January 2004

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For my birthday dinner dessert, Max made his speciality - a melt in your mouth mousse au chocolat. Unlike many other mousse recipes, this one contains no cream, and no added sugar. It's just bittersweet chocolate, eggs, and a little butter. Of course, it uses a very Swiss ingredient, chocolate.

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I had been eyeing an interesting looking recipe in the weekly paper / advertising rag from Coop, one of the two big supermarket chains in Switzerland, for several days. The recipe was for a lentil loaf, with potatoes, leek, dried mushrooms, cheese and cream, held together with eggs. Since I have been on a sort of sort of lentil kick recently, it was something I really wanted to try.

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It hasn't been a good cooking week for me, since I've been very busy. Saturday is my birthday though, and we have been wondering whether or not to go out for dinner, or to cook something (well, for Max to cook something) at home.

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omelette.jpg

Sometimes making a particular dish takes a long time, involving several steps, but if you follow the directions carefully enough it's fairly easy. On the other hand there are things that only take a few minutes to prepare, but may take years to really get right.

One such item is a classic plain omelette.

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We are a little past the peak of the mushroom season now, but it's still quite possible to get a whole variety of fresh cultivated and wild mushrooms. And what better way to have them than in a simple soup, that really brings out their flavor?

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window of a boulanger (bakery) in Beaune, France
The window of a boulanger (bakery) in Beaune, France

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I have to admit, that a lot of the baking I do is quite time consuming - such as the desem bread. For me, baking bread is sort of a hobby, not something I just do for the sake of making bread, but it's not practical to bake things that require long kneading and hours of rising time frequently. But not all bread doughs like that. This dough, which can be used for pizza, foccaciaa, calzone, and the like, is very simple to make, especially if you have a food processor.

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tomato sauce

I've been posting some of the basic building blocks of Japanese cooking, and I thought I would add some other basics too. While I like to experiment with a new recipes sometimes, for everyday cooking this isn't too practical. So I rely on a few basic recipes that I have more or less memorized, and vary them to produce different results.

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