Monday, January 31, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/31-Jan-11: I defrosted two coquelets for dinner overnight, but didn't have the time or oomph to cook them. Instead I defrosted two duck scallops for a quickie dinner. Sautéed the duck, then made a quick Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce (HowTo, p165). Accompanied by Dusolier's Perfect Roast Potatoes and Zucchini and Vermouth (Essential, p227). Finished off with some Lindt chocolate-hazelnut goodies.

Tuesday/1-Feb-11: Made Grilled Chicken in the Style of Vulcan (BigFlav, p171) with two spatchcocked coquelets; roasted in the oven rather than grilling. Sliced some potatoes and tossed these in the marinade along with a dab of olive oil and put these in the pan under the birdies. Very good. (Wonder what kind of stock these spicy bones will make?) Accompanied by Mama's Garlic Coleslaw (MC) made from the last of the Chinese cabbage; also very good. No afters needed.

Oops, nobody went to the boulanger today. Bread baking overnight.

Wednesday/2-Feb-11: Brr, cold in the kitchen today, 14C this morning. Yogurt going all day. Baked some snickerdoodles (at least 4.5 dozen!), a new recipe, to warm things up. Not what was asked, but I used a food processor to put it all together. They were ok, but I will compare to my very old recipe, when I find it, which I remember as better.

Dinner was Fusilli with Butternut Squash (30MinPasta, p145) followed by a salad of mâche. Used less than half of my squash. What with peeling the squash, I'm not sure this was really 30 minutes. Tasty enough.

Hmm...think this was candelmas. No crêpes in sight.

Thursday/3-Feb-11: Shopped today. Chipotle Baked Fish (MC) for dinner, with panga, a recipe we've liked before, but this time it seemed it seemed too hot (is there such a thing?) without any complexity of flavor. Odd. The panga fillets here are huge. In NL., I'd get two for 300-400g; here two are well over 500. I should ask for one big one, I think. Served with polenta and some steamed broccoli with garlic and red pepper flakes steeped in olive oil/butter. Followed by a salad, which we couldn't finish.

Friday/4-Feb-11: Starting to use-up double-bought frozen spinach, I made a half recipe of Lasagna Verde (MC) this evening. The recipe called for spinach and mustard greens. Last time I used kale (boerenkool) for a good part of the greens; this time it was all spinach. Good it was. For starters, I made, yet again, the artichoke hearts with green tapenade and little goat cheeses—an easy and tasty starter. These would be nicely presented with a toefje rucola and a bit of vinaigrette. Finished last night's salad. More snickerdoodles for afters.

Saturday/5-Feb-11: On a roll in the morning. Yogurt on overday. Chicken stock going. Ground roasted cumin done. A double dose of Herb Salt (Art, p172). Even thought of making up so pie crust, but am a bit short on butter, since I forgot to get this at the grocery.

Tartiflette dinner at Hameau Cruzeau tonight, an event sponsored by the parents of students in area school districts. The meal was lovely, but the event was spoiled by a mass of youngsters running riot. The stereotype (and what you usually see, I must say) is that French kids are exceptionally well-behaved. These were not. We all enjoyed the food, but were relieved to leave.

Sunday/6-Feb-11: Midday meal today started with Curried Green Pea Soup (TooMany, p155). This is a really good soup, Ed always asks for more, that can be on the table in less than 15 minutes. The main was Cuttle Fish and Rice, a recipe from the tin of cuttle fish in their own ink (calamares en su tinta), part of the clean-the-pantry project. It could hardly have been simpler: put water rice, contents of tin, chopped garlic, and capers in a pan, bring to a boil, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Top with some sliced roasted red bell pepper strips. Nice. Followed by a salad, with a vinaigrette using balsamic and red wine vinegars as Hesser suggests in Essential.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: yes, #3 MIDDAY: yes
This month: #4 PASTA: not yet

Monday, January 24, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/24-Jan-11: Leftover day today. Along with our plate of fruit, we finished the chickpea-leek soup for lunch, nice on a chilly day.

Dinner started with artichoke hearts, topped with green tapenade and a cabecou, a small goat cheese), a dab of olive oil and some chopped basil. All under the broiler for about 5 minutes. This was something I'd intended to make for new year's eve, but didn't. Pretty good they were and almost no effort.. Unfortunately the artichoke hearts weren't completely thawed. I thought they'd finish off under the broiler, but they didn't. Next time.

For the main course, I warmed the rice and spicy tomato sauce and heated some peas and broiled some turkey scallops. The peas went especially good with the tomato sauce. We finished off with slices of the limoncello wine tart. A pretty simple dinner, but good.

Tuesday/25-Jan-11: Late breakfast and off to a movie today, with popcorn for lunch. Dinner was leftover nasi goreng in a sort of omelette. Followed by a salad. Followed by the last of the wine tart.

Wednesday/26-Jan-11: A nice Indian dinner this evening. Black Pepper Lamb (MC), much better this time without the addition of bell peppers. I had originally thought to add green beans instead, but decided on just the meat and yummy sauce with gbs on the side. Good idea. Accompanied by Gujerati-Style Green Beans (MJ1, p102) and Aromatic Yellow Rice (MJ1, p153), both TNT recipes. The gbs are easy for a company dinner; everything can be gotten ready, and then takes less than 10 minutes to finish, with minimal attention. A couple of coconut cookies was a nice finisher-offer.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/27-Jan-11: Out for Jamaican tonight. Not much happening in the kitchen today.

Friday/28-Jan-11: There are two kumquat recipes in my repetoire; tonight was Tangy Stir-Fried Pork (MC). Good, but maybe not as good as previous appearances. The kumquats seemed a bit dry. Served with rice and steamed broccoli.

Saturday/29-Jan-11: Yogurt on during the day. There was Hot Avocado and Shrimp Soup (MC) for lunch today. In the evening we picked walnuts with our commune and had dinner after.

Sunday/30-Jan-11: Midday meal today. Started with grilled artichoke hearts, topped with green tapenade and a cabecou, omitting the dab of olive oil and the chopped basil. Made taglierini, which seem to be my cutters labelled trenette; these seem to cut pairs of strands that need to be separated while hanging. A bit tedious, but this is a good size. The main was Taglierini agli Scampi (Lorenza, p120). I used some canned tomato paste and hope that Ed tolerates that OK. The sauce was pretty good, cream and tomato paste, maybe missing a bit of something, with shrimp that had been cooked in butter, then brandy. Followed by a big, simple salad, the end of some mesclun plus mâche.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, sort of, #2 SOUP: yes, #3 MIDDAY: yes
This month: #4 PASTA: yes

Monday, January 17, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/17-Jan-11: Marinated chicken turned into Garlic Chicken (CL clipping, soon to be MC). Served with Fried Aubergine Slices (MJ1, p99), a recipe I've not yet tried from this book; it was good too. Made a little sauce similar to last night's with yogurt, with lemon juice, and black pepper, this time with some chopped cilantro added. Accompanied by a pilaf-y thing with almonds, cumin seeds, and raisins. A nice dinner.

Nobody went out for bread today. Honey Wheat Bread (Electric, p54) on overnight.

Tuesday/18-Jan-11: The Honey Wheat Bread is quite good, if a bit sweet (as you might expect from the name).

Dinner was Leek and Chickpea Pasta Soup (soon to be MC), a recipe from somewhere on the web. A bit of goat cheese for after.

Wednesday/19-Jan-11: I've added some new tabs to this blog. There's one for magazines, to go with the one for cookbooks; this still needs to be filled with magazine and links. Another for the "in the works" list I used to have at the bottom of the blog. Another for the complete Cooking Italy schedule; still need to tidy this up and link to my posts (and maybe to Angela's too), although that's a bit tedious. These last two largely repeat every week and add a lot of text when I want to print a year's worth of blog.

Dinner was Chile-Garlic Shrimp (MC), made with some broccoli stems and haricots verts and frozen shrimp, served over gemelli-like pasta. Tasty. Followed by a rucola salad. Then, from the freezer, some crémes brulées with red fruit, "burned" under the broiler.

Thursday/20-Jan-11: French toast for breakfast with the end of the Honey Wheat bread. Then shopping. While Ed was at choir practice, I worked on defrosting and cleaning the fridge. Since we got the big freezer, the fridge freezer is not so full, so not so apt to have its door ajar and get iced up. Thus its been about a year since defrosting. It wasn't in bad shape actually. Which is a good thing because this fridge is less fun than most to defrost. And took much longer than I expected.

So dinner was easy, well in theory it was. Avocado and Ricotta Soft Tacos (MC), a yummy recipe from Nava Atlas, that I barely follow. The problem was that flour tortillas in the pantry, fairly recently bought, turned out to be way out of date, and suspiciously crumbly. Out with them. Pitas? Not the right thing. So, I ended up making a stack of corn tortillas from scratch. Easy enough, but a lot of time on my feet. All tasty and worth it, though.

