Irish Soda Bread

This is a quick bread that does not require any yeast. Instead, all of its leavening comes from baking soda and buttermilk. It is dense, yet soft and has the most incredible crusty exterior, plus it is really easy and quick to make.

Ingredients
1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) buttermilk*
1 large egg (optional, see note)
4 and 1/4 cups (515g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for your hands and counter
3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed*
optional: 1 cup (150g) raisins

Directions
Preheat oven & pan options: Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). There are options for the baking pan. Use a regular baking sheet and line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (bread spreads a bit more on a baking sheet), or use a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, or grease a 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish. You can also use a 5 quart (or higher) dutch oven. Grease or line with parchment paper. If using a dutch oven, bake the bread with the lid off.
Whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Set aside. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers. Mixture is very heavy on the flour, but do your best to cut in the butter until the butter is pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the raisins. Pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture. Gently fold the dough together until dough it is too stiff to stir. Pour crumbly dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can, then knead for about 30 seconds or until all the flour is moistened. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet/pan. Using a very sharp knife, score an X into the top. Bake until the bread is golden brown and center appears cooked through, about 45 minutes. Loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil if you notice heavy browning on top. I usually place foil on top halfway through bake time.
Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted with desired toppings/spreads.
Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. We usually wrap it tightly in aluminum foil for storing.
Notes
Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled bread freezes well up to 3 months. Freeze the whole loaf or individual slices. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired.
Baking Pan: There are options for the baking pan. You can use a lined large baking sheet (with or without a rim), a seasoned 10-12 inch cast iron skillet, or a greased or lined 9-10 inch cake pan or pie dish. I don’t recommend a loaf pan because the loaf may not bake evenly inside. This dough is best as a flatter loaf.
Buttermilk: Using cold buttermilk is best. Buttermilk is key to the bread’s flavor, texture, and rise. The bread will not rise without it. If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can make a homemade “DIY” version. Whole milk or 2% milk is best, though lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. Add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough cold milk to make 1 and 3/4 cups. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
Egg: 1 egg adds richness and density. Feel free to skip it to make a slightly lighter loaf. No other changes necessary, simply leave out the egg.
Cold Butter: The colder the butter, the less sticky the dough will be. Make sure it’s very cold, even frozen cubed butter is great.

Roquefort Soufflés

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened butter for the ramekins

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

2 ounces Roquefort cheese

5 large eggs, separated

2 tablespoons snipped chives

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter four 1-cup ramekins and coat each one with 1 tablespoon of the grated Parmigiano.

Step 2

In a medium saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Add the milk, salt and cayenne and cook, whisking, until very thick and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the Roquefort and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano. Whisk in the egg yolks and chives.

Step 3 In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Fold the beaten whites into the cheese mixture until no streaks remain. Pour the mixture into the ramekins, filling them three-fourths of the way; set the ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake the soufflés for about 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Place the soufflés on plates and serve immediately

Shrimp De Jonghe

shrimp de jonghe

Chicago’s Shrimp DeJonghe

De Jonghe Hotel on Chicago’s Monroe Street first served this dish in the 1920s. The original recipe which was first printed in 1947 also had nutmeg.

Ingredients

1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined (I like to remove shell from tail too)
6 tablespoons butter
3⁄4 teaspoon minced garlic
1⁄4 cup sherry wine
1 tablespoon sliced green onion
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon paprika
1⁄2 cup dry plain breadcrumbs

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F Grease a 1 to 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.
[the first time I made this recipe I didn’t peeled and deveined nor did I sautéed them. The recipe didn’t turn out as well as it did the second time]
Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds.
Stir in the shrimp, sherry, onion, salt, cayenne, and paprika. Add 6 Tbsp of the bread crumbs and stir until moistened.
Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp bread crumbs on top and bake for 25 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Serve hot.

Homemade Salami

 

salami

Ready in 1 day and 2 hours
Serves 8
195 calories

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar-based curing mixture (such as Morton(R) Tender Quick(R))
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions
In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard seed, curing salt, black pepper and liquid smoke. Mix in the red pepper flakes if desired. Roll the mixture into a 2 inch diameter log, and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Make a few slits in the bottom of the roll to allow the fat to drain when cooking. Place roll onto a broiler pan, and fill the bottom part of the pan with about 1 inch of water to keep the salami moist.
Bake for 90 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan and cool completely before unwrapping the salami. Slice and eat as lunch meat, or serve on a tray with crackers and cheese.

Louisiana-Style Remoulade Sauce

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise.
1/4 cup mustard (Creole mustard if possible)
1 Tbsp sweet paprika.
1-2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning.
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish.
1 teaspoon pickle juice (dill or sweet, your preference) substitute with little lemon juice or vinegar if pickle juice isn’t available
1 teaspoon hot sauce (preferably Tabasco)
1 large clove garlic, minced and smashed.

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. preferable a few hours before serving. The remoulade is better if left for a few hours to let the flavors meld. Keep refrigerated.

Beet Borscht

Beet Brosch

Beet Borscht and why you should eat more of it.
Total prep time is less than 45 min.
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 large onions, halved and sliced
1,5 cups of parsnips, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubs (buy about a pound of them). You can substitute with 1.5 cups of potatoes or .75 cups of carrots and 0.75 cups or potatoes.
1.5 cups of beets, peeled and also cut into 2-inch cubes (buy about three large beets)
6 cups
1 large bunch dill, about 1½ cups (75g) loosely packed, plus some for garnish 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 cup (80ml) canned coconut milk (the creamy kind) or Greek yogurt or sour cream
If you want to add some tartness to your broscht add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Greek yogurt and dill for garnishment

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions look translucent. Add parsnips, beets, and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. If there is some foam, happens most often if you add potatoes, skim off the foam.
Add the dill, salt, and white pepper, and reduce heat to low; simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
For tartness, add the apple cider vinegar but this is optional. Puree the mixture for a full 5 minutes using an immersion blender, or puree in batches in a food processor. Add more salt and white pepper to taste.
Serve the soup hot with a dollop of creamy coconut milk or Greek yogurt or sour cream and a sprig of dill.

Can be made 3 days in advance or freeze it for later, plus check out the benefits of beets. 

Don’t throw away your beet greens. They are loaded with vitamines and make a great side dish.

Antipasti Platter

Antipasti Platter

Arrange the meats, cheeses, and foccacia on a large platter. Arrange a platter of Pinzimonio. Place the Marinated Olives and Roasted Red Pepper Salad in small serving bowls. Serve, allowing guests to compose their own assortment of antipasti on their plate.  Make sure your guests have the correct utensils to cut the cheese.  How the cheese is cut will affect the taste.  Here is a guide on Cutting Cheese Right

 

Pinzimonio:
Assorted cut-up vegetables (such as carrots, celery, fennel bulb, radishes, red and orange bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes) I also like the add a variety of berries.

Stir the oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl to blend. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. Serve the vegetables with the dip. Depending on your group you may also add some dressing such as ranch or sweet mustard.

Marinated Olives:
Stir the oil, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a heavy small skillet over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the olives and toss to coat. Add the basil; toss to coat. Serve.  (My family doesn’t care for marinated olives and veggies hence I only add them if I know my guest like them)

Other Options:

I also like to add nuts, jams, confits such as Confit d’Oignons au Vin Rouge, roasted chickpeas, my favorite red chili pepper jam, small pieces of onion tart. and a basket of Quark- Brötchen

Roasted Pepper Salad:
Preheat the broiler. Cover a heavy baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bell peppers on the baking sheet. Broil until the skins brown and blister, turning the peppers over occasionally, about 15 minutes. Enclose the peppers in a resealable plastic bag. Set aside until cooled to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Peel, seed, and cut the peppers into 1/2-inch thick strips. Toss the pepper strips, olives, oil, capers, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to combine. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days

 

Eierstich or Royale as a Soup Garnish

Eierstich

“Eierstich”, or royale, is popular clear soup garnish in Germany. Royale is an egg custard, baked in a water bath and then cut into a diamond shape or other more fancy shapes.  This recipe for royale has a few pointers which will guarantee success. Royale is often used in “Hochzeitssuppe”

 

Eierstich mit Sahne in der Mikrowelle,  German Recipe for the microwave.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk (or cream)
1 egg
2 egg yolks
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

