Monday, October 31, 2011

Cook Around the Globe & Inclement Weather

This is just a quick notice that the roundup for October's Cook Around the Globe will be delayed. This is due to the freak snow storm in New England and the ensuing power outages. I hope to be able to post the link-up by the weekend.
I will, however, announce the region for November's Cook Around the Globe event. I hope you'll join me in my exploration of some Eastern European cuisines. Let's discover what's being dished up in Russia, Poland, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. I am looking forward to some great comfort food.

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

German Meat Patties

Here is a family favorite. German meat patties - after my grandmother's recipe. To see the recipe, click here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Togo: Tilapia with Onion Sauce

Here is yet another dish from West Africa for this month's Cook Around the Globe event. It is difficult to sell fish dishes to HubbyGrouch, but he did like this one (and so did I for that matter.) This dish was easy to prepare, quick, and yummy.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Farfalle with Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese

Ouff, I am hopelessly behind writing my blog. That's what I get for trying to write posts while trying to watching my way through all the Midsomer Murders episodes. Also, I have a few little side projects going on. I guess you all know how difficult it is to squeeze too many things into those few hours after the kids have gone to sleep. However, I did finish one of my little projects - and just in time, too. I am not up for making a whole Halloween costume from scratch but I did make (or rather decorate) a bag to collect all the sweets for LittleGrouch. He is already excited to use it.

And now for tonight's dinner. This is an easy, simple, yet super delicious pasta dish. The goat cheese melts over the hot pasta makes for a very creamy coating. This is one of our favorite vegetarian pasta dishes.

Six months ago: Stir-Fried Steak and Potatoes

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Curried Pork Medaillons with Warm Avocado Puree

The first time I made this dish, it immediately became one of the family favorites. The curried pork and creamy avocado dip are just one hell of a combination. I haven't seen a lot of dishes that have warm avocado in them - but if you are an avocado lover, this dish is a "must try". The original recipe uses less dip for the amount of meat but as I am a) a sauce junkie and b) this dip also tastes great just by itself or with taco chips, I usually make this bigger amount.

Six months ago: Homemade Pizza

Curried Eggplant Coconut Soup

My plan for this cold season was to cook one big pot of soup each week for my lunches. This recipe was inspired by an eggplant recipe I had seen on the internet. I thought I had saved it but it's nowhere to be found. Anyway, I loved this soup. It was thick and creamy and spicy and had just the right amount of acidity. This recipe will provide me with lunch for 4-5 days this week - yum!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Favorite Pizzas

Today was pizza night at our house. Upon HubbyGrouch's request, I prepared two of our favorites: the Classic Salami-and-Olive Pizza, as well as my Ham-Yellow Pepper-and-Gorgonzola Pizza.
Salami Pizza
Pizza with Ham, Yellow Pepper, and Gorgonzola
I have prepared both of these before. The recipe for the salami pizza can be found here. Click here for the Ham-Gorgonzola-Pizza recipe. This time, I added some mozzarella as well; instead of having only gorgonzola on this pizza.

Six months ago: Baked Potatoes with Chicken and Pesto-Yogurt

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gambia: Jollof Rice

Here is yet another dish from my exploration of West African cooking. This will also be linked up with this month's Cook Around the Globe event. Different versions of Jollof rice are known in all West African countries. I chose this one because I had all the ingredients at home, it's very quick & simple to prepare, and it reminded me a little of some rice dishes that HubbyGrouch's mother sometimes prepares (and I thought he liked them). When I mentioned the latter point after dinner, he told me that he was never very fond of those dishes - so much for that. I thought this dish was a great week night dinner because of it's simplicity and easy preparation.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Baked Eggs for Cheese Lovers

