Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday Pasta

This was a "let's clean out the fridge" pasta sauce.

I used finely diced chopped ham, julienned chard greens, minced onion and shallot, slowly cooked in olive oil. Just before serving I added creme fraiche, white wine, and some fresh tarragon. Very nice, very nice indeed.

We ate the sauce over linguine and had a green salad.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday Night Italian

Last night somehow ended up being Marcella Hazan night. I did tuna with sweet and sour onions and some baked radicchio. As a side I made mashed potatoes with goat cheese (not a Hazan thing).

We also had a green salad.

Comments:

  1. For some reason I always forget to deploy the food mill when making mashed potatoes. That's just dumb.
  2. Next time I make this tuna dish, I'm going to slow-cook the tuna, then top it with the onions and sauce instead of sauteeing it. It was good this way, but I like the texture of slow-cooked tuna better.
  3. Mashed potatoes with goat cheese are goooood

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday: Sauteed Winter Vegetables

I actually made this yesterday in order to have some time for the prep work.

The selection of vegetables was celery root, kohlrabi, carrots, leeks, wirsing, and garlic. I used a bit of turkey stock and some smoked ham for flavor.

And quite nice it was too! But then, when you start with this:
how could it not end well?

As a side I caramelized some halved brussel sprouts along with lardons (leftover salted pork belly, not smoked bacon).

Wine: Guigal 2003 Cotes du Rhone

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Saturday: Choucroute Garni

Our original plan for yesterday was to have make a nice beef roast with red wine a la Marcella Hazan.

Then I saw a stand with fresh sauerkraut (mmm, oxymoron) at the market. I, of course, had to buy some of that. There's no way to have sauerkraut without including some sort of smoked pork product, so at the Coop I picked up a smoked ham (from three beautiful choices of types of smoked ham... I was in pig heaven).

Then I saw saucisson Vaudoise on sale, and that seemed like it would also go really well with sauerkraut. So I grabbed one. Andrea tried to suggest that I should get the sausage or the ham and not both, but I wasn't having any of that. I did allow common sense to intervene a little bit and switched plans to make choucroute garni instead of the pot roast. So I refrained from buying the beef roast; that dish will have to wait (not too long though!).

At that point I felt quite righteous about my restraint, so I also picked up a piece of salted pork belly.

For the choucroute iteself, I followed the basic recipe from Bourdain, though I used a Swiss chasselas (from Yvornne) instead of riesling. I cooked the saucisson Vaudoise in one piece on top of the sauerkraut, ham, and pork belly.

Served with some fresh parsley, boiled potatoes, and grainy mustard, I hardly need to say how good this was.

As a completely superfluous vegetable side I also did a gratin from some leftover chard stalks (recipe from Hazan).

There was a green salad.

The wine was a Pouilly-Fuisse from Georges DuBoeuf. It should have been an Alsatian Riesling, but since I had already tainted the choucroute with a foreign wine, I felt safe continuing the wrongness. It's a nice wine. :-)

Friday: Quick Pasta and Beef

This was a meal planned with the intent that it be fast to prepare.
For a protein, I seasoned some beef Saftplätzli (minute steaks) well and pan fried them.
To accompany I made a pasta sauce by sauteing some minced shallots in olive oil and then adding halved cherry tomatoes and cooking until they started to soften.
We ate this sauce over some nice linguine.
Before serving I sprinkled the pasta with parmesan and then sprinkled chives and olive oil over everything. I added lemon slices for the steak.

of course we also had a green salad

Good good good (and total prep time was less than 30 minutes).

Wine: Cantine Sasso 2001 Aglianico del Vulture, DOC Minorco; This was the second night we had this bottle open and it was even better than the first night. Good stuff this.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday: Braised veal, chard

I found a nice-looking piece of veal shoulder on sale, so last night I cooked that up.

Veal shoulder, cut into 1cm thick steaks
salt, freshly ground pepper, cumin, and coriander
1 onion, chopped medium fine
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbs sherry vinegar
1 cup stock (I used turkey stock)
clarified butter (or oil)
chives for garnish

Season the veal pieces well, then brown both sides in the fat.
Add the garlic and onion and sautee another few minutes until they start to soften.
Add the sherry vinegar and stir until it mostly cooks off.
Add the stock, then cover and simmer until the veal is tender.
Remove the veal and reduce the sauce a bit; thicken with starch if you're interested.
Serve immediately, garnished with chives.

We ate this with some sauteed chard, buttered hartweizen, and a green salad.

I really ought to get back to finding interesting recipes in cookbooks and trying them, but somehow that doesn't end up happening during the week any more.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Monday Night Curry

Last night I did a Thai curry where I braised chicken leg quarters (skinned and browned) in a sauce made from green curry paste, shallots, coconut milk, keffir lime leaves, and lemon grass. Just before serving I added some sugar and fresh lime juice. We garnished with cilantro and ate this with rice.

Fantastic.

The wine was an Alsatian Riesling (Domaine Blanck, 2004) that was a bit too grapefruity for my riesling tastes but quite nice when considered on its own.

Saturday Night Indian

We were visiting Andreas this weekend and did the mandatory cooking evening. We made a batch of a relative of chicken with coriander as well as a South Indian inspired green beans and tomato dish.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday Dessert: Bread Pudding

A rare dessert for us. We had an entire (small) loaf of bread leftover from turkey day that was, needless to say, too stale to eat. I couldn't bring myself to throw it out, so I decided to improv a bread pudding.

To the cubed bread I added cream, milk, melted butter, honey, an egg, diced pear, some raisins, a splash of rum, and a bit of cinnamon. I mixed everything well and baked it covered at around 175 for 1-1.5 hours.

The result wasn't spectacular (not enough liquid), but it was downright edible.

Sunday: Potato Croquettes, Schüfeli steaks

The potato croquettes represent the last of the leftover mashed potatoes from turkey day. I added finely chopped leek, egg, sweet paprika, pimenton, salt and black pepper and then sauteed them in clarified butter. Very nice and light.

For a protein, I cut pieces of Schüfeli about 1cm thick, coated them with black pepper and freshly ground coriander (no salt! they're salty enough), then fried them in clarified butter until nicely browned on the outside. Quite good!

We also had a green salad (it's been a while).

Wine: Dynamite 2003 Cab

Saturday Night: "Garbage Soup"

Er, I suppose it's more appealing to call this "mixed winter vegetable soup" or something.

We had a bunch of bit of vegetable in the fridge and a big pot of turkey stock, so Saturday I made a big pot of soup. Contents included turnips, carrots, leek, wirsing, dried green beans, and leftover bits of turkey. For herbs I used parsley, bay, and thyme.

The dried green beans (Dorbohnen) are interesting things. they start out looking like little shards of plastic, but rehydrate into a decent approximation to a cooked bean. I'm going to have to play with these some more.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I wonder

I wonder how Schüfeli would behave in a braise...

Friday Night: Stuck-pot rice, Schüfeli and green beans

Neither of us could stand the thought of more leftovers, so last night I did something different.

I've been intending to make stuck-pot rice (from a Bittman article) with a potato crust since last week, but our stove problems last Friday stopped it from happening and then turkeyday intervened. Last night's version tasted quite good, but the potato crust didn't get browned and crispy, so it was missing something. Memo to myself: the burner needs to be set higher than 1.5

For the green beans, I cooked a diced onion in some olive oil until it started to soften, then threw in the washed beans and some cubed (1cm or so) Schüfeli (this is a cured and smoked pork shoulder) , covered it, and cooked over medium-low heat until the beans were done (about 30 min). I then uncovered the pot, cranked the heat up a bit and cooked off the collected liquid. Very nice indeed.

We had a salad with this.

Friday, December 01, 2006

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday: Thanksgiving dinner

Andrea and I managed to convince some friends and coworkers to come over for Turkeyday on Sunday, so I was able to do a reasonably full production (stove problems aside, but that's a different story).

Things we made:

  1. Squash soup (Hokkaido squash instead of butternut since I didn't find any nice looking butternuts at the market on Saturday; this is a nice squash because the skin is thin enough that you don't have to peel it when making a pureed soup... a great tip from the woman at the market)
  2. Roast turkey (the usual, stuffed with apples, onions, and some celery greens)
  3. Stuffing (mushrooms, onions, celery, garlic, sage, thyme, using a good loaf of lightly sour bread [Ruchbrot])
  4. Gravy
  5. Mashed potatoes
  6. Sweet potatoes (cooked in the pan, a la Cooks Illustrated)
  7. Glazed carrots
  8. Roasted green beans (just like last year)
  9. Beet salad (roasted beets marinated in sherry vinegar then tossed with olive oil)
  10. Green salad (of course!)
  11. Oranges with cream cheese (JPFF)
  12. Caramelized walnut tart (FStoS, this thing is too sweet for me, but people who like sweets gave it high marks)
Oven problems aside, things went quite well.

Saturday Vegetables (Salsify!)

Again, Saturday was mostly spent prepping for Thanksgiving on Sunday, so dinner was mostly a matter of "wow, look at all these veggies we need to get out of the fridge!" We had bratkartoffeln, brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon, and some salsify.

The brussels sprouts dish (brown some lardons, toss in some halved brussels sprouts, saute covered over medium heat until nicely browned and fully cooked) was really good. It's hard to believe that I used to not like these things.

Salsify (Schwarzwurzel in German) was completely new to me; I picked some up because it's in all the shops and I wanted to give it a try. It is weird stuff. First of all it was unbelievable dirty. I soaked it and changed the water and scrubbed it and changed the water and soaked and scrubbed it and changed the water and it was still dirty when I peeled it. Secondly it releases some kind of sticky sap when peeled that is rather difficult to get rid of. I'm pretty sure the sap turns red when exposed to air, but it may have just picked up something else. Once the prep work was done, I cut the roots into bite-sized pieces and boiled them in salted acidulated water (per a suggestion from Bittman) until they started to get a bit tender. I drained the pieces and tossed them with some butter before serving. The roots didn't have much flavor (beyond butter and salt), but the texture was quite good. I wonder if a slower cooking/sauteeing would help with the flavor.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A lazy Thursday evening

We're in the middle of Thanksgiving prep (Sunday is Turkeyday for us), so I didn't want to make anything too involved last night. I ended up doing a Gary Danko (by way of Mark Bittman) recipe for baked chicken with a mustard and herbed bread crumb crust. I also roasted some romanesco on the side.

The chicken recipe is quite good, though I think it would benefit from a longer cooking time in a lower oven. It's using chicken thighs and legs, which I think are better when they're long cooked, but the bread crumbs would burn at 400. So maybe 45 minutes at 350 or 375 would be better.

The roasted romanesco was really good. I don't know if this particular head was extra flavorful or if it's just magically compatible with roasting, but it was *good*.

The wine was a sparkler from Alsace: Baron de Schiélé Crémant d'Alsace. This was, I think, our first crémant d'Alsace, so I have no points of comparison, but this was a nice middle point between the lightness of a prosecco and what Andrea describes as the oiliness of champagne.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Monday Night: Leftover meatloaf + veggies

To go with the leftover meatloaf (mmm, leftover meatloaf) last night I did some sauteed broccoli and a salad made from roasted yellow turnips and sauteed carrots, tossed with sherry vinegar and olive oil.

Very nice

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Saturday: Boeuf Bourguignon

It looks like it's been a while since I made this. It doesn't seem that long, maybe google's indexing of blogs isn't all that good. ;-)

I took the basic recipe from BittmanWorld and didn't really muck around with it other than to reduce the sauce a bit at the end (after removing the meat and veggies), thicken it with potato starch, and then add a slug of wine just before serving. That last bit of wine really makes a nice difference in the dish. For the beef I used "siedfleisch", which looked a lot like brisket to me (not that I'm an expert in identifying cuts of meat, but it did look like brisket). Whatever cut it may be, it's perfect for stewing. This was definitely happy-making food. Too bad we don't have that many leftovers!

As a side I made oven-roasted potatoes. We also had bread and a green salad.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friday Night: Meatloaf and braised endive

Andrea's parents are visiting this weekend, and I wanted to make something "American" for them last night, so meatloaf it was.

For the meatloaf I used 1 kg of mixed pork and beef, about 2oog of bacon (finely chopped), onion, garlic, 2 eggs, salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, and enough bread crumbs to make things not too wet. Before baking, I topped it with a thin layer of ketchup (of course!). It took 20 minutes longer to cook than I thought it would, but this was still a very nice meatloaf. I'm really looking forward to the sandwiches!

As a side I braised some belgian endive in vegetable boullion (after browning the cut side). This was good, but I think I used too much liquid... it'd be better to use a minimal amount (pan-steamed instead of braised or something).

We ate the meatloaf and endive with a big green salad and some good bread.

An aside: it occured to me that meatloaf is pretty much the same as pate de compagne.

Thursday Night: Pork Shanks and Bratkartoffeln

Thurday I knew what I wanted to make for a sauce (canned tomatoes, leeks, garlic, sherry vinegar, chilis, paprika, walnuts), but I didn't have any set ideas about protein. While perusing the possibilties at the Coop, I noticed pork shanks (Schweinshaxe) that had been cut cross wise about 2cm thick instead of being left whole. This was too good to pass up: manageable sized pieces of pork leg still on the bone.

The preparation was standard: After browning the shanks, I added the leeks and garlic and cooked them for a few minutes until they started to soften. Then I added the chili and paprika, ground coriander, and ground cumin and cooked another minute or two. Then the vinegar, tomatoes, and some stock (boullion). After about 45 minutes of cooking the pork was fork-tender and I added a squeeze of lemon juice. We ate the shanks topped with the sauce and some toasted walnuts. Very, very good. It would have been even better topped with some fresh parsley and chives (must start kitchen garden!), but it was damn nice as it was.

I also made a nice batch of bratkartoffeln and the requisite green salad.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tuesday: Quiche and Walnut Soup

This was the quiche-making that I postponed on Saturday due to insufficient powers of concentration. The filling was diced bacon and thinly sliced leek (pre-cooked, both of them), raclette cheese, and 3 eggs+1 cup milk. The crust was the usual one from Bittman. I think the crust was a bit too wet, plus I cut it too precisely, so it shrunk more than I'd have liked. This meant not as much filling in the quiche as planned. Still, it was a nice quiche.

To go along with this, I made a walnut soup recipe that I found in Le Menu. It's a good soup, basically a thin potato-leek soup with added walnuts, but I think it could use a bit more walnut than what the recipe calls for.

Naturally we also had a green salad.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday Night: Beans and Pork and Veal

This was a recipe from How to Cook Meat. The original recipe calls for veal riblets, which I wasn't able to find, so I just used stew meat. I also didn't manage to locate any white beans on Saturday afternoon, so borlotti beans it was. Whatever the substitutions, the dish was excellent.

As a side, I made some hartweizen and we had a salad to go with it all.

I now have a powerful craving for more meat and bean dishes... oh yes I do.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saturday Risotto

I had originally planned a quiche for last night, but that would have required more mental focus than I was able to bring to bear (it's been a while since I did quiche, so I was concerned about getting the crust right). I made mushroom risotto instead.

Risotto details: I used a "stock" made from sulz, boullion, and the strained soaking water from some dried porcinis. As vegetables I used finely diced yellow carrot, minced shallot, and chopped rehydrated porcinis. I used a bit of white wine to offset the richness of the sulz, and stirred in some butter at the end. The result was very fine.

As a side I sauteed some halved brussel sprouts in olive oil. There was plenty of time, so I got them quite well browned. A couple minutes before serving, I tossed in a bit of balsamico. The vinegar was a very nice touch.

There was also the requisite green salad.

Wine: L'Ariete Valsangiacomo 2004 Merlot del Ticino; this was nice, but not as appealing as the l'Orchidee that we tasted last weekend.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday Night Gratin

Last night I made a gratin using the leftover root vegetables from earlier in the week. As veggies I used turnip, yellow carrot, and orange carrot. I also added some diced smoked bacon and used light cream (halbrahm) with a piece of boullion cube dissolved in it for sauce. After baking at 150C for about 45 minutes with foil on top, I topped the gratin with a good layer of raclette cheese , cranked the heat to 185, and continued baking (no foil) until the cheese was bubbly and brown.

As a side we had sauteed brussel sprouts, bread, and a green salad.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday Night: Roasted Winter Vegetables; Saucisson Vaudoise

I loaded up on winter vegetables at the market on Saturday, so last night I prepared the first batch as roasted vegetables. I included leek, parsnip, turnip, and orange and yellow carrots, diced them medium (1-2 cm), and roasted them with thyme, rosemary, ground coriander, white and black pepper, sea salt, and olive oil.

Here's the "before" picture:

To go along with this, I stewed some savoy cabbage with onions and a dry white wine. 10 minutes before serving, I topped this with some slices of saucisson vaudoise and let them steam until cooked.

We ate the roasted vegetables topped with fresh parsley, and the cabbage topped with the sausage. Very good food... I like winter food a lot.

There was a green salad on the side.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sunday Night: Coniglio alla panna

For the main course here I mostly followed a recipe from Le Menu. It's been a while since I put a proper recipe up, so here's what I did for our two servings:

rabbit; 500g on the bone or about 300g when boned; cut into bite-size pieces
1 carrot, cut into chunks
leek greens
clarified butter (bratbutter)
1 dl dry white wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 needles fresh rosemary (I tend to use rosemary sparingly)
1 bay leaf
cream
fresh marjoram

Make a quick stock by simmering the bones, carrot, and leek with a bit of salt in about 1.5 dl water for an hour. Strain the stock and set it aside.

Brown the rabbit pieces well in clarified butter. Remove the rabbit from the pan and deglaze with white wine. Add back the rabbit, the rosemary, bay, and thyme, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper, and about 1 dl of stock.
Simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, until the rabbit starts to get tender.
(At this point yesterday we turned off the heat and went hiking. I resumed when we got home. Since this is a stew/braise, this pause is actually good).
Add some cream (a couple Tbs) to give the sauce some body, stir in a bit of fresh marjoram, and adjust seasonings.
If you're serving this without noodles or rice (as we did yesterday), thicken the sauce with a bit of potato starch.

As sides I stewed some escarole and wirsing (savoy cabbage) in olive oil with chopped onion (I refer to this as the "Alice Waters method" since she uses it so frequently in CPV). I also roasted some small yellow potatoes.

This was all very good food. Boning the rabbit was a bit of a pain in the ass -- they may "taste like chicken" (not really), but their anatomy sure is different -- but I'm sure that is something I'll be able to solve with practice. In principle, by using boullion or pre-made stock, the rabbit could be a good weekday dish.

Of course we had a green salad as well.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Basel Weinmesse

Yesterday we visited the Basel Weinmesse and tried some quite nice stuff (we also tried some complete swill, but that was quasi-inevitable).

Particularly interesting things, listed here just to have them recorded somewhere.

South African (imported by Savinis in Muttenz):

  • Pinotage: L'Avenir, Kanonkop; We liked both, L'Avenir more
  • Syrah/Shiraz: Lievland, Rudera; We liked both
  • Bordeauz blends: Welgemeend, Meerlust (Rubicon); neither of us much cared for Welgemeend (I'm sure they meant well), the Rubicon has potential, but it's not there yet.
Spanish (importer Dovinasol in Zurich):
  • Ramon Bilbao 1995 Riserva Rioja - I found this absolutely fascinating. It reminds me of the 1993 Zin that we picked up in Russian River this spring. Maybe it's just the fascination of older wine.
  • Ochoa 1998 Riserva Navarrao - less interesting
  • Negra Barbara Fores 2002 Terra Alta
  • Clos Socarrat 2003 Riserva Priorat
Ticino Merlot (from Vini Le Orchidee)
  • Le Orchidee, 2004 Merlot: lovely wine, very lovely
  • Sensazione, 2004 Merlot: Similar grapes, but they spent 7 months in a mixture of new and old oak barrels. This seemed somehow closed, but maybe has some potential in the future. I'm not sure if it makes sense that putting the wine in oak would make it more closed.
  • Purpuratum, 2004 Merlot: "old-vine" (25 year) grapes, 12 months in new oak. Both of us thought this was overpoweringly oaky.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Friday Night: Beans and Escarole

The basic recipe from this is the beans and escarole thing I've made before. The variations are due to what was in the house. Instead of cannelini beans (which I could have found), I used Riesenbohnen. We had some leftover ham from last week's macaroni and cheese that I also threw in. Instead of crushed chili pepper I used a mixture of pimenton and sweet paprika. I also did a good drizzle of olive oil just before serving.

We ate this with a nice crusty bread, a green salad, and a bottle of Spanish red wine.

A week of leftovers

Between the leftover mac and cheese and the remainders of the stir fry, I didn't do much cooking all week. Along the way I did make some chinese barbecued pork (from BittmanWorld) and a bit of broccoli and cabbage stir fried with oyster sauce.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday Night: Macaroni and Cheese

Yesterday started off as a rainy fall Sunday, and that gave me a powerful craving for macaroni and cheese. The rain went away, but my craving did not; so last night we had comfort food.

I used about 400g of elbow macaroni and 100g of cubed smoked ham along with a sauce made from 2Tbs flour, 2 Tbs butter, 1 c milk, 150g quark, 200 g Gruyere, white and black pepper, and cayenne. I topped the casserole with a mixture of grated Gruyere, breadcrumbs (paniermehl), and olive oil.

In addition to this very very good version of mac and cheese, we had a green salad.

Nothing else was required. :-)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saturday's Stirfry

Last night had a Chinese focus: stir fry and some vegetables braised in oyster sauce.
For the stir fry I used : chicken breast marinated in soy sauce, xiao xing wine, and garlic; broccoli; red pepper; scallions; rehydrated black mushrooms and shitakes. I made a bit of sauce with hoisin and some more xiao xing.

The braised vegetable idea is from BittmanWorld, and I used orange carrots, yellow carrots (Pfälzer) and cabbage. After sauteeing them quickly in peanut oil, I added a oyster sauce and a bit of water and simmered until just tender. This really brought out the sweetness in the veggies.

We ate this all over rice.

Restaurant mini-reviews

Restaurant Der Vierte König: Interesting combination of wine shop and restaurant. They have a "whatever you don't drink from your bottle of wine, we'll rebottle for you for you to take home" policy that has the interesting addendum that you only pay the wine shop price for the leftovers. We didn't test that out though. Nice selection of game on the menu, and I was very happy with my Gemse (chamois) Gulasch. Andrea liked her spaetzli pfanne with wild mushrooms. Since we were with company, we didn't do the usual plate swap, so there are no second opinions. Our wine, a Blauburgunder from Graubunden, was acceptable.

Johann: Very modern setting, good service, very "California" influenced (e.g. fusion) food. We did the "surprise us" three course + amuse bouche meal and ended up with some very nice food. The amuse bouche was venison terrine with apples served with a ginger sauce. Starter: seared tuna crusted with black sesame and served with a quick-pickled cucumber salad. Main: some kind of sea bass, sauteed and served on a bed of lentils and root vegetables. Dessert: "Saffron poached pears" with white chocolate mousse. The wine pairings suggested by our waiter (a Riesling from the Mösel with the starter and a "Monica" from Sardinia) were reasonable matches. This place was a bit more expensive than our usual going out fare, but it was mighty good.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Night: Spaghetti with caramelized onion and chicken

After getting back from two days of hiking, there was no way I was going to make anything involved. So we picked up half a roasted chicken at Coop and I used that.

I started by caramelizing a couple of thinly sliced onions with butter and olive oil (time consuming, but not labor intensive), I finished these with a splash of balsamico. I picked the roasted chicken and chopped it into bite-sized piecs, then nuked the pieces to heat them up. We at the chicken and onions over spaghetti topped with some grated sbrinz.

Of course we had a green salad.

Gack! Behind behind!

We were hiking this weekend, so there's nothing really new from the weekend, but I'm a couple of updates short from last week.

Thursday night we had a bean gratin, made with green and wax beans, smoked bacon, and cream, and then topped with gruyere.

And then on Friday I did pan-fried minute steaks with a garlic-parsley-olive oil dressing, caramelized Pfaelzer (yellow carrots), and steamed romanesco.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday dinner: Blanquette de Veau

I knew I wanted to make a stew, roast, or braise for dinner yesterday, so I browsed through BittmanWorld looking for a likely candidate. The recipe for blanquette de veau jumped out at me because it uses veal, which we hadn't done for a bit, and also because it includes parsnips, which we had in the fridge from last week's soup. Aside from making a half recipe and doubling the vegetable content (e.g. I used a full recipe's worth of onions, parsnips, and carrots and a half recipe's worth of veal and sauce), I pretty much stuck to the recipe.

We ate the blanquette over rice.

The results were very good. Maybe more yellow in color than white (Bourdain says it needs to be completely white), but still mighty tasty.

As a side we had brussels sprouts sauteed in olive oil. No green salad because we weren't organized enough to get the lettuce cleaned on time to make one.

Sunday Lunch: Hot and Sour soup

I've got a massive head cold, so yesterday for lunch I wanted a spicy soup to help clear my sinuses. Hot and sour soup popped into my head and BittmanWorld provided a recipe. I made a vegetarian version (only tofu) and skipped the dried lotus blossoms (well, I forgot to put them on the shopping list, so we didn't buy any).

It was a nice lunch.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wednesday: Asian

Our main course last night was lemongrass-steamed chicken from BittmanWorld, which we ate with a green papaya salad (green papaya, shallot, chili, garlic, lime, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce) and some rice.

The chicken was pretty subtle (more Japanese than SE Asian), but very tasty.

The wine was a 2004 Buess Maispracher Riesling/Sylvaner. It's quite a nice wine, but it didn't have the acidity to stand up to the meal; I should have gotten a straight riesling.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monday Night: Pea soup with parsnips

It's getting cool, so it's soup time again. I'm very excited!

Last night I made a soup by sauteing minced onion and garlic until translucent, adding some diced parsnip (1cm dice) and cooking for a couple more minutes, then adding yellow split peas, bouillon (4x the volume of the peas), sliced smoked sausage (St. Gallen) and some pepper. I cooked it for about an hour, until the peas were gone but the parsnip pieces were still around.

This screamed for some herbs de Provence, which we didn't have, but it was mighty good anyway.

We ate it with bread (sourdough rye), and a green salad.

Thursday Dinner: Pressure Cooker Pork Roast

err, damn, behind again.

For this quick-ish braise I browned a pork roast, deglazed with onions and garlic, added red wine (malbec), canned tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, bouillion, rosemary, and some savory. Once getting up to pressure, I let it go for 20 minutes. After removing the roast, I picked out the rosemary and savory stems and then pureed the sauce with the stick blender.

I didn't use the ideal roast, so the meat itself was a bit dry, but everything tasted great.

We ate this with a green salad.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tuesday Dinner: Beans, Bacon, and Pears

This is a North German recipe I found in Le Menu this month.
The basic idea is to boil some slab bacon for a bit, cook green beans (with savory) in the water the bacon cooked in for 40 minutes, add halved pears to the mix 15 minutes before it's done, then add the bacon back at the end to heat it back up.

We ate this fantastic dish (the combination sounds odd at first, but think about it for a second and you'll see...) with the remains of the wild mushroom risotto.

and a green salad.

Wine: Abadia Retuerta 2001 Sardon de Duera

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Monday: Wild-mushroom Risotto and Trout

At the market on Saturday we picked up 200 g of mixed wild mushrooms (I'm way too ignorant to even begin to name all the types beyond chantarelles and wood ear). So last night I did a risotto using those. I used 1.5 cups rice (carnaroli), 1 cup white wine (Mauritsons Sauv Blanc), three minced shallots, all the mushrooms (cooked in butter first), and chicken stock (bouillion).

To accompany the rice, I grabbed a couple of trout (lachsforellen) filets which I sauteed in butter and olive oil and served topped with fresh walnuts sauteed in the same pan.

To serve I topped the fish with chives and the risotto with parsley.

The risotto was quite good but the farmed trout just wasn't that interesting.

We also had a green salad and more of the Mauritsons as our wine.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Saturday Dessert: Quark and grapes

Yeah, we don't often do dessert, but this recipe from La Menu just sounded too good to pass up. Plus it's not really dessert'y.

I mixed 3/4 fett quark and rahm quark 1:1, then added a small amount of sugar and a spritz of lime. To this I added some flavorful green grapes that I cut in half and seeded.

We ate it like that and were quite pleased.

Saturday: Eggplant thing

We picked some nice eggplants up at the market and I used them to make this invention, inspired by moussaka.

2 small eggplants, 2 cm dice
salt
3 medium onions, 1 cm dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 long red peppers, 2 cm dice
3 bay leaves
300 gm ground meat (beef and pork this time)
1/2 boullion cube
paprika
cayenne
black pepper
potato starch
water
2 Tbs creme fraiche
olive oil
grated Gruyere

Salt the eggplant cubes and let them sit in a strainer for an hour. Rinse them well, then ring them out a bit.

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until they start to soften. Add the pepper and cook until soft. Transfer to a bowl and add the bay leaves.
Brown the ground beef, then add to the onions and garlic.
Saute the eggplant pieces in olive oil until they are nicely browned and softened. Pour off excess fat, then add the meat and onion mixture. Add the bouillion cube, paprika, a pinch of cayenne, a couple good grind of pepper, and some water. Simmer for a couple of minutes then thicken with the potato starch. Adjust consistency/quantity of sauce.
Stir in the creme fraiche, then transfer to a baking dish. Top with Gruyere and bake at 200C until nicely bubbly and browned.

We ate this with some cooked hartweizen and a green salad.

Wine: Domaines Barons de Rothschild 2003 Los Vacos Grande Reserve Cabenert Sauvignon. This is the second bottle we've had of this very nice Chilean wine (I guess I forgot to record the first).

long time no post

last week I was in a seminar that ran all day and included dinner, so there was no cooking until Saturday.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Morning: French Toast

One of the weekend bakery specialties is "Butterzopfe", which is a twisted (challah-like) brioche loaf. We hadn't bought one of these before because they are generally huge and we tend towards heartier breads. Yesterday though we saw that Coop sells pieces of Butterzopfe. So this morning I made french toast with the pieces.

