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.