Banana Pancakes by L

Summer has finally made an appearance in Prague and she isn’t holding back. Last week, we experienced some difficult days of heavy sweltering heat. Thankfully, a few storms rolled through and life has begun to cool down. Now that summer is here, I’ll bid farewell to my oven until the fall. Baking season for this mama is over until the cool temperatures return from their sunny holiday.

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So what should I do with the three very overly ripe bananas sitting on my counter? Those sweet things usually end up in a banana cake or muffin, but this morning, I sliced them up and added them to our pancakes. Our wonderful, no-fail recipe comes from the cookbook Breakfast Lunch Tea written by the amazingly delicious Rose Bakery in Paris, France (with a few healthy adaptations, of course.) If you ever happen to be in the 9th arrondissement, be sure to eat here. Your appetite will thank you. Every time I whip up a batch of these golden, thick and tender hotcakes, my taste buds are never disappointed. Delish!

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Actually, with the addition of the grilled bananas, it was even more delicious and sweeter than ever. My daughters, being the healthy conscious mom that I try to be, were served a plate of  these on their own, plain and simple. Mama, on the other hand, enjoyed her stack with a few spoonfuls of maple syrup. I could have done without, since the banana pancakes were so flavorful on their own. However, my dear sweet cousin J who recently visited us in Prague, gifted me with four bottles of Canadian Maple Syrup. I couldn’t let them go to waste.

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Banana Pancakes (adapted from Breakfast Lunch Tea)

(The original recipe uses plain white flour, but I used half white and half whole wheat)

2 eggs

1 cup milk

5 tablespoons melted butter or neutral oil

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup plain all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, milk and butter. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together both flours, salt, sugar and baking powder.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.

Stir, until well combined. Do not over stir.

(Rose Bakery writes “no more than 8 times” with a large spoon!)

Rub a small frying pan with a little butter.

Then pour 3-4 tablespoons of batter into the pan.

Top with a few slices of banana.

Cook until a few bubbles appear and the sides look cooked.

Flip and cook for another minute.

Repeat until all the batter is used up.

Serve and enjoy immediately with your favorite condiments!

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Summer has begun… with eggs and tofu! by Nikki

Herb Tofu, Eggs and Spinach

Herb Tofu, Eggs and Spinach

It is finally summer holiday… if you are a teacher, live with a teacher, are friends with or know a teacher you will understand why this is such a big deal! I saw this e-card last year that said, “Summer vacation- when teachers become human again!” I laughed because it is true. The last day of school is bittersweet. We say goodbye to families who are moving, wish a happy summer to the families who will return, and of course, there is the sweetness of knowing that for 7 weeks the only time I will need to set my alarm clock is if I absolutely have to!!! Summer vacation… it is truly the time when we teachers become human again.

Trying some new recipes is on my list of summer to do’s! I want to share with you a few new dips, a tasty summer salad, and a new dessert based on available summer fruits! And tofu… I have recently grown to love tofu and often use it in place of chicken in many recipes! No, I haven’t gone all vegetarian, but I have been replacing many meat based dishes with tofu or legumes… let’s say I am exploring with eating more naturally!

It is time for me to get back in to the market, explore in my kitchen and share these yummy foods with you… Šťastný letní. (Happy summer!)

herby smoked tofu

golden tofu

Herb-Breaded, Smoked Tofu

ingredients: 1 block of tofu (natural, marinated, or smoked), dried herbs: paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic salt and crushed pepper, 1 cup of organic flour, 2 tablespoons natural frying oil (I used sunflower oil)

directions:

1. slice tofu to preferred thickness

2. lightly pat dry with paper towel

3. in a small bowl combine flour and herbs

4. heat oil in a frying pan

5. place each tofu slice in the flour mixture and fully coat

6. fry each slice of tofu until golden brown on both sides (about 3-5 minutes depending on thickness)

7. serve tofu warm with preferred sides

8. enjoy

The Prague Basket’s 100th post! by Liezel

100 posts ago, I was trying to navigate through my new role in life, a mother of twins.

100 posts ago, I was searching for a way to fulfill a creative void.

100 posts ago, I was entertaining the idea of developing a new blog with the aid of my dearest gals in Prague, Allison and Nikki.

100 posts ago, The Prague Basket shared its first post.

