Kaninchenragout Estragonsauce Reginette Rabbit Ragout Tarragon Sauce Reginette noodles


Es war nach der gestrigen Saucen- und Kaninchenorgie noch einmal die gleiche Menge Fleisch und Sauce übrig.

Was könnte besser sein als ein relativ leichtes Nudelgericht für einen Sonntagabend zu machen?

Ich mußte nur das Fleisch, eine Hinterkeule und ein Bruststück, in kleine Stücke schneiden und in der etwas mit Gemüsebrühe verlängerten Sauce erwärmen.

Und natürlich die Pasta kochen. Eine leichte Übung. Das Resultat war wieder sehr schmackhaft. Nicht abgebildet ist der gesunde Teil des Essens, ein Tomaten/roter Zwiebel Salat.

Estragonsauce-Kaninchenragout-Reginette-1

This was a leftover dish after the rabbit and tarragon sauce orgy from yesterday.

The only difference is that I cut the remaining rabbit into bite-sized pieces and warmed it back up in the sauce, and served it over a noodle called reginette, which is a somewhat thicker noodle a bit like wide tagliatelle with frilly edges.

The result was very tasty and well worth the small effort for a Sunday night dinner. Not shown is the healthy part of the meal, a tomato and red onion salad.

Estragonsauce-Kaninchenragout-Reginette-2

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Geflügel satt/ Various Chicks


Comes a time to say living well is the best revenge.

I’m sweating the easter menu, just this morning finally coming up with the missing inspiration and had to deal with this evening’s and tomorrow’s dinners. Too much juggling! I spent half the day driving from store to store, just to be disappointed again because they decided things should be out of season even if they aren’t. This made me visit even more stores trying to find what I wanted.

But enough rant. I saw an unlikely pigeon at my fish- and venison dealer at the Gutenbergplatz market and decided to splurge. This is the first time I’ve seen her carry pigeons, and these were from France (I don’t know if they were Mieral- but they had some kind of label and the lady sells label rouge chickens).

For Ms. B I got a corn-fed breast and wing, called a suprême. To accompany this feast, I made mashed potatoes (a winner with Ms. B) and artichokes (the same with me).

The meat was not a problem, though I had to gut the bird myself. This is only the second time I’ve had pigeon, the first being 2 years ago in Burgundy, home of Mieral pigeons and Bresse chickens- there my friend H. gave me lessons on pigeon anatomy.

I did OK by myself, not puncturing anything vile and otherwise using most parts. I wound up with a breast still conected in the middle, with the skin still attached. Those breasts are plump! Also two wings and two thighs, not really meaty, but I didn’t want to waste them on the sauce because I already had the rest of the carcass.

Taube-1-(2)

The main job was to make sauces for different birds as well as the sauce for the lamb on Sunday. The lamb’s basis was bones and shank (beef), red wine, soup vegetables and lamb stock two hours later.

The pigeon got a smidgen of roots (carrots, celery, onion, parsley and leeks) as well as about 250 cl of a red wine deemed too weak to drink (just kidding- we decided the german Spätburgunder was no match for the french Pint Noir, though actually the same thing, just treated differently by different vintners and of course grown in (slightly) different climates. Anyhow, it all comes together in the pot. I reduced the sauce to the point where it had an aura of oil around it as soon as I put it on the plate.

Taube-Artischocken-Pü-2 Taube-Artischocken-Pü-1

The chicken sauce was more commercial. I didn’t have much to work with, just the suprême. I fried it on both sides and transferred it to the oven. I had sautéed a shallot in butter, added a teaspoon of flour to make a roux, cooked that for a couple of minutes, added a slosh of white burgundy (ah! it comes together!) and a jar of chicken stock. This I reduced until I had to add some cream to have any sauce left at all. I deglazed the pan with this mix when I pulled the chicken out of the oven.

