Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wild and Crazy Salmon!

The clock is ticking on a lot of the items in the fridge. While most things are in pretty good shape I've been eying the cucumbers and green onions with a good deal of attention over the past week. The vegetables bave been in the fridge for a while now and the time for our attack has come!

Basmati Rice with Green Onion Pesto

I started by making a pesto using the remaining green onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I combined it with some cooked basmati rice and a little butter.

Summer Zucchini Cakes

The remaining farm zucchini got shredded and combined with panko, egg, diced farm red onion, farm parsley, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, diced mozzarella, salt, pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. I squeezed out the excess moisture from the zucchini before combining this all together and pan frying.

Pan Roasted Wild Coho Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt Dill Sauce

There was a nice piece of wild salmon in the fridge. That sounds like I don't know how it got there but I'm pretty sure it's the same salmon I bought on Friday night. While I'm not a huge fan of wild salmon I got this one because it was on sale and, it turns out, it was pretty good. I made a sauce for the salmon using yogurt, dill, cucumber, salt, pepper, and sherry vinegar.

Cavalry Brewing Marauder IPA

For beer I opened a bottle of Marauder IPA Cavalry Brewing. IPAs happen to be one of my least favorite types of beer but I do like supporting Cavalry as they are small and close by. This beer ended up being much darker than I'd expected and at 40 IBUs it was far less bitter as well. While most IPAs tend to be closer to 70 or even 100 IBUs this one was like an IPA with training wheels. This means I liked it more than most IPAs but I'm not sure how IPA fans would feel about it.

Cherry Ice Cream

For dessert we had this cherry ice cream that I made the other day. It made good use of a bag of hastily purchased cherries which had been in the fridge for nearly two weeks without being used. I also made a quick chocolate sauce which I poured over the top before we ate it.

Broken Immersion Blender

An unfortunate thing happened when I made the ice cream in that our immersion blender began making a super loud noise then actually fell apart as I blended the ice cream mixture. Luckily no pieces of metal or plastic fell into the ice cream though. At least none that we ate this evening. Perhaps there will be deadly metal or plastic fragments that will turn up later and cause us huge dental bills, thus becoming one of the most expensive bowls of ice cream in the world.

Well, the most expensive ice cream might still be reserved for that stupid ice cream with the gold leaf that always wins top billing in one of those stupid "10 Most Expensive Restaurant Meals Ever" lists in some dumb magazine.

What's the point? Might as well just make a fish en papillote using $100 bills.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Zucchini Bread is Redonk!

Hey, Everyone! Enjoy the newly "created" domain name:! After over three years we finally decided to put the site on its own domain. Of course there is no noticeable difference in any aspect of the site but I can now feel a little better about the blog not being a subdomain. As the owner of over 20 domain names that have no content at all it felt like it would probably make sense to have this site -- with over 500+ rambling and pointless entries -- have its own domain name.

These are the kinds of things I think about.

There's nothing like running the oven for most of the day on a July day. But sometimes you just have to run the oven all day to help you power through all the vegetables and leftovers you have accumulated.

It's all for the love of the game.

Poona Kheera Cucumber Salad with Dill, Feta, Red Onion and Cherry Tomatoes on Romaine

Tonight, for a salad, I grabbed mostly items from the farm: Romaine lettuce, the oddly named Poona Kheera cucumbers, red onion, dill, lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper, and feta cheese.

Swiss Chard and Rope Sausage Pizza with Fennel

When there's this much stuff in the fridge to be used up I usually end up gravitating toward either pizza or pasta. This is mostly because I'm lazy and it's really easy to throw stuff into either of those dishes with minimal effort.

I started off the pizza by smearing a layer of leftover bechamel from Monday's night's moussaka then topping that with a secondary layer of the leftover meat sauce from the same night's moussaka. On top of that I put some of the farm Swiss chard which I'd sauteed with crushed garlic and olive oil. Then I chopped up some leftover rope sausage from the freezer and finished it with thinly sliced farm fennel and mozzarella.

Lakeshore Brewing IBA

I decided that tonight I would finally polish off the bottle of IBA from Lakefront Brewery. It had been in the fridge for a while now and I was avoiding it because I knew it was going to be a little too bitter for my tastes. Interestingly enough the last time I had a beer form Lakefront Brewery was when we'd originally had the rope sausage back in May. Something about rope sausage somehow makes me feel the need to have a bitter beer from Lakefront Brewery.

Okay, maybe it's not that interesting.

Zucchini Bread

For dessert we had something I made this afternoon -- zucchini bread. Zucchini bread is one of my favorite types of sweet. My favorite type of sweet is one that is what Jen like to call a "cakey substance." While I love zucchini bread I don't think I've made it in at least ten years. It's a shame because I make some pretty bangin' zucchini bread.

I also made some nice ice cream but we didn't get a chance to get around to it tonight because my zucchini bread was so damn good on its own.

My zucchini bread is redonk!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Zucchini Rest Day

There's still a few pounds of zucchini in the fridge but we need a rest day. Just a day where we can regroup and hope that twenty-four hours is enough time off so that we can enjoy the vegetable again.

See? Getting a farm share is fun!

Mozzarella Ciliegine with Pesto on Romaine with Cherry Tomatoes and Red Onion

After marinating some mozzarella in remaining pesto I sliced up some of the farm tomatoes and red onion. I threw it all onto last week's lettuce which had held up remarkably well.

Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken with Cabbage Slaw and Cherry Peach Relish

I had some honey balsamic dressing in the fridge so, the other day, I cut up a chicken and marinated it in the dressing. After 48 hours it was ready to grill. I marked it up then tossed it to the side of the grill to slowly cook while I picked up Jen from the train station.

To accompany it I made a slaw out of the farm cabbage, red onion, carrot, cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. I also used up the bag of cherries that has been in the fridge for over two weeks. Surprisingly not a single cherry had rotted, but in order to avoid that eventuality I turned them into a relish with some of the farm peaches, farm red onion, orange zest, balsamic vinegar, cayenne, salt, and cloves.

Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen

For beer we had this hefeweizen from Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Oregon. This was a pretty good hefeweizen but I was a little bothered by the label. There is a quote on the label that reads:

"The brother of invention."

The thing is it's the Widmer Brothers not the Widmer Brother. Shouldn't the quote read the following?

"The brothers of invention."

For some reason this really bothers me. It bothers me to the point that I'm afraid I did not receive the full enjoyment out of this beer that I would have otherwise.

I revel in being annoyed by the lilliputian.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sick of Summer Squash

Today, with temperatures finally in the eighties, it was time to get back into some indoor cooking. Of course it was still quite hot indoors but that didn't stop me from picking up the weekly farm share and immediately returning home to turn on the oven.

Stoneledge Farm CSA Farm Share 2011, Week 7

What I picked up for week seven of the share was the following: a bulb of fennel, a bunch of swiss chard, two red onions, a bunch of parsley, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, cherry tomatoes, three more pounds of summer squash, one cucumber, two eggplant, okra, blueberries, peaches, and sugar plums.

Funny Eggplant

I am something of a connoisseur of funny shaped vegetables. The latest entry is this funny little guy. The best part is that I didn't even realize I'd selected this winner until I got home. It kind of looks like a cross between an eggplant, a pig's butt, and Adrian Brody.

Zucchini Ribbon and Fennel Salad

Since we had received yet another load of summer squash I had to get to work. With the weekly supply of summer squash remaining unchanged and our appetite for squash dwindling with every passing hour it became important to get to work using up the summer squash as fast as possible. That's why, for a salad, I sliced some thin ribbons of the various summer squash and fennel then tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed coriander seed. The result was pretty tasty even for two people who are pretty much at their limit as far as summer squash consumption goes.

One of Jen's greatest laments in life is that I rarely like to make the same dinner twice. This means that every so often I make something she really likes and then she knows there is very little chance I will make it again. This is convenient for me since I don't ever measure anything or have any recipes so I'm rarely able to create the same dish twice. At least not with 100% accuracy.

Summer Squash Moussaka

Jen was hoping I'd make moussaka again so that's what I did. However, the original moussaka I made three years ago that she remembers so fondly, had been made slowly over the course of the day. Tonight I had roughly ninety minutes and that included doing a tremendous amount of dishes and the forty minutes of cooking time. Therefore I had to act fast and, of course, cut some corners.

I sliced the eggplant and summer squash thinly, seasoned lightly, then threw them in the oven. While in the oven I made a very quick sauce with garlic, onion, green pepper, ground beef, tomato, salt, and pepper. I made a second sauce with butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. All of this while baking a potato.

Then I layered slices of eggplant, zucchini, potato, tomato sauce, cream sauce, and mozzarella until a casserole dish was filled and I threw the thing in the oven for about thirty or forty minutes. I didn't really cook it until it was done but I did cook it until Jen got home from work which was all the time I could spare.

Traditionally the slices of eggplant (and summer squash if you accept this bastardized recipe) should have been salted, dusted in flour, and fried before being layered. The result was that this version of moussaka tasted a little different. A pleasant side effect was that it was much lower in fat given that no frying was used.

Allagash Tripel Ale

I wasn't really sure what kind of beer to pair with moussaka so I actually used the BeerCloud app on my phone to see what would go well with moussaka. Since moussaka wasn't listed I chose lasagna and was pleasantly surprised when it told me to pair with a Belgian ale. For the first time in a while I didn't have a Belgian ale in the fridge so I went with a Belgian-style ale in this Tripel from Allagash Brewing Company. While I didn't taste the passion fruit notes they talked about on the label it was still quite enjoyable.

This beer worked pretty well but I'm pretty sure just about any other beer would have worked equally as well.

I'm not sure I'm sold on the art of beer and food pairing. Much like wine and food pairing I think it might be a bunch of baloney. Just for the record, I would pair baloney with a nice sauvignon blanc.

Or, if you fancy a beer instead, a Milwaukee's Best.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jen's Popsicle Dream

Jen had a dream this summer. Her dream was to make some popsicles. We're not really into dreaming big. It may seem unimpressive but it means we're often happy. We're living the dream.

Popsicle Mold

Jen's first experiment was to make these popsicles out of grapefruit and Aperol, her new favorite liqueur. She had one before dinner claiming that it was not dessert but rather an aperitif. My objections were not registered.

Unfortunately today the unthinkable happened: Jen purchased cucumbers. Unfortunately she did not realize we still had those weird Poona Kheera cucumbers in the fridge. Not only that but she bought one more cucumber than needed. So now, instead of having to use up two cucumbers I had to use up three cucumbers. This resulted in a special salad just for Jen.

Cucumber Feta Salad with Basil

It wasn't so much a salad as it was a plate of cucumber slices with olive oil, salt, pepper, feta cheese, and chopped basil.


Jen was a little annoyed by this salad since she'd already made her classic gazpacho recipe for dinner. Even I like this gazpacho even though it has cucumbers in it. It would probably be better if it had not cucumbers at all in the recipe but it's still pretty tasty. Jen insists that gazpacho counts as salad so she shouldn't have had to eat the cucumbers. I wasn't that concerned with her eating the cucumber as I with just using them so I told her that was her decision.

1809 Berliner Weisse

For beer I had this beer which was unlike any beer I've ever had. It tasted like carbonated lemon. It wasn't sweet but it was shockingly tart and lemon-flavored. Supossedly this is a style of beer made in Germany that Napoleon became very fond of after conquering Prussia. It's brewed by Professor Fritz Briem of the Doemens Institute. While this beer was extremely interesting I don't think I would jump at purchasing it again. It was not quite what I had expected.

Also, I am suspicious of anything crafted by a mad German scientist.

Fat Bastard Rose

Last night, during dinner with friends, Jen mentioned annoyance that I never talk about her wine so here you have it. Jen had some Fat Bastard Rosé which we'd picked up at a liquor store recently because of the fact that it was a rose and it was potentially the cheapest bottle of wine in the store. Like all rosés she enjoyed it thoroughly on a warm evening.

Spaghetti with Grilled Vegetables, Fresh Peas, and Pesto

Jen had also purchased a mess of basil so I threw it in the food processor with some toasted cashews, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I used the pesto with some spaghetti, fresh peas, and the leftover grilled vegetables from last night (green beans, radicchio, and corn). I topped the pasta dish with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Aperol and Grapefruit Popsicle

For dessert we enjoyed another of Jen's Aperol grapefruit popsicles while watching today's final stage of the Tour de France.

I'd intended on making a French-themed meal to celebrate the end of the Tour de France this year. When I realized I was too lazy for that I thought maybe I could make a few different dishes from some of the riders' countries. Even too lazy for that I thought maybe I'd pick up an Australian beer to drink in honor of Cadel Evans. Then I realized that the only Australian beer you can really get in America is Fosters. That just wouldn't do.

Fosters may be Australian for "beer" but it's also American for "not very good beer."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Everything Must Grill

It was 104° Fahrenheit today. Do I have to mention that I'm using Fahrenheit when I say the temperature is over 100°. Probably not, but I just like to make sure I'm not confusing all those people that live in every other country besides America. For the 5.6 billion other people in the world that's 40° on your Celcius dial.

Sorry to bring up the weather. Weather is kind of boring but it's important to note why we've been grilling so much lately. I also happen to love grilling but when the temperature gets much over 90°F and you aren't fortunate enough to have air conditioning it's hard to cook inside.

Grilled Peaches with Romaine and Balsamic

Firstly I used up the remaining grilled peaches from last night with some romaine, balsamic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Not setting the world on fire with this one but that was kind of the point. It only took a minute to make.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin, with Baked Potato Salad, Cherries, Grilled Radicchio, Grilled Corn, and Grilled Green Beans

Everything else (pretty much) was from the grill. The only thing I didn't grill were some cherries and a the potato I used to make this baked potato salad. I simply baked a potato (in the microwave, of course) and made a dressing out of sour cream, whole grain mustard, fresh dill, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. The dressing actually worked really well with the rest of the meal too.

I grilled up the remaining corn, radicchio from the farm share, pork tenderloin, and green beans. The green beans had a strange flavor to them. It turns out it was dill. After spending a week in the same bag in the fridge with the fresh dill they'd actually taken on a very strong flavor of dill which worked out far better than I would have imagined. Normally I wouldn't add dill to green beans mostly because there'd just be no discernible color contrast.

This is because, as I've stated before, I am kind of a jerk.

Brooklyn Pennant Ale '55

For a drink Jen opened some rose but I had this Pennant Ale '55 from Brooklyn Brewery. This one has been in the fridge for about four or five months. This is mostly because I just didn't think it would be very good. For some reason a baseball themed beer makes me think it would have tasted like the beer you'd get at a game. More specifically: Coors Lite.

However, I should have known better than to suspect Brooklyn Brewery of making anything that vile. I don't know if it was the delicious grilled food or the fact that my even my kneecaps were sweating but this beer was delicious. It was a perfect accompaniment to a fine grilled dinner.

A nice way to cool off after dinner, besides leftover ice cream, was to watch the last real stage of this year's Tour de France. Watching skinny guys suffer and sweat their way through the Alps on bicycles definitely cools your core temperature a little. And we could use any help we could get to cool us down.

104° is a Lot of °.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zucchini in the Morning, Zucchini in the Evening, Zucchini in the Afternoon

We've eaten a lot of zucchini in the past two weeks. It's hard to stay too creative when you keep receiving giant bushels of summer squash every week. At a certain point you run out of inspiration and just start throwing it into pasta and pizza to make it go away. I've had zucchini for lunch and dinner every night this week (and much of last week).

zucchini pizza on grill

I took all the leftover grilled zucchini from last night, some fresh zucchini blossoms, pizza sauce, and ricotta, then threw it on the grill. I'd fired up the grill and pushed the grate to one side to use it like a makeshift wood oven.

Grilled Zucchini Pizza with Ricotta

The result was pretty good. The bottom of the pizza was a bit crispy but it was a delicious way to use up the rest of the leftover zucchini. Besides, with temperatures near 100 degrees tonight it was good to keep the heat out of the kitchen.

Harpoon Summer Beer

For beer I poured this summer ale from Harpoon Brewery. I could have sworn I'd had this before but I couldn't find any reference to it on the blog. It's possible (likely, in fact) that I had it before the blog but if you have a beer and don't blog about it does that really count?

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla and Creme Caramel Ice Cream

When the grill was still nice and hot I also grilled up the remaining peaches from the share before they went completely overripe. With no ice cream in the fridge we had to stop by Longford's and pick up a couple of pints. Not the most cost effective way to supplement our dessert but certainly one of the most delicious ways.

It was nice to have Jen home and dinner over by 9:00 PM, particularly since today's Tour de France stage promised to be the most exciting of this year's tour. Since I'd managed to go all day without being spoiled on the outcome this made it even more exciting.

Now I'm going into a media blackout until we're done watching for the night. I hope that I get to see Alberto Contador turn in a disappointing performance but things never seem to go my way when it comes to rooting against Contador.

Still, there is the odd chance he could get knocked off his bike by a mountain goat. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Late Night Grilled Swordfish

I don't really like swordfish. At least that's what I think. After a quick Google search it appears I've only made swordfish once in the past three years. I was surprised I even made it once. All I can think about when I think of swordfish we used to make at the first restaurant I worked at. We would grill it until it was completely dried out then put butter on it. It wasn't very good.

That's why tonight I decided to make some grilled swordfish!

Jen wan't going to be home until quite late again so I had plenty of time to grill up the items for tonight's dinner which I did not intend to serve piping hot. But first I made another salad cleaning yet another type of grain out of our cupboard.

Cucumber and Forbidden Rice Salad

This time I used the leftover forbidden rice from the pantry to make this salad with last week's normal cucumber, some crushed coriander seed, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, scallion, tomato, salt, and pepper. I put the whole marinated salad over some kale to serve.

Forbidden Rice Salad (Sans Cucumber)

Oh, and I made a separate cucumber-free version for me so that none of the cucumber nastiness touched my salad.

Grilled Summer Squash and Corn with Mint, Red Pepper Flakes, and Grilled Ciabatta

The next course came entirely from the grill. First I grilled some thinly sliced strips of squash which I'd marinated in lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. I also grilled some corn on the cob and tossed it all together with some additional lemon juice and chopped mint. I also grilled some ciabatta bread to serve along with the salad.

Grilled Swordfish with Tomato, Grilled Corn, and Basil

My original idea was to have this grilled summer squash be a bed for the swordfish. However, I decided that would just be a waste of some beautiful squash so I served the swordfish simply with some grilled corn, chopped tomato, butter, and basil. Swordfish is a favorite of neither of us but this swordfish was delicious. It almost makes me want to have it more often except for the fact that it's generally quite expensive.

Indaba Sauvignon Blanc

Jen ended up coming home about two hours earlier than I'd expected (because I'm bad at remembering her schedule). This was fortunate because she had the great idea to have this sauvignon blanc with dinner. Left to my own devices I would have simply poured a beer, as I often do.

"Indaba" is the Zulu word for "a meeting of the minds," or a traditional gathering of tribal leaders for sharing ideas. If I'd read the label before dinner I would have invited the mayor over so we could discuss some important things going on in our community, like that guy who dresses up like a walking turd to disrupt city council meetings.

It was nice to be done dinner earlier than normal. Well, 9:30 PM. This left us plenty of time for a second glass of wine and a little Tour de France action.

And by action I mean slow moving discussion about sixteenth century French chateaus.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When the Cat's Away, The Mice Drink Belgian Strong Ale

When I have an emergency at work it usually involves some sort of plumbing issue, like a clogged toilet. When Jen has an emergency at work it usually means she has to go to a party and interview someone like Christie Brinkley.

Tonight Jen had such a work emergency and wouldn't be home until maybe 1:00 AM. Therefore I put my dinner plans on hold and decided that I was going to do two things I know Jen would not mind missing: drinking Belgian ale and having leftovers.

Dubuisson Scaldis Belgian Ale (Bush Ambrée)

I took a walk down into my beer cellar (in other words I crouched down to look at the bottom shelf in our fridge) to see what was in there. I found this Scaldis from Dubuisson. Interestingly this beer is known in most of the world as Bush. In some countries, like America, that name is not allowed so it is called Scalids. Why it's called that I don't know. At least this way there's no confusion with Busch, makers of terrible beer.

I'd been saving this for an occasion where having a beer with 12% ABV was okay. At only 8.48 ounces (250 ML) it's a pretty small bottle but still a very potent ale. I'm not exactly a heavyweight so 8.48 ounces ended up being plenty of beer for me for the evening. I think this beer would have been better in the winter months. It reminded me a lot of the Corsendonk Christmas Ale which is nice since that was one of my favorite beers of all time.

If you come across the oddly named Scaldis I'd highly recommend it. Just make sure you don't accidentally purchased Busch Lite.

Corn and Black Bean Burrito with Kale and Sour Cream

Since I needed something for dinner I put together a burrito using some kale and the leftover corn and black bean salad last night. All I added was a little sour cream and some smoked paprika.

My greatest disappointment in life is that I can't enjoy more beer. It would have been great to have a second beer but even after 8.48 ounces this strong ale made it difficult to have a second drink. Much like coffee I enjoy the taste but the effects prohibit me from ever having more than one a day.

I suppose that's not entirely a bad thing as far as my health goes. Being a lightweight pays off in the long run.

Monday, July 18, 2011

We Have a Lot of Vegetables

Wow. We have a lot of vegetables.

We didn't really use as much last week as we could have, that much I admit. After work today, before I picked up the share, I bought some odds and ends at the grocery store. When I came home I discovered that Jen must have gone shopping yesterday because now we have a lot of produce. Now that Jen has a car I need to take better stock before doing my own shopping. Along with last week's stragglers we need to use up a fresh batch of produce from the farm share and the excess that we've both purchased.

Also, if anyone has a recipe that uses fifteen limes please send it my way.

2011 Farm Share (Week 6)

This week in the share we got: three pounds of squash, Pooa Kheera cucumbers (whatever the hell that is), red scallions (like regular scallions but the part that you don't eat is red instead of white), romaine lettuce, dill, radicchio, green beans, eggplant, peaches, and blueberries.

Corn Black Bean Salad

Last week I'd purchased some corn that we never used. It was the first real corn of the season from this farm in Connecticut so I foolishly bought it thinking I'd make it into something. Tonight, to avoid having to throw it away, I did just that by turning it into a salad with kale, onion, garlic, sweet potato, red and yellow pepper, tomato, black beans, scallion, lime juice, hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, pepper, salt, and celery salt. I'm not sure why I added the celery salt but after tasting it I thought that celery salt was what it was missing. It's odd because other than hot dogs (and maybe potato salad) I can't ever remember that happening before.

I had intended to grill some zucchini tonight but as I drove home -- for an hour and a half in the sticky 90 degree heat, pouring rain, unable to open by car windows, during a traffic jam, for an hour-and-a-half -- I decided that I didn't want to stand in the rain and grill.

I cooked up some garlic, onion, and ground beef from the freezer along with a mixture of squash from last week and this week, tomato, salt, and pepper. To accompany the stew I did the unthinkable and cooked the remainder of some brown rice and white rice together in a pot to get them out of the cupboard. We have a lot of assorted grains in the pantry that need to be used up in the coming weeks so this was a solid start.

It was a good stew but I think it could have done without the ground beef. Mostly because the ground beef had been frozen and I'm starting to thing that frozen ground beef is kind of nasty. This only hit me recently but I feel that going forward I'm going to only use fresh ground beef. There's just something about the texture and flavor of frozen ground beef that is unpleasant from me. I guess I'm just becoming even more of a jerk with every passing day.


Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock

For beer I had a Liberator Dopplebock from Thomas Hooker. I bought it because it was $18.99 for a four pack so I figured it must be good. Besides, it was from Thomas Hooker whose beers generally always impress me.

Blueberries with Lemon, Honey, and Quark

As a dessert I used the rest of the quark which I served with fresh blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and a drizzle of honey. I enjoyed this dessert quite a bit but Jen was not exactly sold on it. After dessert I felt satisfied enough to sit back and watch the Tour de France in peace. Jen, on the other hand, I think was rummaging around in our candy stash trying to find a bag of chocolate chips satisfy her dessert craving.

If we're ever on some sort of marriage-based game show and I'm asked what Jen's least favorite type of German fresh cheese curd is I'm going to clean up.

Clean up!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yesterday's Flammkuchen is Today's Pastakuchen

Yesterday I made a bastardized version of the ratatouille flammkuchen found in the Lucerne Market Cookbook: The World's Most Expensive Cookbook. I had leftover ratatouille from the pizza flammkuchen so I did the sensible thing and through it all together to make a quick pasta.

Ratatouille Spaghetti with Bacon and Quark

All I did was heat the remaining ratatouille in a pan and toss in some cooked spaghetti which I finished with two healthy spoonfuls of quark -- the fresh cheese that is, not the page layout software or the subatomic particle. I was a little cautious about adding quark to hot pasta but it worked pretty well. It was a bit tangier than ricotta would have been and quite a bit smoother. If you have the desire to make this from scratch (rather than just utilizing leftovers) I'd recommend giving it a go.

Schneider Weisse Hefe-Weizen

For beer I enjoyed a second German beer from G. Schneider & Sohn. This one was a Hefe-weizen(or a Weißbierlexikon if you have that funky ß character on your keyboard). This beer had a much more lemony taste to it than I would have expected but it was quite nice. A great addition to any kuchen you may wish to make, flamm, pasta, or otherwise.

After dinner we left the house which is quite a rarity since we generally aren't done with dinner before 10:00 PM. However, we'd procured tickets to see an underground arthouse film called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 so we need to be there around 9:00 PM. This movie hasn't gotten a lot of press but I've got to say it was a dark and gritty tale about a group of wizards who seem to suffer a lot then are in their late thirties at a train station with their ridiculously named children.

If you can find a theater around you playing this film I highly recommend!

Friday, July 15, 2011


When we were in France, not in German-speaking Switzerland, we saw something called flammkuchen on the menu. We asked the waiter what it was and he said it was like a crepe. We liked crepes so Jen ordered one but what arrived what almost certainly a pizza. A delicious pizza, don't get me wrong, but not a crepe in any way.

Lucerne Market Cookbook

When in Lucerne I picked up a cookbood for €44.00, the equivalent of $62.28. It was probably the most expensive cookbook I'd ever purchased but what better way to celebrate a trip to Europe than by getting a souvenir for three times what it should cost?

On the first page of the cookbook, the very first recipe, was for flammkuchen. So, we celebrated France yesterday, tonight it was time to celebrate Switzerland. Or at least this one recipe from an overpriced cookbook from Switzerland.

Black Mission Figs with San Daniele Prosciutto

But first I found some great fresh figs which I paired with some San Daniele prosciutto in from the fridge. Not exactly Swiss but both were not going to last much longer so it was now or never.

Ratatouille Flammkuchen

For the flammkuchen I rolled out some pizza dough and topped it basically with a ratatouille that I made with onion, garlic, and the summer squash and eggplant from the farm. I had also rendered some bacon in the pan first for some additional flavor. I spread the dough with quark. The recipe suggested creme fraiche but I used quark to keep it a little lighter. I topped the whole thing with some sliced assorted grape and cherry tomatoes.

Georg Schneider's Wiesen Edel-Weisse

Since there really aren't many Swiss beers in the United States to choose from (and if there were they'd all be lagers) I got this German beer to go with the meal. I picked out this Edel-Weiss from Georg Schneider. I picked it largely because of all the German beers there this one seemed to have the most German name. It was just a bonus that it happened to be pretty tasty.

Since our Tour de France All Access pass hadn't been working at all last night we watched Stage 12 this evening on the laptop to try to catch up.

Thematically, I suppose, we should be enjoying a Basque dinner since the tour is moving its way through the Pyrenees at the moment.

What can I say? Sometimes you have to really phone in your dinner/current events tie ins.