Oven-Baked Vegetables

These oven-baked veggies are another one of my favorite dishes. It is easy to prepare in advance and quite versatile. We usually eat it as a full meal in itself, sometimes with a bit of rice or pasta, but it is also a great side dish when you have a group of people over for dinner. In any case, it is a healthy, delicious, and filling meal that works any time of the year. 🙂

Great as a full vegetarian meal.

Ingredients

(enough for 4 people as a full meal)

  • 6-8 potatoes
  • 8-10 carrots
  • 250 g mushrooms
  • 2 (red) bell peppers
  • 1 zucchini
  • 4 cloves of garlic (if you are a big garlic fan, by all means, use more)
  • 1 red onion
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, ground nutmeg, pot herbs
  • (if you like: 250 g mozzarella)

How to Make It

  • Preheat the oven to 200 ° C.
  • Wash the potatoes and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Then peel the carrots and cut them into bite-sized chunks as well.
  • Take a bowl and mix the potato and carrot pieces with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, ground nutmeg, and pot herbs.
  • Pour the potato and carrot pieces onto the baking tray and put it into the oven for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, wash and cut the rest of the vegetables (i.e. the mushrooms, the bell peppers, and the zucchini). You want to cut them all into bite-sized chunks of similar size.
  • Dice the cloves of garlic and the onion.
  • Mix everything in a big bowl with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and pot herbs.
  • Take out the baking tray and pour the veggies on top. It all goes back into the oven for another 20-25 minutes. Make sure to stir the contents of the baking tray every 10 minutes or so to make sure it all is baked evenly.
  • If you like, you can cut up some mozzarella and sprinkle the pieces on top of the veggies for the last 5-7 minutes of baking.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish vegetable soup mostly eaten during summer because it is served cold. This soup does not require cooking, you just need to have a decent blender and you are good to go. The result is a fresh and refreshing soup and perfect for hot summer days. Just make sure you let it get properly cold before serving it. 🙂

Ingredients

(makes about 5 liters; if you filter it, you end up with about 2.5 to 3 liters)

For the Gazpacho
  • 2 kg tomatoes (roughly 16 pieces)
  • 1½ cucumbers
  • 2 green, 1 red, 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 6 slices of toast
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, “crema de balsamico”, potherbs, oregano
For the Toppings
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 green and 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3-4 slices of toast

How to Make It

  • Wash the tomatoes and cut out the stalks. Take a sharp knife and make a big “X” at the bottom of the tomato.
  • Take a pot and heat up enough water to submerge the tomatoes in it. Once the water is hot, put the tomatoes in it and wait until the skin starts to come off. This usually takes no more than 30 seconds. Then take the tomatoes out of the water and let them cool off.
  • Cut the tomatoes into chunks and put them into the blender.
  • Wash and peel the cucumbers. Dice them and put the pieces into the blender.
  • Peel the cloves of garlic, cut them into slices, and add them to the rest of the ingredients in the blender.
  • Take the slices of toast and cut off the crust. Put the crust to the side; you can use it for the toppings later. Soak the bread for 10-15 minutes in cold water, then carefully squeeze out the water and put the bread into the blender.
  • Blend all your ingredients thoroughly in the blender.
  • Add at least 2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper each, 8 tablespoons of olive oil, 6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of “crema de balsamico”, and 2 teaspoons of oregano. Add potherbs as you see fit (I am a big fan, so I add 4-5 tablespoons easily). Blend again.
  • Take a food mill and sieve the blended soup. Let it sit for 30 minutes, taste it, and adjust the seasoning.
  • Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. When serving, the gazpacho must be very cold.
  • Before serving, prepare the toppings.
  • Wash the bell peppers and dice them.
  • Wash the cucumber, peel, and dice it.
  • Wash and dice the tomatoes.
  • Cut the slices of toast into pieces. Take the leftover crusts from the toast for the gazpacho and cut them into pieces as well. Take out a small pan and heat up 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the pieces of toast in the oil until they are golden brown. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Sprinkle the toppings on the gazpacho and serve it. Enjoy cold!

Lemon Sorbet

This lemon sorbet is easy to make and super refreshing, making it the perfect dessert. But it also tastes great if you add a scoop or two to a glass of sparkling wine or a glass of sparkling mineral water infused with elderflower syrup.

Self-made sorbet is an absolute treat!

