The frittata is called the lazy cook’s omelet. Sounds perfect, no? I like omelets but I’m definitely lazy. I’ve tried various frittata recipes before, but neither Derek nor I ever like them. They’re always a bit too dry and rubbery. Or over-browned. Or just meh. But I’ve always thought that maybe my technique was just wrong. So I decided to give it another go, when Cook’s Illustrated came out with a new frittata series this year. And I thought it came out pretty well! Definitely better than my previous attempts. Read the rest of this entry »
Apparently these two-ingredient pancakes have been floating around on the Internet for several years, but I first came across them on parenting blogs, where they are popular because they’re toddler friendly and not too unhealthy. Although they can be made with just two ingredients (banana and egg), I usually add a few other ingredients as well. Below is our most common version. For other variations, see this excellent writeup on thekitchen.com. Read the rest of this entry »
This is another recipe featured on Food52’s Genius Recipes page. It’s from Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Every Day. I chose it because I had some chickpeas and homemade vegetable broth to use up, and a student of mine from Iran got me a boatload of saffron as a gift. Also, it looked pretty easy, and I needed to make a quick lunch that was suitable for both Alma and me. Read the rest of this entry »
This was another pantry-cleaning-inspired selection. I wanted to use up some whole (unhulled) barley, and Derek and I chose this refreshing-sounding recipe for a barley salad from the 101 cookbooks website. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m doing an end-of-the-year pantry cleaning, and wanted to use up some risotto rice. Derek and I looked at a couple of different recipes and finally decided on this pumpkin risotto recipe from the Union Square Cookbook. The recipe first has you make a pumpkin broth using standard vegetable broth ingredients (onion, leek, celery, carrots, etc.) as well as 2 cups canned pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Once the broth is made, you make the risotto, adding diced winter squash along with the rice, and then tossing in fresh sage, arugula, and mozzarella right before serving. Read the rest of this entry »
I came across this recipe for saucy Italian baked eggs on a random blog, and immediately started drooling. I’ve been craving tomato sauce lately and this recipe is basically an egg baked in a big ramekin of marinara sauce with a little mozzarella and basil for garnish. It even looked easy enough that Derek could make it himself. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve tried making paneer before using lemon juice as the curdling agent, and both times my cheese turned out rather crumbly and a bit gritty. (But maybe I just didn’t drain it under a weight long enough.) An Indian friend said I should try making it with buttermilk instead. Then in September Cook’s Illustrated published a paneer recipe that calls for buttermilk, and I finally got around to trying it over the break. Read the rest of this entry »
As you can see, I’m on an escarole kick. I’m so excited to have found it after four years, that I’m trying every escarole recipe I can find. This one is from the autumn section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. It’s actually called baked eggs with escarole but the dish seemed more escarole-y than eggy to me, so I’ve renamed it. Read the rest of this entry »
A friend sent me an email with a recipe for paleo (i.e., flour-less) banana muffins. (I’m not sure where the recipe originally comes from.) I tried them a while ago and thought they weren’t bad, but Derek wouldn’t eat them. He said the texture was odd and they weren’t sweet enough. But this week I had some very ripe bananas I wanted to use up, and decided to try something similar again. Read the rest of this entry »
On a hike recently I met someone here in Germany who was reminiscing about American-style pancakes, and I suggested that she come over sometime for a pancake brunch. I haven’t made pancakes in a few years, but back in Pittsburgh Derek and I used to make oatmeal walnut pancakes pretty often. But for this brunch I wanted to make something more like what you’d get in an American diner. I asked Derek to pick two recipes and he picked an Alton Brown recipe and one from 101cookbooks.
I had a three-grain pilaf that I needed to use up, and was looking for recipes that call for leftover grain, when I found this rice and sesame pancake recipe from 101cookbooks. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek rented a car this weekend (to see Chick Corea in Luxembourg), and so we decided to check out the Cora across the border in Forbach, France. It was enormous and packed, and (strangely) I heard tons of people speaking American English. Why were there so many Americans in Forbach? Could they be coming all the way from the military base in Kaiserslautern just to shop in France? We explored the store a bit, but didn’t find much of interest. Derek got some cheap Leffe Belgian beer, and picked out a few cheeses. It turned out, however, that most of the cheeses were not very good. He wanted to toss them but I hated to throw them away. I found Alton Brown’s recipe for “fromage fort” online, and made it with half of the (quite sour) Little Billy goat cheese and half of a (quite stinky and sharp) Camembert. I added quite a bit more garlic and parsley than the recipe calls for. After pureeing everything together the cheese was more like a cheese sauce than something you could spread on crackers. It tasted a little odd, but not bad. Kind of like a very strong, stinky Boursin. I decided to use it in a lasagne. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was in high school I used to love going to parties at my best friend’s house. Her mom (Diane) would always cook up a huge amount of delicious finger foods, most of which I’d never had before. Three of my favorites were spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, and what she called “mexican quiche”. Last summer I finally asked Diane for the recipe for the quiche. It’s surprisingly simple. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s cherry season here in Germany, and wow are they good. I don’t know if this year is unusual, but almost all the cherries I’ve bought have been big, juicy, and extremely flavorful. Martha Rose Shulman recently did a whole set of recipes featuring the cherry, including a recipe for a cherry soup (which I’d like to try), one for a cherry smoothie (which I blogged about on my smoothies post), and one for a cherry clafouti made with yogurt and no butter or cream. Many years ago in Pittsburgh Derek and I used to make a cherry clafoutis recipe, which was also from the New York Times (posted below). For reasons best left unexplained, he had dubbed it “floor cake”. But we decided to try neither of these recipes. Instead we ended up making Julia Child’s recipe for cherry clafoutis. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek chose the chard, celery, and leek tortino recipe from Union Square Cafe, and I bought all the ingredients, but when it came down to it I just couldn’t do it. The recipe had so much cheese, cream, butter, and eggs in it, and last time I made a chard and celery recipe from that cookbook we weren’t so thrilled with it. So I chickened out and used the ricotta to make the savory zucchini cheesecake that I just posted about. I used the chard, leeks, and cream to make a crustless version of this leek and swiss chard tart from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Bon Appetit. Read the rest of this entry »
I bought a ton of ricotta to make a recipe (I no longer remember which one), then changed my mind and needed to do something with all the ricotta. I thought about making lasagna but wanted something a little less time-consuming, and Derek found this recipe for a savory zucchini ricotta cheesecake on 101 cookbooks. Read the rest of this entry »
I had some chard and potatoes that needed to get eaten, and found this recipe in Georgeanne Brennan’s cookbook France: The Vegetarian Table. It looked pretty decadent (lots of butter plus cheese and a bit of heavy cream), but Derek liked how the picture looked and encouraged me to try it. Read the rest of this entry »
I cooked up a bit pot of white beans for the (not so successful) white bean salad. I froze what I didn’t need for the salad, and then defrosted them this weekend. For some reason I felt like eating lasagna, so I dug up this recipe for a vegetarian white lasagna with bean sauce. It’s pretty similar to a traditional lasagna except it doesn’t have any tomato sauce and the white sauce is made from blended white beans, milk, and nutritional yeast. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe makes up the second half of winter menu number five from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. Last January in Segovia, Spain I had a bowl of garlic soup that was quite satisfying. It was a rich garlic broth with olive oil and little tiny tendrils of egg. I was hoping that this provençal garlic and herb broth would be similar. Berley’s head notes say this pungent broth (made from plenty of garlic and herbs) is a traditional hangover cure in southern France and Spain. He seems to imply that it doesn’t normally have egg in it, because he says “to make it more substantial I enrich it with egg and serve it over croutons with grated parmesan cheese.” I think it’s funny that he added more cheese to a menu that was already swimming in smoked mozzarella (from the bean salad). But, nonetheless, I followed his instructions to a T. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek chose this recipe from the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. I had a white bean and smoked cheese dish years ago at a friend’s place in Chicago. It was excellent. I was hoping that this dish would bring some of the same flavors together. The technique is pretty simple. You saute up carrots, celery, onions, garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, then add a little water and let the vegetables steam briefly. Then the white beans, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and red wine vinegar are stirred in. Finally you toss the whole thing with arugula and chopped parsley. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was a kid my mom used to make my grandmother’s noodle kugel recipe on special occasions. It was a savory, not a sweet kugel, and I think it had about a pound each of butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, and eggs. It was tasty, but super rich. So when I saw a similar looking–but lighter–recipe in the AMA cookbook, I was curious to try it. Read the rest of this entry »
