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.

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