Jumat, 24 Desember 2010

Chocolate Caramel Cracker

Around my house there is a certain kind of food that never lasts long. It seems as if it secretly disappears: suddenly it is all gone and no one knows where it went.
Last year my daughter and I found these amazing chocolate caramel crackers that everyone loved. Since we ran out of Christmas cookies already, my daughter decided to make the crackers again this year and everyone went crazy. It only took her about 30minutes to make them, which includes baking time and it was  super easy. Initially I was going to give them to my neighbor as a gift but by the time I got around to putting them in a bag there were barely any left. My daughter already made twice the amount from the recipe but it still wasn't enough, so trust me when I say that you won't have enough of these crackers!

  • Chocolate Caramel Cracker
  • Adapted from Smittenkitchen and David Lebovitz, who adapted it from Marcy Goldman who is the genius that first applied this to matzo

  • 4 to 6 sheets matzo, or approximately 40 Saltine crackers or crackers of your choice
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks or 8 ounces) cut into a few large pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • A big pinch of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup semi-, (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate) or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toasted chopped almonds, (optional) pecans, walnuts or a nut of your choice
  • Extra sea salt for sprinkling, (optional)
1.Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet completely with foil, and then line the base of the foil with parchment paper, cut to fit.
2.Line the bottom of the baking sheet with matzo or crackers, covering all parts. [If using matzo, you'll need to break pieces to fit any extra spaces, which will be annoying because despite being perforated, it does not actually break in straight lines. I have some luck pressing a serrated knife straight down along a section between perforations, if that (hopefully) makes sense.]
3.In a medium heavy-duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to boil. Once it has begun boiling, let it bubble for three more minutes, stirring it well. It will thicken a bit as it cooks. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla, and then quickly pour it over the matzo or crackers. You'll want to spread it quickly, as it will begin to set as soon as it is poured.
4.Bake the caramel-covered crackers for 15 minutes, watching carefully as it will bubble and the corners might darken too quickly and/or burn. You can reduce the heat if you see this happening.
5.Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand five minutes, and then spread them evenly across the caramel. An offset spatula works great here. If you're using them, sprinkle the chocolate with toasted chopped nuts and/or sea salt. (The sea salt is great on matzo. On Saltines, it's really not necessary.)
6.Once completely cool ‚ I sometimes speed this process up in the fridge, impatient as should be expected in the face of caramel crackers, break it into pieces and store it in a container. It should keep for a week but I've never seen it last that long.

Kamis, 23 Desember 2010

Spicy Peaches

The first time I was invited to spend Christmas with my husband's family we had a great dinner with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, salad, etc. But when it came to dessert, my mother in law served canned peaches.
I found that rather weird because it didn't really fit with the rest of the festive home cooked meal.
Fortunately my husband never insisted on keeping this tradition when we started to make our own Christmas dinner.
However I recently stumbled over this recipe of spiced peaches, also out of a can, from Nigella Lawson. It immediately reminded me of the first Christmas with my husband's family and I thought that it would be a rather nice addition to our usual  Christmas dinner. Instead of serving the peaches straight out of the can they are spiced and a wonderful smell of ginger, chili and clove went through the kitchen while I was preparing these peaches. I have only tasted a small spoon of the syrup of the dish but that little taste was already very promising....

Spiced peaches

  (From Nigella Lawson)

This is a beautiful condiment to eat with roast ham, hot or cold, and I love it with cheese, too. It makes the kitchen feel like a proper Christmas kitchen - and it's a very easy present to whip up for people too, beautiful in old-fashioned glass jars.


Preparation method

  1. Empty the cans of peaches with their syrup into a saucepan.
  2. Add the vinegar, cinnamon, sliced ginger, chilli flakes, salt, peppercorns and cloves.
  3. Bring to the boil and let it bubble for a minute or so, then turn off the heat and leave in the pan to keep warm.
  4. Serve the peaches with a hot ham, letting people take a peach half each and some of the spiced juice. Any leftover spiced peaches can be stored in an airtight jar and eaten cold with cold ham.

Senin, 20 Desember 2010

Asian Trifle with Lime Yogurt Cream

About a year ago I bought the book "The Perfect Finish" from Bill Yosses. When I was looking through it I saw a picture of an Asian Trifle which ended up being the reason I bought the book. I made many great recipes out of this book last year, but I never got the chance to make the trifle. This past week we hosted a holiday party at my home and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally make the trifle.  It takes some time to prepare this dessert but I think it is definitely worth it and makes a beautiful Holiday desert. Exotic glazed fruits are layered with soft sponge cake and lime flavored cream and beautiful fruit shimmers through the bowl. It can sit in the fridge for a couple of days so you can make it well in advance.


1. The recipe calls for 2x 1 1/2 cups fruit to glaze - next time I would double the amount of fruit. I added some pieces of orange to the compote when I layered the trifle in order to get more fruit in the middle of the cake.

2. I wasn't able to get  4 layers in my bowl- so I didn't need all the sponge cake (my bowl measures  5" high x 7.5" in diameter)

3. I used 1/2 Pineapple, 1 Mango, 1 small yellow Papaya, for the compote and 2 Oranges for decoration along the glass bowl and on top.

Asian Trifle with Lime Yogurt Cream
TOTAL TIME 2 hours 30 minutes (plus 3 hours' chilling)

(from Bill Yosses "The Perfect Finish")


1 1/2 cups sugar (10 oz, 300 g)
Grated zest of 1 lime
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 pineapple or 2 large Asian pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups, 1/2 pound, 8 oz, 225 g)
1 red papaya, 2 yellow papayas or 2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups, 1/2 pound, 8 oz, 225 g)


1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
4 large egg yolks at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (3.5 oz, 99 g)
Grated zest and strained juice of 2 limes
1 cup heavy cream (8.12 oz, 232 grams)
1 cup plain yogurt, whole milk (8 oz, 227 grams)
1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream (8.5 oz, 242 grams)


2 8- or 9-inch spongecake layers, homemade or storebought
1 package Savoirardi (ladyfinger) biscuits ( I used only 6 of those)
Fruit for garnish (I used oranges and blackberries )


1. To a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 3/4 cup of the sugar, half of the lime zest, half of the vanilla bean seeds with half of the pod or 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 cup water. heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then  extract simmer for 5 - 7 minutes until very syrupy, about 254 F on a candy thermometer (like maple syrup)

2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the pineapple or mango to the syrup, reserving the rest for garnish. Adjust the heat as needed to simmer gently until the fruit is glazed and softened but holds its shape, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod, if using. Transfer the fruit to a bowl and let cool.

3. In a saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, the remaining lime zest, and the remaining vanilla extract with 1/2 up water. Heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, then simmer for 5 - 7 minutes until thick and syrupy, like maple syrup, reserving the rest for garnish. Add 1 1/2 cups of the mango, papaya, or other fruit to the syrup, reserving the rest for garnish. Cook gently until the fruit is glazed and softened, but holds its shape, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod. Transfer the fruit to a bowl.

4. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of a double boiler and bring an inch of water to a simmer in the boottom of the pan. In a small bowl combine gelatin with 2 teaspoons cold water and set aside. Place egg yolks, sugar, lime zest and juice in top of double boiler. Whisking constantly, heat yolks over simmering water until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes, the mixture should reach 170 to 180 F. Take egg mixture off heat and whisk in gelatin until it dissolves, about 20 seconds.

5. With electric mixer, whip cream until thickened and soft peaks just begin to form. Whisk yogurt and crème fraîche into yolk mixture, then whisk in whipped cream.

6. Slice layers of cake in half horizontally and trim so they fit into a large glass bowl. Place one layer in bowl. Starting at edge of bowl so that fruit shows through glass, place pineapple in one layer on cake. Spread a quarter of yogurt cream over the cake, then stand the ladyfingers upright on end against the glass and top with a second cake layer. Using a slotted spoon, spread a layer of mango on the cake, pressing the fruits against the sides of the bowl so they show through the glass. Spread another layer of the yogurt cream on the fruit and place orange slices standing up against the glass, then top with a third layer of cake. Top all with the pineapple or other fruit, extending the fruit over the entire cake layer (always making sure the fruit touches the glass). Spread another quarter of the yogurt cream on the fruit and top with the final cake layer. Spread the remaining yogurt cream on top. Before serving, press pieces of reserved fruit on top. Garnish with matchstick slivers of lime zest.

YIELD 12 to 15 servings

Sabtu, 18 Desember 2010

Asian Inspired Turkey Salad

When I saw Jamie Oliver prepare this salad on his Christmas TV show I knew that I had to try it. Crispy pieces of meat slowly caramelizing in the pan drizzled with honey and sprinkled with chinese spices
caught my eye. I couldn't wait until I had some leftover turkey so I went to the store and bought 2 turkey legs. I  roasted them in the oven for almost 1 hour in order to prepare this lovely salad. I also added some left over chicken that I had sitting in my fridge. The smell of the caramelizing meat spiced with five spice powder and honey was incredible. The juice of the citrus fruits and Ginger added a perfect dressing to this salad. Crunchy pomegranate seeds sprinkled over the dish completed the look of the salad. A perfect pretty and tasty holiday dish. Even my son's plate was empty, although he added some shaved parmesan - but he shaves parmesan over everything no matter what it is.

  • Asian Inspired Turkey Salad:
  • (Jamie Oliver)
  • serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as an appetizer

  •  2 large handfuls of brown turkey meat
  •  1 large handful of cashew nuts
  •  1 handful of dried cranberries
  •  2 teaspoons ground five-spice
  •  a bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked (I left this out)
  •  a bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked (I used parsley instead, since that is what I had)
  •  4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves such as chicory, rocket, spinach, watercress (a mixture)
  •  1 tablespoon runny honey
  •  1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (I used chilli powder)
  • for the dressing
  •  juice of 1 clementine
  •  juice of 1 lime
  •  1 pomegranate, halved
  •  ½ red onion, peeled and coarsely grated
  •  extra virgin olive oil
  •  1 tablespoon soy sauce
  •  1 teaspoon sesame oil
  •  a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
Shred the brown turkey meat into thin strips using your fingers and put it into a dry pan on a medium heat. Add the cashew nuts, dried cranberries and five-spice. Give it all a good stir then let it toast away while you get on with your salad. Give the pan a shake every now and then to make sure nothing catches.

Add the mint and most of your coriander leaves to a bowl with your mixed salad leaves. Make your dressing in a separate bowl by mixing the juice from your clementine and lime. Squeeze the juice from one of your pomegranate halves through your hands to catch any seeds then discard them. Stir in your grated onion. I tend to use 3 parts oil to 1 part acid when I’m making dressings, so look at what you’ve got in the bowl so far then pour in 3 times as much extra virgin olive oil. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil.

Squeeze in all the juice from your grated ginger then throw away the pulp.Give this lovely dressing a really good stir, and have a taste. If you want more salt, add a splash more soy. If you want more acid, add another squeeze of lime juice. Drizzle over enough dressing to coat the salad leaves then use your hands to toss and dress them.

Add the honey to the pan with the turkey meat and stir through until coated. Turn the heat up to full whack for the last few seconds to really crisp up the meat mixture. At this point, make sure your guests are all at the table and ready to eat so you can serve the salad as soon as the hot meat hits the salad leaves. Toss half of your pan-fried ingredients through the salad leaves and transfer to a serving platter.

Spoon the remaining nuts, cranberries and crispy meat over the top of the salad and add another drizzle of dressing. Hold the remaining pomegranate half over the salad and knock it on the back with a spoon so the seeds pop onto the salad. Garnish with a nice sprinkling of fresh red chilli, any remaining coriander leaves and serve right away.

Selasa, 14 Desember 2010

Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce

Sometimes it is really hard to get my son to eat enough vegetables, so I tried to trick him the other day by using soy instead of meat. I told him we were going to have Pasta with Bolognese Sauce for dinner, which is one of his favorite dishes. When he tasted the sauce he told me that something tasted slightly different but he didn't know what it was. I pretended not to know what he was talking about and said it tasted the same to me. Later on when I wasn't paying attention, he went through the trash and found the package of "meat" I used for the sauce. "Found it" -  he told me smiling. He made me promise  not to try and trick him any more. Anyway,  I think the sauce didn't really taste different - maybe a bit sweeter than usual and the texture was a little less crunchy than the regular meat sauce. But a great alternative if you want to eat less meat and live healthier. A great addition is lots of shaved parmesan, which even got my son to eat it and stop complaining.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

serves 4

100 g / 3 oz celery stalks finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
4 T olive oil
200 g / 6oz soy crumble (I used "Smart Ground")
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 T tomato paste
1 clove of garlic, minced
100 ml red wine
400 g crushed tomatoes and their juice
400 ml vegetable broth
1/2 t brown sugar
1 pinch of black pepper
1 pinch of salt
2 T mixed herbs (fresh or dried)
1 lb pasta

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan until shimmering. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic  and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 - 8 minutes. Scrape the vegetable mixture into a large bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the saucepan and heat until just shimmering. Add the soy crumbles and cook over moderately high heat until brown, about 5 minutes. Return the vegetable mixture to the saucepan. Add the tomato paste and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the broth and herbs. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat for 15 - 30 minutes
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well, return to the pot and toss with the sauce. Serve the pasta in deep bowls and pass the Parmesan at the table.

Rabu, 08 Desember 2010

Tomato Pesto

During this time of the season you often need a dish that only takes a couple of minutes to prepare but is nevertheless tasty. This Pesto is very easy to make, tastes a little bit spicy (depending to the amount of cayenne pepper that you add) and keeps for a couple of days in the fridge. For my Pasta loving son this is the perfect comfort food whenever I have no time to make anything else at all. A little amount is adequate per person so don't worry that you won't have enough when you are preparing it.

Tomato Pesto
(serves 4)
from: On Top of Spaghetti

3/4 cup (one 6oz can) tomato paste,
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 ml)  extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato juice
2 plump garlic cloves, trimmed, peeled, and roughly chopped
1 lb (500 g) dried mostaccioli, penne, or rigatoni
freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Combine the tomato paste, olive, oil, pine nuts, salt, cayenne, tomato juice, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Run the motor until you have as smooth puree. Set aside at room temperature while you cook the pasta. 

3. Generously salt the boiling water and drop in the pasta. Cook, stirring often, until al dente. Drain reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta to a heated serving bowl. Add enough of the pesto to coat the noodles generously. Add a little pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, if it seems too thick. Sprinkle with cheese and pass more Pecorino Romano and any remaining pesto at the table.

Sabtu, 04 Desember 2010

Christmas Cookies

It is an old German tradition to bake Christmas cookies every year. When I was little my mother used to bake with some of her friends at our local school kitchen and then she would hide the cookies from us in our house. We were not allowed to eat them until Christmas day came. Nevertheless we knew exactly where they were and stole some cookies out of those tempting boxes every now and then. When Christmas day came and we were actually allowed to eat them, nobody wanted to anymore because we had all had our share already. This is why I tend to bake them early so that you can enjoy them during the whole Advent season. I am always glad when my boxes are empty on Christmas day.
This year I also baked together with a group of friends. This way it is easier to try new recipes and offer a lovely plate of different cookies. 

Ciambelle (Lemon Wreath)
(Martha Stewart)

We didn't form the cookies into a wreath but in small balls to make it a little easier.

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons coarse salt
⅔ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups confectioners' sugar
7 to 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemon
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white nonpareils, for sprinkling
Read more at Marthastewart.com: Christine's Lemon Wreath Cookies - Martha Stewart Recipes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cookies: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Pulse sugar and zest in a food processor until combined, about 2 minutes.

Beat sugar-zest mixture and butter in a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat until combined.

Scoop 1 tablespoon dough (or use a 11/8-inch ice cream scoop), and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 4-inch rope. Bring ends together, overlapping slightly, and press together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough. Transfer rings to parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart, as you work. Bake until pale golden on the bottoms and around the edges, about 18 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool.

