g sacks of salad this week, so we ate all of 125g. We got a new box of cheeses-of-the-month today, so we started in on those after dinner. Then finished up with some coffeecake. We're full.

Friday/24-Apr-15: This afternoon I made Chicken and Pistachio Pâté (Ballotine de Volaille aux Pistaches) (BEFCC, p127; cookbooker). It's for a "do" tomorrow afternoon, so we'll see how it is then.

Dinner was an assortment from the freezer, beef and pork curry things, plus rice, plus some steamed broccoli. Then more from the cheese box.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/25-Apr-15: Well, the ballotine was a hit. Very good it was. I'd planned to make a salad for dinner, but neither of us were hungry, so we had a carrot each instead.

Haven't had a big session on clearing the recipe backlog lately, but have been going through assorted piles and tossing many recipes. I work on the pile beside my bed (collected in the first few years after we moved here) once or twice and week and am starting to see it dwindling at last. 

Sunday/26-Apr-15: Finished off the pear coffeecake for breakfast.

We had our main meal in the afternoon today, Curried Split Pea Soup (VegPress, p46). Served with Coconut Rice, as suggested, but didn't make that in the pressure cooker. The soup was pretty good, but desperately needed salt, which wasn't included in the ingredients.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: yes (split peas); #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for March/April

Monday, April 13, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/13-Apr-15: Just last week, didn't I say to Ed, Looks like we've missed the plague of flies this year. Spoke too soon. They're swarming in the bedroom today, enjoying the warm and sunny weather.

Starting work on last year's taxes, with the idea of doing them all in one go. We'll see.

Still haven't finished reading last month's Time-Life book (Japan), so adding a month to that book and moving the rest out a month. The next is the Caribbean one, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Dinner was Grilled Chicken with Lemons and Couscous (Diaries, p258), first bbq. Easy and pretty tasty. Whole wheat coucous again, not very good planning. We split a magnum classic for dessert.

Tuesday/14-Apr-15: Still sorting tax papers and scanning stuff I've never done over the last year. Ugh.

Tonight was use-up-the-asparagus night, with a half recipe of Linguine with Asparagus and Egg (PastaHarv, p46), very good, kind of a pasta carbonara with asparagus instead of lardons or bacon. I was looking for something in a seldom used book, but didn't succeed. Then a big salad. Then some Soupe Épicée au Chocolate (VPG). I used the wrong chocolate (90%, which needed a bit of powdered sugar added), and just realize that I used 30dl of cream instead of 30cl. No wonder I had to add more and it never got soupy. Oh well, it tasted fine.

Wednesday/15-Apr-15: Yogurt on overday. Shopping after my ENT appointment.

Dinner was supposed to be small and fast, but ended up more elaborate, as these things do. First I made some Prune and Almond Brownies (web), which turned out pretty good, but the recipe is weird. (The original is from Delia Smith, here.) The prunes should have been soaked in armangac; the almonds should have been toasted; both would have been nice. The recipe calls for 330g of sugar. I stopped at 200g, which was fine. Later I saw Delia asks for 225g, which would probably have been ok. Skipping the soaking and the nut toasting made it pretty easy.

Then I made some Crispy Lemon Roasted Baby Artichokes (web), which didn't really work that well. I've never seen anything called baby artichokes here, but there were some very small globe artichokes on sale. So I got two and followed instructions. Not quite as nice I thought they should have been and they could have used another 10 minutes or so in the oven. I made a little sauce with mayo from a jar and some finely minced preserved lemon. That was pretty good.

Then I made a half recipe of Crushed Spiced Carrot Salad (Morocco, p78), which I've made before and we like alot.

This was all to go with a half recipe of Salmon Fishcakes with Garam Masala, Chilli, and Ginger (web), using panko instead of the popped amaranth seeds. Good stuff this. I seem to have been making lots of tasty fishcakes of late. This one was a bit tedious because the recipe called for hand mincing the salmon. Probably the food processor would have worked fine.

Anyhow, all was good, if more work than I intended.

Thursday/16-Apr-15: What a day. Got a good start this morning, hoping to make a major dent in getting our French and US taxes done. Only to discover that one of our accounts had gone haywire in Moneydance. Latest good copy was dated the 12th. And of course I've done lots of work since then getting started on the taxes and just general life. Can't figure out if it was something I did wrong, but not going to waste any more time on it. Have reentered as much as possible and will pick up again tomorrow.

