December 15th, 2012

I was so inspired by Sarah’s post about the pumpkin cookies that I decided to do a bit of pumpkin baking of my own last week!  I used Sarah’s instructions to make my own homemade pumpkin puree, and then I followed a recipe I found online for pumpkin spice muffins.  

I did make one little adjustment to the recipe: I added mascarpone to the center of each muffin.  Before I started baking, I rolled some mascarpone into a log in some saran wrap and left it in the freezer.  When the batter was ready, I took it out of the freezer and cut it into twelve pieces.  To make the muffins themselves, I filled each muffin tin half way and placed a piece of frozen mascarpone on it before filling the muffin tin up the rest of the way.  It was a good decision.

The best thing about baking with pumpkin is the delicious smell that works its way through the house.  Even though I didn’t do anything for Thanksgiving in Berlin this year, the smell of the pumpkin spice muffins was a little bit of an instant, olfactory Thanksgiving a few weeks late in my apartment.  Definitely recommended for the homesick among us.

—Yahel

November 30th, 2012

One of my favorite kinds of food to make is savory tarts, especially in winter.  In order to make tarts, it is necessary to have a good, reliable recipe for tart dough.  Luckily, I have one that I love, and it’s very easy to make.  I used it last night to make a spinach and egg tart, a take on a recipe for Torta Pasqualina that I read once, and let me say, it turned out delicious.  Hello, lunch!

Savory Tart Dough:

250 g (2 cups) flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

125g butter, room-temperature and in small pieces

4 - 5 tablespoons room-temperature water

Mix together the flower and salt in a bowl.  Add the egg and the butter, using a pastry cutter or your hands to work them into the dough until the mixture has reached a crumbly consistency.  Add the water slowly (not all at once!  just a little bit in the beginning!), mixing it in until the dough holds together, but not adding so much water that the dough is sticky.  Knead for 5 - 8 minutes and shape the dough into a ball.  Wrap the ball of dough in saran wrap and put in the fridge for about two hours.  Take the dough out of the refrigerator a bit before you need to use it and roll it out into a thin sheet with a rolling pin.  Use as you will!  For a nice shiny top to your tart, paint it with egg yolk. 

Spinach and Egg Tart:

250g fresh spinach

salt, olive oil

1 medium-sized white onion

2 cloves garlic

5 eggs

1/2 cup or so mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup milk

Clean and chop the fresh spinach and boil until cooked but not mushy.  Coarsely chop the onion and thinly slice the garlic.  Sauté the onion in a frying pan with some oil on medium heat; after a few minutes, add the garlic.  After about 10 minutes, when the onions  are looking cooked but not burned, take off the fire and add the spinach, one beaten egg, and some salt.

Mix the mascarpone cheese, one egg, and the milk until smooth.  Add salt and pepper.  Mix this mixture into the spinach mixture in the frying pan and set aside.

Take your tart dough and roll it out into a thin sheet.  Press the dough into a pie dish or pyrex or whatever you are using for your tart, but leave about 1/3 of the doug aside so that you can cover the tart after.  When you are lining your pie dish with the dough, make sure that the dough comes all the way up the side of the dish and even a little past the top, so that you have something to work with when you cover the tart.  

When your dish is ready and lined with dough, pour the spinach mixture into the dish.  Make a little well in the spinach mixture, break an egg into a cup, and carefully pour the egg into the well.  Repeat this process with two more eggs.  Roll out the rest of the dough into a thin sheet.  Moisten the circle of dough on the top of the pie dish so that when you drape the new dough sheet over it, it has something to stick to.  Drape the dough sheet over your tart and press into the sides, so that the two doughs connect.  (Wow, this is harder to explain than I thought!  I hope this is comprehensible!)  Cut away the excess dough from around the pie dish.  Poke holes in the top of the tart with a fork.  Paint with egg yolk if you wish to.  

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius.  Remove after about an hour, when the dough is looking the right color, golden-brown.

—Yahel

November 27th, 2012
In Serbia you can’t escape pumpkins!
This past week my sister and I made pumpkin ravioli!  I consulted with this food blog for the basis of the recipe but made sure to add some quirky Sarah flavor in the mix!
For the dough, feel free to use less eggs, as the more eggs you use, the more dough you will have to fill! And for the puree, I recommend making it from scratch. Bake a pumpkin, clean it out and mash it up. In addition to the spices that the recipe calls for I added some brown sugar & cloves.
Living in Serbia, it is not always possible to find similar ingredients that are common in North America, so instead of a sage butter sauce, I sauteed fresh basil leaves with garlic, and it was delicious!
Enjoy!

In Serbia you can’t escape pumpkins!

This past week my sister and I made pumpkin ravioli!  I consulted with this food blog for the basis of the recipe but made sure to add some quirky Sarah flavor in the mix!

