Sunday, April 8, 2012


I recently read this NY Times article about a German deli/cafe opening up two locations in lower Manhattan.  Then a Gothamist article highlighted their Flammkuchen (which they oddly translate into "Flaming Pie."  I think Flame cake is probably the better translation)  Evidently, they used to be baked within stone hearths.  Blokey and I had the pleasure of eating too much Flammkuchen on our trip to Germany two years ago, during a short Rhine Valley wine tour.  So of course, I became obsessed with making some Flammkuchen ourselves.  (Training up into Manhattan to wait in line is not my idea of a fun Saturday evening).
I found a few recipes online but they mostly require some pork product.  (I had my Flammkuchen with Speck, which is a German ham).  Since Blokey is veggie, we relied on mushrooms, black olives, and red onions to do the trick.  I think I may have a new favorite.  They're not greasy, so I can see making a few of these in advance as casual food to bring to a party.


2 c. of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. of white flour
2 1/4 teas of instant yeast* (one package)
1 1/2 c. of water
2 Tbs of olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Mix everything together and knead for about 6 minutes.  Cover with a wet tea towel.  Set aside for 30 minutes (FK typically has a crispy, not fluffy crust).

-1/2 of creme fraise (which we didn't have.  I mixed together sour cream and lowfat plain yogurt. I've read that whipping cream plus 2 tbs of buttermilk mixed in the night before is a DIY creme fraise).
- 2 - 8 oz containers of cremini mushrooms (or your favorite), cleaned and sliced
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
6 oz. (usually a standard can) of black olives, drained and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 oz. of mild white cheese (usually a Swiss is good) grated
olive oil
flour for rolling
parchment paper

Pre-heat the oven as high as it goes (mine is about 550' F)
You can skip this first step, but I like to to saute the 'shrooms with olive oil and garlic prior to everything else.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Using the flour, roll out into thin, long crusts (thinner than most thin crust pizzas.  Not quite a cracker).  Place one crust on the parchment paper.
Spread the creme fraise onto the crust.  Arrange 1/4 of the mushrooms, olives, and onions on top.  Sprinkle small handful of the cheese sparingly (this is no NY slice!) over the toppings.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and browned.
Serve with a green salad.  (If you're in the party spirit- some Rhine valley wine!) The onions add a really nice crunch and sweetness, so please don't leave them out (even Blokey, who doesn't like to eat onions, agreed that they made the Flammkuchen even more).

Monday, May 23, 2011

(Don't ever) rub another man's rhubarb (cobbler)

Oops, I've been away from the blog-osphere for a long time, especially the food one.  But I've been cooking, just nothing special. 
However, it's that magical, allergy, thunderstorm, and flood-filled time of the year- end of term!  Also, spring, which means leafy greens, the start of my CSA, and rhubarb, staring at me longingly from greenmarket stands and grocery store.  Even though finals aren't over (and therefore not graded), my brain is in less work mode.  Enter seasonal baking, to take care of my sluggishness and my compulsion to be productive.
The title of this post comes from the 1989 Batman movie, although I know it because a smart alecky fellow 8th grader asked our Latin teacher this question.  We were in that position of middle school in which the person who mocked the teacher the most got the most social prestige.  We all started laughing, although I had no idea what rhubarb was or what this mean.  (Our classmate got in trouble, but he didn't mind).  Now, whenever I see rhubarb, I want to make a crumble or a cobbler, and I giggle maniacally.
This recipe is adapted from All Recipes entry, although I adapted it in a couple ways.  First, I made the cobbler into a buttermilk/soda drop biscuit, instead of a baking powdered/milk one.  I lowered the sugar by about 25%, and I cooked the rhubarb a wee bit longer.  And I increased the rhubarb, which is the real star in this show.  This tastes good fresh out of the oven as a dessert, or with some plain/vanilla yogurt in the morning for breakfast.

Variations: lower the sugar a bit more, and substitute half of the rhubarb with apples or strawberries. 

For the filling:
2/3 cup of white sugar (I used vegan organic cane sugar)
2 Tbs of corn starch
1 1/2 lbs of chopped rhubarb (Mark Bitmann recommends that you "stem" it, but I didn't)
1 Tbs of water
some butter, for the pan
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 splash of vanilla

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Simmer the first 4 ingredients over medium heat about 5 minutes.  Add the other ingredients.  Stir occasionally.

