Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Season 1974 - 1975!!

The holiday season went into full swing the beginning of December 1974. Snow in Bethany always made the mood for a fun Christmas and New Year holiday. Ever since Marc and I got married we celebrated Christmas the German way. The exchanging of gifts was Christmas Eve. However when the children were young Marc insisted that one special gift was to be opened on Christmas Day morning delivered by Santa Claus. The children were happy with that and said we have two Christmases.

In Germany we never saw the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve - all lit up and gifts put under the tree. Candles all over the house. I followed my homeland tradition until our kids were teens. My Children never saw our Christmas tree lit until Christmas Eve. Our tradition began with Marc packing up the children and driving them around to see all the Christmas displays around the town. When they came back home after about 1 hour, I had the tree decorated, the candles lit and presents under the tree. Oh boy what excitement! Supper was before they left. Now, I do put up the tree the week before Christmas.

For the last 20 plus years we made it a tradition to have Curry Shrimp Leek Soup on Christmas Eve, listen to music and, after the kitchen is cleaned, we open presents. When the kids were little it was of course so much more fun.

Back to December 1974.  Marc and I had planned a  traditional German New Years Eve dinner in our home. The prep for Christmas had also begun - baking, cooking, and shopping with the children so they could find just the right gift for their Father.

We were quite settled in our home in Bethany by 1974 and Marc’s commute to his company was less stressful. When Marcus arrived home he showed signs of extreme fatigue, he would retreat into the Den/Music room, and yes that is what I called it. Instruments were everywhere - flute, guitar, violin, although the piano was in the living room. We also had a wet bar in the den.  Marc would sometimes pour himself a drink, which was not the norm, loosen his tie and sit down on the couch, wanting to be left alone for a while. As you know, kids want to talk right away but we had to establish some ground rules: the first 15 minutes that Marc was home, no one was to bother Dad, including me.

One of those evenings I found Marc rolling on the floor in the den in pain.  My urging him to go and see a doctor went on deaf ears for at least 2 more weeks. Finally I threatened that if he did not make an appointment I would make one with my doctor for him. I was full of fear that the children would see him rolling around in pain on the floor. I made the appointment with my doctor on December 31, 1974. That day the nightmare began.

Rodmond, Steven and Neal were helping me in the kitchen (I make a disclaimer, I can’t quite recall who all helped that day) to get the New Years Eve dinner done for 10.

During that time Marc called and said, “Well it is not aneurism.” That thought had never entered my mind.  A few minutes later the doctor called and said, “Marc does not want me to tell you this, but I feel you must know.  He has a tumor the size of a fist in his chest on the thymus gland, Cancer.  He needs to come into the hospital January 1, 1975 for surgery.

All evening while I pretended not to know the test results, I entertained our guests in a daze. Some of our friends are physicians and it so happened that 3 and their wives were our guests that evening. I recall Jeffrey, Norton and Gerald saying to me that Marc does not look too good. He was so pale and he perspired so much. I told them to take Marc out for a walk and have him tell them what is going on, he would not tell me what his thoughts were, and I had to wait until after the party.

Marc let it all out with Jeffrey, Norton and Gerald and they stayed close to him all evening for moral support. We all tried our best to be cheerful for Marc. One thing that saved the evening was some of the kids tumbling in and out. We concentrated on them and put hats on everyone and blew horns at midnight.

Shortly our guests left with a heavy heart and best wishes for 1975.

The traditional German New Years Eve Dinner was/is pork hocks and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes. I added smoked pork shops for the guest who would not eat pork hocks.

Pork hocks and sauerkraut on New Years Eve is to bring you prosperity the following year.

January 1, 1975 I took Marc to Yale University Hospital to have surgery the following day.

The saga to be continued.

German style Sauerkraut

1 quart sauerkraut
3 strips of bacon
½ onions if desired

Drain the sauerkraut and cover with water and bring to a boil, simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. The reason for this is to take some of the tartness out of the kraut. In the meantime sauté the bacon until crisp, remove from pan and reserve the bacon grease. Crumble the bacon and save.

