Senin, 28 Februari 2011

Orange-Almond Cake

One of my daughter's best friends, Katie has a Gluten Allergy. When she came over and my daughter told her that I had made a cake without gluten she was really excited to try it since she said she usually couldn't eat cake; she was even more excited when she tried it and realized it was very moist and full of flavor.

It is made with whole, yes whole! oranges, which are cooked for two hours and then pureed and mixed with eggs, sugar and almonds. The result is a very moist, slightly bitter cake. If you don't like orange marmalade this cake is not for you, but if you do you are in for a treat.

My daughter loves lemon cake and suggested that you could also try using lemons instead of oranges. I think this could be a good idea but you might have to alter the recipe. The cake tastes even better the second day and I guess it will keep fresh for at least 4 - 5 days in the fridge. Buy organic oranges of good quality because you are using the skin too.

Orange-Almond Cake
(adapted from Nigella Lawson)

2 oranges
6 large eggs (I used 7)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar (I used 250 g)
2 1/3 cups (250 grams) ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

Optional: Powdered sugar for dusting, or for making a glaze

Put the oranges in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, and cook for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each orange in half and remove the seeds. Then finely chop the skins, pith, and fruit in the processor (or by hand, of course).(Can be made a day ahead)
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Butter and line an 8-inch (21 centimeter) springform pan with parchment paper. I used a 9-inch (24 cm), it worked fine.
Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds, and baking powder. Mix well, adding the chopped oranges.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 50 minutes (mine was done after 45 min.), when a skewer will come out clean; you might have to cover the cake with foil after about 20 to 30 minutes to stop the top from over-browning.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the pan on a rack. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan and dust it with powdered sugar. The cake is best on the second day.

Variations: Nigella says she’s also made this with an equal weight of oranges and lemons, in which case the sugar is increased to 1 1/4 cups.

Sabtu, 26 Februari 2011

Tomato Tart

A couple of weeks ago I bought the book "Harvest to Heat" from Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer. On the cover of the book is a beautiful picture of a tomato tart and that picture was pretty much the reasons why I  bought the book. I was convinced that something that pretty had to be good and it turned out that I was absolutely right. A crunchy, buttery crust is filled with only a small amount of flavorful cheese and then layered with colorful Heirloom tomatoes. I know that it is not really 'tomato time' right now but sometimes you have to escape the cold winter here even if it is only through your food. My picture does not do the one in the book justice,  but let me tell you, the tart really looked fantastic and tasted even better.

Crème Fraîche Galette with Heirloom Tomatoes

Many varieties of summer's best heirloom tomatoes should be used for this rustic, French country-style tart. It can be served with various soft cheeses mixed with practically any herb that is abundant and in season.
Serves 4 to 6One 12-inch tart

For the galette
1 cup all-purpose flour; plus more for the work surface 
1/2 tsp. coarse salt; plus more for the tomatoes 
1 tsp. baking powder 
1 stick (1/4 lb.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
1/2 cup crème fraîche, chilled (I used sour cream)
1 pint tomatoes, a combination of heirloom cherry tomatoes and other tomatoes, cut in half or
sliced if large

1/3 lb. semi-hard sheep's milk cheese, such as manchego (I used Parmesan)
For the garnish (optional)
1 bunch microradishes or baby radishes, washed and trimmed 
1 cup microgreens 
Extra-virgin olive oil 
Red-wine vinegar 
Coarse salt 

Make the dough
Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and butter pieces in the bowl of a food processor or in a medium bowl if blending by hand. Blend just until the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients, making sure not to overmix (some butter the size of peas is fine). Mix in the crème fraîche, again making sure not to overmix. Turn the entire mix out onto a cutting board and gently push it together into a pile. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the fillingPut the tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Lay the tomatoes on several sheets of paper towel to drain (dried tomatoes will make a crisp tart).

In the meantime, heat the oven to 425°F. Dust a work surface well with flour and roll the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Dust flour under the dough if it starts to stick.
Carefully slide a rimless baking sheet under the dough. Leaving a 3-inch boarder, scatter the cheese on top of the dough, then arrange the tomatoes evenly over the cheese. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomatoes, making pleats as you fold and leaving the center of the tart open.
Bake the galette until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
While the galette cools, lightly dress the microradishes and microgreens with a bit of olive oil, some vinegar, and coarse salt. Drizzle the top of the galette with a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Slice the galette and serve with a few dressed microradishes and greens, if desired.

