Purple Cabbage & Gromperen Plaâ

Red Cabbage Salad

When we took off for France in mid-July I left a purple cabbage (red cabbage is actually never “red”) in the fridge. I was pretty confident it would keep until our return. It was a beautiful purple cabbage from our CSA share and I actually wrote a post and took pictures about that particular share — click here for details. It was a very firm,  bright, shiny and freshly picked purple cabbage.  I must say I was a little surprised to find it in the CSA box so early in the season.  When we returned mid-August, the cabbage was holding great, no obvious signs of aging. It was not wrapped, or in the crisper, but just decorating the middle shelf of the fridge. I still was not ready to eat it; summer veggies were still plentiful and I assimilate cabbage more with a fall/winter food. I became so used to see it in the fridge that I almost forgot to eat it.  But a few nights ago I pulled it out of the near empty fridge to accompany Pierre’s Bay Ridge version of a Luxembourgish dish: the Gromperen plaâ. Only the first layer of the cabbage leaves where a little limp, the rest was still crisp. Before I tell you a little more about the Gromperen  plaâ this is how I made the cabbage salad:
1/2  red/purple cabbage head sliced thinly
1 diced onion
1 diced apple
1 diced celery rib
Chopped walnuts and/or almonds

Moisten all the ingredients with olive oil. Drizzle with vinegar — it can be: apple cider, or rice or light wine vinegar. Add a dash of sesame oil —very little, the goal is to use it to outline the ingredients  not to really taste it (do you  know what I mean?). Then add  fresh  chopped Italian parsley, salt & pepper to taste.

Pierre was supposed to give me the detailed recipe of the Gromperen plaâ but as you can check on his blog he is not home very much these days. In Luxembourgish Gromper means potato & plaâ means dish —plat in French. This is the first dish Pierre’s sister Michou makes when we visit. All the ingredients go into a terrine or a lasagna type dish. As I indicated I don’t have an exact recipe but I think I am right to say that Pierre never really follows one either. This is the kind of dish that is adjustable to what you have and how you feel. I personally encourage this kind of cooking and would like to have the guts to write such a cook book! Now here are the indications for you to make your own potato dish:

Butter  the bottom of the pan.
Line with one layer of sliced parboiled potatoes.
Sprinkle with  diced sautéed onions.
Cut slices of Mettwurscht the “national” sausage of Luxembourg.
In Bay Ridge we don’t have Mettwurscht so Pierre decided to make the Gromperen plaâ with the Turkish sausage sujuk— a beef sausage usually spiced with cumin, sumac, garlic, paprika and other red pepper —we always get it at Aunt Halime’s Halal Meat Market on 3rd avenue and Ovington in Bay Ridge.
Repeat layers until there is no more room in the dish.
Then fill the dish with seasoned
heavy cream—with salt, pepper and a touch of freshly grated nutmeg—  until the top of the pan is barely covered.
Top with a generous layer of shredded
cheese – can be Swiss , Emmental , Gruyère or even cheddar! 
The result was superb; I had forgotten to take a picture of the dish before we started digging into it and next thing we knew is that the three diners around the table cleaned it up in a flash! The combination of the textures and tastes were perfect. Thanks Pierre and this menu is a keeper! The only disappointment Pierre had is that he thought he was going to have some left over for lunch. Sorry!

Gromper Pla

Cooking Demo @ Bay Ridge Farmers Market

Since October 5th we have a farmers market in Brooklyn Bay Ridge. It is held every Saturday from 8am-5pm  at the corner of Third Ave and 95th Street, in parking lot of the defunct Key Food. This location is temporary, a Walgreen pharmacy (another pharmacy?!) is schedule to open in the Spring 2009.

Merci à Marie Dudoy pour la photo!

So, yesterday at 8:30am I strolled down windy Third Avenue carrying a light folding table and pushing my red rolling cart filled with pans, plates, bowls, portable stove, knives and a few groceries that were not going to be available at the southernmost New York Greenmarket. I decided to make omelets because they are very versatile and I could filled them with most of any produce the market manager would like to promote. For the first course Stacey, the market director, and I gathered swiss chards, buffalo salami, buffalo cheese, garlic, scallions from the vendors and this collectage became:

The Bay Ridge Omelet
(for 2)

4 eggs
2 Tbsp of Milk
2 cups of Swiss Chards
10 slices of Buffalo Salami (or 4 slices of bacon)
1 small Garlic clove
1/4 cup of Buffalo Cheese (can be substitute for any cheese you like)
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Rince the chards and remove the toughest part of the stalk. Chop it small.
Meanwhile heat a skillet with 1 Tbsp of oil and sauté the salami or the bacon.
If you used bacon chances are that you have more fat in the pan that you begin with, that’s ok, just use it to cook the chards, if you use the buffalo salami (which is very lean) add enough oil or butter to have about 2 Tbsp of fat in the pan and then add your Swiss chards.
Add finely chopped Garlic clove and cook until chards are soft. Reserve them.

