Monday, April 30, 2007

Squid Linguine with Mushroom Tomato Sauce

I know I know, pasta again... but as tomorrow is a public holiday ( labour day) here in Germany and I have a few things planned for my wife to enjoy I've decided to take it easy in the kitchen tonight.

I gave my wife a choice of red/white sauce, and she picked the former, as usual. I wonder if this can be a personality test, the red/white sauce test if you will. Anyhow back to the noodles. Today I used some squid linguine I bought a while back, even though they look more greenish in color after cooking. Make the sauce about 20 mins before you cook the pasta so that there's enough time for the water to evaporate. As usual saute the garlic, onions, and today I added mushrooms in olive oil. Add the canned tomatoes, season well with salt, pepper, sugar, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Don't forget the herbs. Bring to a boil and simmer until sauce is not so watery. Mix in the cooked pasta, serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan.

04302007


You seem to be specially fond of oranges. Bananas you love to eat for breakfast but you don't really seem to care to carry them around. Same for apples and strawberries. Maybe you think oranges are funny because you can roll them around. Whatever the reason you are quite happy to see them in the supermarket. I don't prefer to go to the big market but today I had to get some new sand box toys for you. You were very bored until we were in the produce section. All of a sudden you started screaming and moving around. It was most exciting when I left the shopping cart next to the oranges, you really had a ball. Checking and picking them. So I thought why not trust your judgement? We'll see how sweet they are when you have them as a snack after your nap.

Fried Leeks


I only had a little time to prepare lunch today. Made these leeks as a condiment to the hot dogs.

Simply slice the leeks, dust with flour and fry in oil until golden. Drain with paper towel and season well with salt and pepper. They are kinda like fried onions.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

04292007

You are at the park near the apartment. We go there about 4 times a week, mostly in the afternoons before I go to teach or cook. On the weekends mom usually takes you so that I can go to the gym. At the beginning you weren't so interested in the park, or perhaps you were scared. Always holding on to us, or staying close. But you're getting braver by the day, wondering around touching this and that. Your favorite is the swing, you always point to it when we enter the park. One time a little girl was holding on to your hand and taking you around. I thought that was so sweet I almost (almost) had tears in my eyes. Sometimes being a sahd to you isn't such a bad job, not too many fathers get to enjoy these precious moments.

Lemon Sage Chicken

Had some leftover sage to finish before they're all dried out. Roughly chopped them up and set aside. Loosen up the skin of a chicken thigh or breast, stuff a slice of lemon and the sage under the skin. Rub chicken with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Marinate for a hour or so. Bake in the oven for about 45 mins. I grilled mine on my beloved electric grill on the balcony. My wife suggested that we have an indoor picnic on the balcony, not a bad idea as it was such a lovely day. Served the chicken with some pasta salad. Had a few pieces of watermelon before dozing off on the balcony.

Friday, April 27, 2007

04272007



This wasn't the first time you've been to the zoo. First time was in Vienna, second time was in Toronto, and this time was in Nuernberg. You were way too small the first time to care what was going on. When we were in Toronto a lot of the exhibitions were closed because of winter so that wasn't so much fun. This time however was the most interactive. You even touched a little goat for the first time. I can still hear your giggles when you touched the animals. As much as I find zoos boring I wouldn't mind going back just to hear you laugh. It really seemed to us that you had a good time.

Fried Calamari, Souvlaki, Tzatziki


I'm grilling a lot since I got the electric grill. It's quick, easy, and most importantly odourless.

First marinate the pork cubes with lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper for a few hours. Roughly chop the other ingredients: sweet peppers, onion, mushrooms. Soak the skewers in water for a few minutes to prevent them from burning. Grill skewers for a few minutes on each side and serve with tzatziki.

For the tzatziki I used yogurt, garlic, cucumber, dill, olive oil, vinegar, salt. First peel, de-seed, and finely chop cucumber. Squeeze out the water and mix with crushed garlic and olive oil. Mix in yogurt, a dash of vinegar, stir to combine everything. Season with salt and dill. Chill for a few hours for the flavours to infuse the yogurt.

