Donnerstag, 29. September 2011

Reduce your carbon dioxide footprint by vegetable housing

If you are in need for a little save and rain proof place and you welcome organic structures over Bauhaus driven designs, why not living in a pumpkin?
This guy will raise you an eco-friendly home in just one summer. Or grow it by yourself: All you need is soil, water, a ton of fertilizer and a pumpkin seed. You have to support a big family? Don't worry - just take more seeds.

Or does someone provide another suggestion on the purpose of growning super sized vegetable?  After all it is a given they don't taste that much.
Who ever has grown summer squash of the kind called "zucchini" experienced it. Someday you will find a giant zucchini hidden under the zucchini leaves. First there was nothing and than there was "that". It will look like a green or yellow zeppelin destined for air transportations only. Don't try do anything culinary with this fellow. It will taste like a bunch of cotton wool. Just show it to your neighbors, they will look at it, laugh and shake their heads: yeah, yeah, happens all the time.... And than throw it away.
Next year I am going to grow some patissons again, very small - if you are quick, delicious and cute looking summer squash. And I will keep an sharp eye on the guys underneath the leaves.

Potatoe-Tuna-Salad and failured onsen eggs

I know, it is quite boring, salad again, but husband just likes to eat cold dishes after a warm summers day. We are still enjoying a late summer, quite a surprise and unusual warm for our area. And he is addicted to salads, so I did'nt have to ask him what he would like to eat. It was pretty obvious.
my plate

Lucky for me I had to buy 1 pound fresh green beans only.  All the other ingredients I already had in storage. I took:
4 bigger really good tasting potatoes - not too floury
handful cherry tomatoes (own harvest)
some olives
1 shallot
1 glas jar firm tuna preserved in olive oil
2 eggs
1 small tablespoon dijon mustard
1 small garlic glove, minced
a few tablespoons olive oil
smaller amount of vinegar

How to:
First cook the potatoes and peel them afterwards.
Cut potatoes in thicker slices and quarters. Let cool down a bit.
Boil the beans (about 3 minutes) in salted water and drop them in icecold water afterwards to prevent further cooking.
Wrapp the eggs in 3 sheets of kitchen paper each and rinse the wrapped eggs in cold water to soak the paper. Put the wrapped eggs in a pot with hot water (first I boiled the water, than I turned off the heat).
Layer a plate on top of the eggs to keep the paper from swimming away and close the pot with a lid. Unfortunatly I let them sit about 25 minutes - I planned on 15 minutes only: to late, too long - the phone rang...
Peel the eggs.
Slice the shallot by a mandoline or knife.
Crumble tuna in bit sized pieces.
Cut the tomatoes in halves.
Last thing to do: Assemble the dressing.
Put everything in a salad bowl and toss lightly.
just before tossing

Do with the eggs whatever: one porched egg for one person placed on the salad was planned. The eggyolk was too firm, I cut it in quarters and tossed it with the other ingredients. (I peeled off the the egg whites, still too slimy for H.s taste)
Yeah, I was a little piss** about the result of the egg cooking. It was the first time I tried this method.
Wanted to produce something called onsen egg 温泉卵 (First two kanjis: Onsen, hot spring, bath; third kanji: tamago = egg. I am still a completely idiot on kanjis - why does the symbol for egg doesn't include strokes for tori / bird - who knows. I  will always fail in this area).
Onsen eggs are traditionally cooked in hot springs. The hot water has to stay at a temperature about 65C (- not higher) for 1 hour. Maybe the water was still too hot. Next time I am going to use a thermometer and keep an eye on the time.
Now this is a method which seems to be more appropriate concerning porching eggs japanese style:

Mittwoch, 28. September 2011

Films about cooking - sushi

In Braunschweig/Brunswick (60 km away) they are still celebrating japanese weeks but I am not going to make it to visit. The japanese weeks will end on Friday 2011.09.30. So sad, they have a brilliant programme: showing japanese vending machines, cosplayers, story tellers, furnitures, music, films and so on.
I have seen the animes already (and I know some girls which are fully attached to manga related cosplay) but I really would like to watch this film:
Jiro dreams of sushi
 I am going to order it on dvd.

Spaghetti-Clawfish salad

Hiroyukis lunch inspired me. Today I was in need for just are quick meal  for buisy people. The troublesome last season of the year has started, too much to do on the job.

I sliced two shallots and roasted them in a little dark sesame oil (in a non stick pan), added 4 spoons instant dashi, 2 spoons soysauce, 1 spoon mirin, 1spoon sake, 1 garlic glove (sliced) and a teaspoon freshly grinded ginger and simmered it only a little until onions were translucent. I added 125 g precooked clawfish and a teaspoon  lemon juice.
I cooked 200 g capellini (very thin kind of spaghetti) in salted water for about 3 minutes, rinsed them in cold water,  and added them (wet) together with a handful mild garden rocket and 2 spoons roasted white sesame seeds to the sauce. I adjusted the seasoning with salt, lemon juice and pepper!  When cooled nicely - after tossing, I used a good amount of trout caviar to garnish. The caviar gave a nice fishy zing.

Dienstag, 27. September 2011

Geek food?

I think I am quite open to new food and I like to try out many different ingredients and recipes, it is fun, it is surprising, or even delicious.

And I have been travelling to many countries and sometimes I didn't even know what was this on my plate and learned afterwards, e.g bullfrog ragout in china and certain parts from male animals... But I must say there is a limit. I will not (never ever) eat this

Sonntag, 25. September 2011

Small rack of lamb on mediterranean vegetables

Tomorrow I don't have time to cook. So I prepared something in advance for my husband (his cooking skills: fry an egg and open a can of baked beans...).
To make sure he gets all his nutrients I have to feed him properly. Still, I did not want to fuzz around and made soemthing quick. I took:
1 very small rack of lamb (3 boned)
1 small pointed red bellpepper, diced (1.5 cm x 1.5cm)
1/2 of a smaller eggplant, diced  (1.5 cm x 1.5 cm)
1 medium tomatoe, peeled, diced roughly
1 onion, cut in small halfmoon slices
1 garlic glove, in slices
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
2 good pinches grounded oriental spice (coriander, chiliflakes, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, cumin)
1 anchovis fillet (pickled in salt), minced
1 small glass of dry sherry
a few big olives, pitted
salt to taste
olive oil
First I rubbed the lamb with spices and salt. Heated a little olive oil in a pan and roasted the rack of lamb from each sides until it was nicely browned. I put the lamb on one side of the pan and added the vegetables and garlic. I roasted the vegetables a little until eggplant cubes showed nice roast marks. I deglaced with a small glas, nearly a sip, of sherry and added the herbs, tomatoe cubes, the minced anchovis and olives. I placed the lamb above the vegetables, closed the pan with a lid and let everything simmer about 10-15 minutes over low heat - until a thermometer picked in the middle of the meat showed 65C. I turned of the heat, adjusted the seasonings and put the lid back on (there remained only the heat of the ingredients and pan, I use an induction stove). After some rest I put the dish (still warm) into a container.
rack of lamb on vegetables
Tomorrow husband is going to use the microwave for reheating. I showed him the instant couscous. It is quite easy to prepare, but I guess he will have some bread with the lamb.

Bread made from spelt and beer baked in a cast iron pot

I was eager to check the recipe I found in a printed version of the food magazine essen&trinken
It was a special edition on classical rural area recipes:  Crusty bread made from spelt, a little yeast, water, beer, vinegar. The dough needs 18 hours to develop. Afterwards the bread will be baken in a cast iron pot.
First I mixed the flour, instant yeast, water, beer and vinegar in my kitchen machine bowl. I  let it run for 3 minutes. The article describes the dough as nearly liquid but it was not that liquid at all, spelt needs more water than wheat flour, so I added a sip of beer: now the dough was very soft, not runny, but soft.  (I never trust printed recipes and the micro amount of yeast was mere ridiculous).

450 g spelt flour
200 ml lukewarm water
100+ ml beer, room temperature (recipe calls for 100 ml lager). I took "Beck's gold". Some call it "women" beer because there isn't that much hop involved, lacks bitterness, tastes quite mild, but it has the same amount of alcohol as beer for "men".
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (recipe calls for 1/4! teaspoon)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar - organic apple cider (recipe calls for white wine vinegar)

I placed the bowl in my kitchen covered with cling film. After 16 hours: Dough shows lots of bubbles and seems to have risen.
dough in the bowl after 16 hours
The smell is a little fruity: classical sourdough. Meanwhile I drank the leftover beer and some more but this is another story.
2 hours later I placed the dough on a baking board dusted with spelt flour.
dough on the baking board - look at the bubbles
The dough has to be folded 15 times: flap one side over the other and upper side over the bottom side  - no kneading but folding. This was kind of tricky first because the dough was way too sticky and soft. I used a dough scraper to fold and sometimes just a litte more flour for dusting. After a few turns it got way easier. The dough reminds of dough for baguette, same texture and softness.
I placed the dough in the middle of a baking foil (duration baking foil, ran out of baking paper) and put it together with the foil in a bowl (of the same size as the cast iron pot for baking) and covered it by another bowl. The recipe calls for covering the dough surface with oiled cling film - I know what will happen: try to peel cling film, even oiled cling film, from sticky dough surface - this will not do... no need for this stunt.
I let dough sit for another 2 hours. First at usual room temperature what was about 19C and later on on a warm and sunny place because the dough showed no sign of rising.
After 2 hours the dough showed bigger bubbles beneath the surface.  Meanwhile I put the cast iron pot in the oven at 250C.  I placed the dough with the foil in the pot, closed it with the (hot) lid and put the pot back into the oven. Shoot... forgot to slice the dough surface with a knife but I dusted it with a little flour - too late...
After 30 minutes it smelled like freshly baked bread. I opened the lid and lowered the temperature of the heat to 220C. According recipe the bread has now to bake about 15 - 18 minutes without lid. I knocked on the bottom of the bread - sounded good and placed it on a baking wire.
The colour of the bread reminds of baguette. As I thought. But the shape is funny - the baking foil is a little stiff so the bread stayed in the folds. It almost looks like a flower (laugh). The cracks are not so pretty because I forgot to cut the surface of the dough crosswise before baking. I am not quite satisfied with the placement of the bubbles. The texture is rather firm but the crust is very crisp.

