Monday, March 30, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Mar-15: For dinner I warmed some Indian-ish stuffed eggplants from the freezer. Served with a quarter recipe of Rice with Mushrooms and Mustard Seeds (Q&E, p102); don't think I've made this before. Also a half recipe of Radish Salad (MC 2BTried), a recipe I collected from the Mercury News in 2006; unfortunately they don't seem to keep their published recipes available; this was quite good. We split a magnum classic for dessert.

Tuesday/31-Mar-15: Shopping today.

Dinner was Yucatán Fish (web), with cod and tin foil, not banana leaves. The onion relish was good and there's a bit more for a sandwich or some such. Served with some riz semi-complet, not quite brown rice, that I got accidentally at a health food store. Guess I'll use it up, and call it a whole grain, even though that seems doubtful. Also some steamed broccoli. For after, we finished the bit of goat cheese from the cheese box, worked on the tomme de savoie, and started the Livarot. Yum.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/1-Apr-15: On the weekend, we learned from American friends that "plain" yogurt is sweetened in the US. I'm appalled.

Dinner was Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Chops (web; CL apr07). Pretty good, but the rub was way too sweet. I cut the sugar back by about a third, but it should have been even less. Also made the Cheddar Grits which was a go-with in the magazine, but not to be found on-line. No big deal; stir some grated cheese, a dab of butter and S&P into the cooked grits. I used vieux mimelotte instead of cheddar. Made up a little salad of grated broccoli stalks, sliced radishes, and sliced red onion with a vinaigrette of lime juice and avocado oil, plus some (homemade) herb salt and a pinch of piment d'Esplette. Good stuff. Then we had some of the tomme (Ed only), then finished off both the (two-thirds eaten) Livarot and the (untasted) Brillat-Savarin. I'm in love with the last one. Extraordinaraily scrumptious.

Thursday/2-Apr-15: Dinner was Pasta with Sardines à la Bittmann (video), which was easy and pretty good. Followed by a salad. Then we split a cornuelle filled with cream. Ed asked for two cornuelles at the boulangerie, but didn't watch what happened next. Instead of two cookie-like cornuelles (in a paper sack), he came home with two cream-filled ones in individual boxes. Duh. So, for two nights we'll split one. 

Friday/3-Apr-15: Dinner was Whole Spiced Chicken Baked in Parchment Paper (p26, Screamingly; cookbooker). OK, it wasn't baked in parchment paper, but in the Romertopf. (Which reminds me I need to use the Romertopf more often.) It was good enough that the two of us ate the whole chickie, along with a half recipe of Corn and Basmati Rice Pilaf (p97, Screamingly; cookbooker)

Saturday/4-Apr-15: Sophie and Oscar were exposed to cat flu at the cattery last week. Just when we thought the risk was over, Oscar started sneezing yesterday. And Sophie came in with a sore rear end, as in Do.Not.Touch.Me.There. Off to the vet this morning. Same treatment for both, antibios plus steroids. Plus Sophie gets some spray-on antiseptic. She did not like getting her bum shaved, but it revealed two fang marks of a cat bite. She lost that fight.

Dinner out tonight. Nothing happened in the kitchen

Sunday/5-Apr-15: Emptied the freezer to start a pot of stock. Have a little sack of lamb bits in there too that I'd forgotten about.

We had our main meal earlyish today, and outside, where it was sunny for the first time in what feels like forever, but a bit cool and breezy. I made Shrimp Biryani (p214, MJ@Home), half the rice with most of spices, using a package with shrimp and small scallops. Pretty good stuff. Made Seviyan ki Kheer (p102, MJ1). Used a liter of UHT milk (the stuff I use for yogurt), and followed her timing, and it was pretty good. Mostly angel hair, with a bit of spaghettini. Both too thick. The fine little noodles I used to get in NL would have been better, but I'm out of those.

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Mar-15: Dinner was Tagliatelle con Scaloppine alla Rucola aka Tagliatelle with Veal and Rocket (Arugula) (Lorenza, p145). I forgot to get rucola last week at the shop, so I defrosted a couple of cubes of leaf spinach to use instead. Used frozen store-fresh pasta, since I didn't have the oomph to make it. Pretty good, but what else could it be with all that butter and cream? Served with a salad. No dessert needed.