Maishähnchen-Suprême1Maishähnchen-Suprême-2

Ms. B. wasn’t complaining. In fact, she had seconds of mashed potato and sauce. She probably would have had seconds of chicken had there been any.

As for me, I loved pigeon all over again. It’s an expensive little bugger, but let me tell you- duck doesn’t come close and neither does anything else I’ve tried in my life. It’s a particularly delicious piece of meat- and small, too: a fleeting joy.

The very dark sauce was very strong. It tasted great, but next time I will make something lighter to highlight the meat more, even  though it could hold it’s own today.

What a way to slide into the Easter dinner! Bring it on!

Artischockensalat


The PX in Paul-Revere-Village in Karlsruhe closed in 1995. After a few years of being closed, there were various attempts to integrate a store in the space. The third try, by my count, resulted in ‚Maxikauf‘, an Edeka spin-off run by a man who owns 2 more stores, another one in Karlsruhe, yet another on the outskirts. The stores have much of the standard Edeka selection, but have one thing in common otherwise.

They cater to a Russian population that lives in Karlsruhe and environs. Ironically, what used to be the American community in Karlsruhe has been densely populated by Russians, many of them of German descent who were welcomed back under Helmut Kohl.

I like going to this store from time to time. It has the largest smoked fish selection in Karlsruhe as well as about 20 fixture feet of vodka. In the summer they have the largest and least expensive watermelons, tomatoes and dill. Not to forget cucumbers, salt pickles and other Russian favorites. In the wintertime cabbage is king.

But today I went there thinking I would buy some fresh mushrooms to make a creamy Knödel with creamed mushrooms for Ms. B, when I got side-tracked by a wonderful deal: They had young artichokes for 49 cents a piece, a price unheard of in these parts, even at the market.

Having said before that artichokes must be my favorite vegetable food bar none, I scarfed up five of ‚em for a salad.

Artischockensalat2

To make the salad I prepared some artchokes by cutting off the top two thirds of the leaves, taking off everything leafy at the bottom and using a hollowing device to scoop out the hay. After this I dropped them in lemony water.

Then I pared down the stalk to about an inch and peeled it. In the end I quartered the pared artichokes and put them in salted lemon water.

I cooked them for 20 minutes and threw them into cold water to stop them from cooking (and discoloring).

There were a few vine tomatoes from foreign lands I chopped and added to the salad bowl. A pinch of salt and pepper, juice from half a lemon along with a tablespoon of vinegar and three tablespoons of olive oil.

The artichokes were fried in olive oil, a finely chopped shallot and a clove of garlic, also finely chopped.

Then I added them to the tomatoes. Parsley is a must in my book for a salad like this, and the unchopped leaves look particularly good, I think.

Artischockensalat--(3)

The store had some pretty incredible deals on  semi-processed seafood, and so I walked out with a good pound of breaded

octopus rings. The instructions said to deep-fry them, I baked them for 25 minutes instead.

Together, this was a welcome breather from the winter fare that gives me the food blues sometimes.

Filled Zucchini Pork Tenderloin Green Peppersauce


We had a Birthday party to attend on Saturday, and I was looking for something to prepare in advance for Sunday, because we usually get home too late to have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Anyway, I found these cute round zucchinis and thought I might fill them. I know its not exactly high season for tomatoes, eggplant and the like, but frankly I’m already tired of cabbage, brussels sprouts and wintry roots, so a ratatouille as filling sounded good. I cut the top off of the zucchini and used a ‚parisienne‘ (a small scoop tool) to remove the flesh. This was cut into smaller pieces as was an eggplant, 5 cherry tomatoes an onion and two cloves of garlic. I sautéed the minced onion and garlic first, adding the zucchini and eggplant pieces next. After cooking this for a few minutes the tomatoes were next to go.  I also added 2 inches of tomato  paste from a tube before adding a generous swallow of Noilly Prat, a vermouth used in cooking. I then put a lid on the pan and cooked that for about five minutes until all the vegetables were tender.

