himmel und erde (heaven and earth)

Last week I was happy to get pears, and potatoes among other things from my CSA.  I love the changing variety of produce during late summer  and early fall.  All the perfect of ingredients for delicious comfort foods.  As soon as I came home with my share, I knew I had to make another of my favorite fall dishes, ‘himmel und erde’ aka, heaven and earth.  Traditionally, this dish is a blend of potatoes from the earth, and sweet apples from the sky.  Normally it is topped with caramelized onions.There is debate as to which region of Germany this dish comes from, it may not even be from Southern Germany.  Actually, the recipe is not from my Swabian cookbook at all, its something I mostly make from memory.  I decided to have it for breakfast along with some of the Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage made by Field Roast, nectarines, and plums.  Himmel und erde is lighter with a touch of sweetness.

himmel&erde

Recipe

  • 1 pound yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 pound apples (or pears)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Directions

Cut the potatoes into cubes. Slice the apples, and remove the seeds. Cook the potatoes in simmering water covered, for about 10 minutes. Add the apples and sugar, allow it to cook for another 20 minutes. In the meantime fry 2 medium onions with salt until golden brown. Once the potatoes and apples are cooked mash until relatively smooth. Place it in a serving bowl, and top with the onions.

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

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.

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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!

 

winter dinner

This past Sunday started out dark and rainy.  By the end of the day it was snowing making it the perfect day to stay in and enjoy comfort food.  I baked the olive bread from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new book Isa does it.  It smelled delicious, and resulted in a nice soft bread.  Image

For the curry butternut squash soup I used some leftover squash I had in the freezer.  It was easy to put together.  I sauteed two small onions and three cloves of garlic, then added a chopped apple until everything turned golden brown.  Next I added the squash and veggie broth.  After everything was soft and hot I added a tablespoon of curry powder.  Lastly I pureed the entire thing with my immersion blender.  We enjoyed the bread with a store bought bean dip.

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bread share

What Ithaca lacks in vegan restaurants it gains in a large array of locally made food products.  I could create a long laundry list of all the items available in the finger lakes.  It is one of the few places I know of that you can get locally ground flour, tofu, and seitan. There are also a large number of different CSA’s (community share agriculture) to choose from.  This region even has one of the first if not only you pick berry CSA.  One of my favorite things about living here is our wonderful bread share from Wide Awake Bakery. Every week we get to choose from an array o freshly baked bread.  Sometimes they have homemade pasta as well.  Usually we enjoy our bread on Saturday morning, with nut butter and jam.  I have also been known to make special sandwiches with it, or enjoy with homemade hummus.

Sunflower seed bread