Quick & Easy Strawberry Mousse

I put this together last week; it’s fast, easy, and non-bake, non-cook, with no raw eggs.  It was ready to go in about 20 minutes from start to finish, and is a flexible recipe – you could use any fruit you prefer!

Strawberry Mousse LabeledStrawberry Mousse

5 dl. Whipping cream
1-2 tsp. Vanilla sugar

1 strawberry yogurt (180 gr.)

~600-800 gr. Fresh strawberries
Sweetener of choice (Agave syrup, honey)

Whip the cream and vanilla sugar together until quite stiff.
Whip the yogurt into the whipped cream.
Wash and de-stem the strawberries; quarter about a third of them and put into a nice bowl to set on the table for toppers (chill until ready to serve).
Bung the other strawberries into a blender and puree; add this to the whipped mixture and whip thoroughly until firm.
Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Suggestible Vegetable Casserole

Vegetables

Credit: Instantpot.com

There are probably as many recipes out there for vegetable casseroles as there are cooks; if you’ve been in the kitchen for awhile you develop a feel for how much, how long, and when to start.  This is one of those non-recipes that I can prepare in about 20 minutes (30 if I clean up afterwards), set it in the cold oven, and turn it on an hour before my husband gets home from work.  He rides his bike to work, and it takes him roughly an hour to get home through the city of Zurich; years ago we developed the habit of him calling me when he’s ready to leave the office (there was an episode of ruined homemade ravioli because he was stuck in a business meeting, which I won’t dig up…), so when he calls I can just switch on the oven and forget about it – it will be ready when he gets in.  The title is simply because this recipe is a suggestion – amounts are arbitrary, and it all depends on how big your casserole dish is.  So without further ado…

Suggestible Vegetable Casserole

Choose your weapons:  A good cutting knife, cutting board, and the right-sized casserole dish; set out a large bowl to toss the cut veggies into (you’ll see why).

Choose your victims:  I use whatever I have on hand, and I look for veggies that need using, or leftovers (e.g. I had a bit of leftover topping from the Baked Tomatoes, and used that as part of my topper).  I used the following:

5-6 smallish potatoes, quartered and diced

3 large tomatoes, diced

6-8 carrots, diced

A handful of celery, diced (I keep a bag of this in the freezer to grab for such occasions)

A handful of spring onions, chopped  (ditto)

A handful of chopped tender-stem broccoli (any sturdy greens will do)

1 package of Feta cheese, cubed

 

  • Toss them in as you go.  Now comes a “secret” technique:

2 x 2-portion dried soup powder (I use complementary flavours, e.g. spring veg, onion, etc.)

 

  • Toss the vegetables with these powdered soups to coat them thoroughly; doing this ahead of baking time allows the flavours to soak in; you can toss a bit of chives in, but otherwise you won’t need any other spice or flavouring.
  • Pour the veggies into your casserole dish and spread them out – they should loosely fill the dish to the rim, with air-space in between for the liquid mixture.  Now use that bowl to mix the following:

 

4 eggs

~ ½ – 1 Cup half & half cream

1-2 Cups milk

 

  • Pour evenly over the vegetables.  Now sprinkle on the topping:

 

120 gr. (just over ½ cup) grated cheese

Breading crumbs

 

  • Set it into the oven and let the flavours marry until time to turn on the heat.
  • Bake at 190°C (375°F) for ~1 hour, checking it the last 10 minutes or so.

Baked Tomatoes

During grill season, we love to grill vegetables along with the meat; however, when we recently had a large party here there simply wasn’t enough room on the grill for vegetables as well, so I tried another way of preparing the tomatoes; they were great, and I’ll probably prepare my tomatoes this way from now on!  The measurements of this recipe are not exact – it depends on how many tomatoes you’re doing at a time, and what your individual preferences are.  Take this as a guideline:

Baked Tomatoes

Preheat your oven to ~200°C (400°F).

Baked Tomatoes

In a bowl, mix the following ingredients together:

~1 Cup grated cheese (Parmesan if you don’t want it melting too much, or a fattier cheese if you want melted, such as Gruyère)

1/2 C. breading crumbs (here in Switzerland, it’s Paniermehl)

Spices to taste:  I sprinkled in some grill spice, chives and a dash of Parsley.

If you wanted, you could also mix in some finely diced onion.

 

Next, slice your tomatoes into rings; for large tomatoes, I cut them in thirds.  Hold a slice of tomato over the bowl and, with a spoon, sprinkle the mixture onto the tomato; be generous – stack it up a bit!  Lay the slices out separately onto a baking paper-lined baking tray.

At this point if you’re making these ahead, set them aside or put them in the fridge until time to bake.

Bake them ~10-15 minutes – just long enough for the topping to melt / turn golden brown.  Serve hot!  These will go well as a side dish for just about anything; if you’re serving a meal that might be a bit dry on its own, these will add a juicy contrast.  They would also serve well as an appetizer, though they would be a bit too juicy to serve as finger-food.

En Guete!

 

Herbed Butter

It’s grill season here in Switzerland, and if there’s meat (other than Cervela or Bratwurst) on the menu, I try to have some of this herbed butter on hand.  It goes great on corn on the cob, roast vegetables, and just about anything you put on the grill or the stove besides dessert!  They make a nice touch to any meal that wants a bit of butter, herbs or Mascarpone on the side.

These dollops are easily frozen; they can be used as an easy portion of butter in a frying pan as well – just toss one in, and you’ve got herbed butter melted and ready in no time!

Herbed Butter

Herbed Butter

250 gr. (8.8 oz.) butter, softened to room temperature before you begin

1 large dob of Mascarpone (I just heap a glob from a tablespoon)

1-2 Tbs. chives (fresh or dried)

~1 Tbs. grill spice (whatever your favourite is)

Mix together well; I first cut the butter in, then mash it together coarsely with a fork, and then finish it off by whipping it with a blender (mix it in whatever way is easiest and most efficient for you!).

Spoon into a pastry bag, or a silicon pastry squeezer (I used one as pictured), and squeeze portion-sized mounds onto baking paper; freeze, single-layered, and then store them in an air-tight container in the freezer until ready to serve.  They’ll thaw out readily next to (or on!) grilled foods.

Silicon Pastry Squeezer

En Guete!

Hash Brown Egg Nests

HASHBROWN EGG NESTS

Credit: Betty Crocker

This recipe was originally on Betty Crocker; I have adapted it for using fresh ingredients only; unnecessary boxed brand-named ingredients are one of my pet peeves with said website, and any chance I get to make a recipe from there, I will make it from scratch!  So here it is, adapted for every kitchen.

Hash Brown Egg Nests

4-5 medium potatoes, boiled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup crumbled bacon or ham, if desired
6 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 400°F (200°C).  Either rub 6 regular-size muffin cups with butter or oil, or use muffin papers.
Boil and grate potatoes, then place in medium bowl.  Stir in crumbled bacon.  Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups.  Bake about 15 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown on edges.  Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).
Crack 1 egg over each muffin cup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake about 18-20 minutes or until egg whites and yolks are firm, not runny. Cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin cups, and serve hot.