Artischockentapenade


While surfing the net I found an american foodblog (http://www.lifesambrosia.com/2010/02/artichoke-tapenade-recipe.html)  that was relatively unusual insofar that the author made everything from scratch, something that I respect and do myself. The author described a version of a tapenade involving artichokes, one of my favorite foods. I was looking for a low calorie appetizer and decided to give this recipe a whirl.

I enjoyed it, but would add anchovies next time, as well as trying it with fresh artchokes rather than the canned artichoke hearts I used, because I don’t much care for the briny taste that overshadowed the tapenade.

Still, Ms.B and I managed to go through more than half of the tapenade just sitting and talking and it was good with the wine we had.

I used her recipe without any changes.

Beim Surfen hab ich einen amerikanischen Foodblog ( http://www.lifesambrosia.com/2010/02/artichoke-tapenade-recipe.html) gefunden, der insofern etwas ungewöhnlich war, daß alles selbstgemacht war, ohne Vorgefertigtes zu benutzen. Das ist mir sehr sympathisch, und so war ich neugierig eines ihrer Rezepte auszuprobieren, bei dem mein Lieblingsgemüse eingesetzt wird, nämlich Artischocken.

Es handelt sich um eine Tapenadenvariation, also eine Gemüsecreme, die üblicherweise mit Oliven, Sardellen, Kapern und Olivenöl gemacht wird. In diesem Fall waren zwar Oliven mit dabei, allerdings in übersichtlicher Menge, dafür kam eine Dose Artischocken dazu.

Das Rezept ist denkbar einfach. Man benutzt eine Mixmaschine und gibt die einzelnen Zutaten hinein und püriert sie so, daß es noch einzelne Stückchen gibt.

Ich fand den Aufstrich lecker, würde es allerdings gerne mal mit frischen Artischockenböden ausprobieren, weil der Geschmack der Lake, in dem die Herzen eingelegt waren, auch noch durchkam und nicht so toll ist.  In diesem Rezept sind außerdem keine Sardellen, vielleicht wäre das auch eine gute Beigabe.

1 Dose Artischockenherzen

7 Oliven (ich hatte schwarze ohne Stein)

1 Knoblauchzehe gehackt

1 Eßlöffel Kapern

1 Tl Zitronensaft

1 El Olivenöl

Steinbeisser Curry-Blumenkohl Spined Loach Curried Cauliflower


Immer wieder hab ich vom Steinbeißer als Edelfisch gehört- umso mehr Grund ihn auf die Speisekarte zu setzen, als ich ihn angeboten sah. Was ich nicht wußte, es ist ein Süßwasserfisch. Jedenfalls zeichnet er sich durch sehr weisses Fleisch und einen sehr angenehmen Geschmack aus. Ich hab ihn kurz auf beiden Seiten in Butter angebraten und dann die Pfanne mit Weißwein, Schalotten, Kapern und Zitronensaft deglaciert.

Den Blumenkohl hab ich bissfest gedünstet und dann in Butter geschwenkt, wobei ich das schon öfters erwähnte Gewürz ‚Hot Curry‘ von Probio aufgestreut habe. Das gab eine schöne exotische Note.

Hat lecker geschmeckt wobei ich den Fisch das nächste Mal schärfer anbraten werde- er verträgt scheinbar gut Hitze ohne trocken zu werden, und vom Mundgefühl her darf er ruhig noch etwas fester werden.

I have heard of this fish before- spined loach- but never in English and never that it is a sweetwater fish. It is well known in these parts as a popular fish usually served in pricier restaurants. All the more reason to buy a nice filet when I found one on sale at the local fishmonger.

It was a simple affair- after salting and peppering the filet, I fried it in butter, deglazing the pan afterwards with white wine, adding butter, shallots, capers and lemon juice. As a side I steamed some cauliflower and finished it by tossing the florets in butter and dusting them with a mixed spice called ‚Hot Curry‘ by Probio, a local spice merchant.

Although it was tasty, I will fry it a bit longer next time, because it was a little soft and the filet was not in danger of becoming too dry.

Hähnchen Kiev Spargel Chicken filet Kiev Asparagus


Ich hatte einen Jugendfreund, aus gutem Hause, der mir dieses Gericht einmal beschrieben und davon geschwärmt hat. Ich bekam auch Gelegenheit, das Hähnchen auch auszuprobieren und war vom sehr runden Geschmack angetan, der von der auslaufenden Butter kommt.

Es handelt sch um eine Hähnchenbrust, die mit Butter und Kräutern (klassischerweise mit Dill) gefüllt wird. Die Schwierigkeit besteht darin, den Schnitt so zu machen, daß man sie gut mit Butter und Kräutern befüllen kann und andererseits auch gut verschließen und panieren kann. Ich erinnere mich, daß die Familie die Hähnchenbrüste fritierte, weil sie eine Friteuse hatten. Die heutige Hähnchenbrust wurde in einer Butter-Öl-Mischung gebraten und war deshalb besser, weil die Brust nicht die härtere Kruste bekam, die typisch ist für fritierte Speisen.

Die zweite Besonderheit ist die Kräuterfüllung. Es hat sich durch die Jahreszeit angeboten eine Bärlauchfüllung zu machen. Dazu hab ich ein paar Blätter klein gehackt und mit Salzbutter gemischt und in die Tasche gestopft. Der Schlitz im Filet war am Ausgang eng und im Innenraum erweitert um es einfacher machen die Öffnung zu verschließen.

Durch das Bemehlen und das anschließende Panieren (nach Eibad), wurde das Filet und die Öffnung gut verschlossen und lief während des Bratvorgangs nicht aus.

Eine weitere Besonderheit war die Panade, ein trockenes Brötchen mit Mohn.  Somit war es eine Mohnpanade;-).

Dazu gab es die ersten grünen Spargel, die ich mir leisten wollte…

Die haben außer Salz im Wasser nix gebraucht, weil die Butter reichlich floss.

This is a dish a friend made me aware of when I was growing up . He was my soul buddy and I spent nearly every weekend at his place or he at mine. His father was my mother’s boss. We were maybe 12 or 13 years old.

They were an American military family (his father was a full colonel (reserve)), but had adopted a european lifestyle with matching Fiats for him and her, an air cushion (Flymo) lawnmower and a penchant for french cuisine.

This of course was coupled with the very american trait of short-cutting everything, which meant lots of convenience products. Nonetheless, the mother prided herself in being able to produce some authentic dishes and would let the kids partake in their discovery. This was not normal, because usually she and her husband would drown the kids (us) out with a large pitcher of Martinis set on a lounge table between two club chairs in the living room. But sometimes they would last through dinner and we would dine formally in their dining room. Not a bad education in dining.

I was always in awe of the surroundings and the ease with which they presented the one or other exotic dish (Quiche… Omelet… Artichoke… Mussels…).

Needless to say, they left an impression, I might even say I’m carrying on the tradition even when there are no Americans in my immediate vicinity to influence (except through this blog).

I tip my hat to Jerry Kelly (my friend), and his family, Bobby, Ann, Phyllis and Jack, who influenced me more than I woulda thunk.

The chicken breasts turned out better than in my memory because they weren’t deep fried. Instead, I made sure they were tightly sealed and gently fried them in a mixture of butter and sunflower oil, taking care not to get them too crisp. I carefully turned them, mindful of their contents, and gave them a dose of the same on the other side.

Meanwhile I peeled the lower third of the green asparagus and cooked it in a small amount of salted boiling water. This only took about seven minutes (keep testing-soggy asparagus sucks!)

When I served the filet, I cut it for the photo and was rewarded with a spritz of butter boiling out of the cavity. It as a perfect moment. The bear’s garlic was a welcome and seasonal addition that pleased.

Ein Nachzügler/ An earlier post


Shocked as I was by my GF’s announcement that I was starving her, I turned a new leaf (and fed her).
The proof is in the pudding, or rather the picture of the scallops on a bed of spinach. The spinach had shallots and garlic as a base, there was nutmeg and a bit of cream. The second batch of shallots were fried in brown butter to be soft in the middle (like me). To this went a swig of Noilly Prat, some white wine and another swig of cream. Then some fish fumet to add some substance. Mind you, there wasn’t much sauce, just twice the amount you see on the picture. But I think it tasted good and looked decent. The tomatoes add visual contrast and a good complement to the spinach. The plate is an heirloom from my mom and I always thought it looked good with fish (rather than meat, must be the color). It’s Tuesday night and I’ve got the rest of the week off. LET’S CELEBRATE!!!

