28 January 2009

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet. Gordon Ramsay shows us how to create the best scrambled eggs you've ever had. Enjoy.

And here's some I made a while back:

26 January 2009


It is said that King Adolf Fredrik of Sweden (Adolf Frederick in English) died after having had a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, saurkraut, herring, champagne and then no less than 14 servings of semlor. That night, he had a cardiac arrest and died, 60 years old, in his bed. Not quite as exciting as his son - Gustav III of Sweden - who was assassinated (well, he died from the wounds some time later) . The semla, however, has survived and is still one of the most famous desserts in Northern Europe.

Originally, it was a sweet bun (baked with cardamom) served in a bowl with hot milk and they called it "hetvägg", which literally means "hot wall". These days, there are some more...let's say expensive ingredients, like almond paste and whipped cream, but some people still serve it with the hot milk as originally intended.

According to reliable sources (eh, Wikipedia), the name comes from the Latin "semilia" which was the finest wheat flour. There seems to be no translation to English for the words generally used for this fine product (semla, fastlagsbulle or hetvägg), so I'll just use the Swedish word for it - one semla, many semlor. There, you learned some Swedish today!

Traditionally, these baked little wonders were only served on the last Tuesday before lent, while Sweden was still a catholic country. Then, in the 16th century, protestantism came to the country and there was no more lent. These days, you can usually find it in pastry shops starting around Christmas all the way through Easter and I'm sure some places sell them throughout the year. Since they're not available in the US and I still have some of the almond paste my family sent me for Christmas, I decided to make some from scratch.

The only ingredient I have difficulty finding is fresh yeast. Luckily, it's not that hard to use active dry yeast instead. In addition, the recipes all call for ammonium carbonate (a predecessor to baking soda and baking powder), also called baker's ammonia, and that's not easy to find in normal convenience stores either. No bother, I modified a recipe a little and the end result tasted just the way I remember semlor should taste, so I will call it all a success. Now: let's get decadent!


4 1/2 tsp (2 packets) active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup whole milk
1 pinch salt

almond paste (marzipan)
heavy whipping cream
powdered sugar

Start by melting the butter in a small pot over medium heat on the stove. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (or the stand mixer's bowl if using). Once the butter is melted, add the milk and heat up to around 115 degrees Fahrenheit, or a bit warmer than lukewarm. If you burn your finger testing the liquid, it's too hot! Add the egg to the dry ingredients and mix well (use the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer). Once the liquid is warm enough, add it to the bowl and mix well. You are looking for a slightly sticky, smooth dough. Add flour as necessary to achieve this - use the dough hook attachment for the stand mixer if using.

Once the dough is easy enough to handle without clinging to the bowl, knead it for another few minutes, then place in a warm place (free of drafts) under a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Once done, turn the dough onto a clean baking board (or your counter top, just...clean, ok?) and punch it down. Divide into about 15 equal pieces, roll them into smooth buns and place on a baking sheet (either greased or covered with baking paper). Make sure there's some space between each bun.

Turn the oven to 425, cover the buns with the towel and leave for 30 more minutes. The should roughly double in size again. Place in the middle of the oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until golden brown (but watch out, you don't want to burn them!). Let rest under a kitchen towel until cool. This is important, or the top of the buns might get too hard.

Once they are cool, it's time to assemble the actual semla! Cut off a lid (see picture above), then dig out the contents of the bun, making sure you don't destroy the "walls" of it. Place the bread you removed in a bowl and combine with roughly an equal amount of marzipan (almond paste) and a small splash of milk, just enough to moisten the contents. Mix this together, then place it back in the bun. Whip enough of the heavy whipping cream to cover the bun, replace the lid and sift powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!

As mentioned before, some people serve this in a bowl with warm milk. Me? I remove the lid, dip it in the cream and then eat the bun, one big bite at the time and it's extremely yummy.

Keep the unused buns in a zip lock bag in the freezer. When ready to use, remove from the bag and place in the microwave at low power for a minute or so.

Pork Tenderloin with Gingered Sweet Potatoes

Pork rocks. If it wasn't on the opposite end of "healthy" on the "things that are good and bad for you" scale, I could probably eat bacon every day. I mean, any food where the leftover grease can be used for frying pretty much anything and making it taste much better is fantastic in my book. This isn't about bacon, though, it's about a great pork tenderloin recipe I decided to make. The pork came out very tender, the mashed sweet potatoes were a great compliment and broccoli is always tasty as a side dish.

