Saturday, March 19, 2011

Local Food

The local food movement has reached the Netherlands! Today, as I came home from shopping (clothes, not food), I noticed a mini-market on the square in front of Studio K, the café associated with the cinema of the same name next to my apartment building. There was stew from the Veluwe (the mildy hilly area in the center of the country, home to woods, drift sand, and heather where deer and wild pigs still roam), local honey, artisanal bread, dry sausages, and flyers about a new online supermarket that will deliver mostly-local, mostly organic produce, meat and fish to your door. It's the initiative of a local couple from a distribution point in East Amsterdam (Watergraafsmeer).

My first order is already placed!   www.ruudmaaz.nl

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pork Cooked in Milk, with Bay and Cinnamon

Normally I stay clear of combining meat with milk. It's a combination that doesn't appeal to me (I will never choose Beef Stroganoff in a restaurant, for example). I'm not kosher about it--pepperoni pizza, here I come--but in general, I avoid it.

But to prove how goy I really am, this Spanish recipe for pork cooked in milk (from Moro) intrigued me and proved to be delicious. There is a plainer version in Essentials of Italian Cooking, and the Moro recipe also mentions using lemon zest and sage leaves instead of bay and cinnamon, so you could make lots of variations.

Basically, it involves browning a pork roast in a pot, adding milk and flavourings, and then simmering with the lid half off until the pork is cooked and still juicy, and the milk has evaporated leaving the remaining solids to caramelize into an almost cheesy sauce. It sounds simple, and it IS simple, but ...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Garlic-Saffron Roast Chicken

Several weeks ago I put a gift certificate towards a new cookbook: Moro: The Cookbook. Moro is a restaurant the focuses on flavours from Spain, North Africa, and the Middle East. I'm not that keen on Spanish cooking as experienced in restaurants, at least the ones I've been to in my one trip to Spain. It's very meat-heavy and they don't understand that ham should not be part of a salad for vegetarians. (In contrast, the home cooking at Villa Matilde , where we stayed, was fabulous.) But I love North African food and would like to discover Spanish food that I like, hence the new cookbook.

All this is leading up to a recipe that was not in the cookbook! I started out seasoning a chicken a day in advance to make Zuni roast chicken, but on the day decided I wanted to do something new. Moro had a recipe for Chicken Stuffed with Garlic and Coriander. I didn't have coriander, but the rest of the recipe sounded intriguing so I made it without and served it to my guests that evening, followed by Casablanca Oranges (Jane Brody's Good Food Gourmet) for dessert, made with blood oranges and clementines.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beef Rollade Braised in Tomato-Onion Sauce

I'm gradually making my way through the free-range beef in the freezer, and it is forcing me to explore new territory.  I love stews of all kinds, things that require long slow cooking and imprecise timing, and ground meat is flexible and easy to handle, but steaks and roasts are terra incognita for me. My experience with steak several weeks ago was not that positive, so it was with some trepidation that I turned my hand to the cuts of braadstuk (literally, roasting piece).  Of course, I ratcheted up the tension by inviting someone for dinner too.

I found the basic recipe on the internet (Braadstuk in tomatensaus), but adapted it in several ways: