Monday, July 25, 2011

Chipotle in Switzerland?

Yes, it can happen!  (There is one in London - hopefully one day there will be in Germany as well).

The hardest thing to do is the wonderful rice.  I usually make the vegetarian burrito, but occasionally will cook up  some chicken or beef for hubby. Usually with some jalapeno seasoning.  When I have time, I make the guacamole from scratch as well (I will post that recipe later).  Otherwise just slice up some avocado or use the Betty Bossi pre-made guacamole. Under no circumstances use the Old El Paso kind.  Everything else of theirs is good, but if you are a guac fan you will be very disappointed.

For the rice:
2 cups basmati rice
1 small or 1/2 a large Bay leaf
1/2-1 lemon
1/2 -1 lime
1/2 tsp salt (sea salt if you have it)
1 package cilantro (koriander) chopped up from Migros or Coop
1/4 c soy oil (I used sunflower - sonnenblumen)

Put the rice in a pot and add enough water to cover (I put my finger in the water and when it comes to my first knuckle - from the top of the rice - it's right).
Put the bay leaf in. Bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce to the lowest setting. cook 15-20 minutes until the water is gone.
Remove the bay leaf
Add 1/2 tsp of salt - more or less depending on taste.
Add 1/4 cup of oil
squeeze juice of 1/2 a lime and 1/2 a lemon (again, depending on taste)
Add the chopped up cilantro - I use the whole packet that you buy from Coop or Migros

Mix with a fork and fluff the rice. Put the top back on and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

For the rest:
sliced up onion and bell pepper to saute
chicken or beef if desired
homemade guacamole or sliced avocado
sour cream - sauer halbrahm
mozzerella cheese
Salsa if desired
black beans (or pinto if you prefer). Black beans can be bought at El Maiz (see shopping) or Coop Sihlcity in Zurich.
Large tortillas - homemade or store bought.  The mission tortillas are good (Sihlcity) or the Pancho Villa from Migros. The El Paso ones from Coop are good but smaller.
aluminium foil
black marker (for authenticity) :)  I only had a blue one.

Spread sour cream on the tortilla.
Top with desired toppings:
Black (or pinto) beans
Cilantro rice
Roll the wrap by folding in two ends to cover the ingredients, and then roll.  Place on a sheet of aluminum and roll. Mark with a "V" for vegetarian (or F for fajita, etc.) in black marker. Enjoy :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quick and easy Greek Pizza

Tired of the same old heavy pizza? (well, sometimes anyway?)  The pizza dough I see comes in two sizes here - round and rectangular.  The round is not big enough to share to fill us up for dinner (medium size US) and the rectangular is too big. So. A compromise. This pizza is light enough that you don't feel stuffed after eating it and a round would be fine for two with a side salad. Or split the rectangular one into thirds with a side salad as well.

What you need: Serves 2-4
580g pizzateig - one rectangular pizza dough found at your friendly neighborhood supermarket
1 red onion
cherry tomatoes (or regular on the vine ones)
100g feta cheese - more or less depending on your love of cheese, but I find this works well
lemon juice
olive oil
olives (optional)

Unroll the dough. Drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice over it and spread around using a brush (or your clean fingers if you don't have one).

Sprinkle oregano over the lemon juice and olive oil. (I keep meaning to try it with fresh, but this hasn't happened yet).

Dice the tomatoes or half the cherry tomatoes - put as many or as few as you like on.

Slice the onion thinly and scatter it over the top.

Crumble up the feta cheese and sprinkle over the top as well.

Add sliced black olives if desired.

(this is uncooked)
Bake as directed. (250C for 15-20 min. normally).

Enjoy with a side salad:
diced cucumber
diced tomatoes
sliced olives
and topped with diced fresh oregano.
Top with a small drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.

Friday, July 22, 2011's what's for dinner

Mmmm...beef. It's not something we eat a lot of here as it's on the expensive side.  I don't like seafood though, so unfortunately my poor husband is stuck with mostly chicken until summer when grill season hits and he has sausages to add some variety to his meals. 

Tonight I made Beef Stroganoff. It's something I learned from my mom and I think it's great. It's best in the fall when it's cooler, but when you want beef it's one of the least expensive options. 

What you need: (serves 4)
400-500g beef (fleisch)
1 container of sour cream (sauer-halbrahm)
2 Tbls flour
1 Tbls tomato paste
1/2 c cold water
1 cube of beef bouillon
1/8 tsp pepper
6 oz of tagliatelle (fettuccine) 
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms 
1/2 c chopped onion (or onion flakes)
1 clove minced garlic
1 Tbls parsley (optional, to sprinkle on the top)

|I buy the thin sliced beef anyway, but if you splurge on the thicker cut you may need to partially freeze it to be able to slice it thinly. 

Combine sour cream, flour and tomato paste. Stir in the water, bouillon (I chop the cube up to make it easier to mix) and pepper. Set this aside. If you have time earlier in the day, you can keep it in the fridge until needed. 

