Monday, August 26, 2013

Authentic German Potato Salad

There are a few recipes that I have learned here in Austria that have completely replaced foods that I have grown up with, and this is one of them. While potato salads in the United States are usually creamy and smothered in mayonnaise, the potato salad here is vinegar based and a bit lighter. I have come to really love the flavor and simplicity and will forever make my potato salads this way.

Serves 8

6 cups diced peeled potatoes
2 small onions, diced
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Boil potatoes until soft (about 10 minutes) and then drain water and set aside to cool. Once cool peel off skins with a butter knife. Some prefer to peel the potatoes before they are boiled and that is ok too. Then slice them into bite sized chunks.

In a large pan big enough to hold everything, saute onions in olive oil until soft. Add vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Once this mixture is boiling, add the potatoes and heat everything through. Serve warm or cool.

You could also add crumbled bacon for a little extra flavor. Guten Appetit!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ben's Favorite Salad

We've been trying to eat better these days, so we've been trying loads of different salad recipes - the more good ones in the arsenal the better! Anyway, this was a great salad with great flavors. It's filling and easy, one that will easily make it into our weekly rotation.

1 head romaine lettuce
1 can tuna (get quality tuna!)
2 tart apples, cut into cubes
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup swiss cheese, shredded
lemon juice
olive oil

Rinse and chop lettuce, let dry. Place all ingredients into a bowl, and toss with dressing.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Baked Brie

At Thanksgiving I wanted to experiment a little bit with cheese. 

I love cheese, but Ben is only a half hearted convert (thanks to the smelly Tirolean Bergkäse) so I rarely do much with it because I am the only one who will eat it. And that is not great for my girlish figure. So I must wait until I have guests to spread the load a bit.

This recipe I was anxious to try because I love turkey/brie/cranberry sandwiches and this was a bit of a riff on those same flavors. Plus brie is a very tame cheese, so it's a good place to start.

Serves 8-10
1 large sheet of puff pastry dough
1 round or wedge of Brie cheese
1 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup almond slivers

apples or crackers for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees (176 C). If you choose to, start with cold brie and carefully cut off the top rind. You can leave it if you want, as it is edible, but some prefer to eat as little of it as possible. On a cookie sheet, lay out the puff pastry and put the brie on top. Spread jam on the brie, sprinkle the almonds on top of the jam, fold dough over, seal, and cut off excess.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Let cool for ten minutes before serving. Serve with apples or crackers.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Ok, with the new baby I haven't been cooking much. I've tried to keep everything I make both very healthy and very easy so as to keep life simple. During Christmas I tried out this salad and it was delicious. Tons of flavor and totally easy to make. You could experiment a little bit by adding tomatoes and cheese but it's great as is.

1 head broccoli
6-8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup almonds, toasted

1 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Place bacon in a skillet and cook over medium high heat. Once browned, drain grease on a paper towel and crumble. Rinse the broccoli and cut it into small, bite sized florets. Toast almonds in olive oil in a pan on the stove and sprinkle with salt until golden. Toss bacon, broccoli, raisins, almonds and onion together in a large bowl.

Whisk dressing in a bowl until smooth. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baba Ghanoush

From Nia's dad, Clive

Baba Ghanoush is a Lebanese dip made from eggplant - it can be used as a dip for bread or veggies or as a tasty base for a sandwich. I love this stuff but was always mystified as to how it was prepared, until last summer when I was schooled in the ways of roasting eggplant by my friend Nia's dad. It's so easy and fresh tasting, I couldn't believe it took me so long to try it!

Serves about 6

1 large eggplant
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (200 C) Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Place eggplant on the baking sheet, and pierce the skin with a fork. Roast for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally until soft. Remove and let cool. Once completely cool, peel skin off.

Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in a blender and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste and slowly mix in olive oil. Sprinkle on paprika as a garnish. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


from my neighbor, Angela

Addie had a playdate with a girl from her class, and her mom had us over for lunch for schnitzel. Schnitzel is basically a pork cutlet that has been breaded and fried. It is THE food of choice for Tirol and served at pretty much every restaurant in town. The trouble is, sometimes it's a bit greasy and heavy so you have to be careful. But when done right is a really nice authentically Austrian dinner.

Makes 4 pieces of schnitzel

4 pork cutlets
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup finely ground bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup oil (for frying)
1 lemon (garnish) cut into wedges
cranberry jam (garnish)

Like most things fried, this is best served right off of the griddle - once they get cold they lose a bit of luster. So do all of your other prep work beforehand and cook the steaks last - right before you eat.

Take the pork steaks and pound them flat, so they are quite thin (about 1/2 inch). Arrange your table so you have three shallow bowls laid out: one with flour, one with the eggs mixed with nutmeg and milk, and one with the breadcrumbs mixed with salt and pepper. One at a time take the steaks, dip them in the flour to cover them completely. Then dip them in the egg/nutmeg mixture and finally into the bread crumbs. Try to coat each piece of meat evenly each time, and in the end you should get a pork steak coated nicely with breadcrumbs. Set aside the breaded pork on a plate.

Heat several tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on the stove. Some people go really crazy with the oil - you can use as much as you want, but I prefer a less greasy schnitzel so I use as little as I can get away with. Once the oil is hot, drop the meat one at a time on the pan, and saute it for about 3 minutes each side. Once finished, set aside and keep warm until serving.

Here it's common to eat this with freshly squeezed lemon and cranberry jam, but the kids I was with had ketchup, so whatever you prefer!

Welcome to Austria!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sausage Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

Adapted slightly from Allrecipes

My sister and I tried this stuffing while she was out here, and it was fantastic! Lovely fall fruit flavors blended with spices and meat - it was an excellent combination. It would be interesting to use dried herbs, and different kids of breads. We tried it a second time without meat and it was still awesome, so feel free to make this one vegetarian if you so desire.

Serves 5-6

5 1/2 cups cubed bread (the recipe calls for half white half whole wheat, but whatever)
1 lb. ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp fresh sage
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 apple, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced parsley
1 cup turkey stock
4 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C) and spread out the bread cubes on a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes until evenly toasted. Then transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.

In a large skillet, cook sausage and onions over medium heat. Then add celery, sage, rosemary and thyme. Cook and stir 2 minutes to blend flavors.

Pour sausage mixture over bread. Mix in chopped apples, cranberries and parsley. Drizzle turkey stock plus melted butter, and toss mixture lightly. Fluff with fork. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Black Gold Cookies

adapted slightly from That Skinny Chick Can Bake

It was weird. The first three months of my pregnancy I lost all desire for sweet things. This has never happened to me in my life. But around month five things settled back to normal and I woke one day to have that all too familiar chocolate craving - but it had been so long that I had even wanted any that there wasn't a drop in the house. What to do!

Anyway I got online and found this recipe; a perfect solution for a chocolate lover who wants a cookie so chocolaty that it will keep the cravings at bay with one bite.

Makes around 24 cookies

6 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz chocolate (about 340 g) *higher quality is always better!
6 Tbsp butter (about 85 g)
2 eggs
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven 325 F (162 C)

Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.

Melt butter and half (6 oz or 170 g) of the chocolate together (either a stove or microwave - just don't burn it!) mix until blended and set aside.

Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla together for 6 minutes, then add in chocolate/butter mixture. Mix in dry ingredients, then take the rest of the chocolate and chop it roughly into chunks and add it to the mixture.

Scoop tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet, giving each cookie a little space for spread. (note: I like to make sure one nice big chocolate chunk makes it into every cookie!) Bake for 10 minutes, and let them cool for 30 more before eating. These cookies are really great soft, so even if they don't look completely done, take them out. If you want them to harden up a bit, put them in the fridge but don't over bake.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Roasted Pepper and Mushroom Sandwich

from Cheap, Healthy, Good

Sometimes Ben and I talk about becoming vegetarians. Meat can be expensive, both in terms of money and environmental costs, plus ethically we feel guilty about mass produced animal farms and uncomfortable with the conditions that these animals are raised in. 

But on the other hand. We both really love meat. The occasional steak or salmon or sushi... mmmmmm... What to do?

Well, I guess baby steps in the right direction is better than none at all. I've tried to cut our meat consumption down to once or twice a week - and when we do splurge and get a cut of something I try to make it a really quality cut of something special, not just hot dogs or McDonalds. But that leaves 5 nights a week of vegetarian meals, which has me thinking a little out of the box to keep out of a cooking rut.

Anyway, I have turned to the blogosphere for help, with mixed results; while some sites look great they will use all sorts of exotic (read: expensive!) ingredients that in reality are only found half wilted in some whole foods shop in California. Not always available here at the corner market in Austria. But there have been some good recipe sites, my favorite being Cheap, Healthy, Good - a site that focuses on all of the things I care about (included in the title) while keeping the recipes simple, satisfying and still with lots of variations.

This was a sandwich recipe I saw a few weeks ago, and they were great and easy to pull together. With so much flavor, it was easy to forget that it was meatless and makes the whole vegetarian push a little easier.

