Monday, October 31, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/31-Oct-16: Homemade yogurt for breakfast today. Happy face!

Used leftovers from the other night to make Warm Broccoli and Potato Salad (MDSalads, p15) for lunch. There was enough of it we didn't feel like eating dinner. I planned to make a meal from the current Time-Life book, but didn't feel like doing anything further. Replan necessary.

Made some Herb Salt (Art, p172).

Tuesday/1-Nov-16: Lunch out today. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Wednesday/2-Nov-16: Because we were out most of yesterday, I didn't get the meal plan and list made for shopping today. Instead, I made the Time-Life meal that I originally planned for Monday. Then we went off to a movie.

Thursday/3-Nov-16: Since Ed's choir practice would run long today and he had errands to run afterwards, we decided to postpone shopping till tomorrow. We had Time-Life crab cakes for dinner along with canned corn and trio rice. Squares of chocolate for dessert.

Friday/4-Nov-16: We finally got to shopping today, and even that was late. Friday afternoon is not the best of times.

Dinner was Panko-Crusted Baked Salmon (web), made in the oven this time as it should be. Quite good it was. Served with steamed broccoli topped with lemon juice, and a kind of pilaf with shallots and some sliced (impulse-bought) shiitakes. All was good. Chocolate squares and a Pogo walk for dessert.

Saturday/5-Nov-16: Today my bike, which has been sitting on flat tires in the far shed since we moved here, went off to one of the refugées who were moved from Calais to Montbron. A bit sad to see it go, but glad it will be used.

For dinner, I used a recipe from a recipe for Chicken Satay Marinade from an EAT-L friend to make, yes, Chicken Satay with two kip filets. I cut these into four strips each and marinated them a good long while, then skewered them and grilled under the broiler. Should have made some peanut sauce to go with it, but it was still good. Served with Coconut Rice (30MinInd, p100) and a Thai-ish cucumber salad vaguely following a recipe from the web. All was good.

Sunday/6-Nov-16: Yippee! Ed had fried chicken for dinner tonight! Served with some garlic mashed potatoes for the gravy and some peas and carrots. We were full, no dessert needed.

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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Tuxedo Chicken

Tonight we had Tuxedo Chicken (p152), another one-dish main from Desperation Dinners. We had a little salad afterwards, but that wasn't really necessary.

This is a satisfying pasta dish, very similar to what I might make for a "brainless dinner." Melt some butter in a skillet and add some chopped onion. When the onion bits are a bit soft, add some skinless, boneless chicken breast halves that have been cut into strips. Stir these until they're no longer pink. Meanwhile cook the broccoli. The authors suggest microwaving; I cooked it in the pasta water. Remove the chicken from the pan. Stir in some sour cream (low-fat, not) into the pan*, then add some grainy mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder. (I used the Worcestershire sauce that was called White Wine Worcestershire when it first came out. Since the idea of wine seemed to offend many Americans, it's was relabelled as Chicken Worcestershire, or something like that. Same ingredients. It has a less assertive taste that the original sauce.) When the sauce begins to get a bit thick, stir in the chicken and broccoli. Meanwhile, boil up some pasta. (The authors suggest farfalle (bowties); I used malfalda corta, which I think looks like mini-lasagnas if your image of lasagna noodles includes curly edges.) Serve the pasta topped with the sauce. Enjoy.

*I now see that I was supposed to add some half-and-half too. We didn't miss this at all. There was plenty of sauce.

This wasn't a fantastic dish, but satisfying. If I were to do it again, I'd use some soft goat cheese instead of the sour cream. We've really come to like Chavroux (known to us as pyramid cheese because of the box it comes in) in dishes like this. Or on scrambled eggs. And other things.

Note: This recipe has a Time-Saver side-bar which suggests that when you're boiling a large quantity of water, you can put some in your big pot and the rest in another pot. When they're both at the boiling, carefully pour the contents of the smaller pot into the big one. Maybe saves a bit of time, but it seems like too much trouble.

Well, after using this book quite a bit, I'm beginning to think it may be going onto the recycle stack. I love the name, and enjoy the writing style and presentation, but the recipes are pretty ordinary as a whole. And, for me, there is too much reliance on prepared things like already sliced veggies that I don't have access to and probably wouldn't use if I did. There are a few good recipes here, e.g., Bob's Famous Fish (p279) (and this one, perhaps, with a bit of tweaking), but for the most part there's nothing that special here. If it stays on the shelf, it will be for affection rather than utility.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their October cookbook. If you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Harvest Pork Chops

We're back from our visit to the Netherlands and I'll finish out the month with more from Desperation Dinners. Tonight there was Harvest Pork Chops (p70), a one-dish skillet dinner.

