Mittwoch, 30. November 2011

Just a hot pot

Today I cooked a soup again. Soups are best during winter and done in no time.

lots of vegetables, chicken meat ball and tofu

I actually strainend my back (I wonder how) and cannot stand or sit that long so doing some elaborate things in the kitchen is out of question. Just got a shot, some pills and massage and took a day off. Tomorrow I have to return to the office or the work load will pile up even more and I would have to regret it later on. Staying at home is impossible. But enough whining...

I just put into the soup what I had in storage: Mushrooms, broccoli, carrot, leek, daikon, sweet german turnip, chrysanthemum leaves, cabbage, tofu, japanese chicken meat balls (tsukune), noodles.
The broth was simply made with daishi,  soy sauce,  konbu, spiced up with chili paste and ginger and mirin.  First I cooked the more firm vegetables  just a little before the soft leaf vegetables went in so the ingredients got not too soft and out of shape. I cut a little tofu in cubes and added it to the soup 1 minute before serving.
For the tsukune I blended 2 half frozen chicken breast until chopped in an electric blender. I spiced the meat up with 1 teaspoon soy sauce, salt, ginger, chili, pepper and mixed it with 1 egg and some freshly ground white bread (1/2 slice to make them fluffier, starch make them more stiff). For a better binding I blended a little more chicken meat until creamy and rubbed it in. With the help of a spoon I shaped balls.  I simmered the chicken meat  balls in a little extra broth with soy sauce and added them to the soup just before serving.
Additional seasonings: roasted sesame oil and more indonesian chili paste

Sonntag, 27. November 2011

Potatoe salad southern german style

Today we had steaks with roasted onions and a variety of salads. I prepared rucola salad, potatoe salad, beet root salad. I also served pickled daikon.

The potatoe salad was made without mayonnaise - much more friendly for the hips.

For southern german potatoe salad for 2 you need:
8 medium potatoes (not the floury kind of waxy potatoes)
1/3 cup very good dark beef broth (made from bones and meat) instant will not do
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 good pinch of salt (depends on the saltiness of the broth)
2 tablespoons oil (without any intense flavour - please don't use olive oil)
1 teaspoon mustard
1 pinch sugar
1 small onion, diced finely
1 tablespoon lean small bacon cubes
1 pinch majoram, rubbed between your palms
black pepper
Cook potaotes unpeeled until done but not overdone. Peel very hot and slice. They should not break and crumble that easily.
Meanwhile heat the broth, mix with vinegar, salt, majoram, pepper, oil, mustard, sugar. Soak hot potatoe slices with 1/2 of hot broth, wait a few minutes and add the rest. With this method the potatoes have enough time to suck in the hot liquid and flavours. This salad is very moist. In southern german dialect it is called - a little bit rude but authentic:  pee wet.
Heat a non stick pan and roast the bacon, add the onion and roast until translucent but without colouring. Add to the salad and toss carefully. It is served warm and it has to be shiny and glossy.

I read about kimchee style daikon pickling on Hiroyukis blog.
I had 1/2 daikon in my fridge and therefore I had to give it a go but my way.

I went with a hot brine method I often use for cucumbers or summer squashs to get some quick results. For hot brine heat 1/2 cup of vinegar with 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2+ teaspoon salt  in a pan. Cover thickly sliced daikon with the hot brine, add 1 garlic glove (sliced) and 1 tablespoon arabian chili paste (Harissa), I thought seaweed would be good too, as mentioned in Hiroyukis blog on another pickling method, so I used a bit. Toss and let rest in the fridge  for a few hours. Shake them once in a while. If you don't like it very spicy reduce the chili paste. (Usually I like to add brown mustard seeds and one dried chili to the hot brine for cucumbers and summersquash but had no mustard seeds in storage). The chili paste was good too although it was not the kimchee base stuff. I made kimchee once in a while with chinese cabbage, coarse sea salt, lots of shredded fresh chili, ginger and garlic and there is not a single bit of sugar in use. So Hiroyukis method is much more near the original method.

Christmas cookies - first round

Today is the first of Advent. Traditionally we light the first candle of the wreath and eat the first christmas cookies of the year in the late afternoon.
So I had to bake some yesterday. Every year I start with a handful of different types of cookies and I am going to bake other types at the next upcoming saturdays. Hopefully christmas we have many different cookies for a colourful plate left (that depends on husband or better: hidden storage areas). Then there are gatherings too where everyone has to bring some christmas cookies and each and everyday collegues visit my office for a little cup of coffee or tea, small talk and a cookie or two. Usually I have a big jar in my office wether it is filled with cookies or small candies, but there must be a mouse or two who are able to open jars. It empties very quickly and I am not the one - I am on diet.
This was the first round

Flower shaped cookies with black currant jam filling called "naughty boys", flower shaped cookies with hazenut-chocolate ganache filling, Zebra-Shortbread with coffee/chocolate dough, round shaped marble-cookies, cube of gingerbread made from honey, spices, almonds, flour and candied oranges with candied cherry on top of the sugar thread glaze.

And there are unbaked cookies drying on the cupboard I will bake this afternoon called little jumpers, cookies known since 1300 AD. They are part of the picture bread family as ginger bread. In former times these cookies showed scenes from the bible or saints, they were some kind of charm and offering too. Later on the scenes changed.

Mine show some animal pictures only - no saints: swans, squirrels, robins, ducks. You need carved wooden molds or a special carved wooden rolling pin to make these cookies. The dough is made from icing sugar, eggs, flour and anise, ammonium carbonate. It glues like hell and you need to roll it out on sugar. The cut out cookies have to dry 24 hours (and try to change there shape during this time). Afterwards they are baked on lower temperatures and they jump up (getting higher) during baking. They have to rest 2 weeks before they can be eaten, first they are hard as stones getting softer everyday. It is a southern german speciality. You don't get them in the north but they sell the molds often at christmas markets (wonder what people do with the molds, maybe for kitchen decoration purpose only).

Freitag, 25. November 2011

Short note: Nukadoko

The nukadoko survived its 4th week. It is still alive and kicking. I pickled quite a lot daikon and carrots these days, but is hard to get smaller sized cucumber. The big ones don't fit in. I had to add another cup of rice bran and salt because it got a little too soggy. But the smell is still ok, intense, but nothing like garbage smell, paint thinner or acid. Reminds of bread and much more on pickling olives.
Last week I could not mix it for 2 days in a row because I was on a journey. That did not harm the nukadoko that much - but the smell was very intense. After mixing and airing it for a longer time it was fine again.

Arabian style chicken stew with dates and germinated brown rice

Today I prepared an arabian stew. I love the taste and smell of oriental dishes. This is how it looks:

small portion of stew and germinated rice

Usually you would prepare it in a clay pot called "tajine" but I broke the lid (I am going to make a wish for  a special new one this christmas, quite expensive..). Meanwhile a stew pot will do as well. And I cooked germinated brown rice which is absolutely not arabian, in fact it is japanese, but I have to add something healthy to our daily intake once in a while.

I took:
6 very small chicken breasts without skin and bones, cut in rough chunks
2 big onions, diced
8 big Medjool dates, dates from marocco: large, sweet and succulent
1 pointed sweet large bell pepper, cut in chunks
2 big carrots, sliced
1/2 lemon, juice and 3 bigger stripes lemon peel
1+ more teaspoon Ras el Hanut (arabian mixed spice)
1/2 teaspoon Garam masala (indian mixed spice) - this is not arabian but fits perfect
good pinch of Harissa (arabian chili powder)
1 cup chicken broth

1 cup germinated brown rice*
1 tablespoon currants or arionia berries
2 tablespoons peeled almonds, cut in sticks, toasted
1 pinch gloves, powdered
1 teaspoon butter or oil

First heat a pot with a little oil and roast onions and chicken chunks until onions turned translucent and chunks got a little colour. Add spices and roast just a few seconds longer. Add carrots, lemon peel, dates (without core) and chicken broth (and yes you don't need much liquid). Cover with a lid and let the stew cook about 1 hour on very slow heat (after 45 minutes add bell pepper in chunks). After 1 hour adjust seasoning and add lemon juice. This recipe calls for salted, pickled lemons, but actually I am not a fan of pickled lemons. The taste and smell is way too intense - reminds me on cleaning products for toilets. So I always use fresh lemons instead. Besides: The dates will get mashy and desolve during cooking and leave a sweet taste.
Meanwhile heat the germinated rice (freshly germinated, therefor soaked for a long time)  in a small pot with just 1 cup water, a pinch of gloves, currants and a pinch of salt. Let simmer on low heat until rice is plummed, soft, but not cracked, about 25 min - 30 min. Add roasted almonds and butter and cover the pot with a folded tea towel. Set the lid on top and let the rice rest 5 minutes more.

The stew is very good and more authentic with couscous or white long grain rice. If you don't like brown rice that is. But if you would like to try germinated brown rice, here is a "how to":

*) Germinating brown rice:
This is quite easy  if you have some equipment. Germinated brown rice is very healthy and delicious. If you can get hold on brown japanese rice give it a try.
To germinate rice you need a heat source where the rice can be kept warm during the germination process. It is recommended to germinate rice by a temperature of 34 C for 24 hours.
First wash the rice properly in cold water and don't forget to rinse 3 times to make sure it is clean as possible.
Afterwards fill the rice in the incubator - a heating device: I use a yoghurt maker with a 1 l pot I bought decades or so ago. Yoghurt makers with small glasses are of no use. It has to be one big pot.

Yoghurt maker germinating rice
I filled in an amount of 1 1/2 cups washed rice and added 2 cups warm water (40 C). I set the timer on 10 hours.  After 10 hours I rinsed the rice with warm water and gave it back into the yoghurt maker, added 1/2 cup of water only and set the timer on 10 hours again and let is rest 4 more hours without heating.
Afterwards I rinsed the rice with water and let it strain in the sieve for a few minutes.

Sonntag, 20. November 2011

Soul food from southern germany

Last week I had to stay 2 days in southern germany, in Stuttgart - home of the big cars with the star. I am always glad to visit Stuttgart because members of my family came from this part of the country. I love the local dialect and the traditional food. These things remind me of happy childhood memories. As this dish:

Maultaschen roasted in a pan covered with egg

During a few free hours I visited local stores and the market hall where you may buy lots of good food. If you ever come to Stuttgart don't miss it. It is one of the most beautiful market halls in germany. Here are some pictures
There I bought a local delicacy: Stuttgarter Maultaschen. It reminds on japanese gyoza or chinese dumplings: Noodle dough bags filled with minced veal, bacon, spinach and lots of herbs. I also bought dried and smoked Blutwurst and dried pears, buns (made pretzle style a local speciality) and rye bread "Schnitzbrot" made with nuts and lots of dried fruits, escpecially dried pears (dried pears are called Schnitz) again a local delicacy. Souvenirs, souvenirs.

Today I cooked the Maultaschen. First I simmered the Maultaschen in beef broth and afterwards they were cut in thick stripes and roasted in a pan until browned. At least I added 3 scrambled eggs and served them together with green salad with a sweet dressing made from broth, cream, vinegar, sugar and salt. My grandmother made Maultaschen this way. Another way - very traditional: Maultaschen are served with lots of roasted onions in brown sauce and with potatoe salad (no mayonnaise please: broth, oil and vinegar dressing) and a green salad. I had this dish in Stuttgart too.

Preparing X-Mas decorations with plants from my garden

At the moment we have very nice late autumn weather: sunny and not that cold. I am still working in my garden. Today I cut off noisy wisteria twigs. This plant always tries to eat up my house and I am still fighting back.  If it will ever reach the house it is going to destroy the roof. The wisteria always tries to find ways: Snuggling at the base of the wall it is creeping along the wild grape climbing up to reach the house. Since the grape lost its leaves I found out and I cut quite a lot 2-6 m long wisteria branches. Pretty perfect for making a floral wreath. I decorated the wreath with wild grape and physalis and hung it near my front door. This wreath is tied by wisteria only without any wire. You need very long branches to build a big and even ring in a a nice shape. It is a nice way to get rid of wisteria and a good and very eco friendly out door decoration for Christmas.

Mittwoch, 16. November 2011

Tebasaki - spicy chicken wings

The next days I am off on a business related journey. Husband has to eat something tomorrow and I made a few chicken wings and noodles which he may reheat in the micro wave.
How to cook Tebasaki Chicken wings is displayed on the "cooking with dog channel" and they looked that good I had to made them with little changes.
Just using simply basic ingredients:
8 chicken wings (I never seen this big wings as in cooking channel)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake
1/2 tablespoon mild white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
lots of black pepper, chilli flakes
big knob of ginger, grated
1 big garlic glove, grated
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil and seeds
oil for frying

First wash chicken wings, pat them dry and sprinkle with salt, black pepper,1 tablespoon sake and 1 teaspoon grated ginger - in cooking with dog they used ginger juice but I did'nt. Toss and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
Cook garlic, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar on high heat, reduce to low and let cook until it is reduced a bit (looking lightly thicker and glossy). Fill in a big bowl and add vinegar.
Add 2 heaped tablespoons corn starch or potatoe starch into a plastic bag, add chicken wings and toss while shaking the closed bag.
Heat oil for frying and sesame oil in a wok.  Add 4 chicken wings and deep fry until golden and crisp.  Turn them over when one side is done and once in a while splash some of the hot oil over the wing surface.
Let wings rest on paper towels to reduce the oil and toss them - still hot, in the sauce.
Fry the other 4 wings, same procedure. Place wings on a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds, chilli powder.

I made some noddles too: Just tagiatelle with sliced button mushrooms, sliced leek, sliced green onions, garlic, chilli, ginger, sesame paste and -oil, soy sauce and chicken broth. And steamed broccoli.

Guess he has enough to eat if tonight he keeps his fingers away from the chicken wings.

Dienstag, 15. November 2011

Salmon and daikon in miso broth

Salmon and radish in Miso broth

I don't know where I have seen it but it is a very simple dish. Doesn't look that much but it tasted really good.
fish and daikon slices

First you peel some daikon (I used half of a daikon) and cut it in 2 finger hight rounds.
Heat 1 l dashi with some slices of ginger (a big knob), 1-2 tablespoons soysauce, 2 tablespoons mirin, 2 tablespoons sake and cook the daikon on slow heat about 20 minutes.
Add 2 pieces of salmon and simmer about 10 minutes - depends on the fish.  Get fish and daikon out of the pot and reduce the broth just a little, for few minutes. Daikon should be tender, if not there is the chance to simmer it a bit more.
Finally add 1 1/2 tablespoons miso, stir until the miso is disolved and stop heating. Adjust seasoning, maybe add a little salt or soy sauce and a small dash nam plah fits fine (even if it is not japanese). Add a few cuts of green onion into the hot broth and put daikon and salmon back. Close lid and let rest for 2 minutes just to reheat the fish and daikon.
Serving: I served the rice in bowls.  I desolved 1 teaspoon miso in  a few tablespoons broth and sprinkled  a little on the fish as additional flavour.
The broth gives a very nice additional soup.
miso broth

Montag, 14. November 2011

Day #14 of nukadoko

The rice bran has matured. There are no signs of yeast or mold. And there is no garbage smell or acid related smell but it smells quite intense. I pickled half a daikon, 1 cucumber and 2 carrots for about 4 hours. The salt content dropped and the pickles tasted good - especially the carrots and the cucumber. I am not really satisfied with the daikon texture. Maybe I should dry the daikon for a few days before pickling. The daikon slices were somehow wobbly and not crunchy enough. I have just seen a really funny j-drama. One older guy told a young one which suffers from a little bit heartbreak syndrom to burry his sorrows in nukadoko. Therefore he gave him a ceramic pot with a lid and some of his nukadoko. The young guy burried a foto, closed the lid, and secured it by tape. Nice idea but reminds a little on a time bomb.

Mittwoch, 9. November 2011

Last gardening tasks

No more gardening this year. Today I digged out bulbs and plants in high speed because it was getting dark. Most of them will sleep in our basement during winter.The next nights are going to be cold, about -4 C, so time is up. My fig tree shows first signs of frost bite. I wrapped him up in foil. Sadly the fig fruits will not make it this year. The fig started  blooming very late and the fruits are still green and firm.
Last tasks: cut roses and take care of the tree leaves. This looks pretty annoying but has to wait until weekend:

The magnolia tree dropped all of its leaves in one hour or so. Thankfully the rhododendrens are gardners friends keeping their leaves and staying in shape, nothing to deal with later on.
I cut some herbs for drying before they are gone: rosmary, oregano, sage, thyme. And I took the small laurel tree inhouse and also the verveine. November is always the worst month of all.

Day #10 of Nukadoko

Pickled small baby cucumbers for a few hours only. Delicious. Had a great sandwich with fresh cream cheese, chopped chives, pickled cucumber slices and boiled egg slices this morning.

This is the same sandwhich without egg.

Montag, 7. November 2011

Day #8 of nukadoko

It's getting colder now. Outside temperatures dropped and we have much nasty fog and a very annoying drizzling  rain (air moisture 99%). We started to heat more: The last two days we switched to burn wood in our main fireplace in addition to common heating. The room temperature was pretty high. This had some effect on the rice bran bed. It started to smell more intense. Smell reminds of an old olive farm, working in a very traditional way, I once visited in turkey. They let olives mature (pickle) in salt water basins (seawater). That is how it smells and little bit of linoleum. Good, bad? I really don't know.

Sonntag, 6. November 2011

Nukadoko - one week later

I still mix it every day. Burried some carrots and baby eggplants. First the carrots tasted very salty. Now, two days later, newly burried carrots haves a little sour taste too. Smell is still good. Husband: "Are you still playing with your personal little sand box?" Yes, yes. He is the guy who ate up all the little radishes, thanks to the sand box.

Samstag, 5. November 2011

Hardships of preparing Peking duck

Tomorrow I will roast peking duck and make pancakes. It is an easy version of Peking duck: I am not going to blow the duck skin loose.
First thing you need is a duck - best to use a big and fat domestic duck (pekin duck). I bought a smaller young, but well fed duck (1.6 kg) because we are only two persons who will eat the duck.
Peking duck preparation takes two days.

First day:
Cook duck glaze

left over glaze after glazing duck

glaze duck
Hang duck right over the hot glaze and ladle glaze over...

hang duck up on a cool and well aired place
under the roof
My smart phone likes to add the colour yellow while using flash light. Don't know why but I will change phones sooner or later.

For glaze:
500 ml water
40 ml honey
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce (or more honey)
60 ml light soy sauce
60 ml rice wine (sake or dry sherry will do)
1/2 lemon cut in thick slices
1 cinnamon stick
2 gloves crushed
1 star anise
Simmer glaze for 20 minutes. Meanwhile rinse duck, put liver, heart, stomach and the neck away for some soup, pat duck dry ( inside and outside) with kitchen paper towels.
Screw a hook into the sternum right at the beginning of the neck.  Knot a kitchen string to the hook, long enough to hold the duck properly over a pot and to hang it up later on.

First ladle/spoon glaze into the duck belly and let it flow back into the pot.
Hold duck over the pot with the cooking glaze (medium high heat) and ladle the glaze over the duck, over and over again until the duck skin turns its colour into somewhat golden brownish (it is not curry yellow). This will take quite a few minutes, glaze will become thicker and thicker. Make sure to ladle the glaze on the back and under the wings too. If you are rather weak (maybe you didn't like to eat spinach during childhood), ask someone stronger to hold the duck properly. I just switched my arms from time to time. Husband asked if he could help but I shoed him out of the kitchen gymn.
I hanged the duck under the roof in our old and airy attic. There are no insects or other pests, so no worry because it is clean and cold, but I would not do this during summer. The duck has to dry over night. Some people place an electric fan next to the duck and let it dry a bit quicker. I think the attic will perfectly do.

Update one day later:
After one night the duck is dry but not dry enough. Touching the skin should remind of touching parchment paper. So I put the duck in the oven without heating but surround ventilation on. The ventilation system is quite strong: blow drying the duck (hopefully).

 Last steps of Peking duck:

I heated the oven up to 240 C and roasted the duck, breast side down, for 20 min on a grill rack. I turned the duck and let it roast 1 hour and 15 minutes at 180 C. During baking time I placed a big pan under the duck filled with hot water.

done and it is not burned!

I baked little hamburger buns. Just fluffy and soft buns 1/2 of  the size of a common hamburger bun with sesame seeds on top (flour, yeast, oil, sesame oil, salt, sugar, skimmed milk/water).

I also prepared the dough for pancakes. 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup hot water: knead until elastic and let rest 30 minutes. Form nearly walnut sized balls (a little bit smaller), dip one ball in sesame oil, place the ball oil side down on a second ball and roll both together to a very thin pancake - as thin as possible. Bake in a dry pan on both sides until pancake surface puffs up in big bubbles. Quickly split pancake open and peel it into two pancakes. If it doesn't puff, put it for 3 seconds in the microwave at 900 W, pancake will blow up like a balloon. Store pancakes in a bowl covered with a hot damped cloth.
 Meanwhile I also
  • prepared spring onions: just sliced them into thin small stripes 
  • stir fried some yellow and red chard stems, cut in thinner stripes and seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar
  • stir fried snow peas too, seasoned with salt, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce, roasted sesame 
  • minced some garlic and ginger - seasoning for the duck later on 
  • prepared small bowls with sweet and hot bean sauce, soy sauce.
snowpeas, pancakes, onions and chard
You take a split open bun or a pancake, spoon on the seasoning: garlic and or ginger, bean sauce, spring onions and duck meat, some dip it in soy sauce too, enjoy:


Thief: loves duck
 This guy went crazy smelling the duck. He jumped on the table and tried to snatch some.

Apple cheese cake

Reading Sissis post about her light and lovely cheese cake, I had the instant urge to bake a cheese cake too. I know my husband  and friends will eat it up happily. I may eat only a little (hopefully).
Since it is autumn and there are many apples available, I baked an apple cake. I don't have an apple tree in my garden but organic farmers market sold lot and lots of different kinds for a cheap price. You can buy a bag with 2.5 kg apples for 1 Euro. The bag contains different kinds of apples (different varieties) with minor damages - good for baking or cooking apple sauce. 
The apple farmer is specialized on old varieties. He grows 100 different types. These apples are very aromatic but not as supersized and well coloured as modern commercial types. But they taste very good.
Here we go: This is a slice of cheese cake:

Cookie dough layer:
180 g flour
100 g butter or margarine (I don't use margarine, too much trans fat, but you may)
50 g sugar
1 egg yolk
1 pinch salt
1 pinch baking powder

500 g curd cheese (Quark)*
500 g apples wheight peeled and cored, cut into quarters, sliced. Use an very aromatic apple for baking with "melting" flesh as Bramley, Cox, Boskoop.
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
1 vanilla pod, scraped seeds only
150 g sugar
1/2 lemon, zestes and juice
2 tablespoons quince or apple jelly

For the dough: knead egg yolk, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter (cut into dices) quickly together.  Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes, roll out and layer in a spring form (26 cm diameter). Pinch the dough with a fork several times and bake at 180 C about 12 minutes.
Prepare apple slices and toss with lemon juice to prevent oxidation.
Meanwhile beat egg whites until stiff peeks form. Mix quark, egg yolks, lemon zestes, vanilla seeds, sugar until the batter is smooth and sugar disolved. Stir in the apple slices. Gently fold in egg whites without damaging the "snow". Fill the batter into the spring form on top of the cookie dough layer and  make the surface even while using a cake scaper.
Bake at 180 C for 1 hour.
The cake is ready when its surface is golden browned and doesn't look moist anymore.  Let sit in the oven 10 more minutes after turning of the heat. Cake will flatten a bit. It is the same with cheese soufflé - so no wonder. Afterwards glaze the surface with heated and liquid qince- or apple jelly.
Let it cool down and keep in the fridge for 1 hour before serving. Fresh and lukewarm the cake is way to soft to get cut.

 *) Other names white cheese, farmers cheese and it is not cottage cheese.  I prefer austrian style hand made curd cheese named Schichtkäse because it is more dry and firm, which is important because the apples add much juice. It is very lean too. If you only get soft and moist curd cheese, fill the cheese in a cheese cloth and hang it for a few hours. It will loose some of its moisture.
If you don't get any Quark at all, this recipe will do with double cream cheese, part of it replaced by 125 g yoghurt too.

Freitag, 4. November 2011

Day #5 of nukadoko

There is no sour smell, but a more intense earthy one. I just burried some red radishes. They use to be small and red. The radishes I choosed are rather big. I simply pushed them into the bed (no digging) and closed the bed over them.

the colour is wrong. In reality it is not curry yellow
After 5 hours:

I ate one already and am still alive and kicking. They lost some of their water content but are still juicy. Besides the light saltiness there was another flavour (not unpleasant) I am not accustomed to. Must be the pickling bed.
Mixed the bed again, tossed away yesterdays greens (chard stems) and sticked in small peeled carrots.

Donnerstag, 3. November 2011

Tree Frogs

Today I cooked so called "tree frogs".
Before somebody gets sick: I didn't cook little jumping guys. Tree frogs, in german "Laubfrösche", are chard leaves filled with minced meat - just think cabbage rolls. They got there name because of the really bright green colour of boiled chard.

I bought chard on an organic farmers market. They sold the usual deep green chard with white stems and chards with yellow and red stems and purple leaves. Of cause I choosed the funky purple.
I also bought fresh mushrooms and deep red, orange and yellow carrots, hot red radishes (think daikon but a little bit smaller and red) and winter purslane. A feast for the eyes.

frog cut open..
Miracles happen: Purple chard leaves turned dark greenish! But this doesn't really matter.

For the frogs you need:
200 g ground meat (pork and beef)
2 chards, leaves only, stems cut out.
100 g button mushrooms, diced
1 onion, diced in small dices
1 egg
1 german bread roll or slice of white bread, soaked in water, crumbled and squeezed dry
1 pinch nugmet
1 teaspoon sweet paprika (paprika is made of mild dried hungarian chilli peppers)
1 garlic glove, minced
2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped

Tomatoe sauce:
1 can tomatoe chunks
150 g button mushrooms, sliced 
1 tablespoon tomatoe paste
1 laurel leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
50 ml cream
Olive oil

First I cooked a tomatoe sauce base:
Melt minced onion  in olive oil. Add tomatoe paste and roast a little. Add sugar and melt this too. Add tomatoe chunks with juice, salt, pepper, chilli, laurel leaf and let simmer until the sauce is a little thicker. Just a simple tomatoe sugo. At least add the sliced mushrooms.

Meanwhile I boiled a lot of water with a pinch of salt and let the chard leaves take a short hot bath until they became soft. I let them strain and patted them dry with kitchen paper towels.

I heated a little olive oil in a pan and roasted the onion dices until glossy, followed by the mushroom dices. I simmered the mushrooms until done and all juices are gone.
Afterwards I mixed by hand: meat, egg, soaked and squeezed bread, parsley, cooled down diced mushrooms with onion, paprika, pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, good pinch of nutmeg (think hamburger paddies).

I wrapped 1 1/2 tablespoons meat mixture in each one chard leaf until gone. Beginning at the end where the stems had been cut out in triangle shape. I put these ends together, placed the meat on top and rolled up the leaf while forming a ball - side parts of the leaves always folded in. Than I placed the balls in the tomatoe sugo (was cooked in a bigger pan with lid) ends down. I simmered the frogs on medium low heat about 25 min. Meanwhile I cooked small peeled potatoes in salted  water.
At the end of the frog cooking time I added the cream to the sugo and only heated it a little (cream can be skipped for diet reasons).
Side dish: red radish and winter purslane salad with a vinaigrette (mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt pepper)

Day #4 of nukadoko

Mixed the pickling bed and tossed the daikon slices away. Burried some chard leaves and - ends, a little carrot green. Still smelling good, maybe a little bit earthy. Water content might have rised a little bit, but I think it is still alright.

Mittwoch, 2. November 2011

Day #3 of nukadoko

I mixed the nukadoko with all my might picking out every little single bit of the cabbage leaves.
wilted tangy cabbage leaves and chilli

Due to the lack of cabbage I replenished the bed with some daikon slices and bigger leek leaves. I tasted a small cabbage piece for any strange smell or taste, but the leave was tangy and salty only (the first vegetable feeds are always for the trash can). The bed seems to be healthy: No traces of smeary texture, mold growth,, no yeast or paint thinner smell. I pushed it even and closed the lid again.

Dienstag, 1. November 2011

Day #2 of nukadoko

I mixed the nukadoko by bare hands and punched it flat again. It was a nice feeling like kneading lots of playdoh. Maybe I need some more water, but I am not sure. The smell is sweet and still very much just "toasted rice bran". So far so good but the cabbage leaves got smashed into small pieces. It will be troublesome to pick them out.
See also: How to start a Nukadoko