Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday's experiments

Tonight I made a couple of dishes I haven't done before that I picked out to use up some of the contents of the fridge. I started with a batch of kapusniak (sauerkraut, apple, and winter vegetable stew) using the recipe from BittmanWorld. This was quite different, but very good. It would have been even better if we had had the called-for quantity of dried porcinis.

I followed the kapusniak with a lentil and beet dish from the Le Menu archives: Start by softening a minced onion (should be a shallot) in butter. Add 2 small beets (250-300g), peeled and diced small (.5 cm) and a couple pinches of salt and continue to cook until the beets start to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add two cloves of minced garlic, mix well and then 400ml stock; cover, and simmer another 5 minutes. Add 250g pre-soaked lentils and enough water to cover them. Cover the pot and simmer until the lentils are soft (15-20 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in a sauce made from 180g yogurt, a Tbs of freshly grated horseradish, and 1/2 bunch finely chopped chives. Adjust seasonings and serve topped with a bit of smoked trout.

Here the earthiness of the lentils played very nicely with that of the beets and it was all offset well by the sharpness of the horseradish and the richness of the yogurt and smoked fish. It's excellent to find another good beet recipe.

Don't know why I've never done this calculation before.

I made stock this afternoon and, as usual, removed the breast from the chicken before tossing the rest in the stock pot. Today, on a whim, I weighed the breast and then looked up the price of boneless chicken breast on Coop's website. I was amused to see that the chicken breast by itself costs as much as the whole bird. So if you're willing to do 5 minutes of work to remove the breasts from the carcass, you get the rest for free. :-)

Nanorestaurant Review: Bon Vivant (Basel)

We did this for my birthday dinner. It gets two quite smiley faces. There's something I really like about the whole no menu thing. There are even bonus points for being reasonably priced (though deductions for the high cost of the accompanying wine pairings, which I'd be ticked about if they hadn't been so good).

  • Food: Excellent; straightforward and very well prepared
  • Service: Quite good; there are only about 20 seats, so the two servers were in no way overwhelmed. :-)
  • Atmosphere: very good; the decor is great and the overall feeling is open and comfortable

[Update]: Andrea suggested that I list the food. We had:
  • Amuse bouche: chickpea soup with fresh marjoram and a drizzle of olive oil (with our apperitif prosecco)
  • Starter (greg): Goose liver terrine with sweet and sour pumpkin and brioche (paired with a sweet wine from the Dolomites)
  • Starter (andrea): Lime-curry risotto topped with a grilled jumbo shrimp (paired with a sauvignon blanc from Genf)
  • Main course: Roasted lamb shoulder with rosemary potatoes and bean ragout (paired with an Austrian(!) merlot)
  • Cheese plate (paired with an Austrian riesling)
  • Dessert: chocolate tart with mandarin ice cream (paired with a late-bottled-vintage port)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Dinner: Baked pasta

This was an improv put together when we got home yesterday.

Brown 300g ground beef well; season the beef a bit as it's cooking. Remove the beef to a bowl and add some olive oil to the pan. Toss in a minced garlic clove and 4-5 piri-piri chilis. Cook until the garlic starts to brown. Add a diced onion and cook for another minute or so. Add a can of whole tomatoes (including the juice), a splash of red wine, a bay leaf, a good couple of pinches each of marjoram and herbes de provence, and a good grind of black pepper. Break up the tomato pieces and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in a small container of sour cream (sauerer halbrahm). Add the beef. Check seasoning.
Put some mostly cooked pasta (we used 200g of whole wheat "pipe rigate" cooked for 8 of the 10 minutes it wants) in a gratin dish and pour the sauce over it. Top with some grated sbrinz and bake at 180c for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned.

mmm, comfort food

My gazillion dollar cooking show idea

Two components of the show:

  1. The featured cook/chef prepares a standard household dish using ingredients that would be available in an ordinary kitchen.
  2. The featured cook prepares a "restaurant dish" in a standard household kitchen (dull knives, low-quality cookware, etc.). They can use whatever ingredients they want for this, but they must do all the prep work themselves.
This was inspired by the experience of selecting things to make based on how much trouble they were going to be to make in Andrea's parents' kitchen. I think it would be a complete blast to see some high-end chef cursing as he does prep work with a dull knife.

Catching up from the holidays

We're just back from christmas vacation at Andrea's parents, so I'm back-dating some posts.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cooking at Andrea's parents: cabbage, leek, green bean, and pork stew

This was following the recipe for "Schtunggis" from Kaltenbach. The stew is made from white cabbage, pork, leeks, carrots, green beans, and potatoes and is a wonderful winter dish. We used frozen green beans (because that's what there was), but I have no doubt that this would be very good with dried green beans.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

New Cookbook

One of my Christmas presents from Andrea was Aus Schweizer Küchen by Marianne Kaltenbach. I had borrowed this from the library and really enjoyed it: the recipes look nice and I very much like the organization by month.

Recipes from this book will definitely be making regular appearances.

Cooking at Andrea's parents: potato-leek soup

The original plan for Christmas dinner was to make a squash soup, but then we couldn't find winter squash at the supermarket in Wegberg, so we decided to do a potato-leek soup instead.

Start by rendering and crisping some diced smoked bacon (300g). Remove the bacon pieces and cook sliced leeks (1kg) in the bacon fat with some salt until the leeks start to caramelize. In the meantime boil 2kg of peeled and quartered potatoes in sufficient water to cover them nicely. When the potatoes are tender, add the leeks, a grind of pepper, and some chicken boullion. Mash the potatoes a bit with a potato masher and then puree the whole thing with a stick blender. Add the reserved bacon and let the whole thing simmer for another 10-15 minutes to meld flavors. Just before serving, refine with a bit of cream.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cooking with Andreas: Pork chops in orange sauce

Another dish made at Andreas and Elke's. This is an improv.

Fillet some oranges. Collect the OJ and some minced zest in a bowl, add some toasted cumin seeds (I actually used ground cumin, because that's what we had, but whole cumin would have been better) and save for later. Season some pork chops (bone-in!) and brown well on both sides. Remove them from the pan and let them sit in the marinade. Add thinly sliced onion to the pan and cook gently until it caramelizes (maybe 20-30 minutes). Add the pork chops, marinade, a bit of water, black pepper, and the orange fillets and cook until the oranges have melted and the chops are done cooking, about 10 minutes. Remove the chops and thicken the sauce with corn starch.

We ate these with oven-roasted potatoes (with paprika and rosemary) and a big green salad and were quite happy with life.

Then we made Feuerzangenbowle and things crossed over into the sublime. :-)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cooking with Andreas: Thai soup

This wasn't quite tom kha gai, but it was definitely influenced by standard soup that Andreas and I always end up making.

Marinate some sliced chicken breast in soy sauce, fish sauce, lime, chopped thai chili, ginger, lemon grass, and galangal. Add it to some coconut milk along with the marinade and some quartered thai eggplants. Bring to a boil and simmer until the chicken is close to done. Add some sliced mushrooms. Finish off the chicken, add an additional slug of lime juice and ginger, adjust seasoning with soy sauce, and serve over rice.

Good stuff!

Thursday night: bread and apple gratin

One of the things I've noticed about Swiss food is the frequent addition of fruit (normally apples or pears) to savory dishes. Combining this with the idea taken from Aus Schweizer Küchen of doing a savory bread pudding to use up old bread and we ended up having a nice gratin made from leftover bread from the fondue, apples, and bacon, topped with the remaining fondue cheese.

I started by cooking some diced bacon with minced onion in a bit of butter. I added a diced apple and a good pinch of marjoram and cooked for another minute or so. In the meantime I beat an egg together with some milk and mixed that into the cubed (2cm cubes) bread. I stirred in the onion-bacon-apple mixture, black pepper, and some chicken stock (bouillon) and folded it all gently together. This got packed into a buttered gratin dish and topped with the grated fondue cheese. I baked the whole thing at 180c for about 30 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and brown.

Very nice concept, very nice food.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Biokiste 33

between the beets, the red cabbage, and the radicchio, this is a very red box. :-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Minirants

  1. Hey, all you "cook with the seasons"/"eat locally" types: I'm kind of tired of cookbooks that are 3/4 recipes involving ingredients that either only grow in the Mediterranean basin (or California) or which are only available fresh for one month a year.
  2. Home cooks who are reasonably well organized and good with a knife do not need to do a mise en place. It's nice to prep everything in advance, and it makes doing the cooking easier if you have distractions, but it also makes everything take longer... sometimes a lot longer. Maybe I spend too much time thinking about process optimization, but if you're cooking during the week it's worth putting some thought into logistics so as to avoid having to waste a bunch of time doing prep. This was one of the (many) reasons I enjoyed the Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way show so much: he didn't make a big deal of it, but he did most of the prep as he was cooking.

Wednesday: braised chicken and various sundries

This was very much a meal guided by what was in the 'fridge (determined by what was in last week's biokiste).

As a main course I did braised chicken in a leek/radicchio sauce. For this I cooked some sliced leek and diced carrot in olive oil until the leek softened, then added a good quantity of white wine, some radicchio (stemmed and cut into eighths), a bay leaf, a sprig of rosemary, a few sprigs of thyme, a pinch of ground marjoram, and a bit of ground coriander. This I let boil for a few minutes until it reduced by about half, then added chicken leg quarters that I had already browned in olive oil. I nestled the chicken down in the sauce, reduced the heat to low, covered it, and simmered until the chicken was coming off the bone (45-60 minutes).

