Archive for the 'Vegetarian' Category

Nov 01 2010

Fall Fruit Platter – Healthy Snacking

I always feel a bit down when Summer comes to an end. No more strawberries, blueberries, watermelons….you know what I mean.

But, just because the delicious fruits of summer have been put to rest for the year, doesn’t mean that Fall has nothing to offer. Not only does the Fall season offer a variety of delicious fruits; many of them, when fresh picked, will last for months on end in a dark, cool, dry places – like your basement.

By the time New Years rolls around, many of us are quite frustrated with ourselves and our winter-obsession with sweets. Today I want to share with you a “method” I like to use to convince my family to eat healthy.

We are all drawn to food by it’s visual appeal – or repelled by it’s lack of it. I like to arrange fruit on a platter and set it out on the dinner table where everyone can just grab some at their will. Everyone gets excited about how nice the platter looks – then they start sneaking pieces when I’m not looking. By the time the end of the day has come, I have a half empty platter that I refill and rearrange much to everyone’s delight.

So, how do you go about arranging a beautiful platter to fruit that will have everyone’s mouth watering? Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Oct 29 2010

Saffron and Rose Petal Labaneh – Pana Cotta – recipe

And, now for the final dish in my Luxurious Iraqi Dinner Party series: velvety smooth, fragrant, and delicious saffron and rose petal labaneh.

This was the crowning moment of my evening. Not only was it stunningly beautiful, it was so delicious! In all my research on how to host a luxurious dinner party, one important piece of advice is that your first dish should be stunning – both in appearance and taste – to really impress your guests. And, while this is true and important, I find it just as necessary to end the meal with an equally stunning dish…you don’t want them to think you ran out of energy at the end!

However uncomplicated it is to make this dish, it does take some planning and time – as well as access to organically grown/pesticide-free fragrant roses. I happen to grow some in my garden. Unfortunately, mine bloom and are most fragrant in early summer. By the time September rolls around, they are on their way out. Luckily, one of my fellow gardeners, and author or Naturlich Fürth, had plenty still left growing on her garden plot that were a million times more fragrant than mine…and she was happy to share!

Now, the part that requires time is “making” the rose honey. The longer it sits, the more fragrant it becomes. I let mine sit for a week before using, but I’m sure it can be used as early as 2 days after making – it will just be less fragrant.

Just remember that when it comes to the fragrant roses for this dish that you pick some with a sweet smell. I have some beautiful, very very fragrant, red roses growing on my garden plot, and they smell like a nice, clean rose soap…not exactly a flavor that I would enjoy in a dish.

The original recipe can be found here. This is originally called a panna cotta, but labaneh is yogurt that has been strained to give it a much thicker consistency which is a major component of this recipe. So, I just renamed it. Continue Reading »

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Oct 27 2010

Roasted Chickpeas – recipe – Taste&Create

For this month’s Taste&Create event, I have been paired with Corina from Searching for Spice. She has many delicious-looking recipe, and I came across one that really peeked my interest: roasted chickpeas.

I love chickpeas. In my humble opinion, they go well with every meal and can even enhance a meal. Now, I’d never heard of roasted chickpeas, so this sounded like a lot of fun, and I had no idea what the outcome would be.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that roasting chickpeas turns them into a delicious crunchy snack – like a croûton or that crunchy roasted corn that you can find at many convenience stores in Texas. Corina used hers in a salad – which sounds delicious, I, on the other hand, just used it as a sort of party food or snack food and set it out on my table in a little bowl during one of my garden meetings. The flavors were very delicious – with a hint of spice – but I believe the roasting dulls them down, so don’t be alarmed by the high amounts.

I plan on bringing a bowl of this to our garden’s Halloween party this weekend. I think that everyone with get a kick out of them! Continue Reading »

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Oct 27 2010

Sabich Salad – Eggplant Salad – recipe

For the luxurious dinner party I held a few weeks ago I wanted to serve a salad that reached into the heart of the middle east and was quite different than the typical Fattoush or Tabbouleh salads.

After many days of searching, I came across a sandwich called Sabich a few times, and decided to leave out the bread and let it be an interesting salad.

The components of the salad really harmonized well together, and the salad was light, but hearty and filling. I can see why it is loved as a sandwich/wrap filling.

You can find the original recipe here. Continue Reading »

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Oct 26 2010

Hibiscus Tea Sorbet – recipe

Back at the beginning of October, I held a luxurious dinner party featuring many Iraqi dishes. The intermezzo, or palate cleanser, was a hibiscus tea sorbet that left all my guests speechless.

Most of them figured I slaved over this dish for hours, others could not believe how creamy it came out. This is my favorite part about cooking for guests – watching someone’s face light up when they eat my food. What I love even more is telling them how easy it was to prepare and encouraging them to try to make it at home as well…hence my love for blogging!

The recipe technically takes roughly 3 hours to finish, but you only have to take port in the preparation process for about 5 or so minutes of that time. This recipe practically makes itself.

Feel free to make this well ahead of time. I made mine 1 week before my party and it was deliciously creamy – and didn’t freeze into a block of ice – until the last scoop!

The original recipe can be found here. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Oct 25 2010

Jajeek – recipe

Now, many of you may have heard of Tzatziki. It’s a delicious thick yogurty sauce usually containing cucumber and a combination of other ingredients. Jajeek is it’s more fluid counterpart.

Jajeek is fairly easy to make, what I find makes or breaks it is good yogurt. Please try to find one that is nice and creamy. It doesn’t have to be a thick Greek yogurt, just not a clumpy one.

And, what can you do with jajeek besides dipping your lamb in it or eating it straight from the container?? Well, it goes great mixed with rice, spread on bread, on gyros, with grilled meats, on a burger, with falaffel or meatballs …I could go one and one. It’s very versatile, and you can add as many other ingredients as you like such as bell pepper, mint, lemon juice, etc. The best part is that my children love it so very much. The baby shakes with excitement when he sees it, and I once watched my older son climb over the table, grab the bowl, and drink it all before we even sat down to eat. What can I say, it’s yummy!

You can find the original recipe here. Continue Reading »

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Oct 23 2010

A True Bohemian Picnic – 4 recipes – Project Foodblog Challenge 6

(Us about 7 years ago on one of our dinner picnics)

Way back when my husband and I were just married, we used to go on picnics all the time. My husband’s work route took him through a park, and after work on nice warm days, I would meet half way and we would have a picnic for dinner.

Now that we have two wonderful children, our picnics revolve around play grounds and sandboxes more than they do around food. So, since Foodbuzz asked us to blog about a meal on the go for this weeks Project Foodblog challenge, I decided to recreate a picnic for two.

On one of our previous visits to Prague, we discovered 94-year-old Deli in the heart of Downtown that has some of the most unique and delicious sandwiches I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. Today, I would like to share the experience of a true Bohemian picnic with you.

The region of Germany that I live in is right next to Bohemia – which is in the western part of the Czech Republic, and much of the Bohemian culture extends into Bavaria. And, my butcher’s family just happens to be from Bohemia, so I asked for some advice as to what would be a typical Bohemian picnic meal to complement my potato salad and roast beef sandwiches. His mother-in-law came out from the back where she usually helps prepare take-away food, and shared some advice with me.  We settled on Brussels sprout salad, rice pudding with preserved, sour cherries, and elderflower spritzer.  My Bohemian picnic was starting to come to life.

And, with the surprisingly sunny weather we had this weekend, we were able to head on over to our community garden for a nice picnic dinner for two – while the kids played in the playground, of course!  I really love the scent of fresh air with my meal – it makes everything taste better.

Potato salad is a very classic picnic dish, but it’s much more fun – and delicious – when it’s in a sandwich.  It transforms a dry piece of bread into a deliciously creamy sandwich.  You can top it off with any deli meat of your liking; my favorite is roast beef because, not only does it taste good, but I have many wonderful childhood memories attached it it.  Then, go ahead and add some tomato, hard boiled egg, and pickle, and you have yourself the perfect Bohemian sandwich.

To complement the flavors and textures of my creamy potato salad and roast beef sandwich, I made a Brussels sprout salad.  I actually grew-up eating this same dish at home – even though I’m not Bohemian – with one major difference.  They add sugar.  I was really worried that this would over sweeten the Brussels sprouts and make them taste gross, but I was quite wrong.  And, although I still prefer my mother’s tangy version, this one is quite palatable and a really big hit with the kids.  My son was begging me for more after 2 helpings!

To help wash everything down, I chose to make an elderflower spritzer.  True, beer is very Bohemian, but I wanted something lighter that would offset the savory flavors of the sandwich.  This was actually the first time I had ever used and tasted elderflower syrup, and I was pleasantly surprised by its fragrant flavor.

To crown the meal, we enjoyed rice pudding topped off with the sour cheery pie filling that I canned this summer.  Traditionally, you would use sour cherries preserved in their own juices, but I find the creamier pie filling preserves the consistency of the rice pudding instead of turning it into a watery mess.

The general rule of a Bohemian picnic is to use what’s available to you.  Don’t have access to roast beef?  Use ham.  Or, go vegetarian and leave the deli meat out all together.  Not a big fan of Brussels sprouts?  You can make the same delicious salad using cauliflower.  Did you miss-out on the 3 weeks of the year when sour cherries are in season?  No problem, you can also top off your rice pudding with preserved plums, raspberries, or apples.  Use what you have in your pantry or what is in season and local.  Never heard of elderflowers and they don’t grow in your region?  Make a simple syrup with fresh petals and herbs available to you: rose petals, orange or lemon blossoms, lemon verbena leaves, lavender flowers, hibiscus flowers, mint leaves, vanilla bean …the list goes on and on.  Mrs. Willomitzer shared with me that when there was no wine they even made a simple syrup out of red wine vinegar and drank that mixed with water.  Creativity is key.

So, get your creative juices flowing, get cooking, pack your awesome Project Foodblog cooler or picnic basket, and take the time to have a Bohemian picnic. Continue Reading »

19 responses so far

Oct 10 2010

How to Roast, Process, and Enjoy Coffee at Home – visual recipe – Project Foodblog Challenge #4

The project foodblog challenge has driven me to seek out new and interesting ingredients at stores and parts of town that I had never previously visited.  This week’s challenge brought me to a wig shop in Nuremberg.  When my friend told me that I had to go to wig shop for raw coffee beans, I took a double take at her email.  So, in the spirit of trying out something new, I made my way past all the wigs and hair weave and bought some raw Ethiopian  coffee beans.

A while back I had the pleasure of watching a colleague preform an Ethiopian coffee ceremony in our community garden, and since roasting coffee is not something we take the time to do everyday, I thought it would be a fun adventure.

I have to say that I really enjoy learning something new (and I bet you do too!).  Did you know that raw coffee beans smell like a cross between freshly pulled garden weeds and a far, far off hint of ground coffee??  I also learned that the coffee smell that sends all of us flocking to the nearest café does not come about during roasting, but rather while grinding.

This was definitely a lot of fun and easy to do.  The “hardest” part was finding the raw coffee beans.  Now, let me show you how it’s done!

Continue Reading »

51 responses so far

Sep 24 2010

Taco Salad with Jalapeño Poppers – Cheesy Refried Beans – recipes – Taste&Create

I have been craving spicy food for the past few weeks like crazy. What I wouldn’t give for some really Jamaican jerk chicken that leaves your mouth burning with happiness. But, I don’t have any plans to travel to the Caribbean right now, so when I was paired with Denise from Eat Laugh Love for this month’s Taste&Create, I was excited to see her recipe for Jalapeño Poppers!

Now, I have eaten quite a few jalapeño poppers over the past few years, but I have never eaten any filled with refried beans. I was really surprised how easy these were to make. I never could quite figure out how they could easily be de-seeded, but the trick is in the few minutes you microwave them to soften them! Oh, and if you leave a few too many seeds inside it will be very spicy.

I love making taco salads, so I thought this would be a nice change to my typical taco salad toppings. I also made a fabulous roasted tomato and tomatillo salsa that my brother-in-law taught me – but more about that next week. Continue Reading »

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Sep 08 2010

Roasted Taco Salad – recipe

Yesterday I shared my Naturally Ella-inspired roasted spaghetti al pomodoro with you, and today I am going to share with you my favorite take on her recipe!

Originally, I had planned on making her exact recipe – in tostada form, but when I went to start cooking, I realized that my guys had eaten all the tortillas as a snack the day before (the baby starts to wiggle with excitement when he sees a tortilla!). So, I went to emergency plan B and made some rice instead, and decided to turn the meal into a taco salad.

And, wow, we were so blown away by the easy and delicious flavors of this recipe that we have made it 4 times in the last 2 weeks! It just amazes me that something as simple as roasting a tomato – as opposed to frying, grilling, or simply eating raw – can not only the change the flavor of that ingredient, but really transform an entire dish and take it to a whole new level.

This is definitely worth making for friends at dinner parties! Oh, and it re-heats very well in the microwave the next day – so this would make a great left-overs lunch for work! Continue Reading »

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