Monday, September 26, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/26-Sep-11: Easy dinner tonight. The leftover Tuscan veggies over pasta. Then the last pair of crèmes caramels.

Tuesday/27-Sep-11: De-seeded and cooked up another wad of tomatoes today. And slow-roasted some boughten ones, although they didn't seem to get very dry after a long time in the oven. Hmm...

Dinner was Linguine al Cavolfiore, a recipe I haven't made since we discovered Ed's problem with tomatoes. Tonight I used some of the new batch of tomato sauce, and penne instead of linguine. Good stuff. Then a salad. Then the last of a bit of St. Marcellin.

Wednesday/28-Sep-11: Picked another two liters of raspberries at Barbara's today. (No fruit, it's a terrible diet she's on. Too bad it seems to be working.) Made Blueberry-Raspberry Pound Cake (Molly, p20). A nice cake, but a strange color from the blueberries and raspberries. Made a double dose of the "juice" for Raspberry-Champagne Sorbet (Scoop, p132); used the rest of the clairette de Die topped up with a bit of sweet dessert wine. Having used all my sugar for the cake, I used sucre de canne.

Dinner was Grilled Squid with Fennel Sausage, a recipe collected somewhere on the web. For the fennel sausage, I used Guiliano Hazan's sausage (that I keep in the freezer) with fennel seed added. The outdoor grilling part didn't work well, so we had to finish them off under the stove's grill. But very nice they were, if a bit later than intended. Served with a quickie "salsa" made with corn, chopped tomato, shallot, jalapeño (one of two we manage to harvest this year!), olive oil, S&P. And trio rice. A nice dinner, outside, candlelit. No dessert since we'd sampled the cake already.

Thursday/29-Sep-11: Yogurt on overday.

Fresh pasta tonight. While looking for what I'd make tonight, I found my missing cilantro pesto recipe! For tonight, I made Lemon Pepper Pasta (PastaMach, p65). The dough was a bit dry, so I had to add a bit of oil. Also, it didn't like being rolled out to 6, so I ended up at 5, which made a thickish pasta, still good. Also, my fettuccine cutter, which has trouble separating strands rolled at 6, worked fine at 5. A bit of a puzzle, but something to remember. For a sauce I made Lemon Cream Sauce (PastaMach, p161) and added about 200g of frozen, cooked shrimp. Easy and good. Then a salad using the end of our head of lettuce.

Friday/30-Sep-11: Shopped this a.m. Made up some Cilantro Pesto (PastaMach, p155, soon to be MC) and froze it up in small portions. Used the rest of Barbara's raspberries to make a quarter recipe of Peerless Red Raspberry Preserves (FancyPant, p124). Into the fridge with that.

For dinner there was a sorrel omelet. Couldn't find the recipe I used last year, which I remember as adding the raw sorrel to the omelet as it was folded. This time I sautéed a bit of garlic, then added the sorrel for a brief turn. Then cooked the omelet and spooned on the sorrel along with some spoonfuls of pyramid goat cheese. Pretty tasty. Then a big salad. Then a dab of Morbiers. Then some slices of pound cake. Two small ones left to toast for breakfast.

Saturday/1-Oct-11: But we didn't have them for breakfast. Instead we had pains de chocolate from the grocery store. Sometimes they have them in packages of two, which are just right for us.

Dinner was Scallops and Mushrooms, a recipe I got from a food list and will probably save. The recipe said to serve over farro, which of course I didn't have; used brown rice instead. Probably barley (I thought) or lentils (Ed thought) would have been better, the earthy taste matching the 'shrooms. Might try this again.

As a side, I roasted the end of the cauliflower and some thick slices of zucchini, tossed with olive oil, salt, and a sprinkling of some Moroccan spice I made for something or other.

The end of the blueberry-raspberry cake for dessert. Then a dog walk under the crescent moon and milky way.

Sunday/2-Oct-11: Dinner was Lex's Roast Chicken (EAT-L, soon to be MC), a really nice roast chicken. First the pan is lined with thick slices of baguette; then a layer of sautéed onions, celery, and garlic, spiced with thyme, lots of freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes; then the spatchcocked chickie; then in the oven for a good long while. Yummy, with crispy skin. All accompanied by some peas and a little salad of grated carrots with a lemon vinaigrette.