Tuesday/24-Mar-15: Dinner was Spicy Indian-Style Scrambled Eggs (web). Yummy stuff and not at all hard to make. Originally I thought I might make roti as a go-with (which I made in a class about a hundred years ago), but opted for something like pita bread instead. Started with that old favorite Spicy Cucumber Wedges (MJ1, p172). Some cookies for dessert.

Wednesday/25-Mar-15: Shopping today, kind of a small one since we're away for the next days.

Dinner was a half recipe of Delicious Roasted White Fish Wrapped in Smoked Bacon with Lemon Mayonnaise (web). Good stuff. Should have been served with asparagus but I had broccoli to use up so went for that. Which was a good idea because there was no green asparagus to be had today. The lemon mayonnaise is just regular mayo with a good squirt of lemon juice added, plus some black pepper. Good with the broccoli too. The fish was nice. My filets were completely wrapped in the bacon, unlike Jamie's picture. And it didn't get really crispy. The broiler might have done better at that. But completely edible. Served with brown rice.

Thursday/26-Mar-15: Off to Paris today.

Friday/27-Mar-15: Nobody home.

Saturday/28-Mar-15: Nobody home.

Sunday/29-Mar-15: Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

Dinner was an old favorite Artichoke Spaghetti (Art, p59) with a can of tuna stirred in at the end. And a salad. Cheese for dessert. We've subscribed to three months of a cheese-of-the-month sort of thing where we get a box of four cheese every month from small producers. We sampled a goat cheese, Doux Chêne, and a tomme de Savoie. Both good.

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 March

Monday, March 16, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Mar-15: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Angel Hair with Shrimp Sesame Sauce (web) that I got from EAT-L. Supposedly the recipe is from the National Pasta Association, but I can't find it there. Nevermind, it's good. And easy. And quick. I used spaghettini because I didn't have enough angel hair; used Major Grey chutney; used less sugar than asked; used shallots instead of scallion/green onions. Broccoli might be good instead of asparagus. More shrooms would be good. We both added a big squirt of sriracha at the table, which was nice. Some red pepper flakes at the beginning might be good. For after, we split a magnum classic 1/3 and 2/3.

Tuesday/17-Mar-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Spiced Lentils with Egg (web), which was pretty good. The lentil mixture could be made ahead, and this would make it quite fast to have on the table. I finished off my jar of toor dal instead of using yellow split peas, of which there are none in the house. I checked the eggs after 20 minutes and they looked pretty wobbly still, so I put them in for 2 more minutes, which was a mistake, since they were pretty solid. Probably the 18 minutes timing would be fine. Served with a big salad as suggested. Two squares of dark chocolate with nuts for dessert.

Wednesday/18-Mar-15: Shopping today. First our regular stuff at Leclerc, then a trip to Intermarché to partake of the foire de chevreaux. I got both a front quarter and a back quarter. Also got some lamb merguez made at the shop. The freezer is super full right now.

Dinner was Farfalle with Salmon, Lemon, and Peas (web), definitely a keeper. Easy and tasty. I think the recipe must be intended for two, although it says it serves four. I used mini-lasagnes rather than farfalle, which I don't like very much. The mini-lasagnes are properly called mafalda corta, and are a shape I like a lot. Served with a simple salad. No dessert, since we had some cornuelles with our afternoon tea.

Thursday/19-Mar-15: Yogurt on overday. Worked on sorting/thinning dessert recipes this afternoon. We were supposed to go to a quiz/dinner this evening but one of our partners was ill, so we didn't go. Shifted tomorrow's dinner to tonight and will have to figure out the rest of the week.

Dinner was Squid Fried with Chillies (Solomon1, p181) and Quick-Fried Long Beans (Solomon1, p413) served with rice. The squid is an Indonesian dish. The beans (I used haricots verts instead of kousebanden) is Chinese. (Shh, don't tell.) The squid was pretty good, but not very hot. I took the seeds out of the chilies I used, maybe didn't need to. Followed by some ice cream with some almost defrosted raspberries.

(Solomon1 will count as a seldom-used book. Just realized I've made the beans before, but didn't leave a note in the book. Silly me.)

Friday/20-Mar-15: Went to the freezer for a make-up dinner tonight. Sicilian Lentil, Vegetable, and Pasta Soup. Plenty for dinner and for a lunch in the next days. Cookies for dessert, then off for a concert in nearby Montemboeuf.

Saturday/21-Mar-15: A days or so ago I defrost a package of pâte feuillitée (puff pastry). For breakfast this morning it used this to make Sinfully Easy Mini Croissants with Chocolate (web). Yum! Really simple to make and really tasty. Left one for la facteuse (the mail lady), but I didn't leave a note, so she didn't take it and I had to eat it later.

Dinner was Baked Zucchini with Pepper Sauce (FF&S, p222). I made about a three-quarters recipe for two. Hard to tell exactly, because the amount of zucchini is not given by weight and zucchinis differ greatly in size. Thought I'd be using up a jar of roasted red bell peppers, but it was already moldy so I had to open a new jar. Served with brown rice. Quite a nice dinner. We had some morbier cheese for afters.

Sunday/22-Mar-15: Got up late and have a lazy morning. Didn't feel like cooking what I'd planned, so made tomorrow's planned meal instead, a half recipe of Thai Chicken Curry Noodles (web). Pretty good and fast. Split a magnum classic 1/3 and 2/3 for dessert.

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

Monday, March 9, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Mar-15: Dinner was a half recipes of Stir-Fried Chicken with Lemongrass and Chiles (Ga Xao Xa Ot). This was a recipe from Mai Pham's Pleasure of the Vietnamese Table that I collected from the LA Times in 2001. Can't seem to find a copy of it online nowadays. I've got it in my Mastercook 2BTried cookbook, and guess I'll have to keep it until I get a copy of that book. It was good. Not too hard. A lot of of prep work, then it all gets done lickety-split. Served with plain basmati rice and a quick Cucumber Salad (p51, Delightful). The salad was pretty spicy, so we soothed our tingly tongues with a magnum classic for dessert.

Tuesday/10-Mar-15: Worked a bit on sorting dessert recipes today. Think I'm waffling on the intent to sort into three groups (chocolate, fruit, other). Scones, for example. When I want scones, I don't care if they're fruit or not. I just want a scone. I kind of sorted through chocolate recipes (again), tossing quite a few. I still have to redo the rest, fruit and otherwise to see if I can figure out the most useful way to arrange them even if it's not overall consistent.

For dinner I grilled the pigeon sausages we bought at last summer's marché des producteurs. For sides there were smashed sweet potatoes (really smashed sweet potato, since it was one huge one that could have served three) and some steamed broccoli. For dessert we had some Buttermilk Chocolate Bread (MC 2BTried) with hazelnuts. Mixed it all the in cuisinart. Pretty good. (No clue when or where I collected this recipe, so it must have been some time ago.)

The continuing drama with Ed's Montbron choir continues and has been today's major "theme."

Wednesday/11-Mar-15: We had lunch at a swanky place with the Gourmet Club of the CLE (Charente-Limousine Exchange) today. For dinner we split an apple. (Shame about the buttermilk chocolate bread.)

Thursday/12-Mar-15: No choir for Ed today; shopping in the afternoon.

Dinner was Chili-Rubbed Tilapia with Asparagus and Lemon (web). Well, it wasn't tilapia, but lieu noir. It was pretty good for really easy. Served with some boiled potatoes (rattes). For dessert, the first strawberries (gariguettes) of the season with a scoop of ice cream and a dash of kirsch.

Yogurt on overnight. (Must have been another batch earlier in the week that I forgot to  note.)

Friday/13-Mar-15: Dinner was Lemon Spaghetti (FF&S, p138), easy, fast, and tasty. Then a big salad. That was all. FF&S is turning out to be an interesting book. Need to try a non-pasta dish now.

Saturday/14-Mar-15: Dinner was Seared Scallops with Brandied Leeks & Mushrooms (web). Didn't make the recommended barley side (which would have been this week's whole grain). Instead, served with noodles of cêpes, a kind of short tagliatelle. The dish was ok, but not quite right somehow. Ed thought the leeks were wrong, while I thought the sweet of the leeks went with the scallops, but the shrooms were wrong. Oh well. Good enough. The scallops themselves were quite good. For dessert, I broiled the last of the crèmes brulées from the freezer.

