Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday: veal and potato hash

The veal breast that I used to make stock on Wednesday couldn't just be tossed out, so I used it to make a quick hash.

Dice some potatoes and cook them over medium-high heat in some peanut oil until they start to get a bit crispy. Add sliced leek, diced red onion, garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, and both sweet and hot paprika, reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the onion is soft. Meanwhile lightly brown some diced cooked veal breast in peanut oil, then add some madeira and let reduce by half. Add some veal stock, cover, and simmer 5-10 minutes. Pour the veal + liquid over the potatoes, mix well, and serve topped with chopped parsley.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday: big cooking

[well, comparatively big at least...]

I started the day by making a big pot of veal stock for later use and then, for dinner, moved on to two recipes from Alles Klar, neither served in glass, but that's just eye candy. :-)

The orange-fennel-avocado salad:
Slice a small red onion very thinly. Filet a couple of oranges. "Kill" the onions in the juice collected from orange prep along with a bit of white balsamico if needed (this is a deviation from the recipe; I prefer onions that have been tamed a bit in my salads). Very thinly slice some fennel. Dice a ripe avocado. Rip some Thai basil leaves into pieces. Juice and zest another orange (I used lemon zest since we didn't find an untreated orange). Make a vinaigrette from orange juice, some white balsamico, walnut oil (recipe calls for pistachio oil), and the zest. Layer together individual salads from the fennel, oranges, thai basil, avocado, and onion, seasoning and dressing the salad as you build it. Top with a bit more dressing and some chopped pistachios and serve.

For the braised veal with cous cous:
Slice a 500g piece of veal shoulder into 1-1.5cm thick slices (recipe calls for veal cheeks, but I didn't even bother looking for those without having ordered them in advance). Brown well on both sides and set aside. In the same pan cook a mixture of leek, carrot, and celery root (all cut into thick matchsticks) with some minced garlic for 5-10 minutes. Add a Tbs of tomato paste, a bay leaf, a cinnamon stick (broken in half), and a good Tbs of ras al hanout and cook another couple of minutes. Add 100ml of madiera and 125ml of white wine and let bubble a minute or so. Add 200-300ml of veal stock and let bubble another couple of minutes. Put the veal in a coverable casserole, pour over the vegetables and sauce, cover, and bake at 160C for about 1.5 hours. 10 minutes before serving prepare the cous cous: bring 180ml of carrot juice to a boil, remove from the heat, add 100g cous cous, mix well, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil and mix well. Serve the veal+vegetables+sauce over the cous cous.

Both of these dishes were really, really good.

Some notes:

  • The orange+thai basil flavor combination is one to remember, particularly with fennel.
  • We've got plenty of ras al hanout left; this is going to be a fun one to play with over the next couple of months.
  • Cooking the cous cous in the carrot juice gives it excellent color as well as making it more interesting to eat.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nanorestaurant review: Kohlmanns (Basel)

One smiley face; we'd consider going back for drinks and apps, but not a meal.

  • Food: A few of the apps (served in glass jars) were quite good, but the main dishes were disappointing, particularly at the price level.
  • Service: Good
  • Atmosphere: Modern, but somehow pretentious.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday: Lentil stew

A good one for a cold day!

For the meatballs:
Coarsely grind 350g pork shoulder with 80g smoked bacon, add 2tsp salt (note, this is too much, see below) and a couple good grinds of pepper, mix well, and let everything sit in the fridge for a couple hours before forming small meatballs.

These were originally intended to be done as a sausage and in bigger pieces, but they are way too salty for that, so I did small meatballs and cooked them a bit longer in the unsalted soup to calm things down a bit.

For the soup:
Cook a mixture of green and yellow lentils in water together with a couple bay leaves and a clove or two. After about an hour add some biotta (mixed vegetable juices) and some more green lentils. Saute some small diced carrot (yellow and orange), with finely diced onion and minced garlic in olive oil and add to the soup together with the meatballs. Cook for another hour or so.

Serve the soup topped with fresh horseradish grated on the microplane and mixed with sour cream. Have good bread available and the obligatory green salad.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday: Baked rice and vegetables and some fantastic beets.

Grate a yellow carrot, an orange carrot, a small bulb of fennel, and a medium-sized onion on the box grater. Cook 1.5 cups of risotto rice in 2 cups salted water for a few minutes. Stir in the grated vegetables along with a good amount of sweet paprika. Cover and bake at 175C for 30 minutes. Remove the cover, top with grated cheese (I used a mixture of mountain cheeses), and bake for another 20 minutes or so, until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

For the beets: Peel and dice (1-1.5 cm) a couple good-sized beets. Steam them until they're tender. While still warm toss with freshly-squeezed orange juice, rapeseed oil, salt, a bit of garlic (mashed to a paste), and freshly ground fennel seed. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

The baked rice was good, but the beets were the real star.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday: chicken baked on sauerkraut

This is one I've done before. The only difference this time is that I used piment d'espelette instead of raclette spices.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday: Bratkartoffeln with merguez

We had some merguez leftover from the weekend and combining it with potatoes seemed like a natural:

Peel some potatoes and slice them about 1/2cm thick. Toss them in a pan with some oil and a pinch of salt and cook them, covered, over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring only a few times. The potatoes should have some color and be heading towards cooked. Add some thickly sliced onion and cook another 5-10 minutes, again stirring only a few times. Finally add sliced merguez and some sweet paprika and let the sausage heat through.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday: beans and stuck-pot rice

For the beans: Cook soaked blackeyed peas together with diced bacon, onion, garlic, bay leaves, cloves, and black pepper until they start to get tender. Add chicken bouillon and finish the cooking.

For the rice (method from Bittman): cook rice (we were out of basmati, so I used japanese short-grain instead) in a lot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes; pour into a strainer. Melt some butter in a pan and add a layer of rice. Top with diced merguez and thinly sliced onion, then with the rest of the rice. Add a splash of water and then cover with a towel-covered lid. Let cook over medium-high heat for ~5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and let cook for another 40 minutes. This would have been better with basmati (of course), but it was still mighty good.

As a side: cook a diced onion in olive oil for a couple minutes, add chopped savoy cabbage, diced dried tomatoes, and a good pinch of salt. Cover and let cook until it's ready to eat.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday: Pizokel

This seemed like a nice way to use up some of the savoy cabbage we had in the fridge.

Cook diced onion and yellow carrot in some rapeseed oil for a few minutes. Add diced bacon and chopped cabbage and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Set aside in a covered dish. Brown some sliced sausage (I used a smoked sausage) in the same pan and add to the dish with the vegetables. Add a bit more oil to the pan and cook some spätzli over medium-high heat until they take on some color and get a bit crispy. Add the vegetables and sausage back along with a splash of cream, mix well and cook for another couple minutes then serve.

As a side I did basic steamed beets: diced, steamed, tossed with salt, white pepper, olive oil, cider vinegar.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday: pasta with peppers and cheese

A quick one:
Cook a diced onion and some chopped garlic in olive oil for a few minutes. Add roasted peppers (these were ones from the biokiste that I processed and froze a couple months ago) that have been cut into strips, fresh thyme and rosemary, salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Let cook another few minutes. Add pasta (we used whole-wheat cellentani), a bit of cream, and some grated cheese (mixture of swiss hard cheeses) and mix well. Serve sprinkled with some raclette spices and black pepper.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday: chicken with squash

Something of an improv:

Bone a couple chicken leg quarters and dice the meat (1cm dice). Brown well in olive oil. Add chopped garlic and diced onion and cook until the onion starts to soften. Add cumin seeds and diced butternut squash and cook until the cumin is aromatic. Deglaze with sherry and let that mostly evaporate. Add some tomato paste, a bit of ketchup, chicken bouillon, and some black pepper, bring to a simmer, and let cook until the chicken and squash are ready to eat, about 20 minutes. Serve topped with toasted almond slivers.

We ate this very nice dish with rice (parboiled + wild) and a big green salad.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday eggnog

We did an early Christmas dinner with some friends last night and it somehow seemed appropriate to bring eggnog with us. Since this is a traditional thing, I used a recipe from my grandmother's copy of the Joy of Cooking:


Beat 6 egg yolks until they lighten. Beat in half a cup of sugar. Beat in 2 cups of heavy cream. Add 2 cups milk and then a cup of bourbon (the recipe called for brandy, but I'm sure my grandmother would have used bourbon). Beat 4 egg whites to stiff peaks with a pinch of salt and then mix them into the rest. Serve topped with grated nutmeg.

mmmmm is that good stuff.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday: gruenkohl and sausage

This week's biokiste included Grünkohl (pretty much collard greens). We generally don't get much of this, so a traditional prep is a good place to start:

Heat smashed garlic cloves in rapeseed oil until they take on some color. Add finely chopped Grünkohl, diced potato, and a good pinch of salt and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the color of the greens deepens. Add a bit of chicken bouillon, top with a smoked sausage (saucisson neuchateloise), cover and let simmer 20-30 minutes, until the greens are ready to eat.

Serve with mustard, maggi, and a big green salad.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday: Rosti and fish

For the rösti the usual prep: raw potatoes grated and then wrung out to get them as dry as possible, cooked in clarified butter. mmmmm

For the fish: cut a cod fillet into serving-size pieces. Season with salt and piment d'espelette, then place in a hot oiled pan. Top with a breadcrumbs that have been mixed with olive oil, salt, and piment d'espelette. Place tomato halves, cut-side down, next to the fish pieces. After a few minutes of cooking, flip the tomato pieces so the cut side is up, season them, transfer the pan to a 150C oven until the fish is cooked through. Serve with lemon.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday: risotto

We had a small head of radicchio in the box and this seemed like the obvious way to use it.

Cook diced carrot and onion in olive oil until the carrots soften a bit. Add rice and cook until it smells toasty. Add white wine and let it mostly reduce off. Add chopped radicchio and do the stirring thing with beef broth. Just before serving add some grated parmesan.

Serve with leftover brisket from the pot au feu.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Sunday: pot au feu

Really a two day prep:
Make a beef broth from a piece of brisket, some bones, carrot, onion, celery root, bay leaf, cloves, some fennel seed, and black pepper. Set the brisket aside and strain the broth. Let the brisket cool in the broth then skim the fat.

Set the brisket aside and add to the broth: sliced horseradish, carrot chunks, diced celery root, potato pieces, pieces of savoy cabbage, and salt. Try to add things such that they'll all be cooked at the same time. Just before serving thickly slice the brisket and add to the broth to heat through. Serve with freshly grated horseradish mixed with sour cream, black pepper, and maggi.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday: bean burritos of a sort

For the beans: rinse black beans and toss in the pressure cooker with diced smoked bacon, diced onion, garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, a bay leaf, and whatever else looks good. Add water, seal, bring to a boil, cook at pressure for 15 minutes. Let cool off heat.

For the rice: cook diced onion and garlic in olive oil. Add ground cumin and coriander, rice, and some tomato paste and cook a few more minutes. Add water and chicken bouillon, cover, and let cook until done. Raising the heat at the end to get a bit of crust on the bottom isn't bad.

For the way-out-of-season salsa: coarsely chop a tomato and combine with garlic paste, minced onion, minced cayenne (dried), salt, sweet paprika, white balsamico, and a small amount of normal balsamico. Let stand at least 30 minutes.

Make burritos with beans, rice, salsa, canned corn, and sour cream.

To go with this I did a cabbage salad by tossing shredded savoy cabbage with salt, ground coriander, white balsamico, and a bit of rapeseed oil and letting it marinate for a good while.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Friday: First Fondue

First fondue of the season. Woo hoo! :-)

Standard preparation: cheese from the place on Spalenberg, garlic, white wine, kirsch. Peppermint tea as a drink and big green salad as a side.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday: creamy chicken-cabbage soup

After the big cookie making we ended up with some egg yolks that needed to be used up. Combined with the usual desire at this time of year to make soup, this lead to a soup with an enriched base:

Cook some diced carrots, onions, and garlic in a bit of neutral oil until the carrots start to soften. Add savoy cabbage that's been cut into strips and mix well. Add good chicken stock, a clove, a bay leaf, and some fresh thyme and bring to a simmer. 10 minutes before serving stir in some chicken breast that's been cut into strips. 5 minutes before serving combine egg yolks with some light cream and whisk in some of the stock. Add to the rest of the soup and reduce the heat. Just before serving grate in some fresh nutmeg.

Serve with good bread and a pepper grinder on the side.

Nice, nice stuff

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday: chipotle-glazed ham on roasted vegetables

A random Sunday idea for the boneless smoked ham we picked up on Saturday.

Bring some apple juice to a boil, add a few chipotles. When the chipotles are soft, fish them out, puree them, then add the puree back to the apple juice. Continue reducing until you have a glaze. Add some fresh lemon juice.

In the meantime: cut up potato, leek, celery root, and carrot and toss with some salt, sweet paprika, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and peanut oil. Add some chicken stock and bake at 175C for 10-15 minutes. Place the ham on the bed of vegetables, brush with the glaze, and put back in the oven. Bake another 20-30 minutes, glazing every five.

Serve slices of ham drizzled with a bit of the extra glaze.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A bunch of Christmas cookies

Yesterday, together with the first snow here in Basel, we made a batch of Christmas cookies so that we're prepared for the season. We did Zimtsterne (Kaltenbach), Totenbeinli (Le Menu), Gewurz Sables (Le Menu), and Schokomakronen (Andrea's mother). Recipes are below

We ended up with quite a spread:
Should last a few days at least. :-)

Schokomakronen
100g hazelnuts, toasted in a heavy pan, peeled, and coarsely chopped
100g almond slivers
2 egg whites
75g sugar
200g dark chocolate (we used 60%)

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, add the sugar, and whip to stiff peaks.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, mix in the nuts, and let cool a bit.
Fold the egg whites into the chocolate.
Drop spoon fulls onto baking parchment and then bake at 150c until they're done (10-15 minutes?).

Zimtsterne
2 egg whites, beat to stiff peaks with a pinch of salt
250g sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon
250g ground almonds (I used 200g ground almonds, 30g flour)
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp minced lemon zest

Add the sugar and cinnamon to the beaten egg whites and stir for a few minutes (supposed to be 10...). Set aside 5Tbs to use as a topping (I forgot to do this).
Add the other ingredients to the egg whites and mix to form a even dough. Let this rest 15 minutes.
Roll the dough out to the thickness of a pencil on a surface covered with sugar.
Cut out star shaped cookies and place them on parchment-covered baking sheets.
Let rest 30 minutes.
Top with the reserved egg whites (if you remembered to reserve any).
Bake at 200C for 6-8 minutes. They're better when chewy, so don't bake too long.

Gewurz Sables
125g butter, softened
50g raw sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar
a pinch salt
2-3 Tbs water
200g flour
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 Tbs cardamom (1-2 tsp would have been better)
1 Tbs ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Beat the butter until it forms peaks.
Add the sugars, salt, and water and beat a bit more
Sift in the flour and spices and work into a smooth dough.
Form a 3cm roll, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for an hour.
Cut 5mm thick slices and put on a parchment-covered baking sheet.
Bake at 200C for 20-12 minutes.

Totenbeinli
200g walnuts
100g butter, softened
175g sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
250g flour

Toast the walnuts in a heavy pan until they're aromatic. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
Beat the butter until it forms peaks.
Beat in the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and eggs and beat until it lightens.
Sift in the flour and mix to form a smooth dough.
Add the chopped nuts, then wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for an hour.
Roll out to 1cm on a floured work surface.
Cut into 7-8cm strips and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and let rest 30 minutes in the fridge.
Brush with egg yolk, then bake at 180C for 10min. Let cool a couple of minutes, then cut into sticks and bake another 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Saturday: baked sauerkraut

We got the first sauerkraut of the season last week and in this month's Le Menu there's a recipe for a sauerkraut gratin. That's a coincidence that's too big to ignore. :-)

Toss rinsed sauerkraut with some leek (cut into thin strips), a bit of diced bacon, and caraway (I didn't actually use caraway since the 'kraut from the biokiste is already seasoned) and pack into a gratin dish. Top with strips of bacon, raclette cheese, and leek rings. Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes, top with some diced bread and bake another 5-10 minutes until the bread is brown and toasty.

I did this with a pretty aromatic raclette cheese which complemented the sauerkraut very nicely.

Of course we also had a green salad.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday: sauteed vegetables

Once the new biokiste arrived we really needed to clear out some stuff from the old ones. Thus, sauteed vegetables: turnip, carrot, leek, onion, garlic, pumpkin, bacon, thyme, rosemary, black pepper. Served with some raclette spice.

We also had roasted cauliflower and a fennel-orange salad.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday: carrot-ginger soup, horseradish risotto

Another soup: onion, ginger (plenty of it), carrots, potato, and chicken stock. After pureeing it I added orange juice to give a bit more sweetness and some acidity. The combination of the ginger's bite and the OJ was really nice.

Unlike last time I did the horseradish risotto, this time I left out the cream. Though the result was still good, it definitely missed the cream... no big surprise there. :-)

To round out the meal I marinated some chicken breast strips with garlic, fresh thyme and rosemary, salt, black pepper, and white balsamico and then browned them.

Oh yes, and that green salad.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday: Fleischvogel (rouladen) with mashed pumpkin and potatoes

Adapted from a recipe from this month's Le Menu.


Pound out some rindsplätzli to a good thickness. Fill with mustard, bacon, onion, pickle, and leek then roll up and fasten with toothpicks. Brown them nicely in clarified butter then set aside. Add some flour to the pan, cook until light brown, then add white wine, beef bouillon, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then add the rouladen, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

For the mashed pumpkin and potatoes: Steam peeled and coarsely diced potatoes until ready to eat. Cook peeled and coarsely chopped pumpkin in microwave until tender, drain well. Combine potatoes, pumpkin, butter, hot milk, salt, and pepper and mash.

This would have been nicer with butternut or hokkaido, but that's not what we had in the biokiste and the end result was pretty good anyway. :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday : mushroom-leek soup

Driven by the mushrooms I found on sale...

Cook some quartered mushrooms in butter over high heat until they take on some color. Add sliced leek and cook a bit longer until the leek softens. Add chicken bouillon, water, a bay leaf, and a couple cloves, and let simmer 15-20 minutes. Puree, add additional butter to taste, and serve sprinkled with a bit of raclette spice.

Together with bread and big salad this made for a nice meal.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday: beans and greans

When there's a big head of escarole in the biokiste, it's almost too easy to decide what to do. :-)


Cook diced onion, diced carrot, and chopped garlic in olive oil until the onions soften. Add fennel seeds and cook another couple minutes, until the fennel is aromatic. Add chopped escarole and some salt and mix well to integrate. When the escarole wilts a bit add diced smoked pork shoulder, lemon zest, and some liquid from the white beans. Cover and simmer until the escarole is ready. Add cooked white beans and cook another couple minutes, until the beans are heated through. Just before serving add some fresh lemon juice to brighten it up. Serve drizzled with some good olive oil.

Definitely happy-making food. The fennel was quite a nice variation on the usual preparation.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday: Rösti Zweierlei

Though it looked really nice last time when I combined the potato and beet rösti in one pan, this time I did them separately so that things were properly cooked.


No complaints here. :-)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Saturday: pumpkin soup, pork and turnip stew with polenta

Two good ones for a lazy, cool, Saturday.


The soup: cook diced onion and carrot together with garlic in peanut oil until the carrots start to soften. Add pumpkin pieces, stale bread pieces (cut small), water, and some vegetable bouillon. Simmer until the pumpkin is ready then puree. Add light cream, curry powder, white pepper, salt, and garam masala. Serve topped with pumpkin seeds and chili oil (grind fresh cayenne peppers with peanut oil in a mortar and pestle, strain through a fine sieve).

The stew: cook diced onion and carrot together with garlic in peanut oil (how original) until the onion softens, add some flour and cook another couple minutes. Deglaze with red wine, water, and a bit of beef bouillon. Add diced (1-2cm) turnip and smoked pork shoulder along with a couple cloves and a bay leaf. Simmer until everything is ready to eat.

We ate the stew (great flavor combination there) over polenta. This time I used bramata (coarse) polenta, then kind that takes 40-50 minutes to cook. The result is definitely better than fine polenta, but boy does it take a while. :-)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Friday: beef and bean tortillas

An improv:

For the salsa: Cook chopped onion, garlic, and diced carrots in some neutral oil until the carrots soften a bit. Add chopped long green pepper and cook another couple minutes. Add ground cumin and coriander and cook until aromatic. Add tomato puree and chopped chipotles, cover, and let simmer 10 minutes or so. Add pinto beans and simmer for another 10 minutes.
For the beef: Sear some beef geschnetzeltes in neutral oil, season and set aside.
Make tortillas with beef, salsa, thinly sliced fresh onion, chopped cilantro, lettuce, and lime juice.

