Category Archives: 2018 Cookery Project

2018 Cookery Project — Second-Half Review

Some of the things I cooked in the second half of 2018. Click on any picture to launch a full-screen slide show view:

Advertisements

2018 Cookery Project — Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce and Black Bean Salad

Lamb with Mint Sauce and Black Bean Salad

Lamb with Mint Sauce and Black Bean Salad

In what was almost certainly my last Cookery Project meal in 2018, I roasted a leg of lamb for the holidays. I got my recipe for Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary from Epicurious.

I’ve cooked lamb before, but I’d forgotten about the high ratio of fat and gristle to meat in a leg of lamb.  When the GMO food people get around to breeding a fat-free lamb, I’ll be first in line at Safeway.

With some memorable exceptions, lamb has often seemed a bit bland to me, so for a side dish, I went with a FoodNetwork recipe for a colourful Black Bean Salad to liven things up. It turned out that the side was tastier and more interesting than the main. Not a result I was looking for.

Still, it was satisfying. Just not the high note with which I wanted to end 2018.


Rating

★ 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.


Meat & Livestock Australia’s 2017 Lamb Ad Campaign 

Some Hindus, some Anglicans, and some vegetarians complained about the ad, but for whatever reason, there were no reports of protests from the Scientologists about L. Ron Hubbard’s presence at this Feast for the Gods.

2018 Cookery Project — Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

 Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken is another of those one-pan, 10-ingredient dishes from the A Spicy Perspective website that come in handy when I want to make something beautiful and elegant, but fast and easy. (“Fast and easy” was my middle name, back in younger and more adventurous times.)

I could probably have put this together blindfolded. It didn’t require learning any new techniques, and there were no unfamiliar ingredients. Like so many things I cook, it began with diced onion and minced garlic. I seared the chicken in butter. then added, at various stages, finely diced roasted red peppers, chicken broth, cream cheese, crushed red pepper, and basil. If you look closely, you can see that I sliced the chicken before serving.

Another good one. I think I’m getting the hang of this cookery thing.


Rating

★ 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.

2018 Cookery Project — French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

This was a first attempt at making French Onion Soup, one of my favourite things, right up there with raindrops on kittens and whiskers on roses.

And it worked! I knew I’d succeeded from my first sip, because It tasted unmistakably French.

I’ve been building up to this for a long time, comparing a number of recipes and finally settled on this one from Epicurious. I even bought a special set of ramekins and soup spoons, for authenticity and because I liked saying “ramekins”.

I started by slow-cooking four sliced Vidalia onions in butter. It took about an hour to get them to the perfect state—soft, and golden brown. Then I added white wine and beef broth, thyme and bay leaves, and simmered to reduce.

To finish, I poured a bit of sherry into each ramekin, filled them with the onions and broth, added lightly-toasted baguette slices, and covered the whole thing with Gruyère cheese.

Five minutes in the broiler gave me the delicious result you see above.

Bon appétit!


Rating

★ 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.

2018 Cookery Project — Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

The description of this Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken, from a website called The Recipe Critic, says, “This meal tastes like it is straight from a restaurant.  I couldn’t even get over how amazing the creamy sauce was!  It has such a delicious creamy garlic taste with spinach and sun dried tomatoes.”

All of which is totally accurate. It was like something I’d be happy to find on the menu of a good restaurant, and after tasting it, I’d make a note to order it again next time I visited.

The chicken was boneless, skinless breast, sliced and then cooked in batches in a skillet. When it was done, I moved the chicken to a plate, deglazed the pan, and added heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, chopped spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes.

While the sauce was thickening, I cooked the pasta, which turned out to be the killer secret ingredient. On a whim, I’d picked up a small package of Pasta Valente’s Garlic Parsley Fettuccine at Giant. I hadn’t heard of it before I bought it, but I now think it’s the best packaged pasta I’ve ever eaten.

The chicken went back into the skillet to reheat, and a few minutes later, it was ready to serve.


Rating

★ 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.

2018 Cookery Project — Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce

Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce

Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce

I have my defaults.

My default Breakfast Cereal is Open Nature Naturally Flavored Granola with one or more servings of fresh fruit (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and/or bananas), Golden Raisins, and heavy cream.

My default Ham Sandwich is Black Forest ham on hand-cut slices of sourdough bread, with my own honey-mustard spread, some cress, and a sprinkling of bleu cheese.

And now I have a default recipe for salmon.

The recipe for Smoky Oven Baked Salmon with Horseradish Sauce that I found on a website called A Spicy Perspective turned out so well that I’m sure I’ll be using it over and over.

Here’s how it works: You spread brown sugar over the salmon, then add liquid smoke to the sugar and rub the mixture to coat the entire fillet. Bake it on parchment paper for 15 minutes. The liquid smoke and brown sugar blend give the fish a wonderful, shiny glaze.

The Horseradish Sauce is a mixture of grated shallot, sour cream, milk, mustard, and, uh, horseradish.

Add some capers and parsley, and you’re ready to go.


Rating

★ 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.

2018 Cookery Project — Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Rice

Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Rice

Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Rice

Late summer this year was not a good time to be me. What at first seemed like a minor medical issue turned out to be both more serious and much more expensive than I was prepared for. That double whammy depressed me to the point where I wasn’t much good for anything more challenging than lying in bed, eating Dark Chocolate Klondike Bars, and watching British “cozy” mysteries on Acorn and Britbox. (If you want to know anything—anything—about Miss Marple or Father Brown, Miss Fisher or M. Poirot, or the innumerable homicidal residents of Midsomer county, I’m your guy.)

I let a lot of things lapse, including this blog.

But now I’m back in action, and caught up with my Summer Restaurant Week adventures—a mere two months after they took place—so it’s time to start updating the 2018 Cookery Project. First off: Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Rice.

I stumbled across this recipe on a website called The Recipe Critic. It looked delectable, the instructions consisted of only three steps, and the whole meal could be made in a single skillet. The neat time-and-effort saver was that the uncooked rice was added to the same pot as the chicken and mushrooms, instead of being made separately. Once the rice was done, I only had to add heavy cream and parmesan cheese to finish the dish.


Rating

★ 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.


*Midsomer has the third highest homicide rate per capita in the world, exceeded only by Chicago, Illinois, and Cabot Cove, Maine.