Monday, January 28, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/28-Jan-19: After deciding that I'd continue with my cookbook-of-the-month project, I decided on C&B, from which I've cooked only one so-so recipe, as my February book. I chose some recipes and put them on the plan. Then decided I really didn't want to make any of these. Off the list with them, then on to my next choice, Stews. The time got late, so I ended up making tomorrow's planned dinner tonight. That was a half dose of Stir-Fried Spicy Lemon Grass Vegetables (HomTrav, p190). This easy to assemble and tasted pretty good. Then some mini ice cream bars.

Tuesday/29-Jan-19: Nice dinner tonight. This morning I made a half dose of Curry d'Échine de Porc Coco-Citronelle (C&V; web). (The web version is not the same source, but it's the same recipe.) I put everything in the crockpot and cooked it all day on Low. Knowing that French recipes are short on spicy things, I used the full recipe amount of curry powder and didn't seed my chile. At the end, I forgot the cilantro (which would have made it prettier) and the lime juice. Had a half lime sitting around, so we shared that, which made it really good. Served with rice and a half dose of Thai Cucumber Salad (Cost, p143). This is really good. Amazing how stinky those dried shrimp are before they're made into the dressing. Some Häagen-Dasz ice cream cups for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/30-Jan-19: The car wouldn't start this morning, so I didn't go to French. Boo.

Shopping today.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Garlic Butter Baked Salmon in Foil (web). This was easy and very tasty. It was accompanied by some pasta (mafalda) with argula pesto (from the freezer) and some snijboned, boiled in the pasta water, before the pasta. All good. Followed by some store-bought riz au laits.

Thursday/31-Jan-19: Had an idea to make fresh pasta, but the day was just too busy. Instead we had fresh tagliatelle from the freezer with Tagliatelle coi Ceci (ClassPasta, p98). This was pretty good. I made a whole recipe and we ate it all. Then a big salad. Then a pair of chocolate-covered madeleines each.

Friday/1-Feb-19: Dinner at Cath's today. I took Fresh Ricotta Cheese and Limoncello Cake (web; recipe). Used only 1cup of sugar; made only about 2/3 of the glaze.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/2-Feb-19: Finally put up the chicken stock that's been bubbling away on the stove.

Dinner was a half dose of Chili with Cornmeal Dumplings (Stews, p94; cookbooker). Ed had a mini ice cream bar for dessert, while I did without. Both of us munched on the limoncello cake during the day, and we're saving the rest for tomorrow.

Sunday/3-Feb-19: Ed and I both were full from our hot lunch (from the freezer), so I didn't make any dinner.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: yes
Cookbooks of the month: n/a for January, Stews for February
This month: #4 PASTA: no for January, no for February; #5 BREAD: no for January, no for February  #6 GUESTS: no for January, no for February
This year: #7 PROJECT: no

Monday, January 21, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/21-Jan-19: Oops, started making tonight's dinner, only to discover that I was supposed to make the sauce yesterday so that it could sit overnight. Instead, I improved a pasta sauce with the dried porcini which were already soaking, oesterzwammen which I'd bought for this meal, some broccoli, oven-dried tomatoes, and pyramid goat cheese, all over mushroom-flavored pasta. Cinnamon cake for dessert.

Tuesday/22-Jan-19: Dinner was a two-thirds-ish version of Harissa Chicken (web). As a side, I used some zucchini to make a halfish recipe of North African Zucchini or Squash Salad (MedHot, p87). The chicken, and accompanying potatoes, were yummy. The chicken skin was wonderfully crispy-crunchy—neither of us are usually skin eaters, but this was delicious. I've made the salad a couple of times before. The first time we really liked it, but not so much the last two times. Then some almond-marzizpan croissant things that Ed bought at a boulanger.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/23-Jan-19: After French I made up the broth of No-Cook Kulfi (MC), using up another can of condensed milk. Shopping today.

Dinner was lieu noir (promo of the day) with Chickpea (Garbanzo) Breading for Fish (web), a nice non-flour-based breading. (I really do have to remember than besan can be used for breading for most anything.) Accompaniments were Broccoli with Garlic and Mustard Seeds (SpiceKitch, p40) and Plain Basmati Rice (SpiceKitch, p84), which has cardamon pods cooked along with the rice for a very subtle flavor. Followed by kulfi.

Thursday/24-Jan-19: Lunch out today. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Friday/25-Jan-19: Started a huge pot of bird stock. Made up some roasted red bell pepper pizza sauce. I've lots of this in the freezer now. We need to have lots of pizza in the coming time, or use some as a sauce of for kip filets or some such.

Dinner was Spaghetti with Zucchini and Caper Sauce (O&C, p251). Served it over mushroom-stuffed ravioli, rather than spaghetti or tagliatelle. Used Petit Basque for the cheese. Good stuff. Then a big salad. Then some mini ice cream bars.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/26-Jan-19: Easy dinner since we were supposed to be going to a concert. We didn't, but still had the easy meal. We had salmon pie from the freezer over brown rice. Then a big salad. Then some HD ice cream cups.

While Ed was sitting in the kitchen this morning, one of the mouse traps sprung. Caught a mouse. So we still haven't found where they're getting in.

Sunday/27-Jan-19: Dinner was a half recipe of Spice-Rubbed Moroccan Chicken with Vegetable Couscous. (This was from the apr03 issue of Natural Health, which I think is a freebie magazine from a health food store. Maybe.) Meant to make a Moroccan carrot salad as a go-with, forgetting that I needed to cook the carrots a bit. There was no time when I discovered this, so, instead, I grated some carrots, tossed with some lemon juice, oil, and Moroccan spice, then added a handful of golden raisins. It wasn't bad. Then some chocolate-covered madeleines.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: n/a
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no
This year: #7 PROJECT: no

Monday, January 14, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/14-Jan-19: Soup&sandwich for dinner. We had Butternut Squash Spiced Soup (Ainsley1, p44). I had only about 600g  of butternut squash, and cut the recipe back by that much. Used green curry paste, since that's what was needing to be used. Good stuff. The sandwich was Cajun Chicken Sandwich (Ainsley1, p10). Very good. (This is very much like Black and Blue Cajun Chicken Sandwich, cookbooker, from Ainsley2.) I was too full to eat more. Ed had an ice cream bar.

Tuesday/15-Jan-19: I had lunch out with my BookChatters group. Nothing further happened in the kitchen.

Wednesday/16-Jan-19: Shopping today.

Our main was Smoked Paprika Roasted Salmon with Wilted Spinach (web). I didn't cut the spice rub back quite enough, so that was a bit overgenerous. But it was good. Served with trio rice. Then some Irish Banoffee Pie (MC), which was easy and yummy. The first step on trying to use up my oversupply of condensed milk.

Yogurt on overnight. The last batch I made was liquid, so I used a new starter. Not sure what happened. Possibly I forgot to start it and one of us just put it away in the morning without looking, but I don't think so. A puzzle.

Thursday/17-Jan-19: Dinner was Italian Oven Fried Chicken (MC). I chose this recipe thinking to use up some of the buttermilk I have in the fridge. Instead I used one of the liquid yogurts for marinating the chicken. The kip filets were "breaded" with stale corn flakes, also needing to be used up. Served with tagliatelle tossed with a bitter butter and parsley, and some Broccoli Salad with Garlic and Sesame (web). The salad was good, if a bit crunchy for both our tastes. Then we finished the banoffee pie.

Friday/18-Jan-19: Dinner was Mushroom Stroganoff Pie (web). Pretty good stuff. The recipe says "mushrooms, diced", but the photo clearly shows "mushrooms, sliced". Diced, so I used the cuisinart and had much smaller pieces. Nevermind. It was good. But it only used about half the pâte feuilletée, so will have to do something with that. Then a big salad. Then half a prize-winning Langres cheese that's been around at least a week.

Saturday/19-Jan-19: Busy day. Doctor (to renew rx) in the a.m., then the voeux du maire (we were late and left early), then a Facetime chat with friends. Dinner was leftover lasagna (even better the second time), a big salad, then the last of the Langres. Later, we each had a pair of chocolate-covered madeleines.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/20-Jan-19: Made a Cinnamon Fluff Cake (MC) to help use up the buttermilk. Not the prettiest cake in the world, but quite tasty. Something about cinnamon is very more-ish. Hard to stop eating "just more more."

Shuffled the plan a bit today. Dinner was Veal-and-Pepper Hero Sandwich (TLMelting, p23; cookbooker). Tasty stuff, but too much bread.

Guess I really ought to decide something about this year's kitchen goals, if I'm going to have them, before too long.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG:/no; #2 VEG/FISH: 2; #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: n/a
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no
This year: #7 PROJECT: no

Monday, January 7, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/7-Jan-19: It got late and I didn't feel like making what was on the plan, so I defrosted some Indian-ish tomato-y sauce and served over pasta, along with a big salad. Some of Cath's bonbons for dessert.

Tuesday/8-Jan-19: Dinner was a halfish dose of Chicken Piccata with Artichokes (web, although not visible in Europe). Easy and very tasty. Followed by a big salad. Then some more bonbons.

Wednesday/9-Jan-19: Shopping today.

Dinner was Tilapia with Ancho Sauce (MC), with lieu noir instead of tilapia, which isn't available here. Well, vaguely this recipe. I made all the sauce, and froze lots of it for use with fish, chicken, pork, beef, or whatever's on the menu. (Also froze the ancho soaking liquid for use in chili or beans or whatever comes along.) Grilled the fish rather than breading it, which really isn't necessary with this delicious sauce. Served with polenta and steamed broccoli. Some store-bought chocoate mousse things for dessert. Yum to all.

Yogurt on overnight.

Bought some plastic bakjes today to hold backup pasta supplies (spaghetti, rice noodles, etc.). Having to rethink philosophy of what goes in pantry cupboards and what goes in the open shelving. In theory the Ivars hold quick turnover stuff, flour, sugar, cookies, pasta, etc., but lots of that stuff is not in jars or plastic and needs to be in the closed cupboards, while canned pantry goods can take their place on the shelves. Inconvenient, but less friendly for our mice friends.

Thursday/10-Jan-19: Spent much of the day cleaning and restocking the pantry and open shelving. Still not done, but on the way. Still seems wrong to be stuffing the open shelving with pantry food (largely canned goods) and putting high-turnover stuff in the pantry. Oh well.

Dinner was, more or less, a half dose of Turkey and Dumplings (web). Used cooked chicken from the freezer. The mixed veggies were canned corn and frozen peas, along with green beans and carrots that I chopped and cooked. Pretty good comfort food. We decided we might actually prefer chicken pot pie, but this was still good. Followed by a bit of salad. Then more of Cath's bonbons. Ed has only six left, while I have nine. That will be three nights of three for me; not sure how Ed will arrange his.

Friday/11-Jan-19: I had lunch out today. Ed had leftovers from last night. That's all that happened in the kitchen.

Saturday/12-Jan-19: Finished recombobbling the pantry and open shelving. Now to remember where I've put things. The counter is almost clear now after months serving as backup storage.

Dinner was a half dose of Cheesy Shrimp and Grits (web). I used a whole packet of (smoked) lardons, but we didn't mind if there was too much of it. Pretty good stuff. Then a simple salad. Then some tapioca pudding. It was supposed to serve four, but Ed served it all up for two. I'm stuffed.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/13-Jan-19: Dinner was, more or less, a half recipe of Creamy Chipotle and Italian Sausage Lasagna (web). Pretty good stuff. I usesd home-made Italian sausage. There were two "tablets" of frozen spinach, thawed; it looked too little in the meat, but was fine in the sauce. Used a can of (seedless) tomato bits in juice for the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Didn't cook the noodles, but soaked them while I prepared the rest. For my half recipe, I used the amount of chipotle asked for the whole recipe. On tasting, I thought it was pretty bland, so I added the remaining chipotle from the jar. That made it nicely zingy, but not too hot. Then a small salad. Then I had a pear followed by two bonbons. Ed had just bonbons. (He's through, I still have five to go.)

Managed the whole week without using a cookbook.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3; #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: n/a
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no
This year: #7 PROJECT: no

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year's Day 2019

Magret Seche Stuffed with Foie Gras with Roquette and a Lemon Vinaigrette

Caille Rôtie à la Sauge, Baies Roses, Jambon Cru et Chaîtaigne
Potatoes Stuffed with Leek Mousse
Steamed Broccoli and Carrots

Domaine Laubarel L'Aubarèl 2016

Balsamic-Roasted Pears with Pepper and Honey

For a starter we had slices of magret seche stuffed with foie gras from out, along with some rucola and a lemon vinaigrette. I bought the magret at our local shop recently. Trimmed most of the skin/fat before serving since neither of us are too fond of that.

Our meal was Caille Rôtie à la Sauge, Baies Roses, Jambon Cru et Châtaigne (VPG; web—this is the same recipe from another magazine). I left the pink peppercorns sitting on the counter, so I added them to the bone sack for my next batch of stock. Potatoes Stuffed with Leek Mousse (Dinners42, p84) was such an odd recipe I figured I needed to make it—a potato cut into a hollowed out block filled with a creamy leek sauce. Tasty, but kind of silly really. Too much potato (for my taste) in the end. Accompanied by some plain steamed broccoli and carrots sticks dressed with a bit of lemon juice.

The wine was one of our favorites from our Gaillac visit, Domaine Laubarel L'aubarèl 2016, 100% Mauzac grapes. Gaillac seems to have really good whites but so-so reds.

Our dessert was Balsamic-Roasted Pears with Pepper (web). Yes, the plate is definitely a bit crowded. Curiously the pepper in the title was left out of the ingredient list and I didn't notice the instruction to add it till just now. No manchego cheese available in rural French groceries, so I served this with tomme de brebis (I had a chunk in the freezer) and the last bit of Beaufort left from Bill's visit. The tomme was quite good with the dish; the Beaufort didn't work as well. Strange because that is a favorite eating cheese while the tomme isn't.

Kitchen goals old and new

Kitchen goals for 2018

Only so-so on my goals for 2018.
  1. Backlog — Spent next to no time on the stacks in the cookbook area. Have spent some time clearing out the "in-tray" stacks in the office and elsewhere. Occasionally to frequently, I pick up a small handful from an in-tray, toss ruthlessly, and move the keepers into the spreadsheet. Small progress.
  2. Veg/fish meals — Averaged more than three vegetarian or fish meals per week. Not bad.
  3. Cookbook — Did well with this and enjoyed it. One of my ideas for doing this, though, was to use books that might be candidates for recycling. Did a bad job of that (only one recycled), but found some new favorites cookbooks and cooked from old favorites.
  4. Pasta — Did very badly at this, especially in the last half of the year when the counter was serving as pantry for mouse-vulnerable food. (Have made spaetzle a time or two, but I don't suppose that counts, since it's so simple to do.)
  5. Bread — Made bread a couple  of times, but not enough. Briefly had a sourdough starter going, but it quickly got moldy and had to be tossed.
  6. Guests — Did a bit of this.
Kitchen goals for 2019

I toyed with the idea of stopping with the kitchen goals. In the end, I decided to go ahead with them, keeping the same ones and adding one for the year. Too ambitious, or what?
  1. Backlog — Spend time every week clearing out recipes from stacks and/or sorting through the stacks in the cookbook corner.
  2. Veg/fish meals — Cook at least three vegetarian or fish meals each week. 
  3. Cookbook — Choose a cookbook each month and cook at least one meal a week from it. Concentrate on little-used books that are candidates for recycling.
  4. Pasta — Make pasta at least once a month.
  5. Bread — Make real bread (non-ABM) once a month. Doing the Craftsy bread course would be a plus.
  6. Guests — Have one or more people over for a meal once a month. Guessing I shouldn't count Cath (or Bill) any more.
  7. Project — This year, do at least one of my kitchen projects (see OmniFocus). Current list, in no particular order and probably not inclusive, includes finishing the Craftsy bread course, making elderberry wine or cordial, making a rijst vlaai, making corned beef, cooking tongue, making mozzarella from kit, making a simple goat cheese, and following the Craftsy pasta course.