How to make Flammkuchen (Tarte Flambée)

A thin crust German style pizza covered with a layer of fresh thick cream, crispy lardons (bacon), thinly sliced sweet onions and melted cheese. 

Flammkuchen is one of those recipes that is a familiar yet unfamiliar taste all at the same time. Although it is nicknamed “German pizza” it is not really what some would consider as traditionally pizza in the sense that it is made with crème fraîche (essentially sour cream) instead of marinara sauce.

For my version of this recipe, I make my own creamy combo of labne (kind of like a yogurt cheese) and a bit of strained yogurt. This combination makes for a delightfully subtly tangy taste that balances the rich bacon, sweet onions and salty cheese.

DSC08022

Flammkuchen originates from the south of Germany and northeast France, thus why it is also known as Tarte Flambée. Traditionally it would have been prepared in a wood burning oven that makes the thin crust nice and crispy along the edges. I find that a really hot oven works just as well as long as you are cautious enough to not let it bake too long.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_32f2

Here’s my recipe:

Flammkuchen (Tarte Flambée)

  • 1 pizza dough (pre-prepared from scratch or storebought)
  • 1-2 TBSP all purpose flour (for dusting & rolling out the dough)
  • 1/3 c labne
  • 2 TBSP thick strained yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (not traditional to use cheese at all but I used mozzerella)
  • 3 heaping TBSP lardons or bacon pre-cut into small cubes
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 250C/482F (or as hot as your oven can get).

Place the lardons or cubed bacon into a small frying pan and allow them to cook for a fw minutes (stirring frequently) until they are browned and crispy. Drain and remove from the heat. (Tip: keep the bacon fat! It might sound crazy but it is good to have on hand. My mom always kept some in a mug in the fridge for whenever she needed it. She’s a genius, I know:)

Dust a clean countertop and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough into a large thin rectangular shape.

Then fold the dough like a package and carefully transfer it onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Alternatively, you could roll out the dough directly on the parchment paper.

Mix together the labne and the yogurt until smooth and then using a spatula, spread it over the dough in a nice and even layer.

Then sprinkle over the lardons (try not to eat them, lol!), onions and cheese.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_32f4UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_32f5

Season with salt to taste and place the Flammkuchen in the oven to bake for 7 minutes or so (depending on how hot your oven really goes).

Then remove from the oven, transfer onto a large cutting board, cut into generous squares and serve immediately.

DSC08021

Guten Appetit!

*My tip: keep some extra ingredients handy because Flammkuchen tends to get eaten up pretty quickly. 

©All Rights Reserved

How to Make Georgia Peach Cobbler

Tender fresh peaches, with just a hint of cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg covered with a flaky, buttery crust and baked to golden perfection! — That is a classic Georgia Peach Cobbler that will keep “Georgia on Your Mind.”

Growing up in the state of Georgia, also known as the “Peach State,” a summertime was never complete without buying some peaches. They were always so fresh, juicy and sweet and almost every year, my Mom would make peach cobbler.

She’d peel the peaches and I would stand beside her to eat the peels, lol! The most beautiful part of this dessert is that the fresh peach taste is not ruined or overwhelmed but simply accentuated with just enough cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.

Truth be told, I cannot overemphasize the use of FRESH peaches to make this cobbler. There is such a distinct taste difference it’s like trying to make sushi with canned fish. Yeah, just think about that. It’s not good. So do yourself a favor and use fresh season or if you really cannot find fresh peaches then a bag or two of frozen peaches could work but definitely not canned. Okay, sorry for the fresh emphasis but I did grow up in a place called the “Peach State,” lol!

DSC09039

Here’s the recipe my friend:

Georgia Peach Cobbler

  • 5 large peaches (peeled and sliced – approx. 2.5 cups)
  • 3 TBSP to 1/4 c white sugar (this totally depends on the sweetness of your peaches)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/4 c butter (+2 TBSP for greasing the pan and topping the finished cobbler)
  • 1 TBSP corn starch (dissolved in 2-3 TBSP of cold water)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven for 375F/190C.

Peel and slice the peaches into equal sized slices and place them in a sauce pot.

Sprinkle over the sugar (start off with less and then taste as you go), cinnamon and nutmeg. Gently stir and place over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until the peaches are soft but not mushy. NOTE: Taste it to make sure it is sweet enough for your preference.

DSC09048DSC09049

Pour in the cornstarch mixture and bring up to a boil, stirring constantly to ensure that the peaches don’t stick. Add a bit of water, if it becomes to thick to stir.

Then remove from the heat and set aside.

Grease a baking dish (I used an oval 10 inch 8 inch glass pan) with 1 TBSP of softened butter.

Then pour the peaches into the baking dish being sure to scrape out all of the delicious peach sauce! Yum! 🙂

Then gently place your pie crust on top of your pan, pressing down just until the dough covers the peaches in a nice layer.

Cut off the excess dough and then crimp the edges. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the middle of the dough or prick the dough briskly with a fork. NOTE: this ensures that the peaches can “breathe” while baking.

DSC09050DSC09051

Place the cobbler in the oven and make for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cover with the remaining 1 TBSP of softened butter.

If at all possible, enjoy warm with a little fresh whipped cream or old fashioned vanilla bean ice cream!

Heavenly!

DSC09055.JPG

©All Rights Reserved

 

Poğaça: Cheese & Herb Turkish Pastry

Delicious savory bread rolls packed with crumbly white cheese and parsley. Perfect for tea time, breakfast time or any time of day.

If you visit a Turkish bakery, you would be hard pressed to not find Poğaça. They are an essential! Commonly enjoyed for breakfast or tea time, they are perfect to keep on hand especially for last minute guests.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3244

The dough is a simple yeast dough but with egg and yogurt, it makes the dough a bit more tender. While cheese and herb filling is one of the most common, olive filling and potato filling are also popular alternatives to try out.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3211

Here’s the recipe:

Poğaça

For the dough:

  • 1 1/3 c flour (plus more for kneading and dusting)
  • 2 TBSP thick yogurt
  • 1.5 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/3 c warm milk
  • 1.5 tsp yeast
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 1/2 c lor peynir (sub: feta cheese or ricotta cheese)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 T thick yogurt
  • salt (to taste)

For the topping:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 2 TBSP sesame seeds
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Preparation:

To prepare the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and the warm milk until combined.

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 4.54.30 PM

Then add the whole egg, olive oil and yogurt and continue to stir well.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and the salt.

Then constantly stirring, add the flour mixture to the dough and keep stirring until it comes together.

Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead it well for five minutes.

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 5.02.50 PM

Then using the remaining 1/2 T of olive oil, grease a bowl and place the dough in the bowl, flipping it to make sure that both sides are covered lightly with the oil. Then cover with a damp kitchen towel and place it in a warm place to rise for one hour.

After one hour, divide the dough into ten small balls and cover again with the kitchen towel as you prepare the filling.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3216

To make the filling: Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Season with salt (to taste).

To assemble the Poğaça: Take a dough ball and flatten with your finger tips. Then take it and stretch it like a pizza dough until it is about four inches in diameter.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3219

Then take 1.5 tsp of the filling and place it in a line close to the right side of the circle.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_321a

Fold over one side to the other to create a semi-circle. Then crimp the edges with your finger tips.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_321c

Dip your fingers in some olive oil and gently coat the bottom of each of the Poğaça and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Continue until all of the Poğaça are done.

For the topping: Whisk together the egg yolk with the milk and using a pastry brush, brush each of the Poğaça with the egg wash. Then sprinkle over the sesame seeds.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_321e

Bake in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3224

Serve & Enjoy! They taste so good when they are warm!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3228

Afiyet Olsun!

 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3240UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3257

Streuselkuchen German Crumb Cake

A light and fluffy vanilla cake topped with a thick layer of German style streusel! 

Streuselkuchen was one of the first cakes that I tried on my first trip to Germany. Although I had heard many wonderful things about the German cakes it wasn’t until I actually went to Germany that I truly experienced the beautiful myriad of cakes and tortes.

