Another MTK (My Tiny Kitchen)
Living and cooking in Germany
I realized the other day that I haven’t written about my tiny kitchen in months! Often, I take pictures while I’m cooking or baking in my kitchen – of really tasty food and new recipes, or of some old favourites (hello nachoes!).
Christmas happened not too long ago, and I found myself remembering my first Christmas baking experience here in Germany and I couldn’t help but have a little giggle to myself.
What I’d like to approach today is using appliances strategically.
A while ago, I was excited and ordered my first electric appliance for the kitchen. It was during the summer, my herbs were in full bloom on the balcony. I LOVE basil in the summer. During Canadian summers I would constantly prepare fresh basil pesto (even though pine nuts are expensive for the amount you get). It’s so fresh, delicious, and tastes good with basically all food. So, what did I buy?
A food processor. Not just a food processor, but a KitchenAid food processor! I don’t have any brand partnership or anything, but since I was a kid and my parents had a KitchenAid stand-mixer, I was hooked (it’s still a goal of mine to own one of those bad boys). Back to my food processor though. It’s not a huge one, but certainly holds enough to make a cheese sauce for pasta, which I’ll explain more later, and my beloved basil pesto.
Thinking of it now, I suppose I got the food processor when it was prime time for harvesting and cooking with basil. I thought about what colour to buy, I believe there were two options: black or red. I went with the black base option because it was cheaper, although the red would’ve been great to add some pizzazz to the kitchen. Hello white-tile backsplash, white tile floor, white washing machine, off-white refrigerator-cupboard unit. The window blind is red though – yay colour!
In Canada, I had a used, teeny tiny, food processor bought at a garage sale for $1.50 some years back. I used that lil’ guy all the time for pesto. It was just big enough to make one batch worth of basil pesto. I sometimes would prepare a batch, use half with some fresh baguette slices out with a charcuterie board or something, and I would freeze the other half. Yes, basil pesto freezes beautifully. Idea? Make a boatload in the summer with fresh, home grown basil, freeze it, and use it throughout the winter. That is… if you have a freezer larger than the size of half a drawer – like I do! Ah, daydreaming about bigger fridge and freezer units – can we say domestic adulting? Natürlich.
Now, one might be thinking, for just $1.50, why on earth didn’t this girl move the tiny (obviously travel sized) food processor with her across the Atlantic Ocean? Well, you see Western Europe – maybe all of Europe, I haven’t been to all countries yet – has different electrical outlets than what you find in North America. In NA, appliances run on 110 volts and in Europe, they run on 220 volts. Nowadays it’s pretty straight-forward to just buy the adapter plug to changeover your electronics. But! With this old, small food processor, I think if I just plugged it in without the converter, it might’ve fried. And honestly, the only thing I want to fry in my kitchen is cooked in a frying pan on the stove.
Ok, back from that side note. Food processors can be wonderful. I remember as a kid, my mom had this beastly thing, it was big and usually she kept it in the basement in the box until she’d need to bring it upstairs to the kitchen for some recipe or another. Sure, if I had a big food processor I could make all sorts of recipes and not have to consider batching them out. However, in this particular kitchen, I’d have nowhere to store it! I can say, the above-cupboard space already has enough sitting up there. A mortar, specifically bought to grind pistachios for a brussel sprouts recipe, a coffee grinder – that’s not my appliance, and a few schnapps glasses from Christmas.
The Basil Pesto:
As I mentioned earlier, I loved having a small food processor to prepare basil pesto in summer months when basil grows so fast outside. I don’t know what I did without a food processor, I guess I just didn’t ever eat basil pesto at home? Have you ever made a different type of pesto? I have not, I’ll have to try out some recipes next summer when herbs are in mass availability.
I follow a pretty standard recipe for basil pesto. Something, maybe super silly, that I learned when I got this new, German, food processor: the little liquid hole in the lid is SUPER useful. When I had my miniature garage sale food processor, it did not have a spot to pour liquids in, so I would have to take off the lid, fight with the pieces of whatever that were on the top, pour in ⅓ cup of olive oil (or whatever), and go back to mixing. Now, with my beautiful appliance, I can slowly stream in the olive oil for my, in this case, basil pesto. It makes a difference. It makes life easier.
Tip: basil pesto is incredibly tasty mixed in with spaghetti squash. On top of that, add some roasted cherry tomatoes from the oven (drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast on high heat until they burst and shrivel a bit) and some sauteed spinach. I have not yet seen spaghetti squash in the Lebensmittel here, but if I do, I’ll definitely be cooking this up!
Another new favourite for the food processor:
I don’t think I’ve written about how much I love pasta here yet, but I do. I love pasta and I absolutely could not live without cheese. I’m always looking up new recipes to try out with pasta. I drizzle cheese sauce on roasted broccoli or cauliflower and mix cheese into scrambled eggs on weekends. There’s just so much variation with pasta, and with cheese.
A couple months ago when I was, what’s the old saying? – surfing the net, I came upon this wonderful recipe. I stuck with the “healthy” idea from the recipe title and used whole grain pasta. I can say, at least for this recipe, using the whole grain pasta is the right decision.
Pulling out my food processor to prepare the sauce for this recipe. I whispered to my shiny, glorious appliance – it’s time to explore more than the pesto, you got this. And food processor did not disappoint. The first time I made this recipe, the food processor was almost overflowing because of the sauce. I was more prepared the second time – I batched the sauce, so processed the ingredients in half. It took more time, but I wasn’t worried that I would have a giant mess of orange-ish sauce spread across the kitchen to clean up. Naja, war es wirklich Köstlich.
Food. It’s awesome.
Any suggestions for other recipes to get the food processor going? Let me know! I’m always on the hunt for the next delicious treat to adventure in making in my tiny kitchen.