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