I love to cook (as I hope you can all tell!) and few things are more fun than sharing an interest with like-minded people. Today was one of those days :) In the morning, Silene and I made pancakes, each with our favorite recipe. We swapped pancakes and toppings (Grade A maple syrup and butter for me, separate stacks of margarine with grade C maple syrup and nutella and strawberry jam for her). I should have brought my camera to document the pancake bar, but sometimes moments are valuable just for being moments, not because a camera is there.
Afterwards, I came back to my building to have a baking party with my neighbor D. He make Smartie cookies with a delicious and peculiar invention known only in Germany -Milka Cream Cheese. It's a spread from the beloved Philadelphia company, mixed with Milka chocolate. Recipe here. He changed it up a little by mixing some almond butter and smarties in, instead of macadamia nuts. A good dry-run for a birthday party this week. Mmmmm, delicious.
As for me, the recent appearance of GIANT rhubarb stalks in the stores had gotten me thinking. Having never cooked with rhubarb before, I wanted to do something! I have also been really enjoying looking for alternatives to cut down on the processed foods in my life. I want to enjoy my desserts, but without white flour or white sugar, so I'm challenging myself! The problem is that rhubarb is very bitter. How can you turn that into a delicious sugar-free dessert? Splenda, my friends, does not count. So I searched and searched. Most of the recipes called for sugar substitutes, but I finally found this one on a website filled with "clean eating" recipes. Recipes with simple, whole, unprocessed ingredients. Sign me up! The only change I made was to use 1/4 cup honey mixed with 1/2 cup hot water instead of the 3/4 cup apple juice concentrate -where was I going to find THAT here in Germany? I also put the filling into little piecrust circles (made with olive oil and yogurt) instead of under crumble topping. They were really yummy :)
Look, it's a giant rhubarb stalk!
And the mixture cooking down:
After the pie was done (and I had "helped" D sample cookies) I went to meet up with some friends from my second German course to make dinner! We went to our favorite discount grocery chain (Rewe) and shopped for last-minute chili. No one had a recipe, so we just imagined what would be good, and went for it. 1 box of mushrooms, three peppers, two cans of crushed tomatoes, one can of beans, one can of corn, two onions, two garlic cloves, and some spices later, and we had a delicious filling dinner. Eaten with bread -oh so good.
Us minus the fabulous photographer: