Monday, March 13, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/13-Mar-17: Worked on clearing out unlikely-to-be-used recipes from the active stacks of clippings.

Off plan tonight. Used up the last of the cauliflower to make a half recipe of Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Carbonara. (Think this is from a Jamie magazine, at least it's from some British magazine,but I can't find it online unfortunately.) I didn't have enough cauliflower, so I used some broccoli too; and a box of shiitakes for the mushrooms; and a packet of lardons for the pancetta. Turned out pretty good actually. Was too lazy to make a salad as a go-with, so this is all we had.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/14-Mar-17: BookChatters in the morning; ENT, shopping at Grand Frais and Biocoop, and stop at pharmacy in the afternoon meant not much time for anything. Dinner was a half dose of Egg Curry (web), which turned out pretty good. Served with plain rice and Karhai Broccoli (MJ@Home, p148).

Wednesday/15-Mar-17: Change of plans today, since I wasn't ready with the meal plan and shopping list. Defrosted some duck sausages we got at a marché des producteurs last summer. Ed barbecued them while I made (more or less) Asparagus with Garlic and Balsamic Reduction (web). More or less, because I was short on balsamic vinegar—inventory failure. Also some buckwheat crozets. At Grand Frais yesterday, I not only scored some asparagus (from Spain), but also some blueberries from Morocco. Wasn't aware that blueberries were something brown in Morocco, in March, but they were delicious. I made a half recipe of Easy Blueberry Cobbler (MC 2BTried; web) in an 8" (or 9"?) square dish. Remarkably good for little effort. Ed wanted to eat it all.

Thursday/16-Mar-17: Shopping today. Dinner was Grilled Tuna Kebobs (web) under the broiler. Good, and could be done with swordfish or halibut. Served with trio rice and Harissa-and-Maple-Roasted Carrots (web). Made a halfish (maybe less, I didn't weigh) recipe of the carrots; started with a huge stack, but after roasting it looked like just one serving. They were good, though. That was all.

Friday/17-Mar-17: We were out early, early this morning for our 5-yearly bilan de santé. There before 8am; home about 11am. We both managed to keep going all day in spite of early start.

Dinner was definitely a hit. I made a third-ish recipe of Sautéed Veal with Sherry and Green Olives (EatingTog, p149; cookbooker), served with a some pasta. Made a salad, but we didn't feel like eating it. Instead we finished the blueberry cobbler, which was still yummy. This is really rather like a clafoutis, and is definitely a keeper recipe.

Saturday/18-Mar-17: Early meal today. We had Chicken Thigh, Sausage and Red Lentil One-Pot Roast (web). I goofed and defrosted some skinless boneless thighs, rather than bone-in ones, so we had a real mixture. The skin on the bone-in thighs was remarkably crispy. I'm not a skin person, but this was good. I used Toulouse sausages, which were pretty plain. Something a bit more zippy would be nice; not smoked, I think. De Puy lentils, rather than the red ones might be nice. Takes a bit of unattended wall clock time, but very easy to assemble and cook. Followed by yesterday's uneaten salad. Then I had a mini magnum.

Sunday/19-Mar-17: The bread machine made (with a bit of help) Cayenne Cornbread (BigGerman, p182). The poor machine isn't very happy; sometimes the paddle needs a bit of help to get around.

We had our main meal early today. Cayenne Cornbread along with Potato and Green Chile Stew (web), which was even easier because I used three chiles from a little can. Very tasty for little effort.

Yogurt on overnight.

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

Monday, March 6, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/6-Mar-17: Another Big Blow today and we were without electricity for three hours. There was leftover meatloaf on the menu tonight, so we would still have eaten well in the dark. Served with peas and carrots (fresh carrot, frozen peas) and Spaetzle (MW@Home, p203).

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/7-Mar-17: Early meal today so we can go to a concert in Limoges this evening. We had Bangkok Shrimp, a recipes I collected from Betsy at EAT-L. She posted a shrimp version, but said  it was originally a beef recipe and that shrimp was recommended as an alternative. I found the beef version here, without the shrimp recommendation. The shrimp version uses lime juice instead of lemon juice, otherwise the same. This was yummy. I didn't have chunky peanut butter, so just used the regular stuff with some extra peanuts thrown in. Oops, no more carrots in house. Nevertheless, delicious. Served with Asian Green Bean Salad (web), also good. Seeded and chopped a regular tomato, rather than cherry tomatoes. Tasty meal we had.

Wednesday/8-Mar-17: Shopping today. We got there fairly early, i.e., in time for lunch, and the store was almost empty. Very strange.

Dinner was Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa (web). Good stuff. Salmon was rubbed with a mixture of salt, cumin, paprika, onion powder, ancho powder, and black pepper. Very simple salsa of avocado, red onion, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. All good. Served with polenta and two artichokes (impulse buy, on sale today) cooked in the pressure cooker, with a really simple dip of mayo and dijon mustard sprinkled with paprika. For dessert, some store-bought rice custards with caramel. We ate well.

Thursday/9-Mar-17: Dinner was disappointing, a half recipe of Daniel Boulud's Chicken Tagine (web). Took a long time to make and tasted pretty blah, not bad, just not interesting. Looked so promising. Over couscous. And a mini ice cream bar for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/10-Mar-17: Sorted through one of my ancillary stacks of recipes today; threw out some, need to throw out more.

Back to the pressure cooker with Mahur Jaffrey today, for Lamb Stewed in Coconut Milk (Q&E, p34; cookbooker). Yummy as usual, although it seemed to take a long time to assemble. As suggested, served with Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds (Q&E, p88; cookbooker). And some plain basmati rice. For dessert I used up some frozen cherries to make a half recipe of Clafoutis aux Cerises (VPG); haven't been able to find it on the web, but that's ok. This is a seriously non-standard clafoutis recipe and didn't work at all. It was more like a skimpy pudding with lots of cherries. Tasted fine, but it wasn't anything like a clafoutis.

Saturday/11-Mar-17: Meant to make pasta today, but didn't feel like it after a couple of days of long prep dinner. Used tagliatelle from the freezer to make a half dose of Tonnarelli ai Gamberi e Funghi (ClassPasta, p104; cookbooker). Followed by a salad.

Sunday/12-Mar-17: Lovely lunch out before a concert. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

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

Monday, February 27, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/27-Feb-17: We finished last week's Chicken Tortilla Pie for dinner, followed by a salad. For dessert we split a piece of the walnut-chocolate tart from the Massignac boulanger, good but rich.

Tuesday/28-Feb-17: Early meal today. We shared a half recipe of Eendenborst met Zuurkool (web), and really tasty it was. I used lardons fumés instead of katenspek (which is smoked, as I remember) and enough for a full recipe, since that's what was in the package. I made some simple buttered potatoes as a go-with, although they were hardly needed. And a salad that we ate later.

Wednesday/1-Mar-17: Shopping today. Not as early as I'd have preferred, but we did it.

Ed cooked dinner, bless his heart, while I reviewed for my French lesson tomorrow. We had a half recipe of Asian Salmon and Green Beans Stir Fry (web), which was pretty good if not great. For dessert, we had some chocolate pudding with "Vietnamese chocolate," keeping with the Asian theme.

Thursday/2-Mar-17: Dinner was a half dose of Scallops in Double Pepper Sauce (Tabasco, p62; cookbooker). Served over polenta. Then a big salad.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/3-Mar-17: Early meal today. I made meatloaf in the pressure cooker, which was super. Used a non-pressure cooker recipe sent by an EAT-L friend; I'm sure any recipe would work. For the glaze/sauce, I defrosted some of my "pizza sauce" made from roasted red bell peppers. Very good meatloaf. This one was seasoned with a bit of Worcestershire, cumin, dry mustard, and cheddar cheese (I used old mimelotte). Served with garlicky smashed potatoes and Buttered Beet and Carrot Sauté (CL/dec16, web). All tasty.

Saturday/4-Mar-17: Early meal today. A half recipe of Mushroom Risotto (web). I was intrigued by this recipe because it uses brandy as the "starter" liquid for the risotto where you might ordinarily use white wine. Can't say that I noticed the difference. The recipe is way short on mushrooms, only two cups for the full recipe. I used more than that for my half recipe and I can't say there were too many. Nevertheless it was tasty. Followed by a salad. Then bits of ice cream, a Haagen-Dazs cup for me and a mini Magnum for Ed.

Sunday/5-Mar-17: Dinner from the freezer tonight. We had Lamb Stew with Tamarind and Dumplings, which was tasty still, but the dumplings didn't like either being frozen or reheated; they had a very odd texture. Served over basmati rice (having forgotten about the dumplings), along with Carrots with Cilantro (MJ@Home, p149) and Roasted Curried Cauliflower (CL; web). The carrots I've made before, and they were good as always. The cauliflower was a clipping from CL; it's really easy and was surprisingly good. (I see there's a similar recipe with the same name that includes lemon juice and a bit of cayenne that I'll try before long.) We were full.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for February, no March; #4 BREAD: no for February, no for March

Monday, February 20, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/20-Feb-17: When I made the meal plan last week, I planned a dish with scallops this evening, thinking there were plenty in the freezer. Not. So replan for today. And for tomorrow, since I seem to be coming down with Ed's lurgi, and we decided to postpone tomorrow's lunch out. Boo. So replanning done.

Tonight we had Pepper and Anchovy Pasta Sauce (MarCuc, p149) over spaghetti, using up the bell peppers that were on hand for the planned scallop dish. Followed by a salad using up the carrot and onion salad from Saturday's Indian-ish dinner. And some little Haagen-Dasz ice cream cups for dessert.

Yogurt on overnight.

Tuesday/21-Feb-17: Tonight's dinner was Tortilla Pie with Chicken (web), made with a can of salsa verde and double Glouscestershire for the cheese. Very easy and wasn't too bad, although the cheese probably wasn't the best choice. Then a big salad.

Wednesday/22-Feb-17: Shopping today. We're both feeling puny so we didn't get off till really late. Finally found packages of large frozen scallops without the coral today and snatched up three without checking the price. Ouch, €16.99 for 400g times three.

Dinner was a half recipe of Cabillaud en Crumble de Jambon Cru (VPG; web, more or less). Tasty and pretty easy to make, except for finely mincing the ham and cilantro. Guess I could have used the cuisinart, but that seemed like more trouble to get out, plus the clean-up crew would prefer less work. Served with smashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. We were too full for dessert.

Thursday/23-Feb-17: Made up a batch of Oven-Roasted Tomatoes (HandyBook) and froze them.

Early meal today. We managed to eat a whole recipe of Curried Fried Rice (MW@Home, p226; cookbooker) which should have served four. Then we had the desserts I bought for last night—vanilla rice puddings. More rice, just what we needed. We've eaten tastily if without variety.

Friday/24-Feb-17: Dinner from the freezer tonight. Had some sauce for Barbecued Raspberry-Hoisin Chicken (web), but used it for pork chops. Made the brown rice as instructed (tossed with vinegar and sliced green onions) and some roasted green bean, which were pretty boring. All were pepped up by the sauce.

Saturday/25-Feb-17: Dinner out this evening. Nothing happened in the kitchen. (But very bad recurrence of old stomach problem that hasn't bothered me in a long time.)

Sunday/26-Feb-17: My tummy's still feeling bad after last night's problems, so there was not much happening in the kitchen. Ed had some leftover beef curry from the freezer. I had some brown rice from the fridge that I was saving to making a little side salad one night, topped with a bit of zingy sauce from something or other. It was good.

Yogurt on overnight.

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

Monday, February 13, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/13-Feb-17: Dinner was Mille-feuille de Romanesco et de Saumon (web). I realized after serving that this was meant to be an entrée rather than the main dish. Oops. Then a plain salad, croutons only. Then a little dessert using up the last two squares of pâte feuilleté, filled with apple, créme fraîche, dried cranberries, almond powder, etc. Pretty tasty with a bit of cream on top.

Tuesday/14-Feb-17: Read through an issue of C&V this morning. Best issue in a quite a while. Maybe it's too bad I let my subscription lapse.

Valentine's lunch out today. Nothing further happened in the kitchen, except a bowl of popcorn.

Wednesday/15-Feb-17: Shopping today.

Dinner was Pan-Fried Salmon with Gnocchi (web), which was interesting but not great. Ed liked the fried gnocchi, something I don't usually do. Then a salad. We were full.

Yogurt on overnight. (Should have made it last night, but I was too lazy.)

Thursday/16-Feb-17: Early meal today. We had Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce (MC). Thick eggplant slices are brushed with lemon juice and oil, then grilled. This has a yummy sauce of yogurt, feta, finely chopped onion, mint leaves, and garlic, lemon juice, and cayenne. All served in pitas. Accompanied by Crushed Spiced Carrot Salad (Morocco, p78).

Friday/17-Feb-17: Dinner was Pork Chops with Hot Garlic Sauce (MC). I was lazy and used powdered ginger and garlic, but it was still good. I used some trio rice, the leftover romanesco, and some broccoli to make a go-with salad, which was pretty good.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/18-Feb-17: This morning we found that one of our charming cats left us the remains of a mouse head just outside our bedroom door. Found in the night, I suppose.

Back to the pressure cooker for dinner. We had Lamb with Cardamom (Q&E, p30; cookbooker) over plain basmati rice, along with Carrot and Onion Salad (MJ1, p171). I made a full dose of the lamb and we managed to eat all of its deliciousness even though that was a bit of a stretch.

I'm making a little mini-project of cooking all of the pressure cooker recipes from Q&E. Have three or four recipes more to go now. Thought briefly about doing this for Cookbook Countdown, but really don't feel like I have the time right now. Why do I feel so busy?

Sunday/19-Feb-17: The cascareccia mouse seems to have disappeared, but today I found traces of the latest mouse, now deceased. This one had a liking for our cantuccini-like cookies, ones from Provence instead of Italy. Looks like I'll have to do a thorough clean of two banks of Ivar shelving tomorrow.

Dinner was a half recipe of Lemony Chicken Saltimboca (CL/nov12, web). This was very easy and very tasty. Served with Clotilde Dusoulier's Perfect Roasted Potatoes (HandyBook; web), an old favorite, and Roasted Green Beans with Walnuts and Rosemary (VT; web), which was quite good with very little effort.

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

This week in the kitchen

Monday/6-Feb-17: Leftover cheese enchiladas and Spanish rice for dinner, with some new guacamole. We're full.

Tuesday/7-Feb-17: Earlyish main meal today. A half recipe of Mushroom Pot Pies (web). Pretty good they were, but needed a bit of something, maybe garlic, to give the sauce a bit more oomph. And a salad. That was all.

Wednesday/8-Feb-17: Fresh pasta for our main meal. I made Mustard Pasta (PastaMach, p82; cookbooker). Maybe my flour was old or dry. I used the optional teaspoon of olive oil and still needed to add a second egg to make a dough that could be kneaded. The recommended sauce was Scarborough Tomato Sauce (PastaMach, p146; cookbooker)—think parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. The sauce was good, but the taste overwhelmed the subtler taste of the pasta. Then a salad. And some mini magnums for dessert.

Thursday/9-Feb-17: Shopping day today.

Dinner was a half a recipe of Fettuccine al Tonno e Panna allo Zafferano (ClassPasta, p92), fettuccine with tuna and a saffron cream sauce. It was so-so. Would have been better to cook the tuna separately and serve slices on the pasta. Then a salad. Made a double-boiler bread pudding with the end of a bread that went stale quickly. Stirred in some chocolate chips just to see. Not something to do again. Won't stop us from eating it, of course.

Friday/10-Feb-17: A confusing day today. I was supposed to start a crockpot dinner in the afternoon, but didn't get to it. Changed to something else, then discovered I'd neglected to buy a major ingredient. Back to the crockpot dinner, but without the crockpot. We had Slow Cooker Chicken & Mushroom Soup (web), made in the Dutch oven. (Thought briefly about the pressure cooker, but didn't dare.) Made about a 2/3 recipe with my 500g of mushrooms. Add crème fraîche rather than cream at the end. Quite tasty. We ate it all. Then more of the bread pudding.

Prepared the dry brine that I'll put on a chicken tomorrow to roast on Sunday.

Saturday/11-Feb-17: Started yogurt early, then went to the doctor's walk-in hours (prescription renewal, no big deal) early-ish today, getting there just after 9am. Usually it's not very crowded on Saturdays. Today it was jam-packed. We got out after noon. Sigh.

Dry brined a chicken for tomorrow's meal.

Dinner was a halish recipe of Lentilles Vertes, Chou Romanesco et Saucisse (VPG). (This version is the same except that they use broccoli instead of the romanesco.) The chipolatas (sausages) that I used came from a vendor at one of last summer's marché des producteurs. Excellent they were. I used four for the two of us instead of two. The dish was good enough, but rather boring. It needed some sauce, maybe a dab of chicken stock with some mustard would have been good. Then we finished off the bread pudding.

Sunday/12-Feb-17: Unhappy day. Discovered this morning that Ed washed my expensive (worth every penny) chicken shears in the dishwasher last night. How many times have I told him that those don't go in the dishwasher?

Today's chickie was dry-brined with a southeast Asia flavor. As I've done before, I spatchcocked the chicken, browned it skin-side down, turned it and put another heavy skillet on top, then roasted for 45 minutes at 400F. Tasty thing. Served with plain rice and Thai-Style Green Beans (web). The green beans were old, but the dish still tasted pretty good.

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cookbook Countdown: Chaco Chicken Chili

One last night with Pat Dailey's The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever. Tonight we had Chaco Chicken Chili (p75). The headnote suggests it can be make with leftover turkey, and Thanksgiving turkey from the freezer did the job.

Start by soaking a mixture of beans overnight. I used kidney and black beans because that's about all I found that would do. Sauté a chopped onion, two minced garlic cloves, and a couple of jalapeños (shh, mine were red instead of green). Then add a diced red bell pepper (in this case, mine was green), chili powder, ground cumin, and dried oregano. Stir for a minute, then add a can of diced tomatoes, a 12-oz bottle of beer, chopped cooked chicken or turkey, and the drain beans. (The recipe also called for some brown sugar, but I quailed at the idea of adding sugar to a chili.)

Close 'er up, bring to pressure, and cook for 15 minutes at pressure. Longer would have been better, since some of the beans were still a bit crunchy; not inedible mind you, but not the soft texture that that should have been. Taste and season with salt and cayenne. Chopped cilantro can be stirred in at serving time, but there was none at the store last week.

I come from the no-tomato school of chili-making, but this was a pretty darn good in spite of that.


I've learned a lot about cooking with my new pressure cooker in the last month and still have some recipes to try. I never did find a quick dessert, but that may be a fairly vain quest. We've especially enjoyed some of the stew-y things, like this chili and Madhur Jaffrey's recipes, where so much time is saved. We weren't too pleased with the bone-in chicken dishes. Some of them had very nice sauces, but the meat texture and flavor left a bit to be desired. Of all the books I looked at, I think Pat Dailey's The Best Pressure Cooker Cookbook Ever. and Victoria Wise's Pressure Cooker Gourmet will be the ones that stay on the shelf.

January starts a new year with Cookbook Countdown. Now let's see what February brings. Why don't you choose a book, or two, or more, from your cookbook shelf and join in?