Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A new way to serve eggs

So I've been trying to figure out some fun ways to serve food - mainly so my two year old might finally decide to eat something, but also because it is fun.  I saw a picture of these little egg baskets so decided to make them.

What you need:
Rosti package (unless you want to make your own hash browns)
ham (2 pieces per egg)
cheese of your choice (I used gruyere)
Cinnamon rolls (Ikea, frozen section)
powdered sugar
salt and pepper to taste
any veggies you may wish to add (mushrooms, onions...)

For the rosti, put some butter in a pan and heat. Add the potatoes and then cook until browned (5-10 minutes).  Put a plate over the pan to and flip the pan over to remove the rosti.  Add some more butter, turn down the heat a bit and and cover.  Cook for about 10 more minutes.

For the egg cups, heat the oven to 200 C.  Place the ham in the bottom of a muffin pan, and overlap it to make sure the egg doesn't get out the bottom.  Add some cheese and whatever else you would like (mushrooms, onions, etc) Crack the egg into the 'basket' and then put in the oven for 15 minutes.

For icing for the cinnamon rolls, put 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tbls milk (I know I have low fat milk in the picture, but that's all I had, even though it seems a bit funny).  Whisk up and then drizzle over the cinnamon rolls.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

No bake lasagna

This was pretty easy.  Usually lasagna takes a while - mostly the hour to hour and a half baking time.  Although this doesn't look as good as traditional lasagna, it sure tasted good!

What you need:
500g ground beef (rindfleisch)
1 diced onion
3 minced cloves garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 c water
250g tomato sauce
12-15 lasagna noodles (I used no bake, veggie), broken up
1 container ricotta (or cottage) cheese
1/4 cup parmesan (gruyere or sprinz if you don't have the parm)
mozzarella cheese (I used the mini cheese balls to save time)
1 tbls parsley, basil, and oregano
1 tsp salt

Cook the hamburger with the onions and garlic.  Partway through, I discovered I had mushrooms so added them in. Sliced zucchini would also be good.  Add in the tomatoes (with their juice), water, tomato sauce and spices.  Stir in the lasagna noodles as well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally so that the noodles to not stick to the bottom of the can.

Combne the cheeses and spoon on top of the mixture.  Cook 3-5 more minutes.  Sprinkle with the mozzarella and a little basil before serving.  Don't forget the garlic bread! :-)

details coming soon...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Impressively simple

You see really fancy looking dishes pictured in magazines or cookbooks all the time. They look like someone put hours into creating them and you think "I don't have time for this. I've got work/kids that I need to deal with."  Well, here is something you can make that looks impressive and doesn't take more than 15 minutes to create (not counting the cooking time).

Next time I make this, I think I would have the rice on the side, not underneath, but that's not really the part I thought I'd have trouble with. Placement is easy...that's why we practice.

What you need:(Adapted from Annabel Karmel's Favorite Family Recipes)
4 chicken breasts
2 large carrots (ruebli)
2 large zucchini (zucchetti)
1 small red onion (or half a large, rot zwiebel)
50g chopped mushrooms (champignon)
olive oil
1 tsp parsley (petersilie)
1 lemon
Breadcrumbs (toast a piece of bread and crumble it up finely)
120 ml chicken bouillon (1 cube and you'll have some left over)
the remaining bit of the above lemon + 1/2 a lime (you can use the lemon and lime juice as well)
75g butter
1 tbls tarragon
60 ml of cream (vollrahm)
Rice or potatoes (whichever you prefer for a side)

Put a pot of water on to boil - big enough to put your vegetable strips in.
Wash the carrots and zucchini and then using a vegetable peeler, slice long thin strips from them.  I was able to get 10-12 strips from each by rotating the vegetable around after 3-4 slices.
Once the water boils, drop the strips into the water for about 30-45 seconds.  However long it takes you to put out some paper towels for them to dry on.  Remove from the water and lay flat on the towel to dry.
If you wanted to have pasta as a side, using the carrot/zucchini water would add some nice flavor.

Place a little oil in a frying pan and turn the heat to medium-high.  Dice your onion and mushrooms.  Put the onion in the pan and let it turn a little translucent, then add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the parsley a dash of lemon and the breadcrumbs.  Cook for another 2 minutes until thoroughly mixed.

Slice the chicken open (being careful not to cut it in half) and put 1-2 tsp of the mixture in. (Depends on the size of your chicken).

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and get out some aluminium foil.
Tear off a strip big enough to wrap around the chicken (do this for as many pieces of chicken as you will be using).

Place 5 strips of zucchini next to each other on the foil and then weave the carrot strips through them.  (Think back to grade school art class).
Place the chicken stuffed side down (like wrapping a present)

Fold over one side of the foil with the vegetables so that one side is over the chicken. Using a knife, carefully separate from the foil and then fold the other side (you don't need to separate the 2nd side).  Leave the foil, then fold in the two ends and finally the first piece of foil.  Turn over onto a baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the chicken is done, prepare the sauce.

I used the same pan I cooked the 'stuffing' in for added flavor.
Put the remaining lemon juice from your lemon (or a squirt from bottled lemon juice) and 1/2 a lime (or a squirt of lime juice) and the chicken broth into the pan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Stir in the butter (you may want to slice it to make it quicker to mix in)
Stir in the tarragon and cream. Add pepper/salt as desired.

Put your chicken on a plate and spoon a little of the sauce over the top.  Enjoy!

Salad into a sandwich?

Yep...not into a wrap (which would be really easy to do...hello ideas for next week!), but into a sandwich.

I love the caprese salad. It's light and filling (not stuffing!).  The only problem is that it takes a while to eat...and sometimes you just don't have that time.  What I love about this sandwich is that you can have everything chopped/sliced ahead of time and on the day you're in a rush, it'll take you about 2 minutes to make it.

What you need:
1 baguette (will make 3-4 sandwiches)
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1-2 slice tomatoes
Basil leaves - sliced into thin strips
Mozzarella cheese, sliced
Black pepper
Balsamic vinegar

If you have everything pre-sliced, it's super easy (and even if you don't, it only adds another couple of minutes) I think one of the reasons I like this sandwich is it also reminds me a bit of Subway, which I miss.

Place the cheese slices on the bottom of the bread, layer with onion and sprinkle with the basil strips.  I put the tomato on the top layer to help moisten the bread. (You could also put some pesto on the bread if you don't have basil). Grind a little black pepper over it and then drizzle on the vinegar.    Serve with apple slices, chips or fries.  Yum!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011's cheaper than beef

I'll admit...sometimes I get tired of eating chicken. I cook with it because what I make with it is usually healthier than what I make with beef or pork and also because it's cheaper (well, if you buy it frozen anyway).

Today however, I bought 2 packs of thin (2 minute cooking) pork chops for 10 chf.  I wanted to make a 'pork medallion' dish that calls for a pork tenderloin.  Pork tenderloins will run anywhere from 20-30 chf.  The recipe calls for 1/2 inch thick slices, so while that does look prettier on a plate than 'strips', these pork chops cut the cost in half.

What you need:
1-2 packs of the thinly cut, boneless pork chops
Sesame oil
4-6 tbls soy sauce (depending on how much liquid you want - I use 5)
2 garlic cloves (or 1 tbls minced from a jar)
2 tbls brown sugar (or muscovado sugar)
1/2 cup Sherry (bought mine from Coop for 7chf)
Optional: 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Slice your pork into small strips so they will cook quickly.
Heat up the oil and add the garlic. Cook for about a minute. (add pepper if desired)
Add the pork and cook until browned, then remove to a plate and keep warm.
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium until slightly thickened. Add the pork back in and cook until coated and heated.

