Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Catchup Part 2

Cooking at Andrea's family's house.  (Cooking under challenging conditions)

Tuesday (23 Dec): Beef "Bourginon" (The main thing is that the meat be tender and there be a sauce)
Brown 800g salted beef stew meat well. Brown 100g lardons. Cook 2 big carrots, 125g minced shallots until they start to soften. Deglaze with 750ml of red wine (I used beaujolais). Add back the meats along with 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, sufficient chicken bouillon, and a good grind of black pepper. Simmer until the beef is about tender. Brown 200g mushrooms (cut into pieces) in butter and add to the stew. Simmer until the beef is tender. Adjust seasonings, thicken a bit if desired, and serve with pasta.
Next time: when cooking for this audience thicken the sauce a bit more.

Thursday (25 Dec) Lunch: Radicchio hash (Using up leftovers Part 1)
Brown some ground meat well, set aside. Brown some finely chopped bacon well. Add diced onion and minced garlic and cook until the onion softens. Add the ground meat, and some radicchio (from the biokiste, brought with us from Basel) that's been cut into strips. Season with salt, black pepper, and some ground chili. Cook until the radicchio is about soft, then add diced cooked potato. Continue to cook until the potato is heated through. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Thursday (25 Dec) Dinner: Baked poultry legs (Cooking for the masses, but trying to at least have it be somewhat interesting)
For the duck legs: Cook over medium-high heat skin-side down in a pan until the skin browns nicely and some of the fat renders. Season the flesh side, flip, and brown the flesh side. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and crushed fennel and place flesh-side down on orange slices in a baking sheet.
For the chicken legs: season with salt, pepper, and crushed fennel and place in the baking sheet.
Bake both at 180C until the skins are crisp and the juices run clear. Serve with the defatted pan juices and lemon slices.
Next time: cook the two types of poultry in different pans since they have different cooking times.

Friday (26 Dec) Lunch: "Tortilla" (Using up leftovers Part 2)
Cook sliced cooked potato, thinly sliced onion, and bacon lardons in a pan with a bit of oil utnil the potatoes are lightly browned. Season with salt, pepper, and ground red chili. Reduce heat and pour over four beaten eggs. Top with thinly sliced cheese (aged gouda) and cover the pan. Cook until the top is no longer liquid and then serve.

Christmas Catchup Part 1

Cooking with Andreas and Ludger

Saturday: Pasta with a sauce from ground beef, carrots, onion, garlic, veggie bouillon, minced lemon zest, rosemary, canned tomatoes, olive oil.

Sunday: Lentils with carrots, leeks, celery, bacon, vermouth, veggie bouillon, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs. Grilled tuna, steaks, and turkey skewers with sate sauce.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday: Brussel sprouts with bacon and garlic

To go along with the remains of the pasta with cheese sauce from Wednesday : Lightly brown some smoked bacon lardons in olive oil with some chopped garlic and a couple piri piri peppers. Add halved brussels sprouts that have been cut in half, parboiled, and shocked. Cook until the sprouts lightly caramelize, adjust seasoning, and serve.

Wednesday: Pasta with onion-cheese sauce

This was a relatively quick one.

Cook a thinly sliced onion over medium-high heat in some olive oil until it caramelizes. Sprinkle over some flour and cook, stirring constantly, a minute or so. Add milk, reduce the heat, and cook (stirring!) until the milk is about to simmer. Stir in some creme fraiche for good measure. Stir in grated cheese (I used gruyere and winzer) in batches. Add a good grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of hot paprika, adjust seasoning, and serve over hot pasta (I used whole wheat pipe rigata) sprinkled with julienned bundnerfleisch.

With this, which was really good, we had the required big green salad.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday: Savoy cabbage side

Last night we needed a side to go along with the leftover meatloaf. I did two: as a starch I made some Ebli. 

As a vegetable I followed a recipe from AFK for savoy cabbage: boil the leaves until just short of tender; shock them; chop them into a 1cm chiffonade; toss in a pan with some butter until warmed through and tender; stir in some creme fraiche; serve with fleur du sel.

Nice, nice stuff.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday : Garbure

This was a meal to try out our new crock pot/slow cooker. I followed the garbure recipe from AFK, but adapted the process for the slow cooker. 

The results were good, but not as good as I would have hoped for. The presence of cabbage and beans in a dish made me think of beans and greens, and this wasn't nearly as good as beans and greens. Ah well, next time maybe I'll try the recipe from Wolfert. (yeah, right, if I have three or four days advance notice)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday: Meatloaf and a Rösti Zweierlei

Meatloaf and beet Rösti have each been floating around towards the top of my ToCook list for a couple of weeks. Last night I checked both boxes. 

For the meatloaf: combine 330g mixed beef and pork; 125g veal brät; 30g (or so) finely diced bacon; one small carrot, half a stalk of celery, and a small onion, all diced very small; 1 stalk rosemary, finely chopped; breadcrumbs; salt, black pepper, and some marjoram. Form into a loaf and place in a baking pan (it should be firm enough to stand free). Brush with a glaze made from tomato paste, red wine, and black pepper. Bake at 175C until done. Brush with the glaze every 30 min.

For the Rösti: Make a half portion of potatoes for a standard rösti and a half portion of beets+rosemary for a beet rösti. Melt the butter and clarified butter in a pan and then form half a rösti on each side from the beets and the potatoes. Cook as normal.

This was nice, and very photogenic, food. The zweierlei thing with the rösti was an amusing conceit, but it would probably be better to do two separate things and serve them next to each other -- the potatoes and beets really have separate optimum cooking times.

Of course we also had a big green salad.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday: Spaghetti with peppers, leeks, and ham; braised radicchio

More "Cuisine de la boite bio" ;-)

Saute some sliced peppers and leeks with diced ham in olive oil until they get all melty. Add a bit of pasta cooking water and adjust seasonings. Serve over spaghetti with a drizzle of olive oil and copious grated parmesan.

As a side: caramelize the sides of quartered radicchio in olive oil. Reduce heat, season, and cook until it softens. Glaze by cooking for the last 5 minutes with some reduced balsamico. Grind over some black pepper and serve.

We eat well in this house. :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday: Baked sauerkraut

A simple one, driven by the bag of sauerkraut from the biokiste from two weeks ago (good thing sauerkraut doesn't really go bad!).

Toss sauerkraut (already mixed with caraway and juniper berries) with a thinly sliced onion, chopped garlic, and some diced ham. Transfer to an oiled gratin dish; top with caraway seeds and black pepper; add a bit of stock; bake at 175 for an hour.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday: Lamb and beet stew, root vegetable gratin

Yesterday I left work a bit early and ended up having something like a big cooking afternoon. The goal was to use up a bunch of root vegetables from the biokiste: beets, celery root, parsnips (or parsley root... it's hard to tell sometimes), and carrots. The celery root suggested a gratin, but I couldn't see the beets working there. The first thought with beets has to be to make a rösti, but that somehow didn't appeal (unusually). But that got me thinking about beets and rosemary; and then I thought of a stew (borscht!); and that led to lamb stew. I don't think I've had lamb and beets before, but they each go well with rosemary so I went with the "friend of a friend is also a friend" principle and tried a lamb and beet stew.

For the stew: Lightly caramelize a couple of 1cm diced beets in a bit of clarified butter, set aside. In a separate pan brown 500g seasoned lamb stew meat in batches in olive oil.  Remove the lamb from the pan and add two chopped onions, three minced garlic cloves, a diced carrot, a finely chopped half stalk of celery, and a good pinch of salt. Cook till nicely aromatic. Deglaze with some red wine (syrah please). Add the lamb and beets, a couple bay leaves, the leaves from a couple sprigs of rosemary, a good grind of black pepper, another cup of red wine and enough water to just about cover the lamb. Bring to a simmer and let cook, partially covered, until the lamb is tender. Thicken before serving with a bit of potato starch and adjust seasonings. Serve sprinkled with some minced fresh rosemary.

The gratin: slice (with the ceramic slicer) one celery root, one large yellow carrot, one large orange carrot, two thick parsnips. Layer into a buttered gratin dish: celery, yellow carrot, parsnip, orange carrot, celery. In a small pot, heat together 2dl cream with 2dl milk and a generous shake of veggie bouillon. Pour over the gratin, grind over some black pepper, top with foil, and bake for 30min at 180C. Remove the foil, top with grated gruyere, and bake for another 30 minutes.
Both dishes were really, really good.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday Dessert: Baked mango with rum and brown sugar

I picked up a couple mangos on sale at the Coop on Saturday, then yesterday morning I discovered Avec Eric and came across his recipe for mango caramelized with rum. It was a sign! I used the normal oven since we don't really have a toaster oven, but I think that was ok. :-)

Sunday: pumpkin souffle, ham with apricot-chestnut sauce

While making the soup for Thanksgiving I realized that the pumpkin (potimarron, knirps, hokkaido) was so good that I ought to do more with it before the season is over. The first thing that popped to mind was some kind of savory custard; the details weren't clear, but the basics seemed solid. These preparations were all derailed when, while looking around for recipes to get base proportions for the custard, I came across a pumpkin soufflé recipe in Le Menu. That was something that absolutely needed to be made. I did a few modifications based on what was in the fridge.

Cook 600g diced pumpkin gently with some butter and a splash of white wine until it is tender. Run through a food mill and let cool some. Brown some finely diced ham, toss in a minced shallot and let soften. Mix into the pumpkin mass. Grate in 50g hard cheese (I used Bundner Bergkäse), add a good pinch of herbs de provence, some white pepper, and salt. Adjust seasonings. Stir in 5 egg yolks and 3 Tbs flour. Beat the 5 egg whites with a pinch of salt and tsp of baking powder until they hold soft peaks. Fold into the pumpkin mass. Transfer to a buttered baking dish and bake at 180C for 40-50 minutes. The soufflé didn't get massive lift, but it still turned out airy and very good.

To go with the soufflé and help use up the ham, I did pan-seared ham steaks topped with a sauce made from apricot jam, whiskey, stock (should have used water), strips of dried apricot, and roasted chestnuts (broken into pieces). Good stuff.

Of course we had a green salad with this.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saturday: Kale, and a fennel gratin

This week's biokiste had the first kale of the season. yay! Kale!

I did the simple thing: chop the kale small, cook it with some rapeseed oil over high heat with a couple crushed cloves of garlic until the kale darkens. Add some diced ham, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and a splash of stock. Cover and simmer until it's ready.

To go along with the kale I did a baked fennel dish: shave a couple fennel bulbs on the ceramic slicer and toss in a gratin dish with a couple shaved yellow carrots, crushed fennel seed, orange zest, and olive oil. Add a bit of stock, cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes at 170C. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.

With these two very good dishes we had some a big green salad.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday: Wirsingpfanne

Another garbage (a.k.a. "let's use up stuff in the fridge") creation.

Start some diced onion, chopped garlic, and a small amount of minced bacon in olive oil. Add wirsing cut into chiffonade and cook until it starts to soften. Add white wine, turkey stock, leftover tomato salsa (with lovage and piquillos), cover and simmer until the wirsing is ready. Add some garbanzo beans and let them heat through. Adjust seasonings and serve over toasted rounds of stale baguette.

With this, which was great, we had the requisite green salad.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday: Risotto with Radicchio

I needed something to break up the "Thanksgiving" leftovers. We're starting to get the various winter cabbages in quantity in the biokiste now, so we had some radicchio on hand. From there to risotto was a small step.

I didn't do anything fancy, just butter, onion, garlic, a bit of diced bacon, radicchio, carnaroli rice, white wine, and chicken stock. I finished it with some parmesan and grated a bit of belper knolle over before serving.

Very nice!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Cooking for Thanksgiving : Part 2

The second day of cooking saw:

  1. A pecan and apple tart following a recipe from Florence Fabricant.
  2. Stuffing
  3. Mashed potatoes
  4. Roasted sweet potatoes; normally I do these mashed as well, but it seemed better to have them roasted this year
  5. The turkey
  6. Gravy
  7. and, of course, a green salad

Our guests also brought desserts, so we ended up with a dessert spread of epic proportions.