Category Archives: N

Cooked and written by N.

Homemade Tortillas

I didn’t start making my own tortillas until I moved to Germany.
It was more or less out of sheer necessity.
You see, Germans don’t really cook or eat Mexican food.
One of my best friends in Munich, Peteski, hails from Texas. This recipe comes from Peteski, and every time I make a batch I am taken back to the funky 1950s WWII era student dorms that we resided in.

During our 9-week break between winter and summer semesters, we decided we NEEDED a Mexican feast. We spent a few hours scouring German grocery stores for all the ingredients we needed. We were able to find black beans and hot sauce at an Asian market and avocados, onions, tomatoes, and garlic at our regular stomping grounds, Marktkauf.

We spent all day soaking black beans, making tortillas and guacamole. Everything came together beautifully and we were beside ourselves with joy. The best part of the meal? Teaching some of my floor mates how to make a burrito. I’ve never seen such confusion; Germans are all about rules and efficiency, not to say that is a bad thing, but it was difficult for them to grasp the idea of making a burrito with any of the ingredients that they wanted.

I’d say it was successful for all parties involved.

::: Ingredients :::

— 3 cups flour

— 1 ¼ cup water

— ½ tsp. salt

— dash of olive oil

::: Directions :::

>> Mix together the flour and the salt in a medium bowl.

>>  Add the water slowly to the dry ingredients, mixing as you go, until the dough is soft and no longer sticky. Remember, you can adjust the amount of flour and water if need be. More flour if it’s too sticky for example.

>> Knead the dough until smooth. Place in a pre-olive oiled bowl and allow to rest for a little while. No exact time, just enough to rest.

>> Separate dough into golf ball sized balls.

>> Lightly flour a surface and rolling pin to roll out the tortillas on, either a big cutting board or counter top.

>> Roll out the balls until they are fairly thin.

>> Heat up a pan on medium heat. The first couple of tortillas will take a little longer to cook than the rest when the pan is fully heated.

>> Cook tortillas for a minute or two on each side, just until you have some brown spots.

You can store tortillas in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for a few days. They make delicious burritos, quesadillas, and you can even cut into triangles and bake to make your own tortilla chips.

Guten Appetit!


Filed under N, Other

:: Salted Fudge Brownies ::

I had a realization this morning, right between a couple of big gulps of coffee.

The rise in my chocolate consumption lately directly correlates with the increase of gray skies and cold spring rain.
That’s all the explanation one needs, really. After that chocolate cake I made not too far off in recent memory, I wanted to try something different. Just not so different that it was outside of the chocolate box. I recently had salted caramel ice cream at Molly Moon’s in Wallingford. I was instantly hooked to the salty/sweet contrast. These brownies have a discrete hint of salt- it’s perfect.
Make these a few hours before you know you will be craving them. They take a while to cool. Just a word to the wise.

::: Ingredients :::

·  1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
·  2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
·  1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
·  2 cups sugar
·  3 large eggs
·  1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
·  1 cup all-purpose flour
·  1/2 teaspoon sea salt

::: Directions :::

>> Preheat the oven to 350º. Next, cover a 9 x 9 pan with foil and butter the foil slightly. This will make cutting the brownies at the end a lot easier.

>> In a large saucepan, melt the butter and the unsweetened chocolate on a very low setting and stir occasionally. Once melted together, remove from heat.

>> Whisk together, one at a time until fully combined, the cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Then, pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle an even layer of sea salt over the top of the batter. Next, take a butter knife and swirl the salt into the batter.

>> Bake on the center rack for 35 min. or until the edges are firm, but the middle slightly soft. Allow brownies to cool for at least an hour at room temperature; place in the refrigerator for an hour. (The waiting is well worth it, I promise.) Once cooled completely, remove the foil from the pan and cut brownies into 16 pieces.

**I found this recipe via


Filed under Dessert, N

Cake or Pie? The Best Chocolate Cake

Important life question today folks:

Are you a Cake or a Pie person?

I know, you either have a deep seeded affinity to one and only one, or you enjoy both without extreme sway to either. I, myself, am a cake person. Plain and simple. I would do just about anything for a scrumptious slice of cake.

Your answer to this question says a lot about you as a person. Pie people are complex. Think about a pie, so many crucial components to a good pie. First, the crust. A good pie crust is few and far between. It takes a know-how and talent to pull off a flaky, buttery, delicious crust. And then there’s the filling. Where do you even begin? Cream or fruit pie? Cream pies are beyond me. I’ve never had a good experience with cream pie.
* The only exception to my pie aversion is my Grandma Tessman’s Gooseberry and Blueberry Pie.

Cake on the other hand is simple. Chocolate or vanilla? Definitely always chocolate cake for this girl. The second and only other worry with cake is the frosting. Yes, I love cake, but any great cake can be ruined with over-the-top frosting.
I am simply smitten with cream cheese frosting, cake or not. Or this odd but lip-smacking good frosting.

I found this on the Pioneer Woman Cooks website and decided to give it a whirl. Boy, I am ever so glad I tried this recipe. My sister is thanking me as well, even Nathan reluctantly tried a bite… and then a second, and third. This cake may even be on the dangerous side. You might hurt yourself after the first bite. It may or may not lead you to eat half the pan. So moist, and chocolaty, ah so scrumptious!

Don’t just sit there.
Make this cake!

:: The Best Chocolate Cake. Ever. ::

·  2 cups Flour
·  2 cups Sugar
·  ¼ teaspoons Salt
·  4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
·  2 sticks Butter
·  1 cup Boiling Water
·  ½ cups Buttermilk
(I didn’t have buttermilk and was in dire need of cake, so I used organic milk and it was just fine!)
·  2 whole Beaten Eggs
·  1 teaspoon Baking Soda
·  1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preparation Instructions

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Add the boiling water and allow the chocolate-buttery-goodness mixture to boil for 30 seconds and then cut the heat. Combine with the dry ingredients and let it cool off for a bit.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk, or whatever milk you may have in your fridge, and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate/flour mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan (I used a pyrex and while it was extra thick and luscious, I think next time I will split the batter into a couple of pyrex dishes or invest in a sheet cake pan) and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes. Since I used a much smaller dish I had to cook the cake a lot longer. Not to fret if this happens to you, you can easily check the doneness of the cake with a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick is gooey when you remove it from the cake then throw it back in the oven for a short while.

p.s. My apologies for the lack of photos. The cake was gone before our eyes, it’s THAT good.

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Filed under Dessert, N