That's it.  Very simple dish.  You could chop up some spring onions (scallions) for decoration on top.  I served it with broccoli.  Usually I make rice to go along with it but didn't have any so I used a box of Ebly from Coop - it's a barley that comes with different seasonings depending on the box. The one I used was the garden flavor.  While good, I think basmati rice goes better with this dish.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A review

I don't know if you've ordered from Coop@Home before, but they have a freebie section.  I think it's great - little samples or packets of new items in the store, so I always click 'in basket' to all of them.

A few weeks ago, Old El Paso stuff was on sale (the only Mexican food products you can get at Coop. Migros has Pancho Villa), and they were offering a seasoning packet for 'Mexican Potatoes' and 'Crispy Chicken Fajitas'  Old El Paso is also 20% off right now, so I figured I'd give it a try.  I wouldn't say dinner was a success...but when you're expecting just didn't work out. Making your own is just so much better.  This would be good for lunch though. Maybe add it to a salad or still put it in a tortilla...but don't call it fajitas.

Here's what you need:
1 package OEP crispy chicken fajitas
1 package OEP Mexican potatoes
Sour cream (sauer rahm)
Beans - refried, black, or whatever you prefer
Bell pepper
Avocado (or guacamole - I used the Betty Bossi guacamole which tastes pretty much like mushed up avocado...will make proper guac. later)
Cheddar cheese - you can get the 'cheddar rot' at Jelmoli or Migros Brunaupark, the others are a sharp yellow)

The directions are on the packages and pretty easy. For the potatoes, you need 4 cut into french fry strips, some oil and a baking dish. Cook at 180C for 40 minutes.  This is where I had a bit of a problem...I wanted to make them for the same dinner but only have one oven. The chicken is supposed to be baked for 15 minutes as well.  Oh, and the package said 'mild' but even hubby who likes spicy food didn't think they were mild. My mouth about had a fit when I tried one.

For the chicken, cut it into strips (the smaller the quicker it will cook), put a little oil in a bag with the chicken to coat and then add the seasoning (crumbs). Seal the bag and shake.  Place the chicken on a baking sheet in the oven for about 10-15 minutes.  I will say the chicken tasted good, but like I said, it doesn't scream 'Fajitas!' at me. Oh, and I think I may have used a bit too much chicken as it didn't completely coat every piece.

While all this is cooking, I sliced my pepper and onion and sauteed them. Grated my cheese, heated up the beans and diced my tomato and put everything on the table so it was ready to go. Then when everything is done, just layer up your tortilla, roll and enjoy.  (I'd fold in at least one end so everything doesn't fall out when you try and take a bite)

Friday, September 2, 2011


Well, this was an adventure with a screaming baby.  No, I didn't start out that way, but unfortunately he only slept for 30 minutes today.  I love cremeschnitten.  They are a pastry with a vanilla creme filling.  I was first introduced to them last summer after a food shopping tour (if you live in CH, you should join the EF - - there are lots of events - fun things to do and meet people).  Back to my recipe...  I actually skipped around a lot on the internet the past few days trying to figure out how to make this.  Apparently I was just supposed to know how to make things.  I don't make pastries very often though.  This was more of a trial. I will also include the things I am going to do next time differently, or add, and then update when I do this. Probably sometime in October.

What you need:
1 package Blätterteig (I bought the double roll)
250 ml of milk (milch)
60g sugar (zucker)
1 package of vanilla sugar (vanillezucker)
1 pinch of salt
1 egg yolk (eigelb)
1 package vanilla pudding powder (Puddingpulver)
10 pieces of Gelatin (Blätter Gelatine)
Powdered sugar (Puderzucker)
4 Tbls Rum (change to 3 tbls rum)
750 ml Cream
1 scraped vanilla bean (next time)

I also doubled the filling recipe. Next time, I will buy the block of dough so I can roll it thinner and have another layer in between.  I think thinner layers would work better as well.  

First, roll out the dough onto a cookie sheet ( if you have a large enough casserole dish I would use it so you can keep them 'more put together'  After rolling out the dough, cut it into as many pieces as you want -I did 12. Poke holes in it with a fork so that it will rise properly. Bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes, or until light brown.

Take the sugars and a quarter of the milk and put it in a pot. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, add the vanilla pudding powder to the rest of the milk, add the egg yolk and mix thoroughly.  Add to the boiling mixture and mix for another 2-3 minutes or until thickened.  Set aside to cool (I put it in a bowl in the freezer). 

Whip your cream until it has thickened.  I read that putting your beaters for your mixer and the bowl you will be using into the freezer (way too small except for the beaters as you'll see at Thanksgiving time).  You can also put a larger bowl of ice water under your mixing bowl. (Yes, ice is also a problem, but luckily the tap has very cold water).  I discovered that my electric hand mixer wasn't cut out to do the job and am now in need of a replacement.  It may just be overworked though as I have had it for 3 years, so my cream never got fully whipped which I think was a bit of a problem.  I'm sure you'll have no problem, and after I get a new mixer, I'll try again. 

Once your cream is whipped, add your rum and the gelatin.  While you are whipping the cream, soak the gelatin in cold water to soften it. Mix again and then slowly add the cold (or at least cooled) pudding mixture.

Do this for as many layers as you wish.  Finish with a piece of pastry dough for the top and then add your icing:  Mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tsp of milk. Mix together and then drizzle over the top of the pastry.  

Place in the fridge for 2 hours to be completely chilled. 
If you do everything on a cookie sheet, make sure it is cool, but your vanilla layers may run a bit.  If you have it in a baking/casserole dish, it may stay together better.  I am also thinking of using a muffin pan next time. Sure they'll be round, but possibly fuller and cleaner looking.  We'll see. 

Happy baking.


Chicken Shwarama

Well, I finally made my chicken shwarama again!  The past few days have been very hectic, so I was glad to have marinated this early (in my seal-able bag of course).  The original recipe is here - another by the fabulous Dede.  If you haven't been to her site yet, you definitely need to check it out.

If you know you're going to be busy in the evening, this is very easy to do early that day or even the day before.
Ignore the tomato puree in my picture - I had another recipe on my mind at the same time.

What you need:
about 500g chicken (either pre-cut, or slice yourself)
1/4 c lemon juice
1-2 containers of Greek yogurt (griechischer) - Coop/Migros
(2 containers if using more chicken or you just like more sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 tbls minced from a jar)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cardamom (gemahalener Kardamom)
1/4 tsp 7 Spice (if you don't have it you can make it
1/4 tsp parsley (Petersilie)
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper (Cayennepfeffer)
1/8 tsp Cinnamon (Zimt
3 tbls Olive Oil
Pita bread/tortillas
Feta cheese

A really great dipping sauce that I have used before, but did not make this time can also be found on Dede's site.  Canola oil is Rapsöl

Slice the chicken thinly - cooks faster - and put all your ingredients in a bowl (or a bag). Let marinate for 3 hours, or more.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and then add the chicken
Meanwhile, if using, slice your cucumber into strips, finely slice the onion, dice the tomatoes and crumble the feta.

I used an indoor electric grill, but you could always 'grill' these in a pan on medium heat with a weight (another pan with cans in them) on top. All you'll miss are the grill marks.  I make other sandwiches this way, but more on that later.

I use tortillas instead of pita bread. 1) they're cheaper, and 2) they're easier to wrap around the contents.
Put some of your chicken, cucumber, onion, tomato and feta inside. Roll like a burrito and then place on your grill/pan. For the grill, it only takes about 2-3 minutes if it's hot and for the pan, about 3-4 minutes per side.  All you're really doing is sealing everything in.

I made some french fries to go with these. If making the the garlic sauce, you can use as a dipping sauce. It's a really yummy dish, hope you enjoy it as much as we do!