Archive for main course

NYE 2014 Soup

Posted in cod, dairy, leeks, parsnip, potato, shellfish, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by oskila

It says soup, but the concoction in question has a few similarities to a stew, a casserole, a chowder, a bisque or a bouillabaisse. Anyway, it’s a soup I made for the NYE dinner main course at my mother in law’s. Since it turned out rather excellent I feel like sharing.

The most important ingredient of all is good stock. I had two pints of lobster stock that I forgot to blog when I made it, so we’ll deal with that first.

Lobster stock (serves: you right)

1. Have your mother or similar invite you for a lobster party.
2. Nab the shells.
buljong1
3. Lug a bucket of lobster peel home.
4. Cut up some good stock vegetables such as onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, parsnips (fennel, celery and celeriac are good too) and give them a sizzle in a large pot.
5. Cram the lobster remains in. Be as violent as you need. (I used a potato masher). If the shells refuse to be properly seared, oven roasting them first is a good idea.
buljong2
6. Top up with water, wine and perhaps a bit of sherry.
7. Simmer for as long as you like I’d say, skimming frequently and seasoning to taste.
8. Strain the solids. I ended up using a pillowcase.
9. Simmer down to a more manageable volume
buljong3
10. Use soon or freeze in a suitable container, for example a milk jug.

Freezing it in a milk jug will likely mean you end up using all of it in one go rather than a little here and there, since you’d have to defrost it to get anything out (apart from the bit with all the salt in it sloshing around the bottom unless the freezer is very very cold.

Since I’m a bit of a cheapskate I didn’t want to use this luxurious stock on just any soup and was at risk of waiting for too long when the opportunity of New Year’s dinner came along just in the nick of time. Also, wanting to defrost the stock well in advance of NYE to see if it was OK I took it out a couple of days early and discovered that we accidentally had turned the freezer off some time around Christmas eve and the temp inside was hovering around zero. Without the stock we’d probably gone for another day or two without checking the freezer, spoiling everything in it.

Aaanyway – for this soup you’ll need:

1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, cut to matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
3 inches leek, julienned
1 kilo almond potatoes (or other mealy fingerling) cut to pieces or large dice

1 quart stock, for example lobster (see above)
1-2 glasses white wine
½-1 pint double cream
crème fraîche
water (optional)

400 grams fish fillet, diced
100 grams smoked mussels
peeled shrimp

In a pot suitable for soup-making, start by sizzling the tomato paste and onions, then add potatoes and garlic. I left the potato skin on since almond potatoes are very mushy when cooked and will be held together a bit better by the skin. The reason for the comparatively large amount of potatoes is that they absorb salt and the stock was very very salty. Add water as needed.

Deglace pot with a small amount of wine, then add the stock and wine to taste. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are nearly done, then add leeks, fish, mussels and cream to taste and cook until everything is nice.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few shrimp as garnish. Garlic bread or croutons are nice on the side.

The above recipe was cooked up for five adults as main course, but turned out to be enough for seconds for three and thirds for two and also leftovers for lunch for two a few days later, which should add up to 12 servings, but not the largest ones.

2014soup

Advertisements

Moules au Safran

Posted in bread, condiments, french, mediterranean, sauce, shellfish with tags , , , on August 5, 2012 by oskila

Hey hey hey! French title! That’s because I spent ten days in France and picked up a word or two. It says ‘mussels with saffron’. A fairly French (or Provençal)  dish. Originally, I had planned on trying razor clams since the grocery store happened to have them, but a combination of economic sense an a failure on the clams’ part to look attractive upon close inspection, steered us towards the trusty old blue mussels instead.

Ingredients for the main component of tonight’s dinner: Blue mussels, white wine, lemon, garlic, saffron, shallots.

Sweat shallot and garlic in a large pot, then add mussels, then saffron, lemon juice and wine.

Remove mussels and start reducing the broth. I strained the solids from the broth and then reduced the broth with the sieve partially submerged in it, to get more flavor from the shallots and garlic. Thicken the broth to sauce using a dairy product or two. I used crème frâiche and Greek yogurt to avoid the worst greasiness that can happen if one’s too generous with for example double cream.

Plate the mussels and drizzle some nice saffron sauce over. We had fries on the side, as in a classic moules frites, but the fries are prefab and therefore not shown.

