Pasta Caprese

Just in case you need a mouth full of yummy on the easy - try this dish. No disappointments. Guaranteed.
We got the idea when we opened the Charlotte Observer this morning and browsed the food section.

We prepared a pot of pasta and plugged a handful of fresh basil leaves from our poor dried out garden.

We also halved cherry tomatoes and small mozzarella balls and minced 1 clove of garlic.

When the pasta was done we tossed it all together and mixed it up with olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar to taste.



So we have to tell you about this one and ignore all those other recipes we have been trying out since our last post. It's about the easiest thing we've ever thrown together. And it's yummy. And it's vegetables. And it's fun.
Now. Don't blink. You'd might miss it.

(We prepared a pot of brown rice.) We chopped 1 lb worth of zucchini.

We chopped 2 tomatoes.
We chopped 1 handful of cilantro leaves, 1 piece of feta cheese, 2 green onions, and squeezed the juice of 1 1ime and placed them on the table.

When the rice was done, we heated a couple gluggs of olive oil and warmed the zucchini for 3 minutes and

then added the tomatoes and about half of the green onions for another 3 minutes. A little salt and pepper to taste.

Then we set down and ate.
Everybody got to garnish their own dish with the greens and the feta to their delight. Oh my! Talk about healthy and yummy and fun for the kids.
The inspiration for this came from a superb website called skinny taste by Gina Homolka. Check out her work. She takes a mean picture, writes eloquently, and knows her food.

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 into the warm oven for 45 minutes to rise.

When the dough was nice and huge it was spread 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

UYou 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 2 cans 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.



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.