Welcome to my first #HealthyFriday post. As you probably have realized I’m gearing up my blog towards natural healthy foods and recipes with emphasis on organic ingredients. In short it’s all about the whole foods experience. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy other foods like desserts and cakes, which I will still post here and there. However, the trend to healthy foods is the only way (in my opinion) to stay sane and healthy in this hectic technology driven world. We are surrounded by heavily processed foods, that are not healthy at all. In my upcoming posts I will get more into the myth or truth about processed foods, GMO’s versus organic foods and simple ways to eat healthy. In this sense I hope you enjoy my #HealthyFriday post about my Power Sandwich.
Since this post is part about eggs I included a short kitchen story about flying eggs. Yes you heard right – flying eggs. Enjoy
No such thing as flying eggs…
It was a busy day for lunch at this fine French restaurant, where I was the apprentice chef in my fourth month. The sound of pots and pants being cooked and stirred in is something I can’t live without; it’s like music to me. Regardless – to get to the point – one of the cooks ran out of eggs so the chef asks me to bring up a tray. It was very hectic and the chef was feeling antsy. You know Chef Gordon Ramsey and how rough he can be to his team. Well Chef Gordon Ramsay was a lamb compared to my boss. (That said I admire Gordon Ramsay as he is an excellent chef)
I run down the staircase, picked up my tray of 30 eggs and run back upstairs only to miss the last step….! Up to this day I wonder why I stumbled over that last step. I made a big leap head first. No – I should really say – eggs first. Imagine a machine gun firing eggs. Yes, that’s how it looked like. 30 eggs in 1 second flying through the kitchen. Luckily I didn’t hit anyone, although one of the eggs missed the chef by an inch. You know the facial expression of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, yes that’s the kind of look I got from the chef. He came towards me with a look that could kill and I thought: “that’s it I’m fired”. I had just finished my probation period of my two and a half-year apprentice ship although I just graduated from 2 years of culinary school. So I wasn’t a newbie, however – but as you can imagine I was in a precarious situation.
He started to yell at me, you know the same way Gordon Ramsey humiliates the chefs on TV. Yep, the same treatment I got only that his head turned red ( like a lobster), which I clearly remember as it was yesterday. However to make a long story short he send all cooks and dishwashers home right after the service. Usually the cooks and dishwashers do their part to clean their stations. This night the kitchen belonged to me with all its dirty pots and tables. I don’t remember what time I finished cleaning the entire kitchen, but it was well after 3 in the morning. Flying eggs are (not so beautiful) memories of mine…
Mama’s Egg Spinach Power Sandwich
This egg-spinach-toast reminds me of my youth. Whenever my mom didn’t have much time to cook she would make this dish, because it is so easy to prepare. However, she would also make it with boiled potatoes instead of the bread. Which is great, you just mash-up everything and it taste good – that said – if you like soft-boiled eggs and spinach. For this recipe I used a slice of bread because it is easy and saves time. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers and flavonoids make this dish a true power sandwich with great health benefits.
Eggs Are Much Better Than Previously Thought
Yes they do have a lot of cholesterol, but the health benefits far out weigh the risks. Eggs are full of B vitamins and offer the best protein available. They have anti inflammatory properties which relieves stress. (Thinking of work)
Studies have shown when eggs are part of a daily breakfast regiment, fewer calories are being eaten later in the day.
Eggs are good for your heart and your head, because of the high amounts of B Vitamins. Also the cholesterol in eggs does not raise your own cholesterol level as studies have shown over the past 15 years. Obviously if your cholesterol levels are through the roof you’d better stay away from eggs.
Further studies have shown that eggs from cage free chickens are of better quality. They have more vitamins and omega fats due to the fact that those chickens live (almost) stress free.
Even Popeye Knew the Power of Spinach
Spinach is just as powerful as the egg. Spinach keeps your blood sugar low, your eyes sharp (not really sharp but healthy). It can help to bring down blood pressure. It’s good for your bones due to the Vitamin K, since this vitamin helps with the absorption of calcium.