http://kuechenblogs.de/

Ravioli tomato sauce


Deceptively simple is the name of the game.
The ravioli were homemade, as was the tomato sauce. But to start at the beginning…I was walking across my favorite market on a Saturday morning feeling uninspired. My better half didn’t want fish (neither did I, I’d had fish 3x this week), nor did I see any fascinating vegetables other than the usual winter fare. Mind you, there’s a time and place for all of nature’s inventions, but I was feeling picky.
There is a butcher on the plaza that houses the market who has been awarded a plaque saying his shop is one of the best in Germany, according to ‚Feinschmecker‘, a gourmet monthly magazine. Here I bought two sausages with a finely cuttered filling (pork). Then I bicycled a few hundred yards to an italian supermarket ( a small one), where the customer sevice is great. There are more employees than customers, usually, so you can get detailed information on all the products they have. I bought two cans of the famed San Marzano tomatoes from the foot of Mount Vesuvius. I got some other things, such as a fresh basil plant, some arborio risotto rice, some italian ’00‘ flour and a fresh piece of parmigiano reggigiano and went on my way.
At home I made the pasta dough by combining 200 g of the flour with 50 g of durum wheat semolina and 3 whole eggs. The original recipe called for two whole eggs and 4 yolks and I thought that was a little over the top. The dough as kneaded for about 7 minutes, wrapped in Saran wrap and chilled in the fridge for a little over an hour. This was the first time a dough was usable without additional flour and such. I have made Marcella Hazan’s recipe a few times, only to have to add more flour because the dough was too sticky. Not here.

For the filling I cut the sausages apart lengthwise and removed the filling from the casing. This I combined with a few tablespoons ricotta, salt, pepper, oregano and a spice mix made of a blend of anise seeds, fennel seeds and caraway seeds. I used just a pinch to conjure visions of salsiccia which sometimes is made with fennel as well. After I had made the dough with my manual noodle macchine, I used a small spoon to portion the amount of filling for the ravioli. These I put aside awaiting their swim in boiling water.
For the sauce I chopped a large shallot and an equally large garlic clove and slow roasted that in a pool of good olive oil. To this I added some tomato paste, roasted this as well and added the last of my bottle of Noilly Prat, the vermouth that makes a wonderful sauce. After that came the canned tomatoes, oblong in shape and with a sweetness I haven’t found in other canned tomato products. These tomatoes I cut into little pieces, added salt, pepper, sugar (1 teaspoon) and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar. I reduced the sauce somewhat, to intensify the flavor, and then cut up another bunch of basil for a last-minute sauce infusion.
Not shown is the Parmesan cheese we whittled over the ravioli with my newest toy, a microplane shredder (do you call it that?) or a whittler? This microplane gadget is great. I have a WMF grater- it sucks compared to this thing.

Synopsis: As simple as these ingredients sound, they were at optimum taste. My only criticism, not shared by my better half, is with the thickness of the noodle dough. She liked it, I thought it a little bit too thick. The problem is when I use the smallest setting on the noodle machine, the dough starts tearing.
Nonetheless. I would make this again, in particular for young people, to show them how good the real deal really is.

Lachsfrikadelle/ Salmon burger


I had two salmon steaks 10 oz. each and wanted something different. For salmon burgers, I found a recipe by Austrian cook Johann Lafer that modulated the finely chopped salmon by adding lime zest, lime juice, ginger, and, to bind the ingredients, an egg white and cornstarch. Also some cayenne pepper for extra zest.

I used the well-known stainless steel rings to portion the fish, and left the rings on to turn them. I did the same for the potatoes. They were taller, though. The savoy was hand-shredded into manageable small triangles (I read somewhere this was the best way to do it) and sauteed, then cooked with the lid on. When the savoy was ready, the cream was added, as was the nutmeg. There was also a small amount of Noilly Prat to curb the heat.

The potatoes weren’t too soft when cooked. I used a fork to roughly mash them. Do not overdo, you want some lumps for texture. The next step was to add 1.5 oz. of butter and work into the potato mixture. Salt and pepper, then place the mass in rings and slowly fry to golden brown. These were delicious! The savoy was very good, too. The salmon burger was very juicy (careful when frying, lower the heat soon). The best part of the fish was the fresh flavor. It had lime zest, ginger, pepper, salt, koriander seeds, and laurel leaf.

The dish looks only OK in the picture. My pictures leave something to be desired, but  can’t seem to improve on them with the set-up/equipment I’m using now. Hopefully that will change in the future.

The burgers were very fresh-tasting with lots f citrus notes. My better half did not enjoy them as much as me, but she’s not much of a fish-eater at the moment. The potato tower was delicious as well, courtesy a recipe by Lea Linster of Luxembourg. Both potatoes and savoy would go well with any variety of winter venison/meat dishes, as they are usually served in Germany this time of year. But they go with salmon as well.
This dish tasted much better than it looked!

