Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday: Macaroni and cheeses

Andrea requested something with pasta and cheese; I obliged.

I started by dicing some ham relatively small and browning it in a bit of olive oil. These got mixed with some partially cooked whole wheat penne, milk, grated alp cheeses, and some shredded sage leaves. I piled this goodness into a gratin dish, topped it with fried onions, and baked until the pasta was cooked through.

We ate this with spinach cooked with olive oil and garlic and a big green salad.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday : Braised pork with apples

Another very successful recipe from AFK: pork shoulder braised in apple cider and served with caramelized apples.

Cut a pork shoulder roast (1kg) almost through. Open it and smear the inside with a paste made from fresh rosemary (5 or 6 needles), fresh sage (4 leaves), fennel seeds (a good pinch), and garlic (three cloves). Salt and pepper the inside well, then roll up the roast and tie it shut. Stick a couple sprigs of rosemary under the twine and brown the pork well on all sides in clarified butter. Add some hard cider (2 dl), a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper, cover, and braise until the pork is finished, about 2 hours. In the meantime, lightly caramelize 50g of raw sugar with 2Tbs lemon juice and add 500g firm, acidic apples (peeled, cored, cut into 8ths or 12ths). Cook, stirring occasionally until the apples soften. Salt and pepper and then set aside. When the pork is done, puree a third of the apples with some of the braising liquid and then stir this back into the braising liquid. If need be, thicken with a bit of potato starch. Adjust seasonings and then serve the pork sliced and topped with sauce and apples.

To go with this beauty we had some steamed potatoes and a big green salad.

This is a really good one to remember for company.

Saturday lunch : bean salad

A quick toss-together lunch for a weekend : chickpeas, corn, artichoke hearts (rinsed and quartered), tomatoes, chives, parsley, dill, crushed garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday Night : Soup with steamed vegetables

I was travelling last week, so I didn't do any cooking.
Last night we finished off the pumpkin soup and had a big bowl of steamed vegetables : kohlrabi, carrots, and fennel, steamed individually and then tossed with olive oil, chives, salt, and pepper.

Of course there was also a big green salad.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday: Pumpkin soup, corn with herbed sabayon

The soup for this meal is an improv, the corn is from a new cookbook: Aus Frankreichs Küchen, by Marianne Kaltenbach.

The soup: cook diced onion and carrots (yellow and orange) in some neutral oil until the onions soften. Add diced pumpkin (potimarron) and cook, covered, until the pumpkin starts to break up. Add white wine, chicken stock, a bit of veggie boullion, a couple cloves, a pinch of cardamon, and a good grind of white pepper and let it simmer until the veggies are soft. Puree and then add diced smoked ham that has been browned in a separate pan and some heavy cream. Adjust seasonings and let simmer a bit longer.

The corn: steam a couple ears of corn. Make the sabayone by whipping two egg yolks with 6 tbs white wine and 1 tsp white balsamico (lemon juice in the recipe) in a double boiler until frothy. Add a pinch of salt, chopped parsley, chives, and dill (chervil in the recipe), and a couple Tbs of whipped cream. Let heat up, stirring constantly, then serve with the corn.

I'm sure my sabayone tasted pretty much nothing like the original recipe, but it was still a very good complement to the late-season corn. The basic sauce technique is something I will definitely have to keep in mind: it's quick and the results are nice.

We ate this with a green salad and some good bread.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday: Beans and ham

This was a celebration of it being cooler in the evenings: beans cooked with ham.
It was a weeknight thing so I used canned borlotti beans that I cooked with cubed smoked ham, onions, garlic, some chopped chili, cumin, paprika, chicken stock, white wine, crushed tomato, rosemary, bay leaf, and thyme. Simple and delicious.

We also had a big green salad and a baguette.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday: Fondue

It was my parents' last night in town and was pretty cool outside, so we made a fondue. For the four of us I used 700g of cheese, 350ml of white wine, a shot of kirsch, and one clove of garlic.

We also did peppermint tea and a big salad.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday Miscellany

This was a bit of a random one I assembled after we got back from a hiking trip with my parents: Bernerrösti (from a bag), roast chicken (from the Migros), cottage cheese (with minced lemon verbena, halved cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne), and a big green salad.

Monday : Meatballs with almonds, green beans

This was an improv.

Start by making a tomato sauce: toast whole cumin seeds in a dry pan; when they start to get aromatic, add some hot paprika and toast another few seconds. Add olive oil, some pureed tomatoes, ground coriander, a pinch of saffron threads, a sprig of thyme, a bay leaf, and some salt. Bring to a simmer and let cook, uncovered, while you make the meatballs.

