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Fleischkäse – meatloaf

30 Apr

The folks in Germany are divided in their opinion about the name of the following “recipe”, some call it Leberkäse, some call it Fleischkäse. Fact is, this meatloaf recipe does not need any liver, as the name Leberkäse would suggest, in fact, it is not even a normal cooking recipe per se, but together with the author of this blog, you can now go the extra mile and become a traditional sausage maker / butcher, yeah baby, it’s Sausage time.

Don’t be afraid, the recipe is actually easy to make. The most difficult for me was to find curing salt as this item is not sold in China. But thanks to a friend that works in a big hotel in Guangzhou, I got my hand on curing salt. Curing salt is a salt nitrite mixture which helps keep the meat nice and of rose color, don’t use it and your result will come out all grey and sad. The other things that you need and won’t find in China is cutteraid (I translated this word freely from the word Kuttermittel), which is helping the meat, while putting it through the cutter, to bind the water better and help the emulsification of the fat. But fortunately I found out that I can use baking powder instead of this cutteraid, but it’s going to be baking powder that contains phosphate. I had that as well, so I was very excited and happy to start my project “sausage factory” for some real taste of Germany.

–          Ingredients

150 g lean beef

500 g pork meat (well marbled)

200 g non treated pork speck, belly or back speck, both is fine

150 g crushed ice

–          Spice mix fort the meat:

20 g curing salt

2 ¼ g white crushed pepper

½ g nutmeg powder

½ g paprika powder

¼ g ginger powder

¼ g cardamom

–          The twist:

2 bell peppers

1 onion

2 chilies

5 g cutter aid / baking powder (the one that contains phosphate)

– Meatloaf can tuned up according to your taste buds. As we like It spicy (as a frequent reader of my blog you are very familiar with this, I like to prepare my meat loaf with a little twist. For this, I cut the bell pepper, the onion and the chilies in cubes, fry everything in the pan until the onion turn light brown, and let it cool down thereafter.

– Now I cut the meat in cubes, season it with the spice mix (see above) and freeze it until everything is nearly deep frozen (the meat should be around 1 degrees Celsius, it should be nice and hard so it can be put more easily through the meat grinder).

– When the meat is cold enough, feed the seasoned meat through the meat grinder to have it mince with the fixed hole plate with the smallest holes.

– Now, together with the crushed ice, put the minced meat in the cutter and cut everything so long until you get a real nice and smooth sausage meat mixture, it should have the consistency as in the picture below. Take care that the mixture don’t go over a temperature of 12 degrees Celsius in order to mix the fat and the proteins well together so that the meatloaf won’t lose all the juices later and turn dry. If your cutter is having a hard time to cut the mixture, maybe you want to add a little bit of iced water that I always keep ready for the case. But don’t add too much so the mixture would turn watery…

– Thanks to the cutter aid, everything should be nice and sticky, you can feel the mixture between your fingers stick together. Now you can use the cooking method in order to see if everything is consistent and nice. You cook up a small amount of water, then you take one small spoon of your meatloaf mixture and drop it in the water and cook it for ten minutes. If the meat sticks nicely together and the meatball has a good consistency, you already are done by now. This test is also good to check if the seasoning is correct of if something is missing according to your taste buds.

– Now I mixed the mixture with the paprika onion mix. In the meantime I buttered a baking form and then I pour the mixture in the baking form making sure that there are no air bubbles.

– Then I shove it in a preheated oven and bake it at 180 degrees Celsius for 12 minutes and 150 degrees Celsius for another 1 hour 20 minutes. These times are rought indications, check that the meatloaf got a golden brown top and is baked through in the middle. If you have a meat thermometer, stick it in the meatloaf and see if in the middle it should be around 70 degrees Celsius.

After you are done, you can garnish your slices of meatloaf with an egg sunny side up, slices of tomatoes, friend onions, mustard, some like to melt cheese over it and it definitely goes very well with potato salad…

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Eggplant Parmagiana

1 May

So, there it is, the eggplant parmagiana. Unlike most other recipes, I have no story to tell about this one. It is one of my favorite Italian dish, certainly not as well known as other Italian dishes, far from being as famous as a pizza, spaghetti, Ravioli or many other recipes from Italy. But it is such a flavorful dish and there is no meat in it, I just love this dish. You should not make this dish if you want to watch your weight or if you are on a diet and even if its not the easiest dish to make and it’s actually quite time intensive to make, I still love it so much, so to cut the story short, here comes the recipe for you to try it yourself:

parmigiana

2 eggplants, 500 gram fresh mushrooms, 2 eggs, 500 gram peeled tomatoes, 250 gram mozzarella, some grated Parmesan cheese, cumming, olive oil, 1 diced onion, salt and pepper to season, dried basil, coriander powder, lemon juice, 1 garlic clove

Cut the eggplant in slices of about 1 cm thickness. Salt them on both sides and put them on some kitchen paper and cover them with another sheet of kitchen paper and put some weight on them so all the water will be pressed out. Let the paper suck up all the water from the eggplant. Put some oil in a pan and heat it up real good put a clove of garlic for a minute in the oil so the oil will get the taste from the garlic. Fry the eggplant slices in the hot oil real good so they get nice and golden brown. The eggplant is very dry now so the slices will suck up a lot of oil, make sure there is always enough oil in the pan. Now you take the peeled tomatoe in a bowl and season with the cumming, salt, pepper, coriander and the basil. Boil the two eggs till they are hard and cut them in slices. Then you slice the mushrooms very thin. Fry some oil in a pan, fry the onions in it till they are transparent, add the mushrooms. and pour some lemon juice all over the mushrooms. Now take a casserole and start putting one layer of eggplant.; put a layer of mushrooms on top and then put a layer of tomatoe sauce and a layer of mozzarella. Do all of that one more time and on top you put the slices of egg and take a handful of the grated parmesan cheese on top of the sliced eggs. Put everything in a preheated oven and cook it for 30 minutes at 180 ° (Celsius that is of course). Enjoy…

Pizza, my most favorite italian dish

12 Apr

Fast Food, I love it. My favorite fast food must be Pizza I think. Did i read somewhere that Pizza is the world’s most favorite food? They must be right. Even in China one can witness the victory that Pizza is currently having. In every big city you can find at least a couple of Pizza Hut already. By the way, did you know that Pizza Hut in China is a sit in restaurant that targets the potential rich clients? Well anyway, this is not to promote Pizza Hut or any fast food style kind of Pizza joint. When come to Pizza, I actually like to have it as authentic as possible. Thin crust, few but well selected toppings, fine balanced seasonings and roasted on a wood fired oven if possible. But that is not always possible. We are already lucky to have an oven at all. It is not yet common if you rent an apartment in China that it will come with an oven. So we had to venture out to the professional kitchen equipment market one day and buy a Pizza oven. My wife says that this was the best investment we ever did since we landed in China. Next to other things we will of course bake the occasional Pizza in this oven. Below you find a basic recipe on how to make a PIzza, the picture is from our last experiment making a spinach Pizza.

spinach tuna pizza

How to make it?

The dough: This one is my favorite Pizza dough recipe: http://www.grouprecipes.com/46552/italian-thin-crust-pizza-dough.html. I know, the recipe follows an Austrian cook but since recently I disicovered that Austrians know quite a thing or two about a good Pizza. The dough is easy to do, it tastes really good and if you worked with dough before, it is quite all right to work with. But if you are just starting with cooking and dough making, you want to search for an easier recipe to work with.

The tomato sauce: The most important ingredient when it comes to making a good Pizza.

Ingredients: 1 can of Pizza tomatoes (if you want to replace those by fresh tomatoes, the Pizza just won’t taste the same, so it’s always better to have the canned stuff at home), pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, pinch of sugar, 1 table spoon of vinegar, oregano (take as much as you want, but don’t be too stingy with that stuff :)), ognions, garlic, 125 ml red wine

how to make it: dice the onions, fry them on medium heat in hot olive oil till they turn see through. Then you add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds to quickly extract the Cavour, then you add the red wine. Just bring the whole stuff to a simmering temperature before you add the squashed tomatoes. After that you just add all the other ingredients. Now you let everything cook on a small flame and reduce until you got a consistent tomato paste with all the concentrated flavors that you can easily spread on your pizza dough.

After you worked the pizza dough on your Pizza baking tray, your oven form or your cookie sheet, if you have nothing else at hand. Now you add the tomato paste on your dough and spread it so the whole dough with be covered thinly with your sauce. Then you add your most favorite topping in this sequence: first the cheese, then veggies and then the meat (on top of all of this i normally add a good tablespoon of dried oregano on top, just gives the Pizza that certain Italian taste).

After this, you pop the pizza in the preheated oven. The oven should be HOT. You can preheat it at 350 Celsius or higher if you can. Then you bake the Pizza for 10 – 12 minutes until crisp and the cheese melted nicely. Now all you have to do is lean back and enjoy.

A Tuna melt delight…

11 Apr

So, as you are not willing to start your blog, i will start it for you. Yesterday we made a tuna melt sandwich. But I never buy any mayonnaise in the supermarket as we will never be sure what kind of oil they are using to make it. The best mayonnaise is the one you make at home cause you know what goes inside and you can even make the taste better. So I made this one with my own home made garlic mayonnaise (see the recipe here). Here an impression of this try…

tuna melt sandwich

Tuna melt:

tuna, selerie, cheese, mayo, ognions, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, dry paprika powder, dry oregano.

Mix everything together, put the paste on a piece of bread. preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Put in the oven and grill there for about 15 – 20 mins,  you can see the cheese melt and slowly turning brown, that is the moment you want to take it out.