10 European Desserts to Try

One of the things I love about travel is trying all the different foods that countries are famous in each area.  I try to do a little research before traveling to make sure I know what I should try.  I found the following article helpful and can’t wait to try the following.  I do not have recipes attached, but I might have to start finding them and trying them at home.

On The Great British Bakeoff, Paul Hollywood had the contestants attempt to makePastéis de Nata, and it was not one of the more successful endeavors, so not sure if I am going to try that one.

Europe’s cultural diversity manifests itself in its cuisine, from Italian pasta to French escargot. But for those travelers with a sweet tooth, this appetizing variety extends to the continent’s many mouthwatering desserts. Forget about your diet if you’re planning a trip soon, here are ten European desserts you have to try.

Rødgrød

Rødgrød
You’ll find fruity rødgrød if you visit Denmark, but the similar rote grütze can be found just across the border in northern Germany. Served hot or cold, it’s bursting with summer berries like redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries, and blackberries. The fruit is cooked with sugar and some form of starch, like semolina or potato starch is added to make the pudding. Custard or cream often accompanies the dish to balance the acids in the fruit.

Pastéis de Nata

Pastéis de Nata
Pastéis de Nata is the traditional Portuguese custard tarts that are small enough to fit in your mouth in one go. The best place to find them is in the Pastéis de Belem bakery that’s been churning them out in their millions since 1837. The proof of the quality is in the length of the queue, which snakes around the block whatever the time of day. They sell about 50,000 of these delicious tarts every day, which surely makes them a contender for western Europe’s favorite dessert.

Gelato

gelato
Italy’s dessert menu might encompass tiramisu, pannacotta, and zabaglione (all fabulous!) but its gelato is legendary the world over. Every imaginable flavor can be found, on street corners, at pavement cafes, and in fancy restaurants. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the same as ice cream, however. If what you see is heaped high above the edges of the container, it’s full of air and not the real deal.

Clafoutis

Clafoutis
This baked French dessert originates from the Limousin region and was popularized in the 19th century. It is usually made with black cherries, though raspberries, plums or blackberries are occasionally substituted. The fruit lines a baking dish and a thick batter is poured over the top. Traditionally, the cherry stones are left in, adding an almond-like flavor to the dish.

Apfelstrudel

Apfelstrudel
Apfelstrudel is one of Austria’s greatest exports. Layers of thinly-rolled dough are filled to bursting with sweet apples, juicy raisins and a liberal measure of cinnamon. The first recipe dates from Vienna in 1696 and it’s just as popular today in the city’s many coffee houses.

Sticky toffee pudding

Sticky toffee pudding
Peruse the menu in any British gastropub and you’re almost guaranteed to find sticky toffee pudding. This dense, dark pudding is topped with lashings of toffee sauce and served with cream, ice cream or custard. It’s rich, so save plenty of room for dessert if you plan to try it.

 

Flan

Flan
A flan is not a flan when it’s from Spain. Instead of receiving a small tart or quiche, order flan in Spain and you’ll be presented with a tasty crème caramel. To make it, a caramel syrup lines a mold and warm custard are poured on top. It’s cooked in a water bath to ensure the custard doesn’t curdle and flipped over to serve once cooked and set.

Waffles

Waffles
If there’s one dessert synonymous with Belgium, then it’s surely waffles. Known as gaufre to the nation’s French speakers and waffels to Flemish speakers, the two most popular kinds hail from Brussels and Liege. Buy one from a street stall and eat it straight from the paper, dusted with icing sugar. In a cafe, you’ll find them served with fruit compote, Nutella or Chantilly cream, but hold off on the maple syrup as that’s not the way it’s done on home turf.

 

Baklava

Baklava
Layer upon layer of rich, flaky filo pastry bound together with sweet honey and lavishly sprinkled with nuts, baklava is understandably the Greeks’ most popular sweet treat. But though they’ll argue the toss, it actually originated in the city of Istanbul in Turkey before migrating east. That’s still Europe, at least in part. Wherever you try it, it’s delicious.

Black Forest Cherry Gateau

Black Forest Cherry Gateau
Germans know a thing or two about cake, but its most famous cake is not quite what it appears. That signature bake, Black Forest Cherry Gateau, was invented, so they claim, in 1915 at the Café Agner in Bad Godesberg near Bonn. It’s so popular it even has its own food festival. The key ingredient is the “Schwarzwälder kirschwasser”, a potent cherry brandy which made its way across the border from Switzerland but is named after the Black Forest region of Germany. Without the kirsch, it’s just a chocolate and cherry cake.

10 European Desserts to Try

Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger, and Lime

Going to make this tonight for dinner. I will post my photo later, for a comparison.

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Ingredients

2 big handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1/2 jalapeno, sliced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, grated

2 limes, juiced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Pinch sugar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 (6-ounce) block sushi-quality tuna

1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.
  2. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1 minute on each side to form a slight crust. Pour 1/2 of the cilantro mixture into the pan to coat the fish. Serve the seared tuna with the sliced avocado and the remaining cilantro sauce drizzled over the whole plate.
Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger, and Lime

Yummies from my garden

Cauliflower Soup and Caprese Salad for dinner the other night was perfect, although I think either one would have been enough for dinner with a little delicious bread.

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Creamy Cauliflower Soup (Vegan)
serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves), plus more to taste
2 cups (200g) chopped leeks (white parts only, from 2 or 3 leeks)
Natural salt
1 head cauliflower, chopped
7 cups (1.65l) vegetable broth
1/4 cup (35g) raw unsalted cashews or 1/4 cup (35g) blanched slivered raw almonds, soaked
3 tablespoons chopped chives or a grating of nutmeg (optional; choose one, not both), to garnish

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the garlic, leeks, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt for about 3 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the cauliflower and saute for another minute. Add the vegetable broth, increase the heat to high, and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is completely tender. Stir the mix periodically and mash the cauliflower with a wooden spoon.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly; stir in the nuts. Pour the soup into your blender in batches and puree on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. (Remember to remove the plastic cap in the blender top and cover the opening with a kitchen towel so steam can escape while you blend.) Return the soup to the saucepan and warm it over low heat. Stir in salt to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with either chopped chives or grated nutmeg.

Caprese Salad

This is a simple salad that I often make for dinner or for friends.  I do make my own pesto and this one was pesto from my garden.  Grab a handful of Basil (a few stems are ok), some toasted pine nuts, good EVOO, a few heads of garlic, Reggiano Parmesano to taste and throw it all in your blender.  Add a little salt and/or pepper to taste.  Just sample till it tastes great to you.  Couldn’t be simpler.  I had to laugh a few years ago on a Rick Steve’s trip to Italy that people thought the demo on how to make Pesto was impressive.  I thought it was runny and not particularly tasteful.

Now, you’ve mastered making your own pesto, put it in layers with the Heirloom tomato (sliced 1/4″) with Burrato mozzarella (the good kind with the runny middle – YUM) and drizzle a little Balsamic Reduction over the top.  Not only is it pretty, but it tastes delicious!

Pair it with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio and you have the perfect summer dinner with hardly any cooking.

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Yummies from my garden

Reese’s Stuffed Rice Krispies Treats 

Talk about easy and way too delicious!   These are the new Rice Krispy Treats.  It’s not that traditional Rice Krispies aren’t good,  they’re just a little boring and safe. These are the opposite. They’re over-the-top and surprising in a way that everyone, including Krispies, treats purists, will love.

And it just does not get any easier….

