IMBB 11th edition: Beans – Green Lentil Salad with Balsamico Vinegar and Pumpkin Seed Oil

Das Rezept für den Linsensalat in Deutsch gibt’s hier in meiner Kochkiste.

Beans – what an interesting theme! Thanks go to Cathy from my little kitchen who had this great idea 🙂 But how difficult to decide which beans to cook with… As Cathy tells us "The
beans can be dried, fresh, canned, in the pod or not, or they could
even be sprouted. They can be kidney beans, black-eyed peas, black
beans, chickpeas, brown lentils, red lentils, chana dal, green beans,
fava beans, navy beans, pinto beans, …"

Ok, so let’s see… Here in Germany it’s winter and green beans are not in season (but I had quite a lot of them last
summer from my garden). So I’ll skip these (but I have to
admit there would have been a really matching recipe which I owe
to my friend Ralph in California): "Salmon with Three Beans"
from west coast seafood by Jay Harlow  – you can soon read about it here in my blog).

Black beans? I’m a great fan of black beans too and I blogged already about my Black Bean Soup

But then I stumbled over a package of green Puy lentils which I brought back from our last trip to France

I’ll  make a green lentil salad!

These very small lentils which have an AOC (Appellation
d’Origine Contrôlée since 1996) need only a short cooking time and
retain their shape and texture when they’re cooked, without going
mushy. And they taste great!

I already tested some recipes for lentil salads – but my absolute favourite comes from the wonderful book Mit Liebe, Lust und Thymian (could
be translated as "with love, passion and thyme") by the swiss cook and
journalist Elfie Casty. Besides lentils we have here carrots, cellery,
leek and bacon cut into a very fine brunoise. The dressing is made out
of mild italian traditional Balsamico vinegar and an austrian specialty: dark green pumpkin seed oil.
Pumpkin seed oil is extracted from pumpkin seeds that have been coarsly
ground and toasted at temperatures of about 60 °C. By this
procedure it develops its intense, nutty odour and flavour (I
recommend the great spice pages of Gernot Katzer to learn more about the oilseed pumpkin).

So here we go:

Green Lentils with Balsamico Vinegar and Pumpkin Seed Oil
Serves 2

75 g lentils
1/2 small onion
1 clove of garlic, unpeeled
1 bay leaf
1 clove
1 sprig of thyme
2-3 sprigs of parsley

1 tb carrot brunoise
1 tb cellery brunoise
1 tb leek brunoise
1 scallion
1 ts butter
20 g bacon
1 tb traditional Balsamico vinegar
2 tb finest pumpkin seed oil
salt
pepper
parsley for garnish

Rinse the lentils in a small sieve under running cold water. Cook
them at medium heat with the onion, garlic, bay leaf, clove, thyme and
parsley sprigs in about 400 ml lightly salted water until tender but
still "al dente". Drain them in a fine-mesh sieve.

Discard the onion and the spices and place the lentils in a bowl.

Meanwhile cut the scallion into fine rings, the carrot, callery,
leek and the bacon into very fine brunoise (about the same size as the
lentils).

In a small saucepan bring some salted water to a boil. First shortly
blanch the leek, then remove it with a slotted spoon and let drain on a
kitchen paper.

Then blanch cellery and carrots "al dente" in the same water and drain through a fine-mesh sieve.

In a small saucepan cook the bacon until crisp, then add leek,
cellery and carrots. Give it a stir, then mix everything with the
lentils. In the same saucepan heat the butter and cook the scallion
rings until golden.

Season the lentils with salt, pepper, Balsamico vinegar and pumpkin seed oil to taste.

Serve the lentil salad still warm on large plates, garnish with the scallion rings and parsley.

I didn’t have fresh parsley, so I took chervil from my garden, which is absolutely fresh under the snow  🙂

IMBB – 10th edition – Hildatoertchen

Normally I wouldn’t bake christmas cookies that early – but the Domestic Goddess calls our attention to a special event – a cookie swap! A great idea for the IMBB! Who could resist? I can’t!