Ingredients

  • 150 ml lemon juice (about 5-6 small lemons)
  • 100 ml water
  • 50 g sugar

How to Make It

  • Squeeze the juice from the lemons. Make sure so pick out the seeds afterwards. Keep the pulp.
  • Mix the lemon juice and the water in a pot.
  • Stir in the sugar. Heat up the liquid just enough so that the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour the mixture into your ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cream Cheese

When my husband came to Germany, he discovered cream cheese and has been a fan ever since. 🙂 Needless to say, self-made cream cheese tastes so much better than the store-bought alternative. This recipe is super easy and does not take long at all – and you can add whatever additional ingredients you like.

Easy to make and very tasty.

Ingredients

(makes about 90 g of cream cheese)

  • 500 ml buttermilk
  • 5-7 teaspoons chopped potherbs (basil, parsley, chives, …)
  • salt and pepper

How to Make It

  • Heat up the buttermilk in a pot until it is between 60-70° C hot. Do not boil it!
  • As the buttermilk warms up, it will begin to curdle. Once the whey has separated from the cream, pour everything through a cloth.
  • Take the cream cheese out of the cloth and put it into a container. Stir. If the cream cheese is too dry and lumpy, add a bit of the whey.
  • Chop up the potherbs and stir them into the cream cheese.
  • Add salt and pepper according to personal preferences.
  • The cream cheese tastes great on self-baked bread… 😉
Tastes great on freshly baked bread.

Bread – Potatoe and Spelt

This potato bread may seem a bit unusual at first glance, but it is absolutely worth a try. It has a crunchy crust and is quite light and fluffy inside. Tastes great with self-made cream cheese, fruity jam, or aromatic ham. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 350 g cooked potatoes (from the previous day)
  • 300 g whole grain spelt flour
  • 100 g rye flour (type 1150)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon ground caraway
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 140 g active sourdough
  • 20 g yeast
  • about 30-50 ml lukewarm water

How to Make It

  • Mash the potatoes thoroughly. You want to have a mass without any chunks.
  • Add the spelt and rye flour and mix it.
  • Add the honey (or maple syrup), the caraway, the nutmeg, and the salt.
  • Add the active sourdough and mix it all.
  • Take about 20 ml of the lukewarm water and dissolve the yeast in it.
  • As you mix your dry ingredients, slowly pour the yeast water into the bowl.
  • Mix for 10-15 minutes. If necessary, add 10-20 ml of lukewarm water. Make sure that the dough is not too moist, though.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rest in a warm spot overnight (or at least 3-4 hours).
Baking with a Clay Pot
  • Soak the clay pot for a good 30 minutes.
  • Once the pot and the dough are ready, pour out the water, dry the pot, and fill the dough into the pot.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour. If you have a pot with a lid like I do, close the pot with the lid.
  • Put the pot into the oven and turn the oven on to 220° C. This is important as the pot needs to heat up slowly; putting the clay pot into a pre-heated oven can cause the clay to break.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, then take off the lid and bake for another 35-40 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.
Ready to go into the oven.
Baking the “Standard” Way
  • The next morning, grease a baking tin and pour the dough in. Let the dough rest for at least another hour.
  • Take a sharp knife and make three diagonal cuts across the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with a bit of water and a bit of flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 220° C.
  • Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes.
  • Once the bread is done, turn off the oven and let the bread cool inside the oven.

Ginger Water

If you are looking for a refreshing (and healthy) beverage to cool off during the summer, ginger water may be the thing for you!

Refreshing and easy to make.

Ingredients

For the “Base”
  • 70 g of chopped ginger
  • 70 ml of water
For the Drink
  • ⅛ ginger water
  • ⅞ sparkling mineral water
  • about 1 tablespoon of honey of maple syrup

How to Make It

  • Wash and peel the ginger, then cut it into pieces.
  • Blend the pieces of ginger with the water thoroughly. Pour the blended mix through a strainer to filter out the fibers. The resulting liquid. is your “base.” You can store it in a bottle the fridge for about ten days.
  • For the actual beverage, mix ⅛ of ginger water with ⅞ of sparkling mineral water.
  • Add honey or maple syrup to sweeten it. Stir thoroughly and enjoy.
The perfect summer drink.

Lentil and Pomegranate Salad

In summer, we usually end up eating more salads since they are a lighter, easy meal when it is too warm outside to cook. This lentil salad is super-healthy and the pomegranate seeds give it a fresh and fruity flavor. Let me know what you think. 🙂

Lentils, arugula, and pomegranate seeds – yummy!

Ingredients

(enough for 4 people)

For the Salad
  • 200 g black lentils
  • 125 g arugula
  • 250 g feta cheese
  • 350 g pomegranate seeds (about 1½ pomegranates)
  • 150 g chopped walnuts
For the Dressing
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 25 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon “crema de balsamico,” i.e. balsamic vinegar cream, a thicker and more aromatic version of the vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garden herbs

How to Make It

  • Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the box. Pour out the water and let them cool off, then put them into a big bowl.
  • In the meantime, wash the arugula. I always cut the leaves to make it easier to eat. 😉 Put the arugula into a big bowl.
  • Dice the feta cheese and add it to the bowl.
  • Chop up the walnuts and add them to the rest.
  • Peel the pomegranates to collect the seeds. Careful, it can get a bit messy… Add the pomegranate seeds to the salad.
  • In a separate little bowl, mix the dressing. Add it to the salad and mix it well.
  • Before serving, sprinkle the garden herbs on top. Enjoy! 🙂
Tastes great with a glass of fruity cider.

Banana Bread

Banana bread is a classic comfort food, especially in the U.S. Now with the corona virus slowing down all public life and confining families to their homes, it has made a spectacular comeback. The sweet taste is certainly soothing, and baking does bring people together, turning it into a stabilizing tradition. Sharing food is a great way to connect with loved ones, so I thought I would post my favorite recipe for banana bread here as well. This is a recipe friends kindly shared with me years ago and that is also why the ingredients are listed in American measures.

Banana bread is a staple comfort food.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts or pecan nuts
  • 1¾ cups flour (basic wheat flour will do)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 3-4 really ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

How to Make It

  • Preheat the oven to 180° C.
  • Take a bowl and mix the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, the baking soda, the salt, and the cinnamon.
  • Chop the nuts and add them to the flour-sugar mix.
  • Squash the bananas with a fork.
  • Take a second bowl and mix the squashed bananas, the eggs, the melted butter, and the vanilla.
  • Carefully fold in the liquid contents of the second bowl into the dry ingredients of the first bowl. You want to make sure that the dough is thick and chunky.
  • Butter a baking tin and pour the dough into it.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes at 180° C until the banana bread is golden brown on top. Let it cool down.
  • (You can freeze it easily as well.)

Chocolate-Nougat Ice-Cream with Irish Cream Liqueur

If you love chocolate ice-cream, this one is for you! It has a deliciously aromatic chocolate flavor because of the cocoa, but the nougat also adds a sweet component – the result is a rich and intense ice-cream. The touch of Irish cream liqueur adds a bit of a twist and ensures you have an easy to make, yet fancy dessert that is mouthwatering any time of the year.

Yummy!

Ingredients

  • 400 g cream
  • 150 ml Irish cream liqueur (chocolate flavor)
  • 250 g nougat
  • 100 g cocoa powder (the kind used for baking without sugar)
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g sugar

How to Make It

  • Mix the cream and the liqueur together in a pot.
  • Add the nougat in chunks and carefully heat up the mixture. Make sure not to boil it, though. Stir to dissolve the nougat.
  • Add the cocoa powder and stir until everything is dissolved.
  • Let the mixture cool down a bit.
  • In the meantime, whip up the eggs until they are very (!) fluffy.
  • Add the sugar to the eggs and beat it again until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Carefully stir in the chocolate-nougat-cream into the egg-sugar foam.
  • Pour the mixture into your ice-cream machine and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Spicy Chicken Pizza

This pizza takes a bit longer to prepare, but the effort is absolutely worth it! Depending on how much curry powder you add, the chicken pieces can become quite spicy, giving this pizza an interesting twist. The caramelized onion provides a sweet note to the whole affair.

Spicy and sweet at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green bell pepper
  • 100 g gorgonzola (or some other type of blue cheese)
  • curry powder, salt, pepper
  • honey

How to Make It

  • Cut the two chicken breasts into pieces and fry them with a bit of olive oil in the pan. Make sure to season them with curry powder and a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Peel the onion and dice it. Take another pan, heat up a spoonful of honey, and caramelize the onion in it.
  • Wash the bell peppers and cut them into pieces.
  • Roll out the dough and put it on the baking tray (or the pizza shovel to transport the pizza to the stone later).
  • Spread the pizza sauce to your liking.
  • Spread the bell pepper on the pizza, then add the chicken.
  • Cut up the gorgonzola cheese and sprinkle it on top as well.
  • Add whatever spices (like oregano) you feel like.
  • Put the pizza into the oven and bake at 250° C for 15-20 min., depending on your preferences.
  • Take it out, cut it into pieces, and enjoy!