Thursday, December 12, 2013

American Cheesecake

Unable to find pecans for pecan pie or pumpkin for pumpkin pie, she decided to make an American cheesecake for Thanksgiving. American cheesecake is quite different from German cheesecake. It is much creamier and more sweet than savory.

She couldn't remember any of the recipes she has used in the past, so she tried this one. The cheesecake part came out great but she was not so impressed with the crust. This could have been because she had to use German crackers instead of Graham crackers or maybe it just was not a great recipe (not sweet enough for her!). However, with some experimenting, we believe this recipe can definitely be first class in the future!

One large cheesecake (large!!!)

~ 15 Graham crackers (she used Vollkorn crackers here in Germany)
2 Tbs butter

4 (8oz) packages of cream cheese (important to use Philadelphia in Germany)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbs vanilla
1/4 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C) and get out a 9 inch springform pan

In a bowl, crumble the Graham crackers(quite fine) and add the 2 Tbs melted butter.

Once combined, push the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan.

Set aside and use a new bowl and mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. This was the first recipe that she used the new hand mixer and it made it so much easier than doing everything by hand!

Add the milk and eggs, mixing between each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, vanilla and flour.

Pour the filling (making sure it is smooth) onto the spread out cracker mixture.

Bake for one hour. After one hour, turn off the oven but DON'T OPEN THE DOOR! Let the cheesecake sit in the turned off oven for a few hours to keep it from cracking (or so the experts say, she let hers sit for more than 3 hours and it still had a huge crack).

Remove from oven after cooled and refrigerate until serving. This is when it is beneficial to live somewhere cold because we can use our balcony as an extra refrigerator :)

She served the cheesecake plain, but you can add a fruit topping or something else that makes it look fancy (and covers up any cracks).


Monday, December 9, 2013

Pickled Eggplant and Zucchini

When we translate the name of these recipes from German into English they say pickled, however, picked brings up the wrong images for us. Really these are thin slices of eggplant and zucchini, cooked in olive oil with garlic. We made these in about ten minutes, instead of the suggest hours and hours of cooking and marinating, so the least we can do is keep the recipe's name.

We made this for his birthday and could have made a lot more because it was gone quite quickly.

What you need:
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
3-4 cloves garlic
fresh parsley
a good amount of olive oil
balsamic vinegar (we used about 2 Tbs)

Wash the zucchini and eggplant and cut off both ends. Cut in thin slices. We thought they looked nicer being cut longways, but there is no reason you can't make small round pieces.

Dice the garlic and heat in a pan with a healthy amount of olive oil (a little more than just a thin covering). Heat this over medium-high.

Add each slice and cook on each side until cooked through and nice and oily. Remove from the heat, drizzle balsamic on top, and sprinkle with salt and some parsley.

Play around with what tastes good to you. With that much oil you can't really go wrong!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Unfortunately, he is stuck  away from home on a business trip, but that is not stopping her from making a meal with all the fixings to share with good friends. Don't worry, we'll keep some leftovers for him.

The meal will be a lot like the last few years and the recipes can be found here!

We will certainly be giving thanks to all the good in our lives this Thanksgiving and we hope you do to.

Bon appetit!

G&O lover

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Three Easy Party Appetizers Using French Bread

This past weekend we celebrated his birthday by inviting friends over to eat eat eat. In all, we made more than ten different dishes ranging from hot to cold, finger food to knife and fork, salad to meat based. Many have already been blogged about in the past, including German Potato Salad, Italian Pasta Salad, Fleischküchle (German Meatballs), and guacamole with chips. Others we will write about in the upcoming weeks. For this entry, we thought we would share three super easy recipes you can make with just some French bread and a few other ingredients.


We already blogged about this one here so we won't go into detail, but with some French bread, tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil,  basil, and salt and better you can make a delicious appetizer. Just prepare for the garlic breath everyone at your party will have!

Cream Cheese and Lox Bites:

These were eaten up so quickly that we had to make a second batch. All you need is:

French bread
Cream cheese
Oregano and pepper

Slice the french bread into thin pieces (we aimed for about 1cm). Spread cream cheese over one side of the bread, add a piece of lox, a dab of horseradish (not too much if your guests don't like spicy) and sprinkle with a little freshly ground pepper and oregano. Yum!

Pesto Pieces:

You cannot get easier than this if you take the lazy route (we did!). Slice the French bread into thin pieces, put under the oven for a few minutes so they are lightly browned, and then spread a small amount of pesto over one side of the warm bread. If you want to go homemade, make your own pesto!

Try these three very easy and inexpensive appetizers at your next party. Low stress and do not have to be kept warm = success!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

Welcome back to Tuesday Tales: Daily food of a Consultant. The last two weeks were full of work and crazy proposal preparation so I had no time to follow up on the blog, but here it is now.  Monday started out with a cold dinner including tomatoes, cheese and bought potato salad from the Kaufland store in the bottom of my hotel. I was very excited because Kaufland is not available in Frankfurt but from the hotel I stayed at to the store was only a 1.5 minute walk... I think that is the closest I have ever slept to a supermarket. I also went back to the supermarket on Tuesday, but instead of buying cold, I tried the local Chinese place and was not too disappointed. Canteen food on Wednesday: Fish with potatoes and sauce. Thursday and Friday were a combination of unhealthy food. Thursday I had my last currywurst in freedom, as well as some alcohol on Friday... why? To prepare my proposal to her on Saturday! For this reason we of course ate out several times, with friends and alone, went to the theater, a fair and celebrated (clearly her answer was yes!). What you see here are the tapas which we had after the theater. A combination of all foods available and very delicious! This was also the first meal we ever had out in Frankfurt so a perfect place to celebrate our engagement. On Sunday we were tired of eating out so she made quesadillas which were very good and reminded me on our experience in Warsaw (which we haven't had time to blog about yet).

The following week was marked by a huge work event in which I participated. The contractor of our project invited us for a huge kick-off meeting to celebrate and start a new project phase. Luckily this time I was only limited part of the planning process which meant I got to enjoy the show. Needless to say that it still was a 70 hour week... Starting with Monday, I had Cesar salad with fried potatoes which were recommended to me by my colleague - turned out to taste really awesome! If I start a restaurant and have this on the menu... I will call it Maarten style! On Tuesday we drove to Guetersloh to take part in the preparation of the kick-off Event. Pre-ordered food from the car tastes the best! Unfortunately our colleague got stopped by the police - not only that but there was also only Lasagne left when he finally arrived at the event location. The buffet on Wednesday night turned out to be very delicious... I had potato salad and Schnitzel. I have to say, this potato salad tasted nearly as good as made by my grandma and that means something... food wise, the event was prime and I think all of the 150 participants we had enjoyed it. Thursday was the second day of the event which meant lots of work, videoconferencing with 360° Cameras and lots of chaos managing. I had spaghetti... Unfortunately I don't remember where it was... might be in one of the data centres or in the canteen of the contractor... I think it was good... ;D..On Friday I got up at 4 am to fly to Zurich. Here I enjoyed this pizza and learned about media analytics and how to train systems to understand sentiment and the public buzz... perfect week to be prepared for a holiday to Africa which will come soon! Due to this holiday, there will be no update for the next two weeks, but I am sure we will have lots to say about our Kenya beach and safari vacation once we return!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fried Apple Fritters

Very unhealthy but very tasty. Only a few will satisfy your need for something sweet.

We only made half of this recipe and had way too much. This recipe serves eight.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbs sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cups milk (whole is best)
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs melted butter (more if not using whole milk)
2 large apples (Granny Smith is recommended)
powder sugar for dusting (optional)

In one bowl beat the eggs and then add the milk, melted butter and vanilla.

In a larger bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix together.

Fold in the apples, already peeled and diced. More apples is better! You want extremely chunky batter.

Heat a few inches of oil in a pan or pot over medium heat. Once it is hot but not so hot that it will burn the batter right away (test first) drop a tablespoon of batter into the oil. We used a small pot so we could only fit about three or four drops in at a time.

