Friday, July 29, 2016

Cookbooks Countdown: Lamb Kebabs

This should be the last bit of cooking this month from 30 Minute Indian today. We had Lamb Kebabs (p52).

I had to grind my own lamb (thank you, food processor!) and ended up with just over a pound of meat, rather than 14.5 oz. The idea was to made twelve meatball things to bake in the oven. Given that it's barbecue weather, I made seven oval patties and we grilled them outside.

These are fairly easy to make, with standard Indian spices. The ground lamb is mixed with a finely chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, mint, and green chiles, garlic, ginger, and an egg. The recipe says the garlic cloves should be crushed; I minced mine.


Ed grilled the patties and we ate them with Kachumber and Jeera Rice, both of which I've made this month already. And there were Lime Pickle and Tamarind&Date Chutney on the table too,


I choose this book for July, thinking I'd give it a try and then recycle it. But, no, there turn out to be some real winners here (the chutney, spiced beets, kachumber, quite a few main dishes). The onion bhajiya recipe is the one I'll work from next time we get a hankering for these. There are some losers, though (naan, kheer, cauliflower relish), and I have mixed feelings about the book. There is enough prep on many of the recipes (I've grated more ginger in the last month that I did in the first half of this year), that the 30-minute-ness is doubtful in many cases. There's not enough extra information on the recipes to make the book a good read. The ingredient and instruction lists could be better. But I think it's earned it's place as a keeper.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Onion Bhajiyas & Bombay Chicken Masala

For our starter tonight, we had Onion Bhajiyas (p16) from 30 Minute Indian. There were almost excellent. The major problem was that they were too salty. The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt. I already thought this was way too much and used only about 1 teaspoon, maybe a smidge more, but not 1-1/4 teaspoons. Think this should be 1/2 teaspoon, or maybe 3/4 teaspoon, but not more.

I've made these before, using a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. Those have been tasty, but never as crispy as these. The major differences I see are that Jaffrey uses an egg and a full cup of besan, rather then 5 tablespoon, and Vijayakar adds baking powder. I wonder if that isn't the magic ingredient here? I will definitely try this again, using less salt and adding Jaffrey's extra spices (turmeric, cayenne, cumin seeds, and ground cumin). But we're definitely going in the right direction with our onion bhajis now.


Our main dish was Bombay Chicken Masala (p46). This was pretty good. Served with plain basmati rice, leftover Spiced Beets and leftover Mutter Paneer.

The chicken recipe is a bit vague about some points. I'm getting to have a major dislike for recipes asking for a "bunch" of some herb. How much is that anyhow? And the kip filets (skinless, boneless chicken breast halves) should be cut in strips? Longwise, crosswise, how big?

Except for the vagueness, this is a really simple recipe to make. Buzz together an onion, some green chilies, garlic cloves, grated ginger, ground coriander, ground cumin, and a large bunch of cilantro with some water. Fry this paste, then add the strips of chicken. Fry for a few minutes, then stir in some chicken stock, cover, and simmer for 10-12 minutes. This really is easy and quite fast.


Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Tomato Fish Curry

Our main meal today was Tomato Fish Curry (p72) from 30 Minute Indian, served on plain basmati rice.

Any firm white fish can be used. I bought lieu noir, which is tasty and relatively inexpensive. (I'd been hoping for swordfish, which is on sale this week, but they were already out!) This dish is easy to make. A chopped onion is sautéed. When it has browned a bit, aromatics are added, including sliced garlic cloves, grated ginger, turmeric, cayenne, ground cumin, ground coriander, and garam masala. Then the fish, cut in strips is stirred in. Then tomatoes are added and the whole thing is simmered, covered, till the fish is done, something less than ten minutes. (Since we can't have tomatoes with seeds here, I used the last of last summer's puréed tomatoes from the garden.)


For dessert, I made (sort of) Mango and Mint Sherbet (p123). Mangos, lemon juice, mint leaves, and sugar are puréed together with water, and should be served over ice cubes. I decided to freeze this instead. And since my freezer accommodates only about a liter/quart of liquid, I could only add about a cup of water (rather than three). This was a very tasty end to a spicy Indian-flavored meal.


Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Mutter Paneer

Our main meal today included Mutter Panner (p81) from 30 Minute Indian. To get that started, I made Paneer (p34) earlier in the day.

I've made paneer before, using a Madhur Jaffrey recipe. This one is a bit easier to put together but the directions are not very good and the resulting amount seems to be off.

Paneer is actually quite simple to make. Bring some whole milk to a boil, stir in lemon juice, remove from the fire, and let sit for 15 minutes. The last bit is from Madhur Jaffrey, and I think these are important instructions for successful paneer. The resulting curdled milk is strained (I lined my sieve with a clean dish towel), the smooshed together and pressed. Jaffrey has you wrap it in cheesecloth and hang it from the faucet. I found the pressing business worked fine for removing the excess liquid. My lump of paneer (that's a salad plate with a regular knife for size in the photo) weighed in something over 3 ounces, where I should have had 5 according to Vijayakar. The amount was sufficient for the Mutter Paneer, but a bit more wouldn't have hurt.


The resulting Mutter Paneer was tasty, but I'm not sure it came in under 30 minutes. There was a lot of measuring and chopping to be done, and we have to have our tomatoes seeded here, so that too a bit longer.

First mustard seeds, cumin seeds, a cinnamon/cassis stick, a dried red chili, cloves, and cardamom are toasted in oil. Then a finely chopped onion is added. Then grated ginger, smashed garlic, cayenne, garam masala, turmeric, dhanajeera*, and brown sugar are stirred in. Then tomatoes, paneer, peas, and water are stirred in, and everything is simmered covered for 10 minutes. Finally, some crème fraîche should be stirred in, but I forgot that. I served the mutter paneer over plain basmati rice.

*Dhanajeera appears to be a 1:2 mixture of ground cumin and ground coriander.

This was quite tasty and a bit on the hot side. I set out my jar of lime pickle, hoping to use it up so I could defrost a jar to see if the freezing helped with the tough rind. But this dish turned out to be quite hot and what was needed was a bit of chutney. The Tamarind & Date Chutney went very well.


Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

This week in the kitchen

Monday/25-Jul-16: Finished off the Dried Apricot & Amaretto Conserve (FancyPant, p127). I goofed and added the orange juice with the peel, so it got boiled more than it ought to have been. (Used only two cups of sucre de canne, rather than 2-1/2.) In the end the whole thing didn't gel, so I added a whole packet of pectin. Poured into three AH jars, then realized I forgot to stir in the amaretto. Since there were three tablespoons needed, I stirred one into each jar before closing them up. Seems like a lot of almond slivers. We'll see. Froze two jars, since we've got several active jars of jam right now, and left one in the fridge to give away.

Made paneer, which was a part of our Mutter Paneer dinner. Some mini magnums for dessert.

Tuesday/26-Jul-16: So Ed could get one with painting windows and doors, I did the shopping after my audiologist appointment.

Got home to find we've been invited from champagne apertifs with our new next-door neighbors, Emmanuelle and Pierre, who live in Bordeaux.

Dinner was Tomato Fish Curry on rice, with some Mango-Mint Sherbet to follow.

Wednesday/27-Jul-16: Lunch out with friends today. Nothing happened in the kitchen. It's hot too.

Thursday/28-Jul-16: More Indian tonight. This time Onion Bhajiyas followed by Bombay Chicken Masala, served with plain basmati rice and leftover Spiced Beets and Mutter Paneer. Actually, I should have saved one of the veggies for tomorrow night, since we were quite full.

Friday/29-Jul-16: A busy day in the kitchen today.

I accidentally defrosted some pecans and walnuts. Until I started making Peppered Pecans (Tabasco, p14), I thought they were all pecans. Have to find something else for the walnuts.

Shopping Tuesday, I bought a flat of peaches for Peach Cobbler (EatingTog, p59), intending to make it Monday. But the peaches are getting pretty ripe, so I made the cobbler today.

Dinner was Lamb Kebabs, served with Kachumber (30MinInd, p37) and Jeera Rice (30MinInd, p99). Had the Tamarind&Date Chutney and the Lemon Pickle on the table. I had meant to serve some of the Mango-Mint Sherbet for dessert, but with fresh peach cobbler available, who could resist that? With a bit of cream. Yum.