Make the glaze: Whisk together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Dip the top side of each cookie into glaze, letting excess drip off. Return cookies to wire racks, glaze side up, and sprinkle with nonpareils. Let dry completely.

Decorated cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cranberry Coins
(Martha Stewart)
Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

Beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add flour and salt; stir just until combined. Stir in dried cranberries. Divide dough into quarters.
On parchment, shape each portion into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches long. Wrap logs tightly in parchment or plastic. Chill 30 minutes or up to 1 day. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen up to 1 month.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. With a sharp knife, slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Rotate log as you cut to keep it from flattening. Place rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart.
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges just begin to turn golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Jam Thumbprint's
(Martha Stewart)

Inside, butter's the key to fast, five-ingredient cookies; outside, ruby-red jam dazzles. If the dough is too soft to shape into balls, refrigerate it for a few minutes, until firm enough to handle; the cookies will spread as they bake, so leave plenty of room between them.

Prep: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes


24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup jam (any type) (I like red currant jelly)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg, and beat until completely combined. With mixer on low, add flour, and mix just until incorporated.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Place on baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart.
Moisten thumb with water, and gently press the center of each ball, making an indentation about 1/2 inch wide and inch deep. In microwave or on stove, heat jam until liquefied; spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into each indentation. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. If storing, place in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.

Pepita Spice Cookies
(Martha Stewart)
makes 8 dozen

Note: This dough is very delicate, don't use too much flour

3/4 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups AP Flour, plus more for work surface

Heat a heavy skillet, such as cast iron, over medium-low. Add pepitas and shake skillet gently to move seeds around so they toast evenly and do not burn. TOast seeds until they are aromatic and barely take on color. Allow them to cool slightly. Pulse seeds in a food processor just until finely shopped.

Beat butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until  pale and fluffy,3 to 4 minutes. Add vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt and chopped pepitas, and beat until well combined. Reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. Divide dough into 2 disks, and wrap in plastic. Chill 90 minutes or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 325 F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll 1 disk of dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and chill 1 hour. Repeat with remaining disk. Using a 2-inch almond-shaped cookie cutter (we used several shapes), cut out shapes. Reroll scraps of dough, and cut more shapes. Transfer shapes to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart, and chill 15 minutes.
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through until golden brown around edges, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cookies cool completely on a wire rack. Dust lightly with confectioners' sugar. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to a week.

Please email me at freshfromevaskitchen@gmail.com if you'd like to have one of the following recipes

Corn Flakes Cookies

Linzer Cookies

Poppy Seed Cookies


Cappuccino Sables

Red Currant Stars

Eggnog Spritz Cookies

Rabu, 01 Desember 2010

Whole Wheat English Muffins

I am always looking for recipes that use more whole wheat flour than white flour and was very glad when I found this muffin recipe.  I love English Muffins and was eager to try it out as soon as possible.
It didn't disappoint me at all. The muffins are a little bit more on the dense side due to the 100 % Whole Wheat flour and if you don't like that just replace some of the whole wheat flour with white flour. Otherwise they were perfect. Easy to make and they freeze very well. My son remarked that he thinks they would taste very well as a school snack with some Nutella ;-)

  • Whole Wheat Muffins
  • (adapted from lifeinrecipes)

  • Ingredients

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  •  cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour

Begin by dissolving the yeast in 1/4 cup water.

 In a large bowl, combine next four ingredients. Add dissolved yeast and 2 cups flour. Stir to combine, cover and let sit for at least an hour. It will expand in volume and become very bubbly.

Add the butter and begin working in the remaining flour.
(My dough was very soft so I added a little bit more flower until it came together and you are able to roll it out on a floured surface).

Roll the dough out to about 1/2 an inch and cut with a three-inch diameter cutter. Place the rounds onto a foil-lined greased baking sheet and allow to rise another 15 minutes or so. They will almost double in volume in this time.

Preheat your oven to 350F

 Cook them on a griddle or in a non-stick or cast-iron skillet on med-low 5 min each side. You will be amazed as you watch them cook and rise before your very eyes - it's like magic.

Let them brown thoroughly on the first side before flipping them to the second side. They will continue to rise after you've flipped them over. I estimate that they become 3 to 4 times thicker as they cook. I love watching them grow!

6. You will need to put them back on the baking sheet and into a 350F oven for about 5 - 7 minutes longer to finish cooking.

Jumat, 26 November 2010

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Stew

This is the kind of food that is perfect for this time of the year. Rich and earthy with chunky pieces of chorizo and tiny meatballs simmering in a paprika flavored comforting broth: this stew is everything an autumn family meal should be. I added one Russet potato to make it a whole meal itself. It is equally tasty with the Chorizo alone. Just skip the meatball part and increase the amount of chorizo to ten or twelve ounces.

Chickpea Stew with Chorizo and Meatballs
(The new Spanish table)
serves 4 or 5

For the Chickpeas
1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked
1 bay leaf
6 oz. sweet Spanish-style chorizo sausage

For the Meatballs
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
10 oz ground pork (not too lean)
1/4 grated onion
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

For Finishing the Stew
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
1 medium-size carrot, finely chopped
4 medium-size garlic cloves, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
3 Tbs finely chopped fresh flat-lea parsley
Sea Salt
1 Russet Potato cut into small dices (optional)

1. Prepare the chickpeas: Place the chickpeas in a heavy 4 - 5 quart pot, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the bay leaf, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, periodically replenishing the liquid with more water.

2. After 1 hour, cook the chorizo in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain it. Add the chorizo to the chickpeas and continue cooking until the chickpeas are tender but still a little al dente, about 30 minutes longer, adding more water to maintain the level of liquid.

3. While the chickpeas are cooking, make the meatballs: Place the bread in a small bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid, then finely crumble the bread. Place the bread, pork, onion, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Gently knead the meatball mixture with your hands just until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. If the mixture is too moist to form into meatballs, refrigerate it for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

5. With oiled hands, shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a cherry tomato. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake, shaking the pan once or twice, until they are lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

6. To finish the stew: Heat the olive oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, and half of the garlic and cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, stir for a few seconds, then stir the tomato mixture into the chickpeas. Cook the stew until the chickpeas are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer ( add the potatoes if using).

7 . Using as slotting spoon, transfer the chorizo to a cutting board, cut it into 1/2 inch slices and return them to the pot. Gently stir in the meatballs and simmer them in the stew for about 5 minutes.

8. Place the remaining garlic, the parsley, and a pinch of salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, crush them to a paste. Stir the parsley mixture into the stew and let it cook until all the flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Let the stew cool for about 5 minutes, then ladle it into bowls and serve.

Sabtu, 20 November 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

While strolling through the web looking for new interesting recipes, a book review caught my eye. It praised a book by Sarabeth Levine titled "Sarabeth Bakery" . I discovered that she had a famous muffin recipe and that people were waiting in line at her baker to buy these muffins.

Sarahbeth happened to post this recipe on her new blog and fortunately enough I had all the ingredients at hand, except for the pastry flour which my local supermarket doesn't carry anyway. I swapped it with All Purpose flour and Cake flour and I think it worked out fine.

That same day I brought the muffins to a potluck and everyone told me how much they loved the muffins. Since I loved them as well, I am going to post the recipe here for you.

They are different from regular pumpkin muffins, less sweet, with a lot of pumpkin flavor - absolutely wonderful.

Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 to 14 muffins
Bakers Note: If you use generous scoops of batter, the yield will be 12 muffins. For smaller muffins, use 7 muffin cups in each of 2 muffin pans. Distribute the batter in a random pattern (not in rows) in each pan so the muffins bake evenly. Butter only the cups that you are going to use, or the butter in the empty cups will burn.

Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
3 2/3 cups/500 g pastry flour, sifted (could be replaced with 250 g cake flour and 250 g all purpose flour)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) / 115 g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/3 cups / 270 g superfine sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
One 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup seedless golden or dark raisins
¼ cup hulled unsalted sunflower seeds

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush the insides of 12 to 14 muffin cups with softened butter, then brush the top of the pan.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt together into a medium bowl.  Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until creamy, about I minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often with a silicone spatula, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs. Reduce the mixture speed to low. Beat in the pumpkin; the mixture may look curdled. In thirds, beat in the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, and mix until smooth. Add the raisins. Increase the speed to high and beat until the batter has a slight sheen, about 15 seconds, no longer.

3. Using a 2½ inch-diameter ice-cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded side up, into the prepared cups. Sprinkle the tops with the sunflower seeds.

4. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a wire tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes more.

5. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.

Rabu, 17 November 2010

Steel Cut Oat Bread

Is there anything better than the smell of a freshly baked loaf of bread in the house? I don't think so. This is one of my favorites. A crunchy gold brown crust and a light and fluffy inside makes this bread irresistible. 
If you have never heard of the no-knead bread and would like to start baking your own bread I highly recommend this webpage  Breadtopia.  It has very nice video instructions and lots of good and easy bread recipes. 

Steel Cut Oat Bread
(makes 1 loaf)
(adapted from NYT /breadtpopia/M.Preston)
It’s amazing what the addition of a mere half cup of steel cut oats can do to enhance and vary the quality of a basic loaf of no knead bread. During the long fermentation period, the grains soften and swell to give the bread a wholesome and satisfying flavor and texture.
Simple enough to whip together in a heartbeat and interesting enough to become a regular in your no knead rotation.
3/4 cup (3 oz.) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (3 oz.) steel cut oats 

2 1/4 cups (10 oz.) bread flour or All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp. instant yeast or 1/4 cup sourdough starter

1. In a large bowl combine flour, oats, yeast and salt. (If you use sourdough starter, add it to the water and stir to dissolve. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and stir with a fork until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

Tip: I let the dough rise in a colander or basket lined with baking paper. When the dough has risen, I lift the whole thing and put the dough together with the paper in the pot.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic, la cloche, Roemertopf) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Senin, 15 November 2010

Potato Roesti

This is one of our all time family favorites. I don't even look for other recipes anymore. These Roesti are crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, flavored with Rosemary and Garlic - absolutely perfect. They are finished in the oven which saves you space on the stove and lets you clean up early. We had sauteed chanterelle mushrooms and a little green salad with them but you can serve them with a piece of meat or fish too.

Potato Roesti
(cook with Jamie)
serves 4

olive oil
a small knob of butter
600 g/1lb 6oz floury potatoes, peeled and cut into matchsticks
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
6 cloves of garlic, peeled


Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F. In an ovenproof non-stick frying pan, about 22cm/8 inches wide, heat a splash of olive oil. Add the butter and toss the potatoes in it with a pinch of salt and pepper, the rosemary leaves an the whole garlic cloves.

Fry on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring all the while, until the potatoes start to soften a little.
Then place the pan in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly golden, both on top and the bottom.

Take the pan out of the oven and cover it with a piece of damp greaseproof paper. Wrap your hand in a tea towel, or use a perfectly sized plate, and press down on the paper to flatten and compact your roesti.

Remove the greaseproof paper and place the pan back in the oven for 25 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Kamis, 11 November 2010


Only recently my husband brought  home two pieces of  cake from work that was prepared by his dear colleague Karen for Boss's day. It was her delicious Sour Cream Pound Cake which he  likes so much. She also told him that she really enjoys following my Blog and urged him to bring home the pieces for me to taste and to get my opinion. Karen, "from cook to cook", I can tell you that my husband is right: the cake is delicious!  The cake is so good that I want to give  all of you Karen's delicious pound cake recipe with a little "Thank You" to Karen for sharing it

Karen's Delicious Sour Cream Pound Cake
(adapted from Kraft Foods)

  • 3 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3 cups sugar (I used 1/3 less sugar and it is still delicious)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
  • 2 Tbsp.vanilla
Make It

MIX flour and baking soda. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy approx. 10 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

ADD flour mixture to sugar mixture, alternately in thirds with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; mix well. Pour into greased 10-inch tube or 12-cup fluted tube pan.

BAKE at 325°F for 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Don't overbake or the cake will be dry. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely.