Monday, December 31, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/31-Dec-12: How can it already be the last day of 2012? Not the bestest year ever, I think. Hoping 2013 turns out better for everyone all around. We had a dinner of appetizers for IHCC, including some carrots sticks for dipping the baba ghanoush.

Tuesday/1-Jan-13: A new year's luncheon feast at La Bellone today. For dinner we had some carrot sticks and apple slices.

Wednesday/2-Jan-13: Today's fun task was defrosting the fridge, which has been needed for a month or so. Luckily it was a sunny day, so I put all the shelves and drawers outside to dry. Next up will be the chest freezer, whenever we have a little cold spell since it's much fuller than the coolers we have.

For dinner, I gussied up some basmati rice and added the leftover Shrimp with Garlic and Chilies. And a half dose of Carrot and Onion Salad (MJ1, p171). 

Thursday/3-Jan-13: Grocery shopping today. Dinner was Thyme for Lime Salmon, a recipe I got from EAT-L. Quite good, it was, the salmon topped with some honey, lime juice, thyme, and oil. It was supposed to be baked, but I put it under the broiler. Served with some pasta with garlic butter and some steamed broccoli with lemon juice. Then a salad. Then a pair of nice chocolate truffle-y thing each.

Friday/4-Jan-13: Yogurt on overday.

Dinner was Confit Duck Leg Pozole (webcookbooker), tasty but rich; followed by a salad; ending up with Chocolate Chile Bread Pudding (web, cookbooker) which was very yummy, although too much.

Saturday/5-Jan-13: Hippie dinner tonight, a half recipe of North Indian Stuffed Eggplant (NewMW, p98). Old recipe. Still good. Then a big salad. That was all.

Sunday/6-Jan-13: Made fresh pasta tonight. For a sauce there was a half recipe of Cremini Mushroom Pasta with Wilted Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Essential, p334). Long title for a fairly simple recipe. This was pretty good, but the goat cheese I had that wanted to be used up was a bit wimpy. Then we has slices of a three kings' cake from the Montemboeuf boulangerie. Ed got the fêve. (It was a dog, some kind of pointer. Weird.)

Yogurt on overnight.

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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

IHCC: Red and Green

Red and green for the holidays. Well the tablecloth is red and the spinach is green.

Actually, red things were hard for me to think of, but the green was easy. Saag Paneer has been on my make-me-sometime list for way too many years. It's a restaurant favorite, although sometimes the paneer can be a tad rubbery. With this week's them, I finally had the excuse I needed to give it a try. I found recipes in a several of Jaffrey's books, but went with the one in World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking (p240; the paneer is on p238).

As the red go-with, I chose Red Split Lentils with Cumin from Indian Cooking (p122). Red lentils are strangely mis-named. They're orange when you buy them and a rather unappealing gold color when they're cooked, but they taste good. This is a simple recipe I've made several times before so there was nothing new here.

Making the paneer turned out to be quite simple. You simply bring the whole milk to a boil, remove it from the heat, stir in some lemon juice, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then you pour the curdled mixture into some cheesecloth and suspend it to drain overnight. (I used butter muslin, and have recently read that it's actually better for the job than what I know as cheesecloth. When I went to top up my stash of cheesecloth last year, not having found any in French shops nearby, butter muslin is what turned up in online UK shopping.) 

The recipe calls for 5 cups of whole milk; I used a liter and adjusted the lemon juice accordingly. It was strange to me that there was almost exactly a liter of whey after the curds were removed. And, actually, not much more liquid came off beyond the whey that originally formed. It could have evaporated, I suppose, but since it's been raining most of the time of late (we're building an ark), I would expect the humidity to be quite high already. The next afternoon the curds were very dry.

Because they were so dry, they didn't really want to hold together all that well, but after being pressed under a cast iron Dutch oven full of water for a couple of hours, the paneer was solid enough to cut up and cook with, although the pieces weren't all that pretty.

The dish itself is easy to make, although I was pleased to have help in stemming all that spinach. I had only about 500g of fresh spinach (rather than 1-1/2 pounds), but that's still a lot. (Next time I might try this with frozen spinach which will make it a really easy dish.) First you brown the paneer, then remove it from the skillet and sprinkle with with salt, garam masala, and cayenne. Using the same oil, you fry a paste of garlic, ginger, and a chile that you've already whizzed up with water. After 30 seconds, you stir in the finely chopped spinach and some salt, cover, and cook slowly for 15 minutes. FInally you add the paneer and some cream, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes. I cut both these times quite a bit short and it didn't hurt a bit.

