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.

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.

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