Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday: radicchio-bread casserole

A somewhat random idea to use up some leftover bread and the last of the radicchio from the box.

Cut some stale bread into 2cm dice. Toss the cubes with stock (I had turkey stock), chopped radicchio, a can of tomatoes (chopped), a thinly sliced leek, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper. Transfer to an olive-oiled baking dish, top with mozzarella cheese, cover with foil, and bake at 175 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes or until the top is nicely brown and bubbly.

To go with this quite nice dish I cooked diced acorn squash in butter (covered) until it was tender, then served that with white pepper and raclette spices. This was like a savory buttery dessert. :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday: Kale and sausage

This week's box had the first kale (grünkohl) of the year. woo hoo!

To prepare it was quite simple: remove the tough stems and chop the leaves finely. Saute them in a really hot pan until they wilt considerably. Add sliced leeks and cook another few minutes over high heat. Add a bit of stock, some diced and steamed firm-cooking potatoes, and some sliced smoked sausage, cover, and simmer until the kale is ready to eat, 20-30 minutes.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday: baked radicchio, white beans

We had a couple heads of radicchio in the fridge that needed to be used. The obvious thing to do was risotto, but that wouldn't have made a big enough dent, so I used up a whole head by baking it with olive oil (method from Hazan).

To counter (or at least compliment) the bitterness of the raddicchio, I gently cooked some white beans in their own liquid along with a clove and a bay leaf. These I served with a drizzle of olive oil.

We also had some ebly (cooked plain) and a big green salad.

Monday, December 07, 2009

This year's thanksgiving spread

We had a smaller group this year so the preparations somehow seemed easier (which doesn't make much sense at all).

This year's spread:

  • roasted turkey
  • stuffing (bread, leeks, mushrooms, carrots, celery, thyme, celery, sage, roasted-chicken stock)
  • mashed potatoes
  • sweet potatoes (cooked in their own liquid in the pan, a la Cooks Illustrated).
  • green beans (roasted a la Cooks Illustrated then topped with shaved almonds to reheat)
  • green salad (nüssli, cranberries, walnuts)
  • chopped salad (raddicchio, spitzkohl, carrots, minced onion, cress)
  • bread
  • pumpkin soup with chestnuts
  • a chocolate and pecan cake brought by guests
For the appetizers:
  • the usual spiced almonds
  • a few varieties of olives
  • beets: baked in foil then peeled, diced, and tossed with chopped walnut, rosemary, rapeseed oil, balsamico, salt, and white pepper.
  • salami and möstbrockli.
way too much was eaten. :-)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Saturday: baked chicken and sauerkraut

A simple one in the midst of the preparations for this year's belated thanksgiving celebration: put sauerkraut (pre-spiced from the biokiste) in an oiled baking dish. Top with chicken leg quarters, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and raclette spices. Bake at 180C until the chicken is done.

Hard to get much simpler than that. :-)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thursday: curry chicken gipfeli, savoy cabbage gratin

Two recipes from this month's Le Menu that I followed without too much variation. Combined with a green salad this was a nice meal.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Monday: millet-vegetable gratin

Another recipe from Wiener. I stuck to the recipe. For vegetables I used 200g celery root, 200g beet, and 100g carrot. One change to try next time: mix the sauce with the millet and vegetables first, then transfer to the gratin dish and top with the cheese.

As an accompaniment I dressed some sauerkraut (from the market, not from the biokiste) with leftover lemogrette from Sunday.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sunday: Monkfish and salad

A simple one after a day of walking in the mountains: I did a chopped salad with spitzkohl, grated carrot, long green pepper, and minced onion dressed with lemogrette (lemon-juice vinaigrette) with ground coriander and garlic paste. For the fish: cut monkfish fillets into medallions, season them with salt, pepper, and piment d'espelette, pan roast the medallions, serve on top of the salad drizzled with bit of the lemogrette.

We enjoyed this with some good bread.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday: baked beans

Baked beans and pork inspired by an old Bittman recipe in the NYT.

Aside from dramatically reducing amount of pork (500g instead of 3lbs), I didn't mess around with the recipe too much.

With vegetable soup as a starter and a big green salad, this was a meal. A very good meal. :-)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday: vegetable soup and leftovers

Another soup idea from Wiener, mixed vegetable soup: celery root, carrot, potato, leek, and onion. Everything diced, sweated for a bit in butter, and then cooked in chicken bouillon for about 20 minutes. At the end I coarsely pureed the soup since we prefer that texture. Finished with salt, and white and black pepper. Nice and heavy on the vegetables.

To fill out the meal we had leftovers of the ham and knödel (freshly made from leftover batter) from Wednesday. And the required green salad.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday: baked ham with knoedel

Last night's main course was determined by the nice looking little ham (Nusschinken) that I picked up on sale. This I glazed with a mixture of apricot jam, bourbon, and hot paprika and baked at 160C, add water and basting occasionally, until the internal temp was 65C.

After my ignominious defeat last time, I needed to go back and try making knödel again. This time I strived for a "stickier" texture than last time. The results were good: the knödel were nicely firm and neither disintegrated nor became soggy when I boiled them.

As a vegetable side I cooked diced butternut squash in a bit of butter. Just before serving I added white pepper and salt.

The knödel would benefit from being made with a lighter bread, but they still tasted good. The ham was really, really nice.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tuesday: Sauerkraut

We got the first sauerkraut of the season in last week's biokiste. Yay sauerkraut!

I stuck to the basics: brown some smoked bacon cut into lardons; add rinsed sauerkraut along with a bay leaf (the 'kraut already has caraway and juniper), some white wine, veggie bouillon, and a couple of smoked sausages; let simmer, covered, until the sausages are ready to go and the 'kraut is just tender.

We accompanied this with the last of the chopped salad from Monday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday: Roesti, pork chop on chopped salad

The prime motivator here was to have rösti. The pork chop was an improv to fit this.

The rösti was the absolutely simple version: grated Agria potatoes (well wrung out, of course) cooked with some salt in clarified butter. Sooooo good.

The chopped salad: combine chopped spitzkohl (no idea what this cabbage variety is called in English) and radicchio with grated carrot and minced onion. Dress with a combination of ketchup, mayo, mustard, rapeseed oil, white balsamico, sugar, salt, and pepper. Let stand 10-15 minutes after dressing it.

The pork chops: season the chops with salt, black pepper, ground cumin, and piment d'esplette. Pan roast them in a cast iron skillet. Serve on top of the chopped salad.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday simplicity

After another week of travel I again wanted simplicity and vegetables, this improv fit the bill.

Peel a butternut squash and cut it into 1-2cm chunks, toss with some salt and olive oil and then bake at 190C until they are lightly caramelized and ready to eat.

Meanwhile cook diced onion, long green pepper, and yellow carrot together with chopped garlic and some piri piri chilis in olive oil until the carrot softens a bit. Add a can of tomatoes, a pinch of saffron and freshly ground fennel seed and allspice, and some black pepper. Simmer until the tomatoes break down and the carrots are softened, then pick out the chilis and coarsely puree with the stick blender.

To serve: Make a pile of brown rice, add a layer of grated alp cheese, add a layer of sauce, top with the squash.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday: pea soup, napa and couscous gratin

For the soup: combine in the pressure cooker one cup picked-over and rinsed yellow split peas, 5 cups water, 2 chopped carrots (one yellow and one orange), 1 chopped onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, half a chicken bouillon cube, and a good pinch of herbs de provence. Seal up, and cook for 12 minutes after it starts to hiss. Open the pressure cooker, puree the soup, add some sliced wienerli and another pinch of herbs de provence, and simmer for a few minutes before serving.

The napa and couscous gratin is a recipe from Wiener, and it's a really good one... no big surprise there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday: vegetables with pasta

After four days at a course, I was craving vegetables. That's an easy one to satisfy, particularly on Thursdays.

Heat some olive oil in a pan with a couple piri-piri peppers. Add a couple mostly crushed cloves of garlic, diced onion, and diced carrot and cook a couple minutes. Add some chopped cauliflower and salt and cook, stirring very occasionally so that cauliflower takes on some color, until the cauliflower is ready to eat. Stir in some whole wheat penne, adjust seasonings, and serve topped with grated cheese and chopped parsley.

Together with a big green salad, this was just what I was looking for.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday: Escarole with black-eyed peas

When in doubt about what to do with the big head of escarole in the fridge... go for beans and greens.

After soaking some black-eyed peas for a while, simmer them in the minimal amount of water with onion, garlic, bay leaf, diced bacon, and some chicken bouillon. When the beans are tender, add some diced salami, olive oil, and chopped escarole. Cook until the escarole is tender, then serve with some extra olive oil. mmmm

As a side I did glazed turnips following a recipe from AFK: cut turnips into 1/2cm thick matchsticks, steam until they start to get tender. Transfer to a pan with a bit of butter, salt, some sugar, and a splash of water. Simmer uncovered until the liquid is mostly absorbed/evaporated and the turnips are tender.

Of course we also did a green salad.

Saturday: pumpkin soup, braised veal, failed knoedel

The soup: pumpkin, carrots, onion, potato, ginger, butter, curry powder.

The veal: brown cubed veal well, set aside; cook minced onion, a couple halved garlic cloves, ginger cut into discs until aromatic; sprinkle over some flour and cook a couple minutes longer; add water and make sure to get the brown bits off the bottom of the pan; add back the veal along with half a vanilla bean and a couple sprigs of thyme; simmer until the veal is tender. Finish the sauce with a bit of tomato paste to add body.

The knödel I made from a recipe in Wiener, but I got the consistency of the dough badly wrong, so they fell apart while cooking. Very sad stuff; I'll have to try again soon.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday: lamb chops and roesti

After the less than 100% successful rösti on Tuesday, I needed to do one correctly. This was my standard potato version: grate the potatoes, wring them out well, cook in peanut oil until nicely crispy, season while cooking. Verrrrry nice.

As a protein course I cooked some nice little lambchops unadorned in the grill pan. We ate them with a vinaigrette made from balsamico, olive oil, rosemary, and garlic.

