Babies

 

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After having experienced some of the cuisine in Germany,  I have come to the conclusion that much of our  “American” cuisine has roots in Germany;  potato salad, hot dogs, hamburgers and meat loaf.  The average German deli offers a wide range of meat loaves with variations in spices, herbs and meats.

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Today I made a meat loaf with ground baby beef (veal) and baby sheep (lamb).  My husband loves this!

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How can one tell if the beef and sheep were truly babies when slaughtered?  Well, the meat is a pale, delicate pink, sort of like English and Irish babies.  Although, of course, I would never eat a human baby!  Maybe my ancestors did but that was on another continent, during a different time, and it wasn’t my fault :)

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Interlude.  Our airfreight arrived on Friday and contained our espresso machine.  My husband made coffee and I found an old, unwrapped, crushed biscuit in the bottom of my purse from Le Litteraire in Sens.  It was almost like being there!

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I found this poster at a second hand store for $38.  After looking at reproductions of it on the net, I noticed that it wasn’t exactly the same; Depots Partout was missing from the reproductions.  Researching further, I discovered that this was a poster by Leonetto Cappiello, considered the father of modern advertising because of his innovations in poster design.  My poster seems to be worth from $300 to $12,000 dollars.  I love not knowing :)

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Staring dreamily at the poster, I consumed a breakfast of toast, egg, tomato, cheddar, bacon and grapefruit juice.

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Meat loaf.  Meat loaf is one of the easiest meals I make.  You can make it with just about any combination of ground meat, add bread crumbs, eggs, herbs and some liquid to keep it moist.

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Normally, if I was using a tomato base for my liquid, I’d make a quick homemade sauce with onion, garlic, diced tomato, oregano and basil, but I decided to use the canned tomatoes I bought at Wegmans that already had the herbs added.  Never again will I buy these tomatoes!  They were sweet.  Bleah.

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I hate this butcher block top that’s on my island.  It looks like it was used for butchering cats or something.  Bandit, the curious cat, never jumps up on the island.  Clue.  My new top should be coming in a week.  I added a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to the diced tomatoes.

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Baby potatoes.  I adore cute food!

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I still haven’t found normal size garlic; the cloves are small and wimpy, except for something they call “elephant garlic” whose cloves are larger than baby potatoes.

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Colorful food is pleasing!  It makes me smile.

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I prepared a batch of baby potatoes with baby red bell peppers for roasting, thinking about Jade the vegetarian.  She who must not eat meat.

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I’d be willing to wager that if I found a French magret de canard in this ex-British colony gone rogue, she’d de-convert in a flash :D  In the meantime, it doesn’t help that I like and make good vegetables.  Still, she’s starting to have the Cassius look at meal times.

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She’s salad with baby, plum colored tomatoes and cucumbers.

Veal and Lamb Meat Loaf

1 lb ground veal

1lb ground lamb

2 eggs

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 cans diced tomatoes with aromatics (not Wegmans) with 1 tbsp olive oil added

Mix the veal, lamb, eggs, crumbs, salt and pepper together.  Add 1 cup of the diced tomato mixture and mix well to blend.  Form into a loaf and place in a lightly oiled roasting pan.

Roast the loaf in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.  Pour half of the remaining diced tomatoes over the loaf and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

Allow the loaf to cool for 5-10 minutes, then slice and serve with the remaining tomato sauce.

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, German, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Buddha

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Jade left the school in Massachusetts wanting to get into the Zen of meditation, green tea, vegetarianism and Buddha (Buddhism).

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The food in the school cantine must have been shocking.  Well whatever.  I cook vegetables anyway and we don’t all have to be vegetarian  :)

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A vegetable stir fry is an excellent way of emptying the refrigerator of an overabundance of very expensive organic vegetables, bought joylessly in a Wegmans and Callicoon, NY farmers market spending frenzy.

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Naturally, I thought of adding chicken broth to the sauce for the vegetables but that might have retarded Jade’s growth towards nirvana or something.  I did add black sesame seeds for protein.

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Jade, I think unfairly, accused her father of unnecessary, loud chicken crunching and juice dribbling, in order to sway her from the path of righteousness.  I wonder how long she will last :D

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Vegetarian Stir Fry

4 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp chili garlic sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp sherry

2 tbsp peanut oil

1/4 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, slivered

1/2 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced

2 each, red, yellow and orange, mini bell peppers, sliced

6 mini white turnips, halved and sliced

3 baby bok choy, stems separated from leaves (stems sliced, leaves torn into pieces)

1 summer squash, halved and sliced

Black sesame seeds

Stir the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, garlic sauce, vinegar, honey and sherry together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok and add the onion, garlic, ginger and peppers.  Stir fry until the onion is just wilted.  Add the turnips and bok choy stems, then continue to stir fry until the turnips are crisp tender.  Add the summer squash and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the bok choy leaves.