Studies have shown that when women took high Calcium supplements (over 1000 milligrams) – even with the combination of Vitamin D – the risk of developing kidney stones was 17% higher than those who got their calcium from natural sources like green leafy vegetables. In fact no kidney stones have been detected in women who got their entire calcium supply from natural products such as milk, soy and vegetables.
The high amount of Vitamin A is good for your skin. Did I mention the vitamin C and E and lots of minerals equals a vitamin pill, just much fresher, unprocessed and perfectly natural.
Though there is one negative aspect of spinach; the pesticides it has been treated with. One can avoid the pesticides when buying organic.
Tomatoes are Healthier When Cooked
Yes, it’s hard to belief. However, when tomatoes are cooked lycopene is produced, which is the powerful antioxidant that battles prostate cancer. Tomatoes are full of vitamins, folic acid and have anti inflammatory properties. Recent studies have shown that tomatoes might reduce the risk of certain other cancers such as ovarian, throat, colon just to name a few.
When buying tomatoes look for a bright red color which are soft to the touch, not too hard and not too soft. Conventional grown tomatoes tend to be treated with pesticides. So look for organically cultivated tomatoes at your farmers market or the organic section of your supermarket. A 10 year study conducted by the University of California concluded that organically grown tomatoes have more vitamins and flavonoids than conventional grown tomatoes. And did I mention not to keep your tomatoes in the refrigerator. Keep them in bowl in a rather dark corner in your kitchen. Cover unripe tomatoes with a napkin or towel to keep them away from light. They will be ripe in a day or two.
A Bread Worth for a Power Sandwich
I’m talking about an organic whole grain bread. You can see the recipe by following this link: organic multi grain bread. I love bread despite all the hype that too much processed food is not good. That’s why I like to bake my own. Most breads these days are full of additives and preservatives. Once you check this recipe you know why I call it a power bread. It got everything from cocoa, cinnamon, flax meal, oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
In short by eating this easy to make power sandwich you can drop the vitamin pill, because this meal provides all the nutrients our body needs and more.
Egg Spinach Power Sandwich
Recipe Type: Sandwich
Cuisine: American, Natural, Organic, Whole Foods,
Author: Kraemers Culinary Blog
4 slices of organic whole grain bread
8 slices of ripe organic tomatoes
1.5 lb organic spinach
8 slices of cheddar cheese,
1/4 stick of butter or margarine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Boil eggs to your liking.
Shock in ice-cold water for about a minute, set aside. See notes for more info on boiling eggs.
Grill or sauté tomatoes for 30-45 seconds on each side on high heat. Keep nearby.
Peel eggs in a way they don’t break. Keep warm
While the spinach is cooking – place 4 slices of bread in a toaster.
In a large pan melt butter over medium heat.
Add onions and sauté until translucent.
Now add the garlic.
Just before the garlic takes on color add the spinach.
Season with salt and pepper
Assemble all ingredients on top of toast and enjoy.
I use cold water to cook the eggs, once the water starts to boil I cook them for 4 minutes. That’s when the egg-yolk is soft inside. Cook it 1 or 2 minutes longer and the egg-yolks are not liquid anymore, but still semi liquid. For hard-boiled eggs cook them for 10 minutes.
I love the combination of blueberry, coconut and vanilla. You probably have seen this combination in my blueberry & vanilla soy milk oatmeal post. For this dessert I warmed up blueberries with cream of coconut and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream served on a cookie. The cookie’s ingredients support this dessert with flavors of coconut, vanilla and chocolate chips. Topped with a thin slice of banana and chocolate shavings makes this dessert a very simple yet tasty treat for any occasion.
A Quick Journey into the History of Valentine’s Day
As Valentine’s day is upon us we honor our spouses, partners or friends. We look to buy the biggest and reddest roses, the best chocolate money can buy and send the biggest cards out to our loved ones. It is truly a beautiful day to spend the evening together and celebrate a lovely friend ship or marriage. But where is this tradition originated and why are we celebrating Valentine’s day?
Did you know?