Cook long enough that they are browned and then flip over so the other side cooks. In total it should take about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes to cook though fully.

Remove from the oil, place on a paper towel to drain, and dust with powdered sugar.

Serve right away so that they are hot.

We had lots of batter left over so the next day we made muffins out of it. A good use of batter but not something we would recommend without making so changes.

This recipe was adapted from The Pioneer Women Cooks.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shrimp Scampi with a Hint of Lemon

We are headed to Kenya next week with two friends, so to prepare one night they came over to have dinner and plan the trip. Pasta is a great thing to serve when guests are over because you can make a massive amount at one time and it does not take a lot of time to cook. We served this pasta with fresh french bread. Perfect for dipping into the oil left at the bottom of the bowl!

4 servings:
6 garlic cloves
2 lemons, zest and juice
5 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 lb (21-25) medium shrmip
1/4 onion (optional)
3/4 lb linguini
2 Tbs butter
salt, parsley, parsley

Cook the pasta according to directions. While the pasta cooks, combine the pressed garlic,  zest and juice of one lemon, 1 Tbs olive oil, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium. Add the diced onion  and  let cook. Separate the shrimp from the marinate, but make sure to keep the marinate! Quickly cook the shrimp and then remove them with the onions. Add the marinate and the rest of the olive oil, the rest of the lemon, butter, and the salt, pepper and parsley. Add the shrimp back with the pasta, toss to combine and serve with a small amount of fresh parsley on top.

This recipe came from Melissa d'Arabian on but we changed most of it because we thought it was too complicated!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Tales Coming Soon!

It is already 10:30 at night and I am still in a big work event. This week's Tuesday Tales will be coming soon!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Onion Rings

It's a good thing we don't own a deep fryer or this could become a weekly addiction!

A bit time consuming but oh so worth it, these onion rings should be eaten quickly to be hot and fresh - not a problem with how good they are.

~ for four people:

1 onions, sliced into rings
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs
oil for frying

Cut the onion into rings and separate. Mix flour, salt and baking powder.

Dip each ring into the flour mix and tap to shake off excess.

Set the onions aside and add the wet ingredients (egg and milk) and dip each onion into it so each side is well covered. Lay each onion ring on a wire rack to drip excess liquid off (for less mess, place wax paper under this).

Once the onions are no longer dripping, dip them into the bread crumbs.

Heat the oil (enough for deep frying) or medium-high. Once hot, add onion rings (a few at the time depending on how large your pot is) and cook for 2-3 minutes or until nicely browned.

Place on a paper towel to get rid of excess oil and then serve hot.

We recommend serving them with our meatball subs, but we are sure they also go with lots of things like Hamburgers or sausage.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

This very short work week started with a very tasty and new meal from the hotel we were staying in. Pork with cheese sauce and fried potatoes. On the next day on the menu was pizza with a little spiciness from my local Cologne pizza dealer. Wednesday, after coming home early (Thursday was a holiday in Germany), I got prepared to enjoy the our long weekend in Warsaw. To start this, I made Schnitzel which I found in the freezer. She had prepared the Schnitzel quite some time ago and I was able to put it in boiling oil to make it into a delicious crunchy awesomeness. Together with green beans a very pleasant meal. I can guarantee you it is worth it: freeze your Schnitzel and enjoy it later (especially if you weren't the one who had to do the work to coat the Schnitzel ;)

We rented a car on Thursday and visited my parents in Stuttgart (Southern Germany) and I was surprised with my favourite cake. Ta-da! Carrot cake just the way the Canadians make it. Most delicious thing ever if you ask me...
After visiting my parents, we traveled back to Frankfurt to the airport to fly off to Warsaw and visit a friend and test the food and see the different sites of Warsaw. We were not disappointed! Our friend took us for 7 hours around Warsaw and showed us many many different foods and sites... I chose just one weird meal we tried to show you: veal kidney on Challah bread. Worth a try but I will not eat it again ;). On Saturday night we enjoyed Hungarian food (yes, in Poland!) We had a mix of little noodles, filled pickles and some veal and pork mixes. A more detailed food description will follow here soon when we blog about the tastes of Warsaw. Sunday was poor mans food - our fridge was empty from being away so we made pasta with leftover sausage and tomato sauce :).

