Monday, January 22, 2018

"Cooking in Germany" Tip - Potatoes!

There are two different types of potatoes (Kartoffeln) most commonly found in German grocery stores, labeled “mehligkochende” and “festkochende”.
Festkochende Kartoffeln are high moisture potatoes, most similar to American Yukon Gold or chef’s potatoes, and are best for boiling, steaming, braising and stewing (whenever you’re using moisture to cook). The point here is that these potatoes already contain a lot of moisture, so they have a nice even consistency, but they don't fall apart when you cook them in liquid. This is important when you're making soups and stews, as the potatoes will retain their shape and not fall apart, so that your soup is not murky with chunks of potatoes everywhere. They're also great for potato salads for the same reason. These types of potatoes also boast great flavor.
Mehligkochende Kartoffeln are high starch potatoes, most similar to American russet potatoes, and are best for baking, puréeing, and frying. After the potato is cooked, it still maintains a relatively dry interior, so it's very easy to flake it or mash it. For American mashed potatoes, you definitely want that consistency as opposed to wallpaper paste! These starchy, drier potatoes are also great for frying because they spatter much less and, due to less moisture inside, brown even better.

Here's another tip regarding mashed potatoes! If you love making mashed potatoes and do it a lot (or are willing to purchase a useful piece of equipment to make it easier), I highly recommend buying a food mill. This is a light-weight, non-electric, handheld tool that generally comes with 2-3 blade sizes and works for effortlessly making the fluffiest mashed potatoes, but also is great for making your own applesauce, tomato sauce, pureed soups, etc. The beauty of the food mill is, not only do you get a quick, even mill/grate of whatever you're putting through it, but you also get rid of skins and seeds, eliminating the need to peel your potatoes, apples, tomatoes, etc. before cooking them and milling them. This is particularly useful for potatoes as you can help maintain the starches inside if you cook them with the skin on instead of peeling before you boil.

If you're looking for a better selection of potatoes here in Germany, check out the Sunflower Gartenshop...they have an incredible selection of all sorts of types of potatoes that would be fun to try, not to mention other gourmet grocery items and a HUGE garden store with anything you could dream of. Look out for a future blog post on all that they have to offer!

Have a question or need some help cooking here in Germany? Comment below or shoot me an email at!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Welcome "Heute" Readers!

Hello "Heute" readers and welcome to The Global Fork! I'm excited you've come to check out my blog after reading my article in this week's newsletter. I hope it was helpful to you! Here's a link to my original blog post which inspired this week's article.

First, I want to let you know that I run a small catering company here on the Siedlung. Please reach out to me for a free quote for any of your catering needs...I can help with something as small as dessert, cake, or pie for a small family get-together to a cocktail party for 100 people and everywhere in between. I'd really love to help make your event special for you and your guests through my love of food. Just click on the Catering and Consulting tab (or right there!) and fill out my **Catering Proposal Request** with detail of your event and I'll get back to you quickly with ideas and a quote.

Second, my blog is also here to help you through your tour in Germany and to answer all those ingredients and cooking questions you may have. You can either leave a comment on the blog with your questions or email me at

Now, down to the nitty gritty of why you really came to my probably want those Thanksgiving recipes! I've written a lot about Thanksgiving on this blog over the years so feel free to search around, but I'll include here recipe cards for Turkey brine, my gravy, and a very traditional turkey stuffing.

Thanks again for visiting, happy cooking, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Yield: Approx. 6 Servings

Turkey Gravy

Even if you don't like to admit it, you love gravy. Especially on Thanksgiving. Here's a method I have used in the past with great'll basically want to drink it straight (but don't)...


  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 package turkey giblets from inside your turkey, or you can use turkey wings/legs/bones or even chicken giblets, bones, wings, etc.
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 C dry white wine
  • 4 C turkey or chicken broth or stock (low or no sodium if purchased, or homemade)
  • bay leaf and thyme sprigs
  • drippings from pan in which you've roasted your turkey (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Madeira, Cognac or Sherry (optional)


  1. Make your roux (please reference my blog post on roux): Melt butter in a saute pan over low heat. Whisk in flour and increase heat to medium-low. Cook roux, stirring often, until it reaches a medium brown color and has a nutty aroma. Let roux cool. (This step is important to avoiding lumpy gravy later!)
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large oven-proof saute pan, heat canola oil in oven until smoking. Add turkey or chicken pieces. Roast in the oven until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove pan from oven and remove turkey or chicken pieces.
  3. Transfer pot to stovetop and place over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot to the hot pan. Stir to crape up fond (the golden brown bits) from bottom of pan, and cook, stirring often, until soft and golden brown.
  4. Add dry white wine and reduce until almost dry. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Temper roux into broth (this is important for avoiding lumps; more info in my Roux blog post) and bring back to a simmer. Add bay leaf and thyme sprigs and let simmer gently for 15 minutes. Strain gravy through a fine mesh sieve and discard mirepoix (onion/carrot/celery) and herbs. 
  5. Add pan drippings (straining if necessary) and Madeira or Sherry. Allow to simmer 5 minutes longer and serve hot.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Yield: Enough for approx. 16-lb Turkey

Turkey Brine

I always brine my turkey, resulting in the most delicious, moist meat that all my guests rave about. I started brining after working at Williams-Sonoma and using their brine mix. Lea created this recipe, modeling it off the same brine mix and I've adapted it here to my standard practices. Click here for Lea's blog:


Dry Ingredients
  • 2 Cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 Cup star anise
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 3 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • 2 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp juniper berries
Fresh Ingredients
  • Peel of 1 fresh orange
  • Juice of 1 fresh orange
  • 1/4 - 1/2 Cup honey or brown sugar
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 fresh sprig rosemary, leaves removed


  1. When ready to brine your turkey, add the mixture of dry ingredients and fresh ingredients in a large stockpot with one gallon of water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove pot from heat, add one gallon of cold water to the pot, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Set up your brining bag inside your roasting dish, refrigerator drawer (removed from fridge) or other sturdy container. Remove inner packet of giblet, neck, etc. from your turkey. Place your turkey in the bag, breast side down, and pour cool brine ingredients into the bag on top of the turkey.
  4. Close bag tightly by twisting and using rubber bands around the neck of the closure. You want to try to seal the bag in a way that the brine liquid touches all parts of the bird.
  5. Brine for 24-72 hours, depending on size of bird and amount of sodium added to bird during plant processing. (Take a look at the label; if your bird has already been treated with salt water it doesn’t need to brine as long.)
  6. When ready to roast, remove turkey from brining bag and brush off any solid brine ingredients from skin of turkey. Season, baste and roast as you normally would.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Yield: 8-10 servings

Traditional Turkey Stuffing

"Stuffing" is traditionally the term used for bread stuffing that you put inside your turkey while it bakes, while "dressing" is traditionally the term used for bread stuffing baked outside of the bird. Old habits die hard, though, so I refer to it all as stuffing. I do not recommend putting this stuffing into the bird while it cooks as that is generally considered unsafe, given that it is difficult for the stuffing (which will have raw turkey juices incorporated) to reach the appropriate temperature (165 degrees F) by the time the turkey reaches the appropriate temperature and needs to be taken out of the oven. Make this recipe your own by adding any additional ingredients you like, such as cooked italian sausage, apples or even nuts.


  • 2 onions, small diced (or processed in the food processor)
  • 4 stalks celery, including some leaves, small diced (or processed in the food processor)
  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbsp)
  • 1-2 Tbsp bacon grease (can be rendered from cooking about 1/4 lb bacon)
  • 1 1/2 lb (24 oz) cubes of bread or extremely coarse bread crumbs, based on your preference (either from a box/bag, like Pepperidge Farm brand, or made yourself from loaf French bread)
  • 5 Tbsp dried sage
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 C butter (4 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 C chicken broth (either homemade or store-bought)
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  • Kosher Salt, if needed


  1. Dice or process the onions and celery.  Melt bacon grease and 1 stick butter in a large sauté pan, then add vegetables and sauté until tender.  (These tasks can be done ahead of time and the cooked vegetables can be stored in the fridge.)
  2. If using fresh bread, cut into desired size (some people like large chunks of bread in their stuffing while others prefer extremely course bread crumbs) and allow to dry overnight or bake in a 350 degree F oven until crispy.
  3. When ready to assemble dish, in a large bowl mix dried bread with vegetables (they do not need to be reheated).  Add sage and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, or in the microwave, heat 1/4 C butter together with chicken broth and 4 chicken bouillon cubes.  Whisk to make sure all the bouillon dissolves.  (Using bouillon cubes instead of more chicken broth allows you to have a concentrated flavor without a lot of liquid.)  Mix butter/chicken broth mixture into bread mixture.  It should not be too wet; add more bread crumbs if needed. 
  5. Transfer to an oven safe casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Kitchen/Baking Hack...that really works!!!

Mmm...multi-colored cupcakes.....
I'm sure you've all seen the videos and read the articles on the internet with so-called "life hacks". Not surprisingly, I can't pass up a list of hacks that claims to make life in the kitchen easier, and I always eagerly click through. Also not surprisingly, I usually walk away not having learned much...generally these hacks don't actually work as advertised, and at worst they actually make things harder.

But I ran across one a few weeks ago that I promised myself I would try one day, and today I got the opportunity. I was hired to do 60 cupcakes for a client's twins' birthday party at school. Easy, right? Except she wanted four different colors of frosting...ugh. I'm excited to work with gel food color and try out new hues and all, but my oh my the mess! It's bad enough when you have to refill a pastry bag multiple times in order to beautifully ice 60 cupcakes, but now I have to change colors, meaning I'll have to wash AND dry my pastry bag and all the accoutrement in between each color! Double ugh.

Enter this amazing baking hack....... Instead of putting your icing straight into the bag, and thereby having it make direct contact and necessitate cleaning in between colors, you basically just make a little plastic wrap pouch, slide that into your pastry bag, put on the tip and go to town. I discovered that not only did this prevent me from having to wash the bag, but it took care of that yucky mess at the large opening of the bag that always seemed inevitable before. Heavens to Betsy, a hack that finally works. I was practically dancing as I easily discarded the empty plastic wrap pouches and loaded up my next color.

Here's the play by play:
Start by making your frosting as you normally would.
Lay out a very long piece of plastic wrap on your work surface, and put your icing in the middle of it.
Roll your frosting up in the plastic wrap, then twist tightly like a piece of candy.

Slide plastic wrap "packet" into your pastry bag and pull one end of the twist through the small hole.
Snip off extra plastic wrap (doesn't have to be close to the frosting) and attach your desired piping tip.
Pipe as you would normally.  Look!!!! No mess!!!
Cleanup is a breeze! Just remove the empty plastic wrap packet.
The only thing to clean is the tip, and you may have to run a paper towel through the bag, but that's it!

Happy Baking!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Office "Hail and Farewell" Reception

Clockwise from Top: Gorgonzola Cheese with Johannisbeeren, Multi-grain Crackers, Zucchini and Tomato Cream Cheese Dip, Home-grown Cherry Tomatoes, Salami, French Bread, Brie Cheese with Honey Toasted Almonds and Figs, and Gmundner Berg Cheese with Grapes. Center: Herb Marinated Pepperoncini and Brazil Little Beak Peppers

Every 1-2 months in Kyle's office, they like to do a small reception to say "hello" to the new folks and "goodbye" to the folks who, sadly, will be leaving the section or post. In the Army we used to call this a "Hail and Farewell". I let Kyle know that now that he's the section leader I wanted to help out by providing food for these small events, as a way to show I care and be present in the office a bit more.

Generally I like him to give me about a week's notice, but he told me about this one yesterday. 😆 Oddly enough, I had been looking in my fridge thinking about how much stuff I had to make a really nice cheese and cracker/fruit/munchies tray and wondering if we should have friends over or what! So this was a perfect opportunity to pull those things together into something I knew the office would are pics of the final products!

Clockwise from Top: Gorgonzola Cheese with Johannisbeeren, Multi-grain Crackers, Zucchini and Tomato Cream Cheese Dip, Home-grown Cherry Tomatoes, Salami, French Bread, Brie Cheese with Honey Toasted Almonds and Figs, and Gmundner Berg Cheese with Grapes. Center: Herb Marinated Pepperoncini and Brazil Little Beak Peppers

Roasted Shrimp
with Sun-dried Tomato Basil
Puff Pastry Apfel Strudel
Spicy and Mild Chicken Wings
with Ranch Dipping Sauce

   Plan your event today! Contact me at,
   or Click Here.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Eleanor's Shepard's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is Eleanor's favorite dish. Every time I cook it, she eats at least three servings. It's hilarious to me because she normally eats everything "deconstructed" and doesn't love dishes where everything is mixed together. But this is her absolute favorite. I think the key here is that she actually knows every ingredient that goes into it. That's an additional benefit of having your kids cook with you...when they understand the dish and took part in creating it, they're more likely to eat it. Works for me!
Here's my recipe for Shepherd's Pie, which might not be the most traditional, but I guarantee it's one of the most delicious. This is perfect enjoyed with a salad on a cold evening when you need a hearty warm-up. And I'll admit I usually garnish with a little Tabasco sauce. I think that's the leftover Soldier in me....

Hope you enjoy! Let me know how it works out for you. 

Yield: Approx. 6 Servings

Eleanor's Shepherd's Pie

A delicious version of this comfort food classic. This is perfect enjoyed with a salad on a cold evening when you need a hearty warm-up. And I'll admit I usually garnish with a little Tabasco sauce.


  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled (if desired) and cut into equal size pieces
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 2 small carrots, small dice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp each minced fresh sage, thyme and rosemary (or 1 tsp each dried)
  • 1 lb ground beef or lamb
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 C beef broth
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • 1/3 C herbed cream cheese (I used German Spundekäs, found at the local street market or in grocery stores)
  • 1/2 C whole milk or cream
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in center of oven.
  2. Put potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water. Salt water generously, then put over high heat, covered, until boiling. Turn heat down to maintain a simmer and partially uncover pot while potatoes cook.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large, oven proof skillet over medium low heat. (If your skillet is not oven proof, you can transfer your pie to a baking dish later, before topping with mashed potatoes.) Add your onions to the hot oil and lower heat to low. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add diced carrot and cook 5-10 minutes more, until vegetables are starting to brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic and stir, cooking about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add herbs and stir well.
  4. Increase heat to medium and add ground meat, stirring well. Cook and stir until cooked through. At this point, if you see very little oil in the bottom of the pan (which will be the case if you used extra lean beef), add up to 1 more Tbsp olive oil to the pan. Next, sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Add Worcestershire sauce and beef broth; being to a simmer. Add green peas and stir well. Immediately take pan off the heat. (If using a baking dish, transfer mixture now.)
  5. Once potatoes are cooked through (when a paring knife slides in and out easily), drain and return to pot. Add cream cheese and milk, then mash potatoes well until free of lumps and well mixed.
  6. Place large dollops of potatoes on the top of your beef mixture, and use a rubber spatula to carefully spread mashed potatoes to the edge of your skillet or dish. (You can also pipe the potatoes using a pastry bag, if you prefer.) Slide the tines of a fork along the top of your mashed potatoes to make ridges, if desired.
  7. Bake pie in oven until the ridges are delicious-looking golden brown and the liquid is bubbling. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, sprinkle with some chopped parsley and serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator