seitan is my motor



October 2014



Simple Meals and Short Posts

swiss chard and sesame tofu |

I should have been prepared for this because it happens every year. My neighbour gave me a huge bag of Swiss chard from her garden. I am usually very exited about that bag and at the same time I am terrified. I like greens but I am not really familiar with them. When I grew up we had a head of salad once a week and during the winter months we would eat kale. Sometimes there was cabbage soup or cabbage rolls. But that was about it. I grew up assuming that you had to cook greens for at least an hour or so until they were edible. No wonder they hardly made it on our shopping lists even later in life. I tried my first chard only a few years ago when we found it at a local grocery store. Chard, kale. fresh spinach. All these things are often not available at grocery stores over here. Or they are, but only for two weeks or so. Greens are a fancy health food store thing and I used to overlook them for years when I simply couldn’t afford to buy at a health food store. And now I had this huge bag filled with giant chard leaves sitting in a corner of the kitchen, slowly turning into a character from a Kafka novel.

I only ever realise that I don’t have to be intimidated by a bunch of greens after I have cooked them. Even the biggest pile of chard will shrink into half a plate of greens and you don’t have to cook it for longer than five minutes for that to happen. This is a simple and improvised meal for one. You can make a lot of variations, depending on what you have on hand. Use different greens, if you like. If you add a grain like rice or quinoa this will make enough for two persons. Our daughter refuses to eat any greens that are not puréed into soups, green smoothies, or creamed spinach. So for her we made the tofu with green beans and rice instead, which may also be a great variation for everybody who has a hard time to find fresh greens.


Swiss Chard with Sesame Tofu

For the tofu:

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
a fresh red chili, minced and to taste
1 package (200 g/7 oz.) firm tofu, drained

For the chard:
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
260g chard, cleaned and cut into small stripes


Place the sesame seeds in a pan and toast until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl that will be large enough to later toss the seeds and the tofu.

Combine water, soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, garlic, ginger, and chili if using. Whisk briefly.

Cut the tofu into bite size rectangles, about 1/2 cm (1/8 inch) thick. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Don’t add any oil. Transfer the tofu pieces to the pan and cook until golden brown, then flip and brown the other side.

Pour the marinade over the tofu and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 2-5 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into the sesame seed bowl and toss.

Heat the same non-stick pan again and add oil. Fry the onion for about 2 minutes, then add garlic and  fry until fragrant. Add the chard and fry until wilted, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a plate and top with tofu.

Serve with lemon juice and hot sauce.
swiss chard and sesame tofu |



September 2014



Buchteln with three different fillings

gefüllte Buchteln |

gefüllte Buchteln |

It’s the time of the year when it’s still summer and already autumn.  If you cross the river Elbe in the morning steam rises slowly from the water. A layer of fog covers the hills but you know it’s gone in 30 minutes when the sun breaks through. The early morning and afternoon light is amazing, the sun sparkles through the trees and casts long shadows. Everything shimmers in a golden tone. But not every day is like this. Sometimes it rains for 24 hours and all you wanna do is stay in bed with a hot cup of tea. Or you start baking to warm you up and comfort you. Yeast baked goods are perfect for this. Sweet, warm, and soft rolls that you can definitely eat in bed if you don’t mind the crumbs.

Buchteln are of Eastern European and Southern German origin, they are a kind of dumpling or baked doughnut. There are stuffed and unstuffed varieties, but I like the stuffed kind most. I usually fill them with sea blackthorn jam, with is probably quite a Northern German thing to do. Sea blackthorn berries are bright orange in colour and very tart, they often grow along the coast but I have seen some here in Dresden, too. Sea buckthorn jam has a very unique texture and taste. It’s usually smooth, silky, and runny and it has a slightly tart flavour with a hint of honey, conifers, and resin. If you can get your hands on it you should try it, but any kind of jam will work here as well. In fact, I split the buchteln because I couldn’t decide what filling to use. I filled five with sea buckthorn jam, five with blackberry jam, and five with speculoos spread.

gefüllte Buchteln |


Buchteln (makes 15)

For the buchteln:
270 ml (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) soy milk
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
55 g (1/4 cup) coconut oil
420g (3 1/2 cups) flour
20g fresh yeast or 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 /2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
1 teaspoon of your favourite jam, nut butter, or even cookie spread per buchtel
(15 teaspoons in total)

Combine soy milk, sugar, and coconut oil in a small pot. Warm gently over low heat until the oil has melted. Let cool until luke warm.

Add the flour to a large bowl. Make a well and add the yeast (even if it’s instant). Pour the liquid mixture into the well and let sit for 10 minutes. Add salt and knead the dough well. It’s enough to knead this dough for 2-3 minutes. It should still be sticky and the gluten will continue to develop while you let it rest and rise. So don’t worry about it being sticky. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 18 x 28 cm square pan (7 x 11 inch) with parchment paper.

Knead the dough for one minute. By now it should be smooth and not stick to your hands anymore. If it still does, add a little bit of flour. Divide the dough into 15 equally sized pieces and roll each into a ball. Place under a kitchen towel, so they won’t dry out. Take one ball and shape it into a flat circle large enough to hold one teaspoon of filling.

Buchteln |

Fold over and pinch the edges, then carefully shape into a ball again. Place in the prepared pan, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Cover with a damp kitchen towel again and let rise for another 30 minutes. bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with more sea buckthorn jam or vanilla sauce.

This entry was submitted to Yeastspotting.

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