Of course we had a green salad as well.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thursday: baked chicken, braised cabbage, caramelized carrots

For the chicken: rub chicken leg quarters with olive oil, season them well with salt, pepper, raclette spices, and piment d'esplette. Bake at 180C until the chicken is done and the skin is crispy.

The cabbage: Cook some sliced leek in olive oil, add thinly sliced savoy cabbage and salt. Wilt the cabbage for a few minutes, add white wine, caraway, and crushed juniper berries. Braise until the cabbage is tender.

The carrots: cut carrots into chunks, saute in butter until they shrivel a bit and take on some color, add cream and salt. Simmer until the cream is mostly absorbed. Season with white pepper and serve.

The cabbage would have been better with some stock instead of wine; savoy doesn't need the acidity.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wednesday: Fondue

First fondue of the year!

We picked the cheese mixture up at the local cheese shop and combined the cheese (330g) with 100ml white wine, one clove of garlic, 1/2Tbs potato starch, nutmeg, and 1 shot kirsch. We ate it with baguette, a green salad, and a pot of peppermint tea.

mmm, good stuff

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday: a pair of roesti

Last night was simple: I did the first beet rösti of the year along with a small potato rösti (with bacon on the side). Other than learning that there's a not-so-nonstick-spot in the middle of my usual rösti pan, this turned out well.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Monday: pasta with spinach

Another adapted Wiener recipe: Wilt some cleaned and stemmed spinach in the microwave; drain and chop it. Meanwhile saute minced garlic in olive oil until it takes on a bit of color, add equal proportions of cream and milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Add some grated cheese (I used a reasonably sharp raw-milk alp cheese) and stir to integrate it. Add the spinach and heat through. Just before serving stir in chopped basil and parsley, grate in some nutmeg, and adjust salt. Serve over tagliatelle.

The cheese and cream here really bring out the flavor of the spinach and make for a very nice dish.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Saturday's mix

Two more dishes from Wiener: a salad with beets, apples, and walnuts and celery-root schnitzel with herb-yogurt sauce.

The salad, a version of Autumn in a bowl: steam some small beets, peel them, halve them, cut them into slices. Peel an apple with good acidity, quarter it, core it, cut into slices. Coarsely chop some walnuts. Combine the beets, apple, and walnuts with a dressing made from minced garlic, parsley, sharp mustard, crushed caraway, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, balsamico, lemon juice, and olive oil. Let everything marinate for a while.

The celery root: Make a sauce from yogurt, sour cream, chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, basil), salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Let stand. Peel a celery root and cook in boiling water until about tender. Slice into 1/2cm thick slices. Bread with flour-egg-breadcrumbs, then cook the slices in olive oil. Serve with the yogurt sauce. The trick here is to make sure the celery cooks long enough to get almost creamy.

We also had a big green salad.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday: boiled beef hash

A dish to make productive use of the piece of beef I used to make broth.

Cook some diced onion with chopped garlic in rape-seed oil over medium high heat until the onion starts to soften. Add diced potato and cook until the potatoes are about done. Add diced leftover beef and let it heat through. Serve with ketchup and chipotle hot sauce.

mmmmmm, comfort food.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday: beef broth with Flaedli

There are a few recipes in Wiener for beef broth with various egg-based additions, and they all sound good. One has to start somewhere, so I did the version with crepes (Flädli here).

For the broth: 500g beef (siedfleisch), one leek, one carrot, one onion (with peel), half a celery root, a bit of cabbage, one bay leaf, a few peppercorns, 1.5l water. Bring to a gentle simmer and let cook, uncovered, 2 hours. Strain, let cool overnight, remove the fat layer, strain through cheesecloth, reheat and adjust salt.

For the crepes: 2 eggs, 250ml milk, 100g flour, 1/2 package chives (cut into 1/2 cm lengths), a big pinch of salt. Cook the crepes with clarified butter and then let them cool.

To serve: put some very finely diced (brunoise) carrot and pfaelzer in the bowls, heat the bowls, roll the crepes and slice them crosswise into threads (chiffonade), finally add the broth.

We ate this quite good soup with some roasted cauliflower and escarole with creme fraiche.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday: lentils with pasta

Inspired by a recipe in Wiener and the leftover lentils in the fridge.

Nothing remotely fancy here: I heated up the leftover lentils, added some finely diced salami, and served the resulting mixture over pasta. Nice stuff.

As a side I did an escarole recipe from AFK: cook pieces of escarole in salted water until they're tender, drain well, combine with salt, butter, and creme fraiche and then serve.

A good argument for cookbooks: I'm not sure if I ever would have come to the idea of combining lentils with pasta.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday: Zwiebelkuchen

Almost let Zwielbelkuchen season slip by without make one... but not quite.

This time I followed Andrea's old recipe. I did the crust per the recipe and varied the toppings ratio a bit: 750g onions, 3.6dl sour cream, 2 eggs, ~150g bacon (rendered a bit before being added).

The result was quite good, quite good indeed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday: lots of stuff

Yesterday was an active one in the kitchen.

Pumpkin soup: sweat some onion, carrot, and garlic for a bit in butter. Add diced pumpkin, salt, and water to cover. Simmer until the pumpkin is done then puree. Add nutmeg and white pepper and taste for salt. Serve topped with chives and a bit of raclette spice.

Lentils: Cook a sliced leek in olive oil with some diced carrot until the leek lightly caramelizes. Add green lentils, a bay leaf, some herbs de provence, a bouquet garni with parsley, thyme, and rosemary, a splash of white wine, and water to cover. Cover and simmer until the lentils are tender. Serve topped with olive oil.

Slow-baked pork roast with a sage-apple sauce: Brown a nice pork loin roast well on all sides in clarified butter in the cast iron skillet. Wipe out the excess fat, season the roast well, add some good apple juice and a couple of sage leaves to the skillet, and let reduce for a couple of minutes. Insert a thermometer, transfer the skillet to an 80C oven, and cook until the internal temp is 65C. Leave the pork roast on a plate in the oven. Add more juice to the pan drippings (after fishing out the sage leaves) and reduce by about half, mount the sauce with butter, and adjust salt. Slice the pork and serve topped with the sauce.

Friday: beans and greens; chicken with sherry

A clear choice for using the big head of escarole from last week's biokiste.

I started by making some soisson beans in the pressure cooker: the washed beans went in with chopped onion and garlic, a couple bay leaves, and sufficient water. These cooked for 30 minutes, then I opened the pressure cooker and added some chicken bouillon.

For the greens: cook chopped onion, garlic, and diced carrot in olive oil until the carrots start to soften. Tear escarole into pieces and add to the pan. Cook until the escarole is ready to eat. Top with beans, some of the bean liquid, piment d'esplette, and some roasted almonds.

To go with this I did a quick spanish-influenced chicken dish: Brown a couple of chicken thighs and legs well, season, and set aside. Add slivered garlic and some chopped onion to the pan, cook until the onion browns a bit. Deglaze the pan with sherry; let the sherry boil for a minute, then add back the chicken, cover, and let simmer until the chicken is ready to eat.

Of course we also had a big green salad.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday: Tortellini

We still have some pumpkin tortellini in the freezer so when I didn't feel like doing much in the way of cooking and the cupboard was bare, we were still set. :-)

To serve with the tortellini I did a quick tomato sauce by sweating some onions and garlic in olive oil for a bit, adding canned tomatoes and simmering for 10 minutes. After pureeing with the stick blender this was ready to serve.

To go with it we had a big green salad.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday: crepes with spinach

Simple weeknight dish: sweat some chopped onion and garlic together in some neutral oil; add diced long green pepper and cook for a couple minutes; add spinach (torn into pieces), a good pinch of salt, and some fresh thyme. Cook until the spinach is ready to eat. Stir in some good cottage cheese.

Serve with crepes and sliced ham. oh, and a big green salad.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday: red cabbage and sausage

ah, the winter vegetables are coming...

Slice a couple of raw bratwurst 1cm thick; brown the pieces on both sides. Add sliced leek and diced carrot to the pan and cook a couple of minutes. Add thinly (but not very thinly) sliced red cabbage, a diced apple, caraway seeds, some salt, fresh thyme, and a grind of pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is ready to eat. Quite simple, quite good.

We ate this with the usual green salad.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday: pork and black beans

For this I started from a Bittman recipe for black beans with orange.

First I simmered some cubed (4-5cm) pork shoulder and bacon with cloves, bay leaves, and peppercorns until the pork was just about tender. I fished out the meat and set it aside. The liquid, along with orange zest, some fresh cloves, and bay leaf, became the cooking liquid for the pre-soaked black beans. To finish I browned the pork a bit, cooked onion, garlic, carrot, and long-green pepper in neutral oil, added beans, OJ, and some of the bean liquid.

We ate this with parboiled rice and a big green salad.

mmm, pork and beans. :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nanorestaurant Review: Zur Saege (Flueh) revisited

This was our second visit and once again it gets two very big smiley faces.

The only minor disappointment was that game didn't play a bigger role on the menu (only there in the amuse bouche), but what was on the menu was so good that we weren't too sad. :-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday: Coconut schnitzel

A random idea spurred by the limes in the fridge and a bag of coconut in the pantry.

Season some sliced (1cm) pork; squeeze over lime juice and let stand 15 minutes. Mix grated coconut with some hot paprika; "bread" the pork using the flour->egg->coconut technique; ;et stand on a rack for 10 minutes or so then saute at medium heat (don't burn the coconut).

I also served steamed potato wedges with herb-quark (parsley, chervil, salt, pepper, quark) and green beans sauteed in butter. Good stuff, very good stuff.

Oh, and the green salad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday: Pasta and vegetables

To complement the soup I did another take on pasta with vegetables: cook finely diced onion and carrot with some chopped garlic in a bit of butter for a few minutes; add some chopped broccoli (including stems); cover and cook for about 10 minutes; add light cream, strips of air-dried ham, rosemary, and oregano; cook another 5 minutes or so, until the broccoli is ready to eat. Serve over buttered spaghetti.

