A few months back when we were in Germany, our friends generously gifted us with Alfons Schuhbeck‘s “Meine Kochschule,” a German cookbook. I’ve been eager to try some of the recipes in it so we held our first actual “dinner party” for our parents. On the menu: Wiener Schnitzel and apple strudel.
Overall, I’m very, very pleased with the apple strudel. It tasted wonderful and pretty authentic, I think. (Not quite the same as sipping hot chocolate and nibbling strudel in Salzburg’s Cafe Tomaselli…) When I made it last night, though, I thought it was the end of the world. Really. Continue reading →
I’m going to blame my pizza pickiness on the fact that I’m from the Mid-Atlantic region (we won’t even get into my general food pickiness). I won’t eat deep dish (with the exception of tomato pie). I won’t eat toppings other than cheese and pepperoni. I don’t like a pizza that’s too cheesy. I don’t like the thin, cracker crust.
For me, a good pizza is thin but kind of doughy. That’s all. Is that too much to ask?
Over the weekend I decided I wanted to try making pizza at home and found a recipe for NY Style Pizza. The photos of the pizza looked super authentic to the kind of pizza I’m used to. I was immediately sold.
What’s interesting about the recipe is that the author specifically uses a food processor instead of a mixer. I followed suit and whipped up a batch yesterday in my food processor. I froze two-thirds of the dough and left the other third in the fridge for tonight’s dinner.
Besides the fact that we had a bit of a pizza problem (apparently parchment paper can only stand up to 420 degrees. Who knew? Luckily we figured it out real quick but transferring from the parchment to the tray kind of scrambled things.) the pizza looked OK and it didn’t taste bad. But that’s just the problem. The dough didn’t especially taste of anything. It barely tasted of flour, yeast or bread in general. That’s the part that disappoints me the most.
Well, I have 2 more balls of pizza dough to try another day. The worst part: after having made a pizza at home I couldn’t help but consider ordering out for a real pizza.
One of the first dates my husband took me on when we were dating was to Cherry Street Restaurant, a vegetarian Chinese restaurant. I’d never been to a vegetarian restaurant before and it was really fun. “Beef” with snow peas, brown rice and sharing scallion pancakes with my then-boyfriend quickly became my go-to meal. I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur but I’ve since had scallion pancakes at a number of places and Cherry Street’s definitely the best. Unfortunately, the restaurant closed down several years ago. So when I stumbled upon this recipe on Delicious Days’ blog I couldn’t help but get sucked in: the photos of the finished product looked too authentic.
Making up the dough was easy enough: flour, water, salt. I did hand-knead it into a ball and then let my mixer and dough hook do the rest. The problem I had was that when I cut up the scallions, they were still wet from being washed. All that extra water transferred to the dough when I combined the scallions to the dough. That was a big problem. The added moisture in the dough meant that it was constantly sticking to the rolling pin. Not the mention the rolling, brushing with oil, coiling, re-rolling was kind of tedious.
But with all that said, the scallion pancakes were awesome. The flavor was great.
My other problem? The dipping sauce. I’ve only had the scallion pancakes with a kind of sweet soy sauce. I tried combining soy with sugar and scallions but the soy flavor was just too strong. I’d definitely need a new sauce recipe before making them again.
Before we even left Munich, I knew when we got home I was going to make Lebkuchenherzen. The heart-shaped gingerbread cookies with colorful frosting with sweet messages are all over the city. They’re the kind of souvenir you don’t feel dirty buying and every festival you go to seemed to have them. I saw old women dancing with a Lebkuchenherzl hanging from their neck. So I had to give making the Lebkuchen cookies a shot.
When I made up the cookie dough, I was a little concerned that it wasn’t right. It seemed somewhat dry and spongy. I didn’t think it would be easily rollable for cutting out the cookies. I was wrong! The dough was perfect for rolling and not difficult at all. I decided to skip the traditional heart shape for now and use a star cookie cutter for this initial batch.
Another concern I had was that the recipe uses baking soda in packets. I couldn’t find the packets in my local supermarket so I used a substitution that seemed to work out well.