In the meantime the hollow round zucchinis wound up in my trusty Braun steamer for fifteen minutes, enough to soften them.

I let them cool off and filled them with the ratatouille mixture after grating Parmesan over it and adding freshly dried thyme and marjoram and salt and pepper to it.

On Sunday all I had to do was to pop them in the oven for thirty minutes at 180 C.

Zucchini-gefüllt

The unlikely match for these stuffed vegetables was small steaks of pork tenderloin fried and finished in the oven, with a sauce made from chopped shallots, white wine and cream. For the extra flavor I deglazed the frying pan with the white wine before adding the cream and then finally about one heaping tablespoon of green peppercorns.

The individual elements tasted good, but didn’t really come together. Ms. B. remarked that the zucchini was relatively boring and could have been improved by the addition of ground beef.

I would agree, but that would of course be a different dish. It would improve the texture though, and the mouthfeel as well.

But, for a Sunday dinner, I’ve had worse. Can’t win ‚em all.

Zucchini-Schweinelende-Pfef

The elbow noodles were an addition to Ms. B’s plate. I enjoyed the dish sans pasta.

Fried green tomatoes


When I was a teenager, one of the defining books in the kitchen was ‚The Joy of Cooking‘ by Irma Rombauer.

It proved to be a treasure trove of dependable recipes covering just about anything in the kitchen.

I baked more in those days, but skimming through the book I would sometimes be intrigued with recipes I stumbled over.

One such recipe was one for fried green tomatoes, a southern recipe, as I learned from the book.

I thought it was a clever way to use a vegetable that wasn’t going to ripen to its red state anymore and having some at the time, I tried it. Turns out the cooking process softens the tomato, making it palatable, while the tang of the tomato combined with the crunch of the breading makes a very delectable dish.

I only tried it once and was reminded of it when I saw some green tomatoes on the market the other day.

These days its quicker to google things, so I looked up a dozen or so recipes before making them like this.

All the recipes were similar, so take your pick of any you can find out there.

A few green tomatoes, sliced 3/4″ thick

flour

corn meal

1 egg

salt, pepper

chili powder

combine flour and corn meal, about 1:1

dredge both sides in flour

beat egg

coat tomatoes with egg

dredge through flour/meal mix

coat with egg/dredge through flour again

fry over low heat prick for softness

I decided on a little homemade mayonnaise/aioli to accompany the tomatoes.

For this I slowly  added oil to an egg yolk I was beating until it emulsified.

My mayo had a few drops of lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne, garlic and some parsley in it.

Ms. B really liked the tomatoes and had the leftovers the next day.

Mussels Muscheln ‚Old Bay‘


A few days ago my friend K. gave me a spice mixture she said she has shipped from the US by her brother and by the pound. I think it is a little like the famous ‚Old Bay‘ spice mixture prevalent in states with a shoreline and people interested in seafood.

As chance would have it, September is a month with ‚R‘, Ms. B and I love mussels and shopped a place that had them. We got 2 kg just to make sure we wouldn’t run out. I prepared the mussels the usual way, checked for broken shells and mussels that wouldn’t open or close.

Then I boiled some water with some white wine, added carrots, celery, parsley, onion, lemon eights and leeks and about 2 heaping tablespoons of the secret spice. This may have been a bit much, but the taste was good if a little salty (but not too much), it was also a little spicy, something I like. We served a salad on the side and had baguette to sop up the fluid.

We went through the mussels very quickly and I would do it again- maybe next week?

Pork tenderloin Peaches


The second variation was the peach addition.
I had had a few perfect peaches last week and wanted some more to cook with. When I got home the peach purchased was sweet but too hard.  I sautéed the peach in slices, using salt, some sugar, rosemary  and a splash of red wine vinegar to make the fruit more interesting.

