Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve 2015

To ring out the old year, I made a dinner from Pacific and Southeast Asian Cooking (aka TLPacSEA) from the Time-Life Foods of the World series. This is the latest book in my project of working my way through this series.

In all cases where fresh coconut was needed, I used grated coconut from a packet.

To start the meal, we had Banana Cows (p116). We're not big cocktails drinkers, but this was nice, barely tasted alcoholic, rum, banana, milk, vanilla, Angostura bitters. Banana and rum complement each other and the bitters took the edge off the sweet. The only problem was the quantity. One recipe fills the 12-oz glass that's asked. Not having snapped to the 12-oz part, I used 8-oz glasses. I should have made a single recipe and split that between us. But we enjoyed our cows.

For a starter, we had Lime-Marinated Scallops with Coconut Sauce (p9). I made approximately a whole recipe (7oz of scallops rather than 8oz). These would be tiny servings if six were being served and servings for four would be quite small. (On the other hand, serving all this for two was perhaps a bit much.) I used part of a can of coconut cream that was lingering in the pantry for the coconut top milk. There was an enormous amount of sauce. We'll use it as salad or veggie dressing in the next days. The dish was very tasty and very easy.

There were two mains, both things that would work well as finger food: Malaysian Curry Puffs (p7) and Saté AjamBroiled Skewered Marinated Chicken (p26).

The "puffs" are kind of mini-empanadas filled with a delicious spicy beef mixture. (I didn't get all of them well-sealed, you see.) I made a full recipe, since that's how much beef I bought (and ground in the food processor). The meat mixture is easy to make and extra yummy. I used store-bought pastry and was sorry. Home-made would have been much better. I might make the meat and use it to stuff phyllo packets or something similar.

The chicken saté was also yummy. A quarter recipe (one kip filet) would have been enough for four wooden skewers, with corresponds with the recipe. I didn't make the peanut sauce since neither of us particularly like that. I used coarse salt to help with mashing the garlic. I used store-bought ketjap manis. I sprayed the brochettes with oil rather than drizzling. Very easy to do. Very tasty.

For some vegetable matter, I went for Urab—Vegetable Salad with Spiced Coconut Dressing (p93). This recipe looked a bit questionaable to me, so I consulted Sri Owen's Indonesian Food and Cookery, where the salad is call Urap. Here I learnt that the sauce (more or less the same but using chili powder and garlic instead of sambal oelek, which was store-bought) is called bumbu. Owen says that if you're using dried coconut, you should boil the mixture with some water for 5 minutes. I boiled, but forgot to add the water, so my sauce was rather dry and crumbly rather than being any kind of runny. But it tasted fine. She always gives two versions of the salad, one with cooked veggies, the other with raw veggies (watercress, carrots, white cabbage, radishes, cuke, and spring onions)

The times given in TLPacSEA for steaming the veggies were wildly off (which is what made me consult Owen). I made about half a recipe. I did the bean sprouts for 3min (slightly less would be okay);  the cabbage, cut in wider strips than asked for, for 3.5min (a teeny bit longer might be okay if you prefer your cabbage softer); the spinach for 1.5min, which should have been no more than 1min; the green beans (haricots verts) for 5min. Owen also uses carrots, so I steamed thin slices for 5min.

Altogether a pretty salad, easy to assemble and very tasty. It would make a good dish for a pot luck or a buffet.

With a mix of Hawaiian, Malaysian, and Indonesian, this was altogether a nice dinner, everything I'd make again.

Happy 2016 to all!

Monday, December 28, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/28-Dec-15: Clearing out the pantry night. Baked potatoes with pyramid goat cheese and cheddar and lardons. Steamed asparagus with a bit of lemon juice. A strange salad of leftover green beans and chopped walnuts with a dressing of pyramid goat cheese, olive oil, and cider vinegar. Worked really well. Followed by more pecan pie bread pudding.

Thinking I had the meal plan ready, I meant to make the shopping list today. But I didn't, so I didn't. Maybe tomorrow. Ed's ready to wait till Thursday afternoon to shop, since it was relatively empty then last week.

