Work at Home

Well... in this case"home"is the alternate home in Paris. Due to a sudden change of plans I'm stuck here for another week. So today's leftovers for lunch were the remnants of the potatoes from the LCB recipe and the meat picked off of yesterday's rotisserie chicken.
Also doing the 4th quarters IVA (sales tax) documents online (today's the last day) and discovering that my bank and the tax department don't communicate too effectively; so I can't put the verification number (acquired from the bank online) of my payment into the tax department's online forms. Screwed - I paid but I can't tell them about it. Going to have to go to the office in person with piles of papers and try to figure it out (correct it) manually - after I get back to the other home. It'll be a challenge what with my bad Spanish and all.
Dinner tonight is lite lite lite & at home. Salad greens, mini tomatoes and maybe a little foie paté (ed. turned out not to be foie [apparently too fatty] but sliced/diced [sweet] ham).

Wine: Cellier Yvecourt 2002 Bordeaux (Grand Vin de Bordeaux) - very okay; bought it from the butcher shop across the street.

Dimache / Sunday

Quiet morning at home then out into the city to see what's happening. Drizzley but walked up to Etoile anyway. Cruised the Champs Elysee looking for a movie and settled on Closer; which I thought was really quite enjoyable.
Lunch at some random place (Vesuvio Cafe) next to the theater; she had moules and I had a pizza with an egg on it -nothing special, slow service & the pizza arrived several minutes before the moules. I don't recommend it.
Dinner was more leftowver potatoes (mine) and a roast chicken from the shop across the street.
Wine: have to look it up.


The Barber of Seville. Front row of the theater. Couldn't see the sur-titles very well.
Food. Lunch: Steak Frite (a classic) ¼ Bordeaux at the Mexique.
No dinner; came straight home from the opera.

(This is an old old draft I found in my entries page; I figured I'd finally publish it.)

Off to Paris

Travelling today and not cooking.
Lunch at the sit-down resto upstairs in Terminal 1 at Barajas. Good service; passable food.

Theater on arrival (didn't even get to drop the bag at the apartment): Duel at the Vingtieme Theatre - entertaining; and it's a musical duel, has no spoken parts & thus overcomes the language barrier.

Stella (16th) for late dinner. Steak tartare - picante; and, as always, quite good.

Saté sauce

The family's all gone out of town again so I'm left to my own devices; and do not cook for just me.
I do have an order for Saté Pizza Sauce with Turkey from
La Cúpula (best pizza in town) so I made that instead of lunch &/or dinner.
I reduced the chile peppers down to ½ tsp instead of 1T so it's just a 6th of what it should be; nobody will complain that it's too spicy - - but the danger is that it will be too bland.
Took the salsa down to the pizzeria; thus had pizza for dinner - Tricolori (tomato sauce, pesto & mozzarella).

Huevos fritos Iñakitxo - On an Arguiñano Kick Apparently

Yes Iñakitxo is an unusual word; Basque; and only about 15 hits on the entire internet. It's, as I understand it, the name of a particular egg producer.

So today it was again Karlos Arguiñano's recipe of the day from channel 5: Eggs on fries. - which is actually fairly common around here (I recall a wonderful restaurant in Vigo that serves it- but, alas, have forgotten the name for the moment; although it's worth remarking that they serve only, and everything, that is chicken-based). picture

It was damn successful. In this instance it served 3 - myself and a 17yr old teenager.

4 eggs
4 potatoes
8 red
piquillo peppers
virgin olive oil
some sugar
8 basil

- For the salsa:
8 more piquillo

1 large fresh (spring) onions
4 cloves of garlic
½ tsp of flour
1 cup of white wine
1 cup water
virgin olive oil


For the salsa (of piquillo peppers), chop the garlic and onions and saute slightly golden. Add the piquillos, cut into strips, add the flour and stir a moment. Add the white wine and the water; reduce for 20 minutes. Then puree with an electric (staff)mixer.

Put a little oil in a frying pan and fry 8 more peppers, on both sides, for a total of 20 minutes. While frying sprinkle with a little salt some sugar (I omitted the sugar and it was great non-the-less).

Peel the potatoes; cut into fine (shoe/straw) strings fry in a lots of oil (the 2nd smallest dicer on my Bron mandoline). Fry the potato strings in batches (maybe something like 10 minutes). Just before they are done remove them, drain and cool; forming into (4) round "nests" (later an egg goes in the center).

Having divided the potatoes in 4 portions; resume frying each portion one by one. Crack an egg into the center of each portion of potatoes/fries; splash, gently, oil over the egg and fry lightly - the centers should still be liquid (no matter what the U.S. health department says - just get eggs from a really good supplier; or ones that have been gamma-rayed/pasturized).

After (or when almost finished) frying the eggs, fry the basil leaves (thoroughly) and place a couple over each egg. Plate the an egg with fries and basil, decorate with a curve of pepper sauce and the fried peppers.

Cream of Broccoli, potato & squash

I did the Karlos Arguiñano recipe of the day today: Cream of Broccoli, potato & squash
My only change was to add green pepper and celery to the broccoli cream; so it tasted less of only broccoli

- For the cream of broccoli:

400 gr. of brócoli
1 glass milk / cream
1 T butter
virgin olive oil
a little nutmeg (basically decoration)

- For the squash cream:
300 gr. of pumpkin
1 potato
1 carrot
1 onion
1 leek
1 clove of garlic
cream / milk
virgin olive oil
chives (decoration)

- For the potato cream:
2 potatoes
cream / milk
salt & white pepper
Flat parsley (decoration)

Clean and cut the squash. Put into the pressure cooker with a little oil. Saute it and add water. Put on the burner to boil
the steam and distributes brócoli cut in ramilletes. It ripens and when it begins to cook, it places the cover and it lets cook 1 minute from the moment at which it begins to leave the steam. It retires brócoli and with an electric mixer, it crushes the cream of pumpkin and pásala to a jar.

Pon mantequilla, a little oil, milk and brócoli in a casserole. Dale a fervor, tritúrala with a beater and colócala in a jar.

Pela the potatoes, trocéalas and put them to cook in the pressure cooker wit water and a pinch of salt. When they are cooked (7 minutes approximately), ccream in the stick mixer (add butter & creaam/milk to achieved consistency).

It serves in individual containers, the cream of brócoli and the one of pumpkin simultaneously. In the center it places a spoonful of potato cream and adorns with a little jamón fried or huevas of trout.

Reading: The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Alexander McCall Smith


Chips Parmesano con Mousse de Cabra
Copito de Mouse de Morcilla
Chupito de Gazpacho

Rúcula con Vinagreta Balsamico y Foie Gras

Mango y Limón Helado

Plato Principal
Filetes Sauté Bercy
Patatas Provençal
Zanahoria; Tomate Asado

Pistacho Galletas con Chantilly

On table: 7 (including the cook) - at the table adjacent to the kitchen (and aperativos in the kitchen itself)
Food costs: €61
Consumables: €2; glasses €12
Time: 12 hours (incl. testing & prep. but not including shopping excursions, planning & worrying)

Reading: The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Alexander McCall Smith

Out Shopping for the Big Dinner Tomorrow

No post to speak of. People ate leftover pot-roast

Pot Roast - sans pot

Yesterday's leftover rice; pisto already prepared and Alton Brown's recipe for pot roast in the oven, minus the olives.
I was quite surprised that it called for 3 -3½ hours at 190-200F (75-80C) which seemed quite low. So I popped the heat up a tad and the darn thing reached 60c internal temp in just 2 hours Luckily it was a good cut of meat so ended up not tough at all. I need a sharper knife though to cut it thinner.


  • 1.5 K chunk of meat for roasting
  • 2 teaspoons chunky salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup tomato frito (made earlier this week - capricious)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins

Preheat the oven to 190-200 degrees F [or, in my case, 150ish C; gradually creeping it down as I became nervous about the result; ended up at 75c]
Place a wide, heavy skillet or fry pan over high heat for 2 minutes [I put in oil though].
Meanwhile, rub both sides of meat with the salt and cumin.
When the pan is hot (really hot) brown meat on both sides and remove from pan.
(in my case I put in the onions & garlic, realize your mistake, and retrieve them [to do later])

Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan then add the onion and garlic. Stir constantly until onion is softened.
Add the tomato frito, vinegar, and raisins. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid a bit.
Create a pouch with wide, heavy duty aluminum foil [or, as I did, try to seal two thin light pieces]. Place half the reduced liquid/chunk mixture on the foil, add the roast, and then top with the remaining mixture. Close the pouch, and wrap tightly in another complete layer of foil.
Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until a fork pushes easily into the meat [I used a thermo to 60c].
Remove from oven and rest (still wrapped) for at least 1/2 hour. Slice meat thinly, or pull apart with a fork. Serve with the sauce sauce. Lovely.
A little too well down 'cause I had the heat too high. - - but, hey! still learning. Always learning.

See also Alton Brown

Leftover Cocido

Tonight - leftovers.
Well, actually, cooked up some basmati rice (oil in the pan, v. light saute of some garlic, then toast the basmati until you get that nutty aroma). Toss on a couple of tsp of Nori crumbs for added flavour. So that, technically, was not a leftover. But...
Found a jar of spinach in the freezer (yes, a jar, not a bag) and defrosted that to sauté in some garlic (love garlic).
Nuked the leftover sopa from the cocido; and warmed the meat of the cocido in the oven, covered with aluminum foil, while all the above was going on. It didn't turn out warm enough so I quick sautéed that to just to bring it up to temp (sans garlic though).

After dinner made a pisto out of the veggies in the cooler that were not going to make it through another day. The pisto will be the veg course for tomorrow night. Planning ahead!

Biftek Sauté Marchand de Vins

Well! Today was an small adventure.
The plan was 1) entrecot & 2) brussel sprouts with bechamel. & 3) some potatoes.
Made the bechamel (1st time) almost per Julia's instructions (forgetting to boil the milk until the roux was already ready). So, took the roux off the heat (kept end edge of the pan hot to maintain temp); nuked the milk [added the ¼ tsp salt, late], reheated the roux 'til it foamed, pulled it off the heat (again) and dumped in the boiling milk; whisking away. Worked like a charm. I impressed myself. Seasoned the stuff and burnt the brussel sprouts -- thus had nothing to bechamel with.

So, lesson 2 becomes Bechamel Storage for later use. Put a film of milk on it (to minimize "skin") and 'fridge it.

The entrecot? Pan-saute it. 1" thick lomo alto. Very hot pan. Sear, cook, reducing heat; flip. heat back up, then down again (have really got to learn how to do this properly some day). Takes quite a while to cook a thick biftek actually - - we're not talking anount "minute steak" here.
Set aside when done. 2 Tbl butter into the pan (with the meat fat), saute 3/4 of a shallot (no garlic in today). Deglaze with brandy; ½ glass red wine (be sure to burn off all the alcohol); add the juice from resting meat (for flovor); reduce; whisk in butter; plate meat and pour the sauce over.
Basically it's a Marchand de Vins sauce with brandy insead of the vermouth/wh. wine.

Cocido Castellano

Literally it means :: boiled (in Spanish). And it is. A traditional Spanish winter dish.

Today's dinner starts by boiling a big pot of water and throwing things in at irregular intervals.
1) Water, beef bones, ham bone, pork fat, ham end, unsmoked bacon (smoked has too strong a flavor)
2) after an hour add garbanzos (soaked overnight in salt & water; then toss out the water) [maybe in a cheescloth bag to keep them from breaking up)
3) another hour, add chicken, sausage
4) another hour, add carrot
5) 1/2 hour, add potatoes
constantly skimming the skum off the surface and keep simmering through hte whole process until the garbanzos are done. If the potatoes aren't ready yet haul out the garbanzos and carry on cooking).
Separately cook 2 or 3 morcilla (they're too strongly flavored to go into the big pot with the rest). By cook I mean poach then slice and fry.
Chop and cook a bunch of Savoy (french) cabbage - do this while the rest is cooking and, when almost finished everything, reheat it by sauting in a pan with some oil and a couple of cloves of sauted garlic.
Strain the pot, keeping both the liquid and the meats/veggies. Put the solids on a platter; pour some liquid over to help keep them warm and prevent drying out. Set aside.
In the liquid you toss a couple of handfuls of vermicelli and make a soup.

An impresive quantity of meats,veggies, soup, and lots and lots of pots and pans get dirty.
This as just to give and idea; it's not really a recipe.
Anyway… it turned out well. Quote: "Maybe better than grandmother's". And that is high high praise (but don't let abuela see the blog).

More Morcilla & Morcilla Mousse

Family is still away so real food is not being prepared around here. It seems I cook best for an audience. So, had more morcilla (black pudding sausages). Yesterday it was Morcilla de Burgos; today it's one each of rice and onion. Cook in just-about boiling water for 15min. When/if they float to the top pop the skins with little knife pricks to avoid them bursting. Slice and fry to crisp up.
Been thinking about the Saturday dinner and looking for a Morcilla Mousse recipe. Have not found one - not even with an assist from the helpful people at Chef2Chef .
Dessert will maybe be a simple Sables Pistachio with Chantilly (a recipe that I learned at LCB Paris).


Spanish blood sausage; boudin; black pudding. That was dinner tonight.

Bought Burgos style morcilla (w/ rice & onion in it) at the supermarket. Just cover in a pan with simmering water - - 15 minutes. Remove, allow to cool slightly (10 min). Slice into 1cm pieces - -which are then sauted in just a touch of oil (use the same pan as was used for boiling). One pan meal/snack. Simple as can be.

Have planned next week's dinners and shopped for it all in one blow (although I far prefer to shop daily). It's going to be:
- Cocido
- Entrecot w/ Brussel Sprout in Bechemal; fries
- Trucha / trout ; rice
- Asado de vaca / a roast; roast small potatoes

- Friday's my day off, leftovers, and practice / prep for Saturday which is a dinner party (basically they're coming to eat my cooking - - my 1st "presentation" dinner).
So far:
- Keller: Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse
- Some sort of cracker with Morcilla/Boudin Mousse

Salad de Rucola/Rocket avec foie gras

Something done with meat, French style, and a significant sauce
Potatoes au gratin

A desert - nonspecific

Let it thus be said....Lots of work still to do.

Filet pieces Provencale

Didn't get around to anything interesting; just busted open a box of vegetable puree. Added pepper, olive oil, tabasco and a little creme fraiche.
That was lunch & will also be the starter at dinner.
The main for dinner was a quick fry of some defrosted filet pieces I found. Very top quality meat; just some bits and pieces I had left over from when I cut a large piece of meat into little filets. They're quite thin bits, maybe 1 cm thick, 3-5 cm long/wide.

Salt & peppered the meat & then sprinkled some Aromatic Herb mix for meat (Herbes aromatiques pour viandes) that I got from the Ateliers Monastiques de l'Etoile of Bethléem (Paris)- sort of a Provencale mixture.
Then the usual start: pan, olive oil, smash a clove of garlic and chop a bit - fry lightly. Toss meat into pan. Fry/brown overall; midway add a dash of cayenne. Remove meat; set aside. 1/4 glass of red wine to deglaze the pan; splash in some Lea & Perrins while reducing; return meat juices to the mix; reduce some more; pour result over meat. Eat.

The meat will come out cooked all the way through but not tough at all because it was such a great cut to start with. The flavor depends on the garlic, wine, L&P combo - because it was frozen the meat flavor's not on top.

Reading: Cross Stitch : Diana Gabaldon

Looked at the Ritz Escoffier school page. 6 weeks at 980€ a week, and you can take them one at a time.
This, against the 7.000 € for LCB Paris at 5 weeks (continuous intensive; versus the regular pace of 10 weeks)

No real food today

The family's all out of town today but rather than using the free time to prepare something experimental and very special I had nothing but cheese, yogurt & cereals/granola the whole day. Shall think of something more exciting for tomorrow. Really should take the opportunity to test an idea or two.
At a minimum I could practice making Bechemel or Hollandaise (or, as some are wont to say, Netherlandaise)

Was down at the beach place

and painting the door frames. Getting some sun. I love lying stretched out in the sun on January 2. It's the next best thing to going swimming in the sea on Jan 1 (when other than Polar Bear swims).

Just finished: Stranger in a Strange Land (revised edition): Robert Heinlein
Currently reading: The Men and the Girls: Joanna Trollope

Thinking of applying to LCB Paris for the Summer Intensive Culinary.

Dinner, blindingly simple: Penne pasta w/ Tomatoe Sauce: saute garlic, onion; salt;(strained?) tomatoe, oregano, Fresh Basil, tomatoe paste/concentrate, pepper, cayanne; Salchichas (cooked separately); cooked off the bits of the salchichas with just a touch of red table wine and put into the sauce.