Monday, February 26, 2007
What's the difference between being comfortable and being lazy? With regards to cooking. Don't get where I am going here? OK let me tell you a story and you decide. Am I comfortable or am I lazy.
I make lists for pretty much everything in my life. I like to be as organized as I can because my theory is the more organized I am the more time I save. Time I might be able to use elsewhere - like relaxing in the bathtub or playing an extra round of Memory with Soeren. So, for me to organize myself to perfection I make lists - not to mention the fact that lists also help me to remember every detail, every item, every information that might be important. My day starts of with the very first list I make - at work. All the things I would like to achieve or complete. Then as the day progresses I remember a few things I need to buy - run out of toilet paper, need more milk etc. Of course there is a list of choices for dishes to make for dinner and the "To Do" list - pick up skirt form cleaners, pack Soeren's gym gear, pay telephone bill etc.
The joke around the house is, I need a list to manage my lists!
Am I more organized, less forgetful and do I save time? To be very honest, although I'd like to think that I am, I do have my share of chaos days. When I have to drive two ways because I did forget Soeren's gym gear. Or I just did not get around to doing as much as I thought I could achieve at work. Or end up making cheese sandwiches for dinner because I was so exhausted that my enthusiasm for preparing something more extravagant had totally deflated.
Then there are certain days when I decide to make a nice lunch. I have organized everything I need on my list and am standing looking at the mis-en-place on the kitchen counter. The enthusiasm to make an extravagant meal is there and the organization is going pretty well. However, I am looking at the ingredients and thinking "How can I simplify the work and how can I shorten the time needed for preparation?" And what do I do? I make a mental list of all the possibilities I have. Most of the time the ideas that emerge are not only creative but save a lot of time.
Like this dish. The original recipe was to be the traditional Zurich Geschnetzeltes recipe, which is basically veal strips in a creamy sauce with mushrooms. This is normally served with Rösti, which is similar to hash browns. While I was sautéing the veal strips and mushrooms, I was really in no mood to fry the röstis separately. I was not being lazy. I was thinking of how to adapt it to save more time.
Exactly at this time my mind wandered off to a relatively new event Waiter There's Something In My .... being hosted at the brilliant Cook Sister. This month's theme is pies.
Like a typical image in cartoons - a light bulb went on in my head and I thought "This is it!" I was so excited about it that you'd think I actually discovered the pie!
As the little ramekin bowls sat in the oven, I poured myself a glass of white wine and sat down to browse through my latest InStyle, making a list of all the must haves this Spring ;-)!
So, am I lazy or am I comfortable?
Blogger Postcards Around The World goes into it's last leg. 40 out 60 have already received their postcards. For those who have received your cards please do not forget to send me the link to the post. If you want to browse through all cards check out the Valentine List.
The theme for the latest Monthly Mingle is - Savory Cakes.
Deadline is March 15th. Hope to see you there!
750g Veal - cut into strips
1 large onion - finely chopped
250g button mushrooms - sliced
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper
150ml dry white wine (or veal stock)
2 tablespoons flour
750g potatoes - grated
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
In a large pan heat up the oil and fry the meat in portions until browned. Salt and pepper. Take out of the pan and set aside.
Sauté the mushrooms and onions in the same pan. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the mixture and allow to cook for approx. 1 minute. Pour in the wine (or stock), 1/8 l water and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for approx. 5 minutes.
In a bowl, mix together the egg with the grated potatoes and the rest of the flour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the veal strips to the sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Fill the ramekin forms with the veal and mushroom mixture. Then cover each bowl with a generous helping of grated potatoes. Press down gently
Bake for 45 minutes. Towards the end put on the grill function of the oven to allow the potato crust to brown evenly and become crispy.
Vegetarian Tip: Instead of the veal substitute with a mix of different mushroom types.
It's ingenious isn't it? Adapting a traditional Swiss recipe and converting it into a elegant pie-like dish was a little surprise for the entire family. As a matter of fact, in my opinion the meat was more succulent and the sauce creamier. The grated potato covering it was crunchy and crispy. Just right.
By making this in little ramekin bowls you could even consider serving this as a starter to a meal. If you do not have small ramekin bowls, an alternative would be to use a larger oven proof dish.
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