Maybe it was the fact that I had walked 9 miles that day in 90 degree heat, maybe it was the fact that I was deliriously happy to be spending the weekend with one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen in over a year, maybe it was the fact that I was in Rome, but the matriciana and dessert and wine and everything that I ate at enOsteria, a little farm-to-table place near the Spanish Steps, was the best meal I’ve ever had. Even as I was eating it, I was already trying to figure out how I’d make it in my own kitchen. Luckily, we had one of the best waiters of all time and he told us that the secret to the sauce was the orange zest. Genius! To my continual gratitude, he also steered me toward a dessert of strawberries covered in white chocolate mouse with a drizzle of olive oil. It was like a fluffy, sweet and salty cloud of deliciousness. That may need to be my next project.
I arrived in Bruges with a few friends a few hours before S and our other friends, just in time for a nice big Belgian dinner and, of course, some beers by a canal. When I think Bruges, I think moules! I’ve said it here before, S and I are obsessed with mussels (and especially the dipping sauces for the, not only accompanying, but equally important, frites!). When I sat down to dinner with my friends without S, my tastebuds and my heart entered a battle royale. I wanted mussels. Real bad. Meanwhile S was stuck in traffic. Could I push him from my mind and enjoy some moules-frites solo? Probably. Yes. Absolutely. After the first bite, with my betrayal complete, I could totally enjoy those little mollusks swimming in a delicious garlic wine sauce. I’d blissfully plunge those frites into a creamy mayonnaise like no frite had ever been plunged before. But I didn’t. I decided to save the moules for the next day and venture alone into the unknown with a Flemish beef stew. IT WAS AWESOME! When I told S about it the next day, he started drooling and the search was on for another bowl. We still had a lot of mussels over the weekend, but the first thing I did when we got home was figure out how to recreate Flemish stew. And then I served it over some roasted cauliflower because the sauce is too good not to sop up. And vegetables are a good thing. Here it is:
As soon as we returned home from Croatia, S was contemplating the best way to build a rotating spit for lamb and suckling pig in our apartment like the one we saw on the road to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Unfortunately, we’ve had some previous run-ins with the Mainz fire department… and decided that this type of “grill” was bad idea for us. So, we grilled some fish. And made truffle “risotto” with squash. It wasn’t a pig on a spit, but it was pretty good.
Earlier this year, I blogged that I’d try out a paleo-ish recipe of S’s and my favorite dish from each of our travels. This month, we’re heading to Normandy for four days, which is kind of near the UK, the origin of the dish that S has been craving, Shepherd’s Pie, so it kind of makes sense that we made it and that I’m blogging about it now…. Reasoning aside, we both loved this dish, and so I’m excited to share it with you here.
It is the Americans who have managed to crown minced beef as hamburger, and to send it round the world so that even the fussy French have take to le boeuf hache, le hambourgaire. – Julia Child
Maybe we were feeling nostalgic, maybe we were wanting to marry our American roots with the ingredients of our current home and the beverages of our European neighbors. Maybe we had just learned that people around the world throw “American parities” where the theme is represented by red solo cups and popcorn and we just wanted to set the record straight. Maybe I had just found this new blog of burger genius and felt inspired. Whatever it was, last weekend S and I and our friend Mike decided to throw a burger night. We spent the day gathering ingredients and had a blast following this easy six step recipe for a great burger night in Mainz:
Maybe Germany’s most famous contribution to gastronomy, besides the beverages produced by Augustiner and Hofbrau, which could each easily be a meal in themselves, is schnitzel (or arguably bratwurst because most people think Weiner schnitzel when they think schnitzel and that’s from Austria). Regardless of what most people think when they think German cuisine, the point is that i made paleo schnitzel tonight and would like to share my recipe with you. (Clearly I’m missing practicing law because I’m countering my own points.) Since moving to Germany, I’ve learned that there are many types of schnitzels (and even more types of brats). My favorite type of schnitzel is rahmschnitzle, so I made that (with a twist). I hope you like it!!
Last weekend, S and I drove out to Ribeauvillé, France, where we tasted local wines, hiked the Vosges Mountains, and, most importantly, ate the most amazing Coq au Riesling. As soon as dinner was over, I immediately (1) felt sad that I didn’t have another bite (or a whole other plate) of it and (2) began thinking of how I could recreate it at home. In my version, I substituted coconut milk with 60% creme for the crème fraîche that is usually called for. I think it turned out pretty deliciously. I even had some this morning for breakfast….