Cook the tagliatelle and drain well. 

Put a little olive oil in a skillet and add the thinly sliced (bite sized) beef. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. (my stove isn't great so this takes longer for me). When the beef is done, remove it and keep it warm on a plate.
(This time I kept the beef in the pan as I added everything else)

Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic - cook until onion is tender. 

Add the sour cream mixture and cook until bubbly and slightly thickened. Return the meat to the pan and cook until all is heated through. 

Serve over the tagliatelle (fettuccine) and sprinkle with parsley. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hearty Onion Soup

This is a wonderful, easy to make onion soup.  After the first time I made it, I bought large rolls to use as soup bowls. It's great for a chilly day!

What you need for 4 medium bread bowls or 3 large ones.
50 g flour
4 onions, sliced thinly for the soup
2 onions to saute and put on top
bratbutter (I use regular butter when I don't have any)
2 large rolls/small round loaves of bread
1 liter vegetable bouillon (2 cubes)
shredded Gruyere cheese (slicing some works fine as well)

1. Heat the flour in a pan (I've found a wok works great when making this. If you half it, a saucepan should be fine.
2. Take flour off stove and coat the sliced onions (use more or less onions depending on how well you like onions).
3. Put the about 25g of bratbutter in the pan and then toss the floured onions to coat.
4. Add the vegetable bouillon (Since I use the cubes with water I put it in a pot to boil and can then add the boiling water to the onions). If bouillon is cold, bring mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. While the broth is simmering, if using the bread bowls, slice the tops off.  Pull the bread out, leaving at least 1/2 an inch of bread on the inside (1/4 of an inch for smaller rolls). Using a brush (or your fingers if you don't have one) spread some olive oil on the inside bottom and outside bottom of the bread. Put on a baking sheet and cook at 180 for 10-15 minutes.  I put it in the oven cold when I get the broth boiling and take it out when it is done and it is always perfect.
 6. Slice the other 2 onions finely. Put a small frying pan on the stove with some butter. When hot and butter is melted, saute the onions until they are crisp. This does not take long, so only do it a few minutes before the soup is ready.

Tonight I made a salad to go along with the soup, so I also cut up some of the bread tops to put on top of the salad.  For the salad, I used mixed greens, some roast onion (from the spice section) and shredded Gruyere.

After placing the soup in the (bread) bowl, add the sauteed onions and some sliced (or shredded) Gruyere. Add a grilled sliced piece of the bread bowl as well for some added interest. En guete!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Barley part 2

The second barley dish I made was a Arugula (rucola) barley-risotto. It was really great! :)
The risotto you are looking for, I found at Coop: I used 1/2 a bag (250g) to make what is supposed to be 4 servings. However we did not have anything else with the meal so it was really closer to 2.  I would make the entire bag or have it with some chicken or pork otherwise. As a lunch dish though, I think the portion would have been sufficient.  

This is what you need:

1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
250g Getreide- Risotto (barley risotto)
2 dl white wine
6 dl Gemuesebouillon (vegetable bouillon)
Salt, pepper
80g cheese, e.g.Buender Berkaese <-- I did actually use this chese and it was great
100g rucola

chicken bouillon because I didn't have the veggie
1. Chop onion/garlic
2. put oil in pan and heat up - add onion/garlic
3. add risotto - sauté
4. Add wine and let boil
5. Stirring gradually, add broth. (I used closer to 5 dl bouillon) Simmer approx. 25 minutes or until the grain is al dente. Season with salt and pepper (I found that it cooked closer to 40 minutes for me)
6. Grate cheese, tear Arugula into bite size pieces (I left it whole)
7. Mix the cheese and arugula into risotto a little bit at a time
I added the arugula (rucola) a bit at a time until it wilted, like spinach, then added more and kept the process up until the bag was empty. 

I should clarify the boullion as well. I buy the little packets that Coop sell - you add one cube to 250 ml water or 2 for 500 ml of water  You can choose from vegetable, mushroom, beef and chicken. Depending on what you are making, feel free to interchange them. Sometimes if I need a 500 ml of boullion, I will use one vegetable and one mushroom or a veggie and a chicken. 

Overall, my husband and I really enjoyed this meal. There were no leftovers to try the next day though to see if they would hold up. 

Barley with artichoke hearts and tomatoes


Barley is something I had never had in the US.  I have tried two recipes already that included this. My parents liked the first so much that when they went back to the US, they made it for their friends (hadn't made the second yet).

Roasted barley, ham, and artichoke hearts 

What you need:
 6 dl vegetable stock 
150 g barley  
100 g ham    
2 garlic cloves       
140 g artichoke hearts in oil   
150 g cherry tomatoes    
Oil for frying      
50 g spinach         
1 1/2 Tbps Pesto  
1 lemon - juice only (1/2 oz)              
Salt and Pepper for seasoning   

Bring the bullion to a boil and add the barley, reducing to medium for 20 minutes, drain when done. Meanwhile, dice the ham, chop the garlic, drain and slice the artichokes and cut the tomatoes in half. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute all but tomatoes and barley for about 3 minutes. Add the barley and tomatoes, stir to mix and then add the spinach (just until wilted). Mix the pesto and lemon juice, add into barley mixture just before serving. 

