Monday, April 17, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/17-Apr-17: Early meal today before we went off to a concert. We had Shish Taouk—Lebanese Chicken Skewers (web). Put the chicken to marinate last night. Pretty good, although I think thighs might have been even better. Served with orzo, roasted asparagus (two spears from the garden, the rest left from last shopping), and a grated carrot salad. That was all.

Tuesday/18-Apr-17: Lunch out today. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Wednesday/19-Apr-17: Shopping today. The salmon I'd planned uses up something else, but tuna was on sale. This meant a bit of last-minute replanning so we could have both.

Tonight we had grilled tuna, somewhat overdone, my fault; with steamed asparagus and tagliatelle with sautéed mushrooms. For dessert we did serious damage to our chocolate Easter bunnies, previously neglected.

Thursday/20-Apr-17: Early meal today. We had Baked Cheddar Polenta and Salmon with Crushed Pea and Garlic (web). Pretty good, but a bit long on the polenta. I love the stuff, but I'm stuffed. Some strawberries and cream for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/21-Apr-17: Dinner was a half recipe Gratin de Brocoli, Pomme de Terre et Merguez (VPG). (I haven't been able to find a copy of this online, unfortunately.) Quite good for a throw-together kind of dinner. Cooked potatoes, broccoli, and merguez are tossed together with a bechamel sauce (homemade here, rather than store-bought as the recipe asked), then topped with gruyère (some aged comtè instead), baked for a bit, then put under the broiler to brown. Yum. Made a salad but the half recipe was more than enough for two, so the salad goes on till tomorrow.

Saturday/22-Apr-17: Up and out early this morning to go to the Saturday morning walk-in hours for our doctor (nothing serious). After we got home and ate breakfast, I made Seviyan ki Kheer—Vermicelli Pudding (MJ1, p192), a recipe I've made repeatedly, trying to get it just right. This time I followed Jaffrey's timing for cooking, rather than volume. And it worked! I used raw brown sugar rather than white, so the color was a bit tan. I used ground cardamom rather than crushing or grinding seeds, which didn't give as nice a flavor. Still, it was altogether very successful.

Had an itch for Shrimp Biryani but couldn't remember from which book I made it not too long ago. Found a recipe online (web), which turned out to come from a book I have (MJ@Home, p214), the very recipe I've made. Did it again. Yum. Served with Cachumber—Tomato, Onion and Green Coriander Relish (MJ1, p172). And kheer for dessert. Lekker!

Sunday/23-Apr-17: Early meal today (the better to work on ironing). We had a half dose of Grilled Chicken Breast with Satay Sauce (CL dec16; web). The chicken was good, but neither of us were impressed by the satay sauce. Something missing there. The published go-with was Cucumber, Carrot, and Orange Salad (web), which was good, but the sauce lacked a bit of something; more vinegar needed perhaps. And a bit of buckwheat crozets on the side. Followed by the uneaten salad from Friday, and then by the rest of yesterday's kheer.

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/10-Apr-17: Back from Bordeaux this afternoon, collecting Pogo and the cats along the way. Dinner from the freezer, a beef stew we didn't much like the first time and it didn't improve in the freezer. Made a salad, but we didn't eat it. Tomorrow's lunch perhaps.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/11-Apr-17: Oops, the salad has to wait another day. Our lunch was Vaguely Vietnamese Slow Cooker Pork Tacos (web) from the freezer. Again, made the Vaguely Vietnamese Carrot-Cabbage Slaw as a go-with. Next time should do all the shredding with the cuisinart. All good stuff, though, and we're full.

Wednesday/12-Apr-17: Shopping today.

Dinner was Mahi Mahi with Curry-Yogurt Mayonnaise (Desperation, p283; cookbooker), with tuna instead of mahi mahi. Served with roasted asparagus, trio rice, and the salad we didn't eat on Monday. For dessert, some store-bought suisse pastries.

Thursday/13-Apr-17: Defrosted a varkenshaas (aka filet mignon du porc or pork tenderloin), marinated it in some defrosted charmoula sauce. Also used that to flavor some slices of eggplant. Grilled on on the bbq. Served with a half dose of Mambo Rice (web), which was pretty darn good, and a made-up salad of avocado, tomato, cilantro, and lime juice. All was good. We're full. (And I drank too much wine. I won't tell if you don't.)

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/14-Apr-17: We went to Angoulême to do some errands today. Both had omelets for lunch. Then we didn't feel like dinner, so I'm off plan for the week now. Harvested the first rhubarb of the season and made Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake (MC), pretty good stuff.

Saturday/15-Apr-17: Plans changed today. I ended up not cooking and we had a pizza after a movie. Serious replanning needed for the next days.

Sunday/16-Apr-17: Early dinner was Gramigne con Verza e Salsiccia—Cabbage and Sausage (Geometry, p135; cookbooker). Never heard of gramigne before, but found the exact thing labeled "short spaghetti" at the grocery. The whole dish was yummy. Followed by a salad. and the last of the Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake.

Yogurt on overnight. Chicken on to marinate for tomorrow's early meal.

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/3-Apr-17: Earlyish meal today. We had Orecchiette with Ricotta, Broad Beans and Mint (Diaries, p194; cookbooker). Didn't use orecchiette, but my mini-lasagnas, malfada, I think they're called. This was good. First favas of the year. Then a salad. That was all.

Tuesday/4-Apr-17: A bit of a replan tonight since I had defrosted kip filets that I didn't really need. Dinner was Cashew Chicken Coconut Curry (web); I collected this recipe in 2014. My printed copy says to use broccoli or red bell pepper; having a red bell pepper needing to be used, that's what I did. Either broccoli or a combination of broccoli and red bell pepper would be fine. Turns out I didn't have enough cashews, but it could only have been better. Served the curry over leftover Cilantro-Lime Black Bean Rice from the weekend. Also had some asparagus and mushrooms that needed using. A quick search turned up Asian Asparagus and Mushrooms (web). This was easy and quite good. A nice meal altogether; we were full.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/5-Apr-17: Shopping today.

Dinner was Visburgertjes (web), about a 1/2 recipe with 300g lieu noir. Good, they were. Served with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce (Delightful, p58) and Cucumber Salad (Delightful, p51). For dessert we had some store-bought torsades, a twisted pastry with some tiny chocolate chips.

Thursday/6-Apr-17: Early meal today. We had Goan Pork Vindaloo with Potatoes (web). This is a Madhur Jaffrey recipe; I haven't yet found it in any my books, but haven't done an exhaustive search yet. Anyhow, it was very good. Did it in the pressure cooker; it wanted a bit more water than she says. I added some extra, but it should have been a bit more still, at least one cup altogether. Ground peppercorns with the first batch of spices rather than grinding them separately. Used the full 1tsp of cayenne; it was hot but a long way from too hot. Altogether good. For a side there was Tangy Green Beans with Ajwain and Ginger (SpiceKitch, p38), an old favorite, still good.

Friday/7-Apr-17-Sunday/9-Apr-17: Spent these days in Bordeaux, a long weekend to see Yo-yo Ma perform with Kathryn Stott, with three good meals tossed in.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no

Monday, March 27, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/27-Mar-17: A bit of bad planning since we had shrimp two nights ago. But tonight, there was a half dose of Crevettes au Curry et Concombre au Gingembre (C&V, but irritatingly and unfortunately not findable on their site). A shame, since it was good and easy. Came with a nice little salad of shaved cucumber with a neutral oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, and sesame seeds (and I added a pinch of cayenne). For dessert there was, sort of, Peach Parfait with Amaretto Cream (MW@Home, p318); I used canned peaches and we ended up eating all of it. Yum.

Tuesday/28-Mar-17: Discovered we have a new mouse in the kitchen. This one likes a new mushroom-flavored pasta that I've recently bought and haven't tried yet. Likes it some much that he/she opened the sack, then wandered around inside it, pooping as he/she went. Had to throw the whole sack away, sadly.

Dinner from the freezer, West Indies Salmon Patties (MC; web), which were quite good. Served with West Indies Green Beans (web), also good, and Caribbean Yellow Rice and Pigeon Peas (MW@Home, p154). I made a half recipe with yellow split peas, which I cooked at lunch time, for the pigeon peas. I think this is meant as a main course because we have more left than we ate. Was tasty though. Mini magnums for dessert.

Wednesday/29-Mar-17: No sign of our latest mouse friend this morning.

Shopping today. After putting up the groceries, I made a Prune Cake (MC), an easy cake, using up some of my surplus of walnuts.

Dinner was Papillote de Cabillaud à la Courgette, Citron Confit et Sauce au Yaourt (VPG; haven't found on web). It was pretty good. Forgetting about the zucchini under the cod, I roasted some of the asparagus I bought today. Reheated some of the Caribbean Yellow Rice as a side.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/30-Mar-17: Early meal today, since we're out this evening.

Heard the first cuckoo of the year today.

We had Easy Smoked Sausage Skillet (web). This is from a Hillshire Farm ad in CL, I'd guess. Of course, there's no Hillshire Farm here; I used a morteau sausage. No frozen broccoli; used fresh and cooked that bit a bit longer which didn't hurt at all. Brown rice instead of instant rice. Turned out good. Serves 4-6? No. Three would be a good number. Four if you served it with a salad or some such. But it's pretty much a one-dish meal, so that seemed like too much trouble. Tasty it was.

Friday/31-Mar-17: Early dinner tonight. Sesame Eggplant and Spaghetti (BoldVeg, p180; cookbooker); a full recipe is dinner for two and that's what I did. Followed by a salad. We're both stuffed.

After an intense rainfall, we had water dripping in the living room and small puddle in the office. Looks like it's coming down inside the wall. Sigh. No damage, but annoying.

Saturday/1-Apr-17: Dinner was One-Pan Chicken Thighs with Cilantro-Lime Black Bean Rice (web). This was quite good, and easy to put together. I meant to cook up a batch of black beans, to use and to freeze, but didn't do it, so used canned. I think the recipe is meant for four, with only one thigh per person. That seems a bit skimpy; I usually serve two per person. I made it all; we ate four thighs; and there's a bunch of rice left. Followed by a salad. No dessert for me; Ed's having a mini magnum.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/2-Apr-17: Ed was at choir practice today, and I defrosted the chest freezer; one of my favorite chores—not. But it's much easier when it's routine, rather than all iced up. Will try to keep to a 6-month schedule now.

Worked on merging and clearing out the "bird" part of my active stacks of recipe clippings today. Too many to try; every one looks good. Have to put on a throw-it-out hat to finish up this part. Almost 200 clippings in birds.

Dinner was Tournedos de Gigot au Citron Confit (VPG; web); strangely, while I got this recipe for VPG, the only on-line version I've found is from C&V, and it's the same recipe. Very odd. The idea is that you tie some slices of gigot up to make them look like tournedos. Well, ok. Topped with a sauce of chopped preserved lemon, lemon juice, rosemary pine nuts (too many), olive oil, honey, and S&P. Turned out pretty good, actually, if a bit of trouble to make. Served with steam-sautéed potatoes and shrooms with shallots and garlic; good stuff. Made too much, but Ed did an excellent job of finishing them off. Also had some Haricots Verts with Warm Mustard Vinaigrette (CL/jan-feb16; web), simple and tasty.

Haven't found further trace of our latest mouse. It's found its own way out or been eaten by a cat.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for March, no for April; #4 BREAD: no for March, no for April

Monday, March 20, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/20-Mar-17: Early meal today. We had a half recipe of Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Red Currant Sauce (web). Used brown rice instead of barley for the accompanying mushroom pilaf. And a salad. Then a Haagen-Dasz ice cream cup for me and a mini magnum for Ed.

Tuesday/21-Mar-17: Pogo sick overnight. Cancel today's events. Plan a dinner using odd bits from the fridge. We ended up having a quarter recipe, more or less, of Pasta with Tuna, Asparagus, Broccoli and Peas (web). Pretty good stuff altogether. I had a mini magnum for dessert.

Wednesday/22-Mar-17: Shopping today.

Dinner was Dilled Salmon Steaks for Two (MC; web). Good, fast, easy. I didn't serve with teh zucchini and tomato stew as suggested, but with Oven-Roasted Asparagus (web) and some trio rice. Some store-bought custards with caramel for dessert.

Pogo still sickly. Getting better we think.

Thursday/23-Mar-17: Earlyish meal today. We had a halfish recipe of Garlicky Chicken with Feta and Oregano (Screamingly, p30; cookbooker). This was easy and pretty darn good. As suggested served with Orzo with Lemon and Herbs (Screamingly, p47; cookbooker) which was good, if too soupy as given. And the rest of the asparagus, roasted.

Friday/24-Mar-17: Dinner was a half recipe of Chilorio, Mexican Pulled Pork (web), more or less. Used cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. Used the pressure cooker, and it ran low on liquid, so the meat was sort of burnt to the bottom. We rescued what we could. What there was, was good. With my last good corn tortillas from the freezer, garnishes of onion, cilantro, and feta. Opened a bottle of what turned out to be pretty good salsa verde. (Have to remember the brand for when I order again.) Made a little avocado salad as a go-with. Good and we're full.

Saturday/25-Mar-17: Pasta day. There was Shrimp Dill Sauce (PastaMach, p135; cookbooker) over Dilly Pasta (PastaMach, p75; cookbooker), followed by a salad.

Sunday/26-Mar-17: Pogo betterish, if still not great.

Early meal today, our first eaten outside this year. We had The Most Delicious Meat Cubes (Q&E, p29), made with lamb. Have made this with pork before and without the pressure cooker. I think I managed to set the cooker for veggies rather than meat, but the meat was fine; maybe it would have been softer if I'd done it right, but this was not a problem. I added extra water and there was just barely enough to cook properly. If it had gone later, it might have been burnt as it was on Friday. Served with Indian Mashed Potatoes (Q&E, p90), which is yummy and I haven't made in a while. And there was Karhai Broccoli (MJ@Home, p148) to use up a bit of broccoli. All tasty.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes; #4 BREAD: no

Monday, March 13, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/13-Mar-17: Worked on clearing out unlikely-to-be-used recipes from the active stacks of clippings.