A note about pork: the risk of getting sick from eating undercooked pork is much smaller than they seem to warn you about in every restaurant out there. As long as the internal temperature is over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, you're safe and most of the time, you'll be taking it out of the oven at 155 degrees and letting it rest (and thus letting it continue to cook internally) for 10 minutes until it reaches the desired doneness. Pink pork will not kill you, but gray pork will make anyone with a desire to eat good food shed a tear (or eat elsewhere). Enough talk, here's the recipe!

Pork Tenderloin

1-1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce

Remove the silver skin, as it will not break down when cooking. Place the pork in a zip lock bag. Peel the ginger and cut the piece into smaller chunks. Crush the garlic. Add all ingredients (a couple of pinches of salt and pepper is enough) to the bag, close it and toss to coat. Leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. I did this in the morning and cooked at night.

When ready to cook, turn oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan. I added a little bit of white wine and apple juice in the roasting pan together with some more crushed garlic and ginger, and basted the roast with it every 5-10 minutes, but this is not necessary. Roast for 30-45 minutes (depending on thickness), until a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the oven and place on a plate. Cover loosely with tin foil and leave for 10 minutes before carving.

Gingered Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes/yams
1 2-inch piece of ginger
1 cup heavy cream

Bring water in a large pot to a boil, add salt. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut them lengthwise, once. Add to the pot and boil until tender enough that a knife easily cuts through them. In the meantime, peel the ginger and cut into smaller chunks. Add to a small pot together with the cream and bring to a simmer. Stirring frequently, keep simmering for at least 10 minutes, or the time it takes to finish the potatoes.

Once the potatoes are done, remove from the water and leave until cooler, but still warm. Remove the skin and place the potatoes back in the pot (you may need to rinse the pot first). Mash with a potato masher or fork. Add the cream and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

I serve the dish with oven-roasted broccoli. Wash a head of broccoli, remove the stem and cut into smaller pieces. Toss with a few tablespoons of oil, some salt and pepper in a bowl. Place in a oven-safe dish and roast for 10 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.


21 January 2009

Request: Shrimp Fried Rice

I bought a wok a while back, after Jacquie told me she was craving some fried rice. Now, fried rice is very simple to make and the taste is wonderful, so I wasn't late to oblige. It's not the healthiest of meals, perhaps, but I don't always care that much about that.

This is for Stassney, who requested a fried rice recipe the other day. Enjoy!

Shrimp Fried Rice

1lb shrimps
1 sweet onion (yellow onion is fine as well)
4 cloves garlic
1 large head of broccoli
1 cup uncooked white rice
3 eggs
1 bunch scallions (green onion)
dark soy sauce

cooking oil
black pepper

Start by boiling the rice. The Uncle Ben's I used said "2 1/4 cup water for 1 cup of uncooked rice" and I used just around 1 1/2 cups of water. You do not want to overcook the rice. Once it's finished, let cool and place in the fridge. You want it to be completely cold before putting in the fridge, to avoid spoiling other food in there - you can do this many hours in advance as long as you cover the cooked rice.

Peel the shrimp. Add a little cooking oil to the wook and put on the stove over medium high heat. Add shrimp, fry until just pink. Remove from wok. Add more oil if necessary to fry the vegetables.

Dice the onion, mince the garlic and cut the broccoli into (roughly) half-inch pieces - or larger if you like that sort of thing. Fry the vegetables for about 5 minutes over medium high heat, or until they start to get softer and the onion is becoming translucent. At this point, add the three eggs and stir until they have scrambled in the pan. (Jacquie thinks the egg pieces get too small by doing this, so she has me scramble them in a separate pan and add them to the wok at this point.)

Next, put a few tablespoons of cold water in the rice, stir it to make sure it's loose and add to the wok. Add a few dashes of soy sauce and pepper, and salt to taste. Stir frequently until rice is getting warm and everything is covered by the soy sauce. Add the shrimp and the finely chopped scallion to the pan, cook and stir for another couple of minutes. Serve immediately in a bowl.

This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days, but is best eaten right away.

More pizza

I made pizza recently, and decided that it was time to post a picture since I didn't have time to take one last time. Yum yum.

17 January 2009

Movie Night

We're having some people over tonight to watch The Big Lebowski - hopefully the first of many movie nights. We've decided to try to pair the movie with food and drinks, so we're naturally making White Russians, grilled cheese sandwiches (bowling alley food) and french fries (also bowling alley food).

I'm curious to see what food and drink pairings we can come up with for future movies. I think we're planning to have a "watch party" - seeing the two movies Night Watch and Day Watch - and I suppose we'll just have to go for Russian food with those two. And vodka, neat. Of course :)

16 January 2009

Apple Crumble

I am fully aware that I posted a recipe for apple marzipan pie just a week ago or so, but I made an apple crumble the other day and it's very different from the pie so I decided to post the recipe. Now, a crumble is very hard to mess up and it's quick to prepare. Just make sure you have some vanilla ice cream or custard to serve it with, as that will double the deliciousness.

Apple Crumble

3-4 apples (use a variety, if possible)
1 stick very cold butter (8 tbsp, 125g)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups white sugar + a few pinches
ground cinnamon

Turn your oven to 425 degrees F (225 degrees C).

Start with the apples. Peel, remove the seeds and slice. A normal sized apple should make roughly 10-12 slices. The size isn't of a huge importance, and you can really dice them or cut them into little shapes that are vaguely reminiscent of Disney characters. It does not matter. I slice, because slicing is fun.

Next, grease a 9 inch form. You can use a pie form for this, or a square dish - as long as it's oven safe. I use butter, a little bit of vegetable oil would be OK too. Place the apples in the pan, coat with a few pinches of sugar and cinnamon.

Place the flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the chilled butter in small chunks and start crumbling with your fingers. Your goal is to get pea-sized grains of dough, but be sure not to over-work it. You're not looking to melt the butter and form a ball of dough here, we want crumbles. Once combined, drizzle the mixture over the apples. You don't have to completely cover everything, but you should be able to.

Place in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, but serve while still warm with some vanilla ice cream or cold custard to make it even better.

14 January 2009

Lasagna Bolognese

I absolutely love lasagna, so when I read a recipe (from The Silver Spoon, although I don't own the book yet) featuring homemade pasta and béchamel sauce, I just had to try it. Recipe follows!

Bolognese Sauce

1 carrot
1 onion
1.5 lb ground beef
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 16 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
olive oil

Finely chop carrots and onion. Add to large frying pan with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Fry for 5 minutes, then add ground beef and brown. Once brown, add the wine. Let the wine boil off (5-10 minutes), then lower the heat and add the tomato and salt. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes, then pepper and remove from heat.

I should have used a lower fat version of the ground beef, or at least drained it, but it came out tasting very, very good.

Béchamel Sauce

1/4 cup butter (one half stick)
1/4 cup flour
2 1/4 cup milk
freshly grated nutmeg

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour. Once incorporated, add the milk and whisk constantly until boiling. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium/low and put a lid on the pan. Leave for 20-30 minutes, whisking every five minutes or so.


This was easier than I thought! I have no pasta machine (yet, I want that attachment), so I rolled them by hand. Took some energy, but they came out nice and thin.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour (durum wheat)
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp water
1 tsp salt

Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil, add salt.

I used a stand mixer for this - if you have one, put everything but the water in the mixer and mix up with the paddle. Once incorporated, mix with the dough hook for 10 minutes, adding the tablespoons of water if needed. You're looking for a shiny texture, almost like leather.

If not using a mixer, mix the flours and salt and make a mound on a clean surface. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, yolk and olive oil. Incorporate the flour into the well with your hands or a fork. Once incorporated, knead for 10 or 15 minutes, adding some water if needed.

Let the dough rest for at least 15 minutes before dividing into 6 pieces and rolling each piece very thinly. Don't worry too much about the size, but if you can make the pieces roughly 1/2 of the form you're making the lasagna in, you're ahead of the game.

Place one sheet at the time in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, remove into a colander and let drain, place on moist (clean!) kitchen towel and leave until ready to build lasagna.

Building the Lasagna

1 cup parmesan cheese
Bolognese sauce from above recipe
Béchamel sauce from above recipe
Pasta from above recipe
2 tbsp butter plus extra for greasing

Set your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)

Grease a large, oven-safe form. Cover the bottom of the pan with pasta, then spoon a layer of bolognese sauce, drizzle béchamel sauce and finally add some of the parmesan cheese. You can add some grated mozzarella cheese too, if you wish. Continue with the layers until all is used (I managed three layers). Finish with béchamel sauce. Place in oven for 30 minutes, let cool for 5 before cutting. Serve with some lettuce and fresh tomato, or just devour the whole thing from the pan.

Enjoy :)

13 January 2009

Cornbread Croutons

I recently made cornbread and had some leftovers. Following a suggestion from someone at the Something Awful Forums, I decided to make cornbread croutons! I cut up the bread, tossed with some melted butter and a little kosher salt, roasted them in the oven at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes (and only set the smoke detector off once!) and let cool down.

Tasted really good on a bowl of hot chili. I'm probably going to try them on a salad too, before they go stale :)

12 January 2009


I made pizza last night, from scratch. Actually, I started with the dough on Saturday afternoon, because Alton Brown said so!

After watching the above video and reading the recipe a few times, I felt ready to toss my own dough and create one of my favorite dishes (and, I'm assuming, Jacquie's absolute favorite). I even went as far as to go pick up a pizza stone ($10 at Target - will definitely replace it with something "nicer" in the future) and today I bought a pizza peel! Either way, Saturday afternoon, I quickly mixed up the ingredients in the stand mixer and let the dough hook do its magic for 15 or so minutes. Once it was finished, I could stretch the dough out to see the "window pane" and I was pretty amazed that I managed to get it that good my first time around.

Last night, it was time for the actual pizza baking (after letting the dough rise for the recommended 24 hours in a fridge). Unfortunately, I didn't have the pizza peel at this time, so I had to build the pizzas on a cutting board and one of them did tear just a little bit when I had to move it around...but the pizzas did come out really well. I topped them with some canned tomato sauce I happened to have in the fridge (nothing spectacular, I'll make my own next time), fresh basil, mozzarella cheese (whole, fresh) and nothing else. It was pretty delicious and I can't wait to do it again to introduce my pizza peel to my 500 degree oven!

No picture today, as I forgot to take one before it was too late and the pizzas were completely devoured. I might add one next time I do this :)

08 January 2009

Apple Marzipan Pie

A few weeks before Christmas, I received a large box from Sweden. I quickly tore it open and found a bunch of Swedish food from my family! In the pile (which also included Swedish coffee that I plan to drink over the next few weeks, yum) was a package of marzipan. Now, marzipan doesn't seem to be very common in the US. You can get it here, sure, but it seems to come pre-colored in smaller packages. In Sweden, not so much. You buy it in just-over-a-pound packages (500g) or more, some make little gnomes with red hats for the holidays, others bake with it, and - more often than not - most people I know end up consuming half the package, idly snacking away while it's stored in the pantry.

I decided to bake with it! Now, I love to make apple crumble and I had apples at home for that very reason. I then realized I had the marzipan and some pie crust and thought it might be an even better idea to try out something different. I'll make the apple crumble soon again and might post my ultra-secret, century-old family recipe (mostly because Jacquie liked that better than this) and I'll use the second half of my marzipan for something else. Mazarins, perhaps?

I happened to have pie crust in the fridge, but you should make your own because it will be approximately 2.32 times better than the pre-made, store-bought one. Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Apple Marzipan Tart
For the crust:
  • 4.5oz chilled butter
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
For the filling:
  • 4 apples (your choice - I generally do two or three different ones)
  • 0.5lb marzipan, uncolored
  • 3 eggs
  • 0.5 cup whole milk
  • 4 tbsp raw/brown sugar

Start with the crust. Make sure you work quickly and efficiently, as the butter cant be allowed to heat up. Place the flour and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix well. Add the chilled butter in half-inch cubes and pulse again, 4-5 times, until it looks like crumbles. Add the egg and pulse another few times until it's combined. Remove from the bowl, form a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for a minimum of one hour, up to one day.

Once finished, press the dough out into a greased 9-inch pie pan (preferably with a removable bottom). Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and place back in fridge.

Turn your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), coarsely shred the marzipan. Add the egg and milk and mix well - use the paddle mixer if you're using a stand mixer. Once combined, pour into the pie crust.

Next, wash and peel your apples, then slice into thin wedges. Press the wedges into the battered pie crust in a circle. Sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Place in the lower half of the oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until the batter has set completely and the apples have browned nicely. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or custard. Store, covered in tin foil or plastic wrap, for up to a week.

07 January 2009

Improving the work environment

I brought a pulled pork sandwich to my colleague at work today. Sourdough bread, coleslaw, pulled pork. The result?

Fritz [11:32 AM]:
I believe the word I'd use to describe this sandwich is "heavenly" :P
Fritz [11:32 AM]: Soo good man.
Andreas [11:32 AM]: Oh, you like?
Fritz [11:32 AM]: Yeah it's awesome
Andreas [11:32 AM]: I'm posting that comment in my blog


06 January 2009

The Slow Cooker

The slow cooker has gotten a bad reputation over the years, at least that's what I've gathered from reading various recipes, cookbooks and talking to friends who enjoy cooking. Everyone seems to have an older relative who has served them a soggy meatloaf or a dry pot roast that has spent untold hours in a crock pot.

I bought a slow cooker a while back because I read a recipe for pulled pork - and I love pulled pork - that the author promised would be fantastic. Now, a slow cooker (for those lucky enough to not have had grandma make soggy meatloaf in one) is essentially a countertop cooking device that applies low heat to food over a long time and is suitable to leave unattended while off doing more important things, like...well, there are few things as important as cooking, but let's pretend "going to work" is and leave it at that.

After having owned the slow cooker for about six months, I can safely say it was well worth the investment ($20 at Target) and I've made a few dishes in it that were really, really good. The fact that you can take a cheap hunk o' meat, stick in a pot and leave it for 8 hours while at work to come home to a house that smells fantastic is actually not a bad idea at all. Maybe grandma was right after all, but the application was a tad off? (I use the term "grandma generically here, both my grandmothers are great cooks and I've never seen them use a crock pot, nor have they served me soggy meatloaf.)

I generally make the pulled pork or a chili in the pot (the picture above is of my chili on chips with some melted Mexican cheese), but have tried other recipes too and I'm always on the lookout for new things to put in there. We had pulled pork sandwiches tonight (made coleslaw from scratch, served in pita bread) and it was pretty damned great.

So give the crock pot a chance - and share your interesting recipes with me! Here are a few:

Slow Cooker Chili
1 lb ground beef
1 medium yellow onion
5 garlic cloves
2 shallots
2 cans diced tomatoes (or fresh, peeled and seeded)
1 small can tomato paste
2 cans chili beans, black beans or red kidney beans, or any mix thereof (or roughly 2 cups dry beans that you let soak overnight)
2 large jalapeños
black pepper
red pepper flakes
ground cumin

Start by browning the beef in a large skillet. I generally add a little salt and pepper at this point, but it's not necessary. Once browned, drain in a sieve to get rid of most of the liquid (which is basically fat and a little water). Place the browned beef in the slow cooker. Peel and dice the onion, peel and slice the shallots, and peel and finely chop the garlic. Dump it all in the slow cooker.

Next, I highly recommend putting gloves on. No, not the kind you wear when you go outside in North Dakota in January, I mean the disposable plastic gloves you steal when you go to the doctor and get bored in his office. We're chopping jalapeños and trust me - you do not want to touch your nose or eyes after chopping these spicy little peppers. Slice them in half, remove the seeds, chop them up and add to the slow cooker.

Next, open up your cans. Drain and rinse the beans if you're using canned ones. Add everything to the pot. Next, add about half a tablespoon of red pepper flakes and half a tablespoon of cumin. Add a few pinches of kosher salt and some black pepper.

Next, turn the slow cooker on. Aim for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low - a little more than that won't hurt either. If possible, stir occasionally. If you find, when time is up, that the chili appears a bit too "wet", feel free to put it in a large pot and place over medium high heat on the stove, stirring frequently until the liquid is reduced to your preferred consistency.

