May Garden Pasta for One

I’ve got an extra day off today so I decided to make something new from the garden and decided on pasta.  This time I used pea leaves and tendrils, radish greens, japanese mustard greens, viola petals, Spanish mint, hyssop, and marjoram from the garden, added olive oil, a splash of malt vinegar (only because I don’t have any lemons on hand) garlic, salt and pepper and let it sit while I boiled the noodles.  This takes exactly as long as it takes you to cook the noodles so if you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like cooking this is perfect.  You can make the dressing a few hours beforehand too, the longer it sits the better it will taste!  I also added a bit of parmesan cheese.   And again, this will work with any greens and herbs in your garden, I can absolutely recommend this combination though, the mint is really great in it.

 

about this much is a good amount for one person (about 3 centimeters high I guess)

so good.

The great thing about growing vegetables like peas, mustard and radish is that all parts of the plant are edible so you can use them in a ton of different ways.  Also, all three of them grow quickly and early, so you can get some fresh greens earlier on in the year!

And I do promise to do some more vintage sewing posts soon!  First rainy day I promise.  Enjoy the fine weather 🙂

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Some more early summer garden recipes: Pesto!

So I’m a bit over salads right now and had a brain wave…pesto!  This is perfect for when it’s too early for actual veggies yet, but you’ve got a bunch of herbs, edible flowers and veggie greens to choose from.  You can use anything edible from the garden, it requires no cooking (which in summer is awesome) and you can put it on anything from pasta to potatoes to chicken, or even just on bread.  I’m usually too lazy to actually cook after work, so I love things like this that you can just take out of the fridge, toss with something you made the day before and you can crack open a beer and lounge on the balcony with dinner in less than 10 minutes.

What I used (and again, you can use really anything edible from the garden.  What also tastes great is using feta instead of Parmesan, which will give you more of a spread than a pesto.  You can also add pine nuts which you always find in Genovese pesto, but I can honestly live without them if there’s a lot of other stuff in there):

From the garden: Two kinds of mustard greens, mustard flower, hyssop, Spanish mint, pumpkin flower, red rose petals (they added yellow and red flecks to the green pesto…beautiful! Also, yummy.),  gold oregano, tarragon, nasturtium greens, alfalfa greens, marjoram

From the store: olive oil, garlic cloves (lots), lime juice, a big hunk of Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, a teeny bit of red chili pepper.

Chuck it all into a blender, blend the heck out of it, and when it’s smooth you’re done!

I wanted to add some onion, but found out too late I didn’t actually have onions, so that was that.

Garden Tea

My balcony garden is slowly shaping up and I’ve finally been able to cook with some of my herbs in the past week!  I’ve been making a lot of iced tea lately and thought I would post my two favorites.  The jars are Bertoli pasta jars and give you the equivalent of one big glass of iced tea!

Black iced tea with orange peel and chocolate mint

Just put a sprig of chocolate mint and two teaspoons of sugar (I like cane sugar but use whatever) into the jar.  Then fill a tea bag with a tablespoon of black tea and a big pinch of orange peel. Add the bag and boiling water, stir and put the lid on.  When the tea has cooled a bit, pop it into the fridge and wait for it to chill.

Green iced tea with roses and Spanish mint

Put a few small rose buds and a tablespoon of green tea (I use Sencha gold) into a tea bag.  Put a sprig of Spanish mint and the tea bag into the jar.  Add water that’s off the boil and, if you want it sweet, two teaspoons of honey.  Stir, put on the lid, and when it’s a bit cooler put it into the fridge to chill.

Now all you need is a book :

And a place in the sun:  

Have a great Sunday!

More Winter Comfort Food!

It is snowing. Again. And cold, yet again.  I think we are all in need of some comfort food so I bring you my favorite: Spissky Pirohy. When I lived in Slovakia, I think I must have eaten this at least every other day for the better part of the year, which is why I made sure to get a recipe from a friend before moving here to Germany.  The only thing you might have trouble finding is the bryndza, which is a soft sheep-milk cheese only made in Slovakia (as far as I know).  You might try substituting it with a feta-paprika spread, which is the closest I’ve found to it.

For the dough:  mix 1/2 kilo of flour with 2 tsp. of oil and 1 egg. Add enough hot water for it to become dough, roll out and cut into squares or circles

For the filling: Take Bryndza (or substitute), mashed potato, dill, salt and pepper (experiment with the amounts till it tastes good to you).

Put filling in squares or circles, fold over and pinch shut.  Boil for a few minutes.

For the topping:  dice some bacon and fry with strips of onion till crispy.

Then: Put pirohy on the plate, put lots of sour cream on the pirohy, then put the bacon and onions on the sour cream.

I seriously need to get my stove fixed or buy a hotplate so I can make this again!!!

Another great variation on this is Monty from Kazakhstan (given to me by a Kazakh student…thanks Elena!)

For the dough: mix 1 kilo flour with 1 teaspoon of salt, one glass of water, and two eggs.  Roll out, cut into squares.

For the filling: mix 1 kilo minced meat, 2 small diced onions, salt and pepper.

Put the filling into the dough, and fold the edges up, pinching them closed at the top.

Steam the Monty for 30-40 minutes, and eat with sour cream or ketchup.

Enjoy!

My Miracle Cold Killer

So everyone is getting ill and I thought I’d share my secret weapon against colds.  Now this doesn’t work when you already have a cold, it works when you’re getting one and you want to fend it off.  It’s simple:

Take one giant coffee cup, and in it put 1 heaping tablespoon of dark miso, half a chicken bouillon cube, a small minced clove of garlic and a few good big shakes of habanero or peri-peri sauce (as much as you can take and a drop more).  Pour boiling water over the whole mess, wait a few minutes and then drink up!  you can add noodles or seaweed if you like.  It works like a charm, takes 3 minutes to make, and tastes fab!

Stay healthy!

Christmas comfort food: Kapustnica

Hi all! The Christmas Markets have now opened, and I’ve officially eaten more Reibekuchen than one person ever should, and that makes me happy.  I’m working on taking some pictures of the ones here to post, but until then I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Christmas time foods, Kapustnica.  When I lived in Slovakia, this was one of my absolute favorites, and is great on a cold wintery evening.

Kapustnica

1. Cut 1/2 kilo of sauerkraut into little pieces and then put into 1.5 liters of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add salt, 4 bay leaves, 3 cloves of minced garlic and black pepper and cook 30-40 minutes.

2.  In another pan put 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 cup of hruba (course) flour, and blend over a fire until sand colored.  Add a bit (I like a tablespoon) of paprika.  Then add a glass of cold water and mix.  Add to the sauerkraut mix.

3.  Add wild mushrooms to the soup (as many as you like).  Any wild mushrooms will do, but please don’t use regular button mushrooms!

4.  Slice sausage (in Slovakia, they use red, spicy “Christmas sausages” but you can use what you like) into the soup, and let cook for 5-10 minutes.

Done!  You can put a blob of sour cream on top if you like, but I think it tastes just fine without it.

Totensonntag and Hot Chocolate

Today is Totensonntag, and the weather seems to have followed suit. It’s grey and rainy and depressing and dark outside, which means today is the perfect day for three things: Buffy, sewing and alcoholic hot chocolate!  Yesterday I started a skirt from a pattern from the 40’s, I’ll post pictures when it’s finished, but I think I’m going to have to adjust the pattern a lot.  Also, believe it or not, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Romero’s Living Dead movies are the absolute best sewing movies of all time. They’re just brainless enough that you can follow along without looking at the screen all the time, and so over the top that they manage to keep you amused throughout.  It’s bizarre, I know, but that’s how it is.  Spiked Hot Chocolate is also a must for a cold blustery day of sewing and this one is my favorite.  It’s adapted from the Köln Chocolate Museum’s recipe and is The only hot chocolate recipe you’ll ever need:

Take 2 vanilla beans and simmer with 1 liter milk for 10 minutes.  Take them out, scrape out the middle, and set the milk aside.  In another pot add 3 tablespoons of cocoa, 1/4 liter of water and the vanilla bean scrapings, and bring it all to a boil.  Add the milk  and stir for a few minutes.  Then stir in 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of cane sugar, and a shot or rum or tequila.  If you’re really brave, add 1/2 teaspoons of chili powder or tabasco and a pinch of salt.  Stir and let simmer until everything is mixed and melted and blended.  In winter serve this hot with whipped cream, in summer serve chilled.  A good variation is to substitute the honey and chili with rapsberry syrup.

