Friday, September 30, 2005

Thursday Night: Reisfladen success

We haven't tasted this yet, but based on the last experiment I'm confident the flavor will be ok. The texture and color are excellent. Here's the final recipe, which makes two Reisfladen:

Rice Filling:
200 g short-grain rice (I used Japanese sweet rice)
800 g milk
1 pinch salt
150 g sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste
grated zest of one lemon
4 egg yolks
3 egg whites

Combine the rice with the milk and salt and cook, uncovered, over medium to medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes, until the mixture is fairly thick and the rice is tender.
Remove from the heat and mix in the sugar.
In a separate bowl mix the vanilla, lemon zest, and egg yolks.
When the rice mixture has cooled some (and you're not worried about it scrambling the eggs), pour it into the bowl with the egg mixture and mix well.
Let cool completely to room temp.
When ready to use: beat the egg whites to firm peaks then fold them into the rice mixture.

Yeast Crust:
300 g all purpose flour
60 g butter
2 Tbs sugar
pinch salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
125 g milk, lukewarm
2 eggs, beaten

Cut the butter into pieces and pulse it with about half the flour in a food processor until it is well integrated.
Transfer all the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
Into the well add and mix well: the yeast, a good pinch of sugar, a bit of milk. Stir in a bit of the flour from the edge of the well and wait 5-10 minutes, until you see signs of yeast activity.
Sprinkle the salt and the rest of the sugar around the outside of the well.
Add the remaining milk and the eggs to the well and mix everything together using the standard "bread making with a well" technique.
Mix in enough additional flour to make the contents of the bowl a stick dough instead of a thick batter, then turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface.
Work the dough, adding flour to enable you to do so, for about five minutes, until it's nice and satiny.
Form a ball, put in a bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled (it took about 30-40 minutes last night).

Assembling the Reisfladen:

You want to build these in a tart pan with a removable bottom.

Divide the dough into two pieces. For each of the two Reisfladen:
Roll the dough circle out until it's quite thin and 2-3 inches larger than the tart pan. Transfer it to the floured tart pan, gently press it down on the side and smooth the bottom, pinch around the sides, and use the rolling pin along the edge of the pan to cut the dough to size. You'll have leftover dough.
Transfer the tart pan to a baking sheet and fill it with half of the rice mixture.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until the crust and top are nicely browned and there's not much jiggle left in the middle.
Remove from the rim of the tart pan, let the Reisfladen cool on a rack, then store in the fridge.
Serve cool.

We're going to top these with sour cherries and a sauce made from the syrup they're packed in, but the Reisfladen are also good on their own.

Thursday Dinner: An excuse to use up the beurre blanc

We still had a good portion of beurre blanc left over from Wednesday, so I kind of structured last night's menu to use it up.
We had: Pan-seared sole fillets and steamed potatoes ("Pommes Anglaise" from JPT: cut yukon gold potatoes into 1.5" pieces, put them in an oiled bamboo steamer and steam for 20-25 minutes) sprinkled with minced shallots and chopped parsley [CSA], served with the beurre blanc; braised carrots; a leftover artichoke; and turnip greens [CSA] flash-fried with pimentos [CSA] and garlic.

The dessert was Andrea's idea: I rolled out the leftover dough from the reisfladen (next post), stuffed it into ramekins, sprinkled it with a bit of sugar, and then baked it. The yeast dough expands too much for these to be effective cups, but they make kind of flower shapes. We filled them with macerated strawberries [CSA] and topped them with a bit of sour cream.


  1. I saved the beurre blanc by storing it at room temp (covered with plastic), gently microwaving it (40 seconds at 40% power), and then vigorously whisking back in the small amount that broke. This turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be and the sauce didn't particularly suffer for it. The flavor was still excellent.
  2. Beurre blanc goes very well with both sauteed fish and potatoes, no big surprise there.
  3. Steamed potatoes are really nice. They hold their shape much better than boiled potatoes (which get all beat up while being boiled), seem more robust to overcooking, don't take much longer, and taste excellent. I am definitely going to be repeating this.
  4. Braised carrots: we had a leftover "french carrot" (very fat, stubby carrot) from last weekend's farmers market that I wanted to use up. I cut it into 1/2" planks; sauteed them briefly in a bit of butter; added a good pinch of sugar, salt, black pepper, and a bit of stock; covered the pan and simmered for 15-20 minutes, until the carrots were tender.
  5. I was initially afraid that fish + potatoes + a white sauce would lead to a dull-looking plate, but adding the carrots and sauteed greens with pimentos jazzed things up a lot.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Wednesday leftovers + braised cabbage, sauteed mushrooms, artichokes with beurre blanc