We ate this with roasted purple(!) cauliflower from the biokiste.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wednesday: turkey schnitzel on a bed of greens

A random idea:


Cook sliced leek and coarsely chopped garlic with a couple piri piri peppers until the leek starts to soften. Add chard stems cut into 2cm pieces and either chard greens or lettuce (which is what I did since the chard greens were looking fairly sad). Cook covered for 5 or so minutes then add tomato puree and some salt and let simmer another 10 minutes.

Pound out turkey breast pieces; top with black pepper, Appenzeller, Sudtiroler Speck; fold over and fasten with a couple of toothpicks; season with salt and then quickly brown on two sides.

Put the turkey pieces on top of the greens, cover, and let cook until the turkey is cooked through and the cheese has started to melt. Serve immediately.

This was good food, the Appenzeller-smoked pork combination is a nice one to remember.



Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Monday: pumpkin risotto

There was still more roasted pumpkin to use, risotto seemed like a plan.


Mince an onion and cook it in butter with some small-diced carrot and diced smoked bacon until the onion and carrots start to soften. Add the rice and toast lightly. Add white wine, chicken stock, chopped roasted pumpkin (it will disintegrate), lemon zest, chopped sage, and salt and do the risotto thing. Serve topped with shaved parmesan.

mmmmm!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sunday: pasta with pumpkin and leek

Before leaving for Berlin I cut the piece of pumpkin we had from the biokiste into chunks and then roasted those with a bit of olive oil and salt before tossing them in the fridge. Now it's time to use them.


Thinly slice a leek and cook it with a bit of olive oil and some garlic until the leek lightly caramelizes. Add chopped roasted pumpkin, chopped sage, some white wine, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a bit of cayenne. Before serving add a bit of pasta water. Serve over pasta (we used whole-wheat penne) and top with shaved parmesan and some sage threads.

Simple and very good.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Food in Berlin

Some nanoreviews
  • Wednesday dinner, Sarah Wiener's Speisezimmer: Service a bit rocky at first, got better after the new guy moved to do something else. Food mostly quite good aside from one of the components of the game zweierlei being pretty dry.
  • Thursday lunch, Sian: Very nice noodle and wonton soups and teas. Gotta make pho again. Thing to make: green tea brewed with a bit of ginger and lime leaf
  • Thursday dinner, Dos Palillos: We walked by a couple of times and this place looked so right, online reviews sounded good, so we gave it a try. 16 courses of small-plate pan-asian goodness. Only one miss in the whole batch (the sunemono, which somehow didn't come together). Wow.
  • Friday lunch, Curry 36: Gotta eat currywurst in Berlin! Curry could have been more intense, but good sausage and fries.
  • Friday dinner, Renger Patzsch: Service was somewhat overwhelmed (not helped by the fact that we were in the back room), but they were friendly about it. Food very enjoyable.
  • Saturday lunch, Dolores: California-style burritos in Berlin. :-) We enjoyed them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday: potato-leek soup

It's getting to be soup season! yay!


Usual procedure: thinly slice leeks and cook in butter until soft. Add diced potato and cook another couple of minutes. Add chicken stock and milk and let simmer until the potatoes are done. Puree and then add white pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Top with chopped chives and some crispy lardons and serve with bread.

Together with a big nussli salad this made for a very good meal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday: potato gratin

A relatively simple one since the kitchen of the vacation house was rustic.


Thickly slice some potatoes then boil them until almost done. Add a couple cloves, some black pepper, and a crushed garlic clove to some milk and bring to just under the boil. Let steep and then strain. Layer the potatoes with thinly sliced onion and smoked ham (used speck from Sudtirol), pour over the sauce, top with cheese, and bake until it's ready to go.

Good stuff.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Party preparations

Things I made for my "pre-birthday" celebration in the Schwarzwald this weekend:

  1. Bread and butter pickles: recipe from Quick Pickles; I used half the sugar and fennel seeds instead of celery seeds (since I couldn't find celery seeds). Great success here.
  2. Pickled butternut squash: recipe from Quick Pickles; I used half the sugar and thinly sliced the squash instead of dicing it. The thin slicing is a big bonus for this recipe.
  3. Quince mustard: inspired by several different recipes. Technique: scrub a quince then quarter it and remove the core. Chop into 1-2cm pieces and simmer those in water to barely cover until soft; puree. Add some brown sugar. Combine some of the quince puree with powdered yellow mustard, whole brown mustard, some cider vinegar, and a bit of salt. Let stand in the fridge overnight and then add more of whatever is required to make it right.
  4. Almonds toasted with olive oil and then seasoned with salt and cumin
  5. Cashews toasted with olive oil and seasoned with salt and piment d'espelette
  6. Chili with lots of beer: from Thrill of the Grill.
  7. A big tray of cornbread: standard recipe, doubled.
  8. Bean salad: green and wax beans cooked until crisp-tender then tossed with minced spring onion, diced Schwarzwalderschinken, parsley, white balsamico, and olive oil.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday's mixed bag

Inspired by our visit to Stucki, I picked up a copy of one of Tanja Grandits' cookbooks that contains recipes that mostly have a chance of being doable in a home kitchen. Last night I tried a first recipe from there: watercress panna cotta topped with a chantarelle-haselnut tatar. The recipe is good and not overly much trouble to make, but next time I do something like this I will definitely replace the cream with plain milk: otherwise it's just too heavy for my tastes.


To go with the fancy dish I also did something simple, frikadellen: combine mixed ground meat with kalbs brät, minced onion, salt, ground coriander, and black pepper. Let stand an hour or so and then form frikadellen and cook in a bit of olive oil.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nanorestaurant Review: Restaurant Stucki (Basel)

Two very smiley faces and a big "wow".


I really need to find a source of shiso.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday: chicken-squash stew

This is a recipe from Big Flavors that I've made before (though it doesn't seem like it was really so long ago). Deviations from the recipe this time: I used just leg quarters instead of the whole chicken and instead of doing a 2Tbs paprika and 1Tbs cayenne I did 3Tbs hot paprika.


The results, served with rice, were great.

Dessert failure: panna cotta with lemon balm

We had a couple of nice bunches of lemon balm from the biokiste and not much idea what to do with them. My first idea was to make a panna cotta infused with the lemon balm instead of vanilla. I think this probably would have worked, but then I decided that Bittman's buttermilk panna cotta recipe sounded really good too; so I tried buttermilk panna cotta with lemon balm.


If I had thought the whole thing through after reading the ingredients list on the buttermilk container, I would have known what was going to happen when I took the acidulated milk product and heated it almost to the boil. I didn't think things all the way through though, so I had a "doh!" moment when the milk proteins started coagulating as I made my panna cotta. I didn't want to start completely over (which would have been a waste and required a trip to the store for more gelatin), so I decided to try and salvage things. During the infusion stage I stirred frequently to prevent the curds from getting too big, then after picking out the herb stalks (good thing I didn't chop the lemon balm before adding it!) I pureed the whole thing for a while with the stick blender before pouring it into the dishes. These went into the fridge to set. The results were, as expected, not what one hopes for: each form had three layers - fine curds on the bottom, a layer of whey, then fine curds on the top. To be fair, it was edible, but I certainly wouldn't have served it to guests.

The recipe is probably still doable with the acidulated buttermilk that we get by heating just the milk with the sugar and stuff to be infused, letting that cool some, then straining it into the cold buttermilk. That's for next time.

Another idea: ricotta cheese infused with lemon balm... doesn't sound half bad. ;-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday: curried lentils

For the lentils: cook minced onion and a good amount of chopped ginger and garlic in clarified butter until it's nicely aromatic. Add rinsed green lentils, salt, and water, bring to a simmer, cover and let simmer for a couple of hours, until the lentils are tender. 20 minutes before serving add another bit of fresh ginger. Serve topped with a bit of plain yogurt.

As a side I baked the two small, round, green winter squash that we had from last week's biokiste: after hollowing out the squash I added salt, butter, and garam masala and then baked them until tender.

Simple but really satisfying.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday: sweet and sour pork

The sweet and sour pork recipe from Land of Plenty is becoming a favorite. To go with it this time I made stir-fried corn and green peppers. This is also from Land of Plenty, and was quite good, but there's nothing about it that really jumps out and makes you say "chinese".


Nice food that led to nice leftovers (mmm, fried rice) on Sunday.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Steaks with tomato-vegetable sauce

Sear both sides of thin (.5cm) steaks and set aside. In the same pan saute finely chopped onion and garlic until the onion softens, then deglaze with red wine and let the wine reduce by half. Add canned tomatoes, salt, and some piment d'espelette and let the sauce simmer 10-15 minutes. Add leftover cooked vegetables (diced fennel and kohlrabi) and let simmer another couple minutes. Add the steaks to the sauce and let them heat through. Serve over linguini.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Knoedelsuppe

Picked up some speckknoedel at the grocery store and served them in a soup made from vegetable bouillon, diced onions, carrots, fennel, and kohlrabi.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Split-pea soup

Cook chopped onion, garlic, and diced carrot in olive oil until the onion softens, add rinsed split peas and hot vegetable bouillon, bring to a simmer and cook until the peas are done (about an hour). 10 minutes before serving add wienerli to let them heat through. Some herbs de provence wouldn't have hurt here, but we didn't have any. :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Linguini with olive oil, garlic, and basil

Brought on by the fact that the supermarkets were closed, a pantry dish:

Add chopped garlic and some piment d'espelette to olive oil in a pan. Put the pan over medium-low heat and let it get good and hot (but don't color the garlic). Just before serving add chopped basil then toss in the cooked linguine and a good couple pinches of salt. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Barley with salami and vegetables

Cook chopped garlic, diced hard salami (I used venison salami), fennel, kohlrabi, and carrots in olive oil until the carrots soften a bit. Add rinsed barley and some vegetable bouillon, bring to a simmer, and let cook until the barley is ready to eat.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Linguini with fresh tomato sauce

Chop some garlic coarsely and cook it in olive oil over over medium-high heat until it turns golden. Add chopped fresh tomatoes and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the tomatoes break down, then add some chopped fresh basil and a bit of minced garlic and let simmer another minute or two before serving over linguine.

As accompaniments we had diced kohlrabi and carrots simmered in butter until crisp-tender and a big green salad.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

another silly milestone

This is post 1500

Wednesday: pasta with spinach, ricotta, and ham

We had leftover smoked pork and a big bag of spinach in the fridge... there's a recipe for spinach, ricotta, and ham in Hazan... no additional thought was required. :-)

My one deviation from the recipe was the use of smoked pork loin instead of boiled ham. I'm sure this does give a different final result, but it still seemed like something that ought to work. Besides, compared to the change I did last time I made this recipe it's minor.

We ate the sauce over orecchiette and, as usual for recipes from Hazan, it was excellent.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Monday: ways to use up zwiebelkuchen leftovers

There was topping leftover from Saturday's Zwiebelkuchen that needed to be eaten. This is what I came up with:


Peel and thickly slice some potatoes. Steam the slices until almost cooked through then transfer them in a single/double layer to an olive-oiled baking dish, sprinkle with salt. Combine the zwiebelkuchen topping with additional beaten egg and spread over the potatoes. Bake at 180C until the topping is done.

Nice, nice stuff.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Sunday: beans and greens

Ah the joy of beans and greens! :-)


This time I used pinto beans and frisee as the bean and the green. I added some diced smoked pork loin (rippli) and white wine not too long before serving.

Together with some good bread and a big green salad this was some excellent comfort food.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Saturday: Zwiebelkuchen

It's the time of year when at least one zwiebelkuchen needs to be made to go with the Federweisser that's available.


This time I followed Andrea's usual recipe with the exception of using piment d'espelette instead of cayenne.

The results, together with a big salad and a bottle of white suuser (Schlipfer), made for a very nice seasonal meal.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Friday Frikadelle

Not chosen for the alliteration, but I'm not complaining about it either. :-)


I made a batch of little frikadellen from mixed ground pork and beef, minced onion, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and hot paprika. To go with them I did a big pot of sautéed vegetables: long peppers, carrots, cauliflower, onion, garlic.

Of course we had a big green salad as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday; pork steaks with bacon and pears

Wrapping up a savory pear trifecta: another recipe from Le Menu.

Season a couple of 3cm thick pork loin steaks well, sear on both sides, and then transfer to a 80C oven. Brown some diced bacon in a bit of clarified butter; add minced onion and cook until soft; add 2dl apple juice and 2dl beef bouillon and reduce by half; add 1.8dl of temperature-stable light cream (saucen halbrahm), a small amount of birnendicksaft, and 2 pears that have been cored and thickly sliced and bring to a simmer. Serve with the pork steaks.

We ate this with cauliflower and spaetzle and were very, very pleased; this is great stuff.

Oh yes, and a big green salad.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday: beans bacon and pears

We've done this one before, but it turned out more satisfactorily last time. I guess the pears weren't quite right because this just didn't do it for us.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Saturday: spaghetti with ground beef and pears

Pear season is starting, so it's time to start the savory dishes with pears. This year's first entry is an old favorite from Le Menu. After last time's success with it, I added curry paste (this time red curry) again and we were both really happy with the results.


Of course we had a big green salad on the side.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday: corn fritters

This week we got what was probably the last two corn of the year in the biokiste. Not quite sure where the idea came from but this seemed like a good way to use it:


Chop some smoked bacon into medium dice. Brown it a bit, then drain it (keep the fat) and set it aside. Cut the kernels off a couple cobs of corn, add minced onion, garlic, the bacon, salt, and sweet paprika and mix well. Stir in a couple of eggs, some milk, and enough flour to make a very thick batter. Add some peanut oil to the reserved bacon fat and get the oil good and hot. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil and cook until nicely browned.

We ate this with a quick salsa of tomatoes, minced onion, garlic, salt, piment d'espelette, chipotle tabasco, and crema de pepperoni.

As sides we did steamed potatoes with leftover mayo and a big green salad.

Good food, very good food.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday : a meal based around a sauce

The idea started with a couple of wedges of iceberg lettuce. These led me to the idea of making mayonnaise, which led to fish. The potatoes were obvious from there.


I started with the mayo: ratio from Ratio, with plenty of lemon and a good quantity of piment d'espelette. I stirred some chives into the finished product.

On the plates were: fish, potatoes, tomatoes, and the iceberg wedges that started the idea.

For the fish I did Goldbutt (plaice) fillets seasoned with salt and pepper and then sautéed on one side. The potatoes were simply steamed.

As a vegetable side I sautéed zucchini with onion and finished it with some chopped basil.

A really nice and simple meal.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday: southeast asian ground pork patties

I've done this idea multiple times: ground pork mixed with minced lemongrass, thai chili, keffir lime leaf, and fish sauce and then formed into patties and pan fried. To accompany this time I made a lime-caramel sauce (gastrique).


Bread and a big green salad were the accompaniments

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday: roesti and green beans

The joys of simplicity: a good rösti, green beans cooked with savory until quite soft and then mixed with sour cream, and a big green salad.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday at the grill

There hasn't been enough grilling this summer, so I took advantage of the fantastic weather yesterday to at least partially lower the deficit. The food ideas were from the Gourmet Today cookbook, which I conveniently have via the Kindle store (what great technology to have).


I did chicken paillards with nectarine chutney (nectarines, tomato, sugar, cider vinegar, salt) and a grilled fennel (steamed first, a great idea) and zucchini salad tossed with a lemon-garlic vinaigrette.

Together with some lettuce and a nice loaf of bread, this made for quite a good meal.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday: tortilla

A quick one after getting back from a hike:

Slice some peeled potatoes and slice them 1/2cm thick; steam until about cooked. Meanwhile sauté some onions in olive oil until they start to take on some color. Layer the potatoes in a pan with hot olive oil, top with onions, pour over eggs scrambled with paprika, piment d'espelette, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Let cook until the eggs are cooked on top then cut into wedges and serve.

Yes, there was the usual salad accompanying this.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday: veal with chilies

Driven by some half-priced veal stew meat I found at the Coop:

Sauté bite-sized veal chunks in rapeseed oil until they're nicely colored; add diced onion and yellow carrot and cook until the carrot softens a bit; add ground cumin, and both sweet and hot paprika and cook a couple more minutes until the spices are aromatic; add white wine and reduce a bit then add beef bouillon to almost cover the veal; cover and let simmer. In the meantime, seed some dried guajillo chiles and soak them in a small amount of water; after they soften puree them and then add the puree to the simmering veal. Shortly before serving add some sour cream, minced garlic, and chipotle sauce to taste; let simmer another couple minutes and then serve.

We ate this with parboiled rice, sautéed zucchini, and the usual green salad.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Wednesday: pork and green beans

Plenty of green beans in the biokiste and everyone knows how well beans of any kind go with smoked pork:

Cook diced onion and carrots in olive oil until the onion softens; add green beans cut into bite-sized pieces along with a few sprigs of savory and a splash of white wine; cover and let simmer until the beans are a few minutes from being done, then add some diced smoked pork loin and simmer until the beans are done and the pork is heated through.

We ate this with diced potatoes sauteed in olive oil on the side and a big green salad.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Monday: pesto

There was a lot of basil in the biokiste this week, so I did a batch of pesto rosso: basil, dried tomatoes, garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil.


We ate this with spaghetti and a big green salad and were extremely happy.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Sunday at the grill

A standard night at the grill: sausages, a steak, and grilled vegetable salad (peppers, onion, zucchini, corn, basil, olive oil, balsamico).


standard, but oh so good

Friday, September 03, 2010

Thursday: pasta with tomatoes and chickpeas

From the Splendid Table mailing:


Combine chopped fresh tomato, minced garlic, chickpeas, basil, balsamico, and olive oil and let stand for 30 minutes. Serve over penne.

Very simple, very nice.

Wednesday: chopped salad with steak

Another one of those "using vegetables up" ideas:


Mash some garlic and combine with minced onion, finely chopped celery, salt, lemon juice, some white balsamico, and rapeseed oil. Dice a zucchini small (1cm) and microwave it a minute or so to kill the raw taste then stir into the rest. Repeat that process with a fennel bulb. Add diced (1cm) carrot. Add chopped basil, mix well, and let it all stand for a while to marinate. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Season a piece of sirloin well, cook it to rare in the grill pan, slice thinly after letting it rest, and serve beside the salad.

mmmmmm

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday: baked vegetables with pasta

Sometimes it's almost too easy to use large quantities of vegetables from the biokiste:


Cover the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil; layer in sliced fennel, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and onion; add a couple splashes of white wine; cover and bake at 175C for 40 minutes. Remove the foil, top with grated gruyere, increase the temp to 190, and bake for another 20 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve with pasta (penne) tossed with chopped basil, chives, and olive oil.

Together with a green salad, this was some good eating.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saturday: Broiled chicken and eggplant

Marinate a couple chicken leg quarters with salt, lemon juice, garlic, chopped chives, and olive oil for a few hours. Meanwhile broil some eggplants (poke holes in them first so they don't explode!) until the skin is nicely charred and they are soft. Scoop out the interior and chop it coarsely, then mix with mashed garlic, yogurt, tahini, a bit of lemon juice, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Let stand for a while so the flavors can merge. Broil the chicken until it's ready to eat and then serve with the eggplant-yogurt mixture.

We also had roasted potatoes and a carrot salad: thin strips of carrot tossed with lemon juice, salt, pepper, piment d'espelette, cumin, a hint of cinnamon, and olive oil.

It's good to be back home and able to cook again. :-)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday: escarole and chicken

The nice head of escarole in the biokiste was calling out for beans and greens, but since I was going to be on a plane the next day, it mutated into something else.


Cook diced onion and carrot with minced celery, garlic and salt in some olive oil until the carrots start to soften. Add some hot paprika, freshly ground cumin, and piment d'espelette and cook another minute or so until the pepper is aromatic. Add a good quantity of sherry and let reduce most of they way. Add tomato sauce and a pinch saffron and bring to a simmer. Add coarsely chopped escarole, cover, and let cook until the escarole is about ready to eat. Add more salt if needed and some chopped chicken breast and let simmer another few minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve topped with toasted spiced almonds and a drizzle of olive oil.

This, some bread, and a green salad was quite a good meal.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday vegetables

This was going to be a succotash, but then it changed. :-)


Cook diced onion and chopped garlic in olive oil with a good pinch of salt until the onion starts to soften, add diced carrot and cook a few minutes. Add diced long-green pepper and cook another five or so minutes. Add diced summer squash and some more salt and cook, covered, until the squash is almost ready to eat. Add fresh corn and cook another couple of minutes.

Sometimes it's really nice to just have a big plate of well-cooked fresh vegetables.

We ate the veggies with oven-roasted potato wedges and a big green salad.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saturday Risotto

I made a batch of risotto to go with the leftover pork roast: olive oil, minced onion, diced carrot, white wine, chicken bouillon, and (of course) rice. Served topped with parmesan and drizzled with a bit of olive oil.


