The Perfect Goose Egg

IMG_9421b

Today’s inspiration comes from,  I’ve forgotten who, a blog (give me a shout out) that had pictures of big eggs, duck or goose, I can’t remember.  It was Marcus.  Anyway, they were big and I wanted one.  Before today, I had never eaten duck or goose eggs.

IMG_9355b

Yesterday I didn’t go to coffee but instead cleaned the house.  Boy, do I hate that!  But it had to be done and I always feel better afterwards.  Still, it wasn’t an uplifting day :(

IMG_9368b

Today I went to coffee, talked to people, went to the fishmonger and the farmers’ market where I saw some goose eggs at the cheese stand.  The lady at the counter, underestimating American common sense, told me that they had to be cooked longer than regular eggs.  “Really”, I said, all big eyed.  “Thank you!”  And then amused myself by calling her unattractive names in English as I walked away :D  Determined to stay out of the house, I had a dangerous third coffee, went to the pharmacy for unneeded vitamin C and then visited M. Parret for the latest zin.  Zin is Haitian Creole for gossip.  I’m not sure of the spelling.

IMG_9397b

I was very nervous about cooking my goose egg.  Normally, if I boil a large hen’s egg, I put it in cold water over the flame and when the water boils, if I boil it for 8 minutes, this gives me a soft, non-runny yolk.  Well, I looked on the internet and times varied.  I wanted a thick, runny yolk.  Exasperated with my timidity, I decided to boil the egg for 9 minutes, “Come Hell or high water”, as my grandmother used to say :)

IMG_9373b

I found some very pretty spinach at the market today.  I usually go for the baby spinach but this spinach looked so good!  Shiny dark green leaves and juicy looking stems; adolescent spinach maybe :)  Wilted spinach with lardons and shallot topped with a perfectly boiled goose egg.  Living the life!

Goose Egg with Spinach

1/4 cup lardons or diced bacon

1 tsp butter

1 shallot, chopped

1 big handful of adolescent spinach, stems removed and leaves torn

White pepper

1 goose egg

Brown the lardons in a saute pan, then remove and set aside.  Add the butter to the pan and melt.  Add the shallot and saute until soft.  Add the spinach and wilt.  Put the lardons back in the pan, sprinkle with the pepper and remove from flame.

Put the goose egg in water over a flame.  When the water comes to a boil, simmer it for 9 minutes.  Remove the hot water and run cold water over the egg.  Peel, cut in half and serve with the spinach.

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Black Angus Steaks with Mushrooms

IMG_9328bb

In keeping with the “vide congelateur”(empty the freezer) movement, bored with the things in the kitchen freezer, I went outside to the freezer in the garage and discovered that my husband had left me a gift from the American Commissary in Stuttgart; 2 Black Angus steaks, his favorite.  Thanks Dear :D

IMG_9278b

I decided to share with M. Parret and he thought the meat was good, that it tasted almost French :D

IMG_9251b

I had over-bought(1 of my minor sins) mushrooms for whatever it was I made the other day, so had plenty for the steaks.  I also had some exhausted cherry tomatoes whimpering in the fridge.  You’ll like this Frugal darling; whenever I have tomatoes unfit for salads, fighting off my natural instincts, I find a way to cook them instead of throwing them in the garbage bin where I think they belong :D  Anyway.

IMG_9304b

The lovely Cecilia at Kitchens Garden sent me a wonderful care package that included lovely smelling, homemade soaps of eucalyptus and lemon eucalyptus.  This reminded me of one of my favorite books, Eucalyptus by Murray Bail.  A gift that keeps on giving! Thank you C.  I’m re-reading that tonight!

IMG_9245b

Happy and energized by my wonderful gifts, I decided to use my Le Creuset, coastal blue grill pan with a pannini press top to cook the steaks.  I sprayed Pam on both the pan and inside the top, heated them together, outrageously hot, then added the steaks.  Perfectly cooked; nicely seared on the outside and bloody inside.  When I cut into my steak, it was past picture time :)

IMG_9290b

Black Angus Steaks with Mushrooms

2 Black Angus steaks

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 shallots, sliced

1 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Season the steaks with salt and pepper, then set aside.

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the shallots and cook until soft.  Add the mushrooms and brown until they begin to release their juices.  Add the tomatoes and stir together over the flame for a minute or two.  Add salt and pepper, then set aside and keep warm.

Grill the steaks anyway you like and then eat with the mushrooms.

Wine suggestion:  Julienas

       

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Soy Ginger Sea Bream

IMG_9208b

This dorade royale, or sea bream, kept reproaching me everytime I opened the freezer.

IMG_9220b

It’s darkened, glacial eye a testimony to it’s “past the due date” freshness and it’s probable dry, tasteless flesh.  Still, it worried me that I had not cooked it and, not able to take it anymore,  I wrenched the ******* from the freezer and tried to think of something to do with it.

IMG_9176b

My head a perfect vacuum, I went to the Rasa Malaysia site and found this.  My recipe is not accurate but close enough.  For instance, I added some strips of pretty yellow chillies that were beaming at me from the refrigerator and didn’t peel the ginger strips.

IMG_9187b

Worst of all, I sprinkled the fish with fleur de sel de Guerande, before cooking.  Yes, yes I know, you salt connoisseurs and professional chefs are tut, tutting that fleur de sel is a finishing salt.  Me for the guillotine.  Still, it’s my kitchen :)

IMG_9195b

When we were shopping in the only store worth a shopping trip in Stuttgart, Fresh Paradise, I bought a fish pan whose price so offended my husband that he was definitely unfriendly for about 3 days :D  I used it to deep fry the fish today and it is perfect!

I ate this plain.  It was flavorful and the flesh was not dried out, but fresh is best.  Still, you might want to make some steamed rice to go with.  One less thing in the freezer, one less worry.

Soy Ginger Sea Bream

1 fresh sea bream, cleaned, scaled, etc. or let the fish monger do it

Fleur de sel de Guerande or sea salt

2 inches fresh ginger, cut into strips

1 tbsp peanut oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Sake

4 tablespoons water

2 dashes white pepper powder

1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons sugar

Peanut oil for deep frying

1-2 large scallions, cut into strips

1-2 yellow chillies, cut into strips

Slash the fish 4 or 5 times diagonally on both sides, then sprinkle with the salt.  Set aside.

Fry the ginger strips in the peanut oil until brown, remove and set aside.  Pour the soy sauce, sake, water, pepper, sesame oil and sugar into the same pan, bring to a boil, then keep warm.

Deep fry the fish, place in a serving dish, pour the soy sauce mixture over the fish, then garnish with the scallions, chillies and fried ginger.

Posted in Asian, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Freezer Surprise – Fresh Borlotti Beans with Cured Pork

IMG_9140b

Fighting total frustration, I looked in the freezer today and found some frozen fresh borlotti beans!  Excitement!  I also saw two pieces of what looked like cured ham/pork( God knows where they came from) and was thereby committed to cooking.

IMG_9113b

I gathered the odds and ends from the refrigerator, pantry and onion/potato/garlic bin and just went with it.  Thierry stopped by and ate some with relish while I looked on pleased. Encouraging interlude.

Pork and Borlotti Beans

1 glug of olive oil

4 shallots or 1 large onion, chopped

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, diced

3 bay leaves

4 sprigs thyme

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tbsp piment d’espelette

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 chunks of cured pork or 2 ham hocks

Water to just cover the pork

1lb fresh borlotti beans

Chopped fresh basil

Saute the shallots, garlic and bell pepper in the olive oil until just tender.  Add the bay leaves, thyme, tomatoes, piment and black pepper.  Stir and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the pork and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the beans and continue to cook for 1 hour.  Remove the pork, cut into chunks, then put them back into the pot.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the basil.

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Plate of Roasted Pumpkin

IMG_9075bb

Little French pumpkins or potirons are so cute.  Whenever I see them in the market, I just want to buy one to look at.  However, this is a cooking blog and the little pumpkin had to go down!  It’s like Cecilia’s pigs, the time comes when, well, it’s time to do the necessary.

IMG_9061b

I didn’t know what I was going to do with the pumpkin, but I had an aged onion that said, “plant me or cook me!”  So I threw together a few things and roasted them.  I had intended to roast some rosemary scented chicken legs with this but lost enthusiasm.  This was good on it’s own.

Roasted Balsamic Pumpkin with Onions

1 very small pumpkin, peeled and cut into small chunks

1 onion, peeled and quartered

2 garlic cloves, sliced very thin

3-4 sprigs of thyme

2 tbsp butter, melted

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Mix together the pumpkin, onion, garlic, thyme, butter, salt and pepper.  Place in a roasting pan and roast at 400F for 15 minutes, stir, then continue to roast for another 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with the vinegar, stir and serve.

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Recipes, side dish, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Orecchiette with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Chard

IMG_9038b

I made this side dish to accompany calf’s liver with onions.  We did have the calf’s liver but I didn’t take any pictures.  It’s like that sometimes.  This was good though and you can just eat it like this.

Orecchiette with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Chard

1/2 cup lardons

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 1/2 cup orecchiette pasta

2 cups chard leaves, torn

Grated cheese

Cook the lardons until browned and crispy, remove from pan and set aside.  Add the garlic and sun dried tomatoes to the pan, then cook and stir until the garlic starts to brown a little.  Stir in the salt, pepper, crushed red and the cooked bacon.  Remove from flame and set aside.

Boil the pasta until 4 minutes from being done, add the chard and continue to boil for 4 minutes.  Drain the chard and pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Mix the pasta together with the reserved liquid and sun dried tomato mixture.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Foie Gras with Latkes and Apple Compote

IMG_8963b

I’ve never been a big fan of apples.  I don’t hate them or anything, not like raisins, but I’ve just never been excited about them.  I did like those little, red, hard apples from Washington State but that’s pretty much it.  In consequence, I don’t know the difference between a cooking apple and an eating apple.  Tant pis!  The fruit people in the market will tell me.  That’s what they’re for.  Otherwise it would be a supermarket.

IMG_8907b

I told the lady at the fruit stand that I wanted to make an apple compote and that I wanted a very firm cooking apple.  She said that either Conference or Ariane apples should work but said that she preferred the Arianes.  Mainly because they are more expensive, said no fruit seller ever :)  A good sport and because they were pretty, I took the Arianes.  The night before, sleepless in Sens, I had two persistent ideas:  1) The mattress on the bed is primitive and I need to buy a featherbed.  2)  I should pan fry some foie gras and pair it with apple compote.  So that’s why.

IMG_8911b

Not knowing what to do with myself, instead of the usual toast I decided to make latkes and top them with the foie gras.  While I was grating the onion (nerve wracking), I felt an anxiety attack coming on, so I stopped that and minced the onion instead.  For anxiety attacks, chew 1/2 valium or eat a big ole latke with apple compote.  Your decision.

IMG_8940b

I like my compote with discernible bits of apple and I think it’s more attractive then dripping, gloopy apple sauce.  My husband disagrees.  His mother used to make red apple sauce.  Just stating a fact.

IMG_9011b

Foie Gras with Latkes and Apple Compote

4 large apples, peeled, cored and diced

2 tbsp sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 tbsp butter

6-8 tbsp water

6 medium potatoes, peeled and grated

1/2 onion, grated or minced

Salt and pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 cup peanut oil

4 large lobes of foie gras or 8 small

Bring the apples, sugar, cinnamon stick, butter and water to a boil.  Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside and keep warm.

Put the grated potatoes in a kitchen towel that you don’t like very much and brutally wring the water from the potatoes.  Put the potatoes in a bowl, add the onion, salt, pepper and egg.  Mix well.

Heat the oil in a skillet until hot, then add the potatoes in 1/3-1/2 cups, mashing down to form a cake.  Cook and brown on both sides, drain on a paper towel and keep warm in the oven.

Briefly sear the foie gras in a hot, dry skillet, about 40 seconds per side.

For each serving, place a latke on the plate, put one or two pieces of foie gras on the latke, then top with the apple compote.  Enjoy!

Wine suggestion:  Fleurie

Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food and Wine, French, German, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments