Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday leftovers

To accompany the leftover greens from Sunday, I made some sauteed chicken chunks: breast meat tossed with fine flour and then shallow fried in olive oil. These I served with a lime-yogurt sauce (yogurt, garlic paste, lime juice, salt, black pepper, hot paprika).

Quick and quite good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday: Grilling again

Yesterday was a bit too warm for normal cooking, and we had a friend visiting, so I fired up the grill. We kept it simple though and just did burgers and sausages with grilled onion.

oh, and a green salad. Of course.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday's greens

To accompany the leftover grilled pork, I did a batch of "cumin scented greens" from La Cocina de Mama.

This is pretty simple and quite good: brown some garlic and bread cubes in olive oil then mash with cumin seeds and red-wine vinegar in a mortar; slowly cook some minced onion in the remaining oil; add diced tomato and salt and cook a couple of minutes; add the garlic/bread paste and cook a bit longer; add some pre-cooked and chopped chard greens and let heat through.

We also had leftover barley and a green salad.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday dessert : blueberry "cheesecake"

After seeing the Minimalist recipe this week and then seeing it mentioned on Bittman's blog, I pretty much had no choice when I saw blueberries at the market yesterday.

We assumed graham crackers would be difficult, so we didn't really do much looking and just used McVities digestives for the crust. These were good, but I think a bit more sweet in the crust would have helped.

Otherwise, this was a really nice dessert.

Saturday: Grilled pork tenderloin with grilled vegetables

The weather permitted, so the grill was employed yesterday. They had some really beautiful T-bone steaks at the Coop that I almost succumbed to, but then we found a nice-looking pork tenderloin that was half price; it's hard to pass that up.

I seasoned the pork with salt, pepper, coriander, and prepared mustard and then let it stand for about an hour while I got the fire started and grilled some red onions and heirloom tomatoes (a Pro Specie Rara type: Gezahnte). I grilled the pork over a medium-hot fire and then served it with the grilled vegetables, some cooked barley, and a simple vinaigrette (basil, rapeseed oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, prepared mustard).

Of course we also had a green salad.

Saturday lunch : spaetzle with vegetables

I usually end up forgetting to record weekend lunches where I cook; ha ha... not this time.

Start some olive oil in a pan. Add minced garlic and a couple dried chilis and let those cook until they're aromatic. Add some spaetzle (pre-made; I used "vegetable spaetzle") and let cook, tossing every few minutes, until the noodles are starting to brown and crisp up in places. Toss in some diced fresh tomato, coarsely chopped basil, and crumbled feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday Chinese

Yesterday I had a craving for something made with Chinese black beans. To solve this, I followed a BittmanWorld recipe for pork ribs with black bean sauce. Instead of ribs I used schweinshaxe (like osso bucco), which is a nice substitution.

As a side I did lettuce stir fried with sesame oil, ginger, and garlic, served with Sichuan hot oil and soy sauce.

Of course we also had rice and a salad.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday: garbage gratin

Yesterday was one of those "let's clear vegetables out of the fridge" cooking days. The basil on the balcony also needed to be pruned, so that had to go into the meal as well. Given the situation at hand, the obvious thing to do was a garbage gratin.

Put a gratin dish in a 175C oven and let it preheat. Make some pasta (broken spaghetti and elbow macaroni). Brown some diced bacon in olive oil. Microwave some vegetables (green beans, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant) until half cooked. Make pesto (basil, olive oil, almonds, parmesan). Mix everything along with some salt and a few good grinds of black pepper. Add to the heated gratin dish. Top with breadcrumbs mixed with olive oil. Bake until browned up top, about 30 minutes.

We ate this delight with a big green salad.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday : "Tessiner Toast"

This quick meal was inspired by an app we had at the Kornhaus a couple of weeks ago; it's a nice way to use up stuff from the fridge. :-)

Brown some bacon in a bit of olive oil; add a sliced onion and cook until the onion starts to soften; add some zucchini sticks and some piquillo pepper strips; cook a bit longer. Toast some slices of bread (we used whole wheat toast bread) pretty well, then put on a baking sheet and top with the cooked vegetables, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, and a good amount of cheese (mixture from the fridge: val poschiava, mariage des trois laits, sbrinz), then toss in the broiler and cook until the cheese is nicely browned.

We ate this with a big green salad.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday : More Salsa

We still had a lot of salsa leftover, so we suffered through another salsa-driven meal.

  1. Browned beef pieces served with a sauce made from the reduced pan glaze and salsa.
  2. Chard cooked in olive oil
  3. Bratkartoffeln (new potatoes)
All of this was served with a bunch of salsa on the side.

The beef wasn't as tender as one would have liked (it wanted a long cooking), but the flavors were great.

Oh, and a green salad.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday : Salsa-driven cookery

I developed a strong craving for chipotle salsa; so I planned a meal around the salsa.

For the salsa: combine good canned tomatoes, chipotles, some garlic, some onion, lime juice, and some cilantro and food-process until smooth.

Other things to have with the salsa:

  • thin pork chops, seasoned and cooked in the grill pan
  • bratkartoffeln made from new potatoes and cooked with onion
  • zucchini cooked with a green long pepper
  • feta cheese
  • creme fraiche
It's happy-making food.

Oh yes, there was of course a green salad too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday's mixed vegetables and meatballs

We had a large quantity of vegetables in the fridge from last week's biokiste. This was an expedient to use up a bunch of those.

For the vegetables: Saute some chopped garlic in olive oil. Add green beans, cauliflower, dill, marjoram, oregano, black pepper, and a bit of water our bouillon. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Stir in some zucchini. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Adjust seasoning.

For the meatballs: mix ground pork with some minced smoked bacon, an egg, some breadcrumbs, and a good grind of black pepper. Form small meatballs and brown in a bit of olive oil.

For the sauce: combined yogurt, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, hot paprika, and chopped fresh basil.

Serve the vegetables and meatballs with some rice and the sauce for a quite nice meal.

We also had, of course, a green salad.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunday chickpeas and sausage

Chickpeas need no justificatory text.

Cook some chickpeas in water with a couple bay leaves. Drain them. In a separate pan, cook a couple diced onions, some chopped garlic, and whole cumin seeds in olive oil until the onion softens a bit. Add the chickpeas and toast a bit longer. Add some paprika, white wine, piri piri chilis, black pepper, stock (chicken bouillon), tomato paste, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, chopped parsley, and a couple more bay leaves and stir well. Add some merguez chopped into 1-2cm pieces, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes until the merguez is done.


of course we also had a green salad

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday Risotto and Beef

It seems like it's been forever since I made risotto (ok, actually only since February).

I did a straightforward mushroom risotto using dried porcinis and black chantarelles. I tossed in a couple of thyme sprigs for good measure. Since we had no proper stock in the house, I used porcini bouillon that I enhanced by using it as the soaking liquid for the mushrooms. I finished the risotto with some butter.

Since the rice was super rich, the protein bit was simple: beef Saftplätzli (minute steaks, I guess) cooked in the grill pan, then served on a bed of mixed bell peppers cooked in olive oil.

Great food.

Saturday cocktails

After the great success of the margaritas, we decided to try another application of the basic Bittman recipe and substitute rum for the tequila in order to get something like a daiquiri.

I started with more or less the same proportions as before: 4oz rum, 2oz lime, 1.5oz triple sec, but that was too sweet. To cut the perceived sweet a bit, I added a slick of Meyers; that helped some.

All in all, this has potential, but we need to get some better rum. This is a formula where you really taste the alcohol you use, so a big part of the reason the margaritas were so good was the high-quality tequila. Comparing a drink made with some generic (not bad, but not particularly distinguished) rum just isn't fair.

Friday, July 11, 2008

leftovers catchup

To go with the leftover lentils this week I sauteed some green beans in olive oil with savory and bacon.

To go with the leftover chicken I cooked a head of lettuce with olive oil and dill.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday grilling

The original plan was to do a Bittman recipe for grilled chicken with lemon, accompanied by chipotle-peach salsa. Unfortunately the peaches were moldy, so we just did the chicken.

This was super simple: toss chicken leg quarters on the slow part of the grill; cook until they're basically done; move to the hot part to get a nice surface; season with salt and pepper and serve with lemon slices. With good chicken it was excellent food. I wanted fruit salsa, so I made do with what was in the house: halved gooseberries and cassis tossed with minced chili (habanero family) and lime.

I also did some potatoes in a sort of cheaters hobo pack on the grill: cut new potatoes into chunks; microwave for a couple minutes until they're about half cooked (this is the cheating part). Transfer to a sheet of foil; add olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme. Wrap up the packets and toss on a slow part of the grill until they're done. very very good.

As a vegetable side, we had pan-browned cauliflower.

and a big green salad.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunday's lentils

I've been craving lentils for a while, but it's been too hot to cook them. "Fortunately" yesterday was cool and rainy.

Cook some finely diced onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil until they start to soften. Add small green lentils, diced smoked ham, some white wine, some chicken bouillon, a pinch of herbs de provence, a few bay leaves, and a good grind of pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the lentils are soft, about an hour. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped parsley (if you have it, we didn't).

Lentils are goooooood.

As a veggie side, I cooked some thickly sliced zucchini in butter until it was soft and then mixed in some shredded basil leaves and a good grind of white pepper.

Of course we also had a green salad.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Saturday dessert: mixed berry gratin

The berries are now really starting to show up at the market. Last night, to celebrate, we did a berry gratin with blueberries, raspberries, cassis, and cherries (pitted), mixed with a bit of sugar, cornstarch, and lime juice; topped with crumbled cookies and baked.

simple and delicious

Saturday: Wine and Cheese

A while ago we bought a bottle of Savagnin that's been sitting there waiting to be tried. Yesterday we went to a good local cheese shop to organize a cheese plate and last night we broke open the bottle.

The cheese plate consisted of an assortment of raw-milk cheeses:

  • Hard cheeses:
    • Val Poschiavo (this was from Coop, so it didn't really fit in this company, but we had it in the house)
    • two year old Gruyere
    • Vacherin-Fribourgeois (the "Alp" version)
  • Soft cheeses:
    • French brie
    • Tallegio
  • Accompaniments:
    • bread
    • walnuts
    • almonds (toasted in olive oil)
    • cornichons
    • pearl onions
    • olives
    • apricots
    • blueberries
    • cassis
    • cherries
    • gooseberries
All in all a very successful meal; loads of different and interesting flavors and flavor combinations.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Friday: Baked eggplant

I took advantage of the fact that it cooled down yesterday to do some "real" cooking and improv a pan of baked eggplant.

Put some olive oil in a baking dish. Top with a layer of sliced eggplant, sprinkle with salt, top with a layer of sliced tomatoes, a layer of basil leaves, thinly sliced onions, a sprinkling of finely diced bacon, and a grind of pepper. Add another layer of everything. Cover and bake at 190C for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, grate over some sbrinz and let bake another 15 minutes.

Great stuff.

I also steamed a head of cauliflower and then tossed it with salt and olive oil.

Oh yes, and the green salad.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wednesday grilling

It's still to hot to do real cooking in the kitchen, but I wanted to do something other than salads, so last night I fired up the grill and did:

  1. Artichokes, quartered and cleaned and then grilled until lightly charred, served with a yogurt-basil-caper-garlic sauce (also used as salad dressing)
  2. Pork faux-filet coated with a rub of cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper and then grill-roasted. Served with chipotle mayo (the weekend got me thinking about chipotles again).
  3. Peaches, cut in half and grilled, then served with a sauce of brown sugar, butter, and Meyers rum.
We also had a big green salad and a baguette.

Very nice food.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Monday Night Quickies

It's too hot for real cooking, so I did some assorted salads and things that cook quickly:

  1. a bean salad with soissons beans, diced dried salami, red onion, lemon zest, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a bit of hot paprika
  2. mange tout peas sauteed with bacon
  3. strips of summer squash and yellow long pepper cooked in a grill pan and then tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.
We also had a big green salad and hamburgers and cabbage salad left over from the weekend.