Monday, April 25, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/25-Apr-16: With Madhur Jaffrey's help, this evening I scratched that Indian food itch while building up Ed's hemoglobin. Dinner was Kheema Matar—Ground Meat with Peas (MJ1, p44) served with Peelay Chaaval—Aromatic Yellow Rice (MJ1, p153) and Pyaz Ka Laccha—Onion Relish (MJ1, p174), followed by Seviyan Ki Kheer—Vermicelli Pudding (MJ1, p192). All was good. I've made the ground meat before, also with beef. It's very easy and has lots of relatively unattended time. The Onion Relish, an old favorite, was a suggested go-with. I thought about making parathas, but made the rice instead. And the Kheer—I think I've finally got it nailed. The trick is to follow her timings precisely. Duh. If you cook it longer, it's still tasty, but is too thick. (Need less sugar than asked, though.) Had a starter of Charentaise melon with pineau, which didn't really fit and is a bit early, but was nice.

Tuesday/26-16: We ate lunch out today and then did a bit of sightseeing near Angoulême. When we got home, we had nibbles for dinner; there were tomatoes and radishes, and pâté, cheese, and ham with cornichons. That was all.

Wednesday/27-Apr-16: Made apple butter.

Tonight Ed's trying out with a new choir that's doing a concert in July. This choir meets on Wednesday evenings, so we'll be having our Wednesday main meal in the daytime for the next couple of months. Today we had Sriracha Lime Chicken Skillet (web) with Zucchini with Cilantro Sauce (MWLowFat, p335) and Coconut Rice (i.e., rice cooked with coconut milk and water). Pretty good all of it. I used bone-in chicken thighs instead of boneless ones for the "skillet"; this was fine. A bit of cheese for after.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/28-Apr-16: There was an earthquake in La Rochelle this morning, +/-5.0 depending what you read. Bill said he thought he might have felt it while I was in the shower. Shortly after that, I was sitting at the computer and an empty box fell off its perch; I thought it was Sophie (who routinely knocks thing off their perches), but she, but she wasn't there.

I went to the butcher to get beef for tonight's dinner and to the boulanger (who was actually at the butcher's when I got there) to get bread and croissants. While we all went to Montbron for the afternoon, I left Aiguillettes de Boeuf aux Oignons (VPG, web) in a low oven. Leaving Ed at choir practice, Bill and I did a little sightseeing then stopped for tea and coffee at a local shop. Then we picked Ed up and came home to find the house smelling quite delicious. Served the beef with smashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. The beef was so-so, somehow drier than expected. For dessert, some magnums of various sorts.

Friday/29-Apr-16: We had lunch out before we took Bill to the train. Then we did our shopping. As long as Ed is in the extra choir, it looks like Friday will be our shopping day. Surprisingly it has been unexpectedly uncrowded.

Ed mowed today, and discovered that the tomatoes and eggplants we set out last week have all died. (Unhappy face.) They were looking very happy just two days ago. Maybe they froze. We had a night that went down to 1C near the house; maybe it was colder down below. There are no more organic ones to be ordered. Searching for regular ones.

Only fruit needed this evening.

Saturday/30-Apr-16: Dinner was Herbed Salmon with Garlic Cream Sauce (30MinCook, p118), with trio rice and steamed/grilled broccoli. This is a really nice way to make salmon; not the first time I've made it. For dessert, the end of the kheer.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/1-May-16: Ed found Sophie this morning with a gaping hole under her left front leg, so off to the vet with her. (Could be an ex-abscess, but it's hard to think we'd have missed just a big one.) Then on to Montbron to hear a friend's band playing. Looked for the bric-à-brac that was supposed to be there too. For the second time we couldn't find it. Drove all over the place and can't figure out where they hide these things. No signs to help. A Montbron weirdness.

For dinner, I used up the last of the thawed lamb with Lamb in Spiced Gravy (30MinCook, p179), made with less lamb this time and less water/stock. Really tasty. Served over/next to Indian Mashed Potatoes (Q&E, p50), an old favorite. For dessert, I made some vanilla pudding from my mother's pie filling/pudding recipe. (They're the same except the pie filling uses three egg yolks—the whites are for meringue—while the pudding uses one whole egg.) Made with sucre de canne (brown sugar), so the taste was good, but the color is a bit odd. Served with some sliced strawberries.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 1
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no; #5 FotW: no for April/half-May

Monday, April 18, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/18-Apr-16: Cleaning today and didn't feel like cooking. Defrost a pasta sauce (winter squash and beans) and served it over mushroom pasta. And a big salad. We were well-fed. We ate outside, even though we needed a jacket. The sun was shining and there was no wind where we sat. We have the idea we've eaten out earlier in the year, but I didn't note it, so this will do.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/19-Apr-16: I recently finished reading Diane Henry's A Change of Appetite, which I found via the I Heart Cooking Clubs group. I wasn't much impressed as I read it, there seemed to be too many of difficult to find ingredients and a bit to righteous in tone. I was surprised, though, how many recipes I had marked to try. Guess I'll have to keep it around for a bit.

Dinner was Red Lentil and Cauliflower Tomato Pulao (web), which was remarkably good (even though the gas ran out while the rice and lentils were first cooking. I used up the frozen cauliflower I bought, hoping it would be a good substitute for the real thing (it's hard to two people to finish a whole cauliflower, especially since Ed isn't overly fond of it), but I won't buy any more. We split an espresso magnum for dessert.

Wednesday/20-Apr-16: Dinner out after picking Bill up at the station. Nothing happened in the kitchen today except cleaning.

Thursday/21-Apr-16: Ed went after choir practice to buy tuna on sale at Intermarché, but there was none. So we had Boudins Noirs aux Oignons (web). The onions tasted quite bitter even after cooking long and slow, so I grated in a couple of apples at the last minute. Wasn't bad (Ed liked it). Unfortunately Bill doesn't really care for boudins noir. For a starter, I used up our carrots to make Grated Carrots with Vinaigrette (Secrets, p67). For dessert we had store-bought toetjes, some raspberry tarts.

Yogurt on overnight

Friday/22-Apr-16: Shopping today, a bit belated. Impulse bought some smoked salmon on sale, leading to tonight's starter.

Which, more or less, was Smoked Salmon Salad with Dill (BEFCC, p35). I didn't have the fennel, but it was good without it. For the main there was Duck with Peppercorns—Magret de Canard aux Grains de Poivre (BEFCC, p142). Good stuff.Served with smashed potatoes and peas with shallots. Cheese for after. We had a little bûche of goat cheese, and today I bought a small chees collection with tomme de Savoie, brie de Meaux, and fourme d'Ambert. All good. Unfortunately.

Saturday/23-Apr-16: Out all day today at the Phoenix book sale. Dinner out. Nothing happened ing the kitchen.

Sunday/24-Apr-16: We had our main meal early so we could go to an early evening concert. We had Quiche à l'Agneau, aux Épinards et à la Feta (web, VPG), using most of the cooked lamb from the freezer.  Cook stuff. The lamb and spinach went together exceptionally well. Then a salad. Then we left for the concert. Later we had some fruit and cheese.

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

Monday, April 11, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/11-Apr-16: Yogurt on overday. And in the dining room, since Ed had the electricity off in the kitchen today to install under cabinet lights.

Dinner was leftover meatloaf (still good) with Feuilleté aux Courgettes, Fromage Frais et Olives Noires (web), sort of. I forgot to buy fromage frais, so I used pyramid (goat) cheese instead. All was good.

Tuesday/12-Apr-16: Sophie brought in a bat today. It was still alive, so I put on a heavy pair of oven mitts and caught it gently between my hands. Took it outside and put it on the honeysuckle so it could rest safely. Instead it flew away, circling the cour.

More leftovers today. This time the broiled chicken from Ed's Saturday picnic (still very good) with a halfish recipe of Asparagus Ambush (TLNewEng, p76) as a side dish. This might actually be meant as a sandwich, although it was in the vegetable section. I split a demi-baguette, so one end of the "boat" is not really closed. The asparagus are topped with a lemony white sauce. This might make a nice starter in smaller breads. (Idea from Barbara D.)



Wednesday/13-Apr-16: Shopping today, back at Leclerc.

Dinner was Monkfish with Sage and Roasted Garlic (web). Monkfish (lotte) is on sale this week. It's a good fish, but I need to learn to ask them to clean and filet it for me. That was a pain. Otherwise, the recipe is easy and tasty. Served with brown rice and some steamed asparagus. Strawberries with marscapone-cream for dessert. Then I had a pair of chocolate easter eggs, while Ed worked on his bunny.

Thursday/14-Apr-16: Dinner was a half recipe of Greek Chicken Stew with Cauliflower and Olives (web) served over brown rice. The recipe said it would serve 4-6; the whole recipe might have served 6, since we were quite full with our half. Strawberries and ice cream for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/15-Apr-16: Made Apple-Plum Butter (HandyBook) during the day. Managed to burn it fairly badly, so the yield was low.

Used one of the eggplants needing using to make a two-thirds-ish dose of Eggplant and Yogurt Spread with Red Onion and Olives (O&C, p35). In the fridge, and we'll see how that is tomorrow.

Dinner was the last of the leftover meatloaf, with some buckwheat crozets tossed in a bit of garlic butter, plus some Baked Eggplant Slices (TooMany, p114), an old favorite, to use up the last eggplant. A pretty good dinner, if a bit old-fashioned.

Saturday/16-Apr-16: Had planned to make pasta today, but no oomph, and other things to do.

Our main meal was in the afternoon, since we went to a movie. It was Pepper and Anchovy Pasta Sauce (MarCuc, p149) with spaghetti, using up the bell peppers in the fridge. Then a very big salad. That was all.

Later we had some crackers spread with the Eggplant and Yogurt Spread. I liked a lot, Ed not. Oh well.

Sunday/17-Apr-16: Dinner was Acquacotta—Tomato and Bread Soup (TuscTable, p105). Made it using tomato "sauce" from the potager rather than peeling and deseeding tomatoes. In the end it was good, and indeed serves four, but I have no idea how close it was to real acquacotta (cooked water?). There was way too much celery for my taste, so I put some of that in the freezer for my next batch of chicken stock. And too much water to be added; my medium saucepan would be overflowing. The result was good even though I manage to break both egg yolks. Put the remaining bit in the freezer for another night. Also finished the last two Feuilletés aux Courgettes, Fromage Frais et Olives Noires; they held up quite well.

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

Monday, April 4, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/5-Apr-16: Yes, that Beefsteak Pie has come in handy. We had the rest of it for our lunch today, along with a melange of sautéed veggies. And a mini magnum for after.

Tuesday/5-Apr-16: Dinner out in Limoges tonight, prior to a concert. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Wednesday/6-Apr-16: Dinner was a half recipe of Gnocchi met Citroenricotta (AH, web); seems to be from a 2007 issue! I had some store-bought gnocchi in the freezer and used them up for this. Pretty good and easy. I did forget the grated cheese at the end, but neither of us missed it. Then a big salad. For dessert, I mixed the rest of the ricotta (which was a bit grainy from being frozen) with a bit of crême de framboise and used that to top some frozen, defrosted raspberries. Not perfect, but quite edible.

Thursday/7-Apr-16: Couldn't manage to shop yesterday, and was looking forward to shopping at Intermarché today while Ed was in choir practice because there was tuna on sale. Not. That was at Leclerc where the tuna was on sale. Got salmon instead. Solo shopping takes a lot longer than the two of together. Intermarché has quite a few things that Leclerc (our regular grocery) doesn't: hoisin sauce, 10% white vinegar (known to us as schoonmaakazijn). Their veggies are pretty good quality, but the selection is limited. Except that they frequently have very nice looking corn on the cob; impulse-bought some of this today. A better selection of Magnums too. But other things are really limited in choice. Definitely worth going to occasionally, but not sure about making it our regular store.

I saw my second hoopoe of the season today, Ed's first, on the way home from shopping.

Seems like Vanessa is keeping two chickens now. They've found a hole in the fence and have come into our yard two evenings. Really cute. I do like chickens. I went over to a neighbor to ask if they were missing any hens. He said no, but Vanessa had two now. Hope they last longer than the kitties. Ed has closed the hole in the fence.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil Lime Mayonnaise (web). Very good. Not hard, but time-consuming. The Basil Lime Mayo (aioli, they call it) with store-bought mayo was finger-lickin' good. Served with basmati rice tossed with a bit of rice vinegar, and some Cucumber Salad (Delightful, p51). For dessert, some store-bought framboisiers, which were definitely passable. (There were only two, so I figured they were ours.)

Put the chicken for Citrus-Marinated Game Hens (Picnic, p14) on to marinate overnight. There were no game hens, not even a coquelet (which I've used before for this recipe) at the store yesterday, so I got the smallest chickie I could find, at 1.1kg.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/8-Apr-16: Cooking day. Started Parmesan Meat Loaf (MikeRoy, p64) in the crockpot. Made this ages ago, and we found it a really yummy meat loaf. But the sauce has tomatoes and we've only recently discovered Ed can have deseeded ones.

Then made Ed's "picnic" meal for tomorrow's singing workshop and my daytime meal. Cooked the chickie halves by broiling them, three 10-minute stretches (last one a bit short), skin-side down, skin-side-up, skin-side down. About halfway through the middle stretch, I moved the broiling pan onto the bottom of the broiler rather than the rack.

Then roasted (i.e., broiled) some bell peppers, one for Couscous Salad with Roasted Peppers (Picnic, p16) and one for something else. Then made the couscous salad. Then made Marinated Green Beans with Toasted Almonds (Picnic, p18). Having no walnut oil in house, I used avocado oil for this; not sure it was a good idea. Meanwhile, I also made Chocolate Bread Pudding (TLNewEng, p132).

Dinner was meatloaf with some steamed broccoli and corn on the cob (GMO from Senegal, not seasonal or local, sorry, but delicious). For dessert there was, yes, Chocolate Bread Pudding, served with store-bought marsacpone-cream instead of heavy cream.


This was actually a bit of a strange recipe. First it called for fresh bread, which is exactly what bread puddings don't do. They're generally meant for using up odd bits of bread. The bread is shredded/crumbled very fine and makes a kind of bread mush with the milk. The result was tasty, but the texture wasn't especially nice, and a lot of liquid wept from the not-quite-custard.

Saturday/9-Apr-16: Oops, meant to buy eight plum tomatoes for oven-roasting, but seem to have only seven. They're in the oven roasting.

Ed ate only part of his chicken half today. I ate only the salads and was getting ready to start my chicken half when he got home. We'll save that for another day. I finished his while he gnawed bones, then we had some fruit, then we piggily finished the bread pudding. The chicken was extra yummy. Broiling worked very well. Not sure it would be a good idea with a bigger bird, but was fine with the small one I had.

Fourteen tomato halves with concentrated flavor in the freezer now. They smell delicious.

Sunday/10-Apr-16: Another, less elaborate picnic lunch for Ed's at his singing workshop. We both had Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Sandwich (Picnic, p23). I roasted the bell pepper on Friday with the one for the couscous salad and grilled the eggplant slices yesterday. Assembled the sandwiches thsi morning and added some basil leaves. Good. Accompanied by Cantaloupe Soup (Picnic, p25). It's a bit early for melons but there were some small ones in the shop. One small one made a nice bit of cold soup for each of us.

There were some munchies at the end of the workshop day, after a little concert. Nothing else happened in the kitchen.

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