Saturday, April 30, 2005

Cabillaud aux tomates, rhubarbe et oranges

Cabillaud aux tomates, rhubarbe et oranges, avec pommes de terre nouvelles. Posted by Hello

Sorry for the extended silence; my folks came out here for Passover, so most of the eating has been with them, which, while it was fantastic, I didn't end up posting. Also, it's still Passover, which means lots of dietary requirements, so I was having trouble coming up with exciting Kosher for Passover meals.

I also missed the orange-themed IMBB because of my visitors, but I decided to play around anyway. Sadly, this turned out more red than orange, so keep an eye out for more orange-colored food.

The sauce should be sweet-and-sour, a very Jewish flavor combination in my opinion. I like my sweet-and-sour sauces more sour than sweet, so feel free to increase the honey and decrease the lime juice.

Cabillaud aux tomates, rhubarbe et oranges


3 Oranges
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 finely chopped Onions
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp + 2 tsp Thyme Honey
Salt and Black Pepper
4 stalks Rhubarb, poisonous leaves cut off as well as white bottom of the stalk, fibrous strings removed with a vegetable peeler
1 cup 100% Orange juice
Cinnamon to taste
1 can peeled plum Tomatoes, quartered and 1/2 cup liquid
Juice of 3/4 Lime

Using a vegetable peeler, take a long strip of zest from one of the Oranges. Place it in a small saucepan covered in cold water and bring to a boil. Drain and pat dry, then mince finely. Peel 2 Oranges, including white surrounding the flesh. Chop, removing all seeds. Set minced zest and chunks of Orange aside.

In a skillet, heat Olive oil over medium heat. Add Onions and cook, stirring every so often, for 5 minutes. Add orange zest, Ginger, 1 tsp Honey, Salt and Pepper. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring, for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, start on the Rhubarb. Cut the stalks into chunks and place them in a pot. Add 1/2 cup of the Orange juice, 2 tsp Honey, Cinnamon and Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer at medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes.

Once the onions are soft and sweet, add remaining 1/2 cup Orange juice and boil for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides to prevent burning. Stir in Tomatoes and juice and turn heat up to medium-high and cook about 10 minutes. Add Rhubarb mixture and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add orange chunks and simmer over low or medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add Lime juice and Salt and Pepper to taste.

Let sauce cool to room temperature, then place in fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 12.


4 fillets Cod
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Place Cod in glass baking dish and cover with Water. Add Salt and Pepper. Cook about 9 minutes, until fish flakes easily.

Cover Cod in sauce and decorate with wedges of remaining Orange. Serve room temperature or even chilled.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sole au coco

Sole is probably my favorite fish, so when the Boy said he wanted fish for dinner tonight, I was definitely hoping there would be some nice-looking sole at the Marche des enfants rouges, which is open until 2 pm--late for a Sunday. When we got there, the fishman was packing up and had two kinds of fish left: a white fillet and, you guessed it, sole! I asked him for two soles and asked him to skin them.

After a beautiful day with a picnic by the Seine, ice cream at Dammon and watching kids play in the sandbox in the park near Notre Dame, the Boy and I came home, hungry and looking forward for a light, springtime meal to mark a perfect end to our day. My favorite way to eat sole is sole meuniere, so I decided that was what I wanted to make, with fluffy mashed potatoes, asparagus and a salad. Instead of dipping the sole in milk and then flour, as is usually done, I tried giving the fish an exotic flavor by adding coconut milk to the milk. This added just the essence of coconut to the sole. And while it cooked, I poured the rest of the milk into the as-yet-unmashed potatoes, tying the two dishes together quite nicely.

Sole au coco

2 skinned, not deboned, Sole fillets
1/4 cup Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Flour
Salt and Pepper
25 g Butter
1/2 Lemon

Pre-heat oven to 240 C. Combine Coconut Milk and Milk in a bowl. Mix Flour, salt and pepper in another bowl. Heat butter in a pan over medium heat. Dip Sole first into the Milk mixture, then into the Flour mixture. Fry Sole in pan, 1-3 minutes each side. Transfer Sole to a baking dish and place in the oven. Cook 3 minutes each side. Serve each fillet with 1/4 lemon.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Housewarming Puttanesca

Last Saturday night, the Boy and I finally threw our belated housewarming party. We invited my crazy acting school friends and Jess from college came in for the weekend from Cambridge where she's studying. As usual, we made way too much food, but it was fun and everyone likes left-overs.

Normally at my friends' parties, everyone brings a little something and the host makes something like a quiche (or several) and cuts them up in little pieces. Or else we have an International party, which means everyone makes something from there country. In the past, I've done Chopped Eggs and Onions (Jewish) and Mac and Cheese (American), but neither of those choices appealed to me. And I'm scared of making Chinese food for the Boy. So on to our adopted culture--Italian.

After poring over recipes and decided I should probably do something vegetarian-friendly (though not technically vegetarian), I decided on a Puttanesca sauce, borrowing the recipe from Jen at Roast Chicken Reasoning.

The puttanesca was great, spicier than I usually make it, and even permitted me to make a trip to the awesome spice store to buy chilies. Kym the Canadian brought smoked salmon and oysters and with several bottles of wine and one of bubbly, we had a delightful dinner.

Adapted from Roast Chicken Reasoning.

We had a ton of pasta left over, so I would say this serves about 8 people. I recommend it over spaghetti.

1/2 Olive Oil
8 cloves Garlic, smashed + 6 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dry Cayenne Peppers
4 cans Diced Tomatoes
100 g Black Olives, sliced
4 heaping teaspoons Capers
1 bunch Curly Parsley
2 canned Sardine fillets
1 handful Celery greens

Heat the oil over high heat in a frying pan. When it is hot enough that it sizzles when some water is flicked in, add the smashed Garlic. Fry them until golden and crunchy but not burnt.

Remove the garlic "chips" and save them. Add the Peppers and chopped Garlic. Fry for 2 minutes. Add the cans of Tomatoes, lower heat to medium-high and let come to a boil.

Gently stir in the Sardines, Olives, Capers and Parsley. Allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, cooking it for about 35 minutes over medium heat.

Add the Celery Greens and salt to taste. Spoon it onto freshly made spaghetti. Add parmesan cheese as desired.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Les dessous de la robe

After having cooked the past several nights, we decided to go out for dinner Thursday night and last night. Unfortunately, last night was not terribly memorable. However, Thursday's dinner, at our favorite neighborhood bistro/wine bar, was, as per usual, divine. We first read about Les dessous de la robe in a Michelin guide and have since returned there four times. What first attracted our attention was that the menu changes according to what's available at market, though there always seems to be a special fish, a pasta, a tuna, soup, foie gras and steak.

Thursday night, we both started with Soupe du moment, which was cauliflower, actually more of a creamy puree than a soup, generously sprinkled with Piment d'Espellette, our current favorite hot pepper. It was warming and delicious. Our only complaint was that it was a healthy portion and surprisingly filling, so we had no room for dessert!

I followed the soup with the Entrecote de Salers. Salers beef is said to be the best in the world, coming from a breed of cow native to the Auvergne region in the south of France. This was possibly the best piece of plain beef I've ever had, accompanied by crispy oven-cooked potato chips. The boy had Axoa de veau au piment d'espellette, a veal stew with sesame seeds, hot pepper and a wonderful mystery vegetable which I think was a kumquat (I know, not a vegetable) and which the boy thinks might be something related to a potato.

This was all accompanied by a fantastic bottle of wine, Causse Marines--a spicy, rich, slightly fruity red wine perfectly recommended by our waitress.

As usual, the service was marvelous, the food delightful and the wine worth a trip in itself.

Les dessous de la robe
4, rue Bertin Poiree
M: Chatelet

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bar hollandaise

First off, this is a post about fish (bass, to be more specific), not about a bar. Just wanted to get that clear. Wednesdays are the day I have to go down to the 14e, right next to a giant, gorgeous fish store. So, even though the Boy had said he refused to have fish after eating it almost exclusively in China, I took him with me and he was so bowled over by the beautiful whole bass lying in wait on ice that he agreed it would be a suitable meal, provided I didn't cook it with soy sauce and ginger. Since I have neither of those two ingredients in the house, it was a very easy promise to make.

We picked out a bass and asked the fishmonger to cut it up into two big fillets for us, skin on, as the whole fish would have been too big for our oven! I decided to cook it similar to how I had the Mullet, but without a spicy sauce and this time I also used up some of my giant stalk of celery, greens and all. I made a simple Hollandaise sauce to go with it and we had a package of miniature cheese ravioli, covered in grated gruyere, a baguette and a dry white wine.


2 fillets Bass
2 stalks Celery, sliced
Celery greens
2 Onions, sliced
1 stalk Parsley
1 Clove
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
3 tablespoons Olive Oil

Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Spread Celery stalks, Greens, Parsley and Onions over the bottom of an oven-proof glass pan. Add Clove, 1 tablespoon Vinegar, Salt, Pepper and 1 tablespoon Olive oil. Place Fillets, skin side down, on top. Pour Vinegar and Olive Oil over each one. Pour Water on top, until fish is completely covered. Put it all in the oven for about 12 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.

While it cooks, make the sauce:

Sauce Hollandaise

2 Egg Yolks
2 teaspoons Water + pot of Boiling water
150 grams Butter

Boil a pot of Water. Put Egg Yolks, Salt and 2 teaspoons water in a bowl and rest it in the pot of boiling water. Beat the mixture with a fork or wisk, being careful it does not fall into the pot. When the eggs begin to solidify, add the butter. Serve warm.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Agneau au safron et almondes or He's home! He's home!

The Boy came home today and there was much rejoicing. We finished the Jarret de veau for lunch and then went shopping for dinner before my acting class. He had specially requested no fish or pigeon (both of which he apparently ate a ton of in China) and said what he missed most was stew. So, knowing that he loves and is slightly in awe of saffron and since I've been craving Middle-Eastern inspired food lately, I decided to make him a lamb stew with saffron and toasted almonds, influenced by a recipe for goat I found on Chef 2 Chef.

Agneau au safron et almondes
Adapted from Chef 2 Chef

1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 sliced blanched Almonds
1 pinch Saffron powder
2 thick slices Pancetta, diced
700 grams Lamb, cubed
1 Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 plum Tomatoes, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 Bay Leaf
3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths

Heat Butter in a pan and saute Almonds in it over medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside in bowl, add Saffron and mix with your hands once Almonds are cool enough to handle.

Without cleaning the pan, saute Pancetta over medium heat until lightly cooked, then transfer to a pot. Brown Lamb (in as many batches as necessary so as not to crowd the pan), then add to the Pancetta. Still not cleaning the pan, saute the Onion until golden, then add Garlic, Tomatoes, Almond-Saffron mixture, Oregano and Bay leaf and Salt and Pepper to taste. Add everything to the pot with Lamb and Pancetta and mix. Put the pot over high heat and add just enough Water to cover the mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and partly cover the pot. Simmer for 1 hour. Add Potatoes, pushing them as much under the meat as possible, and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Serve once the potatoes are ready.

Serves 3.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Spring is Bustin' Out All-Over!

Today was another gorgeous day! I was planning on going museum-hopping, since most museums are free the first Sunday of each month. So I headed first for the Jewish museum, only a few small blocks from me. But it was so lovely out that those few blocks weren't enough. On top of that, I was hungry, so I went into the Jewish quarter for a sandwich (Thon venition on an onion pletzel) and a pastry. Normally I don't get pastries with late lunches, but this one looked so much like those rainbow cookies that my grandfather used to buy that I couldn't resist. Unfortunately, it was more like a chocolate-covered raspberry linzer tart. It was good, but not at all what I wanted. I guess nothing is as good as a memory.

After eating and reading Proust in a square (kind of appropriate for my lost pastry memory), I finally made it to the Jewish museum to see the exhibit, Juifs dans la Grande Guerre. This was a fantastic exhibit, exploring the presence of anti-semitism and how that affected Jews "trying harder" to fight in the War, really wanting to prove themselves as patriots and French, especially after the Dreyfuss affair. There were also many rabbis as part of the army, one of whom was called "The Jewish priest" and really beloved by many, many soldiers. Some great art and upsetting anti-semitic cartoons. There was also a journal written by a Jewish girl of 9-11 (the journal lasted three years) to benefit blind soldiers. This was by far the most moving, all written by hand. And then the plaque next to it explained that she was later sent to Auschwitz where she died. Really makes you wonder what a "patriot" is.

Continuing my Jewish trend, I bought a book on the food of Passover and the next book in the "La Bible au feminin" series. I'm almost done with the first one, Sarah, and it's fantastic. Marek Halter writes the stories of three women (Sarah, Tsippora and Lilah), from their point of view, kind of what Anita Diamant did in The Red Tent. He does a beautiful job, really entering the feminine point of view, unusual for a man. And, perhaps even better, it's originally written in French! He's a Polish immigrant Jew who came here at a very young age. I highly recommend them and plan on bringing as many of his books as possible back to the States.

Then I went on a hunt for new potatoes but was unsuccessful, so I came home with fingerlings, also called finger potatoes. I made a light, sour marinade out of my lonely grapefruit and am enjoying them while watching The Godfather, dubbed in French. Al Pacino speaking French is not a pretty sight.

Charlottes (fingerlings) aigres

7 Fingerlings, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 Grapefruit
2 tablespoons dry Oregano
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Sugar to taste (optional)

Boil potatoes (starting in cold water) in salted water for about 8 minutes. While cooking, combine remaining ingredients. Drain potatoes and pour marinade on top. Let this sit while you prefer the rest of the meal. The longer the potatoes have to soak up the marinade, the better.

I didn't use sugar, but it is quite sour with all the grapefruit juice so people who don't like puckering their lips might want it.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Couscous gratuit!

I was in the midst of deciding what to make for dinner, which proved more difficult than normal as my biggest pot is in the fridge with my left-over Jarret de veau. I decided I wanted something spicy, perhaps Middle-Eastern or Indian, so I was all prepared to head down to an awesome spice shop near home when I got a Texto on my phone from Kym, a Canadian friend from my acting classes (which start again on Monday!). "Couscous gratuit ce soir," it read. Free couscous? On a Friday night? With friends? That satisfied all my requirements and more (except that I couldn't go to the spice store, but ah, well).

After many more Texto's, we agreed to meet two other girls and Kym's sister at a Metro Station where Marie (who actually told us about the couscous in the first place) would lead us all to Free Food. Kym, her sister and I were late, then Marie, the only Parisienne, got us lost (it was in the 11e, which is a quite confusing area). Finally we saw a bar with a small blackboard outside reading "Couscous gratuit, vendredi et samedi soirs." We went in, waited for a half hour and then finally, after much shuffling around, settled down at two small tables pushed together. We ordered drinks (necessary for free couscous, apparently) and waited for a food.

While not the best couscous I've ever had, and without serving the superfluous amounts of grain the Boy and I are used to, it was surprisingly good. It came with a big ceramic bowl of vegetable stew and a plate of stewed mutton--a little stringy, but I liked it. Needless to say, we cleaned our plates. I actually wouldn't have minded a little more food, but, for couscous gratuit, it was perfect.

There was live music behind us and a not-bad bottle of wine. Also, The Mummy (the new one) was being projected onto a wall, mute with French subtitles. In general drinks at this bar are cheap (2,50 for a kir although by 22h00 last night they had run out of white wine) and there are fun faintly Middle Eastern lamps hanging from the ceiling (which Kym kept banging her head against). All in all, a very enjoyable evening.