Happy WIAW!!! My apologies for the lack of food posts, I only had time to post my Insanity workouts (which are actually written 2 weeks in advance) and my husband’s parents are visiting from Germany! Our first official house guests in our new home, and it’s pretty fun and exciting. But in addition to receiving guests, we were also able to meet up with some newlywed friends from Hawaii, who moved to Germany, who were visiting family in Boston.

This month’s WIAW theme is making us Fall into Good Habits. Jenn at Peas and Crayons kicked it off with some incredibly delicious-looking photos of her healthy eating, and be sure to check out what other bloggers have to share as they take the fall, all in the name of habitual goodness!

I’m going to be sharing some stuff I did the past couple of weeks, and one good habit to have is to have FUN! We met up with friends at Catamount Adventure Park, located an hour’s drive south of Albany. We spent a good 4 hours testing our physical prowess and conquering our fear of heights (or should I say our fear of falling!) as we enjoyed traversing swinging bridges, pinky-thin cables and zooming across the forest on zippy zip lines!

View of the main platform where you start.

My friend balancing on the high wire!

My husband coming up the swing-like steps.

Zip lining!

We would definitely do this all over again so for any of our Hawaii friends that wanna visit Upstate NY during the summer, be prepared to be dragged to Catamount Adventure Park!

Later on we enjoyed some much anticipated and long awaited Vietnamese food at Vans in downtown Albany:

I had the Vietnamese pancake filled with veggies, my husband had beef pho (I couldn’t finish it.)

On Saturday we picked up my husband’s parents who are visiting from Germany. Since the airport was 3 hours away, we took advantage of this special trip to Newark and stopped at Ikea, The Wine Library, Costco (just to cash in on our reward$) and Sephora. We came home about 1am…and look at all the goodies they brought us!

Chocolates…..

28 bars of chocolate, 1 huge bar of Ritter Sport, two bags of daim chocolate clusters.

…and beer!

12 bottles of Augustiner…matches the glasses we brought back on our last visit.

Indulging in chocolates and beer may not be the best for this month’s theme of “Falling into Good Habits,” but gift-giving certainly can!

Another good habit you can fall into is to share a favorite recipe with friends and family. My in-laws cooked some dinner for us last week. This one is a rich, creamy, delicious avocado sauce with pieces of pork served with rice. My mother-in-law made this with chicken a couple of times, but the pork tastes much better:

Here is a dish I call “Quark Cakes” because I keep forgetting the German name, Quarkkäulchen. My father-in-law enjoyed it as a child and it’s one of those comfort foods that will sure to bring back cozy memories.

Some of us may be familiar with this kind of Quark:

Or even this kind:

But it’s actually made with this delicious creamy stuff:

Quark is a type of soft cheese, almost like cream cheese in texture as well as flavor. Here is the recipe for Quark Pancakes, or Quarkkäulchen. It’s rich and filling, and can be enjoyed with fruits for breakfast or with a green salad for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Quarkkäulchen have a soft, tender texture dotted with sweet raisins and a lightly sweetened batter, all contained within the crispness of the golden fried dough. Topped with a light sprinkling of sugar, Quarkkäulchen is an indulgent comfort food.

Quarkkäulchen, with and without sugar.

Quarkkäulchen
This recipe is courtesy of my father-in-law, who had the pleasure of enjoying his mother prepare it for him as a child…with lots of sugar and love. :)

Ingredients:
250 g yellow potatoes or red potatoes, boiled, peeled & cooled overnight
90 g flour, more if needed
1/2 tablespoon salt
50g sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
250 g quark
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup raisins
vegetable oil for frying

Directions (I have to make this up, since it wasn’t included in the hand-written recipe!)
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. With a potato ricer, process potatoes into bowl (alternatively you could probably use a pastry cutter to break apart potatoes into very small pieces.) Stir well. Add quark and eggs and stir to combine. Dough will be really sticky, like thick pancake batter. Add raisins and stir gently to combine.

Heat about 1/4″ vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. On a large cookie sheet, sprinkle flour and keep about 1/2 cup flour in a dish nearby. Flour hands and begin to form dough into small cakes (or patties) about the size of your palm and the thickness of your thumb. Place on floured cookie sheet.

When oil is hot, carefully add patties to the skillet using a large wooden or metal spatula. Cook on one side for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden brown. Using two spatulas, carefully turn patties over, being careful not to splash oil (I actually splashed myself on the neck and arm!) Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel-lined rack or plate and repeat with remaining cakes. Change oil if it gets too dirty.

Sprinkle patties with more sugar and serve hot. Bon Appetit!

Soft, tender Quarkkäulchen dotted with raisins.

