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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Strammer Max (German ham and eggs sandwich)

A Strammer Max sandwich, in German cuisine, is a scrumptious egg and ham open-faced sandwich with a funny name. It's a staple at traditional eateries and in private homes, especially as a breakfast food, of course. 
The name is funny because it kind of carries a double meaning: it could be roughly translated as 'Strapping Max' but it also goes as a nickname for a guy's parts. This is owed to the belief that such hearty food (eggs and ham) can do wonders for any man, boosting his virility or something.

Aaaanyway, beyond the nod to the double meaning name, it's a fast and yummy food. The only tricky part is not overcooking the eggs, since the runnier the yolk, the more delicious your sandwich will be.
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Kisir (Bulgur wheat salad with tomatoes and pomegranate) (Turkish) (vegan).
Five years ago: Orange and poppy seed cake with chocolate topping.
Six years ago: Red onion, garlic and olive Flammkuchen.
Seven years ago: Cous cous and pomegranate spicy salad (vegan).
Eight years ago: Caprese skewers (Italian)Pork, bell pepper, carrot and broccoli stir-fry (Chinese)Basic carrot cake bars (American) and White fish (pangasius) fillet in cream-wine sauce.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Spring herbs and chickpea salad (vegan)

The perfect treat for me in spring is definitely a chickpea salad. When I saw the idea for this version with fresh aromatic herbs and a hint of lemon I couldn't help myself and made it asap. Needless to say, it become a go-to, which was completely predictable. It's light and fresh and it tastes like spring in a bowl, while still remaining consistent enough thanks to the chickpeas. 
Of course, what I like best about it, besides its simplicity, is the room it leaves for improvisation. I started with parsley and ramps for the herbs here, but this can be changed and combined in various ways: dill, fresh basil, some rucola perhaps and so on. Just imagine! :)
I eat it just as it is, as a meal in itself. But you can pair it with the bread of your choice, lightly toasted. Anyway you want it, enjoy :).
Recipe adapted from Mazi.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Saenggangcha (Korean ginger tea) (vegan).
Five years ago: Pajeon (Korean green onion pancakes).
Six years ago: Eggplant, pomegranate and chickpea cous cous (vegan).
Seven years ago: Mechouia salad (roast vegetables and tuna) (Tunisian).
Eight years ago: Zucchini and coconut muffinsMelanzane alla parmigiana (Italian) and Pancetta and artichoke pizza.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Malagasy Chai (vegan)

A beautiful spicy chai latte recipe, coming from Madagascar. I served this as part of a themed dinner, and I was happy to discover how close it is to the current tastes of Western palates. Generally, when trying African drinks and dishes, I tend to brace myself for experiencing something radically different from what I have learned to like. For this one, for better or for worse, it wasn't necessary. It tastes just as delicious as the next chai latte from a coffeehouse. 
Recipe source: here.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Walnut, coffee and mascarpone cupcakes.
Five years ago: Sweet potato spicy wedges with guacamole (Mexican and Tex-Mex).
Six years ago: Sticky banana and maple syrup cake bars.
Seven years ago: Cheddar and leek muffins.
Eight years ago: Asian white fish (pangasius) fillet with sesame noodlesRuladă de pui cu spanac (Romanian chicken and spinach roulade) and Green pasta and pesto souffle (gratin).

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Kabaro au Carry (Curried beans) (Malagasy) (vegan)

Lima beans tend to lend themselves beautifully into stews with an earthier, spicier touch than most bean dishes. This is especially true of this beautiful curry from Madagascar, who pairs Lima beans with a spicy tomato sauce in a delicious way. 
This Lima bean curry is fast and easy to throw together, perfect for a weeknight meal. You can serve it with African polenta (fufu) or even rice, for extra convenience. 
Recipe source: here.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Ful Medames (Stewed Fava Beans) (Egyptian and generally Middle Eastern).
Five years ago: Strawberry and cream biscuits (scones).
Six years ago: Paprikás Csirke (Chicken Paprikash) (Hungarian).
Seven years ago: Mini Nutella and walnut pies.
Eight years ago: Caribbean romance (cocktail)Mousse au chocolat (French chocolate mousse) and Carrot bread (with walnuts).