I also did a batch of chard stems cooked in tomato puree. I'm tired of dealing with chard for this year, but this is quite a good combination.

Saturday: Apricot panna cotta with berries

A recipe from the Le Menu archive selected to take advantage of all the fruit that we picked up at the market.


Pit and dice 250g apricots, then cook them with 100g sugar and a packet of vanilla sugar until they soften. Let cool a couple of minutes and then puree.
Combine 2.5dl cream with 1.5dl milk and half of a (scraped) vanilla bean and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 leaves of softened gelatin then the apricot puree.
Transfer to ramekins, cover, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
15 minutes before serving combine some blueberries and blackberries with a bit of sugar and let macerate.
Serve the panna cottas topped with the berries.

The two we tried on Saturday hadn't fully set up, so they didn't have the correct panna cotta texture, but they were still really tasty. Hopefully with more cooling the texture will be right too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday : slow-cooked pork loin

I actually cooked this Wednesday night; we ate it on Thursday:


Season a pork-loin roast well with salt, glaze with a mixture of honey and mustard, then cook at 85C until the internal temperature is 70. Serve with some additional honey mustard on the side.

We ate this with bratkartoffeln and zucchini sauteed in butter. And, of course, a big green salad.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday: more wraps

This time, vegetarian wraps with: steamed green beans, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, corn, lettuce, and a dressing made from pesto (basil, almonds, olive oil, garlic) with extra oil and some white balsamico.


As an accompaniment I did a bean salad with: white beans (and some of the canning liquid), diced smoked salami (an appenzeller schubli), minced onion, minced garlic, lemon zest, parsley, olive oil.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday wraps

Driven by a desire for something at least vaguely mexican; wraps with:

  1. Ground beef cooked with cumin, pimenton, garlic, and onions. Red wine and soy sauce added and allowed to reduce off.
  2. a quick salsa: tomatoes, onions, garlic, lemon, chilies, piment d'espelette
  3. corn, cheese, lettuce, sour cream

Thursday, August 05, 2010

This year's cherries

Timed this one perfectly: Andrea got the last flat of sour cherries for the year from the guy at the market. whew!


Last night we cleaned and pitted the cherries (more than three kilos pitted). I combined 3kg with 1kg sugar and brought to a boil. Tonight I'll put them in jars.

Pickles

Andrea picked up a big bag of pickling cukes yesterday, so I'm trying another pickling run.


I used a 5% brine (a la Ruhlman) and combined the cucumbers with green beans, garlic, onion, dill, black pepper, and mustard seed. Let's see how these turn out.

Wednesday: Siedfleisch salad

An idea that's been kicking around for a couple weeks:

Cook a piece of siedfleisch in the pressure cooker (25 minutes after it started to sing) with water, onion, garlic, cloves, bay leaf, all spice, black pepper, and some vegetable boullion. Let cool a bit, then thinly slice. Make a sauce from sour cream, prepared horseradish, a bit of the beef cooking liquid, mashed garlic, chopped parsley, and black pepper. Mix with the sliced beef. Add chopped chives and quick-pickled onions and cucumbers (very thinly sliced, tossed with salt and white balsamico). Serve with good bread and a green salad.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tuesday: macaroni and cheese

We still have lots of cheese to use, so doing mac and cheese seemed like a good idea.


I used whole wheat pasta, some white wine, and a mixture of grated alp cheeses. To serve I topped it with minced shallots. Good stuff!

As a vegetable side we had diced squash sauteed with onion and garlic. Oh, and a big green salad.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Monday's pizzas

A simple one for Monday night: two different vegetable "pizzas"

Squash with alp cheese: slice summer squash and then microwave (uncovered) a few minutes to start the cooking process and dry them out a bit. Brush rolled out pizza dough with olive oil, brush on minced garlic, top with the squash, sprinkle on some salt and fresh thyme, top with alp cheese., bake.

Tomato with fresh mozzarella: brush dough with olive oil, top with sliced tomato, season with salt, top with sliced fresh mozzarella, bake, sprinkle with fresh basil before serving.

Even using the prefab dough from Coop these were quite good.

of course we also had a big green salad.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Sunday: potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and cheese

A random one based on what was in the house and inspired by the really nice cheese we bought in the alps.

Thinly slice a couple of onions and put them in a baking dish with a bit of rape seed oil. Toss in the oven at 190C for 10 minutes. Add a good splash or two of white wine and bake until the wine is mostly evaporated (another 5 or so minutes). Meanwhile steam some sliced new potatoes until they are almost cooked. Top the onions with sliced tomato, then with the potato slices, then with sliced alp cheese. Salt as appropriate while building the thing. Toss the baking dish back in the oven and let it cook until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

This was really, really good. I need to come up with a name for it. Oh, and more onions next time; caramelized onions are gooood!

Of course we also had a big green salad.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday salad

Inspired by the contents of the box: quarter some new potatoes and steam them until just cooked through. Toss warm with olive oil, mashed garlic, salt, chopped basil, and minced onion. Steam some green beans until crisp-tender, toss into the potatoes. Add toasted and coarsely ground almonds, black pepper, more chopped basil, more olive oil, and a splash of balsamico. Let stand 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Just before serving mix in some grated parmesan. Serve over lettuce with cherry tomatoes on the side, drizzle with olive oil.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday: stuffed zucchini

Lots of zucchini to use up!

Grind some lamb with onion and garlic. Season well with salt, black pepper, cumin, and piment d'espelette. Cook for a few minutes. Stuff into hollowed out zucchini halves, top with feta cheese and tomato slices. Bake at 175C until the meat is cooked through and the zucchini is soft.

Serve with rice and mint-feta-yogurt sauce.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday leftovers

To use the leftover chicken from Monday: caramelize some thinly sliced onions and chopped garlic with some olive oil. Stir in the boned and diced chicken and cook gently for a few minutes. Just before serving stir in coarsely chopped mint and some lemon juice.

We ate this with basmati rice, the leftover yogurt sauce, and sliced zucchini cooked with butter.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monday miscellany

It's cool enough to cook again, so I had to take advantage of it.


The main dish was chicken baked with fennel (from Bittman), which is simple enough: slice some fennel; put it in a baking dish with some olive oil and season; bake at 175C for 10 minutes; add chicken parts and season with salt and pepper; bake another 30 minutes or so, removing the breast pieces when they are done and setting aside; serve with lemon slices.

As a side I did vegetable rösti of a sort: grate some zucchini then salt it and let it drain; mix with minced onion, mashed garlic, lemon zest, grated carrot, lemon zest, chopped basel, and enough flour and breadcrumbs to make you believe it's going to hold together; form small patties and saute in olive oil. We ate these with a sauce I made by blending together feta cheese, mashed garlic, yogurt, and mint.

The zucchini things didn't hold together quite as well as I would have liked, but they (as well as the chicken) tasted great.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday: baked ratatouille

The ingredients in this weeks box were perfect for a ratatouille.


Put some olive oil in a baking dish. Layer in thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant, very thinly sliced onion, sliced tomatoes, chopped parsley, thyme, and basil, salt, pepper, and some crushed garlic. Top with bread crumbs mixed with olive oil and bake at 175C until it's ready.

Really nice stuff.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday's salads

Still too hot to cook!

  1. Potato salad: sliced potatoes that I steamed in the morning and then refrigerated all day tossed with mashed garlic, minced onion, parsley, chives, rapeseed oil, white balsamico, mustard (plenty of it), and a bit of vegetable bouillon
  2. Smoked pork salad: diced (1cm) smoked pork loin tossed a vinaigrette (lemon, garlic, peanut oil, honey), chives, and piment d'espelette
  3. Cold pasta tossed with a pesto rosso (dried tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, parmesan, black pepper)
  4. A big green salad

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday: Bread salad

When we got back from the mountains it was hot as hell in the flat, so there was no way I was going to do real cooking. Instead I did a tomato-bread salad (panzanella) with some leftover pagnol, tomatoes from the box, basil from the balcony, olive oil, garlic, onion, balsamico, and a bit of veggie bouillon. After letting this soak for 30 minutes we ate it over lettuce.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Catching up.

I'm hopelessly behind with the blog (again) so here's an attempt to catch up with at least some of the things I've made recently:

  1. chicken legs marinated in garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, sriracha, soy, and shallots, then broiled. I served the extra marinade as sauce (after boiling it, of course).
  2. A salad made from grated zucchini (salted for 30 minutes), chopped tomatoes, olive oil, white balsamico, and basil
  3. wurstsalat (the usual method)
  4. Japanese-inspired beef salad: thin steaks seasoned, seared in the grill pan, thinly sliced, and then marinated in soy, mirin, sake, and sesame oil
  5. thinly sliced peppers marinated in balsamico and olive oil
  6. potato salad (more than once, multiple kinds)
  7. salade nicoise
  8. Chard cannelloni: chard leaves cooked with olive oil, garlic, and piri-piri chilis, then chopped and mixed with finely diced smoked bacon (from Wallis) and parmesan. We rolled this up in lasagna noodles, topped with a bit more parmesan and ran it under the broiler for a couple minutes before serving drizzled with good olive oil

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another round of energy bars

Made a batch of energy bars for a backpacking trip. I used more or less the same proportions as last time but I did stronger spicing (2tsp ground ginger, more nutmeg, more black pepper) and, due to ingredient availability in the kitchen, I made a couple substitutions:

  • 100g dried mango instead of the prunes
  • 200g honey instead of 110g honey and 90g zuckerruben sirup
I also left out the butter, but that's because I forgot, not due to any clever plan. ;-)

The results were, once again, really good. This makes a large quantity so we should be set for a few weekends.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tueday's randomness

A couple of weeks ago I marked a recipe for gooseberry relish that looked like an interesting way to use the gooseberries from our balcony when they got ripe. Last night as the night. Since there weren't a ton of berries (our bush is small) I ended up doing a half recipe, which meant there was insufficient liquid to put the ginger and mustard seeds in a bag; I just dumped them in and then picked out the ginger slices before serving (the mustard seeds blended in well with the seeds from the berries themselves). I also didn't add any additional sugar other than what came in with the elderberry syrup. The resulting preparation maybe could have used brightening up with some lemon juice, but it was still quite good.


We ate the relish over thinly sliced pork steaks that I seasoned with salt and cooked quickly in the grill pan.

As an accompaniment I made a batch of coconut rice (using coconut milk to replace most of the water in a standard short-grain rice recipe). I have no idea where this idea came from, but it worked reasonably well.

Of course we had a big green salad as well.

Friday, July 02, 2010

More salads

I did a couple salads to take for a picnic by the Rhein: wurstsalat and fennel marinated with preserved lemon slices (recipe from Bittman, but I used mustard seeds instead of coriander).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday salads

Salads to deal with the heat:

  1. cottage cheese, finely diced Walliser bacon (smoked and then dried with herbs and spices... fantastic stuff), parsley, black pepper, a bit of olive oil
  2. cauliflower (steamed, then cooled to room temp with cold water), mashed garlic, white balsamico, good olive oil, chives, black pepper
  3. A big mixed green salad
We accompanied the salads with bread and cheese.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday at the grill

A nice day that was just screaming for grilling... so that's what I did:

  1. Burgers (beef, salt, minced onion, minced garlic)
  2. Various sausages (we found a package of mixed sausage from Ticino)
  3. Fennel, grilled and then served with a basel vinaigrette
  4. Big green salad (not grilled, of course)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday cocktail: the bourbon sidecar

Eric Asimov did a post on the bourbon sidecar last week that just sounded excellent, so I "had" to try it.

It's the standard ratio: 2:1:1 bourbon (Makers Mark):triple sec (Curacao):lemon juice with a twist of lemon zest and it's really, really good.

Sunday: Lamb steaks

We found some lamb steaks from the leg (mmm, lamb ham) at the Coop. Since I happened to have some newly done preserved lemons in the fridge this one was almost too easy...


Marinate the lamb steaks in: diced preserved lemon, minced garlic, minced rosemary, black pepper, olive oil for a good while (I did 24 hours). Cook them in the grill pan (or on the grill). Serve with some reserved marinade as a relish.

We ate this delight with a big green salad and a "hobo pack" I made in the oven with new potatoes, onion, olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saturday: chinese

Andrea's request for chinese yielded:

  1. sweet and sour pork (recipe from Land of Plenty, I've made this one before).
  2. dry fried eggplant (also from Land of Plenty, but I added szechuan peppercorns and chilis to the mix).
Of course we also had rice and a green salad.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday: quick(ish) stewed veal

Andrea found some veal stew meat at half price, so that formed the basis for dinner.


Cut the veal into thinnish slices; brown well in clarified butter; add minced garlic, diced onion, diced carrot, and cook a few minutes; sprinkle over some flour and cook a few more minutes; deglaze with white wine and let it reduce to half; add chicken bouillon and bring to a simmer; add chopped fresh herbs and simmer for 20-30 minutes; just before serving add more herbs.

We ate this with sauteed spinach (the usual garlic, chili preparation, drizzled with balsamico for serving), noodles, and a big green salad.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

so far behind...

Ok, Andrea was out of town for a week and there was lots of lettuce in the fridge, so I ate salad for a week.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday: first pesto of the season

The basel plants on the balcony needed to be trimmed back, so I made the first pesto of the season. Aside from having a bit too much garlic, it was another nice way to welcome summer.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Friday at the grill

The weather was good, so we had a couple people over and fired up the grill.


The grilled food:
  1. Red peppers and fat spring onions, choppped and mixed into a salad
  2. Red onions
  3. Veal cipollata
  4. Standard bratwurst
  5. Small bratwurst (Nürnberger size) with sage
  6. Meatballs (beef) flavored with allspice, lemon zest, black pepper, and salt then grilled on skewers.
  7. A nice ribeye (it was on sale, I couldn't resist) done with salt and pepper
The non-grilled food:
  1. a big green salad
  2. baguette
  3. flavored ketchups: ketchup+curry powder+hot paprika; ketchup+chipotle tabasco
  4. a vinaigrette : cider vinegar, rapeseed oil, rosemary, chives, salt, pepper, honey
We ate well...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wednesday: macaroni with meat sauce

a.k.a. Hörnli mit Gehacktes :-)


Soften some diced onion, diced carrot, and minced garlic in olive oil. Add ground beef along with some salt and cook, without browning, until the beef is most cooked. Add some white wine and reduce a bit. Add tomato puree, oregano, bay leaf, parsley, a bit of rosemary, black pepper, and a good pinch of sugar. Let cook uncovered, barely simmering for an hour or so. Serve over macaroni with a grating of parmesan.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Monday: stuffed kohlrabi

An adaptation of a recipe from this month's Le Menu.

Peel a couple kohlrabi, then steam them until they are about soft (about 20 minutes). Cut a flat bottom in each and scoop out the insides to give a ~1cm thick shell. Chop the insides coarsely and set aside.

Cook 300g of spinach (I did in the microwave), drain, and chop coarsely. Cook a minced onion with some minced garlic in butter until the onion is cooked, then stir in the spinach and a good pinch of salt. Once the spinach is cooked through, add pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir in 2 eggs that have been beaten together with 5cl of sour cream; cook until the egg starts to set, then stir in 100g of grated gruyere.

Put the kohrabi shells in a lightly buttered dish. Fill them with as much of the spinach filling as fits inside (I ended up using about half, which makes sense since the recipe is for 4 shells ;-), sprinkle the chopped kohlrabi around, top with grated cheese, pour a mixture of cream and veggie bouillon around the whole thing, then bake at 200C until the top is brown and the liquid is bubbly.

We ate this with the leftover risotto and a big green salad and were not displeased.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday: lamb chops and risotto

Found some nice lamb chops at the Coop on Saturday and this is what I did with them:

Marinate the chops with lemon juice, olive oil, minced rosemary, chopped garlic, minced lemon zest, black pepper, and salt for a few hours. Cook the chops in the grill pan until they have some good color and are medium rare, let them rest a couple of minutes then serve.

To accompany the lamb we had risotto made with onions, garlic, diced yellow carrots, diced chard stems, white wine, and chicken stock.

For the salad I marinated some halved mini-mozarella balls and grape tomatoes in a dressing of minced onion, olive oil, white balsamico, mustard, salt, and pepper. This we ate over lettuce dressed with the same dressing.

Really nice food.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday dessert: Rhubarb crisp

I've been planning to do Bittman's rhubarb crisp recipe since I saw it online. We didn't get any more rhubarb in this week's box, so I picked some up at the market.

The only monkeying around I did with the recipe was driven by available ingredients: I replaced brown sugar with raw sugar (which is what brown sugar kind of wants to be anyway) and substituted sliced almonds for the pecans.

rhubarb is a really strange ingredient but still: mmmmmmm

Saturday: gnocchi primavera

There's a stand at the market that has various Italian cheeses, sausages, filled pastas, and gnocchi that look quite nice but somehow I rarely get stuff from. Yesterday I picked up some gnocchi in order to combine them with the eggplant from the box.

Cut a smallish eggplant into 1cm dice, salt it lightly and let drip for a bit. Prepare some spring onions by cleaning them and cutting them in half if they're big, then lightly brushing with olive oil and cooking under the broiler until they soften and take on some color; chop them coarsely. Cook the eggplant in olive oil with grated yellow carrot and a chopped garlic clove for 5-10 minutes, until the eggplant is about ready. While this is happening start cooking the gnocchi. To the eggplant add the chopped onions, a bit more minced garlic, and mixed fresh herbs (I used thyme, rosemary, parsley, and some unidentified member of the mint family from this week's box). Moisten with a bit of the pasta cooking water. Serve the vegetables over the gnocchi sprinkled with parmesan and drizzled with olive oil.

The gnocchi themselves were really good and this was definitely a very nice way of serving them.

This technically doesn't qualify as rule of five, but it almost works if you think of the herbs as one ingredient, and I made up the damn rule anyway. :-)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday: Kartoffelpfanne

An idea from Andrea to use some of the new potatoes from this week's box.

Cut unpeeled new potatoes in half or quarters, depending on size. Cook with olive oil until they take on some color and are almost ready to eat. Set aside. Cook diced onion, diced carrot, and chopped garlic for a few minutes in olive oil. Add diced kohlrabi and fennel chopped into bite-size pieces. When the vegetables are a couple of minutes from being done, add sliced wienerli, the potatoes, lemon zest, chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, and parsley, and a good grind of pepper. Let everything heat through and serve.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday Fish

Driven by the multiple bulbs of fennel and large quantity of lettuce left from the box:

  1. Fennel cooked in olive oil and a bit of water, dressed with lemon juice (from CPV)
  2. Stir fried lettuce with lemon zest
  3. Pan-roasted cod seasoned with salt, pepper, and piment d'espellete
All together quite a nice combination of flavors.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday Mezze

Yesterday I fired up the grill and did several small things with a mediterranean influence:

  1. Chicken marinated in a paste made from garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, dried chili, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil, then grilled on the slow side of the grill and finished with a couple of minutes directly over the coals.
  2. Roasted peppers with thyme, rosemary, and olive oil.
  3. Baba ganouj made from eggplant roasted whole on the grill.
  4. hummus
  5. a yogurt sauce made with grated cucumber, garlic, yogurt, salt, and piment d'espelette.
We ate this with lettuce and some flat bread and were pretty happy with our lot in life. :-)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday: asparagus

Yesterday at the market we picked up some local white asparagus. I did a very simple preparation: after peeling it well I boiled it in a stock made from water, sugar, salt, and the asparagus peels. The cooked spears then went onto a napkin and we ate them with salt, butter, and dried ham. Thought it took me a while to understand the appeal of white asparagus, I definitely get it now.

As sides I made a batch of brown rice and sone pan-roasted cauliflower with spring onions.

Together with a big green salad this all made for an excellent late-spring meal.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday dessert: pudding with rhubarb

A simple idea to use some old rhubarb: make a batch of the vanilla pudding recipe from Bittman and serve it topped with rhubarb stewed with a b it of sugar and lemon juice. Mmmmmmmmm

Thursday: burritos

This was to satisfy a craving that both Andrea and I had...

Marinate diced turkey breast in lime juice, oil, salt, ground cumin, and piment d'espelette for 30 minutes or so then cook in a very hot pan. Just before the turkey is done pour in whatever marinade is left.

Make a quick salsa from canned tomatoes (fresh would have been better), minced onion, lime juice, hot paprika, piment d'espelette, and diced red bell pepper.

Assemble burritos from rice, pinto beans, corn, turkey, broiled and chopped spring onions, sour cream, feta cheese, and salsa. Bake for 10 minutes or so then serve.

Not even remotely difficult, but quite satisfying.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday: venison salami hash

When we were in tessin over the weekend we picked up some venison salami that was a bit too soft for sandwiches but seemed like a good candidate for cooking. This was an improv to use that up.

Start by cooking some diced potatoes in olive oil until they take on some color. Set them aside. Cook diced carrots and sliced leeks in the same pan until the carrots start to soften, set these aside. Add some more olive oil to the pan and gently cook some piri piri chilis along with a few smashed garlic cloves until the garlic turns golden. Just before it gets there add cumin seeds. Add diced salami and ham and let cook until the salami starts to crisp. Add the vegetables and potatoes along with salt and pepper, mix well, and heat everything through. Serve topped with parsley.

As sides we had a big green salad and sone steamed kohlrabi.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday pasta

An idea created to use up lettuce... We had a lot from the biokiste.

Cook diced carrots, onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions start to soften. Add a tbs or so of flour and cook another three to four minutes. Add wilted, chopped lettuce and cook another couple of minutes. Add diced ham and cook another couple of minutes. Add light cream, salt, and pepper and simmer for a couple more minutes. Just before serving stir in a bit of piment d'espelette and nutmeg.

Served over whole wheat penne and with a big green salad, this made for a good meal.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday: bread

Another batch of bread. This time, as an experiment, I added 100g of millet to the mixture (150g rye, 300g wheat flour, 100g millet, 350g water, 1/2tsp yeast, 1.5 tsp salt). This didn't disturb the method at all and produced a very tasty loaf of bread.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday: spinach-ham lasagna

Start by making a bechamel. This time I used the recipe from Kamman with the variation that I used a brunoise of carrots, onion, and celery (root) and I didn't strain the vegetables out. When the sauce is about ready to be used add some piment d'espelette and nutmeg.

While the sauce is simmering prepare the filling: saute leeks, a bit of carrot, and onion in olive oil until the onions soften. Add a good splash of white wine and let it reduce to nothing. Add smoked ham (cut into match sticks) and cook another couple minutes. Add chopped wilted spinach, salt, and pepper and mix well. Take off the heat and add grated asiago cheese. Build the lasagna by layering sauce, noodles, and filling. Finish with a layer of sauce, top with shaved almonds and a good grind of pepper, then bake at 180C for 20 minutes.

I'm not quite sure where the inspiration for this came from, but it was a good idea regardless. :-)

Wednesday: Spaetzli pfanne

One of those "use up the vegetables... quick!" things.
Start by cutting some bratwurst into 2cm slices, browning the slices, then setting them aside. To that pan add diced carrot, onion, garlic, chard stems, and a bit of olive oil. Cook a while until the carrots start to soften, then add the chopped and wilted (in the microwave) chard leaves. After another couple of minutes of cooking, set the vegetables aside. Add fresh olive oil to the pan and cook the spaetzle until they take on some color and begin to get a bit crunchy. Stir in the vegetables and sausage, along with some raclette spice and black pepper, and serve.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday pancakes

Kind of a random idea for a weekday night: make a batch of pancakes and eat them with whatever happens to be in the house. I used a basic batter with yogurt (no sugar), and went from there. For toppings we did canned cherries, cheese, ham, rhubarb-ginger jam, etc. One noteworthy variant was pancakes "tatin": I started by melting a bit of brown sugar in the the pan, topped that with a slice of apple ring and let that cook a couple of minutes before topping it with pancake batter and proceeding as normal. Mmmmmmm, caramel apple pancake.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday: trout

On Saturday Nik brought us a couple rainbow trout he caught nearby. Last night I tried to out them to good use, though it has been a long time since I did anything with whole fish.

I took a simple approach based on a combination of ideas from Bittman and Le Menu: I filled the cavities with the greens from some spring onions, dredged the fish through seasoned cornmeal, and then pan-fried them in some olive oil. I split the bottoms of the onions in half and cooked them split-side down in a hot pan until they took on a bit of color. Since I didn't do the best job the world has ever seen of flipping the fish (to put it mildly... the pan was a bit too small is my excuse), I removed the filets before serving.

I also made a tartar sauce by combining some home made mayonnaise with finely diced pickle, chives, some lemon juice, and a couple dashes of Tabasco.

To go with the fish we had steamed potatoes and sauteed asparagus; both of which turned out quite nicely indeed. The potatoes, in particular, were a good second vector for the tartar sauce.

Of course we also had a big green salad.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Saturday: meatloaf with rhubarb sauce

This was a recipe from last month's Le Menu: a meatloaf made with mixed ground meat, brät, grated carrots, onion, ginger, curry powder, chopped prunes, and bound with egg and breadcrumbs. While baking it gets brushed with a glaze made from apple juice, butter, and honey. The meatloaf is served with a sauce made by softening minced onion in a bit of butter, then adding apple juice, rhubarb, lemon zest, some vinegar, and sugar. Simmer until the rhubarb softens, then purée.

To go with this i did steamed vegetables (carrots and kohlrabi, cut into threads) and rice cooked withia bit of carrot and onion.

The meatloaf was quite good: it was borderline too sweet, but it didn't really go over the border.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tuesday soup

A nice soup to use the stock I made from Sunday's chicken carcass: cook sliced garlic with piri piri chilis in some olive oil until the garlic starts to take on some color. Add diced onion and small diced carrot and cook until the vegetables are soft. Add chicken stock and canned beans and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes then add lemon juice and bit of light cream (inspirations from Romania) and serve topped with parsley.

Together with bread and some chees this made a very nice meal.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Monday leftovers

To finish off the roast chicken from Sunday I took the leg and thight pieces and sauteed them in olive oil until they took on a nice crunch. As a side I did a batch of baked rice using the recipe from La Cucina de Mama.

Simple but good.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sunday: roast chicken and vegetables

I somehow don't end up making roast chicken very often, but last night it seemed like the thing to do.

I followed the technique from Bittman and roasted the bird in a skillet (actually in the grill pan, which was exactly the right size for is) surrounded by vegetables: potatoes, yellow carrots, onion, and celery root. After the bird was done, I made a sauce by adding white wine and a bit of cornstarch to the pan juices.

As a side I sauteed some chard stems with salt in olive oil. When they were about ready to go I added some pureed tomatoes and black pepper.

This stuff turned out very nicely.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Saturday: asparagus

After a week away, I was in the mood for a big portion of vegetables. Lucky for me that Andrea had picked up a bunch of green asparagus from the Alsatian farmers.

The prep was the usual: sauteed with onion (we didn't have any shallots) in butter.

Combined with a big green salad this was a very satisfying meal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday: Spinach pockets, Geschnetzeltes

Ah, the fun of doing random things in the kitchen:


For the spinach pockets: cook some garlic and sliced leek in a bit of olive oil until the leek starts to take on some color. Add a bit of flour and cook a couple more minutes. Add white wine, salt, and wilted spinach and cook, stirring frequently until most of the liquid is gone. Wrap this with diced feta cheese in pieces of puff pastry (blätterteig) and bake at 220C until nicely colored.

For the geschnetzeltes: cook the beef in a single layer in a very hot pan with a bit of oil and a pinch of salt until it's nicely browned on one side. Stir in some flour and let cook another minute or two. Add some cognac and let the liquid evaporate. Add prepared mustard, water, piment d'espellete, and black pepper. Let simmer a couple of minutes and then serve.

Along with a big beet and lettuce salad these made a very good meal.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday: Spinach mass + Farinata

Constructed to use the contents of the biokiste: wilt some spinach in the microwave, drain it, and chop it. Slice some leeks and cook with diced cooked potatoes until the leeks soften. Add the spinach, shredded bärlauch (it's that season again), some lemon zest, a splash of white wine, and some salt and mix well. Let cook a few minutes then serve with grated parmesan, chives, julienned bärlauch, and piment d'espelette.

To go with the spinach I did a batch of farinata that could have turned out better. I'm not sure what happened (probably a lack of attention), but the flat breads themselves ended up being somewhat dry. Still, the flavor was quite good.

With a big green salad this was a nice meal. Probably should come up with a better name for it than "spinach mass" though. :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday: pork steaks, bratkartoffeln, spinach

Last night somehow turned into a big cooking night.

We started with margaritas because it was Friday, and we could. :-)

For the pork: marinate pork loin steaks with tarragon, garlic, tabasco, cider vinegar, and some salt. After about an hour in the marinade, dredge in flour and then sauteed them. For the sauce: cook sliced garlic with some piri piri chilis in a good amount of olive oil until the garlic starts to take on a bit of color. Add small-diced carrot and onion and cook until the onion is good and soft. Add whole cumin and some ground coriander and let cook a couple more minutes. Add tomato puree, rosemary, bay leaf, and some salt and let simmer, covered, 30 minutes or so. Serve the pork on top of the sauce.

I also did bratkartoffeln with onion and spinach sauteed with pine nuts and raisins and then tossed with a bit of wine vinegar.

Of course we also had a green salad.

mmmmm, good eating.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday teriyaki

Making teriyaki has been on the list for a while, particularly after having lunch at Tokyo Subway when we were in CA.


I guess it's been quite a couple years since the last time I did this.

To go on top of the rice with the chicken I did: chopped, steamed spinach tossed with sesame oil, salt, and a bit of mirin; and carrot cut into ribbons, then briefly cooked (microwave) and tossed with salt and tossed with rice vinegar and mirin.

As a vegetable side I braised some diced kohlrabi and cabbage with soy and sake.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday basics

Last night I did two very simple dishes:

  1. schnitzel: pork loin pounded thin, seasoned with salt and piment d'esplette, and breaded; served with lemon
  2. saffron risotto: onion, rice, saffron, white wine, stock
Combined with a green salad, these made a really nice meal.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday: Joe's special

Given the big bag of spinach from the biokiste, making Joe's special was pretty much a must. No deviation from standard practice here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday: Roesti

To go with the leftover bbq pork I did a rösti. On the side we had steamed kohlrabi sticks with herbed quark and a big carrot salad with a citrus vinaigrette (lime, lemon, orange, rapeseed oil, tabasco, cilantro, salt).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday barbecue

It's not quite summer yet, but the weather was acting summery, so we had friends over and did a southern barbecue:

  1. margaritas
  2. pork shoulder rubbed with "All South" rub (I substituted hot paprika for the chili powder and cayenne), smoked over hardwood logs, and basted with beer. Served sliced.
  3. beacon butcher barbecue sauce
  4. cole slaw ("Tidewater Coleslaw")
  5. baked beans ("Grandma Wetzler's Baked Beans")
  6. cornbread (my usual variation with extra corn meal and whole sweet corn)
With the exception of the margaritas and barbecue sauce, the recipes are all from Thrill of the Grill.

Altogether an excellent kickoff to grill season.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another loaf of bread

Friday morning I started another loaf of the rye version of no-knead bread; this morning I finished it. This loaf ended up somewhat squat and ugly (I chose a bad shape when letting it rise) but it still tastes great.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Thursday's salads

Last night I did a collection of salads to celebrate being back and having a big new biokiste to work with:

  1. potato salad with vegetable broth from a recipe in Wiener (this was the main driver of the idea... there were lots of potatoes to use)
  2. diced steamed beets tossed with olive oil, balsamico, rosemary, salt, and white pepper
  3. steamed kohlrabi sticks with lettuce and herb quark (chervil, tarragon, parsley)
We also did bread and cheese.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Tuesday: Asian chicken salad

A quick one to help recover from the flight back from CA:

Thinly slice some cabbage and toss with lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Toss in thinly sliced onion, grated carrot, and some coarsely chopped cilantro leaves. Let stand 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Before serving toss with some sesame oil. Serve on lettuce, topped with shredded chicken (I use a rotisserie chicken from the Coop), and peanuts. Garnish with some quick-pickled cucumbers (thinly slice, 20 minutes with salt, rinse, ring out, toss with rice vinegar).

We ate this with bread and a nice white wine and were quite pleased.

Monday, April 05, 2010

SF Restaurant notes part 3

  1. Thursday: Hong Kong Chinese (Lunch, Mtn. View)
  2. Friday: Tokyo Subway (Lunch, Menlo Park)
  3. Saturday: Lunch at Jon and Cati's
  4. Sunday: La Fiesta (Mtn View)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

SF Restaurant notes part 2

  1. Tuesday: Bouchon (Yountville) for lunch; Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar (Healdsburg)
  2. Wednesday: Bistro Ralph (Healdsburg)
Food combination note for later: roasted asparagus with white miso and lemon

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SF restaurant notes part 1

  1. Wednesday : BoBo's Steakhouse
  2. Thursday : Lake Chalet Restaurant (Oakland)
  3. Friday : Blue Plate
  4. Monday : La Briciola
  5. Tuesday : Eddie Rickenbackers (lunch), Kate O'Briens
  6. Wednesday : Thirsty Bear
  7. Thursday : Chaat Cafe (lunch), House of Nanking
  8. Friday : Out the Door (lunch), Baloompie pupuseria
  9. Saturday : La Corneta Taqueria (lunch), Steve and Dianna's
  10. Sunday : Cliff House (brunch), Henry's Hunan
  11. Monday : Chaat Cafe (lunch), Colibri

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday: mashed potatoes with arugula and goat cheese

A somewhat random idea driven by the bunch of arugula we had from the biokiste: cook mashing potatoes in their skin, then peel them hot and transfer to a double boiler. Mash the potatoes with some salt and good olive oil. Add chopped goat cheese (not chevre... I used a bio goat cheese from Spitzebärg that I found at Coop) and mix until the cheese melts. Stir in a bunch of chopped arugula and let stand a few minutes so that the greens have a chance to wilt a bit. Serve sprinkled with fleur de sel.


This is a really nice side that almost qualifies as a main dish. I made simple french omelets with chives to complete the meal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wednesday: Sauerkraut and sausage

I actually made this Tuesday night, but we didn't eat it until tonight.


The usual quick weeknight sauerkraut thing: cook the cabbage with some white wine and add a saucisson vaudoise for the last 30 minutes of simmering.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday: Topinambur soup

I needed to use the last of the topinambur from the box, so I tried another recipe from Wiener. This time I monkeyed around with the recipe a bit based on the ingredients in the house, so I used milk instead of cream (though I did add a bit of butter to compensate) and normal brown mushrooms instead of porcini.


We ate this with bread and a green salad. I also made some sauerkraut with saucisson vaudoise, but we ate enough soup and bread that the sauerkraut got pushed a night.

I'm sure it would have been considerably better with porcini, but the soup was quite nice as is.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sunday: Pasta with lentils and gorgonzola

Another pasta and lentils idea from Wiener, but this time I followed the recipe. :-)


And what a recipe it is... this cookbook is rapidly becoming a favorite.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Saturday: chicken with almond-cress sauce and semolina croquettes

An interesting sounding recipe from the current Le Menu.

The chicken breasts are braided (to make zopf shapes), fastened with a toothpick, seasoned, browned, and then cooked in a low oven (90C) until done.

The sauce is made by adding minced garlic to a light roux and cooking for a minute, adding chicken stock and simmering for 5 minutes, adding cress and pureeing, and then stirring in some lightly-whipped cream and adjusting seasonings.

For the dumplings cook 75g semolina with 375ml milk-water until it forms a thick paste, cook gently for 5 minutes, let cool, stir in two egg yolks, 75g flour, salt, 30g grated parmesan cheese, and let cool. Make croquettes (could be done by piping them, but I didn't), coat with bread crumbs (probably optional if piping), and then cook in clarified butter until nicely browned in both sides. Hold in the low oven with the chicken until ready to serve.

Serve the chicken and croquettes on top of a layer of sauce. Top the chicken with toasted almond flakes and some more cress as a garnish.

I did a endive and orange salad (dressing: orange juice, olive oil, toasted cumin, salt, and black pepper) to accompany this.

It was a nice meal.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wednesday: fondue gratin

An approach for using up leftover fondue.

We did a normal gratin with potato and celery root thinly cut on the ceramic slicer layered with thin slices of dry smoked ham and a sauce made from milk, sour cream, potato starch, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaf, cloves, and black pepper. After Andrea built it, we topped it with leftover fondue that I had crumbled and mixed with bread crumbs. I used the usual baking scheme: 40 minutes covered, 20 minutes open.

mmmmm, good stuff.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tuesday : "tortilla pie"

There were tortillas left that needed to be used...

Brown some ground meat (mixed pork and beef) with salt, transfer to a bowl. Cook some diced onion in the same pan for a couple of minutes. Add back the ground meat along with some water and some prepared mole (I mixed these together to start with). It should be soupy. Simmer for a few minutes and adjust salt (not too much here though... feta is coming).

Layer the meat/sauce mixture on tortillas with thinly sliced onion, corn, and feta cheese, top with a layer of sauce and some grated cheese and then bake for 20-30 minutes.

Another simple (since the mole came from a jar) winner.

Monday: fusiony quesadillas

Kind of a random thing for a work night.

The sauce: soak some ripped up dried chipotles for a bit in hot water. Saute diced onion and garlic in a bit of neutral oil until the onion starts to soften. Add cumin seeds and some ground coriander and toast for a couple of minutes. Add a good amount of sweet paprika and toast a few seconds. Add canned tomatoes, the chipotles, and the soaking water and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Puree well with a stick blender.

The pork: saute finely chopped pork (geschnetzeltes) in neutral oil over high heat with some salt. When it's about done add some garlic paste and cook another 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl.

The quesadillas: on each tortilla place some pork, grated cheese (I used Emmentaler, because that's what was in the fridge), thinly sliced onion, and some corn. Fold in half and bake for 10 minutes.

Before serving pour whatever liquid has collected in the pork dish to the tomato sauce and adjust seasonings of the sauce. Serve the quesadillas on top of the sauce, with sour cream and additional sauce on the side.

Very nice.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nanorestaurant Review: Gasthof Baeren (Eggiwil)

One smiley face. What one hopes for in a good "dorfbeiz".

  • Food: Swiss standards, well prepared
  • Service: good
  • Atmosphere: pleasant; two thumbs up for being non-smoking

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday: pasta with beans

A recipe from Hazan that I somehow haven't done before: Embogne. It's a sauce made from beans (kidneys in my case), the bean liquid, minced bacon, onion, garlic, sage, and rosemary. Served over pappardelle with copious parmesan, this made for a really good meal.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday: Risotto and Pork tenderloin

For the risotto we used onions, garlic, diced carrots, and radicchio. Kristen did the stirring. :-)

For the pork I made a relish (salsa, pesto, whatever) from finely diced dried tomatoes, chopped pine nuts, parsley, smashed garlic, minced onion, balsamico, salt, and rapeseed oil. The tenderloin itself I browned on all sides and then did in a slow oven (80C) until it hit serving temperature.

Verrrrry nice.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday fondue

Always a winner with visitors: cheese fondue and a big salad

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday choucroute

We have family visiting, so I kicked things off last night with a choucroute: Cook diced onion, carrot, and leek with some lardons in a bit of rapeseed oil for a few minutes. Add rinsed sauerkraut, bay leaves, lightly crushed juniper berries, and caraway and mix well. Transfer to a baking dish and top with a couple bratwurst. Bake at 175 for a bit, then add a schuffeli and some wienerli and bake a while longer. Serve with steamed potato wedges, pickles, and grainy mustard.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday: rigatoni with red cabbage and sausage

The usual biokiste-driven improv: lightly brown some sliced bratwurst. Add leek, diced carrot, and minced garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add chopped red cabbage and a good pinch of salt and let cook another couple minues. Add good chicken stock, some diced dried tomatoes, a bay leaf, and a bit of tomato paste and simmer until the cabbage is ready to eat. Serve over rigatoni.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday chickpea ragout

Bit of a Spanish-influenced improv: cook onion and garlic in some olive oil with a few piri piri chilis. Add diced salami, diced yellow carrot, ground cumin, and ground coriander and saute a bit longer, add drained chickpeas and a good amount of sherry. Let the sherry reduce. Add good chicken stock and let it reduce. Add some tomato puree and a couple bay leaves. Let the whole thing simmer 15-20 minutes.

Serve with brown rice and a big salad.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday leftovers

To use the leftover mashed potatoes I did some quick croquettes: mix the potatoes with grated cheese and some black pepper, form them, roll them in bread crumbs, and then cook with olive oil. It would not have hurt to add an egg or two to add structural integrity for the pan cooking part, but these still tasted quite nice, particularly with the mustard sauce.

We also had pork chop, sauerkraut, and some cornbread. All quite randome, but good.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday: Chili and cornbread

For the chili: browned beef, soaked kidney beans, garlic, onion, red wine vinegar, water, some tomato puree, toasted cumin (whole) and coriander (coarsely ground), dried arbol and New Mexico chilis, soy sauce, oregano.
I did the chili in the slow cooker on Saturday and reheated it last night.

Something wasn't quite right with the cornbread. I ended up using a different measuring cup for the milk and I think there was too much liquid. The flavor was just fine, but the texture was too dense.