Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday bread

Another batch of no knead bread from the base recipe. This time cooked in the romertopf instead of the enameled pot. Another great success. This stuff is really good.

Friday: frikadellen, rice pilaf

A simple one for Friday night.
For the frikadellen: pork, minced red onion, salt, piment d'espelette.
For the pilaf: chopped onion, garlic, diced carrot, diced celery root, chicken bouillon, par boiled rice with wild rice.
As a vegetable side: chicory braised in a bit of olive oil

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday: tomato-leek soup, bread, miscellaneous veggies

I read the Bittman article about Jim Lahey's no-knead bread back when it came out and the idea has been kicking around in the back of my head ever since, but I never got around to actually making it until this week. We have no problem finding good bread, but a bit of DIY is always fun and wow is that a simple way to get good bread. Will probably be making this recipe (and variations) a regular thing. I followed the ratios from the new edition of Bittman but made a smaller quantity (3/4 recipe: 450g flour to 340g water).

To go with the bread (heh), I did some tomato-leek soup with: tomato puree, leeks, chopped canned tomatoes, diced dried tomatoes, bay leaf, and oregano. Instead of pureeing the soup I left it nicely chunky. Good stuff.

As vegetable sides: a beet salad (steamed beets tossed with balsamico, olive oil, salt, and white pepper) and sweet and sour red cabbage (sliced red cabbage cooked until crisp tender then tossed in the pan with raisins, pine nuts, wine vinegar, and a bit of tomato paste. The whole thing inspired, somehow, by a spinach recipe from La Cucina de Mama.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday: Chicory-ham gratin

We had a load of chicory in the fridge and a gratin seemed like a good idea...

Start by halving the chicory and cooking it cut-side down in some olive oil for a few minutes. Add chopped onion and garlic and let cook until the alliums are caramelized and the chicory is about soft. Meanwhile make a bechamel sauce flavored with fresh thyme and a bit of cayenne. Transfer the chicory and alliums to a baking dish, add some diced ham, pour over the bechamel, top with grated gruyere and a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs, and bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is brown and bubbly.

... it didn't just seem like a good idea; it was fantastic.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday Fusion

We've had various discussions about ways to do asian food using the contents of the biokiste, particularly the winter biokiste, and never really come up with anything. Earlier in the week I saw a recipe for a beet-coconut milk soup that led to the following experiment.

Dice (1cm) a good sized beet and steam it until almost ready to eat. Meanwhile cut a chicken into saute pieces, remove the skin from those pieces, and brown them. Set the chicken aside and add some sliced leeks, lime leaves, garlic, lemongrass, and chili. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add coconut milk, lime juice, a bit of sugar, and fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Put the chicken pieces (minus the breasts) in a casserole, add the beets, pour over the sauce, cover, and bake at 175 for 20 minutes. Add the breast pieces and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with rice.

This wasn't a great revelation, but it was quite good. The combination of the beets and the curry flavors did work together.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday: Parsnip soup with tarragon-garlic oil

Another pureed vegetable soup, this time with onion, garlic, carrot, potato, celery root, and lots of parsnips. I served it topped with a tarragon-garlic oil. The parsnip flavor came through really nicely and matched well with the tarragon.

Why haven't I always been making lots of soups?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday: horseradish risotto with beef strips

Horseradish risotto was something I had and really enjoyed at St. Georg (though I was skeptical when I saw it on the menu). This was the first try at making it myself. I looked around for a bit and found a recipe that sounded reasonable in the Le Menu archive and started from there. It's simple: make a standard risotto (vegetables: onion, garlic, brunoise carrots; white wine; a bit of veggie bouillon; water) and, just before serving, stir in cream, grated horseradish to taste, and salt to taste.

The Le Menu suggestion for an accompaniment is strips of boiled siedfleisch that are browned quickly just before serving. That sounded good, but I wanted a bit more so I did something a bit random: I made a "tea" by simmering some gluehwein spices (orange peel, rose hips, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, vanilla) in a mixture of white wine and water. After about 15 minutes of simmering, I strained this and used it as part of the simmering liquid for the beef. To the tea I added some carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, clove, salt, and enough water to cover the piece of beef. This simmered gently for two hours, until the beef was clearly cooked through but not fork tender, and then I turned off the heat and let the beef cool in the stock overnight. For serving, I sliced the beef, cut the slices into strips, and then sauteed them very briefly in rapeseed oil with a pinch of salt. Just enough to give them a bit of color and heat them through.

I served the beef next to the risotto with a pile of watercress to the side.

Really, really nice food.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday: Simple Choucroute

A really simple one to use the sauerkraut from the biokiste: saute some onion, lardons, and diced carrot in rapeseed oil; add the sauerkraut (ours comes with cararaway, juniper berry, bay leaf, and coriander already added) and some white wine and cook a few minutes; add a couple bratwursts, cover and simmer until the sausage is almost done; add a couple pieces of cooked ham and some steamed potatoes and cook until these are warmed through.

Serve with grainy mustard and pickles.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday: winter vegetable soup with meatballs

The idea and meatball recipe came from Wiener, the contents from what was in the veggie box.

For the soup I used: carrot, parsnip, celery root, potato, napa cabbage (all diced to about the size of chickpeas); chickpeas; sliced leek; chopped onion; bay leaf; cloves; beef bouillon. The meatballs were: mixed beef and pork, soaked bread, parsley, garlic, marjoram, salt, black pepper.

The soup was great, but I wasn't particularly impressed with the meatballs: the garlic was harsh tasting and became dominant.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Friday: Baked ham and potato-celery root gratin

Driven by the contents of the biokiste and the nice looking ham we got on sale.

I coated the ham with a glaze made from apricot jam, chipotle sauce, and bourbon before baking it.

For the gratin we layered the thinly sliced potatoes and celery root with a sauce made from light cream, garlic, pepper, salt, and mild paprika. This we topped with gruyere and then baked.

Of course there was a green salad as well.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tuesday: spaghetti with beef-leek ragu

Another simple one: a ragu made from tomato sauce, ground beef, chopped leeks, garlic, red wine, basil, and parsley. We ate this over spaghetti topped with a grating of parmesan, some lemon zest, and basil chiffonade.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Monday: Potato-leek soup

A simple one: potato leek soup, good bread, and salad.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Sunday: lentil soup

The idea of a slightly sour lentil soup came from a dish we at had the Restaurant St Georg and was further reinforced by memories of soups from Romania.

Cook some finely diced smoked bacon in a bit of olive oil until it starts to take on some color. Add finely diced carrot and minced onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables soften. Add rinsed green lentils, finely diced starchy potatoes, a splash of white wine, chicken stock, a bay leaf, and a clove. Simmer until the lentils are tender; the potatoes will more or less dissolve. Add some cream and adjust seasoning. Add white balsamico in small portions until the sourness is at an appropriate level.

To go with this I did a salad of schnibbelbohnen (boiled until tender) and red cabbage (thinly sliced and then steamed until crisp-tender) dressed with minced onion, sugar, lemon juice, savory, cream, and rapeseed oil. After dressing it I let this sit for a couple hours to marinate.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Saturday spanish

After getting back from vacation Andrea was craving rice; this went well with my desire for something Spanish. I did two dishes from La Cucina de Mama: baked rice and chicken with fino sherry. Aside from adding a bit of extra onion to the rice, I followed both recipes pretty much exactly and they both turned out well.

With this we had a big green salad.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Nanorestaurant review: Restaurant St Georg (Ernen)

The fact that we went to this restaurant twice during our week in Ernen is probably all I need to say... definitely two smiley faces.

Food: Excellent. Heavy focus on staying local, very carefully prepared from excellent ingredients and with a bit of creativity/wit.
Service: A bit distracted the second time, but otherwise very good.
Atmosphere: Relaxed and comfortable.