Last Monday for Secret Recipe Club I posted an über lemony lemon bar topped with this amazing candied lemon that was crusted in yellow crystallized sugar. If you are a lemon bar lover, it would have been the lemon bar of your dreams.
I am also an lazy efficient cook. My mantra is “do not dirty any more dishes than necessary” ( a truly endearing quality according to my family) and “do not waste anything” (as truly evidenced by my waist and ass size). Not wasting isn’t my fault, my grandma taught it to my mom and my mom taught it to me. Then I married McGyver who is of the same mind and encourages the waist waste not want not philosophy.
All of which brings me to this post. When I made the candied lemons I cooked them for about 5 minutes to soften the peel and leach out some bitterness. Then the lemons were plunged into an ice bath to quit the cooking and retain the color. After I took the lemons out of the ice bath and put them in the pot with the sugar and water would you believe that I drank the ice bath water. Continue reading “Lemon Ginger Elixir and the Double D Cocktail” »
Have you ever heard of Coffee Milk? I hadn’t either until 1996, I was visiting family in Rhode Island before heading to England and in the fridge was this plastic bottle with a bright yellow label.
Coffee Syrup? What do you need coffee syrup for?
Coffee milk of course! I was sure that coffee milk must be the same as iced coffee just in Rhode Island colloquium like cabinets (shakes) and grinders (sub/hoagie sandwiches). I was quickly corrected, it’s not the same as Iced coffee.
Wednesday is the day that I post a black and white food related photo. This week, I’m getting in the Christmas spirit and sharing an ornament from my tree. My glass ‘chef’ ornament came from Germany. Did you know that the Germans were the first to create glass ornaments for the tree? And that Queen Victoria made them immensely popular when she had a of her glass ornament decorated tree in the London paper. The tree was decorated in glass ornaments in honor of her husbands home country, you guessed it, Germany.
If you are interested in seeing more culinary black and white photos or participating, head over to my hostess Susan’s site, The Well Seasoned Cook. Note: We are officially not doing anymore BWW till next year, but I did anyways (good practice for me).
Boy, have I been busy! Getting ready for Christmas, family visiting and the par-tays (of which I have one tonight), it feels like I have no time to do my blogging thing (I am hopelessly behind in my Foodbuzz inbox and Google Reader). What I did find some time for was making some hot cocoa mix.
I totally stole this from Monica at The Yummy Life (with permission). A couple of months ago I started following Monica’s blog when I got her as an assignment for Secret Recipe Club, she has great gift giving ideas and recipes. Two weeks ago I ran across her post for Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix. A perfect gift to give around here. Hot cocoa on a cold winter’s night, made for Montana!
Monica had a few stir in suggestions, I tried the cinnamon one and that was it. Chocolate, cinnamon, and a wee bit of cayenne made my kind of hot chocolate. Instead of suggesting the cinnamon as a stir in, I added it to the mix and called in Mexican Hot Chocolate.
I packed my hot chocolate mix in cellophane bags topped with marshmallows, tied them off and used a cinnamon stick and ribbon for decorations. I put the mix in some mugs that were on clearance or ones that were acquired from the dollar store, for a super inexpensive yet tasty gift. I didn’t get as fancy as Monica and print her labels or even bother to make my own printed labels, I just wrote on the back of a gift tag. It makes a great hostess gift!
Mexican Hot Chocolate
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-process recommended)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Add sugar and cocoa to food processor. Pulse until well-mixed. (Or, combine ingredients in large bowl and whisk until well mixed.) Add salt, cornstarch, cinnamon and cayenne; pulse until mixed. Add powdered milk; process for 20-30 seconds until well mixed. Transfer mix to bowl and stir in chocolate chips. Store in airtight container.
TO MAKE ONE MUG OF HOT COCOA:
Mix 3 tablespoons of the hot chocolate mix in an 8 ounce mug with hot water or milk and stir until mix is dissolved. Top with mini marshmallows if desired.
I’ve been making mulled wine for years. It’s one of my favorite cold weather drinks. Mine is a spiced warm version of Sangria. It’s aromatherapy and relaxation in a mug. Sensual and comforting, it’s the queen of all warm boozy drinks.
I’ve spent year’s preparing this delectable delight, tweaking the recipe a little here and a little there. This year I added something totally new…cardamom. That was it, the magic ingredient that perfected my mulled wine.
I also discovered Rex-Goliath wines, I’ve been digging their cab but this new one caught my eye. The Free Range Red is perfect for mulling. It’s fruity and smooth which definitely contributed to the greatness of my mulled wine. If you’d like the recipe hop on over to Pig of the Month, it’s simple and perfect for entertaining.
Happy Birthday McGyver, how old are you? McGyver holds up his hand and starts with the thumb, 1966, then the index finger, 1976, the middle finger, 1986, the ring finger, 1996 and finally the pinky, 2006. Let’s see now it’s 2011, so 2006 to 2011 is 5 years, “I’m 55”. Isn’t it great that after decades have gone by we can still count how old we are on one hand (that is when you start counting by the decades). Actually that makes McGyver 5 and 1/2 right?
When we get older we start wanting different things; McGyver, what would you like for your birthday? “A weekend up at the cabin alone with my wife, wink, wink” With the change in my income, that sounded like the perfect gift for me to give him. The Baby boy is still in a cast and with crutches, so he wasn’t too keen on going anyways, I just arranged for his buddy to come over and stay the weekend, in case he needed some help. I just had to hope that the house would still be standing when we got back.
I’m still feeling challenged about my open fire cooking so I planned a special meal for McGyver’s Birthday dinner. A surf and turf meal of grilled lobster, roasted garlic stuffed rib-eye steak with a bacon and mushroom risotto.
While McGyver worked away, I prepped everything. I pan roasted the garlic, chopped it up and mixed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I split the rib-eye and smothered the roasted garlic inside. The lobster had been purchased on a whim awhile back, I really wasn’t even sure when I was going to serve it. I stored it in the freezer until the right time. It was still slightly frozen mid-Saturday although I took it out on Friday. With no microwave, and limited water, the defrost cycle took place out side. It worked quite well!
My plan was to get the briquettes going, make cocktails, cook the risotto, then throw on the lobster and steak in that order. Only we were low on briquettes, which meant that I would have enough to cook the risotto, which takes about 45 minutes and the lobster/steaks. Plan B, bring out the propane cooker. I started cooking the bacon on the propane cooker, I sat down with McGyver and chatted for a couple of minutes. When I got up to check the back, it was burned. Really, again…I seriously need to work out this outdoor cooking.
I quickly regrouped. I drained the bacon, fed it to the dogs who were very appreciative of my error. McGyver disposed of the hot grease and I chopped up some more bacon (so much for having it at breakfast). I turned the propane stove to low and cooked the bacon, this time not leaving it’s side. Success! I babied the risotto the rest of the time, unfortunately my coals were burning down…
Once the risotto was just a few minutes from being done, I turned it off, covered it and started the lobster. The coals were warm but not hot. I knew that the steaks would not work out, they needed a nice high heat to get a good sear. I lit the other side of my propane stove and added the grill attachment. Steaks were cooked perfectly. I ended up moving the lobster over to the propane grill to finish them off. I also put the risotto back onto heat, cooked in the last of the liquid and added parmesan.
Voila Finally a birthday dinner worth having. I am happy to say that the coals were hot enough to melt the butter for the lobster
To go with dinner I brought a Mirabella Plum Wine that McGyver had purchased last year when he went to Glacier National Park. The wine’s label features Polebridge, MT. A small town with an enormous population of 25, it’s located just south of the Canadian border at the West Entrance to Glacier. The great thing about this wine is the Mirabella plums which are grown specifically for wine and Brandy are grown just 45 miles south of Polebridge by Merle and Emogean Baldwin.
Flathead Lake Wineries, est. 2002, specializes in small batch, handcrafted unique wines from fruit grown or picked wild in Montana.
I noticed all week I’ve been rambling on and not sharing recipes, it’s not that I haven’t been cooking and taking photos, I’ve just rambled on for so long that adding a recipe seemed too much. Here I am again, rambling on about cooking failures and successes at the cabin, but this time I’m leaving you with a great drink recipe! If you like hard lemonade, then you’ll love this drink. It’s made from the new Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey, which ended up pairing perfectly with some tart lemonade and a splash of soda water to make it bubbly and refreshing.
Start with a tall glass filled with ice.
Here’s the star of the drink. Yes I know Jack…sorry I couldn’t help myself.
If you are a super talented blogger, you take a photo of yourself pouring the liquor.
If you are super uncoordinated blogger, you make a mess trying to be the super talented self photo taker blogger.
After the shot of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, pour in some lemonade, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, leave enough room for the soda water.
Top it off with some calorie free bubbly.
If you don’t have any fancy stir sticks, you can go ghetto and use a butter knife. If you have a bar mixer, you can mix it all up and pour it over the ice. Up in the mountains, no one cares.
The result, a surprisingly light and bubbly hard lemonade with just a touch of tartness and a hint of honey.
Honestly, besides having a great meal with my hubby and some us time, that I know you don’t want to hear about, the best thing about the weekend was being able to take a hot shower. WooHoo, finally our hot water is working!
In case you are wondering about the light, it is a natural light. A tube is installed up through the roof allowing the natural light to come in without the use of electricity.
Honey Jack Lemonade
1 shot Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
1/2 to 3/4 cup lemonade
Splash of Club Soda
Lemon slices for garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice, add the Jack Daniel’s and lemonade, top with the club soda and stir well. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.
In honor of William and Kate’s wedding, my post today is British themed. Some of you already know this, but for those of you who don’t, I spent 4 years living in England. Receiving an overseas assignments was one of the best perks of being in the military. It was so incredibly exciting, I had never lived abroad before and I couldn’t wait to immerse myself into the English culture.
My family and I moved into a thatched cottage in a little village called Wretham (also known as East Wretham). So small in fact, that it did not have a school. We lived too far away for my daughter, Leah (from Leftovers at Lunch), to attend the American school on base. I enrolled Leah in the school in the nearby village of Great Hockham. The school was tiny, they had multiple grades in each class. Leah loved it, soon she made friends. The other students were thrilled to have an American student in their school.
(Images scanned from a card made by Carol Slattery)
One of Leah’s friends invited her to their house for tea. I couldn’t believe it, I was besides myself, a real live English family inviting Leah over for tea. I immediately began coaching Leah on how to drink tea, the proper etiquette, etc. (I did my research before moving to the UK). Leah was excited to go to her friends house but was dismayed “Mom, I don’t even like tea”. I assured her with enough cream and sugar she would be able to tolerate it. I instructed her not to be rude and to drink/eat what was put in front of her. I mean really, they are British and are quite proud of their tea.
After school the next day she went to tea, and in a few hours she was dropped back home. As soon as she arrived I informer her that dinner was ready and that I wanted all the details about having a proper tea, you know with the British family. That’s when Leah shocked me, “Mom, we didn’t have tea at all, we had dinner”. What? How could that be? How do you invite a child over for tea and give them dinner!
Leah was pleased, after all she didn’t have to fake liking tea. Me? I was confused. After asking around a bit, I discovered that the phrase “Tea Time” has evolved to another way of saying dinner time. Tea time is still tea time, unless it’s around dinner time that it’s dinner that may involve a cup of tea, but not necessarily.
