homemade pasta

It’s finally Sunday, and I made it through one week of vegan mofo blogging!  I don’t know what you had for breakfast today, but over here in my little corner of the world we are enjoying fresh fruit from our CSA. The plate has yellow watermelon, nectarine, and plum slices. Along with delicious bread from Fat Boy bakery, purchased at the Ithaca farmers market.breakfast

I would be remiss if I did not make spaetzle (homemade pasta) during my month of making foods from Southern Germany. Spaetzle was one of my favorite childhood comfort foods. Before moving out, and living on my own I decided I needed to have my own spaetzle maker.   Well a relative gave me one a long time ago, but the truth is I rarely use the thing.  It isn’t something I think about making, since I can just buy pre-made pasta, and cook it so much faster. So this weekend while the weather outside was gray and rainy I finally made some.  Once again, I discovered that it really does not take that much time to make, especially if makeryou prepare the dough the night before!

To make the dough I followed the recipe over on the blog, Seitan is My Motor. There is another way to make spaetzle, if you do not own a maker. You can also lay some of the dough on a cutting board, Using the back of a knife push strips of dough into the boiling water. Making the pasta this way will not look perfect, but still works very well.

spaetzle1
The smaller bowl on the left contains handmade pasta, and the bowl on the right holds the pasta made with the spaetzle maker.
spaetzle2

Plum cake

plums

For the past few weeks, we have been receiving some very sweet fig plums from our fruit CSA.  We also got some of the rounder juicy plums, and peaches.  I am so glad we joined the Finger Lakes fruit Bowl!  One of the best investments we have ever made.

I could have just sat outside on our patio and devoured these in one sitting.  Instead I decided to make the plum cake recipe found in my little Swabian cookbook.  The cake came together nicely; however, I accidentally added too much cinnamon.  The cake could feed many people.  If I ever make it, again I will make a smaller version.  Otherwise, it tasted good especially right out of the oven.

To make this recipe I managed to find pearl sugar at Wegmans, but regular sugar would work just as well if you prefer not to purchase it.

The dough is made the same way as the onion cake.  Although, the measurements are different, and this variation contains more sugar. It is intended to be a sweeter dough.  When I made this, I had also decided to mix apple cider vinegar with the almond milk instead of using the cornstarch and water.  I think either way would work though.

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup softened vegan butter
  • 2 lbs of fig plums quartered and pitted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp pearl sugar

plumcake-prepOnce the dough is ready roll it out and lay it in a baking sheet or casserole dish.  Arrange the plum slices on top of the dough.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and pearl sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

baked plumcake

fishless filet and potato salad

I have been vegan for over six years now, and I still get excited over finding new recipes or new products on the shelves.  I do not miss any of the animal products I used to eat.  I hardly think of those things as food anymore.  However on occasion I do have the craving for fish.  I usually just eat some seaweed snacks, and the feeling passes.  Recently, on a trip to Wegmans, I was happy to spot the Gardein fishless filets. I like some of the other products they have so I decided to purchase the only bag they had.
fishlessfishI hope Wegmans gets more soon, because I thought they were the perfect splurge to fulfill my cravings.  Mr. EastHill did not like them as much, but he also never liked fish.

As my theme for Vegan Mofo 2014 is on foods from the Swabian region of Germany, I decided to have the fishless filets with potato salad the way my grandmother made. The flavor of this potato salad improves over time, so make it the night before if you can.  I always assumed that you should add whatever herbs you have available in your garden, therefore I always add a little mint because I always have a lot. As it turns out though, no one else in my family adds mint.  Personally, I think it is a nice addition, but the salad tastes good without.

cucumbers

Along with mint, my garden also contains a large number of cucumbers.  It is amazing how much one small cucumber plant can produce.  A neighbor chipmunk has stolen most of my tomatoes, but I did manage to get some things.  Guess large cucumbers are too big for tiny paws.  Perhaps I will try growing larger tomatoes next year.  The other thing growing in great abundance right now is nasturtium flowers.  They are so easy to grow; I planted them directly from seeds!

Recipe011

  • 1 lb red skin potatoes
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chives
  • parsley
  • thyme
  • mint

 Directions

Here is a trick you may or not already know. Before going to bed, wash the potatoes, and place them in a pot with water. Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat and cover. The next day, or about 8 hours later your potatoes will be perfectly cooked.  You can also pressure cook them, they should be soft but not overly mushy.
Thinly slice the potatoes, and cucumber, and place in a large bowl. In a separate bowl add chopped onion, vinegar, oil, salt, mixture of fresh herbs. Heat the veggie broth to a simmer, and pour over the onion mixture, and stir. Add the onion mixture to the potatoes, and stir gently. Allow the potato salad to rest for a few hours in the fridge.

fishandsalad

WIP knitting

My post for today has nothing to do with German cooking.  I have been having fun recreating some of my childhood favorites, but with my classes officially started, I decided I should plan for a few breaks from the kitchen.  Aside from delicious food, I remember receiving hand knitted socks from my grandmother, who lived in Heidenheim an Der Brenz.  She stopped knitting long ago, and I now have her collection of needles.  This summer I made two needle holders so they do not end up lost or bent.

needlebags           circularneedles

I also started my first pair of socks.  The yarn is a very soft bamboo, and cotton blend. As you can see I finished one, but the other needs a foot.  Someday I may teach myself how to knit two socks at once.  Until that happens, though I will continue this slower way of making them.  The other object is a blanket I am making from scrap yarn.  The nice thing about this blanket pattern, it that it is all one piece, so no sewing when it is completed.  Both of these projects are on hold until I can find more time to work on them.

