Swiss Chard… a farmer’s market treasure! By Nikki

Oberusel, Germany Farmer's Market

Oberursel, Germany Farmer’s Market

This past week, our school has been on holiday for October break. Allison and myself traveled to Frankfurt, Germany to visit our good friend Anne. I have traveled many places with Anne and together we have found local food markets to purchase goodies for our various holiday adventures. Last weekend, while we wandered in the local farmer’s market in the quaint town of Oberursel, I found Swiss chard at one of the large vegetable tents.

the colorful leafy, greens

the colorful leafy, greens

Chard is one of my favorite things to eat from my mother’s garden! Swiss chard is the colorful, leafy green. It can sometimes taste bitter, similar to kale; however, with butter and garlic, it sautes beautifully- and tastes delicious. Anne’s menu plan for the evening was to roast a cut of beef and serve with a red wine mushroom sauce that Anne’s mother used to make. At the market, we were happy to find green beans, fingerling potatoes, and this chard to compliment the meal.

rainbow stems

rainbow stems

My mother would cut the stems of this chard 3/4 of the way and throw the whole leaf with stem connected, into a pan of shallow water to steam. I prefer to cut the stems off at the base of the leaves, chop the stems into small pieces and saute them separately. Add the chopped stems to a pan of sizzling butter and garlic and saute for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently.

yummy

saute in butter and garlic

I cut the big, chard leaves into strips and add them into the same pan as the cut stems.

cut and ready to steam

cut and ready to steam

Add about 1/3 cup water, put a lid on top and let it steam for 5-6 minutes. When it is ready, you should strain the cooked chard to let the water run off.

ready to steam

ready to steam

I have never been one to enjoy cooked spinach, so when I make chard, I don’t let it get to that point where it is wilted. I prefer my greens to remain leafy with a slight crisp, and the beauty of chard is that you can cook it to your preference. We served ours with skirt steak stuffed with a sauteed zucchini and mushrooms, topped with a red wine, mushroom sauce. We also ate sides of steamed green beans and roasted, fingerling potatoes. Our German farmer’s market adventure turned into a beautiful plate of deliciousness! Thank you Anne for a wonderful meal…

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Roasted Cabbage with Thai Dressing by Allison

I’ve been craving Thai food for some reason……… maybe I should have paid more attention in the Thai cooking classes I took in Chang Mai, Thailand seven years ago! It was difficult to go back home and experiment with the new recipes as home at that time was Shanghai, China. At that time there wasn’t fresh lemongrass and galangal and kaffir lime leaves to be found on the shelves of any shop, although I’m sure there is now. I had dinner at Noi in Mala Strana here in Prague on Saturday night and the management was aware of gluten-free food preparation! Three cheers for Noi! Once you get a taste for the unique combination of: sweet, sour, salty, and last but not least spicy guess what? You crave it again. But luckily you don’t need traditional Thai ingredients to achieve a thai flavor for this side dish. Try it!IMG_0443

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So I roasted this cabbage in my oven (I so wish I had a deck and a BBQ but I don’t) and the charred bits of cabbage are very actually very tasty! IMG_0461

I whipped up the sauce in a few minutes while the cabbage was roasting. Super easy!
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Gluten-Free Cabbage Salad with Thai Dressing

slightly adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients

Juice of 3 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (check to make sure this ingredient is gluten-free)
2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
10-15 drops of liquid Stevia (the plant-based sweetener)
1 head green cabbage
canola oil

If you have a charcoal or gas grill, fire it up! Cut the cabbage into 8 evenly sliced wedges while keeping the stalk in place. Brush the cabbage with a little bit of canola oil. Place on the grill for 5-7 minutes or until edges are blackened, flip, and repeat until desired tenderness is achieved.

If you only have an oven (like me) then turn on the broiler and crank the heat to pre-heat the oven. Cut the cabbage into 8 evenly sliced wedges while keeping the stalk in place. Brush the cabbage with a little bit of canola oil and place on a large roasting pan. Roast for 8-9 minutes on each side until the desired tenderness is achieved.

While the cabbage is grilling or roasting, place first 8 ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend ingredients. Drizzle dressing over the top of the cabbage wedges and serve immediately! Enjoy!

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash Salad by Allison

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash Salad by Allison

I’m a sucker for squash. Really truly! The first year I arrived in Prague, there didn’t seem to be any butternut squash around the city. Maybe it is because I wasn’t “in the know” and didn’t know where it was available. The next year, it miracously arrived at Tesco in random spurts. I’d hear a co-worker talking about making butternut squash soup for dinner and I’d ask where they picked it up and by the time I got there 24 hours later, there was no trace of those tasty butternut squash left in the produce aisles. But now, thanks to the farmers and farmers markets, we seems to have an abudance of this lovely orange squash to consume! Lucky us!

I like making this warm salad on a crisp autumn day when the oven warms the kitchen and the aromas from the oven fill the rooms in my apartment. I picked up a large butternut squash from the Holesovice market along with some red peppers, garlic and goat chesse for this dish.

Warm Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

1/2 large butternut squash peeled, cored and cubed into 1 1/2 ” pieces

3 red peppers, deseeded and deveined, cut into chunks

1 can of rinsed chickpeas (15 oz)

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

olive oil for drizzling

salt and pepper

fresh goat cheese for the top

flat leaf parsley, 3 Tbsp. chopped finely

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Combine butternut squash cubes, red pepper cubes, chickpeas and garlic in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a roasting pan and roast uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and add parsley and goat cheese. Mix and enjoy!

Love is an essential ingredient… by Nikki

Mama Hume’s Sour Cream Wax Beans

I really do think love is an essential ingredient- maybe even the most important in any dish created in your kitchen. Now, I agree there are evenings when you just need to put dinner on the table and love seems to be replaced with the feeling of hunger! But I believe regardless of the urgency to feed or the extravagance of the meal, the kitchen is a place of love… if not for the food then FOR the people who eat it and FROM the people who create it!

I have been living in Prague for nearly four years, and without a doubt the one thing I miss most about Portland are family dinners. My mom and dad are both very creative in the kitchen. While one seems to enjoy preparing savory meats, complimentary sauces and an incredible cup of espresso the other has a knack for baking, canning, and pairing the BEST side dishes to compliment ANY main. My interest in creative cooking comes initially from my family kitchen where dad would fry up bacon and fling pancakes across the kitchen. You would hear, “hold up your plate” and there would come a pancake flying through the air and land on your plate- hot and ready to slather with pure maple syrup! My family kitchen is where Mom would fill the house with aromas of various cookies at Christmas time and apple pie or homemade lasagna on request. Each of us kids has a favorite meal or baked treat that is requested for birthday dinners, special occasions or just because we want to enjoy them… that is how much LOVE comes from my family’s kitchen!

Mama Hume- my heart!

In 2010, my mama visited me in Praha. It was a very special time for us as I was able to show her my new city. While she was here, we explored Italy together, where we (of course!) enjoyed MANY great meals and plenty of vino! But one of my favorite evenings was eating in after a day exploring Prague. I made soup and mom made sour cream green beans. Well, the other day, I stopped in at one of my favorite local potrivinys to pick up a couple pumpkins for roasting. While browsing, as I usually do, I saw these fresh yellow wax beans. It must have been a VERY late crop because summer has been over for some time now, but that was all the more reason for me to purchase these beauties. And as I walked home, I could only think of one thing: Mama Hume’s Sour Cream Green Beans!

I LOVE this simple but very flavorful dish. They are to be enjoyed by all, but if you are NOT a vegetarian, it is a compliment to a good steak, as well. If you are looking for a new way to eat green or yellow, string or wax beans give this a try… and feel the LOVE in YOUR kitchen- from me AND my mama!

Yellow Wax Beans from a local Praha potraviny

 

Mama Hume’s Sour Cream Wax Beans

Recipe by my mama – Janine Hume

Ingredients: 1-2 handfuls of fresh yellow or green, string or wax beans, 1/3 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon butter,

salt and pepper to taste

YUM!

Directions:

1. Put 1/2 cup water in a saute pan with lip (and lid!) and put on stove at medium heat.

2. Snap the ends off the beans, cut or snap in half and toss into the pan with water.

3. Steam beans until tender, or to desired firmness.

4. Strain beans then put butter, sour cream, salt and pepper into warm pan.

5. Add drained beans back to pan and fold together with sour cream/butter mixture

6. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy warm!

Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto by Allison

Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto

Red peppers are one of my favorite vegetables most definitely and for the price of 34 crowns per kilo, why I think I love red peppers even a little bit more than before. When the price per red pepper can be $1.39  back in the U.S., I think to myself, well I’ll just grab a few more! I ended up with several bags of red peppers on Saturday and decided to make red pepper pesto while I was at the Holesovice market.

