Friday, March 30, 2018

Apricot "Eggs" in Puff Pastry - April Fools!

Easter Sunday and April Fool's fall on the same day this year. A wee dilemma for me as I love to create faux food recipes for April fools and also love presenting Easter dishes.

I solved my own issue with these apricot puff pastries that work for both occasions. A great addition to any Easter menu, these are also the perfect "double take" dish.
Are they eggs or apricots?

The best part is how little time these take to prepare. Under a half hour. You will have to cool them before glazing but stick them outside and they will be glaze-ready in no time. 

Just cut squares out of puff pastry, top with an apricot, brush with egg yolk and bake. When the pastries have cooled add the glaze around the apricot. Finito! You can easily knock these off in the early morning to serve for that evening's dessert in the time it takes to finish your morning coffee.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Matzoh Lemon Knoedel with Pistachio Lemon Cream Sauce

To the German lady, a German food purist, who once yelled at me online, basically calling me a disgrace, saying and said I didn't know the difference between semmelknödel (made with bread) and kartoffelknödel (made with potatoes) because I made a hybrid of the two, this one is for you. It just might make your head explode. Oh and distraught knödel purist German lady, please also make sure you see the various other culinary horrors I have inflicted upon knödel at the end of this post. 

Because I am a bit Teflon in regards to my knödel creativity, I've had on my list forever to make a version of SEMMELknödel swapping out the matzoh meal for the breadcrumbs.  Creating a Passover inspired dish was a great excuse to finally try it out. So sue me for thinking outside the matzoh box. 

I play fast and loose with the Passover food restrictions. However, to keep the dish kosher, substitute coconut or almond milk for the milk and heavy cream. Instead of cornstarch, use potato flour to thicken the sauce. 

This recipe resulted in a ball denser than both a matzoh ball and Knödel but no less tasty. I added lemon juice and zest to the Knödel mixture to amp up the flavor. The final step of frying the Knödel in butter really brought out the matzoh flavor. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Honey Carrot Soup

Seems like I'm all about creamy carrot recipes this season.  I'm following up my creamy carrot sauerkraut recipe with creamy carrot soup. Except instead of sour, this soup is sweet and hearty. 

The pretty color and wonderful flavor of this lovely Easter menu inspired soup recipe is perfect for impressing your holiday guests. 

This recipe serves four people and is easily doubled if needed. However, If you are cooking an Easter feast, you could do six smaller portions or stretch the recipe even more by serving the soup. as shooters for appetizers. 

Potatoes give the recipe some heft but mostly what you taste is creamy honeyed carrot flavor. This soup is substantial both in texture and taste.  

I'm touting this recipe for Easter but its non-seasonal ingredients make it work perfectly for fall and winter meals as well.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Kefir Whole Wheat Scones - The Kefir Cookbook

The last few weeks has been a flurry of food events here in NYC. I know, boo hoo #firstworldproblems. Last week I marched across town to The Butcher's Daughter to meet Julie Smolyansky, the CEO of Lifeway and the author of The Kefir Cookbook.

To be honest, I didn't know that much about kefir, only that it was a probiotic and that it was a healthy food. I was curious to learn more which is why I trudged crosstown.

First of all, the book is gorgeously photographed and packed with wonderful recipes like Pumpkin Beignets, Truffle Porcini and Pecorino Cheese Kefi Polenta and Farmer Cheese Arugula Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce. Some are her family's favorites and some are inspired by her travels and childhood memories. Many come with an anecdote. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Easter Lamb in Curry Sauce with Lemon Roasted Potatoes

In Germany, curry flavored sauce is used liberally in french fries and meats. At holiday times, curry sauces are often given an elegant makeover. 

This Easter lamb recipe is a great alternative to a traditional Easter main course. However,  the recipe's great flavor makes it a great dish for any time of year.

I paired the lamb with a simple recipe for lemon roasted potatoes. However, feel free to substitute your favorite side dish or dishes. A green would be the perfect addition to round off the meal. 

I love how the flavor of ground sumac pops the lemon flavor of the roasted potatoes but if you don't have it on your pantry,  you can easily leave it out or add a little garlic powder for extra oomph. 

The sauce on the lamb us savory but not spicy. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Creamy Carrot Sauerkraut

I love this Easter/Spring-inspired version of a sauerkraut side dish. This recipe is simple, yet flavorful. The time-consuming part is boiling the carrots until they are soft enough to puree. This can easily be done the day before. 

The sauerkraut is cooked in a skillet with a chopped white onion. The carrots are pureed with extra virgin olive oil and then added to the sauerkraut along with vegetable broth and heavy cream. Bay leaf adds extra flavor. 

Substitute the vegetable broth for white wine or add a few tablespoon of white wine to the pan to boost the flavor. To make a lower calorie version, use half and half or whole milk instead of heavy cream. 