So may I invite you to have a look into this year’s first cookie box:

Usually I end with about 15 boxes with different „Weihnachtsplaetzchen“ in the cool cellar at the beginning of december. The four weeks before Christmas are called „Advent“. The family will gather around the table with a nicely decorated advent wreath with 4 candles (one more candle is lit for each of the Advent Sundays), talking and eating x-mas cookies – and perhaps drink some  Gluehwein – german glow wine 🙂

This year the structure of the family differs a little bit: daughter Kathi (20) is studying in Erlangen, Frani spends a year as an exchange student in Uruguay but we will introduce our chinese exchange student Ma Guang Zhen to the german christmas customs 🙂

So here’s the recipe for my Grandma Hermine’s

Hildatoertchen
makes about 35 cookies – I usually double the recipe

Dough
200 g all purpose flour
125 g almonds
150 g butter
125 g sugar
1/2 ts ground cinnamon
1 ts baking powder

Filling
red currant jelly or raspberry jelly

frosting
100 g confectioners‘ sugar
lemon juice

Place the un-skinned almonds in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for some minutes until you can remove the brown skin easily. Dry them completely at about 60°C in an oven with convection feature or at about 80°C in an normal oven, then ground them finely.

Sift together flour, cinnamon and baking powder, then mix with sugar and finely ground almonds. With two knices cut the butter into the flour-mixture until it’s texture is fine and looks like cornmeal, there may be larger pieces in the size of peas. Knead the dough together. Be patient, this lasts a little bit but finally you arrive there.

Wrap dough in plastic and let rest the dough in a cool place for at least 1 hour. (the picture shows the dough in 2 pieces for the doubled recipe)

Heat the oven to 200°C and prepare baking sheets with baking paper.

If the dough becomes too hard, let it stand at room temperature for some time before rolling. Roll the dough on a little bit of flour between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic to about 1/2 cm thick.
ut out round cookies (4 cm diametre) and transfer them to the sheets. Gather and reroll the scraps.

Bake until very light brown (there should be no golden brown at the edges) about 7 minutes. Let cool.

With a table knive smear red jelly on top of one cookie and top with another one. Continue with the other cookies.

Combine confectioners‘ sugar and lemon juice to make a thick frosting. With a brush apply the frosting to the cookies and let dry.

Store the cookies in a metal container between sheets of parchment.

Oh, may I confide something to you?

I couldn’t stop making just 1 sort of cookies – here are 4 more:

In the front from left to right: Hildatoertchen (well-known by now!), Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars), Falsches Butterbrot (False Butterbread – because they imitate „Vollkornbrot“ with butter and chives) and Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Croissants), in the background Zimtkarten. Sorry – the recipes in the links are available only in german 🙁

IMBB 9th edition – Layered Terrine of Freshwater Fishes

Derrick Schneider  (An Obsession With Food) is responsible for the theme of this IMBB sunday: Layers and layers – that means terrines of all kinds (which can be quite a demanding task…)

Actually I already made an easy-to-do Sweet Rice Terrine for
the 4th IMBB edition but this time I wanted to try something new and
more challenging. After looking over different cookbooks I decided to
make a 3-coloured fish terrine from Daniel Bouché’s "Invitation a la
Cuisine Buissoniere" cited in Time-Life. Terrines, Pates & Galantines [Good Cook Series: Recipes and Techniques]

This recipe is quite time consuming and there is a lot of
dishwashing – but the day after you have a nice looking starter for a
larger crowd 🙂

Layered Terrine of Freshwater Fishes

trout puree
300 g trout filets, chopped
4 tb cream
2 tb white wine
salt
50 g shallots, finely chopped
25 g fresh chives, finely chopped
25 g fresh chervil, finely chopped
1 tb fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 egg
150 g butter, softened

pike perch puree
300 g pike perch filets; chopped
1 egg
salt
saffron
50 g blanched almonds, chopped
150 g butter, softened

salmon puree
300 g salmon filets, chopped
4 tb cream
2 tb white wine
salt
50 g leeks (white part only), cut into fine slices
100 g carrots, cut into very fine strips
100 g cremini mushrooms
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 egg
150 g butter, softened
cayenne pepper

green: trout puree with herbs
yellow: pike perch puree with saffron and almonds
red: salmon puree with vegetables

For the trout puree place cream, wine, a pinch of salt and
shallots in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, let simmer for 5
minutes, then let cool. Add the herbs. Puree the trout filets with egg
and butter in a blender or a food processor. Mix with the herb mixture
and season to taste.