Dinner was fun. Half recipes of Chicken Lettuce Wraps (web) and Jamie Oliver's Broccoli with Asian Dressing (web). Both were really easy, fast, and tasty. Some of the prune brownies for dessert, topped with a good slog of cream. Yum.

Friday/17-Apr-15: Dinner at Café Lombok (Indonesian buffet) before No Direction played. Nothing much happened in our kitchen except for yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/18-Apr-15: Lunch with friends today. Popcorn for dinner. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Sunday/19-Apr-15: Dinner was Frittata with Asparagus (ClassicItal, p283), using only four eggs. Good stuff. We ate about two thirds of it. Then a big salad. Then some mini magnums.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes/no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for March/April

Monday, April 6, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/6-Apr-15: Tonight's dinner called for a whole wheat pâte brisée, but I couldn't find a recommended recipe and in the end didn't feel like making even a regular pastry, so defrosted a store-bought one instead. Even though it was a recommended brand, it's still not as good as a homemade one, so that was a weak point in the Broccoli and Olive Tart (p66, Pickford; cookbooker) that I made. This was a pretty good tart, deserving a better crust. The bell peppers and olives really complemented each other and broccoli is always good in this kind of a thing. A stronger goat's cheese might be nice. Followed by a salad. We were full (since we ate 3/4 of the tart meant for four).

Tuesday/7-Apr-15: Yogurt on overday. Shopping today.

Dinner was Ancho-Honey Pork Tenderloin with Cheese Grits (web). The recipe is meant for four; we ate all of it. My varkenshaas  (filet mignon de porc) was a bit smaller than asked, but it was still a lot. Bought a huge sack of spinach, which sautéed down to a spoonful each; that was the suggested side. Afterwards, we finished off the kheer.

Wednesday/8-Apr-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Panko-Crusted Baked Salmon (web). Panko is so convenient for a crispy crust, but what's in the stuff? Think I might need to worry about it a bit.) I did it under the broiler rather than in the oven, and left it at the highest level. The fish was great, but the panko burnt black. Will try this again, either in the oven as directed or on a lower level under the broiler. Served with brown rice and asparagus. No dessert.

Thursday/9-Apr-15: Brette was due at the Angoulême train station at 19.24. I had dinner planned and mostly ready for our return: Pear Shrimp Salad (MC 2BTried; web) for a starter; Slow-Roast Lamb (Diaries, p62) with smashed potatoes and steamed broccoli for the main; cornuelles for dessert. Showed up at the train station, but no Brette. Home again, turn of the lamb (and eat some), discovered Brette's at the train station in Bordeaux (no more trains tonight), off to Bordeaux to get her, home again at 1.30. Start yogurt, put lamb in fridge, go to bed.

Friday/10-Apr-15: Made some more lamb stock from bones in the freezer.

We had lunch out. For "dinner", we had the Pear Shrimp Salad (I made a half recipe for the three of us); this was pretty good. Then some cheese and wine. Then the cornuelles. We're stuffed, all of us.

Tomorrow I'll defat the lamb stock, cut the rest of the lamb off the bone, and freeze together, except for some sandwich makings. And I'll make some broccoli-potato salad with the potatoes and broccoli. And that will be the end of that dinner.

Saturday/11-Apr-15: Made up some Warm Broccoli and Potato Salad (MDSalads, p15). Had that for lunch along with the Moroccan olives that Brette brought.

Cut the lamb off the bone. We munched a bit. I froze up a packet of slices and a packet of bits (pot pie?) for the future and left a plate in the fridge for munching in the next days. Ended up with over 2cups of stock that will make the gravy for open-face sandwiches perhaps and for pot pies.

Brette and I ate out at a Rock Bottom concert, while Ed was feeling poorly.

Sunday/12-Apr-15: Yogurt on overday.

Brette and I had Spicy Indian-Style Scrambled Eggs (web) for lunch before I took her to the train station to start her return to Morocco.

For dinner, I used one lot of the lamb roast to make Lamb in Spiced Gravy (30MinCook, p179), which is pretty good stuff for minimal effort. Served over whole-wheat couscous.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for March; no for April