Saturday/30-Jul-16: Another day with lots of kitchen work.

  • Used up the bit of rhubarb I had to make Rhubarb Chutney (Thesaurus, p255) again. This was extra good with boudin noir.
  • Roasted two eggplants for tomorrow.
  • Made two pâte brisées (Tenth, p256), one for tonight, the other for the freezer. Once you're making one, the second is easy and uses up the other half of the block of butter.

Dinner was, more or less, Broccoli and Gorgonzola Quiche (web) with a big, plain salad (only croutons, no extra veggies). No picture necessary, a relief.

Thinking about next month's book for Cookbook Countdown. It should be the Time-Life Viennese Empire book, but I'm not finding that many recipes I want to cook right now. There are lots of interesting recipes with sauerkraut, but it's not in the shops right now. TBD.

Ed's eaten all the pecans.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/31-Jul-16: We had our main meal early today so that we can go to a movie this evening. We had a half dose of Shawarma-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Garlic Yogurt (web). Had thought to bbq, but just grilled them instead. No matter, very good. I made sure to have lots of yogurt for the Garlic Yogurt sauce, but didn't make it in the end. Served with pita breas, the leftover green chutney, and Baba Ghanoush (WofE, p334), which probably wanted more lemon juice but I'm out of lemons. (I took two packages of four lemons to the check-out earlier this week. When I got there, I saw there was I moldy lemon in one of the packages. It was too busy to walk back and get another package, so I did without. But I'm now completely out of lemons.)

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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Chettinad Chicken

Our main meal today included Chettinad Chicken from 30 Minute Indian (p43), along with plain basmati rice and the Spiced Beets that I've made before. (Chettinad is a region in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which is on the southeast end of the Indian subcontinent.)

You start out frying sliced onion, curry leaves, and a chopped green chili until the onion is soft. Then you add grated ginger and crushed garlic cloves. (I will coarsely chop the garlic next time.) Then you add some boneless and skinless thigh meat, cut in bite-sized chunks, along with ground coriander, and stir-fry till the chicken is cooked on the outside. Then add some chicken stock (from a cube today) and garam masala, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Salt and pepper, and serve. Good stuff.


Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Fish Mollee, Kachumber, and Kheer

Yes, another Indian meal from 30 Minute Indian. Tonight we had Fish Mollee (p61) with Lime Pickle, Coconut Rice (p100), Kachumber (p36), with Kheer (p116) for dessert. The Lime Pickle and Coconut Rice are old friends now. The others were new tonight.


  • The Fish Mollee was quite good and very easy to make. Cut your fish (it was cod tonight) into strips, salt the bits, sprinkle with lemon juice, and set aside. Sauté a finely chopped onion and some crushed garlic cloves. Then add turmeric, a diced green chili, and some coconut milk, and simmer a bit. Stir in the fish and a bit of white wine vinegar, turn the heat down, cover, and simmer for about ten minutes. (Shrimp can also be used used.)
    N.B.: There is an error in the ingredient list, which says only "4 fresh green chilies, deseeded and". The following line is missing. I finely chopped mine.
  • The Kachumber was also quite nice. It's a fresh vegetable salad, red onion, plum tomatoes, cucumber, and a green chili, tossed with lemon juice and cilantro. Simple and tasty. Tonight's cucumber was fresh from the potager, the first of the season. The green chili, the usually mild one that the French think is spicy, was a bit hotter than others I've had, but nothing challenging.
A thing that has consistently bothered me about this book is the lack of information, or rather clarification, on ingredients. He asks for a red (or green) chili, with no explanation for what kind of (or how hot a) chili is needed. A habanero? An jalapeno? A chile pequin? A cayenne? A bird chile? There is a bit of information in the ingredient glossary, but it still leave me doubting what I need. Since chilies are difficult to find in France, I have to use whatever I can find or have stashed in the freezer. Luckily the mildly piquant French green chili is in season, so I've been buying those. (I've no idea of its proper name; I suppose I should try to look this up.) I have a stash in the freezer of some habaneros, red jalapenos (just found those!), cayennes, and little red Indonesian chilies a friend brought for me from the Netherlands.

Then there was Kheer. I used basmati rice, rather than jasmine, since that's what I keep in-house and I didn't think to buy jasmine this week. These cook the same as far as I know, so I usually only keep the one and use them interchangeably. The result was tasty enough, but the recipe has a major problem. It calls for 2-1/2 cups milk. I used almost the whole liter, and the "pudding" was still as stiff as could be. 

The recipe has another unclear ingredient/instructions. It asks for 1 teaspoon of crushed cardamom seeds. I suppose he means for you to take the seeds out of the pods and crush them. That's what I did. But this is a 30-minute cookbook. Why not just use ground cardamom?

No silver leaf here, just a slog of cream to soften it up a bit.


Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got unused books on your shelf, why don't you choose one and join in?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Cookbook Countdowm: Kitcheree and Lime Pickle

More from 30 Minute Indian. Tonight we had Kitcheree (p99) and Lime Pickle (p35).

The weather is hot and I didn't want to do much cooking. Grainy Kitcheree had an appeal. And this is the kind of dish that goes well with an Indian pickle.

This kitcheree is made with rice and moong dal. I thought I had moong dal on the shelf, but it turned out to be chana dal, which takes a bit longer to cook. A quick look online showed split peas as a substitute. I happened to have some yellow ones (but no green ones-->inventory failure), so used those. I soaked them for a while with the rice, but that didn't really work. They were still a bit on the crunchy side at the end. In spite of all the spices (cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, ginger, green chiles, cumin seeds, and ground coriander), this was quite a bland dish so the pickle was a nice addition.


My Lime Pickle is tasty, a bit hotter than your usual pickle, but still good. The only problem was that the peel was a bit tough. I've made a lime pickle before, and I see that that recipe had you boil the limes twice for one minute, then again for 20-25 minutes (fresh water each time). Think I'd do that next time. Vijayakar's recipe says it makes "one jar." I gave one jar to friends (traded for some garam masala), put one jar in the fridge, and two more in the freezer. (Will that work? Maybe it will soften the peel?) These jars are 350ml jam jars. I might have been able to pack it all into a one-liter canning jar. That's really a lot of lime pickle.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got unused books on your shelf, why don't you choose one and join in?

Monday, July 18, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/18-Jul-16: Summer hot has come upon us.

Leftover night tonight. Defrosted some cooked chicken to have with the sauce from Saturday's dinner. Served over leftover naan—the packaged kind, rather than the horrible things I made. There was a bit of peas from last night and some corn on the cob I impulse-bought last week. There's still the Vaguely Vietnamese cole slaw which has to wait for another day, because we wanted to finish off the hot chocolate ice cream.

Tuesday/19-Jul-16: Too hot today. Dinner was Kitcheree with Lime Pickle. For dessert we had some little ice creams. That was all.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/20-Jul-16: Shopping today. In the evening we went with friends to the marché des producteurs at Chabanais. Nice food. Came home with rillettes des canard, some lovely brown sourdough bread, and various sausages (canard, aurouch, porc noir) that will make meals in the coming months.

Thursday/21-Jul-16: Another Indian meal. New dishes were Fish Mollee, Kachumber, and Kheer. Served with more Lime Pickle, Coconut Rice (30MinInd, p100). Pretty nice tastes.

Friday/22-Jul-16: Lunch out with friends today, so in theory, nothing should be happening in the kitchen. Instead we discovered yesterday that we're due at a charity picnic tomorrow, so I'm busy:
  • Grilling eggplant slices for Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Sandwiches (Picnic, p23)
  • Making a half dose of Mango Cinnamon Crisp (Picnic, p44), using the end of my sack of frozen mango slices and the remaining blueberries, making it a Mango-Blueberry Cinnamon Crisp. 
  • Making Cantaloupe Soup (Picnic, p25).
  • Making guacamole.
Only sandwiches to assemble tomorrow, and packing it all up.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/23-Jul-16: All was good at the picnic. The Cantaloupe Soup was refreshing. The sandwich good, the guacamole good. The mango and blueberry combination worked great.  Nothing much else happened in the kitchen today.

Sunday/24-Jul-16: Started Dried Apricot & Amaretto Conserve (FancyPant, p127). The apricots and raisins will soak in the fridge overnight.

Early meal today before a concert this evening. We had Chettinad Chicken, with Spiced Beets (30MinInd, p88), and plain basmati rice. That was enough.

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

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Kashmiri Lamb Chops and Jeera Potatoes

And yet another dinner from 30 Minute Indian. Tonight we had Kashmiri Lamb Chops (p52) and Jeera Potatoes (p85).

The lamb chops marinated all day in a sauce of yogurt, cayenne, grated ginger, crushed garlic cloves, and a bit of neutral oil. Then they're cooked under the broiler. Delicious. They'd probably be good on the grilled on the barbecue too.

The potatoes were also a hit. Ginger slivers and cumin seeds are fried briefly, then cubes of boiled potatoes are added along with some sliced green chili and S&P. When all is looking nicely done, stir in some lime juice and cilantro leaves. If you have everything ready for these potatoes, they finish up quite easily at the last minute. Vijayakrar says these potatoes go well with chicken and fish dishes, but we thought they were quite fine with the lamb. (The cumin seeds are the only thing in common with the Jeera Rice that I've made twice already. Jeera, it turns out, is alternative name for cumin seeds.)


(Don't worry, there was a green veg served with this, Madhur Jaffrey' Green Peas in a Creamy Sauce.)

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got unused books on your shelf, why don't you choose one and join in?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Salmon in Banana Leaves, Broccoli Sabzi, and Coconut Rice

And another dinner from 30 Minute Indian. Tonight we had Salmon in Banana Leaves (p58), Broccoli Sabzi (p91), and Coconut Rice (p100).


No, the Salmon in Banana Leaves was not baked in skewered-together banana leaves; that's stapled-together parchment paper there. Of course, this worked just fine. This is a strip of salmon fillet, topped with cilantro, mint, garlic, ginger, red chiles, ground cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, lime juice, and coconut milk that had been blitzed into a sauce. Each bit of salmon is topped with the sauce, sealed in its own packet, and baked at 400F for 15 minutes. Very tasty and the salmon was nicely done.

For a side, I made Broccoli Sabzi, which was good, but broccoli is really too strong a taste for salmon. First, cumin seeds are toasted in oil, then a sliced onion is sautéd till it's getting brown, then finely chopped red chile and garlic is added along with the broccoli bit. This just cooks on low until the broccoli is done. In fact, I covered it while it was cooking and finally added a bit of waterfor the last minutes to help the broccoli cook it since the pan seemed a bit too dry to me.

The Coconut Rice has been here before, and might show up again. It's actually a good way to use up the extra coconut milk leftover from another dish.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got unused books on your shelf, why don't you choose one and join in?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Seekh Kebabs, Jeera Rice, Gujarati Carrot Salad, Cauliflower Relish, and Naan

Tonight we had yet another whole meal from 30 Minute Indian. Clockwise on the plate from the bottom, there was Seekh Kebabs (p51), Jeera Rice (p99), Cauliflower Relish (p31), and Gujarati Carrot Salad (p32). I also made Naan (p103).


  • The Seekh Kebabs were pretty tasty, if a bit dry. I had only 350g of ground beef (rather than 400g) and made only eight kebabs (rather than twelve). Even with the full amount, twelve would have been more like meatballs. I didn't add nearly enough salt, so we had to salt them at the table. The meat mixture wasn't firm enough to stay put even on my flat skewers, so I ended up turning them by hand and using some wooden skewers to hold three or two together. I think it would be better to start with a pair of wooden skewers in each kebab. 
  • The Jeera Rice, I've made before. And will make again, I'm sure, since it's easy and tasty. 
  • I made the Cauliflower Relish several days ago. We've already had it once for dinner, but I neglected to take a picture. This wasn't bad, but we weren't especially enamored of it. The cauliflower pieces are supposed to be bite-sized, so I cut them my idea of bite-sized. But it seems to me that a relish should have smaller bits of whatever's in it. Glad I tried this, but it's not something I need to make again.
  • The Gujarati Carrot Salad was okay, but I won't make it again either. Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking also has a Gujarati Carrot Salad (p170) and we much prefer that one, without the honey.
Now, I was curious about how you can turn out a 30-minute naan. The answer is that you can't. It takes a minimum of an hour. And, while the result was edible, to me it tasted of baking powder. Eh. We'll see how there are with jam for breakfast tomorrow.*


* Next day report : The rest of the naans didn't improve with sitting and weren't helped by jam and butter. Bird food perhaps. One day I'll make Madhur Jaffrey's proper version of these.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got unused books on your shelf, why don't you choose one and join in?

This week in the kitchen

Monday/11-Jul-16: Picked more than a quart of blueberries at friends' house while watering plants. This being a busy week, I'm not sure when I'll have time to do anything with them.

Dinner was Seekh Kebabs, Jeera Rice, Gujarati Carrot Salad, Cauliflower Relish, and Naan, all from 30MinInd.

Tuesday/12-Jul-16: Busy day today. BookChatters for me in the morning. Then both of us went to Soyaux, gassed up, pick up an order from Carrefour Drive, had lunch. Then I had an ENT appointment for checkup and to get a new T-tube in my left ear; appointment at 14.15, got in about 15.15, then a half hour wait for the local anesthetic to take effect, sort of, finally done about 16.00. A bit of shopping at Grand Frais, then homewards.

Dinner was Bean Salad with Shrimp and Curry Yogurt (web). A bit of an odd recipe. First, it's green beans, rather than cannellini or some such. Second, it's supposed to serve four, apparently as a main. Never. We had it all, served over brown rice, making a light, tasty meal for two. Too much honey. Too little curry powder. Pretty good.

Wednesday/13-Jul-16: Ate out at a music evening tonight. Nothing happened in the kitchen. Including the yogurt I was supposed to do.

Thursday/14-Jul-16: Yogurt on overday.

Made Sour Cream Fresh Blueberry Cake (MC), an old favorite, and left half with Shirley and Terry. Still have 4cups of blueberries to use.

Dinner was Salmon in Banana Leaves, Broccoli Sabzi, and Coconut Rice, followed by, yes, Sour Cream Fresh Blueberry Cake. Ed served this with cream, but I thought that was unnecessary gilding of the lily.

Friday/15-Jul-16: Off for a haircut this morning. Before I left, I started Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos (web), which was, yes vaguely Vietnamese. And not bad. Served with whole wheat flour tortillas and the accompanying slaw, which was ok. Should have grated the carrots and cuke. No Asian pear and didn't add anything sweet to compensate. Went well with the pork, which will serve only four, not 6-8 as advertised.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/16-Jul-16: Made Bluebard Jam (SmallBatch, p37). Used a full packet of Vitpris pectin (~35g); it might be a bit stiff. Or not. And sucre de canne. Made four AH jars; two in the freezer, one for Shirley and Terry, one for us.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Braised Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives (web) with three chicken thighs. (Lately chicken thighs come packaged in threes, rather than fours, which is somewhat annoying.) This was quite good, in spite of the fact that I forgot to add the "herb sachet" to the simmering chicken and sauce. (Have added that to the leftover sauce for when I rewarm it.) The chicken was browned, then braised, then cooked in the oven. It came out with a really crispy skin. Altogether very tasty. The recipe suggested serving with roasted potatoes or boiled noodles, neither of which appealed. I made some whole wheat couscous. Then a big salad, using the the blue cheese dressing. Then the rest of the blueberry cake.

Sunday/17-Jul-16: This morning I put lamb chops on to marinate for our dinner of Kashmiri Lamb Chops and Jeera Potatoes. Served this with Green Peas in a Creamy Sauce (Q&E, p87). After we ate, we went to the movies, hoping for ice cream cones, but there were none tonight, so we had mini magnums when we got back.

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

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Tandoori Chicken, Spiced Beets, and Coconut Rice

Tonight we had another whole meal from 30 Minute Indian. There was Tandoori Chicken (p40), Spiced Beets (p88), and Coconut Rice (p100).

Last night, I started the chicken marinating for the Tandoori Chicken. I used three thighs (skinless) and called it a half recipe. In theory there are not too many spices involved here, but I had to make the tandoori masala, that you might be able to get from the store, from scratch, and that involved a long list of spices. (The worst part of this is that after I put the unused masala in a jar and went to put it in the cabinet, I found another jar of tandoori masala that I don't remember making at all! I'm going to have to be doing a lot of tandoori-flavored things in the next months.) The chicken sat overnight in the fridge, slathered in (a bit too much) spicy yogurt marinade.