Puree the pike perch filets with egg, salt, saffron, almonds and butter in a blender or a food processor.

For the salmon puree place cream, a pinch of salt, wine and
leeks in a small saucepan and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the
carrots and let simmer another 10 minutes, then add mushrooms and lemon
juice and cook another 5 minutes. Let cool. Puree the salmon filets
with egg and butter in a blender or a food processor. Mix in the
vegetable mixture and season with cayenne to taste.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Spread the purees in layers (I began with yellow and green
because these masses were more compact than the red one with the
vegetables) in a terrine pan – a nice opportunity to use my Le Creuset Terrine. ( I had some farces left, so I made a second smaller one.) Cover with aluminium foil and close the lid.

Place loaf in a roasting pan. Add hot water and bake terrine about 75 minutes. Let cool in the oven.

Cool for 24 hours before serving.

I served the terrine with a sauce made of sour cream and
mayonnaise (seasoned with salt, pepper and a drop of lemon juice)
accompanied by a few bouquets of lamb’s lettuce.

IMBB 8th edition – Port Wine marinated Figs with Vanilla Ice Cream

Due to vacation and some urgent work in the garden I was about to miss the 8th editionRaise Your Spirits High of the Is My Blog Burning event this time hosted by There’s a Chef in My Kitchen: Use wine or spirits as a central component of your entry.

So I had to chose something easy and fast:

Port Wine marinated figs with Vanilla Ice Cream
serves 4

8 blue figs
50 g sugar
100 ml fresh orange juice
375 ml Port wine
vanilla ice cream

The day before serving carefully peel the figs.

In a small heavy pan melt the sugar until caramelized (dark golden colour).

Pour in the orange juice (caution – mixture will bubble
vigorously!) and the Port. Bring to a boil and stir until the caramel
has dissolved.

Place the figs into the hot Port mixture then turn down the heat
and let steep for 10 minutes occasionally turning with 2 forks. Let
cool the figs in the Port.

The next day take the figs out of the Port and set aside. Bring the fluid to a boil and cook until reduced to a thick sirup.

Before serving turn the figs in the sirup and place on plates
with with vanilla ice cream. Drizzle some sirup over the ice cream.

IMBB 7th edition: Bavarian Bread Dumplings – Bayrische Semmelknoedel

Redbeard is hosting the IMBB7 and wants us to play with nice little balls 😉

Dumplings or "Knödel" – a wonderful theme for someone who lives in Bavaria…

The quite large Bread Dumplings "Semmelknoedel" (made of left
over rolls) seem to be the oldest, but there exist innumerable
varieties for example made of Brezeln, raw and/or cooked potatoes,
semolina, liver, bacon, cheese or mixtures of these ingredients.

According to an ancient legend Semmelknoedel were even used as a
weapon by a brave woman in Deggendorf, a city nearby, who put off King
Ottokar by throwing dumplings in the 13th century 😉

Typical dishes to serve with Semmelknoedel are roasts with sauce
as e.g. roast pork or game dishes, but also mushrooms (called
"Schwammerl" here) in a creamy sauce ("Schwammerlgemüse").

At the moment mushrooms are found in abundance on bavarian markets as you can see here on the famous Viktualienmarkt in Munich. So I decided to serve my Semmelknoedel with a ragout of chanterelles.

Nearly every bavarian supermarket or bakery carries ready cut
rolls called "Knoedelbrot". Of course you can use 1-2 days old Kaiser
Rolls which should be very finely sliced.

