Chinese Broccoli Stir Fry

February 4, 2016

We just finished the “Garlic Lovers” series of classes.  The recipes were big hits, which was a good thing as we all, teacher and students alike, were saturated with the aroma of garlic as we left class.  In fact, not only was it on my breath, but I could smell garlic in my hair for the rest of the day!  It’s a good thing that my German husband has developed a love of garlic, too, or he probably would’ve made me sleep with our dogs after the classes! My well-worn wok was used to make the Chinese Broccoli Stir Fry, but you could use a large cast iron skillet instead.  If you only have a medium skillet and the veggies start to get crowded during cooking, you might consider removing the batches of veggies to a bowl to keep warm while you cook the next batch.  Combine all veggies  in the skillet again as you are cooking the sauce.  Enjoy!

Chinese Broccoli Stir Fry – 6 servings

4 T peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 T minced garlic
1/4 t  red chili flakes, or more, to taste
1 small red onion, trimmed and cut into 4 wedges, layers separated
1 head broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces (peel the tough skin from the stem pieces)
6 scallions, 5 cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces, 1 thinly sliced and reserved
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts
2/3 C broth or water, heated
1 T soy sauce
1 T cornstarch, dissolved in 1 T cold water
2 t sesame seeds, toasted

Heat a large wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, garlic, and chili flakes and stir-fry just until they are aromatic, about 30 seconds. Scoop them out and set them aside to add back in later with the stock/water.

Add the remaining oil to the wok. When it is shimmers, add the onion pieces and stir-fry until they turn shiny, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the broccoli pieces. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes more.  Add the 1-inch scallion pieces. Continue stir-frying until they are shiny, 1 to 2 minutes more.  Add the sliced water chestnuts, along with 1/3 cup of the hot stock and the reserved seasonings. Stir-fry  about 2 minutes more. Add the rest of the stock, soy sauce, and cornstarch mixture and stir-fry until the vegetables look glazed with sauce, about 1 minute more.

Garnish with the sliced scallions and sesame seeds and serve immediately.


Tuscan Bars

January 6, 2016

No, not the kind of bar where you go to sit and enjoy alcoholic beverages with your friends in Tuscany.  I mean lovely buttery bars baked in a pan and sliced into squares.  These delicious bits of goodness are inspired by the flavors of Tuscany, however.  Enjoy these bars filled with chopped pine nuts and rosemary with some cheese and a small glass of wine and you’ll feel like you are in Tuscany, or someplace along the Mediterranean.  In my family, we usually enjoy homemade lasagna on Christmas Eve.  These Tuscan bars are the perfect dessert.  There’s still time to enjoy some hearty Italian food this winter, so give this recipe a try.

Tuscan Bars

¼ C pine nuts
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in 10 pieces
½ C powdered sugar
1 T chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried, minced
1 C all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet and place in the oven. Toast about 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they are fragrant. Watch carefully as they burn easily. Place on a cutting board and chop finely. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Remove pan from heat and stir in the powdered sugar, minced rosemary and chopped pine nuts with a spoon. Then stir in the flour to make a stiff dough.
Spread dough evenly into an ungreased 8-inch-square baking pan. Press down with your fingers. Bake until bars are golden and firm at the edges, about 20 minutes. Cool pan on a rack for about 2 minutes, and use a sharp knife to cut into 16 squares. Let bars cool in pan at least 10 minutes before removing them with a small spatula. These bars are very rich, so consider cutting them into smaller pieces. As they are savory, they are very nice served with cheese and fruit and a glass of wine.


Potato Pancakes

November 15, 2015

Potato pancakes are kind of like spaghetti.  Every family has their own recipe for potato pancakes and each family thinks that their recipe is the best.  Or, if you don’t cook potato pancakes at home, here in Wisconsin you can enjoy them any Friday evening at a Friday fish fry.  People are just as particular about the ‘cakes that accompany their ‘fry. Additionally, in Milwaukee potato pancakes are available every summer at Germanfest.  (If you’ve ever stood in that line on the south end of the Summerfest grounds waiting for potato pancakes, it seems like everyone decided to have some at the same time, in fact!)

