Monday, December 30, 2019

Kitchen project: Galette des trois rois

Every year here, we enjoy one or two galettes, three kings' cakes, during the holiday season. I thought it would be nice to make one myself. I didn't find a nice fêve at a vide grenier this summer, so I bought a small set at Amazon. I sorted through my small collection of recipes and settled on a Galette des Rois à la Frangipanne (recette de Cyril Lignac) (web and web).

The recipe uses store-bought pâtes feuilletées, two round ones, filled with a mixture of crème patissière and crème d'amandes, with a dash of rum. This mixture should be piped on, but I just dumped it on the bottom and used the back of a spoon to spread it around.

The laid out pâtes feuilletées are quite large and hung over the edge of the quarter sheet. Because our oven, in spite of being part of a big stove, is a bit shallow, the back edge was a bit burnt. Usually I use one of these to line a pie plate, which then doesn't have such a large surface area.


The result was quite edible, but it took the two of us quite some days to finish it off. What I forgot is that I usually buy a small galette for the two of us, which lasts two or maybe three days. This was fun to make, but don't think I need to do it again. Buying a small galette from a good boulangerie is fine.

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Dec-19: Used the rest of last week's chicken (a day later, if we're dead tomorrow, this is why) and some of the butternut squash to make Chicken & Butternut Squash Pasta (web). This was okay, but nothing special. Used up some crème fraîche rather than use yogurt. Then a simple salad.

Meanwhile, I made a galette des rois. This is one of my kitchen projects for the year. It's in the oven as I type, so the results are still uncertain.

Tuesday/31-Dec-19: I had a bad stomach last night. Not much sleep and feeling bad all day. I didn't eat. Ed had something from the freezer. New Year's Eve was a bust as I fell asleep watching tv.

Wednesday/1-Jan-19: Feeling a bit better, but not much appetite. I made a nice meal, but couldn't eat much.

Thursday/2-Jan-19: Tummy still not happy, and not much appetite.

Shopping today. Very small actually. We have lots and lots of veggies left to use, so I scrapped much of the meal plan and I'll mostly wing it, trying to use these things up.

Dinner was Nigel Slater's Cod with Anchovy, Capers and Thyme (web), with lieu noir. This was ok, but nothing special. Served with steamed green beans and trio rice. Just a bit of chocolate for dessert.

Friday/3-Jan-19: We went off to Angoulême to see the Rembrandt engravings today, and stopped to get some of Letuffe's chocolate-covered griottes for a treat.

Dinner was Pasta with Spicy Cauliflower (MW@Home, p189), which wasn't bad. I'd actually intended to make a similar dish that included anchovies in the sauce, but I used all my stash yesterday. And it seems that I neglected to buy more the last time I opened a can. Oops, inventory fail. A pair of chocolate-covered griottes each for after.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/4-Jan-19: Continuing with the use-up-the-veggies theme, tonight's meal was Smoked Fish & Celeriac Remoulade on Sourdough (web) with smoked trout. This was quite tasty. Next time I might use the grater on the cuisinart or the mandoline to make long shreds. Served with a salad. For after, we had small slices of three kings' cake plus a pair of chocolate-covered griottes. I'm full.

Sunday/5-Jan-19: Used up more veggies by roasting the last of the romanesco, plus some Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and a red bell pepper. Melted some St Agur on top for the last minutes. Served all over brown rice. Then we finished, finally, the three kings' cake. Then we finished off the chocolate-covered griottes. We're stuffed.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: none
This month: #4 PASTA: no for December, no for January; #5 BREAD: no for December, no for January; #6 GUESTS: no for December, no for January
This year: #7 PROJECT: yes for 2019, no for 2020

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Tweede kerstdag 2019

Verrine Thon, Céleri, Noix et Gorgonzola

Cuscinetti di Vitello — Braised Veal Scallops with Prosciutto-and-Cheese Stuffing
Carolino Gratinati — Brussels Sprouts au Gratin
Riso al Limone — Boiled Rice with Lemon

Häagen-Dasz mini ice cream cups

This meal was not especially well-planned since all the dishes were cheesed, not lots, but still it was cheesy.

There were nice little verrines (web) to start, although the layers were not as apparent as on the website. I thought it might be better to mix all the ingredients except the nuts (a kind of waldorf salad then), although you can, of course, do that at table.