Streuselkuchen is traditionally prepared with a yeast dough and then covered with streusel (a German style crumb topping comprised of flour, sugar and butter). But for my version I make a light, fluffy and moist vanilla cake instead and cover it liberally with the streusel topping.

It is also a brilliant idea to add fruit, such as apples, apricots or cherries in between the streusel and cake. Also you could add a pudding layer for an even more rich cake. Regardless of how you choose to make it, I am sure you will love it. Or, if you feel so inclined, take a trip to Germany and try this cake and many others in a local bakery. If you love cake and coffee then the German “Kaffee und Kuchen” a special time of day normally in between lunch and dinner, more frequently enjoyed on weekends, when you enjoy a slice of cake and a cup of coffee with friends and family.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_336c

Here’s the recipe:

Streuselkuchen German Crumb Cake

For the cake:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or butter)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP corn starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cup thick plain yogurt (e.g. Greek yogurt or strained yogurt)

For the streusel topping:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter (very cold & cut into small cubes)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.

Line a baking dish with parchment paper and grease it liberally with butter (I used a 13inch x 7inch glass pan).

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar for a minute or two.

Then add the eggs one by one, whisking well with each addition, and then the vanilla extract.

Then in intervals, add the flour mixture and the yogurt until it is all thoroughly combined.

Pour the cake batter into the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. In the meantime, make the streusel.

To make the streusel: Combine together the flour and sugar in a large bowl and stir well. Then add the very cold butter and using your fingertips or a pastry cutter or a fork, “cut” the butter into the flour and sugar. Basically, what you’re doing here is creating the streusel pieces which is formed from the butter clumping into the flour and sugar. Keep clumping into it forms a chunky streusel.

Then take the cake out of the oven and top it with the streusel in a thick layer.

Bake for another 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the cake.

Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and then carefully lift the cake out of the pan by the parchment paper.

Cut into slices and serve and enjoy!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_336f

Guten Appetit!

©All Rights Reserved

DIY All Natural Ginger Ale

Refreshing with a bit of spice from the fresh ginger, slightly sweet and with a punch of lime!

Ginger ale is one of those drinks that I will always remember from my childhood. As a kid, my parents used to give me ginger ale, because it was caffeine free and I had a lot of energy. At Christmastime, sometimes they would mix it with egg nog. I loved this combination because the egg nog was always a bit too thick for me and I loved the taste of the ginger to cut the richness of the egg nog. When I think of ginger ale, it just brings up a lot of good memories for me.

Flash forward a couple of decades to sitting on a train with my future husband (before we were married) and he pulled out two cans of ginger ale from his backpack. It instantly made me smile and to some it might seem like a small thing, but to me it was a really special.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2710

Inspired by these lovely memories and a stack of fresh ginger I saw at the market one day, I tried my hand at making my own ginger ale. I learned that more ginger is better and that actually less sugar is better too. Here’s the recipe:

DIY Ginger Ale

  • 1/4 cup of ginger (finely chopped or cut into rounds)
  • 1.5 -2 cups water
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • spritz of lime juice (per serving)
  • soda water (per serving)

Preparation: 

To make the ginger syrup (which is the base of the ginger ale): peel the ginger (or keep the peel on if you clean your ginger very well and if you have organic ginger) and cut into round slices or small pieces. Mash the ginger with the back of your knife to release more of the flavor and then add it to a small pot with the sugar and water. Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently and adding more water as needed. Allow it to cool and pop it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_271d

Transfer the ginger syrup to a heat safe glass bowl to chill.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2722

To make the ginger ale: place a couple of tablespoons of the ginger syrup in a glass. Add a spritz of lime juice and then fill the glass with soda water. Stir (don’t shake, lol!)) and then enjoy!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2731

©All Rights Reserved

 

 

Buttermilk Biscuits: a Southern American Recipe

Light, flaky, tender biscuits topped with butter and marmalade!

Growing up, biscuits were a special Saturday morning breakfast. Made from scratch, they do require more work than just popping a slice of bread in the toaster. But with just one bite, you’ll find that it’s totally worth it!

The biscuits are savory and often eaten alongside breakfast items like grits, eggs, sausage or gravy. They are most commonly found in the southeast United States but they are slowly making their way to restaurants around the country. But, there really is nothing like a homemade biscuit.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34c6

Buttermilk Biscuits

makes 6 bisuits

  • 1 1/4 c all purpose flour + more for dusting & kneading
  • 1/3 c butter (very cold & cut into cubes) + more for topping the biscuits (if desired)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/3 c buttermilk (added gradually)
  • Optional: marmalade or your favorite spread for topping or serve with eggs, bacon & grits for a true southern style breakfast!

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to to 200C/392F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt.

Then add the butter and using a fork, pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the texture resembles small peas.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34c8

Then gradually add in the buttermilk, stirring constantly until the dough pulls off the side of the bowl and forms a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead the dough for a minute or so until the dough is smooth. Note: don’t knead to harshly or too long in order to prevent the dough from becoming tough and also to ensure that the dough stays nice and cold.

Then dust a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough until it it about 1 inch thick.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34c9

Then dip the rim of a drinking glass in flour and “cut” the biscuits.

Place the biscuits onto a parchment lined baked sheet, greased with butter.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34ca

Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34deUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34cd

Serve & Enjoy warm (because they are absolutely delicious this way & who doesn’t love warm bread, fresh out of the oven?)

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34f1UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34f9

Muhammara: Roasted Red Pepper Dip

A savory, delicious, roasted red pepper dip that’s packed full of flavor and super simple to prepare.

Muhammara is one of those mezes that at first sight, I had not idea what it was. But as soon as I took a bite, Mmmm, the flavors were so undeniably delicious! I will never forget trying it for the first time.

If it is prepared correctly, then you can taste a light smoky flavor from the roasted red peppers, a tangy burst from the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses, a nutty richness from the toasted walnuts and the perfect balance of spices.

Making Muhammara is super simple even without a food processor. Traditionally it is prepared with a mortar and pestle and all of the ingredients are crushed together. It originates from Aleppo, Syria but in neighboring countries throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East you’ll be likely to find it. In Turkey you can even find it pre-packed in store bought containers (although I do not recommend the store-bought version, just saying).

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2c53

This dip perfectly compliments a meze night or you can serve it with veggies and toasted pita bread at your next party. It is naturally vegan so it is perfect for everyone! If you want to make it gluten free, substitute the bread crumbs for more walnuts.

Here’s the recipe:

Muhammara: Roasted Red Pepper Dip

  • 5 small sweet red peppers
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2-3 TBSP bread crumbs
  • 7 whole walnuts (finely chopped) + a few extra for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp pull biber (sub: Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP pomegranate molasses*
  • fresh mint (optional garnish)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/392 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Clean the peppers and dry them thoroughly. Then rub the peppers with 1 TBSP of olive oil.

Allow the peppers to roast until lightly charred (about 30-40 minutes).

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2aeb

Remove from the oven and place them in a heat safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow the peppers to steam for 30-60 minutes (or until cool enough to handle and the skin peels off easily). Then peel off and discard the skin.

Using a food processor (or even a mortar and pestle for a more authentic consistency), blend together the peeled, roasted red peppers, lemon juice, bread crumbs, pull biber, cumin, sea salt, olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Once blended, it should still have some texture to it, pour into a bowl, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and walnuts. Serve immediately or pop it in the fridge and enjoy later.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2aefUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2c84

Culinary Note: Muhammara tastes amazing as a spread on sandwiches or even in a pasta salad. YUM!

*If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, try substituting raspberry or balsalmic vinegrette. It will not taste the same but this is an alternative pre-ready solution. OR, if you’re willing, you can make your own pomegranate molasses by simmering 1 cup of pure pomegranate juice and 1/4-1/3 cup of sugar (based on your preferred sweetness, but it shouldn’t be too sweet) and simmer, stirring frequently until it forms a thick molasses.