Pour in the sauce mixture, then stir until the bok choy leaves are just wilted.  To serve, sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Baby Beef

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My husband loves the old fashioned American diners that you can still find on the East coast.  Nothing like the hamburger joint in Pulp Fiction, way too upscale, but he likes the ones with meat loaf, roast beef specials and enormous breakfasts that include pancakes with eggs, bacon, home fries, buttered (margarine) toast and jam.  He’s not obese and no more than middle age overweight, but it’s a good thing he got that new valve.

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Anyway.  Our house is a mess.  Our things from Germany haven’t arrived yet but we already had a house full of thousands of pounds of boxed household effects that have been stored for decades.  In those boxes, somewhere, is a ridiculous amount of cooking pots, pans, cooking utensils (mine and my mother-in-law’s), etc.  This, plus the stuff coming from Germany, is more than anyone would need in a lifetime, so I must unpack the boxes in order to cook anything worth while instead of going out and buying more things.  I’ve been unpacking unenthusiastically and slowly.

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We’ve had breakfast in a diner at least 5 times since I arrived on August 5th and on August 17th, my husband’s birthday, he wanted another early morning blow out.  There are several diner-like places in the small town of  Honesdale, Pennsylvania where you can get breakfast and my husband has tried them all.  On the outside of one of his favorites, and the one he chose for his birthday breakfast feast, is a sign that says “Baby beef liver.”  I was curious.

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We ordered our meals and I asked the very friendly, very efficient waitress if the sign was a cute way of saying veal.  No, she said and explained to us very carefully and patiently that, like the pork cuts of ham and bacon, beef also has a cut called veal and that it is located somewhere near the shank of the cow.  Baby beef, she said a bit sadly, comes from cow babies.

I nodded, kept my head down and refused to look at my husband because even though he looks like a really nice, sweet, leprechaun kind of a guy, he’s bad to the bone and would have made me laugh out loud, embarrassing the nice lady and probably getting me barred from the diner for life.

There are two things that are puzzling if not appalling about this:  1)  Honesdale is a farming community and livestock is common.  2)  What in the world does the Wayne County education system require for a child to graduate from high school?!  We discussed this for hours, giggling over several glasses of Prosecco in the privacy of our own home, while wondering if we should home school Jade.

I haven’t figured out the light in the kitchen yet and my tripod doesn’t arrive until Tuesday but I really wanted to start posting from Honesdale.  The light situation could be caused by the glare from the enormous stainless steel refrigerator.  I’ll try covering it with a sheet. The out of focus pictures are caused by the trembling hands of the aged.  Tripod.

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The Farmer’s Market here in Honesdale is somewhat of a disappointment.  It’s like they moved those roadside vegetable and fruit stands to a parking lot.  Not a big selection but I did find those beets and some lovely wax beans.  I made a salad with the beans.  The plate is hand painted from Austria and was the first set of dishes I owned before my marriage 38  years ago.

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The butcher didn’t have baby beef flanken ribs but did have some from mature adults.  I rubbed the ribs with my Bavarian Essence, refrigerated them for about 6 hours and then grilled.  The salad was a mixture of steamed wax beans, drained and rinsed canned pinto beans, sliced scallion, roasted red pepper, sugar, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Salad | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

I’m Back! Sort of…

 

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Beets.  In Pennsylvania.  New computer arrived today.  Still awaiting tripod and the airfreight that it’s in.  Can’t wait to get some time to see your posts and to respond to your comments.  I’ve got this great post coming up called “Baby Beef”.  You definitely have to hear this story :D

Posted in American, Food and Wine | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

The Camera Battery Situation

IMG_6611bOkay, long story short, I packed my battery charger in the airfreight.  When I took these pictures I had one black, blinking block showing on the camera.  Lord have mercy!  It’s not fun to take pictures when you’re stressing over the possibility of camera blackout.  Anyway.

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Finding it impossible to stop shopping, even though I’m leaving on Tuesday, I bought four pretty red mullets from Steve at the fishmonger.  I told him I wanted to stuff them but wanted him to cut them up the belly, instead along the back, his preferred cut for stuffing. Really, the French can be so stubborn!  With people queuing in a long line behind, we had this snarling argument about the “correct” method of cutting fish for stuffing.  Of course he did it like I asked but couldn’t stop mumbling under his breath, probably making snide, anti-American comments the whole time he was preparing the fish.  It didn’t help that I made snide comments aloud at the same time :p

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In addition, I bought some enormous, yellow chicken legs for baking using the sel fou and pepper overnight marinade, then flour coating and baked in butter method.

