Yesterday was National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. I either didn’t know this or actually may not have cared, until I saw all the yummy GCSs being posted all over the Interwebs. So I had to run out and buy some yummy cheese and bread and came up with this concoction. Bacon, caramelized onions with a shot of bourbon, a really nice cheese. Lunch is served.
Coq au Vin is my favorite food on earth, hands down. This is also one of the best recipes that I make. A little background: when I started falling in love with cooking again (no, I was not always a recipe junkie, though food has always been an important part of my life), I fell in love with Julia. Yes, that Julia. I think that a lot of women admire her for the fact that she was just an ordinary woman who picked up cooking later in life and became one of the most influential cooks of an entire culture. So I made her Coq au vin recipe. Coq au Vin is a very old concept — like back from the Romans — but her recipe was straight forward. I have made variations on her it for 5 years now, each time changing it until I have come up with what I consider perfection. I have learned a lot about cooking since I started — like knowing you shouldn’t add all the wine at once otherwise all the tanins end up ruining the dish, or by adding ground dried porcini, the umami flavor is boosted (doesn’t make it taste more mushroom-y). Anyway, I love this recipe. Be forewarned: it takes a minimum of 3 hours. You can stop just before the rue-making stage though, if you need to divide the effort over 2 days.
The atypical traditional German Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Tart). OK, that sounds rather contradictory, eh? Here is the thing: the recipe is traditional. Onions, Speck, Paprika and Nutmeg. And yes, while it looks a little like a quiche, it only has one egg in it. In Swabia (the Southwestern part of Germany nearest to the French and Swiss borders), this Zwiebelkuchen is often eaten in the fall and is a great accompaniment to new wines.
But why atypical? Well, my presentation, actually. While it certainly is possible that a cast iron pan was used at some point in the history of Zwiebelkuchen-making, it is more often made in a tart pan with a removable bottom or even as a square on a regular Backblech. Also, I am quite sure that no one bothers to cut out many little leaves, cut patterns in them and then glue them to the edge. So there. Typical German recipe. Typical me presentation. All good. Well, would have been better if that one side of the crust didn’t decide to take a nose dive into the filling, but imperfection is perfection.
And on the forth day of Christmas ….
ok, no calling birds, but one heck of a Turkey BLT with leftover Christmas dinner. Nom nom.
Everyone has their own “perfect burger”. This is mine.
For starters, it has Bacon Onion Jam, which is in itself a reason for living. It is pretty amazing frankly. I am going to have to keep some of this in my fridge, made at regular interval, for the rest of my life. It is not so pretty to photograph, but take my word for it, it;s good. Really. Really. Good.
And then there is the burger meat, which I grind myself. Millions of times better than store bought. It is time consuming though. I also add porcini powder which no, does not make the burgers taste mushroom-y, just makes them taste more meaty, and thus more amazing. If you have the time and the inclination, give the full recipe a try (or you can use store bought ground beef, but it won’t be the same).