Now drain the sauerkraut, add the bacon grease and crumbled bacon, cook for about 5 minutes. If you like to add onions, sauté them until light brown and add to the sauerkraut.

Makes about 4 to 6 servings

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving in the 60's/70's and Now!

Thanksgiving is a holiday I joyfully embraced coming to live in the USA. In the 60’s/ 70’s we alternated spending Thanksgiving with two families celebrating in each others homes. We would pack up the kids and drive to Long Island our friends would come to Iowa or Connecticut respectively.

1974 Thanksgiving is sort of a blur. We had moved to Bethany and besides cooking our Thanksgiving meal I also cooked some side dishes for clients. We still were not quite settled.

1975 was a very sad Thanksgiving. We all struggled with Marc’s illness (cancer) and though we all were hopeful it would stay in remission, it was not to be. Marc’s Birthday is November 20th and I decided to do a very special romantic dinner just for the two of us. It was the last such dinner we had.

This Thanksgiving I call Sonoma County home. Actually for the last 13 years I have entertained my family and a neighbor who has no family close by for a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner. Not all my children and family can be here every Thanksgiving but the consistent ones are Heidi, Rodmond and Neal when he lives in town such as now. Walter and family live in Boise Idaho. No visit this year. Steven and family reside in England. He and his family visit about every 3 to 4 years. Paul’s family lives in Phoenix and Connecticut and Paul himself lives in LA.

I am grateful to have family that cares and loves their Mom. I am also fortunate to have a home in beautiful Sonoma County. Semi retiring here almost 14 years ago with the help of my son Rod was a smart move on my part.

I have made good friends and a very special friend named Josie. I also worked during my first few years here. Now I take on a spotter project or write a training manual for a Hotel Restaurant’s when needed.

This Thanksgiving let us all be grateful for our families and friends and neighbors. Pray for peace in the world and prosperity for all.

It wouldn’t do without a recipe for Thanksgiving from my portfolio. This is my maternal Grandmothers red cabbage recipe:

Red Cabbage

4 quarts water
1 large red cabbage or 2 small ones
1 apple
1 onion
2 strips of bacon (fat from a goose, duck or chicken is even better)
Red wine Vinegar to taste
Sat and Pepper to taste
Sugar to taste

Remove outer leaves from cabbage and remove the core. Chop cabbage into medium to small pieces. Rinse; in a large pot put the water the cabbage, apple and onion with salt and pepper and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Drain, set aside. In the same pot fry the bacon or melt down the duck/chicken fat on medium high heat. Remove the bacon strips. Set aside; now add the cabbage to the fat and stir for about 5 minutes of and on. Add some vinegar and sugar, (start with ¼ cup vinegar and 4 tablespoons of sugar). Stir and taste after a few minutes off cooking. Increase the vinegar and sugar to your taste; simmer cabbage for about 10 more minutes.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Here is our Thanksgiving Menu, it has not changed except for few updates this year, this is one holiday when I do follow everyone’s tradition. The family expect it, ha, ha.

 Thanksgiving Menu 2011
Crudities with smoked salmon and onion dip
Cold boiled Shrimp with a horseradish dip

At the Table:
Clear Mushroom Soup

From the Buffet:

Turkey basted with Herb Butter and lemons/oranges stuffed cavity
w/ Mushroom Turkey Gravy

Turkey Sausage Stuffing

Grandmother Schweders Red Cabbage
Brussels Sprouts with Capers and roasted Almonds
Green bean casserole
Mashed Yams with blue cheese and Pecans

Mashed Potatoes

Dinner rolls

Cranberry Relish

Dessert:     Pumpkin Pie and Apple Grape Pie

Sunday, October 30, 2011

On the Move: From Waterfront to Inland - Spring 1974

Sadly we had to leave our Haycock Point residence due to the house being sold. Marc and I decided to find a home to buy. The properties in Branford were too costly so we ventured inland. We found a home we loved, a Cape Cod style sitting on acreage in Bethany Connecticut. At the time the house was not for sale, but it had a lease option to buy. We decided to take the lease option.

The kids loved the big yard. A riding mower was a must which we found one in the small garage under the house. The boys were excited to be able to use it to mow our large yard.
We had a row of Lilac trees - my most favored flower. I used them when in season for various events.

For me the kitchen was the best, close to being a commercial kitchen without the commercial stove, ha, ha. It had high ceilings where we hung pots and pans and plants, it was so homey. It also had room for a kitchen eating area. The dining room was for special occasions and homework. At times all 7 children would sit and do their homework with a lot of squabbles, needless to say.

Marc bought me a butcher block table to put in the middle of the kitchen and I was ready to do more teaching. I also did what is now called “The Chef at Home.”  I would prepare an entrée for my client and write out the instructions on how to heat or finish cooking the dish. I would then deliver the entrée to the client’s house and voila, the host or hostess finished it when needed. This was favored by a lot of my clients in the Woodbridge, Bethany area. I made some great friends who are still in contact with me or me with them. It never ceases to amaze me how food is a bond for family and friends. Entertaining was big in those days.

New York City was still a big part of the year 73/74. I became a consultant for restaurants like Maxwell Plum. Whenever the Chef created a new entree I was his taster before he presented the entrée to the owner, Le Roy. This was a fun job. I also did test cooking for the magazine: “Pleasure of Cooking”. The magazine was published by Cusinart in Greenwich Connecticut.

Marc and I also liked to entertain. One of our guests’ favorite dinners was when I made Shrimp with Grapes in a Curry sauce. My menu went like this:

A clear soup - like chicken broth with Madera wine served in a champagne glass (low rimmed). The entrée was served with a rice pilaf, a salad always after the entrée, dessert.  

I have to say that my children knew when to pitch in. One night I woke up to noise from my kitchen and discovered my son Steven chopping carrots, celery and other vegetables, mind you it was 2 a.m. He knew I needed all that for a stock I was going to cook the next morning. Boy I was so teary eyed and grateful to that boy.  He was all but 11 years old.

In a later blog I will enlighten you on some of my other children who became my support
system. I could never have done what I have done without the help and support of my children as well as Marc my husband. Here is my Curried Shrimp and Grape recipe.

Curried Shrimp with Grapes

6 to 8 large shrimp per person, peeled, cleaned and tail removed
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots or 1 sweet small onion
2 tablespoons curry powder, or to taste
1 cup chicken broth or fish stock
1 to 2 cups heavy cream (room temperature)
½ to 1 pound green seedless grapes, removed from stem and washed

Clean and rinse shrimp, drain. In a heavy frying pan melt the butter with the olive oil, on medium heat. Add the curry powder and stir for about 1 minute on low heat.Add the shallots and saute for about 2 minutes do not brown. Turn heat to medium low and add the shrimp, sauté quickly about 1 to 2 minutes – do not overcook.

Remove shrimp from pan and save in a bowl, keep warm. Add the stock and scrape the curry of the sides and bottom of the pan, and simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes on medium low heat.

Add the heavy cream mixed with 1 tablespoon of the hot broth slowly into the pan with the broth on low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Add the grapes cook for 1 minute re-add the shrimp and heat through. Serve

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Rice Pilaf or Couscous is great with this entrée; a Gewürztraminer will compliment this curry dish. Bon Appetite

Note:  You can prepare everything ahead up to an hour except adding the grapes and shrimp the last minute before serving.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

How a career in the Food & Hospitality Industry Evolved!

New York City 1973.
In the back of my mind I always wanted to own a “Soup Restaurant.” Once settled in Connecticut, I ventured to New York City. On one of these excursions my friend Ingrid met me and my Father, yes he was visiting from Germany, at a Soup Restaurant called La Potagerie, the creation of Jacque Pepin. The restaurant was hopping and the soups were very tasty. I made it a point to meet one of the owners who doubled as a host. On a later date I met Pepin as well.

New York City became very instrumental in how my career in the food and hospitality industry evolved. As a cooking teacher I read everything I could about cooking. One evening I was on the train back to New Haven from New York reading the Cosmopolitan magazine. The gentleman sitting next to me asked, “Why do you read that magazine?”

My prompt answer was, “Would you believe for the food section?” I followed up by saying, “I read every magazine for the food section first.” He than asked me a lot of questions about recipes and cooking. As it turned out, he was the publisher for Glamour Magazine, a Conde Nast publication.  I was invited to visit the magazine. I took him up on the invitation and met some great people at Conde Nast.

The Glamour magazine’s food section was in need of improvement. Ralph gave me some recipes to test cook, which I did and the Editor in Chief at the time was not a happy camper.

I would have loved to cook in the Vogue magazine kitchen which was the best in the building, but it was not to be.

When Estee Lauder launched the fragrance Aliage I did the catering at Glamour magazine. The kitchen was so small it was a good thing I did the prep the day before.

I made my Ham & Cheese au Croute. (The recipe will follow) The food was praised as well as the whole set up for the event. The party went on and on and I knew Ralph wanted it to end so I did what my Mother used to do when she wanted our guests to leave - she opened all the windows. Of course at Glamour that was more difficult.  For extra emphasis, I then took a broom and started to sweep.  It worked - the guests got the message. It also worked for me. This was a fun event and to this day Aliage is still my favored fragrance.

Because of the success at this event I was asked to cater a dinner at Mr.  & Mrs. Newhouse Sr., on Park Avenue. How much fun! I was looking forward to that, and was not disappointed to work in such an impressive environment. Going food shopping with Mitzi in a limousine was an experience by itself.

Of course other high powered parties followed this one in New York City, Connecticut and later in California. More about that some other time.

Ham and Cheese au Croute

Preheat oven to 350*

2 ½ cups flour
3 cups cottage cheese (very dry)
1 ½ to 2 sticks unsalted butter (cold)
1 ½ lb lean ham (cubed)
1 to 1 ½ lb Gruyere or very good Wisconsin Swiss cheese (cubed)
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon water

Measure the flour into a deep bowl add the cottage cheese. (If you can’t find dry cottage cheese take a clean kitchen towel and squeeze the cheese until dry. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the cottage cheese flour mixture. Combine all ingredients with your hands in about 2/3 minutes. Form a ball, place on a plate and cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least for 6 hours.

When ready to bake, butter a 2 quart to 3 quart Pyrex pan; roll out the dough on a pastry sheet or on foil paper dusted with flour, also dust your rolling pin with flour. (The dough is very sticky). Transfer to the Pyrex pan peel of the pastry sheet.  Thee dough needs to overlap the pan on all sides.

Fill with the cubed ham and cheese. Cover with the overlapped dough, clean the edges with a sharp knife and make 1- inch strips from the left over dough. Cover the dish with the strips crossway about ½ inches apart. Brush the top with egg yolk mixed with the water and bake for 35 to 45 minutes until top is lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Note: You can finish the dish the day before, cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve make sure you take it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before baking.

The Pyrex dish can not go very cold into a hot oven.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

A nice salad and a crisp wine make this a great party dish.

Monday, September 26, 2011

News Flash -- September 2011 Brunch on a Saturday

The crush is on in Wine Country. Entertaining this time of the year becomes challenging. I had planned a German style brunch around two friends who had to cancel a couple days prior due to a priority with their home remodel. The next cancel was from a friend who is a winemaker - she was called into work. However, her husband did come.

My brunch went instantly from 7 to 4 people. Oh, two of my other guests thought it was the next day (Sunday). This was a total messed up communication. They arrived after my notifying them via text: “Where  are you??” – Late – but they arrived. My first guest and I had a Mimosa and waited patiently for them, talking.

