My Mom's "Kartoffelsalat mit dunklem Öl" (potato salad with pumpkin seed oil)


This is no ordinary potato salad - it's neither a traditional German (Swabian or Bavarian) potato salad with a vinegar-oil dressing nor a traditional American potato salad with mayonnaise :)

 The Dark Oil - Pumpkin Seed Oil

We call this potato salad one with a "dark" oil because of the use of the black pumpkin seed oil. It is a pretty simple vinegar-oil dressing with the addition of the dark pumpkin seed oil. The dark oil does not only gives it a special color, it also adds kind of a nutty flavor.

Crunchy Onions and Firm Potatoes

There are two more things that I really enjoy about this salad. First, the onion rings, no diced onion. The rings give a slight crunch and are easily visible, but they are very thin and not too strong. Second, the kind of firm potato slices. I like the salad because the potatoes are not mushy or completely broken up. You can easily identify the potato slices. So, it is the complete opposite of the "schlotzig" Swabian potato salad :)

Ingredients:

  • 5-7 big potatoes (unpeeled, waxy and firm potatoes)
  • 1 liter saltwater
  • 1 onion 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper 
  • 2-3 tablespoon vinegar (wine or apple vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
  • 1/4 cup water (cold)
  • salt, pepper, vinegar to taste

 

Preparation:

Boil the potatoes: 

First, put the unpeeled potatoes in a pot with saltwater and bring to a boil. Let cook for about 20-25 minutes, till a fork goes in smoothly. Time depend on the size of the potatoes, so keep checking, they could also be done earlier. The potatos shall be soft but not broken up or overcooked. The fork should come out smoothly, but the potato should not completly break when pricked. Drain the potatoes and set aside, let cook down for a bit.

Prepare the salad:

Then, peel the potatoes and slice in thin slices. You can do it by hand or use a mandoline. Cut the onion. I like it when the onion is cut in thin half rings, but you can also dice it. I prefer the crunch that the rings add to the salad.

Add the dressing:

Now, add salt, pepper and the vinegar and oils. Just pour it over the potatoes. You do not need to mix the dressing in a separate bowl. Add a bit of cold water. Mix all the potatoes with the seasoning and dressing, but be careful to not completely break down all potatoes. There should still be some unbroken potato slices :)

Season to taste:

Last, try the salad. Add some more salt, pepper or vinegar if needed. When you let the salad sit for a while, you may need to mix it again and adjust the spices. There should always be some dark vinegraitte visible in the bottom of the bowl. If the potatoes have soaked up all the liquid, you need to add more vinegar and water.

Bon Appetit!







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    My Mom's "Paprika-Hähnchen Reispfanne" (chicken, bell pepper & rice )


    My Mom used to bring home those little recipe cards that they sometimes had at the grocery store. We usually never cooked with them, but there were two cards that became family recipes - one beieng a stuffed zucchini and the other one this colorful and fresh rice dish with chicken and bell pepper.

    I especially love the colors of the bell pepper. You do have to use all three colors - red, yellow and green. It is important that you do not overcook the bell pepper, it should still keep the vibrant color and be a little on the crispy side.

    Seeing this dish with those bright colors of the fresh vegetables, it always gives me the feeling of a caribbean vacation ;)

    Ingredients (4 servings):

    • 1 liter saltwater 
    •  250g rice
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 3-4 chicken breast (ca. 500g)
    • 2 cloves garlic - minced
    • salt, pepper
    • 1/2-1 teaspoon paprika seasoning
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 onion- finely diced
    • 1 green bell pepper - sliced
    • 1 red bell pepper - sliced
    • 1 yellow bell pepper - sliced
    • 2 tomatoes - diced
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste 
    • salt, pepper, paprika seasoning to taste
    • 1/4 cup fresh cut parsely
    • optional: 1/4 cup corn

    Preparation:

    Cook the Rice: 

    Heat the saltwater and cook the rice according to package instructions.

    Prepare the Chicken:

    Heat the oil in a big frying pan or wok. Add the chicken and fry for 2 minutes from both sides. Add the minced garlic, some salt, pepper and paprika seasoning. Stir and keep frying the chicken for 2-3 more minutes. Take it out of the pan and keep it warm on the side. Be careful not to overcook the chicken as it dries out fast. You do not need to completely cook it through now, as you will set it aside and add it to the rice dish later on and continue cooking it.

    Mix Rice with Vegetables and Season: 

    Melt the butter in the same frying pan that you used for the chicken. Don't clean the frying pan, the chicken spices will add some seasoning. Add the diced onions and sliced bell pepper to the melted butter. Fry for about 5 minutes and keep stirring. Don't fry the bell pepper too long, you do not want to overcook it. It should still be crispy. Add the rice and diced tomatoes. If you want to, you can also add some corn now. Add tomato paste and stir. Add salt, pepper, paprika seasoning to taste. Mix well.

    Simmer and Serve: 

    Now, put the chicken pieces on top of the rice. Close the frying pan with a lid. Let simmer for 10 minutes at low heat. Right before serving, sprinkle the parsley on top of everything and give it a quick stir.






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      My Mom's "Gurkensoße" (cucumber soup)


      My Mom calls it a "Gurkensoße" which litteraly translates to cucumber sauce. However, it is a soup. It is a recipe she picked up from her mother-in-law who is not a native German speaker. So, maybe the word got mixed up somewhere in translation :)

      This soup is more on the sour side due to the cucumber and vinegar. It is a very (vegetarian based) fresh and light summer soup. The potatoes and the bread (if you serve it with bread)  make it a little heartier.

      The cucumbers used in this recipe are not the commonly used salad cucumbers or pickled cucumbers. They are specific cooking or stewing cucumbers. They are slightly smaller then the salad cucumber, but thicker. The color is a little darker. The important part is, that they have less seeds inside and have a stronger flavor. Making them perfect for this soup.

      Ingredients:

      • 4 cucumbers (cooking/ stewing cucumbers)
      • 1 tablespoon salt
      • 4 tablespoons butter (or margerine)
      • 3 tablespoons flour
      • 6 small cloves of garlic (minced)
      • 1 liter water
      • 1 tablespoon salt
      • 1 tablespoon ground careaway  
      • 4-5 potatoes (peeled and cut in cubes)
      • pinch of salt
      • 1/4 cup water
      • 5 tablespoons vinegar
      • salt/ pepper to taste
      • 4-5 tablespoons sauce thickener ("Saucenbinder dunkel" - substitude with corn starch or flour/water mix)

      Preparation:

      Prepare the Cucumber

      Peel and thinnly slice the cucumbers, you may want to use a mandoline for it. Season with salt and let sit for 1-2 hours. The salt will draw out the excess water of the cucumbers and flavors them - a critical step not to be missed! Then, squeeze the cucumbers slightly and drain them.

      Prepare the Roux

      In a pot, heat up the butter. Add the flour und stir. It shoud have a thick consistency. When you scrape it from the botton, it should take a few seconds to flow back in place. It should not be too liquid, but also not too thick. Add more butter or flour if needed. When it starts to bubble, add the garlic. Keep stirring to not burn the butter/flour mix or the garlic. The roux is ready when it turns slightly brownish with still a yellow tinge.

      Fill up the Pot

      Now, add the cucumbers and stir to mix them with the roux. Add the water, the salt, the ground careaway and stir. Let cook for about 10 minutes. Add the potato cubes, a pinch of salt and a bit of water. Let cook for another 20 minutes till the potatoes are soft. A fork should go in smoothly.

      Season and Serve it

      Lastly, add the vinegar, some more salt and pepper to taste. Thicken the soup either with a special sauce thickener (e.g., Mondamin) or alternatively, with a bit of cornstarch. You can also mix together some flour and water in a small bowl and add this to the soup for thickening. Serve with bread.








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        Irish Pubs, Beer and Grub


        I love pubs and I was looking forward to some true Irish Pubs on my vacation in Ireland :) I also really enjoyed the Irish breweries and their craft beer. I am not much of a German beer drinker, however craft beer is a whole different story... I especially enjoyed the Irish Red Ale.

        My new favorite - Irish Red Ale

        Most of the pubs I went to were in Galway, within the Latin Quarter down to the Spanish Arch.

        In Dublin, I was more occupied with some nice craft beer breweries :) However, there are also nice Irish pubs, espeically within the riverside neighborhood on both sides of the river liffy.

        Irish Pubs in Galway and Dublin

        • The Skeff Bar (Galway) - This was my favorite bar. It is situated directly at the Eyre Square. The pub is really big with several rooms/bars and floors. It has the typical rusty wooden look. They serve their own beer, the Scéal Ale (golden amber ale with azacca, amarillo and citrus hops). And of course, they do have live music every night. Above the bar is a hotel. It's a bit noisy to stay there but they provide earplugs and the breakfast is really nice, in a sunny upstairs area with cute little colorful sofas. While I was not really convinced of their food (I had the sunday roast), I really enjoyed the location, atmosphere, beer and music.
        • The Daíl Bar (Galway) - This is a very famous pub in Galway. They are really big as well with  two floors and several bars. Great atmosphere with live music downstairs, but only midweek. Their food is also high quality, I had their delicious Irish beef stew (with lots of veggies as well) and their decadent sticky toffee pudding with honeycomb ice cream as a dessert.
        • The Front Door (Galway) - This is another of the historic Irish Pubs in Galway. The interior is really great, two floors and five rooms and niches, including a cocktail lounge. Everything nicely decorated. Live music every night. Their food is standard pub grub (I tried one of their Burger and Fries), but what really convinced me was the lovely atmosphere.
        • The Quay Street Kitchen (Galway) - This is a very small place, rather an unconventional "pub", more a restaurant. However, they serve amazing food, not the standard pub grub. I had a Morrocan spiced vegetable tagine with cous cous and as a dessert their version of the classical bannoffee pie. I also had my first Irish Red Ale here :)
        • Tigh Neachtain's (Galway) -This is a really quaint, rusty and cozy all-wood pub. It has fireplaces, lots of little nooks and niches to sit in and an outdoor seating area. They are proud of their displayed art and also have live music. Their food and beer was also above standard. During my Galway Food Tour, I enjoyed their oatmeal stout, salami crackers, deep fried goat chesse and sushi.
        • Ard Bia at Nimmo's (Galway) - This is a pub that I actually have not really tried out. However, I read a lot about it and our Food Tour guide recommended it. It is a little pricier and higher standard. The food is supposed to be high quality. Location is directly at the port, beneath the Spanish Arch on the Long Walk.
        • Temple Bar (Dublin) - This is the traditional tourist pub in Dublin, at the south bank of the river liffy. You just have to see it. It once has been more a district for locals according to our tour guide, but now it is mostly frequented by tourists. It is always lively and crowded. There are several pub rooms and bars, nicely decorated and live music each evening.

        Breweries and Craft Beer ind Dublin

        • J.W. Sweetman - This craft beer brewery was my favorite. I stumbled upon this place by accident, its right on the south bank of the liffy with a nice view of the liffy. They have several floors and sit-down dinner was served upstairs with live music. They served different flights or craft beer with a huge selection to choose from including some seasonal beers and the traditional Irish Red Ale. Also, the food was just amazingly good! No pub grub :) I had the Green Veggie Thai Curry. 
        • The Porterhouse - This place was recommended to me by one of my tour guides. They convinced me as they also serve flights of craft beer. I do love a good sample flight :) The dinner area is in the back and they do not have live music but a D.J. Food and atmosphere was good.
        • P.Mac's - This craft beer brewery was recommended to me by one of the other pub bartenders. They did not serve flights, but they let me sample every beer I wanted for free :) The atmosphere was really nice, they had these cute arrangements of bottles with red candles on each table. It felt quite cozy.

























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