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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy 2015, Week 1

I've been planning our dinners weekly on excel sheets for the past 3-4 years and a lot of friends say they wish they could just follow my weekly menus so they wouldn't need to think of what to make everyday. So starting this year I'm going to upload my weekly menus here (click on the recipe title to go to the link) and as much as I can, take a photo and write a short review for each recipe after I've made them, cos you know, not every new recipe turns out to be worth repeating.

So here it goes, week 1:

Dec 30th (Tue)

smoked salmon egg salad

This recipe was supposed to be made in a jar, but works as a normal salad too, of course. I only made half of the egg salad, as 4 eggs/person seems too much. I found some extra skinny baby haricot vert so used those instead. All in all, a very tasty and easy to put together meal, because you can't really go wrong with smoked salmon, egg salad, and Dijon mustard, can you? ;o)

Pineapple Mango Ginger Smoothie
This is pretty nice, with a nice spicy kick from the ginger. Enough for two

Dec 31st (Wed)

Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken

This one is a tried and true favourite. I made it for Christmas eve dinner and my MIL loved it so much she asked for it again for NYE. It's so easy to make but turns out perfectly every time. The only thing you need to look out for is that the chicken has to be very dry when you put it into the oven so it doesn't end up steaming. So I usually leave it in the fridge uncovered for a couple of hours to dry prior to baking.

Tartiflette (make half)

I had a very nice tartiflette at the Panoramic restaurant on the ski slopes of Val D'isere a couple of weeks ago and really loved it, so I bought some Reblochon cheese from the local market, lugged it back, and made it again. The dish I used was a little small so I couldn't fit in all the cheese but it turned out really well nonetheless.

Green Salad


This is a standard green salad at my house, no recipe needed. Use whatever greens you like (I used baby Romaine this time), tomatoes and whatever else you want to add. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic glaze on top, sprinkle Maldon salt and shaved Parmesan cheese. Et Voila!

Chocolate Amaretto Crepe Cake


This cake looked so promising but ended up such a disappointment. My in-laws said they liked it, but I'm not sure if they're being polite, or because they've never had other millecrepe cakes I've made before, but J and I certainly didn't like it. The crepe batter has no butter in it, which may explain why the cake felt too doughy, but the filling is also partially to blame. Maybe the author of this recipe lives in a much colder climate, but the whipped cream filling was melting as I was putting the cake together, even though I put it on a big bowl of ice water bath. I should have just stuck to my instinct and made a chocolate pastry cream and fold in the whipped cream, as I normally do. I think it would've at least made the filling more substantial, and maybe then it would've feel like we're just eating crepes with not much in between.

Jan 1st, 2015 (Thur)

Pork Ramen Noodle with stir fried green veggie

This was pretty yummy, and the house smelled so nice all day with the pork in the slow cooker. However, I'm not sure if caramelizing the pork actually adds anything to the dish. I think if I make it again I'll just shred the pork and leave it at that. The roasted butternut squash was very nice though, and could be a side dish on its own.

Jan 2nd (Fri)
Paprika Chicken & Spinach, white wine thyme sauce

This was a very simple one dish meal. I doubled the amount of spinach so I wouldn't have to make another side dish and ate it with rice. The sauce has a very nice flavour and it has J's approval.

Jan 3 (Sat)

Sat is one of the rare days I get to sleep in, so this was an impromptu brunch thrown together with what's in the fridge. J's still watching his carb intake so the eggs are his. I warmed up the leftover crepes from the crepe cake and caramel cinnamon apple from another cake earlier in the week. I need to make more crepe cakes in the future so I can have breakfast like this! The rest of the brunch is pretty healthy: cantaloupe with prosciutto, homemade yogurt drizzled with raw honey and topped with fruits.

For dinner we had Soy Lemon Flank Steak Salad


When I was traveling in the Languedoc area of France last May there were a lot of flank steaks on the menu as plat du jour and they were all very tasty, so I decided to give it a try instead of the usual marbled wagyu. This dish requires a little prep work (need to marinade the flank steak), but is very quick to put together. I was out all day but had dinner on the table within half an hour after coming home. Having never grilled a flank steak before I used a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temp. and grilled until it registered 140F, let it rest for 10min while boiling the marinade and washing the salad leaves. The sauce turned out to be very tasty and J loved it.

Jan 4 (Sun)

Another quick lunch thrown together after riding. The cheese were brought back from our trip to France, from 3 different cheese shops =oP Clockwise from bottom left: Petit Gaugry (similar to Epoisse), 18 month aged Gouda, truffle cheese, aged Mimolette, and 27 month aged Comte. The truffle cheese was from a famous cheese shop in St Germaine market. It was great when we tasted it but now the truffle seems too overpowering. My favourite is still the Comte. We also had chorizo and a saucisson with beaufort cheese inside.

The pina colada shake was very easy to make and tastes great
3/4 c pineapple chunks
1 frozen banana
1/2 c coconut water
1/3 c plain yogurt

For dinner we had:
Fig Gorgonzola Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Green Beans w Hazelnut and Lemon

The pork was definitely a lot of work. I think I overbaked it by about 5-10minutes because the pork, although not dry, had a very tight texture. The sweetness of the figs and the pungent gorgonzola went really well with the pork and the sauce was a nice addition. I may try this again some time to see if a slightly shorter baking time and a different brine can make a difference.

The green bean salad is an all time favourite. It definitely works better with baby haricot vert, and make sure the hazelnut is toasted until fragrant, but not burnt.

So that's what my kitchen churned out in the first week of 2015. Until next week!