Monday, July 30, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Jul-12: Patrice and Wim for dinner tonight. Made Roasted Split Chicken with Mustard Crust (MoreFast, p99; video). Good idea for a chickie, it smelled wonderful, but it was another tough one. Wonder if the last tough one was a two-for with this one. Served with polenta and Zucchini and Feta Cheese Salad (WorldVeg, p640). Then some Double Boiler Bread Pudding (MC) for dessert.

Tuesday/31-Jul-12: We're going to be eating out this week more than we're eating in! Not very good when you're trying to use a zucchini bounty.

We had lunch in St Sornin today after a tour of the cave, a calèche visit to the vineyards, and a tasting. Neither of us were very hungry, so I made a little insalata caprese with the first of our planted tomatoes and a couple of fairly tasteless storebought ones. And I finished off the rice salad.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/1-Aug-12: Zucchinis are coming in from the garden faster than they're going out, and eating out is not helping this situation. It started out as a joke, but a little googling turned up a recipe, so today I made up the "broth" for Zucchini Ice Cream (web), using low-fat milk rather than whole. Tomorrow I'll freeze it up and we'll see how it is. Then I made Zucchini Whole Wheat Bread (BreadWin, p248), reducing the honey. It's quite good and on the borderline of not-quite-sweet-enough.

Just before we left for the evening, a neighbor brought us a sackful of haricots verts along with some yellow ones. Tomorrow ...

We bought our dinner at the marché de producteurs de pays in Massignac this evening. There were not as many stands as the one in La Rochefoucauld, but there were still some nice ones. There was a vendor who grows proper chilies (jalapeños, haberñeros, etc.) and was selling sauces to match. (We bought some haberñero sauce.) Unlike La Roche, though, here you had to cook your own meat on gas barbecues set up for the purpose; the wind kept blowing out the fire on some of them, so this was a bit challenging. A nice evening.

Thursday/2-Aug-12: Busy in the kitchen. Used a pound (about half) of the haricots verts to make some of Kaye's Pickled Green Beans (MC), my recipe, smerged from several others. Those are marinating in the fridge. Used the last bit of some jarred roasted red bell pepper strips to make a bit of pizza sauce, and into the freezer with that. Roasted some beets from the garden. Roasted some eggplants that have been lingering in the fridge. Was planning on making baba ghanoush and freezing that, but read on the web, that it's better to freeze just the smooshed up roasted eggplant and finish off the baba ghanoush later. With or without the lemon juice seems to be the question. I ended up with about a cup of eggplant, so decided splitting it wasn't worth the effort.

Dinner started with corn on the cob. Then there was Spaghetti with Zucchini and Lemon (MW@Home, p195), always good. Finally Zucchini Ice Cream. Now, that was interesting. A bit too much cinnamon we both thought. And I used the food processor to grate the zuke, which made rather coarse strands which weren't all that nice. Why not just blend it all together, we both wonder. Definitely a recipe to work on, giving an excellent way to use up the zucchini surplus. Meant to make up the "broth" for Zucchini-Lemon Sorbet today, but forgot. Tomorrow maybe.

Friday/3-Aug-12: Off to a late start with shopping today. Upon return, made a double dose of Herbal Potato Salad (now MC), a recipe from an old newspaper clipping, something to take to a party tomorrow. Took the bowl down to Barbara's to stash in one of her fridges, since we're quite full up. Too late then to make a proper dinner, so we had a salad with a beet and a tomato from the garden. Then some zucchini ice cream and raspberries from the store.

Saturday/4-Aug-12: Yogurt on overday. Made a double dose of Zucchini and Feta Salad (WorldVeg, p640), making a good dent in the zucchini backlog. This salad and the potato salad went off to a party. Only a bit of each came home. Otherwise, no action in the kitchen.

Sunday/5-Aug-12: We had some of the leftover Zucchini and Feta Salad for lunch, so neither of us were very hungry at dinner time. I defrosted the Chipotle Meatballs and served with a bit of pasta. And a double-chocolate mini-Magnum for dessert.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 BREAD: no, #3 SOUP: no, #4 MIDDAY: yes, #5 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #6 PASTA: yes for July, no for August

Monday, July 23, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Jul-12: Yogurt on overday.