I have a recipe for pumpkin cranberry bread that I just adore. I wanted to try making it into muffins, but I couldn’t find any more fresh cranberries. So instead I found this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Light Recipe. The basic recipe is for blueberry muffins, and then they offer variations for bran muffins, corn muffins, raspberry almond muffins, and cranberry orange muffins (which call for dried not fresh cranberries). Alex and I made the cranberry orange muffins for breakfast last Sunday, along with these two ginger muffins. Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t remember the last time I made a grilled cheese sandwich. But we finally found cheddar that we like here in Saarbruecken, and I decided to celebrate by making grilled cheese. I didn’t want to make just a regular old boring grilled cheese, though, so I pulled out various flavorful additions I had in the fridge: jalapeno, sage, garlic, and lime. Read the rest of this entry »
This is another new recipe from the AMA Family Health Cookbook. I had a bunch of fresh mint and dill to use up, and went searching for a recipe. This one, which combines broccoli, eggs, and cheese with fresh herbs and cubed bread, looked perfect. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe happens to come from Alice Medrich’s low fat cookbook (Chocolate and the Art of Lowfat Desserts). But to my taste it makes the perfect brownie: intense chocolate flavor and a little gooey in the middle but with a perfectly textured brownie top. Read the rest of this entry »
Unlike the typical tamale pie recipe, this recipe from Rancho la Puerta does not call for beans. Instead, sliced potatoes are layered on the bottom of a casserole dish, and veggies are mixed with egg whites, cornmeal, pureed corn kernels, yogurt, and a little cheese. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek has been raving about sticky toffee pudding for a little over a year now. I finally got to try it when we went to Scotland last September. I tried a number of different restaurant versions, and although I don’t know exactly what it’s supposed to taste like most of them seemed to miss the mark a little. Derek wanted to try to make it at home, and I said fine–next time we have company. Well, a few weeks ago, right before leaving for Spain, we ended up with 5 guests over for dinner. The menu was mostly Italian (salad with roasted winter veggies and walnuts, white bean soup with fennel and rosemary, and cacio e pepe pasta). But our dessert was Scottish.
Derek looked around online to try to find a recipe for the kind of moist sticky toffee pudding that he prefers, and ended up selecting a sticky date toffee pudding recipe that had excellent reviews on epicurious.com. I printed out the recipe, but unfortunately didn’t read the reviews myself. If I had, I would have been more prepared for what followed. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek had had a really excellent version of cacio e pepe in one of Mario Batali’s restaurants, and was very excited about trying it. Mario Batali’s version has quite a bit of olive oil and some butter, but the Cook’s Illustrated recipe looked unusually light for a cream pasta. They cook the pasta in very little water so that the water ends up very starchy, and can be used to help make the sauce more cohesive. We decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
My friend Alex and I took a walk along the river Saar this evening. Despite the cold, the damp, the dark, and the mist, I had a lovely walk. In the course of our conversation, we started talking about saffron, and I realized I’d never posted one of our favorite risotto’s to my blog: saffron risotto. This dish is plain, but very satisfying. The daisy-yellow color and creamy consistency make me feel like I’m eating macaroni and cheese. There’s just something about saffron that tastes like comfort food to me, even though I never had it growing up. I can’t actually remember the first time I ever ate saffron, but it very well might have been the first time we made this saffron risotto!
The recipe we typically use is based on a recipe from Jack Bishop’s Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook. The saffron flavor is maximized by dissolving it in a little hot stock then adding it to the rice toward the end of the cooking time. Bishop’s recipe is good, but quite rich. We usually cut down on the butter quite a bit.
Below I’ve compared Jack Bishop’s recipe to the saffron risotto recipe in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Light Recipe. I believe Jack Bishop works for Cook’s Illustrated, so it’s a bit odd that the recipe aren’t more similar. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek has very fond memories of eating Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes when he ate at Bill’s in Sydney. We finally got around to trying to make them ourselves last week. The recipe is all over the web, along with a huge number of really beautiful pictures of stacks and stacks of hotcakes. Derek even tried to make the “sugar honeycomb” that’s used to make the crunchy “honeycomb butter”. However, the recipe he used wasn’t very precise about heat or timing, and the honeycomb never crystallized. It just ended up a big, hard slab of sticky sugary goo. So we ended up eating our hotcakes with regular old maple syrup.
I thought the hotcakes were fine, but nothing special. They tasted like good but not particularly unusual white-flour pancakes. We used store-bought ricotta from the German grocery store. Maybe the pancakes would have been significantly different if we would have had really fine, freshly-made ricotta. As they were, however, they were simply okay. I don’t think they were worth the calories. I actually prefer a slightly heartier pancake, with a little more heft. These were quite light and fluffy and “white” tasting. Rating: B-.
Derek thought that the texture was good, but the pancakes themselves were kind of bland, and undersalted. He suspects that the honeycomb butter (and the crystallized crunch it adds) is the truly stellar part of the recipe. Derek’s rating: B-.
This morning I got up and decided to use up some of the odds and ends left in the fridge/freezer. I started by roasting a bunch of parsnips, carrots, and a little bit of leftover cauliflower. While the vegetables were roasting in the oven, I used the rest of the leftover vegetables to make a creamy kale, leek, and mushroom pudding. I didn’t measure anything, so all the amounts below are approximate.
- leeks, white and light green parts sliced (~4 cups)
- ~ 1 Tbs. butter
- mushrooms, chopped small (~2 cups)
- kale, finely chopped (I used a 450g box of frozen kale)
- dried oregano (1/2? tsp.)
- ground fennel seed (1/4? tsp.)
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- soy sauce (~1 Tbs.)
- 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp. arrowroot
- lowfat milk (~1.25 cups)
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbs. light cream cheese
- ~1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 4.25 ounces cheese (I used a mix of parmigiana-reggiano and manchego)
- In a 3-quart casserole pan warm the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid is mostly gone. Add the frozen kale, cover, and cook until the kale is defrosted. Add some dried oregano and dried fennel, salt and pepper, the nutritional yeast, and some soy sauce. Stir to mix.
- Mix the arrowroot in 1 Tbs. of water. Make a well in the center of the vegetables, and add the arrowroot mixture. Cook for a minute or two, until it starts to bubble. Off the heat. Mix the two eggs with the milk and light cream cheese. Beat well. Add the egg mixture to the vegetables, and stir to mix.
- In a mini food processor place the cheese, the peeled garlic cloves, and the basil leaves. Pulse a few times until everything is finely chopped and uniformly mixed. Mix most of the cheese mixture into the vegetables, reserving a little to sprinkle on top.
- Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven until the casserole is set and top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
This casserole doesn’t have enough eggs or starchy vegetables in it to really set properly. It’s not sliceable–more scoopable, which is why I called it a pudding rather than a casserole. If I was going to serve this for company, I’d probably make individual puddings in my 1-cup ramekins. The flavor was good, although I couldn’t specifically taste the basil, oregano, or fennel seed. I guess I should have added more. I think a little nutmeg or allspice would also have gone well with these flavors. Surprisingly, no one vegetable really stood out flavor-wise. Each added a distinctive texture however. The mushroom pieces were meaty and a tad rubbery. The kale was slightly fibrous and chewy. And the leeks were silky and a tad stringy. The gestalt of the dish reminded me a little of the traditional Thanksgiving green bean casserole cooked in condensed mushroom soup–but in a good, comfort-food way rather than a cheap, overly-processed way.
Derek also liked the pudding–he said it tasted just like escargot. I suspect it was the strong (almost raw) garlic flavor that he was responding to.
This recipe made approx. 2 quarts of pudding, so I would say 8 side-servings or 4 main dish servings.
Serving Size: 1/8 recipe
|Amount Per Serving|
Macro breakdown: 37% fat, 26% protein, 37% carbs.
Last night we tried another recipe from the Spring section of Fresh Food Fast. The recipe actually called for dandelion greens, not spinach, but I’ve never seen dandelion greens in German (except perhaps by the side of the road), and the recipe says other tender greens like spinach and chard can be substituted. I also cut down on the oil and cheese in the original recipe, and simplified the recipe a bit. Here’s my modified version (for 2 people). Read the rest of this entry »