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.