Saturday, March 31, 2012


Easter came a week early this year thanks to a cute gift from a good friend, a miniature German Easter tree with painted Easter eggs and the first blossom of the year. Thanks, S., I am touched.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Quinoa. The tasty version.

Quinoa is a wonderful grain – it is gluten-free and it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source. Now, how to make it taste great? You can just steam it with water, and add flavor later on by making a quinoa salad, but I believe in adding flavor during cooking. This recipes still makes a fairly neutral cooked quinoa but also very flavorful that it could be a side dish on its own.

How to cook quinoa: (makes 2 small or 1 larger portion)

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa, washed and rinsed
  • 1 ts ghee or butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch of salt, optionally

In a small pot, melt the ghee or butter, and once melted and hot add the garlic and mix well, until it browns slightly. Add the quinoa, stir and ‘toast’ it for about 30 seconds. Add the white wine, stir and let it steam off (another 30 seconds). Add the water, stir, turn down the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and steam the quinoa until it is cooked and slightly fluffy (ca. 30min). Serve hot or let it cool. It stores well in the fridge for several days.


I typically cook a larger portion for the week, and then make different small sized ‘quinoa salads’ with some quinoa. For lunch today, I mixed the pre-cooked quinoa with pine nuts, pea shots, and cranberries --- a great addition to my salad with balsamic vinaigrette, roasted mushroom and tomato.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gugelhupf, Take 2

Rainy days can have something cozy about them, puttering around in the kitchen, cooking quinoa and lentils for the week, cuddling with the cats, watching old movies, writing letters. And taking glamour shots of the Gugelhupf from last night. 

gugelhupf_baked GH2

Saturday, March 24, 2012


There we go again: late night baking. Ever since I laid eyes on Heidi’s chocolate cake I not only coveted the cake, but also the bundt cake pan. She found hers in an antique store so I made it my mission to scour all of Maine’s antique places along Rt 1 this summer for old bundt cake pans. Since I am not that patient I bought the Nordic Ware heritage bundt cake pan from Williams Sonoma, which is beautiful. Tonight it looked at me like it needed to be inaugurated, with a German bundt cake, the classic marbled Gugelhupf. I made another small one for taste testing. It is wonderfully light. 

Marbled Gugelhupf
4 eggs
 1 1/2 cups (325 g)sugar
1 ts.vanilla extract
16 TBS (2 sticks)room temperature butter
1 cup + 2 TBmilk
3 cups (440 g)all-purpose flour
1 ½ ts.baking powder
1/4 ts salt
1 TBspiced rum
1 ts
 instant espresso powder

baking spray

Preheat oven to 325F. Have all ingredients at room temperature (especially  eggs, butter and milk). Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Also, sift together the cacao powder and instant espresso in a small cup, and stir with the 2 TB of milk until smooth. Using a standmixer with a flat beater, beat the butter until it is creamy and smooth, ca. 30seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is creamy and fluffy (ca. 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time. Stop the standmixer once in a while to scrape down the sides. Once the eggs are incorporated, add in the vanilla extract and the rum. Turn the stand mixer off,  add in the sifted flour in 1 cup parts. Once sifted in, mix in by hand with a silicone spatula. Turn on the stand mixer again, and incorporate. Turn speed to very slow, and add in 1/3 of the milk, and then speed up again. Alternate between flour and milk, and beat each addition until it is fully incorporated.

Pour 2/3 s of the batter into a separate mixing bowl, and mix the remaining batter with the cacao powder/instant espresso/milk mix. Prepare the bundt cake pan with a baking spray and pour in half of the 'white' batter first, then add the 'chocolate' batter and finish with the remaining 'white' batter. Draw a skewer once through the batter for a beautiful marbeling (or not).

Bake the Gugelhupf at 325F for 55-60min or a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean and the Gugelhupf removes slightly from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake pan to a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 min. Turn the cake pan, and slightly tip on the pan until the Gugelhupf comes out. Cool the Gugelhupf on the cooling rack for at least 2 hours. Sift confectioners sugar for decoration.  Serve with a side of coffee and maybe some fresh whipped cream with a dash of sugar and vanilla extract.

Makes at least 16 portions. gugelhupf1LR

Spring colors

Over the last few days, I got scooped up in the heavenly weather. 80s! Sunshine! In March, in Maine! Naturally, something still felt slightly off, because although everyone walked about in shorts and virgineous white or spray-tanned legs there was not a speck of color in the environment: not a sight of green or pastel colors, since the lawns are still brown-yellow, the trees dark grey and leaf-less and there are no blossoms. The bikinis and lawn chairs were bright, though. The mood, too. We still have sunshine, but more seasonable temps in the upper 40s. It was great while it lasted. My spring feeling carried me all the way to Portland, and there was plenty of color everywhere --- especially the fashion.




portland3LR portlandLR

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Early in the season

It was a beautiful mild day, unseasonable warm for mid March, but warm enough to sit outside and have a St. Patrick’s day drink. Mount Desert Island, had not caught up with the early spring this year, and most stores  and restaurants in Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor were still boarded up. The carriage roads in Acadia National park are also still closed, but this did not keep people still hiking the trails.

It was quiet, low tide on the tourists, high tide on the locals, and many, many lobster cages, but not many lobsters.




