Category Archives: Sauces

Nostalgia for a German/Austrian/Dutch breakfast.

Kim and I often feel nostalgic for our times abroad – the scenery, the people, the culture – and of course the food.

The other day, we were longing for the traditional breakfasts of central Europe. Or at least German, Austrian and Dutch breakfasts. We did a good job putting together a fantastically reminiscent meal of pretzel rolls, meats, cheeses, homemade Preiselbeeren jam (cranberry jam), homemade appelstroop (thick apple syrup), with tomato and cucumber.

When I was visiting a friend of mine in Cologne, Germany, her family’s breakfast table had an assortment of dense rolls, jams, chocolate spreads, cheeses and meats. My friend said she normally ate Meusli for breakfast during the week, but this was a special occasion, so they brought out the goods!

While Kim and I were eating our dinner, Kim said she could be in Austria right then, sitting in her host family’s kitchen. The only thing missing was the liverwurst pate!

Kim’s breakfast at our friend Barbara’s in Tettnang, Germany

When I was in Amsterdam for work, our hotel breakfast included slices of bread, salamis and ham, cheeses, tomato, cucumber, and of course Appelstroop.

Breakfast at my hotel in Amsterdam

A terrible photo of Appelstroop

So anyway, our dinner:

The Preisselbeeren jam and Appelstroop both turned out to be ridiculously easy to make.

Preiselbeeren Jam (Cranberry Jam)
On stovetop, cook cup of cranberries on medium heat. Spritz about half a lemon’s juice (a tablespoon) and add cinnamon, sugar. Cook until the cranberries have burst and become a spreadable delicacy!

preiselbeeren jam (with ricotta on bread)

Appelstroop (Apple Syrup)
The appelstroop is made of apple juice, lemon juice, whole anise, cinnamon and sugar. In a saucepan, add 6 cups of apple juice, two anise (seeds?) and a teaspoon or two of cinnamon. Boil until it’s 1/3 the amount, then add 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to boil until it’s a syrupy mass. BUT DON’T BOIL TOO LONG 0r the sugar will thicken too much, and you and that pan will be spending a lot of time with each other, you scraping off incredibly goopy syrup with a knife.

Anise – similar in taste as fennel, liquorice or tarragon. Pairs well with cinnamon.

Review: It was delicious of course! I love discovering food, or new ways of eating the same food, in this case, from different regions of the world!



Taco Turkey Burgers with Spicy Avocado Spread

When one has avocados, one must use avocados. I think that’s written down somewhere important. So, being a law-abiding human being, I realized that’s what dinner was going to have to be. I was in a I-Feel-Like-Cooking-But-I-Feel-Like-Cooking-Something-Kinda-Easy mood. Tacos are great with avocado, but they were too simple. I wanted to put in some effort. So I decided, instead of tacos, I’ll make turkey burgers using the taco seasoning with spicy avocado spread! Which, funnily enough, were easier than tacos.

My dad, who shakes his head smirking over anything that isn’t completely within the ordinary (and who lately has been so fond of making very whippy mashed potatoes that feel more like glue), said I can’t just make a normal dinner. I said, smacking my head stupidly, that I’d forgotten to make the “gluey” whipped potatoes, but I don’t think he got it.


Taco Turkey Burger with Spicy Avocado Spread


Taco Turkey Burger

1 lb Ground Turkey

1 packet Taco Seasoning


Combine ground turkey and taco seasoning until the seasoning is evenly distributed throughout the taco. Shape the ground meat into patties and fry over medium heat for about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Drain fat.


Spicy Avocado Spread (all ingredient to taste)

2 Avocados

1/2 red onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon chili powder


Mix all ingredients until evenly combined and spread over turkey burgers between toasted bread, lettuce, and tomato.

Dip into a healthier diet! – Pinto Bean Dip

This blog post is dedicated to Suban Nur Cooley, who is trying to change her eating habits, or anyone trying to cut their calories, add protein and fiber to their diet and eat more veggies! For those of you who don’t eat a lot of meat, or even a lot of veggies, this may be the miracle food you’ve been waiting for. (Well, one of them.)

Suban Nur Cooley

The pinto beans in this dip are delicious and super good for you. Beans are comparable to meat in terms of calories, but they’ve got a higher water content and more fiber, making you feel fuller, longer. (Source: WebMD) This means you’ll eat less, but you won’t feel deprived. It’s like magic.

But the actual dip is only half the amazingness of this dip. Unless your Kim, you probably don’t eat dips by themslves.  This is where the veggies come in. I love to dip really any vegetable in this dip – broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, mushrooms…

By the end of this meal, I’ve had loads of veggies and beans, and if you dip bread into it, grains too! Well balanced and FULL.

I never make a bean dip the same twice, but here’s what in this bean dip:

1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cloves chopped and sauteed garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

peppercorn and a dash of salt

You will need: a food processor

If you’re using fresh pinto beans, soak beans 8 hours, cook on medium high for 45 minutes.


