Friday, March 16, 2018

Three Shades of Shamrocks: 1 Cookie Dough, 3 Cookie Cutters, Four Designs

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, this space was solely a baking blog with a bit of travel thrown in. I used to spend most of my blog time presenting colorful, sugary, sparkly creations. 

And French macarons. A LOT of French Macarons. Remember Mararon Mondays?

As time went on (going into my 9th year here), I've added savory food and recipes. Consequently, it has been some time since I've dragged out the food coloring and the cutters to make something bright and fun.  St. Patrick's Day was the perfect excuse, only I couldn't decide what design cookie to make. So I made all the designs. 

Well maybe not all of them but here are four you can easily make yourself. Some are easier than others but none are impossibly intricate or difficult. 

Three shades of shamrocks may not be as sexy as 50 Shades of Grey but the fun factor is high. 

You will need your favorite rollout sugar cookie dough recipe or store-bought cookie dough, three different sizes of the same shamrock shaped cookie cutters and green food coloring. That's all. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Making Plum Poppy Seed Brown Butter Pirohy in Bratislava

While cruising the Danube last spring on the gorgeous Ama Waterways ship, the Ama Viola, we explored a fantastic itinerary while cruising this world famous river in luxury. 

During this jam-packed wonderful cruise, I had the opportunity to take a cooking class when the ship stopped in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Bratislava, Slovakia was the home of my maternal grandfather (when it was Czechoslovakia) and a place I had never been so I was doubly thrilled to step off the boat to explore the city. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Coffee & Cake Ice Cream

File this under "kitchen confessions":  

I am a cake scrap hoarder. 

Here's the deal, every time I make a cake and have to trim before frosting it, I hate throwing away the excess. It makes me sad to put those scraps in the garbage. So instead I put them in a ziplock bag and stash them in my fridge. This comes with the rationale I will make cake balls, cake pops or use them for another creative recipe down the road.

Well, I cleaned out my freezer recently and that day has come. How about coffee and cake all rolled into a delicious ice cream?

To start, I whipped up a creamy coffee flavored ice cream base then mixed in two cups of cake scraps after the churning phase. The result was a delicious cakey ice cream. 

I had both plain chocolate and vanilla cake scaps on hand but you can use any type. The fancier the cake, the more interesting and flavorful the resulting ice cream will be. I would even use pastry scraps. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Gruyére-Stuffed Crusty Loaves - King Arthur Flour's March Bakealong

How gorgeous are these? And yes, these Gruyére-Stuffed Crusty Loaves taste as good as they look. 

I lived in Germany full time for 10 years. Gruyére and Emmenthaler cheeses are common in supermarkets (an inexpensive) and also are often found as ingredients in restaurant dishes. If you don't have a cheese specialty shop near you, finding them here in the USA sometimes can take a few stops. Don't even get me started on searching for raclette cheese. 

Walmart, of all places, carries Gruyére. I might or might have or might have not done the chicken dance when I saw it there. If the Gruyére is too pricey for your budget, Sargento also makes a swiss- gruyére blend that is much more reasonable. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Kohlrabi Stuffed with Quinoa, Kale & Walnuts

Is kohlrabi weird? Is it hard to find in your area? It's so common in Germany in wintertime I assumed it would be easy to get here. Four supermarkets and two farmers markets later and I finally scored some.

Kohlrabi has been on my list to make into schnitzel for some time. That's a popular way to prepare it in Germany as well as turning it into soups and baking it into casseroles. Kohlrabi is German for "Cabbage Turnip" btw. 

Stuffing it was my first priority this winter. I used a vegetarian style stuffing. Adding meat like ground turkey or beef would also be delicious. However, I was looking to create something a bit lighter and packed with healthy ingredients. Kohlrabi itself is full of vitamins and minerals. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Brie Leek Soup

Hold on to your lettuce leaves because this is an exceptionally luscious and rich winter inspired soup. This dish is thick, hearty and a vegetarian meal in a bowl. 

Leeks and sweet onions are fried in butter, then simmered in a creamy vegetable broth. As a final step, pieces of mellow brie cheese are melted into the soup before serving. 

This soup is obviously not low calorie. You can cut the calorie and fat content a bit by substituting low-fat or nonfat versions for the whole milk. Swap out the triple cream version of the brie for regular brie to dampen down the fat content. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Prosecco Popcorn Cupcakes for Oscar Night

Does everyone have their Oscar ballots filled out? 

Which nominated movies are you rooting for this year? (Get OutStrong Island, Dunkirk)

Which movies did you feel were overlooked? (Patti Cake$, The Florida Project, In the Fade, The Disaster Artist, 120 Beats Per Minute) 

What about performances? So many great ones (Frances McDormand, Mary J. Blige, Daniel Day-Lewis, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Laurie MetcalfTimothée Chalamet, Gary Oldman)
Who was snubbed? (James Franco, Mudbound's Director Dee Rees, Phantom Thread's Vicky Krieps and Jane for Best Documentary)

Does anyone watch the documentary shorts? (Knife Skills) 

So many questions. All will be revealed on Sunday evening. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sauerkraut Bacon Yogurt Cake

I had no any idea why the world has declared war on the word "moist".  So many people shudder, squirm and gag at the mention of it. Finally, I found out there is a scientific explanation, which I will not get into here at this time. 

Consequently, it is with trepidation that I describe this cake as "moist". So let's just say it's "not dry". 

Leftover yogurt in the fridge and the rest of a pack of thick cut bacon pieces in the freezer were combined last weekend to make this savory sauerkraut cake.

I have seen several savory sauerkraut cakes in German cooking magazines but most involved a tart shell. I love my savory tarts but I was looking to create a simple, flavorful savory cake I could mix together in a matter of minutes. So here it is. 

The cake is sticky but not gluey. Mostly it's the M word or, not dry.  

The cake has lots of sour flavor from the kraut and the yogurt and the bacon pieces provide delightful salty nuggets studded throughout. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Smoky Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is what happens when you have two bottles of unopened liquid smoke sitting in your cabinet for what seems like forever.  I have no idea how theose two little bottles got there. I may or may not have bought them on a whim or perhaps I was gifted them at an event. 

All I know is, I was tired of looking at them and had to think up a way to get rid of them. At first thought, these muffins seemed a bit of a desperate effort to do so. Upon tasting them, I proclaimed myself a pantry cleaning genius.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Everything Fried Pickles with Horseradish Sauce

Ever since I tasted fried pickles at a restaurant in the Berkshires, thoughts have been dancing in my brain about how to create my own version.

One weekend I was creating recipes for this space and realized I didn't have all the ingredients on hand to make a planned recipe. Upon spying a jar of pickle coins in the pantry, I switched gears and made these.

These fried pickles are salty, crunchy and loaded with seasonings. I craved a little spice to go with them so I paired them with a homemade horseradish sauce. 

For the everything seasoning, I've included a homemade recipe below. I added celery, cumin and dill seeds to the mix to complement the dill pickles. Everything seasoning can be a combination of anything you want. 

Leave out the celery, cumin, and dill seeds and you have a more traditional everything mix. I realize dill, cumin, and celery seeds are scarce in most kitchens. These fried pickles will taste just as good without them.