Apartment Living in Stuttgart


Well, we’re back in the tajine killing stove apartment again .  German baby back ribs braised at home.  Yes!  Take out noodles from Ha Long, Stuttgart.  Non!

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Magret de Canard and Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet


I think the Dog gave me this idea.  I don’t have any cannellini beans in the pantry.  I’ve got 2 kinds of hominy and chickpeas.  In addition, normally I would have used duck legs instead of duck breasts for the cassoulet, preferring to reserve the duck breasts for searing and eating rare. However, I have so many duck breasts!  And these weren’t Jean Louis’ anyway but of an inferior but okay supermarket quality.


This cassoulet turned out well, even with the chickpeas.  In fact, in was fabulous :)  I had a bonus of Toulouse sausages in the freezer and seared the fat from 3 duck breasts, using two in the cassoulet and reserving one for sandwiches or a salad later.  I browned the sausages in some of the reserved duck fat and also used some to saute the onions, garlic and carrots.


All of my stove top casseroles and tajines are in France, so I used my large “back in the day”, Farberware skillet with cover to simmer the cassoulet.


Magret de Canard and Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet

2 duck breasts, fat scored

6 Toulouse sausages

2 onions, halved and sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

3 carrots, halved and sliced

1 large and 1 regular cans whole or diced tomatoes

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cans of chickpeas or cannellini beans.

In a hot skillet, on a medium low flame, brown and render the fat from the duck breasts. Cut the duck breasts into large cubes, then set aside.  Remove the rendered fat from the skillet and reserve.

Add a tablespoon of the rendered fat and the sausages to the skillet and brown. Remove and reserve.  Add another tablespoon of the fat to the skillet and saute the onions, garlic and carrots until the onion is soft.

Add the tomatoes (breaking up with a fork if whole), salt, pepper, bay leaf, oregano and thyme to the skillet.  Simmer for a few minutes, then add the chickpeas, cubes of duck, then top with the sausages, cover and simmer for an hour.




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Italian Sausage Breakfast Hash

IMG_5898b This breakfast/brunch hash was directly inspired by Frugal Feeding’s Potato and Chorizo Salad.  I found some Italian sausage in the freezer (there could be more) that I wanted to move on before I go back to the duck :)

Italian Sausage Breakfast Hash

4 medium size potatoes, cut into small chunks

4 hot Italian sausages

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, halved, then sliced into about 16 pieces

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into medium dice

Salt and pepper

Smoked paprika

4 hard boiled eggs, quartered

Boil the potatoes for about 4-5 minutes, drain and set aside.  Brown and cook the Italian sausages, slice and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then add the onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Saute until the onion is just soft.  Add the reserved potatoes, sprinkle all with salt, pepper and paprika, then cook and stir until the potatoes are lightly browned. Stir in the reserved sausages to heat.  Lastly, gently stir in the eggs.

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Time to start moving some of this duck onward.  Remember the time I served my husband skinless chicken breasts 3 days running before he noticed?  Well, I’ve got more than 3 days worth of duck legs and breasts, let’s see what I come up with.  To begin, my original idea was to make magret de canard aux cerises.  I found some ENORMOUS cherries in the Waiblingen market with that idea in mind but I ate them all and they were good :)


That left the green seedless grapes.  I did eat a lot of those also but there was enough left to make a compote.  My favorite fruits have always been small, round and firm or maybe just small and firm because I like strawberries a lot too.


My plan is to walk the dog and cook from the freezer in the mornings, then sort through our things for pack out in the afternoons.  The afternoons will be drudgery and I don’t know why we felt that we needed all this stuff!  Still, nothing last forever and it will be done and over eventually.  I miss going to coffee :(


I’ve not been myself.  My husband needed a replacement part and, as he himself is irreplaceable, I’ve been quite frightened.  Because the Germans are considered some of the best mechanics for this procedure, we decided that he would go to the “garage” here and get everything over with before he retired.  Yesterday they opened up his hood, successfully replaced a valve and now he’s good to go! Aren’t the Germans clever people?! I love them so much!  It’s okay to put rice in your burritos now :D



Duck Breasts with Herbs and Green Grape Compote

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp butter

1 cinnamon stick

6 tbsp water

4 cups seedless green grapes

2 duck breasts, fat scored

Salt and pepper

Assorted herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary), chopped

4 small courgettes, chaos cut, steamed and buttered

Bring the sugar, butter, cinnamon stick and water to a boil in a sauce pan.  Add the grapes, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Set aside and keep warm.

Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper, then rub in the herbs.  In a preheated skillet, sear the breasts, fat side down, for about 6 minutes.  Remove the accumulated fat, turn the duck breasts and cook for about another 6 minutes or until done to taste.

Let the breasts rest for about 10 minutes, slice and serve with the grapes and courgettes.





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The Way My Mother Did It


I have an emotionally challenging week coming up and with all the stress of the big things, I seem to need to pile on petty, little, peevish, inconsequential irritants.  Like rice in burritos. I think by focusing on the “rice factor” I am, in truth, avoiding the fear of Monday morning and thereby relieving, for a time, my overwhelming stress.  So that’s why :)

Tangential Jessie picture.


