Based on David Lebovitz’s version.

Using Shiitake mushrooms instead of white button (who eats those flavorless things?), walnuts (because I can tolerate them toasted and ground up, plus they’ve been sitting in my freezer for too long and I’d never use them otherwise), green onion, ginger & cilantro instead of the rosemary/thyme/parsley, maple syrup instead of sugar, Aleppo pepper instead of cayenne, and I may have used a bit too much cognac…

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Happy whole wheat cherry rosemary challah-chiks

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3/4 T yeast
1/2 c warm water
1/2 T brown sugar

1/4 c cherries
1/4 cherry juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg + 1 white

3 1/2 c whole wheat flour

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Triple latkes tonight: zucchini, yam, beet.

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1. White potato, celery, zucchini, thyme, garlic, mozzarella, salt & pepper

2. Garnet yam, orange bell pepper, carrots, shallot, garlic, chipotle raspberry salt

3. Purple sweet potato, beet, cherries, red onion, garlic, allspice

Cranberry apple pear sauce



This week I made almond milk, finally. Another thing I’ve been wanting to do to go along with the homemade bran flakes.
3/4 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight in 1 1/2 cups of water.

Remove almonds and boil 1 cup of that water. Process almonds with the remaining 1/2 cup water until it’s a thick paste. Add almond paste to the boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes.

Strain and press the liquid out of the almond mixture into a large bowl, and then add 1 t. maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, and amaretto to taste 🙂

With the almond mash I made marzipan, adding in some powdered sugar and cornstarch and getting it a bit healthier with extra fiber from a bit of toasted oat bran. Cuts down the sugar high feeling.

And goes very well with the homemade chocolate:

Melt 1/2 cup raw cocoa butter, then mix in 1/2 cup raw cocoa and 1-2 T maple syrup, and stir over low heat 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla or amaretto, cinnamon, nutmeg, or whatever…

Pour into mold and freeze until hard.


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Chocolate chip cookies for the police

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Here in Basrah, the kitchen is big, but not really well equipped. The guys asked me when I first arrived to make them cookies.  I had obtained some fresh ginger when I first arrived, thinking it would go well with something. And cinnamon is abundant here, so I wanted to make something like ginger bread. Then I got some really excellent chocolate on sale in Italy, and there was some very rich white chocolate powder left here by another colleague.

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The chocolate, pre-chipping.

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Convinced I finally had enough ingredients tonight, I found a new baking dish (bar cookies would be easier to make anyway) and a quite adequately sized cooking pot. A quick search on the internets turned up a story about making cookies with melted butter, and I was off…

Melt and brown 200 grams of butter in a large pan. I had a 400 gram package of danish butter, so enough for 2 batches! When I made the gingerbread, I added a two inch piece of ginger root (pealed and chopped) and a few tablespoons of cinnamon (I wanted a lot because it was going to provide color, as well as spice). I also added the juice of half an orange.

Stir in 1 1/4 cups of sugar. We have a 50-kilo bag of sugar here, so that wasn’t a problem.

Beat in 2 eggs. The seem to get eggs by the 25-count tray here.

Mix in 1 T baking powder. Picked this up in Italy, knowing it would be difficult to find here.

Combine with 2 1/4 flour, adding enough to get a thick, but not too stiff dough. For the chocolate chip cookies, I added 1/4 cup of white chocolate powder (Burdick’s) and a chopped up chocolate bar.

Chill the dough for at least 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Spread into pan and bake for 30 minutes. They will be fluffy and soft when they come out of the oven, but will cool to a nice crunchy texture. Cut up while warm.


I somehow ended up with twice as much gingerbread dough, and froze half of it that night. Last night I decided to bake the rest with almonds and pomegranates, which started appearing here. Given how dry they turned out I thought they’d make great biscotti. In fact though, freezing the dough actually made them moister. I arranged the dough in pieces in the pan and then pressed almonds and pomegranate kernels into the chunks. Baked for 30 minutes at 180C and cut them into longer pieces.