To make a long story short: According to the history books and online archives. St. Valentine who lived around A.D. 270 was a priest from the Roman Catholic church who married young soldiers before they went to war. The only problem was that the Emperor Claudius had forbidden soldiers to get married, because he thought these men are vulnerable and don’t make strong warriors compared to single men who have nothing to lose. St. Valentine ignored these regulations and kept on marrying soldiers in privacy. Once the Emperor Claudius heard of that he ordered St. Valentines to be killed. In his prison cell he was alleged visited by a maid to bring him food and drink. Before his death he wrote her a letter whith the ending words “from your Valentine”. This is almost 2000 years ago. Tell me Culinary Traditions aren’t powerful? Of course there are other theories about St. Valentine, maybe you know a different one.
What will it be? Chocolate, Flowers or jewelry.
According to an online survey published on about flowers; men buy flowers, candies and chocolate to show their affection to a loved one, while women use this opportunity to honor their relation ships to mothers and female friends. Chocolate is the most bought item for Valentine’s Day, followed by flowers and jewelry. Valentine’s Day is the second busiest Holiday after Christmas. How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
3.5 oz / 100 g / 1 1/4 cup organic quick cooking oats
2 tbsp coconut flakes
12 oz / 345 g / 3 cups unbleached organic flour
4.5 oz / 130 g / 1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
Blend butter, sugar, eggs and cream of coconut until well incorporated.
Add all other ingredients.
Scoop 1 1/2 oz cookie dough onto a greased baking pan, or on a silicon mat.
Flatten dough with fingers or spoon.
Bake at 365 degrees Fahrenheit or 185 degrees Celsius for 7-9 minutes.
Place baked cookies on rack to cool.
I used a confection oven, which speeds up cooking time. For regular ovens add about 2-3 minutes baking time.
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Kraemers Culinary Blog
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cream of coconut
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Juice from one lemon
5 oz / 140 g / 1 cup organic blueberries
1 1/2 tbsp Orange liquor
In a sauté pan melt all ingredients except berries and liquor over medium heat.
Cook sugar mixture until it is reduced to half.
Now add the blueberries.
Once the blueberries come to a boil move pan away from fire and add the liquor.
Bring blueberries one more time to a quick boil and serve immediately
Serve warm blueberries to your favorite ice creams or puddings. It also taste delicious with crepes, pancakes or French toast.
Cookies taste best after they have just cooled out. Although you can store them in a cookie jar and munch on them for days to come. For this dessert I served the cookies with vanilla ice cream and warm blueberries. Decorated with a slice of banana and chocolate shavings. You can create your own ice cream cookie with any type of berries and your favorite ice cream.
Happy Valentine’s Day
What are your favorite cookies?
What is your favorite dessert using cookies or ice cream?
Do you like warm blueberries or do you prefer other berries?
Try this easy to prepare Rack of Lamb in less than 60 minutes. It’s ideal for Valentine’s Day. I had this dish for New Year’s dinner. I know it’s a bit late, yet I didn’t plan to post it on my blog, either. I love the taste of a grilled rack of lamb. It can can be cooked in so many ways, the possibilities are endless. Lamb never gets boring, that said if you like lamb. Well I guess you wouldn’t be reading this if you don’t like lamb for that matter.
Ideal for Valentine’s Day
If both of you are meat lovers than this dish is great for Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to cook and assemble and makes an even better presentation. So why not surprise your Valentine with a grilled rack of lamb. Serve it with a Pinot Noir, Rioja, Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon. Regardless of what wine you’ll be drinking, use that same wine in your sauce. Why? Because it will make your taste-buds dance in harmony, literally. Like to learn more about wine? Check out my three wine pairing principles.
Rosemary the Perfect Match for Lamb
Rosemary reminds me of a tradition I used to do in my first years of working as a chef. I would place a few bunches of rosemary on the hot grill. Guess what happened? The scent of the roasting rosemary permeated the entire kitchen, calming my senses for a busy upcoming lunch business.
With or Without Bone?
