Thursday, July 24, 2014

Perfect Burger Bun with Tofu Burger

There is a very popular Vegan chef in Germany right now called Attila Hildman. What makes him so famous is that he used to love junk food so he tries to make all of his recipes taste just as good.
I tried his tex mex burger and must admit that I was really impressed at how much they tasted like they were made at a German Butcher Shop. I gave them to my family for lunch and they thought they were amazing too.
The burger bun was fun to make, of course you can always buy them but these came very close to perfect in taste and consistency. So if you have some extra time on hand try them and see for yourself.

Light Brioche Burger Buns
Adapted from Comme Ça restaurant in Los Angeles, via the New York Times

Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns

3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Sesame seeds (optional)

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours. (Mine took only 30 minutes on a very warm day)

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.(Mine took only 20 minutes)

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely

Tofu Burger
for 2 people

10.5 ounces tofu (300 g)
2 onions
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
¹/ ³ cup canned corn (50 g)
¾ cup canned kidney beans (50 g)
½ cup breadcrumbs (60 g)
2 level teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 level teaspoon locust bean gum
(If not available, you can use guar gum.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 t chili flakes (optional)
¼ cup vegetable oil (70 mL)
Lettuce for the burgers
2 sesame buns

Mash the tofu with a fork. Peel the onions. Wash the parsley, shake dry, and purée together with the onions in a blender.
Rinse off the corn and kidney beans and allow to drain.
Combine all of the ingredients for the burgers, except for the vegetable oil, and knead well for 2 minutes. The dough should be quite dry, if it seems to wet add more breadcrumbs.
Then form 3 burgers from the mixture (the flatter they are, the crispier they will turn out).
Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the burgers for 2 minutes on each side over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium and fry the burgers an additional 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rotisserie Chicken with Dried Fruit

In Spain, you can get rotissery chicken at almost every street corner. The famous Spanish chef Ferran Adrian makes a great dish out of this store bought chicken with just a few ingredients. I adore the combination of meat with fruit and loved this sticky and juicy dish. I left the cherries out and used almonds instead of the pine nuts.

Rotisserie Chicken with dried Fruit
Ferran Adria

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes (3 ounces)
1/2 cup dried apricots (3 ounces)
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup tawny port
1 medium cinnamon stick
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 rotisserie chicken, cut into 8 pieces, drippings reserved

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the prunes, apricots, cherries and pine nuts and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the pine nuts are golden and the fruit is browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Add the port and cinnamon stick and cook over moderate heat until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and chicken drippings and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, brown the chicken pieces over high heat until the skin is golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Scrape the dried fruit sauce and liquid into the skillet with the chicken and bring to a boil, turning the pieces of chicken until they are nicely coated with sauce, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates and serve.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Zucchini Pasta Salad

Recently, I bought one of those spiralizer machines which you can use to turn vegetables into spaghetti. In the beginning I wasn't sure what to do with it but I tried a couple of recipes in the last weeks that I really loved. This salad is one of my favorites. It tastes like an Italian Pasta Salad, but with less calories and it is much healthier. I found a lot of great recipes on this site: Inspiralized. There is also a guide on how to make the best use out of the machine.

Italian Zucchini Pasta Salad
adapted from: Inspiralized


1.5 large zucchinis (or two medium)
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry
3 thick deli slices of provolone cheese, sliced into cubes
3/4 cup cubed salami
1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly (I didn't use those)
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup quartered black olives
For the dressing
1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried oregano (I used a teaspoon)
fresh basil, sliced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (I used more)
salt and pepper, to taste

Slice your zucchinis halfway through and then spiralize them, using the blade with the thick wholes.
Place your zucchini noodles in a bowl with the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, provolone cheese, salami, red onion and black olives.
Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (best if left for 3-4 hours) to let the dressing soften the zucchini.
Transfer to a serving bowl.

Friday, June 13, 2014

British Scones

This recipe from Cooks Illustrated makes the perfect fluffy and light British Scone. British Scones are less sweet than their American counterpart, great for breakfast or just a cup of tea or coffee. I used golden raisins instead of currants and I could imagine that blueberries or dried cranberries would also be great in this recipe.

(Cooks Illustrated)


We prefer whole milk in this recipe, but low-fat milk can be used. The dough will be quite soft and wet; dust your work surface and your hands liberally with flour. For a tall, even rise, use a sharp-edged biscuit cutter and push straight down; do not twist the cutter. These scones are best served fresh, but leftover scones may be stored in the freezer and reheated in a 300-degree oven for 15 minutes before serving. Serve these scones with jam as well as salted butter or clotted cream.


3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened
3/4 cup dried currants (I used golden raisins)
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined, about 5 pulses. Add butter and pulse until fully incorporated and mixture looks like very fine crumbs with no visible butter, about 20 pulses. Transfer mixture to large bowl and stir in currants.

2. Whisk milk and eggs together in second bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons milk mixture. Add remaining milk mixture to flour mixture and, using rubber spatula, fold together until almost no dry bits of flour remain.

3. Transfer dough to well-floured counter and gather into ball. With floured hands, knead until surface is smooth and free of cracks, 25 to 30 times. Press gently to form disk. Using floured rolling pin, roll disk into 9-inch round, about 1 inch thick. Using floured 2 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out 8 rounds, recoating cutter with flour if it begins to stick. Arrange scones on prepared sheet. Gather dough scraps, form into ball, and knead gently until surface is smooth. Roll dough to 1-inch thickness and stamp out 4 rounds. Discard remaining dough.

4. Brush tops of scones with reserved milk mixture. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake scones until risen and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer scones to wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve scones warm or at room temperature.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sopressata and Cheese in Puff Pastry

Salty salami paired with cheese and wrapped in crispy puff pastry - nothing can go wrong with this combination. It has only five ingredients and comes together in a snap. It's a great appetizer for a party or for a picnic. You can prepare the dish ahead of time and slide it in the oven before you want to serve it. 

Sopressata and Cheese in Puff Pastry
(Ina Garten)


1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farm, defrosted
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
12 thin (not paper thin) slices soppressata salami (3 1/2 inches in diameter)
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Lay one sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and lightly roll into a 10-inch square. Place it on the sheet pan and brush the pastry with all the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange the soppressata in overlapping layers on the mustard and sprinkle the grated cheese evenly on the soppressata, also avoiding the border. Brush the border with the egg wash.

Lightly roll the second piece of puff pastry into a 10-inch square. Lay the pastry directly on top of the first square, lining up the edges. Brush the top with the egg wash, cut three large slits for steam to escape, and chill for 15 minutes.

When the pastry is cold, trim the edges with a very sharp knife to make a clean edge. Bake the pastry in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once while baking, until puffed and brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes, cut in squares, and serve hot or warm.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Black Pepper Cheesecake

Utterly delicious, creamy and light this cheesecake surprises with a unique texture and also with an elegant flavor. I was excited to try this unusual recipe from Marcus Samuelsson and although my son missed the crust it didn't stop him from eating a lot. There is only a hint of the black pepper that you will taste. This dessert almost reminded  me more of a panna cotta than a cheesecake, but it is definitely a great dessert for very dear friends.

Black Pepper Cheesecake

from Marcus Samuelsson


1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
¾ pound Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
¾ cup crème fraîche, sour cream, or whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups heavy cream


Preheat oven to 250°F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and spray parchment paper. (If using a springform pan, wrap pan in a double layer of foil to keep it watertight.)
Blanch peppercorns in a small pot of boiling water for one minute; drain. Repeat two more times. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Spread peppercorns out in a small baking pan and dry them in the oven until thoroughly dry, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Raise oven temperature to 350°F.
Grind peppercorns medium-fine in a spice grinder, clean coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth and light. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add them to the cream cheese mixture. Beat in the crème fraiche or sour cream or yogurt, as well as the lemon juice, and scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in cream and peppercorns.
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Set pan inside a large shallow baking pan and pour about 1 inch of hot water into the pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until the sides of the cake are set but the center is still a little loose. Transfer cake pan to rack to cool completely. When the cheesecake is cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To unmold the cheesecake, run a thin knife or spatula around the sides of pan. Set the pan on a hot burner for about 20 seconds, shaking the pan gently from side to side to release the cake. Invert cake onto a cake plate, peel off parchment, and serve.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Every country seems to have its own kind of flat bread. In Italy its called Focaccia, in Spain its called Coca, India has Naan and in France its called Fougasse. The dough of this one is enriched with olive oil and olives and flavored with Rosemary. The dough is also very soft, more like a batter and it needs to rest for at least 6 hours, better overnight. Other than that this recipe is very easy and forgiving and the result is loaf of bread that is absolutely to die for.

(Dorie Greenspan)
makes 2 loafs

1 2/3 cups plus 2 teaspoons warm water (105°F to 115°F), divided
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
5 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted, quartered
1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Coarse kosher salt

Pour 2/3 cup warm water into 2-cup measuring cup. Sprinkle yeast, then sugar over; stir to blend. Let stand until yeast dissolves and mixture bubbles, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 cup warm water and 41/2 tablespoons oil.

Mix flour and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in bowl of heavy-duty mixer. Pour in yeast mixture. Attach dough hook; beat at medium-low speed until flour is moistened but looks shaggy, about 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium; beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and climbs hook, about 10 minutes (dough will be like sticky batter).

Mix olives, tomatoes, rosemary, and lemon peel in medium bowl. Add to dough and beat 1 minute. Using sturdy spatula, stir dough by hand to blend.
Lightly oil large bowl. Scrape dough into bowl. Brush top of dough with oil. Brush plastic wrap with oil; cover bowl, oiled side down. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
Gently turn dough several times with spatula to deflate. Re-cover bowl with oiled plastic; chill overnight (dough will rise).

Sprinkle 2 large rimmed baking sheets with flour. Using spatula, deflate dough by stirring or folding over several times. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Place 1 piece on floured work surface; sprinkle with flour. Roll out dough to 12x8- to 12x9-inch rectangle, sprinkling with flour to keep from sticking. Transfer dough to sheet.

Using very sharp small knife, cut four 2-inch-long diagonal slashes just to right of center of rectangle and 4 more just to left of center to create pattern resembling leaf veins. Pull slashes apart with fingertips to make 3/4- to 1-inch-wide openings.
Repeat with remaining dough. Cover dough with towel. Let rest 20 minutes. Beat 2 teaspoons water and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl to blend for glaze.

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Brush fougasses with glaze; sprinkle with coarse salt and pierce all over with fork.
Bake fougasses 10 minutes. Reverse position of baking sheets and turn around. Bake fougasses until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.