Saturday, January 28, 2012

Roasted Potatoes with Broccoli and Carrots & Himbeertraum Dessert

Today, I repeated two of our family favorites for dinner:

Roasted Potatoes with Broccoli and Carrots
This time, instead of fingerling potatoes, I used white potatoes cut into wedges. Also, I was out of white wine and used vermouth instead.

Himbeertraum (Raspberry Dream)
Six months ago: Salmorejo (Cold Tomato Soup from Spain)
                           Cherry Crumble Cake

Meal Plan for January 28 - February 3, 2012

As usual, this week's meal plan features international dishes for my Cook Around the Globe event.

Saturday: Roasted Potatoes with Broccoli and Carrots
                Himbeertraum (Raspberry Dream)

Sunday: Budaatai Khuurga (Stew with Rice, Vegetables and Meat)

Monday: Chickpea Stew (from Bon Appetit)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Pinaatthiohukaiset (Finnish Spinach Pancakes)
                     (from "Best of Finnish Cooking" by Taimi Previdi)

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs)
            Tilliherneet (Dilled Green Peas from Finland)
            (both from "Scandinavian Cooking" by Beatrice Ojakangas)

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

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Monday, January 23, 2012

China: Chicken-Stuffed Spinach (or Chinese Broccoli) Leaves (Bo Cai Ji Rong Juan)


A Plethora of Sweet & Savory Wheat Thins

After a one month break, the SRC (Secret Recipe Club) is finally back with lots of delicious recipes to check out. This month, I was assigned Jennifer's blog, For Such a Time as This. I immediately went to check out the "Snack" and "Breakfast" sections of her recipe index. I am always on the lookout those kind of recipes. When I saw the recipe for the Homemade Wheat Thins, I knew what I was going to make. The original recipe has discernable amounts of salt and sugar in it. As I do not particularly like to taste both in one bite, I decided to make two recipes out of one: sweet wheat thins and salty wheat thins. Also, instead of cold butter, I used softened one because it's easier to work with, and then chilled to dough before rolling it out. This is such a flexible recipe. You can season & sprinkle the dough with anything you fancy: chocolate sprinkles, chopped dried fruits (e.g. raisins, cranberries, apricots, ...), marmelade glaze, chopped nuts, grains, seeds, herbs (e.g. Italian, French, ...), spices, spice mixes, cheese (e.g. parmesan, feta, gruyere, ...), chopped olives ....... endless possibilities. I made three times the amount of the original recipe to make a dent in the amount of ideas I had for these little bites. This time, I rolled out the dough with a rolling pin but I think next time I will try to use my pasta machine. It should work just fine with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from sticking to the drums, and the dough will be evenly thin. LittleGrouch and MissChubbyCheeks loved all the sweet varieties of this snack, especially the chocolate ones. I like the savory ones with a simple dip of light sour cream, mashed garlic, and salt. Thank you for this recipe, Jennifer!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stir-Fried Broccoli

Germany: Hausmacher Leberwurst (Homemade Liverwurst Spread)

I finally did it! And I must say that I am really proud of myself. What am I talking about? Well, ever since I came to the US, I was on the lookout for good liverwurst. But I couldn't find what I was looking for. About half a year ago, I had finally given up hope and decided that if I wanted some liverwurst, I would have to make it myself. So I got a meat grinder which, until today, had been sitting in the closet waiting to called into action. This weekend, to my great surprise, I found pork liver in the supermarket. I had never seen any before and accepted the fact that I would have to use chicken or beef liver. So now, with all the ingredients at hand, there were no more excuses. You are wondering why I am so crazy about liverwurst, anyway? (I am fully aware that lots of people find the idea of liverwurst repulsive.) I don't know... I just always loved it. I have even succeeded in Germanizing HubbyGrouch enough to like liverwurst. He even helped me prepare it (!) by operating the handle on the meat grinder. I did make one mistake though: I filled the jars too much. They should really only be filled 2/3, otherwise the grease seeps out into the water and the jars are all greasy when you take them out of the pot. Live and learn. Next time, I know what to do. However, the taste of this liverwurst is just what I wanted - and I have six jars full of this yummy treat!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tibet: Chur Thug (Tofu Cheese Soup)

Tonight, it was time for pizza again - I hadn't made any in a long time. I chose two of our favorites: Salami Pizza (left) and Ham-Gorgonzola-Bell Pepper Pizza (right). LittleGrouch wanted tomato sauce and cucumber slices on his pizza, so that's what that one odd looking quarter is. 

This soup was my lunch - HubbyGrouch doesn't like to eat soup. Chur Thug is very similar to Churu (Tibetan Cheese Soup), which I made a few days ago. But when I prepared the Churu, it seemed there was something off with the ingredients, so I wanted to try a different recipe.

Six months ago: No-Bake Sommer Lasagna


Meal Plan for January 21 - 27, 2012

This week's meal plan features more Chinese dishes for this month's Cook Around the Globe event.

Saturday: Chur Thug (from
                Homemade Pizza

Sunday: Stir Fried Broccoli

Monday: Chicken Stuffed Spinach Leaves (Bo Cai Ji Rong Juan)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Budaatai Khuurga (Stew with rice, vegetables and meat)

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Chinese Ravioli (Jiaozi)
            Tomato and Egg Soup (Fan Qie Dan Hua Tang)

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

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nepal: Peas and Chhana or Cheese (Chhana-Kerau Tarkaari)

This was a great vegetarian dinner! The cheese and peas go very well together and with all the spices the dish is incredibly flavorful. This Nepalese dish is very similar to Indian yogurt-based curries. The original dish called for Nepalese garam masala but I just used the one I had at home. I also couldn't find asafetida, which seems to be a rather aquired taste according to the book. So no worries in leaving it out. I prepared more of this dish than was in the original recipe, the reason being that the smallest package of paneer I could find contained 400 g cheese. I am looking forward to eating the leftovers. This dish is also part of this month's Cook Around the Globe.

Six months ago: Herring in Yogurt Sauce


Monday, January 16, 2012

Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage and Pecans

For the longest time, I was avoiding pecan nuts and always using walnuts instead. I somehow, I had this memory of eating some cake or cookies with pecans and they tastes awful. Well, either that was a false memory or whatever I ate was just not good food. When I found this recipe in Food & Wine, my first impulse was also to replace the pecans by walnuts. I can't say now what made me change my mind and buy the pecans. Maybe I just thought it was time to try them again and see if my taste had changed. Before going ahead and using them in the recipe, I decided to try a few. To my surprise, their taste was very similar to walnuts and I liked them a lot. From now on, if a recipe calls for pecans, that's what I'll use. This recipe turned out very nice - both of us liked it a lot. Next time, though, I would cut the squash into smaller pieces - they were too chunky for my taste. As usual, I made a few changes to the recipe. I used dried sage instead of fresh, I was a bit short of squash, so I added some carrots, but the major change was substituting mild Italian sausage for the sweet variety. I must admit that I never actually ate the latter but as a rule, the word "sweet" when it comes to meat dishes, is rather appalling to me. Besides, the squash is very sweet already, so I surely didn't want to add any more sweetness to the dish. I have been noticing in the food blogger community that desserts/cookies/etc. with added saltiness are very much in the fashion. That sounds rather disgusting to me. Not only do most dessert/cookie recipes have way too much sugar for my taste (there's the stereotypical American very-sweet tooth), now the addition of salt makes me avoid those recipes even more. I always thought chocolate covered pretzels and the like are some of the most disgusting snacks to be found in American supermarkets, and now this sweet&salty combination is sneaking into other foods as well. Anyway, there's no accounting for taste - "chacun à son goût" as the French saying goes.

Six months ago: Lentils with Guiso and Egg

Sunday, January 15, 2012

China: Stir-Fried Trout and Green Bell Pepper (Jia Chang Yu Si)

I love trout - it's one of my favorite fish to eat. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find here. I was surprised to find a recipe for stir-fried trout in my Chinese cookbook but I have a hunch that trout is just a more readily available replacement for a Chinese fresh water fish. Do they have trout in China? I should really look that up. Anyway, this was another delicious and simple stir-fry dish - perfect for a busy week night. This recipe will also be linked to this month's Cook Around the Globe.


China: Sichuan Noodles (Si Chuan Liang Mian)


Walnut & Olive Bread

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Meal Plan for January 14 - 20, 2012

This week's meal plan features recipes from China and Nepal for this month's Cook Around the Globe event.

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Stir-Fried Trout and Green Bell Pepper (Jia Chang Yu Si)
              Sichuan Noodles (Si Chuan Liang Mian)

Monday: Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage and Pecans (from Food & Wine)

Tuesday: Peas and Chhana or Cheese (Chhana-Kerau Tarkaari) (from "Taste of Nepal" by Jyoti Pathak)

Wednesday: Stuffed Eggplant Bites (Yu Xiang Qie Bing)
                     Beijing-Style Cucumber Salat (Beijing Pai Huang Gua)

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Momos with Lamb Filling (Maasu ko Momo) (from "Taste of Nepal" by Jyoti Pathak)
            Green Beans with Potatoes (Simi ra Alu ko Tarkaari) (from "Taste of Nepal" by Jyoti Pathak)

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, January 13, 2012

China: Stir-Fried Chicken and Walnuts (Tao Ren Ji Ding)

I had made this dish before and we really liked it. So when I chose China as one of the countries for this month's Cook Around the Globe, I knew I was going to prepare this chicken dish again. Chicken and walnuts are a great combination, but I can imagine it being a great dish with other nuts as well. This dish is quick and easily prepared, making it a great choice for a weeknight dinner.

Six months ago: Homemade Rainbow Pasta


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tibetan Noodles

This is a very nice and simple pasta dish. Be sure to use really ripe and tasty tomatoes to get a good flavor into this dish. The only tricky part during the preparation was that the pasta immediately soaked up all the liquid when I added them to the sauce. I hadn't expected that and had thought I could separate the noodles while they were simmering in the sauce. So be sure to separate them well before adding to the sauce. Otherwise you end up with some sticky gooey mass of glued-together noodles. This recipe will be linked to this month's Cook Around the Globe.


Tibet: Cheese Soup (Churu)

During the cold season, I am always on the lookout for good soups. When I was looking into recipes for this month's Cook Around the Globe, I came across this interesting combination of ingredients. Unfortunately, something seemed to be really off with the recipe. I had to double the cheese and add quite a bit of salt to get some flavor into the soup. I guess you can use broth instead of water, which would partly take care of this problem. Luckily, I did manage to make this soup tasty. (Unless the lack of taste is authentic - which I really have no idea about.)


Monday, January 9, 2012

Tibet: The Dalai Lama's Momos (Steamed Dumplings with Potato, Mushroom & Cheese Filling)

This is a Tibetan recipe for this month's Cook Around the Globe. There is a plethora of different dumpling recipes from different Asian countries available. I have prepared several different ones over the years, but never with this rather interesting filling. I loved this recipe, though unfortunately HubbyGrouch did not. Never mind, I get to eat all the leftover - yay! According to the website where I found this recipe (see below), the Dalai Lama himself invented this recipe. Well, that may or may not be so. It certainly doesn't change the taste of these delicious treats. It's great to have the soup on the side. It's subtle taste is a good contrast to the very flavorful, salty dipping sauce.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

China: Fish in Tomato Sauce (Qie Zhi Yu Pian)

Here is another quick and easy Chinese wok dish for this month's Cook Around the Globe. The funny thing about this dinner was that it tasted like something you would get from a Chinese take-out. The sauce had just the taste and texture of some of the common sticky sauces they use in restaurants. Is that a compliment? Hmm, I'm really not sure. Don't get me wrong, the dish was nice. According to HubbyGrouch, this dish seemed to taste exactly as it should. I don't often prepare stir-fry fish dishes but this one was nice. You should take firm fish fillets, otherwise they will fall apart when you are stirring!

Six months ago: German Meat Patties