Together with a nussli salad, this was a very nice meal.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday: pureed vegetable soup

A simple one to help get through the veggies: Combine cauliflower, carrot, kohlrabi, and onion (all cut into pieces) in a pot. Add enough water to cover, some chicken bouillon, and herbs de provence. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are just soft enough to mash with a potato masher. Mash them, then puree with a stick blender. Add milk, heat gently, serve with curry powder on the side.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday: Bi Bim Bap

Well, something like bi bim bap at least...

Marinate some sliced beef (1/2 cm slices) with ginger, soy sauce, and garlic. Kill some thinly sliced red onion with salt, mirin, and white wine vinegar. Do a quick pickle from julienned carrot and kohrabi with salt, mirin, and white wine vinegar. Cook some spinach in a pan, drain it, chop it very coarsely, then put back in the pan, toss with soy sauce and some sesame oil and keep warm. Make a pot of short-grain rice. In a separate pot put a thin layer of oil (peanut+sesame), put over medium-high heat, pack in the cooked rice, and let cook covered for 10 minutes to form a crust. For the last five minutes add an egg (in a ring-mold so that it doesn't contaminate Andrea's portion!) to the top. Meanwhile cook the beef in a grill pan. Serve the rice topped with sliced kimchi, the onions and pickles, beef, and spinach. Drizzle with sesame oil and some soy sauce.

This could have had a better crust on the rice, but it was still very very good.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday: Spaetzlipfanne

Very much a cuisine de kuhlschrank dish: slice some bratwurst and brown the slices nicely, set aside; add a bit of neutral oil to the pan and cook diced onion, thickly sliced leek, and diced long green pepper until the pepper is soft and then set the veggies aside; add a bit more oil to the pan and then brown some spaetzle; add the sausage, vegetables, some steamed broccoli, and some sliced oven-dried tomatoes; heat through and then serve.

I should have done something with the broccoli other than just steaming it, but this was otherwise pretty good.

We also had a big green salad.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tuesday: pasta with oven-dried tomatoes and truffle salami

At the market this week I picked up a truffle salami from Piemont that is amazingly good. This dish was an improv to use some of that.

Start by cooking some small diced carrot and long green peppers in olive oil. When the peppers are starting to soften add diced salami, thick slices of oven-dried tomatoes, and some of the leeks cooked with the tomatoes. Stir gently together and leave on the heat long enough for the tomatoes and salami to warm through. Serve on top of whole wheat penne.

As sides we had spinach cooked with diced smoked pork loin and spaghetti squash steamed, "spaghettied", and tossed with butter.

Oh, and a green salad.

What a meal.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sunday Indian

It's been too long since I did anything South Indian...

Last night I did two dishes from Dakshin: Pepper Sambar and Green Bean Poriyal. Aside from the green beans, this didn't do so much to work through the masses of vegetables in the fridge, but it was awfully good. :-)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Saturday miscellany

A couple of additional things from yesterday:

  1. I oven-dried the plum tomatoes from this week's biokiste by cutting them in half, putting them in a baking dish with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and thick leek slices, and baking at 125C until the tomatoes had shriveled.
  2. I started a batch of kimchi based on a recipe in Quick Pickles using the giant head of napa cabbage from the biokiste. The first step (salting the cabbage) is taking longer than the 2-3 hours suggested in the recipe (at 15 hours now and there's still a ways to go), but that's no tragedy.

Saturday dessert: apple pudding with caramelized apples

A recipe from this month's Le Menu that just sounded fantastic.

The pudding:
Combine 5dl apple juice with 1Tbs corn starch, 80g sugar, one egg, and one egg yolk. Bring to just under the boil then remove from the heat. Stir in 6 sheets softened gelatine and the juice of half a lemon. Strain into another bowl. Let cool for a bit, stirring occasionally, and then put in the fridge until it starts to set up. Whip 2dl of cream and gently stir that in along with a egg white that's been whipped to peaks. Strain into a serving bowl and put in the fridge to set up.

The apples:
Caramelize 100g of sugar; dissolve this in 1dl apple juice; cook thickly-sliced apples in this until they are serving-soft; reduce the liquid to a syrup.

Serve the pudding topped with apples and drizzled with the caramel syrup.

I didn't leave the pudding base in the fridge long enough, so the egg whites and cream separated out and we ended up with a layered pudding; still very tasty but not as attractive. Or maybe it was supposed to be this way since it's supposed to be allowed to set up in individual serving bowls? The non-lightened base was quite good, it's worth thinking about trying a more standard pudding without the "lighteners" though.

Saturday: vegetable soup

Friday afternoon I made a pot of chicken stock, this put it to good use.

Bring the stock to a simmer with some brown rice, a couple stripped corn cobs (idea from Ruhlman), and herbs de Provence. After an hour or so take out the cobs and add sliced leeks, some greens (batavia with the leaves cut into pieces), and the corn (this wasn't the most tender corn, so it needed a while in the pot). After 30 minutes or so add grated kohlrabi and carrot. Let cook another 10 or so minutes, add a splash of white wine, then serve.

Together with some good bread and a green salad, this made for a nice dinner.

Saturday lunch: burgers

This was planned for dinner, but Andrea pointed out that it would mean quite an early dinner since it's getting dark so soon. So burgers on the grill for lunch!

I did my usual minimalist burgers: beef and salt, but this time I melted a bit of cheddar over the burgers at the end. To go with them I grilled a long green pepper and some red onion and toasted the buns on the grill. We ate these with salad and pickles (including garden pickles).

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Friday: chicken, corn, morel ragout

Inspired by the corn in the biokiste along with memories of an appetizer we had at Zur Säge.

Soak some dried morels in chicken stock. Halve or quarter the softened mushrooms. Combine the (strained) soaking liquid with some more chicken stock and reduce it strongly.
Cut the kernels from a cob of corn and cook them for a few minutes in butter, until they are about ready to eat. Reserve. Add a bit more butter to the pan and cook some thinly sliced leek and very finely diced carrot until the leek softens. Sprinkle over a bit of flour and cook another minute or so. Stir in some white wine and let it reduce substantially. Stir in the corn, morels, and reduced stock along with a bit of light cream (halbrahm). Let this simmer very gently over low heat.
In a separate pan brown some chicken breast (cut into bite-size chunks) in clarified butter. Season well during the browning. As the chicken finishes transfer it to the corn-morel mixture. Deglaze the browning pan with some more white wine, reduce that to a very small amount, and add to the main pan. Taste for salt and add a bit more cream if needed. Serve with good bread.

This turned out really nicely.

As a vegetable side: cook spinach with a bit of olive oil, remove from the pan and chop. Add diced long green pepper to the pan and cook until it softens a bit. Add back the spinach and taste for salt.

We also had a green salad (the first nussli of the year).

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wednesday: Pumpkin, greens, and pasta

Inspired by this week's "Weeknight Kitchen", but adapted to help use up the ton of vegetables we have in the fridge.

Dice (2-3cm) and roast some pumpkin (not clear the type, we got a piece in the biokiste) with some olive oil at 200C until it softens. Meanwhile brown some diced smoked pork loin quickly in some olive oil and set aside. In the same pan cook diced onion, carrot, green pepper, and chopped garlic with some piri piris and salt until the vegetables start to soften. Add some batavia (lettuce) that's been ripped into pieces along with a couple sprigs of thyme, a sprig of oregano, and a splash of white wine and cook until the lettuce is ready to eat. Add the pork and pumpkin along with some orecchiete (not too much, the point is the vegetables!). Serve topped with fresh parsley and grated parmesan.

Good stuff and very helpful with the using up the veggies thing. :-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday: Pork and beans

Ah comfort food: saute garlic in olive oil until it starts to brown, add diced onion and cook until it softens. Add soisson beans, cloves, sweet paprika, bay leaf, a pinch each of cinnamon and ginger, and chicken bouillon. Simmer a while. Add a couple Jura bergwursts (from Coop) and simmer. A couple minutes before serving add a couple slices of smoked pork loin. Serve over brown rice with parsley and hot sauce.

We also did a green salad.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday: Spaghetti with ground beef and pears

Happy that it's once again pear season, the pasta with ground beef and pears recipe seemed like a good way to celebrate. I've made this twice before now and each time left out the optional curry paste component. This time I tried adding a teaspoon of green curry paste to the mix for the last couple minutes of cooking before adding the liquid. It works quite nicely.

To go with the pasta I sauteed zucchini slices with rosemary and onions.

We also had a big green salad.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday spanish

When flipping through La Cucina de Mama I found an interesting recipe for chicken braised in a mixture of white wine and white grape juice. Two hours later I found white grape juice available as a seasonal specialty at the Coop. The message couldn't have been clearer.

Cut a small chicken into serving pieces (third the breasts and halve the thighs). Saute in olive oil until nicely browned. Add a slivered onion and cook until the onion softens. Add 100ml white grape juice and 150ml white wine along with a couple Tbs chopped cilantro and a big pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve topped with more chopped 'tro.

We ate this with leftover rice and beans from Wednesday and some baguette.

As a vegetable side I made a salad using Schnibbelbohnen: rinse the beans and then boil them until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine with diced cooked potato and a dressing made from minced onion, white balsamico, rapeseed oil, prepared mustard, and cream (halbrahm). Salt to taste.

Excellent, excellent food.

Saturday: garden pickles

Driven by the fact that I found some nice-looking bell peppers on sale at Coop.

I used the "Italian Garden Pickles" recipe from Quick Pickles, using a bit less sugar than it called for; thyme, rosemary, oregano, and tarragon as the fresh herbs; bell pepper, onion, and cucumber as the vegetables.

Now it's time to wait.

[Update: 28 Sept: verrrry nice]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday: Beans and rice

Not exactly sure where the idea came from, but I somehow ended up in the mood for beans and rice. Luckily we had some dried cannellini beans in the house.

Cook soaked white beans in the minimum amount of water possible (just to cover) with smoked bacon (cut into lardons), onion, bay leaf, rosemary, parsley, and a clove until the beans are tender. Add salt to taste.

For the rice I used the baked rice recipe from La Cucina de Mama.

Together with a green salad this was some very good food. The clove in the beans is a really nice touch.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday: Pumpkin tortellini

I still had half of a roasted potimarron (hokkaido) squash to use and somehow pasta seemed the perfect thing. Andrea was willing to do the assembling again, so we had made tortellini.

Once again this was an all Hazan show: her standard pasta recipe (three eggs worth), and the filling was derived from her sweet potato based recipe.

For the filling: run the roasted pumpkin through the food mill, mix in an egg yolk, finely chopped parsley, grated parmesan, finely chopped dry-smoked ham (Landrauchschinken), and nutmeg. Add salt if needed.

We ate the tortellini with brown butter and sage. It's fantastic stuff.

This of course made more than one meal, so there are tortellinis in the freezer for some happy coming days.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday: Stuffed eggplant

Inspiration from a cooking show I caught a bit of while we were in Romania.

Poke a couple holes through the skin of an eggplant so that it doesn't burst. Toss it under the broiler for a while on each side until the skin is ready to come off. Let cool a bit, peel, cut in half, scoop out the insides, and dice it fine.

Make the filling: Brown some ground pork with a couple pinches of salt and then set aside. Cook some diced onion and minced garlic in olive oil until the onion caramelizes. add thinly sliced green and red bell pepper and the diced eggplant guts and cook another couple minutes. Add back the pork along with a sprinkling of flour and mix well. Add a splash of dry vermouth and cook to reduce it some. Turn off the heat and add chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano). Adjust seasoning.

Fill the eggplant halves, top with crushed crackers (no bread crumbs in the house), and bake at 200C for about 20 minutes. Serve with basmati rice.

I had also picked up a hokkaido (potimarron) squash. This I cut in half, scooped out the guts, and baked at 175C until it was tender. After cooling for a bit I peeled half the squash, mashed it up with olive oil, salt, and raclette spices. This we served topped with chives and black pepper.

Very good food.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wednesday: Canned beef hash

On their last visit, Andrea's parents brought us a can of beef (long story). Using it to make a hash seemed to be the obvious thing.

Dice some potatoes small (5mm or so) and cook them for 5 or so minutes with the minimal amount of oil to keep them from sticking. Add diced onion and minced garlic and cook until the onions are soft. Add diced canned beef and a diced long green pepper. Just before serving add a bit of the "broth" from the beef to moisten things.

We ate this, which was actually quite nice, with a green salad.

Ok, I can't help myself... It was quite a relief to be able to prepare something like this that's a bit odd and memory-associated for Andrea without making a complete hash out of it. :-)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Monday: Geschnetzeltes with tortilla

A simple one to use more tortillas: marinate some geschnetzelted pork with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, salt, black pepper, and a bit of cayenne for a couple hours. Saute in olive oil and finish with a bit of dry vermouth. Serve with tortillas, a sauce made with sour cream and vermouth (cuisine de kuhlschrank strikes again), and rice.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday: Fried plantains and quesadillas

Found some decent-looking plantains at the Coop, so we did a batch of fried plantains with the requisite chipotle salsa. To go along with this I did some quesadillas (cheese, tomato, onion, served with sour cream and the salsa).

Simple and good.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday: Green bean cannelloni

A recipe from this month's Le Menu

Cook green beans for a couple of minutes in butter with minced garlic and thinly sliced onion. Add a splash of water, a good pinch of salt, and a bunch (tied with kitchen twine) of savory, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the beans are about tender. 
Boil some "no boil" lasagna noodles for a couple of minutes in salted water to soften them, then toss them into cold water.
Make a bechamel sauce with 30g butter, 2 Tbs flour, 4 dl milk, salt, piment d'esplette, and nutmeg.
Form cannelloni by laying a strip of thinly sliced smoked bacon on a noodle, topping that with green beans, then rolling it up. Place the formed cannelloni in a buttered baking dish, pour over the bechamel, top with parmesan, bake for about 20 minutes until the top is nicely browned.

We had this with a big green salad and were very happy about it. I normally find savory to be a bit overwhelming, but the trick of keeping it whole and then fishing the branches out after cooking seems to help. Also green beans and bacon is one of those combinations where it's hard to go too wrong.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday: pasta with pesto

A simple one for a Friday evening: the last of the gazpacho, pasta with pesto, bread, and a big green salad.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday Frikadellen

Another quick one due to the heat: oven-roasted potatoes, frikadellen (beef, pork, lemon zest, salt, pepper, sweet paprika), and a green salad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Miscellany

Andrea's parents were visiting, but I'm not sure what that had to do with my choice of dishes. :-)

Main: cook a couple seasoned turkey schnitzels in the grill pan, set aside. Cook some chopped onion and garlic for a couple minutes in a bit of neutral oil. Add diced summer squash and cook, covered until the squash is just about tender. Stir in a bit of veggie bouillon and some quark (half fat). Cut the turkey into strips and stir that in as well. Cook until the turkey is heated through. Serve over buttered noodles.

Vegetable side: green beans steamed and then cooked with diced bacon and finished with a bit of balsamico.

We also had a nice green salad.

Monday salads

Another day where it was too hot to really cook.

  1. Gazpacho: tomatoes (canned), water, minced onion, minced garlic, long-green pepper, olive oil, salt, piment d'esplette, served with a bit of sherry vinegar
  2. Wurst salat
  3. White bean salad: white beans, ketchup, chipotle tabasco, white balsamico
  4. Cottage cheese with chives and parsley
  5. Smoked cheese
  6. Lettuce
  7. Bread

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday: steak with ebli and vegetable vinaigrette, corn salad

The steak: a pan-roasted rib eye.
The ebli: cooked in salted water, drained, cooled to room temp.
The vinaigrette: finely diced carrot, long green pepper, and dried tomato; minced onion, salt, white balsamico, rape seed oil, parsley. Left to stand for an hour before serving.

The corn salad was inspired by this week's Minimalist, I had missed this corn-balsamic vinegar-tomato-basil thing, so I did that: cut the kernels from the ears of corn, cook for a couple of minutes over high heat with chopped garlic and a bit of neutral oil, transfer to a bowl and add diced tomato, chopped basel, sherry vinegar (no balsamico in the house), and a bit of olive oil. Served in a lettuce cup.

Very good food.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday: salads and corn on the cob

It was a bit hot to do any real cooking, so even though I've been out of the kitchen for a while, it was salads (caprese and a big green salad) and corn on the cob for dinner.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Traveling, no posts

Out of town for a week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nanorestaurant review: Zum Goldenen Stern (Basel)

One smiley face; we were disappointed.

Food: Surprisingly uninspired considering the reputation (and cost) of the place. Kornhaus does better.
Service: very good
Atmosphere: very nice

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday: chicken stir-fried with ketchup; curried green beans

At some point in the last couple of weeks I developed a craving for the Bittman recipe for chicken stir fried with ketchup (from 2004, I should dig the link out). Sunday I satisfied that craving.

To go with the very simple chicken dish I also did a random curry: green beans with yellow curry. First stir fry green beans cut into bite-size lengths for a couple of minutes, mix in some yellow curry paste and cook another couple minutes, add coconut milk and let simmer until the beans are ready to eat.

We ate all this goodness with rice and enjoyed it a lot.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Saturday: beans and sausage

The weather was cool and gray and we had to pass on the mountains, so comfort food was in order.

Cook black eyed peas with garlic, onion, and bay leaf. When they're about done add a saucisson vaudoise and some salt. Simmer until the beans and sausage are done, then serve.

As a vegetable side I cooked diced chard stem with some orange zest, olive oil, and a goodly amount of beef stock. I cooked it uncovered so the stock could reduce.

We also had brown rice and a big green salad.

Really good food for a cool evening.

Saturday lunch: tortilla

Lunch actually involved some cooking:
Thinly slice a couple potatoes (on the ceramic slicer), layer into a pan with some melted butter. Season well and cook one side until it's crisp, then flip and cook the other side until it's close to crisp. Pour over some scrambled eggs, cover, and let cook until the eggs are set.

Served with chipotle tabasco, this was a great lunch.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Thursday : assorted salads

An assortment of salads for a hot day:

  1. Sausage salad: cook a garlic sausage (from Tessin) in the grill pan. In the meantime mince an onion and mix it with a good quantity of prepared mustard, salt, a dash or two of hot sauce, and rapeseed oil. When the sausage is five or so minutes from being done, toss a long green pepper (quartered lengthwise) into the grill pan to soften a bit. Dice the pepper, slice the sausage, and toss them both with the dressing. Stir in some chopped parsley just before serving.
  2. Beets: Dice a couple beets, steam them until crisp-tender, then toss with white balsamico, rapeseed oil, salt, pepper, finely chopped rosemary, and chives.
  3. Chard with cottage cheese: cook chopped chard leaves with salt, onion, and garlic in a bit of olive oil until they are ready to eat. Let cool a bit and then stir in some cottage cheese.
We also had a standard green salad and some good bread.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Tuesday: Baguette with summer vegetables; boiled beef with arugula

Cuisine de Kuhlschrank indeed: 

"Tessiner toast": cook some minced garlic in olive oil with a diced onion. Add zucchini and cook until the zucchini starts to soften. Add diced tomato and cook another couple minutes. Add chopped basil and cook another minute or so. Set aside. 
Cut a piece of oldish (but not hard) baguette in half lengthwise. Toast briefly in the broiler. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Top with vegetables (and liquid). Top with diced mozarella and a grind of black pepper. Throw back under the broiler until the cheese looks good.

Beef with arugula (idea from Hazan). Boil a piece of beef in broth (bouillon, bones, garlic, onion, bay leaf, celery, clove) until tender. Let cool in broth, thinly slice. Serve with lemon wedges, arugula dressed with olive oil, and grated carrot.

Very, very nice eating.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Monday: Green beans and sausage

There were green beans, there were sausages (Landjägers), this is what happened.

Cook some minced garlic in a bit of olive oil with diced onion and thinly sliced sausage. After a few minutes add cumin seeds and almonds. After another five or so minutes add some steamed green beans and salt. Cook until the beans take on a bit of color.

