Monday, February 23, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Feb-15: Was cleaning a cookbook shelf today and discovered another batch of bread (unsorted) bread recipes. Sigh.

Tonight's dinner was Chickpea, Chorizo, & Spinach Soup (web). A whole recipe made our dinner, plus enough for lunch in the next days. More of a stew than a soup. Good. Used frozen spinach. We finished of the walnut cake from the mills for dessert.

Tuesday/24-Feb-15: This was supposed to be pasta night, but I just didn't have the oomph to do it. Instead, I used crozets de savoie (which were the inspiration for the dish) for a half recipe of Buckwheat and Brussels Sprouts Open Ravioli (Dusoulier2, p166). It wasn't bad, but not anything to do again. Roasting is still the best way to do Brussels sprouts. Made a salad but put it in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch. For dessert I made up a couple of Banana Mousses (green book; MC). I absentmindedly whizzed the yogurt with the banana, so they were a bit runny, but still tasty, flavored with vanilla and kirsch.

Getting really tired of feeling so bad. Sigh.

Wednesday/25-Feb-15: Added our lunch ham and feta to last night's salad to make our lunch.

Sorted through my newly discovered batch of unsorted bread recipes. Some really old stuff there, including a list of places selling Soezie products in NL. Also found a nice list of food-related books. Like I need more. Merged the recipes into my previously sorted stacks. Separated the biggest pile into no-knead bread (probably some duplicates here, but what a stack!), bread-bread, and flavored breads. Have trouble with pizza, flatbreads, foccacia, and ciabattas. One stack or four? It's the lumper/splitter debate. Next I have to merge these into my notebook, which needs a good tidying up anyhow, and add the most interesting to a page in my spreadsheet. Not that I really mind kneading dough, but some of the no-knead recipes are really inspiring to get going with, especially one that makes enough for three loaves, but you keep the dough in the fridge.

Dinner out tonight, at the Acoustic Club at Les Tilleuls.

Thursday/26-Feb-15: We planned to go shopping today, but in the end decided to go tomorrow since we'll be in La Roche anyhow for dental checkups. Replan.

Dinner was (sort of) a half recipe of Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms (web). Having not much appreciated the sliced and sautéed sprouts on Tuesday, this time I roasted them, then halved them to add to the sautéed mushrooms. Used whole wheat spaghetti in lieu of making it myself. This wasn't bad at all. For dessert I made up some chocolate pudding using my mother's recipe. Topped with a bit of cream. Good stuff.

Friday/27-Feb-15: We ate lunch in La Roche today after dentist, before shopping. New place. Not bad. Fruit and carrots in the evening.

Too bad beans aren't whole grains.

Yogurt on overnight with a new starter.

Saturday/28-Feb-15: We ate lunch at 16.00, so dinner was really late. A halfish version of Broccolischotel met Koolvis (web). The fish was lieu noir (saithe?), which we like. Used cream cheese for the zuivelspread. Really easy to do, quite tasty, and easy to change up. As suggested, served with some boiled potatoes as a side dish. For dessert we finished off the chocolate pudding.

Sunday/1-Mar-15:  Dinner was a half recipe of Shrimp and Chilies with Sherry Sauce (TLWest, p43). Wasn't bad, but can't say it was a success. No sherry in house, so tried shaoxing wine. Couldn't get that to ignite properly. Tried white wine. Ditto. Ended up pouring that into the pan and cooking briefly to make a little sauce. Suspect the alcohol content of both these was too low. They would both ignite at the edge, but wouldn't flame as they ought. Too bad, the burnt taste might have been nice.

Served with steamed hand-gensneden snijbonen. (These are called haricot coco in French; not sure of the English name.) We shared a magnum classic for dessert, then went to a move.

Have done a preliminary sort through my stack of sweets recipes. Pondering a dilemma in how to sort. In the past, I've sort of vaguely had stacks for chocolate and for fruits and then the other stacks are cakes, pies&puddings, quick breads, muffins, etc. But where do you put a chocolate pudding? I think there are two things to sort by: flavor (chocolate, fruit, and "other" might be sufficient here) and form (cakes, pies&puddings, etc.). That means I need to have a second sorting within my big piles. I think I usually choose something because I'm wanting chocolate or fruit, so those might be the big piles. Back to the drawing board here.

Not doing all that well on goals, particularly unused cookbooks and grains.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: no; #4 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #5 PASTA: no for February and March; #6 BREAD: no for February and March; #7 FotW: yes for February; no for March

Monday, February 16, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Feb-15: Dinner was a halfish dose of Easy Coconut Shrimp Curry (web). Easy indeed and pretty uninteresting flavorwise, but good enough for a quick dinner. Served with a halfish dose of Hot & Sour Stir-Fried Vegetables (Delightful, p55). Used cuke instead of zuke, since that's all there was. Pretty good, although not as tasty as it has been. Wondering if my fish sauce is getting old since it's almost at the end of the bottle. And basmati rice. Some frozen crèmes brulées for dessert.

Tuesday/17-Feb-15: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Chickpeas with Harissa, Basil, and Ham (Diaries, p153; cookbooker). The veggies (tomatoes and eggplant) have to roast in the oven for an hour or so, but otherwise this is quick and easy to prepare. I used chickpeas from the freezer, rather than canned. Made a nice one-dish meal. For dessert I made Easy Berry Cobbler (MC, HandyBook) using up a sack of blueberries and starting in on some raspberries.

Got my bread recipe clippings sorted out; now need to stick them in the notebook and add them to a Bread sheet in my spreadsheet. Small progress.

Wednesday/18-Feb-15: Shopping today. Bought some more dried morels since I didn't have enough for dinner. Expensive little buggers—much more than any other dried mushroom. Have been looking for dry sherry. Leclerc never seems to have it. Stopped at a cave to ask for it, and he explained that sherry wasn't available anywhere as it's not "in the culture." Oh.

Dinner was a halfish dose of Salmon with Red Wine-Morel Sauce (web), which was pretty good, except the piece of salmon I got was huge and we were both stuffed at the end of dinner. Served with parsleyed barley and steamed broccoli, as suggested. (Some sites say pearled barley is a whole grain and others not. I think not. Too bad. I'll have to buy some non-pearled next time.)

Thursday/19-Feb-15: Yogurt on overday, using the new starter I got yesterday. A new brand. My favorite brand has had only flavored versions of late. The house brand is OK, but I thought I'd try the new one. Can't say the lick I had was wonderful, but we'll see how it turns out.

Yummy pancakes for breakfast, Ned and Crescent's Favorite Multigrain Pancakes (Gospels, p205). (This seems to be the only recipe I've made from this book!)

Podded the mess of fava beans I bought yesterday.

Dinner started with the leftover Christmas Eve Soup (beets) from the freezer, with mushroom ravioli. Then there was Aiguillets de Canard au Poivre Vert (VPG) with brown rice on the side. Just noticed this recipe is marked "Light" although I can't imagine why. Duck breasts bits with crème fraîche? Admittedly I usually have light crème fraîche, but still. It was good, nevertheless. Then a salad. (Leclerc  hasn't been stocking the 100g sacks of salad, so I bought one of 60g and topped up with some leaves from a head of lettuce.) Didn't feel like dessert again. That poor cobbler will have to wait another day.

Friday/20-Feb-15: Not crazy about the new yogurt. Will go back to my favorite or the house brand when it's time for a new starter.

Cooked up some chickpeas for the freezer and for a coming dinner. Cooked and peeled a zillion fava beans (ok, it was more like 2 cups, but it seemed like a lot).

We had our dinner early since we're out at a concert this evening. Made a halfish dose of Slider Patties with Pomegranate Molasses (web; CL/may14). Had to "grind" my lamb in the food processor, but I'm discovering that works pretty well. These were good. As a side, I cooked some orecchiette, added the favas, some sliced mint, some grated parmesan, pyramid goat cheese (a bit out of date, but the package was unopened, so I assume it's ok), salt, and pepper. A lot of it, but it was good. Finished off the berry cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Saturday/21-Feb-15: For a starter tonight we had a small salad with a fig stuffed with foie gras. Bought a package of six of these for xmas. Still have two more in the freezer. For the main, I made a Ukrainian dish, Egg Noodle-and-Spinach Casserole (TLRus, p37). I made a full recipe, which is advertised as serving 6-8. I put it together in two 1-quart baking dishes and froze one of those. (Only one layer of spinach between two layers or noodles.) We easily ate all of one casserole as a vegetarian main one-dish main course. Very tasty. I used fresh noodles from the shop and only (the equivalent of) 3 10-oz packages of frozen spinach rather than 4, since it seemed like a huge amount. I expect this is meant as a side dish, but it was good as a main.