With its orange tint, this creamy Spring-like dish looks beautiful on your Easter table or anytime. The kraut strikes a good balance between light and hearty so it also works well on a fall inspired menu.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Three Shades of Shamrocks: 1 Cookie Dough, 3 Cookie Cutters, Four Designs

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, this space was solely a baking blog with a bit of travel thrown in. I used to spend most of my blog time presenting colorful, sugary, sparkly creations. 

And French macarons. A LOT of French Macarons. Remember Mararon Mondays?

As time went on (going into my 9th year here), I've added savory food and recipes. Consequently, it has been some time since I've dragged out the food coloring and the cutters to make something bright and fun.  St. Patrick's Day was the perfect excuse, only I couldn't decide what design cookie to make. So I made all the designs. 

Well maybe not all of them but here are four you can easily make yourself. Some are easier than others but none are impossibly intricate or difficult. 

Three shades of shamrocks may not be as sexy as 50 Shades of Grey but the fun factor is high. 

You will need your favorite rollout sugar cookie dough recipe or store-bought cookie dough, three different sizes of the same shamrock shaped cookie cutters and green food coloring. That's all. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Making Plum Poppy Seed Brown Butter Pirohy in Bratislava

While cruising the Danube last spring on the gorgeous Ama Waterways ship, the Ama Viola, we explored a fantastic itinerary while cruising this world famous river in luxury. 

During this jam-packed wonderful cruise, I had the opportunity to take a cooking class when the ship stopped in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Bratislava, Slovakia was the home of my maternal grandfather (when it was Czechoslovakia) and a place I had never been so I was doubly thrilled to step off the boat to explore the city. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Coffee & Cake Ice Cream

File this under "kitchen confessions":  

I am a cake scrap hoarder. 

Here's the deal, every time I make a cake and have to trim before frosting it, I hate throwing away the excess. It makes me sad to put those scraps in the garbage. So instead I put them in a ziplock bag and stash them in my fridge. This comes with the rationale I will make cake balls, cake pops or use them for another creative recipe down the road.

Well, I cleaned out my freezer recently and that day has come. How about coffee and cake all rolled into a delicious ice cream?

To start, I whipped up a creamy coffee flavored ice cream base then mixed in two cups of cake scraps after the churning phase. The result was a delicious cakey ice cream. 

I had both plain chocolate and vanilla cake scraps on hand but you can use any type. The fancier the cake, the more interesting and flavorful the resulting ice cream will be. I would even use pastry scraps. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Gruyére-Stuffed Crusty Loaves - King Arthur Flour's March Bakealong

How gorgeous are these? And yes, these Gruyére-Stuffed Crusty Loaves taste as good as they look. 

I lived in Germany full time for 10 years. Gruyére and Emmenthaler cheeses are common in supermarkets (an inexpensive) and also are often found as ingredients in restaurant dishes. If you don't have a cheese specialty shop near you, finding them here in the USA sometimes can take a few stops. Don't even get me started on searching for raclette cheese. 

Walmart, of all places, carries Gruyére. I might or might have or might have not done the chicken dance when I saw it there. If the Gruyére is too pricey for your budget, Sargento also makes a swiss- gruyére blend that is much more reasonable. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Kohlrabi Stuffed with Quinoa, Kale & Walnuts

Is kohlrabi weird? Is it hard to find in your area? It's so common in Germany in wintertime I assumed it would be easy to get here. Four supermarkets and two farmers markets later and I finally scored some.

Kohlrabi has been on my list to make into schnitzel for some time. That's a popular way to prepare it in Germany as well as turning it into soups and baking it into casseroles. Kohlrabi is German for "Cabbage Turnip" btw. 

Stuffing it was my first priority this winter. I used a vegetarian style stuffing. Adding meat like ground turkey or beef would also be delicious. However, I was looking to create something a bit lighter and packed with healthy ingredients. Kohlrabi itself is full of vitamins and minerals. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Brie Leek Soup

Hold on to your lettuce leaves because this is an exceptionally luscious and rich winter inspired soup. This dish is thick, hearty and a vegetarian meal in a bowl. 

Leeks and sweet onions are fried in butter, then simmered in a creamy vegetable broth. As a final step, pieces of mellow brie cheese are melted into the soup before serving. 

This soup is obviously not low calorie. You can cut the calorie and fat content a bit by substituting low-fat or nonfat versions for the whole milk. Swap out the triple cream version of the brie for regular brie to dampen down the fat content. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Prosecco Popcorn Cupcakes for Oscar Night

Does everyone have their Oscar ballots filled out? 

Which nominated movies are you rooting for this year? (Get OutStrong Island, Dunkirk)

Which movies did you feel were overlooked? (Patti Cake$, The Florida Project, In the Fade, The Disaster Artist, 120 Beats Per Minute) 

What about performances? So many great ones (Frances McDormand, Mary J. Blige, Daniel Day-Lewis, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Laurie MetcalfTimothée Chalamet, Gary Oldman)
Who was snubbed? (James Franco, Mudbound's Director Dee Rees, Phantom Thread's Vicky Krieps and Jane for Best Documentary)

Does anyone watch the documentary shorts? (Knife Skills) 

So many questions. All will be revealed on Sunday evening.