Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The (second) Best Sandwich in the World

I'm going to let you all in to a little secret.


You know what that is?  It's the second-most delicious sandwich in the world.  It's pretty easy too.  You need two slices whole-wheat bread (I guess you could use white, but I don't think it's all that delicious), nutella, peanut butter, jam, and a small banana.  You spread a swirly delicious mixture of nutella and peanut butter on one slice, and top with sliced banana.  On the other slice, you spread a nice layer of jam.  Then you sandwich it all together and devour (in a ladylike manner, of course).

The first best sandwich in the world?  Right now, it's a secret known only to me and the most fantastic deli in Harrisburg, PA ;)  I'll give you a hint -best consumed with an ice-cold, cane-sugar sweetened cream soda.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunny Wanderings

As the title implies, it's been a lot sunnier here.  I took advantage of that with a friend the other day on the Neckarinsel (the island in the Neckar by the Altstadt).  I was pretty careless with the sunscreen and a pretty agonizing burn resulted.  Oi.  For that reason, I've been the only person in this city wearing sleeves.  Awkward.

Grapefruit Remixed

I love reading the blog "No Big Dill."  Aesthetically, it's lovely, and full of inspiring sewing.  Maybe someday I'll practice up and get that good, but for now I'm sticking with the food.  When I saw this in her recipe page, I thought I'd make my own broiled grapefruits.

I mixed some melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together to make a paste.  I smeared it over the top of two grapefruit halves.  I broiled/baked until the whole thing was melty and warm.  Mmmmmmmmm.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meatless Meatballs

I'm not vegetarian anymore, but I still LOVE my veggies.  I just feel at my best when I eat less meat, especially red meat, and I save money too.  A win-win, as far as I'm concerned.  After seeing these yummy (and easy) looking eggplant meatballs on "A Cozy Kitchen" (what a great name, right?) I had to act!  I really like eggplant, I could honestly have eaten the whole bowl of roasted slices right out of the oven!  My patience was rewarded, though, and the resulting "meat"balls were super-delicious.  I adapted the recipe a little and made half of it.  I ended up with ten smallish veggie-balls.

Get the recipe after the jump.

Banana Breakfast Squares

I like shaking up breakfast.  Cereal and milk one day, veggie eggs (scrambled eggs + frozen mixed veggies) the next.  Pancakes are, of course, a constant star.

With an overripe banana and some almost-overripe peaches hanging out in my room, I decided to act.  It wasn't enough for quick bread, and I wanted something a little healthier anyway.  After a little peeking, I found this recipe from Gingerbread and Bagels on Pinterest.  Healthy, yummy, and something to use up all the fruit :)

I replaced the milk with 1/2 cup pureed cooked peaches and left the sugar out.  I ate the results plain, but they would also be good with jam or fresh fruit.

*EDIT* the blogger seems to have disappeared, so here's the recipe.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats 
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar (I used peach puree, but you could use any sweet fruit puree)
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
1 large mashed banana 
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mix together and pour into a lightly-buttered 8x8-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pancake Days: Lemony Bananas Foster

My sourdough starter is nice and strong again and ready to make tonight's dinner.  As for syrup, I didn't have any maple, so I made Bananas Foster.  A tiny bit of brown sugar, some lemon juice, some cinnamon, and two very ripe bananas later this resulted:

Yes folks, the pancake plate is back again.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Peach Pie Brioche

Thought I'd go back to yeast-bread baking while I wait for my Sourdough starter to bulk up again.  After seeing this beautiful (and processed-sugar-free) brioche, I figured I'd do my own twist, haha.

So I made peach pie bread.

Instead of cinnamon-sugar for the filling, I used half a jar of peach-applesauce and sprinkled cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins over it.  I also replaced half the butter with more of the fruit puree.

Swedish Eats

Fun fact, all of Sweden (well the indoor bits, anyway) smell like cinnamon sugar.  I kid you not, it is DA BOMB.

They also have delicious pastries (the source of this delicious smell):

They sell marmalade in tubes, like sausages:

They have Skippy-brand peanut butter in regular stores:

And Nutella-banana sandwiches are just as good here as they are everywhere:

Discovering Stockholm: Part III

After the museum, we decided to head back to Gamla Stan (the old city) to check out an authentic candy store!  We read about it in "things not to miss" and it sounded just like something we needed to see.  Plus it was indoors.

It had a name we couldn't pronounce, and none of the candy labels were in English.  That whole "German-speakers-can-read-Swedish" thing does NOT hold true with many fruit flavors.  Thankfully the staff spoke English, and were super helpful.  The workshop was glassed-in, so you could see them making their candies (spicy licorice was the flavor of the day).  The little buckets attached to the workshop hold freshly made, freshly wrapped candy.  So many flavors!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Discovering Stockholm: Part II

After a long, oft-interrupted (thank you four snoring Japanese businessmen!) sleep, we headed out for day two.  The weather wasn't much better.  It was raining less, but so much colder.  Our goal for the day had been to see Skansen (the Swedish equivalent of Plymouth Plantation or Greenfield Village).  Who wouldn't want to see that??!!  We just couldn't imagine being outside long enough and couldn't justify paying the equivalent of 14 Euros to stay 20 minutes.  I know I need to get myself back to Sweden to experience it.  The Swedes were not deterred.  Decked out in foul-weather gear head to toe, we saw family after family just going for it.

