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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

I love teaching during the colorful days of autumn.

Over the past week, the students in my class have been busy finding autumnal inspiration to include in their poetry.

We’ve spoken a lot about letting our senses speak through poetry.

We can see the lovely bold colors and the days getting darker.

We can feel the days getting cooler.

We can hear the leaves tumbling in the howling wind.

What about the taste of autumn?

How are they to understand the smell?

Don’t worry, I’ve got that one covered.

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Covered in puff pastry, that is!

Any excuse to get these kids in the kitchen, people.

During my prep lesson yesterday, I practiced baking these delicious caramel stuffed, pastry wrapped baked apples.

I photographed the steps in hopes of preparing a guide for my students, but once all was said and done, I realized this wasn’t the recipe for my class. 

I ended up going with a simpler baked apple recipe, but I still wanted to share this gem of a dish with all of you!

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The ingredients were pretty basic: puff pastry, caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon, an egg and apples.

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To prepare, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

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Create and egg wash by beating an egg and 1 Tbsp. water together.

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Slice off the top of the apple, leaving the stem intact.

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Remove the core, being sure not to go all the way through the bottom of the apple.

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Carefully get in there to get out all of the seeds.

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Peel the whole apple. I did the cutting and coring first because I didn’t want the kids working with knives on slippery apple flesh.

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See? Core removed but base intact!

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Remember that bowl of cinnamon sugar? Now’s its time to shine. Roll the apple around in the brown sugar to coat completely.

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Carefully place two caramel cubes into the hollow of the apple core. Again, be sure you don’t push too hard and pop out the bottom of the apple.

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Is your mouth watering yet?

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Next, I joined strips of puff pastry and wrapped them around my prepared apple.

By this point, I realized:

  1. Cutting, coring and peeling would be a bit too much for my kiddos.
  2. Our school kitchen wasn’t equipped with enough peelers for each student anyways.
  3. Making long snakes of puff pastry, an item which needs to be kept cool, would be difficult for my hot-handed pupils.
  4. There were simply too many steps to remember and rewrite in recipe form later in the week.

Even though I knew by this point that my students wouldn’t be making this recipe, I still wanted to finish it off.

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Create two leaves out of the puff pastry.

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Carefully place the leaves on the apple so they look like they’re coming from the stem.

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Brush the pastry with the prepared egg wash.

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Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, being sure to leave space between the pastry and foil. Place in the refrigerator to cool for half an hour before baking.

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Bake the covered apples for about 20 minutes before removing the foil and continuing to bake until the pastry is puffed up and golden, about 20 minutes longer.

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Gosh darn it, the puff pastry idea may have been out, but those leaves were too cute not to include in my students’ version!

The flaky, crumbly, sweet and gooey qualities of these baked apples were incredible! Almost like a personal-sized apple pie, I highly recommend this recipe.

So, my practice apples turned out great but weren’t going to work for my students. You may be wondering what they did during our baking lesson today.

Well, let me give you a sneak peak into our school kitchen. I’d love to share the photos of these beamingly proud kids, but can’t, so their busy little hands will have to do.

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After watching my “demonstration,” the kids cut, cored, stuffed and decorated their apples on their own.

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When he saw my fully wrapped apple the previous day, a little boy said with amazement, “Wow, Ms. Brady, that looks like a professional cook! You should go on TV!”

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Creating their own “professional cook’s” pastry leaves was a highlight of the activity for many of the kids.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be watching them on Food Network one day!

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They were all so very proud of their apples.  PA121863

Two of our baking dishes, ready for the oven!

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Sadly, my battery died before capturing the final product, but I assure you, the apples were stunning… and tasted as good as they looked!

Baked Apples with Puff Pastry Leaves

If 8 year olds can make this dish, so can you!

Ingredients

1 tart apple

1 heaping teaspoon raisins

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 dash nutmeg and cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Puff pastry

1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Cut off the top of the apple, being sure to keep the stem intact.
  3. Carefully remove the core of the apple. Take care not to cut all the way through the bottom.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the raisins, brown sugar, nutmeg and dash of cinnamon.
  5. Stuff this mixture into the hollow of the apple, again, be sure not to push the stuffing through the bottom!
  6. Top the stuffing with the butter.
  7. Place the apple in a baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  8. Replace the top of the apple.
  9. Using a sharp knife, cut two leaf shapes from the puff pastry. Add the veins of the leaves by gently pressing half-way into the pastry with the back of a knife.
  10. Next, place the leaves on the apple.
  11. Whisk together the egg and water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the pastry with the egg wash.
  12. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving room between the foil and pastry.
  13. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes.
  14. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown.
  15. Cool before serving.

