Give the Gift that Gives Back!

cookbook-cover-imageAvailable on Amazon, 100% of the profits from The Global Recipe Project Cookbook will benefit not-for-profit organizations which feed people as a central part of their mission. Cooks and food bloggers from around the world have generously contributed to this amazing book. Over 170 recipes from 65 countries are included!

Try your hand at Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, while reading how and when this meal is traditionally served. Sample a variety of chutneys while exploring the rich spice blends of India. Dine on simple and delicious French dishes such as Croquette Monsieur and Soupe L’Ongion.

Bakers will appreciate clear and simple instructions for classics such as Italian Cannoli and Austrian Apfelstrudel. Feeling adventurous? Amigdalato, a Greek almond pastry, and Kransekake, a Norwegian wedding cake, offer dramatic dessert options for holiday entertaining.

Pick up a copy today, and support a worthy cause!
ISBN-13: 978-0998191607
ISBN-10: 0998191604
BISAC: Cooking / Regional & Ethnic / General

Paleo Apple Fritters


Traveling to Austria and not indulging in local desserts would be… why, that would be simply unthinkable!  And so, we indulged…


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile we didn’t find an Austrian dessert we didn’t like (and it wasn’t for lack of sampling!), we were particularly smitten by the apple fritters at a little Salzburg café:


Apple Fritters in Salzburg


The fresh apple rings were decadently battered, deep fried, dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and served with a side of Chantilly crème.  What’s not to love about that?  Well, it turns out that the waistband of my jeans has other thoughts on the matter (sigh).  I can try to blame the ill fit on the dryer, but let’s be honest… the deep fried batter has got to go.

Have no fear!  The jeans-friendly version of apple fritters featured below captures the same wonderful flavors, but lightens things up a bit.  It’s paleo, too!  The combination of salt from the almonds and sweet from the honey is simply divine.  I hope you enjoy this guilt-free pleasure.


Castle (Salzburg, Austria)


Horses (Salzburg, Austria)

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 large, firm apples

1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon ground mace (or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped, salted almonds

2 tablespoons honey


Step 1) Slice 1/4 inch off of the top and bottom of each apple.  Slice each apple into 4 pieces, crosswise (through the core).

Step 2) Use a tiny cookie cutter or petit fours cutter to punch out the center of each apple slice.

Step 3) Melt half of the coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add half the apple slices, sprinkle with ground mace, and cook for 3 minutes on each side.

WIN_20140905_200333Step 4) Repeat with remaining coconut oil and apple slices.

Step 5) Arrange cooked apple slices in a ring on a serving platter (alternatively, arrange on 4 individual serving plates).

Step 6) Sprinkle chopped almonds over the apple slices, and drizzle with honey.  Enjoy while warm!

“Almost Austrian” Baked Dumplings



Sometimes, when I am inspired to recreate a dish I enjoyed while traveling, I am able to conjure up something remarkably similar without too many surprises.  This… well, this was not one of those times.

Bread dumplings, or semmelknoedel, are a common side dish in Austria.  These large white dumplings, typically cooked in boiling water and topped with a savory sauce, are quite a comfort food.  My travel companions really enjoyed them, so I thought I’d give it a go.  How hard can it be to make a big dumpling out of bread?  Well…

To be fair, I was warned.  Don Chase shared a semmelknoedel recipe online, and specifically talked about how this type of dumpling can fall apart in boiling water if one doesn’t get the recipe just right.  Rather than actually heeding this warning, I plowed forward with my own ideas.  I wanted a healthier, whole wheat dumpling.  I also wanted to ramp up the flavor a bit, perhaps by adding some fresh red pepper and smoked paprika.  Everything seemed to be going fine until I plopped a dumpling in boiling water.  Then, disaster struck:


Ugh. Gross.

My mother happened to stop by during Operation Dumpling Disaster.  After we both had a good laugh about the awful looking contents in the boiling pot, she simply shrugged and said, “Eh. Bake ’em.”  Yes, of course – BAKE the dumplings!  Let’s pretend I would have thought of that.


Baked Dumplings Fresh from the Oven

Well, the baked dumplings turned out FABULOUS, and what was almost discarded as a kitchen blunder has now become a recipe I will make again and again.  I hope you enjoy these “Almost Austrian” Baked Dumplings!

WIN_20140904_154914Ingredients (Makes 6 large dumplings)

1/2 loaf stale whole wheat bread (bread must be very dry), cubed

2 room temperature eggs

1 cup warm milk

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Mushroom Cream Sauce:

1 tablespoon butter

1 pound button mushrooms, sliced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup light sour cream

2 tablespoons milk


Step 1) Gently toss together dry bread cubes, eggs, and milk.  Let stand during step 2.

Step 2) Cook onion and red pepper in 1 tablespoon butter until onion is translucent.  Add paprika and salt.  Remove from heat and add contents of pan to bread mixture.

Step 3) Using your hands, shape bread mixture into 6 large dumplings.  You’ll need to really squeeze the mixture into tight spheres, or the dumplings won’t hold their shape.

Step 4) Place dumplings in a greased baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Step 5) While dumplings are baking, cook mushrooms in 1 tablespoon butter until mushrooms release their liquid into the pan.  Remove from heat.  Stir in sea salt, sour cream and milk.  If mixture is too thick, add another tablespoon of milk.

Step 6) Spoon mushrooms and sour cream sauce over warm dumplings.  Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and parsley.  Serve immediately.