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Carrot Salad

First off, please excuse the photos for this entry. Her camera skills are not very good and taking pictures of orange things in bright light just doesn't work too well!

This carrot salad is very quick and easy and a nice change from normal lettuce salad. The important thing is to make it early enough that it can sit at least 30 minutes before eating. This really does make a difference in the flavor!

Serves 2-4 depending on if it is the pain part of the starter

1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp mustard (we used spicy but they recommend Dijon)
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
1 Tbs parsley 
1/4 tsp salt
 pinch of freshly ground pepper

Peel and shred the carrots. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving so that the flavors really mix.

Enjoy! (We told you it was easy!!)

This recipe was from Rebecca Franklin

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

Just before experiencing the city of Warsaw and the Polish food next week, I had an educational and international food mix week. Starting with a Hungarian meal on Monday (Goulash (Hungarian: gulyás) and followed by a Caesar salad on Tuesday which is generally attributed to restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States. So technically, Caesar salad is a kind of Tex Mex food :). Wednesday was curry day which could be interpreted as Indian. Even though it had more the standard canteen flavour to it then the spicy Indian flavor.
The next days were characterized by unhealthy food in form of onion rings and nacho chips which were served with tasty beans and ground beef. Further we tried a new meatball recipe (meatball subs) which you can find here. For her birthday a month ago our friends gave her a present to learn how to prepare sushi. Because our friends were awesome and bought a couple course, I was also able to learn how to roll  makis, cut sashimi and enjoy it with cucumber. We even got a private lesson because the other participants did not show up (more food for us - yey!). End of story was that we were full of tasty self made sushi and a fridge which would last for a week worth of sushi. Her colleagues were enjoying the free food this week. Perfect start for a short week which ends already on Wednesday and leads to our trip to Poland!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Meatball Subs

Like we said in our Foolproof Meatballs entry, we originally made meatballs to make meatball subs.

Once the meatballs are made, making the sandwiches is a cinch. When you make them is also very flexible, either right when the meatballs are finished cooking, or warm them up and use them at another time. The actual making of the meatball subs takes only minutes.

Three subs:
1 baguette (or three sub rolls)
4-5 meatballs per sandwich
Mozzarella cheese
1 cup tomato sauce
Sugar, salt, pepper, seasonings

Heat the tomato sauce over the stove. Add a small amount of sugar, salt, pepper, and seasonings such as oregano and basil. Add the amount that tastes good to you!

Slice the rolls or baguette so you can make a sandwich (don't cut all the way through). Place the meatballs into the sandwich, cover with tomato sauce and cheese on top. Heat in the oven until the roll is warm and the cheese has melted. If you are making this when the meatballs are already cold, it is best to warm them up (in the microwave works fine) before making the sandwiches.

Serve with chips or fries. We made onion rings. Yum yum! This recipe is also coming soon!

Foolproof Meatballs

We have been cooking up a storm lately and have lots of recipes to share - now we just need to the time to blog about all of them!

These meatballs are a great starting point because they are easy and extremely useful. You can eat them plain or make them the basis of another meal. We made 30 meatballs this time because we knew we could easily use them for other recipes, but next time I think we will double this. Stick them in a freezer and pull them out whenever you need a quick and tasty dinner!

30 meatballs:

1 lb ground beef (as usual, we used a ground beef/pork mixture)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 small onion, diced
1 egg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Parsley - optional but parsley is great in almost anything!

This recipe is super simple - no excuses! Preheat the oven to 205 C (400 F) and put all of the above ingredients in a bowl.

Mix everything together. Don't even bother with a spoon. Get down and dirty and put some muscle into it.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and roll the mixture into balls. The size is really up to you, it will only change the cooking time and how many you will make. What is important is that all of your balls are about the same size.

