May 22, 2015

einkorn risotto with pea pesto & artichokes

i'm obsessed with rare foods... it's like my personal challenge to find ways to incorporate them into a meal (that you would actually want to eat). so when i discovered einkorn, i knew it had to be turned into something equal parts simple and special. to make a risotto with the grain seemed like a good idea! of course, my current green-run made me tint it green. with a very quick pea mash, that's easily done. apart from the pretty green color, the pea pesto even adds more texture and depth to the dish. topping things off with my favorite veg, ever - the mighty artichoke - made things even better. and did i mention this has a significant lemony tang? exactly: everything you need to be won over to try something new today.

note: if you live in switzerland, you can now order your next supply of fresh, locally grown vegs, herbs and grains conveniently from the comfort of your couch on! use the code APFELBAUM15 to get a 20 franks discount on your first purchase. 

einkorn risotto with pea pesto & artichokes
serves 2

1 1/2 cups einkorn grains, washed
1 liter vegetable bouillon, heated
2 large artichokes, prepared
1 lemon, juice (for the artichokes bath) + 1 organic lemon, zest and juice (for the risotto)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 cups peas, freshly podded or frozen
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup parmigiano, grated
salt, freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg (optional)

start by cooking the einkorn. heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot. sweat the onion in it until it turns translucent. add the garlic and briefly heat that, too. add the einkorn and stir to coat, heating it briefly. now, like you would do it with a risotto, add ladle by ladle of the hot vegetable broth and stir it, working it into the einkorn, all the while cooking it on medium heat. stir, add liquid, continue to cook until tender (which, for me, took about 45 minutes and about 1 liter of liquid). the einkorn won't be the same consistency as rice, since it doesn't have the same amount of glue or stickiness when cooked. it will much rather be of a lose consistency. but don't worry, we will add the pea pesto, and it will be lovely! 

now, prepare the peas and artichokes. for the artichokes pesto, blanch the artichokes in hot water for 3-4 minutes, drain and cool in ice cold water. use half the peas for the pesto: put them in a blender together with the lemon juice, salt, pepper and a handful of the parsley leaves and blend until very smooth. this will be added to the einkorn risotto before serving, to make it green and flavorful.

for the artichokes, trim the stems, discard the outer leaves so that only the finest ones in the middle remain. half and quarter, then remove the fibers in the core. immediately submerge in lemon water to prevent them from turning brown. heat the rest of the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the patted dry artichokes in it until brown and tender (which takes about 12 minutes, depending on how tender you want them). keep tossing and turning! season with salt and pepper and add the rest of the chopped parsley. put aside.

at the end, finish the risotto: add the parmesan and the pea pesto to the einkorn and stir to combine well. you might want to season some more with salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice and some nutmeg, if you like. stir in the left over whole peas, too, and divide between plates. top off with the fried artichokes and serve hot. 

May 19, 2015

matcha green tea bundt cake

i seem to be into pinks and greens, lately, as evidenced by my instagram feed and as my blog post pipeline suggest (more green to come!). what's not surprising, because obviously, i like both colors. my kindergarten aged nephew though seemed to have liked this cake a lot - in spite (of because?) of the very strong matcha flavor and green tea induced high, it seems. so much so, that he especially requested one for his birthday. well, i'm not an elf, but i can make one hell of a mean, green cake - kid approved, even. this might turn into a "thing", kid approved so and so, as i'm surrounded by this ever more present amount of pregnant moms, babies (crying and cuddly, both alike) and toddlers. as long as the kids test eat my fancy colored stuff, i'm fine with being the nice auntie scarlett.

matcha green tea bundt cake - with coconut frosting
recipe adapted from here (also for american measurements)

ingredients for the cake: 
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2-3 tbsp. matcha green tea powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
170 g butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
4 eggs
3/4 cup greek yoghurt
3/4 cup coconut milk
a little butter and flour for the pan

ingredients for the frosting: 
150 g butter, softened
2 1/2 - 3 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp. coconut milk (the creamy part)

preheat the oven to 170 c / 350 f and grease and flour a large loaf or bundt pan. combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, baking powder, salt and matcha. in another bowl, cream together butter and coconut oil with a hand or stand mixer. add the sugar and cream together for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy. add vanilla and eggs and stir to combine until mixture is homogenous. alternately add yoghurt, coconut milk and flour in batches and combine after each addition. mix until the dough is smooth. fill into the prepared pans and bake for 45 to 60 minutes (my bundt version took about 50 minutes) or until an inserted stick comes out clean. leave to cool for about half an hour  before turning the cake out onto a plate. 

for the frosting, cream the butter with the mixer. add the confectioners' sugar and cream until fluffy and light. pour in the coconut cream and combine. frost the cake with it or serve aside for everyone to frost their own slice. 

May 12, 2015

sweet surprise cupcakes

during my student years, we had a fun girls' tradition: every tuesday, we would meet at one of our places for a sweet induced sex and the city viewing party (tuesdays, because the french version was before the german on tv). each time, another girl would prepare her signature sweet dish. so we had everything from cupcakes to fancy tortes to simple ice cream or a candy mix. one thing that will stay for ever in my mind was my friend diane's "moelleux au chocolat" cake; a rich, chocolaty cake, savored warm, with a liquid center. this moelleux was probably the single reason why i still don't like to make molten or lava cakes myself - because it simply can not get any better than diane's...

later i learned that you can (kind of) fake the effect of the liquid center if you add a lindt lindor praline to the center pre or post baking! my love of vanilla and white chocolate was enough to give me the idea for these hidden suprise cupcakes (well, not so much of a surprise now anymore, duh). 

disclaimer: you need a distinctive sweet tooth for these, but hey, comes in handy on some days? besides, the hummingbird bakery recipe for cupcakes and frosting are definitely worth the "perfect" and "best in class" predicate (yet again). 

sweet surprise (aka vanilla white lindor) cupcakes
makes about 10 to 12 cupcakes
recipe adapted from humminbird bakery

ingredients for the cupcakes:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
50 g butter, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean, scraped

10-12 lindt lindor white pralines
10-12 cupcake liners

for the frosting:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
75 g butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, scraped
a couple of drops of your favorite food coloring, optional
10-12 blackberries, for garnish

preheat the oven to 375 f  / 190 c and line a muffin tray with cupcake liners. in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla. mix well with a handmixer until the texture is crumbly and sandy. stir together egg and milk and add to the mixture bit by bit. mix until incorporated and the batter is smooth. fill into the prepared liners (3/4 full). bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cakes are slightly golden or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. let the cupcakes cool a little, then cut an x shape into each on the top. insert a lindor truffle into each cake, so that it almost hides on the top of the cupcake. let cool completely on a wire rack. 

in the meantime, prepare the frosting. combine the confectioners' sugar and butter in a bowl with a stand mixer. add the vanilla and milk spoon by spoon and mix for about 5 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and light and creamy. add a drop or two of pink food coloring for a blush pink effect. fill the frosting into a pipe with a round nozzle and decorate cupcakes. place a blackberry on top of each. 

note: do not refrigerate as the lovely lindor core will harden. 

May 11, 2015

pineapple & cucumber gazpacho

on hot days, what's really better than a refreshing, vegetable based meal? slightly chilled and light. or if it can't be a popsicle (because we probably shouldn't be eating ice cream all day long, sighs), make it a chilled soup, instead! without a doubt, i am a big fan of chilled soups... so far, i've only made the classic tomato based gazpacho though, be it with yellow or with red tomatoes. oh, and not to forget this cold soup here in green (gwyneth would be proud *makesfistsign*). 

but this new addition here, a cheeky pineapple and cucumber number with hot (pun intended) jalapeno is marvellous! i'm planning on making it this (long!) weekend. you can make it once and store in the fridge for a couple of days. not saying it will be left that long, duh.

pineapple & cucumber gazpacho
serves 2

ingredients:1/2 fresh pineapple, cubed
1 cup pineapple juice or vegetable broth
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, deseeded and cubed
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 green jalapeno chile (medium heat), deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 lime, juice
2 tbsp. olive oil (extra vergine)
salt, pepper, chili flakes
ice cubes and herbs for garnish

add the liquid - i.e. pineapple juice, lime juice as well as the broth - to the mixer. add the pineapple, cucumber, onion, garlic, jalapeno and parsley and pulse until very well blended. add the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and chili flakes. refrigerate for at least one hour. fill into bowls and garnish with ice cubes and herbs. 

May 5, 2015

world's best brownies

soon after launching the best in class series, i'm back! it's got to be said that i'm fully aware that throwing around me with superlatives like "legendary", "perfect", "best in class", "genius", "classic" or "world's best" in the combination with food might be tempting (especially as a food blogger, who wants to trick readers - i.e. you - into reading their recipes) - but sometimes counter-productive. because as an avid foodie i know that nothing is more daunting and inducing suspicion and boredom more than using exactly these superlatives in a recipe. "yeah, right", is basically the thought i have every time i meet a superlative recipe, anywhere. yet, superlative recipes somehow (and it's not easy to admit) seem to spike my curiosity, and maybe also a sense of wanting to meet the implicit challenge.  

due to a combination of unrelated and as such insignificant events - like the fact that i had a couple of dozen really lovely, fresh, big eggs at home from the online farm shop or the fact that i ran out of desserts i wanted to make (although i always thought my list of desserts to make was endless, nah) - i stumbled upon this recipe, and, with a sigh, set to make these so-called "simply perfect brownies". with quite some lack of interest and suspicion, i might add (because it's the food blogger codex, or something).

also, i couldn't, for the life of the hens that laid these eggs (and god bless them), identify a single ingredient or thing in the recipe that didn't just sound like a normal brownie. but i'm naturally curious, always have been, so i guess it was just fate. the only thing that appeared to bit a tad different was the fact that the recipe asked for a bain-marie process, i.e. slow and indirect melting of the ingredients in question in a bowl over heated water. i love me some good extra work and things to clean, so, another reason, maybe, to try these, in spite of everything. enough with the rationale, though, let's take a look at the finished product, shall we?

and yet indeed, these brownies are more than simply perfect, as allie (almost humbly) dubbed them. they are at least ultimate. life changing, even, maybe. they are spongy and ultra moist and not too sweet and rich and dark chocolaty and intense and fluffy and airy. just... utterly delicious. so good you want to crawl into one slice and never come back out. because life in this brownie would be worth while.

in other words, who hasn't grabbed a couple of eggs* and a spatula, yet, is an utter fool (pardon my french) or maybe just an ignorant dick-head (now you can actually pardon my french, if you might). i know a couple of people who would like to just lick the bowl, too, should you need help with the cleaning.

* re. really good eggs: for my readers who are located in switzerland: you now have the exclusive chance to get a 20 chf discount on your first purchase on farmy! just enter the code APFELBAUM15. 

world's best brownies
recipe adapted from here (note: i'm sorry i was a doubter, your recipe sure is perfect!)
for a rectangular pan (about 30 x 20cm) 

1 1/4  cups (370 g) butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups unsweetened dark chocolate powder*
1/2 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
4 eggs (cold
1 cup flour

* the chocolate powder really has to be unsweetened! the richer and chocolaty, the better. it's vital for a good quality brownie. alas, even in switzerland - the land of cheese and chocolate - laying your hands on a good chocolate powder can be quite tricky... rather ironic. i got mine from felchlin, through a gastronomer. i think they only sell b2b. but apparently there's the fabrikladen as an alternative. or you might try with your local confiserie of your choice. maybe they sell you some of their stock.

preheat the oven to 160 c / 320 f and lightly grease and then layer a rectangular baking pan (30 x 20 cm) with parchment paper. heat a large pot with water and top it with a bowl, creating a bain-marie for melting your ingredients softly. add butter, sugar, chocolate powder and salt in the bowl above the heated water. stir slowly and steadily to bring everything together. this might take a while, don't despair! when the mixture is liquid and hot remove from the heat and let cool slightly. work in the vanilla. one by one, add the cold eggs and stir thoroughly to combine. the mixture should be homogenous and look glossy. sieve in the flour and fold in. pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a stick inserted comes out clean / with moist crumbs on it. let cool in the pan completely, then you might even put the pan in the fridge for a while to let the brownies set and firm up completely. cut into squares and serve, maybe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?

May 1, 2015

green deconstructed sushi bowl

sushi is probably one of my favorite out of home snacks. i'm emphasizing the out of home aspect as i do not like handmade (by home cooks, that is) sushi. as much as they might taste great from a home cook, i dislike the imperfectness. isn't sushi something that's dna is too look pretty, if not perfect? perfection is something that's so related for me to this food that i stay away from making my own.

however, throwing all the sushi ingredients that i so love - like the rice, avocados, cucumbers (i'm a vegetarian maki lover, clearly), edamame etc - in one bowl means you can be sneaky and still have sushi at home, while it doesn't even have to look perfect, at all. perfect, because it's so hassle free. 

i make these kinds of healthy (sushi) bowls all the time and adapt them according to the things i'm craving and / or have left in my fridge. for a classic sushi bowl, i'd use sushi rice and flavor it with some rice vinegar (as you would for proper rolled sushi) and top it with even more typical japanese flavors: nori, seaweed (nori, the toasted kind, or any other version that you might find and like), pickled ginger (hmm, healthy and so yum!) or even fried tofu, sliced tuna or salmon. really, there are no boundaries. for this particular version here i stuck to green ingredients since i wanted to make it an extra beauty booster. blanched spinach and kale can be a little bland... agreed. but when spiced up with typical japanese condiments and a pimped soy sauce, i feel that anything works. 

enjoy compiling these! fun guaranteed.

green deconstructed sushi bowl
serves 2

1 cup brown rice
1 avocado, sliced
2 cups spinach, quickly blanched
1 cup kale, quickly blanched
1 cup edamame, quickly blanched
1/2 cucumber, finely sliced
1 spring onion, halved and sliced
1 handful herbs (cilantro and mint)

for the dressing: 
6 tbsp. soy sauce
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or minced
1 lime, juice
1 tsp. honey or maple syrup
sriracha chili sauce to taste
sesame and hemp seeds for garnish

cook the rice in lightly salted water on low for 45 to 60 minutes, until tender (note: the brown rice always takes much longer than regular par boiled rice). blanch the vegs as indicated very briefly, drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. for the dressing combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic, lime and honey or maple syrup, and season with chili sauce. divide the rice between two bowls, then place the greens on top in a neat order. sprinkle with sesame and hemp seeds and serve with the soy sauce dressing.