Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate mousse

After reading this incredibly minimal chocolate mousse recipe there was no question about not trying it.

I used a good dark (70%) chocolate and the result is really amazing. It's almost a better way to taste chocolate than straight-up.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday: tajine

Been a while since we did the Bittman chicken, chickpea, and vanilla tajine... that's too bad because it's good stuff.

To accompany the expected: cous cous

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monday: braised endive

This was a random one after getting back from a long weekend of snowshoeing.

Half some belgian endive then put them cut-side down in a very hot pan with a bit of oil. Let sear for a couple minutes then add the braising liquid (veal stock, grainy french mustard, tomato paste, honey, black pepper), cover and let simmer until the endive is tender, about 45 minutes.

We ate this as a main course, toppped with grana padano and accompanied by brown rice.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday: stuffed chicken breasts

Hooray for making it up as you go along!

Cut a couple chicken breasts mostly through so that they can be stuffed. Smear the insides with good mustard, then add smoked ham and gruyere. Fasten with toothpicks. Cook in a hot pan so that both sides brown nicely, serve when the cheese starts to flow.

We ate this with rice and raddicchio that I sauteed with leeks, diced carrots, and a bit of wine vinegar at the end.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nano restaurant review: Ackermannshof Basel

  • Food: good
  • Atmosphere: very nice
  • Service: good

One smiley face. The food was good, but not good enough to explain how hard it is to get a reservation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday: Fondue

With all the cold weather making a fondue was the most natural thing in the world.

Standard approach: 400g cheese mixture from the shop around the corner, 200ml white wine, 1/2Tbs corn starch, one garlic clove, a shot of kirsch, black pepper, and nutmeg.

Served with good farm bread (also from the cheese shop), peppermint tea, and a carrot salad.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday: "southeast asian" chicken

It's the BittmanWorld thing again...

Melt some sugar and get it to a good dark caramel. Add lime juice and stir well. Once the fierce bubbling has settled down some, stir in some fish sauce too. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and then let stand over low heat.

Brown some chicken leg quarters well in neutral oil. Pour off the oil, add some dried chilis (I used piri-piri, because that's what was there), toast a minute or two, then add the sauce and a bit of water. Cover and let simmer for about an hour, turning occasionally.

Serve with sticky rice, sprinkled with some chopped cilantro.

To accompany I shredded some savoy cabbage, tossed it with salt and let stand for an hour, then rinsed, squeezed it out well and tossed with lime juice, sesame oil, and chopped cilantro.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday: Kohlrouladen

The head of savoy cabbage in the fridge led both of us to the idea of doing rouladen. I deviated from the usual ground beef preparation since it was the weekend and I felt like playing around a bit.

Brown some pieces of pork stew meat well in olive oil in the pressure cooker. Add chopped onion and garlic along with some diced carrot and a bit of diced celery root. Cook about five minutes longer. Add water to by about 1cm, a bay leaf, and a good pinch of salt, cover, and bring up to pressure. Let cook 15 minutes at pressure, then allow to cool and open the pot. Bring the heat back to high, add some veal stock, and reduce the liquid by about 50%. Strain the solids, reserving the liquid, and shred the pork pieces; add a bit of the liquid if it's not moist. Set aside. Taste the liquid, add a bit (1 tsp or so) of red wine vinegar to brighten it up, and adjust seasoning.

Carefully remove the outer leaves from a head of savoy cabbage and boil them in well-salted water for a couple of minutes to soften them. Transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Pick the best looking of the leaves to use for the rouladen and finely chop the rest. 

Combine the chopped cabbage with the pork mixture and season well with salt and pepper. Fill the reserved cabbage leaves with this and tie into neat little bundles. Brown on both sides in a bit of olive oil, then pour in the reserved liquid around the rouladen. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, turn and simmer another 5-10 minutes. Thicken the sauce with a bit of potato-starch/water slurry then serve.

We ate this with some cooked mixed grains (Getreiderisotto) and a green salad.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday: Potato-leek soup

A variant on the standard potato-leek soup.

Cook some sliced leek with a pinch of salt in peanut oil until it starts to soften. Add diced carrot and celery root and let cook another 5 minutes or so. Add diced potato and water and let simmer until the potato is soft. Puree. Season with Old Bay, cardamon, curry powder, black pepper, and piment d'espelette.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thursday: roasted squash soup

A soup that kind of just kept on evolving as I was making it:

Cook sliced leek with a good pinch of salt in peanut oil until it starts to soften. Add diced carrots and let cook until the carrots have softened some and the leeks are starting to color. Add diced potato, roasted butternut squash, bay leaf, herbes de Provence, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the vegetables are all cooked through. Remove the bay leaf and puree. Cut some smoked ham into strips and add that too. Adjust seasonings and serve topped with black pepper.

Lovely with a salad and some good bread.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Sunday: Pork and Beans and Greens

This started off as pork and beans, but somewhere along the way I realized that some greens would go nicely.

Soak soisson beans overnight. Drain and transfer to the slow cooker with water to cover by 1-2cm. Add diced carrot and celery root, sliced leek, bay leaf, and cloves. Cover and turn the heat on the slow cooker to "high". Cut some pork shoulder into 2cm dice. Brown that well and add to the beans. After 2-2.5 hours of cooking use a couple spoonfuls of the liquid to thin a mixture of ketchup, tomato paste, some molasses, and a bit of sriracha. Stir this into the pot and adjust seasoning. Cook however much longer it takes to get the beans cooked through. About half an hour or so before serving, stir in some chopped spitzkohl.

I forgot to soak the beans overnight, so they only had a few hours of soaking in the morning. After 4 hours of cooking they still weren't soft, so I tossed everything in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes; that finished the beans.

This was really nice food.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Saturday: sauteed radicchio

A nice side:
Sweat some diced onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt in olive oil until the onions are nicely translucent. Add diced carrot and cook another five or so minutes until the carrots start to soften. Add coarsely chopped radicchio and some herbes de provence and cover. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the radicchio softens.