Shrimp and Sausage Stuffed Calamari

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At some point when I was shopping in Stuttgart, I found a bag of enormous calamari tubes at the Italian grocery store.  My idea was to stuff them with some of the store’s fabulous looking sausage.  However, overtaken by life events, I forgot all about the calamari until yesterday when my husband said, pointedly, “There’s all that squid in the freezer.”  I pretended not to hear him because I wanted to make an Irish pork roast today.  He persisted, “You’re going back to France AGAIN and I don’t know how to cook squid.” Okay, okay.  He said the same darn thing about the shrimp, so that’s why this is stuffed with both sausage and shrimp.  Good idea.  Thanks for the inspiration,  Honey :)

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These calamari tubes were really big, about the size of an obese quail when stuffed.  You could make this recipe with smaller tubes and just cook them for a shorter time in the oven.

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I recommend that you use a homemade tomato sauce (olive oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil, oregano, red wine) to cover the calamari as it bakes and some extra for the linguine.

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This was very good.  Next time I’m going to double the garlic in my tomato sauce :)

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Shrimp and Sausage Stuffed Calamari

2 tbsp olive oil

6 Italian sausages, casing removed

1 cup shrimp, finely chopped

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

5 enormous calamari tubes or 10-12 normal ones

4 cups homemade tomato sauce

1 lb linguine, cooked

Brown the sausage meat in the olive oil, then remove with a slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl.  Remove all but 2 tbsp of the oil from the skillet and set aside.

Add the shrimp, bread crumbs, cheese, chicken broth and parsley to the sausage meat in the bowl and mix well.  Stuff the calamari tubes with this mixture, closing off the large ends with wooden skewers.

Reheat the reserved oil in the skillet and brown the stuffed calamari on both sides, then place in a baking dish.

If there is any leftover stuffing, add it to the tomato sauce and heat.  Pour 2 cups of the sauce over the calamari, then place in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes (maybe 15-20 for smaller tubes).

Toss the remaining tomato sauce with the cooked linguine, slice the calamari and serve immediately.

Wine suggestion:  Masi Amarone

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Italian, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Refrigerator Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry

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I bought a lot of veg from Fresh Paradise, forgetting that I was leaving at the end of the week; bell peppers, mini courgettes, snow peas, mini asparagus, etc.  Couldn’t let them go to waste and there was that large package of frozen shrimp in the freezer.  Exclude the shrimp for a delicious vegetarian stir fry.

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Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry

1/2 cup chicken broth

4 tbsp soy sauce

6 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce

1 tsp sesame seed oil

1 lb shrimp, shelled and cleaned

1 tbsp Chinese 5 spice powder

3 tbsp peanut oil

3 garlic cloves, slivered

1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced

4 – 5 scallions, diagonally sliced

1/2 each, red and yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 small bunch mini asparagus

1 cup snow peas

3 mini courgettes, sliced vertically

Mix together the broth, soy sauce, chilli sauce and sesame oil, then set aside.  Mix the shrimp with the 5 spice powder and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a wok, then add the shrimp and stir fry for about 2 minutes, remove and set aside.

Add the remaining peanut oil to the wok and stir fry the garlic, ginger, scallions and peppers just until the peppers are crisp tender.  Add the asparagus, stir frying for  2-3 minutes.  Add the snow peas and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.  Finally, add the courgettes and stir fry for about 1 minute.

Pour in the reserved broth mixture and the shrimp, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve with udon noodles or rice.

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Grilled Veal Ribs with Japanese Potato Salad

 

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It’s strange but I guess rolled meat roasts are not common in Stuttgart.  I did find one a while back but after that experience I always buy them in France to bring back to Stuttgart.  With so many other cuts of pork, especially roast like, I guess the Germans just can’t be bothered.

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I went over to Fresh Paradise thinking that they might have the roast, but no.  They did have some veal baby back ribs that I thought were interesting, so I bought those thinking of a slow grill with Asian marinade.

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A side of Japanese potato salad sounded good but I didn’t have any cucumbers.  But mind made up, I substituted some cute mini courgettes.

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One thing about Germany, if you don’t know how to boil and egg you don’t have to.  These colored, pre-boiled eggs have nothing to do with Easter, they are available year round.  I imagine the color is applied to separate the raw from the boiled.  I love these eggs!

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The courgettes were a great substitute.

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Everyone in the family likes this potato salad almost as much as my Mom’s :)

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For over 30 years, no matter which country we were in, we would attend the yearly U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Ball.  The Marines would always provide each guest with a souvenir; beer mugs, wine glasses, Champagne flutes.  Here’s one from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Oorah!

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Grilled Veal Ribs

5-6 slabs of baby back veal ribs

3 spring onions, whites and greens, chopped

8-10 garlic cloves, chopped

1 inch ginger piece, chopped

1/2 cup sake

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3/4 cup tamari soy sauce

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

Mix all ingredients together and pour over the ribs.  Marinate over night.  Barbecue the ribs off flame, top down at between 300-325 F for about 3 hours, turning and basting occasionally.

Japanese Potato Salad

1 1/2 lb potatoes

2 carrots

3 mini courgettes, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

3/4 cup of mayonnaise

Salt and pepper

Boil the carrots and potatoes together until tender.    Cube the potatoes and thinly slice the carrots.   Put in a mixing bowl with the chopped eggs, courgettes, onion and mayonnaise.   Add salt, pepper and mix well.

 

 

Posted in American, Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes, Salad, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Babou’s Mustard

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At our last coffee meeting before I left Sens, Babou, with tears gushing, handed me an empty jar and sobbed, “Since you’re going to Germany, could you bring me a jar of this mustard?”  This reminded me so much of our sojourn in Haiti when we were on our friend’s 36 foot yacht.  Whenever anyone went “below” where the bathroom and kitchen was located, someone would always say, “While you’re below” bring me a beer or wine or whatever.

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So anyway, I popped the empty jar in my purse and when I went to the German butcher on Friday, I saw the mustard.  The problem was that the jars were smaller and there were different labels.  I asked the butcher about this (his English was excellent) and he said it didn’t matter, it was all the same as long as you ate the mustard with white sausages.

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Well, you know me.  It’s like, okay, do you have any white sausages?  How do you cook them?  Apparently, you never boil them.  You boil the water, take it off the flame and then drop the sausages in for 20 minutes.  That didn’t sound or look right to me, my husband or my son.  I did the 20 minute thing but then I browned them a bit in butter.

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The sausages are made of milk fed veal, mace, parsley and probably non fat dry milk.  Kind of like an English banger, but with a bit more flavor.  The mustard which is a little sweet helps but we all agreed we could give these a pass.

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, German, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Personality

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I’ve never much cared for rabbits as pets, nor guinea pigs or fish.  I like my pets to have a discernible personality, like cats and dogs.  Almost everything else is food.  Look at the personality on those rabbit legs!

Deep Fried Rabbit

6 farm raised, free range, preferably French, rabbit legs

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Smoke paprika

Fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Peanut oil for deep frying

Season the legs with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and paprika.  Mix the flour and bread crumbs together, place in a paper or plastic bag, add the legs, 3 at a time, then shake to coat.

Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot, add the legs, 3 at a time, decrease the flame and fry until golden, tender and succulent.

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Nepal

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When we lived in Bangladesh, we were good friends with one of the Gurkha Rifle Regiment soldiers assigned to the British High Commission in Dhaka.  He told us wonderful stories about his travels and bought us beers and sometimes a little whiskey.

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One day he said he had a problem.  His niece who lived in the Gurkha mountains in Nepal refused to marry and was becoming a family embarrassment.  They couldn’t/wouldn’t force her because she threatened to run into the jungle.  “Running into the jungle” was the preferred method of suicide in the Gurkha mountains because the jungle was filled with man eating tigers.  I remember taking her to a zoo one day and, unaware that the tigers were fenced, she ran until she was breathless.

Anyway, Kushiman knew that we were looking for house help and thought that his niece coming to us would be the solution to both our problems.  We agreed to try her out.  It took her two days to walk out of the mountains, one day to ride on her first bus ever to Kathmandu where she was met by her brother who got her a passport and put her on the plane to Dhaka.  She was 25 years old but looked like a child, spoke no English and had never used electricity or indoor plumbing.  She traveled with us for 15 years.  Whenever Padam was upset or angry about something she’d say, “I’m going back to Nepal!”  She said it so much over the 15 years that we all started saying it when we were upset or angry :)

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A cat strayed into our yard one day in Rwanda, hungry and slightly feral.  Of course I fed it, caught it and took it to the vet.  It wouldn’t come into the house but lived in the yard, allowing us to pet it from time to time.  The problem with this cat was that it was a serial kitten maker and just had the kittens, abandoned them and went out to make more.  It was up to us to feed them and eventually find homes for them.  After the third litter, I discussed this problem with my husband and he said that he would figure out an humane solution.

About a week later, when I came home from work, Jade was very upset because she couldn’t find the cat.  When she asked her father about it, he told her that he had taken the cat to a nice place where it would be happier.

Jade:  Yes Papa, but where did you take it?

Papa:  Nepal

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There were some French supermarket duck legs in the freezer and potatoes in the bin.

Important Note:  If you cover the baking pan with aluminum foil, be sure to put a cookie sheet or something underneath in case some of the sauce bubbles out.  You don’t want to alienate your stove caregiver.  He/she could absolutely fall out of love and refuse to clean a curry caked stove.  I am always careful with and sensitive to my stove caregiver and sometimes I make dishes with high fructose corn syrup and GMO products from the commissary to delight him :)

Duck Leg and Potato Curry

4 enormous duck legs, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 enormous onions, coarsely chopped

6 enormous garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 tbsp dried curry leaves

6 tablets of curry, medium hot (S&B), chopped

4 cups chicken broth

5-6 large potatoes, quartered

Heat a skillet and brown the duck legs, remove and set aside.  Remove all but 2 tbsp of the duck fat, add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook until tan brown.  Add the curry leaves and curry tablets and cook, stirring, until the tablets melt.  Add the chicken broth and simmer until it starts to thicken.

Place the potatoes in a baking dish with a cover or use aluminum foil.  Place the duck legs on top of the potatoes and pour the curry sauce over all, cover and bake in a 375 F oven for about 1 1/2 hour.

Beverage suggestion:  Cote du Rhone or beer

 

 

 

 

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Stuttgart: With the Director

 

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In the 80s an Ivorian musician, Amadou Balake, sang a song about how his girl was stolen by “The Director” because of Balake’s poverty.  “Amadou don’t come to my house anymore, I’m with the director now.  He took me to my village and his Mercedes was so comfortable, I slept all the way there.  The last time I was in your car, I tore my dress.”

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On Saturday Babou, Vero and I had our last coffees together for 2 weeks until I return from Stuttgart.  There was a Marche Gourmande de Bourgogne in the farmers’ market, displaying the the best artisanal  products Burgundy has to offer; cheeses, sausages, escargots, wine, chocolate, etc.  So unfortunate that I didn’t have my camera.

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Nearly blinded by tears of regret for our  impending separation and suppressing sobs, we did shop, but not with our usual, over the top, enthusiasm.  Still, our shopping baskets were full and our arms did feel the strain; Comte, a cheddar like cheese and ham from the Basque region, andouille sausage from Val D’Ajol.   We live in France  :P

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My husband, concerned about me having no one to open jars for me in Sens, bought a handy dandy “jar opener!”  I tried it today.  It’s joining other useless items in the P.O.S. drawer.

Since I left, it seems the Stuttgart freezers and refrigerators have lost that overabundance look.  I’ll have to take care of that :)  I did find some German chicken thighs and had some shitake mushrooms that I brought with me from France.  Lunch sorted.

Shitake Mushrooms with Roasted Peppers

2 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, chopped

1/4 small onion, chopped

1 knob of butter

3 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp water/broth

1 red roasted sweet pepper, diced

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Soften the onion and shallot in the oil, then add the butter and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper, then continue to saute the mushrooms until they are browned.  Add the water, cover and steam for a minute or two.  Stir in the pepper and thyme leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments