Monday, May 23, 2016

Strawberry Basil Heart Torte

As we head into berry season, I have to admit, I'm more than a little excited. 

In Germany, there are whole issues of cooking magazine dedicated to strawberry recipes in anticipation of the season's crop. Perhaps it's all those years spent there anticipating strawberries.

When I was home in Germany a few weeks ago, a version of this strawberry torte jumped out at me from one of those magazines. I added basil to my version which I believe amped up the flavor. This is a perfect dessert to complement your Memorial Day barbecue menu.

Friday, May 20, 2016

White Asparagus with Speck in Orange Chervil Cream Sauce

I'm a little late into white asparagus season in posting this recipe. However, I recently saw a few bunches around in the markets. You can easily substitute green asparagus in this dish.

The orange chervil sauce is worth making by itself. Use fresh chervil if you can. Leave out the speck or thick cut bacon for a vegetarian version. 

Each year, when Germany has white asparagus fever, watch out. As soon as the "white gold" is harvested, Germans are in their kitchens creating new and traditional white asparagus recipes. The German cooking magazines are filled with eye-catching dishes to make with weiss spargeln.

I saw a version of this recipe in one of the magazines and was looking forward to reinventing it. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spring Asparagus Salad with Mini Potato Chip Schnitzel

I officially declare this recipe a less guilty way to eat potato chips because salad and protein are involved. 

Are you with me?

Potato chips make a great coating for schnitzel. A fun food for kids of all ages. For flavor twists, use barbecue or sour cream and onion potato chips for the mix. 

You can also go all upscale and colorful and use homemade or store bought gourmet chips like blue, beet or sweet potato chips. All would add some lovely color.

The schnitzel recipe can be made with whole cutlets. Just skip cutting out the rounds with a cookie cutter. I wanted a miniature size for presentation so I used a small round cookie cutter to shape the schnitzel out of the veal. Skip that and take the easier way of cutting asymmetrical pieces or strips out of the meat. 

Of course, you don't have to use veal. Substituting turkey or chicken cutlets would also work well in this recipe.

To bump up the color factor, I used orange tomatoes and red onions in the salad. 

For the full recipe and instruction, hop on over to my German Food Page at

Monday, May 16, 2016

Radish Mint Soup

Just landed back in NYC after a week in a warm climate and greeted by very Fall weather in mid May. 

What. Is. Up. With. That?

I have the solution.
This is a perfect spring or summer soup recipe that also sports some heft for colder days.

The soup has a creamy parsnip and potato base but the flavors of red radishes and fresh mint freshen up the flavor preventing it from becoming too heavy.

Butter fried shallots add another layer of flavor to this lovely dish and the flavors of mint and radish work surprisingly well together.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Anchovy Sauerkraut Potato Tart

Savory tarts seem to have become a thing for me.  

In this hearty version, potatoes and sauerkraut do the heavy lifting. Purple radicchio adds lovely color and a bitter bite. Anchovies pop the flavor. The tart is finished off with a layer of melted gouda cheese.

This tart can be served hot or lukewarm. A smaller slice with a side salad makes a perfect light meal.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Breakfast Sweet Potatoes: Eggs Baked in Sweet Potatoes with Cheese & Bacon

This recipe is hearty enough to stand on its own for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. The beautiful presentation makes it perfect for any special occasion. Mother's day is a great fit for this recipe.
Hollowed out, half baked sweet potatoes are layered with cheese and thick cut bacon or speck. An egg is placed on top of the cheese and bacon and a scattering of chives happens before the whole thing is baked. 

This recipe is easily customizable to you or your guests' specific tastes. Using gouda and speck definitely gives this dish a German. However, leave out the bacon entirely for a vegetarian version or switch up the meat ingredient to turkey bacon or crumbled sausage for a lighter version. 

For a fancier version, use two quail eggs for each sweet potato.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Herb Spelt Bread

When I was back home in Germany recently I had the urge to make bread. The feeling must have been prompted by being surrounded by all those fantastic Germany bakeries.

I was also inspired by the availability and low price of spelt products, I was inspired to make a spelt bread.

Full disclosure - I found a frozen fresh package of a mix of eight herbs in the supermarket and used it in this bread. This made the process quick and easier. 

However, since the season is here, I encourage you to use fresh herbs from your garden or purchased from your local farmer's market.

To finish the bread, before baking, I sprinkled some lemon scented large crystal sea salt over the top.  The great healthy taste of spelt combined with the pop of salty herb flavor in this bread is fantastic. 

Wild Herb Spelt Bread

  • 1/3 cup of chopped fresh herbs of  your choice. Use at least 4 different kinds.
  • 2 packages of active dry yeast
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch of white granulated sugar
  • 2+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1+3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Large crystal salt (your choice)

  • Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of lukewarm water. Add the olive oil and white granulated sugar. Mix to combine. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and spelt flours with the teaspoon of salt. Add the yeast mixture and mix together. Knead in the fresh chopped herb mixture. Knead everything into a smooth dough. 
  • Place the dough on a cutting board and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Stow the dough in a warm place for 30 minutes. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
  • turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead vigorously for five minutes. Shape the dough into a loaf. 
  • Transfer the loaf shape to the baking sheet. Cover again with the damp kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place for another 30 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • Use a sharp knife to score the top of the bread several times from the short side. 
  • Sprinkle with the course salt. 
  • Fill an ovenproof dish with water and place it on the bottom of the oven. 
  • Place the bread in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Lemon Lime Yogurt Torte

This creamy tangy yogurt tart is perfect for your Mother's Day brunch table. 

Creamy tortes can take forever to make but in most cases are worth the wait. This is certainly one of those times. The torte takes 3 hours to set in the refrigerator so be aware of this before committing to making it.

What I love about this recipe is that it works for any season. Light and refreshing for spring and summer, it is also a great way to take advantage of winter citrus and will lighten up any fall-flavored menu.

The simple vanilla crust is lovely and sweet. The lemon lime layer is gelatin based and made with yogurt and cream cheese scented with fresh lemon and lime juice.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sour Cherry Cake with Olive Oil Streusel

This luscious flavorful streusel cake is so easy to make you won't believe it. It's also a cake you can make in any season. It's considered a cake btw, even though I made it in a tart pan. I'm such a rebel.

One batch of streusel cradles the cake on bottom and top. Add a large jar of sour cherries  for the filling and you are good to go. Be aware, the streusel needs to be chilled for 30 minutes, the rest of the prep and baking time is under an hour.

Adding olive oil to the streusel gives it a lovely smooth taste. The better quality extra virgin olive oil you use, the better the result. You can also take it a step further and substitute flavored olive oil. Lemon, rosemary or thyme infused varieties would add another fantastic layer of flavor.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ramp Schallot Knödel

Knoedel made with caramelized shallots and fresh ramps. What could be bad about this Spring comfort food?

These highly sought after garlic scented wild leek bundles are popping up in local farmers markets this time of year and the mad dash is on. Ramps have a short window. 
Consequently, there is a lot of ramp talk and recipe activity around them in the virtual food world when they arrive. 

If you have the time to get to your local farmer's market and pick up a bunch, try this simple easy ramp flavored bread knödel, This is a great go-to recipe that takes the pressure off of what to make with fresh ramps.