Dokmai, Steglitz

We were in need of a change of culinary pace. More specifically, we needed a Thai restaurant. Now you may see in my archives that we have a neighborhood Thai place, but no more. Sadly, Sarod’s changed management and isn’t up to what it used to be.

And that’s why we had to go to Steglitz. I can’t tell you much else about Steglitz, since my experiences there are limited to walking from the S-Bahn to my new favorite Thai restaurant. I can’t take credit for the find, however, that was entirely Jon. It was his idea to look up the nearest Thai restaurant to the Thai embassy and voila! There’s was Dokmai.

The restaurant is small and the service is friendly. We’ve been twice and both times I ordered the basic – but telling! – Pad Thai. Its perfect; its tasty, and what’s more, it was exactly the same on both visits!

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This spicy, basil chicken was delicious, too. Can you see the peppercorns? So good.

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Don’t mind the schlep? Find Dokmai Muthesiusstraße 38 by taking the S1 or U9 to Rathaus Steglitz.

 

 

Johnny’s, Roland Park

Everybody needs a brunch place. We’ve found ours.

I saw Johnny’s ad boasting “west coast food”  in “Baltimore” magazine. Having no idea what this would mean (quinoa and avocado, possibly?), we had to find out.

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Nothing out of the ordinary, but certainly good food and good coffee.

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The restaurant has a children’s menu, but its not available at breakfast. S shared a stack of pancakes with her dad and, of course, sampled from my plate, as well. She kept and then had to go directly to Gramma’s house to show off our new masterpiece.

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Sorry about the lack of posts. I started working and we haven’t had our usual leisure time to explore Baltimore. 

Fresh Bakery, Owings Mills

S’s school has an award-winning healthy choices program that focuses on teaching the children about eating well. The class meets once a week with a nurse to learn all sorts of things. To be honest, I don’t really know, but it can’t hurt, right? The school sent some flyers home about not celebrating special events or rewarding ourselves and our children with food.

Obviously, these people haven’t twice in as many years with a three year old. I like broccoli, but sometimes you need to balance out the green with something a little sweeter like these cupcakes from Fresh Bakery.

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I wasn’t too sure when I saw the sign for a new bakery with such a simple name, but in our suburban neighborhood filled with chains and pizza shops, I was willing to give anything new a shot.

Some of our favorites include the personal pies (Pumpkin! or for the pumpkin averse there’s also apple, pecan, sweet potato and peach)

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(sorry, I couldn’t resist a bite before taking a photo)

and the banana pudding is well worth a shot or even breaking a few school rules.

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If you can bring yourself to share, that is.

a little bit of Austria for mother’s day

This was my beautiful, wonderful Mother’s Day gift (a gift I actually received three days before Mother’s Day, despite this post being three weeks late).

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Yes, it a cookbook. Yes, I did rib Jon a little for giving me a kitchen-inspired on Mother’s Day, but I think there was less of a message and much more sentiment behind the gift. Kurt Gutenbrunner’s restaurants are some of my favorites. I’m still on their email list even though I haven’t lived in New York since 2008; I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe.

After going through the book, I decided to start with one of the easier – and more traditionally Austrian – recipes in the book: Mohngugelhupf, a lemon poppyseed bundt cake. Gugelhupf was a favorite of Emperor Franz-Josef and as such became hugely popular during his reign.

Here’s mine fresh from the oven:

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And here’s the insides. I don’t have any photos to show you of the whole cake. Unfortunately,  I lack a sifter and my powder sugar sprinkling was not very pretty.

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The cake, however, was delicious… but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be willing to let Herr Gutenbrunner’s team do the cooking next Mother’s Day!

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If you’re interested in trying Gugelhupf yourself. Here’s the recipe

(adapted from Neue Cuisine by Kurt Gutenbrunner)

You’ll need:

2 sticks of butter, melted

1/2 c flour

2/3 c sugar

1 whole egg

8 egg yolks

zest of two lemons

1/2 c cornstarch

1/2 poppy seeds

powdered sugar, for dusting

First, prep your bundt pan and pre-heat oven to 350F.

Beat sugar along with the eggs (remember, one whole egg and 8 egg yolks) at medium speed until they become pale and creamy. Gradually fold in the zest along with the flour and cornstarch.

Last, but not least, add in the poppy seeds. Now you’re ready to bake! My oven gets really hot, so I leave mine in for 35 minutes, but the recipe suggests 45.

Substitutions: Because liquid fats can be replaced by liquid fats (and solid fats for solid fats), I sometimes make this cake with olive oil to make me feel a little less guilty. The result is extra moist, but be aware of your cooking time. The first time I did it, my crust burned; although, the insides were still tasty.

Note: Don’t throw away the egg whites! They can stay  in your fridge in an air-tight container for a few days. I usually end up having scrambled eggs for lunch the day after making this cake, but you could get more adventurous and try a meringue.

fresh bread in the land of constant dieting

California is famous for its sourdough, but what do you do if you don’t like sourdough and still crave fresh bread?

Enter sangak.

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 Ok, so technically (according to Wikipedia) it is still sourdough, but its so much better. Doughy, chewy, some crisp edges and a healthy smattering of sesame seeds. In fact, its even been voted best bread in orange and one of the top 100 dishes.  No wonder the bakery has a two per person limit.

Berlin, du fehlst mir: Laugencroissant

With only a month and a half to go before our move back to the states, I thought I’d try posting regularly about things I’ll miss about the Hauptstadt. But I should warn you: right now, I don’t really feel like missing much. I mean, yes, I prefer living in a big city and I will miss all of the obvious big city things like walking everywhere possible and taking public transportation when I can’t, but otherwise, I’m ready for what’s next.

So I’ll start with a big one. Something I have never seen outside of Germany: Laugencroissants. 

Laugencroissants could be translated as “pretzel croissant” since, like a traditional german pretzel, its dipped in a lye bath before baking.  Laugen means “lye” and you’ll sometimes see it describing pretzels here, as a little reminder, for example: Laugenbrezel or Laugenstange, a soft pretzel stick. In the US, pretzels are usually given a rinse baking soda/water instead. That’s why they don’t get that pretty, deep brown exterior like german Brezen. 

In a croissant, the lye bath makes the outside a little crunchier and a little sour, creating the perfect mix of sweet and savory. I love it. I could eat them everyday. Unfortunately, I don’t see them in nearly as many bakeries as I’d like to. Are they losing out to their vienniese/french cousin or am I just not getting up early enough?

Erm, so a quick, mid-post google search tells me I have seen a “pretzel croissant” outside of Deutschland. At least, I was in the same bakery with them, but was too distracted by all of the cookies and brownies to notice the deliciously savory confection before me. And now Trader Joe’s has them? I don’t think I’ll try them – getting wrapped in a sealed, plastic bag for questionable amounts of time can’t be good for their crunchy flaky exterior and without that what’s the point? I could try making them myself, but I fear having lye in the apartment would inspire one too many Fight Club references.

I mean, If you make a Laugencroissant in a different time, in a different place, would it be a different Laugencroissant? 

Okay, I’m done.

 

Laugencroissants! Come to GermanyEat some!