Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Quick Pesto

This has been one of my and my friend's favorites for quite a while! It's not really a pesto sauce the way you've probably had it before. It's a very simple and quick way of making a pesto sauce while it's less of a paste than 'regular' pesto. I prefer this way since it maintains the texture of the ingredients and the sauce is literally prepared within minutes.

You can serve this with any kind of pasta. I like to use tortellini with a cheese filling. Bristol Farms has a nice selection of freshly prepared pasta, tortellini and such...

for 2 people:


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons pine nuts, coarsely chopped
1 handful fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 handful fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
ground parmesan cheese to taste
pasta of your choice


Time yourself so you'll be able to serve the pasta al-dente. The sauce just takes a few minutes to prepare.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and garlic and sauté until slightly starting to brown. Don't burn the garlic as it will become bitter. Add basil and mint leaves, season with salt and pepper and stir for only about 10 seconds.

Immediately pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Monday, May 22, 2006


This is actually a winter dish in Switzerland (like Fondue), but it was nice and cold enough the other day, to eat raclette at night outside. Normally you'd use a special raclette grill for this dish, but since I don't have one here, my favorite toaster oven worked just fine.

I think it's most fun to eat this with several people as you're grilling the cheese directly at the table.

for 2 people:


about 300 g gruyère cheese (from Trader Joe's); if you like a stronger cheese taste, you might want to find an aged gruyère (sometimes at TJ's as well)
small potatoes (as many as you think you can eat)
pickled cucumbers
pickled pearl onions


Cut the cheese into thin slices (1/8", a few mm) with a sharp knife. Arrange on a plate and set aside.

Wash the potatoes (don't peel the skin) and microwave them until they're almost completely cooked. This takes only about 2-3 minutes if the potatoes are small.

Preheat a toaster oven to about 400 F. (180 C.)

When you're ready to eat, cut the potatoes lengthwise in half, arrange on your baking dish, put a few slices of cheese on top, sprinkle with paprika and grill until cheese is melted and has a nice, brownish color.

Only put as much at a time in the oven as you can eat in a short amount of time as the cheese will become rubbery if it gets cold.

Eat immediately while hot with a few pickled cucumbers and pearl onions. I like to drink a dry white wine with this dish.

En guete! (Enjoy your meal in 'swiss-german').

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Summer Lunch - Tilapia Fillets with Lemongrass Seasoning

Our friend Mutsuko recently came to visit from Thailand and brought this nice seasoning. If you don't intend to get a bottle of this in Thailand, then you might as well just mix it yourself. The ingredients are easy to find: coarse seasalt, turmeric, lemongrass and red chilli. Together with a green salad on a white vinegar dressing (or apple cider), this makes for a nice and light summer lunch.

for 2 people:


4 Tilapia Fillets (costs about 6 bucks at Trader Joe's, cheap!)
2-3 tablespoons lemongrass seasoning mix (enough to rub it all around the fish)
1 tablespoon butter
fresh (preferrably organic) green salad leaves


Wash the fish pieces, dry them with kitchen paper and season all around with the lemongrass mix (coarse seasalt, turmeric, lemongrass, red chilli).

Prepare the salad. I would suggest using just a bit of white vinegar (or an apple cider) and olive oil to complement the lemongrass seasoning.

Heat the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the fish for about 2 minutes on each side over medium-high heat until golden. Serve immediately with the salad on the side.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Back in the kitchen soon...

Hi everybody, this is the last week of post-production on the upcoming 'Superman Returns' blockbuster...

The kitchen didn't get nearly as much attention as it should have, but that will change again next we

Please bare with me.

In the meantime:

Monday, May 01, 2006

Strawberry Risotto

This is a recipe I've heard about a lot but never got to do it for some reason until last weekend. Surprisingly, it didn't turn out sweet, but quite spicy due to a fairly large amount of freshly ground black pepper.

For a simple, but sophisticated tasting dish like this, it is, again, crucial that you're using good ingredients only. This starts from using whole black peppercorns (preferrably ground in a mortar), to good cheese, sweet strawberries and so on.

I think this dish is wonderful and could be served as both an appetizer or as a main course. Please let me know what you think of this unique flavor.

for 2 people:


150 g (about 5.5 oz) fresh and sweet strawberries
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
ingredients for basic risotto, as described here
2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2-3 tablespoons ground parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper (use a mortar if you have one)
optional: freshly ground salt
basil leaves for decoration


Wash the strawberries. Thinly slice half of them, cut the other half into larger chunks. Slice one extra strawberry for decoration. Put aside.

Start preparing a basic risotto as I've described it here, but use butter and shallot instead of olive oil and yellow onion. Before pouring the white wine to the rice, add the thinly sliced strawberries and sauté until the fruits soften a bit. Then pour the wine.

Continue until the risotto is almost done. With the last batch of chicken stock, also add the remaining, larger chunks of strawberries. Add cheese, cream and pepper at this point. Stir for another few minutes. Try the risotto and add some salt if necessary.

Serve the risotto with a basil leaf and the sliced strawberry for decoration. Enjoy!