Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Waffles from Liège

These waffles are amazing! They are small, not too sweet, crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The right treat for an afternoon with family or friends or for your morning coffee or at any time of the day. The dough comes together in 15 minutes and needs to rest a little bit. The waffles freeze well and you can reheat them in your toaster. Use a non-stick waffle iron or else the clean-up is a bit annoying.

Waffles from Liège
(from Kleiner Kuriositaetenladen)

150 g / 4 oz  Butter
1 package / 7 g of Instant Dried Yeast
3 T Milk
1 Pinch of Sugar
400 g / 14 oz AP Flour
2 Eggs
25 g / 1 oz Brown Sugar
1 Pinch of Salt
1 T Vanilla
150 g / 4 oz Pearl Sugar

Melt butter in a small pot over low heat and let brown. Set aside and let cool. Mix yeast, 3 T of milk and sugar in a small bowl and let sit until foamy.
In a bowl of a stand mixer (or with your hand mixer) mix flour, eggs, vanilla extract, cold butter, salt and yeast mixture until you have a smooth dough. Let rest for 20 - 30 minutes. Heat your waffle iron. Add the pearl sugar to the dough and knead the sugar into the dough. Form little golf ball size balls and bake until golden brown.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sopes (Mexican Street Food)

There aren't a lot of Mexican recipes on my blog. I guess that is mainly because I didn't grow up with this cuisine and it never really interested me. My friend Teresa is from Mexico and tries to convince me all the time that I should try more of her recipes. So she cooked this dish for me and I must admit I really loved it. It is a kind of street food recipe that people have for breakfast. I think it works also for lunch or dinner. Thanks Teresa!

Mexican Sopes

1 bag of sopes
1 Chorizo Mexican style (the soft kind) (7 oz)
1 can of refried beans 16 oz (fat free)
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cups of Vegetable Oil for frying

For Garnish
Lettuce, sliced thinly
Radishes. sliced thinly
Avocado, diced
Queso Fresco (4 oz), crumbled
Pasilla Sauce (recipe follows)

Fry chorizo (without skin), the chorizo will release some fat. Take out of the pan and set aside. Add onion to the same pan, cook until soft 5 min. or so, then add beans. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until it comes together.

Heat the oil and deep fry the sopes until lightly brown, let drain on paper towels. Fill with the bean mixture first, then layer some of the chorizo on top. Garnish with the lettuce, radishes, avocado, queso fresco and cilantro. Serve with the Pasilla Sauce.

Pasilla Sauce

3 dried Pasilla Chilies, deseeded and stems removed
1/2 med onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Jalapeno pepper
2 Tomatoes

Hidrate in 1/2 cup hot water the dried chiles until soft. In blender puree all ingredients. Bring to a simmering point and cook in saute pan until flavors are well combined.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Torta de la Nonna (Grandma's Cake)

Torta Della Nonna is a delicious and delicate pie made with a soft shortcrust pastry and filled with a thick Italian custard and garnished with pine nuts and icing sugar. It is a Florentine cake that is served at every cafe and bakery in Florence and other Italian cities. I found the recipe for this cake years ago in a womens magazine. At that time I did not know what it was and I was disappointed when I saw the very flat and unimpressing cake coming out of the oven.
However, it is totally tasty and delicious and it is the perfect snack with a cup of coffee. I used a different crust for this recipe (Dorie Greenspan) this time just because I had some left in my freezer and it worked very well. So I think you can use any pastry dough recipe that you like. Serve the cake cool.

Torta della Nonna

For the dough:
150 grams / 5.3 oz  of Flour
1 Egg
75 grams / 3 oz of Sugar
1 pinch of Salt
75 grams / 3 oz of cold Butter flakes
Flour for working surface
Butter for mold

For the filling:
2 Egg Yolks
50 grams / 2 oz of Sugar
15 grams of Flour
1 Vanilla Pod
250 grams / 1 cup of Whipping Cream
25 grams / 1 oz Pine Nuts
Icing Sugar for dusting
Pine Nuts for sprinkling

For the dough:
Knead the ingredients for the dough quickly until they come together.
Roll out half the dough on a floured surface into a flat disk (diameter 26 cm).
Grease spring form or tart dish ( 24 cm / 9.5 inch) put the disk into the prepared baking pan.
Roll out the second half of the dough into a flat disk (24 cm / 9 inch).
Place on a plate lined with cling film cover with cling film and place both dough pieces into the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350 F /180 degrees, convection oven 325 F /160 degrees

For the filling:
In a small saucepan stir together egg yolks, sugar, flour, vanilla and cream.
Over low heat bring the cream almost to a boil while constantly stirring. The cream should not boil. When thickened take off the heat.
Stir the pine nuts into the cream when the cream has cooled.

Make the cake:
Place the filling into the lined baking pan.
Place second piece of dough on top of the cream and seal the edges with your fingers.
Bake for 25 min. or until golden brown.
Sprinkle with pine nuts and dust with icing sugar when cooled.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Breakfast Egg Cups

If you need to make a lot of eggs all at once for breakfast or for a brunch, try this very easy and fast recipe from Martha Stewart. You only have to flatten a couple of pieces of toast with a rolling pin then layer them in a muffin tin and crack some eggs into these little cups. Done!  

Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
(adapated from Martha Stewart)

Note: I didn't use the bacon and the eggs were still delicious!

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 slices white or whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 slices bacon
6 large eggs
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups. With a rolling pin, flatten bread slices slightly and, with a 4 1/4-inch cookie cutter, cut into 8 rounds. Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to edge of cup. Use extra bread to patch any gaps. Brush bread with remaining butter.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, until almost crisp, 4 minutes, flipping once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.) Lay 1 bacon slice in each bread cup and crack an egg over each. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg whites are just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Egg Salad with Curry and Asparagus

Asparagus season has finally arrived. You can make so many amazing dishes with asparagus. This salad can stand alone as a lunch option or even dinner. The dressing is lightened up with yogurt, sour creme and parsley. And the eggs will keep you full for a long time. 

Egg Salad with Curry and Asparagus

4 hard cooked eggs
3/4 lb Asparagus, blanched
4 Shrimp
Parsley, minced
1/2 Avocado, sliced
1 t Olive Oil

2 T Yoghurt
2 T Sour Creme
2 T Mayonnaise
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 t Chilipepper
1 -2 t Curry powder
Salt and Pepper.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Cut the cooked asparagus in 1 inch pieces. Peel and quarter the cooled eggs. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the shrimp until done, 2 - 4 minutes. Let cool and cut into pieces. Add the avocado, the eggs the shrimp and the parsley to the bowl with the dressing and mix carefully. Adjust seasoning with more salt, chili, pepper, and lemon juice.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ina Garten's Noodle Kugel

Did I tell you, that I have lunch once a month with a couple of lovely ladies who love to cook as much as I do? Each time we have a different theme and explore new things that our families would never want to try, so we cook them for each other. This week we made quiches.  We had a caramelized onion quiche, a leek quiche, a caramelized garlic and spinach quiche and an Indian and Mexican quiche as well. I picked something that I never had heard of before. It didn't have a crust and was made from a custard so I thought it would be interesting.

It is called a Noodle Kugel and I am still not sure if it is a dessert or a side dish because it is sweet but it is also salty. It contains ricotta and raisins and lots of noodles. I must admit, I was not the biggest fan but I am sure that kids would love it when you add a little bit more sugar. It is a very easy and fast recipe and you can make it ahead of time and gently reheat it in the oven just before serving.

Noodle Kugel
(Ina Garten)

serves 8 - 10

1 pound wide egg noodles
5 extra-large eggs
4 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup golden raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10 by 13 by 2 1/4-inch baking dish.

Drizzle some oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook the noodles for 6 to 8 minutes, until tender. Drain.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir in the ricotta and raisins. Add the drained noodles.

Pour the noodle mixture into the baking dish. Place the filled dish in a larger pan and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides. Cover the entire assembly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the custard is just set.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Pho is originally a Vietnamese soup made from oxtail, beef bones, roasted onions and ginger, star anise and many other flavors. The soup is all about the fragrant and delicious broth. 
It is a popular street food in Vietnam and usually eaten for breakfast. 
For chicken pho, only the meat and bones of the chicken are used in place of beef and beef bone. The recipe comes from Charles Phan, owner and chef of The Slanted Door, a very popular restaurant in San Francisco that I happened to have a chance to visit last year with my daughter and absolutely loved.

Chicken Pho

Adapted from a cookbook by Charles Phan of the famed Slanted Door in San Francisco and smitten kitchen

Serves 6

2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of unpeeled fresh ginger, smashed
4 quarts cold water
3 pounds chicken bones or chicken wings
One fresh 3 1/2-pound chicken, quartered
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
Additional spices (optional): Cinnamon, star anise, black cardamoms, coriander seeds, fennel seeds or cloves
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 pound dried rice noodles, a linguine shape (bánh phở) if you can find them

1 large scallion, thinly sliced
1 pound mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup torn basil leaves, Thai basil if you can find it
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 limes, cut into wedges
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
Asian chili-garlic sauce
Hoisin sauce
Crispy shallots, recipe follows

Char onions and ginger: Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the onions and ginger on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned. 

Cook the chicken: Fill a large stockpot with the water and bring to a boil. Add the roasted onions and ginger, and the chicken bones or wings, quartered chicken, salt, sugar and any of the optional spices and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to moderate and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken and finish the broth: Using tongs, transfer the quartered chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and refrigerate. Return the skin and bones to the stockpot and simmer for 2 hours longer. Strain the chicken broth into a large soup pot and cook over high heat until reduced to 12 cups, about 15 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce; adjust to taste.

*Prepare noodles: In a large bowl of warm water, soak the noodles until pliable, about 20 minutes. You can also prepare the noodles according to the package instructions, if they differ. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Drain the noodles, then add them to the saucepan and boil over high heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Divide the noodles between 6 large bowls and sprinkle with the scallion.

Finish and serve the soup: Add the reserved chicken to the broth and simmer until heated through. Ladle the broth and chicken over the noodles. Serve with the bean sprouts, basil, lime wedges, jalapeños, chili-garlic sauce, hoisin sauce and crispy shallots.

Do ahead: The broth can be made ahead and refrigerated for two days, a great way to divide up this recipe.

Crispy Fried Shallots

2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 4 large shallots)
2 cups canola oil

In a small saucepan or large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high until it registers 275°F on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently as they’ll want to cook unevenly, until light golden brown, about 4 to 8 minutes, depending on their thickness. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Increase the heat to high and place a fine-mesh sieve over a heatproof bowl. When the oil registers 375°F on the deep-fry or candy thermometer, add return the fried shallots to the oil and cook just until they are crispy and well-browned, about 5 seconds, watching carefully so the shallots don’t burn.

Pour the oil and shallots through the sieve to immediately stop the cooking, then transfer to shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt to season. Reserve the oil for another use. The shallots will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 1 day, but they’re best the day they are made.