Just open a can of pinto beans.


canned beans are very high in sodium, so if you want to reduce the sodium content, rinsing your beans in a coriander can get rid of 40% of the sodium. FYI, fresh beans are quite low in sodium (2-10 mg in a 1/2 cup of cooked beans; Source: 3 Fat Chicks)


Chop and saute garlic in frying pan with a little oil. Put all ingredients into grinder. Grind.

If it’s not liquidy enough, add more lemon juice, oil, water, or even milk. You could also add sour cream or tahini to make it smoother and creamier. You could also add salsa… Sorry, not I’m just thinking out loud.


If you’re trying to eat less fat, try adding things other than the sour cream and tahini. I would stick with the lemon juice or wter. If you’re looking for more flavor, though, add spices like Cajun, garlic powder, chili powder, hot sauces….

Veggie Spaghetti Sauce on Ciabatta

This sandwich has been titled Spaghetti On a Bun Minus Spaghetti thanks to my friend and housemate Satpreet, who I should add never actually ate or even saw the sandwich in question.

Spaghetti has always been one of those things I never liked (like french fries) that people don’t seem to understand. I myself get confused when I see a big plate of tender spaghetti in a thick tomato sauce being carried passed by a waiter or waitress at Olive Garden. On certain occasions in my life I have eaten spaghetti prepared for many dozens of people, meaning it was most-likely baked in a casserole dish. Somehow baking in a casserole dish always makes it taste amazing. Also, I’m sure there’s more butter and refined flour. The more people you’re serving, the more butter per serving (that’s how it works, right?). But for some reason every time we had spaghetti at home I would think this time I’ll like it. I would try to eat it the small portion in front of me, but never quite get there. It always seemed to end up on my Dad’s plate. The sauce was always the best part. As it’s kind of strange difficult to eat sauce without anything underneath (never stopped me, actually), I began using tomato sauce on other things, like cauliflower and mushrooms and bread.

Last semester I sliced bread at a cafeteria every Friday morning. Fresh-baked submarines, rolls sprinkled with asiago cheese, onion buns, and ciabatta. After cutting 50 little ciabatta buns every week at a cafeteria where I don’t have a meal plan, I decided something must be done. The next grocery trip to Meijer I bought a whole loaf of ciabatta bread!

And this is one of the several ways I ate it.

Sauté in a small sauce pan whatever vegetables you want on your sandwich in either olive oil or butter (I prefer olive oil because of the taste, but it also helps absorb the nutrients in vegetables). I used mushrooms and onions. Remember to clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a wet cloth.

After the vegetables become tender, pour in leftover or prepared spaghetti or pizza sauce. I usually add more spices just because I love a strong spicy flavor. If adding more spices, I recommend garlic or garlic spread, oregano, basil, cumin, black pepper, or red pepper flakes. Sometime I add tabasco sauce (I’m from Texas).

Meanwhile turn your oven to broil. Brush the inside of the bun with olive oil. Toast your ciabatta until toasted to your liking.

Heat the sauce on medium until heated through and, if desired, add mozzarella cheese. Spread the sauce over the toasted bun.

It smells amazing and tastes so good! The best part is how well it uses up extra ingredients.



Sweet Potato Hummus!

2 Sweet Potatoes (about 1 lb)

About a tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon Tahini

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayanne

dash of pepper

zest of orange

Optional: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 teaspoons brown sugar

After baking the sweet potatoes until soft (about 40 minutes in oven at 350 degrees or so, or 6-7 minutes in microwave), mix all ingredients together and dig in!

What I thought: Kim often feels as if she’s, for lack of better term, ruining, a perfectly good sweet potato when… ANYTHING is done to it, really. But this dip is AMAZING and I can’t wait for her to come home from class so she can try it! I wish I’d made more, but I only made half a batch… I know I could make more easily, but I really got to get some work done, aaah, where did the day go!?

UPDATE: Kim loved it!



A Good and Healthy Salad Dressing

I regard myself as a fairly healthy eater. I try and usually succeed at eating a fruit or vegetable with every meal, but lately I’ve been having a harder time with the leafy greens (my vegetables tend to me winter squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin). The most convenient way to eat a leafy green is in a salad, but for some reason I’ve been finding my salads to be less than satisfactory. Beth loves putting salsa in her salad, but the past few time I’ve done that I’ve hated it (I couldn’t finish my last one at all, and instead used the salad in the quiche recipe from earlier – but used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese – delicious!). The two salad dressings we have in our fridge are almost gone, so I’ve been trying to come up with new ways to make my salad less of a chore to eat (that doesn’t involve sweetening it up with cranberries!), because salads are amazingly delicious.

What I ended up doing was
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoons apple vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
dash curry
red pepper flakes to taste
dash black pepper

And I really liked it. And to be honest, I jut made up those numbers in the recipe, I have no idea how much of what I put it, but that seems about right. It’ll probably taste good anyway.