Showing posts with label Apples. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apples. Show all posts

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mung Bean Salad with Celery, Apple and Cashews

As news from Boston reach Switzerland I could not help but think of Oslo, July 2011. 2011 I went on holidays with my parents and two of my siblings, and for 2 weeks we toured Norway and Sweden in a camper. This was the first time in years that I went away with them, and all in all we had a really lovely time. Great weather, the two countries are beautiful and I enjoyed spending time with the family.

We started in Oslo, and returned on July 22, in the afternoon, for a night there before we were going to travel back home. Around 3 p.m. my little brother, my mother and I were dropped off in front of our hotel and my father and my sister went out to return our camper to a place outside of the city. Half an hour later there was an explosion, close enough and strong enough to make our building shake. There was smoke, a little fire, too, that we could see from our hotel room window.
For 30 minutes we tried to search for information about what had happened. We wished that it was just an accident, a gas tank that exploded, anything other than a planned attack. We turned on the TV, switching between different Norwegian channels until after what felt like an eternity different newspapers and channels started talking about a probable attack. 
At this point we tried to reach my father and sister, who we knew would be okay but who still had to get back into the city, and Michael, who knew we were supposed to be in Oslo that night.
Being there in Oslo, so close to the attack, even though we knew we were safe was really scary. When I hear of these attacks in the news, they do touch me, but only the experience in Oslo brought to my awareness that this could happen anywhere, anytime, and to me, too.
That night, we left the hotel to have something to eat, at the nearest place possible. It was there, over pizza, that we saw what heard of a shooting outside of Oslo. It took a while longer to news reaching us properly.

We left Oslo the next day. It rained like crazy, and I remember very clearly my father wanting to buy tickets for the tramway and the driver just letting us in, without a ticket. It felt so significant that day, as if he wanted to say that these things did not matter right at that moment. My sister and I then continued to travel to Stockholm and Kopenhagen on our way back home, we had planned our trip like that, but the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to be back home, and hug Michael.
In moments like this one, when you feel your mortality, and you realize that actually you are never truly safe, you just want to be with the people that matter the most to you.
But then life continues, and the shock of being close to such an attack wears off. We are not eternally grateful to have been save this time. Only when I hear of similar events do those feelings come back a little, and I try and hug the people I love a little thighter. I hope you and your families and friends are all safe. Not just this week.

And because we can't worry forever, I have a salad recipe I want to share with you. This is the kind of dinner I make for myself when I am alone at home. A single salad, if you will. Ideally, it feeds me twice. I used mung beans here, because I had those on hand and usually don't know what to do with them. They somehow taste a little fresher than lentils, a little grassy maybe. But if you don't have mung beans on hand, I'd suggest substituting equal parts Puy lentils for the beans. The apple and celery provide crunch and a little sweetness, and the roasted chashews make this salad taste almost as if there was cheese in it. Or maybe that is just me. But the cashews are really important in this salad, I would not leave them out. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and papper and a little lemon zest, and you got yourself a lovely dinner or lunch.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Apple Rhubarb Chutney with Halloumi

Today's adaptation for the Food Matters Project came to me after I was pondering what to use instead of the fish for quite some time, before I decided to go the Indian route. And then paneer was the first thing that came to my mind. I had to make do with halloumi, a cheese similar to paneer but quite a bit saltier. If you can get your hands on paneer or have time to make your own, please use it here.
The chutney I made to accompany the slices of pan-fried halloumi surprised me with quite a few layers of flavour and texture. The raw rhubarb stays crunchy and constrast nicely with the soft, cooked apple. The little sugar I added just cut down the sourness of the rhubarb without making the chutney to sweet. While I looked for inspiration for a chutney recipe I found this quote in Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons: To me, the beauty of chutney is that something delicious is created from something old and unwanted.
And in this spirit I decided to use apple in my adaptation, because making something delicious from something old is a great feeling.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ethiopian Spiced Salsa

All through making these (which is not too long, but still) I told myself: "Lena, what ARE you doing here??" But I just got an Ethiopian cookbook (it is the zine by Kittee Burns: Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food, and it is just great) and really all I can think of is berbere and lentils and injera. And while I dont have the time right now to cook up an Ethiopian feast, I still want to incorporate these spices into my cooking.

