Rhubarb Streuseltaler

If you follow the blog, its no surprise to see rhubarb recipes frequently at this time of year. Its probably due to a childhood memory or maybe because its just so versatile and good.

The name of today’s pastry was inspired by the round shape of the ‘taler‘, a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Its name lives on in the currency called ‘dollar‘.

Taler is a German word for ‘coin’, so the name of the dessert literally translates to ‘streusel coin’. Basically, a free form tart made with a yeast dough topped with a huge amount of streusel, sometimes filled with custard and often with a sugar glaze.

A traditional German streusel (streusel meaning something ‘strewn or scattered’ in German) bakes up into shortbread balls. It makes a crunchy, cookie-like top but is soft on the bottom where it meets the cake or fruit.

Streusel was first popularized in Germany. In its simplest form, it consists of flour, sugar and butter but gets even better with the addition of oatmeal, cinnamon and nuts …. just my opinion of course!

Print Recipe
Rhubarb Streuseltaler
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
ROLLS
Ingredients
Rhubarb Compote
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
ROLLS
Ingredients
Rhubarb Compote
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Rhubarb Compote
  1. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except vanilla. Heat to medium high & stir occasionally until rhubarb begins to break down completely. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla & allow to cool to room temperature.
Streusel Topping
  1. In a bowl, place COLD, cubed butter, add flour, cinnamon, sugar & vanilla. With your finger tips work streusel until crumbles form. Spread out on a large tray & set aside in freezer until ready to use.
Dough
  1. In a small dish, combine yeast with lukewarm water & 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Allow to sit for a few minutes until frothy.
  2. In a large bowl, slightly melt butter; cool a couple of minutes then whisk in egg. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt & remaining sugar. Add yeast mixture to butter mixture, whisking together. Add flour mixture, combine then turn on a floured work surface & knead for about 5 minutes. Dough will be very soft but not sticky.
  3. Lightly grease bowl, place dough ball in it & cover with a towel. Place in a draft-free place & allow to rise for about 20 minutes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface, & divide into 12 pieces. Form each piece into a ball & allow to rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. Space out the balls on parchment lined baking sheet. With fingertips, press out each ball to about 4-inch diameter. Add about 1 Tbsp of rhubarb compote to each dough piece & spread leaving a border around the outside.
  7. Divide streusel topping evenly between the pastries & allow to rise for about 15-20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  9. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. In the meantime, you can prepare the glaze.
  10. In a small dish, whisk powdered sugar & lemon juice to a thick glaze. When streuseltaler are cooled, drizzle with glaze.
Recipe Notes
  • Being lovers of the cardamom spice, I dusted our streuseltaler with it using a wire mess strainer.
  • You will probably have a little bit of rhubarb compote left over but its never too hard to find a use for at our house.
  • I should mention, making the compote the day before needed will speed up your baking process.
  • These streuseltaler are incredibly soft & so good!

Mexican Lasagna

Having just returned from Merida, Mexico and holiday memories are still fresh in our minds, we wanted to share a few of the city’s highlights.

Merida is the cultural heart and soul of the Yucatan with multiple museums, art galleries, restaurants, theaters and stores. Brion and I have made a point of staying in hotels which are a close walk to Paseo de Montejo. This main avenue of the city was named after the founder of Merida, Francisco de Montejo. Built at the end of the 19th century and inspired by the boulevards of France, Paseo de Montejo used to be the site of mega mansions belonging to the well-to-do families in the city. While many of them now are the headquarters of national and international banks and companies, they still retain the heritage of the city.

Music and dancing play an important role in the day to day life of Merida’s residents. Outdoor, live performances can be seen frequently around the city. Cultural activities are plentiful on Saturday and Sunday evenings. The main road is closed off to traffic on Sundays for ‘Family Bike Day’, a day when families are encouraged to get out and ride their bikes along Montejo avenue. This historic city offers a wonderful insight into its rich culture, incredible cuisine and friendly people.

If you care to read about some of the tours we took last year while we were in Merida, check out my blog articles on this site from February 2019.

Today’s blog recipe is called Mexican ‘lasagna’ due to the layering of tortillas in place of lasagna pasta noodles.

Print Recipe
Mexican Lasagna
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Main Dish
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, scramble-fry ground beef with celery, onion & green pepper. Add tomatoes, enchilada sauce, olives salt & pepper; simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in skillet. Cut 2 tortillas into quarters; cook remaining 6 tortillas & the quarters in oil till crisp & golden. Drain on paper towels. Set aside quartered tortillas & break up remaining six. In a bowl, combine cheddar, cottage cheese & slightly beaten egg.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a 9 X 9-inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of meat mixture. Top with 1/2 of the cheese mixture then 1/2 of the BROKEN tortillas. Repeat layers, ending with meat mixture. Top with quartered tortillas.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes then allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.

Lemon Chicken Meatballs

As I mentioned in the previous blog, new year’s eve food = finger food. I thought I’d post one other recipe for the occasion. Meatballs seem to check all the right boxes. Crispy, savory, spicy and can be eaten in a single bite. These lemon chicken meatballs are kind of an interesting blend of chicken and bacon. The lemon sauce is a bit unusual in that it uses lemon jelly powder but rounds out nicely with some garlic and ginger spice.

The idea of being able to do some of the prep work ahead of time always appeals to me. These meatballs can be made anytime and frozen raw or cooked. Just perfect when you are ready to serve them.

I’ve probably said this before, but deep fried food never appeals to me. Baking these little morsels still achieve’s a great taste. Hope you give them a try!

Print Recipe
Lemon Chicken Meatballs
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Servings
Ingredients
Lemon Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Lemon Sauce
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Fry bacon until crisp & drain on paper towel. Crumble & set aside.
  2. To skillet, add onions & garlic. Saute & remove with a slotted spoon. In a large bowl, combine bacon, onions & garlic with remaining ingredients; mix well.
  3. Form into 1-inch size meatballs & place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
Lemon Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, combine dry jelly powder & cornstarch. Add broth, dressing, garlic & ginger; stir until jelly powder is dissolved.
  2. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Pour over meatballs & stir to coat. Serve with picks.

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

Today, February 13th is Shrove Tuesday  also known as ‘pancake day’. As I was thinking about the subject of pancakes today, I recalled a story from many years ago that still makes me laugh. I’m sure the reason I found it so funny was due to the fact that my life’s work was spent in the commercial food industry so I could relate to the situation.

I grew up in a southern Alberta, Canada farming community. In the town there was a huge building called an Agriplex which was used for all large agricultural events. A local caterer had been hired to provide a morning breakfast to horse show competitors. She recounted this event in a cookbook she later went on to publish in 1983. It read like this:

A horse show was being held at our local Agriplex and I had agreed to provide an early morning breakfast. By opening time we felt all was ready — the counter was set with all the necessary accoutrements, iced juices were ready to pour and the pancake batter, enough to feed all of southern Alberta, stood on a TV tray right next to the hot grill.  Who could ask for more?   This building is located on the northwest edge of town with nothing but countryside beyond it as far as the eye can see. As well, it holds grain and hay for the various agricultural events. Thus, making it ripe territory for mice.

Every precaution had been taken to keep them out of the kitchen — traps, bait, even a cat or two. But one little field mouse had eluded all traps set for him and appeared at the vary moment of opening on a ledge behind the big stove. My first thought was to head him off at the pass. After all, that big bowl of pancake batter sat just a few feet from his inquiring nose.

As things worked out, it would have been better to let him fall into the batter. We would just have had to make new batter. But no, I took a mighty swing at him with a broom and hit the TV table which promptly collapsed. My pride and joy white crockery bowl hit the stove and broke into dozens of pieces which meant a sea of pancake batter began spreading, slowly but surely, into every crack and corner of the big stove. Some disappeared under the stove and the rest spread like glue across the floor, all over the area where we should have been standing, that very minute, flipping pancakes and cooking eggs.  The mouse got away!

