Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday: "Spring vegetable pan"

This was a simple thing inspired by a recipe in this month's Le Menu.
Lightly brown some beef pieces (geschnetzeltes) in clarified butter. Remove the beef. Add some chopped leek and cook a bit. Add diced carrots (yellow and orange) and kohlrabi and cook a bit longer. Add a bit of vegetable bouillon, a splash of white wine, some lemon zest, and a pinch of dill. Cook uncovered for a couple minutes. Add the meat and cook a while longer until the liquid has reduced some and the vegetables are ready to eat. Nice colors, nice flavor.

I braised some chopped swiss chard leaves in olive oil as an accompaniment.

oh, and a green salad.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tueday's random pasta

This one was quite simple: I cut some cherry tomatoes in half and baked them for a while at 150C, lightly caramelized a bit of leek, mixed those two together with olive oil, chopped parsley, oregano, and marjoram. I topped pasta (whole wheat "cellentani") with this sauce, some diced mozarella, and freshly grated parmesan.

Very simple, very good.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday: Joe's Special

We had a big bag of spinach in the biokiste, so I immediately thought to make Joe's special. Like last time I used leeks instead of onions. This time I also added some garlic. This seemed like a good idea at the the time but turned out to be a mistake since the garlic had an "old" taste to it that was pretty clear in the final dish. Ah well; aside from that disturbance it was good.

As sides we had asparagus pieces cooked with butter in a covered pan (somewhere in between sauteed and slow-cooked) and some ebli.

Oh, and a green salad.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saturday at the Grill

Last night was a special occasion: the first use of the grill this year. We had a couple of friends over to help us celebrate. :-)

My contribution to the proceedings was a big plate of grilled vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, cippolini onions, endive) served with a bärlauch vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was really supposed to be a mayonnaise, but that didn't work out (I need to successfully make mayonnaise in the near future or I'm going to develop a complex about it); still it was good. I also did some ground pork balls on skewers (ground pork, minced shallot, lemon zest, chopped sage, salt and pepper) that worked out quite nicely and complemented the vegetables well.

For some strange reason I also made dessert. I did a Nigella Lawson recipe for Aztec Chocolate Pudding. I think of this as more of a cake, but whatever the name it's a nice finisher. We ate it topped with soft, barely sweetened whipped cream.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nanorestaurant Review: Osteria Rossini (Basel)

We tried this new place for dinner on Friday night.

Two smiley faces.

  • Food: Very good. Standard Italian fare, with good ingredients well prepared
  • Service: Good. There was some confusion somewhere and Andrea's main dish came out much later than it should have, but they were good about the whole thing.
  • Atmosphere: Nice. Unfortunately with the smoking area in the same room as the non-smoking area, but we were far enough away that it wasn't overly irritating.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Thursday: Rösti

We wanted something quick last night, so I made a big rösti. I did it my usual way (grated raw potatoes, wrung out in a towel) and added a grated onion. We accompanied the rösti with bacon and eggs and a big green salad.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday: Spanish-influenced pork and beans

This one was pretty easy: brown some diced bacon in olive oil; add minced garlic and diced onion and cook for a while; add some pureed tomato, a splash of white wine, some veggie bouillon, ground cumin, ground coriander, some rosemary, a few piri piri chilis, and a couple bay leaves and cook for a bit longer; add some sausages and cook a bit longer; add some precooked beans and cook until they're heated through. Serve drizzled with fresh oil and topped with chopped parsley and chives.

This, with a green salad, is a very nice meal.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday: Pork steak with bärlauch butter

As we were gathering Bärlauch this weekend Andrea had the idea of doing a compound butter with it. It sounded like a great idea to me, so we tried it last night.

I made the butter by chopping a few leaves of Bärlauch and then mixing them into butter. I rolled the butter into some plastic wrap and let it cool again. Very simple. I just need to come up with a name for it... I guess in analogy to Beurre Café de Paris it could be Beurre Forêt de Bâle. ;-)

For dinner I broiled a couple of pork steaks and topped them with the butter. The flavor was a bit mild (the Bärlauch we gathered is much milder than the stuff Andrea picked up at the market a couple weeks ago), but otherwise good. The butter also went nicely with the basmati rice we had on the side.

We also had carrots that I chunked, cooked for a bit with some olive oil, then added cream and orange zest and cooked until the cream was quite reduced and colorful.

Oh, and a green salad.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saturday Borscht

Given the quantity of beets that we had in the fridge, drastic measures were called for. Those measures took the form of a batch of borscht.

I mostly followed the recipe in BittmanWorld, though I added some bay leaf and thyme to the stew, altered the quantities somewhat (I used three beets instead of two) and skipped (well, forgot) the beans. The result was excellent.

I say it every time, but: it's so strange to like beets.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nanorestaurant Review: Amrutham Restaurant (Basel)

This south Indian place is just around the corner from us. We tried it once before before I got discipline about recording things. This wasn't our first choice last night, but the new Italian place we wanted to try didn't have a table free.

Half a smiley face

  • Food: Some things were quite good (vegetable cutlet, kingfish curry), others were quite boring (veggie pakora, veggie kurma), and the rice was overcooked (!). For a south Indian restaurant, there aren't very many interesting vegetarian dishes on the menu.
  • Service: friendly and fine
  • Atmosphere: comfortable.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thursday Schnitzel with overcooked leeks

This was basically a repeat of Wednesday night's schnitzel (of course with freshly made schnitzel; there's no reheated schnitzel in our house!).

As an additional side I made "overcooked leeks", which is a fantastic vegetable side that I got to know, improbably, in the canteen at work. Not that overcooked vegetables are at all unusual in the canteen, what's improbably is that I would make something I had there at home. It's quite simple: cut leeks into 1cm rings, toss them in a pan with some olive oil, some salt (or vegetable bouillon), some white wine, and a bit of water. Cook for 15-20 minutes covered, then uncover and cook until most of the liquid evaporates. The results are really good.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday Schnitzel

Wow, we haven't done schnitzel since December, it had to happen.

Last night's was a completely standard approach: pork loin chops pounded out; seasoned; breaded with flour, egg, and fresh bread crumbs; sauteed in clarified butter; served with lemon wedges. Really, really good stuff. The fresh bread crumbs make it great.

As vegetable sides we had mashed celery root (diced, cooked with a bit of milk and butter until soft, mashed) and slow-cooked asparagus.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Monday: Bärlauch pesto, sausages and leeks

We've still got a ton of bärlauch that needs to be used up, so last night I made a batch of bärlauch pesto (bärlauch, toasted almonds, parmesan, olive oil) that we had over spaghetti.

I also picked up some sausages (unfortunately the Italian butcher is closed on Monday, so I got some Lughanighe from Coop) that I tossed in a pan with some thickly sliced leeks. I let this whole mess cook over medium heat until the sausages were nicely browned and the leeks caramelized. After deglazing with a bit of vermouth, this was a really nice combination.

Of course we also had a green salad.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Another Spring Meal

  1. hors d'oeuvre: asparagus stalks slow baked (a la Slow Mediterranean Kitchen) and then wrapped in smoked ham. The Spanish asparagus is different enough from that which we got in CA that the slow-baking method works quite well and compares favorably to sauteing it.
  2. soup: Bärlauch soup from a recipe in this month's Le Menu. I gave the vegetable bouillon a bit more oomph by cooking the asparagus peels and stalk ends in water for 30 minutes or so and then using that drained liquid as the base. I don't often do cream soups, but they can be damn nice.
  3. main: Kohlrabi stuffed with veal and morels. This is another one from this month's Le Menu. The veal cubes are browned, then stewed with garlic, white wine, and veal essence. At the end the morels (also browned a bit), some chives, and a bit of cream are added. The veal-mushroom mixture is served in hollowed out kohlrabi that have been steamed until they are soft. Serving the veal in the kohlrabi was a bit of frou-frou (they could have just as easily been next to each other), but the dish was very good.
  4. side: oven-roasted potato wedges
  5. dessert: rhubarb stewed with dates, orange (juice and zest), and clove. This is a recipe from Bittman and it's really nice. The combination of different flavors and sweet and sour is great.
This was a bunch of very good food.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Friday Fondue

We wanted to get at least one more fondue in before it gets too warm, so last night we did a standard cheese fondue. We used a cheese mixture from a nearby shop and the recipe from Kaltenbach (300g cheese, 150ml white wine, 1/2 tsp potato starch, 1 1/2 shots kirsch, black pepper, nutmeg) and had a nice baguette as the bread.

Like last time we had peppermint tea with the fondue and of course we had a big green salad.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Wednesday: pasta with bärlauch/ricotta sauce

It's bärlauch season, so Andrea picked some up at the market yesterday and I improvised a pasta sauce from it.

Wilt some finely chopped shallot in a hot pan with a bit of neutral oil. Gently heat some good ricotta cheese (I put it a hot bowl and did 30 second stints in the microwave until it was warm). Stir in some chiffonade-cut bärlauch and a good grind of black pepper. Thin with a bit of pasta water and serve over the pasta, topped with toasted nuts (walnut and pecan pieces) and some chives.

This was really good stuff.

We also had a bit of sauteed kohlrabi and carrot and a big green salad.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tuesday: Chicken cooked in butter

Last night I did a recipe from Kaltenbach for small chickens (Mistkraetzerli) cooked in butter. Pretty simple preparation -- put a few sage leaves in a small (<500g) chicken, saute in butter, serve with butter -- very nice results.

We ate the chicken with the leftover gratin and sauteed vegetables from Monday.

and a green salad

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Monday Porkchops

I originally had another plan for the protein for last night's meal, but the Coop didn't have the necessary ingredient. So we did pork chops.

I did the chops very simply: I seasoned them and then sauteed them with some clarified butter. Once the were done, I removed them from the pan and then made a sauce by deglazing the pan with marsala, adding chopped shallots, and a bit of veal essence. After the shallots were tender and the sauce had reduced some I thickened it with a small amount of potato starch.

To accompany the chops I made the recipe for "Creamy Lima Bean Gratin" from JPFF using soisson beans instead of limas (can't find them here) and milk instead of cream. I'm sure that this is some classic French dish, but I haven't found the real name yet.

I also did a batch of sauteed vegetables with parsnips, celery root, yellow and orange carrot, kohlrabi, onion, garlic, and bacon. Seasoned with herbes de provence.

Very, very nice food.

We also had a green salad.