Although it seemed promising, this really wasn't much like tandoori chicken. We decided to barbecue, rather than cook the chickie in the oven, and the bbq chef had a bit of trouble keeping the fire hot. The chicken was good enough, but nothing tandoori. Might give this one more try, but wasn't that impressed.

I bought a 500g vacuum-packed package of beets to use for the Spiced Beets. (Canned beets would work too.) This recipe turned into an instant hit. And, since the beets are already cooked, it's really quite fast to make. Finely chopped garlic cloves, grated ginger, cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds, and dried chili flakes are fried in a bit of oil for a minute or two. The beets, which have been cut into wedges, are stirred in and fried for another minute. Then some coconut milk, ground cardamom, grated rind of a lime, and the juice of the lime are stirred in and cooked another few minutes. Finally, a bit of chopped cilantro is stirred in, along with salt and pepper. The beets can be served hot, warm, or a room temperature.


The Coconut Rice was good. Like the Jeera Rice, it fsoaked only 15 minutes, simmered for 10 minutes, and then stand for another 10 minutes. This takes a bit longer than the book's title suggests, but it's so easy that I have no complaint. Black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and a chopped, dried red chili are fried in a bit of oil. The drained rice is stirred in and fried for another one or two minutes. Then coconut milk and boiled water are stirred in and brought to a boil. The rice is covered and simmered for 10-12 minutes. Then it rests off the fire for another 8-10 minutes.


This combination made for a lovely plate, much more attractive than the usual brown/yellow plate of Indian food.


While I'm uploading pictures, here's what the Lime Pickle looks like half-way through its ripening period.


Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got unused books on your shelf, why don't you choose one and join in?

Monday, July 4, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/4-Jul-16: Geesh, between the official end of TLNorthW and 30MinInd,  last week I published five extra posts for Cookbook Countdown. Didn't I say earlier that I didn't want to get involved with one of these posting things again? Oh well.

Dinner was Lemon Grass Chicken with Chilli (HotWok, p144), served with Thai-Style Cauliflower (HotWok, p181) and plain basmati rice. Haven't used this book in a long time, so this was fun. The chicken was a bit salty (even though I remembered not to add extra salt because Hom's recipes usually have plenty of salt from soy sauce). But all was tasty. Small serving of Hot Chocolate Ice Cream with a bit of cream, for dessert.

Tuesday/5-Jul-16: A bit of a smish-smash for dinner using up lots of odd bits. The main course was Seared Peppered Pork Loin with Cucumber Mint Salsa (web), using something like pork chops. The cucumber salsa was especially good. And there was corn on the cob. And some Chile-Roasted Broccoli (web), not quite enough, done in the toaster oven so I didn't have to heat a bit oven; easy and pretty good. And some grilled violet artichokes, loosely following a web recipe I can't find now. (Basically, clean them, boil them most of the way, grill the rest of the way, then toss with a strong lemon vinaigrette with some chopped kalamatas for the salt.) All good, if an odd assembly. Then some ice creams for dessert.

Wednesday/6-Jul-16: How nice to get back to our old Wednesday shopping schedule. The store is really much emptier. I impulse-bought a bundle of rhubarb, so need to do something with that soon.

No tuna today, so it wasn't seared tuna steaks, but Seared Swordfish Steaks (HowTo, p187) for dinner. Served topped with Roasted Pepper Relish with Olives, Capers, and Rosemary (HowTo, p173), with a side of trio rice. Then a big salad, using some of the croutons I made last weekend. Then more of the Hot Chocolate Ice Cream with a bit of milk. All good.

After dinner, we went to friends' house to water plants while they're away and came away with more than three cups of blueberries. Something else for tomorrow.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/7-Jul-16: A bit of cooking today, if not as much as I'd planned.

Used the blueberries to make a Blueberry Cobbler. Started with a recipe from a little brochure I copied from Tiffany long ago, but it had an oddness in the ingredients (it asked for "1 cube of butter"). I found a very similar recipe online, that called for 1/2 cup of butter, and merged the two. (I used less than 1/2 cup butter, since there was something less than that in the butter dish.) [I actually put a brief version of the recipe here, but Blogger has garbled it. Maybe I'll do it again, or maybe not.]