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

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Saturday at the grill

A bit of grilling on a nice, but hot Saturday evening:

  1. Grill bread (the usual recipe; I stuck to it this time except for giving it more time to rise than normal)
  2. Red and yellow peppers, blackened on the grill, peeled, cut into strips, then tossed with olive oil and salt
  3. Pork and lemongrass patties, BittmanWorld recipe.
  4. Ground lamb with rosemary, cooked on skewers
  5. Ground beef with allspice and lemon zest, done as skewers
  6. Ground beef with cumin, coriander, and paprika (both sweet and hot), done as patties with an almond in the middle.
  7. Potato salad
  8. Green salad

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday: frikadellen with lots of vegetables

Inspired by a meatloaf recipe in this month's Le Menu.

Dice some chard stems, then cook them with a bit of olive oil until they start to soften. Mix the chard with some finely diced carrot, minced onion, bread crumbs, eggs, ground meat (pork and beef), salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. Form into patties and pan fry with olive oil.

Serve with a green salad and bread.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wednesday pasta and green bean salad

I found some interesting buckwheat pasta at the Coop which provided the motivation for this dish.

Make a dressing from minced red onion, salt, mustard, white balsamico, and rapeseed oil and let sit for a bit to mellow the onions. Cut green beans into 2-3cm lengths. Steam until crisp-tender. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and rinse with cold water. Toss the dressing with the beans and pasta and serve at room temp.

We ate this with some good bread and the requisite green salad.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monday pseudo succotash

A simple summer vegetable dish:

Cook onions and garlic in olive oil with diced carrot. Add large-diced summer squash, fresh corn, diced ham, and herbs de provence and cook covered for a bit. Add some chopped long green pepper and cook a bit longer. Serve with a good bread and a drizzle of olive oil.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday : egg with corn

Another random thing to accompany the bread soup/salad from Thursday.

Cook some fresh corn kernels in butter for a couple of minutes with salt. Add beaten eggs and cook gently until the eggs are a couple of minutes from done. Stir in some chopped chives then transfer to ramekins, sprinkle with piment d'esplette, and top with grated cheese. Broil until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve with bread.

Really random, but really nice.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday: Bread soup/salad

This came about because I couldn't decide if I should make bread soup with tomatoes or bread salad with tomatoes. So I ended up with too much liquid for the one and not enough for the other. Ah well, we served it in a soup bowl and tossed pieces of lettuce in the bowl as we were eating. It was soup/salad. :-)

Cube old bread. Add vegetable bouillon, finely diced red onion, minced garlic, olive oil, white balsamico, black pepper. Just before serving add chunks of fresh tomato and serve topped with chives.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday: vegetables and eggs

Inspired by a Bittman post and column: the idea is to make a fritatta with a high vegetable to egg ratio.

No problem: cook a finely chopped red onion with a couple cloves of minced garlic in olive oil. Add a grated carrot and a big pinch of salt and cook a while. Add two grated medium-sized zucchinis, some black mustard seeds, chopped dill, more salt, and some nutmeg. Cook until the zucchini is about ready to eat. Stir in four beaten eggs and cook until the eggs are just set. Serve with grated Sbrinz.

Probably would have been better if I'd salted the grated zucchini and let it drain for a bit; still quite nice.

We ate this with a big green salad and some bratkartoffeln.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday : Chicken with lime caramel

Andrea requested Southeast Asian for her birthday dinner, so that's what I did.

After browning some skinned chicken leg quarters in butter I did the usual caramel + fish sauce + lime sauce and then braised the chicken in that along with some chunks of lemon grass. Just before serving I strained the sauce and added a bit of fresh lime.

We ate this with sticky rice.

As a side I steamed some green beans and then quickly stir fried them with chili-bean sauce, soy sauce, and black vinegar. The beans were good but didn't really match with the chicken in terms of flavors.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday: pork geschnetzeltes with tarragon-mustard sauce

A bit of a random one:
Lightly brown geschnetzelted pork in rapeseed oil, season and set aside.
Cook diced onion and carrot in the oil with some minced garlic. When the carrots soften add some flour and cook another minute or so. Add vermouth, water, chopped tarragon, and prepared mustard and mix well. Add back the pork and cook 5-10 minutes. Add a bit of cayenne and adjust seasoning.

We ate this with oven-roasted potatoes and the usual green salad.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday: sesame chicken and stuck-pot rice

This could have gone in a lot of different directions, Spanish is what I chose.

For the chicken: season chicken breast chunks with salt. Coat with sesame seeds. Cook over medium heat in some rapeseed oil (careful not to burn the seeds!). Serve hot on the spicy tomato-saffron sauce.

For the spicy tomato-saffron sauce:
Cook some chopped garlic and small-diced bacon in olive oil until the garlic just starts to color. Add whole cumin seeds and cook another minute or so. Add dry sherry, canned tomatoes + juice, a pinch of saffron, sweet and hot paprika, and black pepper. simmer until the tomatoes start to break down. Puree with a stick blender.

For the rice: Cook basmati rice in copious salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain. Put the pan back over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When the oil is hot, dump the rice back in the pot, top with some canned tomatoes, cover, and let cook a few minutes until it sizzles. Reduce the heat and let cook another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand until ready to serve.

As a vegetable side I cook sliced zucchini with tarragon and butter.

This was some really nice food.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


We're reaching the end of cherry season (it's just sour cherries now) and we needed to get some in jars for the rest of the year.

I started from 3kg of cherries (with pits). Andrea pitted them and I did one smaller batch (maybe 300g of cherries) in the armagnac/syrup left from an earlier batch of sweet cherries in armagnac. The remaining cherries went in a pot with a bit of water and 1 kg of gelierzucker. After this boiled it went into clean jars. 

We probably need to do some more to last the year, but this is at least a good start.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday: Salad salad salad (and pancakes!)

It's been hot, so we've been eating a lot of salad.

Yesterday's was a bean salad (black beans, diced long green pepper, corn, red onion, and a vinaigrette with lime, rapeseed oil, honey, garlic, and hot paprika) along with a big green salad.

As an accompaniment I did a totally random dish of pancakes with herbed quark. The pancakes were made with somewhat coarser flour (bauernmehl) and no leavening. The quark was mixed with minced garlic, dill, tarragon, and chervil.

[Friday addition: another salad from flageolets dressed with chervil, mayo, white balsamico, rapeseed oil, Maggi, and white pepper]

This is really a nice way to eat in the summer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday: sauteed cod and mixed salads

The cod: cut a fillet into serving-size pieces, season, cook over medium-high heat in clarified butter.

The salads:

  1. Potato salad: sliced potatoes, pickles, chives, and a dressing of garlic paste, mayo, whole-grain mustard, white balsamico, rapeseed oil, and Maggi.
  2. Green beans: halved and steamed until crisp-tender. Cooked in a pan with browned lardons, their rendered fat, a bit of additional olive oil, and some red-wine vinegar until ready to eat.
  3. Penne with pesto: the pesto was basil, pine nuts, minced garlic, olive oil, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan
  4. A green salad with carrots and tomatoes
With a bit of good bread this was quite a nice meal.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday : Roesti with spinach

As usual, after a weekend in the mountains the priority was something relatively easy.

For the rösti: grated potatoes (wrung out), grated onion, minced garlic. Seasoned and cooked with clarified butter.

For the spinach: Cook lardons with diced onion, chopped garlic, and a couple piri-piri peppers in olive oil until the bacon starts to brown. Add spinach and cook until the spinach is about done. Season and add a handful of raisins and splash of cider vinegar. Cook another couple of minutes.

With this we also had a green salad.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday: Tomato salad

Just a note: to go with the leftover baked rice we used some colorful tomatoes (a big yellow one, some purple cherry tomatoes, and a orange pear tomato) from this week's biokiste to make an insalata caprese of sorts: tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.

The tomatoes were pretty tasty, so this was actually quite good.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday: Baked rice

Something random:
Cook some basmati rice until it's just short of done. Season it reasonably then put in a olive-oiled pan. Saute some diced onion and carrot in a bit of olive oil. Add ground beef and salt and let the beef start to brown. Add diced zucchini, oregano, dry vermouth, a couple dashes of Maggi (or soy sauce) and a good amount of prepared mustard. Simmer a bit then adjust seasoning. Top the rice with the meat and vegetable mixture. Top with grated gruyere. Bake at 200C for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Serve with the requisite green salad.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wednesday: pasta with sausage and fennel

Inspired by a Bittman idea. I wanted to use sausage from the good Italian butcher, but he was unfortunately out. Damn! I ended up using standard bratwurst.

Poke a couple sausages all over with a fork. Roast in a pan over medium heat until nicely browned. Remove the sausage and add a bit of olive oil to supplement the rendered fat. Add thinly sliced fennel, salt, and orange peel. Slice the sausage and add back to the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring every once in a while, until the fennel is soft and nicely caramelized. Serve over pasta and top with grated parmesan.

Really good stuff.

To go along with the pasta I cut up a head of cauliflower and roasted it in the oven with a bit of rapeseed oil and salt.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tuesday: Roasted potatoes

The goal was to use biokiste potatoes:
Cut new potatoes into chunks and toss them with some peanut oil. Roast at 210C until about halfway done. Add chopped garlic, diced onion, and whole cumin seeds. Roast another 5 minutes. Add finely diced ham and sliced piquillo peppers. Roast until the potatoes are done. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

To go with the very nice potatoes I cooked some zucchini in olive oil. The green salad was missing (out of lettuce!), but we did grated carrots with a bit of arugula and tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Monday: assorted crepes

Last night I did a batch of crepes based on the basic proportions in FStoS : 1 1/4c flour (should have been buckwheat, but we didn't find that), 1/2c milk, 1c water, 2 eggs. On the table as fillings we had arugula, chopped basil, tomato sauce (from the pizza), cottage cheese, and diced ham.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sunday: Macaroni and cheese

After a long day in the mountains, dinner needed to be quick and easy. Macaroni and cheese seemed like a good choice.

Cook some elbow macaroni until almost done. Drain it, put back in the pan over medium heat and add a splash each of dry vermouth and light cream along with some grated cheese (alp cheese for us) and minced garlic. Stir until the cheese melts. Stir in some chopped ham and a couple of pinches of piment d'esplette and let warm through. Serve topped with diced fresh tomatoes and a good grind of black pepper.

The cheese didn't behave as nicely as I would have hoped (probably should have made the cheese sauce first), but the dish itself was quite good.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Friday Pizza

Using some pizza dough from the Coop and a quick tomato sauce (tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt) we did a number of small pizzas:

  1. mozzarella, basil
  2. mozzarella, arugula, onion
  3. mozzarella, basil, tomato, onion
  4. tomato, argula
The dough wasn't great, but the meal was fun. :-)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Wednesday: Gazpacho

First gazpacho of the year: tomatoes, onion, garlic, and long green peppers pureed together. Small diced zucchini and long green pepper added at the end to provide texture. Served with olive oil and balsamico.

We also did another round of wraps; this time with spicy ground beef (cooked with garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, hot paprika, black pepper, and salt), cucumber-mint raita, and lettuce.

Inevitably, there was a green salad.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday: wraps

After two nights of burritos we still had tortillas left to eat; since yesterday was warm, I rejected the idea of enchiladas (besides, those are much better with corn tortillas). The next thought was to do wraps; that was a good one.

To fill the wraps we had:

  • turkey cubes, seasoned and browned
  • cucumber-mint raita : yogurt, grated cucumber, garlic paste, chopped mint leaves, salt
  • feta cheese
  • vegetables: lettuce, carrots, and corn
Not too much work for a nice summer rmeal.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday burritos

I have no idea how long it's been since I did burritos. Yesterday the craving hit and we were able to find some reasonable looking (and not extortionately priced) flour tortillas.

The carnitas: boil 2-4cm chunks of pork shoulder in water with onion, bay leaf, clove, crushed allspice, and some salt until the pork is fork-tender. Let it cool in the broth. Just before serving, cut the pork into small pieces and cook it over high heat in peanut oil until nicely browned.

The black beans: soak dried black beans for a few hours then cook them in water with bacon and onion.

The salsa: my standard chipotle salsa (chipotles, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime, blended together).

The burritos: rice, carnitas, beans, salsa, corn, feta cheese. Wouldn't have been bad to have some sour cream as well, but we forgot to buy some. Guacamole is, of course, not really an option.

Aside: This triggered two "should make soon" thoughts: the pork made me think of rillets and after having the salsa, I now want the fried plantains!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday Gnocchi

A simple one: I made a tomato sauce by gently cooking some minced garlic in butter until it was golden then adding tomato puree and simmering for 15-20 minutes; I finished with cream and salt. For the pasta, I lightly browned some gnocchi in a pan and then add strips of ham, chopped basil, and chopped chives.  Served topped with the sauce, this was quite good.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday potatoes

Start by cutting some new potatoes into chunks and boiling them until almost done. Meanwhile cook some diced bacon, minced garlic, and diced onion in olive oil with a couple piri-piri chilis. When the potatoes are ready, add them to the pan along with some diced long-green pepper and some salt and pepper. Brown the potatoes lightly and serve with a salad.

If the onion-garlic combination counts as one ingredient, or the chilis are treated like salt and pepper (and thus not counted) this is also rule of five compliant... ah that game.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday steak

We had a nice rib steak in the fridge that wanted to be eaten. As usual, I kept it simple: Season the steak with salt and pepper and brown it well on both sides. Toss the pan in a 200C oven for 10-15 minutes until the steak is done. While the steak is resting, deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine and some veal essence. Reduce this substantially, stir in a bit of mustard and serve over the sliced steak.

As vegetable sides we had steamed broccoli (also nice with the sauce) and caramelized fennel. Of course there was a green salad involved too.

Really good food.

Tuesday: Pasta with broccoli, walnuts, and Taleggio

We had a piece of Taleggio from the weekend (it didn't really work on sandwiches and wasn't that big of a hit on the cheese plate) that it would have been a shame to toss out. This was an improv to use it up.

Cut some broccoli into florets and steam it until it is crisp-tender. Set aside. Cook some short pasta (whole wheat spirals for us) until just underdone and drain it well. Put back in the pan, add diced Taleggio, some minced garlic, chopped walnuts, chopped basil, and the broccoli. Mix over medium heat until the cheese has all melted; serve topped with grated sbrinz.

The combination of broccoli, walnuts, and Taleggio was quite a good one.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday dessert: wild strawberries

We had a couple of cream puffs (for want of a better word) leftover from Saturday night that were just screaming to be used with the wild strawberries we had gathered during our hike. I didn't do anything fancy: whip some cream with sugar, cut the cream puffs in half, fill one side with berries, top with cream, top with berries, top with the other half, spread berries around.

Simple and very good.

Sunday: chicken and beans, fennel

As an appetizer I did a farinata with onions (cook some thinly sliced onions in the pan until they take on some color, then ladle the batter over them).

The main dish was a spanish-inspired chicken thing. Cook some chopped garlic in olive oil until it starts to take on color. Add diced chicken breast, salt, and some whole cumin seeds and let cook without disturbing until the chicken has browned on one side. Add chopped onion, stir, and let cook until the chicken is just cooked through. Add dry Nouilly Prat and let reduce by half. Add sweet and hot paprikas, a pinch of saffron, and some pureed tomatoes. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add drained and rinsed canned white beans and let heat through. Serve with potatoes, drizzled with olive oil, and topped with chives and fresh breadcrumbs toasted in olive oil.

As a vegetable side I did a CPV take on fennel: cut the bulbs in half, core them, cut them into chunks, and then saute in olive oil with some salt until they get brown.

Together with the required green salad, this was a very good bunch of food.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday: small things

We had a couple friends over for snacks yesterday evening. Mostly the food centered around a cheese platter (a bunch of different Swiss cheeses, dried fruit, walnuts, crackers, etc.) but I did do a bit of kitchen work:

  1. Spiced almonds: the usual with cumin and salt
  2. Farinata: I've finally got the proportions right here, combine 320g chickpea flour, 500ml water, 1tsp salt and mix well; press through a fine sieve; stir in a couple Tbs olive oil; let stand an hour or so before preparation
  3. Pate a Choux: Ever since Ruhlman posted about this I've been wanting to make a batch. With the magic ratio it turns out to be easy. Back in the pre-food log days I once made gougeres for a dinner party from a different recipe. Those were a pain in the ass, these were not. Now I just need to figure out what to call the resulting puffs... "cream puff" sounds like something that should be sweet.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday: bread gratin

A strategy for using up the half baguette we had leftover from Tuesday night (I kept the baguette in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel so that it didn't turn into a rock). 

Rip the bread into bite-sized pieces and put it in a buttered baking dish. Make a sauce from eggs, bresso, chicken stock, salt and pepper and pour over the bread. Top with a sprinkling of piment d'espelette and some grated gruyere. Bake.

This was acceptable, but I somehow had the ratios off so that there was more sauce floating around in the dish than I would have liked. Ah well...

To go with the gratin we had a big green salad.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday salad

Since it was too hot for real cooking we did a big salad: greens, shredded carrot, cherry tomatoes, lightly steamed cauliflower, gruyere, and some cold cuts (roast pork and ochsenmaul). As dressing I made a basil-chive vinaigrette. This combined with some good bread made for a very nice meal. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday: Joe's special

An easy meal with Andrea's parents at the end of a longish day: Joe's special, rice with cheese sauce (butter, flour, good chicken stock, bresso, piment d'esplette for those who wanted it), green salad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday at the grill

Andrea's parents were visiting and the weather was good, so I fired up the grill. Nothing fancy this time: a few varieties of sausage and some speck. As an experiment (remembering the smoked bologna recipe from Thrill of the Grill), I also grilled a piece of fleischkäse: I started it on the cooler part of the grill until both sides had the chance to take a bit of color and it puffed a bit, then moved it to a medium-hot part to finish the coloring before serving. Good stuff.

To go with the grilled things we had bread, potato salad, and a green salad.

Cherries in armagnac

An inspiration for preserving some of the fantastic sweet cherries we have:

800g pitted cherries
200g sugar
1.6dl armagnac
2 cloves
1/4 cinnamon stick

combine everything in a pot, bring to a boil, then transfer to clean glass jars.

These things are excellent.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday: Pork and Peas

A simple one to use the peas (snow-pea like) from the biokiste.

Cut some pork tenderloin into 2cm chunks. Season these and then brown them in clarified butter; set aside. Add some good chicken stock to the pan, deglaze, and reduce to a syrup; pour over the pork. Add some butter to the pan and cook some minced garlic and onion for a couple of minutes. Add the peas, salt, and pepper and mix well. Cover and let cook a few minutes, until the peas are almost crisp-tender. Add back the pork and its liquid and cook another minute or so.

This was a very nice combination of flavors.

Of course we also had a big green salad.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday: Pasta with broccoli, basil, and almonds

An improv selected to use up the broccoli from last week's biokiste.

Cook diced onion and minced garlic in butter until the onion softens, add broccoli florets, salt, and some rich chicken stock. Cover and let simmer until the broccoli is ready to eat. Meanwhile toast some almonds and then grind them with fresh basil and olive oil in the food processor. Serve by tossing everything together with pasta and topping with grated cheese (an alp cheese in this case).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday salads

I was feeling a bit lazy, so we did a big mixed salad instead of real cooking: roasted chicken from the store, soisson beans, steamed beets, steamed fennel, red and yellow bell pepper, and lettuce. As a dressing I did a vinaigrette with dill, olive oil, cider vinegar, garlic, and a bit of melasse for sweetness. We also had a nice loaf of bread on the side. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday: meatloaf + pasta with cheese sauce

The protein course was leftover meatloaf. To go with it I did some steamed beets and a whole-wheat pasta with a simple cheese sauce: melt some butter in a pan, add some flour and cook a couple of minutes. Whisk in some rich chicken stock. Stir in minced dried tomato and grated gruyere. After the cheese melts grind in some black pepper and add raclette spices. Taste for seasoning before stirring in the pasta.

Simple and very, very nice.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Monday: Sauteed vegetables with veal

This one was the result of a nice piece of veal loin that we found half price and the zucchini in this week's biokiste. It somehow seems early for zucchini, but I guess it's not.