Goulash in Austria?



Prior to visiting Austria, I had thought of Goulash as a specifically Hungarian dish.  Goulash does have Hungarian origins, but I quickly learned that relegating the dish to Hungary alone would be an error.  Austria and Hungary share a storied history, and indeed were unified under one government for some time.  Currently, Austria and Hungary share a 220 mile border.  It stands to reason, then, that these two countries would share many nuances of their food cultures with one another.  This would explain why one of the best meals we enjoyed in Austria, and perhaps in all of Western Europe, was a perfectly prepared Goulash.


Residenzbrunnen Baroque Fountain in Salzburg


Residenzplatz (Public Square) in Salzburg

What is Goulash? The name sounds a bit off-putting, to be perfectly honest!  Don’t let the name steer you astray – Goulash is a delightful comfort food, perfect for approaching Autumn weather.  It’s basically a stew, but different from an American beef stew in that the broth is much more rich and heavily seasoned with paprika.  I’ve simplified the recipe below a bit, saving the bread dumpling in the top photo above for a future recipe (bread dumplings are really a dish in their own right).  Instead of the bread dumpling, I’ve added additional vegetables below.  The end result captures the flavors of Austrian Goulash with more vitamins and fewer carbs.  You’ll want to start this recipe the night before serving… it’s super easy with a slow cooker, don’t worry!

Ingredients (Serves 6)

4 large, very ripe tomatoes

1 large onion

1 large red bell pepper

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika

1 tablespoon smoked Hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 pounds beef roast

6 medium potatoes

6 small onions, halved

6 carrots, peeled and halved


Step 1) The night before serving, cut tomatoes, 1 large onion, and red bell pepper into chunks.  Place in a crock-style slow cooker.  Add wine, cover, and cook on low overnight.

Step 2) The next morning, puree contents of slow cooker with an immersion blender.  Stir in paprika.  Leave the slow cooker turned on low, and leave the lid off the slow cooker during Step 3.  This will help to evaporate any excess liquid.

Step 3) Cut the beef roast into serving size chunks (cutting a 2 pound roast into 12 pieces works well).  Sprinkle with salt, and brown all sides on a hot pan for 2 minutes per side.  You will probably need to do this in 2 batches.

Step 4) Add browned beef to the slow cooker and sauce.  Place small onions and carrots on top.  Replace lid on slow cooker, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until meat comes apart easily with a fork.

Step 5) Just before serving, poke potatoes with a fork and microwave until tender (check after 5 minutes, but may take 8 minutes or longer).  Yes, we’re using a microwave.  There’s no need to be all precious about it.  Your potatoes will actually have a more pleasing texture this way, trust me.

Step 6) Place a cooked potato in each serving bowl and arrange a serving of meat, onions, and carrots alongside.  Generously ladle Goulash sauce over the top of everything.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired, and serve immediately.

Austrian Preserved Fruit


Preserved Pineapple and Plum (recipe below)

The most beautiful storefront in all of Western Europe can be found on a little cobbled street in Salzburg, Austria.  In this storefront, a dazzling assortment of every imaginable kind of fruit, each beautifully and deliciously preserved, is arranged in an abundant and artful display.  It is spectacular to see.  The prices, alas, are also spectacular – spectacularly high – making this particular stop a “look but don’t touch” destination.



While I was unable to leave with a treasure bag of purchased preserved fruit, I left with plenty of inspiration to recreate these treats at home on a more reasonable budget.  It’s actually a very simple process, and very affordable!  For less than the price of chips and salsa, you can bring a plate of jewel-toned, candy-like fruit to your next social event.  Even if your cooking skills are limited to boiling water – seriously – you can do this!



2 pounds fresh fruit with a firm texture such as pineapple, mango, papaya, figs, or plums

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or clove


Step 1) Working with one type of fruit at a time (preserve different types of fruit in separate batches), peel and slice fruit into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Set aside.

Step 2) Bring sugar, water, and spice to a boil in a large, wide pot.  Allow syrup mixture to boil vigorously and reach a temperature of roughly 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3) Add fruit and reduce heat to simmer.  Spread fruit pieces around with a stirring spoon so that fruit is in a single layer on the bottom of the pot, covered in syrup.

Step 4) Simmer, uncovered, until fruit looks glossy and turns translucent in color.  For pineapple, this takes approximately 30 minutes.  For plums, this takes approximately 15 minutes.  Cooking time will vary depending upon your choice of fruit and the thickness of your fruit slices.  Once fruit turns translucent in color, remove pot from heat and cover.  Allow fruit to soak in the syrup overnight.


  Before Cooking


After Cooking

Step 5) The next day, remove fruit from syrup with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack.  Allow fruit to dry for several days at room temperature, or speed up the drying process by placing the fruit in a slightly warm oven (absolutely no hotter than 200 degrees!) for several hours.

Step 6) After fruit is dry, sprinkle lightly with sugar.  Store in a tightly covered container.  If long term storage is needed, placing the container in a freezer will preserve optimum flavor.  Enjoy!

***Bonus!*** Save that cooking syrup!  Seriously, taste it.  The sugar syrup takes on the flavors and colors of the fruit, and stores well in the refrigerator.  A teaspoon of fruit syrup is lovely drizzled over a bowl of oatmeal.  I’m told that an ounce of syrup isn’t half bad in a martini glass with a shot or two of vodka, either.  😉