Category Archives: 2017 Cookery Project

2017 Cookery Project — Sausage, Potato, and Mushroom Roast

Sausage, Potato, and Mushroom Roast

Sausage, Potato, and Mushroom Roast

Colourful, isn’t it? The recipe I used to make this Sausage, Potato, and Mushroom Roast came from Serious Eats.

I cut some new potatoes into bite-sized chunks, put them in a baking dish, doused them with olive oil, and roasted them in the oven for 30 minutes. Then I added sliced mushrooms, some sun-dried tomatoes, and sweet Italian sausages. When the potatoes were done, about 30 minutes later, I sprinkled cilantro over the top and served the dish with a bit of Dijon mustard for dipping.

A nice, easy meal.


I’ve decided to start rating these experiments on a five-star scale, The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2017 Cookery Project — Balsamic Glazed Salmon and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Balsamic Glazed Salmon and Herb Roasted Potatoes

Balsamic Glazed Salmon and Herb Roasted Potatoes

The Balsamic Glazed Salmon recipe came from good old reliable Cooking Classy. The glaze combined balsamic vinegar, white wine, honey, Dijon mustard, rosemary, and garlic,* cooked down to a syruppy (Syrup-py? Syrupy? Syrup-like? Viscous? Whatever.) consistency, and spooned over the finished salmon. Simple.

Making the Herb Roasted Potatoes, from a Serious Eats article modestly titled “How to Roast the Best Potatoes of Your Life,” was more complicated.

I peeled the potatoes and cut them into large cubes, which I boiled in water, with salt and baking soda. While the potatoes were boiling I infused olive oil with—you’ll never guess—minced rosemary and garlic. After the potatoes had boiled for 10 minutes, I drained them, let the steam for a bit, and then put them in a plastic container and coated them with the infused olive oil. In adding the olive oil, I used a strainer, and reserved the garlic and rosemary for later.

I then baked the potatoes for 45 minutes, flipping them every once in a while. When they were done, I put them in a bowl and mixed in the reserved garlic and rosemary. I finished with Maldon Sea Salt flakes, and they were ready to go.


I’ve decided to start rating these experiments on a five-star scale, The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

Of course, this whole ratings scheme is sort of a cheat, because I only post notes about experiments that have been successful. Might have to re-think the whole thing.


*It occurs to me that almost everything I cook these days combines balsamic vinegar, white wine, honey, Dijon mustard, rosemary, and garlic. Add chocolate, salt, shallots, and raspberries, and you’ve got my 10 Basic Food Groups.

2017 Cookery Project — Bastille Day Cheesecake

Bastille Day Cheesecake

Bastille Day Cheesecake

The day that started with a low-effort Bastille Day Breakfast ended with a much more complex Bastille Day Cheesecake.

Most of the work took place the night before, because the cheesecake needed an overnight stay in the refrigerator to set properly. I used the same recipe as last year, and this time around, I managed to avoid the disaster that made the 2016 cheesecake’s surface look like it had been hit by a magnitude 4.7 earthquake.


2016 Bastille Day Cheesecake

2016 Bastille Day Cheesecake

Note how I cleverly disguised much of the damage to the 2016 Bastille Day Cheesecake by hiding it under a seemingly random scattering of blueberries and raspberries.


Anyhow, both last year’s cheesecake and this year’s tasted….

Well, put it this way: Have you ever heard anyone claim that a piece of cheesecake was anything less that great? By definition, cheesecake always tastes wonderful.


I’ve decided to start rating these experiments on a five-star scale, The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2017 Cookery Project — Bastille Day Breakfast

Bastille Day Breakfast

Bastille Day Breakfast

There wasn’t really any “Cookery” involved in today’s the 2017 Cookery Project entry, unless you count slicing a banana and opening a packet of Open Nature 100% Natural, Strawberry Vanilla Splendor Granola Cereal as Cookery.

But that Tricolour! Très beau!


I’ve decided to start rating these experiments on a five-star scale, The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2017 Cookery Project — Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, was probably the most influential general cookbook of the 80s, and 35 years later, it’s still one of the essentials.  Just last March, Bon Appétit published an article titled “How the Silver Palate Cookbook Changed Our Cooking”.

The signature recipe from the cookbook was the one for Chicken Marbella. Making Chicken Marbella involves marinating chicken overnight in a mixture of green olives, capers, prunes, honey, white wine, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, bay leaves*, and other stuff that momentarily skips my mind. It isn’t really complicated, but it results in a complex melding of the ingredients. The taste reminded me of Tzimmes, the stew I’d made a couple of months ago, and when I did a little research, I found that, like Tzimmes, Chicken Marbella has become a favourite meal served during Passover.

The New York Times published a brief history of the Silver Palate on the occasion of the cookbook’s 25th anniversary. You can find the recipe for Chicken Marbella at the bottom of the article.


I’ve decided to start rating these experiments on a five-star scale, The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.


*When my brother and sister-in-law last visited, they brought me some wonderful fresh bay leaves from the plant in their backyard in California. I used the last of them when I made Beef Bourguignon last month, so I trekked up to Giant to buy a jar from the McCormick spice rack. I was surprised to see that the 0.12 ounce jar, containing 8-10 bay leaves costed $8.49. When I looked closer at the label, I got a bigger surprise.

At that price, a pound of bay leaves would cost $754.67. I think it might be time to buy acreage someplace that has a Mediterranean climate, and start a little herb farm to call my own.

2017 Cookery Project — Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

According to Julia Child’s classic recipe, it takes about six hours to make Beef Bourguignon.

The recipe I used, from a cheery little website called The Café Sucre Farine, said I should “Plan about four hours from start to finish to prepare this Beef Bourguignon, with about one hour of hands-on time.”

I wanted Beef Bourguignon for lunch on Friday. The plan was to have everything—except the peas, which would be added just before serving—done the night before. So with that “four hours” estimate in mind, I started cooking just before 8PM….

I was finally able to refrigerate the plastic container I used to store the almost-finished dish at around 1:45 Friday morning, Clean-up would have to wait until later. Much later.

There’s a happy ending to this one, though. The Beef Bourguignon was literally the best I’ve ever tasted. Everything blended perfectly. Sure, I gave up an evening of re-watching Riverdale episodes and playing Gummy Drop, but it was worth it!

And, just as expected, it tasted even better the second day.


My rating. The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2017 Cookery Project — Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes, and Shallots

Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes and Shallots

Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes and Shallots

The recipe for this meal of Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes, and Shallots comes from an old issue of Bon Appétit. I couldn’t find the recipe online, so there’s no link with this one. Sorry.

Putting it all together was a three-step process: prepping the vegetables, prepping the chicken, and prepping the vinaigrette.

For the vegetables, I peeled a couple of russet potatoes and cut them into bite-size cubes, sliced the shallots, put them on a baking dish, doused them with olive oil, and roasted them for half an hour. The chicken was dredged in flour and then pan-fried. The shallot and mustard vinaigrette included balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh chopped thyme.

When everything was ready, I plated it on a bed of watercress, and served it hot.

The chicken and vegetables would have been good on their own, but the shallot and mustard vinaigrette was what put the dish over the top.


My rating. The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.