Selasa, 22 Februari 2011

Ramen Shrimp Pouch

Everybody knows those Ramen noodle packages for a couple of cents that save every student from starving to death, right? But did you know that you can make an impressive dish out of it? This recipe only takes minutes to prepare and everybody will think you were sweating in the kitchen for hours.
Take a big piece of tin foil, stack the ingredients, add the liquid and cook it in the oven for 15 minutes.
In addition, you can make each package individually according to everybody's likings. Shrimp, chicken, or more vegetables can be substituted for fish and since this recipe is so simple it is just as easy to make for one person as it is to make it for a whole dinner party.

Ramen Shrimp Pouch
(Alton Brown)
serves 4

  • 2 packages Ramen noodles, divided
  • ½ cup dried mushrooms, chopped
  • 20 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • ½ cup mirin, (sweet rice vinegar)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Special equipment: 4 (18-inch) squares aluminum foil
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.Divide ramen noodles evenly in center of each of the 4 pieces of aluminum foil. Stack the following ingredients on top of noodles, in this order: mushrooms, shrimp, onions, scallions, red pepper flakes, and salt. Pull sides and corners of pouch up to form a small basket shape leaving an opening at the top to pour in liquid.
3.In small bowl, combine vegetable broth, mirin, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Distribute liquid evenly among packs. Press foil together, leaving a small opening to allow steam to escape. Place on cookie sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Jumat, 18 Februari 2011

Bright Green Asparagus Soup


With chirping birds outside, the sun shining bright and a sky so incredibly clear and blue you could have thought that spring was finally here last week. It felt like we could take out the garden furniture and start cleaning up the winter dirt.  But we all do know better, right? There is still more winter to come, I am sure about that. But I realized when entering our local supermarket, that the choice of vegetables is already changing and I found some very fresh bright green asparagus. So I decided to whip up this beautiful soup.

The recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated and it is bursting with asparagus flavor, flawlessly smooth yet without lots of cream and butter. To keep the color bright green they added peas to the soup. Pretty, don't you think? 

Creamy Asparagus Soup
Serves 4

Look for asparagus spears that are not more than 1/2 inch thick. If using thicker spears, use a vegetable peeler to peel the length of the spears before cooking to ensure a silky soup.

2 bunches thin asparagus (about 2 pounds) tough ends trimmed
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin and rinsed thoroughly
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and Pepper
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. Cut the tips off the asparagus spears and chop the remaining spears into 1/2 inch pieces. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus tips, cover, and cook until the tips are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the tips, pat dry, and set aside.

2. Combine the remaining asparagus pieces, leeks, butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon papper in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 - 10 minutes.

3. Add broth to the pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until the vegetables are completely tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and Parmesan.

4. Working in two batches, process the soup in a blender until completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the reserved asparagus tips, half- and half, and lemon juice and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Selasa, 15 Februari 2011

Grandma Erika's Schnitzel

My family is not very big on eating meat, but whenever we make Schnitzel, we eat so much that it looks like we haven't eaten in weeks. The recipe we use was passed down from my mother in-law who used to make the best Schnitzel ever. There are a few secret ingredients that may be hard to find in the US, but once you have them you are going to be in Schnitzel heaven. In case you have leftovers (not very likely) it is possible that they will secretly disappear from your fridge very quickly, one by one.
The Schnitzel are drenched in Rusk Crumbs instead of ordinary Bread Crumbs which make them slightly sweeter. Once in the pan they are sprinkled/spritzed with lots of Maggi Seasoning. I am not kidding. My father in law is absolutely obsessed with Maggi and even puts it on Pizza which I find rather strange, but it is essential to use it to make these Schnitzel. Of course you have to use a lot of butter (which you can always work off at the gym later) but I have no doubts that you will not have any regrets later because they taste so great.

German Schnitzel
(serves 3 - 4)

2 pork tenderloins, skinned and cut into 1inch slices
1 package rusk (you'll need about 15 pieces)
2 - 3 eggs
1 stick butter
Maggi Seasoning

Put the rusk in a Ziploc bag and pound with a rolling pin or a heavy object until you have fine crumbs. Put them in a flat dish and set aside.
Pound the meat pieces between two pieces of foil very thinly (about 5mm thick).
Line a baking tray with foil and set a wire rack on the tray.
Beat the eggs and put them in a second flat dish.
Drench the Schnitzel first in the egg, then in the crumbs. Put on the baking tray and sprinkle with some salt.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of the butter and let melt. Once the foam has dissapeared put the Schnitzel in the pan. Now spritz lots of Maggi drops over the Schnitzel. Cook for about 1 - 2 minutes  until the edges of the Schnitzel changes color then turn and cook the second side 1- 2 minutes, you might need to adjust the heat to medium now. Now if you like it salty, add more Maggi, if not just do it on one side. You might want to test a Schnitzel once it comes out of the pan to check on the seasoning.

Pay attention that the pan never looks "dry" You need to add more butter gradually.
Now enjoy your Schnitzel and go workout the next day.

Sabtu, 12 Februari 2011

Austrian Potato Salad

Back in Germany, I used to buy my potatoes every week at the Farmers Market. There are dozens of varieties and there was one special farmer who loved his potatoes so much - I swear he loved them as if they were real people. Whenever I told him what I wanted to make that day he would pick the right kind of potato for that dish and it always turned out beautifully.
When I tried to make potato salad here in the US, it never turned out as good as it did at home. Sometimes the salad was too mushy or sometimes the potatoes were too hard. My husband told me that I was unable to make a decent potato salad so I told him that it wasn't mine but actually the potato's fault, he just gave me a funny look.

However, I recently found this recipe from Cooks Illustrated. The potatoes are cooked not only in water, but also in a little vinegar. This alters the cooking process by expanding the window of time during which the spuds go from properly cooked to mushy and broken. Finally! Thank you Cooks Illustrated, you saved my marriage.

Austrian Potato Salad 
(From Cook's Illustrated)
serves 4
The finished salad should be creamy and loose, with chunks of potato that keep their shape but are very tender. If you can’t find cornichons, chopped kosher dill pickles can be used in their place. To maintain its consistency, don’t refrigerate the salad; it should be served within 4 hours of preparation.


2pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1cup low-sodium chicken broth
1cup water
Table salt
1tablespoon sugar
2tablespoons white wine vinegar
1tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4cup vegetable oil
1small red onion , chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
6cornichons , minced (about 2 tablespoons) (see note)
2tablespoons minced fresh chives
Ground black pepper


  1. 1. Bring potatoes, broth, water, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, and 1 tablespoon vinegar to boil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until potatoes offer no resistance when pierced with paring knife, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high (so cooking liquid will reduce), and cook 2 minutes.
  2. 2. Drain potatoes in colander set over large bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Set drained potatoes aside. Pour off and discard all but ½ cup cooking liquid (if ½ cup liquid does not remain, add water to make ½ cup). Whisk remaining tablespoon vinegar, mustard, and oil into cooking liquid.
  3. 3. Add ½ cup cooked potatoes to bowl with cooking liquid mixture and mash with potato masher or fork until thick sauce forms (mixture will be slightly chunky). Add remaining potatoes, onion, cornichons, and chives, folding gently with rubber spatula to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Kamis, 10 Februari 2011

Coronation Chicken

Coronation chicken is a dish that was prepared for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It is a combination of precooked cold chicken meat, herbs and spices and a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce. Over the time it has become a great British classic. It can be eaten as a salad or used to make sandwiches. The original dish it is flavored with curry powder because fresh curry spices were almost unobtainable in post-war Britain. This version from Gordon Ramsay uses Mango Chutney, Garam Masala and fresh Mango. A friend recently brought it to a Potluck and everybody loved it, thank you Beth, for passing on the recipe. 

If you read my last post, this chicken goes great with the flat bread and makes a great snack during the day or is a great addition to a healthy dinner.

Coronation Chicken
(adapted from Gordon Ramsay)
  • Ingredients
  • 4 free-range chicken breasts, with skin on
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 125ml  crème fraîche
  • 100ml mayonnaise
  • 1-2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon mango chutney
  • Flesh of 1 fresh mango, finely diced
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • Flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
  • Walnuts, to serve
  • Note:
  • I added the juice of 1/2 lime and 1 teaspoon of a mild Curry Powder
Remove any excess fat or sinew from the chicken breasts. Bring the stock to the boil, add thyme, bay leaf and coriander seeds and then poach for 5 minutes. Lift the breasts from the stock and allow to cool. The stock can be reserved for another use.
 Mix the crème fraîche, mayonnaise and garam masala. Add the chutney and mango and season well. The dressing needs to have a subtle kick without becoming overpowering.
Skin chicken breasts and cut into bite- size pieces. Add to dressing, cover and chill in fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight. Garnish with flat- leaf parsley and walnuts before serving

Sabtu, 05 Februari 2011

Swedish Flatbread - Knäckebrot

Trying to loose weight can be so difficult. Not that I really try that hard, but this flatbread eases the pain a bit. Whenever I'd like to have a snack the tin with this bread jumps right into my eyes and I'll have the flatbread instead of something sweet. It comes together in seconds, you stir together the ingredients, let it soak, smear the mixture on a baking tray and let it bake and dry in the oven. It tastes great with every kind of hummus, dip or by itself and stays fresh up to 4 weeks. Low calorie and absolutely healthy. 

Swedish Flatbread

100 g Rye Flour
100 g Quick Oats
100 g Oat Bran
50 g Wheat Bran
120g  Sesame Seed
60 g Flax seed
120 g mixed Seeds (e.g. Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Pine nuts)
2 Teaspoons Salt

Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Add 700 ml Water and mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 175 C/335 F (Convection*) and line three baking trays with baking paper. Evenly distribute the mass on the baking trays in a thin layer. Bake for 45 Minutes, but open the door every 15 minutes to let the humidity escape.
Reduce the temperature to 100 C/215 F after 45 Minutes let it bake for another 30 minutes.
Let it cool on a rack and break it into pieces. 
Can be stored in a tin for up to 4 weeks.

*If your oven doesn't have a convection setting bake the trays one after the other

Rabu, 02 Februari 2011

Lemon Pound Cake

A very special young lady who is studying in France at the moment,  asked me to post a recipe for a cake that I usually make for my kids on their birthday. With a snowstorm hitting Chicago right now I had some extra time on my hands so I am happy to post it for her today. 
It is a very easy yet delicious pound cake, but it needs a special ingredient. The special ingredient for this cake is love. With the right amount of love you can turn the simplest recipe into something wonderful and you can taste the love throughout this cake. For this  reason you don't need baking powder or baking soda.  Just equal amounts of eggs, butter, sugar, flour and a pinch of salt. I also add some vanilla and the juice of 1 lemon for a more subtle flavor, but you don't have to.  A scale comes in handy here. If you don't have one, go and get one it makes your life much easier especially when you are baking.

Lemon Pound cake

230g butter
230g sugar
230g flour
4 eggs (230 g)
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
zest of one lemon
juice of two lemons
powdered sugar

Every ingredient has to be at room temperature (very important: 1. step of love) I don't use a mixer or blender, just a wire whip and a wooden spoon. First, I weigh the eggs (without shell) and according to that weight I weigh out the other ingredients. Everything needs to be of the same weight.Cream the butter and the sugar with a whisk until they are very foamy, at least 4 minutes (2. step of love). Then you add the eggs, one after the other waiting until each one is fully incorporated. Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Now carefully fold in the sifted flower. Don't overwork the dough. Line a cake pan neatly with two strips of baking paper so that everybody else can see the love and the cake will look professional. Scrape in the dough, tap the form 2 - 3 times on the counter and let it rest for 30 min. In the meantime heat the oven to 350F/180C.

Bake for 50 - 60 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on a rack and then lift the cake out of the pan. Poke some wholes with a wooden skewer into the cake and pour the juice of the 2nd lemon over the cake.
Let cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or lemon frosting (mix powdererd sugar with juice of 1/2 lemon) or any other frosting of your choice.  Bon appetit mon amie!