Monday, November 30, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Nov-15: Finished off the stuffing and sweet potato puff for dinner. With the mashed potatoes, I made Easy Potato and Pea Samosas (web) with the last three sheets of leftover brick in the fridge. I had about 2/3 of the potato weight, but used the full amount of spices. Quite tasty for little effort.

Tuesday/1-Dec-15: Used the ABM this morning to make Multigrain Bread from a magazine clipping; it's possibly from VT, but I haven't been able to find it online with such a distinctive name. Used up some buttermilk; thought I had some wheat bran, but couldn't find it, so used oat bran instead. Pretty good stuff, strong taste of honey, nice texture.

For dinner I marinated some bavettes, steamed some broccoli, cooked some mushroom-flavored pasta and mixed that with some sautéed garlic, shrooms, and parsley. Pretty good stuff altogether. We had a mini magnums for dessert.

Wednesday/2-Dec-15: Before we did our grocery shopping we bought some grout and the edging bits for the kitchen tiles. Took a box and some clothes to Emmaus, hoping for a good look around, but the shops were closed. Too bad.

Not feeling all that well and after all the errands, I didn't feel like doing the fish dinner planned. Rearranged the plan a bit and instead made a half recipe of Chicken with Green Peppercorn Sauce (web), which was pretty good. Served with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots. Then a big salad.

Thursday/3-Dec-15: No voice today. Feeling bletch. Dinner was Jool's Fish Pie (web), which was surprisingly good. Mixed fish (smoked haddock bought on sale last week, salmon, and cod), spinach, hard-boiled eggs, topped with a white sauce with cheddar, and covered with mashed potatoes (the eggs cooked for the last 8 minutes with the potatoes) and a sprinkle of cheddar. Easy, but lots of clock time. Kind of a shepherd's pie with fish. Yummy. We'll be eating this several more times in the next week.

Friday/4-Dec-15: We were supposed to eat out at lunch today, a friend's birthday lunch, but I'm too sick (cold, no voice, small temp) so stayed home. Fruit for dinner. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Saturday/5-Dec-15: Felt no worse when I got up today, hooray. Still can't talk. Went to la Roche to pick up our new glasses. More of Jool's Fish Pie for dinner. With some broccoli. And some scrumptious chocolate tarts Ed bought at the boulanger today.

Yogurt on overnight. (Made some earlier in the week but forgot to note it.)

Sunday/6-Dec on-15: I'm starting the getting better trip while Ed is getting sick.

Later afternoon we had lunch/dinner: Poached Egg on Toast with Chipotle Mayonnaise, Bacon and Avocado (web). Good stuff. Later we had some fruit followed by mini mags.

Changed the Foods of the World schedule so that the current book goes through December and the remaining eight have six weeks each, to finish in 2016. I hope.

Not one dish from a cookbook this week. Not much cooking for that matter.

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Kaye's Pickled Green Beans
potato chips

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts 
with Rucola

Arrosto di tacchino con pancetta ed erbe aromatiche
(Shane's Roasted Rolled Turkey Breast with Pancetta and Herbs) 
with its sauce
Sweet Potato-Carrot Puff
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Cornbread Dressing
Cranberry-Port Relish
Buttermilk Bread Cloverleaf Rolls


Pumpkin Flan

A fairly light Thanksgiving  this year. For guests, we had Cath and Doug from one of Ed's choirs, and Eddy Harris and his friend Marjolaine.

I'd planned on a relish tray with my pickled green beans with carrot sticks and olives. (Note to self: small marinated mushrooms would be a good fourth for this combination.) Discovered at the last minute that there weren't any carrots. The last of them, and not quite enough, went into the Puff. Instead I put out little dishes of pistachios and potato chips, which we munched on with pineau.

For a starter there was Marinated Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Rucola. I used the marinade as the vinaigrette for the rucola. This is really two recipes smerged together. If I can ever run Mastercook again (hoping a new power supply for the Cube lets it start up), I'll enter what I do as a single recipe.

At Ed's request, we again had Shane's rolled turkey breast. I dry-brined the turkey, and this might have been fine, but I horribly overcooked it, so it was way too dry. The first time I've used my new roll of kitchen twine, after finally using up the first ball I bought so long ago. Served the "juice" from the cooking as a separate sauce.

As go-withs there were my old standards, Sweet Potato-Carrot Puff (MC) and Chef Paul Prudhomme's Cornbread Dressing (MC).

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 tasty and simple-to-make cranberry sauce. So much better than the canned stuff. And some pretty good gravy made with the turkey stock I made last week.

I also made some cloverleaf rolls, because that nice soft white bread is so good for soppy. Probably the first time I've actually made this recipe with real buttermilk (lait ribot) instead of dried. Now I've got to use that up in the next week or so.

Since there were six of us, I bought two bottles of Beaujolais, one Juliénas (which we've never had before that I can remember) and the other Morgon. We neglected to notice the year. Both were good.

And, finally, there was some Pumpkin Flan (MC), which is delicious.

Just before the coffee we sampled some of the Averna Cream that we brought back from Italy. This won universal approval.

Not much picture-taking happened. Did get a picture of the camellias on the table before we sat to eat.

Monday, November 23, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Nov-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Butternut Squash & Coconut Curry (web) served over rice. It wasn't butternut, of course, but one of the squash from our potager. (We think there are eight around the housem, sigh.) The recipe also used a long pepper, which is what was used for pepper by the Romans. Some hazelnut cake from the boulanger for dessert.

Tuesday/24-Nov-15: Dinner was a small version of Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za'atar and Lemon (Otto, p122, using three thighs instead of a whole chicken. Very tasty it was. Served with Crushed Spiced Carrot Salad (Morocco, p78), very yummy. Need to remember to make more of this since we like it so much. And then some brown basmati rice.

Miserable weather today, cold, windy, and wet. Made a run to the butcher and to Intermarché. Unfortunately, I think I should have gotten one more sweet potato. I wonder if Ed might go get one tomorrow?

Staying up late making cornbread for the stuffing I'll make tomorrow

Wednesday/25-Nov-15: Was busy all day with Thanksgiving, so dinner was simple: pork paprikash from the freezer over a full dose Spaetzle (MW@Home, p203, too much perhaps, with some steamed broccoli.

Ed went to the store, to get the last bits of things we needed. Then he did his best to help. Not. I assembled the bits of turkey breast for the roulade. there was a join about in the middle of the roll. Trying to help, very unhelpfully, he sharply picked up the roll, right in the middle, so that it almost broke in two. I tied it up as well as I could. Hope it stays together. And then there was the filling and topping for the roulade. I spread about 2/3 of it on the turkey, then set the bowl aside to put the rest on top of the roll. Later when I went to put it in the fridge, it wasn't to be found. Ed had tossed it. This is not the first time he's tossed an essential bit of a meal. Somehow it never occurs to him to ask. More work for tomorrow.

Thursday/26-Nov-15: Yup, we had Thanksgiving. Maybe not the best ever, perhaps, but still nice. Good company. I was pooped at the end of the day.

Friday/27-Nov-15: Leftovers tonight. Stuffing and sweet potato-carrot puff.

Saturday/28-Nov-15: Shopped today. No guard when I went into the store, but Ed said there was one when he went in.

Dinner was Cilantro and Lime Salmon (web); very good. Served with orzo. Followed by a salad. Then the rest of the pumpkin flan.

Sunday/29-Nov-15: More leftovers for an early meal, the rest of the turkey, some dressing and some sweet potato-carrot puff. We went to a movie in the early evening, so nothing further happened in the kitchen.

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

Monday, November 16, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Nov-15: For dinner I made a three-course menu from a VPG. I served the entrée/starter, Croustillants de Courgette à la Feta (Crispy Things with Courgette and Feta), with the main course, Agneau Mariné et Houmous au Cumin (Marinated Lamb with Cumin Hummus). There are lots of versions of the lamb recipe to be found on the web. Some of them even include the instruction to cube the lamb, which is clearly shown in the picture, but not instructed in the version I cooked from. I just grilled the lamb steaks quickly. We're still out of tahini, which I didn't remember, so I made the hummus with peanut butter with some sesame seeds thrown in. Ok, if a bit crunchy. The starter was a mixture of grated zucchini, mixed with feta and gruyère, wrapped in brick, which is like phyllo, but round, then fried a bit. Pretty good mixture. Dessert was Gratin de Pommes Vertes (Gratin of Green Apples), well, only one Granny, since I was making a half recipe. Apple peeled and chunked, then sautéed in a bitter butter with some sugar. Into gratin dishes*, topped with egg yolk mixed with honey and sugar, then under the broiler. Not bad.

*Sounds impressive to have gratin dishes around? Actually they're the dishes from the frozen crème brulées I buy occasionally. Mostly they get used for feeding cats, but sometimes they're useful in the oven.

Tuesday/17-Nov-15: Back to Germany tonight for Hoppelpoppel—Eggs with Bacon, Onions, and Potatoes (TLGer, p67). Kind of comfort food, potatoes, eggs, and bacon.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/18-Nov-15: Orange (France Telecom) sent a technician this  morning to work on our internet connection. The phone support guy I've been dealing with insisted that the problem was in the house. The guy came and checked everything and said all is well. Before he got here, he did something outside ,somewhere in the village, that increased our download speed from about .9Mbps to over 2Mbps. Nice for us. Hope it stays up.

Somewhat belatedly thinking about our Thanksgiving meal today while doing the meal plan for the next week. Better late than never. Couldn't find a copy of our favorite dressing recipes so really have to turn on the Cube in the next days to get to Mastercook.

Dinner was a half recipe of Pici alla Salsccia e Funghi—Pici with Sausages and Wild Mushrooms (Lorenza, p140). The pici wasn't homemade, but storebought in Italy. The shrooms weren't wild ones, but shiitake. The plum tomatoes were really ones from our potager. Ah well, it was good anyhow. Then a salad. Then we split a magnum classic, a third for me, the rest for Ed.

Thursday/19-Nov-15: Busy with Stuff during the afternoon and it got late. Dinner was a favorite old stand-by, Artichoke Spaghetti (Art, p59), made with linguine and with a can of tuna stirred in at the end. Yummy stuff. Served with a salad of tomato and fennel, which was also pretty good. Finished off the egg custards for dessert.

Some of the Stuff I did included making pickled green beans and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.

The big news today was that Café Clemence, where my BookChatters group meets monthly, is closing. Today. So we are looking for a new place. And, it turns out, a new day. Such a mess.

And the Cube won't turn on. Seems like the power supply no longer does it's job. One on order from Amazon for not too much.

Friday/20-Nov-15: Shopping today. Our shopping bag was searched on the way into the grocery store. Not my shoulder bag, but the shopping bag. Not at one of the outside doors, but at the inside gate to the grocery. Very weird and fairly useless if this is an anti-terrorist move.

We'd planned to go out this evening, but Terry wasn't feeling well, and the weather is miserable, so we stayed home. Popped the leftover zucchini croustillants in the toaster oven to crisp them up, then some frozen multi-grain pancakes.

Saturday/21-Nov-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Ligurian Fish and Potatoes (web), appropriate since we've recently dabbled our toes in the Ligurian Sea. Wow, the fish was way too salty, even though I rinsed after salting. Served with a made-up sautéed zuke and tomato thing I've done (sort of) before. Which was lightly salted, so mixing all together worked well.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/22-Nov-15: Started Ruhlman Easy Turkey Stock (web) today. It will sit in the oven overnight.

No lunch and had our dinner earlyish (is that linner?). A half recipe of Eggs on Curried Rice (Rodale2, p113), which I've made before. This time with wildfond instead of beef stock. Then a small salad. Then we each had the meat off one of the roasted turkey wings. And a mini mag for dessert.

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

Monday, November 9, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Nov-15: Yogurt on overday.

For dinner I made a bean soup from a packet I bought in Tuscany: Minestrone all Contadina. It was a mixture of beans. The most prominent were that Italian specialty red/orange lentils, plu yellow split peas and mung beans. It also included (at least) adzuki beans, an unidentified small white/tan bean, small brown lentils, teeny black-eyed peas, and borlotti beans. All cooked in the pressure cooker with potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. Made a good soup, especially with a goodly slog of hot sauce.

Tuesday/10-Nov-15: Oops forgot to put the yogurt up last night. Time for a new starter.

Made apple butter.

Pizza out after Voce Concordiae's remembrance concert.

Wednesday/11-Nov-15: We ate today's meal at the remembrance day lunch in Montemboeuf. Absolutely no need for more food.

Thursday/12-Nov-15: Dinner was a half dose Fresh Chinese Noodles with Spicy Cabbage (Bishop, p251). No fresh Chinese noodles available, so I used linguine. Pretty good actually, although a bit dry. That's because I didn't see the instruction to add some of the pasta-cooking water to the cabbage, which was exactly what it needed.

Friday/13-Nov-15: We didn't make it shopping today, so I had to rearrange the Plan to make a meal based on what was in-house. What was that? More cabbage. So, dinner was a half version of Orecchiette alla Verza—Orecchiette with Anchovies and Savoy Cabbage (ClassPasta, p129). Pretty tasty, and easy. No dessert.

Saturday/14-Nov-15: Finally did our shopping for this week, after a stop at the optician to choose new frames for me (Ed's reusing his current ones).

Dinner was a half recipe of Zalm met Broccolipuree (web), which was easy and pretty good. (I broiled the fish, rather than sautéing it.) Served with a side of polenta, but actually it would have been better with a starter and then just the broccoli and fish on the plate. For dessert we had Egg Custard (MC). (Should be able to find this on the web, but haven't succeeded thus far.) I've made this before. It's quite easy. Strangely the recipe has not enough sugar, it needs to cook way longer than advertised, and it overfills the four six-ounce custard cups asked for. I used a yogurt jar for the last bit, making five custards in total.

Yogurt on overnight with new starter.

Sunday/15-Nov-15: We ate out for Ed's birthday today. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

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

Monday, November 2, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/2-Nov-15: Meant to defrost the fridge today. Brought all the ice chests down. Oops, there was yogurt making that needed to be cooled. Tomorrow.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Spaghetti with Sardines, Dill and Fried Capers (web). Sardines from a can. Not bad really. The dill and capers were a strong enough taste to stand up to the fish and it all worked out well. Then a salad. Then some of Aunt Essie's Fruit Cobbler (green notebook). I have always made this with a can of peaches, but realized tonight the directions ask for a #2 can of unspecified fruit. Peaches are good.

Forgot to say that I tried two new pastas while we were in Tuscany. A couple of times we enjoyed pici and brought back a sack for us and for a gift. It's kind of like spaghetti on steroids. It's supposed to be hand-rolled, but what we had and what we bought looks to me like it's extruded—too very even to be hand-made. Then there was testaroli. Have never heard of this before and didn't find any references in any of my books that I looked in. It starts as a kind of pancake, then is cut into bits and boiled; it's traditionally served with pesto. Apparently this may be the original "pasta". It's quite heavy and was quite a lot to have before a main course. Glad I tried it, don't need to have it again.

Tuesday/3-Nov-15: Defrosted the fridge today. Not a favorite job. Ed helped by cleaning shelves and drawers.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Hot, Sweet, and Sour Chickpeas with Eggplant (H2CEV, p609), served over rice. Pretty good stuff, and relatively fast. Finished off the peach cobbler. Then (yipes!) some chocolate square with hazelnuts.

On the weekend we picked up the tiles for the kitchen. Had a good look at them tonight. A bit disappointing (not to mention my second choice.) For the edging, the reds don't match. Since they were supposedly hand-made on our order, this was a surprise. The solid reds don't match the figured ones. Worse, though, the bulk of the tiles have cracked glaze (what we looked at definitely wasn't crackled) and the color is whiter than cream, so doesn't match the edge tiles. Not sure what we're going to do.

Wednesday/4-Nov-15: Shopped today. First time I've seen extra-wide aluminum foil. What an advance! I'm still using a box I brought from the US probably at least 25 years ago. Don't use it very much.

Dinner was Arctic Char + Cucumber Relish (CLjan/feb15, web) with Radish & Avocado Quinoa (CLjan/feb15, web). These two recipes made up a Just-for-Two Tuesday article. No char to be found (not sure I've ever seen omble), so I used cod instead. The fish and relish were okay, but nothing special. The quinoa salad was pretty good. For dessert, we had a pair of tiramisus, a new brand. So, so.

Thursday/5-Nov-15: The fourth burner on the stove finally got fixed today. Hooray!

Dinner was Karhi—Vegetable Stew with Chickpea Flour Sauce (WorldVeg, p36; cookbooker). Good stuff it was too. That's all.

Friday/6-Nov-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Pollo Rebozado—Cornmeal-Coated Chicken in Tomato Sauce (TLLatin, p34) served with a halfish recipe of Arroz Verde (TLLatin, p84). The salad is a take-off on Ensalada de Cabalacitas—Zucchini Salad (Ortiz, p237). The chicken was tasty. Cornmeal coating didn't happen. (What do you expect? Beat an egg till foamy, dilute with milk, stir in just a bit of cornmeal, which promptly sinks to the bottom. If a proper coating was the aim, it would have been better to dip in flour, dip in egg, then dip in cornmeal as you usually do for something coated.) The sauce was good (tomatoes cooked with wine) and the sauce leftovers will make a nice salad or vegetable dressing in the next days. The rice was a big hit. For a halfish recipe, I used a small (4-oz) can of chiles, which is usually three, and zapped them together with a bit of stock, parsley, onions, and garlic. (Thank you, staff mixer.) This will definitely get made again. I made the salad at the last minute for a go-with, also using a canned chile, with zucchini, avocado, a shallot, and a bit of oil and vinegar dressing. It should have been chilled, but I did it very last-minute.

Saturday/7-Nov-15: It was clean-out-the-fridge pizza tonight, with roasted cauliflower, zucchini, and green beans, topped with black olives and capers. Not bad. For dessert we had some chocolate bonbons. At the old folks dinner in October, which we didn't attend because we weren't here, the old folks get little boxes of goodies. Pascal brought ours around to us this morning.

Sunday/8-Nov-15: We both had leftover pizza for lunch today, Ed at choir, me at home, so neither of us felt like much for dinner. I made a salad, embellished with some lardons from the freezer that wanted using. The rest of our bonbons for afters.

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