Meatballs: mix ground meat (half and half in this case) with salt, pepper, and minced onion. Form into small meatballs. Push a almond into the center of each meatball and reform them. Sautee in olive oil to get the meatballs brown on all sides. A couple minutes before they're done, add a handful of almonds to the pan. Deglaze with vermouth and let that evaporate to half. Add the tomato sauce, cover, and let simmer another 10-15 minutes. Adjust seasonings on the sauce, then serve.

As an accompaniment I cooked some halved green beans in a pan with diced bacon, chopped sweet pepper, and savory.

We did spaetzle as a starch (sauteed in olive oil instead of boiled) and the required green salad.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday: Beef stew with porcinis

A simple, but very good, stew: Soak 30g dried porcinis in warm water, brown 600g of bite-sized pieces of beef well in clarified butter, remove from the pan. Cook two diced red onions, 4 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 stalk diced celery, one large diced carrot, and two diced sweet peppers in the same pan until the onions are soft. Sprinkle over a Tbs or so of flour, mix well, and let cook another couple minutes, stirring frequently. Add a couple bay leaves, a sprig or two of thyme, and a bottle of light red wine and bring to a simmer. Chop the mushrooms and add them along with their strained soaking water. Let simmer open until the beef is ready, 1-1.5 hours. Adjust seasonings and serve over rice.

To go along with the stew I chopped a couple summer squash in large dice and cooked them with a diced kohlrabi in olive oil until the vegetables were done. 5 minutes before serving I added some chopped basil and lemon thyme.

Naturally there was a green salad.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday dessert: pears poached in red wine

A dessert based on a recipe from Kaltenbach: bring 700ml of red wine (I used an Epesses Rouge which is a mixture of pinot noir and gamay, according to the recipe I should have used pure pinot... ah well) to a simmer with 100g sugar, three cloves, and a cinnamon stick. Let simmer for a 5-10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and it has reduced a bit. Add four pears that have been peeled but that still have the stems attached. Simmer until the pears are soft. Remove the pears to a bowl, increase the heat, stir in a Tbs of rasperry jelly, and reduce the wine syrup by a factor of two. Strain the syrup over the pears and let them stand in it until serving time.

Really nice stuff.

Note for the future: this would be nicely complemented by a bit of black pepper added a minute or so before straining the syrup.

Saturday: Chicken, potato, and fennel gratin.

This is a recipe from the Le Menu archive.

Cook 600-700g starchy potatoes in their skins and then peel them and cut them into pieces lengthwise. Thinly slice (on the mandoline) two fennel bulbs. Put the fennel in a buttered baking dish, top with the potatoes, and pour over a mixture of 200ml of light cream and 50ml of veggie bouillon. Toss in a 200C oven. Season four chicken leg quarters with salt, pepper, and a Tbs of freshly crushed fennel seed, then brown them well in clarified butter. Top the gratin with the chicken, sprinkle over any remaining fennel seed, and return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is done.

We ate this very nice dish with a big green salad.

Thursday: Stuffed Zucchini, reconstructed

I wanted to do stuffed zucchini but was concerned about the logistics since we didn't have four zucchini that were even close to equally sized. So I deconstructed it.

Brown some ground meat (I used half and half) well, and remove it to a bowl. Cook a diced red onion until it's soft and add it to the meat. Season the meat mixture with marjoram, orange peel, salt, and pepper. Oil a gratin dish with olive oil and layer in thinly sliced zucchini and the meat mixture. Top with grated Gruyere. Bake at 180C until the zucchini is cooked and the cheese is brown and bubbly.

We ate this with buttered ebli and a big green salad.

Tuesday: Sausage and green beans

Saucisson vaudoise was on sale at the Coop, so I picked up one of those and prepared it following the Saucisson en papillote recipe from Kaltenbach : cook the sausage in a parchment wrapper with minced shallot, diced carrot, and a bit of red wine. I also made the suggested accompaniment: onion salad, though I modifed that pretty substantially : onion slices lightly caramelized and then mixed with a dressing of white wine vinegar, grainy mustard, dill, and rapeseed oil

To accompany I cooked a bunch of green beans with chopped peppers.

Of course we also had a green salad.

Behind behind

My parents are visiting and I'm terribly behind.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunday : Slow baked lamb

Another niedergaren recipe as the main dish: a piece of lamb shoulder topped with olive oil and a mixture of minced shallots, parsley, and rosemary then slow baked.

As a side I did a pumpkin recipe from Le Menu: "Smashed pumpkin". This is potimarron squash, cooked with butter, garlic, and a bit of veggie bouillon, then mashed and served topped with crispy diced bacon and a relish of cherry tomatoes, sage, and butter.

Really nice food.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Saturday dessert : plum roesti

If I had come up with this dessert I wouldn't have called it rösti, but that just shows my ignorance... it's a Kaltenbach recipe, so the naming must be correct. :-)

Despite the naming confusion, the dish itself is simple: cook halved plums in some clarified butter with a sprinkling of sugar for a couple of minutes, add a bit of water, bring to a simmer, cover and let stand a few minutes. Meanwhile roast some thin slices of stale bread in clarified butter. Cut these into strips (not a step from Kaltenbach, but things were impossible to handle otherwise) and add the plums and some more sugar. Toss well, then add the liquid from the plums in a couple of batches. Cook until the liquid has basically all evaporated. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

very nice stuff

Saturday : Stuffed tomatoes, glazed chickpeas

This month's Le Menu has a picture of a stuffed tomato on the cover (and some recipes for stuffed vegetables inside); that started the wheels turning. Then there was leftover brown rice in the fridge and some tomatoes from this week's box. From there everything else became obvious:

Cook minced celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil with a pinch of salt until they are nicely softened. Meanwhile, hollow out a few tomatoes and add the chopped insides to the pan. Once the tomatoes have reduced away, add the cooked brown rice and a mixture of finely chopped rosemary, thyme, and lemon thyme. Mix well and adjust seasonings. Add a pinch of saffron and mix again. Gently stir in some small-diced feta cheese and then stuff the tomatoes. Put some olive oil in a baking dish, spread the extra rice mixture on the bottom of the dish, top with the stuffed tomatoes, then bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and the rice on top of them starts to brown.

Another ingredient floating around the kitchen -- reduced OJ from a salad dressing earlier in the week -- suggested the accompaniment: glazed chickpeas:
Toast some whole cumin seeds in a dry pan until they are aromatic. Add to reduced orange juice and chickpeas in a pot. Add a bit of veggie bouillon and bring to a simmer. Add some finely chopped rosemary, thyme, and lemon thyme and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is basically evaporated. Adjust seasonings and serve drizzled with olive oil.

At some point during the making of this meal I realized I was in the process of creating something that would be exceptionally good. That thought was completely correct. Wow was this good food.

Of course we also had a green salad.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thursday : Slow-baked steaks

Another niedergaren recipe. This one is adapted from the cookbook I picked up a while ago.

Very simple: Tie up a thick steak (I used Hohrücken which is, basically, ribeye) so that it holds its shape. Brown well on both sides. Transfer to a prewarmed plate, season and top with a sauce made from 2Tbs peanuts, 2Tbs peanut oil, 1 Tbs ketchup, and a pinch of cayenne. Put in a preheated 80C oven and cook until the internal temperature is 55C, 45-60 minutes.

Wow was this good.

To go with the steak I did some brown rice.

Also a green salad.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wednesday : Cod chunks with cashews and lime butter

Random improvised fish dish: season some cod chunks and coat them lightly with flour. Saute in butter with a handful of cashews and some sliced hot (but not overly hot) chilis. Remove the solids from the pan and add a bit more butter. Let this start to brown, add some flavorful honey and let that bubble for a couple of minutes. Add lime juice and black pepper and adjust seasonings. Add back the solids, turn a few times, then serve the fish topped with sauce, cashews, and chili slices.

Really, really good stuff. That lime-butter combination with a bit of sweet to balance it and a hint of hot is just fantastic.

I also did some bratkartoffeln to go with this.

oh yes, and a green salad.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Monday: Pork steak skewers on tomato bean salad

This was a recipe from this month's Le Menu: Pork steaks cut into strips, marinated with apple juice, rosemary, thyme, white balsamico, mustard, black pepper, and honey, then threaded onto skewers and sauteed in clarified butter. Served with a salad made from steamed green beans, minced onion, halved cherry tomatoes, and soisson beans with a dressing of white balsamico, mustard, rapeseed oil, and parsley. I reduced the remaining marinade until it lightly caramelized and drizzled that over the pork.

We also had basmati rice and a big green salad; it was great summer food.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sunday's Salads

Another quick meal since we got back from hiking pretty late. We did a wurstsalat and a bean salad, served on a bed of lettuce.

Wurstsalat: thinly sliced cervelas, diced gruyere, a small amount of minced celery, chopped cornichons, chives, and a sauce from mayo, mustard, yogurt, rape-seed oil, red wine vinegar, a dash of Maggi, a small pinch of cayenne, and a bit of salt.

Bean salad: soisson beans, minced celery, rosemary, olive oil, sherry vinegar, pimenton.