Sunday/22-Feb-15: Yogurt on overday. Meant to start a crockpot dish early this morning, but didn't get it going till after noon. Then the crock didn't turn on (sometimes the knob around Low is fiddly), so it was even later getting going. Sigh.

We were out during the day. When we got back I started Rye Bread (BigGerman, p251) in the bread machine. No vital gluten. Goofed by starting to add whole wheat flour when it should have been bread flour, so it was 2cups rye, 1cup whole wheat, and 1cup bread flours. Cooked on the fast white bread cycle. Pretty darn good, with a nice texture and crispier than usual crust.

The bread was to serve with Balkan Pork'n'Sauerkraut Dinner (TeenyCrock, p52), which was good, but made a ton. It said it serves 4-6 and it means it. I've put up two containers in the freezer for future meals.

We visited three mills on the Open Mill weekend today. Came home with a small walnut cake (mostly gone now after an afternoon snack and dessert), a loaf of walnut bread, and a loaf of plain bread. The plain bread has gone in the oven, we'll have some of the walnut bread for breakfast, then rye bread with our lunch sandwiches.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for February

Monday, February 9, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Feb-15: Sicky me today. Was going to  make soup with dinner but didn't feel like finishing it off. So dinner was just Grilled Chicken Sandwich (CL92, p193). The chicken didn't get marinated as long as it should have, but it was still quite tasty.

Made some ABM bread using the (expired) pain aux levain mix that I'd forgotten in the fridge. Used the tare method for measuring. That really makes it easy and no extra measuring devices to clean up.

Tuesday/10-Feb-15: Off to order our new fridge today. It will arrive Friday.

When it came time to make dinner, I discovered that I'd neglected to defrost some egg whites. Oops, replan. Instead I finished off the soup I didn't make last night and served with the leftover brown rice crusted quichey thing. For dessert we had the last of the (frozen) chocolate-pear cake bits.

The soup was Spas (Yoghurt-and-Barley Soup with Herbs) (TLRus, p23) from the Caucasus. This was pretty darn good for a simple soup. Would be nice in small cups as a starter or just on a buffet perhaps.

Wednesday/11-Feb-15: Shopping today. Nothing much exciting there.

Dinner was Pork Burgers Dijon (CL92, p159). I made a full recipe, 6 patties, which should serve six. They were good. We ate 5 patties and have one left for lunch tomorrow. Served with Coriander Carrots (web), a quick little recipe from a Cooking Light magazine, easy and good. Also some corn on the cob, espied at Intermarché yesterday. Some squares of chocolate for after.

Thursday/12-Feb-15: Dinner was Steamed Scrod Packages in Pimiento Sauce (MoreFast, p79; cookbooker). This was fun, quick, and quite good. Followed by a salad. No sweet tonight.

Friday/13-Feb-15: New fridge arrived this afternoon, needing its doors to open the other way around. Ed took care of that. Then I filled it back up. There's a bit more fridge room and a bit less freezer room. I guess we'll cope. It's a bit taller, so one of the two cabinets above the fridge had to go. I'm thinking the crockpot and one or two other such things will end up sitting there instead. (Anticipating the loss of the cabinet, I'd already emptied it and have jammed the crockpot onto a shelf from which it's really hard to retrieve it. The top of the fridge will be better. If only it weren't so ugly and orange.)

Dinner was a half recipe of Zucchini Curry (web), easy and not at all bad, served with basmati rice. We split a magnum classic for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/14-Feb-15: Yogurt on overnight, but the electricity was off for 10 minutes or so. Restarted with a guess a required time. We'll see.

Lunch out today; nothing much happened in the kitchen.

Discovered that, with the new fridge in place, the door on the corner cabinet in the peninsula doesn't open as far as it used to. Oops. Maybe need to move the fridge over just a smidge. Still can't get used to the big grey/inox mass standing there.

Sunday/15-Feb-15: Yogurt was edible. Will get a new starter next week.

Dinner in the crockpot today, so it was waiting when we got back from a concert. It was a half recipe of the very well-reviewed recipe for Southern Slower Cooker Choucroute (web). Not so highly rated here. OK, but nothing special. Have some leftovers, maybe to make up a kind of poor-man's reuben for lunch one day soon.

Unused cookbooks? CL92 qualifies in the life of this blog, but I did use it before that, so it doesn't really. Need to focus on this a bit.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: yes for January; no for February

Monday, February 2, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/2-Feb-15: Quick dinner tonight after return from an afternoon movie. Heated a defrosted leftover Indian-ish sauce, added bit of sauce another plus some chickpeas, and some curry powder and some garam masala. Wasn't bad. Served over rice, with Tangy Green Beans with Ajwain and Ginger (SpiceKitch, p38). We split a classic magnum for dessert.

Tuesday/3-Feb-15: During the day we (mostly Ed) planted another batch of bird shrubs on the hedgerow we're trying to establish at the bottom of the South Forty.

Dinner was a half recipe of Chicken and Mushrooms in Garlic White Wine Sauce (web). I used mushroom-flavored noodles, not the chanterelle-shaped ones that really taste of shrooms, but some others that are subtler in flavor. Served with some steamed broccoli. Then a big salad.

Finally found my Zabars cookbook, but it doesn't have the chocolade salami recipe. Still missing my little folder of stamps. Have a vague memory that I had it in the car along with some cookbooks and put it in a book to keep it from getting crumpled. Looked through all the book possibilities I could think of today, without luck. Bought some more stamps at the post office.

Wednesday/4-Feb-15: Shopping today.

Dinner was a half recipe of Spice Crusted Salmon (web), which was pretty good with a coriander-and-cardamon spicy crust and a reduce balsamic vinegar sauce. Served with a half recipe of Home-Style Brown Rice Pilaf (web), which was good, but way too much. To me a pilaf is a side dish. Half of what was reported to serve four was very close to a main for two. Used up chickepeas left from a few days ago. Made a salad, but neither of us wanted more to eat, so I put it outside to chill.

Thursday/5-Feb-15: Went down to look at the bird hedge this afternoon. Many of the shrubs have been uprooted. Looks like a deer or more likely a sanglier/boar has been busy. Tomorrow we'll get some more wire fencing stuff to wrap around them all. Sigh.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Gratin de Confit d'Agneau à la Coriandre (web), sort of. This is kind of a shepherd's pie with lamb. I used cooked lamb from the freezer rather than cooking it special for this dish. I omitted the honey, but added some carrot for veg and a bit of sweet. It was pretty good food for a cold night. Then we had last night's salad. Later we had some squares of chocolate.

Friday/6-Feb-15: Went to the dentist for checkups today, only to discover that the appointments were on the 16th, not the 6th. Oops. Now rescheduled.

Dinner was a half recipe of Black Angel's Hair with Scallops (PastaCarlu, p28). It wasn't angel's hair, but cascareccia, but it was squid ink pasta, which is difficult to find around here. And I had almost twice too much scallops, since I wanted to use the whole package. Never mind. It was good. Then a salad.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/7-Feb-15: Dinner was Herbed Zucchini and Feta Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust (web). It was good. But I see it says it serves six or more, where we will get four main servings. Served with a big salad. We split a magnum classic for a sweet.

Sunday/8-Feb-15: Thought we might go out to a loto this afternoon, so I planned a crockpot meal. Made a long half recipe of Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala (web). It was awfully soupy and the chicken breast chunks had that strange dry texture that they get in a crock pot even though it's cooked in liquid. We'll get another meal out of it; I'll add some cooked chicken. Good flavor. Thighs might be better, though. Served with basmatic rice and Carrot and Onion Salad (MJ1, p171). Neither of us felt like dessert.

Think we've finally decided on our next refrigerator. We discovered that French reviews for the brand we were looking at are actually pretty good. We'll go Tuesday to order it. We'll see.

Just realized I didn't plan any meals from the freezer for the next week. Oh well.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: yes for January/no for February