I will, however, gladly show off the bread I baked. It’s pretty nice to have something to slosh around in the sauce after you’re out of mussels.

And it’s of course not a proper French dish if there’s no aïoli to add more fat to your fried stuff. It’s the first aïoli I’ve made (in excellent teamwork with my fiancée) and also probably the best I’ve eaten. The trick is apparently to skip the vinegar and add small amounts of lemon juice and slightly too much salt – which will turn out to be the perfect amount of salt if the fries are underseasoned.

To sum up, it was very good eating, but I think I still prefer my mussels cooked by someone else, to save me the trouble of scrubbing and checking for bad ones and so on. I’d happily provide the aïoli though.

 

Tag Team Tortellini

Posted in cheese, italian, pasta, sauce, vegetarian with tags , on July 6, 2012 by oskila

To be honest, there will be more than tortellini today, but the title was too awesome to pass up on. Today’s theme is fresh pasta, and since that’s one of a number of foods that’s much more fun to make in company, I’ve enlisted the help of my better half – hence the tag team.

If I remember correctly, we talked about making our own pasta after watching an episode of MasterChef USA, season 2. I bought a pasta machine at a flea market almost ten years ago and while it’s been used for pasta once or twice, I’ve mostly used it to shred newspapers to use as playing/nesting material for pet rats. The last rats died years ago and the machine has been collecting dust until now.

First, one needs dough of course. Recipes vary concerning whole eggs or yolks, flour mix and other stuff. We used whole eggs and durum wheat flour.

Dough kneaded and one lump wrapped in plastic. As soon as both were wrapped they went in the fridge to rest while we shopped for filling.

Here’s some of the dough, machine-rolled out. I’ve pin-rolled pasta dough once and I hope I’ll never have to do that again. It was no fun at all. We had planned to make two types of pasta, tortellini and ravioli, with different fillings. The little lumps in the bowl in the picture are filling #1, which is a mix of Brie and Grana Padano. A yummy all cheese filling for the tortellini.

Here’s what I did for filling #2 – a slight twist on the very classic spinach/ricotta ravioli filling with fresh spinach, blanched and chopped, together with ricotta and sautéed onions, garlic and mushrooms, seasoned with white pepper, thyme, a hint of nutmeg and a couple of drops of truffle oil. Some of the pictures in this post are rather crappy, because we were really hungry and didn’t quite have time for more shots.

Thanks to the firm filling, the tortellini were produced at a rapid pace

The ravioli required two pieces of dough and had a much looser filling, which made manufacture rather slow.

A bit over half the ravioli and all of the tortellini done and having a rest before cooking.

With the pasta resting, we whipped up a sauce of roux, cream, a splash of balsamic vinegar (white wine would possibly be a better choice, but we didn’t have any), a small amount of very finely chopped and caramelized onions and a bit of grated Grana Padano.

With the sauce simmering, we started boiling the pasta.

Dish completed and plated prettily. Pasta made from a half batch of dough, in turn made from 450 grams of durum wheat flour and six very small eggs, evidently feeds two starving 30-year olds to a near comatose state. The other half of the dough is in the fridge, biding its time.

This looks like fish

Posted in fish, mediterranean, soup with tags , on March 11, 2012 by oskila

Two soup entries in a row? Who would have thought it? These things happen sometimes and are nothing to worry about. We were shopping for dinner a couple of days ago and went through a lot of alternatives until we decided on fish soup as we had seen bags of frozen mixed fish dice (atlantic salmon, european pollock and pangasius (aka river cobbler or basa fish)).

The trusty DSLR was having a bad day, so I managed two pictures of the cooking process before the battery ran out. The files later turned out to be empty. A couple of attempts with phone camera turned out useless, so only the finished dish will be pictured.

First chop shallots, carrots, leek and garlic and sear gently in a pot of ample size. Add fish stock cubes, frozen alaska pollock, white wine, a pinch of dried sage, chili powder and white peppercorns and boiling water. Simmer until everything is soft and then blend it smooth with a hand blender or food processor. Add saffron, cream and more fish (the dice mentioned above) and simmer for two to three minutes more. Turn the heat off and add brined shrimp. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve with bread and rouille. (although we didn’t bother with making rouille)

 

Valentine’s Day Lasagna

Posted in cheese, ground beef, italian, pasta with tags , on February 15, 2012 by oskila

When I started writing this post it was still Valentine’s, so that’s what the subject is today. Or rather, I’m just going to yap for a short while about the fact that I ate an awesome three course dinner that I didn’t cook. My girlfriend did. That’s love! Make up your own recipe, I’m too full to do it.

Half-eaten Valentine’s Day Lasagna.  (The dish is larger than it looks)

Patties, Tatties, Pink Slaw

Posted in bacon, cabbage, ground beef, potato, salad with tags on February 9, 2012 by oskila

I’ve found that the patty/burger complex is one of the categories of food where I can make my culinary artistry blossom the most. Ground meat is a blank canvas waiting to be painted in vivid colors (but with a spatula instead of paintbrush). In short, the possibilities are endless.

But to be fair, the inspiration for this post is cabbage. I bought a chunk of red cabbage for the Chinese stew and didn’t use very much, woindered what to do with the rest of it, decided on coleslaw and then needed something to serve it with. Since most coleslaws I’ve eaten have been served with burgers and fries in pubs, I didn’t need to think for very long.

A pound of ground beef seasoned with salt, tomato paste and a significant amount of crushed black pepper. Since ground beef is often rather lean, a couple of spoons of the dairy product known as cooking cream in Sweden (Cream watered down to 15% fat, stabilizer added) goes in to provide some fat and moisture to keep the finished patties from being too dry and chewy. Mix well and let rest for a while.

The basics of a coleslaw, my way. Red cabbage, onion, carrot. Mix with mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper. I was obviously too hungry to remember to take a picture of the finished coleslaw before eating it. It didn’t turn as pink as I had hoped but probably would, given a bit more time.

Coleslaw in fridge, mince dozing in its bowl. Tuber time! These potatoes were cut into strips, parboiled for just over five minutes, brushed with oil and then seasoned with for example some barbecue mix thingy, powdered ancho style chili and garlic. Then just put them in the oven until they look nice.

The mince has been transformed into six little patties, huddled together in a dish. The bacon strips have several purposes; to lard the notoriously lean meat a bit, to add awesome flavour and to help the patties stay in shape. I chose to cook them in the oven (takes about as long time as the potatoes) but they can be pan fried too of course.

Done, served and eaten with joy!

Sausage and rice jumble with tortilla crackers

Posted in bread, cheese, discount, leftovers, rice, sausage, side dish with tags on January 21, 2012 by oskila

Today’s post is really two recipes, because that’s how stuff happened when I took the pictures. The ‘jumble’ approach to food might have another more proper name, but I haven’t heard of it. A jumble, to me, is a dish where various stuff gets thrown together with some rice, but without being distinctly Asian in flavour.

This particular jumble, as is often the case, is done with discount sausages (one of my primary sources of protein evidently) and some broccoli and cauliflower liberated from a bag of mixed frozen vegetables. To accompany the jumble I made seasoned crackers from tortillas left over from when I made quesadillas for NYE. I didn’t have time for an ingredient lineup shot, so if you don’t have everything at home, make it up as you go along.

First, fry the raw rice in a splash of oil along with a stock cube and some powdered garlic.

Cut tortillas into strips, brush with oil on both sides and season. I used flake salt, sesame seeds, tarragon and black pepper. Put in oven until slightly brown and brittle.

Meanwhile, the rice has fried enough and boiling water is added.

Crackers done, doesn’t take very long. It’s probably a good idea to adjust the seasoning so it matches the food the crackers are supposed to accompany. They’re also good as snacks on their own of course.

Broccoli and cauliflower, cut into smaller pieces and popped in a pan. It’s not a lot, but I was only cooking two servings.

Enter sausage. I’m using Käsekrainer (that is, sausages with cheese in them) but any sausage, or whatever meat you have, is good too.

Add the rice that should be done by now and some grated cheese. Lower the heat so the rice doesn’t stick or burn while the cheese melts somewhat. (The cheese was of course also left over from the new year’s quesadillas). Also, this is obviously a job for liberal amounts of black pepper.

And there we have it. Not too pretty, but certainly tasty. Next time I’ll do something without discount sausages, I promise.

%d bloggers like this: