Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cooking up a Storm...

When it gets cold outside I like to cook and bake. Living in a drafty old house it's the only way to survive the cold winter. While Hubby and kids go off to work or school  I must stay home in the cold cave. Once the fire in the wood stove dies I flee to the kitchen and turn on the burners plus stove. Shh. Don't tell them!
So I cooked up a storm yesterday.

1. I baked a butternut squash and transformed it into the most delightful soup for dinner
2. I made a "gedeckter Apfelkuchen". It's the closest thing Germans have compared to an apple pie.

Ingredients for Butternut Squash Soup:

1 big butternut squash
1/2 cup of dried black beans
1 liter of chicken broth
red bell pepper chopped
garlic, minced
chorizo sausages or other hot sausage links
pepper and salt to taste

Cut your Butternut Squash in half. Scoop out the little pocket with the seeds. Put the two cut sides down in a baking pan with about 1/4 inch of water in it. Bake in the stove at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour or until soft when stabbed with a fork.

Take another pot and throw in some black beans with water. Boil for about two hours until soft. Ah, it' s already getting warmer in the house!

Next prepare the dough for the apfelkuchen.

Ingredients for Apfelkuchen: (adapted from Backen macht Freude)

350 g flour
100 g sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons of baking powder
milk (recipe called for 4 Tablespoons but I added quite a bit more because the air was very dry)
150 g butter
1 packet of vanilla sugar

2 cups of applesauce, mine was homemade, I added raisins to it.

Throw all the ingredients (except for ONE of the eggs and the apple sauce) in a bowl and kneed them together. Wrap your dough ball in Saran wrap and put in refrigerator. It can rest while squash is baking. Ah, perfect timing. Now you can go and do something else. Maybe chop some wood or shovel the driveway...

Once you get back in the house the squash is ready to go. Who said they were cold? A lovely wave of heat hits me as I enter the kitchen. Beans are getting soft and it's time to deal with the squash. Pull it from the oven and scoop the meat out and reserve.

Time to get back to the cake! Get your dough from the fridge and cut it in half. Take the first half and roll it out flat to fit in a baking pan/sheet that's about 30x40 cm. Hmm, since I don't have anything that size I just took whatever came close... See picture.
Spread your applesauce mix on top of the layer of dough in the pan. Take the second half of the dough and roll it out flat. Same size as the first piece. Now come the tricky part: Moving the second sheet of dough and putting it on top of the applesauce. No different from making an apple pie really. You have to fold it up and then unfold it. Right? It's just a bit bigger...

Hopefully your oven is still nice and hot from baking that squash. Temperature needs to be about 375 Fahrenheit. So great, you can turn it up a bit more. =)
Make an egg wash by mixing one egg yolk and a tablespoon of milk. The German cookbook calls for sliced almonds on top. I didn't have any so just the egg wash will do. Brush it on. Stab the cake a few times with a fork to create some holes for steam to escape. Put it in your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes - until top is golden brown.

Back to the soup. Add chicken broth to your squash chunks and puree. Add the clove of minced garlic. Add the cooked black beans. Throw in some yellow corn if you have it. Add some chopped bell pepper. Add little pieces of your cooked hot sausage links. I don't add them to the pot since my daughter doesn't like spicy food. So you can just have the sausage in a little bowl to the side. Vegetarians can leave it out too.

You'd think there would be easier ways to keep the house warm. But not as delicious. Dinner is ready to go. Time to make some dolls...

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