Friday, May 25, 2007


I'm out of town from today -> next Sunday, so there won't be posts.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Biokiste 7

onions! and potatoes! and savory! and cauliflower! wow!

Yet another Wednesday Curry

how does this keep happening? :-)

Last night's curry was made with beef (magerer siedfleisch) that I cut into strips and then across the grain into bite-size pieces, diced kohlrabi (very Thai!), and onion chunks. For the sauce I used green curry paste, galangal, ginger, lemon grass, coriander roots, keffir lime, coconut milk, chicken stock, lime juice, fish sauce, and a bit of sugar. I served the finished curry with fresh cilantro and sliced Thai chilis.

We ate this with Thai sticky rice.

Wine: Baron de Hoën Beblenheim 2005 Gewurztraminer; quite a nice pairing indeed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tuesday leftovers

To go along with the leftover tuna balls and rice from Monday night, I made a potato salad using diced white potatoes [biokiste] and a dressing made from quark, garlic, parsley, a teeny amount of fresh rosemary, ground cumin, salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, and olive oil.

We also had a big green salad.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monday Spanish

Last night I did a couple of recipes from Penelope Casas.

The main course, from a tapas recipe in Tapas, was Tuna Balls in Wine Sauce. I stuck to the recipe reasonably closely. Deviations were to use Spanish tuna packed in oil (instead of water) and fish stock instead of chicken stock. We had a partial loaf of fantastic rye bread that we got in Brig this weekend, so I used a slice from that to make the bread crumbs. I figured that the tuna could stand up to the additional body of the rye bread. Since I used fresh bread crumbs, I used half again as much as the recipe called for.

To go with the meatballs I also made Baked Rice from the recipe in La Cocina de Mama.

Both dishes were excellent.

Wine: Cicero 2005 Mattmann Pinot Noir. This was the wine we had at Lampart's and it was just as good at home as it was in the restaurant. There was the added bonus of one of those synergistic magic-pairing effects between the wine and the rice. I'm not sure if it was the saffron, the thyme, or the entire dish, but the combination was fantastic.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sunday Salad

We were tired after the weekend's hiking, so last night we had a simple dinner.

We picked up half a roasted chicken at the supermarket and ate that with a big green salad and a dressing made from mashed garlic, minced cornichons, grainy mustard, mayo, sherry vinegar, olive oil, black pepper, and a bit of milk to thin it. On the side we had the remaining mixed vegetable salad from last week and some boiled potatoes [biokiste] with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Simple and good.

Camping food

We were camping this weekend so I took the chance to try a couple of different ideas for backpacking food.

Coop sells prepared pasta sauces in small (320g or two big serving) foil bags, I used those as the base for each meal: Friday I mixed the all arrabbiata with some slivered roasted peppers and diced chorizo; we ate it over powdered mashed potatoes. Saturday I used the remaining slivered peppers, some diced smoked sausage, and the bag of sauce bolognese over pasta.

Friday's experiment tasted better, though it would have been better with couscous. Saturday's dish was pretty boring. Neither is really ideal for backpacking since the bags themselves contain a lot of water. It would be cleverer to use a powdered tomato sauce enriched with the peppers and sausages. I'll try that next time.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Schnitzel

How unusual I'm actually doing a post right after dinner; crazy!

Our plan wasn't to be here this evening, but rain delayed our departure for our camping trip. Today is a holiday, so dinner needed to be a "whatever is in the house" meal. There was some thinly cut pork loin (Nierstuck) in the freezer, so I thawed that out and made schnitzel.

The two deviations from the standard schnitzel program were to brush a bit of grainy mustard on the pounded out pork before flouring it, and using cracker crumbs instead of bread crumbs for the final coating. Both worked out quite nicely.

To go with the schnitzel there was leftover veggie salad from last night and some radish greens [biokiste] that I flash fried in olive oil and then let steep in some chicken stock and sherry vinegar to tame the intense bitterness.

Instead of wine we drank Ramseier Suure Moscht (hard cider). Andrea likes it better from a glass bottle (instead of the 1.5 liter plastic thing we have from Coop), but it went nicely with the meal.

Wednesday: Mixed Vegetable Salad

Last night's main course was the leftover cod from Tuesday night. To accompany it and to start using our kohlrabi collection from the biokiste, I came up with a mixed-vegetable salad based on an idea from a recipe I found on the Coop website: cut the vegetable into strips, cook it in stock, then serve it with a sauce made from mustard and the cooking liquid.

Here's what I did, all the vegetables (except garlic) are from the box:
chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
2 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1cm matchsticks
1 large carrot, cut into 1cm matchsticks
4 medium white potatoes, cut into 1cm matchsticks
6 spring onions, cut in half if they're thick
salt, pepper
2 Tbs mustard
olive oil
fresh herbs, chopped (I used chervil, chives, and thyme)
ground coriander
soy sauce

Bring the stock to a simmer and add the garlic and a pinch of salt.
Simmer the kohlrabi until it starts to get tender, then transfer to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Try to leave the garlic in the stock.
Repeat with the carrot and potatoes.
Broil the onions with a bit of olive oil and salt until they are nicely browned and softened. Transfer to the bowl.
Fold the mustard, herbs, coriander, some olive oil, and a couple spoonfuls of the veggie cooking liquid into the vegetables. Taste and add a bit of soy sauce to round out the sauce.
Let sit for a while to let the flavors blend.
Serve at room temp.

This ended up being a very, very nice dish. As a bonus it used up a variety of veggies from the biokiste and some herbs that needed to be finished.

We also had a green salad.

Biokiste 6

Time to figure out what to do with all the kohlrabi we've been accumulating...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tuesday Cod and Fennel

We had three smallish fennel bulbs from last week's biokiste, so last night I made cod with fennel following the braised halibut steaks with fennel recipe from FStoS. I know I've made this recipe before, but I strangely can't find it in the blog... odd.

I don't recall ever reading the ingredient list for "Old Bay" crab seasoning, but I'm now pretty sure it contains toasted fennel seeds (or at least fennel seeds). When I pulled the fish out of the oven last night it brought back vivid crab boil memories. mmmm, crab boil.

To go along with the fish I made "Hafer-Quark-Tätschli" using a recipe from the back of the oats package. These are basically savory oat pancakes (containing chives and grated sbrinz). They weren't half bad (though I undercooked the first batch) and used up some quark, which is also nice. Now we only have about 500g left (with 400g more coming today).

We also had sauteed spinach [biokiste], cherry tomato confit, and a green salad.

Very nice food all around.

Wine: P. Lehmann 2005 "Wildcard" unoaked chardonnay

Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh, Marcella, you've failed me

I made the roasted veal breast recipe from Hazan back in September and was somewhat disappointed by how dry the meat ended up. I thought at the time that this might be due to the fact that the veal I used had been boned. When I made it again last night I used a piece of veal breast that had the bones and it still ended up being somewhat dry. The flavor was once again fine, but the texture of the veal just wasn't as enjoyable as I want. Mabye the veal we get is different from what Marcella expects. ah well... two strikes and this recipe is out.

As a side dish I sauteed some mustard greens [box] with garlic in oil. To play on the sharpness of the greens, I topped them with a bit of whipped quark and some confit'ed cherry tomatoes. That was an unalloyed success.

We also had roasted baby potatoes and a green salad.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Saturday Pasta and Veggies

Yesterday we ended up doing a simple dinner of spaghetti with a veggie sauce.

I started by tossing a couple of piri piri peppers in hot olive oil. To this I added a finely diced carrot [box], a finely diced onion, and a minced garlic clove. After the veggies started to soften I added some finely diced salami (air dried salami we bought at a farmhouse in the Jura), sauteed another minute, then added a spoonful of chicken stock and a splash of white wine. This mixture steeped off the heat for a while. Andrea finished the sauce by adding some chard stems [box] that I had stewed in olive oil and chicken stock earlier in the week and some fresh bread crumbs to thicken it up a bit.

This was quite a nice, simple, meal.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday Leftovers + Clams

To go along with the leftovers from Thursday I prepared the last of the clams as Clams in Garlic Sauce (from La Cocina de Mama). This made a lovely starter for dinner:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Biokiste 5

now with fennel!
another bonus: only 7 carrots this week... that's manageable

Thursday Spanish

Last night I made a couple recipes out of La Cocina de Mama.

As a main course I made "Francisca's Hake in Garlic Sauce" using cod (Dorsch Royal) and some very nice small clams (Vongele in Schweizerdeutsch). To go with that I made "Cumin Scented Sauteed Greens" using spinach [biokiste] instead of chard.

Both recipes were very successful. I also made basmati rice (cooked with some tomato juice mixed into the water and a pinch of saffron), and we had a green salad.

Wine: Rimuss 2005 Hallauer Blanc de Noir. This is a quite enjoyable white Pinot Noir.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wine from Lampart's

Before I lose the piece of paper where I wrote it down, the wine we drank last night was a Mattmann 2005 Pinot Noir:
It was worth recording.

Nanorestaurant Review: Lampart's (Haegendorf)

This was an very, very good meal embedded in a great experience. I'd do highlights of the food, but there were so many that I'd violate my self-imposed "nanoreview" policy.

Two smiley faces.

Due to the vagaries of the train schedule (and the fact that this place is a bit out of the way), we had to make our departure a bit more hastily than we would have liked. Not that we hurried the food or anything, but we had to cut the "goodbye ceremony" a bit short in order to be able to catch our train home.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sunday Chinese

Last night was my first use of Land of Plenty. After flipping through most of the book there were a couple of recipes that were crying out to be made, but none were quite as loud as the twice-cooked pork. So that's what I started with.

It's a new recipe in a new cuisine, so I stuck as closely to it as I could. We couldn't find either wheaten bean paste or sweet bean paste at the Asian grocery, so I left that out. I couldn't find fresh pork belly, so I used salted pork belly instead and just soaked it for a couple of hours before preparing it. This worked fine and the pork was not overly salty. I also substituted small leeks for the baby leeks by stir frying them briefly first (as suggested in the recipe). I also poured out most of the fat before stir-frying the bean paste (I'm don't get particulalry worked up about fat consumption, but that was 1/4 cup of completely gratuitous fat). To compensate for the missing liquid and make the dish a bit more saucy, I added a couple spoons of chicken stock just before serving.

We ate the pork with short-grain (Japanese... it's what we have) rice. The dish was very good: intensely flavored, complex, and nicely textured (mmmm, crunchy pork skin).

As a side I cubed (1 cm dice) a kohlrabi [box] and stir fried that in peanut oil. Once the kohlrabi lost its uncooked taste I transferred it to a bowl and then toasted some sichuan peppercorns and a couple dried chilis in the oil. I poured the resulting oil over the kohlrabi to flavor it a bit more. This was (somewhat surprisingly, I must admit) a nice flavor combination.

We also had a shredded carrot salad (gotta finish the carrots!) that I seasoned with dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and chinkiang vinegar (dark Chinese vinegar). The vinegar is fascinating stuff and this was quite a nice salad.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Save me from the carrots!

I guess that given the time of year it makes sense that we are getting lots of carrots in the biokisten, and we like carrots, but Andrea pointed out yesterday that we had a couple kilos of carrots in the fridge and that it'd probably be good to do something with them. So I made carrot soup.

I started by making chicken stock from the pieces in the freezer plus a whole chicken I bought yesterday (not the breast, see below), some leek greens [box] I saved, carrots(!), onion, parsley [box], pepper corns, and a couple of bay leaves. I added some white wine at the beginning.

The soup I made based on a recipe for "Carrot Purée" in The New Making of a Cook (time to come up with an abbreviation for that). I left out the sour cream enrichment at the end, but did serve it topped with chervil. The chervil was a nice touch on quite a good soup. Plus I used four big carrots (and that's not counting the two that went in the stock). woo hoo!

In order to have an actual meal, I poached the chicken breast (still on the bone) in some of the stock with another carrot (sweet!), some more leek greens, another bay leaf, more pepper corns, herbes de Provence, and a bouillon cube. I pulled the chicken from the broth when it was just cooked through and let it cool. Just before dinner time, I boned the chicken breast, cut it into 1cm pieces, mixed in some finely chopped garlic and browned it over high heat in a mixture of olive oil and clarified butter (sitting next to the stove from Friday). After pouring off the oil, I added soaked capers, a couple canned tomatoes (cut into large pieces), a pinch more herbes de Provence, a bit of the poaching liquid, a good grind of black pepper, and a couple drops of balsamico. This mixture I heated through (gently stirring to not destroy the tomatoes) and then served. I considered making a sauce from the reserved poaching liquid, but it was just too salty when reduced (the bouillon cube...).

We also had basmati rice topped with the rest of the walnut brown butter from Friday and some rehydrated dried green beans cooked with garlic and some of the poaching liquid from the chicken. Of course there was also a green salad.

All in all it was a very nice meal. AND I used up a total of seven carrots!

Wine: Domaine des Coccinelles 2005 Neuchatel white. This organic chasselas was pretty good and it worked well with the food.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Reminder to myself

I need to either start collecting quark recipes or we should stop getting a jar of quark with the biokiste. The fact that we usually don't eat dessert most of the time makes using 400g of quark a week tricky.

Friday Dinner: Cod with walnut brown butter

This was inspired by a recipe for pecan butter in The New Making of a Cook. I made a sauce by gently heating some walnuts in butter. When the butter turned brown I poured this off into a bowl and set it aside. For the fish, I cooked a couple of lengfisch fillets (lightly salted for 30 minutes before cooking) in clarified butter over high heat until each side was browned, then tossed the skillet in a 160C oven until the fish was cooked through.

To serve the fish, I gently rewarmed the butter sauce in the microwave, then topped each piece of fish with a few walnuts and spooned over some of the butter. I garnished with a lemon wedge to provide a counter to the richness of the fish+butter.

As sides we had shredded carrot[box] that I cooked with olive oil over medium heat until sweet and tender, diced kohlrabi[box] sauteed in peanut oil, and basmati rice.

This all fit together quite nicely, though Andrea wasn't overly impressed by the kohlrabi.

Wine: Domain Louis Bovard 2002 Villette Fraidieu. This Swiss white was acceptable, but not great.

Random aside: Lengfisch is "Ling" in English. It's a kind of cod. "Lingcod", which we used to see all the time in CA, is NOT a kind of cod; it's a scorpionfish. I love it!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Mixed greens

In addition to the chard from this week's biokiste, we also had chard and spinach from last week's double box. I applied my standard solution to the "massive quantities of greens" problem and made mixed greens.

Start by gently cooking a couple of sliced leeks [box] with two chopped cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt in olive oil until the leeks soften. Do this in a big pot.
Stir in a bunch of coarsely chopped chard greens, cover, and cook (stirring occasionally) over medium-low until the greens have substantially reduced in volume (10-15 minutes). Add coarsely chopped (and stemmed) spinach, cover and cook some more until all the greens are reduced and tender.

Voila! Two big bags of greens reduced to about 700ml. I see a pasta dish in our future...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Biokiste 4

This week's normal size box, once again, contains a load of carrots and chard:
I particularly like the bipedal and tripedal carrots. :-)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Energy bar followup

We took the two batches of energy bars with us on our hike this weekend. Both recipes held up well to the rigors of the trail (wrapped in plastic and living in my pack). The second batch is definitely more pleasing than the first, but it could still be improved. I think a higher fruit content would not hurt. Maybe some whole raisins.

Melange de viande haché au poireau et épinard

Last week's double veggie box included a giant bag of spinach. This dish immediately popped into my mind, so when we got back from our long weekend, it's what I made.

1 large leek, cut into rings. (original recipe uses an onion)
2 cloves garlic, chopped.
olive oil
500g ground beef (I used a mixture of beef, veal, and pork)
250g fresh spinach, stems removed, steamed until tender, and chopped.
4 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper

Saute the leek and garlic in some olive oil until the leak softens. Add the ground meat, sprinkle liberally with salt, and saute until it's cooked through. Stir in the spinach and a grind of black pepper and check the salt. Stir in the egg and cook until the egg is set.

For a more pleasing presentation, I plated it using a ring:Gourmet! If we'd bothered to wipe the plates and add a bit of color (curled carrot?), this really would have looked fancy!

We also had a green salad and some rice/wild rice.

Wine: Chateau Musar 2003 Cuvee Rouge

This whole thing is, of course, a piss take. This is Joe's Special. I made some changes to the original recipe (from San Francisco a la Carte) based on the contents of the box (e.g. leeks instead of onions).