Froze up the raspberry sorbet. Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: no, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: yes

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Homemade Life

      A Homemade Life
Mollie Wizenberg
Simon & Schuster (2010)
ISBN 1416551069

Since I've been an Orangette reader off and on for several years, A Homemade Life was a fun read. It was nice to get to know Molly a bit better. And many recipe pages are adorned with stickies, so that corner of the book looks a bit like a pink hedgehog.

Family cooking. This was the most appealing part of the story for me. Molly grew up in a family where food was appreciated and cooking was done with love. Sadly her father died much too early, and the book could be considered a tribute to him, bits of memoir interspersed with recipes.

Reading the book made me think a bit more about food and cooking and what we learn from our parents. My mother was not a bad cook, but she got no joy from food, not from the cooking, not from the eating. When we were a family, we ate well enough with my mother doing most of the cooking since my father was frequently away from home. I was lucky that as kids we were exposed to all kinds of food. We knew not only Tex-Mex from Papa's home state, but all sorts of international cuisines since my father travelled as part of his work. At that time, I don't remember my father doing much cooking besides steaks on the grill and hand-cranked ice cream, but he did teach me to enjoy food. Somewhere along the line with his second family, he started cooking more seriously and when I visited in later years, I always looked forward to the food.

Thus, I was inspired by this book to cook a meal in honor of my father. I chose one recipe I thought he might have liked, one I "inherited" from him, and one he recommended. Luckily the weather held out so we could eat al fresco, and enjoy a bit of time with Papa.

We started with Moroccan Zucchini Salad. This is not to say my father was a veggie man, but I think he would have enjoyed this salad, zucchini lightly cooked with garlic, paprika, ras al hanout, and cayenne and topped with lemon juice and parsley. Fresh and tasty, this salad can be eaten warm or cold. I've made it several times this summer to help use up the garden bounty.

For a main, there was Papa's Posole, using up the hominy I cooked and froze earlier in the year. This is a recipe I got from my father, who got it from who knows where. Not one I follow to the letter, but then recipes aren't made to be followed to the letter, are they? Was it especially good this time because I finally got hold of some Mexican oregano or because it was a lovely fall evening with thoughts of my father around us?

We ended with Crème Caramel. I've always thought the crème caramel was food from heaven, and my father swore that MFK Fisher's recipe in The Cooking of Provincial France (part of the Time-Life Foods of the World Series) was the best there is. This was the first time I've tried it and I think he may be right.

Bon appetit! And thanks to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for hosting this month's reading/cooking challenge.

Monday, September 19, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/19-Sep-11: Didn't get to that stack of tomatoes today, although we had big ones at lunch and dinner.

Dinner was Tuscan Vegetable Sauté (web, via PatM, soon to be MC). Made a half recipe and served over polenta, which of course is from Lombardy rather than Tuscany, but I won't tell if you don't. The half recipe should serve 3, and I expect it does since we had a lot leftover. Good stuff.

Tuesday/20-Sep-11: Deseeded another load of tomatoes and boiled them up for sauce. Buzzed and in the fridge overnight to freeze tomorrow.

Barbara gave us about two liters of freshly picked raspberries!

Having nothing on the plan for this evening's meal, I defrosted some duck scallops, floured and S&P'd, then sautéed. Deglazed the pan with a good slog of marsala and added a bitter butter when that was reduced. Voila! a sauce. With orzo, pine nuts and basil added. Then a salad of mâche.

Wednesday/21-Sep-11: Made the juice for some raspberry sorbet. Shopped. Pizza for dinner.

Thursday/22-Sep-11: Yogurt on overday. Froze up more tomato sauce. Made tomorrow's dessert.

Dinner was a half dose of Fettuccine con Merluzzo e Piselli (Fettuccine with Cod and Peas) (Lorenza, p111, cookbooker), which was quite good and very easy. Intended to make fresh pasta, but didn't have the time. That's two misses this month.

When I got home from line dancing, we froze up Raspberry-Champagne Sorbet (Scoop, p132, cookbooker), which I made with Clairette de Die rather than champagne. It made only 2 cups and we ate it all. Might make a double dose of this up tomorrow.

Friday/23-Sep-11: Made my meal for Cook the Books, just under the wire again. Started with Moroccan Zucchini Salad, which has been around several times this summer and is still a favorite. Then there was Papa's Posole. Then there was Crème Caramel (TLProvFr, p102).

Saturday/24-Sep-11: For dinner, I dredged a couple of turkey scallops in flour mixed with the last of the rub for the carnitas and sautéed then. Then deglazed the pan with chicken broth (from a jar), white wine vinegar, and dijon mustard. Meanwhile, I warmed up the unused fettuccine noodles from Thursday in a bit of oil and mixed with some cilantro pesto from the freezer. This worked quite well, but it might be better to mix the oil with the pasta just after it's cooked. Then a bit salad with Turmeric Dressing (PRMTurmeric, p55). The dressing was good, and healthy, of course. ;-) Dessert was another pair of crème caramels.

Sunday/25-Sep-11: Ate lunch at a lovely ferme-auberge this afternoon. No need for further food.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: no, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: not quite

Monday, September 12, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/12-Sep-11: Deseeded all the big tomatoes from yesterday and cooked up a mess of tomato sauce. It will go in the fridge tonight and I'll freeze it up tomorrow.

Dinner was a half dose of a moldy-oldy favorite, Goat Cheese, Chive, and Chili Pepper Sauce (MarCuc, p167). Could hardly be simpler or faster or tastier. And a salad. And some apricot clafoutis courtesy of Bonne Maman.

Tuesday/13-Sep-11: Froze 5 ziplocs each with a long cup of tomato sauce today. Looking forward to more tomatoes so we can do that again. A frozen treasure.

Dinner was extraordinarily conventional: grilled bavettes that had been marinated in olive oil/tamari/red wine vinegar/garlic powder/black pepper; Dusolier's perfect roasted potatoes; and steamed broccoli tossed with garlic slivers and red pepper flakes steeped in olive oil. We started with grilled artichoke bottoms topped with green tapenade and goat cheese; the last of the frozen artichoke bottoms. We finished with scoops of raspberry sherbet. Ed insists this is especially good in red wine.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/14-Sep-11: Ed brought in about 5kg of big tomatoes this evening. Back in the deseeding business tomorrow ...

Since I went off to the consulate in Bordeaux yet again today, I popped Slow Cooker Carnitas with Pickled Red Onions (MC) in the crockpot before I left. Well, the carnitas part went in the crockpot and the red onions went in the fridge. As with many crockpot things, the meat was good, but not wonderful. The pickled red onions are very good, though. We ate them all up; after dinner, I chopped another onion and put it into the pickling juice. This recipe originally had way way too much sugar so I've seriously reduced it (from 1-1/2 cups to 1/4 cup) with very good results. Served with Mama's Garlic Coleslaw (MC) embellished with some chipotle powder in the sauce. And some homemade tortillas. All topped off with a Bonne Mamam chococate cake.

Thursday/15-Sep-11: Had a nice birthday lunch today and a museum visit afterwards. Later, I de-seeded another bunch of tomatoes and cooked them till it was time to blend them up.

For dinner, I made thick slices from one of the remaining tomatoes and took the seeds out of half of them. Salt, pepper, a dab of olive oil, some torn basil (green and purple), and a spoonful of pyramid (goat) cheese. Yum. Then a big salad.

Friday/16-Sep-11: Off for our weekly shopping today. Had an idea to make fresh pasta for dinner, but didn't have the oomph after putting away the groceries, including freezing up lots of stuff. So dinner was a half dose of Linguine Fini with Scallops (Linguine con Capesante) (MC 2BTried), served over tagliatelle from a cellophane sack. It was good, and very easy. Then a big salad. Kind of meal we eat a lot, it seems.

Saturday/17-Sep-11: Dinner was a half dose of Lumache with Broccoli and Capers (VC4E, p450). No lumache, used shells instead. Part of the broccoli was from our garden, and boy way it full of little caterpiggles! The dish was good anyhow, a variation on the broccoli pasta with oil and red pepper flakes, this time with capers.

Sunday/18-Sep-11: Yogurt on overnday. Froze up the last batch of tomato sauce. Collected 17# of beefsteaks from the potager that I'll start dealing with tomorrow. Another 3# of assorted cherry tomatoes.

In the afternoon, the ABM made a loaf of Cayenne Cornbread (BigGerman, p182). For dinner I thickened the sauce from the crockpot dinner. Served this with the bit of meat left, augmented by a couple of cooked sausages from the freezer, over Cayenne Cornbread toast. Pretty tasty, and good soppy. Made a salad with a big tomato and an avocado.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: no, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: almost, not yet

Monday, September 5, 2011

This week in the kitchen

Monday/5-Sep-11: Off at a quiz tonight. Nothing much happening in the kitchen. Did make a start on washing the new dishes.

Tuesday/6-Sep-11: Yogurt on overday.

It was unplanned, but today turned into a kitchen day. Started quince jelly, using the quince I bought at a vide grenier on Sunday. Baked a Pear Bundt Cake (MC) using pears that Ed brought home from choir practice last week. Now I've got some oldish plums plus a big pile of raspberries that Barbara sent this afternoon that need to be dealt with.

Washed more of the new dishes and realized that Ed has a counting problem. There are 23 each of the salad and soup plates. Washing on a "space available" basis, it may take quite a while to get them all done.

Dinner was Amy's Grilled Chicken Breasts (MC), which was good. Accompanied by grilled potato slices, parboiled first, then coated with a half and half mixture of mayo and dijon mustard; quite good, although I cooked them a bit too long before the grilling. And for our daily zucchini, there was Courgette, Lemon, & Ricotta Salad (Jamie mag, soon to be MC). Very easy and quite good, this was. Followed by pear cake, of course.

Wednesday/7-Sep-11: Shopped today, after another trip to Emmaus. Got some sorrel, have to adjust the menu plan. Didn't finish the quince jelly or make apple-plum butter or deal with the raspberries today.

For a starter, we had Jamie's leftover salad. It held up remarkably well, making me think it might be happier marinating longer than the 10 minutes suggested. Then we had a half dose of Noodles with a Carrot Cream Sauce (KnowHow, p245, cookbooker), which was interesting. Then a plain-ish salad. Didn't feel like dessert and it was too late anyhow.

Thursday/8-Sep-11: Finished off the quince jelly this morning, two small pots. It should have had lots of pectin, but didn't seem to want to set. I added a bit of sugar with pectin to help. It took ages to get up to the right temp (maybe the first time I've used that thermometer), but it finally did. Hope it will be set when it cools.

Also made a double dose of apple-plum butter, using some of the cheap, but tasty, fall apples from the store and some plums that need using (they were tasty enough, but dry and unpleasant in the mouth). That turned into a single dose actually, what with the small apples and boiling it a bit too long.

Used Barbara's raspberries to make up the "broth" for raspberry sherbet. Surprise—there were some strawberries in the bottom of the box. I took care of those all by myself.

Dinner was Creamy Zucchini and Dolcelatte Soup (SoupBible, p53). It was good. Might be good with broccoli too.

Friday/9-Sep-11: Yogurt on overday. Didn't get the sherbet made. Tomorrow.

Dinner was a repeat from last year's sorrel season, Risotto con Gamberi e Acetosa (Wild Sorrel and Prawn Risotto (WildCarluccio, p20). Yum. And a salad with half a big tomato, deseeded, from the garden. Bonne Mamam baba au rhums for dessert. (On sale at the grocery.)

Saturday/10-Sep-11: Another walk with meal this evening. Pretty quiet in the kitchen all day.

Sunday/11-Sep-11: Froze up the Raspberry Sherbet (Scoop, p132) this morning. Filled a liter freezer bakje quite full.

Picked 1.5 kilos of assorted cherry tomatoes today. And more than 3 kilos of beefsteak tomatoes. The biggest beefsteak baby was 675 grams.

Dinner was Penne or Rigatoni con Zucchine (Top100Pasta, p44), using the zucchini I collected today. It was good, but the mozzarella didn't melt as it ought to have, so the sauce was a bit stringy. Tasty though.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 VEG/FISH: yes, #2 SOUP: yes, #3 MIDDAY: no
This month: #4 PASTA: not yet