Monday, January 13, 2020

This week in the kitchen

Monday/13-Jan-20: Dinner was Spicy Sausage, Spinach, and Mushroom Gnocchi (web). This was simple to make and very tasty, a kind of comfort food. Also the last of my Italian sausage, so that's on the list to make again. I made a salad but neither of us felt like eating it — into the fridge with it for tomorrow. Three chocolates each for dessert.

Tuesday/14-Jan-20: Dinner was Raspberry-Balsamic Glazed Chicken (MC, web, CL/jan98). This is really yummy; I've made it a number or times, but not in quite a while. The raspberry preserves were not seedless, but I won't tell if you don't. Served with trio rice, and fêves that I impulse-bought last week — the first of the season. Then we had the salad left from yesterday. Then we had three chocolates.

Wednesday/15-Jan-20: Dinner was a half recipe of Panang Curry Red Lentil Soup (web). This was easy and very tasty. It did want a bit more salt at the table. Served over brown rice. Then a half recipe of Asian Cucumber and Carrot Salad (web). This was a spiralized creation, quite tasty. I'm not really a spiralizer fan; it's fun, but wastes so much veg. We finished with, yes, three chocolates each. One more night of these, unless they're still on sale.

Thursday/16-Jan-20: Shopping today.

Dinner was James Beard's Swordfish-Olive Pasta (Tenth, p263, also BeardPasta, p101). I thought this was good; Ed thought there were too many olives, even though I cut back the amount a bit. Oh well. Then a salad. Then the last of the chocolates. And there were no more of them on sale at Leclerc. Too bad for us.

Friday/17-Jan-20: I cooked up some chicken sausage today for tomorrow's meal. And started some Cabbage Kimchee (WofE, p379) for a meal early next week; unfortunately there was no Chinese cabbage to be had, so this is regular white cabbage.

Dinner was, very vaguely, a halfish recipe of Double Corn Cakes with Black Beans (VT, web). Having no access to pre-cooked polenta, which I probably wouldn't buy anyhow, I meant to make polenta earlier in the day and put it aside to cool for grilling. But that didn't happen so we just had the bean mixture over slightly cooled polenta. Instead of corn, I used hominy from the freezer. This was okay, but nothing special. Some mini Häagen-Dasz ice cream cups for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/18-Jan-20: Finished the kimchee this morning. Now it will ripen for several days.

Early meal today. There was a halfish recipe of One-Pot Cream Orzo with Chicken Sausage (web). This was pretty good. It might be even better with broccoli rather than zuke. And crème fraîche or even pyramid cheese instead of cream. But good. I have some extra sausages for lunch in the next days. Then a salad. Then some of the other on-sale chocolates I bought.

Sunday/19-Jan-20: Spent some time today going through my pending "bird" recipes stack. Managed to toss a few. This is hard work; there really are too many good things to make.

I forgot to defrost for tonight's dinner, so we had pizza instead. Instead I made Chipotle Apple Pecan Cake (BH&G/sep05, web). Pretty good it is. Also the pizza.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: 3; #2 BACKLOG: no
This month: #3 GUESTS: no
This year: #4 SHORT: no; #5 LONG: no
On-going: #6 READ; #7 RECYCLE; #8 NEW

Monday, January 6, 2020

This week in the kitchen

Monday/6-Jan-20: Last shopping day, I finished The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet, by Pierre Franey. This was a good read and came away with many, probably too many, tagged recipes. The head notes to each recipe/menu could be gathered in a book by themselves.

Dinner was Chickpea, Spinach and Sweet Potato Soup (Ainsley2, p26; cookbooker). This was amazingly tasty. We each had a pair of chocolate-covered madeleines for after.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/7-Jan-20: Dinner was a made-up stuffed bell peppers, with a stuffing made of short-grain brown rice, cooked pork from the freezer, onion, garlic, parsley, and some grated Parmesan. The sauce was as mixture of bits from the freezer, chipotle-tomato sauce, ancho sauce, and tomato paste. Turned out pretty good. Served with some chunks of snijbonen, a bit undercooked.

Wednesday/8-Jan-20: Dinner was a half dose of Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms (web). I have the feeling I've made this before, but I'm too lazy to search and see for sure. Anyhow, it was good. Easy in the day, I roasted the rest of the Brussels sprouts on hand, then marinated them per my usual recipe. The pasta was followed by a salad topped with sprouts. Then we finished off some on-sale holiday chocolates.

Later: Turns out I have made this pasta dish before; it's on the Do-me-again page. And, in the next days, it appeared in Nigella's daily email.

Thursday/9-Jan-20: Shopping today. Bought some more, different, on-sale holiday chocolates.

Dinner was Parmentier de Saumon aux Poireaux, Sauce Curry (VPG). (Couldn't find an online version.) This turned out pretty good. I broiled the fish, then flaked the meat. The potatoes and leeks were riced to make the smashed potato topping; this is really the best way to do this. Instead of serving the curry sauce on the size, I spooned it over the salmon before adding the potato topping. The recipe didn't call for baking, but I did for a while, till the potatoes started getting some brown tips. Then a small, simple salad. Then some chaource, which was on sale this week. Then some millas, that I got at the boulangerie. This seems to be a speciality of the Charente, a kind of flan made with corn flour. We split a piece; that was more than enough.

Friday/10-Jan-20: Dinner was A Good Hash (Tenth, p228), made with cooked lamb from the freezer. This was pretty tasty, if nothing dramatic. It didn't brown as she described, but it was still tasty. Served with some roasted broccoli and cauliflower. For dessert, some we started on a package of holiday chocolates, which will end up being seven nights of three each.

Saturday/11-Jan-20: Dinner was Roasted Chickpeas, Mushrooms, Artichokes, and Tomatoes (VegHarv,  p146), using up the last of the tomato passata from the potager, rather than making Wells' Rustic Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce. Served over brown rice. This was good and is more or less straight from the pantry, except for the mushrooms. Three more chocolates for dessert.

Sunday/12-Jan-20: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Date and Preserved Lemons (web), made with four thighs rather than two game hens. (These were supposed to be 24oz each. Don't I remember that they used to be 14oz or 18oz? Somewhere around 1lb.) This was quite tasty. Served with a half recipe of Carrot Salad (Couscous, p75), made with three colors of carrots. And some Moroccan couscous. Pretty good stuff, all. Then we finished the chaource. Then we had three more chocolates.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: 4; #2 BACKLOG: no
This month: #3 GUESTS: no
This year: #4 SHORT: no; #5 LONG: no
On-going: #6 READ; #7 RECYCLE; #8 NEW

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New Year's Day 2020

This meal turned out greatly simplified since I've still not get my energy or appetite back. And I forgot to take a photo of my plate, with its tiny servings, so it's just the pictures of the dishes served.

The main was Lamb with Spinach (MJInvite, p73). This wasn't hard to do, but I always forget how long it takes to cut up and brown the meat bits. Otherwise it's fairly simple to put together. And tasty. We have lots of leftovers, of course, now in the freezer.


For a vegetable there was The Lake Palace Hotel's Aubergine Cooked in the Pickling Style— Bargan Achari (MJ1, p100; cookbooker). I'm sorry not to have made this before, because it was especially delicious to me. Instead of deep frying the eggplant bits, I tossed them with some olive oil and cooked them under the broiler. Easy and tasty.


And then there was Aromatic Yellow Rice—Peelay Chaaval (MJ1, p153). I didn't soak the rice and it was fine, and very aromatic.


No dessert. Ed had a piece of three kings' cake earlier in the day. I didn't, but didn't need any more.

Kitchen goals old and new

Kitchen goals for 2019

Altogether, I didn't do that well on 2019's kitchen goals. It was not a good year altogether, but we muddled through.
  1. Backlog — Although I have spent bits of time thinning various piles of recipes throughout the house, I've spent hardly any time on the stack in the cookbook area. What I've been recording is only the work in the cookbook area, so maybe that's not completely fair. Some small progress, but not very visible.
  2. Veg/fish meals — Averaged more than three vegetarian or fish meals per week. Not too bad.
  3. Cookbook — Enjoyed this for the first months of the year, but gave it up after August. The stress from the Neighbor from Hell situation took away much of my desire to cook at all. 
  4. Pasta — Didn't make pasta once this year. For much of the year the counter was full of Stuff, mostly foodstuff that I inherited or received as a gift and don't have a place to put up. Lack of energy is another factor. Hope this doesn't mean I should give up pasta-making.
  5. Bread — I did make some bread this year. I have the feeling that I made more than I managed to record. Have spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to fit bread-making into the day so I could, perhaps, make a loaf weekly. Should follow this through. 
  6. Guests — We had guests several times, but not enough.
  7. Project — Got my Three Kings' Cake made on the penultimate day of the year. Have a nice list of quick and long projects that I'd like to do. 
Kitchen goals for 2020

These goals do help me focus on things I'd like to do, so I think I should continue keeping them. For 2020, I think I'll skip the bread and pasta ones for this year, because it's too depressing that I've been so unsuccessful with these.
  1. Veg/fish — As I've been doing, count vegetarian and fish meals, just to be sure that I'm cooking at least three per week.
  2. Backlog — Continue working to clear out recipes. I need to work a bit more aggressively on this before we're buried in recipe clippings. Measure: Whenever I spend more than 5 minutes sorting, tossing, or filing recipe clippings, that week gets a Yes. 
  3. Guests — At least once a month we should have someone over for a meal.
  4. Short — This year I want to do at least one of my short (completed in one day) food-related projects. 
  5. Long — And at least one of my long projects (that takes more than one day). 
  6. Read — Usually on the way to and from the grocery store I read a cookbook. For every book I read, I mean to show it on this blog, to add it to the Cookbooks page, to write a paragraph about it on my weekly page, and to add interesting dishes into my OnThePlan spreadsheet.
  7. Recycle — This is painful, but in the interest of reducing the number of cookbooks I have, I'll recycle at least 30 cookbooks. That will be about 5% of what I currently have. 
  8. New — Add no more than five cookbooks to my collection this year. If I exceed this number, the Recycle goal will increase correspondingly.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Kitchen project: Galette des trois rois

Every year here, we enjoy one or two galettes, three kings' cakes, during the holiday season. I thought it would be nice to make one myself. I didn't find a nice fêve at a vide grenier this summer, so I bought a small set at Amazon. I sorted through my small collection of recipes and settled on a Galette des Rois à la Frangipanne (recette de Cyril Lignac) (web and web).