While living there, I also discovered why the Brits love their tea, it’s because their coffee is so awful. It’s not that I didn’t ever get a good cup of coffee, I did when it was served privately at someone’s home or at a high end restaurant. Mainly, it was just awful, so I started drinking tea. Good tea, like really, really good tea. I started drinking it every day, a fresh pot as soon as I got home. I was brand conscious and only used PG Tips or Typhoo. Personally I prefer PG Tips, I think it may have to do more with the cute shape of the bag than anything else.
To make a perfect cuppa tea you should:
Use a teakettle with a whistle. Why? Because you only want to heat the water until just before boiling. How it works: as the water heats up and evaporates into steam, the steam builds up, when the pressure is high enough the whistle blows warning you that your water is ready. Without that whistle, you will likely forget the water is on and boil your water (which compromises the taste and is way too hot to drink).
Use fresh cold water in your teapot, not the half pot of water you left in there the day before (although I have been known to do that…what a risk taker!). Pour some hot water into the pot and swirl it around to warm the pot. Place one or two teabags in the pot and pour the water over it, stir it a couple of times then cover it. Use a tea cozy to keep it warm and let it brew 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you like yours.
Serve in teacups with demerara or raw cane sugar and cream. I recommend the demerara because of the rich brown sugar flavor it adds.
If you are having an afternoon tea, it’s nice to accompany it with biscuits (oh how I miss McVitie’s Digestives), or a small sandwich to tidy you over till dinner. When I picture light sandwiches with tea, naturally the traditional cucumber sandwich comes to mind.
I used to love ordering the Prawn Sandwich at the Dog and Partridge in East Wretham, it was one of my favorite so I definitely wanted to do a prawn type sandwich and I wanted to include cucumber.
(photo from the internet)
To honor the tradition of the English and to represent the newest generation; for Prince William and Catherine’s wedding, I created a Prawn and Egg Salad Sandwich with cucumber. Okay, I confess, it was partly to use up my Easter Eggs.
I made a manly ‘Prince William’ version with toasted sourdough and tomato slices.
And a dainty ‘Catherine’ version with no crusts and cucumbers.
Note: another thing I had to get used to, all shrimp are called prawns in the UK.
Did you notice the fabulous tea towel I was using? My dear friend Linda from England sent it to me, and just in time for the wedding! I had to put the towel on the floor to get a full picture, naturally the dogs got curious.
She is so wonderful, and Linda, I promise I’ll send you these Made in Montana soaps….(I provided a picture as proof that I really do have them).
Please excuse me now, while I watch all the wedding hoopla while enjoying a perfect cuppa tea and my dainty sandwich.
Prawn and Shrimp Salad Sandwiches
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup finely chopped hard boiled eggs (about 3)
1 cup finely chopped cooked shrimp (apprx. 1/2 lb.)
2 to 3 green onions, finely diced
1/3 cup finely chopped water chestnuts (optional)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper or more to taste
8 slices sourdough bread (crusts removed or toasted)
Sliced cucumber or sliced tomato
Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until homogeneous. Stir in eggs, shrimp, green onions, water chestnuts (optional), salt and pepper. Blend well but don’t over mix. Serve on toasted sourdough with tomatoes, or crust-less sourdough with cucumber.
It came to me, out of nowhere, a drink for St. Patrick’s Day. I tried to ignore it; it would be empty calories that I don’t need. Then I was at Bed, Bath and Beyond and they had Irish Coffee Mugs…cheap. I bought two. Just in case. But I won’t use them.
I searched the internet, has anyone created a drink like this? Irish coffee, check. Grasshopper coffee, check. Thin Mint Irish Coffee…no where to be found. It doesn’t matter, I’m not going to make it anyways.
At work I throw the idea around; does it sound good? “Oh yes, and are you going to post it?” I probably shouldn’t. Well, maybe. After all, it can’t just be a coincidence that Girl Scout cookies come out so close to St. Patrick’s Day, right? I mean, it’s like, destiny or something, isn’t it?
There is probably something just a little wrong with mixing Girl Scout cookies and alcohol. I can’t help it, they were my inspiration. It could have been Andes mints or a York Peppermint Patty, but it wasn’t. I haven’t been known as an politically correct person, so I’m going with my original inspiration: The Thin Mint.
Humor me for a moment as I share my tribulations. I rushed home after buying the booze and picking up the Baby boy from school. I needed to hurry while I had some natural light. I ground fresh coffee, made a half pot, made my drinks sans whipped cream and started practice shooting. (I wanted to practice before the I put on the whipped cream…for melty reasons.)
Just as I was ready…major cloud cover. I tried all my viable spots in the house, but I only got dark, bad pictures. So I took it outside, the light was better but the 15 mile an hour Chinook winds did not make it easy. It’s a good thing I made two of them for the photo…they were quickly consumed after I was done…and all was well again.
I have to say this drink was Feckin good! If you’re Irish you know what I mean, if you aren’t, it’s the ummm brand of Irish Whiskey I used. You don’t have to save this drink for just St. Paddy’s day, I think that you would enjoy it anytime!
Note: I used some green sprinkles to give it a festive flare, or you could dye the whipped cream green for an even bolder affect. Or just skip it altogether.
Recipe (for one drink)
Thin Mint Irish Coffee
1/2 oz. Kahlua Mocha or Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz. Crème de Menthe
1 oz. Irish Whiskey
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 Thin Mint, chopped for Garnish
Green sprinkles or green dye if desired
Mix Kahlua Mocha, Crème de Menthe, Irish Whiskey and coffee in an 8 oz. mug. top with whipped cream (colored green if desired) and garnish with Thin Mint cookie crumbs and green sprinkles.
I love Sunday mornings, lazy, sleep in and stay in your pajamas Sunday mornings. Which is probably why I love Sunday brunch, I never get up early enough to have Sunday breakfast! Normally I don’t have cocktails on a Sunday morning, not that I think there is anything wrong with it, but I prefer my coffee. Except when I have leftover Champagne. McGyver and I usually settle for a nice mimosa, not today. It was grey and snowing out yet again; something more cheerful was required.
A drink that always looks warm and vibrant is the tequila sunrise. I occasionally have one but certainly wasn’t ready to get started on tequila somewhat early on a Sunday morning! Instead I took my inspiration from the drink. I replaced the tequila with the champagne and kept the orange juice (couldn’t get a sunrise with out it), instead of the heavy syrupy grenadine, I used some maraschino cherry juice and then dropped a cherry into the glass.
What resulted was nothing less than spectacular. I was pleased with the full effect. The maraschino cherry looked like a big red sun haloed by the red juice which filtered into the orange, giving it that natural sunrise glow. The bubbles? Gave it a magical touch, a sunrise floating to the surface. As for the taste? Lightly sweet, slightly dry, tickle your taste buds bubbles and finished off by a sweet and juicy cherry. I could get used to starting every day with a Champagne sunrise…but I won’t, because I’m a good girl, because I have to work.
Maybe one day when I retire I’ll traipse around in my kitten slippers and sip champagne sunrises? Not likely, but I can fantasize can’t I?
Start off with some champagne, although I think prosecco or spumanti would do nicely.
My daughter Leah sent me this cork stopper awhile ago…it’s my favorite. I don’t think I need to explain.
I’ve never heard of this Champagne, it’s called Segura Viudas. Honestly we bought it because the bottle was so fantastic. It was also under $22, which made it even more appealing.
The cocktail is simple to make, mix equal parts of champagne and fresh squeezed orange juice.
Aren’t our glassed adorable? McGyver bought them for us when we visited Disneyland Paris. One has Mickey and one has Minnie, then he has our names etched on them, a perfect memento.
Pour in a little maraschino juice.
Drop in a maraschino cherry, hello sunrise!
What a great way to start the day.
1 part champagne
1 part fresh squeezed orange juice
splash of maraschino juice
1 maraschino cherry
In a champagne flute, fill almost 1/2 way with champagne, add the fresh squeezed orange juice, splash in some maraschino juice and drop in 1 maraschino cherry.
I knew Mcgyver for 2 years before we ever went on our first date. We rode around in the same motorcycle group. I was dating another fellow but McGyver claims he had his eye on me the whole time. I enjoyed McGyvers company even though he was the oldest member of our group. He also turned into a pumpkin at midnight. You could always count on McGyver to look at his watch at midnight and say his farewells to everyone. One of his most famous quotes was “nothing good ever happens after midnight”.
McGyver got his nickname after the TV show MacGyver because he could always fix anything with whatever he had on hand or with whatever he could rustle up. He also had a penchant for gadgets. Even at the roughest motorcycle rally camp out, McGyver would whip out a mini espresso maker and cooker, he saved many of us from a bad hangover (he also seemed to have an endless supply of Motrin).
My other relationship ended after 2 years and McGyver waited a bit then asked me out. I wasn’t keen on the idea at all. I mean, it was McGyver. But my teenage daughter said “Mom, go ahead, it’s a free dinner”. So I accepted his offer. He took me out to dinner at the restaurant his landlord owned. It was a nice meal, awkward though. McGyver was a perfect gentleman, thanked me for having dinner with him and dropped me off at home.
I wasn’t sure I would go out with him again. He called and asked me to go to the movies in Luxembourg. I told him I couldn’t go because I didn’t have a babysitter for the Baby Boy. He stepped right up and said bring him along, we’ll go see A Knight’s Tale. Now I couldn’t refuse, oh well its a free trip to the movies, so why not? I enjoyed the movie, I mean really…a movie in Luxembourg…could it be bad? Before the movie, we had a little time to kill so we went to a restaurant at the theater, got a couple of beers and order the Baby Boy some mac n cheese. I was mortified…the Baby Boy immediately announced he didn’t like the mac n cheese and promptly asked McGyver for change so he could play a video game (this was just the beginning of a pattern to come…). Embarrassed, I decided to taste the mac n cheese for myself. He was right, it was awful! Basically, it was boiled noodles with warm milk poured over it and a small sprinkling of some kind of cheese. McGyver tasted it and agreed, now I didn’t feel as bad.
Again McGyver was the perfect gentleman, he took us both home and said good-bye. It wasn’t a bad date, but I still wasn’t feeling it. It didn’t take long and McGyver called me and asked me out again, only this time it was for a Saturday Harley ride along the Mosel river. Since my previous boyfriend and I broke up I hadn’t been on a bike for months and it was killing me. Despite my reservations about dating McGyver, I couldn’t refuse a ride on his Harley so I said, yes…again. I was sharing my weekend plans with one of our German dental assistants and she suggested that we try the Zwiebelkuchen and Federweiβer. I’m not too smart, but I have learned a few things. One of the most important is that you listen to the locals!
I mentioned it to McGyver before we set out on our ride and he was all for it. It was a beautiful fall day and we headed off to ride along the Mosel river, we stopped at a little local winery and ordered us some zweibelkuchen and Federweiβer. It was marvelous! Zweibelkuchen which is literally translated to onion cake, it more of a savory tart with a yeasty crust and the most luscious onions. The Federweiβer is called “new wine”. It was at once sweet and dry. Because it has something to do with the first fermentation process, it was also bubbly, similar to a sparkling cider with a kick. Most Federweiβer have anywhere from 4% to 11% alcohol. Because it’s so bubbly the bottle are not corked and have to be transported upright. We bought a couple of bottles and hoped they wouldn’t explode in the saddle bags!
McGyver rode along the Mosel and we stopped at all these little places where we continued to do some wine sampling and enjoy the sites. This is when I started to fall in love with him. It couldn’t be more perfect for me, a Harley, food and wine with a biker who turned out to be romantic and intelligent. The trip didn’t end there, he took me to visit Cochem Castle.
