Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sesame Treats

Cooking is an interesting art, and little makes a bigger difference for me than the space in which it takes place. In short, a familiar kitchen breeds more cooking. When I was home in New York, I had no problem going through the process of creating GF breads for the week or experimenting with nut purées. In my new place I'm slowly kindling a fondness for experimentation, but with work pressure these past few weeks I've been whipping up quick meals more often than not. Below is a sweet and healthy treat made with sesame seeds. These were inspired by the South Asian dessert of sesame balls which I served at my birthday party earlier this month. While tasty, they are made with glucose syrup and so not ideal for sugar sensitive (i.e. me).

Sweet Sesame Mini-Bars

1 cup white sesame seeds
Stevia to taste (use a generous amount, I used 1 dropper of liquid Stevia)
1 egg white
1 T GF flour (I used chickpea)

  • Preheat the oven to 190 C/350 F.
  • Mix the seeds and spices (and powder Stevia if preferred.
  • Add the egg white and mix well.
  • Add the flour by teaspoon until the mixture binds.
  • Roll out panisse on baking paper until 1/4" thick. Use a knife to cut into small bars of any size you like.
  • Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until seeds begin to turn golden. Outer pieces will finish first; remove these as you go.

Quick (& Gluten-Free) Noodle Soup

Even though there's nothing in the winter like a mug of heissi schoggi (hot chocolate), a close second is a warm bowl of creamy soup. Watching the large flakes fall day and night throughout Zürich, I've been puréeing and simmering at least weekly. After stopping at the organic vegetable market at Helvetiaplatz I made a squash soup capped with some fresh cheese. I also made some spinach and cucumber soup (very green) with a dollop of labneh (Turkish strained yogurt). And tonight I threw together a quick noodle soup with ingredients from a local international foods market. Once you have the ingredients, all you need is 10 minutes to make this soup (no chopping involved)!

Glass-Noodle Soup w/ Soy Dumplings

750ml(about 3 cups) hot water
3 t GF vegetable boullion
1/2 cup dehrydrated soy balls*
3 generous handfuls of dry glass (mung bean) noodles*
2 - 3 T Braggs (or tamari sauce)
1 t herbes de provence
1/4 t ginger, ground
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t onion powder
1/2 cup shredded vegetables (leeks, carrots, celery) - optional

  • Bring the water to a boil and stir in the boullion.
  • Add the soy balls, herbs and spices and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the Braggs, vegetables (if using), and glass noodles and allow to simmer for a further five minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Eat and slurp :)
*I found the soy balls at a Sri Lankan grocer near other dried snacks such as roasted chickpeas. The glass noodles were there as well and should be available at most Asian markets (be sure to find the packets made from bean flour rather than wheat flour).

Stay warm~ c*xx

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Year, New Flat!

SO I've finally arrived back in Switzerland a few weeks ago, this time in the center of town with a new place and flatmate. I have to pinch myself: the place is really cool, as is she!! It made all the goodbyes somewhat easier. In fact this 'trendy' part of town is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Zürich. Exploring has been fun, with loads of restaurants, bars, and in walking distance the clubs :) Of course eating out here is incredibly expensive compared to New York. A nice Thai restaurant across the street charges 20 francs for soup. And the other day I had a buffet salad to go with my cappuccino to the tune of 18. I can't complain though, the quality is always excellent.

I've also explored the various ethnic markets - picking up labneh at the Turkish market, pakora snacks at the Sri Lankan grocer - as well as the local farmer's markets. I finally found the German word for kale at an organic vegetable stall at the Helvetia market Tuesday morning (Federkohl). This inspired me to get back into cooking by making a nutritious lunch...

Sautéed Kale with Broccoli & Red Beans

200g kale
1/2 small head of broccoli
1/2 red onion
1 clove garlic
1 T olive oil
1 T Bragg's liquid aminos (or tamari sauce)
1 small can red beans (or any!)

  • Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 5 minutes, still firm and bright green. Drain and set aside.
  • Chop the red onion into slivers and dice the garlic finely. Sautée in the olive oil for five minutes, then add the garlic and spices (ginger, salt and pepper to taste).
  • Rinse the kale and chop or rip leaves into medium pieces, discarding stalks. Add to the pan.
  • Add the Bragg's (or tamari or soy sauce) and cover pan, letting the kale cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli and stir fry for a couple of minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Serve in a bowl topped with the beans...mmm.
Much more to say about my arrival back in Züri...forthcoming!