Friday/21-Jan-11: For the last weeks the fish counters at both our usual grocery stores have had encornets on offer. This translates, as far as I've found, to squid; these are fat strips of what looks like squid meat, white, up to an inch square and several inches long. One giant squid. I search the web and found an Antillean recipe (which probably wanted squid-as-we-know-it) that was highly web-rated. The recipe was poorly written, so took a lot of imagination. It call for a marinade of lime juice, onion, garlic, and piment vegetarien, which seems like it might be something like an jalapeño, but doesn't look like that. I had some haberno-like chilies and used one of those. Cooked in a tomato sauce. It was all quite tasty, but quite hot, even for us two what like it hot. Served with rice, making lots to have some for nasi goreng at next cooking opportunity. Then a salad of mâche. Then some individually sized pavé affinois with crackers. Then a dab of chocolate what not made with leftover ricotta (from last night), cocoa, powdered sugar, and a dab of vanilla.

Saturday/22-Jan-11: Off early this a.m. for one of the wind-chilliest birding trips on record. Afterwards we had omelets and frites for lunch in Lézignac. Home, then a nap, and then some Nasi Goreng (collected EAT-L). With leftovers.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/23-Jan-11: Our main meal was a late lunch or early dinner, a variation on Broccoli with Roasted Peppers, Olives, and Feta Cheese (Savory, p188). Oops, no jar of roasted peppers in the pantry; used some frozen oven-dried tomatoes instead. Served over brown rice. Tasty comfort food.

Candlemas is coming, the time for eating crêpes. The latest VPQ has lots of crêpe recipes. I'll have to try one of these soon. Crêpes are not one of skills, but practice makes perfect.

More blog changes:
  • I've changed the page "tabs" into a list on the right. Since the tabs don't show up well in many of the blog designs, maybe this will make them handier.
  • Added some 2011 kitchen goals to the "In the Works" page and will add a progress section at the bottom of each post.
  • Added a Reading section to the right.
A Wine Tart (Secrets, p88) in the oven. I made a halfish recipe of this a long time ago, here, while we were visiting one time. This time with limoncello, almost using up my bottle. Thought Ed might like the tart better than the liqueur. The 8" pie tin was pretty full and made a major mess in the oven. Note to self: bigger dish next time!

Progress on goals
This week: VEG/FISH: yes, SOUP: yes, MIDDAY: yes
This month: PASTA: not yet

Monday, January 10, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/10-Jan-11: Sally and Mike were supposed to come to dinner before Club Liseron, but Mike is having a bad tummy (we hope not the gastroflu going around), so they bowed out. So just the two of us started with Avocado Corn Salad (MW@Home, p119), always a favorite. Then there was Papa's Cowboy Stew (MC) and Cayenne Cornbread (BigGerman, p182). I used aardappelzetmeel (potato starch) instead of flour to thicken the stew, but used too much so it was a bit gluey. Will make a note on the recipe to use less. Froze the rest of the stew for later.

Authentic French Bread (Magic, but out of head) on overnight.

Tuesday/11-Jan-11: Neither of us feeling very chipper or hungry today. For lunch we had Bittman's Creamy Broccoli Soup (H2CEV, p130that I made and froze up a while ago. It wasn't bad, not as good as Craig Claiborn's broccoli soup, but easier.

For dinner we had a big salad, rocket and mâche, with goodies and a blue cheese dressing of Stilton. I'm enjoying the Stilton (Sally brought it back from the UK) more than I thought I would. I seem to remember having some that was rather harsh tasting, even for a blue, but this is lovely even to munch by itself.

Wednesday/12-Jan-11: Yogurt on the a.m. Shopping at Géant after picking up the Yaris from the shop.

Dinner was Chicken with Lemon-Leek Linguine (Cooking Light oct10, soon to be MC). Followed by a salad. An easy, quick meal, but felt a bit rushed, since I was putting away groceries at the same time.

Thursday/13-Jan-11: Funny dinner tonight. Main course was Spaghetti with Fried Eggs and Pagritata (web, soon to be MC), a recipe for one, double for two. Good stuff. For a sort of salad was Tomates Farcies au Chèvre (VPQ, soon to be MC). I'd intended to make this for new year's eve, but didn't. The recipe is meant as a starter, and would be good as that no doubt. If you were very patient, it would be nice to fill bite-sized tomatoes for munchies.

Friday/14-Jan-11: Dinner at La Bellone this evening with a group from Ed's choir. Further it was quiet in the kitchen.

Saturday/15-Jan-11: Dinner was a quickie, Farfalle with Smoked Salmon and Peas (MC 2BTried, a keeper), along with a salad and some cookies for dessert. That was it.

Sunday/16-Jan-11: Judy Heuman's Chickpea Patties (soon to be MC) for dinner, along with Carrot and Onion Salad (MJ1, p171). In my hurry to finish, I forgot to add the chopped parsley to the patties, which would have been nice. Wonder if the patties couldn't be broiled or baked, rather than fried in a pan? Anyhow, they were tasty and this recipe came with a nice little sauce of yogurt, lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper.

Yogurt on overnight. And chicken marinating.

Progress on goals
This week: VEG/FISH: yes, SOUP: yes, MIDDAY: not really
This month: PASTA: not yet

Monday, January 3, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/3-Jan-11: A bit of a quiet day today. Dinner was Spaghettini with Fava Bean Purée, a recipe of La Cucina Italiana found on the web. It was clearly written by someone who doesn't wash dishes. Make the sauce, purée it in the blender, put it back into another pan. Boil the pasta and drain it, then use a skillet to heat some oil and toss the pasta with some chopped parsley there. Easy to save two pans, right there. I also wonder if there's a typo; 1/2 pound cheese is pretty close to macaroni and cheese. I grated a huge pile and it wasn't near 4 ounces (I made a half recipe.) I used frozen favas; still have a bit more to use up. They just aren't as good as fresh one, even if they're less trouble. Won't be getting them again. The dish was interesting, because it asked for the sauce to be put on the plate and topped with the pasta. Prettier than just tossing all together. Fairly tasty, but fresh favas would have been better, if more work. Followed by a salad of mâche with julienned beet bits.

Tuesday/4-Jan-11: Dinner was and easy one, Scallops in Black Pepper Sauce (MC) with rice. The last time I made this, I served it with broccoli and shrooms. This time, still working on the sack of Brussels sprouts that I bought around new year, I made bsprouts and shrooms. Actually this worked quite well. I cleaned the sprouts and cut them into eighths. Sautéed these with a chopped shallot, then added some sliced mushrooms. In the end this wasn't as done as I needed it to be, so I added a bit of water and steamed for the last minutes. It was remarkably tasty.

Wednesday/5-Jan-11: For lunch we had a bit of pasta with some of the Indian Avocado Spinach dip from new year's eve. Wasn't bad.

Dinner was Rajasthani Kadhi Spiced Yogurt Curry (MC) that we loved last time. This time it was good, but not all that special; don't know why. Dessert was part of a trois rois galette bought at the boulanger, tomorrow being three kings' day.

Thursday/6-Jan-11: Chicken Thighs with Garlic and Lime (MC) for dinner, with trio rice and steamed carrot sticks, with a bit of lime juice squeezed over. Such and easy and good chicken recipe. I should really make this more often.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/7-Jan-11: Off shopping this morning. Leclerc had a special on pork and other meat. I probably bought a year's worth of pork, plus some lamb and some beef for a stew coming up soon. And they had a good selection of cilantro, so I bought three packages. Now to use them up ...

Dinner was cod with a lemon grass-garlic-shallot sauce, a recipe found on the web. Sounded good, but the sauce was disappointing. Served with rice and Cucumber Salad (Delightful, p51). For dessert, some store-bought pistachio custard. I bought some lemon grass on impulse during the holidays (when exotic things are more likely to be found) and have put two of the clumps in shallow water to see if they'll root.

Saturday/8-Jan-11: It was an organic chicken, but it was a tough old bird. Butterflied Chicken with Cracked Spices, a recipe found on the web (soon to be MC), good tastes, but a tough chew. Too bad. Roasted some potatoes and carrots in the same pan. They were good; we ate all of them and forgot to eat the salad, which is in the fridge hoping for another day.

Sunday/9-Jan-11: I didn't have a meal planned since we'd intended to go to a concert in Angoulême today and have dinner somewhere after, but decided the car wasn't up to the trip. So dinner was the last of the Mediterranean turkey casseroles with yesterday's salad of mâche. Later we ate some St. Marcellin while watching a DVD.

Yogurt on overnight. It's fun how Sophie likes to help with this. She knows the sounds and will come from wherever she is to hang around underfoot until it's time to lick the jar of yogurt I used as a starter. Lydia didn't like yogurt at all and Damian wasn't especially interested, so it's been a while since we've had a yogurt cat. Sophie loves the stuff; in the morning, she comes back in when we're near the end of breakfast so she can have a lick.

Progress on goals
This week: VEG/FISH: yes, SOUP: no, MIDDAY: not really
This month: PASTA: not yet