Off plan tonight. Used up the last of the cauliflower to make a half recipe of Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Carbonara. (Think this is from a Jamie magazine, at least it's from some British magazine,but I can't find it online unfortunately.) I didn't have enough cauliflower, so I used some broccoli too; and a box of shiitakes for the mushrooms; and a packet of lardons for the pancetta. Turned out pretty good actually. Was too lazy to make a salad as a go-with, so this is all we had.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/14-Mar-17: BookChatters in the morning; ENT, shopping at Grand Frais and Biocoop, and stop at pharmacy in the afternoon meant not much time for anything. Dinner was a half dose of Egg Curry (web), which turned out pretty good. Served with plain rice and Karhai Broccoli (MJ@Home, p148).

Wednesday/15-Mar-17: Change of plans today, since I wasn't ready with the meal plan and shopping list. Defrosted some duck sausages we got at a marché des producteurs last summer. Ed barbecued them while I made (more or less) Asparagus with Garlic and Balsamic Reduction (web). More or less, because I was short on balsamic vinegar—inventory failure. Also some buckwheat crozets. At Grand Frais yesterday, I not only scored some asparagus (from Spain), but also some blueberries from Morocco. Wasn't aware that blueberries were something brown in Morocco, in March, but they were delicious. I made a half recipe of Easy Blueberry Cobbler (MC 2BTried; web) in an 8" (or 9"?) square dish. Remarkably good for little effort. Ed wanted to eat it all.

Thursday/16-Mar-17: Shopping today. Dinner was Grilled Tuna Kebobs (web) under the broiler. Good, and could be done with swordfish or halibut. Served with trio rice and Harissa-and-Maple-Roasted Carrots (web). Made a halfish (maybe less, I didn't weigh) recipe of the carrots; started with a huge stack, but after roasting it looked like just one serving. They were good, though. That was all.

Friday/17-Mar-17: We were out early, early this morning for our 5-yearly bilan de santé. There before 8am; home about 11am. We both managed to keep going all day in spite of early start.

Dinner was definitely a hit. I made a third-ish recipe of Sautéed Veal with Sherry and Green Olives (EatingTog, p149; cookbooker), served with a some pasta. Made a salad, but we didn't feel like eating it. Instead we finished the blueberry cobbler, which was still yummy. This is really rather like a clafoutis, and is definitely a keeper recipe.

Saturday/18-Mar-17: Early meal today. We had Chicken Thigh, Sausage and Red Lentil One-Pot Roast (web). I goofed and defrosted some skinless boneless thighs, rather than bone-in ones, so we had a real mixture. The skin on the bone-in thighs was remarkably crispy. I'm not a skin person, but this was good. I used Toulouse sausages, which were pretty plain. Something a bit more zippy would be nice; not smoked, I think. De Puy lentils, rather than the red ones might be nice. Takes a bit of unattended wall clock time, but very easy to assemble and cook. Followed by yesterday's uneaten salad. Then I had a mini magnum.

Sunday/19-Mar-17: The bread machine made (with a bit of help) Cayenne Cornbread (BigGerman, p182). The poor machine isn't very happy; sometimes the paddle needs a bit of help to get around.

We had our main meal early today. Cayenne Cornbread along with Potato and Green Chile Stew (web), which was even easier because I used three chiles from a little can. Very tasty for little effort.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no

Monday, March 6, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/6-Mar-17: Another Big Blow today and we were without electricity for three hours. There was leftover meatloaf on the menu tonight, so we would still have eaten well in the dark. Served with peas and carrots (fresh carrot, frozen peas) and Spaetzle (MW@Home, p203).

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/7-Mar-17: Early meal today so we can go to a concert in Limoges this evening. We had Bangkok Shrimp, a recipes I collected from Betsy at EAT-L. She posted a shrimp version, but said  it was originally a beef recipe and that shrimp was recommended as an alternative. I found the beef version here, without the shrimp recommendation. The shrimp version uses lime juice instead of lemon juice, otherwise the same. This was yummy. I didn't have chunky peanut butter, so just used the regular stuff with some extra peanuts thrown in. Oops, no more carrots in house. Nevertheless, delicious. Served with Asian Green Bean Salad (web), also good. Seeded and chopped a regular tomato, rather than cherry tomatoes. Tasty meal we had.

Wednesday/8-Mar-17: Shopping today. We got there fairly early, i.e., in time for lunch, and the store was almost empty. Very strange.

Dinner was Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa (web). Good stuff. Salmon was rubbed with a mixture of salt, cumin, paprika, onion powder, ancho powder, and black pepper. Very simple salsa of avocado, red onion, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. All good. Served with polenta and two artichokes (impulse buy, on sale today) cooked in the pressure cooker, with a really simple dip of mayo and dijon mustard sprinkled with paprika. For dessert, some store-bought rice custards with caramel. We ate well.

Thursday/9-Mar-17: Dinner was disappointing, a half recipe of Daniel Boulud's Chicken Tagine (web). Took a long time to make and tasted pretty blah, not bad, just not interesting. Looked so promising. Over couscous. And a mini ice cream bar for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/10-Mar-17: Sorted through one of my ancillary stacks of recipes today; threw out some, need to throw out more.

Back to the pressure cooker with Mahur Jaffrey today, for Lamb Stewed in Coconut Milk (Q&E, p34; cookbooker). Yummy as usual, although it seemed to take a long time to assemble. As suggested, served with Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds (Q&E, p88; cookbooker). And some plain basmati rice. For dessert I used up some frozen cherries to make a half recipe of Clafoutis aux Cerises (VPG); haven't been able to find it on the web, but that's ok. This is a seriously non-standard clafoutis recipe and didn't work at all. It was more like a skimpy pudding with lots of cherries. Tasted fine, but it wasn't anything like a clafoutis.

Saturday/11-Mar-17: Meant to make pasta today, but didn't feel like it after a couple of days of long prep dinner. Used tagliatelle from the freezer to make a half dose of Tonnarelli ai Gamberi e Funghi (ClassPasta, p104; cookbooker). Followed by a salad.

Sunday/12-Mar-17: Lovely lunch out before a concert. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no

Monday, February 27, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/27-Feb-17: We finished last week's Chicken Tortilla Pie for dinner, followed by a salad. For dessert we split a piece of the walnut-chocolate tart from the Massignac boulanger, good but rich.

Tuesday/28-Feb-17: Early meal today. We shared a half recipe of Eendenborst met Zuurkool (web), and really tasty it was. I used lardons fumés instead of katenspek (which is smoked, as I remember) and enough for a full recipe, since that's what was in the package. I made some simple buttered potatoes as a go-with, although they were hardly needed. And a salad that we ate later.

Wednesday/1-Mar-17: Shopping today. Not as early as I'd have preferred, but we did it.

Ed cooked dinner, bless his heart, while I reviewed for my French lesson tomorrow. We had a half recipe of Asian Salmon and Green Beans Stir Fry (web), which was pretty good if not great. For dessert, we had some chocolate pudding with "Vietnamese chocolate," keeping with the Asian theme.

Thursday/2-Mar-17: Dinner was a half dose of Scallops in Double Pepper Sauce (Tabasco, p62; cookbooker). Served over polenta. Then a big salad.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/3-Mar-17: Early meal today. I made meatloaf in the pressure cooker, which was super. Used a non-pressure cooker recipe sent by an EAT-L friend; I'm sure any recipe would work. For the glaze/sauce, I defrosted some of my "pizza sauce" made from roasted red bell peppers. Very good meatloaf. This one was seasoned with a bit of Worcestershire, cumin, dry mustard, and cheddar cheese (I used old mimelotte). Served with garlicky smashed potatoes and Buttered Beet and Carrot Sauté (CL/dec16, web). All tasty.

Saturday/4-Mar-17: Early meal today. A half recipe of Mushroom Risotto (web). I was intrigued by this recipe because it uses brandy as the "starter" liquid for the risotto where you might ordinarily use white wine. Can't say that I noticed the difference. The recipe is way short on mushrooms, only two cups for the full recipe. I used more than that for my half recipe and I can't say there were too many. Nevertheless it was tasty. Followed by a salad. Then bits of ice cream, a Haagen-Dazs cup for me and a mini Magnum for Ed.

Sunday/5-Mar-17: Dinner from the freezer tonight. We had Lamb Stew with Tamarind and Dumplings, which was tasty still, but the dumplings didn't like either being frozen or reheated; they had a very odd texture. Served over basmati rice (having forgotten about the dumplings), along with Carrots with Cilantro (MJ@Home, p149) and Roasted Curried Cauliflower (CL; web). The carrots I've made before, and they were good as always. The cauliflower was a clipping from CL; it's really easy and was surprisingly good. (I see there's a similar recipe with the same name that includes lemon juice and a bit of cayenne that I'll try before long.) We were full.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for February, no March; #4 BREAD: no for February, no for March

Monday, February 20, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/20-Feb-17: When I made the meal plan last week, I planned a dish with scallops this evening, thinking there were plenty in the freezer. Not. So replan for today. And for tomorrow, since I seem to be coming down with Ed's lurgi, and we decided to postpone tomorrow's lunch out. Boo. So replanning done.

Tonight we had Pepper and Anchovy Pasta Sauce (MarCuc, p149) over spaghetti, using up the bell peppers that were on hand for the planned scallop dish. Followed by a salad using up the carrot and onion salad from Saturday's Indian-ish dinner. And some little Haagen-Dasz ice cream cups for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/21-Feb-17: Tonight's dinner was Tortilla Pie with Chicken (web), made with a can of salsa verde and double Glouscestershire for the cheese. Very easy and wasn't too bad, although the cheese probably wasn't the best choice. Then a big salad.

Wednesday/22-Feb-17: Shopping today. We're both feeling puny so we didn't get off till really late. Finally found packages of large frozen scallops without the coral today and snatched up three without checking the price. Ouch, €16.99 for 400g times three.

Dinner was a half recipe of Cabillaud en Crumble de Jambon Cru (VPG; web, more or less). Tasty and pretty easy to make, except for finely mincing the ham and cilantro. Guess I could have used the cuisinart, but that seemed like more trouble to get out, plus the clean-up crew would prefer less work. Served with smashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. We were too full for dessert.

Thursday/23-Feb-17: Made up a batch of Oven-Roasted Tomatoes (HandyBook) and froze them.

Early meal today. We managed to eat a whole recipe of Curried Fried Rice (MW@Home, p226; cookbooker) which should have served four. Then we had the desserts I bought for last night—vanilla rice puddings. More rice, just what we needed. We've eaten tastily if without variety.

Friday/24-Feb-17: Dinner from the freezer tonight. Had some sauce for Barbecued Raspberry-Hoisin Chicken (web), but used it for pork chops. Made the brown rice as instructed (tossed with vinegar and sliced green onions) and some roasted green bean, which were pretty boring. All were pepped up by the sauce.

Saturday/25-Feb-17: Dinner out this evening. Nothing happened in the kitchen. (But very bad recurrence of old stomach problem that hasn't bothered me in a long time.)

Sunday/26-Feb-17: My tummy's still feeling bad after last night's problems, so there was not much happening in the kitchen. Ed had some leftover beef curry from the freezer. I had some brown rice from the fridge that I was saving to making a little side salad one night, topped with a bit of zingy sauce from something or other. It was good.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes; #4 BREAD: no

Monday, February 13, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/13-Feb-17: Dinner was Mille-feuille de Romanesco et de Saumon (web). I realized after serving that this was meant to be an entrée rather than the main dish. Oops. Then a plain salad, croutons only. Then a little dessert using up the last two squares of pâte feuilleté, filled with apple, créme fraîche, dried cranberries, almond powder, etc. Pretty tasty with a bit of cream on top.

Tuesday/14-Feb-17: Read through an issue of C&V this morning. Best issue in a quite a while. Maybe it's too bad I let my subscription lapse.

Valentine's lunch out today. Nothing further happened in the kitchen, except a bowl of popcorn.

Wednesday/15-Feb-17: Shopping today.

Dinner was Pan-Fried Salmon with Gnocchi (web), which was interesting but not great. Ed liked the fried gnocchi, something I don't usually do. Then a salad. We were full.

Yogurt on overnight. (Should have made it last night, but I was too lazy.)

Thursday/16-Feb-17: Early meal today. We had Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce (MC). Thick eggplant slices are brushed with lemon juice and oil, then grilled. This has a yummy sauce of yogurt, feta, finely chopped onion, mint leaves, and garlic, lemon juice, and cayenne. All served in pitas. Accompanied by Crushed Spiced Carrot Salad (Morocco, p78).

Friday/17-Feb-17: Dinner was Pork Chops with Hot Garlic Sauce (MC). I was lazy and used powdered ginger and garlic, but it was still good. I used some trio rice, the leftover romanesco, and some broccoli to make a go-with salad, which was pretty good.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/18-Feb-17: This morning we found that one of our charming cats left us the remains of a mouse head just outside our bedroom door. Found in the night, I suppose.

Back to the pressure cooker for dinner. We had Lamb with Cardamom (Q&E, p30; cookbooker) over plain basmati rice, along with Carrot and Onion Salad (MJ1, p171). I made a full dose of the lamb and we managed to eat all of its deliciousness even though that was a bit of a stretch.

I'm making a little mini-project of cooking all of the pressure cooker recipes from Q&E. Have three or four recipes more to go now. Thought briefly about doing this for Cookbook Countdown, but really don't feel like I have the time right now. Why do I feel so busy?

Sunday/19-Feb-17: The cascareccia mouse seems to have disappeared, but today I found traces of the latest mouse, now deceased. This one had a liking for our cantuccini-like cookies, ones from Provence instead of Italy. Looks like I'll have to do a thorough clean of two banks of Ivar shelving tomorrow.

Dinner was a half recipe of Lemony Chicken Saltimboca (CL/nov12, web). This was very easy and very tasty. Served with Clotilde Dusoulier's Perfect Roasted Potatoes (HandyBook; web), an old favorite, and Roasted Green Beans with Walnuts and Rosemary (VT; web), which was quite good with very little effort.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes; #4 BREAD: no

Monday, February 6, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/6-Feb-17: Leftover cheese enchiladas and Spanish rice for dinner, with some new guacamole. We're full.

Tuesday/7-Feb-17: Earlyish main meal today. A half recipe of Mushroom Pot Pies (web). Pretty good they were, but needed a bit of something, maybe garlic, to give the sauce a bit more oomph. And a salad. That was all.

