Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cast Iron Madness!!!


Since Anna had her birthday, it was time to drag out my Dutch Ovens to create some really tasty and special party food.

For those of you who don't know, a Dutch Oven is a cast iron pot that comes with a lid, a bail, and three legs so you can set it in a fire or set coals underneath it. There is a long history behind the Dutch Oven that is pretty interesting if you are into such information - I will simply say to make a search in the 'Net to find out more. I will spare you the details of care and feeding of cast iron here and get to the food.

For the birthday party, we decided that we would make "Pfundstopf" which is a type of stew that has a pound (roughly 500 grams) of each ingredient and my world famous Gratin potatoes.

The stew went as follows: I used a 12" diameter DO and began with 500 grams of diced Kassler (A type of smoked, boneless pork chop here in Germany)

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I then took 500 grams of pork and beef goulash meat and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

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Ahh, my ever-present assistant, Tara, is offended that I have seasoned all that lovely raw meat and haven't given her any...

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Next came two diced paprika (red and yellow)

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Then a large diced onion...

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I added a jar of Letscho to give it a bit of regional flavor.

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I then added 750 grams of chopped tomatoes.

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400 grams of cream...

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Finally I added little meatballs that were mixed with Raichlen's Basic Barbecue Rub

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Now to start on the Gratin. I use a recipe from myBBQ.net and adjust to fit my tastes. This time, I found that I was a few onions short of what the recipe required so I used leek, which gave a wonderful aroma to a really good dish.

Cook and peel your potatoes in advance. Once that is complete, I use an egg cutter to slice the potatoes quickly and evenly. Fry up some bacon bits and onion together and layer this in on top of a layer of potatoes.

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After you are finished, pour a mixture of milk, cream, and schmelzkäse (I don't know what this stuff is in English) and then top with the grated cheese of your choosing - we use Edamer and Gouda.

So! Since everything was ready, I fired up my briquettes, put the appropriate number on top and underneath, stacked the DOs and let everything cook for about an hour and a half.

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And finally everything was ready!

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The meatballs got a bit dark but this simply added to the flavor. The party guests loved it - in the end, there was nothing left. Like it should be...

EDIT: I forgot to report on how the first Pfundstopf went. For my taste, something was missing, perhaps garlic. Also we felt that there should be more onion and forget about the Letscho, as it got lost in the rest of the sauce. I will have to play with the recipe next time.

Recipes on request, as usual. Go make some Smoke!

I bid you Peace,

Friday, April 17, 2015

I was on Vacation...


That's right, I took time off of work to refresh my mind and relax. I'm sure all of you noticed that I was gone...

When I have time to myself, I like to go to Heidelberg and spend time on the Hauptstrasse in my favorite café, drinking cappuccino and smoking my pipes.

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That's my spot, the table on the left. Close to the door so I can hold it open for people.

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The coffee is the best in all Heidelberg. Well, that's at least my opinion. I do know that the Italians who live there all go there for their espresso, so I take that as a good sign.

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The view from my chair...

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As always, I bid you Peace.