Monday, December 31, 2012
So, here's to a more celebratory cruising out of this year, and a happy, healthy, productive 2013! We can always hope....
Saturday, December 29, 2012
.... and keep up with the vitamin C!
Thursday, December 27, 2012
On the days like today when none of the cats attempt to sneak outdoors or beg me to let them outside and just curl up in their cat beds there is typically something outdoors that has a name on the national weather map. Like Irene or Sandy. Or Euclid. It has been snowing since before I woke up this morning and it is supposed to snow another 18h. The weather is matched by my latest movie find, the PBS Master Classic series Wallander, another dark, stark Swedish film series, reminding me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not much surprise that I thought about Swedish meatballs when I thought about a warm, filling meal to get me ready for snow shoveling. Stay warm!
Vegan Swedish Meatballs (2 portions)
- 1/2 TB earth balance
- 1 TB all-purpose flour
- 1/4 raw cashew nuts, soaked in water for 1h (no soaking works, too)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 ts bouillon
- 1 TB nutritional yeast
- 1/4 ts allspice
- few grates of nutmeg
- 1/2 ts liquid smoke
- 10 vegan meatballs (e.g. Trader Joes)
- 4-6 medium sized red skinned potatoes, peeled
In a food processor or blender, add the cashew nuts, water, almond milk, and bouillon. Process until really smooth. Set asides.
In a large pan, heat the butter and melt. Add the flour and stir in. Toast slightly for a little bit until the butter and flour crumbles get brown. With a whisk stir in the almond mik/cashew mix, heat and whisk until it thickens. Turn down the heat, and add the nutritional yeast, allspice, nutmeg, and liquid smoke, and mix. Add in the frozen vegan meatballs, and heat through.
Peel the potatoes, quarter them, and place them in a silicon container with a lid and about 3 TB of water and microwave on high for 5 min. Drain.
Serve meatballs with potatoes.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Ahh, Christmas. It is all over again for another year, but with New Years coming up the holiday spirit continues with its last jolt for the season. Thanks to the Pandora xmas station I could not get “I am wishing for a white Christmas’ by Frank Sinatra out of my mind. Now, it looks like white Christmas is on the way. Or at least the white part, with a prediction of 24 hours of heavy snow starting tomorrow morning. Today, we are still snow-free, sunny weather, a green world and I better take the opportunity to head outside before being snowed in tomorrow.
Breakfast today was delicious with home-made roll German rolls (Laugenbroetchen) and some French orange jam.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
My deadline was finally met yesterday, and after 10h of sleep I still did not quite feel back to my old self today so I mad a season appropriate jumpstart juice with whatever I could find in my fridge and freezer. Rehydrating and nutrients definitely helped. And…. with so much carrot juice, I am getting a spray tan from the inside out!
Jumpstart smoothie: carrot juice, 1 orange, 1/2 banana, 2 frozen mission figs and a handful of fresh cranberries.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
I listened to the reports on NPR, and drove through a similar small quaint, rural New England town where everyone knows each other and kids are safe. A town where everyone believes that something like this can never happen.
I drove through my neighborhood, the streets leading up to my house, and realized that many of my neighbors had not turned on their christmas lights tonight.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The Carrot Soup
(makes 4 servings)
- 1 pound organic carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1/2 red onion, small diced
- 1/2 TB butter
- 3 cups fresh pressed carrot juice
- 1/2 ts dried thyme
- 1/4 ts dried ginger
- salt to taste (or 1/2 ts Rapunzel organic vegetable bouillon)
- optional: 1/4 cup baked butternut squash or any other baked squash
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
I spoke too soon --- after raking the last leaves in my garden yesterday without even wearing a jacket the world is covered in white slush today: 2 inches of snow overnight, now a drizzle of freezing rain, and later finished off and cleaned up with some regular rain. More snow later on. Fab.
How is your holiday shopping going? The catalogues capturing the holiday spirit make me want to bake cookies, eat insane amounts of chocolate and invite people over.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
The windows to my house are wide open to let some fresh air in, the cats check out where the birds are, and I am planning on a long walk today.
For newer readers: there is a pinterest board for this blog so you can browse for older recipes more easily!
Friday, December 7, 2012
I will never forget you as Stabler's bipolar mother in Law and Order: SVU.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
Sunday, December 2, 2012
I was spoken to in French, being mistaken for the bright colored Canadians from New Brunswick diving into US shopping before the holidays. Somehow they were easy to spot: they wear red and pink down vests and scarfs, bright eyes, excited, while the going winter colors for Maine are gray and black and slightly depressed. And you might know my love for pink...
I hauled my new pot home, put some more wood on the fire in the wood stove, and started cooking dinner.
Today, it is Sunday and according to German tradition you light your first candle on the 'Adventskranz", a wreath stacked with 4 candles, one for each Sunday before Christmas. Today, the first one is lit, gluehwein is served, and cookies are eaten. Happy first 'advent'! (advent = latin for advenere, coming closer).
Friday, November 30, 2012
This gingerbread house is a colorful hotel in the Netherlands, the Hotel ZaanDam.
Peruri 88 tower, science fiction type construction, was built by Dutch architects in Jakarta. I like the trees and gardens everywhere!
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The work week has restarted, and today I was ready for some cozy food in the evening. What better to cook other that to put some squashes in the oven to roast? I cut up a small butternut squash, pierced a spaghetti squash, and placed the scooped butternut squash seeds simply on the baking sheet. It is a fabulous trick --- no cleaning, just place them on the sheet, they get crisp and the strands that held them together simply fade away during roasting. I used to toss out the seeds because it was too much of a hassle, but this is not. I added a sliced sweet potato and dinner plus more squash for the week’s meals was done.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Spiced red cabbage with cloves, red wine, and red currant jam
(makes a large pot, about sides for 10 people)
- 1 medium sized head of red cabbage (ca. 2-3 pounds)
- 1 red onion, diced finely
- 1 TB butter or ghee (my mom’s recipe actual calls for bacon fat)
- 1 medium sized tart apple, finely diced (not peeled but core removed)
- 1/2 TB whole cloves (or 1/2 ts ground cloves, whole one are better)
- 1/2 TB juniper berries
- 1/2 cup of red wine (e.g. cabernet sauvignon or a good table blend)
- 1/4 cup of apple juice (if not using red wine, use more 1/2 cup of apple juice)
- salt, pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 TB red current jam or black currant jelly(e.g. Bonne Maman or Schwartau)
- 1/2 TB beef broth concentrate, diluted in 2-3 TB of water
- optional: 1-2 TB aged good balsamic vinegar
Prep: quarter the red cabbage head, remove the core, and slice the quarters really thinly with a sharp knife (or use a mandoline) – the finer shredded, the better.
In a large cast iron pot, dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, melt the butter or clarified butter and add the diced onion, and saute until slightly browned. Now, add the shredded cabbage, the cloves, juniper berries, the bay leaf, and the diced apple to the pot, and mix all ingredients well.
Add the red wine and the apple juice, and close with the tight fitting lid (there is no other liquid and make sure the steam from the gabbage does not evaporate but helps steam the cabbage). Turn heat on medium-low, and cook for ca. 20-25 min depending on how ‘crunchy’ or ‘well-done’ you like the cabbage to be cooked. Nevertheless, stir once in a while to make sure it does not burn on the bottom. If it gets too dry, add more apple juice.
Once the cabbage is tender, turn the heat to low, and add the red or black currant jelly or both, remove the bay leaf, add more salt and pepper to taste, and a half TB of beef broth concentrate (or bouillon) dissolved in some hot water. Mix well, and add a glug of balsamic vinegar to round out the flavor. Enjoy!
Friday, November 23, 2012
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I don't really need anymore stuff. But here a few things that could tempt me.
I have many le creuset, but I never saw that there is even a 1 quart one available. 1 quart! It is only 5 1/2 inch in diameter and still costs (on sale) $100. Cute. Great for single portion chilis. But, no.
Now, I will hide out somewhere, and keep myself distracted with something productive.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
It is US Thanksgiving holiday week, work is winding down (I wish) and it is time to focus on cooking, turkeys, side dishes, buy good wine, and invite friends and family and/or be invited. To warm up, I cooked a beef bourguignon with some grass-fed local organic beef from the farmers market. While I am waiting for Guiliana and Bill to have their baby, I am writing this up.
Beef Bourguignon (makes ca 4 not too large servings):
- 4 oz smoked bacon, diced
- 1-2 TB olive oil
- 1 – 1 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound carrots, cut into larger cubes
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 cloves of garlic, microplaned
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1/2 bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 1 TB tomato paste
- 1 ts fresh thyme leaves (1/2 ts dried)
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dry
- 1/2 pound fresh whole pearl onions
- 1 TB butter
- 1/2 ts thyme, 1 bay leaf, salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
- 1/2 TB butter
- 1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Add the diced bacon to a large Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is releases the fat and is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Add the olive oil to the pan.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside. Add more olive oil if the pan gets too dry.
Again, add more olive oil if the pan is too dry at this point, and add the carrots, and onions to the dutch oven, 1 ts of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned and the carrots caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol (or just cook off). Add the braised meat and bacon back into the pot with all the juices.
Now, pour the 1/2 bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme and stir in. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 3-4 hours until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork (*).
(*) I used a very low-fat beef, and even after 4h in the oven it was still not tender. So, I placed the stew in a pressure cooker, the wonder weapon to get any meat tender, and cooked under pressure for another 30min. It was not perfect, but tender enough. If you are short on time, you can also cook the entire stew in the pressure cooker for about 45min.