Monday, June 27, 2011

Keens Steakhouse

I just saw that my article about Keens' Steakhouse in New York for the blog of White Line Hotels is online!

you can find the whole article here!

Thanks a lot for editing, Melissa!

And special thanks to Erin and Carson for recommending it to us. I still miss the cat-sized T-Bone and the "tenderly raped-by a barbecue" filet mignon...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quiche aux champignons

I made this quiche the other day and it turned out pretty well.
It was a bit more work than I expected because you have to fry each ingredient before finally baking the whole quiche...
But it was worth the effort. 
Again I found this recipe in another France-themed issue of "Lust auf Genuß"- magazine. 
There they served it as four small tartelettes. 
Instead of four small tartelettes I made one big quiche because I only have one big baking pan.
I also changed a few other things, like using rosemary instead of parsley because it adds much more flavour and goes well with mushrooms, and instead of two shallots I chopped an onion because I didn't have any shallots at home...

Here's what you need:

200g frozen ready-made pastry (ca 4 sheets)
500g mushrooms (champignons, portobellos)
1 onion
100g smoked bacon
1 Tbsp ground/finely chopped fresh rosemary (ca 4-5 twigs)
2 Tbsp butter and some butter for greasing the pan.
3 eggs
200g cream
50g-75g Gruyere
Salt, Pepper 

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Defrost the ready-made pastry sheets.
Clean the mushrooms and cut into thin slices (do not wash them! Just gently brush off the dirt).
Dice the onion into fine little cubes.
Dice the bacon into cubes.
Melt butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and fry them at medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Remove the mushrooms and set them aside.
Now fry the bacon cubes in the same pan.
Remove the bacon and set it aside, as well.
Sauté the onion cubes in the bacon-mushroom fat.
In a bowl shortly whisk the eggs.
Mix in the cream and the finely chopped rosemary.
Carefully season with salt and pepper (bacon and gruyere already add salt to it!).
Take the defrosted pastry plates and knead them all together to one big piece of dough.
On a floured working top roll out the dough by using a rolling pin.
Make sure the dough is bigger than the baking pan. 
Place the dough in the pan and press the longer edges onto the border of the cake pan.
The pastry border should be approx. 3-4cm high.
Pierce the dough repeatedly with a fork.
Now one after another place the mushrooms, onion cubes, bacon cubes and the cheese on the pastry bottom of the pan and spread everything evenly.
Pour the egg cream on top of it.

Bake for approx. 40 minutes.

Let it cool down for a bit.

Served best with a salad and a glass of white wine.

PS: While typing this blog post a young obviously flight inexperienced pigeon landed in our chive&dill bed... So ugly and somehow cute at the same time. Also funny and disgusting at the same time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our first rasberries! wohoo!

We bought a rasberry and a blackberry plant last year in spring but were not very lucky.
No fruits in 2010.
Even worse: the blackberry didn't make it through the Russian climate influenced winter of Berlin.
The rasberry plant however survived (maybe it fed off the blackberry by sucking out it's life energy...).
It grew strong and is now covered with berries that are now turning red.
We were already able to harvest some and, what can I say, they were delicious!
At this point I feel obliged to say thank you to Wil's enthusiasm when it comes to gardening.
He is taking care of all the plants.
A real plant-dad...
Good to have a gardener in the family.
If I had taken care of them they would probably be dead already.

Anyway, here are some pics:

Tomatoes soon, as well!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Elderflower-Strawberry Punch...finally!

I know, I know...
Some of you have been waiting for me to post this recipe.
To be honest: 
the basic punch mix was sitting in my fridge waiting for the right moment to get used.
I found the recipe in the German cooking magazine "Lust auf Genuss" .

It is relatively easy to make and so much fun because ideally you get to pick elderflowers that in May/June grow everywhere, even in the city of Berlin!
Until a few months ago, I didn't even know what these flowers were.
 But it is fantastic that you can just walk around and pick them.
If eldeflowers don't grow where you live or you want to prepare this punch outside elderflower season you can just use syrup instead.
Most organic and grocery stores carry it (at least here in Germany).

elderflower umbel, looking a bit rough

 Anyway this punch is the perfect summer drink.
Have some friends over, throw on the barbecue and enjoy the nicest days of the year!

What you need:

400ml white wine (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc)
700ml water
1 lemon
150g sugar
1 bottle prosecco/cremant/champagne 
10 elderflower umbels 
(those saucer-shaped things were the blossoms sit on...)
300-500g strawberries

Cut the lemon into slices.
In a saucpan heat up wine, water, sugar and the lemon slices.
As soon as the sugar dissolved remove the mix from heat.

Carefully wash the elderflower umbels and remove them from dirt.
Add the elderflower umbels (keep some blossoms for garnish) to the mix, 
cover it up, and let it sit over night.

The next day pour the wine-elderflower mix through a fine strainer or even better, 
through a piece of cloth.

Wash and quarter the strawberries.
Put icecubes and strawberries in a big bowl or can. 
Add some of the leftover elderflower blossoms. 
First pour in the wine-elderflower mix, 
then top off with a bottle of prosecco/cremant/champagne.