Samstag, 24. September 2011

Grilled trouts

We still have such a nice late summer weather, sunny, 20C - or as we call it "old hags summer" (there are many cobweb threads in the air, reminding of long grey hair - sometimes germans can be witty too). Last chance to use the outdoor grill for cooking.
I bought two medium sized trouts (perfectly prepared for cooking by the fishmonger) and put them in a plastic bag together with 1.5 l water, a small handful salt and 1 tablespoon spices: pepper, chili, allspice, a few crushed juniper berries, 1 laurel leave. They rested in the brine about 20 hours until transfered into a strainer and quickly rinsed.
Husband went into his McGyver mode and managed to hang them into the wind right under the roof of our porch. There they could enjoy a mild breeze for about 2 hours. He used cable clips...

trout dangling in the wind
He heated the grill (with dome lid) by a few charcoal briquettes and shoveled the charcoal on one side of the grill.  I placed a smoke pack on top of the charcoal (just 3 tablespoons beech saw dust, wrapped in tin foil, package perforated a few times with the help of a fork)  and placed each trout on a layer of oiled tin foil next to the charcoal. We closed the lid and let the trouts grill and smoke about 15-20 minutes. They got only mildly smoked - very nice taste:
trout after grilling
Later on I placed two corn ears (preboiled in salted water for about 15 minutes, seasoned with a little butter and a little thyme, rosemary, majoram, sage, pepper, wrapped in tin foil) over the charcoal.
Meanwhile I prepared hashbrowns, tomatoes with onion and crema di balsamico, sliced daikon in ponzu, grinded horseradish with cream.
my plate - only a few hashbrowns (diet)
and another view / share

Homemade sweet chillisauce

What to do, when even hornets feed on your nashis. Today I picked up 5 big nashis which showed major damages due to insect feasts. I found at lot of them: ants, centipedes, ladybugs, wasps, even 2 hornets and earwigs in and on the fruits. Welcome dear guests, my nashi restaurant just opened... but there is no helping. I hate to throw away good fruits so I decided on something for my storage: Hotsauce.
After cutting off the damaged parts I shoveled the fruits into my electric juicer together with 2 small tangy apples. Got 600 ml clear juice (after filtering). Nashi juice doesn't taste that much. Nashis are nice and juicy but they lack intense flavour.  No worries, I just needed a base for a hotsauce. This kind of sauce I use for glazing chickenwings, ducks, turkeys, bbq, or as dipp.

main ingredients: chillies
I took:
600 ml fresh juice
1 big red onion
6 bigger birdeye-chilli
3 jalapenos
1 habanero
125 ml apple cider vinegar
250 g sugar
400 g jam-sugar (with pectin)

Habaneros are pretty little fruits. They look alike innocent yellow micro bellpeppers, but they are loaded with heat. I grow them quite often but don't use them that much.
First I heated 250 g sugar with finely chopped onion and finely chopped chillies (use rubbergloves while preparing the chillies) gently stirring over mild heat. Make sure to stay away from cooking fumes - this is something you usually call tear gas. I let the sugar melt and onions get translucent. Afterwards I deglaced with the vinegar, added the juice and cooked it about 10 minutes. Than I added the jam-sugar and cooked the lot until the liquid got a little sirupy when cooled (just test with a few drops on a cool plate).
I filled the sauce in 2 big slender jars. My first impression after tasting: lips and tongue got instantly numb - yeah, hot enough. But I did not cry, only my nose started running
doesn't look dangerous at all

Freitag, 23. September 2011

Catfish and cucumbers

Today I got two big garden cucumbers. They are not of the same kind as this small cucumbers for pickles or the big deep green for salad. Inside they hide lots of nasty seeds and they have small thorns in the peel.

They would never win a beauty contest. That is for sure! And there is more:
I like the smell of freshly cut garden cucumbers very much, but I don't dare to eat them raw. There is something in this kind of cucumber which sets my stomach on fire. I decided to cook them. Cooked or pickled: no pain at all for me.
Thinking about cucumber vegetables there is only one recipe I am really fond of, besides pickled cucumbers: Cucumber sliced and cooked in a cream sauce accompanied by a nice fish filet and lots of dill.
catfish with cucumber vegetable

I took:
400 g catfish fillet (wels), trimmed in two nice even fillets - and scraps (1 handful) 
2 big garden cucumbers, peeled, quartered, seeds and watery flesh removed by a spoon, sliced in 0,5 cm slices
1 bunch dill, leaves and tender stems only, roughly chopped
1/2 carrot, diced in really small cubes (brunoise)
1 cm slice cellery root, diced in really small cubes (brunoise)
1 red onion, diced
250 ml cream (for whipping)
150 ml fish broth
1 laurel leave
1 sip Noilly Prat
1 tablespoon butter
lemon pepper
lemon juice
cajun seasoning (mixture of chili, pepper, allspice, tarragon, garlic)
instant flour
oil for frying

Salt cucumber slices and let rest about 30 minutes. Afterwards rinse the slices with water, strain them.
Melt butter in a pan and add diced onion. Cook on medium heat until onion gets translucent. Add carrot and cellery brunoise. Let sweat just 1 minute - no colouring by roasting! Deglace with fish broth, cream and Noilly Prat. Add laurel leave and simmer until the liquid is nearly halved. Get rid of laurel leave. Add cucumber to the sauce and simmer about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and lemon pepper. Never cook the cream on high temperature!

Meanwhile sprinkle the fish with a little lemon juice, salt and a good amount of cajun seasoning. Toss fish in flour until lightly dusted and fry in oil (I used a wok) until fish is done (depends on the thickness of the fish).

Serve fish with cucumber cream sauce. Just before serving add dill to sauce.

Now what to do with the scraps.
fish fritters with aioli
I used the flat and pointed end of the fish fillet, some parts from the sides with some left over fish bones and a part of the fish belly and diced the scraps roughly. I put the fish cubes, a little separated, in the freezer. After 30 miuntes I gave the very cold fish cubes into a blender, added 1 slice french white bread (without crust, cut in cubes, soaked in water and squeezed dry), 2 small scallions, trimmed and sliced, 1 small egg, salt, lemon pepper, chili flakes and a few drops worcester sauce and blend them together. I let the knife run for a few short rounds until the ingredients were finely grounded - without bigger bits and pieces.
Afterwards I formed small patties - golf ball ize (with wet hands, batter is sticky) and tossed them in corn flour. I fried the fritters in oil until golden and crisp and served them hot with Aioli (garlic mayonnaise).

The wels was really fresh, not grown too big. Sometimes old aged (years of growth) and big sized wels taste a little bit like pond mud mixed with fish oil. So I always have a sharp eye at the fish size and meat structure before buying. Lucky, this one was perfect - a feast.

I bought two trouts too. They sleep in a spiced salt brine until tomorrow.


Dienstag, 20. September 2011

Nearly healthy pumpkin cheese muffins

I bought new spelt flour. The next days I am going to to test a recipe on a special bread: the spelt dough needs 18 hours to develope and it is baked in a cast iron pot with lid on. But not now. Now I had to do some fridge sweeping first because tomorrow is garbage day and husband has something to do about the garbage in this evening. Time to get the garbage ready.

I used some left over fridge inhabitants for this kind of muffin:

100 g  butternut, weight of the medium grated and pressed (in kitchen paper towel) pumpkin
130 g spelt flour ( Dinkel, 630er) - can be substituted with common wheat flour
100 g greek feta cheese (sheep cheese) a little bit aged... now crumbled
125 g yoghurt (3.5 fat), 2 days over the limit
1 green onion, trimmed, split lengthwise and sliced, need to buy new onions tomorrow
1 small pointed red bell pepper, diced in small cubes
1 garlic glove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 eggs, (2 whole eggs + 1 yolk)
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, smoked
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1 good pinch salt
1 good pinch vanilla-sugar (just grind dried leftover pieces  of vanillapods with sugar in an electric mill)
1 pinch oregano, powdered
1 pinch cumin, powdered
black sesame seeds for decoration

Sieve spelt flour with soda and baking powder, add sugar, salt, spices, vegetables, cheese. Mix yoghurt with oil and eggs and just incorporate in flour and vegetables for a short time. Do it by hand and use a spatule. Don't overdo batter.
in the baking bowl, crumbled cheese left upperside with chilli

muffin molds (silicon)
Fill batter in 6  buttered muffin molds or ramekins. Sprinkle with sesame. Bake at 180 Celsius for 25 min -30 minutes.
muffin cut open and quality checked, soft and juicy
Husband enjoyed the muffin halves decorated with a slice of serrano bacon and a slice chorizo (before taking care of the garbage).

