When it hash to be hearty: Crispy hash brown breakfast

These are easy to make and thus perfect for breakfast, as they require only minimal thinking. So you can prepare them while you sip on your first coffee of the day and get your brain up to speed for anything that lies ahead. Hash browns rock – they’re hearty and give off a vibe of coziness. You can totally imagine them to be your perfect culinary companion on a chilly fall morning or snowy winter day. The only thing that can ruin this (at least for me) is if they are soggy. No thanks. This recipe makes a generous breakfast for 2. Preparation time, including frying in the pan, is approximately 25 to 30 minutes (if you discount the frying, it’s 10 minutes).

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized potatoes (or 6 small ones)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 mini salamis
  • 2 spring rolls

Start by peeling your potatoes. Then shred them through the largest holes on your grater. Place them in a bowl with hot or boiled water for 2 minutes, then pour the shredded potatoes into a sieve and thus rinse off the starch. Then squeeze the shredded potato in a kitchen towel to remove as much extra moisture as possible. This will help achieve a crispier and more evenly brown result. Put the shredded potatoes back in the bowl and add garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and ground pepper, as well as the egg, and mix it all well.

Place half a tablespoon of butter in a pan brought to an upper medium heat. Each hash brown needs a generous scoop, with a tablespoon of the shredded potatoes. Use a spatula to flatten them. Let them fry in the pan for 5 minutes per side. Add further butter to the pan as you see fit. Ideally, however, always before adding a new batch of potato mix to the pan.

While your first batch of hash browns are frying, cut the mini salamis and spring onions into small rings. Once you’re done with frying the potatoes, briefly throw the salami and spring onion rings into the pan and let them cook for one minute, just because this gives them a nice flavor. Drizzle them on top of your hash browns. And… tata… breakfast is ready to be served.

Tip: Add one or two tablespoons of shredded emmentaler cheese on top. It’s absolutely devine.

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Keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’: Spinach and ham pizza rolls

Who still remembers that song by Limp Bizkit from the early 2000s? Even if you don’t, it sets the perfect tone for the theme of today’s snack. Everyone loves pizza and how could you not?! We have also all certainly daydreamed before about how amazing it would be if there was pizza right now, whether it be on a long drive, a picnic in the park or during a walk in the countryside, or even as a tasty school or work lunch or snack. Enter the pizza roll. They are the perfect food companion: delicious, easy to store and carry and simple and quick to make. This recipe makes for 10 rolls of ½ an inch each. Prep time for this beauty is 15 minutes (plus 20 minutes of oven time) and they are perfectly suited for making in advance for the upcoming week.

Ingredients

  • Large square pizza dough
  • 1 1/2 cups of cream spinach
  • 8 slices of beef ham (10 if the slices are smaller)
  • ½ cup of grated emmentaler or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

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Lay the pizza dough on baking paper and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius. Cook the spinach and add the spices. Spread the spinach on the pizza dough and make sure it’s even and that you leave a bit of space at the edges of the dough, so that the spinach doesn’t spill out when you make your roll later. Place the ham slices on top in a single layer so that they cover the entirety of the dough. Then drizzle the grated cheese on top.

Now let’s get rollin’: gently lift the baking paper at one of the shorter ends and fold the pizza dough about an inch onto the dough part underneath and from there continue rolling up the dough. Use the baking paper, don’t try to fiddle the dough off directly. Thereby you avoid the messy and complicated endeavor of trying to get the dough evenly rolled up. Afterwards, place it in the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes. Wait 10 minutes to allow the pizza roll to cool down a little before cutting it into 0.5 inch/1.5 centimeter slices.

P.S. This snack is ideal for adding your own twists and variations. Why not exchange the pizza with classic pizza tomato sauce or the ham with salami or add slices bell pepper instead of meat? Your options are basically endless.


Oreo churros sandwiches with ice cream

Everyone who has ever been to Spain knows churros. Those tasty dough sticks that you can dip in your coffee or chocolate for breakfast. But how about having them like a sandwich with ice cream in the middle as a great dessert option? And how about making them even better by adding Oreo cookies to the equation? This recipe makes 4 churros sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 12 Oreo cookies
  • 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • ¼ cup of sugar plus a second ¼ cup for rolling the churros in
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 cups of vegetable oil (for frying; the amount depends on the size of your pot, the aim is for a 2 inch/5 centimeter depth)
  • 4 generous scoops of cookies & cream or vanilla ice cream

Start by splitting the Oreo cookies and separate the cream from the cookie shells with a knife and place in separate bowls. Grind the Oreo cookie shells in a food processor until you have Oreo cookie flour. Wisk an egg in a small bowl and set aside. Afterwards, place the water, butter and sugar in a pot and bring it to the boil. When the butter and sugar have melted, feed in the flour and pulverized Oreo cookie shells. Drizzle it all in bit by bit and slowly, so you have a smooth result. Use a spatula to massage the floury ingredients in. I find this much easier than with any other kitchen utensil. After everything is blended, add the egg while taking the pot off the heat and massage it into the dough as well. Once that is done, fill your dough into a piping bag and prepare a tray (that fits in your freezer) and put a layer of parchment paper on it. Now pipe a spiral ring of 2 inches in diameter each. The amount of dough should result in 8 of the rings, a.k.a. 4 churros sandwiches. To allow the rings to preserve their shape during frying, put them in the freezer for 45 min to one hour.

