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.