100 posts later we are celebrating, and to commemorate this happy achievement we have a special gift for one of the readers/guests of our blog. The winner will receive a tender basket filled with goodies from the Andel Famers’ Market. Take a look…

A little thank you gift!

A little thank you gift!

To enter, please leave us a comment on the blog. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced by Tuesday, the 18th of June. In the meantime, click and reminisce with us a hundred posts ago… https://thepraguebasket.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/very-veggie-pasta-sauce-by-liezel/

Many thanks to our readers and we look forward to hearing from you. On behalf of The Prague Basket, we say “Dekuji!” (Thanks!)

L 🙂

Simple Home-made Stock, Packed and Ready to Go! by L

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The site of our local Farmers’ Market. It was forced to cancel due to the flooding.

Recently, our beloved city of Prague was hit with severe flooding. Days and days of heavy rain caused the Vltava river to swell. The city officials were wise to react quickly and set up flood barriers in order to prevent any damage that could happen. Prague had already experienced such misfortune from the flood of 2002.

This past Sunday, as I was putting our daughters to bed, my husband suddenly entered the room. The girls were nearly asleep and I quickly got cross with him for disturbing their slumber. “I know,” he said, ” but someone from the city hall just rang our bell and said that we have to leave the building.”

We were aware of the flood warnings, but somehow didn’t really believe it could harm us. Unprepared for this moment, we quickly began to search for a place to stay and gather the most important items we would need for a few days. It was uncertain how long the streets in our neighborhood would be closed and when it would be possible to return.

Many thoughts and concerns began to race through my mind. They mostly focused on the welfare of our two little toddlers and in particular, what they would be eating over the next few days. Although we quickly found refuge at our dear friends’ home, I knew that living in unfamiliar territory would disrupt some of our tots routines; mainly their meal times. Did we have enough milk? Yogurt?Did I have enough broth?

The tots favorite bowl of soup.

The tots favorite bowl of soup.

Home-made broth is an important ingredient in my toddlers’ daily meal plan. They love soup. They especially love a bowl of soup filled with pasta, spinach and tofu. This is a meal that neither of my girls ever refuse. Luckily, when this slight emergency appeared at our front door, I had batches of this broth packed and ready to go. As a staple in our household, I make this simple stock on a weekly basis and store containers of it in my fridge and freezer. Lunch and dinner would not be a problem.

Simple ingredients for a simple stock.

Simple ingredients for a simple stock.

As for the flood, we were able to return to our home two days after we evacuated. In our neighborhood, our part of the river had reached an alarming level, but not enough to pour out into the streets and cause damage to the surrounding buildings. We were very fortunate, as other parts of the city had experienced much worse. The Vltava river reached has since reached its peak and all of Prague has slowly started to get its rhythm back. I am sure I am not alone in hoping that our future forecasts will predict nothing but sunny days ahead.

Simple, yet tasty stock!

Simple, yet tasty stock!

Chicken Stock (adapted from Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen)

4 1/2 to 5 pounds (about 2 kilos) of Chicken parts or bones with some meat on them

4 quarts water

1 large onion

3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

2 1/2 teaspoons of salt (you can exclude this if making stock for young children)

Rinse and clean the chicken parts.

Get rid of all the loose pieces of fat.

In a large stockpot, place the bones and add the water.

Let it come to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop off the “scum” that sits on the top.

Then add the onion, ginger and salt.

Let it cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

When done, remove from the heat and let it cool down.

When ready, place a sieve over a large saucepan.

Pour or scoop the broth over the sieve.

Discard the bones, etc.

When the stock settles, you can discard the layer of fat that rises to the top.

This can be refrigerated for up to a week or in the freezer for 3 months.

Soup with Pasta, Spinach and Tofu

2 cups of Chicken Stock

1 cup of fresh spinach, chopped (frozen spinach can be used too)

1/2 block of fresh tofu

2 handfuls of whole wheat tagliatelle or spaghetti noodles

Bring the stock to a boil.

Then bring it down to medium heat.

Add the tofu and spinach.

Then the pasta and simmer until all the ingredients are cooked through.

Season to taste.

Gluten-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust by Allison

I’ve made different kinds of gluten-free pizza crusts over the past two years and this is by far the best vegetable pizza base I’ve created. Even my friend and fellow blogger Nikki loved it and she can eat gluten (and has great judgment) so that says a lot! The texture turned out great and the flavor combinations were incredibly tasty. With a cauliflower crust, I make my tomato sauce strong and flavorful so it balances out the flavor of the cauliflower.  See my notes below on how I make my tomato sauce for this recipe. Now I have to say that making this recipe can be time consuming when you’re doing it for the first time but as you gain some practice it gets easier and faster the more times you make it as with any recipe but especially this one! There’s nothing like pizza and good company!

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I don’t know what I did before I had a food processor, well yes I do, I did everything by hand and it took a lot longer to make everything that is for sure!

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This is the cauliflower mixture above after I have added the eggs and spices. It should be wet in consistency and it should stick together and not be dry.

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The picture above is the pizza crust after baking for about 17 minutes! Looks delish and it is!

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Gluten-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients

1 medium head + 1 small head of cauliflower, riced and cooked*

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

fresh mozzarella cheese, 125 grams cut into small pieces

For the pizza:

your own pizza sauce-just the way you like it! #

fresh mozzarella cheese (125 grams/4.5 ounces)

grated parmesan

roasted red peppers (or any toppings of your choice)

crushed chili flakes for a little kick!

*rice cauliflower means to either grate it by hand or in a food processor into small pieces. After the cauliflower is riced, place in microwave and cook for 8 minutes, stir often and let cool. Using your hands or a fine sieve strainer, press the water out of the cauliflower. If you skip this step, your crust will be mushy and not have the right consistency. Then you add the eggs, cheese and spices, press onto a cookie sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 15-20 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until light brown. Take it out and spread on your homemade tomato sauce and toppings of your choice, sprinkle parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese over the toppings and bake for 7-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is melted.

# In my tomato sauce I combine two cans of tomato paste (for those in Prague I purchase the Albert brand tomato paste as it states right on the can “does not contain gluten”, garlic cloves, onion, garlic salt, salt, oregano, basil, parsley, olive oil and chili flakes. I cook the garlic and onions in olive oil first and add the other items to the pan and let it simmer.

Slice and enjoy!

Berry, Berry Buttermilk Cake by Nikki

That takes the cake...

That takes the cake…

If you currently live in Prague, (or other Central European cities) you will understand me when I say, “It sure ain’t summer!” The longest of winters seems to have bypassed Spring and Summer entirely and it has gone straight to late Autumn. It really feels like it is November already! In fact, my plans to visit the Dejvicka farmer’s market were thwarted by the torrential downpours.

So today, I made this cake with BIO butter and flour, and of course, fresh buttermilk from my local dairy farmer. The combination of sour milk with the sweet berries and a bit of lemon zest gives this cake is the perfect blend of tart and sweet.

flour coated berries

flour coated berries

This cake is supposed to be served during the summer, with fresh berries and whip cream. But today, with the rain pounding on the roof and the flood warnings beginning to pour in from the Czech authorities, this cake is bringing a little bit of summer to my home. Dream a little dream… with cake!

Summer Berry Buttermilk Cake in a Cathedral Bundt pan

Pretty cathedral bundt pan

Berry, Berry Buttermilk Cake

adapted from smitten kitchen

ingredients:

Cake
2 1/2 cups (355 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (340 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
3 cups (350 to 450 grams) mixed berries

Glaze
2 cups (240 grams) powdered or confections’ sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, very, very soft

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, either with butter or a nonstick spray. (I use spray!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy. I use my food processor with the mixing paddle for approx 3 minutes.

Then, with the mixer on a low speed, add your eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.

Beat in vanilla.

Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined. Continue in 1/3 increments until flour is well combined, but do not over mix!

In the bowl where you’d mixed your dry ingredients, toss the berries with 2 tablespoons of flour.

With a silicon spatula, gently fold the berries (I used 2 cups blueberries and 1 cup raspberries) into the cake batter. The batter will be very thick but be as gentle as possible.

Place batter into greased pan and bake for 55-60 minutes.

The cake is done as soon as a tester comes out clean of batter.

Set cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a serving platter to cool the rest of the way.

Cool completely. Once cool, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth and very, very thick.  Spread carefully over top of cake, letting it trickle down the sides when and where it wishes.

Serve at once or keep it covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

Enjoy!