Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday Indian

This was an easy one: Chicken Biryani (recipe from BittmanWorld) and cucumber raita (grated cucumber, yogurt, salt, pepper, and a mixture of black mustard and cumin seeds that I toasted before adding).

I removed the skin from the chicken pieces before adding them to the pot, and used leeks instead of onions (that's what we had), but otherwise pretty much followed the biryani recipe. The results were very good, but I think a bit less liquid is called for next time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday : Pasta with spinach-ricotta-ham sauce

A simple one for the first night back in Basel.

The pasta sauce is from Hazan; my one deviation (and it's a big one) was to use cottage cheese instead of ricotta since there was no ricotta to be found in the Coop when we went shopping. The resulting sauce was still excellent.

We ate the sauce over fusilli bucati and were quite happy with our fate in life.

of course there was also a green salad.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Friday : Beef stew

Boeuf Bourguinon has somehow become one of my go-to recipes for groups. This time it was a big family birthday party.

The recipe gets adapted to local conditions, of course: Brown the cubed beef well and set aside. Pour off the fat and deglaze with a bit of wine (a French pinot noir produced by R. Mondavi(!)). Render some bacon cut into strips. Add this to the beef and pour off the fat. Cook some thinly sliced leeks with a bit of carrot until the leek softens. Sprinkle over some flour and let cook another couple minutes. Add back the meats, some more wine, fresh thyme sprigs, dried rosemary, and a good grind of black pepper. Let simmer a couple hours until the beef is tender.

Meanwhile cut some shallots in half, brown them well in olive oil and set aside. Cut some mushrooms into chunks, brown them well in bacon fat and set aside.

Just before serving stir in the shallots and mushrooms.

We ate this with mashed potatoes, green beans, and a big green salad.

As a dessert contribution I also did a batch of blueberry cobbler from Bittman

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lentil (plus) soup

This was an easy one for a quiet evening.

In my parents' pantry was a bag of "soup mix" consisting of mixed grains and pulses (lentils, split peas, barley, pasta). I converted this into a thick soup by cooking some onion, carrot, celery, and turnip in olive oil until the onions were soft then adding the grains, water, bay leaf, and some dried rosemary. This simmered until the grains were finished and then we ate it drizzled with a bit more olive oil.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Schnitzel and Roesti

The Rösti was a request from my mother, the schnitzel just seemed to fit.

Nothing unusual here : I used pounded-out pork chops for the schnitzel, seasoned them with salt, pepper, and cayenne and then did the standard flour-egg-fresh breadcrumb breading. To make the logistics work I did the Rösti first then tossed them in a low oven while doing the schnitzel. The 95% cooked schnitzel then went in the oven so I could crisp the Rösti in the pan just before serving. This ended up working really well: we had crisp potatoes and tender schnitzel.

As a vegetable side I flash-fried some mixed winter greens with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday: Jook

The cold continues on, so more comfort food was required: I did jook with vegetables (shitake and peas) following the BittmanWorld recipe.

mmmm, jook.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunday Roast

[Playing catchup on a bunch of posts that got postponed due to travelling]

This was a simple roast for a long sunday afternoon:
Brown a pork shoulder roast well in olive oil, set it aside and season. Cut some carrots, beets, and onions into chunks and toss in a Römertopf. Sprinkle with freshly ground fennel. Top the vegetables with the roast and sprinkle it with more fennel. Top this with thinly sliced oranges (half-blood) then cover it and toss in a low oven and bake for a couple of hours.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Saturday Lentils

Comfort food to help melt away my cold: lentils cooked with garlic, onion, carrot, diced celery root, bacon, smoked ham, bay leaf, white wine, lemon zest, and bay leaf. Served drizzled with olive oil.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Friday Simplicity

This one started fairly complex and then got gradually simpler as I thought about it. After moving from a pork steak in some kind of sauce, I went to wienerschnitzel. From there I landed at simplicity itself: pork loin chops pounded out, seared in the grill pan, seasoned, drizzled with good olive oil, and sprinkled with parmesan. To go with this we had steamed potatoes (Pellkartoffeln), also served with salt, olive oil, and parmesan. For variety and color, I sauteed chopped red cabbage until just soft then made it sweet sour with some red wine vinegar and Lütticher Delikatesse (a sweet spread made from pears, apples, and dates).

This was fantastic stuff and certainly a good use of the rule of five (seven ingredients total on the plate; each dish had three).

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wednesday's soup

A big pot of vegetable soup for the winter night: savoy cabbage, red carrots, steckrübe, onion, garlic, oatmeal, chicken stock, white wine, bay leaf, clove, orange zest.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tuesday: Sauerkraut-pasta pfanne

More cuisine de Kühlschrank: Saute some onions and garlic with a couple chilis in oil until soft. Add sauerkraut, white wine, tomato sauce, caraway seeds, diced ham, and some water and cook a few minutes until everything is simmering. Add some cooked elbow macaroni, mix well, and let heat through. Serve with chives.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Monday Guacamole

To go along with watching the rebroadcast of the Super Bowl, I did a batch of guacamole last night: avocado, garlic, lime, cilantro, chipotle. It's stupid to buy avocados that have been flown halfway across the world and don't really taste like avocados, but it was still somehow a nice treat.

Monday: steak and gratin

Friday night I started marinating some steak using the recipe from last week's Minimalist column. Since another cut (saftplätzli) was on sale I used a cut other than ribeye, but otherwise I pretty much stuck to the recipe. Last night I pulled the steaks out of the marinade, dried them with paper towels, and then seared them in a lightly oiled skillet. As they came out of the skillet I seasoned them with salt and pepper, let them rest a minute, then served them. 

This is a really nice preparation. I'm not convinced that using Amarone is necessary (I don't think the difference from a reasonable Cote du Rhone would be noticeable), but that's a detail.

To go with the steaks I did a gratin using another mysterious root vegetable from the biokiste. We had one of these last year too and I didn't do any research to figure out what it was. This year, after some poking around, I'm reasonably convinced that it's a Steckrübe (a kohlrabi relative). Whatever it is, it makes a good gratin but one needs to be careful with the liquid content : the Steckrübe releases water while cooking instead of absorbing it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sunday Sauerkraut

We got back from the mountains fairly late and wanted something quick and warm. Using the sauerkraut we had from the market was a natural thing.

Dice an onion small and cook for a few minutes in rapeseed oil with some finely diced bacon until the onion is soft. Add smoked pork shoulder, 1cm dice, and cook another couple minutes. Add rinsed and drained sauerkraut, a good splash of white wine, a bay leaf, a few crushed juniper berries, and some caraway seeds, mix well, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Serve with mustard.