Butter Cake

The girls found a new liking in "Butterkuchen", literally Butter Cake, on their visit to Germany. So they went into Heidrun's kitchen and gave it a try.

First they measured and sieved 500g (4 cups) of flour.

They slighly warmed 1/4 liter of milk (1 cup),

mixed it up with 50g of live yeast (It was a block they crumbled up. We'll try 3 packs of dry yeast next time back home.),

and added the first tablespoon of 120g of sugar (1/2 cup).

This "Pre-Yeast-Dough" they whisked up to let the yeast develop.

Then they added 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, the rest of the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, the zest of half a lemon, and 150g butter (10 tablespoons, yes, 10, and don't worry, there will be more).

All that was mixed up into a dough.

It was mixed, checked, discussed, and mixed again. We will try our bare hands next time, too.

A little flour. Just to see how nicely it will rise and crack.

Then the dough went back into the warm oven for another 30 minutes to rise.

When the dough was nice and huge it was spread it into a large cake form with their hands. All their hands. It needed Lucy, Lily, Lena, and Heidrun for this one.

Then the dough was dimpled with their thumbs. (Not before Lily got properly dressed though. For the historic note.)

Then they spread 100 g more of cold butter (7 tablespoons) in chunks into all the dimples (There it is. That's like 2 sticks of butter in total for this cake. Good riddance.).

Over all that goodness they spread 50g of sugar (1/4 cup) and 

a couple handfuls of sliced almonds.

All that went into the oven at 175°C for 20-25 minutes (Try 350°F).

There it is. Cut into pieces. Absolutely yummy. Add  hot chocolate and coffee and you got yourself a 4 o'clock meal.

Soft in the inside and crunchy on the outside. Just like any kid. Happy eating!

Pasta, Beans, and Tomatoes

While visiting Opa in Hamburg, Germany, we tried out a new recipe.

To start we got a pot of salted water going for some pasta. In addition we got 2 shallots, a handful of sage, a couple of handfuls tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic, and the juice of 1 lemon.

Which we all chopped up.

Then we tossed 1 pound of pasta into the boiling water.

Next we sauteed the onion, garlic, and

the sage.

After a few minutes Lucy and Opa added the tomatoes and 1 can of white beans.

After everything was warm and tasty we pressed the lemon juice, drained the pasta and tossed it all together.

A little salt and pepper. Voila! Oh, we shredded Parmesan cheese to serve. Yummy. And please - do notice the heart-shaped pasta!

The No Chop Quinoa Chili

You got 20 minutes? And like a warm meal? Watch this. No knife required.

Lily squeezed 2 cloves of garlic into a warm pot with a glug of olive oil and warmed it for just a minute.

Then we added 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of black beans, 2 handfuls of corn kernels, 1 cup worth of white and red quinoa, 1 cup of vegetable broth, a bit of cumin, salt, and pepper.
All that we brought to a boil and let simmer until the quinoa was soft. About 20 minutes.

We served it with some avocado and juice  of 1 lime. For the adventurous type we had Tabasco at hand. You might think we used a knife there, but hey - use a spoon.

If you'd like to see a much better version of this try this recipe from Chungah at Damn Delicious. Thanks for the inspiration!

Fish, Broccoli, Potatoes, and Quark

Yup. Quark. That's straight out of our German cookbook and it tastes like spring. It's a delicious dairy dipping sauce for your taters. Oh yes! Somebody could make some real money selling this stuff stateside. You could have Quark-Counter-Franchises. You know. With Quark Merchandise and all.

But we digress. Back to the food at hand. We started by marinating 4 rock fish filets in a sauce of roughly 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 sliced cloves of garlic, the zest of 1 organic lemon, salt, and pepper.

We mixed it all through with our hands and stuck it into the fridge for an hour.

Then we washed and cut up a few handful of colorful potatoes of various sizes, covered them with water, added half a tablespoon of salt, brought them to a boil and cooked them for about 15 minutes till we were satisfied with their tenderness. 

At the same time we brought a second pot of water to a boil. We washed and cut 2 heads of broccoli into their florets and dropped them into the boiling water for only about 2 minutes, nibbling to ensure a good texture. We fished them out and prepped them with the juice of 1 lemon, salt, and pepper.

Last but not least we made the Quark. For this we mixed up Greek yogurt with half as much sour cream, olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, salt, and pepper. Then we picked some herbs from the garden, namely chives and parsley, chopped them up, and added them to the mixture.

