Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bean Salad

This simple salad can be served as a small main dish with some toasted bread or as a side, along with some potato salad (Dan's potato salad to follow) with german sausages, or eisbein, or anything else you could think of.

Just make sure you don't overboil the beans. I like them with bite, still a bit crispy.

for 2 people:


organic green beans (amount depends if you're serving as main or side dish)
1 shallot or 1 small yellow onion, chopped
white vinegar (wine vinegar or apple cider)
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper


In a bowl big enough to fit all the beans, mix vinegar, olive oil, shallot or onion, salt and pepper. You'll probably end up adding vinegar at the end because the beans don't absorb much of it and you'd like to get the dressing a bit sour for this salad.

Wash the beans well and cut off the end pieces. Put some salt into boiling water and add the beans. Boil them for about 5 minutes but start trying them before already to make sure they don't get too soft. I would recommend removing them when you think they're still a bit too hard since they'll end up softening some more afterwards anyway.

Pour cold water over the beans to prevent them from softening too much. Move them around in cold water for a minute or so. Shake them well to get rid of the water on them. Add the beans to your dressing, mix well, taste them to make sure you like the dressing, add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dan's little poll #2

Last january, I posted a poll asking people how often they cook every week. You can check out the results here.

Some of you gave me suggestions of what other questions would be interesting to ask, so I decided to add a new poll. Please take a moment and vote on the right sidebar! I will post the results later.

This should be interesting...

Thanks for reading! As always, please feel free to comment. I will always respond (directly in the comments section or by email) if there's anything to respond to ;-)

And thanks to Tommi and Andrea, I will put your suggestions into future polls.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Grand Marnier Oranges

This turned out to be one of the best desserts I've had recently. All you need are three ingredients and you're in for a little treat!

for 2 people:


1 orange, peeled, cut in half and sliced
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier Liquor
1 small shot glass Grand Marnier for flambé (optional)
2 scoops of good quality vanilla ice cream (i think Haagen Dazs Vanilla is the best)


Put the sliced oranges into a non-stick skillet and start heating over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier. While it's heating up, prepare to do the flambé (if you choose to do so).

Have the shotglass of Grand Marnier ready, as well as some matches. Make sure you do this in a safe environment far away from anything that could catch fire.

Once the oranges are strongly heated up, quickly remove them from the heat and immediately pour the Grand Marnier into the pan, putting it on fire right away with a (preferrably) long matchstick. Move the skillet back and forth in the air to have all the liquor burning. Depending on the heat and the amount of liquor you used, you should have flames for about 5-10 seconds.

This is a fun and eye-catching procedure, but it can go wrong if you're not acting quick enough.

Scoop the ice cream into a bowl and add the Grand Marnier oranges on the side. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Midnight Snack

After cleaning for the whole weekend, a little sunday midnight snack is perfect to enjoy as a short break. It also lets you forget for a short while that it's monday tomorrow morning and you'll have to get back to work!

for 2 people:


crackers (i like those a lot)
cucumber, roughly peeled and sliced
goat cheese
oven-roasted tomatoes (from Whole Foods or any other deli, the really good ones are at the Beverly Hills Cheese store)
italian parsley for decoration
white grapes
cold bottle of white wine


There's not much to describe. Put goat cheese onto the crackers and the cucumber slices, add oven-roasted tomatoes and a few leaves of italian parsley for decoration.

I really like those oven-roasted tomatoes. There's another really simple dish i made-up a while ago using those tomatoes. Take a look here.

Heidi brought us this bottle of white wine which you won't find at any regular grocery store. There's a restaurant in South Pasadena that once in a while does a special evening where they also invite wineries to present their wines. If you're interested, i could probably find out more details about those events. Or if you read this Heidi, could you please give us some information about it?

This Pinot from Robert Linsley was very good and nicely presented in a thin bottle.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Rick's amazing Catfish (thai style)

I met Rick through this blog and I'm very glad I did! He gave me one of his recipes to try. I was amazed! I had four friends over for this dish and we all thought it was the best catfish recipe we've ever had. This is simply delicious and very authentic thai tasting. And to top it off, it's also quite easy and quick to prepare.

Rick is working on his food blog as well. Once it's up and running, I will post the link on my blog.

One thing I love about thai food is the beauty of it! The raw ingredients put together look like a painting.

If you're interested in other thai recipes, check out the dinner I prepared for last christmas. I can highly recommend the seafood cakes.

For 2 people:


2 catfish fillets (about 1/2 lb), cut into 1 1/2 " pieces
2 tablespoons tapioca starch or tapioca flour
1 liter (33 oz) peanut oil for deep-frying
1 cup rice (for steamed rice to be served with the fish)

Sauce A:

2 dried red thai chilies, roasted until lightly brown, then ground with mortar/pestle
1/2 shallot, sliced
1 green onion (spring onion), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, coarsely ch
about 4 " piece of lemon grass, thinly sliced

Sauce B:

2 fresh red thai chilies, thinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lime (if it's a small lime, use the whole one)
1 tablespoon mint, coarsely chopped
3/4 tablespoon Golden Mountain sauce (Maggi Seasoning can be used instead, is not as authentic thai though)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice powder (see description how to make it below)


Remove the fish from the fridge at least 20 minutes before deep-frying. Start preparing some rice in a rice cooker. Put the tapioca flour or starch in a bowl, add the catfish pieces and mix everything by hand until all the fish pieces are covered thinly with the tapioca starch.

Mix all the ingredients for Sauce A together in a bowl.
Use less chilies if you don't like it too spicy. Put aside.

For Sauce B, roast 1 tablespoon rice over medium-high heat until it just slightly starts to brown. Ground with mortar and pestle into a thin powder. Mix all the ingredients for Sauce B together in another bowl. Use less chilies if you don't like it too spicy. Put aside.

Heat the oil in a big pan over high heat and don't leave it unattended. If you have a candy thermometer, use it to get the oil all way up to 375 F. If you don't have one, you can drop a tiny piece (like a breadcrumb) of fish into the oil. If it strongly sizzles, your oil is hot enough to start deep-frying.

Pre-heat the oven to about 150 F. You can skip the oven, just be quick with serving the fish, otherwise it will get cold too quickly.

Deep fry half of the fish until the pieces are browned (don't dry them out too much), remove the fish pieces and put them on some kitchen paper to drain the oil a bit. Move the drained pieces into the oven.

Deep fry the second half of the fish, drain and put into the oven.

Mix Sauce A and Sauce B together, mix well. If the sauce looks too dry, add more fish sauce and/or lime juice. Pour over the fish. Serve immediately with steamed rice. I like to drink Singha Beer (Thai Beer) with thai food. It balances out the spicyness very well.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Super Simple #2 - Röschti (aka Rosti)

If the recipes on this blog are getting simpler and simpler, than there's a reason for it.

Being very busy these days with a full-time job during the day, a night-time job to finish up a DVD production and an upcoming move to Thailand, I'm relying a lot on quick and easy dishes.

But! They still have to taste good... and Röschti, another Swiss specialty, is a nice dish in many ways.

First of all, it's great to prepare if you have old potatoes that you're about to throw away because you can't think of any use for them anymore. As a matter of fact, this dish tastes better with old potatoes because they are much more dry which is exactly what you're after for preparing Röschti.

If you want to go the really simple way, all you need are old potatoes, butter, salt and pepper! I happened to have some leftover bacon in the fridge as well, and an onion, which makes this dish delicous!

Also, you can serve many kinds of foods with this dish. Great are sausages (Bratwurst), or veal cutlets on a creamy, lemony sauce with some parsley, or even just a simple sunnyside-up egg.

for 2 people:


2-3 large (baked potato size) and preferrably old potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 slices of bacon, cut into small cubes
freshly ground salt and pepper


If you plan ahead, you can microwave the potatoes a day in advance. This is especially useful if your potatoes are pretty fresh and still wet inside. Having them sit around for an extra day after microwaving will make them more dry and more suitable for Röschti.

Worst case, you can still use fresh potatoes and microwave them just before cooking. Your Röschti just tends to become a bit mushy.

Peel your fully microwaved potatoes and grind them by hand using a rough grinder. In a non-stick skillet, heat the butter over medium heat, add the chopped onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the bacon and stir for another 2-3 minutes until the bacon has browned a bit. Increase the heat to high and add the potatoes. Cook them until overall browned a bit (don't burn them) while stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce the heat to low and form the potatoes into a pie-looking shape. From now on, don't stir anymore. You want to get a nice and golden brown on the bottom side. To keep the potatoes warm on the upper side as well, put a serving plate upside-down on it. At the end, if you're not afraid to do so, flip the skillet upside-down while holding the plate with the other hand and your Röschti will already sit on a dish ready to serve!

Let the Röschti simmer for about 10-15 minutes to create that golden bottom. Also, it should really become like a pie, keeping its shape when you remove it from the skillet.

If you'd like to serve this with sausages, I can highly recommend the ones they sell at Surfas. Those are the best sausages in town I found so far. They're in the frozen section. Enjoy!

If you're interested in really quick and easy dishes, also check out this spaghetti recipe.