Monday, March 25, 2019

Susam Tahinli Kek (Sesame tahini cake) (Turkish)

One of the greatest things I tasted in Istanbul was this cake, made with lots of tahini paste (yum!) and a lot of sesame seeds (both inside and on top). The cake also contains a few bits of chopped dates and walnuts, just for the occasional taste and texture variation. If you love sesame and you want to try a more modern, but completely authentic Turkish dessert, this tart is your best bet. 

I found several variations of this tahini sesame cake online, but I have to say that none of them were completely like the cake made in the Istanbul cafes I recently visited. So I adapted the recipe a bit in order to come up with a version closer to the original. After it was out of the oven and I tasted it, I became convinced that indeed this is it:). 

I love that the richness of the tahini taste is perfectly counterbalanced by the orange juice in the batter. You can't really taste the oranges, but it definitely feels lighter than you'd expect. 

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Bacon panzanella (bread and tomato salad).
Five years ago: Irish nettle soup.
Six years ago: Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes and greens).
Seven years ago: Turkey pieces in emmentaler sauce.
Eight years ago: Orange caramel pastry windmillsParmesan cream potatoes and Vegetarian chili tacos with avocado salsa (Mexican).

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Soganli, Kirmizi Biberli Firinda Somon (Baked Salmon with Onions, Red Peppers and Lemon) (Turkish)

My incursion into Turkish cuisine (with enthusiasm renewed and fueled by my recent trip to Istanbul) continues with this easy baked fish recipe.

A simple and beautiful way to prepare salmon fillets in the oven, this dish can be a relaxed dinner preparation and comfort food at its best. Bursting with clean and light Turkish flavors, it will prove yet again that the best foods can be achieved with a short ingredient list. It's all about the chemistry and the way they just go together.
Recipe source: the lovely Ozlem.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Panzanella (Italian bread salad) (vegan).
Five years ago: Red beans and rice (Creole Louisiana version).
Six years ago: Smoked trout, fennel, apple and beet salad.
Seven years ago: Garlic soup with chorizo and mustard (Czech).
Eight years ago: Cream liquor cocktailGreen apple and peanut butter muffins and Brie, walnut and caraway salad.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Kyopulo (Bulgarian and Turkish eggplant pepper spread) (vegan)

I just got back from my first time ever to Istanbul and I am in love (with everything, not just the food). I'll probably cook and post more Turkish dishes in the future, as a result.

Around this part of Europe (the Eastern side), almost every country has its own version of eggplant-pepper spread, meant to be served as an appetizer. In Romania, we call it zacuscă, a name closely related to the generic Slavic name for appetizers, zakuski. The Serbian version is spicier and called ajvar (I like cooking with it, whenever I can get my hands on a jar). 
Regardless of the country of origin, it's served over plain bread, and it's especially popular during the long periods of Lent. The spread contains plenty of vegetable oil, so it's pretty heavy and satisfying, even if it doesn't contain any animal derived products.

For this occasion, I gave Kyopulo, the Bulgarian and Turkish version a try. It contains more garlic than the Romanian version I was used to, and feels overall heavier, but in a scrumptious, finger-linking way. I'm mad for Turkish cuisine anyway, so it's very likely that I'll enjoy almost anything coming from that food culture. 
Recipe source: Wiki cookbook

Last year: Vodka lavender chai (vegan).
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: nothing
Five years ago: Spanakopita triangles (Greek-style).
Six years ago: Dill and cottage cheese bread.
Seven years ago: Fondant pan potatoes (French style).
Eight years ago: Pricomigdale (Romanian walnut biscuits)Salata z Boczkiem (Polish wilted lettuce salad with bacon vinaigrette) and Smoked salmon and cucumber starters.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Garlic salsa dip with tortilla chips (vegan)

I always enjoy freshly made salsa, but I found myself craving a more intensely flavored one. I tried to dial up the heat by adding more chili and spices, but that wasn't it. I wanted to add some strong garlic flavor to it. After a bit of research, I think I developed the ideal garlic salsa recipe. Try it (with nachos, as I did, or as a sauce for meat or with vegetable dippers or whatever) and thank me afterwards. :)
The main recipe source (based on which I adapted): here.

P.S: Tomorrow I am leaving on my first trip to Istanbul, and I'm super-excited! Get ready for some special Turkish cuisine dishes once I get back, in a few days:).

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Sprouts, bacon and almonds.
Five years ago: Mohnstrudel (Poppy seed strudel) (German).
Six years ago: Tomato soup with mini mozzarella and chili.
Seven years ago: Simple coconut brownies.
Eight years ago: Smoked salmon salad with egg, rucola and avocadoOrange bread with chocolate swirl filling (Romanian cozonac, low sugar version)Wild and red rice with bell pepper and almonds

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Indian spiced tomato soup (vegan)

This is a lovely tomato soup with an Indian spice twist, hearty enough and perfect for chilly afternoons, while remaining quite light as well. The red lentils added, even if they are in small quantities, give an interesting texture and body to the soup making it lovely :)

Honestly, the smells released when cooking this will tantalize you. But luckily it's ready pretty fast! :)
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Creier pane (Breaded pork brain) (Romanian).
Five years ago: Kelewele (Spicy fried plantains) (Ghanaian).
Six years ago: Sfințișori moldovenești (Mucenici) (Moldavian/Romanian).
Seven years ago: Simple coconut brownies.
Eight years ago: Italian sunset (cocktail)Amaretto (almond liquor) cupcakes and Chicken and avocado salad.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Greek pasta salad (American-Greek)

A pasta salad done in the style of the well-known Greek country salad. The addition of pasta makes it hearty enough to qualify as lunch, while the fresh veggies and the Greek flavors make it really delicious. It's easy to make and never fails to please. Enjoy.
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Supă cu găluște (Semolina dumpling soup) (Romanian).
Five years ago: Ghanaian tomato and peanut soup (vegan).
Six years ago: Espresso and walnut iced brownies.
Seven years ago: Simple coconut brownies.
Eight years ago: Amaretto colada (cocktail)Easy home-made Raclette (French-Swiss) and Pasta with spicy mascarpone sauce, mushrooms and artichokes.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Greek Baklava (with almonds)

The Greek version of this popular Middle Eastern dessert is made with almonds (unlike the walnut based Turkish baklava). I usually make and have the walnut-based variety, so this change brought an exciting touch of new to this classic dessert. I loved the subtle hints of Amaretto given by the almonds and that they tend to feel lighter overall.
Recipe source: mainly Saveur.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Coconut almond chia seed pudding (vegan).
Five years ago: Camembert and caper Flammkuchen (German-style).
Six years ago: Artichoke crostini.
Seven years ago: Sweet potato, wild mushroom and guacamole wraps.
Eight years ago: Orange jam&liquor Linzer torte (Austrian/German and Hungarian)Goat cheese salad with paprika dressing and Easy chicken tacos with guacamole (Mexican).

Monday, March 4, 2019

Tandoori Salmon (Indian)

A spicy way to serve your salmon: marinated and baked with Indian tandoori spices and served with a fresh raita to balance the heat of the fish. It's a relaxed dinner to prepare and to enjoy, and on any week day one can make the most of it. :)
Recipe source: Saveur

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Za'atar latkes (Jewish).
Five years ago: Fluffy American pancakes (basic recipe).
Six years ago: Mexican hot chocolate.
Seven years ago: Three cheese pasta with bell peppers and cranberries.
Eight years ago: Blue skies cocktail (Blue curacao milk)Fastest home-made crackers (Romanian sărățele) and Oeufs Cocotte (French baked eggs).

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Misoshiru (Japanese Miso soup) (vegan)

The white miso soup is one of the most common Japanese soups, found easily in both restaurants and regular households. Miso stands for miso, the name of the paste that gives this umami-flavored soup its specific taste, and shiru is a derivative of shiro, meaning white. 

It's very easy to make, healthy and delicious. Traditionally, the miso soup should contain just dashi (seaweed stock), miso paste (fermented soybean paste, often also used in marinades and sauces), wakame seaweed and tofu. But beyond this, each region and each household can add their own additions to it, also depending on the season and so on. In Japanese cuisine restaurants here in the West, you can find it most often in its basic form, allowing all the pretty flavors to shine, clean from additional taste. 
Recipe source: 196flavors.

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Latkes (Jewish potato pancakes).
Five years ago: Grilled Romaine salad with honey-mustard dressing.
Six years ago: Spaghetti aglia e olio e peperoncino (Italian) (vegan).
Seven years ago: Mini chicken skewers (oven-baked) with satay sauce (Indonesian).
Eight years ago: Peanut butter hot chocolate milkChicken with peanut butter sauce (Thai) and Pigs in a blanket (British).

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