At the end of August (before the temperatures reached three-digit numbers), my husband and I spent three days In the Napa Valley. This time we chose Healdsburg as our headquarters. We had been there before with friends and enjoyed it. We visited several wineries and had some great food. One of the nights, we made reservation at Bravas. Travel & Leisure rates it as one of the top 20 tapas restaurants in the U.S. James Beard finalist, Mark Stark, is the executive chef. Mark and Terri Stark own and operate several restaurants in the area. My taste buds were elevated trying all the different tapas. Everything was top quality, the setting was simple and relaxing. We ate in the garden. The one dish that got my attention was a baby kale salad.
Mind you, I am not a kale salad person, but I ordered this one because of the preserved lemon vinaigrette. I enjoyed every bite of this the salad. Even my husband, (who as you all know is hard to please when it comes to vegetables and salads) liked it. It was our server’s first day on her job, and my maternal instinct kicked in. I helped her along since I was once a waitress at a Howard Johnson restaurant in Massachusetts when I first came to this country. Anyway, the server and I bonded and as a “thank you,“ I got the recipe for the preserved lemon vinaigrette. The recipe was for a large amount. It took some math and adjustment to get it where I liked the flavor as much as in the original vinaigrette. I made a few changes. I was lucky to find baby kale at Trader Joe’s. The baby kale reminds me of Rapunzel lettuces or field salad (Feldsalat). In English it is called lamb’s lettuce or māche. I have used this vinaigrette with other salads.
The salad at Bravas was made with baby kale, shaved Manchego cheese, and slivered fennel. I have made it several times and love it. I used the dressing for another salad with strawberries, sliced onions (soaked in cold water) and avocados. Add a sautéed chicken breast or piece of salmon and you have a meal. The recipe for a delicious chicken breast covered with pretzel crumbs will be my next post.
To make this recipe you will need preserved lemon. I make my own every year, click here for the recipe. You can also buy them ( Amazon has them). You will not regret having a jar of this North African delicacy in your refrigerator. It's great on avocado toasts, couscous, in cocktails, and anything you can think of.
REcipe for preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
This preserved lemon vinaigrette yields about 1 ¼ cup and will last in the fridge for about a week or longer. The preserved lemons are very salty, so add salt sparingly as needed. Do not rinse the preserved lemons. Make sure that the vinaigrette is silky smooth. My Vitamix did the job.
1 generous TBS chopped shallots
a dash of black pepper
1 generous TBS chopped preserved lemon
2 TBS honey
½ tsp. mustard
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup neutral oil like canola oil
½ cup sunflower oil
Add shallots to the preserved lemon, honey and mustard to a mixer. I used my Vitamix. Puree the mix until everything is silky smooth. Slowly add the oil, creating a stable emulsification. Stir in the pepper and season with additional salt and honey if necessary.
Recipe from the Bravas Restaurant in Healdsberg, CA
Adapted by sunnycovechef.com
Check out some of my other salad recipes. Click on the photo to get the recipe.
My last and final destination for my five-week trip to Europe was Sweden. I was taken by the glimmering light of the sky, the golden, deep red and often violet sunsets during midsummer days during my visit. There was an evening glow that was breathtaking. Unfortunately, I have no photos to show you. My trip to Sweden began when Barbie, our tour guide, picked us up in Copenhagen. I had taken a trip with Barbie to Provence in March 2020, where we stayed in Julia Child’s home. Read more about it here. So, I was excited to go on another trip with her.
We were picked up on Monday afternoon in a hotel in Copenhagen and driven to our first lodging in Sweden. There we stayed in the countryside on a farm once owned by the king of Sweden in Kivik, a charming little town in Scane, part of Österlen. It is known as the breadbasket of Sweden. The setting reminded me very much of northern Germany, with its large wheat fields. We enjoyed a nice dinner the first night and got to know each other.
The following day, we had a wonderful cooking lesson in a typical Swedish house with several cooking stations and a nicely decorated dining area. The garden was spectacular with all its herbs and veggies, a labor of love. I very much enjoyed this day in the kitchen and garden with Maria sharing her Swedish recipes and house with us. If you are ever in the area, don’t pass this by. Here is a link to her website
The next day, we visited a farm where mustard is made. We learned a lot and made our own mustard. Mine did not pass quality control.
We visited Ale’s Stones, which I found fascinating. The function of Ale’s Stones is much disputed (according to Wikipedia), and there are many different theories about its purpose. It is generally believed to be either a grave monument, a ritual center or maybe a sun calendar. I tried to have my Outlander moment to go through the stones, but it didn’t work. And I am happy to still be here.
The same day, we ate in a restaurant on the water. Of course, I had to have herring.
Another day, we went foraging for wild herbs with Roland Rittman. He forages for restaurants, most notably René Redzepi’s Noma in Copenhagen. Roland is quite a character and showed us many edible plants that we picked and ate throughout the week. He and his wife invited us to have coffee and cake in his house. It was very pleasant and the homemade apple cake was delicious.
We also met Johanna Kindvall, an illustrator and cook who has written two cookbooks. Barbie sent us one of her cookbooks and I can’t wait to pick a recipe to try. The name of the book is Smörgåsbord, the Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treat, by Johanna Kindavall.
On day four, we drove to Torekov in the Skane province. It’s a cute little town with its red and white clapboard houses. We settled into our rented house and started exploring the town. Barbie served us smoked salmon with fresh potatoes, which are the best I have ever eaten. The Swedes are very proud of the different varieties of potatoes they grow and I have to say that they are very good. Barbie added our foraged greens to them, which made for a very healthy dinner. Annette, our Swedish tour guide, had prepared lingonberries, I loved them.
Annette encouraged me to participate in the Swedish custom of going for a morning dip in the North Sea. The ritual is that you have to walk to the sea in an old robe with old wooden clogs, take a quick dip in the sea (seven strokes to be precise). On the way home, it’s okay to stop in a bakery in your robe and buy some rolls for breakfast. I found it very invigorating. Barbie gave us some robes.
On one of the days, we visited the beautiful gardens of Norrviken. Norrviken Garden is a 14-hectare garden that was created in 1906-1920 by Rudolph Abelin. There are temporary art exhibits both outdoors and indoors, with beautiful water and Japanese gardens. Ingmar Bergman made All These Women (his first color film) here. We had a relaxing lunch at the Villa Abelin. I was taken by the beauty of this garden.
Another wonderful dining experience was a delicious dinner, which Annette’s friend, Maria, served us at a fisherman’s boathouse by the sea. Thank you, Maria, for a magical evening and for sharing this wonderful place with us.
Our week went by fast and for our last night, three beautiful Ukrainian women prepared a feast for us. Annette’s husband, Anders, shared his crawfish with us and showed us how to eat them correctly.
The next morning, Barbie and Annette put us on the train to Copenhagen where I checked into my airport hotel, as I had an early flight the next morning to return to the United States. Surprisingly, the hotel had a good restaurant where I had herring eggs with flatbread and cream cheese. Delicious! But I was ready to return home to my husband.
This is the fourth post about my trip to Europe when I visited five countries by train. Read about my days in Munich here and and then my week on Lake Garda in Italy here and my visit to Innsbruck and the village in Germany here.
After a beautiful four-hour train ride from Hamburg I arrived in Copenhagen.I checked in to the Marriott Hotel on the waterfront, which is conveniently located near many attractions. They gave me a gorgeous room overlooking the bay.I enjoyed the scenic walk along the waterfront and canals. The first night I walked to the Tivoli Garden and bought a lobster roll from a vendor. It was a delicious snack.
The next day I bought a ticket in my hotel for the “hop on and hop off” bus that also included a boat tour. In my humble opinion, this is the best way to see any new city. The hotel concierge advised me about which tour to take. According to him, they are not all the same. He also made a reservation for me at a restaurant later that night. (More about that later.) During my bus tour, I got to see most of Copenhagen including the classic Little Mermaid statue, a small statue which is popular with tourists. I got off the bus downtown and walked through the shopping streets. There was an old-fashioned bakery where I would have loved to have tasted their sweets, but I was not the least bit hungry. After a walk through downtown , I hooked up with my boat ride. I saw small canals where houseboats were anchored, which reminded me of Amsterdam. After my hour long boat ride it was time to have little snack. I had a tasty shrimp toast in one of the historic restaurants on the waterfront.
In the evening, I walked to the restaurant and had a very good meal by myself, sitting outside and watching people. I enjoyed every bite. The restaurant is named Koffoed. It is located on a little side street near the center of town. The menu was exquisite, it was an amazing experience .