The veal (TLItal, p58) was nice, although how you manage to get 4"x4" packets is beyond me. I think you must be prepared to trim off lots of meat. I ended up with two packets roughly that size for the two of us. It was tasty if not picture perfect.

The Brussels sprouts (VegCarlu, p93) were edible but nothing to do again. First the sprouts were boiled, which doesn't bring out the best in them, and then they were drowned in too much bechamel.

I've made the lemon rice (TLItal, p20) before. This time I did it with long-grain rice rather than arborio. This worked fine. It's a nice when you'd like sometime a bit more than plain rice. Now I'm wondering it if wouldn't be nice with some brown rice, long- or short-grained.


For dessert we had some Häagden-Dasz mini ice cream cups. We were full and happy.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas dinner 2019

Verrines de Radis au Chèvre Frais

Parmentier de Canard
Wild Mushrooms braised in Late Harvest Wine
Carottes Glacées

Vanilla Ice Cream with Blueberries and Ginger Snap Crumbs

This was the first really sunny day in quite a while, so I should be happy. I'm still tuckered out from being sick though. Today's cooking wore me out.


We started with verrines of radish slices in chèvre frais thinned with cream. To go with them I made some sesame tuiles from another recipe. The bit of crunch was nice, but can't say the tuiles were really successful. They needed much more time to cook that the recipe asked. The verrines were nice and I'll make the extra cheese mixture into a sandwich filling tomorrow.


We had parmentier de canard at a restaurant last year and loved it. I smerged a bunch of recipes and the result was okay, but not in the same league. I used confit de canard from a can, rather than making in from scratch.

For the braised shrooms, I bought girolles, pieds de mouton, and oesterzwammen (pleurotes) for the mushrooms. Most of the girolles were too slimy to use unfortunately. This dish was good, but a bit richer than I would have liked, with the sage-scented cream in the sauce. Used sauterne for the wine. The recipe came from A Thousand Days in Venice and was recommended by Anne.

For the carrots I found some bio carrots of mixed color. The recipe (TLProvFr, p92) asked for the carrots to be cut in chunks (or even shaped like olives!), but I preferred the sticks. They were okay.


I had meant to make crème caramel for dessert, but didn't have the oomph. Instead we had a simple thing, using another verrine, with ice cream and frozen (defrosted) blueberries sprinkled with crumbled ginger snaps.


We're stuffed!

Monday, December 23, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Dec-19: Off to a little marché de noël today. And little it was. Then Ed, after saying he didn't want a tree, went off to get a tree. When will it get put up and decorated, I wonder?

Dinner was Butternut and Pasta Soup, (How2Eat, p160), which wasn't bad, especially with a goodly dose of jalapeño tabasco. I mostly puréed the soup (thank you staff mixer, rather than just mashing a bit, before adding the pasta.

Before that we had little goat cheese and cranberry sauce "tarts". I read about this combination somewhere, and having a bit of leftover cranberry sauce and pyramid cheese, I thought I'd try it with some squares of pâte feuilletté. Pretty good and certainly easy. Squares of chocolate for after.

Yogurt on overnight

Tuesday/24-Dec-19: Miserable day today. Didn't get the list finished. Wanted a pizza for dinner, but everything was closed. So we had the salad I forgot yesterday and a sort of grilled cheese sandwich. With chocolate-covered madeleines for after.

Wednesday/25-Dec-19: It's not been the best of holiday seasons. I've been down with the Mother of All Sinus Infections, including a major earache, the weather has largely been gray, rainy, and windy, and I'm depressed. We didn't have the whole dinner as originally planned, but most of it, with an improvisation for dessert. Here.

Thursday/26-Dec-19: Second xmas day today. Here's what we had.

Friday/27-Dec-19: Shopping today. I've already seen that this is going to be another record year for grocery expenses even though I tried to keep it down. So I blew it and we stocked up on lots of stuff.

Dinner was Baked Spiced Halibut (30MinInd, p72), but with swordfish. This had trouble getting done in the toaster oven, but finally made it. Ed didn't like the sauce at first, but warmed to it with the other food. There was Cauliflower with Ginger, Garlic, and Green Chiles (Q&E, p83). I used romanesco, thinking it would add a bit of color, but it didn't. I managed to burn the spices, so it wasn't as tasty as it should have been. And there was New Potatoes with Cumin (Q&E, p91), with regular potatoes. (My little potatoes had all sprounted.) This was yummy. For dessert there was some store-bought cheesecake.

Saturday/28-Dec-19: I felt like something Asian-ish today, so I smerged together some pad thai recipes and that was dinner. Not great, but edible. My sauce was a bit salty unfortunately. We finished the little cheesecake for afters. (It's small, only four servings.)

Sunday/29-Dec-19: Last night Ed saw the Moulin's menu for today and said, Let's go. So we did. Nothing happened in the kitchen today.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: none
Cookbooks of the month: n/a
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no
This year: #7 PROJECT: no

Monday, December 16, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Dec-19: Early morning ENT appointment today.

Later I realized that this week's shopping will include what we need for first and second xmas days. Will have to plan fairly carefully. Don't think we'll be having anyone around. Seems too much to organize while I'm not feeling well.

Dinner was Aubergine Lasagna (MC), which was pretty good. Followed by a small salad. Some chocolate-covered madeleines for after.

Tuesday/17-Dec-19: Dinner was a half recipe of Red Currant-Glazed Pork Chops (MC; web; CL/mar95). I last made this in feb98. Good stuff and easy. Served with spaghettis courts (short, indeed, but not spaghetti) and Leeks in Vinaigrette (Olney2, p44). This recipe was very similar to one in BEFCC, with chopped parsley added. I used the chopped parsley and egg white as a garnish. Cooked leeks are a bit hard to cut through. We both thought this was good, but would be better with bite-sized chunks of leek instead of long bits.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/18-Dec-19: Off for a haircut today.

Dinner was West Indian Salmon Patties from the freezer, with some hominy, also from the freezer, and some Green Beans with Mushrooms (Q&E, p86). Then part of a little brioche Galette de Trois Rois that I got at the boulangerie. Ed got the fêve.

Thursday/19-Dec-19: Finished off the shopping list for the first round of holiday dinners today. We had Lentils with Tamarind and Dates (web), served over brown rice. Pretty good, it was. Some Häagen-Dasz mini ice cream cups for afters.

Friday/20-Dec-19: Shopping today, a big one. Hope we can keep the price down next week and not end the year with another record for grocery spending. Lots of things missing, requiring bits of replanning. No chicken livers. No fresh basil. Pooh.

Dinner was Cod with Ginger-Basil Butter on Fragrant Rice (web). Got lieu noir instead of cod. Pretty good stuff. Served with steamed broccoli. In the anti-gaspi cooler, I found some La Fermière desserts expiring tomorrow and Sunday, for 30% off, so bought two pairs. Tonight we had the chocolate one. All good. We ate well.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/21-Dec-19: Dinner was Creamy White Beans with Goat's Cheese (web). This was easy and tasty. No goat's cream. I used pyramid cheese instead. Probably would have been better to buy some goat's milk. Some store-bought vanilla yogurt in cute little red jars for dessert.

Put chicken on to marinate for tomorrow.

Sunday/22-Mon-19: Put out a few xmas decorations today. Not really in the mood. Starting to get over sinus infection finally, but feeling tired and blue.

Dinner was Roast Spatchcock Chicken with Lemongrass, Honey & Fish Sauce (web), roasted brick-style, which worked even with the liquid marinade. Served with plain rice and Thai Stir-Fried Long Beans (MaiPham, p169) using snijbonen instead of long beans. Pretty good stuff. Some chocolate-covered madeleines for after.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4; #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: none
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no
This year: #7 PROJECT: no

Monday, December 9, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Dec-19: Still feeling poorly, so changed the planned meal for a "no-brainer" with everything in-house. We had Curried Penne with Shrimp (365OneDish, p49), with peas added to make it truly one-dish. When we moved from Oegstgeest to Amstelveen, I used this book a lot, but largely ignored it after that for some reason. Except for this recipe, which I seem to make semi-regularly. Ah well, it's easy and it's good. Chocolate-covered madeleines for after.

Tuesday/10-Dec-19: Dinner was Za'atar Lamb Chops (web), which was easy, fast, and delicious. Served with some snijbonen and some Moroccan couscous, which seemed to be out of date. We tossed the rest of the jar. Some chocolate squares for after.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/11-Dec-19: A clean-out-the-fridge replan today. Dinner was loosely based on Fettuccine with Gorgonzola and Broccoli (web). It was mafalda rather than fettuccine for the pasta and St Azur rather than Gorgonzola for the cheese. But good it was. Some ice cream with crème de cacao for after.

Thursday/12-Dec-19: Shopping today.

Dinner was, sort of, Swordfish Almost Puttanesca (web). I only vaguely followed this recipe. I'm not an anchovy fan, but one or two deepen the flavor of a sauce, so I minced one to add with the five cloves of sliced garlic and red pepper flakes. Used some tomato passata from the potager and then some pulp from a can, as well as some chicken stock to keep things liquid. I cubed my swordfish and cooked those in the sauce at the end. Served over exta-wide tagliatelle. Good stuff but we were stuffed. Finished off the P'tit Basque for after.

Friday/13-Dec-19: Bad earache developed last night. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Off to the doctor this evening. Dinner was Hot and Sour Chicken and Mushroom Soup (Ainsley1, p46). Super yummy, it was. I added the ginger as suggested since we're both feeling under the weather. Some vanilla ice cream with crème de cacao for after.

Saturday/14-v-19: Still feeling puny. Easy dinner. Some store-bought felafels, possibly from Intermarché. Very yummy. The pitas that we bought at Leclerc were awful; won't buy those again. Served with Tahini Cream Salad (Roden, p42) and a tomato-cucumber salad loosely based on this recipe. All good, except for the pitas. Too full for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/15-Dec-19: Dinner was a half recipe of Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp (web) served with long-grain brown rice. Easy and really good. Some mini ice cream cups for after.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 5; #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: none
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no
This year: #7 PROJECT: no

Monday, December 2, 2019

This week in the kitchen

Monday/2-Dec-19: Hard-boiled (steamed) some eggs today.

Dinner was Curried Cauliflower Bisque (VegPlanet, p110). Made a whole recipe so we have lots in the freezer for another time. Served with tuna salad sandwiches. A square of chocolate for dessert.

Tuesday/3-Dec-19: Yogurt on overday.

For dinner we had some of the tiny Drôme raviolis (from the freezer) with pesto, along with the salad we didn't eat a couple of nights ago, topped with cooked chicken breasts.

Wednesday/4-Dec-19: Using-up-veggies fried rice tonight, very loosely based on Fried Rice (MW@Home, p230). Used cooked brown rice from the freezer. This worked fine, but would have been easier if I'd given it a chance to defrost. For half the rice, made up all the tofu marinating sauce with lots of garlic-chili sauce. Made a flat omelet of one egg. Then a red bell pepper and some snijbonen. Then some oesterzwammen and the end of a zucchini. Pretty good it was.

Thursday/5-Dec-19: Shopping today.

Dinner was a half dose of Garlic Butter Salmon in Foil (web). This was yummy, but took about 30min to cook, maybe because I put the packets in a casserole dish rather than on a baking sheet. Served with trio rice and steamed broccoli, all topped with the delicious herby garlic butter. Vanilla ice cream and (defrosted) blueberries for dessert. But later we had some chocolate-covered madeleines.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/6-Dec-19: Diner was a half recipe of Boudin Noir aux Pommes (web), which was good, if cholesterol-enhancing. Then mashed potatoes, with cream since that was out for the boudin. And some peas and shallots. For after we had some P'tit Basque cheese. Whew.

Saturday/7-Dec-19: Choucroute dinner at a local restaurant. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Sunday/8-Dec-19: Really didn't have the oompth to make what was on the plan for today, so I made tomorrow's meal, "Barbecued" pork sandwiches, cooked pork from the freezer with Vinegary Barbecue Sauce (Everlasting, p193), topped with some of Mama's Garlic Coleslaw (MC, Handybook). Some mini ice cream cups for dessert — very nice for our tingly tongues.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 4 #3 COOKBOOK: n/a
Cookbooks of the month: none
This month: #4 PASTA: no; #5 BREAD: no; #6 GUESTS: no
This year: #7 PROJECT: no