Monday, November 28, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Turkey Hash and Lacy-Edged Batty Cakes

Thanksgiving has passed and company has gone home. Time for one more meal from Time-Life Foods of the World American Cooking: Southern Style. We had Turkey Hash  (p14) with Lacy-Edged Batty Cakes (p14). These apparently go together to make a traditional Kentucky Derby breakfast.

I made half recipes of the hash and the batty cakes. The hash says it serves 6. The half recipe easily served two for dinner; three might have been a stretch unless accompanied by a big salad or some such.

To make the turkey hash, first sauté some onion and green bell pepper. When those are soft, add some sliced mushrooms; I used shiitakes, since that's what I had in the fridge. When the liquid from the shrooms has evaporated, stir in some flour, then some stock. (I used chicken stock from the freezer, since I haven't made my turkey stock yet.) When the stock boils and thickens slightly, stir in some turkey meat (I picked a selection of light and dark meat from my turkey carcass), chopped parsley, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. If it seems too dry, you can stir in spoonfuls of cream, but I didn't think this was necessary. Nothing fancy here, but plain good food.

The batty cakes are cornmeal pancakes. I can't say these were really successful, but they were certainly good enough to to serve as a base for the hash.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their November cookbook. Why don't you choose a cookbook from your shelf and join in?

This week in the kitchen

Monday/28-Nov-16: Cut some meat off the turkey for tonight's turkey hash, and for Thanksgiving Round 3 that we'll have on Wednesday. Cooked up the extra Sweet Potato-Carrot Puff to serve with the hash. That was all.

Tuesday/29-Nov-16: Shopping today.

Dinner was Papillote de Cabillaud au Curry et Citron (VPG, web). That's paper-wrapped cod with curry and lemon. So-so. The cod was laid on a bed of thin lemon slices, which were nasty to eat. Preserved lemon would have been better. The combination of curry powder, aniseseed, and coriander seed was nice, though. Served with trio rice and some steamed green bean. Some yummy store-bought chocolate custards for dessert.

Wednesday/30-Nov-16: Picked the turkey and started stock. Froze up three batches of turkey meat. Saved the juicey bits at the bottom of the pan to make more gravy for Thanksgiving Round 3 dinner tonight.

Thursday/1-Dec-16: Boiled up the stock again. Used some for dinner. Will boil again and freeze it up tomorrow.

Used the leftover bit of canned pumpkin purée to make Sharon Frye's Pumpkin Roll (MC). This always looks like you've done something special when it's actually quite easy. And tasty too.

A clean-out-the-freezer dinner using lots of odds and ends: beans, turkey, etc. Made a kind of chili thing. It was okay. Will try to do something to spice it up for the leftovers. Made Ed some Cornbread (Joy, p578) as a go-with.

Friday/2-Dec-16: We ate dinner out before a concert tonight, so not much happened in the kitchen. If I'd thought, we could have had our main meal earlier and not wasted eating out at a so-so, but convenient place.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/3-Dec-16: Froze up 17cups of turkey stock this afternoon.

Dinner was, sort of, Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Pasta (web) using frozen cooked shrimp. Pretty good it was. And a salad.

Sunday/4-Dec-16: Put lamb steaks on to marinate this morning, using the Best Steak Marinade in Existence (web). Grilled the steaks. They were exceptionally yummy. Served with Lemon Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts (web). This was good, but used three bowls to make something not better than my usual way of roasting them. And then some mushroom-flavored pasta with garlic butter.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

relish tray
Kaye's Pickled Green Beans
Spiced Marinated Mushrooms
carrot sticks
mixed olives

Marinated Roasted Brussels Sprouts 
with Rucola

Roast Turkey
Sweet Potato-Carrot Puff
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Cornbread Dressing
Cranberry-Port Relish
sliced baguettes


Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Another fairly light Thanksgiving  this year. For guests, we had Tina and Albia from Ed's Montbron choir, and Bill, who's visiting. Bill asked for a proper turkey, so that's what we had. I neglected to take any photos of the food, but here is Ed carving the turkey.

For the relish tray, I made with my Pickled Green Beans (MC) and Spiced Marinated Mushrooms (MC). Served with with carrot sticks and store-bought mixed olives.

For a starter there was Marinated Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Rucola. I used the marinade as the vinaigrette for the rucola. This is really two recipes smerged together. If I can ever run Mastercook again (hoping a new motherboard for the Cube someday lets it start up), I'll enter what I do as a single recipe. This is becoming another standard.

As go-withs there were my old standards, Sweet Potato-Carrot Puff (MC) and Chef Paul Prudhomme's Cornbread Dressing (MC). A double-dose of the puff overfilled my oval casserole, so we have a bit extra of that, still to be cooked. I used a 300g package of gesiers/gizzards for the dressing.

And, of course, there again was Cranberry-Port Relish (MC), a recipe that came from VT originally, but I've reduced the sugar. It's a really tasty and simple-to-make cranberry sauce. So much better than the canned stuff. All eaten but a spoonful, the first time that's happened. And some pretty good gravy made with chicken stock.

For bread there was a sliced baguette, but not much of that got eaten.

The five of us had two bottles of Beaujolais, one Brouilly and the other Fleurie, both 2012. In the past we've liked Fleurie, but tonight the Brouilly was the hit.

And, finally, there was some Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake (web), which was a Thanksgiving first, and delicious.

Monday, November 21, 2016

This week in the ktichen

Monday/21-Nov-16: Lunch out today. Fruit for dinner.

Started some chicken stock. Made cornbread. Put chicken on to dry-brine for tomorrow.

Tuesday/22-Nov-16: Stopping today. Still a mess at Leclerc. Where is stuff? Ed and I both picked up packaged veggies, not seeing the loose kind. Then he spied what he was after on another aisle, and there was mine too. Loose (vrac) and packaged versions of the same veggie not together. Still haven't found the little section that used to be at the end of the flours that had yeast and baking powder and other such baking needs, all hung in small packets. And nine things on my list were not present. Maybe the first time I've ever noticed that there were no limes at all to be had. They haven't had the feta I like for at least two weeks, maybe three. Very annoying experience. Definitely considering moving primary shopping elsewhere

Froze up the stock.

Dinner was, sort of, Cajun Dry-Brined Roast Chicken Inspired by Zuni Café (web). I used the rub, but spatchcocked the chicken and cooked in a cast iron skillet, pressed in the oven. Quite yummy it was, and the three of us ate it all.

The method is basically this: Apply rub/seasoning to spatchcocked chicken and let it rest in the fridge overnight. Oven to 400F. Add a bit of oil to hot skillet and brown the chicken for 5 minutes, skin-side down. Turn the chicken over and top with another heavy skillet. Into the oven for 40-45minutes. Perfect.

Served with polenta and Baked Eggplant Slices (TooMany, p114), which wasn't as good as usual. I suspect something to do with the mayonnaise I used, Maille, which was the first non-canola/rapeseed oil mayo I found. (I've got another from a health food store.)

Bill had an ice cream bar for dessert. Ed and I had nothing.

Wednesday/23-Nov-16: Lots of Thanksgiving cooking today.

Used up the rest of the lamb for dinner to make Lamb in Spiced Gravy (30MinCook, p179). Yummy, served over rice. Vanilla ice cream with crème de cacao for dessert.

Thursday/24-Nov-16: Bill requested a proper roast turkey for Thanksgiving, so that's what we had. I asked the butcher for 4kg; came home with 5.2kg. When I went to pick it up this morning, the butcher asked if I wanted him to truss it. I said Well, ok. He took a ginormous needle threaded with string and ran it through the turkey side to side, through one wing, the body, and out on the other side, then back and tied off.

Then he tucked the “ankles” together, went through one drumstick and out the other, then back.

Not any kind of bird trussing I’ve ever seen, but very sturdy.

Planned on cooking the turkey in the right oven, but it wouldn't get up to temperature. We were about an hour late for dinner, after I finally realized it wasn't heating and then got the left one heated up. Now I'm thinking that's why the cheesecake took so long to cook last night, that the oven was never quite hot enough. Started the puff and the dressing in the right oven, but moved them to the left one when I took the turkey out. All came out okay in the end, just late.

Friday/25-Nov-16: Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner. We've finished half the turkey now. The cranberry sauce was pretty well wiped out, so I made another dose of Cranberry-Port Relish (MC).

