Friday, September 28, 2012

Goat Cheese and Honey Danish with Red Grapes

                                                    Photography by Rachel Horesovsky

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Today is my youngest daughter's 22nd birthday (when did I get to be so old?).  Rachel and I made these little beauties a couple weeks ago and I have been saving them to post until her birthday.  They are really a step above your typical yucky sweet cheese danish.  The goat cheese is tangy and light, sweetened only with a little honey and fragrant with a dusting of freshly cracked black pepper.  Rather than baking the grapes, which would make them mushy, we press them onto the molten goat cheese right when the pastries come out of the oven so they are crunchy and sweet.

I think these "danish" are excellent for brunch, but would serve equally as well as an hors d'oeuvre with a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau and a bowl of toasted walnuts.

Best of all, these are semi-homemade! I use ordinary flaky biscuits in a tube from the grocery store for the crust.  These incredibly delicious pastries can literally be made in about 20 minutes!

Brunch in the Tiki on a sunny fall morning!

Goat Cheese and Honey Danish with Red Grapes
makes 8

1 tube flaky biscuits in a tube
4-6 oz. goat cheese chevre
about 4 tsp honey
fresh cracked black pepper
seedless red grapes cut in half (about 2 dozen grapes)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Flatten individual biscuits on an un-greased baking sheet until they are about 4 inches in diameter.  Crumble goat cheese evenly atop flattened biscuits.  Drizzle with about 1/2 tsp honey and dust lightly with freshly cracked black pepper.

Bake pastries 14-16 minutes until golden brown and cheese is bubbly.  Immediately after removing from oven, press halved red grapes into the molten cheese.

Let pastries cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quiche Lorraine

                                                                     Photography by Rachel Horesovsky

Has anybody seen a dog died dark green?

Not THAT Quiche Lorraine!  I'm talking French food here folks, not new wave bands from Georgia! ( But I DO love this song).

I have been making this for breakfast for about as long as I can remember.  It is perhaps one of the most satisfying things to have on a sleepy Sunday morning while sipping coffee and a Bloody Mary,  listening to Ella Fitzgerald and watching a gentle rain fall on the garden.

That's precisely what we did this past Sunday with my daughter Rachel and her boyfriend Sam.  We were enjoying the moment when it occurred to me that maybe I should blog this recipe.  I guess I never thought about it since Quiche Lorraine is such a basic dish.

In my humble opinion, Quiche Lorraine is all about the onions.  I have a technique that coaxes every sweet molecule of flavor out of them and makes for an incredible dish.  I cut a large onion in half, then slowly saute the thick halves, without breaking apart the rings, in bacon fat, flipping only once until they are caramelized on the cut ends and the interior has begun to become translucent.  The flavor is incomparable!

I also cheat and use a commercially prepared pie crust so I can throw this together in a matter of minutes.

Quiche Lorraine
serves 8

1 commercially prepared pie crust
6 slices bacon
1 large onion
8 oz sliced mushrooms
8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with pie crust.

In a large skillet fry bacon over medium high heat until crisp.  Drain bacon on paper toweling, reserving bacon fat.

Remove the skin from a large onion and remove both ends.  Cut in half so that you can see the rings of onion, but leave each half intact.  Place cut side down in hot bacon fat and reduce heat to medium.  Allow to saute for 10 minutes undisturbed.  Gently turn onion halves over and saute the other side for 10 additional minutes.  Transfer onion halves to cutting board and allow to cool slightly.

Add sliced mushrooms to bacon fat and saute until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Coarsely chop onions into large hunks, separating the layers.

In a large bowl combine chopped onions, mushrooms and crumbled bacon.  Place half of this mixture in the prepared pie shell and top with half of the Swiss cheese.  Add remaining onion mixture and top with remaining cheese.

In the same bowl, combine eggs, salt pepper and milk and whisk to combine.  Pour into prepared pie shell.