I don't often prepare special breakfast treats. But these baked eggs sure are a favorite in this family. This time even LittleGrouch ate some of it - I mean he liked to dip bits of toast into the egg yolk. As you can guess, it's a very filling breakfast with all the cheese. The "proper" way of baking these eggs is to fill a baking dish halfway with boiling water, place the eggs cups in the water, and then place it in the oven like that. I found that the simple way of just placing the little dishes in the oven works just as well.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Family Recipe: Bratwurst & Potato Dumplings

This is a back-home-style dinner. When I saw in Trader Joe's monthly newsletter that they had Bavarian-style mini-bratwurst, I just had to go and get some. I haven't had them in such a long time. They are just so cute and tasty. I wanted to serve them with dumplings and sauerkraut - but as I am the only one who would eat the latter, I prepared some other veggies instead. 

Family Recipe: Potato Soup

I love soups in the cold seasons. Unfortunately, HubbyGrouch isn't much of a soup lover. So I decided to cook one pot of soup per week for my lunches. Potato soup is one of my favorites. We often had it when I was a kid. There was no specific recipe, though. The only constant ingredients were potatoes. Then my mother would add whatever vegetables she had at hand. Often those were carrots, onions, zucchini. Often, there would also be sliced hotdogs or tiny meatballs in the soup.

Meal Plan for October 22 - 28, 2011

This week's meal plan features two more West African recipes for this month's Cook Around the Globe (Mon & Fri), as well as three family favorites (Tue - Thu):

Saturday: Bratwurst, Potato Dumplings & Veggies

Sunday: Baked Eggs (Breakfast)

Monday: Jollof Rice from Gambia

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza

Wednesday: Curried Pork Medaillons with Avocado Puree

Thursday: Penne with Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese

Friday: Tilapia with Onion Sauce
             Banana/Pineapple Fritters

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Baked Curried Eggplant with Chickpeas and Spinach

This is a family favorite vegetarian dinner. I have prepared this dish several times since it appeared in Food & Wine magazine 2 years ago. MissChubbyCheeks loved the chickpeas (after we had wiped off the curry).

To see the recipe, click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Colombia: Red Beans from Barranquilla

For this week, HubbyGrouch had requested a Colombian dish. I have prepared this dish a few times before. We like to make it a complete meal with rice and beef. It's a classic combination that HubbyGrouch grew up with and he likes to have dishes like this from time to time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Africa: Plantain Bell Pepper Pancakes with Senegalese Olive & Onion Sauce

Yet another recipe from West Africa for this month's Cook Around the Globe. I decided on another plantain dish. As I have said before, I am not crazy about them but HubbyGrouch likes plantains a lot. According to the recipe, the pancakes are eaten not only in West Africa but in other parts too. I thought they needed something to go with and found this flavorful sauce from Senegal. This sauce is usually served over rice with grilled meat or chicken. It was an excellent match for the pancakes. HubbyGrouch and even LittleGrouch loved this dish. So, a very successful dinner.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Cape Verde: Tuna with Coconut Sauce

Here is another recipe from West Africa for this month's Cook Around the Globe. This dish from Cape Verde (at least according to my cookbook) sound great - quick & simple, yet delicious. And indeed it was. We just love to eat tuna steaks. They have so much taste and a great texture. Is this recipe authentic - I don't know. I often come across recipes in cookbooks where I am very much in doubt. But I really wanted to make this dish. For now, let's just assume it really is from Cape Verde.

Six months ago: General Tso's Chicken


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cider and Whiskey Braised Pork

For this recipe, I started out with the marinade and compote I had kept from the Cider-Maple Pork Chops with Apple Compote. I added some extra ingredients that I thought might go well with this basis. The meat was very tasty and tender. We all enjoyed this dinner and its leftovers very much! Next time I will serve the meat with  a side of potatoes to better soak up all the yummy sauce.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meal Plan for October 15 - 21, 2011

This week's meal plan features two more West African recipes for this month's Cook Around the Globe (Sun & Fri); as well as two of HubbyGrouch's favorite dishes (Wed & Thu):

Saturday: Chowder-Like Corn Soup with Potatoes, Peas & Black Forest Prosciutto

Sunday: Cider and Whiskey Braised Pork

Monday: Tuna in Coconut Sauce from Cape Verde

Tuesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Colombian Red Beans, Steak, & Rice

Friday: Plantain Pancakes with Olive Sauce

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

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Chowder-Like Corn Soup with Potatoes, Peas & Black Forest Prosciutto

Today I finally got around to using up my two cans of creamed corn that had been in my pantry forever. In fact, they were getting really, really close to their expiration date. I don't particularly like corn. I think I had bought these cans because I was contemplating pleasing HubbyGrouch by preparing some (in my humble opinion rather too sweet and corn-y) corn pudding/bread. As you can guess, that didn't happen. I came up with this recipe instead - and I must say it was quite nice. The prosciutto adds a great flavor and, together with the herbs, suppresses the otherwise too intense (for my taste) corn flavor. Instead of prosciutto, you can of course use ham or salami or you can leave the meat out.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Apple, Rum Raisin & Walnut Muffins

I made these for a bake sale today. I have mentioned before that I don't like cinnamon. Well, I know that most people do like it, and as these muffins weren't for me, I did put in cinnamon. I actually tried a mini-muffin because I wanted to know how the apples, nuts, and raisins blended in together. I must say they were not bad - would in fact be really nice without the cinnamon. HubbyGrouch liked them as well although he is not a cake-eater in general. I doubled the original recipe and prepared 12 regular size and 36 mini muffins.

Senegalese Chicken in Lime Sauce

Here is another West African recipe for this month's Cook Around the Globe event. This was a nice and simple dish. Though I could have done with less lime juice. It was too intense for my taste. Next time I would only use half the juice plus the same amount of water.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baked Lamb Chops with Easy Duchesse Potatoes

This dish is inspired by a Greek-Cypriot dish called Kléftiko - Baked Lamb with lemon juice, marjoram, and thyme. I still had some lamb chops in the freezer and remembered seeing this recipe. I decided to bake the lamb together with some carrots and white wine. I had wanted to serve this dish with baked potatoes, but didn't have any at home. So I thought of another way of slipping potatoes into HubbyGrouch's dinner. I  had instant mashed potatoes at hand, so I decided to turn them into Duchesse potatoes. They turned out to be HubbyGrouch's favorite part of the dinner! For LittleGrouch, I made letter shaped Duchesse potatoes. He loved them and didn't even ask for ketchup to eat them with.

Italy: Eggplant Parmigiana

This was my contribution to the Potluck Luncheon at LittleGrouch's Preschool today. I know this is different from the widely known U.S. version of "Eggplant Parmigiana"that's served in Italian restaurants in the here.  I am not claiming to be an expert on Italian cooking but I think this is much more like the original dish. Of course, it is preferable to use fresh, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic for the sauce. But due to time restrictions I had to take a short cut with the canned stuff. The addition of egg slices in this recipe surprised me a little but it was a nice additional texture in the dish. Whether a traditional dish or not, this casserole sure is tasty. It's a great vegetarian main dish and a great choice for a potluck or buffet, too, as it can be served hot, lukewarm, or cold - just as you prefer. Serve it with some crunchy bread like ciabatta to soak up all the delicious sauce.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ghana: Red Rice

This is another dish for this month's Cook Around the Globe event. It can be best described as the Ghanaian version of risotto. The original recipe called for the addition of dried shrimp. I used fresh shrimp instead. They are not nearly as flavorful but I had them at hand. Overall, this was a nice, simple dinner.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Tenders with Anchovy-Basil Sauce

This is a simple quick & easy dish, adapted from Food & Wine magazine. The sauce is very tasty; the anchovy flavor pairs very well with the chicken. It's a good choice for a weeknight dinner.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Meal Plan for October 8 - 14, 2011

Last week's meal plan got all scrambled up, so there will be two push-over recipes this week. Then I am planning two dishes for October's Cook Around the Globe event. The remaining meals, I call "FFP meals". They are part of my effort to use up what's in my Freezer, Fridge & Pantry. These seem to be getting fuller every week, so I decided I needed to do something about it. This is what I'll be cooking this week:

Saturday: Broccoli Quiche

Sunday: Chicken Breasts with Anchovy-Basil Pan Sauce (from Food & Wine)

Monday: Red Rice from Ghana

Tuesday: Baked Lamb Chops

Wednesday: Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Thursday: Chicken in Lime Sauce from Senegal

Friday: Corn Chowder with Potatoes & Peas

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

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Broccoli Cheese Quiche with Mashed Potato Crust

This month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog "No Reason Needed". There is a great variety of recipes to chose from on the blog. One of the first recipes I saw on the list was this one. I had broccoli in the freezer, but when I saw "mashed potato crust", the recipe was sold! How could I not have chosen this recipe? I love potatoes, I love quiche, and I had never made a quiche with potato crust. Selling the dish to my family was a little more difficult. Here is a conversation I had with HubbyGrouch (likes quiche but not potatoes) and LittleGrouch while preparing the quiche:

HG: "Are you boiling potatoes?"
me:  "Yes."
HG: "Wow, I recognized the smell."
(A while later)
HG: "What are we having for dinner?"
me:  "Broccoli quiche."
LG: "I want to see the broccoli"
(I lift him up to look into the pot.)
LG: "Ugh, yak! I don't like it."
HG: "So what were you boiling potatoes for?"
me:  "The quiche has a mashed potato crust."
HG: "Oh, no! What are you doing to my quiche?"

I am used to reactions like that when I announce dinner plans to my two grouches. In the end, LittleGrouch ate almost all of HubbyGrouch's crust plus a few more fork-fulls of quiche, and HubbyGrouch commented that he didn't even taste the potatoes and liked the quiche. I will definitely make this quiche again. I would like the crust to be crunchier, though. So next time, I will do one of the following: a) bake the potatoes instead of boiling them, b) bake the crust longer, or c) bake the crust at a higher temperature. This is a very versatile recipe. You can use your choice of cheese, veggies, add a little ham if you fancy some meat, add some herbs, ..... the sky's the limit.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cider-Maple Pork Chops with Apple Compote

I have always wanted to try pork chops with apples; a classic combination. So when I found this recipe in Food & Wine, I just had to try it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a small bottle of "bitter". So I used grapefruit juice and maple sugar instead. After preparing the marinade, I forgot that I needed more grapefruit juice for the glaze and compote - and drank the rest of the juice. I had to improvise and use lemon juice instead. The taste of the compote was okay but I thought the cooking time of 25 minutes was way too long and basically turned the "compote" into applesauce. 10-15 minutes should be more than enough to soften up the apples without getting mushy. I also didn't think that the marinade gave much of a flavor to the meat. However, I did save the marinade to use it as a braising liquid. HubbyGrouch really liked the pork and apple together, whereas for me, it didn't live up to my expectations.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We're Having Pizza!

Pizza with ham, yellow pepper, and gorgonzola
Salami Mozzarella Pizza
Pizza Napoli

You can find the recipes for these pizzas here and here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Africa: Stewed Plantain

This is the first dish I prepared for this month's "Cook Around the Globe" event. When I told HubbyGrouch that I chose West Africa for this month, he asked for a plantain dish. Plantain is a food he grew up with and he likes to have some from time to time. I am not so crazy about them, but I am always open to try them in different ways. In the recipe it wasn't specified whether to use yellow or green plantains (the yellow ones being rather sweet). So you can choose according to your own taste and preference. I used green ones because I don't particularly like the sweet main dishes. While I was preparing this dish, LittleGrouch came to the kitchen and told me it smelled good and this was his favorite. It was very cute though I know from experience that it by no means indicates whether he is actually going to eat more than one bite. But he did eat several slices of plantain and HubbyGrouch liked the dish as well. It was a little too plain for me but as I said in the beginning: I am not too crazy about plantain anyway.