Wednesday/8-Feb-17: Fresh pasta for our main meal. I made Mustard Pasta (PastaMach, p82; cookbooker). Maybe my flour was old or dry. I used the optional teaspoon of olive oil and still needed to add a second egg to make a dough that could be kneaded. The recommended sauce was Scarborough Tomato Sauce (PastaMach, p146; cookbooker)—think parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. The sauce was good, but the taste overwhelmed the subtler taste of the pasta. Then a salad. And some mini magnums for dessert.

Thursday/9-Feb-17: Shopping day today.

Dinner was a half a recipe of Fettuccine al Tonno e Panna allo Zafferano (ClassPasta, p92), fettuccine with tuna and a saffron cream sauce. It was so-so. Would have been better to cook the tuna separately and serve slices on the pasta. Then a salad. Made a double-boiler bread pudding with the end of a bread that went stale quickly. Stirred in some chocolate chips just to see. Not something to do again. Won't stop us from eating it, of course.

Friday/10-Feb-17: A confusing day today. I was supposed to start a crockpot dinner in the afternoon, but didn't get to it. Changed to something else, then discovered I'd neglected to buy a major ingredient. Back to the crockpot dinner, but without the crockpot. We had Slow Cooker Chicken & Mushroom Soup (web), made in the Dutch oven. (Thought briefly about the pressure cooker, but didn't dare.) Made about a 2/3 recipe with my 500g of mushrooms. Add crème fraîche rather than cream at the end. Quite tasty. We ate it all. Then more of the bread pudding.

Prepared the dry brine that I'll put on a chicken tomorrow to roast on Sunday.

Saturday/11-Feb-17: Started yogurt early, then went to the doctor's walk-in hours (prescription renewal, no big deal) early-ish today, getting there just after 9am. Usually it's not very crowded on Saturdays. Today it was jam-packed. We got out after noon. Sigh.

Dry brined a chicken for tomorrow's meal.

Dinner was a halish recipe of Lentilles Vertes, Chou Romanesco et Saucisse (VPG). (This version is the same except that they use broccoli instead of the romanesco.) The chipolatas (sausages) that I used came from a vendor at one of last summer's marché des producteurs. Excellent they were. I used four for the two of us instead of two. The dish was good enough, but rather boring. It needed some sauce, maybe a dab of chicken stock with some mustard would have been good. Then we finished off the bread pudding.

Sunday/12-Feb-17: Unhappy day. Discovered this morning that Ed washed my expensive (worth every penny) chicken shears in the dishwasher last night. How many times have I told him that those don't go in the dishwasher?

Today's chickie was dry-brined with a southeast Asia flavor. As I've done before, I spatchcocked the chicken, browned it skin-side down, turned it and put another heavy skillet on top, then roasted for 45 minutes at 400F. Tasty thing. Served with plain rice and Thai-Style Green Beans (web). The green beans were old, but the dish still tasted pretty good.

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Chaco Chicken Chili

One last night with Pat Dailey's The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever. Tonight we had Chaco Chicken Chili (p75). The headnote suggests it can be make with leftover turkey, and Thanksgiving turkey from the freezer did the job.

Start by soaking a mixture of beans overnight. I used kidney and black beans because that's about all I found that would do. Sauté a chopped onion, two minced garlic cloves, and a couple of jalapeños (shh, mine were red instead of green). Then add a diced red bell pepper (in this case, mine was green), chili powder, ground cumin, and dried oregano. Stir for a minute, then add a can of diced tomatoes, a 12-oz bottle of beer, chopped cooked chicken or turkey, and the drain beans. (The recipe also called for some brown sugar, but I quailed at the idea of adding sugar to a chili.)

Close 'er up, bring to pressure, and cook for 15 minutes at pressure. Longer would have been better, since some of the beans were still a bit crunchy; not inedible mind you, but not the soft texture that that should have been. Taste and season with salt and cayenne. Chopped cilantro can be stirred in at serving time, but there was none at the store last week.

I come from the no-tomato school of chili-making, but this was a pretty darn good in spite of that.

I've learned a lot about cooking with my new pressure cooker in the last month and still have some recipes to try. I never did find a quick dessert, but that may be a fairly vain quest. We've especially enjoyed some of the stew-y things, like this chili and Madhur Jaffrey's recipes, where so much time is saved. We weren't too pleased with the bone-in chicken dishes. Some of them had very nice sauces, but the meat texture and flavor left a bit to be desired. Of all the books I looked at, I think Pat Dailey's The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever. and Victoria Wise's Pressure Cooker Gourmet will be the ones that stay on the shelf.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Now let's see what February brings. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Smothered Beef

Back to Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking for tonight's dinner. Our main dish was Smothered Lamb (or Pork or Beef) (p31). This is one of the few main dishes from this book that I've not yet made. Tonight I did the beef version using the pressure cooker.

This dish can be make with lamb, pork, or beef. I chose beef because we don't eat that much, and it's easy to find at the grocery. Cubes of beef for bourguignon (I think they're shoulder) are available with the pre-cut meat, so I don't have to ask at the counter. (As are cubes of pork shoulder. But there's nothing similar for lamb.)

Preparation starts by mixing the beef cubes in a large bowl with an onion, some ginger, a tomato, some cilantro (all finely chopped), a pair of green chilies cut into fine rings, ground turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin, yogurt, tomato paste, and salt. Then heat some oil in the pressure cooker and sauté four finely chopped cloves of garlic till golden. Stir in the seasoned meat*. Close the pressure cooker and cook at pressure for twenty minutes for beef. (Lamb and pork cook for only fifteen minutes.) Reduce the pressure quickly, remove the lid, and cook uncovered until the sauce is thick, stirring occasionally. Add lots of freshly ground black pepper, stir, and serve.

* Jaffrey has you add a half cup of water if you're cooking without the pressure cooker. I was worried about the lack of liquid, so I added a slog (maybe a short half a cup) of water. I ended up boiling that off at the end, so I expect I worried for nothing.

Cooked without the pressure cooker, this would have taken an hour and half. Again, we were impressed by such a delicious dish in such a short time.

(That's Jaffrey's Stir-Fried Cabbage with Fennel Seeds (p88) on the side.)

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Jan-17: Dinner was Indian beef from the pressure cooker and Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds (Q&E, p88). I burnt the onions a bit for the cabbage dish, but we took those out and it was still good.

Putting stuff up in the Ivar shelves, I discovered we have another mouse friend. This one seems to like cascareccia pasta. I have a box and a cellophane sack of these, but neither seems to have an opening, so this is puzzling. Set a trap.

Tuesday/31-Jan-17: No sign of mouse friend this morning.

Off to finally get a haircut today. Very unhappy with result. Might be six months before there's enough hair to cut again, if I don't die of pneumonia in the meantime.

Dinner chili from the pressure cooker.

Wednesday/1-Feb-17: No shopping today, probably not tomorrow either. We had a clear-out-the-fridge dinner, kind of my standard, pasta with broccoli, the unused bit of cooked turkey, some roasted red bell pepper strips, some chopped black olives, all made into a sauce with pyramid goat cheese. Pretty good. Mini magnums for after.

Thursday/2-Feb-17: Horrible haircut. First time in public, ugh.

Dinner was cheese enchiladas with Mama's Spanish rice and my guacamole. Nothing else needed. (When I made the meal plan today, I forgot about leftovers. Have to make a quick adjustment in the morning before we go shopping.)