For the dough, feel free to use less eggs, as the more eggs you use, the more dough you will have to fill! And for the puree, I recommend making it from scratch. Bake a pumpkin, clean it out and mash it up. In addition to the spices that the recipe calls for I added some brown sugar & cloves.

Living in Serbia, it is not always possible to find similar ingredients that are common in North America, so instead of a sage butter sauce, I sauteed fresh basil leaves with garlic, and it was delicious!

Enjoy!

November 6th, 2012
Last week, I had a serious comfort food craving — I wanted something sweet and filling, but also simple and comforting.  I spent a while looking at recipes online and was quickly struck by a recipe for Yogurt Cake found at the Kitchn (amazing food blog, everyone read it now).  
I didn’t have enough sugar at home, so I used some honey as well, and I added a little more than just one pinch of nutmeg, which I love.  It turned out just sweet enough but not too sweet, and pleasantly spiced due to the nutmeg, with just a hint of olive oil.  It goes very well with a cup of tea in the late afternoon, towards the end of the work day; now that it’s getting dark earlier, I’m finding I really need that pick-me-up.
—Yahel
Recipe for Yogurt Cake (from the Kitchn):
1 1/2 cups full-fat yogurt2/3 cup olive oil1 1/4 cup sugar3 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder3/4 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon saltPinch freshly ground nutmeg
Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan lightly with baking spray or oil, and line the bottom with parchment.
Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and nutmeg right into the liquids and stir just until no lumps remain.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, covering with foil at the end if the top is browning. When a tester comes out clean, transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. When well-wrapped, this keeps very well for several days.

Last week, I had a serious comfort food craving — I wanted something sweet and filling, but also simple and comforting.  I spent a while looking at recipes online and was quickly struck by a recipe for Yogurt Cake found at the Kitchn (amazing food blog, everyone read it now).  

I didn’t have enough sugar at home, so I used some honey as well, and I added a little more than just one pinch of nutmeg, which I love.  It turned out just sweet enough but not too sweet, and pleasantly spiced due to the nutmeg, with just a hint of olive oil.  It goes very well with a cup of tea in the late afternoon, towards the end of the work day; now that it’s getting dark earlier, I’m finding I really need that pick-me-up.

Yahel

Recipe for Yogurt Cake (from the Kitchn):

1 1/2 cups full-fat yogurt
2/3 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg

Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan lightly with baking spray or oil, and line the bottom with parchment.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and nutmeg right into the liquids and stir just until no lumps remain.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, covering with foil at the end if the top is browning. When a tester comes out clean, transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. When well-wrapped, this keeps very well for several days.

October 31st, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Don’t count them till they rise!


½ cup of Pumpkin Puree (made from a real pumpkin)*
½ cup of sugar, I mixed brown and white sugar together
1 egg
¼ cup of vegetable oil
1 tbls milk (I used soymilk)
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1-2 tsp of cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, & cloves
1 tsp of vanilla
½ cup of chocolate chips or chopped dark baking chocolate (to better taste the spices, leave out the chocolate, and add a bit more flour)

How to make the cookies….!
Mix together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl, flour, spices, baking powder and baking soda.. Mix together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, egg, sugar, oil, milk, vanilla, and pumpkin puree.
Then slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once the two mixtures are combined use a spoon and scoop out your cookies onto the baking sheet.


I baked the cookies at 350F for about 8 to 10minutes, on baking paper.
This recipe makes 10 to 15 cookies.  


*How to make Pumpkin Puree from scratch. Set out to the field, farm, or store in search of a classic round orange pumpkin, but remember not get a funky gourd instead. Cut the pumpkin into small piece and bake the pieces at 350F or 180C for 20 to 45min, until soft.

Do not boil the pumpkin pieces! If you boil the pumpkin it will absorb lots of water and when you bake the cookies the water will flood out of the cookies! and instead of having cookies you will have a crepe like thing… this is what happened the first time that I tried to make pumpkin puree. So, don’t count them till they rise!

When the pumpkin pieces are soft and can mash easily with a fork, remove it from the oven and let the pieces cool. Once the pieces are no longer hot, remove the skin and then start smashing the pumpkin (I use a fork) until it becomes the mushy consistency that you see when you buy it in the can. If you bake a whole pumpkin, consider making a soup out of your extra puree!

Sarah

October 25th, 2012

The leaves in Berlin are all different colors and the weather is getting colder.   All of this makes it impossible not to flash back to the Thanksgiving dinner that Sarah and I cooked together for our friends in Berlin a little more than a year ago.  In a way, this is the beginning of our cooking adventures together.  Above, the seeds for A Maidel with a Ladle are planted. 

Yahel

September 28th, 2012

An Explanatory Note.

To quickly (and maybe unnecessarily) explain our choice of name, we were inspired by the phrase in Yiddish “A Maidel mit a Klaidel,” meaning a little lady showing off her dress.  We figured ladles would be more useful than Klaidels in the kitchen and voila, our name was born.