Don’t like the bone? Just ask your butcher for a lamb loin. Usually one loin is good for one person. When buying a rack of lamb – tell your butcher you want it frenched. Which means that all fat around the bones (the rips) up to the loin is removed. It lends for a better presentation. ( the rack of lamb I used was not frenched )
Need a timesaver? Leave the marinade out; brush a little oil over the meat, season it with salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Grill or saute it over high heat for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Place it on a backing pan and cook in the preheated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius for another 8-15 minutes, depending on your temperature preference. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. To learn more about cooking temperatures jump over to: How to cook the perfect steak.
I always finish cooking bigger cuts of meat ( more than 8 oz ) in the oven, after I give it some grill marks. The heat of the oven penetrates the meat more evenly yet indirectly, which results in a juicier steak. Almost all chefs of steakhouses and other fine restaurants take advantage of the oven when it comes to bigger cuts of meat.
I find it fascinating how every country has its own culinary cultures, not only with lamb but with any other meat. Whether it’s Ireland and the famous mint jelly. Asia with soy or teriyaki sauce and the Caribbean and India where curries are prevalent. Lamb is cooked more in Europe and America while goat is traditionally preferred in Asian and Caribbean countries. Why the latter countries choose goat over lamb I have no idea. Maybe you have the answer? Drop me a line if you care. I can only tell from experiences while cooking in the Caribbean, that almost all locals eat goat. That said lamb and goat are two different species.
Which Lamb Tastes Best
Well that’s up to your personal taste preference. The two biggest importer to the US are New Zealand and Australia. Both offer excellent meats. I like to buy locally grown lamb, so I know where it comes from and what it was fed. For more info on lamb in the US check out the fact sheet of the usda.gov website.
How to Cut a Rack of Lamb
It is actually pretty easy. Hold the rack upright with the curved rips pointing slightly towards you. Place a sharp knife next to the bone and cut straight down with a sawing motion. If you hit cartilage or bone you simply have to turn the rack around ( 180 ° ). Important is that you keep the knife as close as possible to the bone. When done right your knife goes through the lamb very easy. That’s it. Just let the lamb rest for a minute and serve.
How do you like your lamb prepared?
Where do you buy your lamb?
What herbs do you use with lamb?
What are you cooking for Valentines Day?
Rack of Lamb with Pinot Noir infused Honey Rosemary Sauce
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Kraemers Culinary Blog
2 Rack of lamb
Some Vegetable oil for sauteing
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
1 tbsp fresh thyme leafs
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper
3 sprigs of rosemary
1-2 tsp honey
1/2 cup of good Pinot Noir
1 tsp tomato paste
1.5 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper
Keep some extra rosemary sprigs for decoration.
In a food processor blend all ingredients until smooth.
Smother the lamb with mustard marinade and let sit for a few hours in the refrigerator.
Roasting the [url:1]Lamb[/url]
Before sauteing remove the marinade, but hold on to it for later.
Heat up oil in heavy bottom pan over high heat. Don’t let it smoke. (It isn’t healthy)
Place rack of lamb on its meaty side first. Do this with a pair of tongs so you don’t burn your self.
Saute lamb until golden brown than turn onto the other side.
Once lamb is golden brown place it on an oven pan and cook in the preheated oven at 375 Fahrenheit or 190 Celsius for 8-15 minutes.
For a rare lamb cook less and for well done cook more than 15 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.
Use the same pan you just seared the lamb in.
Over medium heat sautee onions until slightly caramelized.
Add rosemary sprigs, honey and stir – enjoy the scent 🙂
De-glace with red wine.
Now incorporate the tomato paste and let it brown evenly.
Add a tbsp of the marinade to the sauce.
Fill up with vegetable broth reduce to half.
Strain sauce and season with salt and pepper.
If you wish you could thicken the sauce with a little heavy cream (2 tbsp) at the end. Suggestion: Serve the lamb with sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes.
I have to admit I have seen better days. Hurricane Sandy flexed her muscles and showed us that Mother Nature is still in charge. No one really wanted to believe that this storm would hit this community so bad. In the end, it was a 15-foot coastal flood wave which basically rolled over our sea town. It didn’t end there; the 36-hour tropical storm that followed the flood blasted with 95 miles per hour winds and finished the disaster for what is now known as the worst storm New York has ever seen.
What Bragging Rights and Hurricanes Have in Common?
Seeing disasters like this on TV is one thing; experience it first hand is another. I thank god my family and neighbors are fine. Some neighbors, who actually laughed at me for evacuating to higher grounds, lost their cars and almost their lives. Of course, anyone stays behind has bragging rights?! But is it worth the risk?
Houses burned down and the fire departments couldn’t help since the roads were flooded with over 4 feet of water. Bragging rights?! – No thank you.
The hardest part, after returning to the house, was the cleanup progress. It felt like there is no end in side. Even worse, seeing memories such as childhood pictures floating away is heart ranching.
The good, the bad and the ugly
Hey, life goes on, but why should I burden you with my worries. Everyone got their own problems. However, there is a good side to this. Communities come together and help each other. We all got a little closer – the good, the bad and the ugly neighbors. Differences were put aside and friendships were made or refreshed. And the moral of bragging rights and hurricanes are: Both can have dangerous consequences.
In my next post, you’ll find out how we made out without power, heat, and water and how wood stove cooking and candlelight dinners made our day a little sweeter.
Coconut Rice Pudding with Warm Dark Cherries
Coconut rice pudding is comfort food for me. This very simple rice pudding, which cooked with vanilla soy milk, is topped with warm dark cherries. You can serve it with any fruit you like, I find rice pudding taste just great with any fruits, canned or fresh. Try it with warm blueberries or raspberries.
Update: Hurricane Sandy is long gone but never forgotten. We have moved on, repaired and renovated what got destroyed. I actually must say this hurricane was a blessing in guise. However, not for everyone. We were able to repair our house to state better than it was before.
I have transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, that I really enjoy. Gone are the meat and dairy days. I have decided to change my blog and theme in the near future to Live of a vegan chef. Being a chef has given me ample opportunities to inspire my guests to eat healthy. I think it’s time to adapt this opportunity to inspire others to a vegan lifestyle that offers elegant vegan meals and a path to wellness.
On medium to high heat bring soy milk to a simmer.
Add rice, sugar, salt, vanilla bean and coconut milk.
Lower the temperature to medium to low and stir frequently with a wooden spoon. Cook rice until soft. The milk rice should now be semi thick.
Bring cherry juice, sugar, orange peel and liquor to a boil.
Mix water with cornstarch to a smooth slurry without clumps.
Pour the cornstarch slurry into boiling cherry juice. Stir and keep simmering for another 1-2 minutes.
Serve cherry sauce over coconut rice pudding or as a side dish. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. Enjoy
It is important to use short grain rice or Arborio rice since this rice is ideal to absorb the soy milk. It also becomes softer and tastes just better than long grain rice. This is the reason why risotto is cooked with arborio rice.
If you are not a cherry fan feel free to use whatever you fruit you like, whether it's canned or fresh fruit. Everyone has their favorite. I also like to use fruit cocktail or orange mandarins over the coconut rice.
Don't forget to sprinkle a dash of cinnamon over the coconut milk rice. I like my rice pudding to be more on the liquid side. Enjoy
During my trip through Germany I had the pleasure of eating all my favorite foods again. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I always have a field trip when I visit my homeland. I guess it’s with everyone else the same, too. Visiting my family made it even better, since everyone wanted to cook for me. (Lucky me) From vanilla rice pudding, Salmon baked in foil to Matjes with Bratkartoffeln (sautéed potatoes) and not to forget – plum cake with whipped cream – I was the lucky son. And my mother was the happiest of all of them. Since she get to see me only every 2 or 3 years it’s kind of tough for her and my dad. Nonetheless, in the first week we visited the Oktoberfest Kirmes. That fair was a lot of fun and you can see this post by following the link.
Matjes with Dill Sour Cream & Bratkartoffeln
A New Culinary Trend
However what I really wanted to do in my hometown was to eat true German cuisine. Guess what, these type of restaurants are slowly dying out and being replaced by American or Italian themed chain restaurants. It’s kind of sad, but what can I do? So I cooked my own German food, as simple as this. The old rustic pub with well-known German cuisine is hard to find in its own country. Because young generations are being influenced by guess what? By American food culture. I’m not saying I don’t like American food culture, it’s just new to me to see that kind of change in Germany. To be quite honest I think American food trends are the most versatile and amazing ones in the world since we have the most cultures living and eating together. I guess that’s what happening in Germany, too.
Matjes or Herring?
In this post I featured matjes filets and I can truly say it’s one of my favorite German recipes. The difference between matjes and herring is; the first is the younger and more delicate fish that has not yet spammed. Herring is the older fish, but just as tasty. Both are very popular in Germany as they are here in the USA. Although they are fished mainly around May they are eaten all year round. Matjes or herring are preserved in a number of different ways, ranging from pickled, baked to smoked. Matjes is also called soused herring, which comes from the Netherlands and is brinned in a mild vinegar solution. The famous roll mops is a rolled up herring and pickled in an oil, vinegar, onion brine. It’s the right food before or after a beer (s).
Matjes with Dill Sour Cream
How to make Bratkartoffeln (Sauteed Potatoes)
The matjes recipe below is featured with Bratkartoffeln, which are sautéed potatoes. Bratkartoffeln are very famous in Germany and very often served at any time of the day. If you don’t like your matjes with Bratkartoffeln (sautéed potatoes) it can be served with a variety of potato dishes. However, the most famous potato side dish is the boiled potato with parsley & butter. Matjes can also be served with bread.
Bratkartoffeln (Sauteed potatoes)
Many cooks “dump” their potatoes in a fryer. That’s the easy way out. However, sautéed potatoes will always taste better. So take the time and saute them. See recipe for instructions
Matjes salad with bratkartoffeln (herring stip)
Matjes with Dill Sourcream & Bratkartoffeln
Recipe Type: entrée, Seafood, Salad
Author: Kraemer’s Culinary Blog
8 Matjes / herring filets, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, finely sliced in half rings
1 large Granny Smith Apple, chopped
1 cup chopped dill pickles
1 tbsp finely chopped dill
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 cup yogurt
1 cup sour cream
0.5 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tbsp brine from the dill pickles
1 tsp horseradish
8-10 potatoes, boiled with skin on
1 onion, chopped
0.5 cup vegetable oil (such as peanut oil for frying)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Mix yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish and the brine.
Add all other ingredients and let marinate for an hour.
Peel potatoes ones they are cooled out. Quarter each potato and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. If potatoes are small cut them in half.
In a large frying pan heat oil on high heat.
When oil is just before its smoke point add the potatoes.
Do not overfill the pan or potatoes will not brown and stick to pan. Stir potatoes every once in a while.
When potatoes begin to brown add onions. Do not burn onions.
Potatoes are ready when all sides have a golden color.
Potatoes need to be stirred frequently after they start to take on color. Avoid burning.
Add chopped parsley at the end.
Serve immediately with matjes salad.
Tip: It is very important that the oil is very hot to sauté the potatoes, otherwise the potatoes will stick to the pan.
It is essential that the potatoes are boiled with the skin on before being sautéed.
That in turn will seal in the flavor as well as the starch for density.
Use an oil that can take a lot of heat and your potatoes will taste better. I prefer peanut butter oil, which is great for high temperatures, doesn’t over power the food, yet actually compliments it.
What are your thoughts on this?
Have you had matjes yet?
Did you know Bratkartoffeln is an art in Germany? Let me know if you had your experience with them?
What’s your Favorite German dish?
What’s happening when you visit your homeland? Do you enjoy it?
Hello and thanks for visiting Kraemer’s Culinary Blog.
I am in the process of changing my blog name to Life of a Vegan Chef.
I have been a vegan for some time and love it.
I am also convinced that veganism is the most sustainable lifestyle, which will ultimately help the environment.
Please excuse any of the confusion, while I change my theme and concept.
As a chef I am thrilled to write about a fine dining vegan lifestyle.
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