I’ve never been a fan of fish for most of my life. As a child, when my siblings enjoyed their fish sticks, the smell of it deterred me. Therefore, I decided back then that I don’t like fish and that I won’t eat it any more. By the way, other than that, I wasn’t a picky person at all.
A couple of years ago, just before we moved to Cambridge, MA, David and I decided to do a trip around the world. At some point on our 9-month lasting travels, we ended up in French Polynesia. Picture turquoise and crystal clear water, white beaches, and colorful fishes. What am I saying: Picture paradise! We stayed some time at a homestay on Fakarava, an atoll of the Tuamoto group. The problem was: Fish was the main food there. I figured that I would be happy to skip the main simply enjoying the side dishes. But: There were no sides. Our hosts only spoke French and David and I had lost almost all of our 5-years of learning French knowledge (how is this possible?), so I was in a dilemma. Either I would appear extremely rude not eating the food they had put so much effort into preparing, or I would have to eat fish. So, after 25 years of fish abstinence, I decided to do the latter. And oh boy, did I like it. So much, that on my third day on the Island, I ate raw fish Polynesia-style (poisson cru). This marks the beginning of my journey eating raw fish and I’ve been preparing it at home ever since.
Are you interested in learning how to make cheese spaetzle and apple strudel from scratch?
Do you live in the Boston area? Then come and join my upcoming class about Austrian Cuisine at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Cambridge, MA.
Austrian cuisine: Apple strudel & cheese spaetzle
Saturday, June 24, 2017, 11am-2pm
This class will bring you right into the heart of European cooking tradition. Austrian and Viennese cooking is well known around the globe. In this class, we will prepare an authentic Austrian three-course menu. You will learn from me, an Austrian native, how to shape dumplings for a classic semolina dumpling soup, and how to make pasta from scratch for cheese spaetzle with bacon and caramelized onions – a dish from the Alps. For dessert, we will prepare Vienna’s signature dish: apple strudel. Learn how to make the pastry dough from scratch, to prepare the filling, and the nuts and bolts of rolling everything into a perfectly flakey strudel. To register hop over to the CCAE site.
It’s funny that a Dutch Baby is also known as German pancake. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’ve never heard of a Dutch Baby before I moved to the US. And usually, Austrians know what’s going on in Germany ;-) So this dish was a great discovery. It’s kind of foodie-heaven for me. If you get to know me a little, you know my preference for sweet egg-flour-milk based dishes like Palatschinken (Austrian crepes) or Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes). This Dutch Baby was a real revelation for me.
This recipe will yield a super-soft, puffy, and fluffy Dutch Baby – exactly how I like it texture-wise. Please use an 8 or 9 inch pan with at least 2 inches tall sides. Otherwise, the batter will flow over during baking (see picture below). If you use a pan with a larger diameter, the Dutch Baby might not puff up as nicely. Also: Serve quickly once the Dutch Baby is out of the oven, it will collapse. So please prepare the desired toppings like lemon juice, fruits, or powdered sugar in advance.
This one bowl brownie recipe yields chewy, fudgy brownies with a moist center and a crispy crust. I simply love their moist chew and the fact that they are not too dense. The baking time influences the consistency of these brownies tremendously, so please insert the cake tester (skewer, toothpick) rather too often than pulling dry brownies out of the oven. You will get the best results if the brownies appear slightly underbaked.
A note on reducing the amount of sugar
I made a habit of reducing the amount of sugar in cakes and pastries. And this is exactly what I did in this recipe. Most other recipes add about 1.5 cups of sugar into their brownie batter for an 8×8-inch square pan. I only add 1 cup. I wanted to reduce the amount even more, but the brownies didn’t seem to like this kind of diet. If you go lower than 1 cup of sugar, it’s hardly possible without a loss of quality. The crackly tops and the chewy bite depend on the sugar. As an experiment, I tried to reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup (160 g). They came out with a rather cakey texture but without their chewiness (bake 5 minutes shorter). But don’t get me wrong, they still taste great if you are into cakey brownies. Adding some baking powder makes them even more cakey. But who wants that anyway.
During orange season, I make this blood orange jam pretty often. It is simply a perfect spread for breakfast and brunch and makes a great hostess gift.
Being from Austrian, right next to Italy, means growing up with Aperol Spritz and other drinks made of the famous Italian aperitif. The flavors of Aperol and fresh blood orange blend so well that it would almost be a shame not to spread it onto the daily bread for breakfast. By the way, the jam doesn’t taste alcoholic at all, just so you know.
This is my basic recipe for chia pudding. I typically use coconut milk for chia puddings – I like its taste and color – but feel free to substitute with any other plant-based milk like soy or almond milk. The color may vary slightly. Smoothies and fruit juices taste great as well, when used instead of milk. I use 5 tablespoons of liquid for every tablespoon of chia seeds as a basic ratio for chia pudding.
Ok, it took me almost three years living in Boston to finally post this recipe for Boston Baked Beans. Why? Honestly, I don’t know. Ever since I’ve made this recipe for the first time, I can’t get enough of it.
In addition to the original recipe, I’ve added a quick version that uses cooked beans from a can and is therefore ready in 10 minutes. Of course, the dish tastes better using the old fashioned slow-cooked way but there are busy days with absolutely no time for soaking beans overnight and cooking them for hours. For those days, the quick version of the baked beans recipe is absolutely perfect.
By the way, I love to eat my baked beans on a slab of sourdough bread sprinkled with a generous amount of freshly grated parmesan on top. Not authentic at all but absolutely delicious.
These pulled pork sliders make me speechless. Omg, they are soooooo tasty! I made the pulled pork in a heavy pot in the oven and it took the meat less than 3 hours to fall apart when pierced with a fork. But these sliders …I don’t know if I crave them because of the slightly smoky and not overwhelming pulled pork or the combination of all the homemade ingredients including brioche buns, BBQ sauce, and red cabbage slaw.
These pulled pork sandwiches are great for gatherings with friends and make the perfect accompaniment to a nice cold beer. By the way, you can make everything ahead of time so you won’t face a stressful preparation before your friends arrive and you will be able to enjoy the time while you have company. It also helps that everybody can assemble his/her own pulled pork sandwich according to personal preference – à la slider bar. Everyone can top their sandwich, with their favorite combination to their liking.
I am a sucker for a great red cabbage slaw. Be it as a side salad or as a topping for pulled pork sliders (recipe here). I prefer coleslaw with a nice crunchy texture and not overly soggy and wet. But not too crunchy and almost raw. I like that sweet spot in between: a little softened but still crunchy. The recipe below gives exactly this kind. My trick to get it there is to knead the cabbage for a minute – not longer. This helps to get rid of the raw taste but keeps its crunchiness.
If you are a fan of soft, fluffy, airy, subtle buttery, and only slightly sweet brioche burger buns, you can stop your search right here. I came up with the recipe for these super-briochy slider buns after exhaustive testing.
Usually, when making burgers with beef patties, I use a different kind of bun, which tastes more baguette-like and less briochy. But these brioche buns go so well with pulled pork (recipe here) or a grilled portobello cap burger, that it is almost unbelievable. Toast them before assembling and you will notice that the taste and structure of the buns will improve further.
Also, do not half the amount of ingredients. I know, 24 sliders sounds a lot but considering their size it’s really not that bad. These brioche buns not only make great burger buns but are also one of the most delicious treats I’ve ever had for breakfast. In my opinion, they taste best when lightly toasted. If they are too thick to fit into your toaster, just cut them twice or use the oven broiler. Spread with unsalted butter and orange marmalade or apricot jam. By the way: They also freeze well.
This is the perfect BBQ sauce for Pulled Pork Sliders. I am serious. Perfect! It’s not too sour, not too sweet, and it comes with a hint of smoky flavor. Since I’ve made a batch of this quick and not overly sweet BBQ sauce for my pulled pork sliders (recipe here), I am addicted to this sauce. It goes well with almost everything: It’s the perfect sauce for burgers, for French fries, for sandwiches, and for dipping anything, and I mean really anything – be it oven baked veggies or tater tots.
Compared to traditional recipes, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar and ingredients that contain sugar a lot. There is no ketchup in this BBQ sauce, neither will you find molasses or honey. Just a little bit of brown sugar. Another ingredient you won’t find is liquid smoke. Nope, no liquid smoke in this BBQ sauce. Why? Because I simply prefer smoked paprika, which I think is much more versatile in the kitchen.