When I was a child, we had Mexican food at least once a week and sometimes twice or thrice. My Mom charred fresh green chillies, scraped off the skin, stuffed them with raw onions and cheese and fried them; chillie rellenos old school.  She made chili (no beans), chili beans(no meat), menudo, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tamales, refried beans and guacamole.  I was her “coupe oignons” and helped with stuffing, rolling, etc.


This was during the time when using good quality canned foods, instead of fresh, was fairly new, time saving, modern and almost exotic.  This was before canned foods went the way of Wolf Brand Chili.  I believe my Mom liked Rosarita canned products for her Mexican dishes.  I see Rosarita brand is now owned by ConAgra Foods, also owner of Orville Reddenbacher, Chef Boyardee, Pam and, wait for it, Healthy Choice.  Today I used Rosarita brand refried beans, Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chillies, La Preferida (what?) green chillies and Pace Hot Picante Sauce because that’s what was in the commissary.  I think you can do a lot better by either making everything from scratch or searching out better canned Mexican products.  Anyway.


Deep, deep, deep in the freezer I found a package of ground veal that I browned with a few spices and herbs, added a can of diced tomatoes with green chillies, a can of refried beans and simmered until thickened.  The look was there.  Of course you can use just plain ground beef. I’m just emptying the freezer.


My Mom was heavily into raw onions in her Mexican roll ups.  We kids liked them or maybe we just ate them because the alternative was starvation.  Schooled in the certainty of being parentally back-handed from the table, we never, ever considered picking them out.  This was before Ritalin and my Mom had to raise her children the natural way, without chemical aids.  She didn’t believe in allergies, delicate stomachs or children’s food preferences.  I’m glad she was a good cook.  That made things happier and easier for us :D


My Mom always bought a chunk of sharp cheddar to grate for most of her Mexican dishes.  Did you know that Kraft’s Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese has absolutely no carbs in it?  Don’t you think that’s odd?  I do.  Odd and scary.


After rolling up the burritos, my mother always baked them for 15-20 minutes to crisp the ends of the tortillas and heat the fillings.  No choice.  No microwave.  You could probably microwave these but the tortilla ends wouldn’t be crisp.

Real Mexican Burritos

1 lb ground beef

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp cumin seed

1-2 tbsp chili powder

1 can diced tomatoes with green chillies

1 can refried beans

8 flour tortillas

1 can whole green chillies, sliced into strips

1 small onion, chopped

Cheddar cheese, grated

Lettuce, shredded

Tomatoes, diced

Picante sauce or salsa

Start the meat frying with the oil in a skillet.  Add the salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and chili powder, then cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes with green chillies and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the beans and simmer, stirring until thickened.

For each burrito, spread on some of the beef and bean mixture, top with strips of green chilli, onion and cheese.  Roll up and place in a lightly greased baking pan.  Bake in a 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes

Scatter some lettuce and tomatoes on each plate, place the burrito on top and pass the sauce or salsa.





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Hearts and Minds



What was I thinking!?  Of course I took advantage of the superior and varied food selection in France, bringing shopping bags and packed coolers with me when I came to the house in Germany.  But why was I so convinced that duck was so necessary that both of the fridge freezers are packed to the gills with almost nothing else?!  It took a major excavation, almost archaeological, to find something else to cook besides duck legs or breasts!  Even then, the hearts were from the ducks on Jean Louis’ farm!  “Sometimes I’m unreasonable”, said Rosemary Mullally never :)


Anyway, I had bought baby bok choy, red bell pepper and scallions yesterday that suggested a stir fry, but I also wanted to Southern fry the hearts and livers.  Then I thought of sweet and sour and things got fiddly.  I made a sauce, boiled the hearts, soaked the livers and boiled hearts in milk and egg, deep fried them, stir fried the vegetables and poured the sauce over all.  Nice.


I like light sweet and sour sauces, not heavy or overly sweet.  I was really satisfied with this one.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp Tamari soy sauce

6 tbsp rice vinegar

1 cup water

1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tbsp water

Bring the sugar, salt, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and water to a boil.  Add the cornstarch mixture, then cook and stir until the sauce thickens.

Southern Fried Duck Hearts and Livers

1 lb duck hearts, halved and boiled with a bay leaf, a large slice of onion and 2 cups of chicken broth for 30 minutes and cooled

1 lb chicken livers, halved

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 cup flour

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp piment d’espelette

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Peanut oil for deep frying

Beat the milk with the egg, then stir in the cooked hearts and raw livers and let sit for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix the flour, bread crumbs, garlic powder, piment, salt and pepper together.  Dip the livers and hearts in the flour, then deep fry until brown and crunchy.  Drain on paper towels.

Sweet and Sour Duck Heart and Chicken Liver Stir Fry

4 scallions, sliced diagonally

1 red bell pepper, chaotically sliced into 1-2 inch pieces

5-6 baby bok choy, bottom sliced off, branches separated and torn into 2 inch pieces

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Southern fried duck hearts and chicken livers (see above)

Sweet and sour sauce (see above)

Heat the oils in a wok and stir fry the scallions and pepper until crisp tender.  Add the bok choy and continue to stir fry for about 2 minutes.  Stir in the hearts, livers and sauce, then stir just to throughly heat.

Serve with rice or noodles.








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Duck Burrito


No rice


Just sayin.

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Mexican, Sandwich | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments