Monday, February 15, 2010

This week in the kitchen

Monday/15-Feb-10: Sat outside in the afternoon sun to shuck the Moroccan fava beans I impulsively bought on Saturday. I parboiled and peeled them while Cooking Italy's Spinach Soup with Crostini (ClassicItal, p89-90) was cooking for this evening's dinner. Ed read more from Mayle's Bon Appetit while the cooking was going on, and was very skeptical that anyone could taste the difference in salts. I put my open jar of Il de Ré salt on the table and opened the jar of Camargue salt from the pantry. You can indeed taste the difference. Actually, the Camargue salt just tasted salty, while the Il de Ré had a more complex taste. Now I'll have to look for some others to taste.

Tuesday/15-Feb-10: Dinner at the pub quiz tonight. Further, not much action in the kitchen.

Wednesday/17-Feb-10: Made the West Indies Salmon Cakes (now MC) from 28cooks for dinner. Couldn't find canned salmon in the shops here, so I bought 2 cans when we were last in The Netherlands. These have gone back on the list. This was a winner of a recipe. I never like salmon croquettes or patties as a child, but these are really tasty. Froze three for another dinner. They went really well with Carrot and Ginger Quickie Pickle. Served withTurmeric Rice(Q&E, p100) and steamed broccoli. Meant to start some chickpeas soaking for falafel tomorrow night, but discovered I don't have any!

Was pleased to discover in Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian that he doesn't like canola oil. It was not available in The Netherlands, so I've only recently tried it. And don't like the taste. What's this stuff good for? I'd thought to use it as a neutral oil, finishing the first bottle and the backup on the shelf, but I won't buy it again. I'll stick with peanut and corn oils when I need neutral, thank you.

Thursday/18-Feb-10: Went to the market today and it was actually there. Got the usual sort of stuff plus some filets of rascasse/scorpionfish for tonight's dinner. Rascasse is apparently the most important fish in bouillabaise. At the butcher, I got a chuck steak (marcreuse) for the next Cooking Italy assignment.

For dinner we had Baked Fish with Shrimp (MC 2BTried) with the rascasse, which turned out to be quite boney. I used some medium shrimp, cut in half, and some small scallops for the topping. Probably less topping and the smaller shrimp would be better. Also, a dab of white wine in the white sauce topping might be nice. Served with the rest of the haricots verts and some pasta.

Friday/19-Feb-10: Today we had our late Valentine's Da y lunch at Le Roc du Boeuf near Chabanais, a very nice meal and restaurant. After lunch we shopped in St. Junien so we could get some of our favorite trio rice, which seems no longer to be available in the Charente. Also bought some eau de vie to make limoncello and some wine for the Coooking Italy pot roast. Strange that there is no Italian wine available here. There is a bit of German wine (Alsace and Riesling), but nothing Italian.

Neither of us feeling especially hungry near dinnertime, we made a plate with apples, carrots, radishes, tomatoes (for me), tuna rillettes on toasts topped with the carrot-ginger pickle. Good munchies.

Saturday/20-Feb-10: Felt like having falafels recently, so I made them today. Followed Bittman's recipe (H2CEV, p625). They were tasty, but most of them fell apart, so we've got several cups of falafel crumbs to use for something. Not sure what went wrong. Maybe I didn't grind it all finely enough? Disappointing. Accompanied by tahini sauce (Goldbeck, p200) and Fava Bean Hummus (MC) and Cream Cheese and Cucumber Salad (Michoteta) (Roden, p65). This salad is an old favorite which I've neglected for a long time.

Sunday/21-Feb-10: Mad the Beaujolais Buttermilk Coffee Cake again, prior to making the Cooking Italy pot roast. Since my replacement Pyrex dish won't arrive till next month, I made this in a bundt pan, putting the topping on the bottom. But the cake didn't want to turn out of the pan, so we're just cutting our slices directly from the pan. A very tasty cake.

Twas a Cooking Italy dinner tonight. We had Pot Roast of Beef Braised in Amarone (ClassicItal, p393), Mashed Potatoes with Milk and Parmesan, Bolognese Style (ClassicItal, p518), and some steamed broccoli. The mashed pots were a lot of foofaraw for nothing particularly special. Would be better to follow my normal smash potato procedure and add a bit of grated Parmesan while mashing away. And no nutmeg. What a chunk of beef that was! We had dinner. I froze up the same amount (slices and a bit of sauce) for a repeat. Plus more meat and sauce for beef pot pie. Plus almost 8 ounces of beef bits for who knows what.

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