Serve with rice, or over chips with shredded cheese (cheddar or provolone are good, I use a Mexican tri-cheese for this). The chili will freeze well, and be fine in the fridge for up to about a week. I usually freeze mine in smaller batches to be brought out and heated for a quick dinner or snack.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Cole Slaw


1 large pork shoulder or "Boston butt" (bone-in or not, your choice)
1 yellow onion
8 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
brown sugar


4 cups shredded white cabbage (or red, but that will color the mayo and make pink coleslaw)
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 cup mayonaise (light, if you must)
1 tbsp white wine vingegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Start by coating the pork with brown sugar. If there is a large piece of fat at the bottom, feel free to cut it out now (although leaving it on won't hurt, you can just remove it later). Quarter the onion and place in the bottom of the pot. Place the pork on top of the onion - if it does not fit, you can cut the pork in half to be able to squeeze it in there. Next, pour the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce over the pork, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. If possible, flip the pork halfway through cooking.

Once finished, remove the pork from the pot and shred. I usually use two forks to do this. Throw out excess fat when shredding.

To make the coleslaw, shred the cabbage and carrot into a bowl. Add the mayo, vinegar, oil, salt and sugar and stir. Taste it and add more salt/sugar as needed.

Serve the pork with the coleslaw on a soft bun or in a pita bread or just eat it straight out of the bowl if you want to. I usually mix a bunch of BBQ sauce with the meat too, which gives it some extra flavor.

I was going to post a picture of the pulled pork sandwiches I made tonight in this blog, but once I checked them and found they were out of focus, we had already consumed them. I might add one later, if I make more (since I still have plenty of pork left in the fridge, where it will last up to a week).

05 January 2009


I recently received a request for a good cornbread recipe and, having never made it before (it's an American dish for sure), I decided to give it a try. What better reason to try out one of the pans Jacquie gave me for Christmas?

I went to Randall's (our standard grocery shopping place) to get ingredients but as they didn't have normal buttermilk in stock (only the low-fat kind), I made a quick stop at Whole Foods Market as well. Whole Foods is almost interesting enough to write its own post about but suffice it to say, had it not been for their whole "health nut" image, with half the store filled with dietary supplements and vitamins, combined with their slightly higher prices, I'd really enjoy shopping there. I go there for the fish, and for certain specialty items that are harder to find elsewhere. In addition, they seem to have a pretty nice cheese counter so I'm sure I'll stop by for that from time to time as well. As I was about to pay for the buttermilk, the lady in front of me asked if I was going to drink it "just like that". I answered "nope, makin' cornbread" and she seemed pleased with that answer. Who the hell drinks buttermilk "just like that"?

This is the first request I do, and I really enjoyed the challenge of making something I have not made before (not that cornbread was particularly challenging). Hell, I've only ever tasted cornbread once before, but at least Jacquie let me know that it tasted the way it's supposed to and was good to boot. If you have a request - be it a recipe, a bartending technique or something else (related to food or drink, naturally), feel free to leave a comment to a blog post, shoot me an email, post on my Facebook wall, or send a carrier pigeon my way.

Roy, here's your cornbread recipe. Enjoy!


1/4 lb unsalted butter (1/2 stick) + butter or oil for greasing pan
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch pan (at least 1 inch deep) with melted butter or vegetable oil. Next, melt the butter in a pan over medium low heat. Once melted, add to a large bowl (or to the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, if you're using that). Add the sugar and stir. Add eggs immediately and beat until everything is well blended.

Next, mix buttermilk and baking soda in a different bowl. Add this to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and stir. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt. Once combined, pour into the form.

Cook in oven 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in form, cut into squares and serve with your favorite meal.

04 January 2009

"Put in the Pan"

Pytt i panna is a common Swedish meal, generally made from leftover beef the day after having steak. There are probably as many recipes as there are Swedish chefs (so fourteen or so), but it usually includes the previously mentioned beef (in small pieces), cut up hot dogs, potatoes and onion. I decided to make this with a little bit of a twist because I didn't have any leftover steak and I don't really want to put hot dogs in anything that isn't shaped like a bun (and doesn't taste like a bun).

My parents served a form of pytt i panna at their (now closed) restaurant - Le Petit Piteå in Perpignan, France. Here's my take:

Put in the pan (Andreas-style)

  • 1/2 lb ground beef (I used 20% fat)
  • 2 Italian sausages (I used mild, but spicy would work well too)
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 3 large shallots
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • Tabasco sauce
Cut the potatoes into half-inch squares. Peel and thinly slice the shallots. Put a pan over medium high heat on the stove. Add a little oil and a small dab of butter, if you wish. Add the potatoes to the pan. Flip the potatoes occasionally, making sure they get evenly fried. When they look like they are more or less done, add the shallots. In addition, add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the skin from the sausages, and cut them into small pieces. In a separate pan (cast iron skillet if you have it), add the sausages and the ground beef. Use a spatula to make sure the ground beef is adequately separated (we're not making meatballs here). Once cooked through, add the potato/shallot combination to this pan and stir. If you decided to use Tabasco sauce, now is the time to add it. Add more salt and pepper if required.

Serve immediately with fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Enjoy this fantastically healthy meal (no, not really).

02 January 2009

Pita Bread and Tzatziki

I went to a Greek/Mediterranean restaurant for lunch the other day and had a Gyro sandwich (unidentifiable meat in a pita bread with vegetables and a tzatziki sauce on the side). I'm happy to have located such a restaurant considering I love that sort of food and I didn't think I'd be able to locate something that tastes so authentically Greek in Austin. Since we decided to throw a New Year's Eve party and needed snacks, I figured I might as well make some tzatziki and pita bread from scratch. Here's a quick and simple recipe for pita bread and tzatziki. I use the stand mixer, of course, but it works well to knead by hand as well.

Pita bread

  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) quick-rising yeast
  • 3 - 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup hot water (but not too hot)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp for coating
Put the yeast, 2 cups of the flour, the salt, the water and 1 tbsp of oil in a large bowl. Mix until fully incorporated, then add flour until you have a soft and relatively sticky dough. Turn onto a floured board and knead for 5 minutes. Lightly coat a bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl, turning it to cover. Next, cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Turn your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius).

Once the dough is done rising, turn it out onto a floured board again and punch the air out. Divide into 8 equally sized pieces and form little balls. Roll each ball out into a circle, about 1/4 inch thick (be careful not to handle it too much at this point!), then place on a cookie sheet (lightly greased, or covered with baking paper). Place cookie sheet close to the bottom of the oven for 4 minutes, then turn and leave for another 4 minutes or until lightly brown.

Remove from oven and immediately cover in a kitchen towel for 4-5 minutes. Once this is done, gently press each pita bread to release the air from it, but be careful and do not do this once the bread has cooled completely. Store in zip lock bag - it will last 2-3 days in room temperature or a couple of months in the freezer. Makes for a great sandwich, just cut open and stuff with vegetables, beef, chicken or anything else you can think of.


  • 16 oz Greek yogurt (or plain yogurt)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 5 - 10 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
If you were unable to find Greek yogurt, the first step is to place a coffee filter in a funnel, put the normal plain yogurt in the coffee filter and let drip (into a bowl!) for at least 12 hours in the fridge. This will remove most of the moisture from the yogurt, which is imperative. I did my latest batch with Bulgarian yogurt, which was a little too "wet" and I should have let it drip for 4-5 hours but I didn't have the time.

Once your yogurt is prepared (or if you're using Greek), start by carefully washing the cucumbers and then cutting them in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Once removed, grab a grater and coarsly grate the cucumber into a bowl. Next, you need to remove as much moisture as possible from the cucumbers. One way is to place them in a (clean!) dish towel and squeeze it, but remember that it will be completely green when you're done and you may not be able to clean it completely. Don't use grandma's favorite towel, mkay? I generally just grab a handful of cucumber, squeeze it in the palm of my (clean!) hand and then place on paper towels. Once all the cucumber is done, place another paper towel on top and get rid of even more moisture.

Finally, the garlic. Peel and chop very finely (use a press if you have to, but...no, don't use a damned garlic press) is all you have to do.

Now, combine the oil and juice in a medium bowl. Add the yogurt and mix very well. Add the cucumber, garlic and salt. Stir well and taste - you may need to add some more salt. I generally add black pepper as well.

Garnish with a little parsley if you want to, or just eat it because that's what it's there for. Lasts a week in the fridge if well sealed. Does not freeze well.

Enjoy :)

Butternut Squash Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

A grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of soup is one of the staples in the Great American Diet - perfect for chilly fall evenings or perhaps as lunch in the midst of the snowy winter. Since we don't get snowy winters here in Austin, and "chilly" is when the mercury hits 60 degrees (that's 15 degrees Celsius for the rest of the world), I make my grilled cheese sandwiches and soup whenever I damn well please, thank you very much.

I was charged with the "make the food" task for Thanksgiving this year (all right, I charged myself with the "make the food" task, so what?) and decided to start people off with a butternut squash soup. It went down really well, so I decided to make it again recently, removing the canned tomato soup that generally seems to be the standard side for a grilled cheese from the equation. And now, the recipe!

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you're into that sort of thing, low salt content if you buy it)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt
  • pepper
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • butter or olive oil
Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds - these can be toasted in a pan for a snack once cleaned and dried, but I'm not going to go into detail here. Cut the squash halves into half inch-thick pieces (leave the peel on) and put them in an oven pan, skin side down. Dab with butter (or drizzle with olive oil), salt and pepper. Put the pan in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until very soft. Remove from oven. Scoop the fruit from the peel into a blender. Add the chicken stock and puree until no lumps remain (you can also use a stick blender if you have one, just put the ingredients in a pot instead). Pour the mixture into a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the heavy cream and nutmeg and bring back to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Yes, you probably don't need the recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich, but I'm going to be thorough here, so here it is anyway.

  • 2 slices of bread. I prefer sourdough, but anything goes
  • Enough cheese to cover the face of one slice of bread. I like Cracker Barrel Cheddar, but anything that melts goes (Mozzarella is interesting, and provolone is fantastic too)
  • Spreadable butter
  • Black pepper (optional)
Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread. I usually grab my bread from the freezer and by the time it's about to hit the pan, it'll be thawed enough. Now, add slices of cheese on the non-buttered side of one slice of bread. Add freshly ground black pepper, if you want to. Now add the other slice of bread on top, buttered side up.

Heat a skillet (I use my iron cast pan because iron cast pans rock) to medium high, add a tiny bit of vegetable oil if you want to, fry bread on each side for roughly one minute or until golden brown. Serve immediately with a cup of hot soup.

The soup will last in the fridge for 3-4 days, in the freezer for about a month but is absolutely best served right away. The sandwiches won't last long, at least not with me around because I'll eat them all.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer and other Christmas Loot

Since the day that I first saw it, the KitchenAid Artisan Series Tilt-Head 5qt Stand Mixer has been on my mental wish list. A while back, I decided to also add it to my Amazon.com wishlist and - what do you know - Jacquie's parents decided that I should have one, so they got me one. Jacquie, for the record, is my loving girlfriend who loves my cooking almost as much as I love to cook. The box arrived a few weeks before Christmas, and since I had completely forgotten that I wanted one, I had no idea what was in this huge box addressed to me. Come the day after Christmas (when her parents arrived), I went to town on the wrapping and was pretty stunned when I opened it, for two reasons: a) it was a KitchenAid Artisan Series Tilt-Head 5qt Stand Mixer (Empire Red) and b) it wasn't something with the New York Yankees logo on it.

I have so far made four things in it (over the course of five days since I first started using it): white bread, pita bread, macaroons and more pita bread.

My parents obviously also checked my Amazon.com wish list and got me the Global G2 20cm Chef's Knife - a fantastic piece of metal, that I have no idea how I've lived without until I got to try it. This thing is so sharp, I'm afraid I'll slice atoms in half, and that can't be good. Or can it? Either way, I'm loving it.

Jacquie gave me a Le Creuset 9" square dish (red) and another 5" dish with that, wonderful!

Yeah - our kitchen will definitely have a lot of red tings in it, considering that's the KitchenAid standard color, as well as the Le Creuset one.

Other food-related loot: a
"multi-purpose chop & lift" blade with measurements on it, a KitchenAid black spatula, some nice hand-painted espresso cups and espresso coffee beans. And a couple of bottles of rum. Rum is food, right?

I also got a subscription to the food magazines Gourmet (from my parents) and Louisiana Cookin' (from Jacquie's parents.)

All in all, a pretty damn fantastic pile of stuff, and while I generally love to give gifts more than receive them, this year was amazing.



I'm Andreas and this is my food blog. I intend to write about food and drinks, post some recipes of what I make, and post pictures of my food, drinks, cookware, and other food-related things.

I will try to update a few times a week and we'll see how well that works. Disregarding my blogging past (where I get really excited, post a bunch and then...forget about it), I'm confident this will work, since I love food.

All right, take it away...me!