Tuesday/29-Dec-15: Dinner was, more or less, Thai Chicken Salad (30MinCook, p98; cookbooker). I used duck aiguilettes (the long, narrow muscle behind the breast proper). Oops, we're out of carrots; used some peeled broccoli stems for the extra crunch. No mint either, but—surprise!—there was some outside. (There really shouldn't be mint at this time of year.) Ed thought it was almost uneatably salty. I thought it was salty, but not that bad. But very tasty.

Then we finished off the pecan pie bread pudding. I didn't make the version with corn syrup, which would have tasted more pecan pie-ish, I suppose, but we did like the nuts. Next time I make my double-boiler bread pudding, I'll put some nuts in with the caramel.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/30-Dec-15: Shopping today. Cilantro was in short supply. There was a space labelled Coriander at Leclerc, but it was really Cerfeuil (chervil). The nearby Casino was closed for their very long lunch break. Found two small packages at Intermarché.

Dinner was Fish Gyros with Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce (web). Tonight's fish was lieu noir again. I made all the sauce, more or less with half the fish. Served in pita bread things, oval rather than round. Good, easy, very fast. With some store-bought rice puddings for after.

Ed started on tiling over the kitchen sink this afternoon. Hooray!

Thursday/31-Dec-15: Our New Year's Eve dinner got its own post.

Friday/1-Jan-16: We had our first meal of the year out today, and very nice it was.

Saturday/2-Jan-16: Dinner started with a half recipe of Potage Parisien with Sorrel Cream (Essential, p148; cookbooker). This is a really yummy soup, easy and relatively fast to make. This was a recommended starter for Scallops with Pea Purée (Essential, p429; cookbooker). This was okay, nothing special. For dessert, we had the last two laits du riz from shopping day.

More tiling done today.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/3-Jan-16: Eating from the freezer tonight. Two little lamb pot pies, in small square casseroles, topped with squares of pâte feuillittée. Good stuff. Then a salad, with the sauce from the lime-marinated scallops as dressing. And a mini-mag for after.

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

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas dinner 2015

Beet Consommé with Vegetables, Salmon, and Scallops

Cocotte Luté de Pintade aux Citron Confits
Perfect Roasted Green Beans

Alsace Pinot-Noir

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

Ed set the table more than two hours before dinner was served and was clearly quite anxious to get that wine poured.

We started with Beet Consommé with Vegetables, Salmon, and Scallops (p113, Dinners42). The consommé was made from shredded beets and fish stock. The vegetables were an asparagus spear, a carrot stick, and a small potato each. (Now I see there was supposed to be a leek too. I bought one, but forgot to cook it. That's really okay because the plate is quite full.) There were two chunks of salmon and a scallop to go with those in each plate. A pretty nice soup course. The the beet consommé went especially well with the scallop.

For the main, I chose Cocotte Lutée de Pintade aux Citron Confits. I collected this recipe from C&V. On close reading, the recipe looked a bit odd. The photo clearly shows a bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary and these ingredients were not listed. Plus the cooking time was only one hour, which just didn't seem right for a whole bird. So I looked it up online and found the same but different recipe on the magazine site. The lutée in the title means the pot is sealed with a "rope" of flour and water dough. My tajine was just the right size.

Inside is a nicely cooked guinea hen with potatoes and preserved lemons. Very tasty it was. Served with Perfect Roasted Green Bean (MC, HandyBook).

The magazine article recommended an Alsace pinot-noir to go with the bird. This is a light red wine that indeed went well with the bird, although not as well with the soup. (Online crozes-hermitage was recommeded. No idea what that is.)

Dessert was Pecan Pie Bread Pudding (web), which turned out pretty good. I used sucre de canne (brown sugar) in the egg mixture and reduced the amount to 1/2 cup. Served with a store-bought topping of cream-and-marscapone. Doesn't look like much but it was tasty.

A small but nice dinner.

Monday, December 21, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/21-Dec-15: It was supposed to be fresh pasta tonight, but I just didn't have the oomph. So it was dried tagliatelle for a half recipe of Papparedelle with Roasted Butternut Squash (web; cookbooker). Pretty good this was. I used about half of one of our home-grown winter squash and strips of sorrel instead of arugla. Made a little salad with the second half of the red and green bell peppers, some onion, parsley topped with lemon juice and olive oil. Good it was.

