12.27.2009

Daring Baker December Challenge

Gingerbread House

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.


Preparations

As I only wanted to build a small house, I prepared a half batch of the recipe given below, adding a bit more water to help it coming together. Keeping the dough in the fridge overnight really improved the aroma. I could smell cinnamon right after opening the fridge door. The dough was very firm and difficult to roll out, even after leaving him on the counter for half an hour to come to room temperature. The baked gingerbread tasted very nice. I used two beer mats as templates for the sides of the house and marked them off on the dough with a pizza wheel. The hobbit hole-like door was cut out with an apple corer. To build the house I mixed confectionars' sugar with just a little bit of water to glue the individual pieces together.


Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)

Source: The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

12.20.2009

Viennese Strie[s/z/tz]el

Viennese Striesel


In the hectic days leading up to Christmas the Bread Baking Babes gathered in the kitchen of Katie of Thyme for Cooking for some mulled wine and to bake Viennese Striesel (which can be spelled in a number of ways).

This bread has a nicely fluffy crumb and the mace (which I used for the first time) gives it an interesting flavour. Very suitable for Christmas season. It also had quite a bit of oven spring which resulted in lopsided braids. The actual braiding itself went smoothly after I looked up the technique in the Bread Baker's Apprentice.

I'm sending these to Susan's YeastSpotting.


Viennese Striesel

Source: Breads of Many Lands by Clara Gebhard Snyder

Basic Sweet Dough

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs shortening, melted (I used butter)
2 3/4 - 3 cups flour
1 egg

Dissolve yeast in warm water
Scald milk. Put milk, sugar, shortening, salt in bowl of mixer. Cool until just warm. Stir in 1 cup of flour. Mix in dissolved yeast.
Whisk egg and add to dough. Add remaining flour and knead until smooth and satiny.

Vennese Striesel

1 recipe Basic Sweet Dough
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1/4 cup candied cherries, chopped *
2 tbs candied orange peel, chopped **
1/8 tsp mace
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar *
1 tbs milk *
almonds or walnuts for sprinkling *

* Omitted.
** Used 100g candied orange peel.


Add fruit and mace to basic dough before the last cup of flour. Mix in well. Add remaining flour and finish kneading until smooth.
Shape into a ball, place in lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 1/4 hours.

Punch down. Divide into 9 pieces, shape each into a ball and let rest 5 minutes.

Roll each piece into a rope about 15" long. Lay 4 strands on a lightly greased baking sheet, overlapping at the center. Braid from the center toward each end. With the side of your hand make a trench down the center. Now braid 3 strands, also from the center to each end, and place in the 'trench'. Twist the 2 remaining strands loosely together and place on top, bringing the ends over the end of the loaf and tucking in.
Cover loosely and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Bake, 350F (175C) for 40 - 45 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Mix milk and sugar. When bread is cool, drizzle frosting over the top. Sprinkle with nuts.

12.18.2009

Marzipan Potatoes

Marzipan Potatoes

Sometimes, things which seem pretty difficult turn out to be quite simple. I had always assumed that marzipan is produced in an elaborate, technical process which cannot be reproduced at home. But in fact, making marzipan is dead easy. (It had to be since marzipan has been around since the Middle Ages with no food industry in sight.)
The main criterion for judging the quality of marzipan is the ratio of almond to sugar. It can range from 90 % almonds / 10 % sugar (highest quality) to 50% each (lowest quality). The former making sense from a production point of view (If you like your almonds so much, that you won't tolerate a bit of sugar, why not eat them straight as they are?), the latter being required by German food regulations.

To make the marzipan potatoes, proceed as described below, then make little marzipan spheres (first I tried to do this with two teaspoons, but just using your hands works best) and roll them in a saucer with some cocoa powder.
According to the source post, you can roll out the marzipan between two sheets of cling film and use it for drapping over a cake.

Marzipan Potatoes

Source: Marzipan - ganz einfach selbstgemacht by Barbaras Spielwiese

Ingredients:

200 g almonds
50 g confectioners' sugar
1-2 drops rose oil *

* Used one scant tablespoon of rosewater.

Method:

Blanche the almonds for 2-3 minutes. Drain and dry the almonds on a dishcloth. Peel the almonds by squeezing each between your thumb and index finger.

In a food processor or stand mixer, add the sugar and blitz briefly. Then add the almonds and blitz thoroughly. Add rose oil and blitz into a silky paste. *

* I made a full batch as described and the top half of the marzipan layer stayed a bit crumbly but would hold together after pressing together between my hands. Next time I will do it in two batches.

Variations:

- Instead of almonds, use walnuts or hazelnuts or a mixture from almonds and pistachios.
- Instead of confectioners' sugar, use honey.
- Instead of rose oil, use rose water or amaretto or vanilla oil or lavender oil. Or cardamon or cinnamon.

12.14.2009

Apple-Cinnamon Cake

Saturday Afternoon. Cake. Want. Now.

Apple-Cinnamon Cake
Tadahh. ;)

This recipe is very quick to prepare and yields a moist and tasty cake. It may look like the cake didn't rise very much, but that's only because I used a 30 cm cake pan and didn't bother to scale the recipe.

Apple-Cinnamon Cake

Source: Sophies Cakes by Sophie Dudemaine

For a 26 cm cake pan.

Ingredients:

3 eggs
170 g sugar *
150 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon
150 g semi-salted butter (max. 3% salt) **
1 Golden Delicious apple. ***

* Used 150 g sugar, as I used a quite sweet Fuji apple.
** Used unsalted butter.
*** Used one Fuji apple.

Method:

- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C for convection oven).
- Whisk eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add baking powder and sifted flower. Mix in cinnamon and melted butter.
- Peel the apple, grate into the dough and fold in.
- Transfer to a buttered and floured cake pan and bake for 40 minutes.