Our mail goal no longer feasible, we headed to our (close) second choice, The Nordic Museum.  We took LOTS of pictures.  It was very very cool to see so much Swedish history, including handcrafts. Y'all know how much I love that stuff!.

This guy greeted us in the main hall.  The inscription beneath his throne reads "be Swedish!"


Pancake Days: Coconut Almond

My sourdough starter spend the last couple weeks chilling (hah) in the refrigerator sans food.  This is totally ok, it just needs a little extra TLC and strengthening time when it comes back out, before it can be used again.  While I wait for next weekend, I decided to try ANOTHER new pancake recipe.  Dear me, branching out!

Today I made coconut almond pancakes with coconut milk and toasted almond and coconut shavings. I topped them (and filled them) with butter, cherries, and blackberries.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Baby Cakes

I have a love affair with this blog.  It's partially the name -how can you NOT like something called "Desserts for Breakfast?"  After scrolling through page after page of drool-worthy photos, I had bookmarked about ten different recipes that I just HAD to make.  HAD TO.  Given my time, monetary, and kitchen restraints, I settled on a simpler-looking one.  These adorable little sandwich cookies really got me.

Om nom.

My beloved neighbor is moving out.  My cookie muse, so to speak, with his inspiring love of all baked sweets.  Mostly cookies.  I call him cookie monster, sometimes.  I baked these for his going-away-bbq and because he squealed when he saw the recipe.  I'm going to miss that one.

Discovering Stockholm: Part 1

P and I headed up north (well northerner-north) to see Stockholm.  Our first view of Sweden looked a lot like Maine.  Rainy pine forests surrounded the rural airport we flew into.  During our 1.5 hour bus ride to the city center, the scenery reminded us surprisingly of the US.  We saw 7-11s, huge highways, pine forests, and super-malls complete with big box stores and parking lots for the masses.  When we finally got to the Hauptbahnhof, our destination, it was 11 at night and raining.  We missed the clear signage that exists in Germany.  We were grateful that we could find an ATM to get some money (Sweden is not on the Euro!).

The next day, the weather was no better :(  We headed out to explore the old city, "Gamla Stan."  It was still rainy and cold, so we ducked into souvenir shops too.  There were so many moose motifs everywhere!  Who knew?  Pretty old city:

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Great Up North

For Pfingsten (Pentecost) southern Germans receive a week of vacation.  The Protestant north does no such thing.  Thankfully P. had a couple classes cancelled so headed out to explore the north.  First stop was Bremen, her town.  I arrived on Sunday after a 12-hour train ride.  Believe me, it was great.  I love long train trips.  Got to see so much of Germany!  And for 40 Euros, you just can't beat it.  I briefly saw the Hannover Altstadt while I waited for my final train.

Peachy Keen

I love a good peach.  Their juicy sweetness, textural perfection, and versatility make it a fruit I'm proud to call my favorite.  (Like blueberries, strawberries, oranges...  Playing favorites is tough!).  They're just beginning to show up at the groceries at ludicrous prices, so I bought just two.  After eating the first one a little too soon, I waited a nice long time with number two.  My patience was rewarded today with this delicious lunch:

Peaches sliced on Wasa crackers topped with peanut butter, ground almonds, and shaved coconut.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Soup for Summer

The weather here has been anything but summery, of late.  Rainy, dreary, and chilly, it has called for soup.  I picked up a little Jamie Oliver magazine at the Bremen airport, after realizing just how long the wait would be.  P got a dictionary and we learned words to help us get out of trouble, like "to deny everything."  Leugnen, if you're curious.

The ham-mint soup sounded really appealing, and I figured it would be a good way to assimilate, given that Germans like their Schweinefleisch (pork).

I ended up making it without the mint, and added a little pasta tonight since I didn't want to brave the cold to buy fresh bread.  You don't buy bread for the week here, you purchase it by the day.

American Style

Thanks to our local Asian grocery, S. and I were recently equipped with a bag of (expensive) organic light brown sugar.  It was nestled in between blocks of palm sugar and other curious exotic sweeteners.  We decided to stick with what we knew, because...

Monday, June 4, 2012


I'm back from my weeklong travel oddyssey.  I saw Bremen, Hannover, Hamburg, and Stockholm.  Slept much.  Ate much.  Got rained on much.  Learned much.  Did you know that Sweden smells like cinnamon sugar?  I'm not missing the weather (45, rainy, and windy both days), but I am missing that smell.  More Swedish details to come (and some more Germany stuff, too), but enjoy these pictures for now :)