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Apple pie #1

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1/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup whey or soy protein powder
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup almond meal

Stir in:
pinch of salt
pinch of baking soda
1/3 teaspoon baking powder

Cut in:
2 T butter
2 T coconut oil

And combine with:
1 T maple syrup
1 T pear cider

Filling from Mom’s recipe

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup spelt flour
Allspice & Ginger to taste
4 T Butter
1/4 cup sliced almonds

The official instructions say to do this (with the caveat that it will take a while and may fail):
$ sudo sed -i 's/saucy/trusty/' /etc/apt/sources.list
$ sudo sed -i 's/petra/qiana/' /etc/apt/sources.list
$ sudo sed -i 's/saucy/trusty/' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list
$ sudo sed -i 's/petra/qiana/' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

And in fact, it is slow, and there will be errors. But it’s not hopeless. Another post gave some detailed tips and also recommended doing the apt-get instructions separately (which I also figured out was a better idea). Basically run each one until it completes without an error. When you do get an error, there might be a message telling you how to fix it – but that message might also be further up in the buffer, not the last thing it ends with. Often, it will be simply installing a missing component by itself, and running
$ sudo apt-get install -f
to fix missing dependencies.

In all, I ran update && dist-upgrade twice. The first time it failed, I found the fix in the earlier errors:
gdk-pixbuf-query-loaders > /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/gdk-pixbuf-2.0/2.10.0/loaders.cache [failed - libgdk wasn't installed]
apt-get install libgdk-pixbuf2.0-dev
apt-get -f install [fix broken dependencies]
locale-gen --purge --no-archive [fix UTF8 cache - I use multiple languages]
apt-get -f install [finally fix the dependencies]
apt-get install libgdk-pixbuf2.0-dev [install the component]
gdk-pixbuf-query-loaders > /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/gdk-pixbuf-2.0/2.10.0/loaders.cache [run the actual command to fix the update]

Another error on “engrampa_1.8.0-0+qiana_amd64.deb” — but not finding any obvious fix, I ran

apt-get update

by itself and also selected the options to allow it to restart services and always install the new config file (Y/I)

and then

apt-get dist-upgrade

completed without errors. And finally:

apt-get upgrade

That one ran fairly quickly. The only bit that’s messed up is my grub menu…

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Lime mascarpone pie

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Extract the juice, pulp, and zest from 1 large lime.

Lime curd
Combine in a saucepan and heat until thickened:
3 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
4 T lime juice

Remove from heat, add:
pinch of salt
3 T butter in pieces

Stir until mixed, let cool.

Cheese custard
Beat until foamy:
3 egg whites
1/4 c sugar
4 oz mascarpone
3 T lime juice

1 c. graham cracker crumbs
4 T melted butter

Press into springform pan. Spread custard evenly. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
Cover with lime curd and bake 5 more minutes.
Remove from oven and cool. Cover with whipped cream.

High fiber and slightly healthier than popcorn balls…

Bring to a boil:
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T maple syrup

When sugar has fully melted and started to boil, add
cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger to taste

Stir in:
1 apple chopped

And then add:
3 T mascarpone

Boil for several minutes to bring it to candy stage. Should still be liquid but very sticky.

Remove from heat and stir in:
3-4 cups Puffed wheat cereal

Combine well, then turn onto non-stick surface (silpat, parchment paper, etc). When cool enough to handle, form into balls. Slight wet hands helps. To wrap in plastic, lay a small sheet over the cups in a muffin tin, place a mound of candy in the cup, and wrap up into a ball. Sprinkle with a bit of fleur de sel for extra specialness!

By the way, I love this maple syrup:

Been craving hummus and pita lately… The hummus is easy, main thing is to soak those dried chickpeas for hours. Overnight ideally.

Soak 1 cup dried chickpeas
Process with as much garlic as you want
Add about 1/4 c tahini
And then 3T lemon juice

Blend until smooth. Pack into a bowl and cover with salt, pepper, cilantro, and olive oil. Let sit in the fridge for a day before eating.

For the bread I combined a few recipes, from King Arthur Flour

and the fabulous Make the Bread, Buy the Butter book.

I used:

2/3 cup warm water
1 t active dry yeast
1 t sugar
Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir and add (in a mixer, if you like):
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
3/4 c whole wheat flour
Mix well and then slowly add:
3/4 c white flour

When mixed well and pulling away from the beater, remove and knead in another 1/4 c. flour until dough is soft and springy.
Wipe bowl with olive oil and let sit covered for an hour. Divide into 4 pieces, shape into circles. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
Bake on a hot stone in a preheated oven at 550F for 5-8 minutes.

Mmmm… they puffed up and baked through. Slice to make the pocket.

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Fresh pita #bread to go with my hummus

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