Bavarian Bread Dumplings
3-4 servings

250 g "Knoedelbrot" or 5 rolls ("Semmeln"), 1-2 days old
2 tb butter
1/4 l milk
2 eggs
1 tb italian parsley; finely chopped
1 onion; finely chopped
1/2 ts Salt
1 pn pepper

Put the "Knoedelbrot" or the diced rolls in a large bowl.

Sautée the onions until translucent, add the parsley, set aside.

Bring the milk to a boil and pour it over the rolls, cover and let stand for 10 minutes, turning once.

Add the eggs, salt, pepper and the onion mix,

mix with your hand by squeezing the mass through your fingers.

With wet hands form large dumplings (almost as large as tennis balls)

and let simmer in salt water 20 minutes until done.

Transfer the dumplings with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and serve.

Leftover dumplings can be cut in slices and fried in butter
until crispy brown (if you like you can add beaten egg), serve with
green salad.

For those who are interested in austrian, bavarian and bohemian
dumplings and would also like to read some "Observations on the
Philosophy of the Dumplings ("The Round Object")" including
"Philosophical reflections on Dumpling Water" 😉 I recommend the book
by Franziska Helmreich and Anton Staudinger

"Nur Knoedel"
The Ultimative Dumpling Book from Austria, Bavaria and Bohemia
(text in German and English)

IMBB 6th edition: Pinchos morunos, Escalivada, Pa amb tomaquet

Wow, seems heaven knows that we want to grill this weekend for the 6. IMBB – Grillers (and Barbecuers) Delight hosted this time by the blog of Too many chefs.
The last weeks we had wet and cold weather here in Bavaria, not a bit
of summer. But now: blue sky and a warm day without a thunderstorm 🙂

We have done some grilling this year, the results are getting better and better.
One of my favourite cookbooks is Steven Raichlens The Barbecue! Bible. A recipe we like a lot and have made quite often are the

Spanish Pinchos Muronos, Pork with Moorish Seasonings. You can find the recipe here. It’s nice to prepare ahead because the pork tenderloin has to be marinated at least 3-4 hours or as long as overnight.

We did serve the kebabs with different side dishes but never
with the escalivada (grilled vegetable salad) and the roasted tomato
garlic bread as Raichlen recommends in his book. But this time we
wanted to try both.

In the morning I baked a Pane di Como ( the recipe for the bread comes from Carol Fields The Italian Baker which I think suits very well even if it isn’t a spanish bread) with a biga I had prepared the night before (recipe in german and photos) for the Pa amb tomàquet (for the recipe you have to scroll a little bit),

a catalan tomato bread which you prepare by roasting slices of
bread on the grill and then rubbing them with garlic and cut ripe
aromatic tomatoes. You finish by drizzeling with a little bit of olive
oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.  Absolutely delicious!

Before grilling the kebabs and the bread you have to prepare the escalivada, a Spanish Grilled Vegetable Salad.

I used a slightly different version of Raichlen’s recipe:

Escalivada:

2 red bell peppers
1 large onion, peeled, halved vertically, each half quartered
2 eggplants, cut in slices lengthwise
1 bunch scallions, trimmed
4 young leeks, only the white, cut in half lengthwise
2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

Grill the whole unpeeled and uncored red bell peppers until its
skin blisters black. Remove from the grill and cover them with a
moistened towel and let cool a bit. Then slip off the skin, remove the
core and seeds, and cut into quarters, these into stripes. 
Brush
the eggplant, zucchini and the other vegetables with olive oil,
sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill until the pieces have
attractive grid marks. I set the tomato halves on a piece of aluminium
foil because they were quite small.

When the vegetables are done, put them on a cutting board, cut them in nice pieces and toss with the vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette sauce:
   
1 tb red wine vinegar
2 tb sherry vinegar
salt
freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
80 ml extra virgin olive oil
3 tb italian parseley finely chopped

This salad tastes fantastic – all the vegetables keep their own distinctive flavor. This will be a definitive keeper!

Now you can come to table :-))