Green Bean Salad with Slow-Baked Tomato and Goat’s Cream Cheese

1409.2_4_2I cannot write too much about this dish before actually giving you the recipe, since you have to make this rather quickly. Firstly, because it is utterly delicious, and secondly, because this dish depends on all its components being at the height of their existence: in absolute high season. And let me tell you: winter is coming (I was woken up by crows shouting this morning – no kidding). At least these last days here in southern Germany: I have started to put on a jacket again and I am wearing thick woolen socks as I’m writing this. So: Get to your nearest farmer’s market, harvest everything you need, and treat yourself to this plate of summer. Continue reading

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

Provisions from the Picture Pantry: Time-Crunchy Zucchini & Feta Yufka

1408.1_coverI am living the absolute Einstein experience these days. I don’t know about you, but each time my annual summer holiday draws near, the relativity of time becomes oh so apparent to me: at the office, time seems to go by both ultra-slowly (what? five more days?!) and ultra fast simultaneously (what? so much left to do?!). In-between freak outs and trying to retain composure, there wasn’t much time for any cooking or fancy eating these last weeks (except for the wonderful cook-out at Summer of Supper two weeks ago), let alone coming up with a blog-post from scratch. So before I leave you for my well-deserved and much needed summer vacation, I took to the “Picture Pantry” of food photos I have taken ages ago, way before I started writing brag&butter, and went foraging for something I could maybe add to some quick writing and turn into a last post before I take off for my vacation. Hey! Nothing bad about that: haven’t we all turned pantry staples and preserves into delectable dinners? There you are. Scrolling through some really bad and some rather good photos of some well-remembered and some long forgotten suppers with friends, I discovered a gem – both because the photos looked decent and it’s a perfect recipe for these summer days: my Zucchini & Feta Yufka is simple, rapid and oh so picknickable. Continue reading

“Summer Of Supper” in Cologne and Stracciatella Cheese with Barbecued Apricots & Tarragon

coverLast Friday, I took the cooking out of my home kitchen and joined my friends from the Frankfurt/Cologne based supper club Ceci n’est pas un restaurant for the wonderful Summer Of Supper event in Cologne. Six supper clubs (sort-of underground nonprofit pop-up restaurants run by ambitious amateur cooks) were invited to each host a dinner night for 30 people. We cooked a summer-celebration 5 course supper menu for a mixed and merry food loving crowd, and boy (or girl or other) – did we have a great time! To start the evening off, I made a dish based on my homemade Stracciatella cheese, which you should absolutely try and which I will tell you how to make below (where I will also tell you about a ‘hidden bonus track’ in the recipe…). Continue reading

Raw Chilled Pea & Coconut Soup with Tarragon

Raw Chilled Pea & Coconut Soup with Tarragon @ bragnbutter.wordpress.com

Whenever someone asks me what my ‘most favorite dish in the world’ is, I’m really just baffled by this question. How could anyone have just one favorite dish?! How can you compare, say, sticky Korean ribs, a moist and glistening risotto milanese and braised lentils? Exactly. I just love eating. In general. Which means I basically love every food, cuisine, ingredient, style – as long as it’s well produced and prepared, tasty, and fits my cravings. And cravings (I am not telling you anything new here, I know) can take you to weird places. Such as the place where I am preparing a cold soup that is downright able to save the world (according to other people’s standards or wild imagination): it’s simple, quick, raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and – wait for it – really delicious at the same time. You wanna come to my weird place? Follow me!

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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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Shocking Pink Rhubarb with Mint Meringue & Sour Cream

Shocking Pink Rhubarb with Mint Meringue & Sour Cream @ bragnbutter.wordpress.comApparently, having a bowlful of my unseasonal brown-food cooking last week was already half of what it took to get me over my lingering winter blues. Today, I am happy to announce: I am R to the EADY for spring! I’m open. I want it. All I needed was a bit of starting aid. And boy – did I get some yesterday morning. When I wandered around the market, my brain got SMACKED by the gorgeously shocking pink color of the first, young, and oh so beau-shi-ful rhubarb stalks. Springtime is ON. Continue reading

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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Torta di Ricotta with Rosemary, Honey & Pine Nuts (#50ShadesOfCake pt. 03)

1402.4_coverWhen it comes to cheesecake, everything in me balks at simply posting a recipe and calling it a day. I just can’t. Cheesecake is serious business. We need to talk about it. But before I lose myself in an exercise in cheesecake catechism below, let me just quickly tell you that today’s post is a luscious ricotta cake with toasted pine nuts, rosemary and honey. Actually, you might rather call this a ricotta bake than a ricotta cake, since it doesn’t have a crust and it contains no flour whatsoever: Just the pure, immaculate milkyness of the ricotta, a few eggs, and the aforementioned aromatic additions. The pine nuts provide some tender bite and a savory hint, which together with the woody freshness of the rosemary and the aromatic sweetness of honey takes you straight to a forest in summer. I chose Italian flavorings as a nod to Sicily, where ricotta cakes are very popular. And I chose the Italian naming because it allowed me to not call this cake a cheesecake. Why this should be an issue? Well… Continue reading