April 28, 2013

17*52 Mexican Quiche

Sometimes I just have to bake something savory. I hope you understand.

Have I already told you how much I miss Mexican and Tex-Mex food?
If you know a great Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurant in Europe, please let me know. The ones I've been to have been good but not entirely convincing.
(Sorry guys - if somebody else had said that I would have been offended and a bit pissed... But that's just the way it is and I don't mean to sound pretentious. Really.)

So for now, let's bake something Mexican-inspired at home. 

Mexican Quiche
Adapted from the foodnetwork

500 g (1 lb) ground beef
3 eggs, beaten
200 g (1 cup) salsa
170 g (2 cups) shredded cheese
1 onion, finely diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
fresh cilantro
sour cream
black olives
  • Prepare crust. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until they are softening. Drain off liquid, if necessary, and add jalapeños and spices. Cook for another 2 minutes. 
  • Take off heat, add salsa, eggs, and cheese, and pour into crust. 
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Serve with cilantro, diced tomatoes, sour cream, avocado slices (or guacamole), and/or olives. And a little side salad (like iceberg with just a vinegar-no oil dressing).
My modifications:
I added the bell pepper and I think it would have been a bit too meaty if I hadn't.
I also added the jalapeños because I love them and I could eat them with anything. If you like it a bit spicy, don't leave them out.
The original recipe calls for a ready-made pie/pastry crust but I think you might as well make your own. It's quick and easy and good.

The taste:
Very good. A solid and yummy dinner. Maybe not tooooo Mexican but hey...
I think I would add a bit more spices next time. But that's about it.

Is there a specific food you miss where you live? What is it?

Quiche / (Savory) Pie Crust

This is my go-to crust recipe for any quiche or savory pie. It is so quick and easy to make, there's really no need to buy the ready-made one.

It's from a recipe for Tuna Quiche which is a classic in my family and which my mom got from another lady about 25 years ago.

150 g (1 1/3 stick) butter, cold
200 ml (3/4 cup) flour
3 tablespoon cold water
  • Knead together all ingredients. It works best using your hands.
  • Distribute evenly in quiche or pie baking dish. Also easiest when just using your fingers - no rolling pin needed. Also: no prior greasing of the pan needed because there is so much butter in the crust itself.
  • Cool in fridge until filling is ready.

April 21, 2013

16*52 Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt

Almonds. Covered in dark chocolate. And a layer of sea salt.
Doesn't that sound like a great combination? It really is. Best from a Confiserie here in Basel.

We were invited to dinner at a friend's house and she and her boyfriend love those almonds. As a small thank you gift for them, I thought I would bake something that goes into that direction. Makes it a bit more personal than just buying a pack of those almonds which they could always do themselves. Luckily, I found the recipe below which sounded like it would hit it on the spot. Let's see if the cookies can hold up to the almonds...

Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt
Adapted slightly from Food52

Makes about 2 dozen small or 1 dozen big cookies

120 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
115 g (¾ cup) almond meal
114 g (1 stick) butter, at room temperature + 2 tablespoons (for chocolate filling)
55 g (¼ cup) granulated sugar  
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
113 g (4 oz) dark chocolate, in small pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
sea salt, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Whisk together flour and almond meal in a small bowl.
  • Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then the almond-flour mixture and mix until combined (do not overmix).
  • Roll dough into small balls, place them on your prepared cookie sheet with enough space between them, and make an indention in the middle of each ball. This works best with the back of a wooden cooking spoon. Bake 10-15 minutes until the cookies are only slightly colored. Let cool on a cooling rack.
  • For the chocolate filling, combine chocolate, 2 tablespoons of butter, and syrup. Melt over hot water and stir until smooth. Let cool a bit, then fill thumbprints with chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt. The chocolate should be completely set within about one hour.

My modifications:
The recipe called for the zest of 1 lemon which I omitted. I didn't think it fits into the overall flavor I was hoping for.

The taste:
Heavenly. I really, really like them. And so quick and easy to make - this recipe is definitely a keeper!

Do you like the combination of chocolate and salt? Any favorite products or recipes?

April 14, 2013

15*52 Amerikaner (aka Black & White Cookies)

My grandma gave me two of her cookbooks recently.

One into which she wrote the recipes herself. Very cool and I'm so glad to have this. But it's really hard to read/decipher.
The second one is a baking book classic that probably every household in Germany owns: Backen macht Freude (Baking brings Joy) by Dr. Oetker. Unfortunately, there is no publishing year in the book but I assume that it is from the 50s or 60s.

Looking through the book, I decided to make 'Amerikaner' (Americans). 
It's a classic that I haven't had in a loooong time (I'm actually gonna have to check if bakeries still sell it. If they do, not as much as they used to, that's for sure). 
In the States, Amerikaner are known as Black & White Cookies. It's funny, isn't it? And while making the dough I was wondering if the German term for it is actually politically inspired :)

Amerikaner (Black & White Cookies)

Makes 10 bigger ones or up to 20 small ones

100 g butter, room temperature
100 g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 eggs
pintch of salt
1 sachet pudding powder with almond flavor (or 40 g cornstarch and a few drops of bitter almond oil/extract)
3 tablespoons milk
250 g flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

100 g powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • Beat butter until creamy. One after the other, add sugar, vanilla (sugar), eggs, salt, and pudding powder (dissolved in the milk). Add flour and baking powder. The dough should be very firm.
  • Using 2 tablespoons, make heaps onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on size), brushing them with a bit of milk after the first 7-10 minutes. Let cool slightly. 
  • Prepare both glazes by equally dividing the powdered sugar between two bowls, adding the cocoa powder to one half, and stirring in 1-2 tablespoons of water into each bowl. The glaze shouldn't be too runny, so be careful with the water and add only little at a time. Glaze the bottoms of those Americans with one glaze after the other.

My modifications:

The taste:
Not like I remember an 'Amerikaner' but good. Nothing spectacular but nice as a little something to snack on. They are not really cookie-like nor really cake-like. Hard to explain - guess you'll have to try for yourselves...

Have your grandmas, moms, or anybody else passed cookbooks along to you? 
If so, do you use them a lot? Which is your favorite recipe?

April 7, 2013

14*52 Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Spring is around the corner. I know it.
It must be hiding somewhere but it's ready to make a full appearance. Soon.

Until then, let's continue to eat chocolate. Okay?

Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson aka Joy the Baker


110 g (3/4 cup) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
114 g (1 stick) butter
85 g (3 oz) dark chocolate
65 g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
110 g (1/2 cup) white sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
85 g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Remove the bowl from water once both have melted. Whisk in both sugars, then the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla.
  • Fold in flour mix and when combined, the chocolate chips.
  • Pour into prepared 20 cm (8 in) pan and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • Let cool completely before frosting.

81 g (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature
30 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
150 g (1 1/4 cups) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoon Ovomaltine (Ovaltine) powder
  • Cream together butter, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the powdered sugar, then the milk and vanilla. Stir together cream and Ovomaltine powder and add to the frosting until it reaches your desired consistency. 

My modifications:

The taste:
Heavenly. The brownies are pretty dense and neither gooey, nor too cake-like. But I still really love them. And then the frosting! Very devilish...
And adding some fresh raspberries makes it even a tiny bit better.

What's your recipe to fight the winter blues?

April 1, 2013

13*52 Pizza with Bell Pepper & Goat's Cheese

Right before travelling, I'm normally not in the mood to bake something big and complicated.
Who's gonna eat it anyway?
Plus, I'm usually trying to empty the fridge so that nothing goes bad or has to be thrown away.

These two reasons combined led me to making this let's-use-what-we-have-in-the-fridge-and-has-to-be-eaten-before-we-leave pizza...

(Thanks for understand the briefness of this post and the simplicity of the recipe. I did mention that I'll be travelling - or was travelling when you read this, right? Exactly...)

Pizza with Bell Pepper & Goat's Cheese

1 pizza dough (home-made or ready-made)
tomate paste or sauce
salt, pepper, dried oregano
1 (red) bell pepper
grated parmesan
goat's cheese (the soft cream cheese kind)
  • Roll out dough onto baking sheet.
  • Top with tomato sauce, season to taste.
  • Sprinkle parmesan over dough, add bell pepper rings or stripes, and crumble goat's cheese over it.
  • Bake at 220°C (430°F) for about 20-25 minutes.

My modifications:
None, since it's my combination.

The taste:
Really good! I always love the combination of bell pepper and goat's cheese anyway.

What was your best leftover baking or cooking result?