For the first side I roasted some squash which I mashed with a some salt, a bit of molasses, "raclette spices". The second side was celery root which I cut into cubes and then boiled until tender. The cubes I mashed with butter, white pepper, and salt.

The meal was very a nice combination of colors and flavors.

We also had a big green salad.

Tuesday Fondue

Cheese fondue has been on the todo list for a little bit. Having fondue bourguignonne this weekend in Paris moved the cheese fondue to the head of the list. :-)

I went to a cheese place (the one on Spalenberg downtown) and got a pre-made mixture (gruyere, neunburger vacherin, tete de moin). The woman in the shop suggested 400g for two people, which seemed a bit high, but I didn't remember the quantities from last time, so I went along with her. Of course we did 200g/person last time and that was too much, so I just used 300g of the mixture (the rest will get used... no risk there). The recipe I took from Aus Schweizer Küchen (300g cheese, 150ml white wine, 1 shot kirsch, 1Tbs potato starch). For bread I used a loaf of "St Gallen" brot from Coop.

300g of cheese was, for us at least, the right amount: the fondue itself was very good and we didn't end up feeling completely bloated at the end of the meal.

To test the "standard" approach, we drank peppermint tea with the fondue instead of having wine. This is a good combination.

We also had leftover brussels sprouts and a green salad.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday: sauteed potatoes and leeks, brussels sprouts

Last night's meal was driven by the contents of the fridge (i.e. "use up vegetables!").

Our main course was a layered invention with potatoes slices and garlic on the bottom, then a layer of leeks and napa cabbage, and then a layer of sharp cheese. To make it I cooked the mixture of sliced leeks and cabbage in olive oil until the leeks started to caramelize, then set them aside. I added some chopped garlic and fresh olive oil to the pan, then built a layer of boiled potato slices. I let this cook for a few minutes, then topped it with the leek mixture. When the potatoes started to form a crust and the garlic no longer smelled raw, I added the grated cheese and covered the pan until the cheese melted nicely. A minute or two more with the pan open to drive off moisture and it was ready to serve.

The brussels sprouts were very simple: I cut them in half and then cooked them in a pan with some rendered lardons, a bit of marjoram, and a pinch of salt. After the sprouts picked up some color I covered the pan, reduced the heat, and let the sprouts cook until soft.

I also baked a small hard squash (no idea of variety) that I had cut in half and deseeded. This we ate with a bit of butter, salt, and some "raclette spice mix" (various warm spices) from Coop.

Quite a nice meal.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Biokiste 32

This week's box has the first brussel sprouts of the season (and hopefully not the last!):

Thursday: a noteworthy side

We had some butternut squash from the biokiste in the fridge that needed to be used up. Last night I used that as a side to go with the leftover lentils and greens from Wednesday.

I started by cooking some butter until it just started to turn brown, for the last minute or so I added some sage leaves. Once the butter was ready I added the squash (1cm dice) and a pinch of salt. This I let cook for another minute or two, then reduced the heat, added a small splash (maybe 1Tbs) of water, covered it, and let it simmer until the squash was cooked through (stirring every so often). For the last couple of minutes I ground in some white pepper.

This is a very nice combination of flavors.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday: lentils and greens

I was going to do beans and greens to use up some of the massive quantity of escarole we have. Then I decided to replace the beans with lentils. Not a half bad idea if I do say so myself.

Start by cooking some diced smoked bacon in olive oil until it browns a bit. Add a mixture of diced onion, carrot, celery, green pepper, and minced garlic along with a pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables start to soften. Add a good quantity of chopped escarole and mix well. Add lentils, a bouillon cube, a couple bay leaves, a sprig or two of thymes, and a bit of hot water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are done. Serve drizzled with good olive oil and topped with some chopped chives.

Boy was this happy, happy food.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday: Risotto and Schnitzel

One of the ways I came up with to use some of the escarole we have from the biokiste was to make risotto with it. That's what I did last night.

I started the risotto by cooking a very fine dice of yellow carrot, onion, garlic, and celery with a good pinch of salt in olive oil until the vegetables softened. Then I added the rice and toasted it, then the chopped escarole. After the escarole shrank some I added a slug of white wine and then started the "add stock, stir, add stock, stir" process using turkey stock that I kept warm on the stove with couple bay leaves and sprigs of thyme swimming around in it. For the last liquid addition I used another slug of white wine. We ate this topped with parmesan and some good olive oil. It was quite nice, though I think I'll enrich the leftovers a bit with butter instead of olive oil -- the slight sweetness of the butter should play well against the bitter of the greens.

We also had schnitzel: pork loin chops pounded out, smeared with mustard and allowed to marinate for an hour, breaded (flour, then egg, then bread crumbs), sauteed in clarified butter, and served with a bit of lemon. Wonderful!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Saturday: Chabisbünteli

We decided to use up some of the cabbage from this week's biokiste by making Kohlrouladen. The question remained what kind to make. This seemed like a good time to put a Swiss cookbook I had taken out of the library last week (Aus Schweizer Küchen by Marianne Kaltenbach) to the test. The Kohlrouladen (Chabisbünteli) were vegetarian -- filled with a bread, cabbage, onion, and parsley mixture seasoned with pepper and marjoram -- and were braised in a bit of sauce made from tomato paste, vegetable bouillon, and rosemary. And they were very tasty indeed.

As a side I tried a recipe for carrot-ginger puree from JPT. This was much less successful. I don't know if the ginger was particularly potent or if the recipe has a typo or what, but this puree was much, much too gingery to be enjoyable. Ah well.

We also had steamed potatoes that I sprinkled with salt and drizzled with good olive oil before serving. Simple and good.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Biokiste 31

that's only some of the carrots that were in this week's box. Combined with all the ones we still have from previous boxes, we have a serious need for carrot soup.

Thursday Sauerkraut

Last night's meal needed to use the sauerkraut we picked up at the market on Saturday and also be pretty simple. Luckily this was no problem at all.

Rinse your sauerkraut and let it drain. Meanwhile put a thinly sliced onion in a pan with some dry white wine (I used Alsatian gewurztraminer), and some diced smoked bacon. Set the heat to medium. Add the drained 'kraut, some juniper berries, some caraway, and a bay leaf and mix well. Make an indentation in the 'kraut and set a saucisson beaujolais (could also use saucisson vaudoise) that has been pricked several times with a fork in the indentation. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes or so until everything is cooked. Serve the 'kraut topped with the sliced sausage.

Fresh sauerkraut is a great thing and the stuff we get from the market is just amazing.

I also did some mashed butternut squash [biokiste] by cooking diced squash in a covered pot over medium-low heat with butter, white pepper, salt, and a splash of water. After about 30 minutes I mashed the squash with a fork.

And we had a green salad.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tuesday : Potato Leek soup

This was a straightforward potato leek soup that I made to use the leeks that came in last week's biokiste.

Cut 150g smoked bacon into lardons and render them (and the rind from the bacon) in some peanut oil. If you are planning on pureeing the soup, remove the lardons at this point. Add 3 thinly sliced leeks and a pinch of salt and cook until the leeks are soft. Add 1 kg of starchy potatoes that are peeled and cut into pieces, 1l stock (I used turkey stock) and 1l water, a couple bay leaves, a sprig of thyme, and a pinch of herbes de provence. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Fish out the bay leaves, thyme, and bacon rind and then either mash with a potato masher or puree (if you took out the lardons earlier). Add 50g (or so) of butter and the lardons (if needed) and adjust seasonings. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

We had this with bread and a nice green salad and were quite happy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday pasta

Last night I made a batch of "garbage pasta" to clear some stuff out of the fridge.

I started by sauteing some diced ham, onion, carrots, celery, pepper, minced garlic, and chopped napa cabbage [all vegetables biokiste except the garlic and celery] in olive oil until the vegetables started to soften, then I added the remaining tomato sauce from Sunday, some additional pureed tomatoes, a spring of thyme, a bit of rosemary, a bay leaf, a few piri-piri chilis, and a pinch of herbes de provence. I got this up to a light boil, added some uncooked elbow macaroni, covered and let cook until the macaroni was ready to eat.

We at this topped with parmesan cheese, with a green salad on the side.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday pizza

Tonight was pizza... for the first time in a very long time.

For the crust I used the super-easy wet-dough bread recipe from the Times food section. This worked ok, but I needed to add a bunch of extra flour in order to be able to work with the dough at all.

For the sauce I pureed some good tomato sauce with a crushed garlic clove, a pinch of salt, and some good olive oil.

We made three smallish pizzas:

  1. tomato sauce + fresh mozarella + parmesan
  2. tomato sauce + sliced eggplant + thinly sliced onion + a bit of mozarella + parmesan
  3. pesto (from last summer's basel) + thinly sliced onion + parmesan
Aside from the fact that our oven just doesn't get hot enough to make proper pizza and we don't have a stone to help compensate for that, this turned out very nice. I worked around some of this by using thick baking sheets that I preheated. I assembled the pizzas on parchment and slid them onto the preheated sheets.

We're definitely going to have to do this more often. And maybe find a baking stone so we can do it right. :-)

Sunday: a panforte experiment

Somehow over the past couple of weeks panforte kept coming up. Then this week's Splendid Table Baker's Chronicle came with a panforte recipe. It was clear that I need to make it again.

I used the Splendid Table recipe, but I only made a half recipe. The quantities I ended up using, converted to a form that's easier here to do in "weigh your ingredients" land:
100g orangeat
100g dried apricots (I used sour ones, which I think was a good idea)
80g dried figs
200g almonds
100g hazelnuts
65g flour
175g sugar
230g honey
1 Tbs cinnamon
2tsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
a couple of grinds of black pepper
45g butter

I think I didn't bake it quite long enough because the resulting thing, though very, very tasty, is a bit sticky.

very, very tasty.

Saturday Dinner: Grünkohl and steamed vegetables.

This meal was inspired by the smoked beef tongue I found on sale at Coop yesterday. We picked some grünkohl up at the market and I went from there.

Dice a couple of onions and cook them in a bit of peanut oil until they start to soften. Add diced tongue (about half the tongue, 1cm dice) and cook until it browns a bit. Add the finely chopped grünkohl and cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until the greens darken. Add a splash of white wine, a bay leaf, a crumbled vegetable boullion cube, and some water, cover and let simmer for an hour or more. When the greens start to get tender, add some boiled potatoes that have been cut into chunks and cook for another 20 minutes for so.

I also made some steamed vegetables (kohlrabi and carrots, cut into matchsticks) that we ate topped with chopped chives and a drizzle of olive oil. For a salad I did a version of cole slaw with napa cabbage and a sauce made from yogurt, horseradish, lemon zest, lemon juice, mayo, cider vinegar, salt, white pepper, and enough peanut oil to give it some body.

This was excellent food.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday lunch: spaetzle

Today's lunch was a little cooking experience. I started by sauteeing some finely diced ham in olive oil, added some chopped napa cabbage, then added some pre-made spaetzle and cooked until they spaetzle started to brown a bit. Just before serving, I topped with some grated emmenthaler and let that melt. We ate the delight topped with chopped chives.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Biokiste 30

The little bag in the center contains some really nice, very peppery cress... that's going to be fun to use.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday: garbage soup

Tonight I made garbage soup to finish off some of the stuff in the fridge.
I sauted some onion, garlic, carrot, and celery with cumin seeds in a bit of olive oil until the vegetables started to soften. I added some chopped grünkohl and sauteed a bit longer. Then I added diced ham and turkey and some turkey stock. I made the stock a bit more interesting by adding chopped chipotle, soy sauce and a bit of tomato paste. After this came to a boil I added leftover cooked rice and cooked until the greens were basically done. Just before serving I added some canned black beans.

We ate this with some corn tortillas Andrea picked up in Zurich.

footnote: Andrea correctly points out that I shouldn't really count it as "finishing off" leftovers when I just created a whole pot of leftover soup.

Tuesday: la la la leftovers

Last night I used up the last of the leftover stuffing and some of the turkey by doing a "stuffing casserole": I mixed diced turkey with the stuffing and then baked the whole thing in a buttered gratin dish. I served this delight topped with gravy. :-)

We also finished off the vegetables and had a big green salad.

Monday: break from leftovers

I couldn't take another night of Thanksgiving leftovers, so we took a little break on Monday night.

Dinner was: sauerkraut (from the biokiste) cooked with some smoked ham with rice on the side and some of the steamed vegetables from Saturday (ok, those leftovers were allowed).

oh, and a green salad.

Straightforward, and good.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday: "Thanksgiving"

We celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday with a few friends. It wasn't a big group (total of 6 of us planned, actually 5 there), so I couldn't go completely overboard with food. Consequently things remained pretty calm and collected all day.

Things I made:

  1. Three types of spiced nuts:
    1. cashews with B&vG spice rub
    2. almonds with olive oil, cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne
    3. pecans with molasses, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon (a hint), a big of mustard, and some butter
  2. Turkey - filled with apple, onion, sage, and thyme, covered with butter, salt, and pepper then roasted following Bittman's method (breast down for the first hour, then flipped; stock in the bottom of the pan). Once again, the bird cooked quicker than it seemed like it should have. It was done in 2.5 hours instead of 3-3.5 hours. ah well... I was monitoring it pretty closely so it wasn't all dried out. [4.5kg bird, more than enough]
  3. Stuffing - basically the same as last year (Ruchbrot, mushrooms, onions, celery, sage, thyme, parsley). [1.5 loaves of bread, more than enough]
  4. Mashed potatoes [1kg potatoes, ok for 5, borderline for 6]
  5. Mashed sweet potatoes (cooked in the pan) [4 sweet potatoes, borderline for 5]
  6. Gravy (made by reducing the pan juices with some additional stock and a splash of vermouth then thickening it at the end with potato starch; this was probably my best gravy ever).
  7. Roasted green beans [1kg, plenty]
  8. Steamed mixed vegetables (kohrabi and zucchini matchsticks, orange and yellow carrot threads, red carrot rounds) [1.5 kohlrabi, 2 zucchinis, 2 each big orange and yellow carrots, 3 smaller red carrots]
  9. Green salad
We outsourced the dessert to Nik and Ewa this year: they brought an apple crumble and a chocolate mousse.

It's lucky this was good food because we have LOADS of leftovers.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Friday: slow-cooked tuna, mashed squash

For this one I kept it very simple: I seasoned a piece of yellowfin tuna, poured some olive oil over it, then put it in on a plate into a cold oven, which I set to 130C. When the tuna was just cooked through we ate it with the olive oil poured over the top.

I also mashed the remaining half of a roasted butternut squash from Wednesday and of course we had a big green salad.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday: chicken and cabbages

This week's biokiste contained sauerkraut (a totally different style from what we get at the market) and the first grünkohl (essentially collard greens) of the season. I was very happy to see both. :-)

I did a very simple preparation with the grünkohl: Dice some smoked bacon and render it. Chop the grünkohl into small pieces, saute those pieces in the bacon fat with some olive oil and a pinch of salt until the greens darken. Add some chicken stock, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes until the grünkohl is tender.

I had made chicken stock on wednesday night (for Saturday's thanksgiving meal) and reserved the breasts from the chicken. Those I served last night: Pound out the chicken breasts, season them, top with a bit of sauerkraut, and then roll them and tie with kitchen string. Let these sit around until just before dinner time then brown them on all sides in a bit of peanut oil, deglaze with vermouth, add a bit of stock and let them cook until cooked through (another couple minutes). Serve with the pan sauce poured over.

We also had the leftover squash/celery root/potato puree from Wednesday night. That might even have been better the second night.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Biokiste 29

This week we have an assortment of mixed salad greens, grünkohl, sauerkraut, and some more veggie goodness.

Wednesday's mixed bits

This started with the butternut squash remaining from last week's biokiste. After a bit of looking through cookbooks, I decided to go with a recipe from CPV for a puree of squash (delicata in the recipe), celery root, and potatoes. All vegetables were from the biokiste. I pretty much followed the recipe here aside from using milk instead of cream and steeping the garlic cloves in the milk instead of baking them with the squash. I ended up adding a bit too much liquid so the final consistency was more like polenta than mashed potatoes, but it didn't make any difference at all... this stuff is fantastic.

For a main dish, I did braised beef chunks:
Season some beef chunks (400g) and brown them well in olive oil. Add a couple diced onions, a diced carrot, a stalk of celery (also diced), and a coarsely chopped clove of garlic. Cook until the vegetables brown a bit and start to soften. Deglaze with some dry vermouth and add some chicken stock and a stalk of thyme. Cover and simmer until the beef is fork tender. If necessary, thicken with some potato starch before serving.

We also had a big green salad.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday: Beet Rösti

There were beets in last week's biokiste that really needed to be used up. We aren't big beet fans; sometimes they're good but sometimes they just taste too much like dirt.

Steve and Dianna recommended the recipe for beet rösti from Bittman a couple years ago, so I figured we ought to finally give that a try. The final result: very happy. The combination of beets, rosemary, and butter is quite a nice one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday: Pork with leeks, mushrooms, and tomato

This was an improv to use up some of the stuff in the fridge.

I started by seasoning and nicely browning a piece of pork faux filet. I set the pork aside, added some chopped leeks and mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt and cooked until those started to brown. I then added a splash of white wine, a bit of chicken stock and some pureed tomatoes, a good grind of pepper, and a couple piri piri peppers. Once this reached the simmer, I put the pork back in, covered the pan and let it simmer until the pork was almost done. I removed the pork again and covered it, then cooked for another five or so minutes to thicken the sauce. Just before serving, I sliced the pork and added it back to the sauce to reheat.

We ate this with leftover grain "risotto" and carrots with leeks from Saturday.

Oh, and a green salad.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday: Chicken smothered with leeks

For last night's dinner Andrea requested some kind of stew or braise; I did some improvisation and we ended up having chicken smothered with leeks and carrots.

I started by browning some chicken leg quarters well. These were well seasoned and then they went onto a bed of sliced leeks in the Römertopf. I surrounded the chicken with sliced carrots, a few bay leaves, and a couple cloves and then topped the whole thing with more sliced leeks. I poured over a bit of white wine, put the top on, and put the topf in a cold oven, which I set to 180C. I let the whole thing cook for 2-2.5 hours until the chicken was falling off the bone and the leeks were melty. After pulling the chicken out, I stirred a couple spoons of creme fraiche into the liquid in the topf and used that as a sauce.

As sides I made dried green beans with bacon, grain "risotto", and a big green salad.

It was very good food.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday: Pumpkin soup and spaghetti

Andrea's parents are in town, so we're not doing anything particularly exotic this weekend.
Last night I did a pumpkin soup with glazed chestnuts (recipe idea from FSToS) using the pumpkin from last week's biokiste and roasted chestnuts (it's that time of year!).

As a main course, I made a quick meat sauce (ground meat, onions, tomato, a bit of milk, and herbes de provence) which we ate over spaghetti.

Of course we also had a green salad.

Thursday: omelet with chard, raisins, and pine nuts

This was a recipe from this week's Weeknight Kitchen. I pretty much followed along except for substituting the cheese (Gstaader Bergkase instead of the monterey jack that was called for) and using normal raisins instead of golden raisins. The chard and onions were from the biokiste.

Andrea, oh she of little faith, was skeptical about this one, but that skepticism was misplaced. As usual! :-)

I also made some bratkartoffeln [biokiste] and we had a big green salad.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Biokiste 28

This time the box was pretty light. Well, except for the beets, which are aren't super enthusiastic about. Time to try again to find a beet recipe we like.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday: Root vegetable and bean stew

This originally was going to be an attempt at garbure, but then we didn't find confit, so it changed... Let's call it a stew of root vegetables, beans, and pork that was inspired by garbure.

The vegetable content was turnip, celery root, potato, and leek [all biokiste]. For flavor, there was garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, salted bacon, and some sausage (bratwurst vaudoise). Oh and chicken stock. And black pepper... don't forget the pepper.

As an accompaniment I made spinach with hazelnuts and sour dried apricots. I toasted the hazelnuts in butter, tossed in the apricots (cut into strips), and then tossed the whole thing with cooked spinach [also biokiste].

what great food this was.

We also had a nice nüssli salad.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thursday: beans and greens

There was escarole in last week's biokiste that has been waiting for a week to be turned into beans and greens.

I started by browning some garlic in olive oil, added diced carrot and onion and cooked until the veggies started to soften, added some chopped chorizo and let it cook a bit, then added the escarole (coarsely chopped), mixed well to coat the escarole, then added some vegetable boullion and let cook until almost done. Finally I added the beans and let them heat through.

we ate this with a squeeze of lemon, some fresh parsley, and some good olive oil.

and
it
was
good

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Biokiste 27

Plenty of root vegetables this time: celery, turnip, carrots. plus some pumpkin and chard

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday night meatballs

To go along with the leftover sauerkraut from Sunday, I made some quick meatballs from ground beef, finely chopped landjaeger, and some minced onion. I browned these nicely and served them as is.

I also did some sauteed fennel and we had a green salad.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sunday night: Roasted fish with sauerkraut

This is a recipe from BittmanWorld that I made with nile perch fillets and sauerkraut from the market. The combination of fish, paprika, and sauerkraut isn't one I would have come up with -- this is why I have cookbooks! :-) -- but it works quite well.

As sides we had some pan-steamed spinach, the remains of the roasted squash, and some boiled potatoes with butter.

oh, and a green salad.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday lunch: Wurstsalat

This was intended to be a Siedfleischsalat from an interesting sounding Coop recipe. Unfortunately Coop had no more Siedfleisch, so I used the same dressing with cervelas to make a Wurstsalat.

The combination of horseradish and yogurt is nice for this application.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Friday's leftovers

sheesh, lots of leftovers.
This time it was split-pea soup. To go with the soup, I roasted some diced squash with sliced leeks [both biokiste].

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thursday's leftovers

Last night I sauteed some large shrimp in butter and we ate them with the leftover caramel sauce and rice from Wednesday.

The shrimp weren't spectacularly flavorful, but the dish was still not half bad.

On the side we had a green salad and some mixed pickles I made a while ago; I brightened the pickles up with a bit of lime juice and sesame oil.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Biokiste 26

Nice big head of escarole this week along with some of the cool red-skinned carrots.

Wednesday: Chicken with fish-sauce caramel

I started this by browning a couple of chicken leg quarters in peanut oil, pouring off the fat, and then letting the chicken sit covered in the warm pan while I made the sauce. This was done by caramelizing some sugar to a fairly dark caramel, adding fish sauce and cooking for a couple minutes, then adding some water to dissolve the remaining caramel. I poured this over the chicken and let it braise in a partially covered pot until the chicken was done and the sauce had reduced some. I then added fresh lime juice and let things cook another couple minutes before serving with rice.

I also sauteed some spinach [biokiste] that I served tossed with sesame oil and soy sauce.

excellent food.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday: smoked salmon and roasted potato wedges

Last night I used the second half of the package of smoked salmon from Saturday's meal. The salmon itself was very simple: I pan seared it (30 seconds per side) and topped it with fresh parsley and chives.

I also roasted some potatoes (we ordered a bag of potatoes from our farm) that I had cut into relatively thin wedges (like English chips) and then tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Doing the potatoes in thinner wedges produced a really nice, almost french-fry like result.

To counteract the richness of the other two components of the meal, I cut a zucchini into matchsticks and a carrot into threads, steamed them, and then tossed them with chives and a very small amount of butter. Both zukes and carrots were from the biokiste.

We had a nice nüssli salad to round out the meal.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sunday Baked Beans

One of the dishes in the list of "things to make" on our kitchen board is baked beans. Sunday night I removed that entry from the list. :-)

We couldn't find navy beans (or any small white bean) at the Coop on Saturday, so I used a mixture of pinto and kidney beans (250g each). I soaked these overnight, then put them in the Römertopf with a can of stout, two chopped onions, two bay leaves, about 250g of smoked pork shoulder (diced), about 150g of smoked bacon (diced), and a sauce made from chicken boullion, tomato paste, melasse (actually molasses-flavored sugar syrup since I didn't pay close enough attention when I bought it), and some cheap balsamico. After mixing everything, the pot went in a cold oven. I set the oven to 160c and let the beans cook for about four hours; stirring and checking the liquid level every so often.

In the end the beans were beautifully dark and soft:
We ate the resulting deliciousness topped with some fresh parsley and had a big green salad on the side.

There's just not enough time -- I could eat these more than once a year, but there are so many other things to make that they end up being an annual event.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saturday Salmon

We found some Canadian smoked salmon on sale on Friday, so that's what we had last night.

I made a pasta sauce by gently cooking some thinly sliced onions in olive oil with a bit of garlic until the onions started to color, adding cream and reducing it a bit, adding the smoked salmon (cut into thin strips) and some peas. I let this heat through then served it over whole-wheat penne with some chives and fresh basil.

This was quite nice: the more substantial pasta was a good counter to the richness of the sauce.

As a side we had spinach cooked with pine nuts, raisins, and sherry.

Oh, and a big green salad.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nanorestaurant Review: Restaurant Spalenburg (Basel)

We had the tapas sampler and ended up trying about 20 plates.
one smiley face (would be one and a half, but the place was a bit too spendy for what we got).

  • Food: Good, with the occasional really good
  • Service: It was busy and our waitress was overworked, but we weren't in any hurry.
  • Atmosphere: Comfortable

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thursday: Split pea soup

Last night I made a pot of split-pea soup (yellow split peas, carrots, potatoes, smoked pork shoulder, onion, garlic, herbes de provence) in the pressure cooker.

With it we had a big nussli salad with boiled egg.

mmmm, cold-weather food!

Biokiste 25

The boxes are definitely shrinking as we get later in the season:
We also ordered some apples, so we got 5kg of Topaz apples with yesterday's box.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday: Zwiebelkuchengratin

We had some zwiebelkuchen topping (onions+bacon+sour cream+egg+caraway) leftover from Saturday. Rather than make a new crust for it or buy one, I decided to try an experiment and use it as the topping for a gratin.

So I took some waxy potatoes, peeled them, cut them into 5mm slices, and boiled them for a few minutes until they started to get tender. In the meantime I preheated a gratin dish with some olive oil in the bottom. When the potatoes were ready, I layered them into the gratin dish (2 layers) and then topped them with the onion mixture. This was then baked (190C) until browned on top and bubbly.

It was a successful experiment. :-)

I also made some mixed sauteed vegetables using corn, long peppers, onions, garlic, and parsley [all from the biokiste except the garlic].

Of course we also had a green salad.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday dessert: exploded apples

Since we have a bunch of apples from the market, we did baked apples for dessert last night. Andrea filled a couple of boskoop apples with dried apricot, almond, butter, and the leftover vanilla/honey sauce from Saturday's quince dessert and then baked them.

For some reason the apples decided to burst in the oven, so we ended up with a mess in the baking dish:
It was a very tasty mess.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mixed pickles

I started a batch of pickles today as an experiment.

For the vegetables I used napa cabbage, carrots, and fennel; al from the biokiste. I added salt, some piri piri chilis, and preserved lemon. Then I put whole thing in the pickle press.

We'll see how it turns out in a few days.

Sunday Choucroute

After waiting a couple of weeks, it's finally time for sauerkraut at the Saturday market. And that from the farm we bought it from all the time last year. I guess my face lit up when I saw the tub sitting there, because the woman at the stand moved straight towards it when it was our turn (and Andrea certainly got a good laugh out of it).