Starting to address the zucchini garden surplus, I made up and froze some curried zucchini soup.

Since we went to a concert this evening at a time that made eating dinner awkward, we had our main meal at midday (well, it was more like 3pm, but that's not dinnertime). Made some Red Pepper Pasta (PastaMach, p71), which is just regular pasta with some red pepper flakes added. To top it, there was Cajun Shrimp (PastaMach, p138), more or less. Quite tasty. Then a big salad. Since I haven't been using this cookbook much lately (I forget that it's full of tasty sauces), this could have been a meal for Cookbook Sundays, but I didn't take a picture, so I guess I'l skip that. (Unfortunately, it looks like Cookbook Sundays may be closing up shop since the current host wants to stop. I thought about taking it on, but decided I didn't need one more thing to do at the computer.)

Tuesday/24-Jul-12: Without thinking, I'd planned shrimp two nights in a row, so tonight's dinner was a last-minute change. I defrosted a pair of duck breast scallops. Pan-fried those and served topped with Marsala Wine Pan Sauce (HowTo, p160), which is about as simple a pan sauce as you can get. All you do is deglaze with a slog of marsala, reduce to almost nothing, and top up with a dab of butter. Pretty good for minimal effort. Served with some garlicky, steam-fried potatoes. Then some Shaved Zucchini Salad with Parmesan and Pine Nuts (web), which turns out to be a pretty nifty way to use up zucchini. Make a lemony vinaigrette with some red pepper flakes. Use the mandolin to shave long slices from a zuke. Toss with the vinaigrette, pine nuts, and Parmesan shavings. Should have been some chopped basil in there too, but I forgot—that would make it even better. Definitely a keeper, this one. For dessert we had some mini-Magnums.

Wednesday/25-Jul-12: Hot. Shopping today. This evening our Dutch friends Wim and Patrice, who are camping nearby, came for dinner and a visit. I bought some nice lamb steaks and we had Grilled Lamb Steaks with Rosemary, Garlic, and Red Wine (Thrill, p150), very easy and extremely really tasty. (Although I had about two weeks' worth of red meat protein in one sitting.) Made some Summer Rice Salad (Rodale, p129), a very old favorite, and Shaved Zucchini Salad with Parmesan and Pine Nuts, a very new favorite, the a second night in a row. Had planned to grill some eggplant also, but it seemed like too much. After walking the dogs, we had Strawberry Sorbet with some fresh raspberries.

Thursday/26-Jul-12: Hotter. ugh. Yogurt on overday.

Still full from yesterday evening's meal. No cooking today. Leftover dinner. Finished off the galette along with the zucchini salad (which held up remarkably well, unexpectedly to me) and the rice salad.

Friday/27-Jul-12: Another attack on the zucchini harvest: Chocolate Zucchini Cake (TooMany, p215. This used an amazingly big pile of grated zucchini. (Thank you, food processor.)

A recent Vie Pratique Gourmand explained how to cook ears of corns: peel them and boil for 25 minutes! Then, because they're too hot to hold, you stick a toothpick in each end. Right.

Yesterday after choir, Ed went to Intermarché, and came home with two two-packs of fresh corn. They have this for a few weeks each summer, and it's our only chance to have one of our favorite veggies. (Although, it's looking like we may get three ears from the garden this year.) So tonight we had, yes corn on the cob, along with Lemony Leeks with Chickpeas and Feta (web). This turned out to be a dish of nice tastes that went surprisingly well together. We both thought that the leeks should have been cut thinner. And I tossed everything in a bowl before serving, rather that arranging  it all tidily on the plates. But tasty it was, a nice, easy hot-weather main dish.

Saturday/28-Jul-12: Started with Beet, Stilton, Apple, and Nut Salad (MoreFast, p4), a recipe I found watching a video someone posted to EAT-L. Then I realized I had the book. No Stilton to be found, used bleu d'Auvergne instead. Not bad, interesting collection of tastes. Ed suggested that the apple, instead of being chunked, should have had the the quarters sliced crosswise fairly thinly.

The main was Pasta with Yogurt and Carmelized Onions, from Kassos (Essential, p341). This was one of those glad-I-tried-it-don't-need-to-do-it-again recipes. Why do you drain sheep's-milk yogurt, then mix it with pasta water?

Both of these could have been an entry for Cookbook Sunday; still no word on a new host.

Ed had a piece of Chocolate Zucchini Cake for dessert; I had some Strawberry Sorbet..

Sunday/29-Jul-12: Yogurt on overday. Wim and Patrice took us out to dinner this evening, so the planned zucchini dinner didn't happen.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes, sort of, #2 BREAD: no, #3 SOUP: no, #4 MIDDAY: yes, #5 VEG/FISH:  4
This month: #6 PASTA: yes

Monday, July 16, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Jul-12: Alone at last! (I.e., much as we love company, we also like when they leave.) As the first step in using up the broccoli in the fridge, tonight's dinner was Broccoli Frittata, Parma Style (GreeneGreens, p63). I made this several years ago, with similar results, that is, it was more omelet-like that frittata-like. For next time, I think it either needs to cook longer at a very low temperature, so that's it's well set and can be turned out of the pan, or cooked at a slightly higher temperature, or go under the broiler for a few minutes at the end. At any rate, it's very tasty. Then we had some of the Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake.

Tuesday/17-Jul-12: Yogurt on overday. Sally and I had lunched in Rochechouart after our haircuts, so I didn't feel like dinner at all. Ed ate the rest of the frittata and I made him a bit of a rice salad with leftover carrot pilaf and zucchini vinaigrette and some onion and carrot, Then we finished off the yummy Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake.

Wednesday/18-Jul-12: Shopping this afternoon. No impulse purchases.

Dinner was Grilled Salmon with Broccoli Chickpea Pesto (web), using up the last head of broccoli. The pesto was a bit bland (helped by grinding on some red pepper flakes), but the effect was pretty good. Have lots of the pesto frozen now. Served with trio rice, then a nice big salad. Some double-chocolate mini-Magnums for after.

Thursday/19-Jul-12: Dinner started out to be Mushrooms on Toast or Funghi Alla Veronica (web), but when I started slicing the shrooms I realized that most of them were moldy. So a added a packet of lardons fumés to the pan to beef (or pork) it up, so to speak. The intended vegetarian meal turned meaty. Served over pasta rather than toast. Might try this again sometime, with only mushrooms and actually served over toast. Followed by a big salad.

Friday/20-Jul-12: Another drippy day. Dinner was a keeper, Puy Lentils with Spices and Tamarind (web), easy, all stuff that's in the house, and yum-yummy. Served over rice. Before hand, we munched on Spicy Cucumber Wedges (Kheere kKe Tukray) (MJ1, p172), which I've made several times before. Ed especially liked this, sticks of cuke with lemon juice, salt, cayenne, black pepper, and ground roasted cumin. For dessert, there were No Bake Oatmeal Bites (web), made with hazelnut butter, easy to make, but nothing special. Not a keeper.

Saturday/21-Jul-12: The zucchini harvest is in serious swing. Tonight's dinner was Zucchini, Squash, and Ricotta Galette (somewhere on web), a forgettable recipe that took longer than I expected to assemble, so we ate quite late. The filling wasn't set at the appropriate time, so we ate our salad, adorned with a roasted beet from the garden, first.

Sunday/22-Jul-12: A lovely lunch out today. Nothing happened in the kitchen. Tomorrow the zucchini surplus must be addressed.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: no, #2 BREAD: no, #3 SOUP: no, #4 MIDDAY: yes, #5 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #6 PASTA: no

Monday, July 9, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Jul-12: Had our main meal late midday today. Loin of Pork with Green Peppercorns (web). Had a boneless loin instead of one with bones. Very tasty, meat tender. The sauce was good but there was a lot of it. I ended up freezing 3 cups of it, along with 300g of meat. Served with polenta and some steamed green beans.

Tuesday/10-Jul-12: Authentic French Bread from memory in the machine this morning.

Really not into cooking tonight, and we don't much like our closest pizza place. So, dinner was Scallops with Thai-Scented Pea Purée (web; cookbooker). Some double-chocolate mini-Magnums for dessert.

Wednesday/11-Jul-12: Had a little barbecue after BIll and Panos arrived. We started with Cold Beetroot with Cream (Pomiane, p180), one of our favorite salads, using the first two beets from the garden. With our grilled poultry merguez we had North African Zucchini Salad with Garlic, Chili Paste, and Caraway (MedHot, p32) and some potato salad, very loosely out of Joy of Cooking.

Thursday/12-Jul-12: Bill took us to dinner at La Bellone tonight. Nothing happened in our kitchen.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/13-Jul-12: Bill suggested Indian, so that's what we had this evening. The main course was Spicy Baked Chicken (Masaledar Murghi) (MJ1, p71), using a bunch of chicken thighs. This is an easy, yummy dish, nice for company because you set the chicken to marinate until less than an hour before you're ready for it, then pop it in the oven, turning only once. As Jaffrey suggests, I served with Rice with Peas (Tahiri) (MJ1, p149) and Red Split Lentils with Cumin Seed (Masoor Dal) (MJ1, p122), both of which I've made many times. As a go-with, I made some Yogurt with Cucumber and Mint (MJ1, p162), which is my standard raita recipe.

Saturday/14-Jul-12: Yogurt on overday.

Sunday/15-Jul-12: Dinner was Almond Crusted Roast Lamb (web;  LaFrance, p86), a very nice leg of lamb, browned in a skillet then cooked at high temp. Lots of leftovers to deal with tomorrow. Accompanied by Carrot Pilaf (MC) and Steamed Summer Squash Vinaigrette (TooMany, p202). Followed by Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake (web), a pretty darn good chocolate cake and easy too.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: no, #2 BREAD: yes, #3 SOUP: no, #4 MIDDAY: yes, #5 VEG/FISH: 1
This month: #6 PASTA: no

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pasta Salad with Fish

Antonio Carluccio Cooks Pasta
Antonio Carluccio
BBC Books (1999)
ISBN 0563384557

After enjoying some of Carluccio's TV shows years ago, I found this book on sale. It's a companion book to a series I've never seen, and somehow hasn't gotten used much. But I've delved into it a couple of times lately, with good results.

Tonight's dinner was Pasta Salad with Fish, which is a lovely summer main course but could also be a starter or part of a summer buffet. It's very easy to make, and I'm sure you could use any bits of leftover seafood you have around. For the fish bits, the recipe calls for anchovies (I chopped them pretty fine, rather than leaving chunks, since we're not really anchovy fans here), strips of squid, smoked salmon, and small, cooked prawns/shrimp. A sauce is made from olive oil, lemon juice, sald and freshly ground black pepper, fresh chives, and fresh dill. The pasta is cooked, drained and cooled. Everything is tossed together and there it is. Simple and tasty.

A small problem, if this is a problem, with using cascareccia rather than the farfalle or conchiglie suggested, is that the squid strips look an awful lot like the pasta. This doesn't, however, affect the flavor.

This post is linked to this week's Cookbook Sundays.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Steamed Summer Squash Vinaigrette

Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things
Lois M. Burrows and Laura G. Myers
Harper&Row Publishers (1976)
ISBN 0060907657

Too Many Tomatoes is probably one of the first cookbooks I ever bought, a book for using up your garden surplus. The recipes are maybe a bit old-fashioned, US cooking from the 50s and 60s, but still useful. I've used it a lot over the years, and even bought a second copy when we were moving back and forth between houses. My main copy is held together by a fat rubberband. For one reason or another, it's been languishing on its shelf for a while now. With a box of organic courgettes in the fridge, I gave it a look and found this winner or a side dish.

This is about as easy a dish as you can make. Start by slicing your zucchinis thin; because I know that European courgettes are a bit larger than a typical American zucchini, I cut mine lengthwise before slicing. Steam the slices. When they're fork tender, a bit crispy still, drain them and cool them by dunking in ice water or rinsing under lots of cold water. Drain them well and pop them in the fridge till you're ready to serve. Mix up a plain vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar, a good dash of Dijon mustard (the recipe called for proportionally more mustard than I usually use for a salad vinaigrette), salt, pepper, and maybe a chopped up shallot. Just before serving,  toss the chilled slices with the vinaigrette. Easy to make and much enjoyed by my husband's who's not known as a zucchini fan.

This post is linked to this week's Cookbook Sundays.

Monday, July 2, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/2-Jul-12: Popped some Authentic French Bread, with one cup of whole wheat flour replacing bread flour, into the bread machine just before the the bread truck came, so we're plentifully supplied with bread for a day or so.

Off to a quiz/dinner in the evening. Nothing further happening in the kitchen.

Tuesday/3-Jul-12: For dinner, a half dose of Tonnarelli ai Gamberi e Funghi (ClassPasta, p104), Tonnarelli with Prawns and Mushrooms. Pretty, but it seems a bit "cluttered" with cream and shrimp and tomatoes and shrooms; and there was a lot of sauce. Then a simple salad. And some mini-Magnum double chocolate bars for dessert as we dogwalked.

Wednesday/4-Jul-12: Shopping today. For our Fourth of July dinner Ed bbq'd a pair of kip filets marinated in Chicken Marinade 4 (MC 2BTried). I reduced the sugar in the marinade; the effect was good. As a go-with there were Grilled Potato Slices with Salt and Vinegar, from several places on the web. Probably my slices weren't 1/4" (I used the thickest setting on my mandoline), and they were well impregnated with vinegar. This is good in potato chips, but not sure about a side dish. Guacamole as a salad/side dish. A red, white, and blue parfait for after with vanilla custard (my mother's recipe—stir, stir, stir), blueberries, and strawberries.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/5-Jul-12: Dinner was a half dose of Filet de Flétan aux Cranberries (VPQ), no halibut (flétan) in the store, so I used panga instead. Sauce of cranberries caramelized in sugar, mushrooms, celery, shallot, cream, vermouth, and bird or veg boullion. Weird but tasty after you got into it. With some rice and some peas with shallots. Made some salad, but neither of us felt like eating it. Off for a dog walk, then two squares of 70% Lindt chocolate each.

Friday/6-Jul-12: The latest Vie Pratique Gourmand has an article on carpaccios, the oddest (to me) being fine slices of foie gras (duck) interleaved with bits of strong dark chocolate and beet leaves, topped with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Suppose I'd eat this if it were served, but don't think it's anything I'd every consider making.

Dinner was a half dose of Mini Farfalle with Roasted Peppers, Onions, Feta, and Mint (CL/mar11, web). Pretty good stuff. Then the salad we didn't eat last night, with some walnut oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Saturday/7-Jul-12: Bought a box of organic courgette, so trying to use that up now. Made Zucchini Pound Cake (GreeneGreens, p407). One of those egg-splitting cakes, so not on my everyday list, but pretty darn good. (cookbook sunday).

Dinner was Chicken with Blueberry-Ginger Chutney (CL/jan05, web). The chicken was regular grilled kip filets that had been marinated a bit with some herbs, nothing too fancy. The chutney is what made this special. And I'm sure the leftovers will go well with another meat before too long. Accompanied by trio rice and Steamed Summer Squash Vinaigrette (TooMany, p202).

Sunday/8-Jul-12: Yogurt on overday.

Didn't feel like cooking what was on the plan, so there was Pasta Salad with Fish (PastaCarluccio, p55) instead. Then we had some Zucchini Pound Cake with the last of the vanilla custard and topped with a handful of fraises de bois picked this afternoon.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 BREAD: yes, #3 SOUP: no, #4 MIDDAY: no, #5 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #6 PASTA:no