Monday, November 29, 2010

Welcome to the kitchen of Schnitzel and the Trout

Penny at "Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen" presented a challenge, a Kitchen Reveal.   I knew I would not be opening my cupboards, because, actually, that is on my BIG list for the new year.  Organize.  My daughters know I can be very neat but what is in drawers and cupboards is another topic.

Above you see the west end of the kitchen.  I like the glass top range.  Gas is something you don't find in Florida, and the ability to keep this range clean is such an added bonus to me.  My olive oils and vinegars to the left of the stove and I have a counter garage where I keep the toaster, blender, small food processor.  I love this feature a lot.  

Not my choice of refrigerator, but it came with the house.  A French door refrig would be only a dream to wish for.  On the right you see my messy cookbook shelf.  Most of our recipes are in the blue folder on the top right shelf.  They are copied off the Internet from blogs like yours and used often.   I keep a running list of what is in the freezer on the refrigerator front, so that nothing gets lost and forgotten.

The four plates on the wall are very special to me.  They are hand prints and foot prints of our four grandchildren with their names and date of birth.  These cannot be replaced  and mean so much.  Besides, it is a gentle reminder that a birthday is coming up!!!

The center of my counter is a bit lower than the rest.  It is actually for kneading bread and rolling pie crusts...a more comfortable position for working.  I have my coffeemaker and my Kitchenaid and a basket of onions and shallots and potatoes sitting there all the time. 

My kitchen is open and a sit-at counter on the other side is in the dining room/living room area.  I love my tile floor.  A lot of south windows make the whole area very bright.  It is a comfortable home and very conducive to cooking.  Since the Trout and I both cook together, it works out great for us. 

Come on over.  We'll make room at the table.  And thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I Can't Believe I am Doing This

I do not do those "MeMe" type lists even though I enjoy reading those compiled by others.  However, Lena from TALES FROM FROSTBITE FALLS challenged me and so, after some careful thinking, I can't believe I am doing this.


1.  Justin Bieber...he's annoying
2.  Taylor Swift...ditto
3.  Grouchy people
4.  Compulsive shoppers
5.  Rap music


1.  Desire to exercise
2.  Desire to sew
3.  Desire to write
4.  Family get-togethers
5.  Old friend get-togethers


1. The "F" word, especially from women
2.  "Whatever"
3.  "Ain't"
4.  Mixing up "your" and "you're"
5.  "Awesome" totally not used correctly


1.  Stan Musial
2.  Larry Sherry
3.  Leo Durocher
4.  Johnny Padres
5.  David Stockman - Budget Director under Reagan
It's a baseball thing!!  The Trout beats me on this though.  He talked to Leon Redbone in a restaurant, Jack Benny in the caddyshack at the Broadmore Hotel and the Everly brothers in a men's bathroom!!  :-)


1.  Dusting
2.  Cleaning the bathroom
3.  Vacuuming
4.  Cleaning
5.  Cleaning
It's a cleaning thing!!!


1.  Travel
2.  Spend time at a spa
3.  Knitting classes
4.  I want to see the Nutcracker
5.  I want to go to the opera


1.  "The lower the latitude, the better the attitude"  Jimmy Buffet
2.  " If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music that he hears, however measured or far away."  Thoreau
3.  "I want what she's having!"  from When Harry Met Sally
 4.  "Simplify, simplify."  Thoreau
5.  "We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and once in retrospection."  Anais Nin


1.  Stayed in an Air Force General's home for the weekend.
2.  Threw up for nine months during a pregnancy.
3.  Took ballroom dancing lessons from an instructor named Mrs. Hardup
4.  Played Suzuki violin at a concert with my daughter
5.  In 50 years of driving, I have never gotten a ticket.

Enough said.  This little test has taxed my memory.  Let's just let it pass.  Yes, Lena, I was up for your challenge and I did it!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's that time again.....

in France when it seems like all French people and millions throughout the world eagerly await the release of this year's BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU.  It only takes 5-6 weeks from the picking date to shipment all over the world of this light, fruity red wine best drunk chilled as an aperitif!  To sell any of the year's bottling before the the designated day in November is a high crime in France!!

Beaujolais is produced in southern Burgundy from the Gamay grape, akin to Pinot Noir!  There are over 9,000 growers of Beaujolais who produce over 150 million bottles each year of Nouveau, Beaujolais, Beaujolais Village and Beaujolais Cru or the "1st growths!"

This year, I bought 4 different  2009 Crus from one of my favorite wine stores, GARY'S in Wayne, NJ who offers a good selection of fine wine at good prices and great service.  The 2009  Beaujolais vintage is supposed to rival the great Bordeaux 2009 vintage although not as glamorous but of greater value for every day drinking!!  There are 9 "Growths" that must meet strict standards such as minimum alcohol levels of 10% which helps assure a measure of durability and longevity over the simpler bottlings!

These 9 Crus come from the villages of Saint- Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-A-Vent, (the supposedly "King" of Beaujolais for its richness and fullness over other Crus), Fleurie, Chiroubles,(the "Cinderella" of the Crus), Morgon, (longer lasting than most Crus), Brouilly and Cotes de Brouilly.  I am following the great book by Alexis Lichine "Guide to the Wines and Vineyards of France."

I sort of followed the ratings and advice of David Schildknecht of the WINE ADVOCATE magazine when buying 2 of each of the above Crus in the photo.

The Fleurie was rated a 93 while the others came in at a 91 rating each.  Each can be drunk now but should even get better in 4-5 years. I intend to have 1 of each this next year and lay down the others as advised by David.  Aging can definitely improve most reds over time!

Last night, we had a bottle of the Cote de Brouilly.  David described this wine as "blueberry and juniper berry combine for intense aromatics and bright palate persistence with black pepper, juniper, salt and tart berry skin combining for an invigorating pungency that along with crushed stone and pencil lead mineral undertones serves as a superb foil for the sheer intensity of this wine's blue fruits.  The finishing interaction of fruit and mineral here is worthy of a Reisling, and this will prove deliciously versatile for at least the 3-4 years."

I can't be this poetic but Schnitzel and I really enjoyed this bottling as very bright, juicy, and great berry fruit flavors that went very well alone and with our Mushroom Burger!  Way to go our French Beaujolais vintner friends!!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving from Schnitzel and the Trout

I am sharing with you my 100 year old postcards.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rancho Gordo Beans

We recently placed another order for Rancho Gordo beans.   This time we tried a bean called Scarlet Runner.  Surprisingly, these beans were huge.  I did not know quite what to do with them.  The label on the bag said they were meaty and crying for mushrooms.  So, after soaking all night, I sauteed some onions and mushrooms and added them to the cooked beans along with some fresh thyme. 

We enjoyed the large beans.  I only used half the bag for this meal and we even had left-overs.  The way I cooked them was good, we enjoyed them, but if anyone has any other hints as to what to do with these Scarlet Runners, I would be willing to try another recipe.

We served them along with a green salad and marinated flank steak.  We found the marinate last June at Noble Pig, a great blog.  I will definitely try this marinate again.  Flank steak is a favorite as of late.  We buy a package at Costco and then divide into several meals.  It is always tender, grills quickly and very, very good.

Quick-Marinated Flank Steak
Adapted from Gourmet by Noble Pig

1 1/2-2 lb flank steak
1/4 cup grainy mustard (or Dijon, not grainy)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced, peeled ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Place the flank steak in a Ziploc bag.  Whisk together the mustard, lime juice, Worcestershire, soy sauce, hoisin, garlic, ginger and pepper until smooth, then pour over steak, turn to coat.  Chill for 1 hour before grilling to perfection.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew

We finished a long but good week at Disney.  We volunteered for the Children's Miracle Network golf classic and worked 6 days and several of those were 12-hour days.  It was all for a good cause and we worked with the same crew for the last four years.  It is kind of like a reunion week for all of us.

So, now it is time to get back in the saddle and start preparing for the holidays.  Oh, yes, except for the one more interruption.  We are also volunteering at the LPGA golf classic the first weekend in December. 

The Trout found this recipe a couple of weeks ago in the NY Times.  I was surprised how quickly it came together and no, don't soak the dried beans overnight.  They cook up nicely in 2 hours.  The addition of the balsamic vinegar at the end seemed odd, but we liked it and even added more to the bowl.  A nice touch. 

Herbed White Bean and Sausage Stew
Time 2 1/2 hours    from the NY Times

2 tablespoons olive oil, more for serving
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, sliced 3/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon tomato paste (Be sure to try the tomato paste in a tube.  So convenient)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound dried Great Northern Beans, rinsed and picked through
8 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, more for serving
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 7 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot.  Cook, stirring until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the beans, 8 cups water, salt, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.  Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged.

When the beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar and pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with additional vinegar and olive oil.

Yield:  6-8 servings

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Clam Chowder to Wish For

We had a long day.  We got up at 4:10 a.m. and by 4:30 we were on the road to Disney.  By the time we got there and were at our work station, it was 5:45 a.m.  After a very busy day and lots of fun, we got home by 4:15 p.m. 

Plans were made ahead that tonight we would 'whip' together Mary's "Clam Chowder for Two".  I know a lot of you know Mary of ONE PERFECT BITE.  If not, please stop by her blog because she is the ultimate chef with a multitude of recipes that you will want to try.

Clam Chowder for Two
from Mary at One Perfect Bite

2 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams ( For an added bonus, we added quite a few fresh shrimp)
1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice
Water, if necessary
2 slices thick cut bacon cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 clove minced garlic (perhaps a bit more)
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
2 large red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, or perhaps more
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Drain clams, reserving juices.  Add bottled clam juice to reserved clam juice to measure 2 1/2 cups.  If short, add water.
Cook bacon in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes.  Stir in onion and cook until onion has softened and bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour and coat vegetables, and gradually whisk in clam juice.  Stir in potatoes, bay leaf and thyme.  Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Stir in clams, cream and parsley.  Return to a simmer and then remove from heat.  Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.  Yield:  2 servings.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Guess Where We Went Today?

We spent some time this morning at Disney.  It is that time of year again, when we do our volunteering at the Children's Miracle Network Golf Classic at Disney World.

This is a map of the Palm and Magnolia golf courses which will be played this week.

It is our 4th year and once again, we are helping to deliver water and ice to the tee boxes for the pros and their caddies.  Today we picked up our uniforms and hats and tomorrow we start slowly with a training session in the afternoon.  Then, we have Monday and Tuesday off and then 5:30 a.m. until dark Wednesday through next Sunday.

As usual, Disney does everything first class.  These type of topiary displays are often seen at The Magic Kingdom, but they are also here at the Palm and Magnolia golf courses.

The golf courses are lush and groomed to perfection.  It looks to be a beautiful week for the golf pros to enjoy a last of the season competition.

And of course, the best part of all of being at Disney is seeing this little guy.  How can anybody not smile when they see Mickey.  We are looking for an exhausting and busy week, but it will also be a fun week.  I won't be blogging much, but will see you when it is over.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Red Lentil Soup

I saw these beautiful red lentils at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and just had to buy them.  And then, the dilemma of how best to prepare them.  So, I emailed my blogger friend, Nizrine, a beautiful lady living in Florida, with a background of growing up in Morocco.  Please visit Nizrine at "Dinners and Dreams" to learn more about her.

Nizrine's suggestion was her Red Lentil Soup which we prepared this evening.  It is cold here, 64 degrees high today.  I know, I know, I shouldn't even mention this.  But, let's just say this soup was very good, hit the spot this evening and will be made often.

Red Lentil Soup
from Nizine Merzouki

4 servings

3 sausages of your choice, removed from casing
1 medium red onion, grated (we elected to simply cut finely)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 cup tomato puree
5 cups vegetable broth
1 jalapeno (since we are Norwegian and German, we opted for 1/2 jalapeno ;)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium soup pot, saute the sausage, red onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, tomato puree, vegetable broth and jalapeno.  Season the soup with cumin, salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake and Cinnamon Ice Cream

The following two recipes have been on my mind for quite some time.  Marie-Helene's Apple Cake from "Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan was featured on a favorite blog of mine, More Than Burnt Toast. 

I immediately liked the idea of a light batter and lots of apples.  Then I read that Marie-Helene actually served Cinnamon Ice Cream with this beautiful dessert, and I was totally sold!!  The cake is very simple to put together, not too sweet and not much batter and lots of apple flavor.  As for the cinnamon ice cream, I can't rave enough about it either.  It is so good, I can imagine even eating it on pancakes.  It is subtle but very cinnamon flavor.

So, don't be hesitant about trying both recipes.  You will not be disappointed.  With this we had a terrific $6 bottle of wine, Vina 24, Albarino 2008, from Raimat in Spain.  It was from a very favorite wine store of ours, West Palm Wines in Ybor City, Florida.

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake
From Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan via
More Than Burnt Toast Blog

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (4 different kinds if you choose)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  My pan was 9 inches so therefore the cake is a little thinner with more diameter.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.

Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores.  Cut the apples into 1 to 2 inch chunks.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they are foamy.  Pour in sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend.  Whisk in rum and vanilla.  Whisk half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth rather than thick batter.  Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so it is coated with batter.  Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it is even.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest 5 minutes.

Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan.  Open slowly.  Allow the cake to cool until just slightly warm or at room temperature.

The cake can be served warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or cinnamon ice cream.

The cake will keep 2 days at room temperature.  It is best not to cover it because it is too moist.  Leave on the plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap against the cut surfaces.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
by David Lebovitz from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Ten 3 inch cinnamon sticks, broken up (I just hammered them to split them..not small pieces)
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks

Warm the milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon sticks and 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan.  Once warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Rewarm the cinnamon-infused milk mixture.  Remove the cinnamon sticks with a slotted spoon and discard them.  Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and into the cream.  Stir until cool over an ice bath. 

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicken and Orzo Frittata

A beautiful, chubby, Costco roasted chicken was in the refrigerator, so the left-overs were just right for this lovely recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.  While I was putting it together, I kept thinking, "Giada did not add any cheese to odd."  Of course, creme fraiche is not something you find in abundance in 'gator country', so I substituted Fage Greek yogurt.  Still, no cheese?

This baked up beautifully and was very tasty, but...we need to add some fresh thyme and possibly just a little bit of cheese.  We enjoyed this with a fresh lettuce salad with a lemon vinaigrette.

Chicken and Orzo Frittata
courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

3/4 cup orzo pasta ( I used whole wheat orzo)
6 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup creme fraiche (I used Fage Greek yogurt)
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed, about 2 cups
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian falt-leaf parsley
1/3 cup diced roasted red bell peppers
1 teraspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain pasta.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, and creme fraiche and stir until the eggs are beaten and the ingredients are combined.  Add the cooked orzo, chicken, scallions, parsley, red bell peppers, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.  Turn on the broiler and place the pan under the boiler until golden on top, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve with a side salad.

Actually, I am looking forward to having some of the left-overs for breakfast.