Search This Blog

Friday, December 28, 2012

[Kartoffelsalat] A very traditional German potato salad - A popular holiday sidedish

I got this recipe from my old German friend. She said the Kartoffelsalat is a soul food for so many Germans, especially for Bavarians.  

I also believe so. Kartoffelsalat is  one of the most common side dish served with any kind of main dish in Bavaria.

(at a restaurant  in Lindau im Bodensee, Bavaria, Germany @ August 2005)

(16-month old Remi eating Kartoffelsalat in Lindau im Bodensee, Bavaria, Germany @ August 2005)

This is a crowd pleaser. I've made this Kartoffelsalat at least for over 10 years. I've never seen any leftover kartoffelsalat, a.k.a. traditional German potato salad, at a potluck or a holiday dinner. This is a staple at our holiday luncheon, especially when the main dish is ham.

As this is a, if not "the", most popular side dish, there are thousands of variants out there. Personally, I find a very simple kartoffelsalat (potato salad) without frills, i.e. my recipe, is the best! :D

You should definitely try this!

Here goes the recipe.

(3-4 servings)
2 pounds potato* (preferably baking potato)
1 onion, diced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 pickles, finely chopped
  some pickle juice, according to your taste


1. Boil the potatoes with a little salt, drain and peel. Allow to cool and then cut into thin slices (slice, otherwise the discs are too thin)

2. Meanwhile, boil broth and chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding vinegar. Turn off the heat and add vinegar. Let it cool.

3. Pour the broth and onion mixture over the sliced potato. Mix well.
4. Dice pickles.

5. Add the diced pickles and mustard to the potato mixture.
6. Add mayo and pickle juice, and mix well.

7. Toss lightly and let stand for an hour, at least~
(You can serve it warm just 10 minutes after the ingredients are well mixed.)

This is a basic recipe. And also is this the foolproof recipe.
Hope you like it too. :D


Monday, December 24, 2012

[Christmas 2012] Merry Christmas!

Thanks for your visit!
I wish you a very merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noël

Feliz Navidad

Frohe Weihnachten

Buon Natale

С Рождеством

Vrolijk kerstfeest
Veselé vánoce
Feliz Natal

Thursday, December 20, 2012

[Boeuf Bourguignon] Julia Child's Signature Recipe with kind step by step photos

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Julia Child's most popular recipe is Boeuf Bourguignon.

And it's actually my favorite recipe of Julia's.

I am a big fan of Julia. I have her cookbooks, tried several recipes from the cookbooks, read <My life in France> which I strongly recommend if you like and know France and French gastronomy, and saw the movie <Julie & Julia>.
Julia's most popular recipe became my signature dish already a few years ago.
It's not difficult to make boeuf bourguignon, but I learned I'd be better patient, because it cannot be ready in a half hour.
That rule applies to most of French dishes. That is why there is no any French fast food restaurants. You can not prepare French food fast, except for french fries. :)

Boeuf Bourguignon was born in Bourgogne region(Burgundy in English),  just like coq au vin.
(You can see my coq au vin recipe here.) Originally, it was a pheasant food that used tough cuts of beef and made it tender by simmering it in wine.
To describe it easily, I would say Boeuf Bourguignon is a beef stew based on braised beef and red wine.
Even though Julia recommended a young full-bodied wine such as Chianti, Italian wine, I oppose her recommendation. In my humble opinion, you should use the wine originated from the region where the dish originates, i.e. a pinot noir from Bourgogne (Burgundy in English). That is the 101 of the wine and food pairing.
If you can't find a bottle of Burgundy red wine at a reasonable price, you may, at least, pick a pinot noir instead of a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

This is a slow food, but a good thing about this boeuf Bourguignon is that you can prepare it ahead.
According to Mrs. Child, "Carefully done, and perfectly flavoured, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man." and I concur with her wholeheartedly :D.

Here goes (probably) the most famous Boeuf Bourguignon recipe in the world.

6 oz(or 180g) bacon chunks
bacon rind
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine (= 1 bottle)
2-3 cups beef stock or beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled
24 pearl/small white onions, braised in stock
1 pound button mushrooms, sautéed in butter


1. Remove rind, and cut bacon into sticks of 1/4 inch thick.

2. Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in boiling water. Drain and dry.
3. Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C)

4. Sauté the bacon in the olive oil over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes to brown lightly.
Remove to a side dish and leave the fat in the pan.
5. Reheat fat before sautéeing the beef.

(I cut beef to smaller sizes because of my kids. It looks better to use 2-inch cubes though)

6. Dry the beef in paper towels; beef will not brown if it is damp.
Sauté a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bcaon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

7. In the same fat, brown the sliced carrot and onion.
Discard the fat and oil.
8. Return the beef and bacon to the cast iron casserole and toss with the salt and pepper.

 Then, sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour.
Set casserole uncovered  in the preheated oven for 4 minutes.
Toss the meat and return to oven for another 4 minutes.
9. Remove the casserole from the oven and turn oven down to 325 F or 170C.

10. Stir in the wine, and enough broth or stock so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in the preheated oven for 1 +1/2 to 2 hours.
11. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
[Brown-braised onion]
1+1/2 tablespoon butter
1+1/2 tablespoon oil
24 pearl onions
1/2 cup beef broth
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme and parsley

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet,

add the onions and sauté over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions so they will brown evenly.

Then, pour in the broth, and add the herb. 

Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender, and the liquid has evaporated.

[Sautéed Mushrooms]
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound white button mushrooms, washed, well-dried, and quartered


Quarter mushrooms
Heat the butter and oil over the high heat .
As soon as the butter foam subside, add the mushrooms.

Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes.
In 2-3 minutes the mushrooms will begin to brown.  As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from the heat.

Now mushroom and onions are ready!

12. When the meat is tender, remove from the casserole. Washout the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it.

Place the cooked onion and mushrooms over the meat.

13. Skim fat off the sauce and simmer for a minute or two. Skim off additional fat as it rises.
14. There should be 2+1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of broth.
15. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

* For immediate serving: cover the casserole and simmer for 2-3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetable with the sauce several times. Serve it with potatoes, noodles, or/and buttered peas.

** For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15-20 minutes before serving, bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

It's a long recipe. But, that is Julia's style.
And if you actually make it, you will find that the active cooking time is only about 30 minutes.


Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon.

Monday, December 17, 2012

[Parc Omega] The place to enjoy autumn leaves and safari

It snowed  all day yesterday, and it feels like it has been winter since long time ago.

I should have uploaded these photos and post in October, but I was still busy writing about our summer vacation in France.

You can see some interesting spots in France here:
1) [Auberge Ravoux] Van Gogh's last residence in Auvers-sur-Oise
2) [Basilique Saint-Denis] French Royal Necropolis - The burial place of the French Kings
3) [2012 Maffliers] Kids grow fast... and we age faster...?
4) [Chateau de Chantilly] Le musée Condé - The generosity of a royal prince
5) [Balade gourmande] Brittany by sail: Unforgettable day on a traditional boat in Cancale
6) [Must eat foods in France] You must try these ten inexpensive food in France
7) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris] The most visited edifices in Europe - Part I
8) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris] Notre Dame de Paris - Part II
9) [Four Representative Architectures in Paris Part III] Musee de Louvre or simply Louvre
10) [Opera Garnier] The symbol of Elegance at the centre of Paris
11) [Mont Saint-Michel] Picturesque UNESCO Hertiage site in Normandy
12) [Place des Vosges] A Perfect Symmetrical Square in Paris
13) [Roland Garros] Visiting the glorious French Open venue
15) [Musee Rodin] How to enjoy masterpieces of the great artist, with 1€
16) [Panthéon] The right place to see an evidence of the Rotation of the Earth
17) [Epilogue] Trip France 2012 - Leaving much to be desired

   One Sunday late in autumn, we drove to Montebello, Quebec,
to see famous autumn leaves and feed carrots to ungulates, i.e. hoofed animals.