Since this was a test cooking to see how the Eierpfanne Kuchen would hold up filled with sautéed veggies - in my case I used mushrooms, zucchini, green onions and fresh tarragon,  instead of the original filled with orange marmalade, my favored filling, or any other jam.

Eierpfanne Kuchen is a type of crepe but not quite as thin. I have made Eierpfanne Kuchen since I was 14. I am now 76 so you would think I perfected the recipe. Well let me tell you, they are very sensitive to make. It is all in the wrist when the frying begins. Yesterday I decided to put the batter into a bowl and use a ladle. “Big or not so big mistake.” They turned out slightly thicker than I like. I usually pour the batter directly from the cuisinart (blender can be used) into the frying pan and it always comes out perfect.

Why test the recipe? A few weeks ago with friends here for a Sunday brunch the topic came up - why not use veggies instead? I also varied from the norm by frying the Eierpfanne Kuchen ahead and filling them and putting into a warm oven to hold until the guests arrived.

According to my guests, the Eierpfanne Kuchen ranged from awesome to very good. But, the texture was not good enough for my taste. If you would like to try this (the recipe will follow) it is best to cook and serve - make it fun and educational. The Eierpfanne Kuchen become slightly dense when kept warm, especially for 1 hour, ha, ha. I venture to say 15 minutes in the oven or under a warmer would probably be good.

Most recipes I develop and cook are okay to be cooked in advance which makes it so easy on the hostess when entertaining.

Eierpfanne Kuchen

4 eggs
4 to 6 tablespoons flour
¼ cup milk
   Salt to taste
   orange marmalade or other jams for filling

In food processor or mixer combine the eggs with the milk and salt.
Mix until you have a thin batter. If batter is too thick add more milk.
The texture of the batter has to be like heavy syrup.
Heat butter in a heavy frying pan, (about 6 to 8 inches across). Pour
batter into pan to cover the bottom. On medium heat lightly brown one
side, flip over and brown the other side.

Remove from pan. Repeat process until all batter is gone. While your second Eierpfanne Kuchen browns, sprinkle the first one with sugar and spread orange marmalade, roll up or fold into a triangle.  Serve right from the stove or keep warm in 200 degree oven until all are done.

Note: Instead of orange marmalade or other jam you can fill the Eierpfanne Kuchen with sautéed vegetable of your choice.


Makes 4 to 6 Eierpfanne Kuchen

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moving On -- To the East Coast

It was the late spring of 1972 when we sold our stately home in Ottumwa, Iowa and moved to Connecticut. Marc had accepted a position in private Industry in Wallingford, Connecticut with Cahn Engineering.

My closest friend Ingrid, who lives in Long Island, went house hunting for us. Ingrid found a beach bungalow in Branford, Connecticut. The beach was our front yard and the kids were ecstatic. However we needed more space so after a few months and a visit with my parents from Germany, we found a 4 bedroom home. It was also on the waterfront in what is called Haycock Point. It was there that I started my first “Cooking School”.  Home cooking schools were rare in those days. One can say I was a pioneer.

My classes were never bigger than 5 or 6 students. During that time some male friends of ours wanted to learn how to skin a bluefish. Bluefish can weigh anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds. I really had to be inventive since I wanted to capture that audience.

The guys brought the bluefish they had caught fishing. The fish weighed at least 12 pounds if not more - it was huge. I took a big hook and put it into the mouth of the fish and I ushered everyone into the backyard. Close to our picnic table we had a big tree. I proceeded to hang the fish on a branch of that tree. Everyone was puzzled, ha, ha. With a very sharp paring knife I loosened the skin around the head and then pulled the skin down and off. I received applause and the guys said next time they entertain this would be a great party opener. We then took the fish back inside. I removed all the black oily meat and filleted the fish.

A couple of weeks later one of the men called me and asked how to grill the fish whole. What should he do? I suggested rubbing the fish with some olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, rub the fish with garlic cloves and put the garlic in the cavity, adding green onions, lemon slices and fresh tarragon.

If you want to try this, make sure your grill is very clean, coat it lightly with vegetable or olive oil and heat the grill to medium high. Put the fish on and brown, turn over and do the same on the other side. Now, put the fish on heavy duty foil and finish cooking. The fish is done when you touch the very meaty part with your index finger and the skin and meat bounce back.

When the fish is done remove to a big board or platter and proceed to remove the skin and the black fatty meat. Put lemon slices all the way down the middle of the fish sprinkle with a mixture of chopped parsley mixed with fresh tarragon leaves. Voila you have a wonderful family or party dish. You also can do this with a whole salmon, yum, yum.

Here is the bluefish recipe I taught in my very first class. (Pictured above)

Bluefish or Striped Bass (poached in Court Bouillon)

1 --- 5 to 6 pound whole bluefish or striped bass (head removed) washed and rubbed with salt.

1 quart water
½ bottle dry white wine
1 stalk celery, tops included, sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 carrot sliced
1 small onion halved
1 lemon quartered
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dry tarragon (fresh 2 sprigs)
3 whole cloves

Place all ingredients into a fish poacher or large roaster, except the fish, bring to boil; simmer for 20 to 30 minutes on medium low heat.

Now add the fish and poach on low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. Cool fish in the court bouillon for about 10 minutes; lift fish out carefully and remove the skin and black fatty meat. Set aside and cover tightly to keep the fish warm with foil.

Sauce au Beurre: (Butter Sauce)

7 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)
2 tablespoons flour
1 ¼ cups of boiling lightly salted water+1 tablespoon
1 egg yolk
Lemon juice

 In a small sauce pan melt 1 ½ tablespoons butter, add the 2 tablespoons of flour, mix and moisten with the 1 ¼ cup of  boiling water. Stir the flour mixture vigorously with a wire whisk; add the egg yolk mixed with one tablespoon of water. Incorporate, stirring all the time and keep sauce pan on very low heat or on a double boiler. Add the rest of the butter cut into small pieces keep stirring until smooth and incorporated. Season the sauce with pepper and a few lemon drops.

Put the fish on a platter now and top with the sauce and some lemon slices and chopped fresh parsley. Use your favored vegetables and roasted potatoes put around the fish.

Note: This sauce can also be used as a base for many other sauces and is good on boiled vegetables as well with added lobster meat.

Bon appetite

Monday, September 5, 2011

Fast Foward

Fast Forward

I am sure most of you do remember the Cuban Crisis – or at least heard about it! Marc, as a pilot, was called to active duty since he was in the reserve, so off to Kansas City we moved. After 60 days we found out he was called back to active duty by mistake. Oh boy, we were not happy campers.

Our next move was to Ottumwa, Iowa. Ottumwa was the town were 4 of our 7 children were born. In all, Marc and I produced six sons and one daughter, who is the baby. It was quite a production in Ottumwa when the news broke we finally managed to have a girl. The whole town sent beautiful baby clothes for Heidi and the Dr.’s bought me a Steak and Lobster dinner and 2 dozen roses for my last night in the hospital. It was overwhelming.

Marc and I restored a wonderful old house and we filled this home with children, love and laughter and a lot of cooking. I do have to say breakfast is my least favored meal to cook due to the fact that I made it for 9, year in year out, ha, ha.

In Ottumwa my venture into cooking became very serious. Once a week I tested a new recipe and our children had to try the food with as many spoons as their age, this was one way to teach them to not be afraid of trying new foods. I am very proud to say that all 7 of our children did try everything I put in front of them, no tantrums. To this day the majority of my children is open to new foods and loves to cook. My son Rodmond is very inventive when it comes to cooking or producing a menu.

In Ottumwa, as I have written before, the “Gourmet Dinner Club” was fun for Marc, me and my friends. One of the dinners I still remember vividly is one when Mary Sue and Dan did a 5 course meal going through 5 countries (47 years or so ago).  I can only recall some of the wonderful entrees we did.