The tenderloin was fried and served with the fruit on the side. I love fruit with meat whereas Ms. B doesn’t care for it with few exceptions. To my palate, this was really tasty. A variation could be grilling the peaches on the BBQ.

Pork Tenderloin Mushroom Sauce


I realize I’m repeating myself, but my excuse this time is the fact I made two different sauces/treatments for two different people’s tastes.

Friday’s here and I thawed pork tenderloin, thinking I would fry them and then finish them in the oven. Surprise! This batch was not in one piece, but cut into wheels about 3/4 cm thick.

On the Up side, there was more than enough for two.

I washed the salad and assembled a bouquet. Arranged it on the plate and drizzled it with olive oil and reduced balsamico.

Then I added the tenderloin and covered it with the mushroom sauce.

This was very tasty!

Mushroom sauce:

75 g Champignons, sliced finely

1 onion finely chopped

„2  Tbs Sour Cream/Creme Fraiche“
Saute the onions, add the mushrooms, add the sour cream,  salt to taste.

Sherry/White Wine

I would cook this again, but would hire security guards to patrol the kitchen area ante room ;  ).

Pulled Pork


I have a friend at work who I like to cook for because he’s easy. He likes it all. I particularly like to make those things that are borderline fast food, but made properly, without shortcuts (like BBQ sauce- not out of a bottle, but homemade).

Recently I discovered an interesting American/Puerto Rican food blog called „The Noshery“ that had a twist on a favorite comfort food of mine, namely pulled pork.

Living in Germany you don’t find pulled pork very often, even working around other Americans. But we had a food concession at my job whose specialty was smoked foods, among those pulled pork with homemade Habanero sauce.

I was hooked. I tried out different things a couple of times, but the recipe I found at the Noshery intrigued me because of an ingredient listed that exists here in Germany as well. I don’t know whether the product is similar, but to use it made sense. I am talking about Malzbier or malted beer (not really beer, because it contains no alcohol), but rather a malty drink with some sweetness and some beery elements (like Guiness).

The other intriguing element was bitter orange concentrate, another product unavailable over here. Instead, I used a bottle of Crodino, an Italian non-alcoholic orange-like bitter used to flavor winey summer drinks.

4 lb pork shoulder

5 cloves of garlic, pressed

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp Mexican oregano

1 1/2 Tbs olive oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 can San Marzano tomatoes

3 oz pickled jalapeño peppers

1 12 oz bottle Malzbier (malted drink)

4 oz Crodino

1 2 oz can tomato paste

I combined the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and olive oil and cut holes in the meat to  press the mixture into. I didn’t really have time to marinate it, so I put the other ingredients into a high cup and blitzed them, pouring the mix over the pork, adding the cover and baking the concoction at 325° C for 4 hours.

During this time almost all the fluid evaporated. I reconstituted the sauce with about a cup of water/wine and pulled the pork.

The following picture is a before shot. I haven’t served it yet, but I did try it- It’s different and good. Definitely citrus-y

with a dark side (the malt, no doubt)

Hopefully when I warm it up tomorrow I will be able to get some sauce out of the meat.

T-Bone


With summer in full swing, I had the urge to make a typical american steak in a typical american style. What better than to barbeque the meat! That said, the rest was easy- it had to be corn. Not shown is the healthy salad we had as a side.

The corn, by the way, came in it’s husk and not frozen or in a can-just sayin‘

Instead of potatoes or some other warm starch we had pieces of bread to sop up the juices.

The steak was every bit as good as I remember it to be in times long gone.

It’s absolutely necessary to stand there and watch it and turn it  so it doesn’t turn into shoe leather!

The only thing I made for this steak was the herb-butter. This was made with a clove of garlic, chives. lemon juice and parsley.

Everyone wanted more after the first taste and it was easy to anticipate the time it would run out.

To bbq the steak, salt and pepper it, put it on a very hot grill and give it a few (about 5 minutes) on the BBQ. Be sure to get it off the grill sooner should it show signs of cooking too much.