There wasn't much doubt but that I'd be making choucroute; the only question was which recipe to use and what meats to include. I ended up going with the recipe from Kamman (the only deviation was to add the rind and boney bits from Saturday's smoked bacon for the first two hours of sauerkraut baking)), and used salted pork belly, smoked pork loin ("Rippli") and small Weisswurst. We ate the finished choucroute with potatoes, grainy mustard, cornichons, and pickled pearl onions.

And it was good... very, very good.

Saturday: Zwiebelkuchen

It's autumn, which means we have to make zwiebelkuchen at least once. Last night we had some friends over for the year's first attempt. We started with a butternut squash soup with a light touch of curry, served with gewurztraminer, and then moved on to the zwiebelkuchen and a nüssli salad, served with a local suser (federweisser) from Domaine Nussbaumer.

For dessert we had quince baked in parchment with a sauce made from reduce honey, apple juice, and vanilla. The quince was served with sour cream. This was another recipe from the current Le Menu, and it was damn fine. I should have served it with creme fraiche instead of sour cream, but I had sour cream for the zwiebelkuchen.

Last night I seemed to be in conflict with the kitchen because I made two sizeable mistakes:

  1. I forgot to add the caraway to the onions. I partially recovered from this by toasting the seeds in a pan and then serving them to sprinkle over the zwiebelkuchen at the table. It wasn't the same though.
  2. I didn't pay close enough attention to the crumble that was supposed to be served with the quince. I assumed that it would be safe to check it 5 minutes before it was supposed to be done. This was not correct, so I ended up pitching the whole burned mess.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday Fish

The posts have been missing because I was at a conference. Last night I got back.

For dinner I did cod with fennel, roasted tomatoes (topped with parsley, olive oil, garlic, and bread crumbs), sauteed spinach, and rice.

For the fish I cooked sliced fennel and onions in olive oil and a bit of vegetable boullion until the vegetables softened, then added the cod (fillets cut into chunks), covered the pot, and let it cook until the cod was finished.

'twas a nice meal.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Biokiste 24

The box is slowly shrinking...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quince compote

1 quince (~250g), peeled, seeded, and cut into thick matchsticks
butter
1 Tbs sugar
1dl vegetable boullion
orange zest (a few strips)
fresh rosemary (the tip of a sprig)

Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the quince and cook for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle in the sugar and cook, stirring often, until it caramelizes a bit. Add the vegetable boullion and stir until the sugar is all dissolved.
Add the orange and rosemary, cover, and simmer until the quince is almost soft.
Remove the lid, add a bit more butter, raise the heat and cook until the liquid is mostly a glaze.

Serve warm.

This is amazing stuff.

Saturday: Quince and Game

Tonight's dinner was built from a few recipes from the October Le Menu. It really is a good issue.

Two components of the meal use quince, which was kind of fun because I haven't done much with it previously (I was going to say "never done anything with it", but that's not true). The two components were: quince schupfnudeln (small handmade noodles/dumplings) that were boiled, then rolled in ground almonds and bread crumbs and fried to crisp them; and a quince compote (recipe in next post).

The protein component was venison entrecote that I simply pan roasted.

We also had a composed salad with fennel, apples (cox orange), walnuts, dried apricots, and dates in a white dressing (cider vinegar, a bit of sugar, peanut oil, cream). And there was a nussli salad, with the same dressing.

This was a bunch of really, really good food with an excellent mix of very pronounced, but not overwhelming flavors. The schupfnudeln were good, but I'm not convinced that the quince was entirely necessary in them... the flavor didn't really come through.


The fennel was from the biokiste, the nussli, quince, and apples were from the market.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday geschnetzeltes

So there were leftover green beans (and cheese sauce) and some batter for squash pancakes leftover from last night. To make a full meal, these needed to be supplemented.

The first supplement was creamed spinach: biokiste spinach cooked until just tender in salted water, then drained and heated with a touch of nutmeg in some cream until heated through.

The second supplement was beef geschnetzeltes: get some olive oil really hot, add beef geschnetzeltes and a good pinch salt. Cook until nicely browned. Add minced onion, garlic, very finely diced carrot, and a good grind of pepper. Cook a few more minutes, then add some stock (veal), cover and simmer until the beef is tender, about 15 minutes.

Very, very nice food.

Thursday Vegetables

I picked up a copy of the October Le Menu on Wednesday and the first four or five recipes all sounded really good. They will no doubt be making an appearance here soon.

I started with winter-squash pancakes (Kürbis-Tätschli). The recipe includes an apple compote, but I didn't do that part last night. The pancakes themselves are made from cooked pureed squash [biokiste] (recipe calls for it to be steamed, I let it slowly cook in a pan with some butter) that is mixed with egg and flour and seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. These things are nice and it's easy to imagine other games one can play with them. Though it's not like we ever have a problem finding a good use for winter squash.

The second dish was steamed green beans [biokiste] topped with bacon cubes and a cheese sauce (Tilsiter).

Since I had the steamer going, I also cut a carrot and some daikon [both biokiste] into matchsticks and steamed that mixture as well. The cheese sauce went over these vegetables too.

I do enjoy those steamed vegetables!

We also had a big green salad.

Biokiste 23

Unfortunately no squash this week:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday Chinese

It had been a while since I made anything from Land of Plenty. Last night I did "dried-fried eggplant" and "stir fried water spinach with chili and szechuan pepper" (instead of spinach I used escarole, because that's what we had in the biokiste).

As a main course I did a pork stirfry of my own invention. I cut a couple of pork shoulder steaks into slivers and marinated them with corn starch, xiao xing wine, and soy sauce. Then I stir fried the pork with some slivered garlic. Just before taking the wok off the heat I added chopped fresh ginger, soy sauce, black chinese vinegar, and a bit of xiao xing.

I'm not a big fan of whole szechuan pepper (the texture bothers me, I really prefer it to be ground) so I found the greens to be less than 100% pleasing, but the other two dishes were very good.

Of course we had rice and a green salad with this.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday's Random

This was a pretty random meal driven by a couple cravings. We had schnitzel, mashed potatoes with garlic and pesto, and sauteed spinach.

The schnitzel was totally normal: pork loin pounded thin, seasoned with salt, pepper, and cayenne, breaded and then fried in clarified butter.

I boiled a few garlic cloves with the potatoes and then mashed them all together with some milk and olive oil. The pesto was pretty standard, though without cheese (basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts).

Not fancy food, but nice.

We also had a nice green salad.

Saturday Night Lentils

As we were walking down the mountain yesterday afternoon after being turned back, again, from the Arnigrat, the discussion turned naturally to what to have for dinner once we got home. All that walking through fog and clouds more or less dictated that it would be some form of comfort food. We spent a couple hundred meters of descent deciding that the form would be split pea soup.

Of course the Migros at the train station didn't have dried peas.

We had lentil soup/stew with merguez instead.

I started by cooking diced onion, garlic, and carrot in olive oil until the onions softened, added some diced potato and cooked another couple minutes, then added the lentils, a couple bay leaves, some white wine, a boullion cube, and water. After cooking for 15 minutes or so, I added some spinach and the merguez sausages and simmered more until the sausage was cooked through (another 15 minutes). [all veggies from biokiste]

This was quite nice. It would have been better with celery (there's a good match between celery and lentils somehow), but we didn't have any in the house.

We also had a green salad and some good rye bread.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday Night Soup

Last night I did a straightforward soup for dinner.

I started from some leftover chicken stock to which I added a couple chicken leg quarters, some diced potato (starchy), some carrot chunks, a diced onion, fennel seeds, a clove, couple bay leaves, a boullion cube and some more water (there wasn't enough stock). I cooked this until the potatoes were soft, removed the chicken and bay leaves, and then pureed the soup. After pureeing, I added back the chicken, some cubed daikon, diced carrot, chopped chives, and some mixed greens. This cooked until the daikon was finished.

We ate the soup topped with some grated gruyere. We also had some nice bread and a green salad.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Biokiste 22

The baskets are starting to get lighter now...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sunday Night Indian

It had been too long since we had Indian food and there was a head of cauliflower from the biokiste just begging to be made into sambar, so last night's plan was clear.

I made cauliflower sambar following the recipe in Dakshin and chicken biryani using the recipe in BittmanWorld. Both were very good... of course it was waaaaay too much food.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday: First braise of the season

Woo hoo! The season for braises and roasts is starting. Color me happy.

Tonight I braised some brisket (well, Siedfleisch) which we ate with mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and a big green salad.

For the beef:
Brown a seasoned piece of brisket (~600g) well on both sides. Pull out the beef and add some peeled small onions (silver onions), a couple carrots cut into pieces about the same size as the onions, and 50-75g lardons. Brown for a bit, drain off the oil, add back the beef, a couple bay leaves, a bit of red wine, and enough chicken stock to come halfway up the beef. Cover the beef with a piece of parchment (leave room around the side for evaporation) and let simmer until the beef is for tender (a couple hours). Remove the beef and set aside. Remove the onions, carrots, and lardons and set aside. Reduce the sauce a bit, add some of the cooked carrots and puree with a stick blender. Adjust seasonings and add a bit more wine if it's needed. Thicken with potato starch and then serve over the sliced beef.

Wow, what excellent food. Great beef, well prepared (if I do say so myself!)... mmmm, happy.

Wine: Quinta op Coa 2005 Douro from our mixed box. This took a bit to open up, but ended up being quite enjoyable.

Assorted wines

In the interests of trying some new wines we followed an approach recommended by Eric Asimov and went to a local wine shop (Paul Ullrich) and asked the guy working there to pick out six interesting bottles for us. We asked for all reds and an average price of CHF 20. When we made the request, the guy's eyes lit up and he embarked on the quest with great enthusiasm. We clearly made him quite happy; hopefully he will have done the same for us. :-)

Here's what we ended up with:

  1. Mauro Sebaste S. Rosalia 2005 Dolcetto D'Alba
  2. Ruffino 2003 Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico
  3. Juan Gil 2004 Jumilla (when we saw this bottle, we both smiled... we know this wine)
  4. Quinta op Coa 2005 Douro
  5. Ley Meysonniers 2005 Crozes-Hermitages
  6. Domaine Sarda-Malet 2004 Reserve Cotes du Roussillon

Friday: The last of the pastry

Last night I used up the last of the puff pastry (or whatever Blätterteig is in English), now I can go back to normal cooking. :-)

To fill the pastry box I did a mixture of squash, onion, red pepper, thyme. I cooked these all together until the squash started to soften, then added some chopped basil and filled the pastry. I topped the mass with toasted walnuts.

Additional components of the meal were green beans and leftover ground meat from Thursday (mixed with some sour cream and then served with elbow macaroni). Somehow the plates ended up looking nice:
Of course we had a green salad with this.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday: Spanish

Last night I did a couple vegetable recipes from La Cocina de Mama and a dish of ground meat on puff pastry that was inspired by Casa's meatball recipes.

For the vegetables I did spinach cooked with raisins and pine nuts (more or less following the recipe) and then green beans with garlic and vinegar (I skipped the egg and crouton garnishes, boiled the beans in plain salted water, and added some thinly sliced red pepper and onion just before serving).

For the meat dish, which turned out very nicely:
Cook a few cloves of thinly sliced garlic in olive oil until they start to turn golden. Pour off the oil and reserve it.
Add ~100g finely chopped smoked bacon and ~300g ground beef to the pan along with a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring infrequently, until the meat browns a bit.
Add a goodly quantity of sherry, a couple grinds of white pepper, and some smoked pimenton. Cook until the sherry is reduced away, then let sit.

Make a "box" out of puff pastry and bake it at 200C until it starts to brown.
Fill the box with the meat mixture from above and top with thinly sliced onion and red pepper.
Bake until the pepper wilts, the meat is heated through, and the box is a happy color.

We ate all this goodness with some basmati rice and a green salad. It was a very nice meal.

Biokiste 21

Spinach is something new...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday Night: Cod "Provencal"

This meal came about because there was some Blaetterteig in the fridge that needed to be used and because I found some nice looking cod for half price at Coop.

My vocabulary has abandoned me this morning, so I can't come up with a good name for the first component of the meal, which was basically sauteed summer squash on puff pastry. I started by making a "box" out of the Blaetterteig and blind baking that. To fill the box I sauteed some thinly sliced onion, slices of summer squash, basil, and thyme until the squash started to soften. This mixture went into the box and I baked the whole thing until golden brown.

The Cod Provencal was based on a sauce (really a relish, I guess) I made from chopped tomatoes, capers, basil, garlic, and some slivered artichoke hearts (one of the stands at the market has excellent marinated artichoke hearts), and olive oil. I spooned this on top of the pieces of cod (pan roasted in olive oil). On the side I had basmati rice.

This was nice food.

Sunday Leftovers

To supplement the leftover escarole and Wildschwein from Saturday I made a pot of squash soup using the piece of squash that was in the biokiste (no idea what kind of squash it is). I ended up making the soup a bit too thin (like last time... sheesh), but it's still pretty nice. In large part because the chicken stock I made on Saturday is good.

As a starch I made basmati rice.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Saturday: Wildschwein, Escarole

It's getting to be Fall... and that means game season. woo hoo!
The original plan was to do an escarole torta from Hazan, but then I remembered the time of year. When we walked by the butcher and saw wildschwein entrecote, it was clear what the centerpiece of the meal was going to be.

I kept things relatively simple and cooked the well-seasoned piece of meat in a skillet with clarified butter. I served it with sour cherries and some shallot compote (shallots slowly cooked in butter with salt and a bit of sugar added. I added a Tbs or so of red wine at the end to give things a bit more color).

The escarole still needed to be eaten, so I followed a recipe from BittmanWorld and stewed it with olive oil, anchovies, garlic, and capers (an addition from the Hazan recipe). This is also quite a nice dish. I can easily imagine it as a topping for a torta.

We also had some spaetzle (store-bought, I wasn't that ambitious this evening) and a big green salad.

What a meal!

Wine: Château de Mercuès 2001. This Cahors (mostly malbec) was a nice pairing.

Friday Night Improvisation

One day soon I'll start pulling interesting recipes out of the cookbooks again instead of just winging it. Last night I didn't start. :-)

The two components of dinner were steamed vegetables dressed with a pesto and "Hackfleisch mit Birnen".

The vegetables were quite simple: I cut a couple zucchini, a couple carrots, and a good sized leek (all biokiste vegetables) into matchsticks and them steamed them in the bamboo steamer. I dressed the finished vegetables with a pesto made from walnuts, walnut oil, basil, a bit of garlic, and ground pepper.

For the meat dish I started by gently cooking a minced onion in olive oil. To this I added 300g of mixed ground meat (pork and beef) and a good pinch of salt. I cooked this for a while until the meat started to brown then added a minced garlic clove, some tomato paste, ketchup, cayenne, a dash of sherry vinegar, black pepper, and some diced (1cm) pears (Butterbirnen). I let this cook until the pears started to soften then served it.

I oversteamed the vegetables a bit, but everything was still quite good.

There was also a green salad.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Biokiste 20


mmm, sq

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday: Mexican inspired

ah ha! Cooking again!

Tonight I did something Mexican inspired to celebrate Andrea getting back and because I craved it.

I started by making a slaw from the last of the biokiste wirsing, some lime, salt, cider vinegar, peanut oil, ground coriander, and hot sauce. This I let steep while I made the rest of dinner.

The main course was smoked pork shoulder, kidney beans, and sweet corn in a chipotle sauce. I started by softening some garlic and onion in peanut oil. Then I added a couple chopped chipotles along with some adobo, large-diced (3cm) pork, a chicken boullion cube and some water. After that had cooked for a while I added canned kidney beans and a can of corn and then cooked until it was all hot.

We ate this with sour cream and topped it with rice.

nice food!

leftovers, leftovers, leftovers

Andrea is out of town and it's taking me forever to work my way through the leftovers. So not much interesting to say about cooking.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Nanoreview: Oliv (Basel)

It's a bit expensive, but two smiley faces anyway.

  • Food: Very good. Creative, good ingredients, well prepared.
  • Service: Very good.
  • Atmosphere: Quite nice.
Random note: We liked that the restaurant itself was non-smoking, but the divider between the "lounge", where smoking is allowed, and the dining room needs to be a bit more substantial. We were sitting near the lounge and ended up getting a bit too much smoke.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Friday: Smothered vegetables

This week's biokiste had a bunch of winter-vegetable type stuff in it, and Coop has smoked pork products on sale. Last night's dinner was a complete no brainer.

I started by rendering/slowly browning some lardons (smoked bacon) in a bit of olive oil. As the bacon was rendering I added quartered garlic cloves and shallots cut into chunks. After the bacon was browned enough I added a sliced leek, coarsely diced carrot, chunks of potato, chunks of kohlrabi, and a good pinch of salt, and mixed well. Then came a couple bay leaves, a couple sprigs of thyme, a good grind of black pepper, half a vegetable boullion cube and a little bit (1/2 a cup or so) of water. I topped the pan with some coarsely shredded wirsing (savoy cabbage) and some coarsely diced (2cm) smoked pork shoulder. I covered this and let it simmer, stirring every so often, until everything was cooked through. It's great food.

We also had the green beans and "grain risotto" leftover from Thursday.

Oh, and a green salad.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday Lamb

When shopping yesterday, I found a package of lamb chops for half price. There was no way I as going to pass that opportunity up.

I marinated the chops in olive oil, garlic, crumbled bay leaf, fresh rosemary, preserved lemon, cayenne, and white pepper. Then I broiled them and served with a bit of the marinade spooned over. Very simple and very good.

We also had green beans [biokiste] with butter and some mixed grains (oats, barley, brown rice, lentils, buckwheat, wheat, rye, and wild rice) that Coop sells as "grain risotto". Doesn't have much to do with risotto, but it's a nice side dish.

We also had a nice green salad.

Wine: Linchpin Shiraz; this was a complete no brainer

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Biokiste 19

Now with even more lettuce! :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday Night: Spaghetti and pork chops

After the trip Andrea wanted pasta, so last night we had spaghetti. I made a batch of Hazan's tomato sauce with onion and butter to top the spaghetti and some pork chops as a protein.

The chops were super simple: I seasoned them, then pan fried them in olive oil until both sides were nicely browned and the meat was basically done. I deglazed the pan with some red wine, let that mostly reduce, then added some reduced balsamico and black pepper. Once this was saucy I put the pork back in to reheat and get covered in sauce. At the last minute I added some finely chopped fresh basil to brighten things up.

Very good food.

We also had a big green salad, something which was very sorely missed on our hiking trip.

Back home

Got back in town yesterday. I will be doing a few "backpacking cooking" posts and a couple restaurant microreviews as I have time. In the meanwhile, I'll try and get back in the cycle of posting our cooking.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vacation

We're leaving tonight and will be returning second week of Sept. There won't be any posts between now and then.

A couple of small things

The past two nights I haven't been doing much in the way of cooking since we've just been trying to clear out the fridge before vacation. The couple of things I've made are:

We had some "winter squash" in the biokiste. I peeled and seeded that, cut it into 1cm dice, then cooked it with water, butter, curry powder, and salt. For the first 10 min I left the pan covered, then I opened it to let the water evaporate. This was a nice, quick prep of winter squash.

The last of the vegetables from last week went last night in the form of some stewed chard and a pseudo-succotash (sweet corn, green pepper, hornpeperoni, onion, garlic, piri piri).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Backpacking prep chaos

More backpacking prep: Polenta

In order to make quick polenta interesting, I mixed some dried mushrooms (20g each herbstrumpetten and porcini) that I chopped up with 35g "dried soup vegetables" (leek, carrot, peppers, parsnips, etc.). I added a few Tbs of this mixture along with a chicken boullion cube and a bit of bacon to the 600ml of water for the polenta and brought it to boil. After letting this sit covered for 5 minutes, I brought it back to a boil and added 125g fine polenta. I stirred this over the heat for a minute then covered it and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.

The result, aside from the sub-optimal texture, is actually quite good. I'm going to double the vegetable proportion, but this dried mushrooms + vegetables mixture is going to be quite useful when we're underway.

Along with the polenta we had leftover grilled chicken with basil and garlic and a big green salad.

Sunday Pseudoleftovers

I guess these weren't really leftovers since it was stuff that I planned to make on Saturday but didn't because we already had enough food.

I started by grilling a few chicken breasts. I didn't do anything to the chicken other than salt and oil it. Aside: it's amazing how nice a simple grilled chicken breast is when the chicken actually tastes like something. I cut the just-cooked chicken into pieces and then mixed it with the garlic, olive oil, black papper, and basil that was planned as the original coating for grilling. This went in the fridge to marinade for a few hours until it was dinner time.

We ate the cold marinated chicken with spaghetti topped with pesto and some green beans [biokiste] that I parboiled and then sauteed with thinly sliced shallots.

The plate didn't have much in the way of color contrast (green! green! green!), but it was a very nice meal anyway.

For dessert we had grilled pears. We had some very ripe small pears that needed to be eaten so, before I cooked the chicken in the afternoon, I cut them in half, seeded them, and then grilled them.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Backpacking dumplings

Thursday we leave for a 2+ week hiking trip in the Pyrenees. We're going to be doing a some camping as well as staying in huts, so I wanted to expand my repertoire of backpacking food a bit.

Adding dumplings to packaged soup was a suggestion I read a while ago; unfortunately I forgot to note down the recipe for the dumplings. The internet provided a series of recipes based on Bisquick and several derivatives of a recipe from Lydia Itoi. The Bisquick recipes are useless to me, but the other one sounded like a good starting point. I made some adjustments to make the dumplings denser both physically (less baking powder) and nutritionally (powdered whole eggs instead of egg whites, powdered milk).

Dumpling mix
75 g flour
22 g powdered egg (whole egg)
16 g powdered milk
1 tsp baking powder
a couple good pinches of salt

To make the dumplings: add enough water to make a thick batter. Drop in teaspoon sized quantities into boiling soup. Cook for 3-5 minutes.

During today's test I added a couple pinches of herbs de provence to the batter.

This is a good starting point. It's easy to imagine adding pieces of bacon or dehydrated vegetables to the mix and/or aggressively seasoning them.

Saturday at the Grill

Last night we had friends over and did some grilling.

Our contributions were grill bread (recipe from Let the Flames Begin), grilled plums with spicy hoisin sauce (License to Grill), and grilled peaches with a balsamico and black pepper glaze (License to Grill). I had chicken breasts ready to go on with a olive oil/garlic/basil sauce (intended to go with the peaches), but our friends brought loads of meat so that wasn't required.

The grill bread was good but suffered from a lack of salt (cook error); salting it while eating was effective, but not the same. The grilled fruit was excellent.

Wines:

  1. Gerard Bertrand 2006 L'Hospi Viognier, we had this with the rabbit on Thursday and it was ok; last night Andrea didn't much care for it.
  2. Dourthe No. 1 2006 White Bordeaux, this is a quite nice and grapefruity wine. It worked with the food.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Nanoreview: Cantina Don Camillo (Basel)

This Basel Geht Aus recommendation is on top of the old Warteck brewery in Kleinbasel.

One and a half smiley faces.

  • Food: Good! Pretty creative and carefully done.
  • Service: Our waitress was friendly, but scattered and forgetful.
  • Atmosphere: It's a great place to sit outside on a nice summer evening. I'm not sure how pleasant the inside would be.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday: Rabbit

I've had "do a rabbit recipe from FSToS" in my head for a while now; last night I finally got around to it.

I made the basic stewed rabbit (rabbit chausseur) recipe, and I stuck to it pretty closely. My only deviation was to used halved shallots instead of pearl onions (no pearl onions to be found). The resulting dish was good, but not fantastic. The serving pieces of rabbit were a bit small and fidgety to eat, as well as being a bit dry. The flavor was good, and the sauce was quite nice so there is potential here.

The real highlight last night was the roasted potatoes. For those I diced (1cm dice) some festkochende (waxy) potatoes, mixed them with a bit of butter, some olive oil, coarsely chopped rosemary (not too much!), a couple crumbled bay leaves, salt, and black pepper and then roasted them, stirring occasionally, at 200C until nicely crispy and lightly browned. The flavor combination of the butter, the bay, and the rosemary was very very nice.

We also had sauteed zucchini and a green salad.

Biokiste 18

This week's biokiste includes a note from the farmers asking our understanding of the smaller quantities of some things (particularly tomatoes) and the amazing dirt level of the lettuce. The floods last week hit them too.

Wednesday: Blackeyed Peas

Tuesday night I found a bag of blackeyed peas in the drawer; that provided the main ingredient for Wednesday's meal.

After soaking the beans overnight, I boiled them with onion, garlic, and some bay leaf until they were just about done. In the meantime I browed some diced bacon in a skillet, added chopped onion, garlic, and hornpeperoni and cooked with some additional olive oil until the peppers softened. After adding the cooked beans, some vegetable boullion, black pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and some of the bean cooking liquid, I covered this and let it simmer 10 or so minutes, until the beans were completely cooked. I served the beans topped with chives.

We also had a big green salad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday: Spaghetti with vegetables and pesto

In marked contrast to the last time I did a similar dish, this time it was pasta with vegetables and not the other way around. :-)

For vegetables I used zucchini and carrots cut into matchsticks as well as finely chopped onion. I sauteed these in olive oil until the vegetables were tender then served them with pesto (basil, pine nuts, garlic, sbrinz, olive oil) over spaghetti.

We also had a leftover cervelas from the weekend and a green salad.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday at the Grill

Andrea's parents came through town yesterday, so we did some grilling.

We didn't have anything fancy: Cervelas (er, sorry, "Bebbi Klopfer"), Grillschnecken (a sausage like Nürnberger bratwurst that's rolled into a spiral and fixed with a skewer; this is another sausage from canton Vaud), and pork chops (bone-in, seasoned with plenty of salt and freshly cracked pepper).

I also made a room temp potato salad (slow-cooked potatoes, sherry vinegar, mayo, and chives) and some quick pickles (daikon, cucumber, and celery salted for a bit in the pickle press then rinsed and mixed with cracked coriander and rice vinegar). Of course we had a green salad as well.

Simple food, but good food.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nanoreview: Glacebar Glatscharia (Basel)

This ice cream place is relatively new and about 10 minutes walk from our flat. Not only is the ice cream is excellent, but they have interesting flavors (ginger-prosecco! chocolate-chili!), and it's made from bio-milk by a small company in Engadin. So not exactly local, but it wins on all the other fronts. :-)

I think we finally found our ice cream source... too bad it's so close.

Jerk burgers with chipotle-orange mayo

This is a pretty substantially modified version of a recipe from Bon Appetit. It made more sense to me to integrate the solids into the burger and there was no way in hell I was going to use the quantity of sugar they call for.

For the mayo: Finely mince a couple canned chipotles and add them to 1/4 cup mayo along with a few tsp of the adobo. Add a couple Tbs orange juice and mix well. Taste for heat and orange juice. Note: this would be better if the OJ were reduced first so that you can add more without overly thinning the mayo. That's for next time.

For the burgers:
500g ground beef
salt
1 small red onion, chopped
1 habanero, chopped
1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbs peanut oil

Combine the onion, habanero, thyme, and oil in a minichop and process until minced. Mix gently but thoroughly with the beef and salt (not a full portion, there's soy sauce in the marinade). Form burgers.

For the marinade:
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs peanut oil
1 Tbs prepared mustard
1 tsp sugar
10 allspice berries, ground

Combine everything and mix well.

Spoon the marinade over the burgers and let them sit for 20-30 minutes at room temperature before grilling.

This was spectacular food.

Grilling again!

We've been saying for months now that we ought to get a grill, but somehow it hasn't happened. Friday's Splendid Table "Griller's Chronicle" recipe for Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Orange Chipotle Mayo was the straw that broke the camel's back. Yesterday we determinedly set out and returned with a nice-looking kettle grill (on the tram... what fun). Last night I put the new toy, er, I mean tool, to the test.

I made some pretty substantial modifications to both the recipe and the technique, so I'm going to do a standalone post for the burgers.

In addition to the burgers, I grilled some zucchini planks and a hornpeperoni. We also had a nice green salad.

It's great to have a grill again... it was dumb to wait so long. :-)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

hmmm

I feel a rant coming on about cookbooks and the importance of mise en place for home cooking... we'll see how this develops

Lentils and Sausage

This was a straightforward one but oh... so... good.

I started by sauteeing finely chopped onion, minced garlic, diced celery, and diced carrots in some olive oil until everything started to soften. I added green (French) lentils and some vegetable boullion, fresh thyme, bay leaf, and fresh savory and cooked until the lentils were about 3/4 done. Then I added some sliced saucisson Vaudoise and let it simmer until everything was done.

I suspected that the addition of savory was going to lead to something nice and I definitely was not disappointed.

As a side I made sauteed cauliflower. And we had a green salad. All veggies (except garlic) were from the biokiste.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thursday: potatoes with cheese sauce

Andrea wasn't home for dinner last night, so I went for something quick that helped use up the last of the veggies from last week: potatoes and salad.

After boiling the peeled potatoes, I served them with a cheese sauce made from Emmenthaler to which I added chopped parsley and chives.

The salads were shredded carrots with blended salsa and diced cucumber with salt and vinegar.

simple and nice.

Biokiste 17

I'm guessing that the missing tomatoes this week are due to the absurd amounts of rain we've been getting, but that's just a guess. The newcomer this week is celery.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday: Veal in an herb sauce

I planned to make this dish with chicken, but veal was on sale so I used veal instead. It has happened before, it will happen again...

As to the dish: I started by lightly browning 300g of veal geschnetzeltes in olive oil. I set the meat aside and added a finely chopped red onion, a couple minced garlic cloves, and a good sized carrot (diced small) to the pan. After cooking for about 5 minutes, I added a zucchini cut into chunks. This cooked for a minute or so, then I added a small amount of stock (bouillon), the veal, a Tbs of capers, and a Tbs chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, and lemon thyme). This cooked, covered over low heat, for about 20 minutes, then I added a few Tbs of cream and let it cook, uncovered, another couple minutes. Just before serving I added a pinch of cayenne, a couple grinds of black pepper, and a good quantity (~1/4 cup) chopped parsley and basil.

As a side we had the leftover pseudo-succotash from Monday and some rice/wild rice.

Oh yeah, and a green salad.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Monday: Tomato soup and "something like succotash"

Last night I did another cold (room temp, really) tomato soup variation and used the sweet corn from last week's biokiste to make something resembling succotash (without lima beans it can't be real succotash and I haven't found lima beans here).

The tomato soup was simplicity itself: I put the tomatoes through the food mill (medium disc); added some new mexican chili powder, a bit of chipotle powder, salt, and cream; mixed well; and then let sit for a while for the flavors to meld.

For the pseudo-succotash I cooked a chopped red onion, some minced garlic, and a few chopped hornpeperoni (long green peppers) in olive oil with lardons (smoked bacon). When the peppers started to soften and the bacon was cooked, I added the corn kernels, some soissons beans, and a bit of chicken bouillon and then let the whole thing cook gently for another 5-10 minutes, until the corn was cooked.

Both the soup and the succotash were very good.

We also had some bread and a green salad.

Wine: Valley of the Moon 1999 Pinot Blanc. I'd been afraid to open this bottle because I thought there was no way it would have survived 7-8 years. Luckily that was incorrect. It's totally different than when it was young, but it was still quite nice.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sunday: Abendbrot

I bought too much stuff for our breakfasts this weekend, so last night we had the remaining ham, salami, and fleischkase as abendbrot. We also had the last bit of vegetable tart from Saturday night and a nice green salad.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Saturday's Vegetable Tart

For this I more or less followed the technique (if not the recipe) for eggplant tart in BittmanWorld. As vegetables I used onion, garlic, zucchini, and two kinds of peppers (red bell and green "hornpeperoni"). I complemented the basil with a bit of fresh thyme and used grated sbrinz as the cheese.

My crust, naturally, ended up being ugly. I'm normally not quite so bad with pie crust, but this was a larger, deeper, pan than our usual tart pan and, and, and. Still, the crust had nice flavor and acceptable texture.

As I said, the result isn't pretty, but it sure was tasty:

Saturday's Rösti

There were biokiste potatoes to be used, so this time I didn't do rösti from a bag... I started from scratch. Since things turned out rather well, I'll do some detail.

After peeling and grating the potatoes (I used the standard box grater we brought from the US, but I think a coarser grater would be better here), I wrapped them in a kitchen towel and wrung them out very well to get out as much moisture as possible. I think this really helps to get a crisp result.

I started by cooking some thinly sliced smoked bacon in peanut oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan large enough to hold the final rösti. When the bacon was cooked (but not browned), I added the potatoes, a few pinches of salt, mixed everything well, and then pressed down the mass (with the lid from a smaller pot) to form a cake. After cooking for 3-4 minutes, I stirred everything up, seasoned a bit more, and then pressed it down again. After doing this a few times, the potatoes started to look cooked, so I pressed the whole mass down again and let it cook undisturbed for about 10-15 minutes (until the bottom was clearly nicely browned). I then flipped the thing over (using a plate! the sides of my saute pan are too high to actually flip it), added a bit more oil to the pan, and let the other side cook for 10-15 minutes or until it was nicely browned. Just before serving, I cranked the heat up and refreshed the top (first cooked) side so that both sides were nice and crisp.

This was a very successful rösti and is a pretty straightforward (if time consuming) technique.

Dinner party

Last night we had a couple of friends over for dinner. The theme of the evening was "Summer's Bounty" (a.k.a. "use up vegetables!").

Dinner was:

  1. A vegetable (zucchini, peppers, onion, herbs) tart
  2. Rösti with bacon
  3. Chard stewed with olive oil, butter, and a bit of balsamico
  4. And, of course, green salad
We had gone to the Saturday market to get fruit, so for dessert we had fruit, nuts, and cheese:
  1. two kinds of plums, as well as mirabelles
  2. some very small variety of pear
  3. dried apricots and dates
  4. toasted walnuts
  5. toasted almonds with cumin and salt
  6. Emmenthal and Bundner cheeses
The food was very successful (aside from the crust on the tart being ugly, er, I mean, rustic). I'll do separate postings for the tart and the rösti.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thursday: stuffed eggplant

After scooping out the insides of a couple medium sized eggplants, I cooked some finely chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions were translucent. Then I added the (finely chopped) eggplant insides and a good pinch of salt. I cooked this over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the eggplant had nicely broken down. In a separate pan I browned some ground pork and beef (with salt, of course), which I then combined with the cooked eggplant mush. After seasoning with allspice, a bit of fennel, some cayenne, and black pepper, I squeezed in some lemon juice and then filled the eggplant halves. These baked at 180C for about 30 minutes, until the eggplants were soft.

As a starch, I made a batch of soupy rice using risotto rice and chicken stock (from the carcass of the roasted chicken). I added a slug of white wine and bit of butter at the end to liven it up.

We also had the last of the gazpacho from Wednesday along with a green salad.

Biokiste 16

Not just red salad tomatoes this time; there are also a few plum tomatoes, a green tomato, and some nice orange grape tomatoes. And two ears of sweet corn. Sweet corn! Oh, and chard and the other usual suspects.

Wednesday Gazpacho

To go along with the leftover roast chicken, I made a batch of gazpacho from the recipe in La Cocina de Mama. I used the food mill again to start things out, but this time I only pureed/emulsified about 1/3 of the tomato with the onions, garlic, bread, oil, and vinegar. After making the emulsion, I stirred it into the remaining tomato. This produced a nicer texture than the fully pureed variant.

I served the gazpacho topped with chives and freshly toasted almonds that I slivered just before serving.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Monday: Roasted Chicken

I have to periodically roast a chicken just to remind myself that I'm not particularly good at it. Last night was the time.

I seasoned the chicken simply by rubbing the pulp from a preserved lemon quarter as well as some slivers of the rind under the skin of the breast. In the body cavity I put a some onion chunks and the rest of the preserved lemon quarter. 15 minutes into the roasting I added chunks of potato, carrot, and onion to the pan. When the bird was done I pulled it and roasted the vegetables, along with some chunks of yellow summer squash, and additional 15 minutes. All vegetables were from the biokiste.

This turned out quite nicely. The thighs weren't cooked quite as far as I would like, but that's a problem that will solve itself when I reheat them (yesterday we just ate the breast). The vegetables were very good (I have no problem with roasting vegetables).

We also had a green salad.