Serve in wine or special punch glasses!

  • The mix is quite intense and sweet. I used two bottles of prosecco instead of just one, which was totally fine. That way you have more punch...
  • Also when using the syrup instead of the flowers, I would recommend to replace the sugar with the same amount of syrup. The good thing here: it won't have to sit overnight.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pentecost weekend with Mum, turtle and Schiffchen!

Last weekend Wil and I visited my Mum in Mülheim an der Ruhr.
It was her birthday and also Pentecost.
Well Pentecost is actually not important to me at all.
But the main reason for visiting was that I still had to redeem a gift certificate my Mum gave me for my birthday back in December which was a dinner at "Im Schiffchen", a two Michelin star gourmet restaurant in Düsseldorf Kaiserswerth.


Chef Jean-Claude Bourgueil (pic found here)

Restaurant "Im Schiffchen", by Ernst-Wilhelm Sträter

I have never been to a restaurant like that.
It was raining but an umbrella holding page came and picked each one of us up from the car.
Inside the restaurant the waiters with a small knife would wipe off  the breadcrumbs from our table onto a small tray and would change our napkins by using a tong (!!!) each time one of us went to the bathroom.
A lot of unnecessary chichi, I know, but kind of impressive nevertheless I have to say.
Unfortunately I couldn't take any pictures.
The best was definitely the menu.
Small portions but pretty filling.
Also they would bring us "extra treats from the kitchen" that were not even on the menu.
If I have the time I will try to translate and write down each course.
Until then German and French speakers are in advantage.
But main ingredients were foie gras, truffle, beef tartar, caviar, all kinds of fish and fruits, lobster, deer, chocolate and last but not least: gold (yep).

My aperitif was a glass of champagne with ginger liquor.
The white wine we drank with the fish smelled like cat pee, which, no kidding, is a common description for wine flavors.
The wine itself was really good but, of course, that was pretty funny.
Especially because my Mum's husband was kind of disgusted, when I told him...

The red wine was a Chateau Neuf du Pape from the vinyard La Nerthe, which, by the way, is the vinyard on which Wil proposed to me...

Ok, that should be enough bragging.
I cannot wait for my next ultra-fancy restaurant experience!

PS: Now I almost forgot to tell you about Sieglinde, the turtle that my Mum dicovered in her pond a few days ago. This doesn't have to do with food at all (no, we are not going to eat Sieglinde). But it is pretty cute.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fetuccine with green asparagus and garlic pepper butter

Before asparagus season is over I had to prepare one more favorite asparagus meal.
Tim Mälzer, Germany's Jamie Oliver once cooked this in his show.
It is very simple, but so delicious!
It's best if you use fresh pasta and not the dried one.
I'm lucky to have several markets near my apartment that have fresh pasta stands.
You do not have to use Fetuccine.
Tagliatelle is fine and might even be better since the pasta is a little thinner.

Here is what you need for two people:

300-400g (fresh) Fettuccine/Tagliatelle
750g green asparagus
250g butter
65g green pepper (in a glass/pickled?)
3-4 garlic cloves (preferably fresh)
chervil (one bunch)
parmesan (grana padano/parmigiano reggiano)

Chop the garlic cloves.
Blend the green pepper corns with garlic and season the mixture with salt.
Mix in the butter until everything is evenly mixed.
Remove the dried out ends of the asparagus and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Heat up a pan and add about two tablespoons of the garlic-pepper butter.
When melted add the asparagus.
Make sure all asparagus pieces are coated with the melted butter.
Fry it for 3-5 minutes.
Then add a little bit of water (about 100ml) and let everything cook for at least another 5 minutes.
The asparagus should neither be too hard nor too soft and mushy.
Meanwhile fill a big saucepan with water and bring the water to boil.
Then add about 1-1.5 Teaspoons of salt and the pasta to it.
If the pasta comes in a bundle make sure to disconnect and losen the pasta strings a bit from each other.
Boil for about 5 minutes or according to the cooking instructions on the package.
Better try in between to make sure the pasta stays al dente.
When al dente strain the pasta.
Then add it to the asparagus and garlic-pepper butter and mix well.
Pour into two bowls and garnish with chopped chervil and freshly grated parmesan.

Pair with a Pinot Gris or pinot Blanc.

PS: I couldn't find chervil this time. So I used parsley as garnish instead.
Chervil tastes better though.
It is finer and tastes almost sweet, a bit similar to anise...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Perfect Sunday Breakfast...

...with eggs, bacon,  potato fritters, fruits, nutella and sweet buns and cookies from Hacker!

Hacker is this old-timey bakery on Stargarder Str. 69 in 10437 Berlin.
It has been around since 1970 and survived the fall of the berlin wall and the change from kommunism to capitalism.  Everything is really cheap. Normal buns "Schrippen" are 20Cents a piece. the sweet yeast buns called "Splitterbrötchen" are 35Cents a piece and delicious! I recommend to come early in the morning when they are still soft and warm....hmmm.