The recipe uses store-bought pâtes feuilletées, two round ones, filled with a mixture of crème patissière and crème d'amandes, with a dash of rum. This mixture should be piped on, but I just dumped it on the bottom and used the back of a spoon to spread it around.

The laid out pâtes feuilletées are quite large and hung over the edge of the quarter sheet. Because our oven, in spite of being part of a big stove, is a bit shallow, the back edge was a bit burnt. Usually I use one of these to line a pie plate, which then doesn't have such a large surface area.


The result was quite edible, but it took the two of us quite some days to finish it off. What I forgot is that I usually buy a small galette for the two of us, which lasts two or maybe three days. This was fun to make, but don't think I need to do it again. Buying a small galette from a good boulangerie is fine.

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Dec-19: Used the rest of last week's chicken (a day later, if we're dead tomorrow, this is why) and some of the butternut squash to make Chicken & Butternut Squash Pasta (web). This was okay, but nothing special. Used up some crème fraîche rather than use yogurt. Then a simple salad.

Meanwhile, I made a galette des rois. This is one of my kitchen projects for the year. It's in the oven as I type, so the results are still uncertain.

Tuesday/31-Dec-19: I had a bad stomach last night. Not much sleep and feeling bad all day. I didn't eat. Ed had something from the freezer. New Year's Eve was a bust as I fell asleep watching tv.

Wednesday/1-Jan-19: Feeling a bit better, but not much appetite. I made a nice meal, but couldn't eat much.

Thursday/2-Jan-19: Tummy still not happy, and not much appetite.

Shopping today. Very small actually. We have lots and lots of veggies left to use, so I scrapped much of the meal plan and I'll mostly wing it, trying to use these things up.

Dinner was Nigel Slater's Cod with Anchovy, Capers and Thyme (web), with lieu noir. This was ok, but nothing special. Served with steamed green beans and trio rice. Just a bit of chocolate for dessert.

Friday/3-Jan-19: We went off to Angoulême to see the Rembrandt engravings today, and stopped to get some of Letuffe's chocolate-covered griottes for a treat.

Dinner was Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower (MW@Home, p189), which wasn't bad. I'd actually intended to make a similar dish that included anchovies in the sauce, but I used all my stash yesterday. And it seems that I neglected to buy more the last time I opened a can. Oops, inventory fail. A pair of chocolate-covered griottes each for after.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/4-Jan-19: Continuing with the use-up-the-veggies theme, tonight's meal was Smoked Fish & Celeriac Remoulade on Sourdough (web) with smoked trout. This was quite tasty. Next time I might use the grater on the cuisinart or the mandoline to make long shreds. Served with a salad. For after, we had small slices of three kings' cake plus a pair of chocolate-covered griottes. I'm full.

Sunday/5-Jan-19: Used up more veggies by roasting the last of the romanesco, plus some Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and a red bell pepper. Melted some St Agur on top for the last minutes. Served all over brown rice. Then we finished, finally, the three kings' cake. Then we finished off the chocolate-covered griottes. We're stuffed.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: none
This month: #4 PASTA: no for December, no for January; #5 BREAD: no for December, no for January; #6 GUESTS: no for December, no for January
This year: #7 PROJECT: yes for 2019, no for 2020

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Tweede kerstdag 2019

Verrine Thon, Céleri, Noix et Gorgonzola

Cuscinetti di Vitello — Braised Veal Scallops with Prosciutto-and-Cheese Stuffing
Carolino Gratinati — Brussels Sprouts au Gratin
Riso al Limone — Boiled Rice with Lemon

Häagen-Dasz mini ice cream cups

This meal was not especially well-planned since all the dishes were cheesed, not lots, but still it was cheesy.

There were nice little verrines (web) to start, although the layers were not as apparent as on the website. I thought it might be better to mix all the ingredients except the nuts (a kind of waldorf salad then), although you can, of course, do that at table.


The veal (TLItal, p58) was nice, although how you manage to get 4"x4" packets is beyond me. I think you must be prepared to trim off lots of meat. I ended up with two packets roughly that size for the two of us. It was tasty if not picture perfect.

The Brussels sprouts (VegCarlu, p93) were edible but nothing to do again. First the sprouts were boiled, which doesn't bring out the best in them, and then they were drowned in too much bechamel.

I've made the lemon rice (TLItal, p20) before. This time I did it with long-grain rice rather than arborio. This worked fine. It's a nice when you'd like sometime a bit more than plain rice. Now I'm wondering it if wouldn't be nice with some brown rice, long- or short-grained.


For dessert we had some Häagden-Dasz mini ice cream cups. We were full and happy.