12.09.2009

Tiny Bread

Tiny Bread

Somehow, I'm not (yet?) in the mood for baking cookies this year. Instead I made a small batch of these tiny breads to nibble on. They are nice and tasty, and worth the time it takes to carefully crack the walnuts by hand. I didn't bother to butter the shells on the inside. Just take off the top of the bread first, then after cracking the shell, the individual shards can easily be peeled off. Instead of using a bed of salt, I put each shell in a small praline paper mold which worked kinda okay but not really as well as hoped for.

It's been a while since my last submission, so without further delay I'm sending these to Susan's YeastSpotting.

Tiny Bread

Source: Brotgeschichten aus Hohenlohe

Ingredients:

125 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash of sugar
5 g fresh yeast
0.1 l water
butter for greasing the shells
20 walnut shells
salt to put on sheet pan
finely ground walnuts/sesame seeds/poppy seeds for sprinkling

Method:

Mix salt and flour. Mix sugar, yeast and half the water. Add to the flour and knead until an elastic dough is reached. Let rest, knead again. Let rest. Knead again. Clean and butter the nut shells. Divide the dough in 20 portions, transfer each into a shell and let rest for about 20 minutes until the dough is starting to rise. Cover a sheet pan with salt and nestle the shells into the salt so they won't tip over. Brush the dough with water and add the sprinkles of your choice. Transfer the sheet pan to a preheated oven (220°C) and bake for about 15 minutes.

12.01.2009

Pasta with Brussel Sprouts and Feta

Pasta with Brussel Sprouts and Feta

There's not much time for blogging in the whirlwind of pre-Christmas activities. So here's just a quick seasonal, vegetarian dish which could easily be improved with a little bacon. All the measurements given below are only approximate. Feel free to adjust as needed. :)


Pasta with Brussel Sprouts and Feta

Source: Pasta meets Rosenkohl at Kochfrosch
Original Source: Brussel Sprouts with Feta and Pine Nuts at Anne's Food

Ingredients (for one generous portion)

125 g pasta
90 g feta
2 cups brussel sprouts
1 red onion
3 Tbsp pine nuts


Method

Trim away the woody end and the outer leaves pf the sprouts and cut in half. (Next time I will quarter those, for easier eating with a spoon.) Blanche for about five minutes in salt water. Drain and rinse under the tap. Roast the pine nuts in a dry pan until they take on some colour and set aside. Dice the feta, cut onion rings.

Set up the water for the pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan and fry the sprouts until they turn brown on their sides. Add the onion and continue to fry on low-medium heat. Just before you drain the pasta, add the feta and pine nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta into the pan and fold in.

11.23.2009

Book Review

I've written a review of Harmony on the Palate: Matching Simple Recipes to Everyday Wine Styles by Shari Darling. To read it, head over to The Daring Kitchen.

11.22.2009

Apple Turnover

Apple Turnover

I had some computer issues this week during which all my food pictures were lost. Fortunately, I can use the data on blogger as a back-up. Maybe there is something positive to be learned about cloud-based computing. :)
Instead of the eggs and potatoes in mustard sauce, which will have to wait until I make them again and take a new picture, here's just a quick method for apple turnovers I threw together this afternoon. Homemade puff pastry really has a much more rich and buttery taste than store-bought. Those turnovers could definitely use some egg wash, but I didn't want to scramble one large, free-range egg just for about two teaspoons of egg wash.

Apple Turnover

Ingredients & Method:

Source: Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan

Dice 2 medium apples (I used Fuji, which were quite sweet. No need to add sugar.) Toss with cinnamon and set aside. Using 1/3 of the puff pastry from the Daring Baker September Challenge, roll the dough into a rectangular shape and cut horizontally. (I'm being vague here on purpose. ;) ) Put half the apples on one side of each piece of dough and flip over the top half.
If you are like me and have been watching to many Gary Rhodes re-runs on late night television use a fork to create a pattern around the seam. Bake at about 180°C until nicely brown.

11.17.2009

Washoku Warriors - Sushi

Sushi


As with the macarons from the recent Daring Bakers Challenge, Sushi is the kind of recipe which was bound to come up at some stage of our combined effort of cooking through (most of) Washoku. Incidentally, the Daring Cooks are also experimenting with vinegared rice (and dragons ;) ) this month.

Sushi is a dish I feel confident about, having made them a number of times. However, the inside-out rolls (uramaki) turned out a bit messy and I still prefer the futomaki style.

(It's a bit like a banana. There's probably a good reason for the peel of a banana being on the outside and the flesh on the inside. And to really go off on a tangent, have you seen this video of how to Open a banana like a monkey ? It is SFW, but there are close-ups of boxer-shorts.)

I wanted to arrange the sushi in stacked rows (as in the photo) and then add a neat quarter-circle of soy sauce in the lower right corner, but uh.. reality is not bound to conform to our expectations. ;)

11.11.2009

Brown Butter Ice Cream

Brown Butter Ice Cream

This fall I've been to Alsace, again. Among other things, I brought home a pound of butter from Brittany which was used for this special ice cream, bookmarked since the day I bought Fat. It's a very rich, smooth ice cream tasting mainly of well... butter. The nutty element from browning didn't came out in the finished ice cream but it still was an interesting recipe to try. Next time I would definitely go with the salted caramel topping recommended in the book.


Brown Butter Ice Cream

Source: Fat by Jenifer McLagan

Ingredients:

1 cup / 250ml whole milk
1 cup / 250 ml whipping cream
1/2 cup / 100 g sugar
1/2 cup / 115 g unsalted butter, diced
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1/8 tsp fine sea salt

Method:

- Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and add about half the sugar. Place the pan over meium heat and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

- In another saucepan, place the butter over low heat. When the butter is melted, increase the heat to medium. Watch the butter carefully, using a spoon to push aside any foam to check the colour of the milk solids. When they turn brown and you smell a sweet, nutty aroma, remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice, and transfer the butter to a bowl to cool until it is no longer hot to the touch.

- In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks, the remaining sugar, and the salt until light in colour and thick. Whisk in the cooled browned butter, adding it slowly and whisking vigorously so that the mixture is emulsified. Once all the butter is incorporated, slowly whisk in the cream and milk mixture.

