Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunday: pot roast and biscuits

A good one for a gray Sunday.

For the pot roast I browned a nice piece of beef (magere Siedfleisch, could have been any of a number of things), then tossed it in the slow cooker with: a can of stout, diced carrot, diced parsnip, sliced leek, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, parsley, fennel, salt, and black pepper. After 5-6 hours we had something nice in there.

For the biscuits I used the yogurt rolled biscuits recipe in Bittmann; good stuff.

Of course we had a green salad.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday: Lamb with Ramson (Baerlauch) Vinaigrette

It's getting to be ramson season and we still have a bag in the freezer from last year; so I needed to use some up. This was an improve for that purpose.

Start by making a vinaigrette from ramson leaves, white balsamico, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let that sit while doing the lamb.
Season a piece of lamb loin well with salt and pepper and then broil on a preheated grill pan a couple minutes per side. Let rest a couple minutes, then slice and serve on the vinaigrette.

We ate this with basmati rice topped with some of the vinaigrette and some chopped walnuts and some chard that I cooked in a bit of oil with a pinch of salt. Naturally there was also a green salad.

Very nice food.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday: Purple chicken-vegetable soup

Since I was improvising as I went along, this soup ended up being a color that I don't normally associate with food.

Cut up a chicken and remove the breast meat. Throw everything else in a big pot with plenty of water, chopped carrot, onion, and garlic, diced potato, diced celery root, coarsely chopped red cabbage, a couple bay leaves, a couple cloves, some thyme, and some vegetable bouillon. Simmer until the thighs and legs are done, then fish them out, remove the meat, chop it, and toss back in the pot. Chop the breast meat into bite-sized pieces and stir into the pot. Fish out the bones and inedible bits. Take a bit of the broth, combine with some sweet corn (canned), and puree. Pour this in to enrich the broth (and create the very odd color).

Serve with bread and a green salad.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nanorestaurant Review: Zur Saege (Flueh)

Two very big smiley faces.

  • Food: fantastic; not overly fancy, just very high quality ingredients very well prepared
  • Service: excellent. more relaxed than I expected from a one star, but that's good.
  • Atmosphere: comfortably elegant
This meal deserves much more text than this. :-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday: Red cabbage with apple

This was a side to go with the leftover risotto.

Saute some sliced red cabbage with a pinch of salt in olive oil. When the cabbage is a couple of minutes from being done (crisp-tender) add very thinly sliced apple rings (I cored the apple and sliced it with the ceramic slicer). Just before serving add a splash of balsamico and a bit of white pepper.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday: Risotto

The "hotel" we stayed in on Saturday night had porcini risotto on the menu; that sounded too good not to make it myself.

It's a simple one: Rehydrate some dried porcini. Cook some finely diced onion in olive oil for a couple minutes. Add rice and stir to coat with the oil. Cook another couple of minutes. Start adding the stock. About halfway through add the chopped porcinis and the strained soaking liquid. When the rice is done enrich it with some butter. Serve topped with a bit of parmesan.

To go with this I cooked some chopped escarole in olive oil with garlic and piri-piri chilis.

And, of course the green salad.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday: Chicken and vegetables

I had a craving for something Spanish-like (Spanishish?) and landed at this improv.

Brown a couple chicken leg quarters (cut in half) well in olive oil, set aside. Add chopped garlic, diced carrot, a bit of finely diced celery, and leeks and cook for a while until the leeks soften. Add diced celery root, bell peppers (green and red), and some hot pepper (dried, from last year's crop) and cook a few more minutes. Add paprikas (sweet and hot), a bay leaf, ground cumin, ground coriander, chicken bouillon, and orange juice and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is ready to eat.

Cut an old (but not dried out) baguette into 1-2cm dice. Saute in olive oil until nicely browned, set aside. Toast some almond slivers in the same pan until they are lightly browned, set aside.

Serve by putting some bread cubes on a plate, put the chicken beside the bread, top both with vegetables and sauce, then top with almonds and some fresh parsley.

There were some nice radish greens in Thursday's biokiste, so I sauteed those quickly and we ate them on the side.

Of course we had a green salad as well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday: Pot au Feu

This one was relatively quick, but it built on ingredients made over a few days. The weekend before last I made a batch of rich chicken stock from roasted chicken bits. This was the basis of the stock. Monday night I simmered some pieces of beef (siedfleisch) along with a clove-spiked onion and a bay leaf in the chicken stock + some water for a few hours. The fished out pieces of beef cooled in a bit of stock overnight and the rest of the stock went in the fridge. A second straining through cheesecloth Tuesday evening gave the base for the soup. To the base I added celery root chopped into sticks, chopped savoy cabbage, sliced leek, the cleaned up pieces of meat, and salt. To serve I dished it into hot bowls on top of a layer of thinly sliced tender beef, some chopped chives, and some parsley.

We ate this wonderful stuff with bread.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday: Rouladen Zweierlei

Games with rouladen: beef rouladen with a cabbage filling and cabbage rouladen with beef filling.

Start by coring a head of savoy cabbage and steaming it until the outside leaves are tender. Carefully remove whole leaves until they start to get too small. Reserve the rest.

For the beef rouladen: cook a mixture of carrot, celery, and onion, all finely diced, in olive oil until they are aromatic. Add some finely chopped savoy cabbage and toss a few times. Add grated lemon zest, black pepper, a pinch of salt, and some rich chicken stock. Let simmer until the stock has evaporated. Grate in a bit of nutmeg. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile pound out the beef. To assemble the rouladen: season each piece of beef, top with some of the cooled cabbage filling, roll it up, and tie carefully.

For the cabbage: Brown some ground beef with a pinch of salt in a bit of olive oil. Set the beef aside. Add some more olive oil and cook diced carrot, celery, and sliced leeks in the same pan until the leeks soften. Sprinkle over a Tbs of flour and cook another minute or so. Add a splash of aromatic white wine (I used gewurztraminer), marjoram, oregano, and some rich chicken stock and stir well. Add back the beef and simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost gone. Stir in some breadcrumbs to take up the last of the liquids and adjust seasonings. Let the filling cool a bit then fill the cabbage leaves and tie into neat packages.

For the sauce: diced carrot, celery, and onion in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes. Add some red wine and some oxtail soup (one package soup into 5dl water) and stir well. Let simmer gently.

Brown the beef rouladen nicely, set them in the sauce, cover, and let simmer for an hour. In the meantime gently brown the cabbage rouladen in the same pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with red wine and add the liquid to the braise. After the hour is up, add the cabbage rouladen to the beef, cover again, and let simmer another 20-30 minutes.

Very, very nice food. We ate it with mashed potatoes and mashed celery root (next to each other, not mixed) and the requisite green salad. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday: Games with puff pastry

The start for this was a Greek sheeps-milk cheese I picked up on a whim at the market (of course I don't remember the name of the cheese). From there we landed at the idea of puff pastry filled with various tasty things. The result wasn't so much cooking as prepping and assembling.

The components I put out for fillings were:
  1. the diced cheese
  2. air-dried ham, cut into julienne
  3. walnut pieces
  4. almond slivers
  5. chives
  6. spinach (thawed, drained, and chopped)
  7. finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
I rolled out squares, or rectangles, or circles, or ovals of puff pastry and Andrea filled them with various combinations of the above. These went in the oven at 175C until nicely puffed and light browned. We ate them with a sprinkle of salt and (with some) a drizzle of olive oil.

Playful and enjoyable.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday : Sauerkraut

It's starting to warm up, so we need to get all the winter dishes out of our systems.

This was a pretty quick one: saute some leeks in a bit of oil; when they start to soften add diced bacon and cook another few minutes; add rinsed and drained sauerkraut and some gewurztraminer, cover and simmer for a couple minutes. Top with a couple smoked sausages, cover again, and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve with bread, cornichons, and grainy mustard. The sauerkraut from the biokiste comes pre-seasoned with juniper, coriander, and caraway, so no additional herbs were required.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another cornbread variant

I've done a cornbread post before; this is the current variant of the recipe. It's derived from the Big Flavors cornbread recipe (half portion):

Greg's Cornbread

1.5c unbleached flour
1.5c fine polenta
(optional) 1/2c corn kernels, either fresh, frozen (but thawed first), or canned (drained first).
1/2c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs baking powder
2 eggs
1.5c milk
1 Tbs neutral oil (I use peanut)
65g melted butter

Preheat oven to 175C. Butter a 20cm square glass dish.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Beat the eggs, then mix in the milk and oil.
Pour the eggs over the dry ingredients, pour in the melted butter. Mix thoroughly, but not too long.
Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is nicely golden brown and a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday: Black Beans

There was leftover cornbread; making a pot of beans just came naturally.

This was the quick during-the-week variant:
Toss into the pressure cooker: rinsed black beans, chopped garlic, chopped onion, diced carrot, finely chopped celery, diced bacon, some tomato puree, ground cumin, ground coriander, chipotle chilis, a bay leaf, and some water. Seal, bring to a boil, and cook for 35 minutes. Open the pressure cooker and add some chicken bouillon, adjust seasonings, and serve.

Great stuff.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday: Beans and greens

A simple one driven by the couple of heads of escarole (or escarole-looking) greens we had from the biokiste: Cook some minced garlic, diced carrot and onion, and some finely chopped celery in olive oil along with cumin seeds, piri piri chilis, a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground coriander until the carrots soften. Add chopped escarole and a goodly quantity of sweet paprika, cook for a couple of minutes, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the greens are almost tender. Add canned beans (I used borlotti beans), some tomato paste, and some sherry vinegar and let simmer, uncovered, for another few minutes. Serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with chives.

To go with the beans and greens I did a pan of cornbread. And, of course, we had a green salad.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Friday: Polenta with tomato sauce

To use the leftover polenta from Thursday night and make sure there is something in the house when we get back from our trip this weekend, I did a pot of tomato sauce.

Brown 300g mixed ground meat with salt then set aside. Add some olive oil, a diced carrot, half a diced celery stalk, a diced onion, a minced garlic clove, and a good pinch of salt. Cook until the carrots soften a bit. Add 500g pureed tomatoes and the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme and stir the meat back in. Simmer covered for 20-30 minutes then add 30g butter and adjust seasonings. Just before serving add 30ml heavy cream (I added this just because it was in the fridge and needed to be used up... it's definitely not needed). Serve over polenta.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Thursday: Polenta with greens and salami

After reading Heat, I more or less had to make a batch of polenta.

For the polenta itself I used 200g medium-coarse polenta and 1l of chicken stock. Towards the end I stirred in butter and parmesan cheese.

For a topping I used the greens from the radishes we had just gotten in the biokiste and a dried salami that had been hanging in the kitchen for a bit: cook some chopped onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil with the finely diced salami and a couple piri piri chilis. When the onions have softened, add some washed radish greens and a pinch of salt. Cook until the greens are ready to go, then serve on top of the polenta.

We ate this with the usual green salad and some pan-browned brussel sprouts.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wednesday: Pasta gratin

We needed to use up the filling and sauce from Monday's tortellini making, a simple pasta gratin was the way to do this.

I layered tomato sauce, elbow macaroni, and cheese (thinned with cream) in an oiled gratin dish and finished it with a layer of elbows that I tossed with olive oil, parmesan, and salt. This baked until nicely bubbly and brown.

Served with the required green salad, and some slow-browned brussel sprouts this was nice stuff. Not as good as the tortellini, but still quite good.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Monday : Tortellini

It's been more than two years since the last time I made pasta, and since something turned out oddly that time the whole process was a pain in the ass. This left me with a silly "pasta making? no!" attitude. After reading Heat I really needed to make pasta, so I was able to get past that yesterday.

Since Andrea and I both had the day off work (Basler Fasnacht), and the weather was crap we could devote some substantial time to the process, so we decided to make tortellini. This was a purely Hazan-driven show: I used her recipes for pasta (which worked without problems), the tortellini filling, and the tomato sauce.

The filling: well-drained ricotta cheese, parsley, egg yolk, salt, nutmeg.
I rolled out the pasta and cut it and Andrea took care of forming the tortellini. We ended up with about 90 of them, so there are a couple more meals in the freezer. mmm.

The sauce: tomato sauce with heavy cream : tomatoes, celery, carrot, onion, butter, and salt. Long simmered and then put through the food mill. Heavy cream just before serving.

After boiling the tortellini, I served them on a bed of the sauce.

To go along with this really, really excellent food, I caramelized some small brussel sprouts that we picked up at the market on Saturday (cut sprouts in half, cook cut-side down with a bit of salt over medium heat in olive oil that has been flavored with garlic and chili).

Of course we also had a green salad.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Saturday: Savory bread pudding

There was a stale half baguette that needed to be eaten before it turned into a rock.

Cut the stale bread into chunks. Soak it in a water-milk mixture for 30 minutes, then gently squeeze out the bread pieces. Saute some chopped smoked ham with finely chopped onion and minced garlic until the onion is soft. Mix gently into the bread along with some marjoram, salt, black pepper, and a bit of nutmeg. Transfer the bread mixture to an olive-oiled baking dish and pour over a sauce of beaten egg, milk, and vegetable bouillon (the powder). Top with grated gruyere and some raclette spices then bake at 180C until the cheese is brown and bubbly and the egg looks cooked.

We ate this with a big green salad.