I must have written about my fear of animals. Yes, it's true that I am afraid of animals, in general. I am grateful for the fact that my kids inherited Mr. D's gene to like animals. Don't get me wrong. I don't dislike animals. I like seeing all kinds of zoological and domestic herbivores, carnivores, and maybe omnivores, too.
But, I can't bear even the thought of feeling them under my skin or being physically close to them.
Despite my fear, we've been to many zoos and animal farms because kids and Mr. D love touching and feeding the animals. As far as they don't force me to touch or feed animals, which they don't, I'm fine accompanying the three guys and enjoy animals from a little distance.

Well, it was not so possible to be distant from animals at Parc Omega (Omega Park).
The park is a 1,800-acre safari park where a 10 km path is stretched out to home wild animals such as moose, deer, bears, raccoons, and wolves.

I don't know why we brought two sacks of carrots all the way from Ottawa. I had thought that there wouldn't be anywhere to buy carrots at the park. But, they were selling carrots at a very reasonable price of $2.50/bag! So no need to bring carrots!

Entering the 10 km safari route (by car), we already had a blast feeding! a bunch of red deer were awaiting us at the entrance. 

They were not afraid of cars as the cars were driving at the speed of 10 km/hour at most, and people in the vehicles were eager to feed and pet them. 

So, those wild creatures come up very close!

They were just beside you. 

There is only a thin window glass between the huge nostrils of deer and me! 

Thank goodness, we were in the car. 

Otherwise, I would have fainted on spot. 

I drove the car since I didn't have a courage to feed any creature other than human beings.

Oh, by the way, the most part of 10-km nature path is a drive-through route which means that visitors stay in their cars and drive through the park.

Kids and Mr. D had so much fun feeding red deer and white tail  deer while I was completely frozen throughout.
Pablo took a bite of carrot before he fed a deer. I just hoped he didn't take a bite after. 
:( But, I'm not 100% sure.

There was a walking trail where we could walk and feed.
We bought some grains and corns too.
I can assure you that this herbivores like grains, more or as much as the carrots. I think it's so natural.

Herbivores are not aggressive at all. They don't have those attacking gene.
They accommodate to the circumstances instead of resistance.
Walking path was peaceful and beautiful.
Autumn was right there. The colours of the leaves were fabulous.

What a gorgeous day it was. Even the weather was oh so perfect :)

I love the sound of walking on dry fallen leaves, but not the wet ones though.

On the little hill covered with colourful fallen leaves, there was a pavilion where we could see the entire walking trail.

Isn't this just gorgeous?

What  an autumn day it was.

The above-said pavilion from a distance~

Then, we drove to the section of predatory animals.

The section was full of arctic wolves.

We were warned not to feed those animals. Seriously~ I was wondering if there were anybody trying to feed carrots to a carnivore?

Arctic wolves were beautiful and their postures were so elegant.

"Arctic wolves are a sub-species of the timber wolves. They live on the arctic islands of Canada and the north and east shores of Greenland. They adapt very well to cold climates and their white fur serves as camouflage." (Reference: the official site of Parc Omega)

Arctic fox cubs were very cute.
I find all the babies of any species are cute.

Then we entered the valley of the bears

And then we saw a whole bunch of black bears.

Isn't it amazing that these heavy(?) creature can climb up the trees and even sleep there?

The bears we saw at the park were the American black bears which are the most common bear species native to North America.

Black bears with their huge ball shaped bodies were really cute, at least form far.
Lot of cars including ours just stopped and watching the bears for a while.

We also saw ibexes and wild boars on the way to the prairies

We were allowed to see the bison only from the car.

Bisons were eating hay.

Bison were huge! 

I knew they were big, but even bigger than I had expected.

Alpine ibexes' horns were big enough to scare me!

This one must be a baby ibex. So cute, but still untouchable for me.
(I can touch kittens and puppies, but not bigger than that)

oh well, deer's antlers also look hefty.

Maybe the size of antlers is their pride. :)

I would say this is about the right size. It looks like a crown sometimes.

It was a wonderful visit we enjoyed very much.

(A group of white tail deer)
As I said above, I am fine and do like animals as far as they don't come to have physical contacts with me.

People say that the parc is truly amazing in the snowy winter.
We may go back before the winter ends.

It was a phenomenal experience for all of us!

Parc Omega