If I get up the energy to run to the kiosk and buy some milk, I’ll make some today and post hot chocolate pictures along with the skirt. But I wouldn’t count on it

Edited: Actually, scratch that.  My darling stove is still on the fritz. Rats.

Ennis’s The Boys and Guacamole

So I picked up the first trade paperback of The Boys on a total whim. I wanted a new comic and this one looked fairly interesting. It ended up being the best impulse buy ever!  It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s violent, and it has a point of view. Perfect!  The story centers around, well obviously, The Boys, which consists of Billy Butcher (who is out for revenge after a “supe” kills his wife), The Frenchman (who is a bomb sniffer and homicidal maniac), The Female (who lives to  rip peoples faces off), Mother’s Milk (a snob and brains of the group), and Wee Hughie (the new guy).  And these are the good guys.   Superheros, according to the story, were created due to government tests of “Compound V”, which then got into the gene pool and is now a relatively common phenomenon.  The Supes are egomaniacal, spandex wearing, self-interested megalomaniacs, and comic books are actual biographies of the current superheros.  They have merchandising and P.R agents, and absolutely no interest in humanity other than as a photo op.  The Boys have also taken the compound and are working under the CIA to police the Supes.  If you haven’t bought this, do it now (although if you have a weak stomach or are offended easily, this is probably not for you)!!!  Amazon is going to love me this month with all my comic book buys, but what the  hell. It’s autumn.

image from Amazon

And when you’re planning on buckling down for a day of beer and comics, you’ll need something to nosh:

The Only Guacamole Recipe You’ll Ever Need:

Take one large avocado, peel and de-stone. Mash in a bowl.

Squeeze a lime into it, add a bit of salt and pepper, mix.

Dice about 4 large cherry tomatos, half a large onion, and mince a large clove of garlic.  Add to avocado mix.

Then add chipotle Tabasco until it’s hot enough for you (jalapeno Tabasco is also really good here).

Now this is the most important part.  It will not taste right at first.  You need to let it sit for at least 30 minutes or you’re just wasting your time.  I know, it’s hard, but your life will be better for it, trust me!

Crack open beer, open bag of chips, get book, and enjoy!

The Only Jam Recipe You’ll Ever Need

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Well, I’ve had a rotten week, I have to say. And there is nothing better for that than toast with fresh jam!  Last week a friend gave me 5 kilos of beautiful, dark purple muscat grapes, and I managed to make two big jars before my stove went on the fritz.  I learned to make jam when I was living in Slovakia, the kind that takes hours to cook and you end up hating it.  Another friend of mine soon put me straight, and I’ve never looked back!  This recipe works best with berries and grapes, and you do not need any pectin. Just regular sugar and fruit, and it takes almost no time at all!

First take 1 kilo grapes (and pinch the seeds out of them if you need to. It takes forever but it’s so much better than fishing them out of your jam later.) You can use any kind of berry for this, plums and peaches also work well.  With these kind of grapes I also like to add a few rose petals to the mix.

Add one kilo of regular sugar. This may seem like alot, but that’s how the stuff is made. If your fruit is really sweet, you can get by on a bit less, but remember that sugar is what’s keeping the lot from going mouldy on you.

bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat, cover it, and leave it overnight.  In the morning, bring it to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.  You’ll know its ready because the bubbles will look stickier, if that makes any sense?

Take it off the heat, let it get a tad bit cooler, pour into jars and flip them upside-down.

And that’s it!

grapes!