I scooped up approximately 2 cups some walnuts from a vendor and tucked them inside my bag as I hunted around for some other items on my list.

Later in the day, I went to the “River Farmers’ Market” and grabbed a jar of these gorgeous sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil and carried it home as I walked along the river.

Where did I find fresh basil at this time of year? I’ll tell you my secret not to worry. The potraviny near the Ujezd tram stop (if you’re going in the direction from Narodni Divaldo to Ujezd it is right there on the same side of the street as you exit and it is long and narrow shop with wonderful produce.

This roasted red pepper pesto is insanely good. Get creative and use it as a veggie dip, a sandwich spread, a pizza sauce, over gluten-free pasta, on GF crackers, add a little cheese and spread over an omelette. Did I mention this freezes well? I made two batches and I just might make more soon it is that good!

Rockin’ Red Pepper Pesto

Ingredients

  • 6 – 8 red bell peppers
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 3 tablespoon chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or, more or less as desired)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut (washed & patted dry) peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes and arrange them in a single layer on a foil lined baking tray. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes or more depending on whether you like a blackened red pepper. When you pull the red peppers out of the oven,  wrap in foil and set aside. Using a food processor, pulse garlic and walnuts until finely chopped and add roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, and process. Add in the olive oil gradually and  then add crushed pepper flakes and process until all the ingredients are well combined, make it as smooth or as coarse as you want it. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Enjoy!

recipe from elsbro.com

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cake by Allison

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cake 

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere.   With October in full swing and Halloween just around the corner, one can see all the different varieties of pumpkins stacked on top of one another at the farmers’ markets. Pumpkins were for carving when I was younger, or even for coloring as I won a “pumpkin decorating” content at the co-op one year by drawing hair on my pumpkin with a marker, I’m sure that was the deciding factor in me bringing home the grand-prize!

When my Mom made her fabulous pumpkin cake, she used Libby’s canned pumpkin, and the cake turned out delicious every time. When I moved to Prague there was a shop where I could purchase the infamous Libby’s canned pumpkin, but the supply was not consistent as I’m sure people were hoarding cans of this coveted goodness to squirrel away for Thanksgiving or another yummy dish of some sort for the future. During my second year in Prague, the shop closed and was replaced by a museum, which was not conducive to impressing cake lovers in my social circle with my amazing pumpkin cake.

Liezel suggested I try roasting my own pumpkin instead, so when I ventured into uncharted pumpkin roasting territory and made my first cake with homemade pumpkin puree, the result was better, way better. So goodbye Libby’s canned pumpkin, so long, farewell and I don’t think I’ll ever need you again. I’ve got bags of frozen pumpkin puree in my freezer ready and waiting to become future and fabulous pumpkin cake. When I had to go gluten-free nearly two years ago, I thought the days of eating to-die-for pumpkin cake were over, but I was so wrong. Luckily, this happens to be one of those recipes where a direct substitution of gluten-free four and gluten-free baking powder work magically, thank goodness my life is not without pumpkin cake after all.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (Marks & Spencer gluten-free flour blend works great for this recipe)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder (can be found at Interspar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg*

* May substitute all these ingredients with 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

Cream cheese frosting (optional)

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Directions:
Roast the pumpkin
Cut your pumpkin into quarters, core and remove seeds. Place skin-side up and flesh side down on a roasting pan and add water to cover the bottom of the pan. Roast at 200 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour,  Baked until pumpkin flesh tests uniformly tender when fork is inserted. Let cool, discard the skin of the pumpkin and add the pumpkin to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Prepare the cake
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Using a wire whisk, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Pour into greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool. Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract, gradually add powdered sugar. Frost cooled cake. Cut and share with friends! Enjoy!

Curry-licious Coleslaw by Allison

Cabbage is a Czech staple in many households just as  this curry coleslaw has been a staple in our family for years. So much so in fact, we have two rows in our garden dedicated to this recipe alone! This dish is excellent paired with sweet and spicy pork, hamburgers, smoked pork knee – well you name it!

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I did the honors and chose the cabbage to be harvested, isn’t it beautiful? Almost too beautiful to pull from the earth, but not quite!

Ingredients

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 head of cabbage

5 pieces of cooked bacon sliced into chunks (optional)

paprika for garnish

Mix first five ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over chopped cabbage just before serving. Add bacon if you’d like and top with paprika for color! Enjoy!!

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