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I was so proud of the way these kids worked today. Even when two other teachers came into the kitchen and started making a racket, my students were so focused in apple baking mode that they didn’t even look up. I find this photo so funny!

If you’re a parent, I beg you, get in the kitchen and get to cookin’ with your kids. You will both leave the kitchen with happy hearts, full tummies and wonderful memories!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

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I’m still loving my weekly organic box deliveries. Summer provided plenty of zucchini and tomatoes, but as we ease into autumn, the box has also changed to reflect the new season.

Last week, that meant carrots and pumpkin amongst other autumn fruits and vegetables.

Yesterday was cold and damp, the perfect day for a smooth, warm, comforting soup.

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Carrot and Pumpkin Soup

Adapted from Eatliverun

Ingredients:
1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped

1 cup pumpkin puree (mashed roasted pumpkin)

2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 shallot, minced

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 Tablespoons olive oil

Croutons, pumpkin seeds and flax oil to garnish

Directions:

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the minced shallot and sauté until tender, about five minutes.

  • Add the ginger and sauté for another three-four minutes.
  • Add the chopped carrots, pumpkin puree, broth, coriander, garam masala and salt, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until carrots are tender.
  • Carefully transfer to a blender and puree. Serve with croutons, pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of flax oil.
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    Simple and scrumptious!

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    I woke up yesterday morning to news that my Grandpa passed away. He’s been very sick and unable to care for himself, so his death comes as a blessing.

    I’m not really sad about his passing as I believe in the hope of Heaven, but I do feel very far from my family right now.

    I wish I could be there to talk to my mom and hear happy stories about her childhood; to celebrate his life with whole family.

    It may sound ridiculous, but one thing that brought comfort yesterday morning was my breakfast. The flavors in these pancakes remind me of my mom’s pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

    Although I might not have been sitting in my mom’s kitchen yesterday morning, I brought her here to join me through pumpkins and warm, comforting memories.

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    Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

    Ingredients

    • 1½ cups flour
    • 3 Tablespoons white sugar
    • ½ teaspoons salt
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • 2 whole eggs beaten
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 2 ½ Tablespoons maple syrup
    • ¼ cup melted butter
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
    • 150 grams roasted pumpkin (or puree)

    Method

    1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
    2. Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. The color will be a fantastic bright orange.
    3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until combined.
    4. Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the prepared skillet. Flip when bubbles begin to rise and the bottom of the pancakes are golden brown.
    5. Serve with maple butter icing.

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    We’ll miss you, Grandpa.

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    Missed Summer Meals

    It’s been a while, friends.

    Do you want to hear something unbelievable?

    Today is the first day of Autumn!

    I’ve felt it coming for a couple weeks now, but was still hesitant to believe that Summer was really over.

    There’s no more fooling myself, one season has quickly gone and another is ready to begin!

    Between a fast summer, a busy start to the new year, and finally having English TV, I’ve not blogged much for the past 3 months.

    As a way to say “farewell” to summer, I’m here today to share my favorite meals that never made it to the blog; not for lack of flavor, but rather lack of time.

    So here’s the plan, I’ll post photos and appropriate recipe links. If there’s anything you want to see in more detail, just let me know and I’ll put together a special post for the requested items.

    Let’s start way back in June!

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    Vegan Kidney Bean Veggie Burgers

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    Homemade Hamburger Buns

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    Leek and Shitake Mushroom Risotto

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    Vegan Peanut Butter Oatmeal Pancakes

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    Potato Stuffed Paranthas

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    Indian Spiced Potatoes and Cabbage

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    Creamy Parmesan Polenta with Roasted Vegetables

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    Chocolate Lava Cake

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    Lemon Tomato Pasta on Arugula

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    Country Style Sourdough Bread

    July Missed Meals

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    Parmesan Arugula Pizza on Sourdough Pizza CrustP7098760

    Tomato Cream Pasta

    August Already?!

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    Sourdough Apple Bread with Cinnamon and Raisons

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    BBQ Tofu Salad

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    Greek Salad

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    Mixed Salad with Mmmm Sauce

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    Orzo with Green Beans and Chickpeas

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    Creamy Polenta with Roasted Vegetables and Tomato Dressing

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    Tofu Tacos with Refried Beans

    September Treats

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    Tiramisu Layer Cake

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    Chocolate Mocha Cake

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    Monster Cookie Dough Balls

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    Ginger Carrot Soup

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    Spicy Plum Chutney

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    Vegetable Biryani

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    General Tso’s Tofu

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    Baked Pecan French Toast

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    Zucchini and Walnut Pilaf

    Each and every one of these recipes deserve their own post, but sadly, time has not been on my side throughout the season that was.