Made a quarter recipe of Tandoori Masala (web), so I could make the sauce to put a half recipe of Tandoori Chicken (30MinInd, p40) on to marinate for the night.

Dinner was boudin noir served with the Rhubarb Chutney I made a couple of weeks ago and some of Clothilde Dusoulier's Perfect Roasted Potatoes (web). The chutney was super; I may need to make some more from the batch I just bought, or from our garden rhubarb, which is starting to think about being harvestable.

Friday/8-Jul-16: This morning I made Cauliflower Relish from 30MinInd, thinking it was for tonight, but it's really for tomorrow and Monday. Date challenged, I am.

Tonight's dinner we had Tandoori Chicken, Spiced Beets, and Coconut Rice. Followed by more blueberry cobbler.

Saturday/9-Jul-16: Tonight's dinner was Chile-Lime Pork (web), marinated several hours, then cooked on the bbq. Very good stuff. Served with polenta, leftover Spiced Beets (still good), and the Cauliflower Relish (not so good). (Will write that up with Monday's dinner, since I forgot to take a picture today.)

Sunday/10-Jul-16: Ed had a choir concert today and we had pizza afterwards.

Yogurt on overnight.

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

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Shrimp with Curry Leaves and Fenugreek and Jeera Rice

Our main meal today was from  Sunil Vijayakar's 30 Minute Indian. We had Shrimp with Curry Leaves and Fenugreek (p68) and Jeera Rice (p99). Both of these were easy and very tasty.

For the shrimp, you begin by cooking onions, curry leaves, and nigella seeds. Then you add the shrimp and a sliced chile. Then you add ginger and salt. Then you add fenugreek leaves and lemon juice. Peeling the shrimp was the longest part of this recipe. Once everything's ready, it cooks in less than 15 minutes.


The rice was slightly different from other Indian rice dishes in preparation. The rice is soaked for only 15 minutes rather than the usual 30 minutes.  Melt some butter, add some some cumin seeds, a clove, and some crushed cardamom pods, then stir in the drained rice. Add boiling water, in an amount as if you hadn't just soaked the rice. (Usually the water for soaked rice is quite a bit less than usual.). The rice is cooked for only 10 minutes, then sits for another 10 minutes. But it worked. (This all adds up to more than 30 minutes promised in the book's title, but it's so easy it hardly matters.) This may become my go-to recipe for an Indian rice.


On the side, there's a dab of the Tamarind and Date Chutney that I made yesterday. And very good it was.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got unused books on your shelf, why don't you choose one and join in?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Lime Pickle and Tamarind & Date Chutney

This was a kitchen day and two recipes from Sunil Vijayakar's 30 Minute Indian were on my list of things to do.

I started with Lime Pickle (p35). Indian pickle recipes are actually rather difficult to find. I've made a lime pickle from Madhur Jaffrey that was pretty successful, and another sort that was fairly disgusting. Lime pickle being a household favorite, I could hardly pass up this recipe.

The recipe says it makes "1 jar" which is about as vague as you can get. Ten limes cut into six sections pretty well filled the largest bowl of my 3-bowl Pyrex set of nexted bowls, that's 2-1/2 quarts, I think. I'm guessing this may go into a 1-quart/liter jar when it's ready, and wondering who I can share with.


I found it difficult to see how I was going to put the limes into a jar and then mix in the salt and spices (toasted and ground fenugreek and black mustard seeds, cayenne, turmeric, and more asafetida than I've ever seen in a single recipe) as instructed. So I've put it all in a bowl, which now sits covered with a cloth for ten days to ripen. I'll report back later on this.

I also made Tamarind and Date Chutney (p30). As chutneys go, this one is fairly simple to make. No cooking, all the ingredients—dates, tamarind paste, ground cumin, cayenne, tomato ketchup (I used tomato paste), water, and salt—get zapped together. And then it's chutney. I tasted and added an extra bit of tamarind paste, since I really like that sour taste against the sweet. At first taste this chutney is almost too sweet from the dates, but then the flavor of the tamarind and spices kicks in and it brightens up. Very promising. I put one jar in the freezer and the other in the fridge to try in the next weeks.


Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their July cookbook. And if you've got unused books on your shelf, why don't you choose one and join in?