Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Candied Basil


Summer butter sugar corn is so sweet, sometimes I eat a raw ear of it for dessert. This idea was on my list from last summer but never made it to the blog. This season, I was determined to make it happen. 


Our weekend barbecues have lately feature sweet corn. It's so tasty just off the grill slathered with homemade herb butter.  Sweet corn is also delicious in ice cream. I admit, you need to love corn to like this ice cream. It has a strong corn flavor laced with bits of homemade sugared homegrown basil. 


I love this ice cream.  It has a strong earthy flavor and it tastes like summer to me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Macaron Monday: Thyme French Macarons with Lemon Thyme Buttercream


One of my favorite herbs I bought for the first time this year is lemon thyme. Fresh thyme scented with lemon. It's just gorgeous. 


I can't get enough of  putting it in salads, adding it to scrambled eggs, mixing it into softened butter in addition to infusing sugar, syrup, salt, oil and vinegar with it's bright herby flavor. 



For this lovely, delicious french macaron flavor, I used thyme sugar in the shells, replacing the plain white granulated sugar.  The buttercream was flavored with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon thyme leaves. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Poppy Seed Bread (Mohnstangen)


There are so many things to miss about living in Germany.  Bakeries and their dazzling array of fresh breads available every day rank in my top five.


These poppy seed breads are called "mohnstangen" in German. The literal translation is "poppy seed sticks". 


Golden brown and crusty on the outside. Chewy and almost creamy on the inside. This lovely bread is dense and filling. I like to eat my piece still warm from the oven,  slathered with homemade herb butter.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chocolate Mixed Herb Caramels


I admit it. I am in a hurry to use up the abundance of herbs in my garden before they go away for the season. I just can't stand to let any of them go to waste. They help me a bit with this sometime driving me  a little crazy some times. All whispering to me. They all have different voices depending upon the type and call out to me as I care for them.


Basil as a Little Italy New Yawkese Italian flavored accent, Lavender peppers every third word with "dude".  Mint has a husky seductive tone and German Thyme and French tarragon each call out in their respective accents.


So as you can see, these caramels have a LOT of personality. Plural even. I was having a supremely crappy day and the fact these turned out so well cheered me up a bit.


These soft chocolate velvety sweetness wrapped around a medley of spicy and sweet herbs are enough to drive anyone crazy with delight. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Macaron Monday: Orange Ginger Spice French Macarons with White Chocolate Ganache Filling



Sometimes I find the greatest edible treasures at TJMaxx. Sort of a joke, considering  I've traveled and traipsed all corners of the earth collecting foodstuffs. However, one trip to this American chain store at just the right time and my cart is piled high with oils, spices and mixes.



This one intrigued me. Anything with Ginger intrigues me. Upon sampling it when I got home, it was surprisingly more savory than I'd anticipated. I decided anyway to give it a go as a French macaron flavor. Because savory doesn't scare me and because I'm like that. Rebellious. In my life and in my kitchen.


To offset the savory spice mix, I made a white chocolate ganache to fill these babies. The super sweet ganache was the perfect complement to the spicy savory-ish shells which had a hint of orange and a slight sting of ginger.

Friday, August 8, 2014

German Marzipan Sand Cookies


These German sand cookies are similar in process to American icebox cookies. You can also keep the finished dough log in the freezer and portion off however many you need to bake at a time.


This version is special, containing luscious flavorful marzipan which gives slice and bake cookies a whole other dimension. I made my own almond paste which I then used to create homemade marzipan to use in these cookies. Both are quick and easy to make and much more economical than store bought.


These cookies are especially popular in Germany at Christmas time. However, I am seasonally blind when it comes to cookie cravings. So here they are today. The German word for this cookie is "Thaler" which means "coin".  I'm all for creating a new cookie currency. Who's with me?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Currant, Raisin, Candied Lemon Peel, Almond Cookies


I briefly flirted with the idea of making a sensible short name for this cookie creation. However, monikers such as "Lora's Lumps of Delight" and "Lora's Delicious Balls" started to sound suspiciously salacious. So I went with the naming of every add in ingredient label. Sorry if it's a mouthful.



What the cookies should have been called is Leftover Stollen Ingredients Cookies.  This was one of those accidents that happen way too often in my kitchen. This time it was a happy accident.  Often, when making three or four recipes at once while changing the batch size, sometimes I over measure ingredients, especially when I am translating German recipes. Instead of feeling the sting of wasting food, I try to  get creative with the leftovers.



Recently I was making a Bremer Klaben for an about.com post. Bremer Klaben is a famous style of Stollen originating in Bremen, Germany. I mixed together the add-ins which are: homemade candied lemon peel, raisins, currants and almond leaves. However, I realized too late I had made too much of this mix to add to the stollen.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Macaron Monday: Wheat Germ French Macarons with Peanut Butter Filling


These are probably the most pedestrian earthy crunch French macarons I have ever made. But I saw the wheat germ in the store and thought, why not?


These wheat germ macarons were made during the six different batch marathon I embarked on on an unfortunately very humid day a few weeks ago. Consequently, the feet results on each batch varied greatly. 


These poor macarons were pretty ugly. Some came out really blobby. To blobby to show. Thankfully, taste-wise I give them much higher marks then their looks. Pairing the wheat germ flavored shells with plain old creamy peanut butter worked perfectly. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fried Egg Cake (Spiegeleierkuchen)


When I first saw this cake in a bakery in Germany, I did a double take. It looked so much like fried eggs at first glance. On the second look, I burst out laughing 

People who have hung out in this space with me for awhile know I have a penchant for faux foods. For example, this year's April Fool's day post included these meringue mushrooms. My husband saw me photographing them indoors and thought it would be fun to put them outside in a more natural setting.



Anywho. This Fried Egg Cake Has been on my list for what seems like forever.  My new gig as a German Food Expert at About.com gave me the perfect opportunity to make one myself.



The cake has three separate parts to it, the cake base, the pudding topping and the syrup glaze for the peaches. 

Not only was I super happy with the result, the cake is so dang delicious, it goes way beyond a stunt cake and now joins my regular rotation of favorites. Hop on over to my German Food Page at about.com for the recipe and instructions.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whole Wheat Strawberry Basil Muffins



These are good. These are serve to two college friends you haven't seen in a very long time good. Last weekend, on Saturday I was busy the entire day prepping for a 12 hour photo/video shoot on Monday. Sunday guests were coming. Oh dear.


The night before I had no clue of what I could serve and hadn't done any shopping. I reluctantly settled on a cop out bagel and cream cheese run, planning to make some eggs as well. 

Long time friends deserve something better. When I woke up, after having done most of the prep for the job, my mind was clearer. Strawberry and basil flavors came dancing into my head. I knew I had frozen strawberries and plenty of basil in the herb garden.