Tuesday, January 26, 2010

C'est Cleveland

Three meals. All would please a francophile. At least two would please a locavore Cleveland francophile.

Pictured above are last two of a dozen of the freshest mussels I've ever had. Didn't plan on posting, but the bivalves were remarkable. Mussels are super easy and super inexpensive, and when they're this fresh they're perfect for a leisurely weekend lunch. Seriously. Look at that plumpness. Not a hint of funkiness in the bunch.

For the mussels all I did was melt some butter, add some diced shallot, and pour into the pan some Oregon pinot gris. That started boiling, in went the mussels, fresh from Kate's, and on went a cover. About a minute thirty and all the mussels were open. In went parsley, and the mix got poured into bowls. A little toasted baguette and it doesn't get much better.

Not pictured, but served with the mussels were equally fresh black sea bass fillets. Simply salted and peppered and sauteed in butter. Fresh black sea bass is something special. All in all, a nice, light Saturday lunch.

Choucroute Garni. Loosely based on this recipe. Super simple and a great company dish. Plus it helped me use up some of the five gallons of sauerkraut I had made towards the end of the summer. The whole thing is just kraut, apples, onion, spices, wine, stock, and sausage. But together it's a pretty nice meal.

First some onions were sweated with cloves, juniper berries, allspice, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Then in went unpeeled diced apples (I'm always amazed when it's the middle of winter and you cut open an apple that has just been hanging out in the garage with its friends for a few months to see a fruit that has retained all it's summer glory) for a couple of minutes. Then the kraut joined the party along with some more of that aforementioned Oregon pinot. Once that was simmering, some beer brats and smoked kielbasa were tucked in there, the pot was covered, and it went into a 350 oven for about an hour and a half.

This got served with mashed potatoes. Not traditional, but the whole thing was kind of like a train wreck somewhere between Alsace and and Poland. A tasty Cleveland style train wreck.

Sausages from New Creation Farm. Apples from Buster at NUFM. Onion from the Shaker Indoor Winter Mkt. Herbs from Urban Herbs. Kraut was homemade and a nice way to start working through the 5 gallons I made at the end of the summer. And a Plum Creek bird gave itself for the stock.

Boeuf Bourguignon. Loosley based on this recipe. With spaetzle. As noted above, this is Cleveland style.

This was super simple. First, seasoned, cubed grassfed beef cheek was browned in lard. When that was done the beef was removed and in went diced shallots and diced homemade pancetta. Once that was all sweaty the beef went back in and two heaping tablespoons of flour was browned with everything. Then some chix stock and red wine (cab). A little bougquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf) was added, as was a little tomato paste, and it was all brought up to a simmer and covered. Then about 2 hours at 325.

After two hours quartered button mushrooms and chunks of carrots were added. The pot was covered again for another half hour at 325. That was it.

The stew was good, but the spaetzle brought it all together. Made by L., who painstakingly followed this recipe. After they were cooked and shocked in ice water they were briefly sauteed in butter to heat them back up.

Parsley for garnish.

Beef from Millgate Farm. Shallot from Snake Hill Farm. Lard and Pancetta made from a Tea Hills pig. Plum Creek Stock.

What's nice is that this was pretty local, and could have been been pretty much completely that way. I even had a bottle of Ohio Merlot in my hand, but just couldn't bring myself to do it. And if you were wondering, I forgot to add the pearl onions.

3 comments:

steve said...

Hey D. All of that looks mighty fine. For an esoteric question, what type of pot did you cook the Beef in, as it maintained a bright red color if the photo came out correctly? When I use a cast iron pot I don't have quite as colorful a finish. And I must say that L. made some pretty good looking spaetzle.

The CFT said...

Hey Steve. That's about how it looked. It was very purple and velvety. The real red looking stuff are carrots, and they were only cooked in the pot for about 30 min and then again when it was reheated.

I used an enameled cast iron pot, so that may have helped with color retention--nothing was blanched or anything like that. A fancy French brand knock off. There is some tomato paste in there too (I just edited the post).

L.'s German roots certainly showed.

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