Monday, January 7, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/7-Jan-19: It got late and I didn't feel like making what was on the plan, so I defrosted some Indian-ish tomato-y sauce and served over pasta, along with a big salad. Some of Cath's bonbons for dessert.

Tuesday/8-Jan-19: Dinner was a halfish dose of Chicken Piccata with Artichokes (web, although not visible in Europe). Easy and very tasty. Followed by a big salad. Then some more bonbons.

Wednesday/9-Jan-19: Shopping today.

Dinner was Tilapia with Ancho Sauce (MC), with lieu noir instead of tilapia, which isn't available here. Well, vaguely this recipe. I made all the sauce, and froze lots of it for use with fish, chicken, pork, beef, or whatever's on the menu. (Also froze the ancho soaking liquid for use in chili or beans or whatever comes along.) Grilled the fish rather than breading it, which really isn't necessary with this delicious sauce. Served with polenta and steamed broccoli. Some store-bought chocoate mousse things for dessert. Yum to all.

Yogurt on overnight.

Bought some plastic bakjes today to hold backup pasta supplies (spaghetti, rice noodles, etc.). Having to rethink philosophy of what goes in pantry cupboards and what goes in the open shelving. In theory the Ivars hold quick turnover stuff, flour, sugar, cookies, pasta, etc., but lots of that stuff is not in jars or plastic and needs to be in the closed cupboards, while canned pantry goods can take their place on the shelves. Inconvenient, but less friendly for our mice friends.

Thursday/10-Jan-19: Spent much of the day cleaning and restocking the pantry and open shelving. Still not done, but on the way. Still seems wrong to be stuffing the open shelving with pantry food (largely canned goods) and putting high-turnover stuff in the pantry. Oh well.

Dinner was, more or less, a half dose of Turkey and Dumplings (web). Used cooked chicken from the freezer. The mixed veggies were canned corn and frozen peas, along with green beans and carrots that I chopped and cooked. Pretty good comfort food. We decided we might actually prefer chicken pot pie, but this was still good. Followed by a bit of salad. Then more of Cath's bonbons. Ed has only six left, while I have nine. That will be three nights of three for me; not sure how Ed will arrange his.

Friday/11-Jan-19: I had lunch out today. Ed had leftovers from last night. That's all that happened in the kitchen.

Saturday/12-Jan-19: Finished recombobbling the pantry and open shelving. Now to remember where I've put things. The counter is almost clear now after months serving as backup storage.

Dinner was a half dose of Cheesy Shrimp and Grits (web). I used a whole packet of (smoked) lardons, but we didn't mind if there was too much of it. Pretty good stuff. Then a simple salad. Then some tapioca pudding. It was supposed to serve four, but Ed served it all up for two. I'm stuffed.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/13-Jan-19: Dinner was, more or less, a half recipe of Creamy Chipotle and Italian Sausage Lasagna (web). Pretty good stuff. I usesd home-made Italian sausage. There were two "tablets" of frozen spinach, thawed; it looked too little in the meat, but was fine in the sauce. Used a can of (seedless) tomato bits in juice for the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Didn't cook the noodles, but soaked them while I prepared the rest. For my half recipe, I used the amount of chipotle asked for the whole recipe. On tasting, I thought it was pretty bland, so I added the remaining chipotle from the jar. That made it nicely zingy, but not too hot. Then a small salad. Then I had a pear followed by two bonbons. Ed had just bonbons. (He's through, I still have five to go.)

Managed the whole week without using a cookbook.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3; #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: n/a
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year's Day 2019

Magret Seche Stuffed with Foie Gras with Roquette and a Lemon Vinaigrette

Caille Rôtie à la Sauge, Baies Roses, Jambon Cru et Chaîtaigne
Potatoes Stuffed with Leek Mousse
Steamed Broccoli and Carrots

Domaine Laubarel L'Aubarèl 2016

Balsamic-Roasted Pears with Pepper and Honey

For a starter we had slices of magret seche stuffed with foie gras from out, along with some rucola and a lemon vinaigrette. I bought the magret at our local shop recently. Trimmed most of the skin/fat before serving since neither of us are too fond of that.


Our meal was Caille Rôtie à la Sauge, Baies Roses, Jambon Cru et Châtaigne (VPG; web—this is the same recipe from another magazine). I left the pink peppercorns sitting on the counter, so I added them to the bone sack for my next batch of stock. Potatoes Stuffed with Leek Mousse (Dinners42, p84) was such an odd recipe I figured I needed to make it—a potato cut into a hollowed out block filled with a creamy leek sauce. Tasty, but kind of silly really. Too much potato (for my taste) in the end. Accompanied by some plain steamed broccoli and carrots sticks dressed with a bit of lemon juice.


The wine was one of our favorites from our Gaillac visit, Domaine Laubarel L'aubarèl 2016, 100% Mauzac grapes. Gaillac seems to have really good whites but so-so reds.


Our dessert was Balsamic-Roasted Pears with Pepper (web). Yes, the plate is definitely a bit crowded. Curiously the pepper in the title was left out of the ingredient list and I didn't notice the instruction to add it till just now. No manchego cheese available in rural French groceries, so I served this with tomme de brebis (I had a chunk in the freezer) and the last bit of Beaufort left from Bill's visit. The tomme was quite good with the dish; the Beaufort didn't work as well. Strange because that is a favorite eating cheese while the tomme isn't.

Monday, December 31, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/31-Dec-18: Saucisses Lentilles au Chou Romanesco (VPG) was on the menu tonight, but yesterday I cooked too much broccoli, so I decided to substitute that for the romanesco. Then, forgetting about the lentils, I started cooking brown rice. So, no lentils. We grated some gruyère onto the dish at table, and also added some green tabasco. Pretty good it was. We finished the Chocolate-Chestnut bûche for after.

Started some lamb stock with the lamb bone from tweede kerstdag.

I made up some guacamole for our new year's eve treat.

Tuesday/1-Jan-18: Finished off the lamb stock and froze it. Made some Oven-Dried Tomatoes (HandyBook) and froze them.

Our meal for new year's day has its own post here.

Wednesday/2-Jan-18: Shopping today. The store wasn't the madhouse that it was last two weeks. We purposely didn't shop on Mondays before the Tuesday holidays. Apparently it was really bad those days. We shopped on the Fridays and it was still overfull. A relatively small shopping today. Trying not to set another record this year for our monthly average on grocery shopping.

Dinner was Fish Pie with Salmon, Smoked Salmon and Savoy Cabbage (web). We ate just over half of this. I froze the rest to serve over rice or pasta. Then a salad. Then some store-bought riz au laits. Then a pair of chocolate-covered madeleines each. Yes, we were piggies.

Thursday/3-Jan-18: Oscar got his stitches out today. Got home to find Sophie limping severely. Called the vet, hoping to go back directly, but they just said to give her painkiller for two or three days and let them know. She's been very inactive all afternoon. Worrying.

Dinner was a half dose of Fragrant Red Lentils with Basmati Rice and Broccoli Romanesco (VegSups, p156). This was pretty good in spite of the fact that I forgot to add the coconut milk to the lentils. No wonder they were a bit dry. Pretty presentation, though.


Mini ice cream bars for dessert.

Haven't really decided if I'm going to continue with my kitchen goals. Haven't chosen a book for this month, and have planned only books that have already been explored.

Also I haven't been keeping up with the cookbooks I'm currently reading section on the blog, so I guess I should remove that. Have just finished looking through Soups from Time-Life's The Good Cook series, recently bought at a charity shop. I wasn't very impressed with this one, compared with my other soup cookbooks. Not sure if I'll keep it or not. Other books in the series have been more interesting on a quick look.

Friday/4-Jan-18: Lunch out today before we went to a small art exhibit at an Orthodox monastery not too far away. Nothing further happened in the kitchen.

Saturday/5-Jan-18: Dinner was Yam and Chick-Pea Masala (BoldVeg, p145; cookbooker). This was supposed to be a side dish, but the variation with chickpeas make it a main. Served over brown rice, with a topping of Cachumber (MJ1, p172). Mini ice cream cups for dessert.

Sunday/6-Jan-18: Dinner was a half dose of Mushroom- & Cranberry-Stuffed Turkey Cutlets (EW/nov-dec14; web*). The turkey scallops I expected to find in the freezer weren't there, so I used chicken scallops instead. A bit time-consuming, but not especially hard to do. Having no poultry seasoning in the cabinet, I found a recipe online and made up a bit to use. Served with Dusoulier's Perfect Roasted Potatoes (HandyBook; web). I had a few potatoes to use up and a bit of duck fat from the Magret Wellington. There were really yummy. And some steamed snijbonen which weren't quite done. Chocolate bonbons for dessert.

* I notice the web verison includes branded ingredients. Is this a new feature? I don't recall seeing it before and it's not in the magazine. Maybe this is the future?

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: ???
Cookbooks of the month: ???
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Tweede kerstdag 2018

Verrines de Crevettes au Pamplemousse

Gigot à la Provençal et Gratin de Pommes de Terre
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette

Terres d'Exceeption Bordeaux Millisime 2016

Chocolate Fondue with Kiwi, Pear, and Toasted Pound Cake

Cath came to dinner tonight, and we managed to eat at a more reasonable hour.

For a starter we had Verrines de Crevettes au Pamplemousse (VPG, download). This was supposed to be a salad, but I served in in verrines, layers of shrimp, finely chopped cucumber, and red grapefruit sections. Topped with a sauce of fromage blanc, lemon juice, chives, salt, and pepper. Easy and very tasty.

Our main was Gigot à la Provençal et Gratin de Pommes de Terre (Essential, p537). My lamb leg was a bit smaller than asked, but that wasn't a problem; I used fewer potatoes too. This was accompanied by Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Vinaigrette (web). (I didn't add the Parmesan shards to this, but it would have been a nice touch.) These all made a nice main.



The wine was one brought by a guest this summer. It's been waiting for a special meal, and was worth the wait.




For dessert, I thought I'd make use of the fondue pot that I got as a holiday gift from HP many many years ago. So, there chocolate fondue with spears of kiwi, pears, and pound cake. The fruit was good, but the fondue was nothing special, and hard to take a picture of, so I didn't. The fondue pot will go to a charity shop now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas dinner 2018

Ribbons of Smoked Salmon with Warm Potato Pancakes and Dill Cream

Magret de Canard Façon Wellington
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Château La Colombière Les Frontons Flingueurs 2016

Pannacotta au Lait d'Amande Vanillé et Sauce Chocolat

Another depressing holiday. Today was the first sunny day in ages. Guess I'm feeling less gloomy today than in preceding days, but still not happy. (I made this candle at a recent candle-making course.)


For a starter we had Ribbons of Smoked Salmon with Warm Potato Pancakes with Dill Cream (Dinners42, p49). I first saw this recipe as Galette de Pomme de Terre, Saumon Fumé et Fromage Frais (VPG; download), then discovered the Dinners42 recipe that is very similar, and a little "fancier." Potato pancakes with smoked salmon and a dilly cream sauce. Easy and surprisingly good, but not very photogenic. I think next time I'll just make a few smaller pancakes, rather than big ones cut in wedges.


We didn't make it to the big marché de noël again this year, which was okay since I had already planned Magret de Canard Façon Wellington (VPG; download). I made a half recipe of this, which was a bit too doughy. The pastry, store-bought, was lined with a buckwheat crêpe; neither were home-made. The dish was delicious, but extremely filling. Although half a magret is usually a good portion for one, with the pastry and filling of mushrooms and foie gras, I think a thick slice per person would suffice. As a side there was Roasted Broccoli with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette (EW/sep-oct17; web). This seemed like a good idea, but really didn't work. After more than 30 minutes the broccoli was still crunchy, even the floret part. The vinaigrette was good, but the dish was a disappointment.


The wine was one we bought when we visited the Toulouse area, Château La Colombière Les Frontons Flingueurs. When we tasted wines at the Maison des Vins in Fronton, we'd done four, and I asked for one more, something different. This was what was offered. A hundred percent Negrette grape, and really nice. This is the third, and last, bottle we bought. More expensive than the others we bought there but worth it.


For dessert, there was Pannacotta au Lait d'Amande Vanillé et Sauce Chocolat au Lait  (VPG; web; download) which was very tasty. (The web version is almost exactly the same, but not quite.) The almond milk I found was sweetened, so I reduced the amount of sugar I added. Neither of us likes milk chocolate, so I used dark chocolate. At the last minute I added at bit of cream to the melted chocolate, rather than water that I see now is asked in both recipes. As soon as I stirred in the cream, the melted chocolate thickened, so it wasn't exactly a nice thing on which to serve the delicate and delicious pannacottas.


After a late and lazy start to the day, dinner was late, but we enjoyed it!

Monday, December 24, 2018

This week in the kithen

Monday/24-Dec-18: Made Pannacotta au Lait d'Amande Vanillé et Sauce Chocolat au Lait (VPG, web; download). The web version is slightly different, but it's the same recipe. I will serve on dark chocolate, not milk chocolate. My almond milk is sweetened, so I added only half the sugar asked. We'll see how this is.

Also made a Terrine Choco-Châtaigne Façon Bûche (VPG; download). Simple to put together, although it's much smaller than the bûche mold that I bought. I lined the mold with saran wrap and discovered that an AH fond jar filled the remaining space perfectly!

N.B.: I've started scanning some recipes, particularly those without a web link.

For dinner, I made a 2/3-ish version of Corn and Sweet-Potato Chowder (VegPlanet, p163). This amount should have served 3 I think, and maybe that's right. I froze up a good serving, or two small ones. Then some chocolate-covered madeleines.

Tuesday/25-Dec-18: Our xmas meal has its own post here.

Wednesday/26-Dec-18: Our tweede kerstdag meal has its own post here.

Thursday/27-Dec-18: For our meal I used the leftover bits from yesterday's starter to make up Salade de Crevettes au Pamplemousse and served that over rucola. Good, it was. Then we had the rest of the almond milk pannacottas from Tuesday. They were better without the dark chocolate, which rather overwhelmed the delicate taste of the pannacotta. Little piggies that we are, we also had slices of the chocolate-chestnut bûche, which was surprisingly good. Without the chestnut decoration.

Friday/28-Dec-18: A very busy day today meant we had lunch out.

Saturday/29-Dec-18: Trapped a mouse last night, the first one in quite a while. Strangely, it died before we could take it away. Ed promises that he'll work on filling the holes in the fireplace flooring soon.

Dinner was Tilapia with Cashew Crust (MC), with lieu noir as the fish. Served with Spaetzle (MW@Home, p203; Handybook) and steamed broccoli. (Putting away groceries yesterday, I discovered an extra stem of broccoli, so we'll be eating lots of it in the next days.) Then a salad. Then some some of the chocolate-chestnut bûche, which is really yummy, nice taste and texture.

Sunday/30-Dec-18: Leftover night. We had lamb and lots of potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. We were quite full. I steamed some broccoli too, but it wasn't needed.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3 #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbooks of the month: Vegetarian Planet
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: yes

Monday, December 17, 2018

This week in the kitchen

Monday/17-Dec-18: Leftovers tonight. First guacamole and chips, then enchiladas and rice. Forgot to buzz up the instant refried beans for another side. Chocolate roses for dessert.

Chickpeas to soak overnight.

Tuesday/18-Dec-18: Cooked up the chickpeas. Froze three 2-cup ziplocs, and had one cup for tomorrow's meal.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Stir-Fried Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Peppers (Spiral, p125). Pretty good stuff—noodles without noodles. But so much wastage. I didn't spiralize the bell peppers, but cut them by hand. Chocolate roses for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/19-Dec-18: Got our two xmas meals planned and a gi-normous shopping list done today.

Our dinner was a halfish version of Couscous with Red Pepper, Chickpea, and Almond Sauce (VegPlanet, p254; cookbooker). Pretty good this was, if needing a goodly dose of tabasco. Finished the chocolate roses for dessert.

Made up the spice mix and the sauce for the pork that will go in the crockpot tomorrow morning.

Thursday/20-Dec-18: Oscar has his teeth cleaned today, and lost a good chunk of his remaining ear to be sent off for a biopsy. He looks a mess—he's been shaved all around his ear and painted with silver stuff. Not sure what the purpose of that is. He's a conehead, of course. Antibiotic and pain pills for the next week.

Started the crockpot before I went off the the vet this morning, with Carolina Pork Barbecue from the Crockpot (MC). Pretty good stuff. Made Mama's Garlic Coleslaw (MC, Handybook) as a go-with. Mini ice cream bars for after. Noticed tonight that the mini Magnum Classics have shrunk again. They're now the same size as the mini Häagen-Dasz bars.

Friday/21-Dec-18: Shopping today, and with luck we've gotten everything we need for the two holiday meals.

Dinner was Fish on a Bed of Potatoes, Onions and Tomatoes (MJFlavs, p111; cookbooker), a last-minute change when I discovered they had swordfish again. Made this with fewer potatoes that asked and served over too much rice. The sauce was nice, so somthing for soppy was needed; maybe store-bought naan would be ok. Also used up some snijbonen that had been hanging around in the fridge to make Tangy Green Beans with Ajwain and Ginger (SpiceKitch, p38), which made a nice accompaniament. For dessert, some Turkish Delight that Bill left us and then amaro with cantuccini things.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/22-Dec-18: Made some Pickled Green Beans (MC).

Guess we're not going to get fresh pasta till the mouse problem is resolves, since the counter is full of stuff from the cabinets. Sigh.

Dinner was a half dose of Trenette with Pesto and Vegetables (PastaBible, p126). Remarkably good for something with such simple ingredients. Then a salad. Then some chocolate-covered madeleines, only 1-1/2 each since it seems Bill had one while we weren't looking.

Sunday/23-Dec-18: Useless day today.

Dinner was leftover non-barbecued pork. With polenta instead of bread. Added a bit to the coleslaw so there would be enough. Chocolate-covered madeleines for dessert.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbooks of the month: Vegetarian Planet
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no