We were both very pleased with the result. Although the paneer was not as pretty as what you might be served in a restaurant, it was definitely tender and tasty.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas dinner 2012

Another small xmas dinner with just the two of us. It occurs to me that in Amstelveen we had access to a small population of folks who needed dinner, but here we don't  have that network. Our Brit friends like to eat out at British restaurants, where the food is good enough, but nothing special. We both like having a relaxed morning and eating at home.

Our starter was what we've been having for many years now, slices of foie gras wrapped in dried duck, accompanied by a bit of arugula and vinaigrette. Oh so yummy. Oh so rich. The xmas market where we've been getting this has enlarged, but strangely seems to have fewer good food vendors, so this may be the last time we get this.

Finding nothing of interest for a main course at the xmas marché, I fell back on the two coquelets I bought at the grocery as backup. Thinking I'd just roast them simply with some herbs, I was wandering through cookbooks looking for cooking times when I ran across Bademiya's Justly Famous Bombay Chile-and-Cilantro Chicken (Essential, p471). This looked very appealing and I happened to have everything needed on hand, so did a bit of replanning to accommodate this as the main course. I spatchcocked the chickies and marinated them, but ended up cutting them in half to serve since they were a bit too big for the plates. These were accompanied by Cilantro Sauce from the recipe, the suggested String Beans with Ginger and Garlic (Essential, p260), and Indian Mashed Potatoes (Q&E, p90).

We both enjoyed it all, along with a lovely bottle of Sancerre. I expected this to be a bit overwhelmed by the spicy coquelets, but it actually was a good accompaniment.

Dessert was a laugh. I chose a promising recipe for Amaretti Chocolate Cake (web). Promising, yes. Definitely a positive on taste. But a cake, no. More like some kind of mousse, very soggy. A 4 of 5 for taste, but a 0 for presentation. Not sure what the problem was, but I expect the amount of cream is wrong.

Monday, December 24, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/24-Dec-12: Dinner was a half recipe of Sea Scallops with Sweet Red Peppers and Zucchini (Essential, p409), which was very tasty and seasonal in appearance, all red, green, and white. Served with orzo, although possibly some spaghetti or linguine would have been nice. Then a salad. Then a small bit of a petit camembert.

Tuesday/25-Dec-12: Gloomy weather, and neither or us feeling xmas-y. Only got the tree up yesterday and haven't been playing our usual cheery xmas music. Dinner was nice, though, although the dessert was a bit of a failure.

Wednesday/26-Dec-12: Tweede kerstdag. Planned a bigger meal but scaled it back since neither or us were particularly hungry. The main was Pork Steak with Port and Figs (web; N.B.: This is from, but Safari is giving a "watch out" message today; perhaps they've been hacked). Nice, but the sauce was strangely bland. Also odd is the she calls for 8 dried figs at 150g. I used 12 (which was too many) and they were only 125g. Accompanied by some trio rice and some Carrot Timbales following the recipe for Broccoli Timbales (BEFCC, p58). Possibly I've made this more often with carrots than broccoli, but either way it's good. Then a salad using up yesterday's arugula. Then some leftover chocolate dessert.

Thursday/27-Dec-12: Did our shopping today. The holiday season brings lots of exotic and out-of-season fruits and vegetable. In past years there have been lots of mini versions of vegetables. This year I had a recipe to use mini squash, and of course there were none to be found. Oh well.

Dinner was an old favorite, Spicy Cajun Shrimp (MW@Home, p255), over rice. Then a big salad. Then some of the petit camembert.

Friday/28-Dec-12: Kitchen day today. Made a jarful of Apple Butter using the cheap sack of apples I got yesterday. Emptied the freezer to make a big pot of chicken stock. There was at least one chicken and two coquelets worth, plus, I think, some thigh bones, but I didn't count. Boned the last half coquelet to make a salad with leftover rice from last night, the cilantro sauce, some celery and radish bits. Pretty good lunch. Started paneer for tomorrow night's IHCC dinner.

Dinner started last of the foie gras-stuff magret and a bit of vinaigretted arugula. For a main there was Pumpkin Gnocchi with Crème Fraîche-Sage Sauce (web, cookbooker), which was good, although I still haven't mastered the technique for proper gnocchi. Then we had another bit of the chocolate non-cake. Nicely full now.