This dish is fairly quick to make, but you are pretty busy the whole time. You start by making rice with diluted chicken stock as the liquid. I used regular white rice rather than "instant". (Not sure what you gain by using instant here.) While that's happening, you melt some butter in a skillet and add some thick half-moon slices of onion. When those are starting to soften, you add (boneless) pork chops and brown them on one side. (The boneless chops I found were really half-chops, so we had two bits each.) Meanwhile, you slice up a cored apple and mix more chicken stock with apple juice, white wine, or water (I used the wine), brown sugar, mustard, and cider vinegar. These are added to the skillet with some cabbage coleslaw mix. (That not being available, I sliced up an equivalent amount of Chinese cabbage.) This mixture cooks, covered, until the pork chops are more or less done. Then some cornstarch and water is added to thicken the sauce. It was all very tasty, but a bit of your basic beige dinner. A proper coleslaw mix might have had more eye appeal.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their October cookbook. If you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Monday, October 24, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/24-Oct-16 through Thursday/27-Oct-16: We were away all of this time and hope nothing happened in the kitchen.

Friday/28-Oct-16: Arrived home today. Had planned to stop for pizza, but that didn't work. Instead I made the Artichoke Spaghetti (Art, p59) variation with tuna. Good and fairly easy, except for being pestered by one annoying cat.

Saturday/29-Oct-16: I did a quick shopping today, to get us back on schedule for Wednesday shopping.

Dinner was a one-dish meal of pork chops. Not remembering that this was a one-dish meal, I also made some steam-sautéed potatoes (which were yummy) and some broccoli. We tasted the potatoes to verify how good they were, and I'll make a broccoli-potato salad for lunch tomorrow. We were stuffed, so no dessert was needed.

Back in business—yogurt on overnight!

Sunday/30-Oct-16: Desperation chicken for dinner tonight, along with a salad. This week they had small (100g) packages of mixed lettuces, which made for a better size, not such a giant salad. For dessert, I warmed some of the free poffertjes from Albert Heijn, five each, and we had them with powdered sugar.

The gas ran out as the pasta finished. Before Thanksgiving, hooray!

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 1
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no; #5 FotW: no for October/November

Monday, October 17, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/17-Oct-16 through Sunday/23-Oct-16: We were away all week. Nothing happened in the kitchen that I know of.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: —
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no; #5 FotW: no for October/November

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Pasta with Salmon Cream

Tonight there was Pasta with Salmon Cream (p163) from Desperation Dinners. Nothing too special, but kind of your basic creamy pasta dish. Quite tasty and easy to assemble.

I used fettuccine as instructed, but I expect penne or cascarelli would be just as good. You start by sautéing a finely chopped onion. When that's soft, add some frozen green peas (optional, but I prefer them), grated Parmesan, half-and-half, frozen lemon juice concentrate (I used juice straight from the lemon), minced garlic (mine was freshly chopped rather than from a jar), crushed red pepper, and dill leaves. Cook gently till the sauce thickens. With planning your fettuccine will be ready and you can stir in the smoked salmon and some yogurt or sour cream (I used crème fraîche). I didn't cook the salmon at all, but stirred the sauce, salmon, and crème fraîche into the just-drained pasta. Very tasty. A nice dinner with a salad.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their October cookbook. If you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Flake Baked Chicken

More crushed corn flakes from Desperation Dinners tonight with Flake Baked Chicken (p266).  And this is where the flattened chicken that I did a couple of nights ago came from. Oh well.

Flatten the chicken by putting in between waxed paper and beating it with a rolling pin. Put it on a baking sheet and coat the top with mayonnaise. Make a topping of crushed (corn or wheat) flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Bake at 475F for 15 minutes until the crumbs are brown.

I decided to do this under the broiler, which was a bad decision. The crumbs were black within 10 minutes, so I scraped them off and let the chicken cook a bit longer.

In the oven, rather than in the broiler, this is another pretty good way to do chicken. The mayo adds a nice moisture without adding much taste. (We're not big mayo people here.) The corn flakes add some crunch. You could add your favorite spice to give the topping a bit more character. 

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their October cookbook. If you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Golden Fried Fillets and Orzo with Mushrooms and Sun-Dired Tomatoes

Tonight's Desperation Dinner was Golden Fried Fillets (p275) served with Orzo with Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes (p323).

Lieu noir (saithe or pollack) was on special today, so that was the fish-of-the-day. In this recipe, the fish is coated with crushed cereal flakes (I used corn flakes) mixed with flour and Old Bay seasoning, then sautéed in butter. (I used a mixture of butter and olive oil. We found it a bit bland, maybe because my Old Bay is ancient. This dish was okay, but would be better with a zingier flavoring, like the cajun mixture from my previous Desperation Dinner.

The orzo was quite good. My husband has a "thing" for orzo, so I'm always looking for a new way to serve it. This recipe asked for already-sliced mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes to be microwaved in a bit of water before stirring into the drained orzo with some Parmesan. I sliced my own mushrooms (pleurotes, oesterzwammen, oyster mushrooms) and used oven-dried tomatoes from the freezer. No microwave, so I sautéed them briefly in a bit of olive oil. I put some extra Parmesan on top

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their October cookbook. If you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Smokin' Cajun Chicken

Tonight's Desperation Dinner was Smokin' Cajun Chicken (p264). If you've already made up the Super Seasoning Mix, this is a meal that goes together lickety-split. Even if you haven't, it's still quick.

The spice mix is paprika (I used smoked paprika), garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, basil, and oregano. Once the mix is made, you put it into a ziploc bag and then add the skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves (much easier in Dutch, kip filets). Or, as I did, you put the mixture onto a shallow plate and press the kip filets into the mixture. Mis-remembering the recipe, I also flattened my kip filets by putting them between waxed paper and whapping them with a rolling pin before coating with the spice mixture. The chicken is then quickly cooked in butter, several minutes on each side, until done. I made a quick pan sauce by deglazing the pan with some chicken stock (sh! it was from a cube) and adding a dab more butter.

This is actually kind of a kind of a standard fast dinner here. Flatten some kip filets, spice them up as you want, and sauté quickly till done. The pan sauce is a nice finishing gesture.

Since I was cooking only half the number of kip filets, I made only half the spice mixture. Actually it would be worthwhile making double the amount shown, so you have this available for another quick and tasty meal.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their October cookbook. If you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Monday, October 10, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/10-Oct-16: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Moroccan Missile (Wraps, p87; cookbooker). Used lavash, rather than flour tortillas for the first round. Don't think the coucous was really needed. After two round, we were full.

Tuesday/11-Oct-16: Chicken for dinner, plus garlic mashed potatoes and a big salad. That was all.

Wednesday/12-Oct-16: Shopping today. Fish and orzo for dinner, along with steamed broccoli. That was all.

Thursday/13-Oct-16: Chicken for dinner again. Served with Baked Eggplant Slices (TooMany, p114), which is a very old favorite, and the last bit of some multi-colored pasta shells, tossed with shallot, garlic, the rest of the mushrooms I bought for yesterday's orzo, and chopped parsley. For a salad, we had Cold Beetroot with Cream (Pomiane, p180), another old favorite. That's all there was.

Yogurt on overninght.

Friday/15-Oct-16: Dinner was Baked Beef Curry (MJ@Home, p139), which was pretty easy to put together, and tasty to eat. Served with rice, and then some Pan-Grilled Zucchini (MJ@Home, p173) again. This time I sprayed my zucchini slices with olive oil before cooking them under the broiler. This worked super well. That was all.

Saturday/15-Oct-16: Lunch out today for our anniversary. Nothing further happened in the kitchen, but I did get a lot of ironing done.

Sunday/16-Oct-16: Salmon pasta for dinner, followed by a big salad. It was good and I was full. Ed had a mini magnum after, I had nothing extra.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG:  no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no; #5 FotW: no for Oct/Nov

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Garlic-Roasted Salmon

This is kind of a pause month for my Time-Life Foods of the World project, so I needed to choose another book for October. Given that this month has little time and attention for serious cooking, I thought I might exercise one of my "quick dinner" books. I decided I really didn't need to keep around the first book I looked at—I copied one recipe and have put the book in the recycle box. A second book still leaves me a bit iffy; I'll have a closer look at this one before long, when I might copy more than one recipe before recycling it. I ended up choosing Desperation Dinners, by Beverly Mills and Alica Ross.

I've actually cooked just a bit from this book in the past and have a couple of favorites. But beyond those, I've hardly turned a page. It suits this month to concentrate on fast and easy dishes.

It was shopping day today, so we had fresh fish. Tonight it was Garlic-RoastedSalmon (p282). This is, as promised, really simple and really fast. Your bits of fish are topped with minced garlic and bottled minced ginger. Rather than mincing or using from a jar, I used my microplane to grate both garlic and ginger. I sprayed my fish with olive oil, then mixed the garlic and ginger together and spread the mixture on the fish. The recipe asks to cook the fish in a 500F oven, but my no-longer-so-new stove has a separate (gas) broiler and I used that instead. This dish could hardly be simpler and was very yummy.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their October cookbook. If you've got books on your shelf wanting to be used, why don't you choose one and join in?

