A weekly round-up of recipes

I actually did alot of cooking this week, and surpassed my minimum of 1 new recipe for the week fairly early.

I also broke one of my own "guildlines" - finish reading a new cookbook before you start cooking from it. Which is why no one has seen recipes form me from The Vegan Lunch Box, or either of the ACES Bakery cookbooks. I'm still reading them.

So early in the week I had the hankering (funny word, I know, I just like it right now,) to roast a chicken. It was something I could prep in advance and put into the oven before I go do the 45 minute-plus drive to pick up the husband from work on the days I have the van. I've done a few roasted chickens lately, always involving a brine and garlic, but haven't really been satisfied with the results. Having to take the time to prep the chicken a full day before for brining should yield good results, and maybe it's just been my roasting, but I haven't been happy.

So I went net searching for a different type of roast chicken, something that didn't require alot of advanced work and found this. The combination of the basil, oregano, cayenne and paprika intrigued me, as they aren't four flavors I would have thought to put together for chicken. But it had all my requirements so into a bowl they went, out came the oil and the chicken, and into the oven it went.

Then promptly into our stomachs afterwards!

It smelled good, it looked good and mmmmmm it tasted good!

A new recipe to add to my expanding blue book of tried and true recipes.

Friday I had company coming, my grandparents, whom I don't get to cook for often. I had "comforting and elegant" in my head and for some reason felt that meant soup, homemade soup, with good sandwiches. And since my grandfather was involved, there had to be dessert as well.

I didn't want just any kind of sandwiches but something a bit special - I ended up deciding on California BLT's, which I found in my new Ina Garten cookbook, Barefoot Contessa At Home. When asked by friends what I was making, the California portion caused confusion, so to ease that "huh?" factor, the difference is avocado slices added in with good, crisp bacon, fresh, ripe tomatoes, buttery lettuce and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, a smear of mayo. And to up them up in special quality, I made bread, honey white bread, also from the same cookbook.

This bread worked perfectly to the recipe and was so well received that I've just pulled out a new batch from the oven. My children loved it both with a bit of butter and toasted with jam. And it was just what I needed to make my sandwiches have that special touch.

Btw, the second picture of the bread, before I sliced it, is being admired by my grandfather.

Okay, really he's just being silly, but then if he weren't being silly, we would wonder what was wrong!

My last item for dinner was the soup, and again I knew where I wanted to go with it. I wanted roasted cauliflower soup, topped with some sharp, shredded cheese. And I could not find a recipe that was specifically for roasted cauliflower.

So I winged it.

I roasted up a head of cauliflower pieces with some chunks of onion, roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I added them into some chicken stock, more salt and pepper, a sprinkling of cumin and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. I also added in the flesh of a baked potato, for thickening. Then I pureed it all together, added a bit more salt and pepper, and some pieces of a sharp white cheddar. Each bowl was served with additional cheese sprinkled on top.

This soup did not look good at all. The picture is terrible, I could not find some good light to take one, but even before I took one, it looks icky. And was an excellent example of don't judge by looks. It was amazingly good, even better two days later (I had the leftovers for lunch yesterday.)

My final effort of the day was homemade vanilla ice cream. Sorry, no pictures, so you will have to simply imagine the flecks of vanilla beans generously floating through the thick, creamy ice cream. It went very well with the apple pie my grandmother had brought, baked up by me.

My only other effort that weekend was to make some muffins for breakfast with my 4 year old. My grandmother had cleaned up her fruit bowl by bringing everything to me, which meant over ripe bananas. So we remade the chocolate banana bread, in muffin form, and fancied them up a bit more using chunks of banana chips, broken up by the assistant chef. (Oh, one thing I failed to mention with the original post about the bread. I don't use nuts in my baking, so did not add them.)

Hopefully I will be able to post more often, by recipe instead of by week, but work has been keeping me busy. I'll figure it out eventually.

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