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
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.