- Pour the mixture into a clean pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl and cool quickly by placing it in a larger bowl or sink filled with cold water and ice. Stir the mixture often. When it is cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, churn the mixture in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer's instructions.

11.05.2009

Sesame Spätzle

Sesame Spätzle

A little while ago, Rachael from La Fuji Mama posted about her Spätzle-making experiences and I developed a craving for this kind of pasta. By chance there was a recipe with a new twist in a current food magazine so I decided to go with that. The dish turned out quite yummy, but next time I would roast the sesame in a dry pan and add it with the parsley at the end. Also go easy on the garlic to avoid it dominating the overall taste.

I'm sending this to Ivonne's Magazine Mondays.

Sesame Spätzle

Source: essen & trinken Für jeden Tag 11/09

Ingredients:

150 g Spätzle
1 clove garlic
1 bunch parsley
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp sesame seeds

Method:

- Cook the Spätzle as per instructions on the package. Drain well.
- Mince garlic and parsley. (separately)
- Heat the butter in a pan, roast the garlic and sesame. Add the Spätzle and fry on medium heat
until golden brown. Fold in parsley prior to serving.

11.01.2009

Green Tea Chocolate-Almond Clusters

Green Tea Chocolate-Almond Clusters

I made these as a dessert to bring along to an informal "roll'n'eat" sushi party. The taste of green tea and white chocolate are a nice combination, even if the colour tended a bit in the sickly-green direction instead of the Emerald-Isle pasture green I was hoping for. The clusters were a success with everyone after a bit of convincing ("What do you mean there is tea in the chocolate?").

Green Tea Chocolate-Almond Clusters

Source: Washoku by Elisabeth Andoh

Ingredients:

- 3 ounces white chocolate
- 2 ounces sliced almonds
- 2 tsp matcha (green tea powder)

Method:

- Melt the cocolate on top of a water bath. When the chocolate has turned into a thin liquid, stir in the matcha. *
- Fold in the almonds. Form little mounts on a sheet of parchment paper and let cool. **

* The original recipe uses a separate bowl and a small amount of melted chocolate to first dissolve the matcha. In my experience this doesn't work, because the second bowl is cold and the chocolate becomes thick again without being able to take up much of the matcha.
** It is better to aim for small clusters here. From one batch I got about 10 clusters, maybe try to mangle about 13-15 clusters from that amount.

10.27.2009

Daring Baker October Challenge

Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
This time the Daring Bakers tried their hands on one of the pinnacles of backing, namely french macarons. It was one of those occasions where being a Daring Baker gives you the opportunity to try something you would never have thought of doing on your own. (well, "thought of" maybe yes, but "actually done" absolutely not ;) ) I made run-of-the-mill almond macarons filled with a chocolate ganache. Unfortunately, I didn't get any feet at all, but I still liked the crunchy, moist and chocolaty macarons. Thanks Ami for this great choice.

10.21.2009

One year.. ...older? ...wiser? ...well fed!

Apple Yoghurt Cake

One year ago I posted on this blog for the first time as a kind of practice run for my first Daring Bakers Challenge (Caramel cake. Oh, the (slightly over-hyped ;) ) horrors of making caramel at home and living to tell the tale.). So, after a whole year of bread baking, the odd scoop of ice cream, 10 Daring Bakers Challenges (I skipped once), joining the Washoku Warriors and quite a number of pasta recipes I thought I had deserved some cake. I made a apple yoghurt cake based on the recipe for apple and maple yoghurt cake by Chocolate&Zuchini, just substituting molasses for the maple syrup because mine had gone bad. It's a nicely moist cake,but next time I would also mix some apple slices into the dough.
Of course everyone reading or commenting on this blog deserves a piece of cake too. So, dig in. ;)

10.16.2009

World Bread Day 09

Baguette / French Bread


world bread day 2009 - yes we bake.(last day of sumbission october 17)Zorra from 1x umrühren bitte has invited all bread bakers and breadophiles out there to World Bread Day-Yes we bake. The fourth installment of its kind to celebrate the joy of bread in the food blogosphere.
Because some of my latest adventures in bread making were uhm.. interesting but not as tasty as I'd hoped, I decided to go back to the classics and made a French bread following the recipe given in The Bread Bakers Apprentice. (a detailed walkthrough of the recipe can be found at apple pie, patis & paté)
The recipe was easy to follow and it resulted in great (well, for my standards) bread. It's just a pitty it doesn't keep very well, or rather at all but gets stale very quickly. And I need to get a new blade for the carpet cutter which I used for slashing the loaves. ;)


10.14.2009

Washoku Warriors - Vinegar

Tangy Seared Chicken

In their latest attempt at mastering Japanese cooking, the Washoku Warriors turned to vinegar as a key ingredient. No need to get your sushi matts out of the closet, yet. Sushi will get its own challenge sooner or later. The main dish was a tangy, seared chicken which is braised in rice vinegar, sugar and sake with some soy sauce added at the end. Not bad, but leeks (which were optional here) with soy sauce and rice are a frequent dish during winter in my kitchen.
Next there was an assortment of different sauces, relishes and the pickled red and white radishes on the picture below to choose from. The radishes are red on the outside and white on the inside at the start, but the red colour will leech into the vinegar and the whole radishes as time progresses.
I remember my grandparents having buttered bread with salted radishes and cucumbers as dinner during summer, so this was a new twist on an old favourite.

Red & White Radishes

10.11.2009

Past‘ e Patate

Past‘ e Patate
(Pasta and Potatoes)


It's been a bit quiet here this week, but that's only because I've been cooking for blog events due later this month. I wanted to publish this post some days ago, but then Photoshop let me know in no uncertain, non-verbial terms that it doesn't like me anymore and I had to fool around with some other programs for brushing up pictures.

The recipe for pasta with potatoes comes from the highly eloquent blog Anonyme Köche (Anonymous Cooks) by Claudio del Principe, which has recently been turned into a book. As has been noted in the comments of the original post, this dish is "Brutally good." And brutally simple to make.

