Friday, June 29, 2018

Rhubarb Vanilla Danube Wave Cake & Cruising the Danube with Ama Waterways

I've said it 1,000 times. I am not a cruise person. Don't get me wrong. I love being on a boat. In the last 25 years, I have vacationed on liveaboard diving boats all over the world and would jump on one right now. The difference is most of those boats carry between 12 -30 divers. But cruising on a big boat filled with nondiving strangers? Doing "touristy" things? No. Thanks. 

Never say never, right? Because two years ago, I found myself on a small cruise ship to the Dominican Republic. The lure? A socially conscious based cruise and a press trip for the unfortunately now-defunct Fathom cruises. Along with my fellow passengers, I planted trees in a rainforest, worked alongside local women in paper and chocolate making cooperatives, and taught English in a middle school and in a remote community. I loved every minute of it. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Sauerkraut, Speck, and Chive Stuffed Potatoes with Gouda

As a kid, when my family went out to dinner, I loved to order an American baked potato stuffed with sour cream, scallions, and crispy bacon. I've been thinking about those family meals lately with my mom, my grandmother and my brother. 

With the addition of sauerkraut and a few extra tweaks, this recipe is a German version of my childhood favorite. The potatoes are baked, scooped out, brushed with olive oil, stuffed with the speck, onion, sauerkraut mixture, topped with Gouda cheese and baked. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Strawberry Rhubarb Hazelnut Streusel Tart

It feels like forever since I've made anything streusel, cake or tart. I'm returning to streusel today in a big way, using my favorite summer flavor combination, the classic strawberry, and rhubarb.

Although the cake is delicious, the streusel needed some oomph so I threw in some toasted hazelnuts to amp the flavor. 

Why settle for streusel topping when the tart can be made entirely of streusel? 

I love this basic recipe which I have adapted to work with other flavors. Basically, you mix up a big batch of streusel, press 1/3 of it into a tart pan, bake, then fill with whatever flavor filling you like, top with the remaining streusel and bake a bit more. 

It's much easier than making a separate crust, then a streusel topping. you will be surprised on how the consistency of the streusel comes together so beautifully as a solid crust for the tart.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rainbow Crudités & Rainbow Party Dips

I co-produced a food storytelling event here in NYC this past week.  Since it was Pride week, most of the food we served had a rainbow theme.

We created a huge rainbow crudités and somewhere placed under that rainbow vegetable crudités were 7 matching dips. The dips were one of each color of the rainbow to accompany the vegetable rainbow. 

The dips were relatively easy to create. Mostly I thought up a type or flavor by color and then googled for recipes. Once I selected them, some I riffed on it, some I tweaked slightly.  We had vegetarians and vegans to accommodate so the dips were a range to appeal to all diets. 

A huge special thanks to Chef Eric See at The Awkward Scone for arranging the beautiful presentation of veggies and dips.

The veggies, on the other hand, took more of an effort to put together. Some of the vegetables we selected for the crudités took a bit of running around to find. 
TIP: scope out in advance who carries the harder to get items. 

In case you ever want to create a rainbow crudités as a party appetizer and if you are as ambitious as we were to create 7 matching dips, everything you need to know is here in this post.

I do, however, apologize for the lack of pictures. I was too busy producing to photograph everything properly for a post. However, from the first photograph in this post, you get the idea. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Strawberry Yogurt Cream Pretzel Trifle

This is the perfect creamy strawberry dessert for your summer parties. It is so easy to put together, it's almost ridiculous. 

Last Saturday I hosted a picnic for a group of my fellow United Nations spouses. I've been extremely short on time lately and designed the menu to reflect that. So I threw together a Shout Hallelujah potato salad I've been wanted to try (highly recommend)  and a coleslaw with a creamy lemon dressing. 

I have condiments galore so I placed them all on a lazy susan tray in addition to laying out pickles, relish, jalapeños, bacon, avocado, sliced onions and tomatoes and created a build your own burger and hot dog bar (beef, turkey and veggies versions). It worked perfectly and was consumed completely. 

The picnic was a potluck and members brought their own delicious food to share like salmon cream cheese blinis which I served as appetizers.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nutty Beef Schnitzel

Easy peasy schnitzel without the egg and flour coating mess. Who doesn't love a schnitzel recipe that does that? It skips the three-part coating steps of traditional schnitzel and replaces it with one coating of a nuts breadcrumb mixture, then baking it in the oven for 5 minutes. 

Minute steaks are the perfect cut of meat to make beef schnitzel with. The traditional schnitzel bread coating is amped up with two types of nuts, walnuts, and cashews, You can substitute almost any nut variety using just one type or a mixture of several of your favorite varieties.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Linzer Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks

If you're looking for an all-season unusual cookie recipe, I've got you covered. I say all season because I used tart cherry jam and mini chocolate chips for a summer vibe but you can whatever flavor jam, fruit butter or jelly you favor as the filling easily changing it up with the season.

The dough itself is made with all-purpose flour and half almond flour and is kissed with a touched of cocoa powder to deepen the flavor. Be aware it needs to be chilled for at least two hours.

I can't sya this is the easiest cookies recipe to create. Working with this dough to cut the strips was into the easiest and is time-consuming. The trick to making the dough behave is to keep it as cold as you can.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Carrot Spätzle in Chive Cream Sauce

Oh, how I love to play with spätzle flavors. This one is made with fresh carrot juice and covered with a delicious chive cream sauce.  

Making spätzle is easy. If you don't have a spätzle press, just improvise by squeezing the batter through a colander with large holes. 

This dish is also perfect at Easter time. It's colorful with lots of spring flavor from the fresh chives. Mildly translated to "Little Sparrows" this southern Germany specialty is one of my favorites. I usually order käsespätzle which has the dumplings mixed with cheese. 

The spätzle has a mild carrot flavor. If you want to reduce the calories and fat in this dish, swap out reduced fat cream instead of the full-fat version when making the sauce. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Apricot Almond Marzipan Sheet Cake

One of the things I miss most about German supermarkets is how easily one can buy 8oz packages of marzipan in the baking section of just over 1 euro. It saves a lot of time when a baking recipe requires it as an ingredient. 

I tuck several packages into my suitcase when I'm there to bring back to the states. however I have learned that making my own here in the USA is not only simple, it's much more cost-effective. At the bottom of the recipe in this post. I've included a recipe for homemade marzipan.

I have been holding onto a German cake recipe for a marzipan apricot cake with almonds. for months I have been resisting using canned apricot halves so when I saw these fresh apricots in the market, I pounced. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Baked Chicken Wings in Rhubarb Thyme Sauce

Back at our place in Germany, rhubarb is abundant in the garden. Here in NYC this spring, it's been more like a treasure hunt to find it. I found this bunch, of all places, through a friend's facebook post. I've been waiting patiently, perusing my local farmers market to score some of these ruby red lovelies when I saw her post from another farmers market uptown. I happened to be in the neighborhood at the time so I stopped by to score some. Call it rhubarb kismet.

My love affair with rhubarb started as a child when my mom introduced me to the wonder that is strawberry rhubarb pie. That pie is still one of my favorites but now I look forward to fresh rhubarb every summer as an opportunity to experiment with rhubarb recipes that go beyond dessert.

It's weekend barbecue season here in the northeast, which means a lot of crowded grills. That's the beauty of this recipe. The wings are baked in the oven, leaving plenty of room on the grill for steaks, burgers, bratwurst, hot dogs, corn whatever.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Cheeseburger Strudel Rollups

This is one of my best Germany American crossbreed recipe creations ever. A variation of cheeseburger ingredients is rolled up in a simple homemade strudel dough and baked casserole style. 

One of the things I like best about this recipe is it skips the step of pre-cooking the filling (onions and ground beef) before filling the dough. This makes the whole process go a whole lot faster. Because the onions are not precooked, I highly recommend you use a sweet variety. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

White Asparagus Strawberry Salad

This colorful spring salad has unusual ingredients and fabulous flavor. The recipe takes full advantage of the last of the white asparagus, called "white gold" in Germany,  and the plump and juicy and affordable strawberries.

White parboiled asparagus, fresh strawberries, healthy sprouts, savory Emmental cheese are arranged on a platter then drizzled with a homemade strawberry-raspberry flavored vinaigrette. The salad is finished by sprinkling caramelized cashews over the top. 

For substitutions, switch out swiss cheese for the Emmenthal in the salad. If you prefer other types of nuts like almonds, sunflower seeds or walnuts, those would work just as well. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Strawberry Lemon Almond Bread

Has anyone else been taking advantage of the gorgeous affordable strawberries currently in the market? I have never seen the prices so affordable. And their color makes me so happy.

I was inspired to make this great recipe for strawberry lemon almond I found in a German cooking magazine. I tweaked it slightly, added a few ingredients and was delighted with the result.

This is the most perfect breakfast, brunch bread I have ever made. This not too sweet bread is dense and substantial and the sweet strawberry filling carried the tang of lemon as well as an almond crunch. One slice is a filling snack.