This is when I found out that this previous Helicopter pilot was afraid of heights. I was walking on the wall of the castle and about gave poor McGyver a heart attack! Once again McGyver, the perfect biker gentleman took me home, only this time, we hung out and finished off the bottles of Federveiβer. A perfect day to fall in love!
Originally this post was for the second challenge of Project Foodbuzz, which challenged the contestants to tackle a classic dish from another culture: “Challenge Prompt: Ready to tackle a classic dish from another culture? Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with. You should include how you arrived at this decision in your post. Do your research then try to pull off successfully creating this challenge. Try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal, and document your experience through a compelling post.”
I didn’t make it to the second round (but my daughter did…so please, please vote for her). I decided to do the challenge for myself. I haven’t had Zweibelkuchen or Federweiβer since that date. I thought it would be a lovely romantic gesture for McGyver (he’s the romantic, not me). I make very few German dishes, knowing that it’ll never be same as dining in Germany. For the sake of love and a challenge, I will do it. I had to search the internet to find a recipe and after much review I decided to make one from a fellow foodbuzzer. The recipe comes from Steffen’s Dinners. Federweiβer is impossible to get here so I decided to make a mock Federweiβer.
1 lb8 oz flour
5 tbsp butter, melted
1 packet of active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk (divided)
2 tbs softened butter (to grease pans)
If any of you follow my blog at all, you know I’m not a big fan of baking. I especially avoid anything that requires the use of yeast. It’s so intimidating. That being said, I struggled a bit making this dough. Steffen gave only 3 steps:
Dough for the crust
Dissolve yeast in half of the milk.
Combine flour, yeast (or sourdough starter), 1 egg, sugar, salt, milk, milk with yeast, water and melted butter. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Form a ball, coat thinly with oil, let rise in a warm place until volume has about doubled.
So, I followed my limited instincts and ventured forward. I chose to use my Kitchen Aid blender. I started with the egg, and beat it lightly.
Per Steffen’s instructions i dissolved the yeast in 1/2 the milk, but I decided to warm the milk in the microwave first. I think that’s what you are supposed to do. I really should have looked it up on some baking site, but that would take time and it was 3:00 pm already and I knew I was on limited time.
I added the melted butter to the egg.
Then measured out the remainder of the milk and the 1/2 cup water.
Into the bowl it went along with 1 tsp of sugar.
And a tsp of salt.
When I had checked my flour bin, I knew I wouldn’t have enough…fortunately the Baby Boy had just rung me from Wal-Mart. “Mom, do you need anything?”
Flour! Remember, I don’t do much baking and what does the Baby Boy bring me? A gargantuan bag of flour “it was on sale”.
Thank you, Baby….now I’ll have to do some baking. Was this part of his evil plan to get homemade cookies?
I added the flour to the liquid mixture 1 cup at a time.
My dough wasn’t looking promising. I had expected it to form a ball or something like that.
I ended up not adding all the flour, the dough already seemed dry.
So I used it to flour my counter. I kneaded the dough…it never got that nice elastic look but I was in to deep to stop.
I sprayed a bowl and plastic wrap with Pam and set it in a warm place to rise until doubled.
Rather then using pizza pans, I had bought some tart pans just for this recipe. Any excuse to go to the kitchen store!
While the dough hopefully rises…on with the zwiebel part of this dish.
For the topping
3 lbs/ 1.5kg onions, sliced or coarsely chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil Bacon grease
1 tsp salt
2 tsp caraway seeds
½ – 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup / 250ml heavy whipping cream
½ cup / 125ml sour cream
4 oz / 125g bacon, diced
4 stalks of green onions, chopped
½ cup / 125ml milk
½ tsp white pepper, freshly ground
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
In the meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large heavy pan over high heat. Add caraway seeds. Add onions, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently and making sure the onions don’t brown (turn down heat if necessary).
Add wine, cook for another 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
Whisk together cream, sour cream, eggs, pepper, nutmeg and salt. Add cayenne pepper and stir in chopped parsley. Set aside.
The Onion Cakes
Generously butter 2 large pizza pans, 1 tbsp of butter per pan.
Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C
Divide dough into two equal parts. Stretch or roll out each part and put on a pizza pan. Spray with a bit of water or cover with damp cloth and let rise for another 15 minutes.
Top each pan with the onions, pour half of the egg-cream mixture on top and add the green onions and bacon.
Bake for ca. 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the egg-mixture has set. (It is easiest to bake both pans at the same time in an air circulation oven, alternatively, swap the pans from time to time between upper and lower rack.
Directions–Step by Step
I couldn’t find anywhere in Steffen’s instructions about cooking the bacon, but I thought it would be best to render some of the fat.
I cooked the bacon, till it was lightly browned. Drained it on paper towels. Poured off the fat leaving 1 tbs of grease. I used this versus the vegetable oil called for in the original recipe.
While the bacon was cooking I got to work on the onions. I was fortunate enough to have my friend Samantha share her parent’s bountiful garden with me. I ended up bringing about 6 lbs of onions home. Which was part of my inspiration for making this dish. I peeled and sliced and cried…
I could have used a food processor. Come to think of it, why didn’t I use a food processor?
Next up, the green onions.
Followed by the parsley (home grown by your truly).
I added the tablespoon of butter to bacon grease.
Then I cooked on a med hi setting the caraway seeds for about 30 seconds…very aromatic.
In goes all the onion.
And salt and pepper.
Steffen instructed to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently and making sure the onions don’t brown (turn down heat if necessar).
Put a lid on it, it’ll help cook the onions down without browning them….brilliant….worked like a charm!
While the onions were cooking, I started to clean up a bit. I tried to grind up the onion skins and, well, my disposal clogged up.
Fortunately, McGyver had just come home from staying up at the cabin and hunting. ” Hi honey, I’ve planned a romantic evening for you, as soon as you are done fixing the garbage disposal”.
I couldn’t do anything in the kitchen. I had already cracked open a bottle of white wine, so I thought why not enjoy a cuppa while he works.
I had found a couple of wine glasses that we had picked up from a medieval dinner party in Germany and thought, hey this is perfect! I left them out in the garage and when I went to retrieve them I found a surprise.
Ewwwww, after I washed, decontaminated and sterilized the cup, I enjoyed myself a nice glass of wine.
I added the wine and let it cook until it evaporated. Then I added the bacon back in.
Next I whisked together, the whipping cream, milk, sour cream, eggs and the remainder of the seasoning.
Note: I used 4 duck eggs instead of 5 chicken eggs because my dear Brad raises ducks and gave me the eggs, yeah for free food. Also in Steffen’s instructions he didn’t mention adding the milk but it was in the ingredient list for the topping.
It took forever to get the dough to rise. told you I wasn’t good at this. I divided the dough into one 2/3 part and one 1/3 part because I was using a large and medium tart pan.
I apologize for the next pictures, by the time I got to this step (after the disposal rescue) it was dark and light was baaad.
Before I put the onion mixture in the tart pans, I added the green onions.
Then I whisked the parsley into the cream mixture.
And poured it into the pans. I had some left over as you can see in the background, right side.
I baked them one at time in a 375
Fresh out of the oven, it looks perfect.
I actually thought this tasted better than what we had on the very romantic day!
Federweiβer as I remembered it, was bubbly and dry yet slightly sweet. What is dry and bubbly? Champagne. Of course federweiβer is made from green grapes, so white grape juice seemed the natural “sweet” part.
So I mixed, and tasted, and mixed and tasted until I hit upon the right combo.
Simply mix 3 parts champagne to 1 part white grape juice.
Not the real thing, but it filled the bill!
Did you notice the glasses came from Cochem castle? The very same castle that McGyver took me to on the date that I started to fall in love with him.
Vielen dank, Steffen for letting me relive a special day in my life.