1 medium onion 250 g ground beef 1 tsp ground saffron dissolved into 1/4 cup hot water 1 tsp butter 2 tsp oil 2 tsp tomato sauce 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp pepper salt
Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Grate the onion using a blender or grate and add to the bowl with salt pepper and turmeric. Add half of the saffron to the bowl and mix them well with your hand until it starts to look like a paste and stick to your fingers. Now start to make cherry sized meatballs and place them in a non-stick pan. Add vegetable oil and the butter to the pan and saute the meatballs over medium-low heat until lightly brown. Then add the rest of the saffron, lower the heat to minimum, cover the lid and let it cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and gently stir for 4-5 minutes. Set aside
Today, I learnt that the Norwegians have another recipe with us in common. Deep-fried Fattigmann cookies are well-known in my family but we call them Cameroonians (Kameruner) or East Prussian Räderkuchen. I have no clue why we call them Cameroonians but of course I know that Cameroon was a German colony for a short period of time (1884-1911). To confuse you even more, Faworki (Poland) seem to be be something similar.
However, Fattigmanns, Faworki, Räderkuchen or Cameroonians are a typical, simple but delicious winter bakery.
Fattigmann (Poor Man Cookies)
(Makes around 30 fattigmann)
6 egg yolks
6 tablespoons (72 g) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy (I used a good quality whiskey as that’s what I had on hand and it worked great)
2 ½ cups (300 g) flour, approximately
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
16 ounces (500 g) lard or vegetable oil
Cinnamon and powdered sugar for sprinkling
*You will need to prepare the dough a day in advance, so it can rest in the refrigerator overnight. At a minimum, make the dough at least a couple of hours ahead of time.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy and add in the cognac.
Whip the heavy cream until firm and fold it into the egg mixture.
Add the flour and cardamom and blend well. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to cook, heat the lard or vegetable oil in a large saucepan.
Roll out the dough very thinly on a lightly-floured surface. Using a pastry wheel (or a dull knife), cut the dough into diamond shapes and place a small slit in the middle of each diamond. Lifting one up at a time, pull one end of the diamond through the slit to make a knot-shape.
Check to see if the lard or vegetable oil is hot enough (it will begin to bubble when a drop of dough is placed inside). Place the fattigmann, a few at a time, in the hot lard/oil and cook until golden brown, turning once. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle the fattigmann with a mixture of powered sugar and cinnamon (3:1 ratio, or to your liking).
Store in airtight containers or place in the freezer.
Tipp: I know people who prefer the puff hand-warm. They put the Fattigmann into the microwave to warm it up.
Yesterday, revisiting “The Red Box” after a break, I surprisingly noticed that The Red Box has hit respectively has already exceeded the 200 followers mark!
TIME TO THANK ALL OF YOU !!!
…not only for your interest in my sometimes a bit weird mix of posts but also for sharing your expertise, thoughts, opinions, emotions, poems, recipes (= culinary poems), teasers for traveling, arts and much more treasures with me and others. You are awesome and an enrichment.
The about 6-months old, tiny blog “The Red Box” was born spontaneously. I put my cartoons, a couple of pencil drawings and own Haikus online in order to gain some social media insight, frankly speaking. Soon, I noticed that I apparently enjoy it to research, illustrate and write the posts very much. In times of struggling with my health, the blogging is also a nice distraction and the topics are a reminder of the diversity, beauty & uniqueness of life.
In the meantime, I`ve published a bouquet of 716 posts without really noticing it. To be honest, I am in particular surprised about the huge global coverage of “The Red Box”. I like the idea very much that all of us sharing so many interests and issues beyond geographical, culture-, gender-, age-related borders. Well, we are all human beings with the same basic needs, I guess.
Admittedly, I am often curious who is visiting my blog “The Red Box”…who are the readers on the remote island Vanuatu or in Nepal for instance? Are there any readers in my German neighborhood, I could meet in person? What do we have in common or not?
However, whereever and whoever you are…I wish all of you simply the best.
At this occasion, I finally have to thank all the amazing international artists who generously allowed me to publish photos of their art work accompanied by their CVs and artists statements – and who agreed on my personal thoughts & comments in regard of their fascinating work. Merci!
Of course, all visitors are welcome to provide some feedback or comments any time.
1 kg (2.2 lb) beef (slow cooking beef, i.e. chuck roast or brisket)
18 oz good ale (a typical bottle of beer is 12oz, so you will use around 1 1/2 bottles)
Salt & pepper
2 cup (240g) fine rye flour
2 cup (280g) flour (if using all purpose, then you will need to sift it first)
10 Tb water
hard goat cheese (optional)
Chop the parsnip, onion and carrot finely.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the chopped vegetables.
Sauté the vegetables until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the pot and set aside.
Turn up the heat and add 1 Tb of butter and 1 Tb of oil to the pot.
Pat the meat dry and cut the meat into four equal pieces.
Place the beef in the pot and sear all sides until browned.
Add the vegetables back into the pot and gently pour the ale over everything.
Add 1 Tb of salt and give it a nice stir.
Turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and let it simmer for around 3-4 hours (checking once every hour or so to turn the meat).
In the meantime, prepare your noodles.
In a bowl, blend the fine rye flour and white flour (tipo 00 is a good choice) together.
Pour out onto a clean surface. Make a well in the middle of the flour with your fingers and crack both eggs inside. Add 5 Tb of the water. With a fork, begin to whisk the eggs gradually adding a little flour from the sides of the well from time to time until it makes sense to stop using the fork and dive in with your hands.
Add the remaining water as you go along if the dough is too dry (you might find you need more or less liquid depending on the size of your eggs, the humidity, etc.). Begin kneading the dough by hand until it is firm, but smooth and elastic. It should take you about 10 minutes.
Let the dough rest, covered with a cloth, for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces.
Flatten the first dough, just thin enough to fit through the first setting on a pasta machine. You will want to make your way through each setting a couple of times (folding the dough in half per setting) until you make your way to the third to last setting (#3 if using a 1-7 setting machine). You’ll notice the dough getting quite a bit longer as you proceed. And you will probably only need to put the pasta through one or two times on the final settings. Keep some flour on hand to lightly sprinkle across the dough if it begins to get a little sticky as you pass it through the machine. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Cut each rolled-out dough in half.
Sprinkle a little flour over each one.
Take one section of dough at a time and begin to roll it from the shorter side over. You should end up with a 5/6 inch wide scroll.
Take a sharp knife and cut 2/3 inch strands.
Unravel each strand and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover.
Back to the meat
After 3-4 hours, check the tenderness of the meat. It’s ready when it easily pulls away with a fork.
Take out all the meat pieces and shred them coarsely with two forks.
Return the meat back to the pot and bring everything to a boil, uncovered, to allow most (but not all) of the liquid to evaporate. You will want enough liquid to make a nice sauce – not too thick, but not too thin.
Back to the Pasta
Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. Add a tablespoon of salt and toss in your homemade pasta.
Cook until al dente, about 1 minute.
Drain the pasta.
Toss it in the pot with the beer-braised beef and mix well. Serve immediately.
Note: This dish goes well with grated hard goat’s cheese.
Notes: Chickpea noodles have a thickening quality in this stew whereas other bean pastas offer a thinner broth. This stew is excellent with green lentil pasta as well!
Prep Time: 25 min
INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon olive oil, coconut oil or ghee 1/2 red onion, chopped roughly 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional) 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 teaspoon whole cumin 1 teaspoon black pepper 17 ounces jar/can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes 5 cups water 1 cup white wine 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 red pepper, chopped roughly (~ 1 cup) 6 large collard leaves, stems removed and chopped roughly (~3 cups packed) 1 medium zucchini, sliced thinly (Chinese eggplant also works well) 9 ounces package chickpea rotini OR green lentil penne 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt + more to taste 6 tablespoons full-fat yogurt (plant based or otherwise)
INSTRUCTIONS 1. Set a large soup pot on medium high heat. Add oil and red onion and sautee the red onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. 2. Then add the garlic and spices (fennel, allspice, turmeric, cumin, pepper) and sautee 2 mins further, stirring frequently. 3. Add the rest of the ingredients: fire roasted tomatoes, water, wine, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red pepper, collards, zucchini, salt and pasta. Stir everything together so that the pasta is mostly covered with liquid. 4. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the pasta is soft and the vegetables have cooked down. Stir the yogurt into the pot just before serving. 5. Serve hot and enjoy!
1/3 cup all-purpose flour use gluten free flour as needed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1-1/2 – 2 pounds beef chuck roast or beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch chunks
cooking oil divided
1 medium onion diced into large chunks
4 cloves garlic minced
1-2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons tomato paste
3 medium Russet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks (can also use 10 baby potatoes and leave skin on)
1 medium sweet potato peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks (leave out if desired)
2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1/2 star anise optional but adds SO much flavor – found in the International section or spice aisle
1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups beef broth homemade or low sodium
water only as needed to cover the vegetables
2 teaspoons cornstarch + 3 teaspoons water to create a slurry – to thicken the stew if needed can also use arrowroot starch if preferred
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
Cooking Time: 1 hour (plus prep time: 35 min)
In a large zip-top bag, combine flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, and seasoning. Add meat and shake until well coated.
In a large dutch oven or pot on medium-high heat, add cooking oil and sear the meat on all sides for about 2-3 minutes. You may have to work in batches so you don’t crowd the meat. Remove and set aside on a plate.
Add another tablespoon of oil, then add onions & garlic to the pan. Cook and saute for about 1 minute, until onions start to soften. Add wine or balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the beef back to the pan then toss in the potatoes, carrots, celery (star anise if using), Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf and stir in the beef broth. If there is not enough liquid to cover the vegetables, add water – only as much as needed.
Bring to a boil then turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for 55 minutes – 2 hours (depending on your stove), stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and meat is tender to your liking.
For a thicker stew, in a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch with water. Turn heat back to high and stir cornstarch mixture into stew. Allow stew to boil and thicken up while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, adjust seasonings and serve hot with fresh parsley.
Thai tom kha gai (ต้มข่าไก่) is a popular Thai soup, that’s eaten more like a curry. The base of the dish is coconut milk, so it’s creamy and rich. It’s not known as being a spicy Thai dish, but it’s still full of delicious and well balanced flavor. Of course, you are free to spice the soup up by adding more chilies.
INGREDIENTS (4 persons) 500 grams ( 2-3 chicken breasts) 6 cups coconut milk (1 can or box of coconut milk, I use coconut milk light; you can add water ondemand if you prefer the soup less thick) 1 thumb chunk of galangal 3 stalks of lemongrass 1 big white onion (or 2 small white onions) 2 tomatoes 6 kaffir lime leaves 200 grams of oyster mushrooms (about 2 big handfuls) or champignons 5 – 10 Thai chilies ½ teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons of lime juice small bunch of cilantro
First take a thumb sized chunk of galangal, cut off the stems, and cut the root part into thin slices. It can be a little tough, so you might have to hit the top of your knife with your palm.
Next grab your lemongrass, slice off the bottoms, pull off the outer skin layer, and then slice it diagonally into about 1 inch strips. This is just going to help release its amazing fragrance.
Turn on your stove to medium heat, and add about 3 cups (or ½) of the coconut milk to a medium sized sauce-pan. Put the pot on the heat and immediately toss in the sliced galangal and lemongrass.
As your coconut milk begins to heat, move back over to your cutting board and slice up the chicken. I used 2-3 chicken breasts for this recipe. Slice the chicken into medium sized chunks – they can be kind of big in size. Just before the coconut milk comes to a boil, add the chicken, and then add the other remaining 3 cups of coconut milk. Now, turn down the heat to a medium low, as you don’t want the coconut milk to heat too fast or burn.
Prepare your Thai chilies by peeling off the stems and then just slice them diagonally. Go ahead and add them directly to the soup.
Give the soup a quick stir, and then add about 200 grams of oyster mushrooms (it was about 2 handfuls for me). Your coconut milk should not boil, but just maintain a nice low heat. Because coconut milk is so delicate, when you stir, be sure to move your spoon in 1 direction only, otherwise you run the risk of the coconut milk getting too shaken and it will start to curdle. Be gentle with the coconut milk.
Move back over to your cutting board and peel and slice 2 small white onions into thick wedges (if your onion is really big, just use 1). Immediately toss the onions into the soup.
Next, cut your tomatoes in the same way as your onions, into thick wedges. Wait until your tom kha gai (ต้มข่าไก่) is just about to boil, and then add the tomatoes. Take the kaffir lime leaves, break them with your hand, and toss them directly into the soup. Breaking the kaffir lime leaves is going to release their flavor.
