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.

8.12.2009

Washoku Warriors

Cooked white rice (yeah, the thrill ;) ) and browned onions


The Washoku Warriors are a group of food bloggers who cook their way through the beautiful Washoku by Elisabeth Andoh. Rachael from La Fuji Mama , who is the mastermind behind this project, will select 1-2 recipes per month and all Warriors will send her a write-up about their experiences.
Last month's challenge (number 2 since the founding of the group) comprised Cooked White Rice (Gohan), Green Soybeans Served in the Pod (Edamame) and Pork and Wakame Dumplings (Wafu Gyoza).

As I joined just this week Rachael extended the option of just cooking one or two elements of the challenge. So I went for rice and edamame but the latter turned out to be impossible to find (but I found a small asian food store a short distance from where I live in the process :) ). In the spirit of using fresh, in-season ingredients I substituted them with some browned young onions (inspired by this post by Mark Bittman). This made for a tasty, if somewhat frugal dish. The rice had a bit to much of a bite but I guess as this project progresses, there will be plenty of opportunity to hone my rice cooking skills. I'm looking forward to the next challenge.

8.10.2009

Apricot Muffins

Apricot Muffins

I'm back from a second, unscheduled business trip last week. With the laundry done and the fridge rebooted I finally get around to write a new post. This recipe has been sitting in my bookmark file for the better part of 9 months, biding its time 'til apricot sesaon would come around again.
The muffins turned out nicely moist and fluffy. Due to the whole wheat flour and the nutmeg they have a kind of robust, hearty taste, which is not unpleasant but not something to serve with a glass of sparkling wine on a warm summer evening. I couldn't make out the ginger in the muffins but that's probably my fault as I pretty much winged it instead of using a measure.

Fresh Apricot Muffins (low-fat)

Source: FoodBlogga

Makes 12 regular size muffins.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup light brown sugar
5 tablespoons smart balance butter substitute*, melted **
1 large egg and 2 egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh diced apricots ***
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 apricot, thinly sliced for the tops of the muffins

* Used whiz-kid genius, pro-grade, plain butter instead. :)

** As I learned from a recent post by Clotilde you can do this en passant by shortly placing the butter in a ramekin or coffee cup in the oven while it's heating up.

*** Used 5 apricots. Maybe 7/8 cup.

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12 mold regular size muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl, and stir well.

In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, honey, sugar, smart balance, eggs, ginger, and vanilla, and whisk well. Add to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in apricots and almonds.

Spoon the batter evenly into the into 12 muffin cups. Add an apricot slice to the top of each muffin. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.

8.02.2009

Chickpea Burger...kinda

Chickpea Stir-Fry

I've spent last week floating in a sensory deprivation tank in a place without internet or email access. (This may sound like I've been either oystrich farming in inner mongolia or taking part in a super-secret Manhattan Project two-dot-zero but let me assure you it was neither. ;) Come to think of it, both options would have been much more fun than my actual work. ) As a consequence I didn't get around to cook anything blog-worthy and my only backup post of a near failure will have to make do for today.

When I tried to make chickpea puree as described in the recipe the mashed up chickpeas clogged the immersion blender and formed a layer above the intact chickpeas, making it very difficult to mix everything evenly. Transfering the whole lot into a shallower bowl made mixing a bit easier but resulted in little bits of chickpea flying everywhere. At this point I got a little impatient and proceeded with about 50% intact chickpeas. The resulting "dough" seemed a little dry but with a little luck it might hold together when flipping the burgers over. Which it didn't. Instead of burgers, lunch consisted of tasty but a little dry chickpea stir-fry.

Re-reading the recipe to figure out where I went wrong, I realized that I forgot to include the bread crumbs which would have made everything even more dry. Next time I will add another egg and maybe 1-3 Tbsp milk for extra moisture.



Chickpea Burger

Source: essen&trinken Für jeden Tag Juli 2009

Ingredients:

1 small onion
1 clove garlic
3 stems parsley
1 can chickpeas; 265 g nett weight
1 egg
5 Tbsp bread crumbs
salt
pepper
cummin
1-2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp clarified butter

Method:

Finely dice garlic and onion. Mince parsley. Drain chickpeas.
In a vessel with tall sides puree the chickpeas with an insertion mixer.*
Fold in garlic onion, parsley, egg and bread crumbs. Add salt, pepper and cummin to taste.

Using your wet hands form four burgers.

Melt the clarified butter in a non-stick pan. Fry the burgers about 3 minutes on each side on medium heat until golden brown.

* Do this in small batches. Or better yet in a stand mixer.