Friday/3-Feb-17: Finally did our shopping today.

Dinner was half recipes of Kerala-Style Fried Fish (30MinInd, p65), Spiced Beets (30MinInd, p88), and Coconut Rice (30MinInd, p100). The fish was merlan (whiting, perhaps) instead of flounder. Very tasty marinade/topping of puréed onion, garlic, ground coriander, cayenne, pepper, lemon juice, salt (a trifle too much), and grapeseed oil. Then dredged in flour and fried. Wasn't very pretty, but was delicious. The beets and rice we've had several times already. All were delicious. Then some store-bought pots de crème, also very good.

Saturday/4-Feb-17: Wild storm last night with very high winds. We were without electricity for over three hours, and for about 10 minutes some time later. Internet didn't come back till 21:30. Went early to the doctor this morning for walk-in visits, but he wasn’t there; no notice on door. Luckily I have another week of med left; I thought I had only a couple of days.

Early main meal today, partly to avoid the possibility of needing to cook in the dark. We had Pork Soup with Hominy and Peppers (HowTo, p43), which is a variation on a supper soup. For the spice I used Chris’s fancy chili powder. Kind of blah we thought. Fixed at the table with chipotle tabasco. Some individual Haagden-Dasz ice cream cups for after.

Sunday/5-Feb-17: I'd planned to make pasta today when Ed got home, but he had leftover soup for lunch and didn't feel like that. So we had a big salad instead (very big, because they only had very big sacks at the shop this week) and that was our meal.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for January, no for February; #4 BREAD: no for January, no for February

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Carrot Bisque with Vodka and Chervil

Dinner again from The Pressure Cooker Gourmet, by Victoria Wise. Today we had Carrot Bisque with Vodka and Chervil (p31). This, I think, is the kind of thing the pressure cooker excels at.

Start by sautéing a finely chopped onion in some butter. Then add four large, peeled and coarsely chopped carrots, some arborio rice, salt, freshly ground pepper*, chicken stock (Thanksgiving turkey stock again), and water. Close up the pressure cooker, bring to pressure over high head, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for five minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the pan sit for ten minutes before releasing the remaining pressure. Letting food continue to cook while the pan sits off the heat is a new technique for me; I've seen in a couple of recipes lately.

* When I made this today, I was sure the recipe said black pepper, and that's what I used since the black pepper grinder always at hand. The only criticism I had of the finished soup was that the black flecks were too visible. Now I read again and see it actually says "freshly ground pepper, preferably white." It would be good if I could learn to overcome my expectations and read properly!

Purée the soup, then stir in a tablespoon of vodka and a tablespoon of chopped chervil. That's all there is to it. The soup was so simple, it's really hard to believe how good it was.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Quick Chicken with Garlic, Tarragon, and Red Wine

For today's pressure cooker meal, I turned to The Pressure Cooker Gourmet, by Victoria Wise.

Wise says that variations on this recipe appeared in her second cookbook and in her microwave cookbook. For this book, she turned it into a pressure cooker recipe. And it's decidedly a winner, so quick and easy it can be on the table within fifteen minutes.

You start by heating oil in the pressure cooker. Then you add boneless chicken thighs, salt and pepper them, and toss in the oil. (My thighs were skinless also; I used about 250g/8.8oz for two people, a half recipe.) Then you add a bunch of big garlic cloves halved, tarragon (dried or fresh), and one cup of red wine*. Close the pressure cooker and bring to pressure over high heat, about two minutes. (I see now that I misread this and cooked it for two minutes after coming to pressure; the dish did not suffer.) Then lower the heat to medium and cook two more minutes. Then remove from the heat and let it sit for two more minutes. Now release the pressure. Put the thighs on a serving platter (I put them directly onto the plates), then reduce the juices over hight heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in a chunk of butter and pour the sauce over the thighs.

* Because I was making a half recipe, this should have been a half cup of red wine. But the minimum amount of liquid in the pressure cooker is one cup. So I used the full amount and we had leftover sauce at the end.

This sounds so simple, but it was extra delicious. The only thing I might do is mash the garlic cloves to make the sauce smooth. Those melting soft half cloves were really nice.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Chocolate Pudding

I'm hoping to find a recipe for a fast and easy dessert from the pressure cooker. Tonight we had Chocolate Pudding (p205), from Patricia Phillips' Pressure Cooking is Pleasure Cooking. This was tasty, but more cake-like than pudding-like, and not definitely not fast to assemble.

The "pudding" is made very like a cake. First you cream together butter and sugar*, then add a beaten egg. Dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa) are sifted together. These are added alternately with milk.

* Because this is is a U.S. cook book, I cut the sugar from 3/4cup to 1/2cup. This is one of the few times when reducing the sugar wasn't actually necessary.

The batter goes in a buttered mold; I used the middle of my three nested Pyrex bowls. This is covered securely with aluminum foil. As advised in one of my pressure cooker books, I also used a long strip of folded foil placed under the bowl to help lift the bowl from the cooker.

This is cooked for 15 minutes at no pressure, just the steam escaping from the exhaust. Then for 25 minutes at pressure. Finally, you let the pressure drop of its own accord. A very cake-like "pudding" emerged.

Topped with a bit of cream, this was pretty tasty.  Not the pudding I expected from the title (if not from the ingredients and procedure), but still good.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Malay Curried Pork and Potatoes

More from Pat Dailey's The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever. Tonight there was Malay Curried Pork and Potatoes (p88). I seriously doubt this dish was anywhere close to authentic Malaysian, but it was still tasty.

First you make a finely chop shallots, garlic cloves, ginger, and lemongrass (thank you, staff blender) to make a paste. Fry this in the pressure cooker along with some red curry paste, sugar, ground cardamom, and cinnamon. Turn the heat up, add the pork and brown it. Then add some chicken stock (still working on that Thanksgiving turkey stock) and coconut milk. Close the pressure cooker, bring up to pressure, and cook for twelve minutes.

I served this over rice; this was probably a starch overload.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Jan-17: There was curried pork from the pressure cooker tonight, served with rice and some carrot coins cooked with ginger slices and topped with lemon juice. Two little piggies ate all of a dish that should have served four.

Tuesday/24-Jan-17: We ate lunch out today. Nothing further happened in the kitchen.

Wednesday/25-Jan-17: Shopping today.

Dinner was Papillote de Cabillaud aux Olives Vertes et Citron Confit (VPG). (Haven't been able to find this online.) That's cod (on sale this week) with green olives and preserved lemon baked in a packet along with some sliced zucchini. Ed thought it needed a picture. Pretty good it was. Think I'd chop the lemon (finely) and the olives (coarsely) if I were to do this again. Then a salad. And some mini magnums for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/26-Jan-17: Early meal today because we're going again to Limoges for a bit of culture. We had a half recipe of Eendenborst met Knoflook-Walnotensaus (AH; web). (I couldn't find this on the Allerhande site, but did find the same recipe.) The recipe called for four 150g duck breasts; I could find one under 500g. So I got about 400g of aiguillettes; those are the filets of "needles" from the back of the breast. For the sauce I used significantly less than half the amount of walnut oil asked, since it seemed like quite enough already. I made this too salty, but when it was spread over the duck, or mixed with the broccoli on the plate, it was fine. For dessert, we had chocolate pudding from the pressure cooker.

