I’ll take my meat with cookies, thank you.

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Pull up your chair to the German dinner table and you'll likely eat a heaping plate of meat and potatoes. You might even encounter a crunchy gingersnap or a soft, spicy gingerbread cookie [Recipe]. What you might not expect, however, is that your cookies could be in your meat dish. That's right. The German dish called Sauerbraten is a slow-cooked pot roast, loaded up with vinegar and a rich, brown gravy thickened with nothing more than cookies. But let's start at the beginning, shall … [Read more...]

Recipe: German Tree Cake (Baumtorte/Baumkuchen)

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Serves 12 This is my favorite cake. All 20 layers of it. It has been since my mitten-wearing years. My mom used this intricately layered almond and chocolate cake as an activity for us kids - something to keep us busy on rainy mornings, when crayons had lost their interest. It is single-handedly responsible for my obsession with almond paste (and it's sweeter counterpart, marzipan). The original recipe might as well be called "the dance of dirty bowls." I took a hacksaw to the method, … [Read more...]

Menu: Germany

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If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of spring cleaning, try making these recipes, especially the beer and cake. Good luck. If you're as clumsy as a frog, as I am, you'll be cleaning up half-fermented beer splatters and chocolate drips for days. Squeak, shluck, squeak, shluck. That's the sound of my sneakers on sticky tiles. Shudder. Of course, the final result allows you to eat and drink your sorrows away, so there's that. Or you could just not be clumsy in the first place. … [Read more...]

About the food of Germany

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I first went to Germany for a basketball tournament. I'd just made Captain of the J.V. team, thanks in great part to the small size of our school rather than any particular skill. That weekend we played with "heart" as our coach liked to say, losing by a mere 12 points - a definite improvement since the beginning of the season when we had lost several games by well over 30 points. That kind of loss is a creaming and, unfortunately, not the kind that ends up in cake. After Friday's game … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Georgia

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THE SCENE "This is gonna be good," I told myself, sliding the porcelain casserole into the refrigerator. Two pounds of chicken legs swimming in a bath of lemon juice, peanut oil, and Georgian five spice - they'd have the entire night to chill out and absorb Georgian goodness before hitting the grill. I tucked Ava into bed as quickly as I could, telling Keith to cue a movie, preferably a chick flick. I put on my favorite fuzzy pajamas and crawled under the covers. The opening credits … [Read more...]

Recipe: Garlic and Walnut Sauce (Garo)

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Makes 4 cups This bold tasting spread/sauce from Georgia will have your mouth asking "What is in this!"  I couldn't decide what it reminded me of, which I find exciting (trying new flavors is the purpose of eating the world, A-Z!). The bold flavor of cilantro and walnut are the main body of flavor, with an earthy, almost bitter note from the spices. You can knock the bitter profile back a bit if you use less fenugreek seeds. Adapted from The Silk Road Gourmet: Volume One: Western and … [Read more...]

Recipe: Georgian Five Spice (Khmeli-Suneli)

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Makes about 3 Tbsp Ever take a bite of food and know exactly what country the food is from? Ever wonder why? Usually it's because the food is loaded with typical, regional herbs and spices. The food of Georgia (the country) is no different. This Georgian five spice can be used in almost any dish thanks to it's agreeable combination of grassy herbs like coriander, savory, bay leaf and dill - along with a hit from subtly bitter fenugreek seeds (whose flavor you'll recognize from curry … [Read more...]

Recipe: Georgian Chicken

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Serves 2-4 I'll be honest. I don't have great luck with grilled chicken. Usually it's bland, overdone and, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm usually to blame. Naturally, I was delighted when I found this foolproof Georgian recipe in Laura Kelley's The Silk Road Gourmet: Volume One: Western and Southern Asia - it's a giant bright bite of lemony goodness. The crazy strong flavor comes from an extra long marination - 24 hours. If you'd rather a milder flavor, try just a few hours … [Read more...]