For starters I made fried calamari because it goes well with the tzatziki. Simply dip the calamari rings into flour, then egg, then breadcrumb. Fry over medium heat for a few minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and season well with salt and pepper.

As always I made too much food, the leftovers will be for lunch tomorrow.

Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

I don't know what the deal is with girls and pasta. My wife says she can eat pasta everyday and never get tired of it. Even when I was working at Movenpick my pasta station would always have the longest line-up.

So today for lunch I made the rest of the package of gnocchi with tomatoes and mushrooms. The dish was inspired by this picture.

Quarter the mushrooms and saute with butter. Roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside. When the gnocchi are done add them to the mushrooms along with the tomatoes. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve with minced parsley and grated Parmesan.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

04262007





I had a hard time picking just one. They all look nice to me. Because it really shows how lively you are when you're eating. Every morning you'd follow me into the kitchen when I make breakfast for you. On this particular day you had some of the left over corn bread for breakfast. I cut it up into little pieces, put them on your plate (which you got from aunt April), and placed the plate on your own table. You'd then quickly dash to the living room with your bed hair and start chowing down whatever it is on your plate. Sometimes I'd peek at you eating, picking your food, talking to it at the same time. When you've finished (usually within 5 mins) you'd come to me and ask for my food. You'd point and babble at my breakfast. You specially like it when I have noodles, then you'd tilt your head back and slowly suck the noodles in. I always feel like I am feeding a little bird. Your mother and I really can't complain about your eating habits. You really are a very good eater. I hope that it stays that way.

Pasta with Cheese Sauce

We were in Munich today for my CELTA interview. By the time we came home it was too late to make a full meal so I threw this together for my starving wife in the same time it took to cook the pasta (which was about 10 mins).

I found some Gorgonzola and some other soft cheese in the fridge. Melted them with milk ( cream would be a better choice but unbelievably I was out). Season with a dash of salt and pepper. When the pasta is cooked mix together in the pan and serve.

Can't be any easier than this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

04252007


Melanie was here for the night. In the morning she gave you your first tattoo. And I thought you needed a watch. But I think the watch was broken because it stayed at 9 the whole day.. until your mother found it and took it off.

Mozzarella with Tomato and Basil, Gnocchi in Sage Butter


My wife didn't feel so well so she stayed home for the day. She also requested pasta for lunch. Gnocchi came to my mind and with that an easy tomato appetizer.

For the starter, the ingredients are all in the picture. Mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and a generous drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and freshly grounded pepper. Served with fresh Ciabatta.

I couldn't be bothered to make the gnocchi from scratch. Bought pre-made ones from the supermarket instead. Boil the gnocchi for a few minutes, melt butter in a pan, add the chopped (or whole) sage leaves, saute the gnocchi in the sauce until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Both dishes were very easy to make, together they took less than 15 mins.

Monday, April 23, 2007

04232007

You look sweet in this one, really looked like you posed for the camera.

The t-shirt is from your grandfather, my father. The little monkey is from your aunt April, you took it back with you (without asking) from Toronto when we visited during Chinese New Years.

I don't know if it's because you just ate, but you can really see that little belly of yours. I was really impressed with your six-pack when you were smaller but now it's turned into a one-pack. I hope you're not letting yourself go. It's time for some exercises, or shall I put you on a diet?

薑蔥蠔油牛肉煲 + 滑蛋蝦仁


I love onions, scallions, shallots, etc. So this beef casserole is right up my alley. It's a simple yet satisfying dish.

Slice the beef thinly and marinate with soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, pepper, sesame oil, oil, starch, and water. Slice the ginger and cut the scallions. Saute ginger and scallions in oil until fragrant. Add the beef and fry for a few minutes, then the rest of the seasoning. Turn the heat off, cover with lid and let stand for 5 mins before serving. I got the recipe from the Hong Kong media personality SoSeeWong. I have the recipes as an excel attachment if anyone wants it you can email me. Unfortunately it's only in Chinese.

