May 12, 2010

Carrot Salad

by heikes3

Carrots – if I have nothing else in the fridge, you still find carrots. Seriously, I always have carrots around. They are perfect for so many things – as a snack or side dish, in soup or salad and they keep well for a long time.

This carrot salad is what I most often make with them – at least every other week. It comes together quickly – especially if you have a food processor – and is quite healthy, too. The Vitamin A in the carrots is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that your meal has to include some fat for your body to be able to absorb it. This is where the canola oil and walnuts  come in. Both are chuck full of omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats.

This fresh, sweet, tangy, nutty and wonderfully crunchy salad pleases most any palate and goes with just about any dish. It can be made ahead of time (leave out the raisins to add later, or they will plump up too much), making it a great salad to bring along to a dinner with friends or picnic, but leftovers are still perfect a day later. I always have to make a double batch in my house …

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May 5, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Scones

by heikes3

Shame on me.

We did not eat our strawberries right away, when I brought them home in our weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) bag last Wednesday.

They are fresh and organic, absolutely to die for sweet, juicy and tender, need I say more? If you leave them too long, they get soft and overripe. So, we like to eat them fresh with just some sweetened yogurt sauce – just plain yogurt with sugar, sometimes or often, may I confess, with whipped cream folded under for a lusciously rich, smooth taste. 

But, I needed to find another way to use those strawberries that do not pass the fresh strawberry perfection test.  I pondered strawberry bread and strawberry cheesecake ice-cream. While perusing one of my favorite websites for sure-fire recipes, King Arthur Flour (my flour of choice!), I came across the Fresh Blueberry Scones recipe I had made before with frozen strawberries since my 8-year old Emily isn’t much of a blueberry fan. I know, I can’t believe it either. Who does not like blueberries? She does like them freshly picked off the bush when we go blueberry picking, but not in muffins, pancakes or any other form once they are brought home. It’s kind of like when we go to the supermarket, nosh on the samples, pick up some of that delicious dip we loved so much, just to find it in the back of the fridge weeks later… with a many more hues of color than I care to remember…

But I digress … I made the scones and at Emily’s request tried three different toppings. After slathering them with melted butter I sprinkled granulated sugar or sugar crystals/sparkling sugar on them and left some without sugar. While I liked the sparkle and crunch of the sugar crystals, I preferred how the granulated sugar and butter married into a barely-there, but would-miss-it-if-it-wasn’t-there pearly, crunchy sheen.

These scones serve happiness on a rainy spring day or a refreshing treat in the muggy Atlanta almost-summer air. They are moist, yet fluffy and light; fruity and just sweet enough to still let the strawberries be the stars they were grown to be.

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April 29, 2010

Green Beans with Savory

by heikes3

I always thought green beans were so so, and I found you are either a green bean lover or you couldn’t care less. To make them fresh, many people think they are a nuisance to prepare. Then they buy frozen, tasteless green beans or, oh horror, the canned variety. They already look like they’ve been long dead, well past their prime.

No, when I eat green beans, they have to be fresh, steamed, still crisp and fresh tasting, and that’s what my family is used to.  Our 8-year old is into trying out different foods (I thought she would never get there, constantly resisting something new, but now she is downright adventurous, as long as it does not have to do with mushrooms.). So, she requested green beans a different way, “without the sauce”, as she calls it. I made it. I just plainly steamed them, added a little salt and served them. They tasted like green beans do, a little boring. She gladly admitted she liked my variety much better!

My normal green beans are served with a light coating of buttery, lemony, savory goodness coating them. My girls even clean those off their plates before touching their sausages, I’m proud to say.

How I came about this combination? When we were living back in Germany, I would buy green beans at the local farmers market. When you buy green beans you are asked if you want some savory to go with that. Savory is also called bean herb. It is added then to the boiling water to cook the green beans. It is not added purely for taste, which dissipates in the boiling water, but mostly for it’s digestive properties. It makes beans easier to digest, if you know what I mean. I found, though, that it also tastes quite nicely with beans and wanted to find a way to get more of the taste around my beans. Continue reading

April 27, 2010

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

by heikes3

I love going to IKEA and getting coffee, jams and goodies there. I know, others go there for the furniture, I do that, too … but if you know me, I’m mostly about food LOL

So, I came across this Swedish Pearl Sugar with a recipe for Swedish Cinnamon Rolls on the back. I could just see Anna and Emily enjoying these in the morning with a glass of milk or cocoa before school and certainly Michael and me with a cup of coffee. Or for an afternoon snack. It is spring time, windy outside, so perfect for a fresh baked morsel of buttery, sweet goodness with a cinnamon kick. And sometimes, I just have to try something new, to mix up the morning routine so I made these in the evening, right by the recipe, preheated the oven on time-bake in the morning, got up and shoved them in the oven for fresh, warm cinnamon rolls just in time for breakfast.

Well, the verdict was … yummy, but not cinnamony enough … so I had to do a redo, which got a thumbs up all around. So, here is the recipe: Continue reading

August 9, 2009

A whole dinner off the grill!

by heikes3

Summer time … hot in Hotlanta … with the past few days back above the 90’s and no cooling in view. Sometimes, I just can’t get away from switching on the oven, like when I have to destress, which has been a lot lately. Then the oven produces new and the trusty old cakes, pies, cookies, but also a lot of heat.

Our house has an open floor plan. Gosh, that sounded so amazingly enticing when we bought the house, but it pretty much just means that whatever you are making, baking, cooking, burning – unfortunately it does happen in my kitchen from time to time, when I am doing too many things at once – spreads it’s delicious, or not so delicious olfactory wings through the whole 1st level – from kitchen to breakfast room to den to front room into the hallway, and even to the upstairs. Now, if I am baking or cooking up a storm that also means heat everywhere. Our old air conditioning cannot keep up with that, nor does the fan move enough air to give some sweet, windy relief.

No wonder my favorite cooking method in the summer is our grill. I admit – I LOVE my Weber grill!!! It is hooked straight up to the gas supply line of the house and I just got all new flavorizer bars and grates for it … stainless steel. Sweet! I get excited about these kind of things. I am a kitchen nerd!

So, tonight, I thought, why not make the whole dinner on the grill? I had some Frikadellen – German meatballs, practically – which I had already made and frozen. Our CSA package yesterday had an eggplant in it and I still had half a zucchini from our own garden in the fridge. I found a phenomenal marinade recipe for the latter, which I will share in a minute. Hm, what for the starch? Friends of ours had made pizza on the grill before. And our new infatuation with garlic bread brought me to the best and truly easiest pizza dough ever. I made pizza rounds and brushed them with garlicy olive oil, a little salt and voila … amazing bread from the grill!

A big platter … sorry no picture, everybody was diving in so quickly, I could not even get a snap shot … of grilled, juicy meatballs, herb-coated veggie rounds and crispy, garlicky flatbread. Oh, it was so delicious, we all – kids included, or actually particularly the kids – ate ourselves silly. No dessert, no room! Sometimes, dinner is so good, you could not care less about cake. Imagine that! Continue reading

July 1, 2009

German Pancakes (Pfannkuchen)

by heikes3
German pancakes, Pfannkuchen

German pancakes, Pfannkuchen

This is one of my family’s absolutely favorite dinners. Yes, we eat breakfast for dinner – pancakes, or as they are called here, German Pancakes. Some people just know pancakes (American style) and crepes (which this type belongs to). So, from now on I will refer to them just as pancakes instead of Pfannkuchen. I am not using German here, so … go with the flow.

The following recipe is formula based and makes about 3 pancakes per person. I also dabble in variations of it as it is a very forgiving kind of recipe. The only problem you could have is that it could be too thick and would not spread enough in the pan, thus yielding thicker pancakes. The first one is the tell-tale one with which you can adjust your batter. Just add more liquid if need be! My pancakes usually turn out to be about 1/8″ to 1/6″ thick, NOT paperthin like crepes. They have some meat to them, like a good old German gal 😉  Today, I had some sourdough left over, so I substituted that for part of the flour and milk. It made for a very aromatic, light pancake. Sometimes, I use hazelnut meal or almond flour for about 1/3 of the flour. Depending on what flour you use, you might need to add a bit more milk as already mentioned above. On with the recipe:

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June 26, 2009

Brotzeit and No-Knead Bread

by heikes3

And now that I have told a few people about this page, I will actually put more on here. It is not that I stopped baking and cooking, but kids, school and just stuff kept me from giving this blog real consideration. Well, no, I don’t really have sooo much more time, but I am willing to cut some out here and there, as we are diving into our own culinary adventure (more later).

After coming back from Germany, colder temperatures there, I am back in the Georgia heat.

Gosh, it’s hot here, but it gives me the excuse for lots of “Brotzeit” dinners.

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May 23, 2009

Banana Bread

by heikes3

Whenever our bananas turn dark so that nobody wants to eat them anymore, I stick them in the freezer – with the peel and all – hence all the those  black bananas in my fridge now from thawing my freezer.

I have been baking banana bread with our girls Emily (7) and Anna(9) and by myself to clean the fridge before going to Germany next week. My husband will be really happy about finding lots of the good stuff in the freezer, when he comes back. So, here is the recipe that always turns out perfect!

Banana Bread

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium-large very ripe bananas (1 cup mashed)
1/2 cup sour cream

Options: 1/3 cup walnuts + 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, or 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Heat the oven to 325°. Line a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan, preferably one with a light interior, with enough waxed paper to drape over the long sides. This will make the baked bread a cinch to remove and the pan easy to clean. Set the pan aside.  You can also use tiny springforms, loafforms and huge muffin cups and bake as directed below.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream the butter using an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Next, add the vanilla extract and blend briefly. Set both bowls aside.

3. Peel the bananas and place them in a separate bowl. Mash them with a fork and measure out 1 cup. Add the sour cream and stir to blend. Set the bowl aside.

4. Using a wooden spoon, blend a third of the dry mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients in this order, stirring well after each addition: half of the banana mixture, half of the remaining dry mixture, the rest of the banana mixture, the rest of the dry mixture. Next, add mix-ins if desired (see below).

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan/s and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake on the center oven rack until a tester inserted deep into the center of the bread comes out clean, about 70 to 75 minutes, for smaller loafs, springform pans about 45 minutes.

6. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and cool it in the pan for about 20 minutes. Using the waxed paper, lift the bread from the pan and place it on the rack. Pull down the sides of the paper and allow the bread to cool thoroughly before slicing. Makes 10 or more servings.

November 12, 2008

Cookie exchange and recipes

by heikes3

I am organizing a cookie exchange with a friend. This is our first time hosting it, so we put out an evite with a great Christmassy cookie picture and a cute saying and requested 6 dozen cookies. We have been bombarded with people saying that is too much. Really? 6 dozen will not last long in our house. That is about one doubled cookie recipe. And the funny thing is, kind of funny to me, at least, that we are also making appetizers, cleaning house, shopping for little gifts, and are making all these cookies on top of it. At the end of the cookie exchange, we will all go home with 6 dozen cookies, currently 13 different varieties. How awesome is that? Who will stand in the kitchen and make that many different cookies and then have 3 dozen of each? After sampling them all, friends come over, family over the holidays, maybe teachers gifts, bamm, there are non left by New Years day. I will be surprised if ours will make it past Christmas. Then again, we also have the gingerbread house! Pictures to follow soon!!! Continue reading