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Just think about it.  You can have crispy, succulent chicken without the deep fat frying as long as you use butter in the baking pan.  It’s frugal, Frugal and the just plain good!

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I was supposed to make a cauliflower/yam gratin but ran out of steam between selling the car, controlling the dog and drinking wine.  Anyway, the fish entree was pretty filling, so I just steamed some yams and left it at that. No one complained.

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Okay, seriously this time, I’ll see you in Pennsylvania.

Red Mullet Stuffed with Aubergine (Inspiration French Saveurs Magazine: July-August 2014)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 aubergine, cut into small dice

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

4 largish red mullet, gutted and boned

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Cook the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute, add the aubergine and continue to cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from the flame, stir in the basil and allow to cool.

Stuff the mullet with the cooled aubergine mixture, tie with kitchen string, season with salt and pepper, then brown in the hot olive oil for about 4 minutes per side.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Fame

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Small towns are wonderful!  Move to one and you’re sure to get your “15 minutes of fame.” On Monday I was interviewed by Olivier Richard, a courteous and clever journalist for our regional newspaper L’Yonne Republicaine.  By Wednesday morning, my picture was on the front page of the newspaper and the buzz at all the cafes in town was about me, my name on everyone’s lips :-D   M. Parret’s picture was also featured in the main, almost full page article on page 8. He was standing in the kitchen while the journalist was taking pictures and just sort of eased in :)

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Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk me cooking :)

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Normally the fresh bean season is late August-early September.  I’m leaving in a few days and was just bemoaning the fact that I wouldn’t be here when the beans came out.

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Lo and behold, there were some early Coco beans at my favorite vegetable stand on Monday!  Yeah, baby!  Just in time for my birthday!  Plump and firm with creamy interiors, fresh beans can not be compared to canned or dry beans.  Fresh coco or mogette beans are in a league of their own.  I’m really, really going to miss them.

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I gathered up the usual suspects, including a handful of very sad looking cherry tomatoes that were happy to partner with a seeded, normal tomato and the beans.

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Really, you don’t need anything else but a bowl of these beans and perhaps a slice or two of baguette.  However, the American in me just won’t leave well enough alone.

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And if it’s lamb chops, the sin of gluttony is not considered deadly :D  Season with salt and pepper, quickly sear and add herbed butter.

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See you guys next in Pennsylvania where I’ll probably lose weight.  Unintentionally.

Coco de Paimpol Beans

1/2 cup lardons or diced bacon

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, slivered

12 cherry tomatoes, quartered or 2 normal tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2-3 cups of shelled fresh coco beans

3 cups chicken broth

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Brown the lardons, remove from pan and set aside.  Add the onion and garlic to the fat in the skillet and cook until the onion is soft.  Add the tomatoes and herbs, then cook for a minute or two.  Add the beans, lardons, broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 50-55 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

United Airlines Disrespects Quincy

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Today my husband left Stuttgart for Frankfurt and after a layover of 5 hours, onward travel to Dulles Airport in Washingon, D.C. with our cats; Bandit(epileptic) in the cabin and Quincy in baggage.  We decided not to drug Quincy because, although he is a fraidy cat, he is 7 years old and we didn’t want to risk it.

This afternoon I was contacted by Lufthansa Airlines about Quincy who had not been picked up at the baggage claim.  The airline representative told me that United refused to accept Quincy unless the owner personally presented the cat at United check-in.  Of course I was incredulous after all the time we spent on the phone with the United “Pet Safe” people, who neglected to inform us that we must claim the cat and then check it in with United.  My husband, cellphoneless at the airport, had no way of knowing this.  Lufthansa tried repeatedly to page him with no results.

I attempted to call United Airlines at the Frankfurt airport but each time was transferred to the United Airlines Call Center in Houston, Texas.  I spent over 2 hours, closer to 3, on the phone with numerous “representatives” who transferred me around from person to person who were unable to contact a United employee in Frankfurt.  In the end, the last person broke the connection.  That had to be an accident I keep telling myself.

I called Lufthansa and explained to them that the people at United were not helpful and, in fact, were probably not the brightest bulbs in the box.  Long story short, Lufthansa found my husband and told him about Quincy.  Unfortunately, it was too late to check Quincy onto the United flight and my just out of the hospital husband has reclaimed Quincy and is spending the night in Frankfurt to catch a flight at noon tomorrow.  B*****ds!  I hope you see this you incompetents!  Poor, poor Quincy.

Posted in American | Tagged , , , , , , | 45 Comments