Bow to the Buchtel!

_DSC0507It’s not until I left Italy that I realized we take good food for granted. Not just in our homes, but everywhere we go. Even when skiing. To this day, the snow might be fluffier, the runs more thrilling and the crowds better behaving in the U.S., but nothing compares to the food you are served in the many high-altitude mountain huts when skiing in Italy. There were many favorite places we would pilgrimage to every weekend, but there was one that stood out. Ditching skis and poles behind, we climbed on board our neighbor’s jeep and drove along the snowy roads to a remote small family-run hut called Rauch Hütte. There was no question on what the kids would order. It was always the same: Buchteln. Translating this dish for what it is – apricot-jam-filled yeast dumplings – doesn’t do it justice at all. These plump, fluffy and buttery dumplings were the size of well-rolled snow balls, served over a bed of runny vanilla sauce and leaving you filled with buttery goodness. Who cared what the weather was, or how many people were queuing at the lift when we returned to the slopes. We were happy, stuffed and didn’t know that having Buchteln on Sundays when skiing would be one of the fondest memories we would carry with us thirty years later when living on the other side of the world. Come and Cook with us!

Making a yeast dough isn’t hard, but it takes a little planning as the yeast needs some time to work its magic. If you can’t get the whole process in one go, prepare the dish in steps and slow down the yeast by letting it rise in the refrigerator. The traditional filling as I know it is apricot jam, but one can be creative.  I’ve tasted a plum, orange, cinnamon and cardamom concoction that was simply divine. At Rauch, Buchteln were served with or without vanilla sauce, but I like my mom’s adaptation that bakes the dumplings dipped in a syrupy buttery milk which keeps them from drying out. If that isn’t your thing, just bake the Buchteln regularly and either eat plain straight out of the oven or turn the dish into a more scrumptious affair by serving the dumplings on a bed of warm vanilla sauce.

Skipping savory and serving a sweet dessert-inspired dish for dinner is a very typical Austrian tradition. Think milk-rice, ricotta flan, riebel or crêpes. It’s not everyone’s type of a good dinner, but these Buchteln are surely worth a try, either as a dessert or served for dinner after a bowl of vegetable soup. Let us know how they turn out! Come and cook with us!





Nuts Over Coconut-Free Curry

Every once in a while, we test a new recipe that perfectly fits the bill. Of course, the first thing we want to do is share it with you. Thanks to my sister’s introduction, we discovered a perfectly balanced curry dish that works without coconut milk. It contains a healthy dose of Ayurvedic spices that most of us would benefit consuming more of without the whopping amounts of saturated fats in the deliciously creamy coconut milk. Come and make some curry with us! Continue reading

Happy Raspberry Valentine’s!

_DSC0483In case you haven’t noticed, it is Valentine’s week. My kids have been frantically writing cards for all their classmates coming up with the cutest appreciation ideas: you make me laugh, you always help out and you know good jokes. They have been advised, not to bring any chocolates or sweets into school. That did not prevent one boy in class to bring in bacon one year. Individually wrapped slices of “Bacon Appreciation” for each kid in the class. Isn’t that absolutely genial? Of course, he immediately became my sons’ hero. In case indulging your loved one with bacon isn’t what you had in mind, show your love with this aptly named raspberry dessert instead. Come and make some Hot Love with us! Huh, this sounds promising!

Hot love is a classic dessert that combines raspberries, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Leaving these last two ingredients on the side for now, let’s focus on the the main feature of the show: raspberries. Did you know that they deserve a place of honor among the list of foods that are good for your health thanks to their high fiber content. In fact, calorie for calorie, raspberries are one of the highest fiber-foods on the planet. But wait, there is more. Raspberries have calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, bone-building vitamin K and antioxidant polyphenols. Their combination of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C make them super heart healthy. Unfortunately, as with many other fruits and vegetables, please keep in mind that raspberries are on the most recent list of Dirty Dozen Plus by the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, so try to buy it organic!

Hot love raspberry dessert is fast and easy to make, takes few ingredients and can be prepared ahead of time. The flavors complement each other beautifully, making this an instant classic for many a dinner party at our house, including Valentine’s. And if you are head-set to include chocolate in your love celebration, serve a good-quality bar of dark chocolate with it. Happy Valentine’s from all of us at Come and Cook with Us!

Hot Love Raspberry Dessert

Nuts and Seed Aren’t Just For Birds: Make Dukkah!

_DSC0523Have you heard of dukkha? To be honest, I can’t say that I’ve known about it for long. It’s a savory blend of roasted nuts, seeds and spices that hails all the way from Egypt. The fragrant mix is absolutely delicious, very versatile and super easy to make. Where have I been that I didn’t know about it sooner? Here’s to more dukkah in my house and, hopefully, yours, too. Come and cook with us! Continue reading

Orange You Glad It’s Citrus Season in California!

_DSC0492It’s winter here in Northern California, which means it’s citrus season! This time of year, we love to get our hands and bellies full of these wonderful yellow, orange, pink and green-skinned gems. Today, it’s the oranges that are taking center stage. Whether you prefer navel, cara cara or Valencia oranges, it’s now that we can stock up on vitamin C and with the agreeable flavor of oranges it’s rewarding to get creative in the kitchen. Come and cook with us! Continue reading


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