Sunday, July 25, 2010

The secret's in the sauce

If you asked my sister what I am having for dinner, she would say: "She's either eating Spaghetti Carbonara or her rice-noodle dish." She claims that I eat those two dishes constantly, whereas I claim, that she only asks me about my dinner the days I am preparing one of them. 
Fair enough, I do eat my rice-noodle dish quite often. It is just sooo tasty, fresh, it takes only a few minutes to assemble, and - drumroll - you only need one pan to prepare it! That might not be so relevant to all you dish-washer-owners out there, but to me, it means less dishes to do!
Of course my recipe probably has as little to do with real Asian cuisine as a hamburger (what's the Chinese word for tex-mex??), but you should still give it a try. Oh, and of course: the secret's in the sauce!

copyright of all photos j.

Rice-noodles with vegetables, chicken and Unagi Sauce (or Nr. 204 at your local Asian restaurant)

rice noodles
1 chicken filet
1 leek
2 small carrots
1 handfull of cashew nuts
unagi sauce

Put the noodles into a bowl. Bring water to a boil and pour it over the noodles. Set aside. Chop the leek and the carrots into slices. Preheat the pan. Before you add any oil, slightly roast the cashew nuts in the pan. Take them out of the pan and set them aside. Add some oil and fry the vegetables, adding some pepper and salt. Cut the chicken into small pieces in the meantime. Take the vegetables out of the pan, if necessary add more oil, and fry the chicken. Take the noodles out of the water, and mix them with the vegetables and the chicken. Top everything off with the roasted cashew nuts. Now comes the best part: Take out the bottle of Unagi-sauce which you purchased at your trusted Asian store and pour a fair amount over the dish. 
I also found recipes on the net for making Unagi sauce from scratch, but so far, I have always relied on the manufactured sauce. I do want to try making my own some day, so helpful comments are always appreciated.
Makes two servings, of which I usually eat one the next day. You can also scramble all the ingredients together in the pan, that way, the sugar in the Unagi-Sauce will caramelize even more. 

Final comment: I sure do hope that "Maruyasu" means something like "Enjoy your meal" rather than "our chef never washes his hands".

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Strawberry Cappuccino from Göteborg

Now, folks and friends, beloved strawberry-eaters, take a seat. And now stand up again because this recipe really deserves standing ovations! I know that I quite often declare food to be "the best" or "the ultimate", maybe even "the one and only". But in this case, all these exaggerations are true, for this really is the best strawberry recipe ever. And that's ever as in forever-ever! My Dad had this dessert at a restaurant in Göteborg, Sweden and found it to be so amazing that he asked for the recipe, which the proud chef refused to share. Fortunatley for you, me and the rest of the world, my Dad experimented in the kitchen until he not only had figured out all the different ingredients, but also their ratio! Now, all that sounds really complicated, but actually, it is one of the most simple dessert and soo refreshing after a hot summer day!
I had my dad write down the recipe into my magic book, that is a handwritten, custom made cookbook from my parents and although I know the recipe by heart by now, I checked it before I wrote down the recipe here. I really had to laugh, because my Dad had written down the recipe for 10 persons! I guess he knows that it only serves five, though, because everyone will want a second serving!

copyright of all photos j.

Strawberry Cappuccino from Göteborg - My Dad's recipe

500 gr of strawberries
100 ml of Muscadet wine
ca. 80 gr of confectioner's sugar (more or less, depending on how sweet your strawberries are)
juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon
5 scoops of vanilla icecream
whipped cream

Cut all the strawberries into small pieces, set 200 gr aside. Mix 300 gr of the strawberries with the confectioner's sugar, the lime/lemon juice and the Muscadet wine in a blender until smooth. Whip the cream with some sugar. Now, take five glasses and assemble the cappuccinos: Add one scoop of vanilla ice cream to each glass, then divide the strawberry-pieces which you set aside between the glasses. Pour the strawberry-wine-sauce on and top everything off with a nice dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with a good amount of cinnamon, it adds a whole lot of depth and character to the dessert!
Serves 5 people (or 2,5 if they want a second serving!). You can pepare everything in advance, which is nice if you want to serve several courses. For those who don't like alcohol, you can just leave it out, no substitute is needed, and the dessert is equally tasty- I know from experience! One last insider tip: bring the cinnamon along to the table, you will want more once you scraped off the first layer!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The one and only tomato sauce

Today's recipe is so slow food, you can actually watch it develop. It is the ultimate recipe for tomato sauce, and in order to become what it is, it needs one major ingredient: time. It is however not very time-consuming, as you don't have to supervise the sauce constantly. I love this sauce because it is so simple, yet full of aroma. I always keep several portions of it in my freezer, and sometimes I actually wish to come home late from work, just to have an excuse for eating noodles with my tomato-sauce out of the freezer instead of preparing a dinner. 

copyright of all photos j.

The ultimate tomato sauce

1 kg of cherry tomatos
1 small Zucchini
1 big carot
1 scallion
2 cloves of garlic
honey or maple syrup
salt, pepper

Cut the onions into small dices. Cut the tomatos in halves and the Zucchini and the carrot into slices. Chop the garlic cloves. In a big pot, braise the onions lightly, and add a tablespoon or two of honey or maple syrup. Add the other vegetables, the garlic, some salt, pepper and cinnamon. Let simmer for a while. When the tomatos fall apart, blend everything with a hand-held blender. Now take a second pot and strain the whole mixture through a sieve. That way, you'll get rid of the little tomato-seeds and the tomato-skin. Now, all you have to do is let the sauce develop. Leave it on medium heat on the stove for 2-4 hours. Try it at several points, and add some more honey/syrup, cinnamon, salt or pepper.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Vanilla-Strawberry Jam

Nicky from delicious days announced the other day that she is working on her second book which will be about "gifts from the kitchen". I think that giving away homemade gifts is like giving away hugs in glass jars. 

I made vanilla-strawberry jam last weekend as a birthday-gift for a very good friend. Once you open the jar, summer scents come floating out and you can hear the waves of the ocean rolling in. Since the jam will only last until the end of summer though, I also knitted a scarf, which will keep my friend warm in the winter. 

Here is the recipe for summer-feelings in a glass jar!

copyright of all photos j.

Vanilla-Strawberry jam

500 gr of strawberries
1 lime
1 vanilla bean
250 gr of preserving sugar

Cut the strawberries into small pieces, set half of them aside. Squeeze the lime and mix the juice with half of the strawberries. Scratch out the vanilla beans and add to the strawberries. Blend the mix until smooth and pour it into a saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Add the rest of the strawberry-pieces. Boil for about 3-5 minutes while constantly stirring. Fill the hot jam into thoroughly cleansed glass jars, and close  them immediatley. Makes three small glasses.

When in Berlin, the jam tastes best on Splitterbrötchen from the Hacker bakery.