Monday, October 3, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/3-Oct-16: Put up the latest batch of tomato purée. Now a brief pause before picking more.

Hamburger time tonight. Ed was supposed to barbecue this evening, but he hurt his back falling off a ladder and didn't feel like it, so I grilled them on the stove. Very lean ground beef mixed with a shot of soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne. Pretty good, although I cooked them a bit long. Served with the leftover lentil salad, still good. Also grilled a zucchini cut in thick slices and sprinkled with a Moroccan spice mix, with a sauce of crème fraîche and minced garlic. Mini magnums for after.

Tuesday/4-Oct-16: Dinner was Fattoush—Levantine Bread Salad (PatSalads, p72). Picked two tomatoes from the potager to use. Instead of pita breads, I used some lavash. I rather like that and have bought it twice now. I see I forgot to add the cucumber, but it was still a yummy salad. Some bit of cooked meat (chicken?) might be nice too, or maybe feta.

For dessert, there was Apple Crisp (BeatThis, p13; cookbooker). Having had a look through this book, I'm going to put it in the recycle box. Too many recipes using canned soup, etc. But I saw this and gave it a try. I made it with frozen raspberries and grannies, half and half. Very good, with a splash of cream. Have put the recipe in my HandyBook, since a quick and easy sort of dessert is always useful.

Wednesday/5-Oct-16: Shopping today. The enlargement mess and noise continues to be very unpleasant.

I bought a bit of blue cheese today (St Agur) just for a lark, and, as we returned home, I noticed lots of ripe figs on our neighbor's tree. I went and picked four for us. For a starter, I halved these lengthwise, crumbled a bit of blue cheese and dribbled a bit of honey onto each, popped them in the oven for a few minutes, then served topped with chopped walnuts. Yum. Even Ed liked them.

Our main was salmon (cookbooker) from my latest book for Cookbook Countdown. Served with some trio rice. Followed by a simple salad. We didn't feel a need for dessert (but we did have some square of chocolate later). We might finish the apple-raspberry crisp for breakfast tomorrow.

My attempts at making a yummy fig jam haven't been very successful. We're currently eating a really good fig-walnut jam that I picked up at a market somewhere. I'm tempted to pick a basketful and try again. We might have some of last year's walnuts still in the freezer. (It looks like this year will be a pretty poor crop unfortunately.)

Yogurt on overnight.

Thursday/6-Oct-16: Ed has asked for more beefy things, so tonight there was boudin noir again. Not really beefy, but high in protein for his hemoglobin.

During the day I made up some Carrot and Ginger Quickie Pickle (MC; Scraps, p82; web).

We had Black Pudding in Pastry with Mustard Sauce (Diaries2, p146), kind of sausage rolls, but with black puddings. The recipe asks morcilla, which I have seen at Leclerc, but not this week, so I got regular boudin noir, locally made. I used a package of four squares of pâte feuilleté, rolling two square out to a rectangle that enclosed the boudins on a bed of onions. Pretty good, but doesn't need to be made again. Served with some steamed broccoli, and some apple chunks that I sautéed in the onion pan. Also made some Radish and Sour Cream Salad (TLMidEast, p87), but we were too full to eat it.

Friday/7-Oct-16: Picked some more tomatoes today, just enough for dinner and a few extra. Finally made Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter (ClassItal, p152). Had an idea to serve it with fresh pasta, but didn't have time in the end, and she doesn't recommend it, except for potato gnocchi, which I definitely wouldn't make. I neglected to peel the tomatoes, which was a shame, so I buzzed them a bit (not quite enough) with my stick blender. Looks chef-boyardee-ish, but tastes much better. Froze half for later use.

Saturday/8-Oct-16: Had our main meal early today so we can go out this evening. We had West Indies Salmon Cakes (MC; web). Yummy and three more frozen for another meal. Served with turmeric rice, loosely based on something from the web, the Carrot and Ginger Quickie Pickle that I made earlier in the week, and Pan-Grilled Zucchini (MJ@Home, p173). All yummy. Had some mini magnums for dessert.

Sunday/9-Oct-16: Home late last night, and up late this morning. We went to a concert in the afternoon. I had planned to cook dinner, but really didn't feel like it. So we went out for pizza instead.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no; #5 FotW: no for Oct/Nov