You need two baking pans to bake the royale. You will make a water bath (bain marie) for the royale custard. One can be a heatproof teacup or a ramekin which fits inside the second pan. The second, larger pan will hold hot water for baking the custard so it does not curdle.
Heat oven to 300°F. Boil several cups of water for the water bath.
Generously butter the form you’re using (can be a teacup, a ramekin or a small casserole dish), line with a piece of wax paper cut to fit the bottom and butter that, too.
Heat the milk or cream in a small pan to just below the boiling point.
Beat the egg, egg yolks, nutmeg, and salt together. While whisking constantly, pour the hot milk in a thin stream into the eggs.
Let the foam, if any, settle. Pour through a fine sieve into your form. The sieve collects any cooked egg and pieces of large nutmeg. Try not to let the foam flow on top as it forms a disagreeable crust which you must remove after baking.
Place the larger dish in the oven, then your custard dish inside. Pour hot water around the outside about 2/3 of the way up the form.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (depends on how thick your royale is) or until set.
Let the royale cool for 20 minutes or more (you may also refrigerate), then unmold onto a cutting surface by loosening the sides of the custard with a knife and then gently sliding or flipping the custard out of the form.
If you used a flat form, you can cut the royale immediately into fancy shapes such as diamonds. You may also use a cookie cutter.

If you baked the royale in a teacup or smaller form, you must cut the custard into quarter or half inch layers with a knife and use the individual layers to cut fancy shapes.
Tips:

You may color your “Eierstich” for fun (since it is used in clear soup) with a teaspoon of tomato paste for red or finely minced parsley for green. You may also use other fresh herbs, but filter through a sieve before baking because the pieces rise to the top of the “Eierstich.”

To serve, place several pieces in the bottom of a soup plate, pour hot broth over it and garnish with herbs as desired.

Serve at once.

Do not cook the royale in the broth because it cannot take much handling and the broth will become cloudy.

Eierstich

A good “Eierstich” is known for its smooth, velvety texture, which is a bit like soft tofu. If the water in the water bath comes to a boil in the oven the royale will become porous and if you beat air into it before it is baked the same thing could happen.

Other methods for cooking “Eierstich” include cooking it in a zip top plastic bag in a water bath, cooking it in simmering water on the stove top and cooking it in a double boiler method over the potato pan. None of these guarantee a smooth product but are less complicated.

The egg to yolk ratio usually cited is one extra yolk per egg. The more milk you add, the softer the royale (harder to handle). Some “Eierstich” recipes contain no milk or cream, or just a little. Experiment until it works for you.

 

Baked Falafels

image
Ready in 60 minutes
Serves 8
180 Calories

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped spinach
3 large cloves garlic
1 large lemon (~2 1/2 Tbsp juice)
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt + black pepper
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, well rinsed and drained
1/2 cup ground raw walnuts (or pecans, almonds, GF oat flour)

Directions:

Add spinach, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, and a healthy pinch each salt and pepper to a food processor and mix to combine.
Add chickpeas and pulse until incorporated but still slightly chunky. You want to maintain a bit of texture.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add nut meal (or oat flour) and mix again until a loose dough is formed that’s firm enough to be handled. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a touch more salt.
Draw an “x” in the dough to form 4 sections, then use your hands to form into 4 large patties roughly 1/2-inch thick, if you want to make four burgers.  Or divide evenly into 8 smaller patties and serves as appetizer with Tzatziki Sauce.
Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze for 15 minutes to firm up.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (in the meantime.

OPTIONAL STEP: For a little extra crust on the outside, before baking heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp olive or canola oil. Swirl to coat pan, then add falafel. Carefully flip once golden brown – about 3-4 minutes – and then cook on the other side until golden brown as well – 3-4 more minutes. Return to baking sheet to continue baking. Otherwise, just add them straight to the oven for baking.

Bake for a total of 30-40 minutes, flipping once at the halfway point for even cooking. The longer you bake them, the firmer they’ll get!
Serve warm wrapped in a pita or chard bun and desired sauces / toppings. Alternatively, serve atop a salad and use the garlic sauce as a dressing.
Burgers will store in the fridge, layered with parchment paper in an airtight container, for several days. Freeze to keep longer.

Quark- Brötchen

image

Ready in 20 minutes
Serves 8 rolls
150 calories

Ingredients
125 g Quark or greek yogurt or sour cream
125 g flour
1 egg
4 tbsp milk
4 tbsp vegetable oil or any other oil that has no specific flavor
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 pinch sugar

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Add all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Adding raisins is optional!
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop the dough in heaps onto the parchment paper, about 9 of them.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and eat warm or cool. Tastes best with butter and jam!
Tips
Add raisins and granola if you like.