If you are a food lover searching Google and Pinterest for pasta recipes, you’ll see that we live in a world full of zoodles. The nutritional benefits that come from replacing pasta with zucchini are quite clear: lower calories, lower carbs, and more vitamins and minerals. They are light, they are refreshing, and they can replace pasta in most every instance. I’m a huge fan and I make them at least once a week!

But I’ll be damned if I sit here and state that I don’t still love a big freakin’ bowl of pasta every now and then.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

If I could down bowls of mac & cheese or spaghetti with pesto without gaining a pound, my pantry would have every kind of pasta imaginable. I’d also have a season pass at Eataly. (Oh, goodness, imagine if that existed…)

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

If there is something better than a big bowl of pasta, it’s a big bowl of pasta that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes flat. I found this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod, and fell in love with its simplicity, its lightness, and yet its ability to leave me feeling perfectly full without being overstuffed.

Truth: I ate this for dinner one night. Then I made it for lunch the next day. Then I ate it again for dinner that same night.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

The zoodles can wait. Give me some damn carbs.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

(Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod’s recipe for 5-Ingredient Spinach Parmesan Pasta)
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 8 ounces thin spaghetti, uncooked
– 5 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, separated into two 1/4 cup parts
– Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add thin spaghetti and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.

2.) In the same saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add olive oil. Add garlic and cook for two to three minutes or until soft and slightly golden brown. Turn off heat and return pasta to pan. Toss with garlic. Add spinach and toss well until spinach is wilted; slowly add pasta water, if needed, if pasta starts to dry out or spinach is slow to wilt. Toss with one part parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Serve with additional part of parmesan cheese for garnish.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

I love some good alliteration, don’t you?

Shakshuka is something that I’ve grown a love for, especially as my hatred of runny yolks has cooled significantly over the past few years. About two years ago, for a quick post-work dinner, I impulsively decided to spoon some marinara sauce over some sliced hard boiled eggs, and I found it to be a odd yet satisfying choice. My former roommate Emily (whom I miss every single damn day) had an enthusiasm for Shakshuka, telling me about her love for it and how she’s had it in Israel many a time.

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Oh hey there, typical tiny Manhattan Kitchen…

I now regret not attempting to make a full-size of this recipe when you were around, Em! What a fool I was!

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I promise, if and when I get myself down to Raleigh-Durham to visit you, I’ll make you a skillet. You don’t have to share it with anyone!

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In the meantime, I’ll just craft a recipe for all of us single eaters.

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Shakshuka

Shakshuka [Single Serving] (As Featured on Buzzfeed’s Tasty)

(Serves One…if you were unable to deduce that)

Ingredients:

– 1 to 2 eggs
– 1 cup crushed tomatoes or 1 cup marinara sauce
– 1 tablespoon tomato paste
– 1/4 small yellow or white onion, diced
– 1/2 bell pepper, diced (pick your favorite color!)
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1/4 teaspoon cumin
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
– Feta, for garnish (optional)
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– It is entirely possible that you don’t have tomato paste. Goodness knows that I normally don’t have any on reserve. You can skip adding it, but I think it adds an extra depth of flavor. If you would like to create your own, there are many articles available via search engines regarding substitutions and creating your own tomato paste. However, for this individual-sized serving, I’d suggest going out and getting that small can of tomato paste. I got mine for 79 cents. Haaa.

– This recipe is best baked in an 8″ – 9″ oven-safe skillet or a ramekin with a 2 cup capacity.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) Pour oil into a large skillet and warm over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and pepper and sauté until onions are translucent, approximately 4 – 5 minutes; if garlic starts to brown too fast, lower heat. Add tomatoes (or sauce), tomato paste, and cumin. Stir to combine. Simmer for 4 – 5 minutes. Transfer tomato mixture to ramekin or oven-safe skillet. (See Before We Get Started…; though it is an extra skillet to wash, it’s much easier to cook the tomato mixture in a larger skillet than a smaller oven-safe skillet.) 

3.) With the back of a spoon, make an indentation in the tomato mixture. Crack egg(s) into indentation, being sure not to break the yolk(s).

4.) Place skillet or ramekin in oven and cook for 18 – 20 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are thick but runny. If preferred, at the ten minute mark, baste egg whites lightly with the tomato mixture, taking care not to disturb the yolk; return to oven to cook for the remaining time.

5.) Remove from oven. Top with cilantro and feta, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, preferably with thick toasted bread.

Schaum Tortes

December 2020 Update

During a holiday season that’s going to be just plain…well…WEIRD…I’m finding comfort in creating old holiday recipes. (What are we calling it? #CovidChristmas ? #PandemicHolidays ? Someone tell me the appropriate levity-heavy hashtag here!) I’m pulling this gal out of the archives for public consumption, because we could all use a few holiday recipes to lift our spirits nowadays.

When it comes to Schaum Tortes, something about the crispness – yet- toothsomeness of my grandmother’s recipe will always transport me back to Christmas Eves of my youth, drowning them in whipped cream and sliced strawberries while my cousins and I horsed around away from the eyes of our parents. (Ahhhh, that 90s-era youth…)

This recipe means a lot to me, also because it was one of my first recipes to show up on the feedfeed, namely in their Family Recipes feed. It means a lot when someone appreciates a family recipe that’s good enough to land amongst many other family recipes with their own stories behind them.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for schaum torte, as well as a few old antiquated pictures and a torte that could have been saved – from a photographic point of view – if only I had remembered to add whipped cream to it before photographing it. HA!

Schaum Torte 2020! 😆☁️🍓🎄

From the Original December 24th, 2015 Posting:

Schaum Tortes were a staple of my Christmas Eves growing up. My paternal grandmother, Mamie, would whip up these crunchy yet pillowy meringues and serve them with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream. My cousins and I would plop into the dense black leather couches in her living room, munching away and watching Christmas shows on SNICK while our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles would do their boring adult stuff. (In hindsight, what they did then is likely what I enjoy doing now: just sitting around and talking about things that matter.)

My grandmother unexpectedly passed away a few days after Christmas in 2008. Ever since then, Christmas has always, well, been a bit of a downer for me. Not that I spend my holidays weeping, but I always think of Mamie more often than not. However, regardless of how bummed I may feel, I’m always one to try and make myself, and those around me, happy.

This year, with Mamie on my mind, I decided to give Schaum Tortes a try.

schaum tortes

Schaum Tortes translates into “foam cakes” from German, and some research on their origin lead me to find that they are popular amongst Wisconsinites of German origin. Well, Mamie was a Wisconsinite of German origin, so that makes a hell of a lot of sense now! Ha!

schaum tortes

Many people find Schaum Tortes similar to Pavlova, their Russian equivalent. Their crisp outsides yield a pillowy meringue inside; it melts in your mouth like spun sugar. Schaum  Tortes must be served with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream. It’s a rule! (Though, admittedly, I’m a sucker for Reddi Whip and that’ll NEVER change.)

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I’m struck with a bit of nostalgia at this moment.

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Cheers, Mamie. I hope I did you proud with these Schaum Tortes…even if I overcooked the first batch I made. Haaa.

schaum tortes

Schaum Tortes
(Makes 4 medium tortes, perfect for an ample single serving)

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Serving:

  • 1& 1/2 – 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 & 1/2 cups whipped cream

Before We Get Started…

– When separating egg whites, be sure no yolk mixes in. Even the smallest amount of yolk will not allow a proper meringue to form.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 275°F.

2.) In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until they are foamy, approximately 30 seconds.

3.) Add cream of tartar and vinegar to egg whites; beat until soft peaks form, approximately 3 – 5 minutes.

4.) In increments, add sugar to bowl, continuing to beat until all sugar is combined. Add vanilla extract. Beat until stiff peaks form.

5.) On a lightly greased or parchment paper-covered baking sheet, divide meringue mixture into four tortes, slightly denting the middles with a spoon and building up the sides to form a shallow well.

6.) Bake in oven for 45 – 50 minutes; turn off heat and keep tortes in oven, door closed, for an additional 45 – 60 minutes.

7.) Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. Serve with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

Pfeffernüsse is a type of cookie I discovered in a mad dash to beat the crowds out of Grand Central Terminal and make it safely onto the 6:02 to Wassaic one pre-Christmas evening, many Decembers ago. I was cruising past one of the many Zaro’s outlets peppered throughout the station, looking for some kind of pastry or cookie package to bring back to Connecticut with me. (As if lugging two bags of Christmas gifts and my luggage wasn’t enough…) A bag of Pfeffernüsse on the cookie shelf looked interesting, better than bringing back some black & white cookies or another loaf of sourdough bread. My gut feeling was correct. My parents loved them, as did I!

Pfeffernüsse

Pfeffernüsse, also known as Pepper Nuts, are a wonderful type of spice cookie. If you are a fan of gingerbread, you’ll love these. Upon first glance, they are rather unassuming. However, the addition of freshly-cracked black pepper, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg will put you into the holiday spirit with just one bite. Some people coat them in powdered sugar after they are baked. Some people don’t. I never plan to be that latter person.

Pfeffernüsse

Also, it’s a wonderful word to say.

Pfeffernüsse

Fey-Fer-NEEEWWWWWWWSE. 

(Sorry, I’m on a bit of a holiday cookie sugar high right now…everything is way too silly…)

Pfeffernüsse

Pfeffernüsse
(Makes 15 – 18 cookies)

Ingredients:

– 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 stick butter, room temperature
– 1 egg
– 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
– 1/4 cup molasses
– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (for dusting cookies)

Before We Get Started…

– Be sure to have a small paper bag or Ziploc bag to place confectioners’ sugar in. It’ll make dusting the cookies infinitely easier.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets and set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda. Set aside.

3.) Place butter, brown sugar, and molasses in a large bowl. Beat with an electric beater on medium speed until mixture is fluffy, about two to three minutes. Once combined, add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

4.) Slowly add in flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating with electric mixer at low speed. Repeat until all flour is combined and the dough is formed. If mixture is too thick to continue to beat, knead dough together with hands.

5.) Use a tablespoon to scoop out dough and roll into approximately 1″ balls. Place dough balls approximately one inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Depending on the amount of cookies made and size of the baking sheets, no more than one dozen cookies should be on each sheet.

6.) Bake cookies for 15 minutes, rotating sheets seven minutes in. Cookies may crack slightly and should be golden. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

7.) Coating three to four cookies at a time, place cookies in bag with confectioners’ sugar. Shake until cookies are well coated. Knock off any excess sugar.

8.) Return cookies to wire rack and allow to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container.