Cut the veal into bite-size pieces. Season and saute briefly in olive oil until it takes on some color. Set aside. Add diced onion, diced carrot, and minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add diced new potato, a splash of white wine, a bit of chicken stock, herbs de provence, and salt, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add zucchini (quartered lengthwise and then cut into 1cm pieces) and simmer for another 10 or so minutes until everything is done. Add back the veal and cook another minute or two to heat it through. Serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with chives.

Along with a big green salad this made for a very nice meal.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sunday: Meatloaf

Nothing particularly fancy here: ground beef and Kalbsbrät (2:1), minced onion and garlic, finely diced carrot, salt, and pepper. Mixed well, formed into a loaf, topped with a glaze made from tomato paste, ketchup, cayenne, and bourbon. Baked at 175C until the internal temperature was 75C.

To accompany I made oven potatoes (using the fantastic spring potatoes from the biokiste) and a cabbage salad (shredded cabbage tossed with salt and left to sit for an hour or so, then rinsed, squeezed out, and tossed with white wine vinegar and rapeseed oil).

Of course we had a green salad as well.

Very good food.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Saturday: dumplings and stir fry

Satisfying a craving for dumplings...

The filling: ground pork, finely chopped cabbage, minced garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce. We wrapped this in wonton skins to form various different shapes and then cooked the dumplings in a bamboo steamer. We ate them with two dipping sauces: soy sauce, black vinegar, ginger juice; dark soy sauce, mashed garlic, chili oil, xiao xing wine.

The stir fry was chopped broccoli stems cooked with Szechuan chili-bean paste and some hoisin. Served over rice, of course.

The second dipping sauce suffered from the fact that the dark soy we have just isn't that great, but otherwise this was really good food. The dumplings are so easy that we really ought to do them more often.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Wednesday soup and cornbread

There was chicken stock in the fridge and I had a craving for something spicy; this is what happened.

Brown some diced pork shoulder in peanut oil with salt. Add chopped garlic and diced onion and carrot. Cook until the carrot starts to soften. Deglaze with red wine and let that reduce most of the way. Add ground cumin, coriander, and both sweet and hot paprika and cook for a couple more minutes. Add chicken stock and a bit of tomato paste and simmer. Ten minutes before serving add some corn and kidney beans. Adjust salt by adding soy sauce.

To go along with the soup I also made a pan of cornbread; it was a very nice pairing.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Monday Miscellany

The usual cuisine de kuhlschrank: a quasi-random menu based on what was in the fridge.

  1. Broccoli florets cooked with a bit of butter and then mashed with browned butter and salt. Inspired by a JPFF recipe.
  2. Rice pilaf: onions, carrots, diced bacon, crushed tomato, rice
  3. White asparagus: prepped and cooked on Saturday. To finish it I cut the spears in half lengthwise and put them cut-side down in a pan with olive oil until they took on a bit of color.
  4. The requisite big green salad.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sunday leftovers

To go with a salad made from the leftover grilled steak and vegetables from Saturday: warm potato salad made from sliced potatoes, bacon, garlic, cider vinegar, rapeseed oil, and plenty of dill.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday lunch: problematic farinata

Last time I did farinata I found a problem in the BittmanWorld recipe. This time I avoided that problem by starting with 1:1 chickpea flour:water. The weights were 160g flour, 240g water. This ended up being texturally right, but now there's too much salt in the recipe... ah well. That's easy to fix.

Saturday: lots of stuff

After a while without a real cooking day, yesterday somehow turned into one.

Lunch was sauteed gnocchi with garlic and dried chilis

Dinner was from the grill: grill bread (from Let the Flames Begin. As an experiment I skipped the olive oil in the dough. Probably it's better to leave the olive oil in), grilled long green peppers and spring onions (grilled and then chopped and tossed with olive oil and a tiny bit of cider vinegar), and steak (salted, peppered, and grilled). We also had a big green salad.

Our favorite fruit stand at the market had strawberries, so we needed to eat some of those as well. To go with them I picked up some rhubarb; from there it was just a matter of decided what to do. I was tempted to do a pie, but decided in the end that it was too much work, plus pies are somehow stressful. Andrea suggested shortcakes, but we just had those and I was worried we didn't have enough flour. Another thought was to repeat the gotterspeise recipe from Le Menu that was so good last year, but that would have required another trip to the store for zwieback. Finally I went with a hybrid. I made a modified version of the rhubarb compote from the gotterspeise recipe (500g rhubarb, 100g sugar, juice of one and half limes) and a batch of vanilla sauce from Bittman (2c milk, 4 egg yolks, 1/2c sugar, 1 vanilla bean). To serve I layered sliced strawberries, rhubarb, and the creme anglaise in glasses. Really nice combination of flavors.

Along the way I also did a batch of chicken stock and prepared (though we didn't eat yet) a bunch of white asparagus, probably the last of the season.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday dessert: strawberry shortcake

After Monday night's strawberries I had a powerful craving for strawberry shortcake. The strawberries were local (well, Swiss at least) and macerated with raw sugar (Jacutinga). For the biscuits I took the suggestion from Bittman and made a half recipe of his buttermilk/yogurt biscuits with a Tbs of sugar added. I used 1/2 fat quark instead of yogurt.

The results were very good.

I always forget how easy biscuits are, which is dumb: they provide a lot of reward for minimal effort.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday Curry

Very simple and good: Yellow (Thai) curry with potatoes, onions, and chicken breast accompanied by basmati rice and a quick pickle made from thinly sliced cuke, salt, and rhubarb-ginger jam(!).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday: Frikadellen and salads

To go along with the remaining salad from Monday I did a quick batch of frikadellen. For the mixture: mixed ground meat, minced bacon, minced shallot, egg, breadcrumbs, ground allspice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday dessert: strawberries and quark

Very simple dessert: macerated strawberries served with lightly sweetened whipped quark (1/2 fat).

Monday's Salads

Yesterday was much too hot for real cooking, so I did a couple salads:

  1. Diced beets (steamed, then cooled) tossed with chives, dill, mint, salt, white pepper, rapeseed oil, and sour cherry vinegar.
  2. Wurstsalat : Cervelat, gruyere, yogurt, mayo, mustard, chives, minced shallot, salt, pepper, a dash of hot sauce, a dash of Maggi.
We ate these with lettuce and some good bread.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday: Tortellini on herbed tomato sauce

After getting back into town and discovering high heat and humidity, the priorities were quick and minimal cooking. So I made the last of the frozen tortellini and served them on a room-temperature sauce made by combining tomato puree, olive oil, salt, minced shallot, and fresh herbs (basil, mint, parsley) in the food processor.

Too bad I forgot to get bread at the store, the sauce would have been quite nice for sopping up. :-)

With this we had a big green salad.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Energy bars take 6 (production)

Take 5 worked quite well, but we both preferred the spicing from take 4. This is a "doubled" batch (so half the original recipe) that we took with us for a trip to Liguria. I made some changes based on ingredient availability:

200g soy flakes, ground to a coarse meal
50g flour
200g almond slivers
60g almonds, ground to coarse meal
100g each dried apricots and prunes, minced
30g each sesame and flax
200g sugar
110g honey
90g zuckerruben sirup
50g butter
4 tsp cocoa
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
black pepper

Update: 25 May 2009: These held up really well on the trip and were definitely a success. The one refinement would be to spice them a bit more heavily, otherwise this recipe is a keeper.

Friday: Kohlrabi soup and hummus

This was quite random. The kohlrabi soup (with cinnamon!) recipe was from Le Menu, the hummus was my own.

The soup smells too strongly of cinnamon, but the flavor is still quite good.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday: pork bits in red-wine sauce

Quickie improv to use some pork from the freezer.

Cut some pork shoulder across the grain into bite-sized pieces. Brown the pieces well in olive oil then set aside. Add diced yellow carrot and sliced leek to the pan and cook until the carrots soften. Sprinkle over some flour and let cook another minute or so. Add red wine and let reduce by about half. Add the pork, dried porcinis, some veggie bouillon, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and black pepper and let simmer until the pork is tender.

We ate this over brown rice with a big salad on the side. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday: pork chops with peppers

This was driven by a desire to have something with a sauce we could soak up with bread. Then I saw peppers on sale in the Coop. The rest was easy.

Cook some chopped garlic in olive oil until aromatic. Add some thinly sliced bell peppers (a mixture of red, orange, yellow, and green). Cook until the pepper starts to soften. Add a Tbs or so of flour and cook a couple minutes longer. Add white wine, some veggie bouillon, chopped thyme, rosemary, and sage. Cook a few minutes, then transfer to an olive-oiled baking dish. In the meantime, heat a bit more oil in a heavy pan and brown some seasoned, thick, bone-in pork chops well on both sides. Transfer to the dish with the peppers. Deglaze the pan with a bit more white wine, transfer to the dish, toss in the oven at 180C until the pork is done, 20-30 minutes. Serve topped with chives and with crusty bread on the side.

We also did a fennel salad with shaved fennel tossed with salt, wrung out, and then mixed with a dressing made from reduced OJ, olive oil, mustard, and black pepper.

Really nice food.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday: Flounder meuniere, salzkartoffeln

I had a craving for fish this weekend and flounder filets were the only thing Coop had that looked halfway reasonable. I kept it very simple: season the fish with a bit of salt, season some semolina with cayenne, dredge the fish through the semolina, saute in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Serve topped with a bit of sauce made from butter and lemon juice and a sprinkling of parsley.

As a side, salt potatoes: cook some peeled potatoes in well salted water. Serve topped with chives, salt, lemon, and olive oil.

The fish itself was not terribly exciting, but the preparation wasn't half bad (if I do say so myself), and the potatoes were excellent.

Of course we had a big green salad to accompany.

Another quark timbale

We like it so much I keep making new versions.

This time: 250g quark (half fat), 1 jigger kirsch, 2 Tbsp brown sugar; well whipped; mixed with 2 leaves of gelatin; dispensed into ramekins; a blop of rhubarb-ginger jam dropped in the middle.

The whipping is good, the kirsch is good (but this quantity is a bit too much), and the rhubarb jam is excellent. 

Energy bars take 5

The last batch turned out really well, so this experiment was tuning and trying to increase the nutritional value a bit.

100g soy flakes, ground to a coarse meal
100g almond slivers
30g walnut pieces
50g each dried apricots and prunes, minced
15g each sesame and flax
85g sugar
115g honey
30g butter
2 tsp cocoa
2 tsp garam masala tea spice
black pepper

First tastes seem pretty good.

Another batch of rhubarb-ginger jam

The last batch was quite successful, so we picked up some more rhubarb at the market on Saturday. This morning I converted that into jam. The quantities were 1100g rhubarb, 800g gelierzucker, 60g minced ginger, and the juice and zest from one lemon.

Saturday: asparagus and farinata

There have been a couple Bittman things about savory flatbreads, or farinata. These have been kicking around in the back brain for a bit but couldn't be realized until we had some chickpea flour in the house. This finally happened yesterday.

I started simple: chickpea flour, water, salt, olive oil. Unfortunately I started from the recipe in BittmanWorld, which contains a typo: it calls for 1 3/4 cup water for the 1 cup chickpea flour. This can't possibly be right, it needs to be closer to 1:1, perhaps even more flour than water. Luckily the error was clear before I started cooking so I was able to recover with more flour. Next time I'll weigh stuff out and get better proportions. NOTE: in the farinata link above the proportions are 1:1. The problem is in BittmanWorld.

The other component on the plate was asparagus, cooked like last week and then wrapped with a bit of cooked ham and served with salt and butter. Very nice.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Nanorestaurant Review: Charon (Basel)

Charon is supposed to have excellent food, so we decided to give it a try last night. We spent about two minutes in the restaurant before deciding that it was too smoky to be able to enjoy a meal.

Too bad.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Wednesday Chinese

Last night I did a weekday version of twice-cooked pork. Instead of going all out and using pork belly (which is very good) I used a piece of a roast. After boiling for 10-12 minutes I let this cool a bit, thinly sliced it, and then did the rest according to the Dunlop recipe (though we still don't have any sweet bean paste). The result was quite good.

As a side I stir fried some broccoli with chopped garlic and then added a splash each of black vinegar and xiao xing wine and a small spoon of hoisin.

Excellent food.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Tuesday: rhubarb-ginger jam

Basic recipe from Le Menu, but I used fresh ginger instead of candied.

Cut 500g rhubarb into pieces. Combine with 375g sugar, 40g finely chopped ginger, and the juice and zest of half a lemon, place over medium heat and let simmer until the rhubarb disintegrates, 15-20 minutes. Pour into clean jars and close them.

The results are really, really tasty but could use a bit of help on the pectin front. Maybe use some gelierzucker next time to get a more jammy texture.

Monday: kohlrabi gratin

Straightforward gratin to use up a bunch of kohlrabi sitting in the fridge. The idea for the kohlrabi/cinnamon combination is from Le Menu, the rest is basically improv.

Brown some ground meat with a bit of salt. Add sliced leeks and let cook until the leeks soften. Add some flour and cook another couple minutes. Add red wine and reduce by half. Add some beef bouillon, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet paprika, hot paprika, black pepper, and lemon zest. Let simmer for a bit. Layer the meat with thinly sliced kohlrabi in a gratin dish, finishing with meat. Sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon and nutmeg and let bake, covered, at 180C for 30 minutes. Top with Gruyere and bake, covered, another 10 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

This turned out quite nicely.

Tuesday dessert: Quark-cherry-rhubarb timbales

Not overly different from the last timbale dessert. This time I skipped the cherry juice in the quark and topped the whole thing with a bit of rhubarb-ginger jam. This way was even better than the pure-cherry version. One might even be able to leave the cherries out.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Energy bars take 4

After careful analysis and much thought while eating some Cliff Bars we brought with us from our last visit to the US, I had an inspiration for improving my attempts at energy bars, which were to this point acceptable, but not really appealing. The idea is to start from a panforte recipe and use sugar/honey that's been taken to the firm ball stage.

I started from the ratios I used last time I made panforte, but changed the mixture fairly dramatically, used the higher sugar temperature from my first panforte, and did a quarter recipe since we'd have to eat the experiment no matter how it turned out.

  • 100g dried fruit (apricots and prunes), chopped fine
  • 150g nuts (slivered almonds, chopped pecans)
  • 80g whole-grain flakes (oats, millet, spelt, etc.)
  • 15g flax seeds
  • 15g sesame seeds
  • 85g sugar
  • 115g honey
  • 30g butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • good pinch salt
  • good grind black pepper
Mix the dry ingredients (except sugar) together well. Combine the sugar, honey, and butter and cook to the firm-ball stage (118C). Combine the sugar mixture with the dry ingredients, spread on parchment, and bake at 160C for about 15 minutes.

First tasting results are quite positive. We'll give it a bit more to see it holds up. :-)

Saturday: Asparagus, Pork tenderloin with vegetable vinaigrette

This time with the local asparagus (from Neudorf), I made a conscious effort to do a simple preparation along traditional lines so that I could try to understand the appeal. So I peeled the stalks very well, removed the bottom 4cm, and then cooked them in water with salt, sugar, and butter. Of course I didn't stand the stalks up in the pot, which is undoubtedly a major foul. Once the asparagus was tender, I removed it to a plate covered with a folded napkin and served it with a dish of melted butter and the pork with vinaigrette. I think I get it now... this was nice stuff; it's not going to replace green asparagus in my affections, but I at least can appreciate the white variety more.

The pork was a bit of an improv. Having a vinaigrette around the asparagus seemed like a good idea, but I wanted a vegetable heavy version. This is what came of that plus the sudden desire to do some brunoise (i.e. kitchen knife play). Cut a carrot, some red pepper, a shallot, and a few sun-dried tomatoes into brunoise. Mix with minced parsley, minced baerlauch, salt, pepper, white balsamico, and rape seed oil. Let stand for an hour or so at room temperature before serving. The pork: season a piece of tenderloin well with salt and pepper and then cook it over medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil. When nicely browned and finished, set aside to rest for a few minutes. Slice 1cm thick and serve on the vinaigrette, topped with chives.

Along with the green salad, this was a very happy-making meal.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Friday: Lentil revisions and potato pancakes

First a note: with last night's meal we had some of the lentils and beets leftover from Thursday as a room-temperature salad. To serve them this way I moved closer to the original recipe and made a mustard vinaigrette (grainy mustard, sour-cherry vinegar, olive oil) for the lentils. This added a nice note to the whole flavor combination.

The other component of the meal was a recipe from this month's Le Menu for Kartoffeltätschli (potato pancakes) served on a vegetable-quark sauce. 

For the sauce: cook a minced shallot in butter for a couple minutes, add leek rings and julienned carrot and cook for another few minutes. Add some spinach leaves and a bit of veggie bouillon and let simmer until the spinach is ready. Stir in rahmquark and adjust seasonings.

For the pancakes: combine 700g grated cooked potato with an egg, 50g cheese, 50g flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Drop into a pan with hot clarified butter, flatten out a bit, and let cook until both sides are nicely browned.  Serve on top of the sauce, sprinkled with chives.

Along with a green salad, this was good stuff.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Thursday: Lentils with beets and spinach

Inspired by a recipe that Bittman pointed to, along with the memory that lentils and beets go together quite well.

Peel a couple beets and cut them into large dice. Toss with some olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt, and white pepper in a baking dish, cover, and bake at 190C until the beets are tender, about an hour.

Meanwhile, start some chopped green garlic, finely diced carrot, and sliced leeks in a pan with olive oil. After a while add green lentils, herbs de provence, bay leaf, white wine, green garlic stems, and some chicken bouillon. Simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. Mix in some ripped up spinach leaves, cover, and simmer another few minutes. Adjust seasonings.

Serve the lentils topped with some beets, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with some chives.

Good stuff.

With this we had the obligatory green salad.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday: spicy braised chicken

I was in the mood for something with a bit of bite to it:

Skin some chicken thighs and drumsticks. Brown them well in olive oil, set aside. Add chopped onion and finely chopped garlic to the oil and cook until the onion softens. Add cumin seeds and cook another couple minutes, meanwhile grind in some coriander. Add back the chicken, some crushed tomato, some chicken bouillon, hot paprika, and a couple chipotles. Let simmer until the chicken is falling off the bone. Serve over rice with lime.

To go with this I did a chopped salad from kidney beans, sweet corn, diced feta, and chopped chicory with a "vinaigrette" made from rapeseed oil, lime juice, black pepper, salt, and green garlic. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

really nice food. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday's improv

No idea what to call this improv.

Start some diced carrots and sliced leeks in a bit of rapeseed oil over medium heat. Add  ground meat (mixed) and a good pinch of salt and cook a few minutes. Add a bit of hot paprika, some veal essence, and a squeeze of tomato paste. Cook another few minutes. Add a sprinkle of oregano and simmer until the liquid is a glaze. Serve over mashed potatoes and top with toasted almond slivers.

very, very nice.

We don't have any greens left, so we ate this with a grated carrot salad.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday vegetables

After Saturday's cream sauce excesses, we were in the mood for vegetables. Fortunately that was no problem at all.

Dish one was asparagus sauteed with shallots. We had found some not-bad looking green asparagus at the Coop on Saturday and this is always the go-to recipe. The results were not too bad: the asparagus wasn't great but it was better than expected.

Dish two was "big pile of vegetables with mixed grains". For this I steamed (in batches) chunks of yellow carrots, kohlrabi, leek matchsticks, and belgian endive leaves. In a pan I gently heated a bunch of chopped garlic and ginger with a couple piri piri chillis in olive oil and tossed in the veggies after this had some time for the flavors to  meld. We ate the veggies with some mixed-grain "risotto". Good stuff.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday dessert: quark-cherry timbales

Inspired by a jar of sour cherries found in the back of the pantry.

Whip 250g quark (halb-fett) with a splash of armagnac, some dark sugar, and some of the liquid from the cherries. Whip in two leaves of gelatin (softened in cold water for 5 minutes and then melted in the microwave).

Line the bottoms of four small ramekins with cherries, top with the quark. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for a few hours.

Place the ramekins in hot water for a couple minutes to loosen them and then invert onto plates.