Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Creamy Fresh Herb Sauerkraut

One of the cooking challenges I enjoyed most when I was the German food writer for was getting creative with sauerkraut.

Honey Spiced Sauerkraut & Creamy Carrot Sauerkraut
There was a significant amount of sauerkraut still hanging out in my fridge and I was inspired by my abundant herb garden to create a new recipe. 

The recipe is so simple to make and the herbs add great flavor to the kraut. The 1/2 cup of heavy cream in the recipe does not leave the kraut swimming in cream. Add more if you like.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cherry White Chocolate Chip Yogurt Torte

These past few weeks my mind and kitchen have been geared toward Fall recipes. However, last weekend I made myself get some baking done utilizing the summer fruit flavor that will be gone all too soon.

This torte is from a German cooking magazine. I love the cherry, white chocolate combo which I think is both summery and elegant. The yogurt gives it a light, slightly sour taste. This is a German recipe so there is about a 1/3 less sugar in it that a comparable American version. You could lighten the recipe up further by substituting non-fat or low-fat yogurt and light cream.

I changed the recipe up a bit and admittedly, only got it right on my third try. The cake original cake base recipe was too sticky and impossible to work with. I solved that mostly be extending the original baking time and changing the dry ingredients measurements. The second try I spilled the still liquid yogurt mixture all over the counter. Yeah. Fun times.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pane Bianco - Bakealong with King Arthur Flour

My bread expertise can be iffy. Sometimes glorious golden loaves emerge from the oven, the delicate, yet crunchy crust sheltering soft fragrant middles. Sometimes my bread is for the birds. Literally.

I need all the practice I can get so that's one reason why I decided to join this month's Bakealong from King Arthur Flour.

The other is bigger. This summer, for me, has been all about getting back to basics. I've been traveling all over the world this past year for both for work and pleasure. Five trips to seven countries in Europe, three to the Caribbean, Mexico twice and Sudan for diving, Dubai and many other places in between. While that has been exciting and rewarding, a big reset and reorganization were both needed.  I know. First. World. Problems.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Fun and Favorite New Products I Found at Blogger Bash

A few weeks ago I attended Blogger Bash, a blogging conference in NYC. The main attendees were mommy bloggers, with a few of us food and travel bloggers sprinkled in the mix.

The sessions were centered around brands like Care Bears and Peanuts as well as many toy companies. Since I am not a mother or a mommy blogger, I mostly focused on other products, including the food. 

OK so maybe we did have some fun playing dress- up and test driving toys as well.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

White Chocolate Dipped Mixed Herb Sugar Cookies

These were part of my my solution to the reality show that is going on in my garden called, Herbs Gone Wild

For me, t's easy to get lazy using up home-grown fresh herbs when they are so plentiful during the summer months. Many others are much more diligent about taking advantage of the season. Lately I had a wave of garden guilt so it was time to get busy. 

Of course I could start freezing them and make sauces and pesto to preserve. But let's not get crazy. Baby steps. 

These proved to be an easy peasy solution to my Herbs Gone Wild problem. I cut a swath into my garden, gathered a bunch of different varieties and headed to the kitchen.

These soft chewy sugar cookies and a creamy vanilla neutral flavor spiked with a bit of lemon flavor. I chopped up fresh lemon thyme, sage, spicy oregano, rosemary, lemon balm, marjoram and a few varieties of mint (chocolate, apple, pineapple, etc.) The result is a cookie with a fresh flavor explosion. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Whole Wheat Müsli Buttermilk Scones

England meet Germany. Germany meet England.

These müsli scones  are so simple to make, it's ridiculous. I made a  batch and tossed most of them in a freezer. They are great for a quick breakfast topped with butter, cream cheese and/or your favorite flavor jelly, jam or preserve. I ate one with a bit of spreadable goat cheese on it and it was delish.

If you don't know what müsli is, it is similar to granola, a rolled oat based mixture eaten for breakfast in Germany and Switzerland. If you can't find real müsli in your local grocery store, you can substitute your favorite granola blend in the recipe below. 

I used a fluted round cookie cutter to shape the dough, you can use any shape you like or just pat the dough out into a large circle and use a knife to cut it like a pizza, creating triangular shapes. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sweet & Sour Carrot Orange Salad

I saw this recipe in a German cooking magazine and knew I had to try it out. The original was designed to be presented in individual glasses. I served this in one large bowl and made some other minor tweaks. 

The salad is a stunner in the looks department as well as the flavor and is a great alternative to a green salad for any summer party or meal.

It may look like there are beets in this salad but those are actually purple carrots. I'm always dazzled by the colorful carrots at the farmer's market. This salad is a great way to show them off.  I also used yellow and orange varieties.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fresh Blackberry Chocolate Cake with Marzipan Chocolate Chip Streusel

Aaaaand the streuseling continues. Another delicious German cake using fresh blackberries. BTW, I like the idea of "streuseling" as a verb. I've made so many streusel cakes this year, it seems appropriate to deem it an action word.

This time, I streuseled (you see what I did there?) for a friend's dinner party on July 4th weekend. I just had to make something with all the juicy blackberries popping up in the markets. However, you know I can't just make any old blackberry cake. 

To begin with, I grooved up the streusel. I live to groove up streusel. Adding marzipan and mini chocolate chips to the mix turned out to be the best moves ever.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ladybug Caprese

First off, let me be clear. I did not invent these. I recreated them from a picture I saw on Pinterest. Hats off to whoever originally created them. Adorable and delicious, they have already made many appearances this summer season at my parties. These appetizers never fail to delight guests, are the first to be eaten and people talk about them after the party has ended.

The point of posting the recipe is, after much googling, none of the instructions I found included the slight challenges I encountered when making them. So I thought a more detailed recipe would be appreciated by the folks on the interwebs.

As a side note, after I finished creating my very first platter, I did have a thought that anyone who was squeamish about bugs would be too grossed out by them to eat them. So far, this has never happened. People only laugh and squee.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lemon Balm Buttermilk Scones With Lemon Chips

When I planted lemon balm in my herb garden last year I had no idea it would turn out to be so prolific. This turned out to be a good surprise. 

It came back this year three times as big as last year. Good thing I cannot get enough of putting this herb called Melisse in German in filtered water, iced tea and salads.

Consequently, I am always looking for new ways to bake and cook with it. 

Recently I hosted an English language table on our herb and tomato planted NYC terrace for my United Nations spouse group. Our group runs seven different language tables a month and I like to host the English one on our terrace in warm weather. 

My theme, like last year, was herbs. The concept was for members to visit, smell, taste and discuss the herbs in English. We even made some herb infused salt for guests to take home with them.