Warm a skillet (non stick is easier if you are a beginner) with 2 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp of Oil.
Meanwhile beat the eggs, milk, salt & pepper in a bowl with a fork (do not use a wisk) until foamy.
Add the cheese.

Pour into the very hot skillet (but don’t let the butter take color or burn). Move it around with a wooden spoon or much better by jerking the pan very quickly with a good wrist action. Once you have a very loose scramble egg consistency add your veggies in the middle. Move it around, flip it once, let it set, and flip it onto the plate.

My grand father use to say: “Before hiring a cook ask him (at that time there was no her in the kitchen!) to make an omelet”. He would not tolerate the use of any utensil once the egg mixture was poured into the pan; it had all to be done by wrist action. The omelet had to remain soft in the middle and just coagulated in the outside, never golden, always pale. Yes! a serious “tour de main” or know how is required! The picture of my omelet above is golden, it would approve of it, but that is the way like it!

For the second demo Suzan, who works with Glenn Vickelman of American Seafood, brought me a dozen of plum & shiny “dry packed” sea scallops. Scallops that are without any additives are called “dry packed” while scallops that are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) are called “wet packed”. I personally never eat “wet packed” scallops; I’m not a big fan of STP, I don’t eat stuff that also goes into cleaning product! Do you?

The Bay Ridge Scallop Tapas:
6 Fresh “dry packed” Scallops
Dice one small onion
Dice one red pepper very small
Dice some fresh tomatoes (yeaah, it is end of the season.)
Finely chopped garlic & fresh basil( that too!)

Heat some oil, with or w/o butter in a skillet.
Sauté onions until translucent, add red pepper. When they are soft add the tomatoes and let stew until most of the moisture is gone, add basil + garlic + salt & pepper, let is stew for a few more minutes.
Meanwhile toast slices of country or sourdough bread.

Heat another pan with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter. When medium hot place delicately your scallops in the pan and sear them for about 3 minutes or so per side -it will depend how thick they are. Do not overcook them.

Spread some of the veggies on the bread and place your scallops on top. You can cut the scallop an a half, if you have more people that scallops! garnish with a few of thin sliced scallions or chives.

I have purchased clams, muscles, scallops and haddock from Glenn Vickelman of American Seafood and so far it was all outstanding. A real pleasure to eat seafood again.

Bon, voilà for today! For a complete list of the Bay Ridge GreenMarket vendors click here and for a list of New York City GreenMarkets click here.

Quick Rognons d’Agneau à la Moutarde

Before I take off to Nesenkeag’s Annual Farm Day for a long week end, voilà a quick & easy recipe that I am very fond of: Mustard Sauce Lamb Kidneys .
The most important is to make sure you purchase very fresh kidneys. I buy them from the Aunt Halime’s Halal Meat on 3rd Avenue and Ovinton in Bay Ridge. To insure freshness kidneys have to be firm, with a rich and even color and no strong odor. It is recommended to use them the day of purchase. Lamb kidneys are single-lobed while veal kidneys are multi-lobed.

Recipe:
2 to 3 kidneys per person.
– 1 cup of diced shallots or of sweet onions.
– Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a skillet and sauté the shallots or onions until translucent.
– While the shallots cook remove the fat around the kidneys. Cut them in the middle, remove the white tougher part in the middle, and cut into four pieces.

rognons

-Add the kidneys to the pan and sauté on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Overcooked kidneys will get tough, they should be a little pink in the middle.

-Reserve kidneys in a covered shallow dish so they can stay warm and juices can be collected.

-Flambé the pan with an Armagnac/Cognac type brandy, that will loosen up the caramelized bottom.
-Add 3 heap soup spoons of Dijon Mustard into the pan, stir well.
-Pour 1/2 pint of heavy cream into the pan and bring it to boil. When cream starts thickening add the kidneys and the rendered juices.
-Add fresh ground pepper.
Attention : before adding any salt taste your sauce. Some mustards are already salty enough, others are not, you will have to make a decision about adding salt or not.
-Bring it back to a boil, then lower the flame and watch the consistency. The sauce needs to thickens until it coats the back of a wooden spoon evenly & smoothly.
-I served it with boiled new potatoes cut in half around the rognons. it can also be served with rice of fresh tagliatelles.
-On the picture you will notice that I have added some parsley and few pink peppercorn for garnish. This step is not indispensable.

Bon appetit et bon week-end!