1 c. of whole wheat flour
1 Tbs of sugar
1 1/4 tsp of baking power
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 c. of butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 c. of plain yogurt/buttermilk
1 egg
Coarse sugar for sprinkling
  • Cut in the butter and dry ingredients using a pastry blender (or a fork and knife).  Add the yogurt and egg.  Stir into a thicker batter (but don't over stir).
  • Pour the rhubarb mixture into a 8" round glass plate.  Add spoonfuls of biscuit mixture on top.  Spring with coarse sugar on top.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes.
  • Let cool about 10 minutes.  Try not to eat all in one sitting.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Slightly more healthy banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

It's been a long time since I've posted, and there's good reasons for that, but not very good reasons.  This Wednesday, I gave the first of my final exams, and I was feeling snacky.   We had some oatmeal, 1/2 of bag of chocolate chips, and other fixin's in the house.  But lately, I've been cutting back on the sugar, so I didn't want a typical cookie recipe (if you cut back on sugar, I find the going back to regular sweets can be a hit in the face of too sweetness).  I based these cookies off this Betty Crocker recipe, and they turned out pretty good, even with the substitutions.  This includes some mashed banana in lieu of butter, and the banana's sweetness substituting a lot of sugar.  The end result is really something in between a not too sweet but soft scone and a cookie. 

3/4-1 c. of evaporated cane sugar
1 stick of butter (softened)
1 1/2 mashed bananas
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 c. of flour (i mixed white and whole wheat from King Arthur)
2 c. of old fashioned oats (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 teas of baking soda
1/4 teas of salt
1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. of chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350
Cream together butter and sugar until well incorporated.  Add bananas, vanilla and egg (I used the whisk attachment on my hand blender).  Then add the dry ingredients (I skip the second bowl and try to mix the salt/soda in the flour on top first before mixing with the wet ingredients) and mix until moistened.  Finally, add the chips and nuts.
Bake on a cookie sheet (I fit about 16 on my large-ish Ikea sheet) for 10-12 minutes.  These take a bit longer to cook because of the lowered sugar content, and they aren't the same caramel brown like standard cookies, but they make up in softness and tastiness.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Zucchini Kuchen

When I took a German class back in the day, we read a recipe in the "Kochen" chapter for zuccinni fritters. I forget the word for fritters now- it could be "Kuchen" (which is commonly used to for all cake like things- like potato pancakes are Kartoffel Kuchen) or it could be Schmalzgebackenes. Steven and I are going to Frankfurt to visit friends and for part of our "honeymoon," so I've had Deutschland on the brain. We got about 1 lbs. of local organic zukes the other day, so I looked up a zucchini fritter recipe, with minimal frying oils. They were easy and Blokey approved. They could probably be baked in the oven as well.

Lower-fat zucchini fritters (adapted from Spark Recipes)
1/3 c. of whole wheat flour
1/2 teas. of baking powder
1/2 teas. of salt
1/8 teas. of pepper
dash of paprika (Hungarian)
2 eggs, beaten (replace with appropriate amounts of Ener-G egg replacer or thickened ground flax seed to make vegan)
3 c. of shredded zucchini (about 3-4 medium sized ones)
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs of fresh parlsey, chopped.
Olive oil for cooking

Mix together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, paprika, and eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) and mix well.
Warm up about 1/2 Tb of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to drop rounds onto the skillet. I fit 4 into a 10" pan.
Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side.
Serve with apple sauce, plain yogurt, or some jam (seriously).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oven fried salt and vinegar crips

I have been intrigued by Heidi Swanson's grilled salt and vinegar potatoes since it was posted. I passed along the recipe to Anne of Shepwell Kitchen a few weeks ago, and she tried it with a garlic bath. My first time trying this, in an oven, I sliced the potatoes a wee bit to thick. The thinner ones were better, so I decided when our CSA gave us about 2 lbs of potatoes and the weather dipped below 85 to give it another go. But thinner this time.

Salt and vinegar oven crips

4 c. or so of white vinegar
5-6 medium sized waxy potatoes (we used red ones)
olive oil (for tossing)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill a medium sized saucepan with vinegar and bring to boil (I left the heat low so I could take my time with the potato cutting).
Wash and cut out the eyes of the potatoes. Peel if you're using conventional (non-organic) ones. Slice real real thin, but not paper thin. Try to be as consistent as possible. A mandolin would probably help but those things scare me.
Place as many slices that will reasonably fit into the vinegar bath. Bring to boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes. Take out the potato slices with a slotted spoon, and place into a large bowl. Add the remaining potato pieces and repeat process.
Be sure to drain out excess vinegar juice. Toss the potatoes with just enough olive oil to coat. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Salt. Bake for 4-5 minutes, then flip them over, and bake again 4-5 minutes. Keep a good eye of them so they don't burn. A little crisp is perfect.
I had to make two trays full.

Served as a side dish to our go-to summer dinner- big ole' salad. (There are no black olives in this salad, just dark purple carrot coins).

These were quite vinegary, just enough salt, and not too bad for you. I try to take Michael Pollan's advice seriously- you can eat junky treats, as long as you make it yourself (from scratch).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


For some reason, we've been getting a lot of beets in our CSA. When Blokey's parents were in town, we went to Brighton Beach and we got some borscht for his gastro-adventureous mother. We've gotten these delicious, local and organic beets in our CSA pick up twice now.
This stuff fills me up but is actually quite lite. I recommend that you don't wear light colors while making this delicious veggie stew.

3 large beets, washed and peeled (keep the greens, washed too)
2 potatoes or turnips, rinsed and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 bunch of parsley, washed and chopped
1/4 c. of fresh dill, washed and chopped
2 onions, diced
2 Tbs of olive oil
1/2 head of cabbage, cored, and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 c. of plain yogurt
pepper to taste
1/2 teas of oregano
6 Tbs of apple cider vinegar
caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice (or 5 all spice berries)
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons of salt (this has to be to your tastes though, don't just dump it in)
Dark rye or pumpernickel bread

Thinly slice the beets into match sticks. This will take time, but it's worth it.
Next start cooking the onions and 1 clove of garlic in oil in a large soup pot. Ours is coated with chemical goo, but it works. Cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes, until softened.
Add grated carrots and potatoes, and stir. Cook another 2-3 minutes, then add the beets. Continue to cook and stir for about 4-5 minutes (add more oil if you'd like) and then add the cabbage, and enough water to cover by 2 inches, all spice, bay leaf, pepper, oregano, caraway seed. Bring to boil, and then simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Add the beet greens, parsley, apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 the dill and simmer another 5-10 minutes, until everything is the desired consistency.
In the mean time, mix the other 1/2 of the dill with 1 clove of chopped garlic with the yogurt.
Salt the soup to your desire saltiness. Always undersalt, you can always add more. Add more vinegar if you desire (we generally add more).
Serve warm with toasted rye bread and garnish with yogurt. We usually butter the bread, but that makes the meal non-vegan.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Savory rainbow chard and mushroom tart with potatoes

Tonight, it finally got below 80 degrees, which is a big deal if you don't use the A/C your in-laws generously sent. We've lately become Stan Cox devotees (except on the train), so I baked now that it was a little cooler out. We got some rainbow swiss chard the other day and I really wanted to make an eggy, cheesy quiche. But since I stink at quiches, I made a tart instead.
This is an adaptation of the Fresh Direct recipe. Oops, did I fail to mention that sometimes, we get our groceries delivered? I have a lot of enviro-angst about this too, but since we don't own a car, and sometimes I am not always well served by the grocery stores in our neighborhood (and buying groceries in Manhattan and lugging them down to Brooklyn only makes sense during the school year), we resort to this sometimes.

Savory rainbow chard with mushroom tart
(approx 1 hr to prep, serves 4)

1 bunch of rainbow chard, washed and finely chopped (separate out the stems)
1/2 onion, diced
4 oz of baby bella mushrooms, rinsed and chopped
1/4 c. and 1 Tbs of olive oil
1/4 teas. of salt
salt, pepper, and oregano to taste
1 c. of whole wheat flour
3 large eggs
1/3 c. of finely grated parmesan
1/4 c. of crumbled feta
1/4 c. of milk

Preheat the oven to 400.

Mix 1 cup of flour, 1/4 teas. of salt, and 1/4 c. of olive oil in a bowl. It should get to be grainy but doughy. Press into the bottom of a pie plate and stick in the oven (to firm up a bit) for about 4-5 minutes.

Cook the onions in the remaining olive oil over medium heat, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the mushroom, and stir occasionally, another 3 minutes. Next add the chopped chard stems and stir. You can increase the heat a bit here. Add the leaves, stir, and cook until the liquid boils off.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cheese.

When the liquid is evaporated from the chard/mushroom mixture, empty the mixture on top of the crust in the pie pan.

Pour the egg/milk/cheese mixture on top, and bake for 40 minutes.

post baking goodness (it tasted meaty! But there was no meat!)

But in full disclosure, the "crust" was neither good nor necessary. Next time, I'll forgo the crust entirely and make it frittata, upping the recipe to 5 eggs.

Roasted Potatoes with Paprika
In the meantime, scrub and dice 4 medium potatoes. Toss with 1 Tbs of olive oil, and bake in the same oven for about 30 minutes. You can turn the oven onto broil and stick the pan in the broiler for 3 minutes to get the tops crispy. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Our baby cat Buster really wanted the potatoes.