Saturday/29-Dec-12: A tasty dinner for IHCC tonight: Saag Paneer(WofE, p240), Red Split Lentils with Cumin Seed (MJ1, p122), served with rice and Spicy Cucumber Wedges (MJ1, p172). All but the Saag Paneer have been made before. Finished off the chocolate non-cake for dessert. Whew!

Sunday/30-Dec-12: Made some Pumpkin Cranberry Bread (MC) to use up the pumpkin I defrosted and some of the cranberries that have been lingering in the freezer for quite a while. It's good.

DInner was Tuna with Macaroni and Mushrooms (Ackart, p183). I made half of a recipe that should serve six, and it made a not overly generous dinner for two. But it was good. Then a salad. Then the last of the petit camembert.

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

Monday, December 17, 2012

IHCC: Foods To Warm You Up!

This was a topic open to a bit of interpretation. At first I thought something nice and hot would be in order, but then again, maybe a comfort food would be more in order. After yesterday's biryani feast, I opted for a tried-and-true dinner, a simple favorite we've enjoyed many times.

This was Lentils with Garlic and Onion (Indian Cooking, p124) with Simple Buttery Rice with Onions (Indian Cooking, 149). Then lentils are intended as a side dish, but I use them as a vegetarian main dish over rice. For a dinner for two, I made the full amount of the lentil recipe and a third of the rice. This is a very generous dinner, and there's a bit of the lentils in the fridge for leftovers night.

The lentils are started by frying some cumin seeds, then adding a goodly amount of garlic, then adding a chopped onion and cooking till it begins to brown. Stir in the lentils and water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer at a low heat till the lentils are done, about an hour. Finally add some salt and cayenne and simmer a bit longer. I always use the higher measure for the cayenne, and a sloppily generous measure at that. The buttery rice is really good with many dishes. I use about half the butter asked.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.

This week in the kitchen

Monday/17-Dec-12: Oldies but goodies tonight for dinner, another post for IHCC : Lentils with Garlic and Onion (MJ1, p124) and Simple Buttery Rice with Onions (MJ1, p149).

Tuesday/18-Dec-12: A neighbor brought us some homemade rillettes and homemade pineau (in a Scotch whisky bottle).

And tonight was TexMex comfort food, cheese enchiladas, "Spanish" rice with lots of veg, guacamole, and some pineapple sherbert for dessert.

Wednesday/19-Dec-12: The Mini decided not to boot last night, so the household is without admin, and I'm without my daily planning. Sigh.

Tried to figure out what we're having for the holidays. Not feeling very imaginative. The timing of xmas day is a problem. Would like to have fish, but one doesn't buy fish on Mondays, so that's kind of out.

Dinner was easy, a slice of Thanksgiving turkey roulade from the freezer, the rest of the sauce from the Garlic Chicken from the freezer, some smashed potatoes, and some steamed broccoli. Simple. Tasty.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/20-Dec-12: Shopping today, one of the priciest of the year.

Made some Pickled Red Onions using a recipe I've adapted.

Dinner was a half dose of Walnut-Breadcrumb Pasta with a Soft Egg (web), with poached eggs instead of soft-boiled. Tasty and easy. Then a salad.

Friday/21-Dec-12: Mike and Sally to dinner. Pulled pork/carnitas from the crockpot, a mishmash of recipes. Served with Mama's Garlic Colelaw made topped up with some chipotle powder, guacamole, grated cheese (mimelotte), and flour tortillas. Sally brought a bread pudding of croissants for dessert. Yum.

Saturday/22-Dec-12: Added another onion to the Pickled Red Onions. Finished off the rillettes for lunch. Tasty, but not so good for your cholesterol level.

Tarragon-Scented White Bean Soup (VegPress, p47) for dinner and lots for the freezer. Made a whole recipe and puréed. Good, but, well, it's bean soup, isn't it? Nothing a good dose of tabasco doesn't help ... which goes surprisingly well with the tarragon.

Sunday/23-Dec-12: Went to our favorite xmas marché at Chassenon today. Neither of us found it as nice as before. It's grown and seems to have lost its way. Usually we come away with one or two sacksful of food and goodies, but this time not. Some of our favorite vendors were missing and the variety was not as big as before. However, if you wanted a capon, you were in good stead. And there are getting to be too many Brits at these things.

Leftover cheese enchiladas for dinner. And double chocolate mini-Magnums for dessert since Ed doesn't like pineapple sherbert as well as I do.

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

Sunday, December 16, 2012

IHCC: Rice is nice!

Rice is nice, indeed, and Jaffrey's books are full of delicious ricey things to make. Some of them have already been posted this week. I wanted to do something more ambitious this week, but wasting two days waiting for a DHL package meant no chance for grocery shopping, and other commitments made Sunday the only "big" cooking day, so I'm feeling a bit rushed.

When I saw the rice theme, my first thought was of making a biryani, a favorite. Last week Ms. en Place made Shrimp Biryani, using the recipe I made in May. (It's good!) Shrimp is my favorite biryani, but since that has just been (well)done, I decided instead on my second favorite biryani, one with lamb. A check through my books turned up Lamb and Rice Casserole (Mughlai lamb biryani) in Indian Cooking (p154). A biryani is a festive dish, so dinner became a bit of a feast, with Yoghurt with Eggplant (p164) and Tomato, Onion, and Green Coriander Relish (p172), accompaniments recommended by Jaffrey. When I saw Jaffrey make this relish on TV, she said that mint could be used in place of the coriander or parsley. Since there is no coriander in the shops right now, I used that instead. The eggplant dish was already a favorite; the relish was new to us and a definite keeper.

Making the biryani is quite a long affair, nothing especially difficult but lots of wall clock time passes. You need to allow at least 5 hours from start to finish. It's easy to fit in the side dishes while the biryani progresses. And the last hour in unattended in the oven, so this could be a good company dish.

You start by rinsing, then soaking basmati rice for three hours. Then you prepare some saffron milk which also sits for three hours. You make a paste of chopped onion, garlic, ginger, and almonds. Then there are sliced onions to be crisped up for the garnish, as well as raisins to be plumped and almonds to be toasted. After your lamb chunks are browned and removed to a bowl, you fry the onion-garlic-ginger-almond paste till it starts to brown. You add the lamb chunks back to the skillet, and stir in some yogurt, a tablespoon at a time. When that's done, you add salt and water and let the meat simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. 

While that's happening, you grind up some cloves, black peppercorns, seeds from coriander pods, cardamom, cumin, and coriander seeds, ginger, and a chunk of a nutmeg. That gets stirred into the meat sauce, along with a dab of cayenne, and the mixture simmers for another 30 minutes. At the end of this time, you might need to simmer the pot uncovered for a few minutes to reduce the sauce. I didn't find this necessary, possibly because I was making a third recipe, so liquid tends to be a bit short. The meat sauce is spread on the bottom of a casserole dish. 

Meanwhile, the rice gets drained, stirred into boiling water, and cooked for exactly six minutes. This is drained, then piled into a hill on the meat. You make a hole in center of the rice hill, then pour the saffron milk over the sides and into the well. Bits of butter on the sides, a scattering of browned onions on top, and into a slow oven it goes, well covered, for an hour. At the end, you stir everything together, turn it onto a platter, garnish with the rest of the browned onions, raisins, almonds, and hard-boiled egg, and serve.

Ed said this wasn't quite as good as what's served at our favorite restaurant in Amsterdam, but it was a pretty close second.

Continuing with the rice theme, I made Light Rice Pudding (Phirni) from Climbing the Mango Trees (p262). Scented with cardomom seeds, this was tasty, if a bit too sweet for us.

There's a bit of a problem with this recipe: it calls for 100g or 2oz of sugar to sweeten 2 cups of milk. My scale was set for grams, so I weighed out 100g and marveled at the amount of sugar for this amount of milk. Of course, 100g is 3.5oz of sugar, which would have made it almost inedible, I expect. I used the 2oz (56g), and might cut it back a bit further (50g perhaps), since neither of us cares for really sweet tastes. The recipe is supposed to serve 4, but 2 cups of milk reduces quite a bit and we had only two servings from this. Also, we both thought it would be nice to toast the chopped pistachios a bit next time. But it was very tasty and easy to make, so I expect it will get made again.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Monday, December 10, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/10-Dec-12: Lunched out today, and nothing further happened in the kitchen.

Tuesday/11-Dec-12: Authentic French Bread in the ABM this morning for lunch bread and Thanksgiving rolls from the freezer for breakfast.

Made Chile Purée (TexMex, p50) today, the San Antonio chile sauce that used for enchiladas and chili con carne. Used anchos and pasilla negras. Seemed less bitter than the last time I made this. Some cheese enchiladas will be on the menu before too long. Froze up some of the chile-soaking water in an ice cube tray to have bits to add to beans and whatever.

Gas ran out while I was preparing dinner, luckily at an easy spot. Dinner was Delmonico Hash (Essential, p507), a recipe from 1877, using most of the meat from Sunday's third lamb shank. A light dinner, high-fat, but tasty. Then a big salad. Then two chocolates for after.

Wednesday/12-Dec-12: Another day of waiting for DHL, who never showed up. Now the package status says it will be delivered at an agreed upon date. Agreed with whom, I wonder?

In the early afternoon, I went to make a spice paste for tonight's chicken, only to discover that the prunes I was counting on were moldy. And, Wednesday afternoon, the little grocery that's close-by is closed. Oops. Replan. Dinner was a half dose of Garlic Chicken (web), made with thighs instead of legs. Easy and pretty tasty. Made all the sauce and froze about half of it for later use.

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/13-Dec-12: While I waited for DHL (they actually came!), Ed went off to choir practice and did a bit a shopping afterwards. He brought back some sole, which we had for dinner. I spread the fillets with Cilantro Pesto from the freezer, rolled them up, and baked them with a little sauce very loosely based on Fish Baked, Greek Style (Ackart, p24), using up the lump of oven-dried tomatoes that I neglected freeze on a tray. Served with some steamed broccoli and some odd lots of pasta. Then a smallish salad. Then some pieces of 3 Kings' Cake, an impulse buy. (It's not just me!) Ed found the fêve on the first cut. Pogo wore the crown for a while. A pretty good dinner.

Friday/14-Dec-12: Dinner has a half dose of Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi (web, cookbooker), which was pretty good. Then a really big salad (Ed bought a 150g sack of mâche yesterday). Then we finished off the 3 Kings' Cake.

Saturday/15-Dec-12: List-making this morning, shopping this afternoon—Saturday afternoon is a terrible time to shop. The sky opened about the time we were leaving.

Dinner was a half dose of Potato and Mushroom Gratin (Ready, p208). This was good, but took way too long to make, since I overlooked a crucial bit of instruction. While we were waiting, I used up the end of a jar of artichoke bottoms, topping them with dabs of black olive tapenade and pyramid cheese, then popping them under the broiler for a bit. Then we had a nice salad. And finally we had the gratin.

Sunday/16-Dec-12: Yogurt on overday.

DInner for IHCC tonight, a third recipe of Lamb and Rice Casserole (MJ1, p154), accompanied by Yoghurt with Eggplant (MJ1, p164) and Tomato, Onion, and Green Coriander Relish (MJ1, p172). Finishing off with Light Rice Pudding (Climbing, p262). Yum. But I'm stuffed. Here's the post.

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

Thursday, December 6, 2012

IHCC: Potluck!

This week it's potluck time at I Heart Cooking Clubs, a chance to make something that's caught your eye of late. I chose to make a chickpea flour stew with dumplings. I ran into this idea a couple of years ago, when looking for a way to use up some besan (chickpea or gram flour), and used this week's theme as an excuse to actually try the recipe. (N.B.: chickpea flour/gram flour/besan doesn't seem to keep long in the cupboard, but does well in the freezer.)

Almost exactly the same recipe can be found in Climbing the Mango Trees (p254), but I used the one in A Taste of India (p42), Chickpea Flour Stew with Dumplings (Karhi). I made a half recipe with all the spices (as I frequently do). You start this dish by making the karhi sauce, first frying some cumin seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, and fifteen (count them!) fenugreek seeds with dried chilies, and adding some turmeric at the end. Then you stir in the mixture of yogurt, water, and chickpea flour and let it simmer away for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile you make a batter for the dumplings of besan, baking soda, and yogurt. The recipe calls for this mixture to be beaten vigorously with a wooden spoon for ten minutes. I was already thinking of using the food processor for this when I read Julie Sahni's very similar* recipe for Chick-pea Dumplings in Yogurt Sauce (Kadhi) in Classic Indian Cooking (p284). (Yes, that's a one-letter spelling difference.) Sahni admits that vigorous beating is "tiring and time-consuming" and suggests using the food processor instead. Yay!