12 minutes before dinner time we got the marinated fish filets from the fridge and fried them in a pan from both sides till we liked them.

Mmmmmmmmmh! Yummy. Everybody was happy. No leftovers! 


Roasted Veggies

Quick and easy veggies the kids ate. Bam!
Well it took about 45 minutes. But that was roasting time.

We cranked the oven up to 450F and started chopping up veggies that seemed suitable for roasting: peppersleak, onion, garlic, and a medley of colorful carrots from Trader Joe's. We also added some freshly minced Rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
We mixed it all up with our hands and spread it all over a roasting tray and shoved it into the oven.

Then we prepared a pot of brown rice by melting 2 minced cloves of garlic in olive oil, adding 3 cups of water with salt, bringing it to a boil, adding 1.5 cups of the rice, seeing it boil again, and then turning the stove to the lowest setting, till it was done.
After the veggies had been roasting for 20 minutes we doused them with a couple tablespoons worth of malt vinegar and then continued the roasting for another 20 minutes.

Gorgeous!

Omelette

We brightened today's morning with our first omelettes.

2 eggs were whisked up with a fork. We added salt and pepper and a dash of heavy cream.

Then we sautéed  a good handful of veggies in our cast iron skillet with a bit of olive oil. We used small tomatoes, fresh basil, and spinach.

We removed most of the veggies and replaced them with a chunk of butter and added the eggs. As the eggs were hardening, we shredded plenty of Parmesan cheese on top of them. Then we placed the sautéed veggies on one half of the forming omelette and folded it over.

Oh my! These things melted on our tongues with no remorse. Only good can come after such a breakfast.

Peanut Chicken Stew à la Idris Elba

So we went all Hollywood today and made the favorite dish of actor Idris Elba. At least that is what Jamie Oliver claims in his Comfort Food cookbook. Well. We also changed it up a little. Since the girls had declared an indefinite moratorium on eggplants we used zucchini and squash instead. On top of it we took it easy on the hot chiles. So we are not sure if Idris Elba would recognize this, but we had some good fun in the kitchen nonetheless. Surely he won't mind. As a warning up front, this took several easy hours, perfect for an ice day in the Carolinas, where everything comes to a screeching halt, when a single snow flake falls.

It all started with a whole chicken. A free roaming happy chicken, of course :).

We were asked to cut it up pre-cooking, so we sharpened our knife and got to it. 

Wings, drumsticks, thighs, breast meat, and all other chunks we could find. We tried to keep the bones and skin on as good as we could.

Then we sprinkled the meat with about 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika, half a teaspoon of red pepper, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. We slathered the spices all over, covered the chicken, and placed it in the fridge for more than 2 hours.

2 hours before dinner time we heated the oven to 400F and roasted the chicken for 45 minutes.

Next we cut up 3 zucchinis, 3 yellow squash (the recipe asks for 2 eggplants), 1 big onion, and 1/4 of a habanero pepper (the recipe suggests 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, which we understand basically peels your skin off just touching it; we'll try that when our pallets have adjusted to such torture).

We cooked all that with some olive oil for about 30 minutes.

Then we took 4 vine tomatoes and chopped them up quite roughly.

recipe for whole chicken healthy stew
Now we stirred into the veggies 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, added the chicken, loosened and added with a dash of water the remaining bits from the roasting pan, tossed in the tomatoes, and covered it all with 3 cups of chicken broth. We brought it to a boil and let it simmer for an hour. About half way through we added 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter.

In the meantime we prepared a pot of brown rice. (1.5 cups of brown rice in 3 cups of boiling water with 2 minced cloves of garlic, a bit of olive oil and a dash of salt, turned to the lowest setting for about 45 minutes.)

idris elba jamie oliver ghanaian peanut chicken stew
While we were waiting we prepped a spicy pickle. We chopped up half a big red onion and 1 and 3/4 of habanero peppers.

idris elba jamie oliver ghanaian peanut chicken stew
We mixed them up with 4 fresh bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of fine sugar, a dash of salt and 8 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.

We also trimmed a few handfuls of okra and fried them up in our cool cast iron skillet till they looked roasted and a tad crunchy.

idris elba jamie oliver ghanaian peanut chicken stew
And then, we let all of that glorious Yummy descend gently into our bowls. Rice, Chicken Stew, Okra, and hot pickle for  the adventurous types. Oh my. It was drop down delicious. The meat was super tasty and tender and the pickle with its vinegar added the perfect note. If this was anything close to what Idris Elba's mother used to make him than he sure was one spoiled lucky boy. :)