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EASY DOES IT # 24 – Potato Salad

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This  potato salad is a far cry from the one I usually make at home, which is “Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat” (Swabian Potato Salad), which does not contain Mayo or any other “stuff” besides potatoes, onion, stock, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and sometimes herbs and/or bacon.
This one is a VERY different baby, but just as delicious 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Link to more Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat
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Creamy Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad

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Potato Salad

Potato Salad

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Preparation :
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EASY DOES IT # 16 –Velouté (White Cream Sauce)

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How to pronounce Velouté – click here
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Here  is a “Daughter” (added cream) version of one of the two  white  mother sauces (the other being Sauce Béchamel)
If you love to cook or just starting to learn, being able to prepare the mother sauces is a must.
The five  french mother sauces  are:
Sauce Béchamel, Sauce Espagnole, Sauce Hollandaise, Tomato Sauce, and Sauce Velouté.
Adding cream and lemon juice (and originally egg yolk) to a sauce made of stock, flour and butter will produce a “Sauce Allemande”
We have learned how to make  tomato sauce  in a previous  “easy does it”   blog, so let’s go straight to “Sauce Allemande”

Please note :  This is beef (or veal) velouté  (before adding the cream)
To make fish velouté, chicken velouté, seafood velouté, or fish velouté, replace beef (veal) with the appropriate protein.

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sauce velouté

Sauce Velouté

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Preparation :
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beef and/or beef bones, root vegetables, water, bring to a simmer, cook until meat is tender (if you use bones, simmer for one hour), remove meat (bones), set meat aside (discard bones)

beef and/or beef bones, root vegetables, water, bring to a simmer, cook until meat is tender (if you use bones, simmer for one hour), remove meat (bones), set meat aside (discard bones)

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strain stock through a fine sieve

strain stock through a fine sieve, discard solids

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skim fat from surface

skim fat from surface

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make a white roux of half butter and half a/p flour, add stock, whisk to avoid lumps, simmer for 15 minutes, strain through a fine mesh strainer

make a white roux of half butter and half a/p flour, add stock, whisk to avoid lumps, simmer for 15 minutes, strain through a fine mesh strainer

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add heavy cream, kosher salt and white pepper, check / adjust seasoning

add heavy cream, lemon juice,  kosher salt and white pepper, check / adjust seasoning

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voilà - sauce velouté

voilà – sauce velouté (with added cream)

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Easy Does It # 12 – Grill Or Griddle A Steak In Your Kitchen Without Making A Mess



Here  is a problem most folks face if they don’t live in a climate where they can grill every day ouside or if they simply don’t have the space for an outside grill and choose to grill or griddle inside:
Not only will the smell from grilling settle in the whole house/appertment, but soon all furniture and other surfaces will becovered with a sticky, smelly oil film.
To avoid this, prep your steaks in the following manner:
Pre-heat your oven broiler to the highest temperature. Pre-heat a cast iron grill pan or flat-bottomed cast iron pan until extremely hot. Season your steak liberally with sea salt. Brush lightly with peanut oil. Put the steak into the pan and very quickly put it under the broiler on the highest shelf close to the heating elements. Close the oven door and let the steak broil until your preferred doneness has been reached. All smells and fatty steam/smoke will be trapped inside the oven). Don’t flip or turn the steak from the moment it hit’s the pan until it is cooked. When done, remove steak to a plate at once (remember the carry over heat !), sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and let rest for a few minutes before you cut it. You will be happy with the result 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is good !

Easy Does It # 11 – Perfect Steak Without A Mess

Easy Does It # 11 – Perfect Steak Without A Mess

Easy Does It # 11 – Perfect Steak Without A Mess

Easy Does It # 11 – Perfect Steak Without A Mess

Easy Does It # 11 – Perfect Steak Without A Mess

Easy Does It # 11 – Perfect Steak Without A Mess

Easy Does It # 11 – Perfect Steak Without A Mess

Easy Does It # 11 – Perfect Steak Without A Mess



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My New Year”s Eve Dinner : Steak & Farfalle , Fried Cuttlefish & Arugula, Strawberry Shortcake

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Since  I stayed home on new years eve, I wanted to treat myself to the perfect dinner
(Perfect for Bella and I, anyway 🙂
Easy to prepare, yet rich and delicious .

The menu I treated myself to :

Fried Cuttlefish With Arugula
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Grilled Skirt Steak & Mushroom Farfalle

Strawberry Shortcake

The wines I treated myself to :

Merlot (2009 Sanctus Saint-Emilion)
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Champagne (1998 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame)
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Grand Marnier Cuvie du Cent Cinquantenaire

(These special bottles had been bought and saved for the new years eve dinner Maria and I were supposed to have together this year)

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Bon Appetit !   à Votre Santé !   Happy 2014 !

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Fried Cuttlefish With Arugula In Raspberry Vinaigrette

Fried Cuttlefish With Arugula In Raspberry Vinaigrette

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Grilled Skirt Steak & Mushroom Farfalle With Edamame

Grilled Skirt Steak & Mushroom Farfalle With Edamame

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Strawberry/Cornbread  Shortcake

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Fried Cuttlefish & Arugula
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Grilled Skirt Steak & Shiitake Farfalle
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Strawberry Short Cake

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Link To Easy Corn Bread Batter Recipe
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Tomaten – Käse Spätzle (South German Tomato/Cheese Pasta)

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Käse Spätzle  is tasty homemade pasta tossed with onion and Emmentaler cheese. A German version of mac and cheese you might say. Typically eaten in the alpine regions of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, as well as in other non-alpine South-German regions. (Especially in Baden Wuertemberg, the original home of spätzle).
In order to prepare Käse Spätzle, make the spätzle as usual but add some tomato paste and oregano for color and taste. After you cook and drain the spätzle, saute diced onions in butter until golden, add spaetzle, kosher salt and black pepper. Then layer the  spätzle in a bowl or platter with grated Emmentaler cheese and schmelze (butter sauted brown bread crumbs). Repeat once or twice, then sprinkle top with sliced chives.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Schmelze Recipe
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Spätzle Recipe
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Tomaten - Käse Spätzle

Tomaten – Käse Spätzle

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Creamed Spinach

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Like  so much other comfort food, creamed spinach is hardly found on menus (or homes, for that matter) anymore, with the exception of steakhouses where it usually is one of the standard side dishes. I just love spinach, no matter how it is prepared, but the price goes without a doubt to creamed spinach. Following is the simple instruction how to prepare this great dish.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

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blanch spinach in generously salted water.

blanch spinach in generously salted water.

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shock in ice water ( screaming BOOOOO does not work )

shock in ice water ( screaming BOOOOO does not work )

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saute onions and garlic in butter

saute onions and garlic in butter

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add flour (ratio butter flour = one to one)

add flour (ratio butter flour = one to one)

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add half milk and half heavy cream, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer for five minutes. sauce must be VERY thick, chopped spinach contains lot's of water

add half milk and half heavy cream, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer for five minutes. sauce must be VERY thick, chopped spinach contains lot’s of water

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chop blanched spinach to the texture you prefer

chop blanched spinach to the texture you prefer

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add to sauce. simmer for 5 minutes. check/adjust seasoning

add to sauce. Simmer for five minutes. check/adjust seasoning

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Creamed Spinach

Creamed Spinach

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Grilled Skirt Steak, Spicy Chimichurri, Greek Yogurt & Salad In Honey/Mustard Dressing

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Five  minutes is all you need to prepare this great dinner.
Jamie Oliver, your ” Fifteen Minute Meals ” are taking too long !
(Just kidding, that’s one of the best cooking shows on tv right now) 🙂

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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Grilled Skirt Steak, Spicy chimichurri, Greek Yoghurt & Salad In Honey/Mustard Dressing

Grilled Skirt Steak, Spicy chimichurri, Greek Yogurt & Salad In Honey/Mustard Dressing

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season steaks with sea salt, granulated garlic and freshly ground black papper

season steaks with sea salt, granulated garlic and freshly ground black papper

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grill steak until desired temperature has been reached. remove from grill

grill steaks until desired temperature has been reached. remove from grill

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meanwhile prep salad from romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, chopped cilantro and honey mustard dressing

meanwhile prep salad from romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, chopped cilantro and honey mustard dressing

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arrange salad and steaks on serving platter, top steaks with spicy chimichurri and greek yoghurt

arrange salad and steaks on serving platter, top steaks with spicy chimichurri and greek yogurt

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Kümmelbraten ( Caraway Pork Roast )

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I wish  I would have been able to get a pork neck for this dish, but I couldn’t, so I used the next best thing, a pork butt (shoulder). For pork steaks and roast, I prefer the neck, because in my opinion the flavor and texture is far superior to any other cut of the pig. However, the butt is also a great cut to roast or braise, so at the end I was happy with what I got.
This dish is very common in the south of Germany where I grew up, so whenever I prepare this dish it alway’s brings back happy memories of a more simple time in my life. But on Friday when I cooked this, I had Daryl and Leo over for dinner, so it was a happy meal after all.  (Some wine and rum also made sure of that) 🙂

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Kümmelbraten  (roast caraway pork)

Kümmelbraten (caraway pork roast)

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Pork butt (shoulder)

Pork butt (shoulder)

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Pork butt (shoulder)

Pork butt (shoulder)

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Pork butt, knuckle removed

Pork butt, knuckle removed

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Knuckle

Knuckle

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Seasoned with mustard, thyme, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion and caraway seed

Seasoned with mustard, thyme, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion and caraway seed

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Place on a rack above red wine and beer, add chilies, scallions and tomatoes, roast at 420 F for 30 minutes, turn down to 270F cook for three hours

Place on a rack above red wine and beer, add chilies, scallions and tomatoes, roast at 420 F for 30 minutes, turn down to 270F cook, for three hours

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Add potatoes, cook for another hour or until potatoes are soft. Remove meat, cover lightly and let rest thirty minutes

Add potatoes, cook for another hour or until potatoes are soft. Remove meat, cover lightly and let rest thirty minutes

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Meanwhile, remove sauce, potatoes and vegetables to a small pot, add tomato paste and simmer for fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer sauce, potatoes and vegetables to a small pot, add tomato paste and simmer for fifteen minutes. Check/adjust seasoning and texture of sauce

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Kümmelbraten  (roast caraway pork)

Kümmelbraten (caraway pork roast)

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Kümmelbraten  (roast caraway pork)

Kümmelbraten (caraway pork roast)

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Parrillada

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Tonight,  Bella and I enjoyed our own version of parrillada.
I made it a bit more interesting by adding corn, pickled mushrooms and kimchi,
as well as peanut sauce, chimichurri, horseradish and rye bread.
Great ending to a lazy, well fed weekend.

Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Parillada

Parillada

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“Escargot Bourguignon” (Snails in Garlic–Herb Butter)

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I cannot recall when I have last seen this classic dish on a restaurant menu. What a shame, since this is such a delightful, easy to prepare dish. As for my dinner today, I do have the shells, forks and escargot tongs at home, but since this is just for myself  and not a dinner party, I prefer to serve them as I’ve done here, in a ovenproof dish, accompanied by simple bread to soak up ALL the garlic butter.
Here are my two pet peeves about this dish when I eat it in a restaurant :

1)  If the snails are too large !
2) If the butter is not seasoned properly nor has enough parsley !

1) At home, I cut the very large snails in half. Much more pleasant to eat.
Voilà ! Problem solved 🙂
2) I make sure I add plenty of garlic, freshly ground black pepper and lot’s of chopped parsley.
Voilà ! No problem to start with 🙂

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 Escargot Bourguignon

Escargot Bourguignon

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Ingredient’s :

Snails,   canned, rinsed
Butter,   unsalted
Red wine,   (I prefer merlot)
Shallots,   finely diced (I used onion)
Garlic,   paste
Flat leaf parsley,   finely chopped
Black pepper,   freshly ground
Sea salt,

Method :

Saute onions and garlic until fragrant. Add red wine, simmer until almost evaporated. Add butter, season with salt and pepper. Heat butter until starting to brown in small spots. Add escargots, simmer until all liquid has evaporated again. Remove from heat, stir in most of the parsley. To serve, sprinkle with more parsley.

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