Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's French Macaron Round Up


Since Macaron Mondays have been put on hold indefinitely, I have not made french macarons in a long time. Since last June as a matter of fact.  However, nothing is forever, not even my macaron making drought. 

The egg whites keep piling up in my freezer which recently has me thinking about piping shells and making fillings. I have been reorganizing my French macaron flavor idea list and prepping for a hopefully not too far in the future MacMaking marathon.


Until then, in honor of upcoming Valentines day, here is a round up of  heart shaped and Valentine's themed French Macaron posts and recipes to tide us over until new French macaron flavors make their way out of my kitchen on their own feet.

Lots of fun flavors and ideas here. I hope you will find some inspiration. Click on the titles below to get the full recipe and instructions. 



This Valentine's French macarons take a bit more work than making round or heart shaped version but the result is worth it. The macarons are shaped into squares and rectangles. To complete the look, package them in  a left over Valentine's themes or heart shaped box. I used leftover pink buttercream, chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache to fill the shells.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Rose Petal Springerle Cookies


These dried rose petal cookies are a reinvention of the traditional Christmas German Springerle into a beautiful, sparkly Valentine's Day version. Treats that also make beautiful Easter, mother's day or birthday gifts.



I made painted springerle before my 2015 Christmas time trip to Germany. Ever since then, I've been wanting to experiment with the recipe and not wait until next year's holiday season to do so. Cue Valentine's Day.


Many of the Christmas markets  I visited had stands that sold beautiful handmade springerle molds which further inspired me not to wait another year to make springerle. I did buy a few new molds at the markets. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Red Cabbage and Potato Valentine's Flammkuchen


Flammkuchen is a homemade personal German style pizza. For this heart shaped Valentine's Day inspired version, In honor of Valentine's Day, I used all red toppings: Red wine drenched red cabbage, red potatoes and caramelized red onions. But you can substitute any vegetable or meat you like.


I added roasted garlic powder and kosher salt to the crust dough for extra flavor.  Good decision.

The dough base is coated with a mixture of schmand and creme fraiche, then topped with grated emmenthaler cheese. Swiss or gruyere cheese would do the trick as well.



Schmand is a thick creamy ingredient commonly used in Germany in both sweet and savory dishes. It's a hard item to find in the USA so I have included an extremely easy recipe for a homemade version in the link below. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sacher Torte Cookies


Lovely little heart shaped cookies packed with the traditional flavors of the famous Viennese Sacher Torte. 


One bite of this cookie and you will be instantly transported to Cafe Sacher in Vienna. Well, probably not but they do make pretty and luscious Valentine's Day treats. 


Each piece has a chocolate cookies base, then is layered with apricot jam, marzipan and completely covered in melted semi sweet chocolate. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hot Pepper Jelly Cashew Heart Linzers


What way to celebrate red hot love this Valentine's day than making these heart shaped, beautiful Linzer cookies with a spicy center? 


These  cookies pack a big flavor punch. They are perfect forValentine's Day but you can change the shape and use them for any occasion. The only decorative limitation is what shape cookie cutters you have in your baking supply arsenal. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Chocolate Red Wine Gugelhupf


Snow on the East Coast be damned, we are screaming our way toward Valentine's Day.  So I will cut to the chase and offer up my first Valentine's Day dessert. 


A gugelhupf is essentially a bundt cake and can be savory or sweet in variety. This one contains lots of chocolate, red winer, chocolate chips and a chocolate glaze. spike with red wine.


It's rich and dense and full of semi sweet chocolate goodness. Of course this cake is also perfect for the Christmas holidays or for any special occasion. It's all on how you dress it up.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Winter Vegetable and Cheese Strudel


I used to think winter was a wasteland when it came to vegetables. Then I learned about parsnips and leeks, savoy cabbage and rutabaga, among others. 

This lovely strudel is a fantastic way to showcase delicious winter vegetables. The vegetables are sautéed with shallots and fresh garlic and then rolled in a puff pastry crust and baked to crispy golden goodness.


This recipe contains savoy cabbage, parsnips, rutabaga, celery root and carrots for color, I admit. Mix up the vegetable combinations to suit your palate or the season.  This recipe is also a great fridge cleaner . Throw in all the leftover bits and bobs in your vegetable crisper to create a kitchen sink version.


All the vegetables in this recipe are shredded, except the leeks which I cut into thin rings. I used the grater attachment on my food processor to do the work which significantly cut down the prep time. If you are grating everything by hand, add a half hour to the prep time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pear Camembert Sage Tart


Pssst. I have a secret to tell.  We'll not exactly a secret. More like a confession. My January recipe posts for about.com were designed to get rid of all the extra cheese I bought for my New Year' Eve fondue dinner which was tons of fun, btw. 


The plan was to serve the three traditional fondues, cheese with cut up baguettes, marinated meat pieces cooked in hot oil with homemade sauces and instead of a chocolate fondue, my friend Jackie Gordon lent me her small chocolate fountain. We never got to the fountain because people were so stuffed from the meal, they just grazed the platter of German, Swiss and Belgium chocolates I had just brought back from a trip home to Europe.


I served sides of cinnamon rosemary potatoes with garlic and fresh broccoli roasted in tahini sauce.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Roasted Garlic Elephant's Foot Potato Bread


I saw a version of this recipe in one of my German cooking magazines and immediately fell in love with the idea of  an elephant's foot shaped bread.


My version amps up the flavor with whole wheat wheat flour and deliciously fragrant roasted garlic.

The bread takes quite a bit of time to make, including several rise times as well as cooking and grating the potatoes and roasting the garlic. Consequently, it takes some planning from baking to serving. However, the flavor result is worth the effort.


You can shape the bread any way you like. I couldn't resist the elephant's foot version. I think it adds a bit of fun to any dining table.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Eating the Berkshires Round 3: A Mediterranean Bistro, The Apple Barn and The Freight Yard Pub


There was another whirlwind visit to the Berkshires in June. Links to my first two rounds are at the bottom of this post. However, I managed to squeeze in some visits to worthwhile restaurants and a big Vermont barn full of wonderful goodies and treats.



Our first stop was the Pera Bistro situated on the main drag in Williamstown.  There are several reports on Yelp about a rude, abusive owner of this place. We did not have that experience. The owner was not around to our knowledge and our waiter was delightful. The food was wonderful, if a bit pricey.



Pera is the old name for Beyoglu, a district on the European side of Istanbul, Turkey.  The food here is meant to have both Turkish and European influence.