Ingredients
Cooking spray, for pan
5 tbsp. butter
1 (10-oz.) bag marshmallows
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
Pinch kosher salt
6 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
12 Reese’s cups
1/4 c. melted peanut butter, for garnish
1/4 c. melted chocolate, for garnish
Directions
  1. Line a 9”-x-13” pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows, peanut butter, and salt and stir until mixture is melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Immediately add Rice Krispies and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Working quickly, press half of mixture into an even layer in the pan, then top with a layer of Reese’s. Press remaining mixture over Reese’s.
  3. Drizzle with melted chocolate and peanut butter, then refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.
  4. Slice into squares and serve.  Maybe that should say slice & eat!
Reese’s Stuffed Rice Krispies Treats 

12 MYTHS ABOUT COFFEE

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12 MYTHS ABOUT COFFEE

Two Buck Chuck ~ The Real Stor

HOW TRADER JOE’S WINE BECAME CHEAPER THAN BOTTLED WATER

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“CHARLES SHAW WINE USED TO BE GREAT — AND NOBODY DRANK IT. NOW, IT’S TERRIBLE AND IT’S SELLING LIKE GANGBUSTERS.”

“I TRIED TO PUT IT ALL BEHIND ME BUT I NEVER STOPPED THINKING ABOUT WINE.”

Two Buck Chuck

Charles not in charge

Two Buck Chuck
Two Buck Chuck ~ The Real Stor

5 Ways to Take Better Care of Your Knives, According to Chefs

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Having a great knife makes cooking so much more enjoyable when you have this joy of cutting through something that’s so easy and effortless, plus it’s going to last you a lifetime and can even be an heirloom for your kids.

If you want to get the most out of that fancy new knife you bought—and have it last long enough to actually be an heirloom follow these tips from the experts.

Whatever you do: Don’t put them in the dishwasher.

The biggest mistake people make at home, according to Blanchard and Cox, is putting their knives in the dishwasher. Newer high-powered dishwashers can even warp the steel. You always want to hand wash and hand dry your knives.

“Use a kitchen rag or soft sponge be gentle.”

Taking care of your knives

Remember that boning knives aren’t for … bones.

When it comes to knife work, bones are off-limits. Period. (And boning knives are designed for working around the bones and through the joints.)

People assume that Japanese knives can go through anything, that they’re like samurai swords. They cannot go through bone. They are finely made, like jewelry.

And please don’t try to cut through frozen food, either. That can damage the knife.

Ditch the bamboo cutting board.

What you’re cutting on is almost just as important as the technique you’re using. Hardwood is preferable. You can use plastic or composite rubber, especially when you’re cutting raw proteins, so you can just put it in the dishwasher. Bamboo is a little too rough.

Learn the difference between honing and sharpening.

Both are important. Honing, which you should do more frequently, involves grinding the edge of the knife on a stone to even it out. The process doesn’t sharpen the knife, but it fixes the blade’s alignment, which makes it feel sharper and cut better. Sharpening, on the other hand, involves actually shaving off some of the blade, and should be done a few times a year at home, or at a shop that professionally sharpens knives.

“”you don’t want to sharpen or hone your knife on anything harder than the steel of the knife itself,” says Cox, suggesting ceramic honing rods. “Hone your knife a couple times on each side – always use the same amount of passes on each side. Go ten or twelve. But if you’re going more than ten or twelve on each side, and it doesn’t go right back, then its time to sharpen.”

Incorporate oil.

Applying oil to a carbon steel knife will help prevent any oxidation or rusting, though don’t use any vegetable oils like canola or olive.

What happens with vegetable-based oils is they get rancid, so use Tsubaki oil, Camellia seed oil, very thin and neutral and you don’t need a lot of it. You can get mineral oil at the grocery store.

In many respects, you want to treat your knives like they are cast-iron pans.

For a stainless steel knife and carbon steel knife, you want to treat it like a cast-iron pan. Even for a stainless steel knife, some knives are high polished and contain nickel and silver. Humidity speeds up the oxidation process, causing the knives to rust, so you want to store them in as dry a place as possible.

5 Ways to Take Better Care of Your Knives, According to Chefs

Top Cooktops For the Modern Kitchen

 This is an article from Dwell Magazine.

I personally love the Wolf combination I chose for my kitchen remodel as it gives me more options. There is one large gas burner for using large pans or stock pots, that can exchange for a wok grill on the left.  There are two inductions burners in the middle with two different sizes (water to boiling in under a minute), and two more gas burners on the right (one smaller & one larger).  I wish I had a griddle, but did ever use one enough to make it worth adding. I love this stove and the downdraft works wonderfully.