Bake 45 minutes.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Wiener Schnitzel

                                                                     Photography by Rachel Horesovsky

Just about everybody loves schnitzel.  It is crispy and tender and delicious and can be served in a multitude of ways. Jaegerschnitzel is served with a rich mushroom sauce, Holstein schnitzel is served with a fried egg on top.  My favorite preparation is the Viennese preparation, Wiener Schnitzel, which is simply drizzled with fresh lemon juice.  Comfort food at it's best.  In fact this food is so comforting that when I posted on facebook that I was preparing Schnitzel for Sunday dinner, our friends Chris and Al and Rachel's boyfriend Sam showed up on my doorstep an hour later to help (cook and eat!).

Mama Ozzy in the kitchen with Chris Pfitzer, author of Delicious!

Traditionally Weiner Schnitzel is prepared with veal cutlets pounded paper thin, but since veal is expensive and often difficult to find at your local supermarket, I prefer to prepare this with pork tenderloin.  The flavor is very close to veal and the cost is MUCH less expensive.

I also like to coat my schnitzel with panko rather than ordinary bread crumbs. The result is much lighter and much crisper.

I like to serve this with Herbed Spaetzle and German Red Cabbage with Apples and Red Wine and a tall glass of a crisp cold Czech pilsner.  YUM!

Wiener Schnitzel, Herbed Spaetzle and German Red Cabbage with Apples and Red Wine

Wiener Schnitzel
serves 6

1, 1.5-2.0- lb pork tenderloin
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 eggs
3 Tbsp water
about 3 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp butter

Fresh lemon wedges

Cut the pork into 12, approximately 1-inch medallions.

Place the medallions,one at a time, cut side up, in a large, open ziploc plastic bag and pound until very, very thin.

Pork cutlets pounded until very thin

Set out three plates for breading the pork cutlets.  On the first plate combine the flour, salt and pepper.  On the second plate combine the eggs and water.  On the third plate place the panko bread crumbs.

Using one hand, coat a cutler in flour, shaking off excess.  then coat in the egg mixture, and finally coat with panko.  Repeat until all cutlets are breaded.

Always keep one hand clean while breading...

Pre-heat oven to 200F.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the butter to the oil.  When the butter stops foaming vigorously, the oil is the correct temperature for frying.  Fry the schnitzel, 2-3 at a time, until golden brown, about 1.5 minutes per side.

Place fried schnitzel on a foil lined baking sheet in the oven to keep warm while preparing the remaining schnitzel.

Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Sorry Ringo, schnitzel is much too delicious for a Corgi!

German Red Cabbage with Apples and Red Wine

                                                                    Photography by Rachel Horesovsky

When I was growing up, red cabbage was a staple in our house.  My mother always had a pot of red cabbage on the stove simmering away.  We ate this with everything from schnitzel to roast pork or beef rouladen.  I never got tired of it and for me this is the essence of childhood comfort food.

I have updated my mother's original recipe to make it slightly more sophisticated with the inculsion of apples and red wine, but at it's essence it is the same sweet and sour creamy red cabbage I grew up with.

This dish is not difficult, but be forewarned that it takes several hours to complete.  If you are preparing this as part of a German meal, it should be the first thing you make since it takes the longest time to prepare.

This recipe is also included in my dear friend Chris Pfitzer's diabetic-friendly cookbook Delicious.

German Red Cabbage with Apples and Red Wine
serves 6-8

1 large red cabbage, tough outer leaves removed, cored and finely sliced
1 large onion, finely diced
1 granny smith apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp water

Combine cabbage and onion in a large non-stick saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally to sweat vegetables, about 15-20 minutes.

Add apple, sugar, vinegar, allspice, caraway seeds, wine, water, salt and pepper and stir together.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is very tender and apple has broken down and very little liquid remains. (You may need to add a little water if cabbage becomes too dry before it is soft)

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and and water and mix to make slurry.  Add to cabbage and stir until thickened.  Serve hot.