As for the frying, use a large/ideally high pot, add the vegetable oil and bring it to a boil. The tell-tale sign that your oil has reached the right temperature is when you dip in a spatula and little bubbles form around it. Peel the frozen Oreo rings off the parchment paper with a spatula and let them gently glide into the point to avoid any of the hot oil to spray out and potentially injure you. Cook them for 3-4 minutes. When they’re done, they will float on the top. Prepare a plate or cutting board and place 2 layers or paper towels on it for soaking up the excess oil.

Give the churros rings 2 minutes to cool down and then roll them in a small container with the ¼ cup of sugar mentioned in the ingredients. Place the sugared result on a plate and top it off with a scoop of ice cream and place a second sugared churros ring on top.


From Bavaria with love – Obazda cheese spread with pretzels

Your days of wondering are finally over. For a long time you were searching for the perfect snack for a hot day that ideally complements your cold beer or glass of chilled white wine. The Alpine region of Germany, Bavaria, has the answer for you: Obazda cheese spread. Some of my favorite “When in Bavaria” moments are connected to sitting in a beer garden on a warm summer evening, having a cold, dark Radler beer (which is 2/3 dark beer and 1/3 lemonade) and a Bavarian pretzel (crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside) with Obazda. Obazda is the Bavarian word for mashing together with your hands. Now why is Obazda such a magical food, you might wonder. The answer: it is not just cheese, it’s this wonderful mix of spices that form this inseparable union with the cheese where each ingredient compliments the others and serves its own unique purpose that could never be compensated by leaving one out or exchanging it. I recommend this dish (pretzel and Obazda that is) as a perfect picnic date snack to win anyone’s heart. It works best with beer, but white wine is an almost equally great fit.

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces (250 grams) of ripened camembert cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of soft butter
  • 3 tablespoons of wheat beer
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 1 medium-sized red onion
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • A little bit of caraway
  • 6 medium-sized pretzels

Chop the camembert into tiny dices. I know this can be a bit of a hassle, since camembert can get a teeny bit runny. Continue by adding the butter and beer to the cheese dices in a large bowl and whisk it all together with a fork. Cut the red onion into small dices and add that as well until evenly distributed in the mixture. Last, add the spices. This gives the Obazda its classic orange color. Let the cheese rest in the fridge for a few hours to allow the spices and the beer to enhance the aroma of the spread.


Grilled Mac & Cheese sandwiches with tomato soup

This dish is one of those hidden champions for days when you don’t feel like leaving the house again to go food hunting at the grocery store, yet you feel like some soul food. Now anyone can have a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup to dip or Mac & Cheese any day when you need a quick dinner fix. But how about elevating your impromptu dinner game to the next level and combining the three and thus creating an exciting new twist. The recipe makes 4 servings as a main course or 8 smaller servings as a starter. My favorite idea for this dish: 16 amuse-gueule/hors d’œuvre if you serve the soup in tiny cups and cut the sandwiches into 4 pieces or use thin baguette slices. It’s simple, yet I doubt your guest will have ever had this exact, mind-blowing combo.

Ingredients

For the sandwich

  • 1 cup of Mac & Cheese sauce (for my version of the recipe, please click here)
  • 1 cup of elbow noodles
  • 8 slices of sandwich bread or 16 thin slices of baguette
  • Butter

For the soup

  • 20 fresh tomatoes
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper

I suggest starting with the tomato soup: chop the onion, garlic and tomatoes into dices. Then melt the butter in a pot and add the garlic and onion. Fry for 5 minutes at a medium temperature while stirring. Then proceed by adding the tomatoes and let everything cook for another 5 minutes while continuing to stir. Afterwards, add the vegetable broth and tomato paste, as well as the spices. Let everything simmer for 15 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and use a blender to smooth the soup until you reach a texture you like (since there are two types of people in this world, those who prefer smooth as silk when it comes to tomato soup and those who like chunks in it). Lastly, add the cream to your soup. You most likely won’t need extra salt, as the vegetable broth will provide that.

As for the sandwich, cook the noodles for 7 minutes and prepare the Mac & Cheese sauce. Ideally, this should be a thicker sauce, just like for a Mac & Cheese dish that you would bake in the oven and that would be a bit stiffer. For a recipe to follow, check out the recipe for my version of Mac & Cheese, which is the one I use for this dish. Mix the sauce with the cooked noodles in a bowl and set aside.

Butter each bread slice on one side (and don’t be stingy with the butter) and get a pan to medium heat. Place a generous load of Mac & Cheese on the non-buttered side of 50 percent of the bread slices and place a second bread slice on top, the buttered side facing upwards. The Mac & Cheese layer should be about as thick as a finger. Fry the bread until golden brown and press a spatula on it ever so gently to make everything glue together nicely.

Enjoy!