Pasta with Rocket and Prosciutto di Parma

Okay. So just when the last thing on your mind is to prepare a meal and you've about had it, and are starving, try this dish. It took us just as long to make as to cook the pasta.

So here is how this thing went down. While we started a big pot of salted water for 1 pound of linguine we chopped up half a big onion and slowly melted it with a chunk of butter for about five minutes. 

Then Lena quartered 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes and

tossed them with the onion for another five minutes.

Then she busied herself with 8 slices of prosciutto di Parma, cutting them into small pieces, (A few went mysteriously missing.)

When the pasta was about halfway done, Lena added a 250g pack of mascarpone to the veggies and let it melt to a silky sauce.

We washed 2 handfuls of rocket lettuce (arugula).

And just as all the yummy was getting too much to watch, we tossed it all together, pasta, veggies, rocket, the ham, and some reserved cooking water. Bam! Total fork-lickin' scrumptiousness.

(To the girls' rolling eyes Papa took the opportunity and recounted for the umpteenth time, how as a child he and his folks were crossing the Alps on the way to Sienna, when Papa's dad, Opa, brought the family's old Mercedes to a screeching halt on the market square of some old Italian village. He scampered out of the vehicle and returned within minutes cradling gingerly a whole leg of dry-cured ham. "This, kids," he exclaimed,"is a real Prosciutto di Parma", took a pocket knife, and skillfully cut off thin slices of tasty goodness, passing them around. The traveling party was, of course, within shouting distance of the city limits of Parma.)
We thank Tim Mälzer for the recipe.

Chicken Not Pie

This came from the pages of The Runner's World Cookbook. Loaded with vegetables and an absolute winner with the girls, it took but 30 minutes to prepare.

For starters we halved and sliced up 2 sticks of leek.

For five minutes we sauteed them in a little olive oil with salt and pepper.

Then we added 1 glass of white wine, 1 cup of vegetable broth, and

some chopped thyme. While we brought all that to a boil and a few minutes of simmer, we sliced up 2 chicken breasts.

We cooked the chicken for about 6 minutes. That gave us some time to peel and chop up into bite-size chunks 3 yellow potatoes.

Then Lily retrieved the chicken and placed it on the side.

We added the taters and boiled them for about five minutes.

In the meantime we prepared 1 carrot and 1 parsnip, added them for another couple minutes while the sauce was thickening.

Then we prepared 1 handful of sugar snap peas, and 1 bushel of green asparagus and added them, too, for just about three minutes.

To wrap it up we added the chicken, the juice of 1 lemon and some fresh parsley.

Not bad for  fast and furious weekday evening. It sure got our yummy going. Enough to make us polish our forks.

Kale Pesto and Pasta

We opened to page 274 of Charlotte's food blogger Lisa Leake's book 100 Days of Real Food, incidentally the name of her blog, and started cooking.(we apologize for any substitutions or irregularities we mixed into the affair, her original recipe is much better).

It was by the by a 30 minutes worth of easy preparation. We started with getting a pot of linguine going (here is a link to our steadfast rules to cooking pasta). While that was settled we scrounged up 2 handful of kale, 1 handful of basil leaves, 3 cloves of garlic, a small handful of pecan nuts, and 1 handful of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese,

All that we whizzed up in a food processor with a few gluggs of olive oil.

That's when we stuck a finger into the pesto and licked it off - Whooooa! nothing but jam-packed tastes and shudders down the spine. Delicious.

When we chugged the pasta in the boiling water we melted 2 chunks of butter and added a 3/4 cup of heavy cream and thickened it up for just about five minutes. Then we  mixed in the pesto and added it all to the drained pasta. We made sure to reserve some cooking water and to add a ladle worth of it to the dish to keep it all silky.

Since we had such a mellow time preparing it all, we chopped up a quick salad with avocado, small yellow and red tomatoes, juice of a lemon, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper,

And then we dug in. It was an instant hit. Thank you Lisa for the great inspiration.

A Slow Cooker Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes

We are going to try out a few slow cooker dishes since we have a day in the week during which cooking will be tough. We haven't had the best success with the slow cooker yet. Stews are the only ideas that seem to work. Everything else so far has just turned into a tasteless mush. But we shall try. In fact this dish wasn't half bad.

The night before our busy day we chopped 1 1/2 lb chicken thighs into chunks.

We also cut up 1 lb carrots and 1 lb yellow potatoes.

All that we placed into the slow cooker, the meat in the center, and stored it in the fridge.

Next 4 cloves of garlic were minced.

We added  the garlic to 1 cup of vegetable broth, a glass worth of white wine, salt, and pepper and brought it all to a boil.

In the meantime we busied ourselves with mixing 1 egg2 egg yolks, and the juice of 1 lemon;

mixing it all nice and foamy. Then we set aside most of the wine-broth, placing it in the fridge.

The rest, about half a cup worth, we mixed with the egg mixture and

gently cooked it for about ten minutes, periodically whisking it up. When it had thickened some, we placed it also into the fridge.

We cut up 1 jar worth of artichoke hearts and placed them into the fridge.

As well as some fresh dill.

The next morning we poured the wine-broth over the veggies and chicken and turned the slow cooker on low. When we got home, we added the egg sauce, the artichokes, and the dill and turned the slow cooker to high while we set the table.

It turned out tasty and we all were thankful for a warm dish waiting at home for us.

Red Lintel and Black Bean Stew

Just Yum! The girls eyed this with suspicion when it was all said and done. But then they licked the pot clean.

So here it goes. We chopped up half a big onion and 2 cloves of garlic.

We then softened the onion for about five minutes in a little olive oil,

added the garlic, and

a dash of ground cumin and paprika, which we stirred around for another minute.

Then we added 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato paste and 4 cups of vegetable broth.

We brought it to a boil, added 3/4 cup of red lintels and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

In the meantime Lucy squeezed the juice of 1 lime, cut up a handful of cilantro leaves, opened, rinsed and drained 1 can of black beans, and smashed half of it.
When the lintels were soft we added all of goodies above, as well as salt and pepper, gave it a few more minutes and garnished it with a couple more cilantro leaves. 

That was it. We served it with some crunchy bread to nibble on. Another easy weekday wonder.
We picked the idea for this winner from the pages of The Runnner's World Cookbook.

The Discovery of the Curried Sausage

As a humble peace offering for our long lasting silence we bring you - what else? - Fast Food. German fast food that is. And therein lies part of our excuse. The girls enjoyed some time at their second home in Hamburg, Germany. Despite all the culinary joys of farmers markets, fresh local food, and fantastic daily preparations of edible delights, we did not manage to find the keyboard. We did not share any of it. And of all the food we delved into we managed to grab, on a last second inspiration, a bottle of processed, albeit organic, "Curry Ketchup". The kids happened to get a kick out of it. Or, that is, out of the famed "Curry Wurst" or curried sausage.
And this is how it looks (we recreated it with these tiny "bratwurst" sausages from Trader Joe's, which are really close in taste):

"WHAAAT??", You will ask and you shall. You see, the curried sausage is one of the many sausages you can grab for a pittance and on the go, on the street, from a booth. This one is  a pork sausage, often sliced up and drenched in a curry-infused ketchup and garnished with red curry powder. Although there are your real spicy varieties, the curry is mostly on the mild side.
There is one more item of importance. Berliners have a bee in their bonnet about laying claim to the curried sausage's origin. Herta Heuwer, they say, came up with it from scrounging together the ingredients from various sources after the Second World War, while resources were scarce and bellies were hungry. However, as Uwe Timm points out and invested an entire novel on, which, as should be mentioned turned into a feature length motion picture of quite some acclaim, the Curry Wurst really originated from a centuries old market place, the Großneumarkt, in the heart of HAMBURG. There. Eat it. And yes. Please do. It's delicious and probably not very healthy.

Burgers, Tomatoes, and Corn On The Cob

It all started with  us stopping by the local farmers-market-store, the Peachtree Market.

We were just going to buy a few tomatoes and Lily ended up loading up on these scrumptious looking cobs of corn. So we decided to grab a few other things, including ground beef from Creekside Farms; all local, free roaming, grass-fed, no-hormone induced meat.

Back in our kitchen we mixed up these few things for hamburger patties.

The half of a pepper, 3 green onions, and 2 cloves of garlic we chopped up and softened a bit in a little olive oil.

The 5 slices of stale bread we zipped up into crumbs with a food processor.

We added the veggies and most of the bread to the pound of ground beef, with 1 egg, a handful of parsley, a teaspoon each of salt, pepper, cumin, and ground coriander seed, and a dash of red pepper spice. We added enough bread crumbs for the mixture to be moist but not runny.

We used more bread crumbs to cover the patties and stuck them into the fridge until we were ready to cook.

We freed the corn from all their husks, but left the stems on. The stems were perfect for holding the cobs while eating.

Next we turned our attention to 2 big beefy tomatoes. We sliced them up and tucked in a few slices of feta cheese, drizzled the whole thing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and 1 sliced green onion, and topped it off with a bit of salt and pepper.
Next we got a big pot of water going and turned on the grill.

As soon as the grill was nice and hot Lily placed the burgers on it.

She turned them a couple of times to keep the moisture inside the meat.

We chucked the corn into the boiling water for just a few minutes. It didn't matter that they did not quite fit. The steam took care of the tops. We quickly got some plates and prepared a few items for the burgers, namely 1 avocadolettuce, and whole wheat burger buns (those we stuck in the oven for a few minutes to get them warm and a little crunchier).

Look at it. All home grown, healthy, yummy food for a lovely summer cookout. The corn was so tasty it did not need any butter or salt. The burgers, too, were absolutely happy without any other condiments. Good times.