Herbed Spaetzle

                                                                     Photography by Rachel Horesovsky

Of all the German food I prepare, I perhaps love spaetzle the most.  A cross between a dumpling and a noodle, these chewy little beauties are insanely delicious and are the perfect starch with any variety of roast meats and particularly with Wiener Schnitzel.

They are a little messy to prepare, but are not difficult.  Traditionally the thin, sticky spaetzle is pushed through a collander with large holes, but if you love spaetzle as much as I do, you may want to invest in a spaetzle maker.

Click image to buy spaetzle maker online

Spaetzle can be made well ahead of time and simply browned with herbs right before serving.  I usually toss the hot spaetzle in a large plastic ziploc bag with a little olive oil to keep them from sticking together, and refrigerated for several days until ready to eat.

Herbed Spaetzle
serves 6-8

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk

6 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

In a large bowl combine flour and salt.  In a separate bowl whisk together milk and eggs until well blended.  Pour egg mixture into flour and mix with a wooden spoon until a smooth sticky batter is formed.

Spaetzle batter

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Place colander or spaetzle maker over the top of the vigorously boiling water and push the batter through the holes into the water.  Boil for about 5 minutes, drain.

The camera had a hard time focusing due to all the steam coming from the pot of boiling water, 
but you get the idea of how the spaetzle maker fits over the pot...

At this point the spaetzle can be tossed with olive oil and refrigerated in a plastic bag until ready to serve.

Immediately before serving, melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add spaetzle and toss to coat with butter.  Cook until spaetzle is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped fresh herbs, and toss to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hot German Potato Salad with Bacon and Beer Dressing

Happy September!

With Oktoberfest looming right around the corner (September 22- October 7, 2012) I have decided that it is high time for me to post some of my German recipes.

Since yesterday was labor day we grilled some bratwurst (in the rain) and I threw together this delicious, and unorthodox, German potato salad.

Like many comfort foods, German potato salad has legions of purists who claim the only way to make REAL German potato salad is to follow their recipe.  So if you are one of those people, stop reading now.

For the rest of you, here is Mama Ozzy's recipe.  Trust me, growing up in the mid-west I have had more than my share of German potato salads over the years, and they are all good, but always seem a bit anemic.  Boiled peeled potatoes cut into slices tossed into a sweet and sour dressing with bacon.  Delicious, but I have always thought there was loads of room for improvement.

I take several shortcuts which allow this salad to be prepared from beginning to end in about 30 minutes, so this literally can be prepared at the last minute ad served piping hot.  The main shortcut is I don't peel or boil the potatoes.  Sacrilege! I like the taste of potato skins and I hate boiling potatoes because it takes a long time and a lot of the nutrients leach out into the cooking water.  I chop raw red potatoes potatoes into a 1/2 dice and microwave them.  Sacrilege!

I also add beer to my dressing and thicken it with a roux made from bacon drippings and butter.  More sacrilege!  And then I toss in loads of freshly chopped herbs at the end.  The result is a really flavorful salad that has many layers of flavor.

A word about the beer.  I would shy away from an overly "hoppy" beer like IPA, the bitterness will overpower your salad.  I recommend using a lager or mild brown ale.

Hot German Potato Salad with Bacon and Beer Dressing 
Serves 8-12

2 lbs red potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2 inch dice.
1/2 lb bacon
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp finely minced fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 cup beer (preferably a lager or brown ale)
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp minced fresh basil (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped.

Place the diced potatoes in a large glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 10 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, cook bacon over medium high heat in a large, deep skillet until crispy.  Remove bacon and reserve drippings.

Add butter to drippings and add onions.  Cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally.

While onions are cooking, in a small bowl combine flour, dry mustard, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme.  Add to pan with with onions and cook for one minute to make a thin roux.

Remove pan from heat.  Add beer to pan and whisk until smooth.  Add vinegar and sugar and whisk until smooth.  Add hot potatoes to pan and toss with a spatula to coat with sauce (the heat from the potatoes will continue to cook and thicken the sauce).    Crumble in reserved bacon, remaining herbs and hard-boiled eggs.  Toss.

Serve hot or warm.