Posts Tagged ‘cheese’


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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




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.


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.


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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Last week, Sebastian came home with a BBQ Chicken pizza. It smelled fantastic. Right away, my mind started on a recipe for a completely homemade, made from scratch, vegetarian version.


I’m so glad he gave me the inspiration, because this BBQ Chickpea Pizza with sourdough crust turned out exactly as I’d hoped.


I made the sourdough pizza crust earlier in the week. The recipe made enough dough for two very large pizzas. I immediately used one half for the veggie pizza I posted here and simply placed the remaining dough in the refrigerator.


The dough continued to slowly grow in the fridge, holding up exceptionally well for this recipe which was made three days later.


I also made a homemade barbecue sauce for the pizza. I find the bottled sauces in Germany to be way too sweet. After tossing a bunch of ingredients in a pot and letting them cook together, I was left with a delicious, tangy, smoky and sweet barbecue sauce.


I used a bit less than 1/4 cup of the sauce directly on the pizza dough then used another 1/2 cup to cook the chickpeas in. I was left with enough sauce to fill a medium sized jar which is now hanging out in the fridge, waiting to be used.


I topped the sourdough crust and BBQ sauce with freshly shredded gouda cheese.


As mentioned earlier, I cooked about 1 cup of drained and rinsed canned garbanzo beans in 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce. I let the sauce cook until it had reduced and thickened around the chickpeas.


On top of the cooked BBQ chickpeas, I placed a few plain chickpeas, a sprinkle of smoked paprika, thinly sliced red onions and fresh mozzarella cheese.


The pizza was cooked at a moderately high temperature until the crust and cheese were golden brown. Sprinkled with finely sliced basil leaves, this pizza was good to go!



Homemade BBQ Sauce

(I sort of tossed in ingredients as I went along so this is more of an estimate than an exact recipe. Adjust the spices to fit your tastes.)

Makes about 2 cups BBQ sauce


1/3 cup molasses

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion

1 cup ketchup

1 tsp. tamarind paste

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/ tsp. ground mustard

1 tsp. smoked paprika

red pepper flakes to taste


  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce reaches a desirable consistency.

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Yesterday I shared a recipe for sourdough bagels from a book published 8 years before I was born: Sourdough Cookery by Rita Davenport.

Today I’m here to share another recipe from the oh-so-talented sourdough baker, Rite Davenport.


Sourdough Pizza Dough

In her book, Rita shared not only her recipe for the dough, but also her pizza sauce recipe and suggested toppings.

You’re going to have to buy her book to get the whole kit and caboodle, but I’m happy to share the sourdough pizza dough recipe.P7230042

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Makes 2 very large pizzas


1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

1 cup warm milk

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

2 1/2- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

olive oil for brushing


  1. Add the milk, salt, sugar and vegetable oil to the sourdough starter. Stir together. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time. Stir well after each addition. Add enough flour until the dough is too stiff to stir with a spoon. Dough should be heavy but elastic.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 5-10 minutes.
  3. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place, free from drafts and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  4. Divide dough into two equal parts. Stretch or roll out each part to create a round pizza dough. Create a slight ridge to form a crust.
  5. Brush the dough with olive oil and continue to create your pizza as you wish.


Our first pizza dough was used as a base for a vegetable pizza which included tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach and broccoli.

Oh so good!

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Today was another gorgeous day in the French countryside.


We started off a bit late today after sleeping in and talking all morning.


We arrived at our first stop just in time to witness everything close up for the three hour lunch break.




Katie and I made the best of the pause by wandering the streets of Évron and photographing the famous Basilica of Nortre-Dame-de-l’Epine.


The Basilica was built between the 11th and 16th centuries.


The architecture of the building is both Romanesque and Gothic.


The Basilica was very quiet. Peaceful and quiet.



At 1:30, the tourist information office re-opened and a very friendly English speaking French girl was happy to help us find things to do.

Just not in Évron.


We still had another half hour to wait before the bank that supposedly exchanged traveler’s checks was reopened.

When we asked what else there was to see in Évron, the girl just laughed and said, “only the Basilica.”


Long story short, we were sent from place to place regarding the traveler’s checks. Emotions were high. Katie and I both lost our patience, then miraculously, the post office exchanged a small amount of Katie’s infuriating fake currency.


A note to any and all travelers, regardless of what your parents, guide books or bank tellers say, NEVER rely on traveler’s checks for your European vacation.

Just use your debit card. The fees are minimal and ATMs are everywhere.

Simple. Done.


After that, we moved on- figuratively and literally.


We moved on to visit the Medieval city of Saint Suzanne.


Like any tourist trap, Saint Suzanne was beautifully maintained and provided plenty of photo opportunities.



From the tower of the old castle, I was able to enjoy spectacular views of the land below.



I wish Katie wasn’t afraid of man-made heights, because the climbing structure that was in place in the tower was really cool.



I can’t image defending a castle.


Before leaving Saint Suzanne, Katie and I popped into a little shop that sells soap and perfume.


Although the welcoming party was a bit creepy, everything smelled fantastic.




We had an easy drive back then kicked up our feet for a bit.


Back at the gite, I made a simple dinner while Katie posted pictures on facebook.


We had baked camembert cheese with jam and warm baguette along with an arugula salad with carrots and tomatoes.


I love the look in the lady’s eyes on the cover of the cheese. That’s the same look I have when a dinner of cheese is involved.


Right now it’s sprinkling rain outside. The fresh smell coming through the windows is working wonders to settle my soul. I have a feeling tonight will be a very restful sleep.

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How was your day? Mine was like this.



















We slept in late before awaking in a converted stable in the French countryside.

After quick showers, we were off to the nearest town to do grocery shopping and attempt to, yet unsuccessfully, exchange Katie’s traveler’s checks.

The afternoon was spent indoors as a rain shower passed. We ate tomato soup with a baguette and fresh garlic herb cheese, watched the rest of Amelie and read.

Once the rain passed, we put on our hiking boots and took of to explore the immediate surroundings. A croissant was had for snack and baked camembert with warm baguette and cherry jam was enjoyed as dinner.

On the agenda for tonight- planning the remainder of our days in the French countryside.

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Green beans have always been one of my favorite vegetables.

I attribute my green bean love to my grandparents.


Every spring, my grandpa plants an incredible vegetable garden. He plants lettuce, sweet corn, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, peppers, even peanuts, garlic and strawberries.

Although he was always on a careful planting schedule when I was young, he’d save green bean planting to do with me.

Green beans were always our special crop.


Together, we’d prepare the soil, plant the seeds, give them their first drink of water and mark the rows. Every time my family and I would visit between spring and summer, my grandpa would take me out to the garden and proudly announce, “Look how much our beans have grown.”

In my mind, they were our beans, Grandpa’s and mine.

When the green beans were ready to harvest, Grandpa would call me up and exclaim that it was time to pick our beans.

He always waited and let me pick the first bean of the season.

Once we had a bucket full of freshly picked green beans, we’d bring them into the kitchen and my Grandma would take over.

She taught me how to snap off the ends and cook the beans to perfection with a butter and bacon.


Years later, when I announced my vegetarianism, my grandparents made the ultimate sacrifice- they stopped cooking bacon with the green beans.

My brothers will be the first to admit that Grandma and Grandpa’s green beans just aren’t the same without the bacon, but they all lovingly made that change for me.

Even now, when I travel back to the US, my grandparents cook up green beans from the garden; specially saved and frozen for my next return.


As I opened my CSA delivery this week and found a brown paper bag full of green beans, I was instantly taken back.


Taken back to my grandparents’ garden, full of love, learning, gentleness and guidance.


Although I wish I could have shared this green bean meal with my grandparents, I’m happy I can share it with you.


Israeli Couscous with Garlic, Green Beans, Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Makes 3 servings ~ Ready in 15 minutes


1/2 zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces

3 large handfuls fresh green beans

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 Tablespoons butter

1 1/3 cup Israeli couscous

1 3/4 cups boiling vegetable broth (or water with stock granules)

2 Heaping tablespoons pine nuts

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parmesan cheese to garnish


  1. Clean the green beans, remove the ends and cut into 1 inch pieces. Steam until slightly tender. Remove from heat.
  2. Place 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium sized pan along with the couscous. Cook over medium-high heat until the couscous begins to turn golden brown. Slowly stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil and butter in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until melted. Add the garlic, shallots and zucchini. Sauté until the zucchini becomes slightly tender. Add the steamed green beans and continue to cook for a couple more minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the pine nuts to the vegetable mixture and cook until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve, place the vegetables over the couscous and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese.

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers and grandfathers out there… especially mine.

I love you all so much.

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Keeping with tradition, tonight was pizza night.

This pizza was so simple to put together.

Faster than ordering delivery and deliciously fresh.


I used a thawed and risen portion of fresh yeast pizza dough as a base.

Topped it with leftover marinara sauce, fresh crimini mushrooms, eggplant and garlic, then used an assortment of cheeses, including fresh mozzarella, parmesan and crumbly goat cheese.

I sprinkled the pizza with Italian seasoning, drizzled the top with olive oil then baked it on my oven’s hottest setting until cooked.


Now I want the leftovers.

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