 Due to our moving several times I created what I call "Moving Day Soup". Here is the recipe.

Moving Day Soup                     (12 to 16 servings)

4 to 5 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4 lbs lean stew meat
4 mid size onions, peeled and chopped
2 lbs carrots, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 bunches celery, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
5 tomatoes peeled and quartered
6 to 8 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
8 tsp paprika
4 bay leaves
5 quarts beef broth, or more, chicken broth, if you prefer
1 cup of sour cream
2 tbsp flour
Fresh parsley

In a large bowl or plastic bag put the meat and season with the salt, pepper and paprika on all sides. Dust with the flour.

In a heavy stock/soup pot heat the oil on medium high heat. Add the meat and brown on all sides, add the onions and let them caramelize. Now add the broth bring to a boil add the bay leaves, turn heat down to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes.

Now add the carrots and cook for 10 minutes, add the celery and the potatoes cook until tender about 30 more minutes.

Take the sour cream and stir in the flour until no lumps are present add some of the hot broth and stir until smooth. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the sour cream mixture into the soup until incorporated, do not boil, and just simmer for about 10 minutes. (The sour cream may brake if it boils)

Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 more minutes. Top with chopped parsley and serve in soup bowls.

This also makes a great party dish when it is nippy outside. Add a salad some great    bread and a red wine of your choice. Voila!!

To peel the tomatoes: Drop into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, remove and when cooled peel the tomato. You also can use whole canned tomatoes if you like.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How did I get here?? (Back to the beginning)

The year was 1957. I married this wonderful American man named Marcus. Marc was an officer and a pilot in the 37th Engineers corps stationed in Wolfgang by Hanau in Germany. I accidentally met Marc in the Officer Club doing inventory for my Father who, at the time, was the GM for the Club. I was 20 years old. That evening after I got home the Bartender called and said there were two Officers who wanted my phone number and if he could give it to them. I said no way. After that, every time I went on Post and saw Marc (at the time I did not know his name) he would wave and say hello.

Three weeks before Christmas 1956 the German Lions Club had set up sales tables in the Basketball Auditorium on Post and they needed a translator. My Father requested that I go and translate for the American soldiers, officers and enlisted men who were shopping for their families in the United States. Well, Marc asked for some help in choosing a pipe for his father, even though he spoke German quite well. I thought he was cute and had a great personality but still I was not interested.

A few weeks later, family friends invited me to dinner at the Officers Club. Our friend was trying to set me up with a date - let me call him Jon - but I said, “No. He is the kind of guy who flies from flower to flower and I have no interest in that.” Later that evening Marc walked in. Looking at him, I said to our friend, “If there is one guy I would go out with, it would be him.”

Two weeks later, our friend Mrs. Hansen had a dinner party in her home and had invited Marc. Later that evening, he requested to take me home. In front of Marc, Mrs. Hansen said to me, “Be sure he does not take advantage of you.”  Well he was so shy that I almost took advantage of him!

Marc asked me to dinner at the Officer Club in Frankfurt the next day. He was very attentive and European. (Yes there is a difference in the behavior of men.) One can say I fell in love with Marc during this evening. My Grandmother, who was visiting from East Germany, had waited up for me. I told her that I was going to marry Marcus for I knew that night he was the one.

My Father was not pleased. In Germany in those days, at least in my family, you had to introduce your date to your parents away from home, either in a Restaurant or Café.  I guess there is an exception to every rule. You guessed it: Marc showed up at our door in full uniform. I was stunned - especially since I had told him not to come to my home until it was acceptable. Needless to say, I did not ask him in. Instead, we stood in the foyer talking. He had come to ask me to go to the Globetrotters the following Friday.

Marc’s visit was during dinner and I stayed away from the table so long that my Father came to the door. You have to realize that my father was from the old school and very stern and proper. As my father stood there, I was dying a slow death and did not want to be embarrassed. For several minutes there was no conversation except for when Marc introduced himself as First Lieutenant Marcus Holland.

