Stir-Fry Meal with Vienna Sausage

I just love quick and healthy meals that can be cooked in one big pot. For this stir-fry meal, the rule applies as well. The Vienna sausages make the meal a bit more interesting and combine really well with the fresh and sweet cherry tomatoes. Serve it with a side-salad and, if you like, some bread. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Lots of fresh vegetables and some yummy sausages.

Ingredients

(enough for 4 people)

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 250 g mushrooms
  • 450 g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 Vienna sausages
  • salt, pepper, pot-herbs, fresh chives

How to Make It

  • Wash the eggplant and slice it. Put the slices on a big plate and sprinkle salt on each of them. Let the slices sit there for 15-20 minutes. The salt draws out some of the water and bitter principles in the eggplant. When the time is up, take some paper towels and carefully dab the salt and the water away. Dice the slices.
  • Peel and dice the onions.
  • Wash the zucchinis and cut them into pieces.
  • Clean the mushrooms and cut them into pieces.
  • Heat up 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the diced onions in it.
  • Add the zucchinis, the eggplant, and the mushrooms. Fry everything and stir regularly.
  • While the vegetables are frying, wash the cherry tomatoes and halve them.
  • Cut the Vienna sausages into even slices.
  • After frying the vegetables for 5-8 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes and the Vienna sausages. Stir everything and continue to fry.
  • Season everything with salt, pepper, pot-herbs, and fresh chives.
  • Turn off the heat when everything is cooked.
  • Serve with a side-salad and some bread if you want.

Carrot Soup with Apple & Ginger

Carrot soup is a dish that works the entire year – you can warm yourself with it in winter or eat it cold as a refreshing, light meal in summer. The ginger gives it a bit of a zing while the apple adds a sweet, fruity touch. You can serve it with a dash of cream or coconut milk as well as croutons or crackers, depending on how hungry you are. πŸ˜‰

Delicious, no matter whether served warm or cold!

Ingredients

(enough for 3-4 people)

  • 1 kg fresh carrots
  • 1.5 l instant vegetable broth
  • 2-3 shallots
  • 1 apple
  • a bit of fresh ginger (I use a piece about the size of my thumb. If you like spicy food, add more ginger.)
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, ground nutmeg

How to Make It

  • Peel the carrots and cut them into even pieces.
  • Prepare 1.5 l of instant vegetable broth according to instructions.
  • Peel the shallots and dice them.
  • Heat up 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot and fry the shallots until they are golden brown.
  • Add the vegetable broth and bring it all to a boil.
  • Add the carrot pieces and boil them until they are done (this should take about 10-15 minutes).
  • While the carrot pieces are cooking, wash, peel, and dice the apple. Peel the piece of ginger and dice it as well.
  • Once the carrot pieces are done, turn off the heat. Add the apple and ginger pieces. Season the soup with salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg, and let it all simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Take a stick blender and blend everything. You may have to add more broth, depending on how much evaporated during cooking. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you see fit.
  • Serve with a bit of cream or coconut milk as well as bread, crackers, or croutons.

Watermelon Feta Salad

The idea for this salad came from a very close friend and I am excited to share it with you! This salad is wonderfully refreshing, juicy, and sweet – all in one – and perfect for summer picnics or BBQs. You can serve it as side dish, eat it as dessert, or have it for lunch on a particularly hot summer day. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Ingredients

  • Β½ watermelon
  • 200-250 g feta cheese
  • handful of fresh mint leaves (about 30 g)

How to Make It

  • Cut the watermelon in half. You only need one half, so cover the other half in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. Cut the rest of the watermelon into bite-sized chunks and put them into a big bowl.
  • Cut the feta cheese into chunks and add them to the bowl.
  • Wash the mint leaves and chop them up. Add them to the bowl.
  • Mix everything thoroughly and let the salad marinade. The watermelon is so juicy that you do not need any dressing.
Works as a side dish, a dessert, or as lunch on a particularly hot summer day.

Tortilla de Espinacas – Spanish Spinach Omelet

Earlier this week, I posted my recipe for the classic Spanish omelet, tortilla de patatas. Another popular variant is the spinach omelet. In this recipe, I also use potatoes in a nod to the classic Spanish omelet, but not everyone does it. If you want, you can leave the potatoes out and just add more spinach. I also add pine nuts to make it a bit more interesting.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 potatoes (β‰ˆ 150-200 g)
  • 6 eggs
  • 500 ml of (sunflower) oil
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 200 g fresh spinach
  • salt, pepper, ground nutmeg

How to Make It

  • Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them into thin and even slices (~ 5 mm)
  • Take a pan (or pot) and heat up the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add some of the potato slices and cook them – yes, you want to cook the slices in the oil, not fry them.
  • When the potato slices are done, take them out of the pan with the help of a skimmer and put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to take off any excess oil. Repeat until you have cooked all your potato slices.
  • In a bowl, whisk the 6 eggs until they are fluffy. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Add the potato slices and stir everything. You may want to squish the slices a bit with the fork so that they mix better with the egg. Make sure that the slices are not too hot or else the egg batter will already get cooked.
  • In another pan, roast the pine nuts (without any oil) until they are golden brown. When they have cooled down a bit, stir them into the potato-egg batter.
  • Wash the spinach and fry it in the pan. Season it with a pinch of ground nutmeg. Once the spinach is done and has cooled off, add it to the batter.
  • Stir the batter to make sure all ingredients are properly mixed.
  • Heat up a spoonful of oil in a pan. Pour in the tortilla batter and reduce the heat to a simmer. You want the batter to set slowly and avoid frying the underside of the tortilla while the mass has not thickened yet.
  • After a few minutes, the tortilla should have set, and it is time to flip it around. Take a plate slightly bigger than the pan, a pair of oven mitts, and cover the pan with the plate. Keep one hand on the plate and quickly flip the pan by 180Β° so that the plate is at the bottom and the pan on top.
  • Carefully slide the tortilla with the uncooked side back into the pan and let that side set as well.
  • You can serve it warm or cold.

Tortilla de Patatas – Spanish Omelet

Have you heard about tapas? Tapas are tasty appetizers and an integral part of Spanish (food) culture. They range from the classic, simpler snack to the more sophisticated variety and are traditionally served in bars and restaurant with your drinks. The name, tapa, means “cover” or “lid” and refers to the practice of covering the beverage with a little plate of food to prevent dirt from getting into the glass. These days, you can order tapas separately and make full meal out of them.

Today I thought I would share with you a recipe for the most famous and traditional type of tapa – the tortilla de patatas, or Spanish omelet.

(For the version that uses spinach, click here.)

Ingredients

  • 4-5 potatoes (β‰ˆ 300-350 g)
  • 6 eggs
  • 500 ml of (sunflower) oil
  • salt, pepper

How to Make It

  • Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them into thin and even slices (~ 5 mm)
  • Take a pan (or pot) and heat up the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add some of the potato slices and cook them – yes, you want to cook the slices in the oil, not fry them.
  • When the potato slices are done, take them out of the pan with the help of a skimmer and put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to take off any excess oil. Repeat until you have cooked all your potato slices.
  • In a bowl, whisk the 6 eggs until they are fluffy. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Add the potato slices and stir everything. You may want to squish the slices a bit with the fork so that they mix better with the egg. Make sure that the slices are not too hot or else the egg batter will already get cooked.
  • Heat up a spoonful of oil in a pan. Pour in the tortilla batter and reduce the heat to a simmer. You want the batter to set slowly and avoid frying the underside of the tortilla while the mass has not thickened yet.
  • After a few minutes, the tortilla should have set, and it is time to flip it around. Take a plate slightly bigger than the pan, a pair of oven mitts, and cover the pan with the plate. Keep one hand on the plate and quickly flip the pan by 180Β° so that the plate is at the bottom and the pan on top.
  • Carefully slide the tortilla with the uncooked side back into the pan and let that side set as well.
  • You can serve it warm or cold.

Arugula Salad with Yellow Lentils, Cranberries, and Cashew Nuts

I have been challenging myself to branch out a bit more and the result is this fruity summer salad. πŸ™‚ The lentils add a healthy component while the cranberries and apple chunks cater to everyone’s sweet tooth. We have been eating it regularly for a few weeks now and it has been universally approved. I hope you will like it, too!

Sweet and filling at the same time.

Ingredients

(enough for 2-3 people)

For the Salad
  • 250 g yellow lentils
  • 125 g arugula
  • 100 g dried and sweetened cranberries
  • 100 g cashew nuts
  • 1 apple
  • 2-3 teaspoons of instant broth powder
For the Dressing
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 10 ml β€œcrema de balsamico,” i.e. balsamic vinegar cream, a thicker and more aromatic version of the vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pepper
  • pot herbs

How to Make It

  • Prepare about 500 ml of broth (with instant powder) and boil the lentils for a good 5-7 minutes in it. Make sure that they do not overcook and become mushy.
  • In the meantime, wash the arugula. I always cut the leaves to make it easier to eat. πŸ˜‰ Put the arugula into a big bowl.
  • Once the lentils are done, pour out the water and add them to the arugula.
  • Coarsely chop up the cashew nuts and add them to the mix.
  • Chop up the cranberries and add them to the bowl.
  • Wash the apple and core it. Then dice it and add the pieces to the rest of the salad.
  • Prepare the dressing in a separate little bowl and pour it over the salad. Mix thoroughly.
  • Before serving, sprinkle the garden herbs on top. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Pesto alla Genovese

Pesto alla Genovese is a classic pesto made from pine nuts, basil, a bit of cheese and olive oil. It is really easy to make and tastes best with fresh basil. You can use it for pasta or as a base for pizza.

Freshly made from basil leaves and pine nuts.

Ingredients

(makes about 400 ml / 400 g of pesto, i.e. about 2 servings)

  • 80-100 g pine nuts
  • 30 g fresh basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 120-130 ml olive oil
  • 90 g pecorino cheese
  • salt, pepper

How to Make It

  • Roast the pine nuts in a pan until they are golden brown. Do not use any oil.
  • Wash the basil leaves.
  • Peel the cloves of garlic and cut them into slices.
  • Blend the pine nuts, the basil, and the garlic until you have a chunky paste. Please be aware that the more pine nuts you use, the stronger the nutty flavor will be. If you are unsure whether you like that, start out with less pine nuts and slowly add more as you go until you have reached the flavor you like.
  • Add about 80 ml of the olive oil and blend everything thoroughly.
  • Add the cheese and at least a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper each.
  • Blend again and add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Taste it and add more spices if necessary. Let the pesto rest for 30 minutes and taste again. You may have to add a bit more salt then.
  • You can freeze the pesto if you want or store it in the fridge in an air-tight container for 3-5 days. Make sure to pour a layer of olive oil on top, though.

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. πŸ™‚

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 Β° 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. πŸ™‚

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)
  • 1Β½ cucumbers
  • 2 green, 1 red, 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 6 slices of toast
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, β€œcrema de balsamico”, potherbs, oregano
For the Toppings
  • Β½ 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 β€œX” 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 β€œcrema 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!

Cream Cheese

When my husband came to Germany, he discovered cream cheese and has been a fan ever since. πŸ™‚ 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 60-70Β° 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… πŸ˜‰
Tastes great on freshly baked bread.