A Culinary Journey Through the World and Time – and a Peach & Goats Cheese Salad

1409.1_coverAfter just over two weeks of the laziest and most relaxing Mediterranean summer holiday, with a total abstinence from every form of electronic communication and digital devices, I do feel a bit out of practice as I sit down at the little table on our balcony to share some memories (and a recipe) of my summer vacation with you, an old (ancient!) laptop before me (when have I last used this thing?!), a glass of chilled blanc de noir next to it, and the last hours of sunlight (and the last 40% of battery) ticking away. Continue reading

Lemon & Lemon Thyme Tear-Away Bread

Lemon & Lemon Thyme Tear-Away Bread @ bragnbutter.wordpress.comIt’s that time of the month when Clara from tastesherif.com calls for recipes for her #ichbacksmir bake-along, and it’s that time of the year where a chilled glass of crisp white wine and a loaf of good bread on a terrace, a balcony or somewhere near the river in front on my house are all I need after a day at work or – even better – on a weekend night. This month, Clara called for anything with citrus, from orange cakes to lemon pies and lime slices. If you read brag&butter regularly, you may have guessed that I l-o-v-e a dish that celebrates citrus (such as my blood orange churros or my zesty cedro lemon caesar which is built entirely around one of my favorite winter citrus). And although I do love lemony sweets, I wasn’t in the mood for something sweet at all for Clara’s challenge – I wanted something savory. Something to celebrate the first hints of summer with.

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Fava Bean, Green Asparagus and Watercress Salad with Garlick-&-Nigella Dressing

Fava Bean, Green Asparagus and Watercress Salad with Garlick-&-Nigella Dressing @ bragnbutter.wordpress.comThink of this as my version of a green smoothie. The best thing about it? It’s not an actual green smoothie. This salad will most probably not make you live considerably longer, cure any diseases or make you lose 6 pounds in two hours, I’m sorry. But, instead of being a more or less desirable pulpy concoction of fruit and leafy greens, it is an appealing and delicious assembly that celebrates the textures of spring vegetables and comes with a ton of flavor: creamy fava beans and tender green asparagus, tumbled with crunchy watercress and cool mint are tossed in a simple dressing of sharp young garlic and pungent nigella seed. It’s a joy to eat and look at, and to me, joy is what eating and food should be all about.

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Saffron & Sherry Sabayon. Going Skinny Dipping with Artichokes

1403.1_cover2Now that carnival season is over, the trouble is just about to begin: Lent is upon us. Well – not upon me. I do not believe in fasting. I live by the motto ‘either you live, or you are being consistent‘ (‘Entweder man lebt, oder man ist konsequent’) by the German writer Erich Kästner. In my opinion, life is way too complex to live by strict rules: balance is everything, and consequently, you have to live on your tippy-toes. This, of course, requires energy, which demands one or the other indulgence now and then (Also, to be honest, I’m really bad at self discipline). To keep balance, I trust my cravings. And this post-carnival week, I was craving artichokes. Conveniently, they are one of the vegetables with an impressive reputation in terms of healthiness: They are packed with antioxidants, are said to help regulate your cholesterol levels and aid your detoxing functions (especially valuable after carnival). More importantly for the lust-seeking self, though: They taste great. I wanted mine all pure and simply boiled, but with a delicious sauce to go with them. Although modesty is not my strong suit, I went for a sabayon that is really virtuous (a.k.a. very low in fat) –  but still sexy.

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The Week’s Eats in Fast Forward: Triple Tuna, Salmon on Vanilla Risotto, Beef Pearls & Pasta and something for a Pav♥a-Lova

1402.2_coverThis last week has been FRANTIC, with intentional caps lock. And additional exclamation mark. After a never ending workday on Monday, work on my desk kept piling higher by the minute I was at the office on Tuesday. The rest of the week until now: no different. So why, you might wonder, are there four images above, indicating four recipes to follow, and not just one as usual? Have I gone mad? Not entirely.

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Lonesome Lentils & Solitary Pleasures

1401.3_coverSome people say everything tastes better with bacon. For others it’s chocolate. For me, everything tastes better with – well, okay, butter of course, but I’m trying to make a different point here – with company. Eating is a profoundly social activity and I am a very social eater. I hate eating alone, even if it is the tiniest snack (my snacks are never tiny, but anyway). Apart from the actual eating (which I love), I so much enjoy the talking, laughing, caring for each other, and spending time together, that sharing a meal is as well. However, every now and then, a solitary supper all by myself, cuddled up in bed with a bowl of spoonable goodness can be a true solitary pleasure.  Continue reading

Zesty Cedro Lemon Caesar

1312.3_coverAlthough winter isn’t really that grey and gloomy in Germany this year, avoiding the winter blues is still one of my main concerns in life from November until – June. Being one of those people who are especially prone to weather-induced moodiness, I consider it a service to the community to find effective ways of preventing it. One of the most potent solutions is soaking up as much light as I can get: in addition to spending my lunch break out in the open and planning little roam-abouts in blindingly lit shopping malls on my way back home, I add some sunlight to the menu plan. Citrus are just the way to bring some brightness to a grey day and almost every dull dish. Luckily, winter is when most of them are in season, and even if not here, courtesy of globalization they are at my fingertips on my local market. Continue reading

Roasted Parsnip Salad w/ Brown Butter Dressing & Dill

1312.2coverI have the feeling there is some kind of lookist prejudice towards winter vegetables. Winter (at least in Germany) seems to be the time when farmer’s markets turn into vanity fairs: all the sun-soaked desirable produce beauties have vanished and we seem to be left with their less desirable frumpy cousins that will make our kitchens smell and our digestion troubled (cabbage) or our hips wider (sugary root vegetables). But there are hidden treasures – literally: beneath the surface (where it so often lies) there is unexpected beauty. Continue reading

Neon Crunch & Punch Pickle

Neon Crunch & Punch PickleWith Scandinavian cuisine growing in vogue during the last few years, the humble practice of pickling has become all the rage. At first, I didn’t even care. Now I am a heavy user. Continue reading