*Sahni says that in her family they add vegetables to the sauce, frying potatoes and onions with the spices before adding the yogurt mixture. She also adds some ground coriander to the dumpling mixture, which might be a nice touch.

Oops, I slipped a gear while halfing the recipe and added all the yogurt to the food processor, so I ended up making all the dumplings. The batter is dropped by the teaspoonful into hot oil to be fried.

When they've turned a lovely reddish color, the dumplings are drained on paper towels (Jaffrey) or in water (Sahni). I did some of each, but can't say that we noticed the difference in the final product. (Ed found a whole menagerie in all the dumpling shapes.)

When you're ready to eat, you reheat the karhi/kadhi, add the dumplings, and heat gently for ten minutes.

As suggested, I served the dumpling stew with plain basmati rice. For a veg, I made one of my standard Indian side dishes Tangy Green Beans with Ajwain and Ginger (Spice Kitchen, p38), which is nice because you can get everything ready ahead of time, then finish in the last ten minutes or so with minimal attention.

For the two of us, I made half of a recipe that should serve six, although we had all the dumplings. I was expecting to have some of the stew left, maybe to serve over toast for lunch tomorrow. But we decided to be piggy and finished it all off. Strangely, though, we both thought that the sauce that had been standing for a bit was more flavorful that what was first served.

Jaffrey suggest serving this stew with lamb kebabs, rice, and a vegetable. That sounds like quite a good combination. Also, since both the sauce and the dumplings can be made ahead and reheated just before serving, this could be a nice company dish.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Monday, December 3, 2012

This week in the kitchen

Monday/3-Dec-12: What a gray and gloomy day! Simple dinner, a half dose of Conchiglie Salmone e Piselli e Formaggi Caprini (web) and a salad. Used orecchetti because there isn't any conchiglie in the house. Oh well.

Tuesday/4-Dec-12: Warmed up the roast chicken; served with (yet again) Haricots Verts in Walnut Oil (Lunch, p216, MC, now HandyBook) and mushroom pasta. For dessert with did a taste-testing of four fair trade chocolate bars (one square each). Our favorite was the 70% one from Nicaragua.

Wednesday/5-Dec-12: Shopping today. Had an Asian itch, so dinner was Spicy Fish Cakes (MC), a vaguely Thai dish. Accompanied by Fragrant Jasmine Rice (MWLowFat, p189) and Zucchini with Cilantro Sauce (MWLowfat, p335). For dessert there was a bit of Pineapple Buttermilk Sherbert (MWLowFat, p394), that I made late last summer when I opened a can of what turned out to be crushed pineapple. All stuff we've had before, but good.

Thursday/6-Dec-12: Tonight's dinner was for IHCC's potluck theme. There was Chickpea Flour Stew with Dumplings (TasteIndia, p42) over plain basmati rice, served with Tangy Green Beans with Ajwain and Ginger (SpiceKitch, p38). Yum.

Friday/7-Dec-12: Today's lunch date fell through so we had an unplanned dinner, but one I'd already been thinking it was time for—our annual Dutch zuurkool stamppot. That's sauerkraut mashed with potatoes and topped with a smoked sausage. Comfort food. Another chocolate taste-testing for afters.

Saturday/8-Dec-12: Oops, neglected to notice that dinner wanted two and a half hours in the oven. Replan on order. So it was a half dose version of Poor-Cousin Paella (Secrets, p249). This recipe is good for using up odd bits of things. (That's why it's in the leftovers chapter, "The Squirrel Complex.") There were some small frozen cooked shrimp, the last frozen squid body, some store-bought chorizo (a good brand this time), with peas and artichoke bottoms, and jazzed up with some chipotle powder. Good stuff. Then a salad. Have enough paella left for lunch or a side dish perhaps.

Sunday/9-Dec-12: Dinner was Fall-Apart Lamb Braised with Mustard and Mint (web), with three of the four lamb shanks asked. The meat from the third one will show up in dinner in a couple of days. Good stuff it was. There was no mint in the store and certainly none in the garden, so I sprinkled on some dried spearmint, but can't say I noticed the flavor. Served with smashed potatoes and peas-and-carrots. Double-chocolate mini Magnums for afters, although it wasn't really needed.

Yogurt on overnight.

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