Put a pork loin on to brine for tomorrow's dinner.

Saturday/26-Nov-16: We hit a couple of marchés de noël today, and came away with some xmas gifts—in support of a worthwhile charity, even better.

For dinner there was Chile-Brined Roasted Pork Loin (web), which turned out quite good. Served with some steam/sautéed potatoes and canned corn (there being no corn on the cob at the grocery this afternoon). Finished off the pumpkin swirl cheesecake for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/27-Nov-16: Lunch with Bill before the train. Nothing further happened in the kitchen.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 0
This month: #3 PASTA: no; #4 BREAD: no; #5 FotW: no for November/December

Monday, November 14, 2016

This week in the kitchen

Monday/14-Nov-16: Dinner was One-Pot Chicken with Orzo and Dill (web). (That isn't the recipe I followed, which was sized for two, but it's the same one sized for one; I can't find the one I used and no URL on the printout.) Instead of using skinless, boneless chicken thighs, I used a 200g packet of chicken "oysters" that I bought last week. It was good, and so easy. Then a salad. Some chocolate squares for after.

Tuesday/15-Nov-16: Lunch out for Ed's birthday today; nothing happened in the kitchen. After lunch we did a bunch of errands. Stopped by Audilab to have my malfunctioning hearing aid fixed. Went by the jeweler to pick up Ed's ring; the guy had fixed the break but reassembled the pieces incorrectly so it couldn't be put together. Did our grocery shopping. Stopped by the vet to pick up worming pills for the cats. Stopped by the butcher's to order our Thanksgiving turkey. Whew. Put all the groceries up.

Wednesday/16-Nov-16: Thought about thanksgiving meal today. Think it's mostly going to be a boring same-old. same-old menu.

Make Cranberry-Port Relish (MC) and Kaye's Pickled Green Beans (MC) for the day.

Dinner was Feta and Herb Crusted Salmon (web), which turned out to be really easy and tasty. Accompanied by some buckwheat crozets and Simple Oven-Rosated Corn on the Cob (web). Turned out to be a pretty good way to cook corn on the cob.

Thursday/17-Nov-16: Defrosted the big freezer today. Found a missing chicken, and found lots of things I'd neglected to mark off the freezer list. And then OpenOffice got in one of its "moods" and refused to save the file. Grr... This is a problem that's been on-going in multiple versions for more than five years and it's still not fixed. Major pain. Maybe it's time to invest in Microsoft Office???

Dinner was Greek Pasta (Desperation, p162; cookbooker). The recipe says it serves four, maybe as a side; two of us ate more-or-less the whole thing. Good stuff. That was all.

Friday/18-Nov-16: Dinner was, sort of, Beef Kofta (web). Didn't have any Penzey's Turkish Seasoning, so google and I made something up. Good, although the cooking time was a bit off. It said 15-20 minutes under the grill; after 15 minutes, the tops with closer to charcoal than we like. Served with some pita breads and a little sauce made of yogurt, minced garlic, and salt; also Herby Cucumber Salad (CL/jun12; web). Pretty good salad. No dessert needed.

Saturday/19-Nov-16: More cleaning today. And flu shot. Roasted the beet I bought on Tuesday.

Dinner was some pumpkin soup from the freezer.

Sunday/20-Nov-16: Ed went to a mens' only choir practice today, then I picked Bill up at the train station. Came home and started Nigel Slater's Slow-Roast Lamb (Diaries, p62); such a nice, easy recipe. Went off to pick Ed up and have a cup of tea at Cath and Doug's. As go-withs, we had Clothilde Dusoulier's Perfect Roasted Potatoes (web, although this is new and I've been using this recipe for years), which we really good, and used the beet I roasted yesterday to make Cold Beetroot with Cream (Pomiane, p180), always good. For dessert we had some chocolate-raspberry tarts from the boulanger; the filling was yummy, the pastry less so.

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

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Shrimp Pilau

It was dinner from Time-Life Foods of the World American Cooking: Southern Style once again tonight. We had Shrimp Pilau (p29). Can't say I ever thought of this kind of dish as especially southern, but here it is.

Instead of fresh or canned tomatoes, I used some of the "purée" that I froze up from our summer crop. And I used lardons, which is easily available in France and always in the freezer, for the bacon bits. The lardons yielded only about a teaspoon of fat (European pigs seem to be much leaner than US ones), so I added another bit of olive oil before sautéing a pile of chopped onions. When the onions were soft, I added the rice, already rinsed, and stirred till it was well-coated with the oil. Then I added chicken stock (also from the freezer), along with Worcestershire sauce (the real one, carefully measured), ground mace, cayenne, and salt. (I added somewhat less salt than asked, and we found it it fine at the table. This is a bit surprising since I don't salt my chicken stock when I make it. So the recipe might be a bit salty.) This mixture is brought to a boil, then covered and baked at 350F for 30 minutes. Then the shrimp and bacon bits are stirred, covered, and baked another ten minutes. Out of the oven, the pot sits another ten minutes. Serve, sprinkled with chopped parsley, and enjoy!

The recipe says it should serve 4-6. I made a half recipe and we have at least one more full serving leftover, or maybe two smaller servings for lunch.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their November cookbook. Why don't you choose a cookbook from your shelf and join in?

Monday, November 7, 2016

This week in the ktichen

Monday/7-Nov-16: Tonight we had Chicken Thighs in Cream Sauce (web), which was pretty good, although there was too much liquid; I thickened the sauce with a bit of potato starch. Served with steamed broccoli.

Realized I didn't have a dinner planned for tomorrow evening. Oops. Have defrosted something.

Tuesday/8-Nov-16: Tonight there was leftover Acquacotta from the freezer, with an egg each poached in the simmering soup. It was good. And filling.

Wednesday/9-Nov-16: Pizza out after Ed's choir concert today. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Thursday/10-Nov-16: Ed went to choir practice today, and I went shopping. Not all that much to get since we're eating out a lot in the next days. Although not tomorrow, since that date has been postponed.

Dinner was Judy Heuman's Indian Fried Fish, collected from Facebook. We had cod, coated with a mixture of besan (gram flour) and garlic black pepper. groun cumin, turmeric, salt, water, and oil. Not the prettiest dish ever (most of the batter fell off), but tasty. Served with plain basmati rice and Pan-Grilled Zucchini (MJ@Home, p373). For dessert we had some store-boughten flan. Yum.

Friday/11-Nov-16: Remembrance day in France. We went to our local ceremony, only to discover they held it earlier than usual so that many people could go to the ceremony in Montbron. After having our celebratory hot chocolate, we went on to Montbron, to find that ceremony was already finished. They unveiled a new monument for victims of the Indochinese and North African wars.

Our lunch with friends today got cancelled, so I made Barley Risotto with Mushroom, Zucchini and Peas (web). This was supposed to serve four; two of us ate it all. Might serve three. I made a salad, but we were full of risotto; saved it for tomorrow. Some fruit in the evening.

Saturday/12-Nov-16: Dinner tonight was a shrimp pilau from Time-Life. (The shrimp were supposed to be wild, but almost all of them had eaten a substantial meal before they were killed. I've never seen so much stomach goo.) Yesterday's salad was still good.

Sunday/13-Nov-16: Had lunch out today. No need for further food.

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, November 6, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Maryland Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

Another dinner from Time-Life Foods of the World American Cooking: Southern Style. Tonight we continued the Southern fried food tradition with Maryland Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy (p38).

Poor Ed, who really loves fried chicken, has lived with me for more than forty years and never had good fried chicken at home. I've never been able to make it properly. Until tonight. I think in the past I've been afraid of using so much oil, and probably I didn't wait until it was good and hot before slipping the chicken bits in. But here it is, simple as can be. About an inch of oil, almost at the smoke point, chicken thighs dried, salted, and peppered, then dipped in flour and slipped skin-side-down into the hot oil. The recipe says to cook them for about 12 minutes, turning frequently; I thought it took a bit longer for them to get nicely golden. 

As you get the pieces cooked, put them on a paper-towel lines plate and into a very low oven to stay warm while you make the cream gravy. Sorry, I served the gravy over mashed potatoes, not over the chicken.

My mother and her mother before always made fried chicken with cream gravy. They did not come from Maryland. How did this tradition end up in Kansas, I wonder?

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their November cookbook. Why don't you choose a cookbook from your shelf and join in?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Crab Cakes

Another dinner from Time-Life Foods of the World American Cooking: Southern Style tonight. We had Crab Cakes (p35), with Tartar Sauce (p77), which is based on Mrs. Marston's Sauce Mahonaise (p75).

Crab cakes. My step-mother's sister (my step-aunt?) makes wonderful Maryland crab cakes. When we've visited, one of the highlights is helping to pick over the crab before she makes them. My Time-Life crab cakes were good, but not in the same category of good.

The crab cakes are made with mayo (I used yogurt), dry mustard, cayenne, Tabasco, salt , ground white pepper, chopped parsley, and crumbs. I used canned crabmeat since I haven't found packages of fresh meat like you can get in the US. I made little cakes, ending up with only seven instead of the projected eight. They were quite small, so maybe I didn't have enough crabmeat. These are chilled, then deep-fried in 3" of oil. (I had only about 1", but it seemed to work fine.)

The recipe suggests serving with Tartar Sauce. Before I could make that I needed to make Mrs. Marston's Sauce Mahonaise. If I'd had any mayo in house, I could have used that, but I've recently discovered that all the store-bought mayos which are easily available are based on canola oil (aka rapeseed oil). I've never been a big mayo fan, but have noticed lately that I like it even less. Even Hellman's tastes off to me. Canola oil is taking over. While we were visiting in the Netherlands I found sound Hellman's Olive Oil Mayo, but even that has canola oil as the first ingredient. Next time I'm at a health food store, I'll look for some without canola oil, but meanwhile we are mayo-less. Thus, Mrs. Marston's. Which started out quite well, turning into a very thick mayo. But I have trouble with the drop-by-drop addition of oil and it soon turned too thin and separated. So, as advised, I started with a new yolk and then added my separated mess. Same problem. When I had enough volume for the tartar sauce, I stopped making "mayo" and made the sauce. It then held together pretty well, and was very tasty. Unfortunately, I forgot to put a dollop on the plates for the pictures.

This tartar sauce wanted tarragon vinegar (which I thought I had, but didn't, so added white wine vinegar plus a pinch of tarragon leaves), dry mustard, cayenne, salt, chopped cornichons, chopped shallot, chopped chives, chopped parsley, and chopped capers, all mixed with the mayo. A very good tartar sauce.

Mrs. Marston's Sauce Mahonaise includes the yolk of a hard-boiled egg as well as raw egg yolks, plus dry mustard, a pinch of cayenne, and lemon juice or vinegar. One day I'll be able to make mayonnaise consistently, but this wasn't the day. The home-made stuff is so much better than anything out of a jar.

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their November cookbook. Why don't you choose a cookbook from your shelf and join in?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cookbook Countdown: Hominy Grits Soufflé

This month I'm back to my cookbook series project. I'll be cooking from Time-Life Foods of the World American Cooking: Southern Style. This book was a really enjoyable read and I've marked lots of recipes to try. The author, Eugene Walter, was a born Southerner, who seems to have alway been food-aware. He returned to the US from his home in Italy, to make a food tour of the Southern states.

Breakfast-for-dinner, that's a thing, right? Tonight we had Hominy Grits Soufflé (p13). I've never had this before, and loved it. The corny taste of the grits and their gritty texture against the smooth of the soufflé really appealed to me. On the other hand, my DH thought the dish was blah, and gave it some zip with Tabasco.

As soufflés go, this one was pretty easy to make. First you cook up some grits. When these are done, you beat in some butter (I think I omitted this), bacon fat, egg yolks, and some freshly ground black pepper. Then you whip the corresponding egg whites till they form stiff peaks, fold them into the grits mixture, and tump the mixture into a casserole. (A bit of Southern-speak there.) Top with some bread crumbs and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.  Coming out of the oven, it was a proper puffy soufflé, then promptly collapsed in the middle as they do.

The recipe said it served four to six. We ate the whole recipe with a salad as dinner for two. I expect it would make a nice breakfast dish for four. (Six would be a stretch.)

Stop by Cookbook Countdown to see what other folks are making from their November cookbook. Why don't you choose a cookbook from your shelf and join in?