To accompany the leftover sausage and lentils from Sunday night, I did another round of sweet-sour braised cabbage and sauteed the last of the mushrooms from the risotto. I also steamed a couple artichokes (last things from last week's CSA box) and made a beurre blanc to accompany them.

I tried to make beurre blanc a while ago (more than a year, since it's not in my blog archives), but I winged the recipe and, surprise surprise, it didn't emulsify. This time I used the recipe from Techniques and it worked just fine. It's obvious to me why this sauce is a classic: it's wonderful. Paired with very flavorful artichokes it was even more wonderful.

For the hell of it, here's the recipe. This makes 2-3 dinner-sized portions or enough for 4 artichokes, we have leftovers that I'm going to try and salvage tonight.

1 shallot, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup water
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
a pinch of freshly fine ground white pepper
a good pinch of salt
1 Tbs heavy cream
6 oz good unsalted butter (I used Plugra), cut into 12 pieces

Put all the ingredients except the cream and butter in a small stainless steel pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 25 minutes, adding more water if it starts to look dry.
Strain the sauce into a cup, pressing everything out of the shallots, wipe out the cooking pan, and pour the liquid back into the pan.
If you have more than about 3 tablespoons of liquid left: add the cream and a couple pieces of butter, raise the heat to high, and boil for a bit to drive off some liquid. Allow the pan to cool for a few minutes.
Otherwise: add the cream.
Put the pan, which should be lukewarm, back over very low heat and whisk in the butter one piece at a time. Whisk thoroughly! Whisk until your arm hurts!
Stop adding butter when you're happy with the consistency of the sauce. If you need to add more than 6 oz, go for it!
Taste and adjust salt.
Serve the sauce immediately or let it stand in a warm place (near the stove, perhaps) until ready to serve. It'll hold as long as it doesn't get too hot or cool enough for the butter to start to set.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tuesday: Reisfladen Test 2

Last night's trial started with this recipe, which can be found in English in a somewhat elaborated form here.

This is getting closer to my hazy memory of what a Reisfladen is supposed to be.

There are still some problems with the recipe though:

  1. The baking temperature (425) is too high; this doesn't allow the filling to cook fully before the crust starts to get overly browned.
  2. The crust, as I made it last night, is too thick.
  3. The crust could be a bit richer, I think it wants a bit more butter added to it.

Tuesday Night Leftovers

We still had some veggies from last week's CSA box left, so to go with the leftover halibut and risotto, I made sweet and sour braised cabbage (complements the sweet and sour of the halibut) and sauteed broccoli (again using stalkier pieces of broccoli).

For the cabbage, makes 2 servings:

1/4 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 shallots, small dice
olive oil
crushed red pepper, salt
chicken stock
1 good pinch or two of sugar
1-2 Tbs red wine vinegar

Get the oil really hot in a pan you can cover. Add the shallots and saute for a minute or two, until they start to soften.
Add the cabbage, crushed red pepper to taste, and a good pinch of salt and saute a few minutes, until the cabbage starts to brown.
Add about 1/4 cup chicken stock, cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and let simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if things start to look really dry, until the cabbage is soft.
Remove the cover and allow any liquid left in the pan to boil off.
Add some sugar and vinegar, mix well, taste, and adjust the balance until you're happy with it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Monday: Reisfladen Test 1

This was a test, we're trying to find a good Aachener Reisfladen recipe for next weekend. After some web searching, I arbitrarily decided to try out this particular recipe last night.

That was a mistake. The recipe has at least one typo/mistake in it and includes a major typo for the baking temperature: there is no earthly way that this thing is supposed to bake at 250 C (480 F) for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes the crust was starting to head toward burnt.

The resulting basic dessert tasted ok, but we won't be using this as the recipe for this weekend.

Monday Night: Sicilian Halibut, Mushroom Risotto, Broccoli and Beurre Noisette

We picked up halibut at the MP farmers market on Sunday, so we made this last night and let the leftovers from Sunday sit a night. :-)

The fish recipe is from the Splendid Table's "Weeknight Kitchen" newsletter and makes a really nice sweet-sour sauce for the fish. Next time I make this, I should remember to not exactly follow the recipe and to sear the fish before adding the onions to the pan. The presence of the onions (and their moisture) prevents the fish from taking a good sear.

The mushroom risotto was a normal prep, I used mushrooms and onions as flavorings and followed the "quick, but not as creamy, risotto" technique of adding most of the stock up front and cooking with the cover on for 10-15 minutes. For logistical reasons, I actually made the risotto to this point ahead of time and set it aside, then I did the final stock addition and stirring 10 minutes before serving time.

The broccoli was my standard recipe: steamed broccoli [CSA] with beurre noisette. mmmm, browned butter.

We added a green salad to go with all this goodness and were very happy.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sunday Dinner: Lentils, Homemade Sausage, Reibekuchen

This menu started as a way to simultaneously use up some of the smoked sausage we had left in the fridge and to test a recipe for reibekuchen. Since the leftover sausage was actually chorizo, not smoked sausage, and since TJ's didn't have any non-Italian sausage without "olives" I ended up making my own sausage. So the dual-purpose meal turned into a single-purpose meal... at least it wasn't completely without purpose. :-)

Here are notes for the components:

For the sausage I started with a recipe from JPT (for lentils with sausage and cabbage), but I used ground turkey instead of pork (TJ's didn't have any decent looking pork). I started with 10 whole allspice berries and ground them in a mortar and pestle with the fennel seeds, otherwise I pretty much followed the sausage recipe. This made some really nice sausages.

I did a standard lentil prep with black lentils (Indian dal, someday I need to remember to get lentils du Puy) and starting from a mirepoix. For garlic I used the remainder of the braised garlic from last week (4-5 cloves) and added 2 cloves of garlic paste just before the lentils were done. I added a couple leaves of sage to the herb mixture.

The Reibekuchen recipe is from my Niederrhein cookbook. Some notes:

  1. Wringing out the shredded potatoes is a good trick to remember for other stuff.
  2. Making a quarter recipe produced 6 hand-sized reibekuchen. That's 2 servings (maybe 2.5).
  3. I used about 1/4 of a medium-sized yellow onion in the recipe.
  4. Pre-cooking the reibekuchen, holding them at 250 degrees, and then "refreshing them" in a hot pan for a couple of minutes before serving seems to work pretty well.
  5. TJ's chunky applesauce tastes good, but it's a bit too chunky. Maybe a quick whir in the food processor will get it right?
  6. mmmm, Reibekuchen.
To accompany all this goodness we had a green salad with romaine, dandelion greens, and pimento from the CSA box topped with a lemon vinaigrette.

Sunday: Pork Roast for Sandwiches

To go along with the bread for the rest of the week, I did a pork roast yesterday. Starting with a "ribeye roast" from Draegers, I coated it with a mixture of salt, black pepper, and B&vG spice rub. I tied the roast up, browned it on all sides in olive oil, then roasted it at 375 for 30 minutes (turning every 10 minutes). I then spooned a couple Tbs of balsamico over the roast and let it continue roasting for another 10 minutes or so (until the internal temp was 150), turning ever couple minutes. After letting the roast rest for 15 minutes, I thinly sliced half of it for sandwiches and froze the rest for next week.

Preliminary tasting indicates that we have a winner. :-)

Sunday Baking: Flaxseed Bread

I did a bunch of cooking on Sunday, so I'll try and keep things in order.

First things first: I started with a loaf of flaxseed bread, but unlike last time, we actually had rye flour in the house yesterday, so I followed the recipe.

I said it last time, I'll repeat: this is a really nice recipe for sandwich bread.

Saturday Breakfast: Eggs and Biscuits

Woof, I'm behind again. Saturday I didn't do much cooking aside from breakfast, where I scrambled some eggs with tomato, red pepper, onion, and bacon and served them topped with grated Emmenthaler beside biscuits ("Emergency Drop Biscuits" from Bittman).

mmm, biscuits

Friday, September 23, 2005

Thursday night leftovers

Last night was the same as Wednesday night, but we supplemented with a bit of sauteed broccoli using some of the stalkier (more broccolini-like) bits from the CSA box. I sauteed them using braising oil from the garlic.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wednesday Night: Pork Chops with Caramelized Alliums; Braised Cabbage

This week's Bittman column, with its recipe for Garlic Braised in Olive Oil, was one of those that made me say "oh yeah! I'm making that!". I had been planning pork chops with some kind of intensely flavored sauce anyway and this just fit right in. The thought of roasted garlic got me thinking about caramelized onions, and we had some tomatoes from CSA, so here's what I did for the sauce, this makes about four servings:

1 medium onion, sliced thinly
olive oil
10 cloves oil-braised garlic plus some of the braising oil.
4 San Marzano tomatoes [CSA], diced
2 dried cayenne peppers, sliced
salt and black pepper

Cover the bottom of a pan with olive oil, put it over medium heat, add the onion, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is nicely caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Put a couple Tbs of the garlic braising oil in another small pan with the tomatoes and cayenne, add a bit of salt, and cook over medium-high heat, uncovered, until the tomatoes break down, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and onions, reduce the heat, and simmer for a couple more minutes. Smash the garlic cloves up a bit with the spoon as you stir.
Adjust seasonings.

For the pork, sprinkle boneless loin chops with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Then saute them in a bit of olive oil in a hot cast iron skillet for about 5 minutes per side (until nicely browned). Let them sit for five minutes before serving topped with the sauce.

For the braised cabbage:

1/2 a head of green cabbage [CSA], shredded
olive oil
8 juniper berries, lightly crushed
1 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and black pepper

Heat some oil in a large pan over high heat and add the cabbage along with a good pinch of salt. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the cabbage starts to brown. Add the juniper berries, ketchup, vinegar, and stock, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. Adjust seasonings.

To go with this, Andrea made a green salad with romaine, dandelion greens, and pimento from the CSA box and a couple tomatoes from the back yard.

This was some really, really good food. The sauce was a delight, starting with the tomato flavor, blending into caramelized onion, then finishing with roasted garlic. mmmm. One potential future addition is a bit of balsamic vinegar (and maybe a pinch of sugar to rebalance things).

For dessert we did macerated strawberries [CSA], with some lightly whipped cream and, for me, a splash of grappa.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Microreview: Cafe Silan

Last night we ate at Cafe Silan, a Kurdish and Mediterranean place in downtown Menlo Park. We split a combination platter of cold apps as a starter and had two of the hot starters (hevir u gost and zarzewat) along with a halep kebob for our main dish. Aside from an inappropriate wine choice I made (a bottle of Chianti that just didn't go with most of the food), we were really happy with the food and the restaurant in general.

We will be going back.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Monday Night Leftovers

Last night we had pasta with porcini sauce (frozen leftovers from the big italian meal). Andrea made a salad of mixed tomatoes and red onion to accompany. mmmm, tomatoes and red onions with olive oil.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Backpacking food

We went backpacking from Thursday to Sunday, so the cooking has been strictly limited. I needed to plan meals that were light, compact (everything had to go in a bear canister), quick to prepare, and that could, ideally, be made in a single pot. The dinners were:

  1. Angel hair pasta with meat sauce: I made the base meat sauce at home and added some Knorr dried tomato basil soup at camp.
  2. Garlic mashed potatoes with bacon and green peppercorn sauce: Using diced slab bacon from Dittmers, powdered garlic mashed potatoes, and Knorr green peppercorn sauce.
  3. Cheddar potato soup with sausage: Using a smoked/dried sausage (I think it was Bauernwurst) from Dittmers and a powdered cheddar potato soup.
The first two of these meals were perfectly acceptable, the third is not to be repeated -- even for camping food it wasn't really acceptable.

One random note to my future self: the plastic peanut butter jars from Whole Foods are not really altitude safe. We ended up with peanut oil all over the bottom of the bear can after driving from the Bay Area to Mammoth Lakes.

Some other notes for the future:
  1. Quick oats with raisins and powdered milk is a good backpacking breakfast, use standard oatmeal servings: 1/2 cup oats, a pinch of salt, a handful of raisins, 1/3 cup powdered milk. Pre-portion to that point, then add a bit less than 1 cup of boiling water per serving when serving.
  2. Andrea and I always bring too many Clif bars. Sure, they aren't heavy, but we don't end up eating more than one a day between the two of us.
  3. TJ's trail mix with dried pineapple and cherries is good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tuesday Survival Cooking

We were getting ready for a backpacking trip last night, so there wasn't much motivation to go shopping, so dinner came out of the freezer. I did broiled shrimp; a succotash made from green beans, pearl onions, baby peas, sweet corn, diced bacon, sweet paprika, and dark chicken stock; and some leftover brown rice sauteed in rendered chicken fat and allowed to form a crust.

For a 20 minute assembly using no fresh ingredients, this wasn't half bad.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Canning Tomatoes

Last year I seem to have stupidly neglected to post the times/quantities for the tomatoes we canned. So when we did more yesterday I went with a educated guess (via collaboration with Cati).
Here are the details:
We processed 1 flat (supposedly 15 pounds) of san marzano tomatoes, this made a bit more than 12 pints.
After picking out any moldy or overly soft tomatoes, we scored the end of each tomato, boiled them for 30 seconds (six at a time), then transferred them to cold water. We then peeled the tomatoes, removed the stem bit, and transferred them to a large pot.
Put the pot, covered, over medium high heat for about 10 minutes to start to break down the bottom layer of tomatoes.
Transfer tomatoes into clean, boiled pint jars.
Pour in enough juice from the bottom of the pot to fill any air gaps, leave 1/2 inch of head space.
Add 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp bottled lemon juice to each jar.
Wipe the rims carefully, close the jars, and boil in the canner for 35 minutes.

Hopefully these turn out as well as last year's batch (we did 2 flats last year and still have some left) did.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sunday Baking

It had been a while, but yesterday I made some bread. I felt like doing something different, so I didn't make the usual multi-grain hearth bread. This time I followed the "Flaxseed Loaf" recipe from The Bread Bible, with the one variation of using whole wheat flour in place of the rye (since we didn't have any rye flour in the house).

The resulting loaf of bread, baked in a loaf pan instead of free form, is really good. I need to start making bread on a regular basis again... it's just too nice to have fresh bread in the house.

Sunday Night: French Onion Soup; leeks and artichokes vinaigrette

I had been slowly developing a strong need for French onion soup; since it's cooled down enough to make stock, yesterday I was able to satisfy that need. I followed the same procedure as usual: onion soup recipe from Bourdain using dark chicken stock from FStoS. The only real variation is that I used Emmenthaler cheese instead of Gruyere and made the soup in our new "French onion soup bowls".

To go with the soup, I poached some leeks and braised the remaining baby artichokes and served them with sauce gribiche. The sauce recipe is also from Bourdain, but I don't agree with the way he assembles the sauce (just mixing everything together). His way may be "correct", but it seemed like this sauce should be emulsified, so I did this:

Put the yolk of a hard boiled egg in the minichop with 1 Tbs capers, 1 Tbs red wine vinegar, and 1 Tbs canola oil. Blend until homogeneous. Add 3 additional Tbs oil and blend until everything is nicely emulsified. Pour this emulsion into a bowl with the finely chopped egg white, 2 finely chopped pickles, and a tsp or so of minced parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings using white pepper.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Saturday Night: Something Asian, forgot the rice

Andrea's suggestion for dinner was "something Asian, with rice", so we picked out this menu from my box of NYT recipes. The planned menu was: Dry Fried Green Beans; Sesame-Crusted Snapper with Ginger-Butter Sauce; Scallion Pancakes; Rice. Of course, in the frenzy of cooking, I forgot to actually make rice. Luckily we still had plenty of food and the scallion pancakes worked to soak up the sauce from the fish.

Notes about individual items:

  1. I've tried to make this style of green beans before, but I guess I never let them cook long enough -- they don't get that shriveled look until after about 5 minutes in the wok.
  2. The scallion pancakes were excellent; I think they'll become regular accompaniments to Asian food.
  3. I don't really need to say anything about the fish because how could the combination of fresh snapper, sesame, soy, butter, and ginger be anything other than excellent?
There was more than the usual amount of smiling at the table; even if I did forget the rice.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Wednesday Leftovers

To go along with the leftover coq au vin and gnocchi from Tuesday, I sauteed some baby artichokes we picked up at TJs. To prep the artichokes, I cut off the stem and the top half, then trimmed around the outside to remove the tough parts of the leaves. I sauteed the trimmed artichokes roughly following a recipe from Bittman, though I substituted basil for tarragon and added a bit of white vinegar.

The results were good, but I think I'd like a sauce that has a bit more body to it... maybe I'll attempt a beurre blanc for the remaining artichokes. My previous attempt at a beurre blanc didn't work, so it'd be interesting to try again.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tuesday Night: Coq au Vin, Gnocchi

After a weekend of travel, I wanted to do a bit of "real" cooking last night, so I made these two recipes from one of the meals in New Home Cooking. I substituted a mixture of dried Italian mushrooms (from TJs) for the dried shitakes in the original chicken recipe and used a kosher chicken.

The gnocchi technique -- tossing them with crunchy breadcrumbs after the initial cooking -- is cool; it's nice to have a bit of crunch. Making the gnocchi themselves was a bit of a pain; the JPT gnocchi method, which pipes them from a pastry bag, seems like a better approach.

As a vegetable we steamed some green and wax beans [CSA] and then tossed them with extra breadcrumbs from the gnocchi.

Despite being a "fancy dinner", this still only took a bit over an hour to prepare; that's certainly under my weeknight pain threshold, particularly considering how good it was.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Thursday night: Polenta with Sauteed Vegetables and Pistou; Beans with Shallots and Bacon

My original plan for last night was to make a risotto with CSA fennel, but somehow we didn't have any arborio rice in the house (outrageous!); so risotto wasn't going to happen. So I improv'ed this polenta with vegetables dish:

For the polenta: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups of polenta and a big pinch of salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 10-15 minutes, until the polenta is creamy and tastes done. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand until ready to serve. [Note: This makes a lot of polenta, I should have made 2/3 as much.]

For the veggies:
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 bulb fennel [CSA], coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
3 very small eggplant [CSA], 1 cm dice, (about 2 cups)
4 plum tomatoes [CSA], medium dice
olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
marjoram [CSA], rosemary
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste

Heat a Tbs or so of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the garlic and cook until it turns golden. Add the onions and cook for a minute or two. Add the fennel and cook another minute or two. Add the eggplant, tomatoes, wine, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Mix well, reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until the veggies start to soften. Remove the cover, add crushed red pepper, and let simmer another 5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Adjust seasonings.

For the pistou:
1 cup basil leaves [CSA], loosely packed
2 small cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2-4 Tbs good olive oil

Put the garlic in a minichop with about 2 Tbs of oil. Process until the garlic is a paste. Add the basil and a good pinch of salt and pulse until finely chopped. Add more oil if needed.

To serve:
Spread some polenta on a warmed plate, top with grated Parmesan cheese, top with vegetables, top with pistou, drizzle with good olive oil.

For the beans: steam some fresh beans (we used both green and wax beans from the CSA) for 5-7 minutes, until they're deeply colored. Refresh them in cold water until ready to use.
Render some finely diced bacon, then add thinly sliced shallots and cook for a couple minutes until the shallots start to caramelize. Add the beans, a bit of butter, and salt and pepper to taste and saute for a few minutes. Serve immediately.

This meal was really, really good. There was much smiling around the table.

For dessert we had CSA strawberries with a bit of sugar and cream.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wedesday Night: Blackbean and Corn Salad

We had some blackbeans in the fridge leftover from the weekend, so to go with the leftover steak from Tuesday, last night I made blackbean and sweet corn salad:

15 oz canned black beans, drained
kernels from 2 ears of sweet corn
1/4 red onion, medium dice
5 plum tomatoes [CSA], large dice
1/2 cup salsa (I used the chile morita salsa from WF)
2-4 Tbs hot sauce (I used Valentina)
juice of one lime
2 Tbs olive oil
salt, black pepper, ground cumin and coriander to taste

Combine everything and serve with chips (I fried a couple of corn tortillas and cut them into chips). It'd be even better with some 'tro, but we didn't have that.

This was an excellent partner to the leftover steak and, served on a bed of lettuce with a bit of cheese, could probably work as a main dish on its own.