This is how I ended up adding berbere to this salsa as I went and then ate it with slices of avocado spread on sourdough bread. And it was really a great lunch, spicy but not really hot with lots of flavor. I usually don't make salsa, but it was great giving it a try for this weeks Food Matters project recipe. And I might just come back to using this concept whenever I have different vegetables around and need a quick but nurishing lunch.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Apple Rhubarb Crumble

 Last week I went out one evening, to drink some micro brew beer and meet some friends. At some point in the evening we talked about one guy we all know. He got married last fall and started working for a Swiss bank (in a low position, but with still a high wage compared to our student wages). Two guys in our group thought of him as being successful, while I silently disagreed.

To me, in my situation, this would mean failure (and I really don't want to step on any ones toes here, I am just speaking of myself. I love my independence.). And since this conversation I could not stop thinking about success, and what it means to different people.

I don't have a definite answer even for myself, as I see my definition of success change with my changing lifestyle, but these are a few ideas I came up with.

Doing work that has a purpose.
Earning enough money to be able to live comfortably.
Working not too much, so I can enjoy this comfortable life.
Putting thought and effort into the small things, because ultimately they are what makes us happy.
Having honest and open relationships with friends and family.
And right now, making a delicious crumble with things I have on hand.

But before I share this recipe with you, what do you consider success? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baked Grains with Apple

I always seem to be looking for an easy option for breakfast. During all my life until now I had about the same breakfast, every single day.
Two or three slices of  bread, butter, topped with jam or honey. That is what my family eats for breakfast, and it has been what I ate even when I moved out.
I have written before about how I find that this is not really a filling breakfast, an hour or two later I feel hungry again and so I am on the look for breakfast option that don't require lots of time in the morning. These baked grains can be made the day before and reheated in the morning or eaten cold. They make also a great portable breakfast or lunch. And they can help you use up all of these grains that I keep buying.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Apple Muffins

These are really healthy muffins. But I thought I couldn't say this in the title, or else you would run off.
But, please, give me a few seconds (or minutes, rather) to tell you about these muffins, and how lovely the are.
This all started with the recipe for Orchard Pear Muffins I found on Tea & Cookies. I was really eager to bake, but did not want to end up with half a pound of butter and sugar in muffin or cake form. Don't get me wrong, I do love these things, but sometimes I just want to bake, but not eat something that sweet. (Am I alone in this?) I found these muffins at the perfect time, and just had to make them. And since I was already baking healthy muffins, why not just leave out the eggs and most of the honey? I ended up with a rather dense muffin, but I loved the flavor, the amount of sweetness was quite right and they were great in the morning with a bit of Salted and Honeyed Brown Butter Spread (is it wrong to share a recipe for a healthy muffin and then link to this heavenly spread? Make that too, just give it away after you tried it. Only keep a little for yourself)

But I knew they could get better. I tried again today, and I think the ratio between the wet and the dry ingredients is better now. (The picture above is a muffin from the first batch, btw) I also swapped the pears for apples, since I found the flavor of the pear got lost somehow, in my opinion the apples work better here. But feel free to resubstitute pears here.
Back to these muffins. They taste like oatmeal to me. Oatmeal in muffin form. They have a crackly crust, are still rather dense (because I used flour low in gluten), have great layers of texture with the chewy oats, the soft apples and the quite crunchy millet. I really enjoyed them for breakfast or as a snack.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that I make the "applesauce" for these muffins from scratch. Exept, it isn't really difficult or time consuming, and I dont even know if you can call these coarsely mashed apples applesauce. I don't care, I'm crazy like that, and I guess you could use storebought applesauche instead of the whole apples I instruct you to use in the recipe. But really, if you let the apples simmer while you prepare dinner, you can totally make the muffins right after you had said dinner.