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Rotkohl (German Red Cabbage)

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1 red cabbage, shredded

2  tsbp unsalted butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

1/2 – 1 tsp kosher salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp organic lingonberry jam

1 bay leave

1 1/2 cups vegetable bouillon

1 medium apple, shredded (use Gala or another sweet variety)

2 tbsp cider vinegar

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp cornstarch


In a large saucepan melt the butter and sauté onion until tender. Add the shredded cabbage and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and bay leave. Stir in the lingonberry jam and add the vegetable bouillon. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the apple and vinegar, stir and re-cover. cook for another 10 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tbsp of cold water and add to the cabbage. Bring to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes.

I like to serve this with pretzel nuggets and mashed potatoes. Use this recipe and replace the breadcrumbs with crushed pretzels.

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This Rotkohl recipe is very popular in the Black Forest region where I grew up. Above is a picture of the village Engelsbrand as seen from my parents patio.


Warm Clam & Calamari Salad with Green Beans

Last Saturday my friend Karen and I took a seafood cooking class at Al Forno – one of my favorite restaurants in Providence, RI. Chef David Reynoso and Sous chef Phil Niosi opened up the fabulous Al Forno kitchens and we learned how to prepare several delicious seafood dishes.

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This salad is easy to prepare and can be served warm or at room temperature.

24 Littleneck clams, washed and scrubbed

1 lb cleaned calamari, cut into rings

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 garlic clove

1 lb green beans, cleaned, washed and blanched

4 scallions, thinly sliced, placed in ice water

1/2 loosely packed parsley, finely chopped

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

juice of one lemon

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

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Calamari, freshly caught right before our class started. The fisherman stayed and joined the cooking class.

Place clams, wine, garlic and 1/2 cup of water in a large covered pan. Steam the clams over medium heat. Check the clams after about 5 minutes and place the open clams into 4 warm bowls. Continue steaming, checking every few minutes, until all the clams have opened and been distributed evenly between the bowls.

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Chef Reynoso dressing the salad with olive oil.

Add the calamari and green beans to the pan, stir constantly and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the calamari is firm.

Remove garlic clove. Add the scallions, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice to the calamari. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the calami and green beans between the four bowls and serve with bruschetta. Serves 4.


recipe courtesy of Al Forno restaurant

Dampfnudeln (my Grandma’s Recipe for Sweet Dumplings from Germany)

I have very fond memories of my Oma Gertrud making these fluffy, sweet dumplings in her kitchen. They are steamed, not baked – have a light, airy top and a crunchy, slightly salty crust on the bottom. Serve with vanilla sauce or stewed fruits, such as plums. This is a traditional recipe from the Black Forest region in Germany. Special thanks to my friend and fellow foodie Michelle Danzer-Gries for asking me about this recipe and sending me on a trip down memory lane…

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yeast dough

1 tbsp dry yeast

2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 cup sugar

zest of one lemon, finely grated

6 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft

3/4 cup of warm milk

2 large eggs

Place the warm milk, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp flour and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir to combine and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and work into a smooth dough (start with 2 1/2 cups of flour, but add more if needed). Dough should not stick to the sides of mixer after kneading for about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in volume – about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

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After initial rise, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to one inch thickness and with a 2 1/2 inch diameter glass cut out 12-14 dumplings.

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Cover again while preparing the pan.


In a large pan with tight fitting lid (very important!!) melt:

3 tbsp unsalted butter; add 3/4 cup of water and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Bring to a boil and place the dumplings on top of mixture, leave some room in between.

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COVER and do NOT REMOVE cover again for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Dampfnudeln translates to “steamed noodles” – the steam that builds up in the pot allows the dough to rise and at the end of the cooking process there will be a sizzling sound in the pan. After 15 minutes, stand by the pan and listen – when there is a sound like steak hitting the grill and all the liquid is evaporated – it is safe to open the lid. Check if the characteristic golden brown crust has formed on the bottom of the dumplings. If not cover again and cook few more minutes.

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Serve immediately with stewed fruit or vanilla sauce (in a pinch I use Dr. Oetker Vanille Soße  from Germany).

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Vanilla Sauce

2 cups of whole milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean (scraped)

4 large egg yolks

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan bring 2 cups of the milk, 2 tbsp of the sugar, and the scraped vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 2 tbsp of sugar. Slowly pour 1 cup of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly, into the egg yolk-sugar mixture. (Do not pour the entire yolk-sugar mixture into the boiling milk mixture, as it will curdle the eggs.) Whisk in the remaining milk. Pour the milk-yolk mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil.

Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine wire sieve into a heat-proof bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator, until ready to use. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days if well sealed.

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Characteristic golden brown bottom of these delectable treats.

Field Trip: Field+Supply Modern Makers Craft Fair

For the second year in a row on Columbus Day weekend we attended an awesome new arts fair in High Falls NY. The two day event highlighting a modern take on the traditional – an über-talented group of artisans showcasing everything from food, furniture, fashion and much more. Here are some highlights:

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more info about High Falls NY

more info about Field+Supply

The Ultimate Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my son Matteo’s birthday and I made this cake based on a recipe from Giada’s kitchen. There are a few steps to this recipe, but they are all lots of fun – like making your own hazelnut crunch brittle (which by itself is a delicious candy and makes a great gift).

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cake ingredients and instructions

1 box of chocolate cake mix

Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans and divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake as directed on package. When done invert to wire rack and cool.


hazelnut crunch and instructions

1 cup hazelnuts (toasted in 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes and rubbed in a towel to remove skins)

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water


Place the toasted nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat until golden – about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and wait a few minutes until bubbles subside and pour the caramelized sugar over the hazelnuts. Cool in fridge for 30 minutes.

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Cut cooled crunch into smaller pieces and set aside.

filling ingredients and instructions

16 oz mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

1 tsp grated orange zest

Place mascarpone, cream, sugar, vanilla and zest in a large mixing bowl. Whip with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in crunch.

topping ingredients and instructions

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp grated orange zest

Place topping ingredients into a food processor; process until chocolate is finely ground.

assemble the cake

Place one cake layer on cake stand and top with 1/3 of filling; spread almost to the edge. Place second cake layer on top, even side should face up. Cover top of cake with another 1/3 of the filling. Use remaining filling and spread onto the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the top with the ground chocolate topping. Serves 8.



Field Trip: Rom 312 – a 360 Panorama

While visiting my parents in Germany this past summer we “went” to Rome for the afternoon. It was an amazing, virtual trip back in time.

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The location is as amazing as the exhibit housed within: it is an old Gasometer (originally used in the Victorian Era to store vast amounts of gas from nearby gasworks).

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My hometown Pforzheim – once a Roman stronghold named “Portus” was the inspiration for this current exhibit: Rome in the year 312. Depicted is a 360 degree view of the eternal city at the time of emperor Constantine – by the artist Yadegar Asisi.

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The music is composed by Eric Babak and compliments the experience perfectly…here is a small sample of visuals with music (excuse the shaky camera).

more info and current exhibits:

Easy Weeknight Lasagne

Delicious, easy and quick enough to make on a busy weeknight. Double the recipe to feed a crowd.

The secret is using ready-made tomato sauce (click here for link) – I make mine on Sundays and always have a couple of jars in the fridge. The only store bought sauce I like is Rao’s.

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3 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic gloves, minced

1 lb fresh, lean ground turkey (93/7)

32 oz jar of tomato sauce

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 lb lasagne noodles (I always use Barilla)

15 oz low-fat ricotta cheese

1 egg

3/4 cup good quality grated Pecorino Romano

1 lb good quality fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large skillet heat olive oil, add onion and cook until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add the ground turkey and season to taste with salt and pepper (I use 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper). Break up turkey with a wooden spoon and cook for 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Add fresh basil.

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Add the tomato sauce and simmer, uncovered over medium heat, for 15-20 minutes, until thickened.

Add pasta to a large pot filled with boiling, salted water and cook for 5 minutes (will be al dente), rinse pasta under cold water.

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In a medium bowl combine ricotta with egg (if desired add 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper) and mix well.

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Ladle 1/3 of the sauce in a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spread all over the bottom of the pan. Then layer 1/2 the pasta, half the mozzarella and half the ricotta. Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano and top with 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat this step.


Bake for 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbling. Serve with fresh Italian bread and a green salad.

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