    I wish each and every one of you a safe and happy transition into my favorite season!

    Bring on the soups, stews, apples and pumpkins!

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    I’m so sorry for my recent absence.

    My first full week of school went really well, but I have been so exhausted at the end of the day. This is the first day in over a week that I’ve even turned on my home computer!

    I’ll hopefully be back in the swing of things soon. Finding my routine and getting my sleep patterns back in order is top priority for mission “Resume Unending Energy” to be successful.

    Until I have a bit more steam to really share what I’ve been up to lately, I leave you with this.

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    This is a public service announcement: Make these Cinnamon Bun Pancakes and top them with Maple-Butter Icing.

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    Do yourself a favor and double the recipe to freeze the extra pancakes for easy toaster pancakes.

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    You will thank me later.

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    Mmmm… homemade pasta!

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    We make the best pasta right in this tiny German kitchen.

    Topped with tomato sauce absolutely loaded with fresh, CSA veggies, this meal hit the spot!

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    CSA Tomato Sauce

    Feel free to alter the vegetables depending on what you have on hand.

    Ingredients

    2 Tablespoons olive oil

    3 shallots, finely diced

    2 celery stalks, finely diced

    2 carrots, finely diced

    3 cloves garlic, finely diced

    1/4 cup red wine

    1 zucchini, diced

    6 crimini mushrooms, diced

    2 tomatoes, diced

    1 can diced tomatoes

    1 can tomato sauce

    2 dried chili peppers, crushed

    dried basil, oregano, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste

    Method

    1. Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat with the olive oil. Add the shallots, celery and carrots. Cook until the shallots begin to release their liquids. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes.
    2. Stir in the red wine and cook until the liquid reduces by about half.
    3. Add the zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
    4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried chilies and herbs. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low.
    5. Continue to cook over a low heat until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. Taste then season as needed.
    6. Serve over hot pasta with fresh basil and graded parmesan cheese.

    I’ve been busy working away at school in an attempt to finish my classroom before going to Budapest.

    The school hausmeister is away this week so the projects I needed his help with will have to wait until I’m back.

    My biggest project this summer has been to reorganize the classroom library.

    I bought two extra book shelves at IKEA and Sebastian helped me put them together this morning. The books are all in their new homes and the labels are designed and waiting to be printed tomorrow. 

    I can not wait to have my new and improved classroom library up and running!

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    If I told you that the trees are already changing colors in Bonn, would you believe me?

    I’ve only worn shorts once this year and have spent most of the days in blue jeans and long sleeved shirts.

    The weather this “summer” has been unbelievable, and to accompany this cold weather, I’ve come down with a terrible cold.

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    Luckily I had two cuddly cats who have been doing their best to help me feel better.

    Getting well has been my top priority for two main reasons:

    1. I have to completely prepare my classroom by Wednesday afternoon.

    2. Thursday morning, Sebastian and I are off to Budapest, Hungary for our summer vacation.

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    Sadly, this has been my view from the couch since Friday. After three days out flat with this terrible cold, today is the first day I’ve felt human again.

    Now that I’m feeling more like myself, I am back in the kitchen!

    This recipe for zucchini, squash and ricotta galette had me at hello.

    While unpacking the zucchini and eggplant from my CSA box on Friday, I knew I wanted to put my own spin on Erin’s mouthwatering recipe.

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    I quickly put together the pastry dough in the food processor this morning before heading out to the local flea market.

    Flea markets in Germany are fantastic. More like a good, community garage sale in the US than a crappy parking lot flea market.

    Today I bought two items, a spaetzle maker and this wonderful bag of giant butterflies that I will use to decorate my classroom.

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    With these giant butterflies suspended from the ceiling, I hope my new students feel like they’ve walked into a magical world on their first day of school!ubahnbutterfly

    I’ve become a bit partial towards nylon butterflies since last year’s Carnival costume.

    Once back home, I cut up the vegetables and made the ricotta filling for the galette.

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    I followed the original recipe with only one substitution. I used an eggplant in place of the yellow squash.

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    Beautiful!

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    This dish is light and delicate. My only complaint is that the moisture of the zucchini and eggplant created a slightly soupy center even though I thoroughly drained the sliced veggies before baking.

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    I absolutely adore the pastry in this recipe. It is so flaky, tender and perfect!

    If these photos have grabbed your attention, please head over to Naturally Ella to find the recipe.

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    Served with a mixed salad, this was a wonderful recipe to get me back on my feet again.

    I hope to finish a few projects at school tomorrow. I am so eager to share what I’ve been up to, but want to wait until the whole class is prepared.

    I hope all of you are well and have had a great weekend!

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