Past‘ e Patate

Source: Past‘ e Patate by Anonyme Köche

Ingredients:

3 cloves garlic
slice of celery
4 medium potatoes, diced (1.5 cm per side)
100 g diced tomatoes
250 g dried pasta (Gnocchi shape, if possible)
olive oil
nutmeg, salt, pepper to taste

Method:

Heat some olive oil in a pan on medium heat, add the garlic and celery. Add the potatoes and fry briefly. Add the tomatoes and freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Cover everything with water and simmer for an hour on low heat with the lid on. Simmer for a further quarter of an hour without the lid, stirring gently.
Boil the pasta until al dente and drain well. Stir in the pasta and let stand for one minute, so the pasta can soak up the sauce. Serve wih some freshly grated parmesan.

10.05.2009

Chinese Flower Steam Buns

Xiang Cong Hya Juan Bao (Chinese flower steam buns)


At the end of summer, the Bread Baking Babes have turned to far-away asia for this month's recipe. Baking Soda of Bake My Day! figured that the Babes have mastered the art of baking so well, they can now turn to baking without actually baking (a bit like in that koan about the sound of one hand clapping).

The recipe for this month are Chinese flower steam buns. They are easy to make, if a bit time consuming and they provided the perfect excuse to buy one of those (inexpensive) bamboo steaming containers at the Asian food store. The buns are very tasty and their appeal as streed food becomes immediately apparent. The one thing I couldn't do were the double knots because when I made a noose and tried to pull it tight, the strands of dough would not slide along another but tend to stick to each other. So I made just single knots and tucked the ends under to pretend the other knot was hidden underneath.

I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.

Xiang Cong Hya Juan Bao
(Chinese flower steam buns)


Source: Global Baker by Dean Brettschneider

makes 10 buns

"Everywhere you go in China you see people eating steam buns, also known as mantong. Typically Chinese, a sweet bread is combined with a savoury filling, such as red bean paste and barbecued pork, but take care and avoid using too much filling or the bun will fall apart during the rising and steaming stage. The baking powder helps to open up the texture and gives a little tenderness to the eating quality of the buns. If you can, use imported Chinese flour from a specialist Asian food market or store".

Dough
300 g chinese flour (use low gluten flour such as cake flour)
15 g sugar
15 g butter
good pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
150 ml chilled water, placed in the refrigerator overnight

Filling
rice bran oil, for brushing on dough
40 g finely chopped spring onions or chives
25 g finely chopped red chillies
salt to taste

To make the dough, place all the ingredienst into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, combine to form a very, very firm dough mass. Dont'be tempted to add any water or the steam buns will be flat after steaming.

Place the dough on a work surface and, using your rolling pin, roll out to a thin strip, fold this in half and roll again. Repeat this 10-15 times with a 30 second rest in between each time. This is a way of mixing a very firm dough, the dough will start to become smooth and elastic as a result of the rolling process.
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warmish place (23-25C) for 15 minutes. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 25cm square.
Brush the dough surface lightly with oil and sprinkle the chopped chives and chillies evenly over the dough. Season with salt.
Fold the dough in half and then cut into 2.5cm strips so that you end up with 10 folded strips. Stretch each strip and, starting at the folding edge, twist the two pieces of each strip over each other to form a rope.
Take the twisted rope and tie into a double knot, tucking the loose ends underneath. Place each bun with ends facing down on a 5cm square of non-stick baking paper and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Prove for approximately 30-45 minutes in a warm place.

Bring a wok or saucepan of water to the boil with a bamboo steamer sitting on top. Remove the bamboo steamer lid and place the buns on the paper in the steamer 3-4 cm apart to allow for expansion during steaming. Replace the steamer lid and steam for 20 minutes. Repeat until all the buns have been steamed and are firm to the touch.

10.03.2009

Tai Bai Chicken

Tai Bai Chicken

Another recipe from the bookmarked-for-ages pile. I've read Fuchsia Dunlop's food memoire during last year's Christmas break. Tai bai chicken is mentioned several times in the book and now I finally got around to try making it myself. I didn't bother to divide the scallions in white and green but just added them at the beginning. This recipe is well suited for the colder months because it fills the kitchen with the savoury aroma of soy sauce during the reduction step. The meat was succulent and overall this recipe is surely a keeper.

Tai Bai Chicken - Tai Bai Ji

Source: Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop

Ingredients:

about 1 pound chicken leg or thigh meat, on or off the bone
1/2 cup peanut oil
a small handful of dried red chiles, preferably Sichuanese, snipped in half (seeds discarded)
4 Sichuanese pickled chiles, cut into 2 1/2-inch sections or
6 Thai pickled chiles with 1 tsp pickled chili paste
5 scallions cut into 2 1/2-inch sections, white and green parts separated
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or medium-dry sherry
1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
1 1/4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 pinches ground white pepper to taste
1-2 tsp sesame oil

Method:

- Chop the chicken into 1 1/2-inch chunks (2-inch chunks if cutting on the bone). Season the wok,then add 1/2 cup of oiland heat over a high flame until just smoking. Add half the chicken and stir-fry for one minute, until it is white but not crisp or cooked through. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

- Drain off all but about 3 Tbsp of oil. Return the wok to medium heat, and when the oil is hot but not smoking add the dried chiles and stir-fry until you can smell their fragrance, taking care not to let them burn. Then add the pickled chiles and paste (if using) and stir-fry untilthe oil is reddish and they smell good too. Add the scallion whites and stir-fry for another 10-20 seconds until you can smell their fragrance. (All this frying should be done over medium heat so the spices don't burn.)

- Add the stock and the chicken and season with the Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, Sichuan pepper, sugar, salt and white pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer over gentle heat for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. As the stock dries out, remove the dried chiles and scallions with a pair of chopsticks and discard them.

- When the stock has almost all evaporated, leaving just the spicy oil, add the scallion greens and stir-fry for another 30 seconds or so, until they are just cooked. Remove the wok from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and spoon onto a serving dish.

9.30.2009

Pasta with Walnut Sauce

Pasta with Walnut Sauce

Finally fresh walnuts have arrived at the green market. I got me a small bag full and went home to try this (long since bookmarked) recipe. The walnut sauce was yummy if a bit filling. Next time I would leave out the garlic as it quite dominated the flavour. I strongly recommend using a food processor. As I don't have one, I did the grinding by hand in a mortar. This takes some time and doesn't yield a uniform grain size.

Pasta with Walnut Sauce

Source: Outstanding In The Field by Jim Denevan

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh shelled walnuts (from about 7 ounces in the shell)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups cubed crustless fresh bread (2 ounces)
about 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 clove garlic, pounded with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle (optional)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried pasta, such as spaghetti or penne
parmesan cheese

Method:

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the walnuts. Cook for about 30 seconds, until the skins start to loosen. Drain and pick off as much skin as possible with your fingers, tweezers or a pin. (This can be done one day in advance.)
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, pour the milk over the bread and set aside. Transfer the walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the soaked bread and the milk and continue processing. Add the stock until the mixture loosens and looks like a thin hummus. (You may not need to add all of the stock.) Slowly add 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a steady stream. Bledn in the nutmeg, the garlic,if using and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the pasta, drain, thereby reserving some of the cooking water. In a large bowl, toss pasta with sauce and add cooking water as necessary. Serve immediately.

9.27.2009

Daring Baker September Challenge

Vol-au-vent

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

The challenge involved making your own puff pastry, use it to make tartelets and come up with a filling of your choice. The laminated dough was easy to make and turn. All it needs is some time to chill.
This month I tried to be clever and made the challenge early. As I didn't have round cookie cutters, I tried to build a rectangular vol-au-vent. Unfortunately, during baking the sides didn't stay in place and it ended with a "log cabin built by city slickers" look. But hey, no sweat. There's still lots of time to go and get some round cutters and make some cut-with-a-compass vol-au-vent, right? Or so I thought. As the month wore on, I managed to get some round cutters but in the end I didn't get around to give the challenge another go. There are still 2/3 of the puff pastry batch sitting in the freezer and with apple season getting into gear, that's a great prospect. ;)

For the filling I fried some shallots and mushrooms, finished off with cream, the remains of the egg wash and some salt and pepper.



A collection of sky-high puff pastry creations can be found at the Daring Bakers Blogroll.

9.23.2009

Wakame (Seaweed) Bread

Wakame Bread

As there is no BreadBakingDay this month and it's still some time until the Bread Baking Babes will announce their next Buddy invitation, I leafed through some bread recipes to try something new on the weekend. After some head-scratching I chose a seaweed bread, which according to Bertinet is made with some local seaweed in Brittany in northern France. He also suggests to substitute the fresh seaweed with wakame. Dried wakame is quite easily available in most asian food stores.
Preparing and baking this bread worked like a charm. It came out of the oven smelling lovely, sounding hollow and looking good. Expectations began to rise. Because I had prepared something from my must-try-this list for supper, I just left the bread to cool and took some slices to work the next day for coffee break. And here's the catch, after taking two or three bites (and one or two increasingly smaller bites for confirmation) I really didn't like the taste of the bread. Somehow the (for want of a better word) salty/sea/fish taste of the wakame does not go well with bread, but maybe that's just me. :) Can't really say why, as I've had wakame before, if only in the complementary miso soup in sushi restaurants.
The bread itself has a nice crust and rustic-looking middle- to big-sized pores. I can imagine this would taste great after substituting the wakame with some flat-leaf parsley and then eaten with some white cheese and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.



Wakame (Seaweed) Bread

Source: Dough by Richard Bertinet

Ingredients:

250 g wheat flour (type 550)
250 g wholemeal wheat flour
10 g fresh yeast
10 g salt
340 g water
10 g dried wakame (seaweed), yields about 50 g after soaking

Method:

Soak the wakame according to package instructions. Preheat oven to 250 °C.
Mix the two flours and crumble in the yeast. Add the salt and water, knead till the dough comes together. Add the wakame and knead briefly until they are evenly distributed. Pat the dough into a ball, place into a lightly floured bowl, cover and leave for about 1 hour.

Transfer dough to your work surface, deflate and again form a ball. Return dough to bowl for another 45 minutes.

Transfer dough to your work surface and form a loaf. Place loaf on a heavily floured kitchen towel, seam-side up, and let rise for 1 hour.

Turn the loaf onto a baking paddle (seam-side down). Using a sharp knife, cut the loaf alternatingly three times diagonally from the middle to the left and three times from the middle to the right, forming a leaf-like pattern. Sprinkle the oven with water and place loaf on a hot baking stone or baking tray.Bake for 45 minutes until nicely brown. The bread should sound hollow, when knocked on from below. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

9.22.2009

Vanilla-Black Pepper Ice Cream

Vanilla-Black Pepper Ice Cream

Sometime ago, I read a post about black pepper ice cream at the sassy radish, which reminded me that I'd earmarked a similar recipe in A Homemade Life. This yields a nice variation of the classic of classics ice cream. When adding the pepper to taste, aim at overdoing it as the pepper taste gets less pronounced after chilling.



Vanilla-Black Pepper Ice Cream

Source: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract *
1 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper, or more to taste

* Substituted with a vanilla bean. The bean gets scraped and is infused in the milk until churning.

Method:

In a heavy medium saupepan, combine the milk, 1 cup of cream, sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and steaming; it should be just barely too hot to touch. Do not boil.
Meanwhile, pour the remaining cream into a large bowl. Set a mesh strainer across the top. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Prepare an ice bath, using a bowl which can accommodate the one with the yolks. When the milk mixture is hot, remove it from the heat. Let it sit for about 30 seconds, then gradually, slowly pour about half of it into the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk mixture.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan slowly and constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens slightly, just enough to very lightly coat the spatula. If you draw a line up the spatula with the tip of your finger, the custard on either side should not run back together. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer, and stir well to combine with the cream. Place the bowl carefully in the ice bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Chill custard completely, preferrably overnight. Before churning, add the vanilla and the pepper. Adjust the amount of pepper to taste. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to the freezer for about 2 hours for final firming up.

9.16.2009

Washoku Warriors - Miso Month

Fall Fruits With Flavored Miso Sauce


This month's Challenge for the Washoku Warriors consisted of an array of miso-based sauces to choose from, an optional fish dish and finally some desserts (again, as a choice) featuring summery or autumnal fruits.
I went for citrusy miso (replacing yuzu with lemon) and pungent red miso sauce. (The citrusy miso is the light part ying/yang sign blotch in the picture above, the red miso the dark part ying/yang sign blotch.)
Both miso sauces are very easy to prepare. They are arranged with thinly sliced apples and plums as a fall fruit dessert. I liked the lemon/apple combination, while the plum and red miso sauce turned out a bit too salty. Probably I didn't let it cool down enough before adjusting the taste.

I skipped the fish (miso-marinated broiled fish) for the time being but plan on making it some time in the coming weeks. Fresh fish is not easy to get here. There is a fishmonger in a town nearby but this requires a special trip on Saturday morning.

Another dessert (which I didn't make) of this month was poached peaches in lemon-ginger miso sauce. To prepare this you need an otoshi-buta (dropped lid), which is a lid slightly smaller than the diameter of your pot thus resting directly on the food. I hadn't heard about this before and thought it would be a fancy Japanese technique. So I was very surprised when I saw a food programme where a chef made a braised rabbit dish, covering it with a disk of heavy aluminium foil fitting just inside the pot. He went on to explain that this is a classic French cooking method called a cartouche. Great things get invented multiple times. :)

Finally, Rachel proposed a little extra challenge and asked us to get creative with our pictures.
A little while ago, Marc from no recipes posted an interview with chef Nishihara of Kajitsu restaurant in New York. When asked about advice for understanding Japanese cooking, chef Nishihara summed it up with: "If adding doesn’t work, take away.". To keep with that spirit, I produced a black/white version.
Update: Rachel posted a poll to determine the most creative entry. Please head over and choose your favourite. :)

9.13.2009

No recipe

Sorry, no recipe post today. Just some pictures from an artisanal farmers market and a walk in the park.





9.08.2009

Brown Bread Ice Cream

Brown Bread Ice Cream


The Russian bread from the last post uses some old bread in the dough so you could always go on from dough to bread to dough to bread and so on. Or you could add one more link to this little food chain and go from dough to bread to ..(wait for it).. ice cream.
This is basically vanila ice cream with some caramelized croutons. The croutons which were rock hard at first will soften up after a short time. Even if some should be burned, the bitterness will go well together with the sweet vanilla. Fennel and caraway added an adventurous element to the taste of the ice cream. Not unpleasant, but next time "normal" wholemeal bread will do.


Brown Bread Ice Cream

Source: Bread (River Cottage Handbook No.3) by Daniel Stevens

Ingredients:

Makes about 600 ml

100 g fresh or one- or two-day-old wholemeal bread
100g soft light brown sugar or demerara
250 ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod
6 medium free-range eggs
125 g caster sugar
250 ml double cream

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Tear the bread into smallish pieces, toss with brown sugar and scatter on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or so, until quite dark and caramelised. Leave to cool on the tray. *

Meanwhile, pour the milk in a heavy-based pot. Split the vanilla bean lengthways, scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon and add them to the milk together with the empty pod. Slowly bring just to the boil.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, briefly whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar, then slowly pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Tip in the vanilla pod too. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and set over a low heat. Stir constantlywith a wooden spoon o silicone spatula for about 5 minutes until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon; do not let it overheat or it may curdle.

As soon as it is ready, pour the custard into a cold bowl, cover with cling film to prevent a skin forming, and leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes.

Remove the vanilla pod, stir in the cream and churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is thickened and almost ready but still a little soft, crumble in the toasted bread and churn until frozen. **

* I put the bread into a pyrex casserole for more convenient cleaning. Maybe stir the bread crumbs once or twice to avoid burning the top layer. Also, if you're an adept from the David Lebovitz dojo of ice cream making, and prefer to chill your custard overnight, this whole step can wait until the second day.

** When I tried this, the caramelized bread cubes jammed the paddle of my ice cream maker.
I'd suggest you either fold in the cubes just before putting the ice cream in the freezer for final firming up, or blitz the cubes in a stand mixer to create caramel bread crumbs.

9.06.2009

Russian Black Bread

Russian Black Bread

This month the Bread Baking Babes are meeting in Görels' kitchen. She has combined two recipes to create a Russian bread with a rustic feel and flavour, which will (luckily) leave you on your own if you need to drive a nail into the wall.
The fun starts with setting up the soaker on the evening before baking. The combination of caraway, fennel and shallots smells so delicious, you will want to tuck in right away. (I must remember to use caraway and fennel in some soups this autumn.) The bread itself is a real winner and can be eaten just as is.

I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.


Russian Black Bread

Ingredients:

Sourdough

300 g (10.6 oz) medium rye flour
350 ml (1.5 cup) water
2 Tbsp active sourdough culture*

Soaker

100 g (3.5 oz) old bread, toasted
15 g (0.5 oz) coffee, ground
25 g (0.9 oz) vegetable oil
60 ml (1/4 cup) molasses
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp minced shallots
400 ml (1-2/3 cup) Water, hot

Final Dough

300 g (10.6 oz) medium rye flour
400 g (14.1 oz) high gluten bread flour
20 g (appr. 1 Tbsp) salt

Yeast:
Fresh: 15 g (0.5 oz) or
Instant dry: 1.5 tsp
Soaker: All of the above
Sourdough: All of the above

* If you don’t have any active starter at hand, you can cheat by using a small amount (say 5 g fresh or 0.5 tsp instant dry yeast) instead.

Method:

Sourdough

Mix the ingredients to the sourdough, cover the container with plastic and leave for 12–14 hours at room temperature.

Soaker

Toast the old bread in a toaster or in the oven. The bread should be browned, but absolutely not blackened. Dice the bread or just tear it in pieces and put it in a bowl. Add the rest of the soaker ingredients except the water. Heat the water to near boiling and pour over the soaker ingredients. Cover and leave for the same duration as the sourdough.

Final dough

Mix the two flours in a separate bowl.
If using fresh yeast: Take a small amount of the soaker liquid and dissolve the yeast in it. Add the yeast mixture OR the instant dry yeast, soaker, sourdough and salt to a mixing bowl.
Add half of the flour mixture and work the dough by hand or in machine. Continue to add about 100 ml or ½ cup of the flour mixture at a time and work until the flour is completely absorbed before you add the next round. The dough shall be firm but still quite sticky. You might not use all the flour, or you might need to add more flour, all depending on the flour used.
Place the dough in an oiled container, cover with plastic and leave for 2–3 hours or until doubled in size.

Shaping and proofing

Drizzle some rye flour on the table top and place the dough on top. If the dough is very sticky, pour just enough rye flour on top of it to make it possible to handle.

Divide the dough in two and shape the parts into oblong loaves. (I placed them on parchment paper to make it possible to just slide the loaves into the oven.) Stretch the surface using both hands to get a tight loaf. Use more rye if the dough is too sticky to handle.

Cover with a tea towel and leave for 60 minutes. Don’t over-proof! (Fire up the oven after 30 minutes to have it ready.)

Baking

Place an empty metal container in the bottom of the oven. Put in your baking stone or an empty baking sheet. Heat the oven to 225 °C/435 °F. Put 3–4 ice cubes in the metal container. Move the loaves to the hot stone or sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Open the oven door to vent out some moist. At the same time, lower the temp. to 200 °C/400 °F. Bake another 30-40 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped underneath, or when the inner temperature has reached appr. 97 °C/207 °F. Place on a wire rack to cool.

9.03.2009

Swabian Apple Cake

Swabian Apple Cake
(slightly blurry, because taken with 1/10 s exposure
before my first cup of coffee in the morning)

Today just a quick 'n' easy apple cake, which I brought to the office earlier this week. The cake turned out nicely fluffy and not overly sweet. Nobody seemed to mind that I accidentally tripled the amount of rum (think ketchup bottle accident). ;)

The source of this recipe "
Ich helf dir kochen" by Hedwig Maria Stuber is one of two cookbooks (the other being "Dr. Oetker Schulkochbuch") which enjoy a wide circulation in Germany. They contain the full spectrum of no-frills everyday dishes from clear chicken soup to roasts, veggies, desserts, cakes and christmas cookies. As my mother learned to cook under the tutelage of Dr. Oetker, of course I had to buy the other one. :)


Swabian Apple Cake

Source: Ich helf dir kochen by Hedwig Maria Stuber

Ingredients:

Doug:

125 g soft butter
125 g sugar
3 eggs
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp rum (optional)
150 g flour
50 g cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
couple of Tbsp milk

Topping:

750 g tart apples
30 g almond slivers *
3 Tbsp apricot jam **

* I used some grated coconut.
** Omitted.

Method:

Grease and flour a 26 cm springform pan. Preheat oven to 190°C.

Whisk the butter with sugar and eggs until foamy. Add salt and rum if using. Sieve together flour, cornstarch and baking powder and mix in with a wooden spoon. Add enough milk so that the dough will easily fall from the spoon. Transfer dough to springform and smooth out.

Peel and core the apples, then cut in half. Slice the outer side of each half several times and place onto the dough. When finished, sprinkle with the almonds. Bake for about 45 minutes. Let cool and remove springform rim. Warm the almond jam, pass it through a sieve and brush onto the cake.

8.30.2009

Daring Baker (very late) August Challenge

Dobos Torte

The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

I didn't learn from my mistakes in the June Challenge and was again bowled over by the posting date. Maybe as a food blogger, one has to get used to the fact that the summer months are rather short in terms of getting things posted. As I started this blog late in autumn, I will plead newbie bonus one last time. ;)

The Dobos Torte was pretty easy to make (but impossible to make look pretty). I made a third of the dough and spread it on parchment paper. Then used a water glass to cut out six layers. With a quarter of the buttercream I managed to kludge-up a mini torte. (sorry for not making the caramel) Tastewise I found the Dobos to be a bit so-so. Chocolat, a bit of sweet vanilla from the sponges and that's about it. Okay, yes. Wow, no.



Yes, I need to work on my cake decoration skills. :)

Thank You Angela and Lorraine for hosting this month's Challenge. Enjoy the spectacular results of my fellow Daring Bakers at the Daring Bakers Blogroll.

8.29.2009

Chanterelle Carbonara

Chanterelle Carbonara

Mushrooms are getting into season and this seemed like an interesting variation of a classic. The chanterelle and the bacon go together very well, neither being too dominant. I was a bit sceptical about the use of cream in a carbonara, but as this recipe was from "essen & trinken", the grande dame of German food magazines just went ahead with it. Unfortunately, the cream made the pasta a bit gloppy. Next time I will know better. ;)

Spaghetti with chanterelle carbonara

Source: essen & trinken 8/09

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 onion
50 g bacon or pancetta
1/2 bunch parsley
200 g chanterelle
150 ml cream
2 eggs
salt, pepper
20 g grated parmesan
200 g spaghetti
3 Tbsp oil
8 basil leaves *

* Omitted.

Method:

- Dice onion and bacon. Mince parsley. Briefly rinse the chanterelle in a bowl of water. Drain in a colander and put on a kitchen paper towel to dry. Whisk together cream, eggs, pepper, parmesan and parsley.

- Cook the pasta according to instructions on the box.

- Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the chanterelle on high heat. Add onion and bacon, continue to fry. Add salt and pepper to taste.

- Drain the pasta while retaining 50 ml of the pasta water. In the pasta pot bring together pasta, chanterelle and egg mixture and mix well. Heat gently until the eggs just start to set. Serve with black pepper and basil leaves on top.

8.27.2009

Cold Tomato Sauce

Cold Tomato Sauce

While the heat of summer is still on and ripe tomatoes are available everywhere I tried this recipe for a cold tomato sauce. It requires almost zero work and makes for a refreshing, summery dish, a bit like a warm potato salad.


Cold Tomato Sauce

Source: Kalte Tomatensauce by Anikó from Paprika meets Kardamon

Original Source: Essen & Trinken Für jeden Tag – 365 Rezepte Täglich köstlich kochen, S. 300

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

400 g pasta (preferably spaghetti)
500 g ripe tomatoes
1 red onion
8 Tbsp olive oil *
2 Tbsp ajvar
salt, pepper
1 bunch basil
parmesan cheese

* For me, 4 Tbsp are plenty.

Method:

While you cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package:

Wash and quite literally grate the tomatoes into a bowl using the most coarse side of a box grater. (This is really as easy as it sounds. Hold the tomato with the top side (where it attaches to the vine) facing your fingers. The skin of the tomato will protect your fingers from the grater. There's a picture of the final state of the onion tomato at the link given above.)

Dice the onion and mix onion, olive oil and ajvar into the tomato "puree". Season with salt and pepper. Mince the basil and mix into the sauce.

Drain pasta and toss with the sauce to combine. Sprinkle with some parmesan.

8.22.2009

Chili Pasta

Chili Pasta

Another variation on the classic pasta-veggs-chicken theme featuring zuchini "noodles". Easy, spicy, yummy. :) Probably one could leave out the meat to vegetaranize this dish.

I'm sending this to Magazine Mondays, which are hosted by Wandering Coyote from ReTorte while Ivonne is on holiday.


Chili Pasta

Source: lecker September 2009

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2-3 small red chilis
500 g ripe tomatoes
400 g chicken breast
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp tomato paste
400 g spaghetti
1 zuchini (300 g)
salt, pepper, sugar

Method:

Peel and dice onion and garlic. Deseed chilis and cut into fine strips. Wash and dice tomatoes. Set up the pasta water on the stove.

Wash the meat, pat dry and cut into rough chunks. Heat the oil in a casserole pan. Fry the meat on medium heat on all sides for about 3-4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add onion, garlic and chili to the meat. Fry briefly. Add tomato paste and let simmer on low heat.

Boil the pasta as indicated on the package. Stir occasionally.

Wash the zuchini. Using a peeler or a sharp knife, cut into thin, long slices.

Add the zuchini to the pan. Let cook for 3-4 minutes on a gentle heat. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce and toss to combine.

8.20.2009

Plum cake (with streusel)

Plum-Streusel-Cake

Summer is still in full swing but the appearance of plums at the green market shows that autumn is not that far away. This little cake is very versatile and can be used for all kinds of stone fruit early or late in the year. The dough can cope with juice given off by the fruits without being dry in areas where there is none. The streusel are very buttery in taste, not overwhelmingly so but still quite pronounced. Next time I will just sprinkle some sliced almonds on the cake before baking.


Plum-Streusel-Cake

Source: Aprikosen-Streusel-Kuchen by Kochfrosch

Original Source: essen & trinken 6/83

Serves 20.

Ingredients:

Streusel:

125 g butter
120 g almonds, sliced
125 g flour
200 g sugar
2 sachets vanilla sugar

Cake:

250 g butter, plus some extra for buttering the sheet pan
2 kg plums (or some other stone fruit of your choice)
250 g sugar
dash of salt
5 eggs
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp apricot schnaps (or something along this line) *
500 g flour

* Omitted.

Method:

To prepare the streusel, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the almonds and roast until golden brown. Add the flour, stir but let not brown any further. Let cool slightly, transfer mixture to a bowl and add sugar and vanilla sugar. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix to form streusel and set aside.

Butter a half-sheet pan. Cut the plums into quarters and remove the seeds.

Whisk butter until foamy. Add sugar, salt and the eggs one at a time. Continue mixing until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon zest, the schnaps and the flour. Spread the dough onto the sheet pan. Closely stack the plums onto the dough. Spread the streusel on top. Put into a cold oven, set it to 170°C and bake for 50 minutes. Then transfer the sheet pan to the top rack and bake at 220°C for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve with whipped cream.

8.17.2009

Greek-style pasta stir-fry

Greek-style pasta stir-fry

That is not the most sexy food picture above but it's a very tasty dish and for me comes close the often cited "soul food". When tomatoes are in season I don't mind having this several times a week. (The number of times is inversely proportional to the looming end of tomato season. ;) )Even though it was originally made with whatever was at hand, this is a very ingredient-driven dish. Or it can be, if you want it to. It really pays to get some feta made from sheeps milk instead of bland "greek cheese" made from cows milk. For best results neither garlic nor chili should be considered optional. As a special treat I like to double the amount of feta.


Greek-style pasta stir-fry

Source: Nudelpfanne griechische Art by Petra Holzapfel from Chili und Ciabatta

Serves 2

Ingredients:

200 -250 g pasta
2 onions
200 - 250 g cherry tomatoes *
2 garlic cloves, minced
100 - 125 g sheep cheese/feta
2 green jalapeno peppers or chilis, chopped (choose mild or hot peppers as you like)
oil for frying
salt, pepper, basil

* Normal tomatoes will also do.

Method:

(I've adapted the preparation steps somewhat as compared to the original recipe.)

Peel and dice the onions. Blanche and skin the tomatoes. (I do this by cutting a cross into the bottom of each tomato, putting them in a salad bowl and just covering them with boiling water from the electric kettle. Let stand for 30 seconds, drain and the skin will come off easily.)
When using cherry tomatoes, cut them in half. When using normal tomatoes additionally cut them in about 1/2 inch half-circle slices.

Deseed and julienne the peppers.

Cook the pasta until they are about three minutes underdone. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and pepper, after 30 seconds add the pasta. Toss to cover the pasta with the fragrant oil.

Add the tomatoes and the cheese. The pasta will finish cooking in the liquid given of by the tomatoes. Stir regularly until the cheese has melted. Salt and pepper to taste. As an option add some julienned basil.