 

socks                     blanket

onion cake

Onion cake sounds a little weird, but it tastes rich, and creamy.  It is the perfect way to use a bunch of onions in early fall when they are harvested.  I should warn you, it will make your house smell like onions!  Onion cake is one of those things I remember buying in bakeries while visiting family in Germany.  I loved its rich, creamy, and smoky flavor.  It is somewhat similar to a quiche Lorraine, except instead of pie crust, and eggs, the onions are baked over yeast bread.  Traditionally, this recipe is not vegetarian as it usually contains bacon.  I have made this recipe a few times in the past with smoked almonds, which adds a nice crunchy texture.  This time, I decided the perfect substitute is really mushrooms!  As I have mentioned before I have been getting shiitake mushrooms from my CSA every week.  Most of the time I make shiitake bacon with them.  I use the recipe from the cookbook Isa Does It.  If you don’t have that cookbook you can find recipes here, or here.
onioncake

Recipe

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 packet of dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup Almond or soy milk
  • 2 tbsp water mixed with 2 cornstarch
  • salt
  • 2 lbs onions thinly sliced
  • 8 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream (I used the Tofutti sour cream)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions

First make the shiitake bacon.  Instead of salt though I use one tablespoon of tamari, and I add two teaspoons of maple syrup.  To save time I made the them the night before.

Now make the yeast dough.  Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, and make an indent in the middle.  Add the yeast, and sugar into the center.  Warm the almond milk, and pour over the yeast. Carefully stir the yeast, and milk with a small amount of the flour.  Allow to rest for about 30 minutes.  Next add 3 tablespoons of oil, salt, and cornstarch mixture.  Knead the dough until smooth.  Cover with a damp cloth, and let the dough rest another 30 minutes, it should double in size.

In the meantime, thinly slice the onions.  In a large pan, saute with the rest of the oil until onions become glassy.  Remove from the heat, add sour cream, shiitake bacon, and spices.  Roll out the dough, and place into a greased casserole dish.  Bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees until dough becomes golden brown.

mushroom cakes

chanterellesDuring my pre-vegan days I didn’t like mushrooms at all.  Actually, it was really about the texture, they are so weird and slimy.  I ate them occasionally if I didn’t really notice there presence.  After going vegan I slowly started to accept them into the “things I will eat”, group.  This summer we even joined a shiitake mushroom CSA!  When I first saw the recipe for Pfifferlings-Kuechle (chanterelle) in my cookbook, I thought I would love to try these.  The trouble is where can I get these special mushrooms?  As luck would have it a friend of mine, who discovered a trove of wild mushrooms near her home, happened to stop into the local co-op while I was there.  She was hoping to find someone that could identify, and confirm the mushrooms she found are in fact edible.  Personally, I am of the belief that if they are not in a store, and I am not being charged $9.00 a pound for them, they are probably poisonous.  My friend did find someone who could identify them as non poisonous, totally safe, edible chanterelle mushrooms.  In the past I would have said, no thank you when offered any wild mushrooms, but in the name of blogging I decided to take some home.  In the end I am glad I did, because they were wonderfully delicious!

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on chanterelles you might like to try this recipe for mushroom cakes.  We enjoyed them with fresh salad, and grilled eggplant, and zucchini.  The cakes came out perfectly, held together well, and tasted good.

20140828-105146.jpg

The original recipe does calls for 300 grams (about 10.6 ounces) of mushrooms, which I didn’t have.  I considered mixing them with shiitakes, but decided to halve my recipe instead.  This way I could experience the flavor of chanterelles on there own.  If you can’t get chanterelle mushrooms, try these cakes with a different variety, oyster mushrooms maybe?

Recipe

  • 2 cups (5 ounces) chanterelles thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsley
  • 2 cups cubed bread (about 4 slices)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds mixed with 2 tbsp. of water
  • 1/2 tsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

 Directions

In a large pan saute the mushrooms, and onions with a tablespoon of oil.  Cook until the onions become transparent, and most of the liquid is gone.  Add the parsley, and remove the pan from the heat.  Heat the soy milk in a small saucepan, and pour over the bread.  Cover, and allow to rest for a few minutes.  Next, mix in the cooked mushrooms.  Then add the flax seed mixture, flour, salt, and nutmeg to the bread. Form six patties out of the bread mixture.  Using the same pan heat the oil, and fry the patties on both sides on medium heat, until they become golden brown. Enjoy!

 

VeganMOFO day one

So here, it goes my first attempt at Vegan Month of Food for 2014!  The idea behind this is to blog every week day for one month.  It is going to be a challenge for me, because along with coming up with 20 – 30 blog posts, my classes are starting!  I am a part time student, and only taking two courses, but I expect there to be a lot of work involved.  Additionally, I am starting an internship in a small library, and of course, there is my part-time job. September will be a busy month!

Although not everyone who participates in vegan MOFO has a theme, I thought it would be helpful when creating posts.  After some thought I decided to focus on cooking in the Swabian region of Germany. Why this topic? Well it is the region where my parent’s and all of my relatives are from. Most of my memories of visiting are from this particular area.  I also have a small cookbook that I have been hanging on to for the longest time, but never really use. I believe it was a gift many years ago. Now that I have been vegan for a while, I think it might be time to say goodbye to it. I felt like this is the perfect time to recreate some childhood favorites.  The other challenge will be to dust off my German reading skills so I can translate recipes into English, and converting measurements, and temperatures from metric.

cookbook