27 March 2010

Fruit smoothie. Throw in whatever you like.

When I was a child, my mom often made fruit smoothies for me and my brother. At that time, that kind of drink was completely unknown in Germany and my mom called it "liquado" because of her past in Argentina. She bought a US-made blender and that's the one I'm still using today!

I'm not on a diet - heavens no! - but on the Good Eats episode "Live and let diet", Alton Brown has some very interesting points on making smoothies:
  • Buy overripe bananas in bulk, then peel and freeze them. 
  • When turning on your blender, start on the lowest setting and move your way up slowly. 
  • Make sure you always see a "vortex" - if not, start over at the lowest setting.
And if you don't have a blender, then use a tall vessel and a stick blender. It's a bit messier, but the taste is the same...

I always liked bananas in my smoothie - it's what I use as a base - and then I add everything fruity I have at home. If you're lactose intolerant, leave out the milk and use water or soy milk instead. If you're vegan, leave out the honey, too. If you think you need some extra protein, add a raw egg or just the egg yolk.
And if you have fructose malabsorption, use the fruits your stomach is comfortable with. In my case, bananas and oranges are fine. And I'm still testing the red fruits.

20 March 2010

Zürcher Geschnetzeltes. Stroganoff the Swiss way.

Did you know that sweet sherry is a total pain to clean up? Some years ago, a bottle broke with less than half a cup of sherry left. It might not sound so much, but it was a tremendous disaster. Sweet syrupy drops rolling down in slow motion, sticking to everything in their way and running into every little groove. Photo albums, books, shelves, parquet floor, the TV set and various video game consoles got their share. Up to this day, the reset button of the Nintendo N64 still needs a bit of extra persuasion. Not to mention that some weeks ago, when I disassembled book shelves to replace them with new ones, I found various remnants of the sherry fiasco on those hard-to-reach places.

Sherry is a key ingredient in this dish, though I - ahem - stick to the medium-dry variety nowadays. You can leave the mushrooms out if you want to, even the green pepper corns if you must. And binding the sauce with cream cheese is such a clever trick: it brings a certain discreet acidity and as it is thick and often contains a little amount of starch, that saves you from stirring up a slurry. In my hands, corn starch always makes a mess. Luckily, no comparison with sherry.

13 March 2010

Porridge. For when you're ill.

Porridge is the perfect breakfast or snack when you're ill. It's warm, but you don't have to stand long in front of your stove if you feel a little weak. It's nourishing, but light and soothing if your stomach is acting up. And it's an absolute no-brainer to make, which comes in handy if you feel like your head is exploding.

06 March 2010

Pork tenderloin with onions and red wine. Heaven.

A couple of years ago, there was a cooking show on TV, called "Schmeckt nicht, gibt's nicht" - which translates to something like "no yummy, no way". Host was a guy named Tim Mälzer and I liked the 20-minute show because he actually managed to have his meals ready in 20 minutes, mostly without saying the dreaded sentence "and here we have it prepared in advance"... It gave you a kind of down-to-earth feel when a TV cook actually starts to peel an onion in front of the camera, instead of being surrounded by an endless number of thick-rimmed glass bowls, one for each cut and measured ingredient. What a waste!

Sadly, because the show was canceled some time ago, all the recipes were taken off the TV channel's website - not even the wayback-machine could bring them back. I was really happy when I found a printout of this recipe when I browsed through my binder! I hope I remember to print out more recipes from the Internet, they vanish so quietly...

02 March 2010

And now to something completely different. On IKEA hacker.

This is a short intermission. Sorry for being off-topic, but maybe you're like me and have more than just one hobby:
Today, you can see on IKEA hacker, what I did to my zebra bench and how I use it as coffee table. Here's the direct link to the post:

Bench and coffee table in one