In the silence, my father kept looking at Marc and then at me before he said, “Why are you not asking this young man in?” I was stunned. My Father had never invited a date to our home unless he had met him first for coffee or dinner outside our home. Once everyone was seated and dinner proceeded with Marc at the table, he and my father   became fast buddies. To this day it amuses me when I think about it. The evening turned out to be fun. 

We had a whirlwind courtship and married a few months later. We married in a German Civil service and in the American Chapel in Wolfgang. Marc did not understand why I did not want to be married in a German Church. To this day, I really do not know why other than it just did not seem right. The Chapel was intimate.

(This was the very beginning of coming to America)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Arriving in New York 1959

Pregnant with Baby # 2 and Walter one year old, we arrived at LaGuardia Airport in the middle of a huge rainstorm, and so many people. I said to my husband Marcus “lets go back to Germany.”

New York was an experience I will never forget. Many years later I actually lived in New York City. Marc was from Iowa so of course we moved to Iowa where this venture of cooking started. In Newton, Red Oak and Ottumwa Iowa I started a Kaffee Klatsch once
every month or so. My female friends loved these Kaffee’s. They were afternoons where we relaxed and gossiped and just had fun, away from the children.

I am not fond of baking but I did, mostly German Torts and Coffee Cakes. Cooking was and still is my thing.

In Ottumwa I started a Gourmet Dinner Club made up of 4 couples, with an invitation extended to an additional couple at times. It was slightly competitive and I tell you everyone really put themselves out and we had some wonderful menus with great food and a great time together.

My Version of the Schwarzwelder Kirsch Torte
Biscuit Roll:   Preheat Oven to 350*

8 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup flour minus 2 tablespoons instead uses 2 tablespoons of cocoa.

Separate eggs; beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, add the flour and cocoa incorporate until mixed well.

In a separate bowl or electric mixer beat the egg whites until firm. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the egg whites and gently incorporate to keep the volume.

Butter a parchment/foil lined cookie sheet about 12 by 16 inches. Spread the cake mixture on the paper and make sure it is even all over.

Bake about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven it will shrink slightly as it cools. Take a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with sugar; roll the cake up in the towel, cool.


1 to 1 ½ cups heavy cream with ¼ cup of sugar, whipped firm
1 cup black cherries, drained and pitted
1 to 2 tablespoons cherry brandy (optional)
Dark semisweet chocolate bar for shaving
Unroll the cake from the towel; spread the cherry brandy evenly over the cake, add a thin layer of the whipped cream, add the cherries roll the cake up and top with the rest of the whipped cream. With a potato peeler shave the chocolate all over the cake.

 Slice and serve, make 8 to 10 servings

Note: You can substitute cool whip for the whipping cream

Have fun with this it is a great dessert for birthdays, holidays and whatever.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Adventure Begins

Cooking Became an Adventure:

When I married my husband Marc in 1957 and ventured to America in 1959, I didn't realize that the kitchen was going to be the focal point of an adventure with cooking for years to come. It didn't take long for Marc to become the "Gourmet"-- trust me; there is no critic worse then a reformed eater. As we added 7 children to our life, cooking really became a challenge.

We entertained frequently in our home and our guests would inevitably want one recipe or another, advice on table setting and help in recreating what they had eaten in our home. This became part of my daily life. Family and friends kept telling me to move myself into the professional culinary arena. I did just that when I opened a home cooking school in Branford, Connecticut. From there, things snowballed.

Even though I did grow up in the Hospitality Industry, juggling the time between running the cooking school and cooking for my family required a few short cuts. Time was tight. I needed to create and recreate healthful meals which took less time to prepare, that could be left to cook on their own and still looked and tasted wonderful. Out of this I became the "Soup and Meal-in-a-Pot" queen in Connecticut in 1975. More than once did I receive a standing ovation for one of my meal-in-a-pot parties. A greatly favored dish was and is my lamb-pot.