Friday, February 29, 2008

Biokiste 38

We're still on the two week schedule with the biokiste .

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday: baked pasta

Last night's main dish has been on our "must make" board for months now: Baked Ziti. Except I used whole wheat pipe rigate instead of ziti. For meat I used italian sausage from the very good local guy (with fennel, mild). I topped the casserole with fresh mozzarella and grated parmesan.

As a side I did pan-browned brussels sprouts.

mmmm, delicious food.

We also had a green salad.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monday : things not to buy

Last night we basically did Abendbrot (there were some nice cold cuts leftover from the weekend), but to go along with that I did a batch of Pepa's garlic shrimp.

I haven't been buying shrimp because of the whole farming thing, but yesterday I saw some bio shrimp in the freezer section and decided to give them a try. Farmed, but maybe at least not quite so evil. Tcha... not evil, but completely flavorless -- the bread we used to sop up the sauce was more flavorful than the shrimp. What a total waste those things were. At least the sauce was good.

We also had a green salad.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday: Osso Bucco

This was the result of a course correction mid-shopping: we went to the store intending to get a sea bass for dinner but they had run out between when I was there in the morning and when we went back. When I saw the very nice looking veal shanks, osso bucco popped immediately into my head.

I pretty much followed the recipe from Hazan, though I used fresh marjoram instead of thyme.

To accompany the veal I made a batch of risotto with saffron (following the recipe from Hazan, but without the addition of pancetta or marrow).

As a vegetable side I braised some red cabbage in apple cider.

The plate was wonderfully colorful and the food was just fantastic.

Wine note: we drank Juan Gil Jumilla with this meal and it paired quite well with both the saffron and the marjoram.

Nanoreview: Cafe Versailles King Curry (Basel)

This would rank high in a competition for odd restaurant names if there were such a thing.

Unfortunately it wouldn't rank high in a competition for food.

No smiley faces.

  • Food: Not particularly inspiring. Not bad, but Swiss restaurants are too expensive for "not bad" to be acceptable.
  • Service: Friendly and welcoming
  • Atmosphere: somewhat odd, but comfortable.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday Night Mixed Bag

Last night's main course was blackeyed peas pressure cooked with sausage (wienerli), ham, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Super simple, comparatively fast, and quite good.

As a side I did a gratin with sauekraut and sauerruben topped with buttered breadcrumbs and grated cheese. This was inspired by a Le Menu recipe from this month. This was another winner.

We also had a green salad.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday: pork loin braised in milk

For this I had a nice piece of pork loin that I braised in milk following the recipe from Hazan.
We ate it with mashed potatoes and some sauteed chicory.

oh, and a green salad.

needless to say, this is very happy making food.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Monday Geschnetzeltes

This was an excuse to use up the leftover sauce from Saturday night. I browned some veal geschnetzeltes in clarified butter, removed the veal, poured off excess fat, deglazed with cider, reduced the cider, added the leftover curry sauce and the veal and brought it all to a simmer. We ate this delight topped with some chopped parsley.

We also had leftover red cabbage and some leftover rice.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday: "Spanish" rice

On Saturday we picked up a piece of nice Spanish ham. Last night I used the first half of it in a batch of "Spanish" rice.

I started by cooking a diced onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, and about 150g diced ham in olive oil until the onion was translucent. To this I added a cup of rice and cooked it, stirring, until it was nice and toasty. I added 2 cups of chicken stock, a good splash of red wine (~1/2 cup), a Tbs or so of tomato paste, a tsp each of sweet and hot paprika, about a tsp of chopped orange zest, and maybe 1/2tsp of cumin. Some saffron would have been nice too, but we were mysteriously out. I stirred the rice frequently as it simmered (uncovered) until the liquid was mostly absorbed, then covered the pot and let it sit 10 minutes to finish cooking.

We ate this very nice food with a green salad.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday: Chicken with two cabbages

We started last night with a bowl of kapusniak (a sauerkraut, apple, and winter vegetable soup) from BittmanWorld. This was, once again, quite nice.

The main component of the meal was a recipe from the current Le Menu for red and savoy cabbages with chicken breast (Rotkabis-Wirz-Gemüse mit Pouletbrüstchen). The "dish" is composed of four components:

  1. red cabbage sauteed with onion and then braised in cider and vegetable bouillon.
  2. savoy cabbage blanched, briefly sauteed, and then braised with orange zest, orange juice, and vegetable bouillon.
  3. chicken breasts seasoned with salt and curry powder, cooked in the pan (I left the skin on to have a nice crunch), and cut into slices
  4. a sauce made by deglazing the chicken pan with apple cider, reducing the cider, then adding cream (Saucenhalbrahm) and an additional pinch of curry powder.
My only real deviations from the recipe were to skip the stage of mixing the cabbages together at the end (I thought it would make a more attractive presentation with them separate) and to use hard cider for the sauce instead of "alcohol-free apple wine".

As an additional side we had some leftover steamed vegetables from Thursday night.

This was really, really good food. Now I just need to find a use for the leftover sauce; it's unthinkable that it would go to waste.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Friday's Japanese Improv

Last night I had a bit of fun with Japanese-inspired dishes:

  1. Carrot threads marinated with salt, ginger, lime juice, mirin, and sesame oil.
  2. Diced daikon simmered in soy and sake.
  3. Deep-fried tofu braised in a dark miso/lemon sauce.
  4. Chopped lettuce simmered with soy and mirin.
  5. Diced beets, caramelized, cooked briefly with soy, ginger, and mirin, and then tossed with lime juice.
  6. Surimi
We ate these arranged pseudo-decoratively around a mound of rice; and it was gooooooood.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thursday Simplicity

Last night's protein was sliced beef ("charbonnade") that I seasoned, pan-fried, and served plain. We sprinkled raclette spices over the beef at the table. Very nice beef, very simply prepared... excellent.

As a side I used up a bunch of vegetables by cutting daikon, kohlrabi, yellow carrot, and leeks into thick matchsticks and then steaming them. I served the steamed vegetables with a sauce made by browning butter then adding orange zest, fennel seeds, and a bit of cayenne and letting it steep about 5 minutes. I strained this over the vegetables. I should have cracked the fennel seeds, because their flavor wasn't particularly detectable. The dish was still very nice.

I also made some basmati rice as a starch.

Wednesday: Baked pasta

I did this simple dish to use up some stuff from the fridge; so I guess technically this is garbage pasta.

I made a sauce by mixing some Bresso (garlic and herb) with milk, a bit of flour, black pepper, and some cayenne. I poured this over some half cooked wholegrain pipe rigate, stirred in some chopped salami and a diced onion, topped the whole thing with grated gruyere and baked it.

We had a green salad as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Biokiste 37

Beets and chicory and carrots and wirsing... oh my!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday Choucroute

There were friends visiting this weekend and last night I made a batch of choucroute to make sure we were all well fed.

mission successful! :-)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Friday Fish

To go along with the leftover garbage gratin I did sauteed fish fillets. These were quite simple: lemon sole ("Echte Rotzunge") fillets seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne then dredged in flour, shaken off, and sauteed in clarified butter. Served with a wedge of lemon.

Very simple, very tasty.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Thursday Dessert: caramelized peaches

This JPFF recipe has been begging me to make it again for a week or so; last night I gave in.

I pretty much followed the recipe aside from adding a pinch of salt to the caramel and using armagnac instead of cognac.

We ate the delicious peaches with ice cream

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Wednesday: Garbage Gratin

This was definitely a "use up random vegetables from the fridge" dish.

I diced a couple parsnips, half a celery root, some of the mysterious root from last week's biokiste (maybe a giant, older kohlrabi?), some carrot, a couple onions, sun-dried tomatoes[1], some sliced cabbage, and some garlic. I tossed the vegetables with salt, pepper, dill, marjoram, and savory and put them in a olive-oiled pan. I made a sauce by mixing together some sour cream, chicken stock, and eggs and poured this over the top. After baking for a while (~20 minutes) I topped with buttered bread crumbs and then baked until they were crisp and the vegetables were done (additional 30 minutes).

To go with the gratin we had a bit of leftover lamb, some sauerkraut, and some of sauerruben.

Quite nice food.

[1] Ok, that's a bit of revisionist history. I thought of the tomatoes after reading this week's Minimalist column and stirred them into the pan after it had been cooking for a while... no harm done.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Monday: Chili and cornbread

To go with our watching of a rebroadcast of the superbowl last night I made a pot of chili and a pan of cornbread.

Definitely happy food. :-)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sunday: Lamb and gratin

Last night we had a couple of friends over for dinner.

The main course was pieces of lamb loin that I just seasoned, seared in the pan, and then finished in the oven. I served these with a vinaigrette made from preserved lemon, mustard, garlic, rosemary, cider vinegar, olive oil, some molasses, and a bit each of cayenne, cumin, and black pepper.

We also had a gratin of thinly sliced potatoes and celery root. I cooked the milk and cream with some bay leaf, a crushed garlic clove, vegetable bouillon, and cayenne. Just before using the liquid, I grated in some nutmeg. Andrea layered everything really nicely in a buttered gratin dish, spreading some sauce around the layers, and then we covered it with foil and baked at 175C. After half an hour I removed the foil, topped with grated cheese, and then baked another 20 minute or so until the cheese was nice and brown and bubbly.

As another side I played a little game with some sauerrüben (like sauerkraut, but made from turnips instead of cabbage) we found a the market on Saturday: I cooked some black mustard seeds in oil with some caraway until the mustard started to pop then tossed the seeds and oil with the rinsed and squeezed-out turnips. Southern Germany meets South India. :-)

Everything was quite nice.

Oh yeah, of course we had a big green salad.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saturday: Szechuan Hot Pot

Last night we made a Szechuan hot pot following the recipe from Land of Plenty. This one has been on our list for a while but we kept putting it off.

I pretty much followed the stock recipe as written to within the limits of my ability to find the ingredients. We still haven't managed to find a pot for meat fondue that we like, so I we did the hot pot in the 1qt All Clad sitting on our cheese fondue stand. For the two of us this was a perfectly viable solution, but it would not work for more people.

To put in the stock we had thin strips of carrot, broccoli, mushroom slices, spring onions, slivers of chicken thigh, smoked bacon, and thin slices of lamb. I also cut up some daikon as a cooling snack.

Also on the table was chopped garlic, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil to make a dipping sauce. And, naturally, a batch of rice.

This was some extremely happy-making food. One thing that's worth thinking about changing, particularly with guests, is straining the stock before bringing it to the table. Having to fish through the ginger slices and chilis isn't too bad, but I'm not a big fan of biting down on whole Szechuan pepper corns.

good thing I cook better than I frame pictures

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Friday night: Grünkohl and chicken

We were both very happy to see Grünkohl in this week's biokiste, so I immediately put it to use.

For last night I started by lightly browning some diced bacon in olive oil and then adding the stemmed and chopped greens in several steps, mixing well to get everything in contact with the heat and coated with oil. I also added a couple piri piri peppers and two coarsely chopped garlic cloves. After cooking, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes the greens started to soften a bit and I added a bit of chicken boullion, covered the pan, and reduced the heat. After another 20 minutes or so I added some diced potato, covered the pan again, and let it cook until the potatoes were done and the greens were soft.

I also did a pot of stock last night, so I had some chicken breast in the kitchen that became the protein component of dinner. I sprinkled the breasts with salt, pepper, and "raclette spices" and then put them in a 90C oven on a plate until the center of one of the breasts was about 70C. This took much longer than I would have liked, but who knows how accurate our oven is.

The resulting food (both chicken and greens) was quite good.

We also had a big green salad.