Sunday, October 28, 2012


It was my turn to "host" our cooking club so I pulled out my Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and selected a menu of recipes.  Here was the menu:

*  Algo Bouido (Garlic Soup)
*  Bouchees Parmentier au Fromage (Potato Cheese Sticks)
*  Celery Root Remoulade
*  Gratin Aux Fruits de Mer (Gratin of Seafood)
*  Epinards A La Basquaise (Gratin of Spinach and Potatoes)
*  Carottes Glacees (Glazed Carrots)
*  Clafouti (Fruit Flan)

On Thursday, everyone arrived for our lunch with their dish.

 Garlic Soup with Potato Cheese Sticks.

Celery Root Remoulade.

 Glazed Carrots.

 Gratin of Spinach and Potatoes.

 Gratin of Seafood.

Apple Clafouti.

As we know, Julia Child spent years perfecting her recipes for American cooks.  Despite her best efforts, some of us found it necessary to tweak the recipes to achieve a better outcome.    All in all, this was a delicious meal!  Thank you, Julia!

If you want any of the recipes, please send an email request to me at:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence" by Amy Sedaris - a Book Review

Having read a number of books by David Sedaris, I was interested in this book by his sister, Amy.  It particularly appealed to me because the focus of the book is on entertaining, which I love to do.  If you enjoy David Sedaris' books, you will also enjoy this book;  it is wildly entertaining, outrageous, vulgar, clever, and has references to drugs and alcohol, just like David's books.  Midway through the book, I paused and asked myself whether I should continue reading the book since there were few things regarding entertaining that I didn't already know, and I have more than enough recipes to last my lifetime.  The answer was - because I really enjoyed her writing!  So, if you think you will have problems with the humor, don't bother with this book.  In addition, buying this book as a gift could be tricky since this type of humor may not be appreciated by the recipient.

Otherwise, the book is absolutely chock full of information, tips, suggestions, recipes, and all aspects of entertaining.  There is everything from guest etiquette, to mottoes for living, to gift ideas (hilarious!), to dealing with unexpected guests, to party themes with related recipes, to selecting music for the party, to decorations.

Included are over 100 recipes which span the spectrum:  from easy things like popcorn, hot tea, baked potatoes, and southern fried chicken, to more involved recipes like pastitsio, fennel and arugula salad, and cinnamon sour cream coffee cake.

The craft ideas are mostly kitchy:  tissue ghosts, paperclip necklaces, pantyhose plant hangers, paper aprons and the like.

Despite the humorous tone of the book, the etiquette suggestions are excellent and more people really need to be aware of them - things like how to introduce guests to each other, the importance of the RSVP, how to say goodbye when the party is over, and so on.

In summary, the book is a fast and entertaining read, and a good source of recipes for entertaining.  Used copies are available at for just a few dollars.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Does this look good?  It's herring in sour cream with fried potatoes and a mixed vegetable salad.

Today it seems that most people in Germany speak English.  That was not the case when I first visited Germany.  At the time, menus were also not in English and I had an interesting time deciding which foods to order.  It resulted in me eating quite a few things that I wasn't expecting.  I remember one meal in particular.  It was a large plate of warm herring in sour cream sauce, with boiled potatoes and a side vegetable.  Fortunately, I really love herring and was thrilled to have it served in that manner.  In the U.S. herring is mostly found in small jars and the cold herring is served as an appetizer.  Not in Germany though!

On our recent visit to Germany I was looking forward to again having herring as a main dish.  I was not disappointed!  I don't know where to order fresh herring in the U.S. but here is a recipe for the appetizer herring we're used to.  The benefit of this recipe is that you have more control over the flavor than if you simply purchased herring in sour cream.

HERING IN SAURER SAHNE (Herring in Sour Cream).  Serves 4.
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 medium sweet onion, cut into thin rings
2 (5 oz.) jars herring in wine sauce, drained
Combine sour cream, vinegar and sugar; blend well.  Add onion.  Arrange herring on serving dishes.  Spoon sour cream mixture over herring.
Garnish with sliced apple (see photo above).

Monday, October 8, 2012


I never thought that potatoes would be so ubiquitous in Germany.  Just about every meal we ate out came with potatoes, mostly fried, but also mashed or made into gnocchi.  It would not surprise me if there were as many recipes for German potato salad as there are families in Germany.  Not to be outdone, below is the recipe for German Potato Salad that our family has used.  It is really, really good!!

3 slices of bacon, diced
3 tablespoons of onion
1 rounded tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup water
2+ cups boiled potatoes, diced or sliced
Fry bacon and onion until light brown.  Add flour and mix well.  Add sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and water. When well blended, add potatoes.  Heat thoroughly.  May be served hot or cold but I prefer hot or room temp.

Friday, October 5, 2012


We are just back from Germany and over the next few posts I'll be sharing photos and recipes.  Being away has left me with a very long to-do list, though, so for today I'll keep my post short.  Desserts of Germany - Enjoy!