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pizza with beets, arugula, pesto and goat cheese

I always did – and always will – love the rhythm of life in Spain. Getting up late, staying up even later, eating very late – no problem for me. So when my husband decided to go back to coaching soccer and I was faced with the fact that at least twice a week he would not be home for dinner before the time some folks already hit the sack, I was, let’s say, pleasantly motivated.

This meant that I would have to come up with late night meals for just the two of us, suppers that could be prepped ahead of time and finished off at the last minute. Dinners that taste wonderful, that make one feel welcomed, that remind one how good life is. What a wonderful little challenge to throw myself into!

golden and red beets Continue reading “Beetsa” »

The (other) Forbidden Fruit

eggplant toast with mediterranean flavors

I feel bad for the eggplant. While I adore her – and her versatility – nobody else in my house loves eggplant. It gets worse: Not only do my men, all five of them, not like her, they despise her. So passionately, that they have her on the radar. It is impossible for me to sneak her into any dish. My troupe will detect the finest slice, the most subtle paste, the tiniest dollop of pureed eggplant wherever I try to hide it. So most of the time, our kitchen functions eggplant free.

But every now and then I protest in my very own way, by preparing an eggplant meal just for myself. Celebrating, highlighting and respecting this – in my house, anyways – forbidden fruit, brings my mind at least a little peace. And after having enjoyed my meal, I always feel happy and serene. Thank you, my beloved eggplant, you tolerant and humble, dark beauty!

aubergines before baking

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First food memories #2

My Mom's version of Empanadas

Fleisch Chraepfli (Flaky dough pockets with a ground beef filling)

Not that I understand it now but it is a fact: I was a competitive swimmer during elementary and middle school until an illness urged me to quit. While I walked to the practice sessions directly from school during the week, my Dad would drive me there on late Saturday afternoons. It was a rigorous two hours workout and by the time I was done, had showered, dressed and stepped out of the impressive Kongresshaus (the building the pools were located in) I usually was starving.

I loved every meal my Mom set in front of me after those practices. But my absolute favorite became her savory turnovers. When I climbed up the stairs of the apartment complex we lived in, two steps at a time, and could smell the aroma of those Fleisch Chräpfli, the emptiness in my stomach turned into a knot for a moment. Sort of like when saliva builds up in the mouth just by staring at glorious food. A few seconds of pain and joyful anticipation at once, very intensively.

Our tiny kitchen felt warm and cozy, the half moon shaped and golden brown pastries looked inviting like little pillows. They were filled with a succulent mixture of ground beef, onions, garlic, parsley and spices. My mom mastered the art of keeping the filling moist and nicely spicy while the dough remained crispy and still light. The first bite was always the best: The fight against the heat and against time – remember, I was hungry – the slight resistance of the firm and flaky pate brisee, the satisfying mess underneath. And in the end there was this wonderful harmony for both the stomach and the soul. Life literally was good then already.

Continue reading “First food memories #2” »