Friday/27-Jan-17: Early dinner today so we could go to a move. We had an extra yummy dish of chicken from the pressure cooker. I served this over tagliatelle, with hand-gesneden snijbonen as a side. We finished off yesterday's chocolate cake-not-pudding, although it seems like more than we had last time.

Saturday/28-Jan-17: Another movie today, another early dinner. We had soup from the pressure cooker and tuna salad sandwiches. All good.

Sunday/29-Jan-17: Oops, I forgot to soak beans for tonight's dinner, so had to rearrange the next days before shopping. Which is OK in a way, because I now have an appointment Tuesday afternoon and what I planned to make might not work too well.

Tonight we had an early dinner, a half recipe of  Caramelized Cabbage & Pasta (Pickford, p54; cookbooker). Better when jazzed up with some tabasco. Mini magnums for dessert.

There was supposed to be a pressure cooker dessert with pears for this, but the pears aren't ripe yet, so that will get skipped.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes; #4 BREAD: no

Friday, January 20, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Saag Gohst

Tonight's dinner didn't come from a dedicated pressure cooker book, but from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, which has several meat dishes that can be hurried along using a pressure cooker. This is one of my favorite Indian cooking books because everything can be done fairly quickly (within about thirty minutes), but a few of the recipes are quick only if you use the pressure cooker.

Tonight's dinner was Saag Gosht—Beef or Lamb with Spinach (p36). This is a dish I've made before, also with lamb, but without the pressure cooker. Tonight the one-hour cooking time without the pressure cooker was reduced to only 15 minutes under pressure, making it very fast for stewy dish with wonderfully tender meat.

I defrosted frozen spinach early in the day. To start the preparation, you whiz a coarsely chopped onion, two inches of ginger, and six to eight cloves of garlic. I used my staff mixer for this (what a wonderful gadget!), but a food processor would work fine. Spices are added in two groups, and I prepared these next. One dish with three bay leaves, ten cardamon pods, eight cloves, and four inches of cinnamon stick, another with salt, ground coriander, ground cumin, and cayenne.

Start by heating oil in the pressure cooker over high heat. Add the bay leaves and friends, stir, then add the onion mixture and cook over high heat for five minutes. Then stir in the meat (1-1/2-inch cubes of lamb), spinach, two cups of water, and the rest of the spices; cover and bring up to full pressure. Lower the heat so that it's PSSCH-ing along merrily and cook for fifteen minutes. Reduce the pressure quickly, then bring the contents to a boil again. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, until the sauce is a bit reduced and thickened. I called it a one-dish meal served over rice. Yum!

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Afterthought: I very much liked that the pressure cooker saved forty-five minutes of cooking time for this dish, and will definitely look at similar recipes. It occurred to me later, though, that the house didn't have the wonderful smell of an Indian dinner, either during and after the cooking.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Ravioli with Gorgonzola and Sage Cream

Back to The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever again for an easy dinner, Ravioli with Gorgonzola and Sage Cream (p104).

The recipe asks for fresh cheese- or meat-filled ravioli. This week I found some ravioli filled with bacon, ricotta, and mozzarella (a new product), which seemed to cover both bases. The ravioli is cooked two minutes at pressure with chicken stock (still working on that Thanksgiving turkey stock), a minced garlic clove, and rubbed sage. (I used some chilly sage from the garden, finely minced, rather than stuff from a jar.) Release the pressure, remove the lid, add some cream, and boil uncovered till the liquid has slightly thickened, about two more minutes. Then reduce the heat, add some crumbled Gorgonzola and grated Parmesan and stir for a few minutes till the cheese has melted. Serve with extra Parmesan.

This was very tasty, but I'm not sure the using the pressure cooker added much to the experience. I could have cooked the ravioli in a regular pot and it would have been done in close to the same time. Nevertheless, it was a tasty main course. 

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Tuna Steaks with Sweet/Sour Onion Relish

We're back to The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever, by Pat Dailey. This was shopping day, so we had fresh fish. For tonight's dinner there was Tuna Steaks with Sweet/Sour Onion Relish (p64).

First you marinate half-inch thick tuna steaks in a mixture of dijon mustard, and orange juice, with pinches of tarragon, salt, and cayenne. While the tuna is soaking up flavor, sauté an onion in half-inch wedges and a small red bell pepper in half-inch strips in a bitter butter. When the onion starts to brown on the edges, stir a slog of balsamic vinegar with a tiny dab of honey. Then add orange juice and white wine. Lay the tuna steaks on top of this mixture, sprinkle with a bit of salt and cayenne, close the pressure cooker, and put it over high heat.

The instructions say to cook at pressure for 2-1/2 minutes for a slight pink center or 3 minutes for full cooked. Our steaks were fully cooked at 2-1/2 minutes, which is a shame, since we both like our tuna, not even pink, but red in the center.

The relish/sauce for the tuna was really tasty, the sweet of the cooked onions, bell peppers, and balsamic vinegar came together very nicely. I don't think I'll subject any more tuna steaks to the pressure cooker treatment, but I'd definitely consider making this sauce, maybe just in a skillet, to go with tuna steaks from the grill.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Monday, January 16, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Jan-17: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Seared Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce (CL; web). Easy enough and pretty good. Served with rice noodles. And, vaguely Alice Chen's Ginger Green Bean Salad (HomTravels, p58). The green beans at the shop last week were pretty ugly, so I got some of the beans that snijbonen are made from, haricots coco in French, can't remember the English name. Sliced them up and used like bits of regular green beans. This was easy and quite tasty. We finished off the Peach Pudding for afters. I'm stuffed.

Tuesday/17-Jan-17: The one thing I needed to do before going to the ENT early this afternoon was do start the crockpot for dinner. What did I forget to do until I was walking out the door? Yes, start the crockpot. So Ed did it, and fairly successfully. He got the recipe assembled, in the crockpot, crock set to Low, but forgot to turn on the transformer and didn't notice that the crockpot didn't get warm. (The switch is a bit touchy, so you always need to check that it gets warm.) I got home, expecting to smell good cooking, and there was nothing. Anyhow, it was cooked on High, and we had Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef (web; cookbooker) with rice and some steamed broccoli for dinner. Very good it was too. Mini magnums for dessert,

Wednesday/18-Jan-17: Shopping today. Dinner was tuna from the pressure cooker served with parsleyed buckwheat crozets and steamed broccoli. Mini magnum for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/19-Jan-17: Somehow I looked at my meal plan and made Saturday's dinner tonight. That was slipping a big gear! So tonight we had ravioli from the pressure cooker. Followed by an enormous salad. No dessert needed.

Friday/20-Jan-17: A late start this morning, while I finished a book. Then a late lunch, and an even later dinner. But it was delicious. We had Indian lamb and spinach from the pressure cooker over plain rice. For dessert, there was a half recipe of Caramelized Apples with Pistachio Cream (Q&E, p122). Didn't whip the cream or use the pistachios, but it was tasty nevertheless.

Saturday/21-Jan-17: Early dinner today, so I could iron in the evening. I made a half recipe of Potato and Leek Gratin (VC4E, p282), which was good. And then a big salad. And then some mini magnums for dessert.