So, I was a bit hesitant to include potato pancakes for the Oktoberfest class this year.  After getting rave reviews at each of the five classes, however, I’m proud to present the recipe that I learned from my father-in-law, Dieter Seidlitz.  You probably have all of the necessary ingredients in your pantry, so grab a clean kitchen towel, your grater (and maybe a BandAid or two – ouch!), and sizzle up some potato pancakes.  Guten Appetit!

German Potato Pancakes – Kartoffelpuffer – 6 servings

1 # potatoes (Russet or other starchy potato)
1/2 onion
1 t onion powder
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 egg
Peanut oil for frying

Peel potatoes.  Grate them over a clean dish towel.  Roll up the towel and squeeze the liquid into a bowl. Let the liquid stand a few minutes, then pour off the liquid, leaving potato starch at the bottom of the bowl. Add the potatoes to the starch.  Grate the onion over the potatoes. Add onion powder, salt, pepper, nutmeg and egg. Mix thoroughly.  Heat a frying pan. Add oil to a ¼” depth.

Drop a ½ cup of the potato mixture into hot oil (it should sizzle) and flatten with the back of a spoon. Fry 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels on a cookie sheet.  Keep the cookie sheet in a warm oven until all of the pancakes are cooked.  Serve with applesauce and cinnamon, if desired.


Beet Green Soup with Buckwheat, Beans, and Paprika

October 31, 2015

I love to eat roasted beets. I’ll eat them plain, or I’ll eat them with some balsamic vinegar, or with vinegar, some EVOO, goat cheese and walnuts. I recently found out that beets are good for our brains, so I’ve been eating even more of them.

But, I’ve been feeling bad about not always sautéing the beet greens that are too big for salad. Lately, the greens have been ending up in the compost pile. This makes me feel guilty. It’s crazy, I know, but while I have no problem eating ruby-red beets with pink-tinged goat cheese, I prefer my beet greens to remain green. I am totally turned off by the pink color that leaches from the stems to turn everything pink – the onions, the garlic, the olive oil, and the broth. I do not like it, Sam-I-Am, I do not like green eggs and…oops, wrong color, but you get the point.

So, I developed this recipe to feature the beet greens in a way that enhances their natural color.  This recipe was the surprise hit of this year’s Autumn Farmers’ Market Bounty classes.  Enjoy!

Beet Green Soup with Buckwheat, Beans, and Paprika

3 – 4 T olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped, about 2 cups
4 – 6 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and minced
1 bunch beet greens, stems and leaves chopped separately
1 small red pepper, chopped
½ C water
¼ t red pepper flakes
1 t Old Bay Seasoning
1 t salt
½ t pepper
3 T sweet smoked Spanish paprika
3/4 C buckwheat (not a wheat – it is a seed from a rhubarb-like plant)
5 C warm water
1 can kidney beans
1 T balsamic vinegar
Plain yogurt

Chop the onions and mince the garlic and let them rest for 10 minutes while you chop the beet stems in small pieces and cut the beet leaves across into thin ribbons. If the ribbons are long, cut them in half across again, otherwise they dangle off the soup spoon.

Place a soup pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add enough oil to cover the bottom and then add the onion and garlic and cook slowly until soft. Move the onions to one side. Add the stems and red pepper and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add shredded beet leaves and water and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in red pepper flakes, Old Bay Seasoning, salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Add paprika and barley. Stir until everything is coated with paprika. Add warm water, stir and cook for 30 minutes. Add canned beans, balsamic vinegar and heat through. Serve with dollop of yogurt and an extra sprinkle of paprika.


Shakshuka (Eggs cooked in tomato sauce)

June 12, 2015


3 T olive oil
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
10 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced
spice mix (recipe below)
1 T sweet paprika
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cumin
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
4-6 eggs
1/4 C feta cheese

Heat the oil in a large skillet or pan with lid over low heat.  Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, & spice mix to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes & salt. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.  Mix in the cilantro. Make “holes” in the sauce with a wooden spoon and very carefully crack the eggs into them. Make sure to leave space between the holes, so that the eggs can cook properly.  Immediately cover the pan, turn up the heat to medium and cook for 5-8 minutes depending on how you like your egg yolks (5 for runny and 8 for well-cooked). Sprinkle cheese over eggs.  Eat immediately, sopping up the sauce with toast. Enjoy!

Spice Mix Recipe

1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T sweet paprika
1/2 T hot paprika
1/2 t cayenne
pinch of cumin
pinch of salt

Julie's Cooking Creations