Sometime later, a friend of mine, gave me a copy of the cookbook as a gift. Inside the cover she had written — ‘As you read this book I’m sure it will remind you of the many funny and often not so funny things that happened to us during the years we worked together in the food industry’. Great memories!

I hope you enjoyed reading my ‘long story’ today. For my Shrove Tuesday pancakes I’m making SOUR CREAM CORN PANCAKES WITH MAPLE SYRUP.

 

 


Print Recipe


Sour Cream Corn Pancakes

Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!

Course Brunch

Servings


Ingredients

Course Brunch

Servings


Ingredients

Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!


Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, milk, sour cream, butter & vanilla.

  2. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt. Add flour mixture to liquid mixture & whisk together until no large lumps remain. Let batter rest for 15 minutes. If you wish, you can refrigerate it overnight & use for breakfast in the morning.

  3. Heat a large non-stick electric griddle to 350 F. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop batter onto griddle. Top each pancake with well drained corn niblets. Cook to a golden brown on each side. Serve with warm Maple Syrup.

Pork Loin Chops with Crab meat Stuffing

Combining pork with seafood has been going on for centuries in Europe and Asian countries. For example, take the Spanish with their paella — a mix of chorizo, prawns and mussels and the Chinese with pork and prawn dumplings.

During January, Brion & I spent a few weeks at the Los Cactus resort in Varadero, Cuba. Varadero is a 1.2 km wide peninsula situated along Cuba’s northern coast with 20 km of white sandy beaches. This vicinity has a variety of natural attractions as well as cultural and historical. Varadero is primarily visited by European and Canadian tourists.

Cuba is one big classic car museum. These 1950’s cars are everywhere, in every color and in many shapes, makes and models. While in the USA & Canada these cars would be collector’s items, in Cuba, they are used as everyday vehicles as well as taxis, often providing a good income for their owners.

Being so close to Havana we took the opportunity to take a guided day tour of the capital city. One thing we found really amazing in Cuba, was their bus system. The buses were relatively clean and comfortable with professional drivers. Our day trip to Havana was about 10 1/2 hours long, round trip, with an English speaking guide. Brion & I found the day very interesting. It consisted of a walking tour of Old Havana, lunch and then a panoramic tour of modern Havana to Revolution Square, the famous ‘Malecon’ seawall promenade, Christopher Columbus Necropolis and the Vedado Residential area.

This city is a mixture of opulence and decay, old world and new, socialism and capitalism, Europe, Africa and America. In Old Havana, effort has gone into rebuilding for tourist purposes, and a number of the streets and squares have been rehabilitated. The fact is that Old Havana is a large city, and the restoration efforts concentrate in all on less than 10% of its area. It seems whatever your interests, Havana offers an interesting mix of rhythms, rum, revolution and history.

During the tour, our guide took us to the top floor of the Gomez Vila. You climb up to the tower, about eight flights of stairs where there is a rooftop veranda. Here you can get a 360 degree view of the city. Located here as well, is the ‘Camera Obscura’. This optical device of lenses and mirrors projects an aerial image of the city into a giant concave screen taking you on a bird’s eye tour of Havana in real time. The projections are so clear that you can even pick out individuals walking on the cobble stone streets. It is one of the 74 cameras like it worldwide. Amazing!

In Revolution Square, we viewed some iconic images on the buildings of two Revolutionary heroes, Che Guevara and Camillo Cienfeugos. It was very interesting listening to our tour guide in regards to the Cuban Revolution, giving us this history from a Cuban perspective. There is a complex system of three fortifications that protected Havana, it’s port and it’s dockyard. From the seawall we got some photos of Morro Castle at the entrance with its emblematic light house that was built four centuries ago.

Cuban cuisine is a blend of several cultures — Taino, Spanish, African and Caribbean, with each adding their own methods of cooking and choice of spices. The most common spices used are garlic, cumin, oregano and bay or laurel leaves. Black beans and rice are Cuban staples.

The popularity of pork in Cuban cuisine has long historical roots. Spanish explorers brought pigs to the Caribbean islands back in 1492. From what I understand, one of the secrets of moist and flavorful Cuban pork is that the pigs feed on palmiche, the fruit of a palm tree.  The ‘Royal Palm’ is the national tree of Cuba. It is native to the island and is such a characteristic symbol of its scenery. Notice the big clusters of palm nuts at the top of the Royal palm tree in one of the blog pics.

I wanted to share a recipe today that seemed very in keeping with our Cuban travels. These pork loin chops are stuffed with crabmeat filling and drizzled with a raspberry pepper jelly sauce. 

Brion has added a few of his great pics from Cuba for you to enjoy.

Print Recipe
Pork Loin Chops with Crab meat Stuffing
Instructions
Pork Chops
  1. Trim all excess fat from loin chops. Place meat on a sheet of plastic wrap & cover with a second sheet. Using a meat tenderizer, pound meat flat until double in diameter. Set aside.
Crab meat Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, saute onions & garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until onions are tender. Remove from heat. Add remaining stuffing ingredients, including the 2 Tbsp of reserved crab liquid. Mix just until incorporated.
Assembly/ Cooking
  1. Lay TWO chops on lightly oiled griddle or skillet. Divide filling between them; place remaining TWO chops on top. Brown the stuffed pork chops on both sides, turning carefully.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place stuffed chops in an ungreased casserole. Cover & bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake for 15 minutes longer or until meat thermometer reads 160 F. when inserted into the meat & juices run clear.
Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, heat chicken broth, red pepper jelly & raspberry preserves. Divide sauce between 2 serving plates & top each with a stuffed pork chop.

Kase Knepfla – Cheese Buttons

Childhood memories particularly play a role in how we regard food. Foods from our formative years and special occasions can become a very emotional experience, bringing us ‘back home’ to one’s beginnings.

Kase Knepfla  is one of those foods for me. The name translates as ‘cheese buttons’ (kase = cheese, knopf = buttons). I have read somewhere, they were probably a version of the Ukrainian ‘vareniki’  that German immigrants developed to suit their own tastes.

To make them you need dry curd cottage cheese. I recall my mother making her own cottage cheese on the back ‘burner’ of our old wood/coal burning stove. Of course, this not being to interesting to a ‘kid’, I really never gave it any thought. It seemed that the milk was put in a certain place on the stove so it wouldn’t get too hot or it would become stringy as it turned to ‘cheese’.

Similar to a perogy, cheese buttons are made of a tender noodle dough. The dough is rolled out thinly and either cut into squares or circles, filled with a cottage cheese mixture, boiled then briefly browned in butter. I have noticed, in looking at numerous kase knepfla recipes, the cottage cheese filling is made with onions, salt and pepper. The only kind that I can remember my mother making was slightly sweet with a touch of cinnamon. No doubt, this was a version my parents grew up with themselves. Nevertheless, I am trying to preserve history one post at a time’….

Traditionally kase knepfla was served with summer sausage and beet pickles. For our meal, I paired them with some homemade pork sausage medallions, squash and fresh broccoli. We loved it!

Print Recipe
Kase Knepfla - Cheese Buttons
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Kase Knepfla Dough
Filling
Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Kase Knepfla Dough
Filling
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Dough
  1. In a bowl, mix ingredients into a smooth dough, cover and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Filling
  1. In a bowl, combine dry cottage cheese, egg, sugar, cinnamon & salt. Filling should be thick enough to hold its shape in a spoon.
To make Kase Knepfla
  1. Roll dough quite thin on a floured surface. Using a small scoop, place balls of filling along one end of dough about 2 inches up from outside edge. Fold dough over filling; using a small round cutter ( or small glass) cut out kase knepfla. If edges aren't sealed, just pinch as needed.
  2. Continue until all the filling & dough are used. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop 'buttons' carefully into water & boil slowly for about 5 minutes. Kase knepfla should float when cooked. Drain. I a large saucepan, melt some butter; add buttons, making sure to have only one layer. Brown lightly on both sides.

German Poppy Seed Coffee Roll

Germany’s love of poppy seed is no secret, you can find it in everything from sweet to savory foods. For many German and central eastern Europeans, poppy seeds are a symbol of wealth, the tiny seeds representing coins. They figure prominently at Christmas and New Year’s, expressing hoped-for prosperity in the coming year.

Poppy seed cultivation dates back to 1400 BC. Early Egyptians pressed the seed into cooking oil whereas the the ancient Romans mixed them with wine and honey for Olympic athletes or home use. It should be made clear though, that this spice is not narcotic because opium is found in the pod and not in the seed itself. The dried pod loses any of it’s opiate properties long before the seeds are harvested.

‘Mohn Kaffee Rolle’  is considered a nostalgic German Christmas pastry much like Stollen is. One thing for certain, in keeping with true European tradition, poppy seed is added in such large quantities that the dough sometimes looks black.

When I recall my mother’s poppy seed roll, it was never dry. It seemed like a vanilla custard with ‘wall to wall’ poppy seeds in it. There were numerous recipes in her file — cake, roll, twists, cookies, strudel, pudding — everything and anything  poppy seed!  This recipe seems unique in that it uses a  ‘Zwillingsteig’  (zwilling=twin, teig=dough) dough, a rich, moist dough used in the past when making cakes with fresh fruit. The dough is a combination of yeasted  and shortcrust dough kneaded together. It seems a little involved but is well worth it in the end. One more special ‘taste of a memory’ before the holiday season is to far behind us.

 

Print Recipe
'Mohn Kaffee Rolle' - Poppy Seed Coffee Roll
A unique, very tender pastry, slightly sweet with loads of poppy seeds!
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Shortcrust Dough
Yeast Dough
Poppy Seed Filling
Glaze
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine German
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Shortcrust Dough
Yeast Dough
Poppy Seed Filling
Glaze
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Shortcrust Dough
  1. In a bowl, place all shortcrust ingredients & quickly knead together until well combined. Shape into a disk & set aside. Dough can be made a day ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap & refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before combining with yeast dough.
Yeast Dough
  1. In a small dish, sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water, add 1 tsp sugar stirring until dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes. Sift flour with 3 Tbsp sugar & salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Add lukewarm milk, egg & vanilla to yeast mixture, then gradually add to flour mixture & blend.
  2. Press dough out to about 1 inch thickness & lay disk of shortcrust on top. Knead together by hand until fully combined, about 2 minutes. Shape into a ball & place in a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel, let raise in a warm, draft free spot for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Poppy Seed Filling
  1. Grind poppy seeds. In a small saucepan, combine poppy seeds, sugar, semolina & salt. Add butter & milk. Place over medium high heat; stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately & set aside to cool. When mixture is lukewarm, stir in egg, vanilla, rum & walnuts. Set aside.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When dough has risen, punch down & roll out on a lightly floured surface about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness.
  3. Spread with cooled poppy seed filling leaving a 1 inch border on each of the shorter ends. Brush shorter ends with egg wash. Starting from shorter end, roll dough, jelly-roll style, into a tight log. Cut into 2 loaf pan lengths.
  4. With a sharp knife, cut each log of dough in half lengthwise. Carefully twist the two pieces of dough together & place into prepared pans. Brush dough with egg wash, cover with greased plastic wrap & let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 F. When dough has risen, brush again with egg wash & bake about 40 minutes or until golden brown. When loaves have fully cooled, whisk together powdered sugar, water & lemon zest until smooth. Brush glaze over loaves & allow to set before slicing.
Recipe Notes
  • Unless you can find freshly ground poppy seeds, it is best to buy the whole seeds, store them in the freezer and grind them right before using. Because of their high oil content, the seeds easily turn rancid.
  • Good poppy seeds smell slightly 'musty' and have a nutty flavor - not bitter or harsh.