Sunday/15-Mar-15: Yogurt on overday.

Lunch today at a fête du cochon had, yes, lots of pork. Soup of boudin noir, a plate of charcuterie, and chunks of spit-roasted pig. Nothing happened in our kitchen.

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

Monday, March 2, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/2-Mar-15: Cooked Jody's xmas lima beans today, intending to use some of them for dinner, but they weren't quite done when we were ready to eat, so I froze them up in small batches. Uncooked they were pretty, white with red markings. Cooking they look a lot like big flat red beans. Taste better than regular limas.

An easy dinner tonight. Soup from a tasty, if bitter, Ancho Bisque from the freezer, with a big can of corn added (a regular size, rather than the tiny ones that serve two), some merguez sausages in chunks, and a can of black beans, lacking limas. It wasn't bad. The corn helped with the bitterness.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/3-Mar-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Lemon Chicken (TLWest, p57). (I wonder how many recipes from how many different cuisines have this title?) Any recipe that uses Angostura bitters has to be worth a try, right? I used four thighs rather than cutting up a chicken. Didn't much like the sugar in the sauce and this meant I couldn't dump the extra bit into the freezer bag with bird bits for the next batch of stock. Served with more steamed gesneden snijbonen and brown rice. For dessert, we had some Angel's Dreams.


Wednesday/4-Mar-15: Shopping this afternoon, a bit late since Oscar had an emergency trip to the vet after a cat fight.

Dinner was more or less a half recipe of Polenta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce (web). Was pretty good, although we thought the tarragon was a bit strong. No polenta-in-a-tube here (that I know of, and I probably wouldn't buy it anyhow), so I made polenta ahead of time and let in cool in a dish in the fridge before baking it. This kind of thing would work with any tasty sauce, since polenta is good for that kind for thing. Then a salad. Then some store-bought vanilla yogurts, which were good. Actually I thought I was buying little rice puddings, but these were still good.

Thursday/5-Mar-15: Cleaning cookbook shelves again. Found enough cheese recipes and info clippings that it seems like a small notebook might be in order. Found two books to give away. A mere drop in the ocean. But found a group that I haven't used much that I might try in the next months, as candidates for giving away if I don't find them useful.

Dinner was Creamy Salmon with Lemon and Fresh Dill (web). Easy and pretty good, although the cooking time must be wrong. At a temp like 425F, fish will be done in about 10min per inch of thickness. In 35-40min it must be crisp all the way through! Served with brown rice and a little carrot salad. With a bit salad of rocket and mâche after. Then some squares of chocolate with hazelnuts.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/6-Mar-15: Dinner was Lime-Curry Orzo (FF&S, p136), a whole recipe to serve two instead of four. I misread the instructions and put the spices in together with the ginger, S&P, and lime juice, but it was still quite edible. A bit odd, the curry spices with black olives and feta, but it worked okay. Served with a salad as suggested. Some squares of chocolate with hazelnuts later.

Saturday/7-Mar-15: We misunderstood about going to a movie today, so instead of going to an early  movie and having dinner on our return, we went to a later movie and had our main meal early.

For our meal there were Balsamic Lamb Steaks loosely based on (30MinCook, p180), about as easy it as can get. As go-withs, I sautéed some boiled potatoes and made Creamy Broccoli and Carrot Slaw (web), which was pretty darn good. For dessert, we had some cookies in the car on the way to the movie.

Sunday/8-Mar-15: Dinner was a half dose of an Ottolenghi recipe, Gigli with Chickpeas and Za'atar (web; cookbooker). Pretty good, if a bit dry as chickpea-y things can be. For a side, there was a half recipe of Tomatoes, Preserved Lemons, and Sweet Red Peppers (Morocco, p86; cookbooker), which was remarkably good in spite of wimpy tomatoes and roast red peppers from a jar. Must try this again in the summer. (This book has a number of really good salad recipes.)

Didn't work on my recipe backlog this week, unless you count gathering binder clips and writing paper clips on the shopping list.

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