This post is linked to Jane Deere Fusion Fridays.


Family Recipe: Sauerkraut Soup

The weather is getting cold, that means it's soup season. Unfortunately, HubbyGrouch doesn't share my love for soups and hot pots; and my love for sauerkraut neither. So, I made this soup all for myself. I am going to have several days of sauerkraut soup lunches - and looking forward to it! Yes, I know that sauerkraut - like herring - takes some getting used to. But this soup is one of the best getting-warm remedies for me. Usually, I would make this soup with "Pfefferwürstchen" (thin peppery sausages that are a kind of mix between salami and kielbasa). They are not available in this area but green pepper salami is a worthy substitute. I sometimes add some shredded green cabbage to make the soup a little milder. I hope I succeeded in at least making you curious about this dish (I don't presume that a dish like that can cause a lot of mouth-watering in an international audience) :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ribeye Steaks with Anchovy Butter and German-Style Homefries

After all the Arabic food we had last month, and especially last week, I thought I'd reward HubbyGrouch with a plain ol' steak. I didn't want to make it too plain, though, so I prepared some anchovy butter (from Bon Appetit) to go with it. I loved the taste of it, and I didn't only put it on the steak but also on the homefries. American homefries usually are cubed potatoes that are boiled and then pan-fried. My homefries (in German "Bratkartoffeln") are made from potato slices. Bratkartoffeln can be made from leftover (cooked) or raw potatoes. You can add some onion, other vegetables, herbs & spices, beaten egg, bacon - whatever you fancy. I like this version, where the potatoes are only fried. It gives a thicker and crunchier crust. LittleGrouch loved the homefries (especially when we allowed him to have ketchup with it).

Meal Plan for October 2 - 7, 2011

This week's meal plan features some more recipes from the Arabian Peninsula for my Cook Around the Globe event.

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Ribeye Steaks with Anchovy Butter (from Bon Appetit) and Homefries

Monday: Cooked Plantain with Onions

Tuesday: Cider-Maple Pork Chops with Woodland Bitter Compote (from Food & Wine)

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza

Thursday: Chicken Breasts with Anchovy-Basil Pan Sauce (from Food & Wine)

Friday: Broccoli Quiche

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

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Announcement: "Cook Around the Globe" - October 2011

Welcome to "Cook Around the Globe"!

This is a fun monthly event where we learn about the character of different cuisines around the globe simply by cooking dishes. Each month, I will choose a country or a group of countries. Each participant prepares one (or more) dishes from this region. On the 1st day of the following month, you can post a link to your dish on my blog. The dish can be anything: drink, appetizer, main dish, pastry, etc. Depending on the number of participants, we will get a great variety of dishes from a certain region of the world. For each chosen region, I will also try to post some links  where to find recipes.

(Registration is not necessary for this event. Simply post your link on my blog.)

First of all, I want to thank everybody who participated in September. I hope you had fun and will join again this month. For October, I invite you to join me in exploring the cuisines of West Africa:

October 2011 "Cook Around the Globe":
West Africa (Cape Verde, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cook Around the Globe - September 2011 Roundup

Welcome to the September 2011 roundup of "Cook Around the Globe". I love all the different flavors of Arabic food. I enjoyed this month's regional cooking very much (HubbyGrouch got a bit fed up towards the end. I got a lot of the recipes from a great cookbook called "The complete Middle Eastern Cookbook". I will sure get back to that book for other challenges. I hope all of you enjoyed this event and will be back in November (announcement will follow). Also, if you liked the event, grab a button and spread the word. You can add the blog hop to your own blog if you like. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page, click on the link, and choose the appropriate code for your type of blog. I will conclude by saying a thousand times "thank you" to all participants and enjoy the recipes!

get the InLinkz code