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gluten-free Kale Tart

Yesterday, I snagged this long, skinny tart mold with a removable bottom. I made a very simple tart with a gluten-free all purpose baking mix (Bob Mill). The dough mixture is quite liquid and just poured into the mold, and prebaked. I topped it, first with a thin layer of BBQ sauce, then with sauteed kale with red onion spears, kalamata olives and daiya mozzarella. After baking it for 30min, the dough bottom was crisp and the kale, well, maybe I should call it a kale chips tart ;-) Absolutely delicious.


Gluten-free kale tart

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose baking mix (it would also have worked with chickpea flour)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 TB Mrs Dash seasoning
  • bit of salt and fresh crushed black pepper

Preheat oven at 400F. Mix all ingredients well, and pour into a sprayed tart pan.  Bake tart crust for 15min.


Kale filling:

  • 2 cups chopped curly kale
  • 1 ts olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or microplaned
  • 1/8 cup of white wine
  • salt, pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 kalamata olive, sliced
  • 3 TB daiya mozzarella shreds

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the red onion until the slivers are browned. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the white wine and scrap off the brown bits from the pan’s bottom. Add the kale, mix well, lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Saute the kale until it is wilted down (ca. 5min). Add the kalamata olives, salt, pepper and mix well. Take off the heat.

Once the tart crust is prebaked, remove from the oven. Add some BBQ sauce and distribute over the crust with a brush. Fill with the sauted kale, sprinkle the daiya cheese and bake for another 25min. Eat warm or cold.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chickpeas in tomato sauce

Spring made an appearance, it is sunny, warm enough to not have your face freeze to an icicle on the bike, the streets and most everything else is snow and ice-free, and I’ve been on the bike twice already. All we can wait for now…. is for everything to turn green again. ---


I have a new favorite lunch: sauteed lacinato kale, with a dash of white wine, orange juice, salt and pepper, and a side of pre-cooked chickpeas reheated in tomato sauce with a tiny, dried hot pepper, salt and pepper and a dash of maple syrup. Delicious!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fish en Papilotte

Farmers market day! It looked sunny and spring-like and I was about to unearth my bike for the year to pedal to the farmers market, but then it was still too cold and it was back to the car again (Obviously, I don’t count as a ‘real Mainer’ because I saw people in tank tops..). It definitely does feel like spring and Easter cannot be too far off. The farmers market is still on the winter program, i.e. the year-around available organic chickens, eggs, goat cheese and also fresh caught fish from Stonington. Among other things I bought a 1/2 pound of hake, a light white fish similar to haddock.


The fish is delicate so I decided to make it en papilotte. En papilotte means steamed in a parchment paper wrapper, but I had my quick version in mind, using a silicone steamer. I sliced a third of an small onion, julienned a third of a carrot, added a 1/4 cup of frozen broccoli, and about a 1/4 cup of white wine in the bottom of the steamer. On top, I placed the hake, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Additionally I added the juice of a 1/2 orange over the fish, and covered it with the steamer top. It was microwaved for 6 min, and ready to serve.


Fresh food fast, as Emeril would say.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The joys of spring skiing

I am still skating along on the last bits of snow on the cross country trails, which are quite icy by now and won’t last too much longer since the temperatures are about to rise. Nevertheless, the joys of skiing in March are in skiing at 5pm, working up an appetite and heading right into happy hour.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Winter wonderland, for 1 day

Last night we finally had snow. Powdery, soft, light snow, on top of a few inches we got a few days ago. I woke up to blue skies, March sun and winter wonderland. Neighborhood kitty came over to help me shovel the drive way, and then I was off for a 2h ski. About everyone else was, too. The trails were perfectly groomed and it was just beautiful. Unfortunately, rain/snow is on the way and so that’s it for winter wonderland again.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dark Rye Waffles

I have been experimenting with savory waffles for a while (e.g. rice waffles with miso). Yesterday,  I experimented with adding lentils und hummus to a basic waffle recipe, but this recipe still needs a little bit of tweaking. However, today’s dark rye waffle recipe came out great; the waffles taste like fresh dark rye bread with a distinctive flavor. I had some with hummus for lunch--- fabulous! They would be great for Rueben sandwiches or just with some butter and cheese, or an omelette.


Dark Rye Waffles (makes 7 small waffles):

In a mixing bowl, add the flours, baking powder, cumin seeds, and sea salt and stir well to mix. Add the warm water to the flours and mix it in so that there are no lumps in the dough. In a small saute pan, melt the butter and add the cacao, espresso, and molasses, and mix it all through (the molasses will melt, too). Don’t let it get too hot or cook too long – it is enough for the butter to melt and the molasses to just mix it and thin out via the heat (alternatively, place these ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 90s, stir and microwave for another 10s). Take off the stove, cool for 5min, and mix into the waffle dough mix. This mix will give the waffles their distinctive deep rye flavor. Mix well with the dough – it already smells wonderful.

Heat a waffle iron on a higher setting (mine has settings 1-8, and I chose 6), and preheat the iron. Spray with a baking spray (it has some flour in the spray). Once the preheating is finished, fill a 1/4 cup of the mix in the middle of the waffle iron. Slightly center the dough, press iron down, and time the ‘baking’ for 5 min. If you use a waffle iron that makes thicker waffles, increase the baking time. These waffles are best if they are well-baked and slightly crispy since it is more of a bread than a waffle dough. Continue with the rest of the batch in the same way. Should make 6-7 waffles using a 1/4 cup or 3 waffles using 1/2 cup.

Bl_waffles black_waffle_dough