Going Ga-Ga over Pickled Ginger

_DSC0494There are certain foods that one discovers later in life. For me, ginger is one of them. Growing up with a heavily Austrian/Italian cuisine, I found out about ginger’s zingy flavor, medicinal properties and anti-inflammatory capabilities when I was exposed to it through Asian foods. Back in Italy, we didn’t really use it. In fact, we didn’t even have ginger-snaps, as our equivalent holiday cookies – Lebkuchen – doesn’t feature that spice at all. The multitude of favorable healthy benefits of this spice is only matched by it’s many uses. Ginger’s tangy flavor, spiciness, freshness and mellow sweetness complements many a dish, both sweet and savory: think stir-fries and ice creams. My son loves ginger and would eat it every day: cooked, steamed, and, if he could have it his way, candied. This week, come and pickle some fresh ginger with us!

We love ginger and have written about it before. What we know as ginger is a rhizome, which means it is the underground stem of a plant. It has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory, circulatory and digestive benefits. Research has shown that ginger appears to ease the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and it also suppresses pro-inflammatory compounds: all good things when we try to eat for healthy bones and joints. In addition to ginger’s potential impact on arthritis, it’s anti-inflammatory properties are also worth considering for sore throats and congestion.

Freshly grated ginger can be used in stir-fries, salads, chicken soup (my sister’s secret ingredient) as well as cooked vegetables and rice. Use fresh ginger, adding half at the beginning of cooking and the rest at the end to get both culinary and medicinal benefits. The easiest way to enjoy it quickly is to make brew ginger tea. Simply grate fresh ginger and use one half teaspoon of the grated root to an 8-ounce cup of hot eater. Cover and let it steep for about 10 minutes before straining it. A little honey makes this drink irresistible in my opinion. For another great use of ginger, our weekly featured recipe is freshly-pickled ginger. It’s simple and delicious, and super easy to make. And with its red color it looks just like the pickled ginger at the sushi counter, but tastes so much fresher and more intensely. And after a few taste tests we can confirm that it cleared out our sinuses!

While our freshly pickled ginger goes like freshly baked bread in my house, I have been able to convince my son that I’m still working on perfecting my candied ginger recipe! Stay tuned. For now he is happy with the pickled version. Come and cook with us!

Freshly Pickled Ginger

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The Queen of Bitter: Dandelions

IMG_0561Few people personify the concept of living with the seasons more than my mother. In touch with the world around them, my parents harvest the fruits and vegetables that their many plants and trees provide throughout the year. Whether early radishes, winter salads, watercress or dandelions, we always knew when spring had sprung from what was served at the table. Back by popular demand, please give a round of applause to dandelions, the queen of bitter. Come and cook with us! Continue reading

Happy 100th

IMG_0530My Omi turned 100 last week and I was there, along with the rest of the family, to celebrate this very special event. We gathered as a family, close and extended, and friends to mark the day. Inundated with great food, well wishes and lots good times, my grandmother was visibly enjoying the festivities, but also tirelessly working the crowd to make sure everyone knew how appreciative she was of their participation. To celebrate the event, I want to review some of the birthday girl’s favorite dishes. Come and cook with us!

There is plenty to write about a woman who was the youngest of 13, lived through two wars, lost one husband, ran a hardware store on her own for many years, still works in said store, cooks three meals a day, meets her girlfriends for coffee in the morning and a card-game on the weekend. What inspires me isn’t just her work ethics, wits and clarity, but her good hand at the stove-top. Having spent several years working in a butcher store, my grandmother isn’t just good with doing math in her head, but she knows everything about cooking meat: how to choose it, how to season it and how to prepare it. Whether a veal roast, pork cutlets or wiener schnitzel, my Omi knows just what to do. And it always tastes great.

To mark the occasion, here are a few pictures of the event. And of course, a review of my Omi’s famous Salsa Verde, Wienerschnitzel and Orange Cream. Just a few of her favorite things. Come and cook with us!

Omi’s Salsa Verde
Wienerschnitzel
Orange Cream

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Vegetable Charade

Jessica and Kathrin:

Incorporate the colors of the rainbow into your weekly meals.

Originally posted on Come and Cook with Us:

photo 11The German word for food is “Lebensmittel” which translates to “means to live”. It’s what’s alive and we eat it to stay alive. What better food to live on and be the focus of our meals than fruits and vegetables. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and textures and are packed with the vitality that our body needs. Instead of pushing them to the side and making them the unwanted step-sister that has to be invited to the party, or worse, has to be hidden, let’s make it all about them. Let’s celebrate their variety, vitality and colors of the rainbow. Come and cook with us!

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Make the Most of Flavor Flours

IMG_0408What do teff, sorghum and buckwheat have in common? They are all non-wheat flours that along with whole and ancient grains, coconut flour and nut flours can be used to make delicious baked goods. And who better to teach us how to make the most of these flavor flours than Alice Medrich, a James Beard award-winning author who has won more cookbook-of-the-year awards and best in the dessert and baking category awards than any other author. Her newest book, Flavor Flours, is a great addition to anyone interested in upping their game in non-wheat baking. Come and cook with us!

Jessica gave me this book and I’ve been so thankful for it. Actually, my boys have been even more thrilled about it being so prolifically tested. When I initially leafed through the pages, I couldn’t stop visualizing all these wonderful creations. I have been baking with different flours – my GF sourdough is based on a variety of different whole grains, flours, starches and seeds – but in this book Mendrich succeeds in taking the specific characteristic of each flour to its advantage and making it a recipe’s “hero ingredient” instead of a wheat replacement.

It’s hard to pick a favorite flavor flour. I love teff and you all know about my infatuation with buckwheat. What I love about this book is that it gives detailed insights on how different flours react in recipes depending on how finely they have been milled and how they are being processed. It’s an intriguing book if you’d like to learn more about baking with non-wheat alternatives.

So far, we have baked delectable Bittersweet Teff Brownies, moist Dark and Spicy Pumpkin Loafs with buckwheat and a glorious Coconut Key Lime Tart. But there is so much more. There are Buckwheat Linzer Cookies, Simple Scones, Lemon Cream Roulade, Panforte Nero and Walnut and Buckwheat Crackers. And there are plenty of sponge, chiffon and layer cakes. For now, let’s start things simply with Medrich’s satisfying Banana Muffins with sorghum. Come and cook with us!

Banana Muffins with Sorghum

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