Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coconut Pineapple Swirl Crumbcake

Can we talk kitchen failures?
Just last week I wanted to bring a cake to a get together with friends. I was a bit short on time, but everything went well and I baked the cake, removed it from the oven, let it cool down for a few minutes and then put it in a bag and took it with me. And somehow, the cake liquified on the way to my friend. The tester that I inserted came out clean, but when I tried to cut it into slices, the center pour out like in a molten chocolate cake. Exept, it wasnt. We ate some of the crust and had to throw the rest away. And I still don't know why and how on earth this happend. Any ideas?

What is the last thing that went wrong in your kitchen? Please share your stories with me.

But this weeks cake turned out like I imagined it to be. I adapted a recipe I found on the Post Punk Kitchen, Raspberry Jam Swirl Crumbcake. I brought pineapple jam home from my holidays in Spain, and wanted to used it in this cake. I added some coconut to it, made it non-vegan (oops, always happens to me) with the addition of butter in the crumbs, and oh they are good. They are not too sweet, the top is crumbly and crunchy and the tropical flavour just make me feel relaxed, like during a holiday. And they were really easy to make, too. No failures here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Potato Salad with Greens

If I was born not in the 80ies but in the 90ies, I might have been diagnosed with ADHD. This is a thought that just occured to me today. I always wanted to do too many things at one time. I was always distracted, thinking about something else. I was a good student, so nobody complained, but I often forgot my homework, the coursebooks and the library books, too. The only time I did only one thing was when I read a book. I read a ton of books back then. Somehow I stopped, I don't really remember when or why, it brought my so much pleasure.
And still today, I have difficulty doing one thing right, not many things at once. I start writing here, then suddenly it occurs to might that I wanted to write an email, do the dishes, that I wanted to look up this recipe, or that I wanted to look up this movie that I read of in the newspaper. I am a tabs-person - at the moment I have 8 tabs open, one with a bread recipe, a basic yoga routine , some blogs, and a dictionary. I have stacks of books to read, dealing with new topics that I became interested in. I want to learn to draw and paint, I want to learn about the art of photography, about master bread-baking, and many things more. I just get distracted.
I keep reading about people unplugging from the internet, the constant connection. I need to focus too, but not by being absent but by being more present. One focus at a time, not several.
My focus in the kitchen in the last few days was on potatoes. I never really liked plain potatoes. I like chips and fries like any other person, but regular potatoes, cooked in salt water, not really. So it is really shocking to me, that I made a version of this Potato Salad for Lunch the last two days and made it again tonight for dinner. Crazy. I just love how the mustard adds some kick to it, I adore the sharpness of the vinegar, the greens. I already bought more potatoes today. It's a bit scary, really.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roasted Carrot and Sesame Pesto

While I have been talking and thinking about "In Defense of Food" in the last weeks, some amazing bloggers started the Food Matters Project. I missed the first two weeks because I was away and not cooking much, but now I'm back and ready to join in.

Right now I want to talk about our holidays to Spain. I have been to Spain before, but never to the south, (or the north, but we kept that for other holidays). We travelled by bus (30+ hours) to Granada. You may have seen pictures of the Alhambra before, but it was even more breathtaking when I saw it in 3-D for the first time. We loved this town, it is just beautiful.
It was cold, though. The funny thing about it is that it was about 15°C warmer than in Switzerland, but they arent used to cold winters in Spain, and without or only little heating it was really cold at night. 
We then travelled on to Cordoba and Seville, both equally amazing cities. The last few days we then spent close to the sea, hiking a day, relaxing more.

Regarding food, I'm always a bit disappointed when in Spain. There is an abundace of fresh produce available, even now in winter when I usually struggle with finding new ways to cook carrots and beets. But the Spanish Cocina somehow manages to fry everything in sight, and to not use the vegetables around.

I researched some veggie friendly restaurants before we went to Spain, but even then it was quite difficult to eat healthy, and not just Tortilla EspaƱola. There were some great thing, too, though. I really enjoyed the Tostada con Tomate as a breakfast (Toasted Bread with Tomato, I'll share a recipe when I find out how to do this with canned tomatoes, or in Summer). I loved the gazpacho, though it was not really in season right now (it's a summer soup) and the fresh orange juices. I loved the idea of eggplant with honey, but have to find a way to do it without having to fry the eggplant. I had a great Tuna Tataki with Quinoa in a restaurant in Cordoba, and all the rest we ate was not bad either, just not how I would cook with all this produce available.

Well, I'm back home and ready to incorporate some spanish flavours into my cooking. An idea for a vegtable-heavy paella is forming in my head, and I have some things written down I want to try out over the next weeks. But right now, I want to share with you what I did with this weeks recipe of the Food Matters Project. This weeks recipe of the Food Matters Project, a Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto, was chosen by Heather from girlichef. I have made a similar spread or "pesto" before, and really loved it, but it is deep winter here in Switzerland now, so I wanted to change things up a bit. Well, a bit turned to quite a lot. My version of this pesto is Asian inspired, I guess I needed something different after a heavy dose of olive oil in Spain the last few days. Carrots are roasted with a few spices, then processed with sesame seeds and seasoned with soy sauce and mirin.

I used this pesto on top of a bowl of udon noodles (I would have used soba, but had none around), I guess you could use it as a dip or spread, too.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Good Morning Citrus Smoothie

One part of my eating habits I wanted to change is breakfast. As I said before, I love bread, but I just don't thrive on bread alone. And I end up starving after just 2 hours after eating, which is not that great, really.
So the smoothie entered my life. I did not stop eating bread completely, but I really try having something else whenever possible now. I began with making green smoothie (aka the Green Monster), tried one with beets in it (kind of strange, tasted really healthy) and now this. Citrus for the wake-me-up-boots I really need in the morning. Banana for sweetness, and what I really love about it, some chicory (or Belgian endive, however you may call it). I have been adding some greens to most of my smoothies, but I love the chicory here, because it doesnt change the color of the smoothie. Green smoothies just don't look that great.
One of Michael Pollan's food rules in In Defense of Food is to eat mostly plants, and mostly the leaves (not seeds) of them. I like to eat salad, but I love to have other options to increase my intake of leafy plants. And you can't actually taste it (I tested it on my boyfriend), which is great, because I don't always want to have a green tasting smoothie. The chicory loses the bitterness it usually has in between the brightness and sourness of the lemon and orange juice and the sweetness of the banana.
Oh, and I felt great this morning, much more awake than after a cup of coffee.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Roasted Winter Vegetable Tart

More and more I come to respect the course of the seasons, the long absence of summer fruit and vegetables. I had the desire to eat seasonally for a long time, but I still bought tomatoes in winter, unripe peaches or watery strawberries. I never bought said strawberries in fall or winter, but still, strawberries picked unripe and shipped and packaged never taste good. I always knew, but I still wanted that taste, bought the strawberries and was so disappointed. No more. Now I get most of my veggies in a weekly csa box, no eggplant or tomatoes from them right now. That's completely fine with me, their carrots and beets are beautiful. I get a lot of salad, and I'm really inspired to find more ways to eat them, and not let them eat me or me fridge (If you would like to hear about what to do with all the salad, let me know. I'd love to share what I did until now)

It feels like spring here, at the moment. I have no doubts that winter will soon return for a few more weeks, but right now the air smells of spring. The earth seems to awake, everything is just that bit greener. I really would love to eat asparagus right now. Or fresh peas, with just a little bit salt and butter.

I know that it is too early. My excitement will only grow more, and on the first day that I see asparagus here I'll be really happy. For now, I'm sticking, faithfully, to my root vegetables. They are not the only vegetables I eat right now (think cauliflower, cabbage, kale), but I just have a special place in my heart for them.
When I saw the January cover from bon appetit, I thought the tart it showed would feature many different winter vegetables. I was a bit disappointed, in the recipe and Ottolenghi, who I thougt was more of a seasonal cook. Peppers, tomatoes and eggplant right now?
Picture from last night. This is how the tart looked whole.

Hell no, and I dare to say that I think my version is better. I really loved the lemon zest, it added a much needed kick of freshness to the roasted vegetables.

And the homemade crust with buckwheat is just wonderful. I think I'll never go back to buying ready-to-use crust again, it just doesn't taste good and it contains strange things that I think have no business in a pie crust. You could use just your regular recipe for a pie crust, but adding buckwheat flour was a great idea. It makes play the crust a bigger role, not just the backdrop for what you put in there.
Before I forget to say it. It takes some time to prepare this tart. However, most of the time is spent chilling the dough, letting the vegetables roast, cool down etc. I'm currently writing some papers for college, and I just took some breaks from writing to prepare the different parts, but I really got something done too.