Als Frikadelle war der Lachsklops sehr überzeugend. Aber auch Wirsingrahm und Kartoffelturm waren sehr lecker! Die Sauce für den Fisch hab ich so gemacht: Lachsabschnitte in einen kleinen Topf mit Wasser geben. Lorbeerblatt, Pfeffer- Korianderkörner dazu. Etwa 20 Minuten ziehen lassen, dann abseihen.
Einkochen, einen Schluck Noilly Prat dazu, nochmal reduzieren, nochmals salzen und pfeffern. Manche machen Sahne dran.

Potato- and Pumpkinchips


These are simple chips, deep fried and seasoned with paprika and curry, respectively. I used my trusty mandolin to cut them uniformly and used a small Le Creuset pot with about an inch of peanut oil to deep-fry them.
I cut a few potatoes and a butternut squash into thin slices with the help of a mandolin, a professional french kitchen device much like a sophisticated grater or slicer. I made a great deal more than I needed and wound up frying a bunch ok tasty spuds and gourds.
I found that the potatoes turned out great, like regular chips, crispy, spicy and salty.
The butternut started out big, but they shrank a lot during frying. The biggest problem was to maintaín heat  for other cooking procedures. What happened was that the deep-fried butternut chips were  very greasy and had to be de-greased. Other than that, they were on uncommon occurrence, and pleasing to the eye…
The potato chips turned out just like their professional counterparts-crispy and all that and were dusted with real hungarian paprika and Himalaya salt!

The butternut chips shrank about 1/3 in size and turned a dark shade of brown, but they still tasted good with a sprinkling of Madras curry and Himalaya salt. They are too dark for my taste and therefore I will try to make them in the oven instead of the the deep-fryer (or just in hot oil).
I’ll keep you posted on the results, since these new chips would likely be much more low-calorie than the alternative…

Salsicce col Vino Rosso e i Funghi Secchi


Ich wollte heute etwas leichtes machen (jaja) weil wir morgen einen ernsthaften Termin mit unserem Lieblings-italienischen Lokal haben. Ich hatte noch 2 Fenchelbratwürste aus dem Spezialitätenladen, kaufte noch eine Flasche  Montepulciano d’Abruzzo und ein paar getrocknete Steinpilze. Vorher hatte ich bei Marcella Hazan nachgeschaut und festgestellt, daß Polenta und Butter schon da waren. Ich hab noch einen Becher Sahne gekauft und losgekocht. Die Würste werden auf 6-7cm abgelängt und bei mittlerer Hitze angebräunt. Wenn sie Farbe genommen haben, wird etwa 1/8 l italienischer Rotwein daraufgegeben. Diesen bei mittlerer Hitze einkochen lassen. Danach die eine Stunde vorher eingelegten Steinpilze (15 gramm/200ml Wasser) mit dem geklärten Einweichwasser dazugeben und auf eine Feuchtigkeit (einen Glanz) reduzieren.
Das Foto ist in diesem Fall überhaupt kein Ausdruck für die Qualität des Gerichts. Allein das Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis ist toll- der Materialauwand ist für die Würste am grössten, und hier brauchte ich nur eine pro Person.
Aber zusätzlich hat es genial geschmeckt, vollmundig und Waldpilz-rotweinartig. Sehr lecker!!!

Die Polenta war sehr gut als Püree-
75 g Polenta
300 ml Milch
300 ml Wasser
(ich hatte und nahm 450 ml Wasser und 150 ml Sahne)
Salz, Pfeffer, Thymian, Knoblauchzehe, Lorbeerblatt
Limettenabrieb, wenig
25 g Parmesan
ein gutes Stück Butter

Anfangs ist die Polenta dünnflüssig, dann die Hitze auf die kleinste Einstellung fahren und immer wieder rühren. Etwa 20 Minuten ksimmern lassen, alles nach und nach dazugeben und immer wieder nachschmecken. Nachsalzen. Jetzt anrichten!

This recipe was adapted from Marcella Hazan’s ‚More Classic Italian Cooking‘. What a great book!
I had 2 salsiccia sausages (with fennel) in the freezer and decided to cook light (haha) because we have a hot date with our favorite italian restaurant tomorrow. First. I added 15 g of dried Steinpilze or porcini to a cup of hot water.Soak them for about an hour. To cook, use 1 Tbsp. olive oil and brown the sausages. Add 4 fl.oz. red wine (I used an italian wine from an area I’m hoping will be agreeable). Turn the sausages and reduce the fluid until the pan is dry. Clean the reconstituted mushrooms from imperfections and add to the dry pan with the soaking water. Reduce again. This will take another 20 minutes. I had started the polenta too soon and was trying to save the smooth consistency, first by using a lid for moisture, and then, a mix of stirs and tastes, until the final moment, when butter and parmesan are added and give that just-right, italian taste- wonderful!

For the polenta-
2 1/2 oz.polenta
5 oz. milk
5 oz. water
salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme
butter
25 g parmesan

Cook the polenta for a minute, then turn down to the lowest setting and simmer. Stir a lot, most of the time. You will see the puree go from watery to silky smooth. Pick the silkiest moment to add the butter and then the parmesan. The result was incredible. We haven’t eaten this well since we had the pigeons!
This was served with a salad of frisee and rucola (rocket) on the side.

Artischocken Shrimps Aioli Duxelles


Im Urlaub hatten wir einen Vorspeisen-Abend. An diesem Abend gab es zuerst eine ganze Artischocke zum zupfen für jeden, mit Senfsauce nach Art ‚Diana‘, danach dieses Gericht.
Das Hauptproblem damit war, daß ich den Boden nicht nochmal erwärmt habe und so kalte und warme Elemente sich eher störten. Trotzdem, die Duxelles hat ganz hervorragend zur Artischocke gepasst. (Duxelles ist eine Mischung aus kleingehackten Champignons und Schalotten, in Butter angeschwitzt und zu einer aromatischen Masse gekocht. Insgesamt war es lecker und gesund, das nächste Mal würde ich es vielleicht mit gekochten Schinkenwürfeln und Chili nach Art der Cajuns in New Orleans machen. Die Aioli hab ich mit einem Schneebesen aufgeschlagen, da ein Mixer gefehlt hat.

We had this dish on vacation a few weeks ago as part of a Entree evening. First course was a whole artichoke served with mustard sauce, then I served this dish.
The base is an artichoke bottom, cooked and shaped. Into this I filled freshly sauted duxelles, a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms (Champignons) and shallots and butter. This becomes very creamy and flavorful.
The other ingredients were some diced tomato pieces,shrimp and a homemade garlic mayonnaise, an aioli.
This I made by whisking oil very slowly and by hand into an egg yolk. Once I had an emulsion, I added pressed garlic, salt and some lemon juice.

Chicken Pot Pie


This is one of the dishes I remember from my childhood and teenage years. If memory serves we were buying the frozen Swanson pot pies, both the chicken and the beef. I remember they took about 45 minutes starting in a cold oven, because they were frozen solid.
People call it comfort food nowadays, but it is actually a convenience food adapted from an earlier convenience food. I believe this dish was invented to 1.) portion a meal, and 2.) make it easy to take along. Back in the day, these would have been casseroles of different sizes, which gave way to aluminum pie pans. To freeze it just constitutes the next step in convenience. To be clear: I don’t see convenience as an end, on the contrary, I don’t have much use for the „fast“ in food. But if I’m making something to eat for work, I will sometimes cut a few (convenient) corners.
This pot pie, however, was cooked because I wanted to try to improve the flavors etched on my hard drive.
I think it was a hands down win.For the dough:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
2 eggs

Combine flour, salt and butter to make pea-sized pellets. Make a bowl, add the 2 eggs and the water. Stir, then knead, until dough is smooth. Refrigerate several hours. Quarter the dough. Flour the board and roll the dough so it will fit into your bowl. Line the bowl, prick the dough with a fork, prebake.

Separate an egg, brush baked dough with egg white (keeps the dough from getting soggy).
Fill the bowl, roll a second piece of dough to make a lid. Adorn with dough ornaments, bake.

Filling:
1 leek, in rolls
2 carrots, in rolls
15 snap peas
mushrooms (good with this, I didn’t have any)
2 potatoes, diced
flour
butter
veal stock or chicken stock a little cream
tarragon

I diced the potatoes and cooked them in a little salt water. Sliced the carrots 3mm, added butter and a pinch of sugar to the pan and sauted the carrots and the snap peas for 10 minutes. Then I added a 1/4 cup water and let cook until dry and tender. In a third pan, I sauted the leek rolls.
In a sauce pan I took a chunk of butter sauted a diced shallot, added a tablespoon of flour and cooked a medium brown roux, about 4 minutes, then added some Noilly Prat and some veal stock and also some cream.
Should I be irritating you with the maddening „some“- „some“ is just a swig of cream, about 250 ml of veal stock and just a jigger of Noilly Prat. I cooked this mixture to about 2/3 of its volume and added two diced chicken breasts and cooked them about 10 minute. Then I let it cool off. The vegetables were done, so I added them to the sauce.
This mixture was placed in the bowl and the top crust was added and baked.

The result? Much better than my memory.
And for added elegance, add fresh french tarragon at the last minute.