The other dish I made for lunch was the shrimp and eggs. I can never do it right without a proper wok. I've decided this will be the last time for this dish, very frustrated about the results.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

04222007

Looks like a 'No Comments!' picture. You did babble something though, just don't know what you meant. You're almost 15 months now, I wonder when you'll start talking.

Must be confusing to have to handle three languages. I just hope that your Chinese will be good enough for us to have heart to heart conversations. I hope that we'll have heart to hearts period, in whatever language.

Well one can always hope right?

Rosemary Ginger Lamb Chops, Baked Potatoes, Calamari Salad





We're going to a friend's for BBQ tomorrow so I made our Sunday dinner for Saturday instead.

I really don't know what I was thinking because as nice as the salad was it just didn't go at all with the lamb. I think I just wanted to eat calamari, period. First blanch the sliced calamari, drain and set aside. Slice, chop and mince the remaining ingredients ( celery, carrot, parsley, garlic, onion) and throw them all in a bowl along with the calamari. Chill for an hour before serving. For the dressing I used lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

For the potatoes simply wash and peel them. Mix with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Wrap them in foil and bake in pre-heated oven for an hour. Sprinkle with more fresh peppers and minced parsley before serving.

Now the lamb. I just gotta say that I LOVE my new grill. It's so nice to cook meat on the balcony because afterwards I don't smell like what I just cooked. But don't despair, you can also broil them in the oven or fry them in a pan. A few minutes max on each side will do, unless you enjoy eating lamb jerky. For the marinate I was inspired by this picture. I marinated the chops for a few hours with ginger, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. Served them with a dollop of homemade, over pureed tapenade. I guess I was too blender happy.

I first learned of tapenade when I was working at Spoon. It's very nice with bread and grilled meat. Roughly chop or puree black olives, anchovies, garlic, and capers. Mix with olive oil, lemon juice, and voila.

The bottle of Brown Brothers was a bit pricey being an import from Australia and all. But it was worth it as it went very well with the lamb. Couldn't say the same for the calamaris though, I really don't know what I was thinking. Sometimes I am just not.

04212007

This is one of my favorite pictures. You look so cool with your new shoes from Clara. Too bad they're already too small.

You're really growing up so fast, very soon you'll be 14 years old with a beard and 6 feet tall. The other day I took you with me to work and Petra asked me 'Is this Kai?' She just couldn't believe how different you look (from only a few weeks ago).

I suppose it's a good thing that I'm keeping this blog, so that you can see for yourself in the future.

Friday, April 20, 2007

04202007

This picture was actually taken a week or so ago. You were playing with my headphones so I decided to put them on you. My little DJ. I wonder what'd become of you? A cook would be nice, so would an artist of some sort. I can live with you being an athlete, but definitely not anything respectable like a doctor or lawyer or any other well-to-do yuppie professions. That'd really break my heart.

But whatever it is that you'll be, you'll always remain our little baby Kai.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dinner with Kathrin




As fore mentioned Kathrin was coming for dinner. BBQ ribs were the main along with a Waldorf salad and some corn bread.

For appetizers I made some cheesy garlic bread (for you Caroline), and almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon.

The garlic bread. Slice the bread and place on baking tray. Top with minced garlic, olive oil, and grated cheese. Bake in preheated oven until nicely browned. Serve warm sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley.

The dates. It's basically the same as the ones my sister asked me to make, except this time I stuffed the dates with almonds instead of cheese. Then wrap them with bacon, holding it together with a toothpick. Fry them in olive oil for a couple of minutes on each side. Sprinkle with some crushed almonds and serve.

It was a very nice evening filled with laughs, pictures, stories, and non-alcoholic Sekt (German sparkling wine). Certainly felt like Friday, too bad it wasn't.

Btw, I've started a second blog.

04192007

Today before lunch Kai seemed unusually tired. He dragged his little pillow under my chair and laid down. Soon after he was sound asleep.

It is such a privilege to be the father of this little boy (most of the time).

Arugula with Gorgonzola, Pears, and Walnuts

My wife requested arugula today for lunch. I thought it'd be a good idea as well to have a light lunch since dinner will be heavy. A friend of ours Kathrin is coming over, and boy does she like her meat. So I've decided to BBQ some ribs again, chow them down with a beer or two, and have a few laughs. Looking forward to a nice evening on the balcony.

Anyways back to lunch. I used pears, walnuts ( took some time for me to crack the fresh walnuts but they've been sitting on the dining table for the longest time now), arugula, Gorgonzola, sweet corn. Quarter and core the pears. Melt some butter in a pan and add to it lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and place walnuts and pears in the pan and cook until the pears have softened. Wash and dry the arugula and place on a plate, arrange pears and walnuts on top, sprinkle with Gorgonzola and sweet corn. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar to the cooking liquid and drizzle the salad as dressing.

It was so light that I'm actually hungry already.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Garlic Bread, Baked Mussels, Pasta Arrabiata




I only had to teach one class from 5 - 6:30 today as the second one got cancelled. I was a bit disappointed but on the other hand I could have a nice dinner with my wife. So it's all good.

She didn't have any cravings during the first pregnancy. But for this one she seems to like pasta and tomato sauce a lot. Requested it again today for dinner. I didn't mind but thought it would be too boring so decided to add the two little appetizers. Classic Bruschetta and Cozze Arraganate.

For the garlic bread. Simply slice and bake a few pieces of bread until nicely browned. Rub a piece of garlic on them, add a sprinkle of salt and a dash of olive oil.

For the mussels. Wash and clean the mussels, steam in a pan with a bit of water. When they've opened, drain, keeping the liquid. Separate the shells and place mussels on a baking pan. In a separate bowl mix together bread crumbs, oregano, parsley. Fill the mussels with the mixture, top with grated cheese, sprinkle with the cooking liquid and olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 10 mins.

I've posted the pasta before, just scroll down to December 13th.

Nice relaxing evening. Sometimes life can be very good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pizza and Salad





Pizza is great, like fried rice you can clean your fridge with. I used all the cheeses, olives, anchovies for pizza tonight. For the dough I used 225g flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and 250ml warm water.

Form the dough and cover with damp cloth. Let double in size and flatten onto a baking pan. Top with tomato paste and your choice of toppings. Bake at maximum heat for about 10 mins.

The salad consisted of one carrot, half a head of lettuce, cucumber, corn, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs. The dressing was a my own thousand island - lemon juice, ketchup and mayo mixed with minced pickles.

Spaghetti with Mussels

My wife had a craving for spaghetti. I had some frozen mussels in the freezer, threw them together with some leeks, carrots, garlic, tomatoes and wine for this light nutritious lunch.

Wash and scrub the mussels, set aside. Finely chop the leeks, carrots, garlic and fry in a pot with a dash of olive oil until fragrant. Add the canned tomatoes, wine and water. Bring to a boil, add the mussels and cook until most have opened. Discard the ones that remain closed. Season well with herbs, salt and pepper. Mix in the pre-cooked spaghetti and serve.

Kai Pantel's Chinese Food






A good friend of ours invited us to his place along with two others for a nice Chinese meal. At first I was a bit skeptical, I mean he cooks about twice a year, is obviously not Chinese, so how good can the food be? But I was happy as long as I get a day off from cooking and cleaning.

To my surprise the food was enjoyable and authentic. We had noodle soup, a fish dish, a pork dish, and an eggplant dish. Quite the balanced diet. And last but not least a steaming pot of rice.

My wife and I and the boy all had a good time, thanks to the fabulous weekend cook. Not bad for a German guy.