Now add about ½ teaspoon of salt to begin with (taste to add more)
Mix your tom kha gai slowly and gently, for about 5 – 10 minutes, making sure it doesn’t come to a full boil – and if it does – turn down the heat to even lower. You want the chicken, onions, tomatoes, and other ingredients to be fully cooked, but you don’t want to overcook the coconut milk.
After about 5 – 10 minutes of cooking, go ahead and turn off the heat completely.
Go back to your cutting board, slice up a handful of fresh cilantro, and add it to the soup. Give it a quick stir, and the cilantro will cook enough from the already hot soup.
The final step is to juice a couple of limes into a separate bowl and then add about 4 tablespoons of lime juice to the tom kha gai (ต้มข่าไก่). Again, just give it a quick and gentle stir, and it’s ready to be served.
Make sure you do some taste-testing to make sure it’s salty and sour enough. You may need to add a little extra salt or lime juice to get the flavor you want.
NOTES: When you tom kha gai is ready, dish it into a bowl, and serve it with a separate plate of hot fresh steamed rice. Please, do not cook the rice in the soup!
MY DARK SECRET….
No time for cooking? Bottleneck of fresh Asian ingredients? This is THE SOLUTION!
I am hungry! I love hot & spicy food. I love chicken & seafood in particular. I am not allowed to enjoy solid food currently – for health reasons. I fear, I will post recipes more frequently – to complement my list of delicious soul food, I will enjoy as soon as the cruel sanctions are lifted.
Mmmh, Gumbo-laya Stew…!
Cajun Cuisine: “Gumbo-laya” Stew with Spicy Sausage, Chicken, Shrimp and Okra over Fragrant Garlic Rice
Ingredients (about 6 persons): • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 pound spicy andouille (or smoked) sausage, sliced • 8 chicken tenderloins (or 2 skinless/boneless chicken breasts), cut into bite-size pieces • Salt • Pepper • 3 celery stalks, finely diced • 1 large onion, finely diced • 1 large bell pepper, finely diced • 2 bay leaves • ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped • 1 tablespoon, heaping, tomato paste • ½ pound okra, sliced into ¼ – ½” thick slices • 1 (28 oz) can organic diced tomatoes with juice • 2 cups chicken stock, hot • ½ pound peeled and cleaned, medium size shrimp (raw) • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped • Fragrant Garlic Rice (recipe below)
1 – Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil; 2 – Once the oil is hot, add the sliced sausage in, and allow it to caramelize and brown for a few minutes; once well browned, remove the sausage from the pot, and set it aside for a moment;RA 3 – Next, add the chicken pieces into the pot along with a sprinkle or two of salt and pepper, and allow them to brown in the oil/sausage drippings for about 2-3 minutes; remove the chicken pieces from the pot, and set aside for a moment; 4 – Add in the diced celery, onion and bell pepper, and caramelize it for about 2-3 minutes in the oil, then add in the bay leaves, the Creole seasoning, the cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and stir to combine; 5 – Add in the garlic and stir, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste, and cook for about 1 minute to cook out the “raw” tomato flavor; 6 – Next, add in the sliced okra, the diced tomatoes with juice, the hot chicken stock, and the browned sausage and chicken, and stir to combine, and allow the stew to simmer gently on low/medium-low, uncovered, for 20 minutes; 7 – Now, add in the shrimp (you can season it with a sprinkle of salt/pepper if you wish), and simmer for only 2 minutes more as to not overcook the shrimp; 8 – Finish by stirring in the chopped parsley and cilantro, and serve over the Fragrant Garlic Rice, with some additional spice/heat options like hot sauce, red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, if desired.
FRAGANT GARLIC RICE
Ingredients: • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 2 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press • 2 cups jasmine rice • 1 teaspoon sea salt • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper • 3 cups water
Place a medium pot over medium-high heat, and add in the olive oil; once hot, add in the pressed garlic, and stir to combine; once the garlic becomes fragrant, add in the rice, the salt and the pepper and stir, and allow the rice to “toast” in the garlic oil for about 2 minutes;
Next, add in the water, stir, and simmer the rice, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until tender; turn off the heat, and after 5 minutes, fluff with fork and serve.