Thursday, July 23, 2015

Roasted hokkaido with gorgonzola cheese

Pumpkin is one of these vegetables it really took me a long time to really find a good way to cook it. My grandmother used to make stuff she called "platschenta" - a bessarabian dish, practically dough pockets stuffed with a pumpkin puree. In fact, she always had a garden full of really large specimens.
It smelled deliciously but the taste was neither sweet nor spicy or savory, just boring in my opinion. Later on I once tasted a Caribbean soup with black beans, chili and pieces of pumpkin, not too bad, the spicyness and the sweetness of the pumpkin got along really well.

So last year, I saw these pumpkins in season again and tried one of the recipes of Kevin's great food blog:
This was my inspiration.
My version:
I took hokkaido which has the advantage that you don't have to peel it. Whoever cut off the peel of a raw pumpkin or squash will remember that it isn't really fun and can be dangerous, too. The only worse thing to peel for me is a raw quince. 
As you see in the picture, it also looks beautiful with the dark orange peel. I just put a bit of Sardinian sea salt and pumpkin seed oil on the slices and let it roast in the oven until it got a bit darker and a soft texture (approximately 20 minutes with 200 C (392 Fahrenheit) - always depending on the width of your slices.
Using the oven it is convenient to stuff it full and keep some of the stuff in the freezer for out of season cooking. In  fact, this is what I did during fall and now I still had some of the slices left which I simply defrosted, covered it with small bits of gorgonzola and put it for an instant in the microwave.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bottrop Salad

This is a summer salad - more than the traditional Swabian salad made with broth which I will teach you in the future. Actually I stole the idea from a place which isn't really known for creative cuisine. Some years ago we went to pick up our Giant Schnauzer Sissi - Susi Sorglos vom Kellergeist - from her breeder. Since they were breeding Continental Bull Dogs in the meantime, she wanted to give away this great dog and we met at a dog training place in Bottrop where they were for an exhibition that day. The Boxer dog camp was a small club and for the exhibition the members made a barbecue and homemade salads. I really liked the combination of spring onions, radishes, potatoes and sour cream. In honor of the place where I tasted it for the first time, I called it Bottrop salad.
Very easy: Cook potatoes - important to take the small spring potatoes with a quality of not becoming too starchy when cooked. Add the cut spring onions, radishes and sea salt. Wait for at least 10 minutes to add the sour cream. - That's it, great component of a spring or summer barbecue.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sweet quinoa pudding

The quinoa experiment continues. This time I created this mix:
Cook quinoa (20 minutes in hot water), rinse it for at least 15 minutes.
Mix it with curd, maple syrup, coconut flakes and add 1-2 teaspoons of gelatin in powder.
Put the mix in little cups and let it become cold in fridge

Quinoa Experiments and Vegetarian Stew

Quinoa must be really healthy, gluten free, much protein and it can be used in many different ways. Somehow this is also it's problem. I tried to cook it as written in the recipes for about 15-20 minutes and used it as side dish. Actually it didn't taste of much, now I understand why you can use it also for desserts. In a post I read that you must roast it in order to give it a more special nut-like taste. I also did that, still I am not very satisfied.
My next test was to make a hearty stew with little white beans, red lentils, and peeled tomatoes. That was really good, I like the veggie chili taste.

It is important to wash the quinoa with hot water before cooking it, otherwise it will keep a bitter taste of the saponin attached to it's shell.

Onions, garlic, olive oil, quinoa, chili to taste, white beans, red lentils, diced peeled tomatoes, tomato puree, sea salt

If I remember, I put the white beans to soak the day before, this saves some cooking time, otherwise it will work just as well, you just have to let it boil for a little more.

Roast the onion dices and garlic until they are glassy, add water and the white beans. The white beans take the longest time to cook, about 30-40 minutes. When they are nearly ready, add the red lentils which have to cook about 5 minutes, in the end the already cooked quinoa.

Since I am still experimenting, I still had leftover cooked quinoa. If  you don't have it cooked yet, you can also add it directly to the stew calculating about 20 minutes of cooking time.

Add one can of peeled diced tomatoes and one of tomato puree, the chills, salt and try if you like to eat it with roasted cumin

What I added apart from that:
I had a cup of vegetable stock still frozen. I did this some time ago, it is a great plus for taste.

So next time you have some time, too much vegetables which have to be consumed, a large pot and some space in your freezer, prepare some of this stock, it can be used in so many ways. Any time you see a recipe which requires the addition of vegetable broth, you can use this. The only difference is that it has less liquid which will save space in your freezer - and there is a huuuuge difference to the vegetable broth you can buy in the supermarket in cans, powder or paste - lots of chemical ingredients and no taste.
Very easy: Start with the usual groundwork: Pot, olive oil, diced onions and garlic in very very thin slices, roast slowly until they have a glassy appearance.
Then add the vegetables cut in small dices, water and let it simmer until the vegetables are well done. I put them in small empty yogurt or curd cup which holdsabout 200 g (7 oz)

Furthermore some already cooked carrots and yellow zucchini, cut in a bit larger dices. I found this dish to be a really yummy alternative, a bit like a Chili sin Carne.
Topping: Sour cream and roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Without the sour cream topping it is a vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free and even absolutely vegan dish.