Monday, February 27, 2012

It's the Oscars!

Yesterday night was Oscar Night. Yes, that is one of the most important events of the year, only exceeded by my birthday, and possibly by the FYYFF Award. I was graced by the presence of my film-savvy friend Rosettli, and obviously, we had to eat. And for such a night - a night, such as this! - the food needed to be as stellar as the show. Enter... The Ribs.

Honey-glazed Spareribs with Baked Potatoes

1,5 kg spareribs

For the glaze:
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 finely minced onion

Now, my undertaking seemed doomed from the beginning, when I couldn't find a roaster with a rack. In the US, those seem common enough, but I couldn't find one here in Switzerland. Not until my mom came to my rescue. Of course; that's what moms are for <3
I bought a huge roasting pan with a rack at Ikea, for 30 CHF. It's perfect. You want the rack, so the ribs don't lie on the flat surface. Of course, you can work around that by putting the ribs directly on the rack of your oven, but then you need something underneath to catch the inevitable drip. This roaster takes care of both problems.

Place the ribs, bone side down, in the roaster. Cover the pan with aluminium foil.  Yes, dear Americans, that's "aluminium" the world over. There is no such thing as "aluminum". Set the oven to 180° C, and let the ribs roast for about one hour.

For the glaze, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Uncover the ribs, and generously apply glaze. Repeat every quarter hour or so, while the ribs roast uncovered for another hour.

Yes, that's what delicious pork looks like.

Baked Potatoes

3 huge potatoes
salt, pepper, vegetable oil


Wash the potatoes in their skins. The skins stay on. Then - did you know potatoes can explode? I didn't. Then, you poke holes in the potatoes with a fork. Several deep holes all over the potatoes. So they don't explode all over you oven. Awesome. Exploding tubers.
Cover a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Place the potatoes on it, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and a bit of oil. Put in the oven with the ribs when you uncover those. The potatoes take about one hour in the oven. The bigger they are, the longer it will take. As usual, you can tell by poking into one with a knife.
For the topping, simply cut the chives and stir them into the sourcream.

Also pictured: Samûm's sacred family recipe noodle salad. I could tell you, but I'd probably have to kill you.

Et voilà! For the perfect evening, simply add booze, Ben&Jerry's ice cream, and Academy Awards! Good lord, Angelina is SO beautiful!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Roast

Remember that pork roast I mentioned a while ago? It's in the oven *right now*, and I will make sure I take appropriate pictures this time. I should tell you, though, it's not easy to show such restraint, when the odours from the oven have inundated your home for close to two hours.
The roast almost didn't make it, as it were. I saw the recipe on Jamie Oliver's show. I was reminded why I prefer him in book form, as that removes all the superfluous gesturing and pseudo-hip attire. (Jamie, you're almost forty. Deal.) I wrote everything down, but when I had readied all the relevant ingredients in the kitchen, I saw that my otherwise trusty recipe app had deleted all of its recipes. This version is, therefore, the one from memory.

Pork Roast

1 kg pork roast. Jamie uses the shoulder piece, I prefer one from the neck.
2 bell peppers, I like the red ones the most.
1 large red onion
1 jar (350g) roasted peppers in oil
2 tbsp paprika (sweet)
1 can (400g) tomatoes, skinned and cut up
5 dl meat broth
2 tbsp vinegar

Place meat in a roasting pan, fry on the stove until browned on both sides. Remove from pan. Cut peppers into strips, put in pan. Frantically search for the red onion you've totally forgotten about, cut into strips, add to pan. Add the roasted peppers, also cut up, the paprika, and finally the tomatoes. Place meat back in the pan on top of veggies, and cover with sauce. Add the broth - Jamie uses plain water, but I find the broth contributes to the overall flavour - and the vinegar.
Place in the oven, at 200° C. Roast for about 2 hours, depending on the dimensions of the meat. You can check at about one hour, and see how it comes along. According to Jamie, it's ready when it practically falls to pieces when poked with a spoon. I tend to take it out a wee bit earlier.

And this is what it looks like uneaten. A brief state of existence.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Importance of the Pantry

I cannot overemphasise the importance of the well-stocked pantry. The reason I'm bringing this up today is because it's my day off, an the weather is like this:

Sooo... I will not leave this building. And since I'm not fond of starving, this is where my exceedingly well-stocked pantry comes in. I could live for about two weeks without leaving the house. Not that I wouldn't be bored shitless with pasta until then, but I *could*.
Here's a list of things that I have plenty of, and that I find relevant for my survival. All of them keep well over  a little while.

Staple foods
Flour, sugar, baking ingredients, spices, chocolate, eggs, bacon, canned tomatoes, canned corn, rice, pasta, cereal, UHT milk, dried mushrooms, honey, tea, Ovomaltine, pickled beets, potatoes, carrots, leek, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, oranges, bananas. In the freezer: green peas, broccoli, shrimps, spinach.

These are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. Most of them are stored in a dry place, some obviously need a fridge. I have a tiny fridge. Ask Jay; whenever I'm at his place, I have intense fridge-envy. Even so, once one masters the game of Tetris, even the tiniest fridge is your friend. I also usually buy all the meat I'll need for about two weeks in advance. Can you tell I really don't like to go out unless I have to? Except, of course, on Tuesdays.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Roots Bloody Roots

Winter is a time for soup. It is also the season of all the things that have grown under the soil, and that keep so well. Therefore, today:

Sweet Potato Soup

1 kg sweet potatoes
1 large red onion
1 small piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 liter of vegetable broth
50 g butter
some cream cheese or similar

Heat some butter or oil in a pot. Peel the onion, cut into pieces (it doesn't have to be Julienne; we will eventually just run this through the blender), add to the hot butter. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into smallish bits. The smaller the pieces, the shorter the cooking time. Add to the pot, along with the ginger, and let fry in the butter for a little while. Stir from time to time, so that nothing burns. I sometimes sprinkle everything with a bit of sugar, which slightly caramelises in the process. Not that the end product needs to be any sweeter, mind you. Add the broth, and cook everything for about 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and puree the contents. Stir in the butter. Serve with a little island of cream cheese in the middle.

There is no picture of the soup. Soup always looks the same. If it helps, this one should be orange ;)

You know, instead, enjoy watching this.