Makes about 2 big sandwiches

1 red bell pepper
quality bread. Enough for 2 sandwiches.
3 tsp olive oil
8 oz cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (about 1 cup)
3 Tbsp feta
tomato (optional)
salt and pepper

Wash and dry the bell pepper. Place entire pepper on a baking pan or broiler pan and broil, turning every 2-3 minutes (use tongs) until all sides of the pepper are charred and black. Then remove from heat and cover. Once cool, cut off the top and remove seeds. The skin should peel easily from the flesh. Slice the pepper flesh into large strips.

Cut your bread in half, brush one side of each piece with olive oil and place oil side down in a hot pan. Heat until golden. Then remove onto a plate, toasted side down. Sprinkle Feta on the fresh side of the bread and set aside.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the mushrooms have released their moisture and it has mostly evaporated, stirring frequently.

Once mushrooms are done, divide evenly between sandwiches, placing them directly on top of the feta. Layer red peppers on top, and add lettuce and tomato if desired. Top with other half of bread and serve.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sundried Tomato Hummus

I love hummus - it's so cheap and easy and delicious. And there are so many variations in the flavor - literally endless combinations of ingredients. Anyway, I read about adding sundried tomatoes and couldn't wait to try it. They add such a great punch of flavor and color, it really was great.

makes 3-4 servings

1 can garbanzo beans (about 1 cup)
1 jar sundried tomatoes (about 1 cup)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil (I used the oil from the sun dried tomatoes for extra flavor!)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp paprika
salt to taste

Using a blender, blend beans, oil, lemon juice, garlic clove, and paprika in a bowl. Chop up the tomatoes and mix them in the mix, adding salt and fresh chopped parsley until you are satisfied with the taste.

Great with vegetables, bread or on sandwiches.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Indian Butter Chicken

adapted from From Away

I love Indian food. It's so spicy and completely exotic. I would love to travel to India someday and go on a food tour - just to try out the range of spices and new flavors. Ahhh... someday! 

This recipe was good and easy to make. If you are into Indian food at all, or are wanting to try something new - give it a whirl! It could easily be made vegetarian as well by substituting the meat with eggplant or another veggie.

Serves 4-6

2 lbs chicken, cubed
8 cloves of garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger
2 Tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt (to taste)
vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped
2 cups water
1/4 cup cashews
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 fresno chile, seeded and diced (If you like spice!)
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 112 grams)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cream
1 Tbsp garam masala
1/4 cup parsley, chopped, for a garnish

In a large bowl, toss chicken cubes, half of the garlic, 1 tsp of ginger, 1 Tbsp of coriander, 1 tsp cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Toss until well coated and set aside.
Heat a slash of oil in a wok, then add the marinated chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
In the same skillet, add the cumin seeds, the onion, remaining garlic and ginger and saute for 20 minutes on low until the onions are soft. Then add water and stir. Add cashews, remaining coriander powder, remaining chili powder, tomatoes, the chile and stir well.
Let the sauce cook slowly over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, until everything has mingled. Transfer the sauce to a blender (CAREFULLY!) and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the wok, add the butter, tomato paste, sugar and stir will.
Finally, add the cream and reserved chicken to the sauce. Cook the chicken for a few more minutes, making sure it is cooked all of the way through. Add the garam masala and stir well. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over rice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vegetarian Chickpea Curry

from Allrecipes

It was a warm Sunday afternoon and it was time to make dinner. Everything around here is closed on Sundays, and I had forgotten to pick up groceries. BOO! So I looked at the few ingredients we had around the house and miraculously found everything I needed for this recipe. And wouldn't you know, it was delicious.

I'm feeling more comfortable with curries day by day, and this one is great and so easy. You could add chilies for heat or cool it down with some plain yogurt or sour cream. Anyway, give it a try.

1 Tbsp butter
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
3 tsp curry
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can garbanzo beans
2 potatoes, chopped
1 can coconut milk (reduced fat is fine)
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 vegetable bullion cubes
1-2 Tbsp cornstarch or flour to thicken the sauce (optional)
almonds, for garnish
sour cream, for garnish

Melt the butter in a large wok and saute onions and garlic until the onions are soft and translucent (about 20 minutes on medium low). Add the spices and allow them to toast for 1-2 minutes.

Chop potatoes into chunks, and add the rest of the ingredients to the walk. Simmer on medium-low until the potatoes are cooked through and the flavors have mingled. If the sauce is too runny, add the cornstarch or flour to thicken it up. Serve on a hot bed of rice topped with almond slivers and sour cream.