We made small/medium sized balls and got about 30 from this recipe.

Once the oven is hot, put the tray in and cook for 18-22 minutes. You know they are done when you cut one open and it is no longer pink inside.

We originally used this recipe to make meatball subs - recipe coming soon, but you can also use this with spaghetti, or eat them plain. The options are endless!

We adapted this recipe from Betty Crocker, which used ground turkey.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

This week started with a nougat pretzel from the local bakery here in Frechen. Tuesday was a late night dinner in the Frechener Hof. Unfortunately the service was new and very slow and also the noodles had way too much oil. Due to a fair here in Cologne, we stayed in Grevenbroich (a village outside of Frechen) and I brought a salad from the local supermarket. On Thursday I had a typical German Eintopf which is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. This one was served, how else could it be, with sausage.
On Friday I cooked a family recipe. Sauced Turkey Schnitzel with salad and bread. We will put up the recipe very soon. Saturday was shopping day! We went to a Swedish furniture store (no one can guess which one I bet!!) and bought this delicious hot dog for super cheap. Sunday was characterized by sweet apple desert. She made pie with apples and a new fried little apple balls. Just the perfect way to continue into the next two weeks with a new country. We will hit Poland next week and checking out the food there :).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

Welcome to the Tuesday Tales from Belgium this week. I received a lovely mini cooper and drove to Temse which is close to Antwerpen and enjoyed a "cheap" (10 Euro) asparagus pasta with cheese sauce out of the microwave. Well, what to expect in an Ibis Hotel in Sint Niklaas... ;). On Tuesday I was forced to enjoy another meal made by the lovely kitchen in our hotel. I tried to find a supermarket that was open at a quarter to eight but did not succeed. After a lovely walk trough a humongous deserted shopping mall, I gave up and chose to eat the food in the hotel. The pizza was pretty OK, even if it was clearly made by putting a cheap frozen pizza into the oven (another 10 Euro here... - Ibis hotels must have a good margin selling 35 cent pizza for 10 Euro :) ). Wednesday was more delightful. 
We went to a little restaurant where I had a mixed fish platter which was very tasty. Another type of fish (tuna) the next day in the canteen of the customer. Served with sauce and a scoop of mashed potato, it was not so bad. The sauce was sour, but I'm not sure if that was on purpose or just by accident. On Friday I drove back home to Frankfurt and that night we were invited to a farewell party of one of her colleagues. We tasted, beside many other delicious things, these pancakes filled with vegetables. Pancakes made without any egg - worth a try! Saturday was not as exciting regarding food but we went to the flea market and bought hot chocolate. The best thing while looking for old crap which nobody needs while it rains! Our Sunday was very busy this weekend. We started out with fresh popovers which gave us energy to explore a newly opened mall that was open on Sunday. Yes, you heard right: open on Sunday... This is really special "shopping Sunday" in Frankfurt and something we had to take advantage of.  We actually did not buy anything but food at the mall but we made our purchases count. First we had burritos at Chipotle (an American chain that just opened in Frankfurt) and then we had frozen yogurt which we could to pour and top ourselves. This is a big trend in the USA but is just coming to Germany. Afterwards we got some exercise by playing laser tag and ended this awesome day with delivered sushi for a very late dinner. Definitely not a typical German Sunday this week!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Italian Pasta Salad

We enjoyed this refreshing pasta salad on the bank of the Main. Nothing like a picnic to kick off the weekend on a warm Friday evening.

Two-three (meal-size) servings:

300 g noodles (whatever shape you want)
300 g tomatoes (we used slices baby tomatoes)
2 red bell pepper
1 bundle of green onion
4 Tbs oil
2 Tbs balsamic
1/2 tsp spicy mustard
1 clove garlic 
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to its directions. Drain and cool down using cold water.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, balsamic, mustard, and diced garlic.

Dice the tomatoes, green onion, and bell pepper. Mix with the pasta. Pour the oil mixture over the pasta and cover well. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Serve right away or keep in the fridge to let the flavors really mix.

This recipe was adapted from Rince.