 

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Choosing to install a cooktop instead of a traditional range can open up sought-after space on your kitchen surface. Whether you opt for electric, gas, or induction technology, our picks for well-designed cooktops are efficient, easy to clean, and versatile.

Top Cooktops For the Modern Kitchen

 Foods Most Likely to Make You Ill

There’s a hot-list of foods that spread food-borne illnesses more than others, but there are a few steps you can take to best protect yourself from any sickness.

Home cooks are increasingly seeing alarming headlines about national outbreaks of serious food-borne illnesses and with the recent fervor over one of the worst E. coli outbreaks in the last decade, the topic of food safety has never been so relevant.

The list is based on information that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps for cooks looking to keep their kitchens as safe as possible. The shortlist of foods below are linked to food-borne illnesses more frequently than any other on the market. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce your chance of illness when eating them.

Which foods are the most likely to get you sick?

They’re as follows:

Did You Eat Romaine Lettuce? These Are the E. coli Warning Signs to Look For
A massive E. coli outbreak caused agencies to ask the entire nation to toss their romaine lettuce.

Chicken, beef, turkey, and pork

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Raw and undercooked meat and poultry are surefire ways to get you sick. Nearly all raw poultry contains a bacteria called campylobacter, which the CDC says is the leading cause of “diarrheal sickness” in the United States. Other illness-causing bacteria linked to questionable meat include salmonella, E. coli, Yersinia (commonly found on raw pork), and C. perfringens (one of the most common bacteria leading to short-term food poisoning.)

Vegetables and fruits

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It’s crucial to front-load your daily diet with tons of fresh vegetables and fruits, but raw variations can often cause food poisoning from contamination with salmonella, E. coli, and listeria bacteria. The exterior of uncooked fruits and vegetables are especially tricky as they’re a breeding ground for bacteria during transportation from farm to table, and especially at risk for cross-contamination in the kitchen. There are more than a few ways to clean them, however, and cooking your veggies is a sure way to eliminate most risk.

Raw milk and cheese

How to Store Soft Cheeses So They Don't Get Moldy

Some might think it’s very tasty, but health officials say that raw milk and the products made with unpasteurized milk can carry ample bacteria including E. coli, listeria, and salmonella, among others. Other dairy items that are more likely to hide harmful bacteria is feta cheese, brie and camembert, queso fresco, ice cream, and yogurt.

Eggs

1804w Eggs

We watched as more than 200 million eggs were recalled due to a widespread salmonella contamination—the CDC says salmonella is often undetected, even for eggs that look clean and un-cracked. Choosing pasteurized eggs could help reduce that risk.

Raw shellfish and seafood

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There is a greater chance to get sick with food poisoning from raw fish, yes. But raw shellfish is often more problematic than anything, with staples like oysters containing viruses and bacteria that could cause serious sickness—more than 100 people recently fell ill in California after eating raw oysters contaminated with norovirus.

Sprouts:

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Warm and humid growing conditions for things like alfalfa and bean sprouts lend themselves to perfect growing conditions for salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Thoroughly cooking sprouts before placing them in any dish can help reduce the chance of you getting sick.

 Raw Flour:

Casabella Cookie Dough Trays with Lids

The last item on the list is flour, which is usually raw and hasn’t been treated and because we cook with it or use it in our baking, those germs are killed during cooking. Things like raw cookie dough have often been a source of food poisoning given that the flour in these staples hasn’t been cooked.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid food-borne illnesses altogether, but using the safety tips to enjoy the foods on the list above might save you from a firsthand experience with food poisoning. 1 in 6 people in the United States suffer through side effects of food-borne diseases, and more than 3,000 deaths each year are caused by foodborne pathogens, the CDC says.

This may help you want to “eat less” if you want to lose weight.  I used to love raw chocolate chip cookie dough, but it does not look quite so appealing at the moment.  Eat safe and enjoy!

 Foods Most Likely to Make You Ill