For the egg mixture I just used eggs and milk. I sprinkled the pieces of bread with cinnamon as they were cooking and we ate them with Zuckerruben Sirop. The bread is slightly salty, so this ended up being a very nice combination.

For the last piece, I skipped the cinnamon and topped it with a bit of cheese (Gottardo) instead. This was also quite good. I should remember this savory french toast thing.

Saturday Night: Pumpkin Soup

We picked up a nice reddish pumpkin at the market yesterday, so last night's dinner was pumpkin soup. Our oven isn't completely functional yet, so I browned the squash pieces in olive oil instead of roasting them. This obviously wasn't the same, but the soup still ended up being downright edible.

I served the soup with fresh walnuts (toasted in a bit of oil butter for a couple of minutes to bring out the flavor), chopped chives, and creme fraiche.

We also had a green salad. We should have also had bread, but we managed to confuse ourselves at the store so we didn't end up with any.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Leftovers leftovers

We ate either leftover stew from Monday or abendbrot all week.
There were salads in there too.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday Stew

There is a pressure-cooker stew recipe in JPFF that seemed pretty intriguing. I love stew, but it's too time consuming to make during the week; the pressure cooker method is an escape from this.

I winged a recipe:
4 chicken thighs
olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs sherry vinegar
2 sausages (I used a game sausage), cut into 1 cm slices
1 large can crushed tomatoes
bouillion
smoked paprika
sweet paprika
freshly ground cumin and coriander
black pepper
1 can beans

In the pressure cooker container brown the chicken thighs well in the olive oil. Remove from the pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently, to partially deglaze. Finish deglazing with the vinegar. Add a goodly quantity of both types of paprika, cumin, coriander, and black pepper. Add the tomatoes, sausage, bouillion, the chicken (along with whatever juices have collected around it), and a bit of water. Cover the pressure cooker and bring up to pressure. Cook for 30 minutes. Add the beans just before serving.

This took less than an hour and half start to finish and was very good. We ate it over spaetzle.

As a side we had sauteed blue beans and a green salad.

Sunday Night: Quick Steaks, Slow Vegetables

This all started because they didn't have mackerel fillets at the store on Saturday; so I had to change menu plans for yesterday, which led to us buying some "minute steaks". We also had some zucchini waiting to be used from the market on Saturday.

So... for the zucchini: cut it into 1 cm slices. Halve the slices if they're huge. Toss in a coverable pan with a good couple Tbs of olive oil, some chopped garlic, a bit of bouillion and a Tbs or so of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the zucchini starts to get nice and soft. If too much liquid collects in the bottom of the pan, leave the lid ajar. If the pieces don't fit in a single layer, give the pan an occasional gentle stir. When the zucchini is soft, stir in some chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, basil, and oregano) and serve immediately.

The steaks were very simple: after salting and white-peppering them, I pan fried them until they were medium rare, then served them topped with chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, and oregano... same as the zucchini amazingly enough).

There was also bratkartoffeln made from the remaining cooked potatoes from Thursday and a big green salad.

Wine: Dynamite 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday Night: Flounder poached in caramel

Flounder was on sale at the Coop yesterday, so I grabbed a few fillets to do Southeast Asian food with. I more or less followed the recipe in BittmanWorld: Make a caramel with 1/2 cup sugar; add 1/4 cup fish sauce mixed 1:1 with water; add 1/2 cup minced onion (supposed to be shallots, but we didn't have that); add copious black pepper; cook until the onion starts to soften; add juice from 1/2 a lime; add the fish and poach; add another 1/2 a lime just before serving.

To accompany this, I simmered some julienned ginger and beans (purple beans) cut into 2 inch pieces in a mixture of soy sauce and water until the beans were tender. After pouring off the liquid, I tossed the beans with a bit of butter and served them.

We had all this with rice.

No wine because I forgot to get a bottle of riesling (or some other appropriate white) and we didn't have anything appropriate in the house.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thursday Night Pork chops

I finally managed to finish eating all the chicken salad from last weekend, so Thursday night I got to make something new.

I pan-fried a couple of pork chops until nicely browned, then served them with a sauce made from browned mushrooms, garlic, sulz, and the pan juices from the pork (thickened with a bit of potato starch). It wouldn't have hurt to top this with some minced parsley, but we didn't have any in the house.

We ate this with sides of bratkartoffeln and stewed chard. No green salad. ;-)

Wine: Château Franc Grace-Dieu AC 2002 St-Emilion

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saturday Noodle Salad

This was inspired by last week's "Weeknight Kitchen" recipe (30 seconds of looking didn't yield a useful URL) from Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
I used roasted chicken from the Coop, rice noodles (vermicelli), fresh mint and 'tro, shredded carrots (salted for a bit and then drained), sliced cucumber, lettuce, and minced onion and made a dressing from rice vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracacha, sugar, black pepper, and peanut oil.

Good food. Way too much good food; I'm gonna be eating this for days (particularly since Andrea is going to be out of town).

I haven't previously done the "buy a roasted chicken and use it for quick dishes" for many reasons, but this was mighty convenient and the chicken was awfully good...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Thursday Pasta

We're partially moved into our real flat now, so it's starting to be possible to cook. Of course, with all the unpacking and organizing there's not actually much time to do so. Thus last night's pasta quickie: I made a sauce by browning some sausage chunks (saucisson vaudoise), then cooking diced onion and minced garlic until they start to brown, adding a can of tomatoes and cooking until the tomatoes start to break down, adding back the sausage to reheat, and serving over penne with a good hit of grated parmesan.

And a green salad.

Wine: Tait 2004 Ballbuster. This is the first bottle we've opened from the wine that came over by boat; luckily it seems fine.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sunday Night: Roasted Veal Breast

For this meal I followed the Marcella Hazan recipe for pan-roasted veal with garlic, rosemary, and white wine pretty much directly. I used a boned piece of veal breast (that's what they had at the meat counter) and a Swiss white wine.

To accompany the veal we had green beans sauteed with garlic and savory until nicely browned, and the leftover polenta from last week.

Also a composed/green salad (diced celery root, carrot, and cucumber mixed with lettuce).

Aside from the veal being a tad dry, this was very good food.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Saturday Geschnetzeltes

Yesterday we picked up some pork geschnetzeltes and a piece of veal breast. After spending the entire afternoon getting furniture and stuff for our new flat, I didn't feel like doing something particularly time consuming or demanding, so I made the pork.

Heat some neutral oil over medium heat in a sautee pan. Add 300g geschnetzeltes, a minced garlic clove, and half of a finely chopped onion and cook, stirring occaisionally, for a couple of minutes, until the meat is no longer pink on the outside. Don't brown the meat. Add 200g chopped mushrooms (I used cremini) and continue to cook until they give up some of their liquid. Add a bit of stock, a grind of pepper, and salt (if you aren't using boullion or salty stock) and let things simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan to make sure you don't lose all the liquid. Add about 150ml of cream (I used halbrahm, 25% fat) and simmer for another 5 minutes or so to reduce the cream a bit. Adjust seasonings. Serve topped with very finely chopped parsley.

We ate this over spätzle, and it was gooood.

Instead of green salad, I made a "composed salad" out of celery root, carrot, and cucumber. I diced everything to the same size (about 1/4") and dressed the salad with salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, and olive oil.

Wine: Les Dailles 2004 Dole De Salquenen. This pinot noir from Valais went nicely with the food.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Test Post

I just switched over to the new blogger beta, so I want to check that everything works.

Thursday: Polenta with Wild Mushrooms

When we got the chanterelles I used with the venison, we also got a bag of mixed wild mushrooms. I have no idea what most of these mushrooms were, but they were amazingly varied in shape, color, and texture.

I particularly liked these boletes that turned blue when cut:

To serve them, I made a sauce of sorts: Cut wild mushrooms into pieces, sautee the pieces in butter for a few minutes until some start to soften and some take on color. Add a bit of stock, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer until the mushrooms are done (10-15 minutes). If necessary, remove the lid for the last couple of minutes to drive off any excess liquid (there should be some liquid left).

We ate this over a fairly firm, basic (no cheese) polenta and were very happy with the meal.

yes, yes, green salad.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Wednesday Leftovers

Since reheated mashed potatoes are not so pleasing, I combined them with grated onion and a bit of flour, formed patties and sauteed them. We ate the croquettes topped with chives along with the remaining venison and wild mushrooms from Tuesday and the "overly spicy" chard from the weekend.

and a green salad

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tuesday: Venison with Chanterelles

At the market on Saturday we picked up some chanterelles and mixed wild mushrooms (it's mushroom season! yay!). When we found reh schnitzel (venison steaks) at the butcher, it was clear what needed to happen for a dinner this week.

I prepared the venison very simply: after washing and drying, salt and pepper the steaks, fry them over high heat until nicely seared on both sides, and then toss them in a 180-200C oven for 5 minutes to get them to medium rare. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For the sauce: slice the chanterelles thick, sautee them over med-high heat in butter until they started to brown. Periodically pour off the liquid from the pan to add to the sauce later. When the mushrooms start to brown, move them to a bowl. Gently sautee a minced clove of garlic in olive oil until it's nicely aromatic; add a couple cubes of sulz (aspic/glace blocks, see below), some white wine, the mushroom liquid, and some water. Simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Thicken with potato starch, then stir in the mushrooms and whatever liquid has collected around the meat. Adjust seasonings and serve.

This was some seriously good food.

We had roasted cauliflower and mashed potatoes as sides.

And a green salad.

Wine: Ridge 2004 Lytton Springs Zin. This paired well with the strong flavors from the mushrooms and the venison.

A word on sulz: I had noticed this a week or so ago at the meat counter of the Migros and realized that I *needed* to try it. As near as I can tell, it's a very firm aspic (like a glace du viande, I guess). The blocks we got at Migros were a bit saltier than I would have liked, but the flavor is good and they certainly give the sauce a nice body. I think I'll be using these a lot in the future. Now if I can just find a convenient source of stock. :-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Monday Leftovers

We finished off the pork braised in milk last night. There wasn't any sauce left, so I made a quickie cheese sauce (bechamel + Emmenthal + cayenne + chives) to pour over the pasta.

As a side I roasted some cauliflower.

No green salad. (what????)

Wine: Mann 2003 Vielles vignes Chasselas. This Alsation Chasselas didn't go particularly well with the food and was fairly different from the Swiss ones we've been drinking, but I liked it after the meal.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sunday: Leftover pork + sauteed carrots

Last night we ate some more of the pork braised in milk from Saturday along with some penne pasta (we're out of spätzle). To go along with it I gently sauteed some sliced carrots in butter until they were nicely browned.

Oh yeah, and a green salad.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday Night: Pork Braised in Milk

This main dish was following a recipe from Hazan. I did vary the cut of pork (I had a roast from the leg, not the loin), and I thickened the sauce at the end with a bit of potato starch, but otherwise I followed the recipe pretty closely. It's a damn good one.

We ate the pork with spätzle. I also made a batch of sauteed chard following a recipe in CPV, but I overdid it on the dried chili (primarily because I was using dried thai chilis since that's what we have in the house), and the chard ended up being too hot to go with the pork. Ah well, we'll eat the chard sometime this week.

Green salad.

Wine: Quasso 2001 Barolo. We may well have to get a couple more bottles of this stuff, it was mighty good last night.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Friday Night: Spicy Shrimp and Rice

The main course here was "designed" to use up a bunch of stuff in our fridge (to clear it out for Saturday's shopping!). I sauteed some shelled shrimp in oil, removed them, then cooked a mixture of spring onions, chopped garlic, chopped green chili, and chopped onion. After the veggies softened, I added back the shrimp, along with some white wine, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, and a dash of sherry vinegar. After the liquid reduced a bit, I thickened it with potato starch, added some chopped coriander and served it.

In order to have it a bit more interesting I toasted the rice in peanut oil before cooking it in stock (bouillon).

As a side, I cut a couple of zucchini into sticks and then baked them with butter until they were soft. mmmm, good.

Of course we had a salad with this.

Wine: Abadia Retuerta 2000 Cuvee Palomar

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Blackberry Cobbler

On our hike on Sunday we found a ton of blackberries. After bringing back all we could reasonably carry, we ended up with a full gratin dish:
I sprinkled the berries with some of the remaining gelierzucker (reasoning that it would help thicken the sauce), improv'ed a topping out of oats, butter, and sugar (milled raw sugar), and baked at 170C until it looked done.

We ate the cobbler with creme fraiche and it was deeeelicious.

Monday Gratin

Last night's gratin had potato, kohlrabi, leek, and Emmentaler cheese. For the sauce I used a mixture of cream, milk, and a splash of white wine seasoned with sweet paprika, a bit of cayenne, salt and pepper. I also added some potato starch to thicken it up (and to celebrate having finally found potato starch here!).

Our gratin dish was full of blackberries (see next post), so I had to make this in a pot. That made getting the gratin out in nice-looking pieces impossible, but didn't affect the flavor too much. :-)

We also had a green salad.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sunday: An Eggplant Dish

I am currently having no luck coming up with a name for this improvisation beyond "Eggplant Dish", so that's what I'll call it.

1 medium eggplant, cubed, salted, rinsed, and drained
300 g mixed ground meat
1 cup mixed thinly sliced chilis/peppers (I used a mixture of the long curly green ones and thicker red ones from the turkish market)
1 medium onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomatoes
salt
paprika (sweet and smoked)
cayenne
parsley, finely chopped
lemon wedges

Saute the eggplant in olive oil over medium-high heat until it starts to brown. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the ground meat to the pan along with a good quantity of salt, black pepper, the paprikas, and the cayenne. Cook until nicely browned, then drain off the fat and transfer the meat to another bowl.
Add some more olive oil to the pan, then add the chilis and onions and cook for a couple of minutes until they start to soften.
Add the eggplant and garlic and cook for a minute or two.
Add the meat and cook for a minute or two.
Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Adjust seasonings and serve over rice. Top with copious parsley and some lemon.

This was quite nice, though I don't think it would have hurt to have added some cubes of feta or something like that.

We also had a green salad.

Wine: La Bastide Saint-Dominique 1998 "Secrets de Pignan" Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Very nice.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Restaurant Microreviews

Not much cooking this weekend. Friday night we wandered around town to enjoy the chaos associated with the "Em Bebbi sy Jazz" festival, so we grabbed dinner at Namamen, a "japanese ramen bar" Andrea had spotted. The food wasn't very interesting and it didn't strike me as being particularly Japanese either. Oh well... I probably have excessively high expectations because of the Bay Area.

Yesterday we went across the border to St. Louis to check out a wine shop a coworker had recommended. Finding lunch in France on a Saturday in August turned out to be non-trivial, but we did eventually find an open restaurant -- Brasserie de la Poste -- next to the market. The place was packed, but we luckily got a table. There were three food choices on offer: couscous, faux filet au poivre with frites, and "carpes-frites salad". Fried carp didn't sound particularly interesting, so we got the couscous and the steak. Hoo boy was that a lot of very good food. Two hours later we walked out completely stuffed, but happy.

The wine shop ("Au Monde du Vin") had a good selection of French wines at prices that didn't seem unreasonable. We picked up a couple bottles of wine and a bottle of Alsatian eau de vie (Gilbert Holl "Quetsch") to be able to have a digestif once we got home.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thursday Leftover Curry

We had meatballs leftover, so last night I made another batch of curry sauce (not forgetting to add a pinch of sugar this time), more cabbage salad, more carrot salad, and some quick-pickled cucumbers.

Wine: Henry Badoux 2004 "Petit Vignoble" Yvorne. This is one of the "spritzig" Swiss whites.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

When Kitchen Tricks Go Bad

In order to make juicing lemons easier, I use a trick I saw Jacques Pepin use where you toss the lime in the microwave for 15-20 seconds first. It really helps.

It's stupid, however, to leave the lime in there for 30 seconds. In our microwave that's not long enough to cause it to burst , but it does build up enough pressure inside the lime to give a very dramatic spray when I cut it in half.

Wednesday Curry

Firefox informs me that this isn't the first "Wednesday Curry" I've done... maybe I should start a tradition. :-)

In this case, I made "Thai meatballs" which we ate with jasmine rice and a green curry sauce. As sides we had a quick-pickled cabbage salad (with lime and 'tro) and a shredded carrot salad (with soy sauce, fish sauce, and lime).

To make the meatballs: Combine 400 gm ground meat (we had a mixture of beef, pork, and veal) with 4 cloves minced garlic, 2 cm ginger (minced), 1 Tbs minced lemon grass, 4-6 birdseye chilis (minced), minced coriander root (we had about 1 tsp), and some fish sauce (maybe 1-2 Tbs). Mix well, then let sit for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Form into 2-3cm balls and sautee in peanut oil until nicely browned.

To make the curry sauce: Fry 1 Tbs green curry paste in 1 tsp peanut oil over medium heat until aromatic. Reduce the heat and add 1/2 can coconut milk, 1 tsp minced coriander root, and 3-4 keffir lime leaves. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, then add the juice of 1/2 a lime and serve.

No green salad!

Wine: Bernard Bovy 2004 St. Saphorin Terre Plein. This Swiss white maybe didn't have the magic of a riesling when combined with the curry, but it was not half bad.

Tuesday Night: Pork chops smothered in onions

This meal used up the last of the pork chops from this weekend.

I didn't brown the chops first, but threw them in a pot with a bit of oil, a bunch of thinly sliced onion, some minced garlic, and black pepper. I added a bit of white wine and some stock, covered the pot, brought it to a boil, then let it simmer until the onions were melty and the chops fork tender, about an hour. For the last 5-10 minutes, I removed the lid to reduce the volume a bit. We ate this with brown rice. Delicious.

To go along with the chops, I sauteed some more cucumber, but this time I added some thinly sliced red pepper as well to get color contrast and bit more sweetness.

And a green salad.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday Night: Porkchops and Sauteed Cucumber

We brought some porkchops and a bunch of pickling cucumbers back from our visit to Andrea's parents, so the immediate priority was to use those up. My normal reaction to the pickling cucumbers would be to jump for joy and make a batch of fermented pickles; unfortunately we don't have the infrastructure to do that here in the temporary housing, so another solution was required. thus sauteed cukes.

For the porkchops: I browned the chops in peanut oil, then removed them and cooked some sliced onion and garlic in the pan. Once those softened, I added back the chops along with some stock, diced san marzano tomatoes, pepper, and a bit of cayenne. After braising for a bit, I removed the chops and finished the sauce with some cream.

For the cukes I followed an idea in CPV and sauteed them with a bit of butter and salt over medium heat until they started to soften and sweetened up a little.

We ate the chops and sauce over spaetzle (from a bag) with the cukes on the side. Oh, and a green salad.

Wine: Terroir du Trias 2001 Beaume de Venise; we bought a few bottles of this in Beaume back in '04 and have been storing it (along some Vacqueyras) at Andrea's parents' house. This weekend we brought it back with us. The wine is surprisingly new worldy, but still quite nice.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thursday's Fish

This menu plan was started by some fennel from the market that we had sitting in the fridge. I actually did the planning in the morning so that Andrea could get stuff during the day instead of just making something up at the end of the day... crazy.

For the fish I followed the recipe for "red snapper with tomatoes and cream" from JPFF, except I used pangasius (=basa=catfish) instead of snapper and yellow onion instead of red.

I caramelized the fennel following a suggestion in CPV and served it on the side.

I roasted some whole fingerling potatoes with peanut oil, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne.

This was some seriously good food.

We also had a green salad.

Wine: Pride Mountain 2005 Viognier, holy crap is that a remarkable wine. It's not the most food friendly white the world has ever seen, but it's amazing as a "cocktail wine".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tuesday Night Steak

Andrea grabbed a couple of nice looking "clubsteaks" yesterday along with a big assortment of veggies, so even without a fully equipped kitchen I had plenty of possibilities for making dinner.

I just salted, peppered, and broiled one of the steaks; no need to be fancy there. Our broiler doesn't deliver as much heat as I might like, but aside from that the steak turned out well.

I also made a big batch of brown rice cooked in boullion instead of water.

As a sauce for the steak and rice, I made a lightish roux (maybe 10 minutes cooking time) and whisked in stock (boullion) and some mustard. I had originally planned to add cream, but that was totally unnecessary.

As a side, I sauteed zucchini (cut in half and then 1cm slices), onion, and some red pepper (a long, non-bell, red pepper) in olive oil. I used the high-heat, brown the zucchini approach. By leaving the zucchini relatively thick, I was able to get the onions nicely caramelized before it turned to mush. This is good stuff.

We also had a green salad.

Wine: Paul Jaboulet "Les Jalets" 2002 Crozes-Hermitage

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wine note

Blauburgunder = Pinot Noir

duh.

Sunday: Tuna Casserole

We didn't make it shopping on Saturday and were too lazy to make it to the big train station, so Sunday night was a "make dinner with whatever can be found in the shop at the small station" night. That turned out to be Tuna Casserole.

I started by making a bechamel, to which I added some chopped garlic and Gruyère (so now it's sauce Mornay with garlic, which probably has its own name). Andrea broke up the drained tuna and mixed it into the mostly-cooked elbow macaroni. After combining the noodles and sauce, I transferred them to an oiled gratin dish, I topped the noodles with quartered cherry tomatoes (pressed down into the noodles), and then covered that with a mixture of grated Gruyère and breadcrumbs. It baked at 200C until nicely browned.

As a side I made a grated carrot salad (with good olive oil and lemon juice).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Friday Night: Sauteed pork, "Risotto"

This was a relative quickie for the end of the week. To make the pork, I diced some "Plaetzli" (same cut I used for the Schnitzel earlier in the week) and browned it in peanut oil. After removing the pork and pouring off the fat, I added diced red pepper, mushrooms, chopped garlic, and some chopped tomato. When the veggies were close to done, I added back the pork along with a shot of sherry vinegar and some pimenton. Just before serving, I added another bit of chopped garlic.

I put the "risotto" in quotes because I didn't do the constant stirring thing (sorry Pino Luongo, there was no lovemaking!). I toasted the rice with some onion in butter and added stock (boullion). Whenever things started to dry out I added more stock. Until al dente.

We ate these topped with fresh parsley and alongside the required green salad.

Wine: Schlipfer 2004 Riehener Blauburgunder. This local wine wasn't particularly good on its own (a bit thin and sour) but it did pair well with the food; there the acid helped.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wednesday Night: Actual Cooking!

It cooled down a lot over the weekend, so it's actually possible to work in the kitchen without being uncomfortable. To celebrate, last night I made a couple things from JPFF: "Summertime Pasta" and "Chicken Breasts with Parsley and Garlic".

The pasta dish is just fresh veggies (zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms) warmed for a couple minutes in the microwave and then tossed with olive oil, fresh basil, grated parmesan, and pasta. My only variations were to add some minced garlic to the veggies and a bit of fresh parsley to the basil. For the pasta we had Fiorelli, which is a great shape for this kind of dish.

The chicken dish is diced chicken breast tossed with seasoned flour, sauteed until brown and almost cooked, then finished with a bit of butter, parsley, and garlic. I poured off the sauteeing oil before adding the butter but otherwise followed the recipe.

Both dishes were very good; as expected from that cookbook.

Naturally we had a green salad with this.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tuesday Dinner: Schnitzel and pasta

This was a relatively quick dinner after we got back from hiking. I did schnitzel using "Schweins Plätzli" that I seasoned with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. To go along with it we had pasta with a bottled sauce that I adulterated with some browned garlic and onions. The pork was remarkably flavorful... keep that cut in mind.

Of course we had a green salad.

We were travelling

We did a four day hiking trip (Sat -> Tues) in the Alpstein, so there was no cooking. Interesting food highlights from the various huts:

  1. Schlipfechäs: a local raw cow milk fresh cheese that they thinly slice and age in brine for a day. It was served with black pepper and some good bread. This was really nice stuff. For some peculiar reason, the internet has been totally unhelpful in providing me with any information.
  2. A few different Appenzeller meat specialties including Mostbröckli (cured beef), some fantastic Bauernspeck, Siedwurst, and the Pantli (Jaegerwurst).
  3. Bärlauchspätzle with Appenzeller cheese melted over the top. Bärlauch (Ramson), is an allium.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sunday: Apricot Jam

Yesterday morning I made a batch of apricot jam using the fruit (Walliser apricots) we picked up at the market on Saturday. Being able to buy "jelly sugar" (already contains pectin and citric acid) sure does simplify jam making.

Preliminary indications are that the jam is quite good.

Sunday: actual cooking

I got tired of not cooking so yesterday, despite the heat, we had an actual hot meal. It was simple, but still it's a big change. :-)

As a main dish, I made frikadellen with ground lamb, onion, garlic, lemon zest, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. For a side I sauteed some fresh beans (long flat green beans, I'm not sure what they're called) with sliced garlic in olive oil until they were tender and almost caramelized.

And a green salad.

Wine: Santa Rosa 2005 Torrentes (Mendoza). This is an Argentinian white that Andrea and I both really enjoyed. It was a plesant change from the Swiss whites we've been drinking.

Saturday Salads

The heat here hasn't let up, so we're still mostly eating salads and simple stuff. Saturday I made a potato salad with new potatoes, pieces of cervelat, onion, and a mayo-mustard-lemon-garlic sauce.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's toooo hot

We haven't been doing much in the way of cooking this week. I did make a couple of salads (quick-pickled cabbage and cucumber with a lemon vinaigrette; rice salad with green curry, lime, ginger, garlic, cilantro, and chilies) to fill out the meals, but otherwise it's been Abendbrot and green salads.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sunday Night Thai

We found a good Asian supermarket on Saturday, so to celebrate I made a green curry last night. I augmented the curry paste with ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and onions. Just before serving I added some lime juice and sugar.

To go along with the sauce, I breaded some pieces of rotbarsch (redfish or ocean perch) by dredging them through egg and paniermehl (somewhere between standard American breadcrumbs and panko), and then shallow fried them in peanut oil. We also had some sauteed napa cabbage and broccoli stem pieces, and a big pot of jasmine rice.

As always we had a green salad. Last night though the flavor clash between the salad and the curry was extreme enough that the salad had to wait to be eaten as a second course. :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saturday Night Gratin

We had a bulb of fennel from the market that really needed to be used, so last night I made a gratin with the sliced fennel, some new potatoes, elephant garlic (or some kind of large-cloved garlic), cream, and gruyere.

To go along with it we had a green salad.

The wine was a Les Plantailles 2004 Aigle. We're really enjoying these Swiss white wines in the warm weather.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wednesday Miscellany

I stopped at a "turkish market" (gotta find out what they call these here in Switzerland) on the way home from work last night and picked up some eggplant and a couple different kinds of hot peppers.

For the meal I diced some pork stew meat and browned the pieces. I combined those with a bit of boullion, cubed eggplant (salted for a while, rinsed, and drained), diced onion, and the sliced peppers, then baked it at around 400 until the eggplant was soft. We ate this over rice, topped with chives.

As a side I steamed some broccoli and then melted a bit of gruyere over the portions.

It was good food.

The wine was a Abadia Retuerta 2001 Sardon de Deuro.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Er... right

Unfortunately the wireless connection I was using to get online while we waited for our DSL went away, so we haven't had net access at home. Now our DSL is here, so the logging will pick up for real.

Luckily, there's not a huge amount to put into a catch up post: between the heat and our less than perfectly equipped temporary-housing kitchen we haven't been doing that much cooking. We've been doing a lot of Abendbrot + salad.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Thursday Night Pasta

Last night for dinner I made a quickie pasta sauce with lardons, green garlic, onions, green peas, boullion, fresh basil, and cream. We ate this over spaghetti with some baked chicory on the side and a green salad.

The wine was a 2001 Barba "Vignafranca" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo that we picked up on Wednesday; it's very nice.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wednesday Leftovers

To finish off the leftovers from Tuesday, I made a gratin by topping the leftover rice with the remaining pork and sauce then sprinkling over some shredded Emmenthaler and baking until bubbly and brown. As sides we had roasted cauliflower and a green salad.

Back in the saddle

We're in Basel now and still getting settled in, but there has been some cooking - Andrea and I were both ready for some more vegetable-rich food than we had been eating.

On Tuesday we headed to the outdoor market at the Marktplatz to look around and see what kind of stuff was available. We picked up some salad makings (including radishes shaped like carrots!), green garlic, a head of cauliflower, and some strawberries from a German stand that seems to be associated with a cooperative of organic farmers. I also got a bit of smoked venison and garlic salami made from boar. There was no way I was walking past that stand without buying stuff; I think I showed a lot of restraint to only get 200g of meat. The Marktplatz, which has stands there Mon-Sat, looks to be a frequent shopping destination for us.

On our way home we picked up some staples and other groceries at a big Migros.

Tuesday's dinner was pork ragout (stew meat) cut into 1-2cm pieces and then browned with finely diced onion and minced green garlic in peanut oil. I then added some chicken boullion (no good source of stock yet), black pepper, and water and let things boil until the pork was done and the sauce reduced to a reasonable consistency. At the very end I added a bit more minced green garlic to liven things up. We ate this over short-grain rice. This wasn't a dish to write home about, but it was quite good.

As a side dish I baked some chicory (endive) halves in a gratin dish on a bed of thinly sliced onion and butter until they were soft. The sweetness of the cooked onion balanced the bitterness of the chicory very nicely.

Of course we also had a green salad.

The wine was a 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs Zin that we brought with us in our bags from CA. mmmmm.

Dessert was macerated strawberries. It's nice to find strawberries other than the giant, mostly flavorless things that you mostly see in CA.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Moving

The movers came yesterday and packed up all our stuff.

I'll start posting again more regularly once we're settled in Basel and have reliable internet access.

Tuesday and Wednesday Night Curry

Tuesday I did a Thai red curry with chicken thighs, onions, potatoes, and red peppers. We had sticky rice with the curry and a green salad.

The leftover curry, with a green salad, was Wednesday night's dinner too.

Monday Leftovers

Monday night we had leftover lamb (still delicious) and brown rice along with some sauteed zucchini [CSA] and a green salad.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sunday Night: Grilled Lamb, fava bean ragout

I actually started the lamb on Saturday morning by cutting the butterflied leg into serving-sized pieces and then marinating them in a mixture of: minced sweet onion, minced preserved lemon, garlic, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Yesterday I grilled the pieces over a hot fire until they had a good sear, then moved them to lower heat and cooked them to medium rare. We ate the lamb with a relish made from minced sweet onion (salted and rinsed) and finely chopped parsley.

I made a fava bean ragout by rendering the fat from some lardons; removing the crisped bacon pieces; adding some minced garlic, minced shallot and sauteeing for about a minute; adding shelled and skinned fava beans, salt, pepper, and some chicken stock; covering and cooking until the beans were soft. For the last couple of minutes, I removed the lid to evaporate the remaining stock. Just before serving, I added the bacon pieces back.

We also had brown rice and a green salad.

The lamb and the fava beans were both really, really good.

Wine: McLaren 2001 Linchpin Shiraz (this was an excellent pairing)

Saturday Night: Pasta with Zucchini and Onions

For dinner on Saturday, I made a pasta sauce by caramelizing some sweet onions and zucchini [CSA] and then serving that over penne with fresh parsley and a good helping of grated pecorino.

Of course we had a green salad with that.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Thursday Night: leftovers

Last night was leftover risotto. We also had some pan-steamed spinach [CSA] as a side and a green salad.

Wednesday Night: Risotto

We have loads of fava beans from last week's CSA box, so on Wednesday I made a fava bean and asparagus risotto from a recipe in CPV. My deviations from the recipe were to use twice as much asparagus, but to leave out the peas since we didn't have any fresh peas.

We also had the last of the zucchini fritters from Tuesday and some flash fried then stewed beet greens [CSA] with vinegar. And a green salad.

Our plates were full of different shades of green goodness. Ooo boy is that risotto good.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday Night: Slow-cooked Tuna, Squash Fritters

I couldn't take the idea of any more leftovers last night, so I made something new.

For the tuna I used yellowfin (frozen from TJs) and baked it with salt, pepper, and a bit of canola oil at 300. I served it with a sauce made from mayo, salsa, and chives. This was nice, but I think I could have pulled it from the oven a bit quicker than I did.

The squash fritters were made with squash from last week's CSA box following a recipe in CPV. Even after having eaten it, I'm still amazed that something with that much lemon zest (basically the zest of one lemon per serving) can come out being so good. With most other cookbooks I would have (wrongly) reduced the amount, but Alice Waters seems pretty reliable... :-)

We also had sauteed asparagus and a green salad.

Monday Night Leftovers

Monday night was more leftovers from the goodbye party: grilled marinated chicken with onions and peppers; potato salad; some sauteed asparagus; and a green salad.

The wine wasn't so much a pairing as a tasting. We're trying to find a few more bottles of wine to take with us when we move, so we tried four bottles Monday night. I'll so a bit more detail on this some other time.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sesame-Lime Salad Dressing

This is what we used on the red cabbage salad this weekend, the recipe is taken from Lettuce in Your Kitchen:
1/2 cup fresh OJ
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup sesame oil
6 Tbs rice-wine vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tbs minced fresh ginger
12 dashes Tabasco
1 Tbs crushed star anise

The recipe additionally called for 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, but I didn't use that because I didn't want to alienate cilantro haters. That was probably not the best decision (because how many of them are there?), but the dressing was still *very* good, particularly when paired with the grilled pineapple.

Saturday: Goodbye party

Andrea and I threw a goodbye party for ourselves on Saturday. The food we made included:

  1. Grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
  2. Beef chunks (eye of round from our cow), marinated in yogurt, garlic, onion, mexican oregano, and paprika, then grilled on skewers
  3. Chicken thigh pieces with the same marinade, also grilled on skewers.
  4. Skordalia (recipe from BittmanWorld)
  5. Yogurt sauce with fresh parsley, pasted garlic, and lemon
  6. Hummus
  7. Potato salad with romaine lettuce [CSA] and bacon (based on the Grandma Wetzler's recipe in Lettuce in Your Kitchen)
  8. Red cabbage salad with grilled pineapple and citrus-sesame dressing from Lettuce in Your Kitchen (recipe in next post).
  9. Grilled sausages
We have leftovers out the wazoo, but the food was good (as was the stuff our friends brought).

Saturday Lunch: Pan Bagna

This is inspired by a recipe in Bittman that has been begging me to make it for a couple of years.
To make the sandwich, I hollowed out a loaf of pain de compagne and filled it with: grilled chicken breast, grilled onions, roasted pepers, cornichons, marinated artichoke hearts, anchovies, capers, and basil leaves. I dressed the whole thing with good olive oil and lemon juice, then put it in the fridge overnight under a brick.

This was gooooood eating.

Friday Night: Grilled chicken, kale with chickpeas

As part of our preparations for Saturday lunch (next post), I grilled some chicken breasts and onions on Friday. I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and coriander before grilling and served them with grilled onions. Chicken breast is inherently pretty boring, but this turned out ok. To add a bit of zing, I tossed some hickory chips on the coals just before adding the chicken. That helped a bit.

To go along with the chicken, we had sauteed kale [CSA] with chickpeas and fresh garlic [CSA]. This was a great combination. There was also the requisite green salad.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Thursday Fried Rice

This was a quickie meal: I marinated the remaining pieces of pork shoulder in oyster and hoisin sauces, xiaoshing wine, sriracachachacha, and 5 spice powder. Other bits in the fried rice were red pepper, onion, and egg.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wednesday Night: Pan roasted pork on kale; summer squash

The original plan for last night was to do a stir fry with some pieces of "country-style pork shoulder" we had picked up at TJs, but I changed that upon seeing the contents of the CSA box.

To make the pork, I brined the pieces for a few hours (salt and sugar), covered them with a quick spice rub (cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, cayenne, black pepper, salt), seared them on all sides, then tossed the skillet in a 350 degree oven until the pork was done. I served the pieces drizzled with good olive oil on a bed of kale[CSA] that I flash fried, then stewed with white balsamico and fresh garlic[CSA] until it was tender.

As a side I made sauteed summer squash[CSA] with fresh garlic[CSA], basil[CSA], and meyer lemon. This was following a recipe in CPV.

Beside this goodness (and I do mean goodness... this was very good food) we had a big green salad.

Wine: Chateau St. Jean 2003 Sonoma Valley Cab

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tuesday Night: Snapper and Pasta

Last night I made the other piece of snapper we got on Sunday. I more or less followed a recipe from Hazan for fish steaks sauced with wine-cooked onions and anchovies, though of course I was using snapper fillets instead of steaks. Still, with a bit of adjustment (finish the fish in the sautee pan, then sauce it in on the plate) it turned out great.

To accompany this I made some pappardelle and "sauced" them with good olive oil, the remaining Tuada cheese (it was a bit too dry to eat plain), some fresh parsley, and black pepper. I also sauteed some asparagus.

And a side salad.

Wine: Mauritsons 2003 Sauvignon Blanc

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday Night Fish

Last night was a bit of a butter and ginger extravaganza in our house.

Our main course was sauteed red snapper fillet topped with a lime-ginger beurre noisette. To go with this I made sauteed asparagus with crispy ginger threads and a batch of short-grain rice to soak up the buttery goodness.

For the beurre noisette:
3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs finely chopped young ginger (I don't think this would have been as good with older ginger).
Juice of 1/2 a lime
sugar

Get the butter to the noisette stage in a small saucepan. Toss in the ginger and set the pan on ice to stop the cooking. When you're ready to serve, warm over very low heat and add some of the lime juice and a pinch of sugar (to balance the acidity of the lime). Taste and adjust sugar and lime quantities.

This was some seriously good food.

There was also the requisite green salad.

Wine: A.G. Ferrari Prosecco.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Futurist Madness

Jon has a copy of a Futurist cookbook and has been suggesting that we do a futurist dinner party for a while. Somehow this actually happened this weekend.

Andrea and I don't really understand futurism, so we figured that we'd go with doing something odd to a familiar dish, oh and regular geometric forms. Regular geometric forms are hard to realize with unadulterated food, so we needed a trick of some kind. The trick in this case was aspic; which I had been wanting to try out for a while anyway.

Luckily I had a bunch of aspic guidance in Jacques Pepin's Complete Techniques (what's classic French cooking without aspic glazes and plate decorations?) and my 1940s edition of Joy of Cooking (20 whole pages of molded salads!), because none of my normal cookbooks even mention it. Hey Mark Bittman: it's not really How to Cook Everything if you don't have a single aspic recipe!

For the aspic itself, I followed the recipe in Techniques pretty much verbatim. The base stock for this is a good thing to revisit since it's a relatively simple clear broth. Even the egg white part wasn't overly fussy.

The overall theme for the dish was roasted chicken and vegetables, freed from the tyranny of biological form (Is that futurist? I have no idea, but the thought makes me giggle a little bit.). So I made roasted chicken in the form of meatballs; the stuffing was done with breadcrumbs, egg yolks, onions, and herbs mixed into the meat (no distinct filling, that would have been nasty). To make things appropriately geometric, the meatballs were embedded in aspic cubes (pour a thin layer of aspic; let it set up in the fridge; add the cooled sauteed meatballs; pour over more aspic to cover). The vegetables were diced tomato aspic, diced pea aspic, diced carrots (roasted a bit after dicing to get them tender), and diced beets (roasted before dicing).

Finally, since many of the futurist recipes in the book seemed to include cologne, I made a "scent bowl" to accompany the food by tossing a bunch of thyme, marjoram, and lemon verbena into everclear and letting them extract overnight. To serve we strained the crazy-green liquid, put it in bowls with a bit of warm water, and put those on the table next to the serving platter. The idea was to waft some of the herb smell over your plate as serving and eating, but we forgot to move a bowl to the table while eating, so that didn't really happen and the gimmick stayed a gimmick.

Here's a quickie picture of the resulting serving plate (scent bowls not visible), I'm sure Andrea will produce a nicer one, but this is a start:


Some aspic lessons:

  1. This stuff is actually very tasty. Big chunks of it (like the meatballs) are excessive, but in small quantities it's nice. Particularly the peas.
  2. When layering aspic it's really important to make sure that neither the base layer nor the new stuff is too cold. We had to add a second top layer to the meatballs to get them completely covered and I poured it on too cold; it didn't really adhere at all.
  3. The recipes for tomato and pea aspic in Techniques are for a plate garnish. The resulting aspics really weren't really firm enough to dice. The resulting texture was more pleasing to eat than it probably would have been if it were harder, but dicing it certainly was a fiddly pain in the ass.
We have some other pictures of other people's creations, including Jon's Meatloafians worshipping at Cati's amazing food pyramid (starting at the top: goat cheese, pate, tomato mousse, "kale thing", baguette), that I'll probably end up posting later.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cheeses

The last couple of nights we've had dessert in the form of three cheeses and a glass of Bonny Doon vin de glaciere. The cheeses, from the Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building are:

  1. Clisson: a semi-soft French goats milk cheese
  2. Tuada: an Italian pecorino
  3. Roncal: a Spanish sheeps milk cheese
These were suggestions from one of the very helpful counter folks at Cowgirl. They are all very good.

Wednesday: Leftover Chicken, risi e bisi

We needed to finish the braised chicken from Tuesday, and didn't have enough other leftovers, so I made a batch of risi e bisi by basically following the "soupy rice with peas" recipe from JPFF, with the small deviation of using 1/2 cup of white wine instead of the last 1/2 cup of stock. This wasn't quite as good as the risotto al limone from back in February; but that stuff is hard to top and this was a lot quicker.

Of course we had a green salad.

Wine: We finished off the bottle of Linchpin.

Tuesday Night: Braised chicken, roasted cauliflower, bratkartoffeln

For the braised chicken, I marinated bone-in breasts in balsamico and salt for an hour or so, browned them in olive oil, added some chicken stock and a good amount of red wine, and let it braise (covered) until the chicken was done. After removing the chicken, I added the 1/2 cup (or so) of remaining red-pepper walnut dip from Andrea's defense and thickened the sauce with a bit of starch.

The cauliflower and bratkartoffeln were done the usual way (goose and duck fat for the potatoes).

There was a green salad.

Wine: Linchpin Shiraz

Monday Night: Pappardelle with sausage and peppers

The sauce recipe was from Hazan; I made it with basil-tomato sausage from TJs, which wasn't really perfect, but the sauce ended up being damn good anyway. Peeling the peppers is definitely worth it.

We also had a green salad.

Wine: St. Francis Sonoma Cty Old Vines Zin, 2003. This wasn't an ideal food wine, but I liked it more than I remember liking the 2002 (at least better than our notes indicated that I liked the 2002).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Backpacking food

This weekend we went backpacking. Dinners were:

  1. Thursday: angel-hair pasta with meat sauce
  2. Friday: couscous with a sauce made from diced beef brisket (from last Sunday) and a packet of oxtail soup
  3. Saturday: powdered mashed potatoes with pieces of sopressata

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tuesday Night: Pasta with fava beans + leftovers

Last night we had friends over to help eat leftovers from Andrea's defense party. Since the remains were all hors d'oeuvres, I also made a simple pasta sauce using fava beans from last week's CSA box and some green garlic and scallions we got at the farmers' market this week:

1 cup very thinly sliced green garlic
1 cup shelled and skinned fava beans
1 cup scallions, 1/4" slices
8 oz ricotta cheese
2 Tbs coarsely chopped parsley
chicken stock
olive oil
salt and black pepper

Cook the garlic slowly with olive oil in a covered pan until it is very soft and caramelizes (mine didn't get very brown, but it did start to have some of that excellent caramelized onion smell). Add the occasional splash of stock if things look dry.
Put the favas in a separate pan and add enough stock to just cover. Add a good pour of olive oil and the scallions, cover and bring to a gently boil. Cook until the beans are tender, a few minutes.
Stir in the ricotta cheese and caramelized garlic and cook over gentle heat until the sauce is warm. Adjust seasonings.
Just before serving, thin with some pasta water if the sauce needs it and stir in the parsley.

I think it would not have hurt to add a bit of lemon zest at the end here.

Cati brought a bunch of new kinds of chocolate that we'll have to make notes about too, but I'm not doing that now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Andrea's Defense Party: food list

This is a list of the stuff I made:

  1. Gravlax with mustard sauce [both from Bittman], served with cocktail bread
  2. Dips: raita (toasted cumin, cucumber); roasted red pepper and walnuts [BittmanWorld]; pureed white beans with preserved lemon [adapted from BittmanWorld]; beet caviar [BittmanWorld] All served with pita wedges, lavash, "baby" carrots, broccoli and cauliflower
  3. Almond meatballs [BittmanWorld]
  4. Phyllo triangles with feta and spinach [Bittman]
  5. Snacks: Roasted almonds (with pimenton and cumin) [adapted from BittmanWorld]; sambar cashews; roasted garbanzos [Bittman].
  6. Dessert: lemon squares (using Meyer lemon) and cream cheese brownies [both from Bittman]
Most stuff turned out pretty well. The gravlax is exceptional. Specific complaints:
  1. The phyllo triangles were too much work and don't keep well (they lose crispness pretty quickly). They're not worth it for this kind of event.
  2. Baking dessert is soooo not my thing. The brownies tasted ok, but they were way dry. The lemon bars were ugly as hell, but they tasted pretty good (except for the crust, which was pretty flavorless).

Gack! Busy!

Andrea's defense was yesterday, so things have been super hectic. Some catching up:

  1. Saturday dinner: Hamburgers on the grill (1 lb beef, 1/2 lb lamb, garlic, onion) with salad and sauteed broccoli rabe.[CSA] Putting a bit of lamb in the meat mixture is great.
  2. Sunday dinner: Grill roasted/smoked beef brisket (from our cow) with bourbon (actually rye)/onion sauce; asparagus sauteed with shallots; green salad. I brined the brisket overnight with salt, sugar, bay leaf, allspice, and black pepper; coated it with a rub of crushed coriander, and white and black pepper; smoked it with hickory chips; and basted with a mixture of beer and cider vinegar. The results were very, very nice.
  3. I'll post the list of stuff I made for the defense party next.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Wednesday Night: Fried Rice

Wednesday we put the grilled buffalo steaks to another use: fried rice. I fried the remaining rice from Tuesday with onions, red peppers, garlic, some dried chilis, and a bit of soy sauce.

Served with sriracachachacha on the side, this was quite nice.

Wine: Saddleback Cellars 2000 Napa Valley Cab

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tuesday Night: Buffalo-steak rice bowl

For the main dish here, I took some thinly sliced (on the ceramic slicer) onions and cooked them with a bit of oil and soy sauce until they started to soften and brown, then added some mirin and let the onions really start to caramelize. After adding some thinly sliced pieces of grilled buffalo steak I cranked the heat to high for about a minute, then covered the pan and turned off the heat. I served the meat over short-grain rice.

To "go along" with this we had sorrel soup with croutons and a green salad. The soup didn't match the main course at all, but a bit of contrast is good... right? Particularly when each component is good on its own? right?

Wine: Linchpin Shiraz

Monday Night on the Grill

We had a couple of buffalo sirloin steaks that we bought on Saturday drying in the fridge, and they were just screaming (mooing? lowing? what noise *do* buffaloes make?) to go on the grill. So that drove last night's meal.

The steaks I did very simply: coated with a bit of oil, salt, pepper, and some freshly ground coriander, then grilled over a medium-hot fire to medium rare. After letting the steaks rest, I sliced them thin across the grain and served them.

Accompaniments were sliced mushrooms sauteed with shallots, then dosed with balsamico and a touch of soy sauce, and bratkartoffeln cooked in a mixture of duck and goose fat (from the duck confit at the charcuterie night). And a green salad, of course.

There's something nice to say about each component of this meal.

Wine: Linchpin Shiraz

I also made some sorrel soup by sauteing a bit of red onion in butter, adding chicken stock, some potato scraps, and the sorrel I mistakenly cooked last week. To finish this, I added a bit of cream. We didn't eat the soup though; there was enough other food.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday Night: Pasta

We had leftover dip from Friday night's bagna cauda to use up, so last night I did a pasta dish.

I started by gently warming the dip in the microwave to get it re-liquified and a bit warm (above room temp at least). I toasted some bread crumbs in a couple Tbs of the oil with a pinch of crushed red pepper. We ate spaghetti dressed with the remaining dip and strewn with bread crumbs.

mmmm.

Friday Night: Bagna Cauda

Since we had a lot of veggies that are suited for it, we had bagna cauda on Friday. I followed the recipe in Hazan for the dip and we ate it with cardoons[CSA], arthichokes, asparagus, and yellow pepper. To serve the dish we jury-rigged a warming dish by setting the bowl with the dip on top of a ramekin in a pot of boiling water. We switched pots of boiler water every 10 minutes to make sure the dip stayed warm.

Before serving, I parboiled the cardoons and steamed the artichokes and asparagus.

This was very nice food.

Wine: Rosemount Estates 2002 GSM. Not the best pairing, but it worked ok.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thursday: "Oh! So sorrel!"

Last night we finished off the pasta and sauce from Wednesday. To go with it I made a cauliflower[CSA]-parmesan gratin from Hazan and another batch of butter-stewed chard[CSA]. The cauliflower thing, which differs from our normal baked cauliflower in that it's boiled first, was very nice.

However, when I went to adjust the seasonings on the chard, I discovered that I had grabbed the wrong bag from the fridge and cooked the sorrel. That explains why it didn't behave like chard. :-) Even after adding a bit of cream this was still a bit too intense to eat as a vegetable, so it's in the fridge to make soup with. I know I tasted a leaf before I pulled the bag, but I either got a very mild leaf or I was really not paying attention.