Most of us think of healthy eating and exercise when asked about having good habits. But what else can be a good habit? How about randomly picking up trash and disposing it properly? Spontaneously doing jumping jacks when you feel lethargic? Brushing your hairy cats so they don’t make tumbleweed-hairballs all over the living room? That sounds like a good habit to pick up. Will I stick to it? Only if it becomes a habit. ;)

Hello, readers! I am entering my first food blog contest sponsored by Frito-Lay and presented by Recipe Redux, a monthly recipe challenge to make our favorite recipes healthier (and perhaps even tastier!) The best part about this contest is that even though I get to do all the fun cooking and blogging, you will have the opportunity to win this awesome Gluten-Free Prize Pack from Frito-Lay:

Gluten-Free Prize Pack courtesy of Frito-Lay

This prize pack includes:

– A chip and dip serving tray
– One bag each of Lay’s Classic potato chips and Tostitos Scoops! tortilla chips
– One copy of Nicole Hunn’s “Gluten Free on a Shoestring”

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what is your favorite gluten-free Frito-Lay snack…that’s it! But be sure to do it before midnight on Thursday, May 31st. If you’d like to increase your chance of winning, just refer a friend to follow my blog, send an email to me at thefooderyblog@gmail.com (or just message me in this post) to let me know who it is and I’ll TRIPLE your chances of winning! Be sure your friend comments on this post afterwards, and they’ll have a chance of winning, too!

I’ll announce the winner of this contest on Friday, June 1st. If no one claims the prize by Monday, June 3rd, I’ll announce the runner-up winner on Tuesday (I have to turn in the winner’s info in by the 8th!) Good luck to all!

Now, for my Frito-Lay gluten-free recipe submission! I like the idea of having mini-sized snacks because they seem special in their own little way, like they were made just for you. I used Tostitos Scoops! for this reason, and the big challenge was to create a tasty appetizer filling these little crispy Scoops, but not causing the chip to become too soggy.

I decided that mini-quiches would make a great gluten-free redux (did you know Frito-Lay Tostitos corn chips are only made with corn, oil and salt? Simple is good!) This recipe is fast, ingredients are readily available, and they have as much flavor in each little bite as the traditional flour crust recipe. I made a tray of these in my toaster oven and they came out perfectly. They cool off fairly quickly, so transfer them immediately from oven dish to serving patter and they’re ready to eat!

Mini Quiche Scoops

Mini Quiche Scoops – makes 16

16 Tostitos Scoops chips
2 tablespoons finely shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons fnely shredded reduced fat Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 slice bacon, excess fat removed and chopped finely
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced red onion
1 egg
1 tablespoon Low-Fat Greek Yogurt
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika

2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley, divided
3 grape tomatoes, sliced thinly

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small baking pan, arrange Tostitos Scoops chips facing up, set aside. Combine cheeses in small bowl and set aside.

In a small pan, cook bacon on medium heat until almost crisp. Add 1 tablespoon minced red onion, cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, yogurt, salt and cayenne until well combined. Stir in 3 heaping tablespoons of cheese mixture. Add bacon and onion mixture and 1 teaspoon of the parsley and stir until combined.

To each Tostitos Scoops, add approximately 1 teaspoon of egg mixture, about 2/3 full. Top with additional shredded cheese, tomato slice, minced onion and parsley.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until egg is slightly firm. Transfer to serving plate and enjoy immediately.

Tostitos Scoops filled with a savory quiche filling


Disclosure: I received free samples from Frito-Lay of the products mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe
I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Frito-Lay and am eligible to win prizes associated with
the contest. I was not compensated for my time.




It’s that time of week again, folks! Time to sit back and enjoy another episode of “What I Ate Wednesday” (WIAW,) sponsored by the good folks at Peas and Crayons, where “Food is art and you are what you eat. So eat healthy…eat happy…eat pretty!”

(applause!)

Today I’ll be featuring a recipe that I’ve been making for the past ten years or so. It’s the longest-running recipe I’ve had, and is the only recipe I have ever memorized. It’s been my favorite for weekend breakfasts and presenting them as thank-you gifts, and I like to think that I’m pretty darn good at making them. So deciding to change up an old standard like this one by making it gluten-free made me a bit nervous.

But before I get further into this discussion, here’s a quick run-down of foods from the past couple of days:

Breakfast was coffee (no photo but it was dark, sweet and delicious) and a home-baked treat of my featured food, gluten-free scones (recipe below):

 

Cheddar & Asiago cheese scones in my husband’s childhood milk cup. :)

Lunch was a mixed-greens salad with some mixed-colored veggies. I was never a big fan of making my own salads, so adding tons of color is a good way to have a healthy bowl of greens (and purples and reds and oranges!):

Dinner was Turkey Bean Burgers seasoned with miso paste on rice noodles tossed with seaweed & miso dressing. This was supposed to have been submitted in Monday’s Recipe Redux Challenge, but I wasn’t totally happy with how it turned out. The seaweed in the patties didn’t stand out as much as I hoped for, and the rice noodles could have used some “oomph,” perhaps with more veggies tossed in, and not just sitting under it!

Miso paste in the patties gave it a nice flavor.

Now, here’s a little more background on the scones I’m featuring today. This is a recipe I first came across ten years ago from Joy of Baking and is by far the most delicious and easiest baked good ever made. The scones have a crisp, almost flaky exterior which keeps the insides soft and flavorful. Fresh from the oven, you can split them in half and slather on some butter as the warm, steamy centers melt them into delicious oblivion.

Since I am trying to stay wheat-free as much as possible, I modified this recipe by switching out the regular flour for a gluten-free blend, courtesy of Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts. The result? Deliciously tender, melt-in-your-mouth, crisp, flavorful bites of gluten-free indulgence!

Cream Scones, original recipe from Joy of Baking
Best if eaten within a day or two, but freeze any extras you may have tightly wrapped in foil. Defrost by leaving out for 15 minutes, then pop in toaster oven on medium setting. It will taste like it was freshly baked.

2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used 2 parts white rice flour, 2/3 parts potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca starch)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour mix already includes this!)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup cold, unsalted butter
add-ins (optional, see below)*
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla

*optional add-ins:
– 1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/3 cup chopped nuts or chopped cherries
–  1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/3 cup shredded, toasted unsweetened coconut + 1 teaspoon coconut extract
– 1/2 cup dried cherries or blueberries
– 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese + 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (reduce sugar to 1/4 cup)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until butter pieces are about pea-sized. With a rubber spatula, gently mix in one of the add-in ingredients listed above. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, add 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and 1 egg. Mix until well incorporated. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Dough should be just a little sticky. Divide dough in half, forming each into a ball. Flatten ball to a circle about 1″ thick. Cut into 8 triangles, set on cookie sheet about 1″ apart. Repeat with remaining dough.

Beat remaining egg white with 1 tablespoon cream. Using a pastry brush or back of a spoon, brush scones with egg wash.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until tops begin to turn golden, rotating tray 180 degrees halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let sit for for a minute before transferring to serving plate. Serve warm with butter or preserves.

Cut each circle into 8 little triangles. Alternatively, you can roll out the entire dough and use a round cookie cutter.

The eggs from my sister’s chickens have a rich, yellowy-orange yolk. You can see how thick it is in the egg wash used to brush the tops of the scones.

These tender scones are delicious with coffee or tea, or even as a late night snack.

Mac n’ cheese fans will enjoy this hearty Three Cheese Spaetzle with sauteed broccoli, mushrooms and bacon.

(*NOTE: there’s actually no German way of saying ‘two thumbs up’, people would say lecker or es ist gut. But having the approval of my husband, my in-laws, and a random German student who came by to buy our bookcase we listed on craigslist made me feel like I got the ‘two thumbs up’ rating (if not more!) Yes, I fed my spaetzle to a stranger who enjoyed it so much he was going to call his mother in Germany to say he had spaetzle in Hawaii!)

So, a new favorite comfort food of mine hails from my husband’s country of origin, Germany. Spaetzle is a noodle dish served alongside roasted meats, tossed with cheese or covered in rich gravy. With a toothsome texture and simple ingredient list, spaetzle (where Spatz means “sparrow”) can be tricky to make the first time around. Some recipes suggest using a spaetzle press or pressing the batter through a colander, but I found this messy and unsuccessful. The best method for me (which requires a bit of patience and practice) is to use a smooth wooden cutting board and the spine of a chef’s knife to cut off small pieces of noodle-shaped dough, scraping it off the board and into a pot of boiling water. The spaetzle will not be uniform (proving to everyone that it is, indeed, homemade) and closer to worm-shaped than sparrow-shapped, but the taste will still be delicious.

The basic spaetzle recipe is from one of my favorite publications, Cooks Illustrated. I’ve added my own blend of cheeses and topping to make this a nice, one-dish meal. As long as you got the basics dough recipe down, everything else should fall into place beautifully.

Three Cheese Spaetzle with Broccoli, Mushrooms and Bacon
serves 4

Noodles:
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup whole milk (I also used 2/3 cup lowfat milk and 1/3 cup cream)
2 large eggs

Cheese sauce:
1 1/2 cups shredded Gouda
1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese*
1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese*
*or  use 2/3 cup of any hard, salty cheese

Topping:
6 strips bacon, extra fat removed, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups broccoli florets

To make spaetzle:

Batter will be thick; let it rest while you bring water to a boil. (This batch in the picture is only half a recipe.)

Whisk the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk and eggs together. Slowly stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture until combined, then whisk briefly until smooth. Cover the bowl and let the batter rest for 15 to 30 minutes (do not let the batter rest any longer.)

While the batter rests, bring 3 quarts of water to boil in a large pot and stir in 1 tablespoon salt.

Process about 1/2 cup of the batter into the water by cutting the batter from the cutting board into the boiling water.

They look more like squiggly worms than Spatzen, but oh well!

Boil the spaetzle until it floats, about 1 minute.

Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer the spaetzle to a large pan and cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter.

To make topping:

In a separate frying pan, cook cut bacon over medium heat for 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. In same frying pan, cook mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add bacon and broccoli florets, cook for 3 minutes, turn off heat, cover.

Meanwhile, heat spaetzle on medium. Stir in cheeses until melted. Top with broccoli, bacon and mushrooms and serve.

Guten appetit!

Comfort food at its best!