Sunday, June 29, 2008

Breakfast outside

Today was the last day of the old patio furniture and the first day of the new. Madame is still in England, but I just had to cook - it has been too long and I get withdrawal symptoms. So the people who bought the old patio furniture came over and I made breakfast.

Hardly traditional breakfast fare perhaps, but I also wanted to practice a couple of things for when Madame does finally come home. So, we had a Spanish tortilla (except that I used zucchini and not potatoes, so it isn't really Spanish) , topped with allioli (that wonderful Catalunyan garlic/olive oil/salt condiment), a cup of chilled carrot/coriander soup, some freshly baked pain au levain (a new recipe I had wanted to try), and coffee.

First the allioli. Don't even think of trying this. It is serious work! It took about 45 minutes of serious mashing of garlic salt and oil in the pestle and moortar. Even after that, it wanted to break. So there was a little oil around the edges instead of a thick emulsion.

This garlicky oil condiment is great on just about anything I haven't tried it on shoe leather yet, but...


8 Cloves garlic
2T Sea salt
1 cup high quality olive oil

Peel and mash the garlic cloves. Add the salt and mash to a fine paste using the blade of your knife. Transfer to a mortar and mash with the pestle. Add 1 drop of the oil and pound until incorporated. Keep adding the oil a drop or 2 at a time until incorporated. This takes around 45 minutes. Do not be tempted to add the oil too quickly or the emulsion will break and I could find no articles on how to recover the situation when I was researching it. Probably the most interesting statement was that "many Catalunyan cheffs no longer make this because it is so hard to keep it from breaking." A lot of the chefs essentially make aioli - the French version that has an egg yolk.

Spanish Tortilla
1 medium zucchini
1T Kosher salt
1/2 medium onion sliced (leaving bite sized pieces)
4 eggs
6 strands of saffron
a little butter to cook the onions in
salt/pepper to taste (probably do not need much more salt)

Peel the zucchini and slice into rounds about the thickness of a silver dollar. Transfer to a colander, sprinkle the salt over them and allow to drain for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile soften the onion in a little butter in a small (8") non-stick pan. Transfer the onions to a bowl when translucent and sweet. The onions should not take on any color.

Once the onions are cooked, rinse the zucchini and pat dry. With no extra oil, fry the zucchini in the pan that the onions had been in, in a single layer. They should just atrt to take on color.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, add a little salt/pepper and the saffron. Beat the eggs with a fork until they become homogenous. Leave to stand.

Place a layer of zucchiniin the bottom of the pan in which the onions had cooked. Cover the zucchini layer with the onions and another layer of potatoes. Place the pan on a med/low flame and warm them. Press the zucchini/onion mixture with the back of a spatula to squeeze out any air.

When the zucchini are warm, pour the egg mixture over them. Pull the cooked edge of the eggs away from the pan, allowing more raw egg to come in contact with the pan. Turn the heat to low and leave to cook for about 10 minutes - until set in the center. Invert the mixture in the pan and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes - until the whole tortilla is fully cooked.

Serve at room temperature

Carrot and Coriander Soup
This soup appears to be a British staple. Madame has been eating it for about 6 weeks, so I am expecting an orange pallor and floppy ears when she gets off the plane on July 4. The version that I found has no fat added and counts 0 weight watcher points. This uses the seeds stalks and leaves of the coriander (cilantro) so has lots of hearty coriander flavor

1 Medium onion - diced finely
1 Carton stock (about 900 ML, I believe - or a bit less than a US quart) - divided use. Could be chicken or vegetable. If chicken, home made would be better!
2T ground coriander seeds
2 T ground cumin seeds
1/2 fresh cayenne pepper finely chopped
1 garlic clove mashed
Small handful Cilantro stalks and leaves
500gm (just over a pound) carrots peeled and roughly chopped into small pieces.
Salt/pepper to taste
Creme fraiche, quark or sour cream, soft goat cheese as a garnish

Put the finly chopped onions in a sauce pan and just cover with the stock. Do not use all the stock at this stage. Bring to the boil and simmer until all the liquid has cooked off. The onion will be translucent. Add the coriander, cumin, garlic and the cayenne. Cook over low heat until the color has changed a bit. Add the chopped cilantro stalks, the carrots and the rest of the stock. Bring back to the boil and simmer until the carrots are cooked. Turn the heat off and leave to stand for a few minutes. Then puree the soup until it reaches the desired texture.

Either reheat and serve immediately, or chill and serve in icy bowls. Either way garnish with the white dairy product and sprinkle finely chopped cilantro leaves over it.

1 comment:

Chris Bird said...

I have cut down the cumin to about 1teaspoon - I found that there was simply too much cumin flavor and it masked the coriander a bit.