Friday, September 30, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Pie Spice Fondant & September's LOL Food Blogger Posts

I found these sitting on a grocery store shelf just calling my name.

I was momentarily distracted by their cute little pumpkin shapes.

But I knew they were destined to be turned into fondant. So here's what I did:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mocha Meringues

This recipe is from one of my vintage German cookbooks.  

They turned out fabulous. Like clouds of mocha deliciousness. The only weird thing was the recipe called for an 8 hour bake time. 

Yes I just wrote 8 hours. Having thought I misunderstood, I had Dr. B double check the translation.. Mine took less, more like 5 and I think I overcooked them a tad. A star tip was used to pipe them but they came out pretty shapeless anyway.

Regardless, the taste was perfect and they make a nice treat to go with that afternoon cup of coffee.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Flock of Doves Cookies

These were a birthday gift for a friend who raises doves. I thought a flock of dove cookies would make a perfect present.

Every time I make decorated sugar cookies I am woefully aware of my lack of skills. As I write this I am even more aware of how much I have whined about this on my blog. Seriously, I need to go to cookie boot camp.

I used the outline and flood technique or tried to. I still have issues with icing consistency. There are more serious issues to have but this one vexes me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Feast of San Gennaro NYC

I will miss the Oktoberfest this year. Dr. B offered to pack me off to my girlfriends in Munich for a week. Call me crazy, but after barely seeing him for 5 years, I passed. I hope all my friends are enjoying a splendid Wiesn' and I hope to be there next year.

Of course that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do here in New York. The Feast of San Gennaro is a celebration in Little Italy I've attended on and off since the 80's but it's been a good 10 years since I've been there. So instead of wielding a maß (liter mug of beer) and a giant pretzel, I walked down to Little Italy to stuff my face bask in a little festival atmosphere.

This is the festival's 85th year. San Gennaro is the patron saint of Naples and the festival pays homage to early italian immigrants to NYC.

But today the feast is all about feasting.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Artichoke Biscuit Bread with Asiago Cheese and Olives

Artichokes, olives and cheese...three of my favorite things so once I saw this bread over at Circle B Kitchen I had to make it stat.  She was inspired by an artichoke bread she read about in a newspaper article. Using a buttermilk bread recipe in her files, she came up with this masterpiece.

The bread is amazing, savory and substantial, yet fluffy. The only changes I made were to use reduced fat buttermilk (1 1/2%) and I used my martini olives with pimentos in them. Of course not all of them. I still need some for emergency martinis.

I served this bread for dinner and lunch with salads but it would also be perfect with eggs for a delicious, flavorful breakfast.

Hop on over HERE for the recipe.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mirabelle Plum Curd Tartlets with Nutty Crusts

I've mentioned before what an abundant garden we have back home in Germany. Among the many fruit and nut trees, there are three types of plums. One is a Mirabelle.  My MIL Fine spends the summer and fall preserving everything than comes from the trees. Before we moved, I spotted several jars of these golden orbs in her cabinet and she lovingly handed one over for me to bake with.

Fine preserves them in water with just a little bit of sugar so they retain their flavor.

Making curd was the first idea that came to mind. I hadn't made tartlets in awhile so pairing the plums' sweet deep flavor with a nut studded crust worked perfectly. These tartlets are a fruity nutty delight.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rose Hip Macarons with Rose Hip Liqueur Filling Mac Attack #23

Those sensational seasonal Macqueens Jamie and Deeba over at Mactweets invited us to make a macaron this month reflecting the change in season. This rose hip macaron is a vitamin C bomb and perfect for the onset of cooler weather here on the USA's East Coast. Their unusual tart and sweet flavor may or may not help prevent a cold, but they taste great nonetheless.

Last spring I bought a bag of rose hip powder at Munich's Viktualienmarkt. The vendor told me to dissolve a teaspoon in a glass of water and drink it daily as an immune system booster.

Of course I didn't tell her I had the dastardly plan of adding heaps of sugar and butter to her healthful powder and a few months later it inevitably found it's way into macarons. Did I find a less healthy outlet for my rose hip powder or have I created a healthier macaron? You decide.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why I May Never Leave My New Neighborhood

Our Street
Many of you know I have relocated to NYC mostly because I've mentioned it in most every post since.

Sorry about that.

We moved to a furnished apartment in the East Village until we decide on a permanent place. The best part of the flat is the terrace, big enough to have a dinner party for eight. 

Eight Humans, I mean. Right now there is a different kind of daily dinner party going on as I have made (bribed) some new friends, a cardinal, a blue jay, a dove, a hyperactive black squirrel and a fat gray one. 

Every day I put out peanuts and a handful of bird seed on the terrace and they visit to chow down.

The kitchen is, of course, smaller than the one I have in Germany but it has a decent amount of counter and cabinet space.

In case you missed it on the counter above....

The sexiest stand mixer on the market people. Ok, maybe this one is a bit sexier. That raspberry ice color just makes me so happy every time I look at it. Pink is for love. A gift from my husband.

Anyway. The truth is I am well acquainted with this neighborhood because most of the 12 years I spent living in NYC I lived downtown. Also for many years after I moved overseas, my brother lived up the block from where I live now and I used to visit with him often.

Over the last several years the East Village has become a mecca for artisanal food specialty shops. As a result, I am now living in Willy Wonka Land. These are some of the places within a few blocks radius:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Low Fat Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ever since I saw THIS gorgeousness on Foodiva's Kitchen's incredible blog, I knew it had to be one of the first ones to make once I had acquired an ice cream maker for my NYC kitchen.

My take varies only slightly from hers. I wanted to make a lower fat version (Boo! Hiss!) and add some chocolate chips for fun (yay!).

The result was most certainly not the most rich and creamiest ice cream ever but it was flavorful and satisfying. A perfect way to break in the new ice cream maker.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Remembrance

It was hard to decide what to post or not post today. What to make or not make. I was working in the offices of Endemol in Cologne Germany 10 years ago on this day and our entire company was glued to the TV sets.  

What I remember is the special kindness of the German people in the weeks afterwards. The station worker in Hanover I asked directions from who, when he heard my American accented German came from behind the counter, grasped my hands and expressed his sorrow for what had happened. He shared how he lost friends and colleagues in Germany's biggest train wreck. The spontaneous beautiful giant heart made of roses and candles laid out on one of Munich's streets. 

It was also the small things, like when a cab driver saw the tears streaming down my face in the back seat while listening to the news on the radio, slowly turned down the volume and switched the station to beautiful classical music. Countless Germans said to me how wonderful America was to them after WW2 and without them Germany would not be what it is today. They were truly heartbroken.

Today, like everyone else, I am remembering and honoring of all those lost lives.

Design inspiration found here

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mango Apricot Rum Swirl Cookies

These cookies came out so well because I made a mistake. When I thought they were done, they looked perfect but I felt they needed a minute or so more. Then I promptly forgot all about them. Whoops!. I thought they were ruined but in fact they came out better. The mango apricot filling had caramelized and the cookies were still chewy and not hard. 

The other key to this cookie is soaking pureed dried mangos and apricots in rum and syrup to form a delicious spread. 

Spread it on the unique and delicious cream cheese vanilla dough:

Roll, cut and bake.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Milk Chocolate Kombucha Truffles

After making Kombucha whoopie pies last month in Germany, there leftover kombucha syrup leftover. When life hands you leftover kombucha syrup, I say make some truffles.

These were super simple to make. They are sweet because of the milk chocolate. you can us whatever coating you like, confectionary sugar, cocoa powder, white or brown granulated sugar but I tried something different this time and use metallic gold edible glitter.

The gold crystals provided a little crunch in addition to extra sweetness.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Carrot Hummus

Taking Labor Day literally, I am posting this hummus I made not once, but four times just becauseI felt each color of carrot deserved it's own batch. Not sure if that makes me labor intensive in the kitchen or just obsessive compulsive. Maybe a bit of both.

I used purple, red, yellow and white carrots. These were so gorgeous, it took me awhile to use them after I bought them. I just wanted to look at them awhile.

This hummus is not liquid and creamy but thick and a bit chunky. Upping the amounts of olive oil, tahini and lemon juice would produce a smoother result. I used a bit of smoked paprika to deepen the flavor. The result was rich and satisfying. Pick your favorite color carrot and make this soon.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Peach & Ground Cherry Tomato Galette with Spelt Brown Sugar Cinnamon Crust

This was my first attempt at a galette. Actually I made one the day before with just peaches to bring to a party and it was a big hit. However I thought adding the ground cherries would kick up the flavor a notch. It did and I am in love with these little pineapple tasting cuties.

The peach only version was so covered in peaches, you could not see the cream filling. I used the fruit more sparingly this time. Either way, this is a winner. The spelt brown sugar cinnamon crust was sticky to work with but wonderful in taste.

I added almond extract and a splash of cognac to the mascarpone which balanced the fresh fruit flavors perfectly.