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


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