 This is without spinach as the people I was making it for didn`t care for it, however I have made it with the spinach, and it is very good that way as well. Also, I didn`t use the cherry tomatoes this time, I quartered a whole one. Good either way.

Goes well with a fresh salad and bread. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Recipes

If anyone needs to know where to find ingredients, help with a recipe, or suggestions for new ones I can try, please let me know!


The versatile muffin

So it's breakfast time, and while rummaging around in the fridge I find there is nothing I feel like making again. Start me off with a glass of coke, and by the time the kids are wanting something, then I will be hungry.

Yes - I used to be a cereal girl for breakfast. My second son (6 months yesterday) seems to have a slight intolerance for the milk I like to add to it. What to do? Along with that and the lack of time in the morning, I have started making various 'all in one' breakfast goods.

The first attempt was a breakfast pretzel. Then various kinds of muffins and finally a gipfeli (croissant)
The pretzels were good - a little messy looking, but the taste is what we're after, right? (at least the first time). And my two year old was able to help pinch and roll them together.  I must admit, that I did not make the dough recipe that came with it - I did not have the ingredients (agave nectar) and the grocery stores have plenty of cheap, ready made dough to use. Add two little kids into the mix and you'll think the same way I do.

Depending on the consistency of the dough used, your results will vary.  I used a croissant dough for the gipfeli and a flaky dough (blattertieg) for the muffins and pretzels and also tried a pizza dough (pizzateig).  I actually liked the flaky dough muffins the best.  You will have to just try different ones until you find the one you like best.

The key to these is keeping your filling parts small so they don't burst out. Also try not to go overboard putting your fillings in -you'll have a hard time rolling them.  Any leftovers though, you could wrap up in a tortilla and have a well deserved afternoon snack.

I have put mustard - a thin layer in all my breakfast dishes - it helps the other ingredients to stick.
My favorite combination:
Breakfast Muffins
scrambled egg
schnittlauch (chives)
speckwürfel (bacon)
Appenzeller cheese (shredded)
senf (mustard )
rot zwiebel (red onion)

For the muffins, take the dough (I have found it easiest to buy the packs with two rolls of dough)
Spread a thin layer of mustard (or sour cream or anything else) on one layer. Keep the other for later.
Spread a thin layer of toppings on the dough, add cheese (if desired)
Cover with the 2nd layer of dough
Using a sharp knife, slice into 12 strips
Pinch the sides of the strips together and roll.  I use a silicon muffin pan and just place the rolls in the pan as I go.
Bake at the temperature instructed on the teig (dough) package.  When in doubt, 180C (350 F) for 25-35 minutes seems to be good :)

For the croissants (gipfeli) I used:
champignon (mushroom)
feta cheese
scrambled egg
schnittlauch (chives)

Follow the directions on the dough package. As you can see, I overstuffed mine and the rolls ended up a bit lumpy and un-crescent like. However, this was my first attempt to make them. The dough I had only made 8 small gipfeli. I prefer to make the muffins as they are a bit heartier and there are more so I have less cooking to do. The gipfeli would make a good Sunday brunch though I think.

I make these on Sunday and then put them in the fridge.  My husband likes to heat them up in the mornings but I find that a cold pretzel/muffin/croissant is just find.  The best thing is, depending on your ingredients of course, you're getting a good dose of protein and veggies to start your day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Introduction to the blog

Hi - Gruezi -

When I first moved to Switzerland, coming from Dallas, Texas, the thing I missed the most was Tex-Mex (and Target but that doesn't have anything to do with the food here...) My second day here I went to a Mexican restaurant in the Niederdorf...boy was I shocked! It tasted nothing like anything I had ever had before - strange cheeses were used and even stranger ingredients were added.

Now, 3 years later, I have learned to embrace the food available in Zurich . For the most part, local is cheaper than trying to buy all the 'comfort' items on the wonderful American shopping websites - not that these aren't great for special occasions like Thanksgiving ( trying to prepare that meal here takes some serious effort if you don't want to shell out 200 chf, but that's for later).

I have bought  Swiss cookbooks, some UK ones (Jamie Oliver has a line of food over here) and of course brought along all my favorite US ones. The US ones are slowly being phased out. And you know what? I don't really miss them so much anymore.  There are of course my favorites that I still make, but I have learned where to find the ingredients or how to change what I'm making slightly so that it still fits.

My goal is to show you the recipes I have found - both the good and the bad - and how easy (or not) they were to make.  A lot of the recipes I use now are in German - I still need to translate parts of them, but for the most part I can cook straight from the German recipes. I will include an English approximation of the German ones. Otherwise there's always One of my most frequently used websites for a while. :-)  There is also a list of ethnic grocery stores that I have found invaluable along with some websites and the local grocery stores.

En guete!