Sonntag, 18. September 2011

Just mushroom risotto

It's getting colder now.  Today it was all grey in grey with rainy periods. So we were longing for comfort food: warm, filling and soothing.
For risotto (some sort of rice gruel) you always need a few ingredients only. I decided on a variety of dried and fresh mushrooms and italian glutinious medium grained rice. The mushrooms, especially the autumn trumpets, will give the risotto a darker brownish colour but the flavour is wonderful:
mushroom risotto: darker bits are autumn trumpets

250 ml risotto rice ( I used carnaroli - it is high priced but a save bet)
125 ml white wine with a sip medium sherry
125 ml water
1.2 l chicken broth (unsalted), simmering hot
250 g mixed fresh mushrooms: shiitake, procini, sliced
1 red onion, cut in small cubes
1 handful dried mushrooms: autumn trumpets, porcinis
2 tablespoons butter
80 g grated cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano or old aged gouda, old aged cheddar)
black pepper, freshly grinded

Soak dried mushrooms in water and white wine/sherry for 1 hour. Sieve all of the soaking liquid through a very fine meshed strainer - don't waist a drop. Chop the soaked mushrooms roughly.
Heat a big heavy pot and melt 1 tablespoon butter, roast rice in butter while stirring on lower heat until it starts to become glossy, add the onion cubes and roast a little longer until onions look translucent. Deglace with the soaking liqid. Cook on medium high heat until liqid is evaporated. Add a ladle hot chicken broth and soaked roughly chopped mushrooms, again let liquid evaporate while stirring constantly with a wooden spatule. Add the next ladle chicken broth and so on, until half of the broth is used, than add finely sliced fresh mushrooms and cook on while adding broth (ladle for ladle) constantly stirring. The whole process will take about 20 minutes but it depends on the shelf age of the rice. Just make sure to have enough chicken broth simmering aside. Check the rice once in a while: it is perfect when it is soft with a very little bite (but rice grainss should stay in perfect shape) and the remaining liquid is creamy and thick. Act now: Add a tablespoon butter, cheese and salt pepper to taste.
Serve quickly.

Danubian wave / Donauwelle - rescued

Last week I baked a big plate german Donauwelle /danubian waves and a plate apple pie with cream topping for my collegues. My husband was anticipating some left overs but actually there were none. They ate up everything, even the last crumb.
This weekend I promised to bake Donauwelle especially for him. Therefor I switched the cake size from a big baking sheet size to a  very small (18 cm) spring form size.
Donauwelle is a cake made from a rich pound cake batter, chocolate pound cake batter and cherries covered with buttercream and chocolate glazing. You simply make a layer of white batter, followed by dark batter, sprinkle some cooked acid cherries on top and bake it. Afterwards there comes a layer of buttercream and chocolate glaze. Not a single bit healthy and very bad on the hips.
First thing: I forgot to buy cooked acid cherries so I used frozen acid cherries from my garden. Actually I used too much semi-frozen cherries mingled with cherry marmelade for some sweetness and they sank through the dark batter and the white batter on the ground of the baking mold. I must have made some mistake while downsizing the measurements of the ingredients.
nice brown waves but they should be at the upper side

The cherries have to sink a little or you don't get the wave image of the chocolate batter (as to be seen here) but not as much. I saved the cake by turning it upside down and let it cool. Afterwards I placed the buttercream on the cherry-topping (by accident). Not much harm done (and my husband could not tell the difference) but enough I am not going to post the recipe - still tasted great.

Samstag, 17. September 2011

Give salmon a second chance

We did not manage to eat the whole amount of grilled salmon yesterday. Today I made some very easy sushi* rolls and inside out rolls filled with left over salmon:
leftover salmon wrapped in sushi rice
I cooked 1 cup sushi rice and spiced it with sugar, mirin and vinegar. Cut 1/2 small sweet red bellpepper in smallish cubes, 1 small scallion in very fine slices and mixed the vegetables together with a tablespoon black sesame into the rice.
Placed 1/2 of the rice on a nori sheet, topped it with a line of salmon and a little horseradish-mayonnaise (2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon grated horseradish) on top of the fish and rolled it up.

For the second roll I placed the rice on a cling film sheet, followed by a line of salmon with mayonnaise topping and covered it with a nori sheet and rolled it up. Afterwards I rolled it in white sesame.

My knife did not do the job very well. Has to be sharpened - tomorrow someone has something to do about it.

*) this is not what you get when ordering sushi but it looks alike - I have no better name.

Freitag, 16. September 2011

Grilled spicy salmon

I looked out for fresh mackerels to make aji no hiraki but my search at the local fish mongers was hopeless. Did'nt get any. But there was a nice big salmon wispering: "Come on, I am not a bad guy, buy me." I could not resist, just  had to switch my plan.
I decided to put the salmon, bought a big piece of one half, in a nice marinade for a couple of hours and afterwards grill it in my old charcoal grill with dome lid.

The marinade was made from sugar, salt, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Just before grilling I covered the skinless side with a spice mixture made from sezchuan pepper, crushed coriander seeds, lemon pepper and chili flakes.
before grilling, covered with spices

 The fish was layered skinside down next to the charcoal (only a few charcoal briquettes will do)  and roasted (by closed dome lid) about 30 minutes - more or less.

placed beside the charcoal!

The cooking time depends on the thickness of the fish, so check it once in a while.
The fish has to fall in flakes easily but has to be glossy and juicy, just done:

just a small slice
A side dish I served a small potatoe-spinach leave salad. Made with dark roasted pumpkin seed oil so the colouring is a little off.

All you need is:

Salmon (big piece of a deboned half with skin attached)

about 3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 small ginger knob, grated
1 garlic glove, grated

(mix, place fish skinside down on a cling film sheet, cover with marinade, wrap cling film over the fish and place in fridge for 3-4 hours)

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon sechzuan pepper
lemon pepper, freshly grinded by spice mill  (5 rounds)
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

(Sprinkle over the fish)

5 medium potatoes (firmer kind, cooked in peel), peeled hot and cut in rounds
1 handful baby spinach leaves
some cherry tomatoes, halved
1 green onion, cut in slices
1/4 cup vegetable broth
For the dressing:

1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 dash balsamico vinegar
3 tablespoons dark pumpkin seed oil

(toss potatoes with broth, when cooled down, mix ingredients for the dressing until well blended and toss with potatoes, spinach, green onion and tomatoes)

Mittwoch, 14. September 2011

Fridge cleaning: Chicken Curry

Today I made a very quick and easy Chicken Curry. Done in about 25 minutes. Curry likes all kinds of vegetables so this is just something cooked out of my fridge storage. I also often use peas, snowpeas, eggplants, pumpkin, summer squash, spinach or asparagus for this dish. Not in this combination but with some of this veggies.

All you need:
4 Chicken breasts without bones and skin, cut in bite sized cubes
1 tablespoon instant flour
250 ml coconut-milk
50 ml water
1 cellery stalk, diced (1cm x 1cm as all the vegetables following)
1 big carrot, diced
1 green bellpepper diced
1 small broccoli, cut bite size
1 mango, diced
2 green onions, cut in slices
1 big red hot chili or as much as you can take, minced
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
1 teaspoon tumeric powder
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 dash worcester sauce
2 dash nam plah
1 knob tamarind paste, mashed
1 knob ginger, minced

Toss meat cubes with flour.
Heat a little oil and roast meat at all sides, beware not to burn the flour. Add spices, let roast a bit longer while stiring and scraping afterwards deglace with the coconut milk. Add a little salt, stir quite often and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and add cellery, carrot, ginger and tamarind, palm sugar to the coconut sauce. Let simmer with a closed lit about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and mango. Let simmer about 5 minutes, add a little water if the sauce thickens too much. Add broccoli and meat, reheat for 2 minutes, add onions and turn off heat, cover with a lit and just let sit a bit. Adjust seasoning with worcester sauce, nam plah and salt.
Mango chutney would be a good addition - got no mango chutney.
(Cooking times depend on the vegetables, cook the firm kinds first)

Serve with basmati rice

Mittwoch, 7. September 2011

Spicy Tofu-pork-wraps with sweet and sour plum sauce

I had quite a lot yufka sheets  left over from sunday, got to do something about it. Today  I decided on something easy - wraps, because I had nearly everything in the fridge.

Wrap with plum sauce and a little red bellpepper salad

9 yufka sheets (triangle shaped)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons oil (sunflower or peanut or a mild olive oil)

250 ground meat (pork)
350 g tofu, mashed with a fork
1 carrot,  diced into very small cubes
200 g firm and crisp cabbage, finely shredded and roughly chopped
4 anchovis, minced and mashed (can be substituted with nam plah sauce)
3 green onions (scallions) trimmed, chopped
1 large egg
1 garlic glove, minced
1 knob ginger, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons hot red soy bean paste sauce (e. g. Gochujang)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch chinese 5-spice-powder
good amount of freshly ground black pepper
1 dash worcester sauce
1 tablespoon starch
salt to taste

Filling: Just mix everything together by hand, adjust seasoning with salt. Brush yufka sheets with a mixture of the 2 oils.  Place some (1 small handful) filling at the round end of each yufka sheet. Fold the ends of the long sides to the middle over the filling and roll the sheets up from the rounded ends to the pointed ends.
Place wraps (pointed end  upside down) on a baking sheet, bruh with a little more oil and bake about 30 minutes at 180 Celsius. They should get a nice tan.

Sweet and sour plum sauce:
350 g pitted blue plums, halved
1 onion, diced
1 knob ginger, minced
200 g sugar
100 ml vinegar (mild apple cider)
50 ml water
40 g tamarind paste without seeds, broken into some chunks
1 teaspoon sezchuan pepper
1 small pinch chinese-5-spice (optional)

Heat sugar, plums, ginger and onion cubes in a pot until sugar is melted and plums start to give some juice. Add vinegar, water, tamarind paste, spices and cook on medium heat about 25 minutes until plums are very soft and decomposed. Puree with an immersion blender. If much too thick, add a little water and reheat. Fill in a big jar. This will keep in the fridge quite a while. It is a good dipping sauce for chickenwings or marinade for BBQ or to glaze roasted ducks and chickens, just think ketchup.

Beware: These wraps are no "fingerfood". They are soft.
The filling is highly recommended to be used in yeast dough dumplings.

Montag, 5. September 2011

Chicken Karaage

Today I decided to cook chicken. I bought 5 chicken tighs because they were on sale. Usually I am not a fan of  dark chicken meat. I always stick to the white flesh but my husband likes chicken skin and the bonier parts and I had this japanese recipe on my to do list:
Chicken Karaage - a little blurry

Karaage:  deep fried meat

Debone the tighs leaving probably 300-400 g plain meat with skin. Grind a huge knob of ginger and press the mash for juice. Mix the ginger juice with 1 tablepoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sake and 1 minced garlic glove, a pinch of chiliflakes and a little salt. Put the meat in a plastic bag, add the marinade and gave the meat a little marinade massage, afterwards put the bag in the fridge - for about 30 minutes.

Add a few tablespoons potatoe starch and mix it in well while shaking and rubbing the bag. Afterwards deep fry the nicely coated pieces in 3 batches in oil: Just a few minutes until golden and crisp, while turning the pieces once in a while.

I don't like to throw something still edible away so I decided on chicken soup in addition while using the remaining bones:
Put the bones with attached raw meat, skin and scrabs into a pot and add 1 1/2 l water, 1 carrot in quarters, the green part of 1 leek, 2 onion halves, 1 smashed garlic glove, 1 big smashed ginger knob, instant dashi powder. Heat it up to the boiling point. Afterwards reduce the heat and simmer broth, covered by a lid, about 30 minutes, defoaming once in a while until the meat is soft.
Sieve the broth and pick the meat from the bones. Shortly before serving: Add  fresh carrot in julienne (1/2 carrot) and leek stripes (a handful, white parts only) and 1 tablespoon sambal olek* to the hot broth, a dash soy sauce and the small meat pieces. Adjust seasoning with soy sauce and a little dark sesame oil.
100 g ramen will do.

*)If you like it hot...

More side dishes:

Steam 125 g snowpeas in a little dashi just for 2-3 minutes.  Afterwards gave them extra flavour with 1 teaspoon sesame salt, a little sesame oil and soysauce.

Cut a small roman lettuce in stripes and add julienne from the other half of the carrot. Mix 1 teaspoon vinegar, small dash soy sauce, teaspoon mirin and a pinch of mustard and toss it with the salad

First we started with the soup: Chicken broth in a bowl, a little rinsed ramen and some green onion slices.

It was followed by chicken karaage, salad, snowpeas and rice.

List of ingredients:

5 small chicken tighs

1 big knob ginger (3 tablespoons ginger juice)
1 tablepoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sake
1 minced garlic glove
1 pinch of chiliflakes
5 tablepoons potatoe starch
oil for frying
Thai sweet chiliauce for dipping

chicken bones with attached meat leftovers from 5 chicken tighs
1 1/2 water
1 ginger knob
1 garlic glove, smashed
1 bag instant dashi with bonito flakes
1 carrot in quarters, 1/2 carrot in julienne
1 trimmed leek, green parts only and 1/4 white parts in julienne
1 onion, peeled in halves
1 green onion, slices
up to 1 tablespoon sambal olek or other chili sauce/paste
soy sauce
dark sesame oil
 freshly cooked ramen (100 g)

Side dishes:

125 g snowpeas
1/2 bag instant dashi
100 ml water for steaming
1 teapoon sesame salt, roasted sesame seeds grinded with seasalt
1 dash soy sauce

1 roman lettuce, only a small young one, also called heart of lettuce, in stripes
1/2 carrot cut in julienne
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 dash soysauce
1 teaspoon mirin
salt to taste

Sonntag, 4. September 2011

Poppy seed-curd cheese-strudel

Yesterday we had a really nice rare hot summer day, this called for a BBQ in the evening - maybe the last one of this year. Today it is rainy again and much colder: So not nice. We planned to visit the newly built moore information centre in our village and have a guided hike through our moores, but no way. I don't like hiking in wellies with water from heavens above and water and mud around my feets.

Instead I decided to bake an autumn dessert: Strudel and have a lazy day at home. There are as many strudel recipes available as there are austrian grannies and I had an austrian descended grandmother too. So strudel is something we had as children very often. My granny used to make her own strudel dough but nowadays there are easier ways. I often simply use yufka dough sheets for börek. This yufka sheets are avaible in turkish grocery stores or in big supermarkets. You can make böreks with many different kinds of content, mostly based on cheese or meat or even fish paste or vegetables. You can use this sheets for strudel too. There is not so much difference.

Ususally you would make this kind of strudel with one big dough plate (size of a tea towel) but I had small triangle shaped yufka sheets at hand because first I thought about having börek with sheep cheese and dried tomatoe filling the next days.  But today I was longing for something warm and sweet and bad for the hips. One look in my fridge and I found a small package of curd cheese and so it was decided:
Curd cheese filling it will be. This kind of strudel is called Millirahm Strudel because it is made from milk products like milk, cream and curd cheese. But plain curd cheese stuffing is somewhat boring. For more flavour I decided on poppy seeds.
just one bite - it is eaten warm!

You need:

8 Yufka-dough sheets (triangle shaped) or something like springroll sheets
80 ml whipping cream
80 ml milk
1 egg
butter for the mold
2 tablespoons sugar

2 larg eggs (yolks only)
100 g sugar
250 g curd cheese (quark, 40% fat)
3 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons rhum
60 g poppy seeds, grinded

Mix sugar, curd cheese and yolks until very well blended, mix in poppy seeds, add currants (soaked for an hour in rhum) and stir well. Place 2 tablepoons of the curd cream at each round end of the yufka sheet, fold on the right and on the left the long sides of the sheet over the filling (thinking envelope) this will keep the cream from running away and roll the yufka sheet up to its pointed end. Layer the minimized strudels (rolls) in the buttered mold (tips underneath) like sardines in a tin can.  Mix milk, cream egg and 2 tablespoons sugar and spill it over the rolls. You may prepare more of the milk sauce for a "wet" strudel but I like it with the sauce completely soaked up.
Bake at 180 Celsius for 30-40 minutes. When the top is brown and crisp the strudel is done.

done: crisp and brown

Donnerstag, 1. September 2011

Late summer garden surprises

First I had trouble with my tomatoes. Remember I bought small sized cherry tomatoes and now I got big ones too. The same happend with my chilli plants. I bought 3 jalapenos plants and I got: 2 jalapeno plants (yes!!!) and 1 really big fruited (maybe some sort of bell pepper).
left: 1 common jalapeno - right: what are you???

I also have troubles with my nashis. First the wasps ate the peaches, now they switched to nashi. They do know what is yummy and exotic:

I should have wrapped the nashi in paper bags. Maybe now it is too late.

But there are also nice surprises:

My edible japanese chrysanthemums are flowering and the blossoms are so cute and pretty. Next year I am going to sow much more.

Here are other garden flowers which I like the most (at the moment):

Helianthus (up to 2 m high)

dalia with very big blossoms

physalis alkengi

In my pond: Nymphaea - it is very big, yellow coloured turning fading pink

Atumn dinner: Pasta with mushrooms, swordfish and lentils

Yesterday I cooked a little dinner for two. The autumn is near and it was rather cold outside.
First we started with pasta and salad, followed by fish and afterwards chocolate cake (to warm up).

Tagliatelle with chantarelles

400 g chantarelles (cleaned, cut in bite sizes)
100 g shiitake (fresh mushrooms not dried, stems removed, cut in slices)
2 tablespoons lean bacon in small cubes
2 tablespoons sherry medium dry
black pepper (freshly grounded)
1 dash worcester sauce
olive oil
1 knob butter
300 g uncooked fresh tagliatelle.

Heat very little olive oil and bacon cubes until bacon becomes crisp.  Add mushrooms and sherry and cook while stirring occasionally about 3 minutes.  Add butter and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and worcester sauce.  Cook tagliatelle for 2 minutes in salted water. Add dripping wet to the mushrooms, toss and serve.


1/2 small red leaf chicory, cut in bigger stripes
a few chrysanthemum leaves (edible japanese variety), halved
10 Nasturtium blossoms

1/2 small red onion, in small cubes
1 teapoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon mustard

Stir together and toss with salad greens/blossoms.

Swordfish and lentils

This may not look good but it is good!!!

3/4 cup small french puy lentils (soaked a few hours in water)
2 laurel leaves
1/2 small carrot
1/4 small celery root
1 red onion
2 tablespoons almonds, peeled and roasted
8 sun dried tomatoes, in oil
1 garlic glove
5 anchovis, salted
1 sprig thyme
1/2 cup water

2 swordfish steaks
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard

Cook lentils and laurel leaves in 1 1/2 cup of water until done, don't cook them too soft a very litte bite is convinient. Cooking time depends on the shelf age of lentils. Old aged lentils took much more time, fresh lentils are done in 15 minutes.
Cut carrot, onion and celery in very small cubes. Cook in a small amount of tomatoe oil until nearly soft, onions glossy and translucent. Puree the dried tomatoes, garlic, almonds, anchovis with a immersion blender. Add to the vegetables and roast about 1 minute. Add chopped thyme leaves, lentils and enough water to disolve the puree. Add a few rounds of pepper and salt (depends on the anchovis). Heat for 2 minutes.
For the fish:
Mix Honey, vinegar, mustard. Brush the steaks on both sides and let sit 20 minutes. Grill the fish until done but not overdone  in th middle. Adjust with salt.