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.

Saturday: Poulet Gaston Gerard

A recipe from AFK that's been flagged for a while as a "must make".

Outline of the preparation: marinate a cut up chicken with dijon mustard, salt, sweet paprika, and some butter. Brown it. Deglaze with white wine. Braise the chicken in the wine until done. Put the chicken in a gratin dish. Heat the sauce gently and add cream (halb-rahm). Add additional dijon mustard and some beurre manié. Pour over the chicken. Top with grated gruyere. Toss in a hot oven for 10 minutes to brown the cheese. Serve.

This is probably the type of dishes that the nouvelle cuisine was reacting to, and I wouldn't want to eat it every day, but it was damn fine.

We ate the chicken with mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach, and a big green salad.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday simplicity: Spaghetti with tomato-cream sauce.

Somehow didn't feel like making a big production. Luckily there was some cream leftover from Thursday and some crushed tomatoes from Sunday, from there it was easy.

The sauce: gently cook some chopped green garlic in butter. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, and a pinch of sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add some cream and simmer another couple minutes. Serve over spaghetti.

With this we had a big green salad.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday: pork geschnetzeltes with chard and orange-cream sauce

The idea with this one was to have the geschnetzeltes and chard served with an orange-flavored foam. It didn't work out that way, but the results were still very nice.

For the sauce: toast some cumin seeds in a dry pan. Add orange juice and some big pieces of orange zest and reduce to a syrup. Pick out the zest and let the syrup cool a bit. Whip some heavy cream to stiff peaks and then stir in the orange syrup. Watch the lovely peaks vanish when the warm acidic liquid is added. Ah well, it's still a flavorful sauce.

The chard: cut the stem into bite-sized pieces and cook for a while with a pinch of salt and some neutral oil. Add the chopped leaves, cover and cook until everything is tender.

The pork: cook the geschnetzeltes over high heat with salt and butter.

I served the pork and chard separately alongside fettucine and then topped it with the sauce.

Definitely good stuff... now I just have to figure out to stabilize a foam.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday: Tuna on a bed of spinach with baerlauch vinaigrette

Aside from the tuna, this was very much cuisine de kuhlschrank.

The spinach: cook with a pinch of salt in a bit of oil until it's ready.
The tuna: season both sides of a good-sized steak well with salt and a mixture of white and black pepper. Cook over high heat until almost cooked through, let rest.
The vinaigrette: combined baerlauch, cider vinegar, rapeseed oil, salt, and black pepper. Blend to emulsify.

The rice pilaf: diced yellow carrot, sliced leek, green garlic, parboiled/wild rice mix

The side: braised belgian endive

The salad: green

The verdict: very nice

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Monday: slow-cooked leg of lamb with baerlauch

An invention driven by the season and the large bag of Baerlauch we gathered on Sunday.

I started with a boneless leg of lamb. This I cut "on a roll" into a more or less uniform strip that was about 1.5 cm thick. I seasoned one side of this well with salt and pepper, then topped it with a layer of coarsely chopped Baerlauch. After rolling the roast back up and tying it, I let it rest for a couple hours before browning it well on all sides and then tossing into a low (90C) oven. I stopped the cooking after about 3 hours when the interior temp hit 70C, sliced it, and served. In theory I should have waited for 80C (at least according to the Niedergaren book), but at the rate the temperature was going up that would have taken another hour, and there was no way we were waiting that long. :-)

To go with this very nice creation we had bratkartoffeln, "braised" belgian endive, and a big green salad.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday: quick pasta

After getting back a few days of hiking, the priority last night was that things be relatively easy. Luckily we had some tortellini in the freezer.

I made a sauce by slowly cooking minced onion and green garlic in olive oil with salt, then adding crushed tomatoes and a bit of sugar. This simmer for half an hour or so and then was ready to serve with the tortellini.

very, very good.

Of course we had a big green salad with this.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday: Grill season is upon us

To inaugurate the 2009 grill season in a grand manner, we picked up a very nice looking aged cote du boeuf (looks like a t-bone to me) at the butcher. I let this sit out on a rack for a couple hours, then seasoned it with salt and pepper and threw it on a medium-hot grill. Pulled it off when it hit medium rare and then served with lemon slices.

I also made a hobo pack in the coals: potatoes, green garlic, leeks, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

The steak was fantastic. The hobo pack was good but could have used a bit more time on the coals: it didn't have the browned bits that one wants from the these things.

Of course there was a big green salad with this as well.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cocktail experiments

From Andrea's mixing:

Cocktail 1: 4cl vodka surrogate, 2cl lemon juice, 2cl curacao, ice cubes, top off with bubbly water

Cocktail 2: 4cl vodka surrogate, 2cl lemon juice, 15ml orange-mint syrup, ice cubes, top off with bubbly water

Both are nice, simple, sit-in-the-sun cocktails

for future reference "vodka surrogate" = some strange Dutch beverage given to us by friends.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tuesday: Sauteed vegetables

Hmm, lots of root vegetables in the fridge, along with some bacon and a bit of leftover ham, what to do, what to do?

Sauteed vegetables! Sliced leek, diced celery root, diced parsnip, yellow carrots cut into chunks, lardons, and some diced ham. A bit of lemon zest, some white wine, and some veal stock.

Good stuff.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sunday : Joe's special

Last week's biokiste included the first spinach of the season. I had to convert it into Joe's special. So that's what we had for dinner. Based on the contents of the fridge, I used leeks instead of onion, so it was fancier; but not super fancy. :-)

To go with it I made a cole slaw from thinly sliced cabbage and grated carrots.

Verrrry nice food.

Miscellaneous weekend things

Saturday dinner: cold fried chicken with potato salad (potatoes, finely diced ham, thinly sliced cornichons, mustard, mayo, minced garlic, lemon juice, Maggi).
Sunday breakfast: drop biscuits (from Bittmann) with added rolled oats.
Sunday lunch : repeat Saturday dinner, add bread

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Friday: fried chicken

I'm not completely sure what got me thinking about fried chicken, but it was too alluring to pass on making.

I used the basic recipe from Bittmann with a couple minor changes: I seasoned the flour with salt, pepper, hot and sweet spanish paprikas, ground cumin, and ground coriander; after tossing the chicken pieces in the flour, I let them sit on a rack for a few minutes and then tossed them in the flour a second time before frying them.

The results were very tasty and, for once, the process went smoothly enough that I didn't end up saying: "ok, I'm not doing this again." at the end of the cooking.

To go with the chicken we had potatoes -- steamed in the skin and then peeled, or not, at the table; served with a mayo/mustard/chive/balsamico dip -- and the required green salad.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Thursday: Beet Roesti with cured duck breast

A simple one: the standard beet roesti preparation served with thinly sliced cured duck breast and a big green salad.

For the cured duck breast I used Ruhlman's duck prosciutto technique. I had started this the weekend before last and let the duck hang until Wednesday (10 days).

We had one too many beets for the roesti so I did an improv with the last one: after cutting it into chunks and steaming it I tossed the pieces with salt, crumbled pecans, rape-seed oil, and a teeny bit of hot paprika (just enough to taste). This was really good.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tuesday: Vegetable gratin

A nice solution to the large quantity of root vegetables in the fridge. The vegetable mixture: celery root, pfalzer, carrot, parsnip. The sauce: sour cream, milk, green garlic, chives parsley, a bit of veggie bouillon. The topping: Gruyere.