Tuesday/22-Dec-15: Make us a sorrel omelette for lunch, followed by a salad. Then we went off to Limoges for a movie.

Wednesday/23-Dec-15: Ate out this evening. Nothing happened in the kitchen

Thursday/24-Dec-15: So, for various reasons we ended up doing our shopping today. We thought we'd go early, but, being ouselves, it was 11.30 when we got there. The parking lot was full. So was the store. The nice feature is that there were extra people serving in the fish department and all the checkout lines were manned (or, rather, womaned). By the time we left, there were lots of spaces in the lot. Moral: don't go early, but go after noon.

Because I planned to do Step 1 of tomorrow's dinner, dinner was easy one. But I didn't get Step 1 done, so that will put a bit of a rush on tomorrow. No big deal, I guess.

We had Grilled Fish Steaks (Q&E, p66). I had intended to buy a largish bit of dos de saumon (salmon back) for tonight and tomorrow's starter. But there was only a tiny bit of salmon, which will do for tomorrow. For tonight, I bought lieu noir, don't know the English name, but it's good. Served with Turmeric Rice (Q&E, p100), easy and tasty, and Karhai Broccoli (MJ@Home, p148), which is getting to be an old favorite. Bought a petit camembert and we had a bit of that for after.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/25-Dec-15: In the kitchen cooking most of the afternoon. The holiday dinner has its own post.

Saturday/26-Dec-15: Brined six or seven olives from our bigger olive tree in a pot. Tiny little things, and this probably wasn't worth the effort, but well see. This is the tree that Barbara left us. We have a littler one that's still just a baby.

Made up Jody's packet of Southwest Heirloom Bean Soup today. As a go-with there was Cayenne Cornbread (BigGerman, p182). Then a bit of camembert on the cornbread. Then a bit of pecan pie bread pudding from yesterday. We're full.

Sunday/27-Dec-15: Leftover day. Leftover bean soup for lunch. Went to a concert. Leftover pintade for dinner, along with a quickie salad of grated carrot and grated cuke with a lemon vinaigrette.

Yogurt on overnight.

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/14-Dec-15: Late start today, so an early dinner, skipping lunch. And I didn't look at the plan, but made something that's been on the plan, but wasn't today. Oh well.

So we had a half recipe of Jacques Pepin's Little Shrimp Casserole (web) made with scallops and shrimp. I've made this before with some kind of fish, but didn't care for it that much. This was much better. I served with some chanterelle-shaped mushroom pasta, which I just dumped on top of the little casseroles. That worked quite well. Then a big salad. Then some cookies.

Tuesday/15-Dec-15: Scratched the Indian itch tonight. For the main, there was Shrimp in a Dark Sauce (MJ1, p91; cookbooker). I made a half recipe, using more or less all the spices. As recommended in the recipe heading, I served with Cauliflower and Potatoes (MJ1, p109; cookbooker) and Tomato, Onion, and Green Coriander Relish (MJ1, p172; cookbooker). And some plain basmati rice for the sauce. I bought a sack of frozen cauliflower last week and used more of that for the veg. Nice dinner.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/16-Dec-15: Shopping today.

The last of the cazuela for dinner tonight, with a salad, followed by a mini magnum.

Thursday/17-Dec-15: Dinner was Seared Salmon with Green Peppercorn Sauce (web). Served with some buckwheat crozets (with a bitter butter and parsley) and steamed broccoli (with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic). Pretty good altogether. For dessert we had Cardamom Crumb Cake (web). A pretty good coffee cake type of thing, easy to put together, thank you, food processor.

Friday/18-Dec-15: Tonight was the carol concert for Ed's choir. We had planned to go out for pizza after. Turns out there was a choir party afterwards. So we skipped the pizza, ate a bit, then came home.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/19-Dec-15: Didn't really feel like cooking tonight, so made something really easy. Baked Fried Chicken, a recipe I collected last year, but neglected to note where I got it from. Easy and not bad, although there wasn't much fried about it. Chicken tenderloins, soaked in milk, dredged in flour seasoned with seasoned salt, salt salt, pepper, and paprika. Served with some nettle pasta I bought at a marché earlier in the year (no taste of nettle) and corn&peas. Some mini mags for dessert

Sunday/20-Dec-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Christmas Eve Confetti Pasta (web). The whole recipe says it serves eight, but that's pretty skimpy. It was simple, fast, and good enough. Then a salad.

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

Monday, December 7, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/7-Dec-15: Worked on the meal plan and grocery list today.

One more night of fish pie. With a big salad tonight.

Tuesday/8-Dec-15: Out today for BookChatters. Ate lunch at new possibility for meeting place.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Brocoli au Chorizo (web). I had just a bit since I ate out a lunch. This was really good, easy to do, and versatile. If you had the potatoes already boiled and maybe some leftover broccoli, it would be really quick. The gratin was potatoes, broccoli, and chorizo with a sauce of cream, cheese, and garlic. The recipe called for parmesan; I used gorgonzola since there was some to use up. I put parmesan on top rather than comté. Good stuff.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/9-Dec-15: Shopping late this afternoon after a slow start to the day with two sickies in house. In theory I'm on the upswing but still feeling tired and head full of crap. So late that I postponed tonight's planned dinner till tomorrow.

Late lunch before we left. I sautéed shrooms needing to be used with a bit of onion, some garlic, and some parsley. Made a open-faced sandwich, topped with some gruyère, also needing to be used, and popped under the broiler till the cheese was done. Quite tasty.

Instead there was Chicken Nuggets, an easy recipe I got from EAT-L and haven't found on the web. This is much like a recipe from one of the CL annuals, which uses crushed corn chips for the coating. This recipe called for bread crumbs. I used some crushed pretzels from the freezer, augmented by some crushed saltines. Easy peasy. Roll chunks of chicken breasts in a mixture of flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Dip in (butter)milk. Roll in crushed crumbs. Onto a sheet of waxed paper. Into a 400F oven for 20 minutes. Serve with sauces of choice. (We just used various hot sauces.) Served with corn and rice with red beans, made up and turned out really nice. Some yummy store-bought chocolate puddings for after. Later still we're having amaro with some provencal cookies that look and taste like cantuccini, which is why I bought them. First time I've seen these in the store, a nice discovery.

Thursday/10-Dec-15: For lunch I heated the leftover beans and rice and topped each serving with a fried egg. Pretty darn good.

Dinner was Jamie Oliver's Fantastic Fish Tikka Curry (web). Good, but not fantastic. Served over rice, with store-bought rice pudding for dessert.

Friday/11-Dec-15: Not a good day. Off for a haircut in the afternoon, so started a crockpot meal. Plugged it in but forgot to turn on the transformer. Ed thought it was odd not to be smelling it but never investigated. So when I got home, dumped all into a dutch oven and cooked it for an hour and a half.

Left a bit late for haircut and forgot to pack a sandwich. Tomtom and I fought all the way. Hungry when I got there and starving when I left. (Boulangers closed all through this time.) Ate some cookies we keep in the car, got jittery, stopped to pick up a croissant, bumped into another car when I parked. Not much damage to their car (left a note), but small dent in ours. Sigh. (Mystery is that our silver car and their red car left white swipe on both of us. Why?)

Arrived home to find dinner, Pork and Sausage Cazuela (R&WSlowCook, p102), not ready and waiting. Strange recipe. I don't mind crockpot dishes that take some cooking at the start, since the result is ofter better tasting. But this one wants work at the end too. It was good, but not really worth all the work. Lots of leftovers.

Saturday/12-Dec-15: Yogurt on overday.

No lunch and an early dinner, Creamy Sage Butternut White Bean Gnocchi (web). Made a more or less whole recipe of the sauce, but served only half and froze the rest. Used our home-grown winter squash. Used borlotti beans rather than canellini since I had more cans of those. Used almond milk instead of cashew milk, which isn't available; regular milk would do just fine, I'm sure. Didn't use sugar to caramelize the shallots. Pretty good. Then a bit salad. Some cookies for dessert.

Ed's worked on the Cube. No luck. Seems like when the power supply went, it zapped the motherboard. No more Mastercook. No more Framemaker. Sigh.

Sunday/13-Dec-15: More cazuela for dinner. Mini mags for after.

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