Sunday/22-Jan-17: We lunched out today. Some fruit for a snack later.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes; #4 BREAD: no

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Peach Pudding

Dessert from the pressure cooker is an intriguing idea. I have marked a couple of recipes to try this month. Tonight I used one of my earliest pressure cooker cookbooks, Pressure Cooking is Pleasure Cooking, by Patricia Phillips.

I made Peach Pudding (p203). I didn't do the best job of this but it was quite tasty if not pretty. First of all, I neglected to butter the mold, so the pudding didn't come out in very good shape. 

And, I was a bit rushed putting it together and omitted the sugar and salt—oops. We served sprinkled a bit of brown sugar on at the table and it was fine. We used so little sugar that I'd guess that the sugar in the recipe could easily be reduced by half.

This pudding is quite easy to assemble. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. (I just stirred these together, overlooking the sugar and salt in my haste.) Cut in some butter. In a smaller bowl, beat two eggs lightly and add milk. Stir this into the flour mixture, then stir in sliced, canned peaches. Pour into a buttered mold. I used the middle of the three nested Pyrex bowls. It was slightly fuller than the 2/3 full recommended, but this turned out not to be a problem. Tightly cover the mold with aluminum foil. Place on a rack in the pressure cooker, add five cups of water, and close it up. 

A new technique to me, the pudding cooks for 15 minutes with no pressure, just letting the steam escape. Then you add the regulator or turn it to full pressure and let the dish cook for 30 minutes. Release the pressure quickly, remove the foil, and let the pudding stand before removing it from the bowl.

This is the pudding just out o the pressure cooker, which is in the sink on the right. On the left behind you can see the foil and the lid to the cooker. 

Since I neglected to butter the mold, the presentation wasn't pretty, but you don't eat the presentation, do you? It was very tasty. Two of us piggies ate half of what should serve 6-8.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Chicken with Leeks and Mustard Cream Sauce

Tonight's pressure cooker dinner was again from from The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook EverChicken with Leeks and Mustard Cream Sauce (p32). This was similar, but different, to the Garlic Lemon Chicken I made a week ago.

Again, I made a half recipe, with four thighs standing in for half a chicken. I did use all the leeks (I had some needing to be used) and made a whole recipe of sauce.

This recipe starts with browning some diced smoked bacon in the pressure cooker. I used smoked lardons, which are easier to get in France (and have a bit more "chew" since they're thicker). Remove them from the pan when they're done and brown the chicken pieces. Set these aside as they're done. Then soften a couple of chopped shallots in the pan, adding some white wine and dried rosemary after a minute or so. Boil the wine till it's reduced by half. Return the chicken and bacon to the pan, add chicken stock (actually Thanksgiving turkey stock tonight), and scatter one-inch segments from two leeks over the chicken. At this point you might cover the pan and put it all in the oven for half an hour or forty-five minutes. With the pressure cooker, you close the pot, set it to the lower pressure, put it over high heat to bring it to pressure, then cook for ten minutes after it gets to pressure. Release the pressure, and remove the chicken and leek, covering them to keep them warm. Whisk dijon mustard into the sauce (I thought some grainy mustard might be nice instead) and boil until the sauce has reduced by about a third, two to three minutes. Add a good slog of cream and boil until the sauce has thickened, about three more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve over the chicken.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Papillotes de Poisson aux Petits Légumes

Today was shopping day, so tonight there was fresh fish. In several of my pressure cooker books, there are similar recipes for fish cooked en papillote in the pressure cooker. Somehow cooking fish in a pressure cooker seemed a bit of a strange idea to me, so I wanted to see how it went.

I decided to use the recipe from the recipe book that came with my new pressure cooker. The photo on the cover is actually the photo used for Papillotes de Poisson aux Petits Légumes (p7), although it seems different in some particulars. The ingredients do not include star anise or celery or olives. But, what the heck, the point of this recipe is that it's really a technique and you can do whatever you want with it.

For each person you need a filet of fish (I used lieu noir) and about 50g of vegetables. I'm sure I had more than that amount. I included grated carrots, zucchini cut in strips, and a chopped shallot. I tossed these together with salt and pepper and a bit of a Tunisian spice mix from the cabinet. For each serving, make a bed of veggies on a piece of parchment paper. Lay a piece of fish on the veggie layer, sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Seal up in packets. (I use staples to close them, which is not very elegant, but works.) Put the packets on a steamer over three cups of water in the pressure cooker. Close it up, bring to pressure, and cook for eight minutes. Release the pressure and serve. 

I cut away the top part of the paper from each packet and then slid the fish onto the plate. In the photo you can see one unopened packet and one where the top part has been sloppily cut away. 

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?

Monday, January 9, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Jan-17: I'd planned to make a Vietnamese Crab Omelette (Solomon1, p335; cookbooker), but there wasn't a can of crab in the pantry. (I just assumed one was there and didn't check before shopping—lazy me.) So that turned into a Tuna Omelette instead. But it was still good. Worth doing again properly. As a side there was a half recipe of Thai Cucumber Salad (Cost, p143 cookbooker), which was good and went quite well with the omelette. I finished off some ancient mango sorbet from the freezer for afters, sharing a bit with Ed.

Tuesday/10-Jan-17: Oops, realized I didn't have enough mushrooms for tonight's planned dinner, so made a quick change. We had Curried Penne with Shrimp (365OneDish, p49; MC). Added peas along with the shrimp to make it truly one-dish. Good stuff. At the boulanger this morning I bought another Three Kings' Cake, so we had quarters of that for dessert. Ed got the token so got to wear the crown.

Wednesday/11-Jan-17: Shopping today. Dinner was fish from the pressure cooker served with mashed potatoes. For dessert, we finished our Three Kings' Cake.

Thursday/12-Jan-17: When I ordered some polenta and other Italian stuff a few weeks ago, I noticed they were selling taleggio also and it wasn't too expensive. Tonight it became part of Mushrooms, Potatoes, and Melting Taleggio (web). Good it was. Unfortunately both of us are regretting we ate all of what was supposed to serve four. Along with some steamed broccoli. No dessert needed at all.

Friday/13-Jan-17: Chicken from the pressure cooker tonight, served with garlicky mashed potatoes made with pyramid goat cheese. That was all.

Saturday/14-Jan-17: Put shrimp on to marinate this morning (or maybe it was early afternoon). For dinner there was a half recipe of Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Shrimp, and Red Pepper Oil (365Pasta, p169). Had wanted to do this with romanesco broccoli, which has been at the store lately. But not this week. So plain old cauliflower. I absent-mindedly cut up the whole cauliflower, so I roasted half of that. Used some multi-color shells for the the paste. I think the romanesco and pink shrimp and white pasta would be pretty. Mini magnums for dessert.

Sunday/15-Jan-17: For the third time in just over a week, we've had chicken thighs substituting for a whole chicken for dinner. This afternoon we had a half recipe of Podvarka—Chicken and Sauerkraut (TLVienna, p23). I used grapeseed oil instead of lard. Since it was "fresh", I didn't rinse the of sauerkraut. I used a red jalapeño from the freezer for the chili. Served with some boiled potatoes. It was good.

For dessert there was peach pudding from the pressure cooker.

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