The next day I decided to visit the Viking Museum. I walked through the canal streets, arriving at the museum before it started to rain. Copenhagen is a city with few cars. The locals seem to be relaxed, enjoying the long summer days. In the afternoon, I walked to Torvehallerne, a glass-covered food hall in the center of town. Here you can indulge in delicious treats, do your weekly grocery shopping, or as I did, admire all the choices being offered. This is a foodies' paradise. I ate more than I should have.
I was happy exploring Copenhagen never feeling unsafe, even at night. Before I knew it, it was time to get ready for my trip to Sweden.
It has been almost two months since I returned from my trip. Life has been very busy, cooking and trying out new recipes . I tried to make the semolina and bread dumplings I had in Innsbruck. Both turned out to be a total disaster. I had some help from a Facebook site I belong to but I think it takes a lot of experience to make them. I am still trying. Instead I made my apricot jam and plum jam. Plums are still in season and here are some of my recipes.
This plum jam bakes in the oven while you can have fun doing other things. Click here for the recipe.
This beautiful German plum tart made with Italian plums or Zwetschgen as we call them in Germany is delicious with whipped cream and is easy to make. Click here for the recipe. These plums are not easy to find in Santa Cruz.
This easy to make and delicious recipe comes from Marian Burros and was printed in the New York Times for many years. Click here for the recipe.
If you can find Italian plums try this recipe called Zwetschenmus in Germany. It is a tartly rich and earthy tasting plum butter with a taste of cinnamon and allspice. Click here for the recipe .
from the Sunnycovechef.com
This is my third post of my trip to Europe. Click on the highlighted text to read about my first stop Munich and my second stop Lake Garda, Italy. When I made my travel plans I decided to break up the long train ride from Roverto, Italy to my village in northern Germany. My friend and I decided to stay in Innsbruck, Austria, for a few days before continuing our journey. We had planned to take the lift up the mountain and hike in the beautiful Tyrolean Alps surrounding Innsbruck. Well, the rainy weather changed our plans. The mountains would have been muddy, with no vistas and a cold rain.
So we decided to eat as many Austrian delicacies as possible. We started with a Sacher Torte in the Sacher Cafe next to the Hofburg (a castle for royalty) that we also visited.
Then came the apple strudel with vanilla sauce— nobody makes it as well as the Austrians. Kaiserschmarren (pancakes) with plum jam was my favorite Of course, let’s not forget clear broth with Griessnockerl (semolina dumpling soup). The first evening I had spinach dumplings that were to die for. One night at our hotel, after having tasted two desserts that afternoon, we had a small bowl of Hungarian goulash soup. It was the best goulash soup I have ever had.
A few facts about Innsbruck: it is the capital of the Tirol Province. Tirol is a popular tourist destination for Germans and lots of other Europeans. The landmark in Innsbruck is the Golden Roof in the middle of town. It was built in 1500 to commemorate the marriage of Emperor Maximilian I and Bianca Maria Sforza. The roof is not covered in gold, but in fire-gilded copper tiles .
The 500-year-old town is settled in a pleasant valley with Baroque churches, gabled houses, and narrow, twisting walkways. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants with the food of the region. After two days of indulging , we took the train to my village.
The apartment in my brother’s house (where I usually stay), has a family of three Ukrainian women from Kharkiv living in it. These three women fled without time to pack anything when they left their home. All they had was a purse and a small bag when they arrived. But my brother got them jobs, and the 14-year-old teenager is going to school. They needed a lot of help filling out forms and papers to get German health insurance and a monthly allowance. Everybody is trying to help. The Ukrainian mother and daughter baked two cakes for a Sunday afternoon coffee. They were delicious and my brother and I had several pieces.
My nephew’s tiny house is an Airbnb on our farm. It was a perfect place for me to stay. I loved every minute in it. It was the perfect retreat to reflect, relax, and enjoy my family. The days were long and I enjoyed visits with my grand nephews and friends. My nephew also took in a Ukrainian woman with two children and a cat. Now he has five teenagers living in his house. We went out for dinner and had coffee and cake with our extended Ukrainian family. Their English is limited, they speak very little German and none of us speaks Russian or Ukranian, which are their language. Sometimes, I just started to cry. Memories of my childhood with all the refugees from the old East Germany came welling up.
During my stay in the village, I prepared Matjes Herring with cream sauce and boiled potatoes for the family. Hopefully, I will post the recipe in the near future.
After ten wonderful days, it was time for me to leave and go north. Hamburg was my next destination. I stayed in the same hotel where I always stay, the
Westin above the Elbephilharmonie in the Hafencity. This time, I just needed a day to rest and see some old friends before continuing on to Copenhagen. The Elbepilharmonie, nicknamed Elphi, always amazes me. It is among the largest concert halls in the world. The glassy construction resembles a hoisted sail or wave built on an old brick warehouse. The view from my room was spectacular. If you visit Hamburg and have some time, don’t miss this part of town. There is so much to see. Read more about the Elphi in a previous post here. My friend from Hamburg and I had a beautiful dinner at Vlet. This was actually my first gourmet meal on this trip. The food was exquisite.
Before I knew it, I was in the Hamburg railroad station waiting for my Danish train to Copenhagen. Let me tell you, I do not like the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (main railroad station).
It can be scary with the number of people and the constant construction going on. The station is on three separate levels with the trains departing on the lowest level. There have been times when the escalators didn’t work and I had to carry my suitcase down a long staircase. There are few elevators and they often don’t go the level you need to catch your train. I was lucky this time, and I used the escalator to get to the platform where my Danish train would arrive. I had a delightful conversation with a young man who was waiting for another train to go see his mother. I arrived in Copenhagen after a four hour scenic and interesting train ride .
My friend and I left Munich in the morning and embarked on a four-hour scenic train ride over the Alps to a small Italian town called Rovereto. It is located in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy between Lake Garda and the Italian Alps.This was the easiest way to get from Munich to Malcesine on Lake Garda .
My nieces’s husband picked us up and drove us to our hotel in Malcesine. I could barely wait to hold my baby grand-niece in my arms.
My niece’s travel agent had found the perfect hotel for all seven of us in Malcesine. It was a simple hotel in a beautiful setting away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. We adults rented rooms and my niece and her husband rented an apartment. This was the perfect (and relatively inexpensive) spot for a family gathering. The breakfast was great, everything was clean and comfortable. The grounds were specular, with a vast olive grove surrounding the hotel and apartments. There was a beautiful landscaped pool and a playground for children. The San Carlo hotel is run by a nice Italian family, and it became our home for one week. My niece’s in-laws arrived from near Berlin and were happy to see their grandchild.
Our focus was around the baby, but we still managed to go on boat excursions, and visited different towns around the lake. We never missed an afternoon coffee followed by an Aperol spritz. One day, we four elders visited the town of Riva, where we had a delicious lunch and explored the town while the young people visited a friend nearby.
Another day, all seven of us crossed the lake by boat and visited Limone. Limone is the Italian word for lemon and this part of Lake Garda is renowned for growing lemons and other citrus. Limone is set along a backdrop of rocky cliffs with stunning lakeside scenery. For me, the town had too many tourists, even in May. We ended up having a delicious lunch in a gorgeous setting. I felt like I was in a movie.
Another day, we took a taxi ride to Lazise, which is located southeast of Lake Garda.The wall, by which you enter the pedestrian medieval village, was built in the 14th century.The 12th century church San Nicola has several medieval frescos.There is a a lovely harbor with a promenade lined with colorful houses, many of them restaurants. We had lunch in one of them and enjoyed the ambience of this beautiful setting.
We declared our last day in Malcesine as a chill day and enjoyed the gorgeous pool at our hotel. It was hard to say goodbye the next morning, as I will cherish this week forever .
It’s been a few weeks since I returned from Europe. Over five weeks, I visited five countries by train travel through Europe. There were some challenging moments, but overall I enjoyed this trip immensely. I was so fortunate to be able to do this. This is my first post of my trip , there are more to follow.
It took quite a bit of planning to put it all together, but I did it with some help from my niece and her husband. After making all the reservations, I packed light because I had to carry everything on and off trains, not relying on anyone to help me. Although, I did get a lot of help and met some interesting people.
I arrived In Munich in the early evening and checked into my hotel after a 100-Euro taxi ride from the airport—even though there is a train to downtown that is much cheaper. Munich is a wonderful city, for my first meal I treated myself to a beer and herring with cream sauce and fried potatoes—one of my standard meals when I arrive in Germany. It was a warm spring night and I was in heaven sitting outside enjoying my meal.
Thanks to jet lag, I was up early the next morning, exploring the town and visiting my favorite places. One of them is Dalmeyr an iconic store for food lovers. I bought some pastries for a late night snack.
Later in the afternoon, I picked up my friend from the train station. Her train had been delayed by three hours, as the German train system is not what it used to be.
In the evening , after walking around in Munich we had a typical Bavarian meal outside, surrounded by historic buildings in the center of town. We had fun, enjoying each other over some good beer and food.
The following day, we explored the English Garden on a warm sunny day. I missed it the last time I was in Munich (read here about my previous trip). Did you know that the English Garden is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world? It is larger than Central Park in New York. It has 78 kilometers of paths, which is why we rented a bike taxi.
Our driver dropped us off at the beer garden where we had a large beer and some Bavarian Krustenbraten, a pork roast where the skin is made into a crispy crust. I’s delicious, but rich. Keep the anti-acid tablets handy.
Before we knew it , our two days in Munich were over and we packed our bags for our next destination Lake Garda .
In the 1950s, as a child in Germany, I lived in a small village. Having a torte served in the afternoon was a special treat. My godmother was a gifted baker and made the most beautiful rich tortes. They were filled with buttercream, custard and cream, often in the same cake. After the farm work was done, cakes were baked on Saturday for special occasions and served in the afternoon to what we call in Germany Kaffetrinken, similar to teatime in England. There were often 3-4 different cakes and you had to try them all. These days, I feel guilty when I have even one small piece.
This raspberry cake is lighter with lots of raspberries in it. I think my aunt would have liked this cake, but probably would have told me to add some custard or more cream to it. The original recipe comes from Dr. Oetker’s website. I changed it a bit by adding more raspberries and less cream. I decorated one for Valentine’s Day, but any other decoration would be fine. A pastry ring would be helpful when assembling the cake. Another time I used strawberries instead of raspberries but I prefer raspberries for this cake
I am leaving for Europe in a few weeks on an adventurous trip. I am flying to Munich to meet my German girlfriend. From Munich we will take the train to Lake Garda, Italy, where we will spend a week with my niece’s family and her in-laws.
I am so excited because I get to see and play my with my great niece. After the week is over my girlfriend and I will take the train to Innsbruck where we will stay for 3 days. Then we will take a long train ride to my village. I will stay in my nephew’s tiny house Airbnb since my brother gave his upstairs apartment to three Ukrainian women from Kharkiv. They need it more than I do. After 10 days I will go on to Copenhagen where I will meet my cooking group to spend a week in Sweden. All in all I will visit five countries, cross your fingers and hope that all works out. I certainly do.
The cake is thin, but when the filling is added, it turns out fine. Cutting the cake horizontally in half takes a little skill and a large knife. There are tutorials on how to do it with toothpicks and string, but I just did it and it wasn’t difficult. For the cream mixture, I ordered a package of powdered gelatin (with two pouches in it) from Amazon. It is called gelatine fix from Dr. Oetker. I baked the cake a day before I assembled the torte. The torte will last in the fridge for a few days. A cake ring is helpful but not necessary when assembling the torte.
My next door neighbor and German friend Susanne really liked it. She knows about cakes, or tortes, as we call them in Germany.
The cake makes 12 large pieces or more smaller pieces
4.4 ounces ( 125g) soft unsalted butter
4.4 ounces (125g) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
3 eggs at room temperature
6 ounces ( 170g) all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
The cream mixture
1 pint ( 470ml) heavy cream
12 ounces (340g) frozen raspberries
10 -12 ounces fresh raspberries
½ (75g) cup sugar
2 packages gelatine fix from Dr. Oetker
2 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350˙ degree Fahrenheit
Grease a 10-inch cake pan with a removable bottom, and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Then butter the parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Cream the butter in a mixer. Slowly add the sugar and continue mixing the batter until the batter is creamy. This will take several minutes.
Add the vanilla extract and then each egg separately, mixing it for a minute before adding another egg. You want a creamy mixture that almost doubles in volume.
Gradually add the flour mixture until barely mixed.
Add the batter to the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface of the dough. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Run a knife around the inside of the cake pan and carefully loosen the ring around the cake pan and remove it.
Turn the cake onto a rack and remove the parchment paper and flip the cake upside down.
For the raspberry sauce, puree the defrosted raspberries in a mixer with the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Press through a sieve to remove the seeds. Chill it in a jar. This can be made a day ahead.
In a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream, slowly pouring in the the packages of gelatine fix. When the cream mixture is very thick, mix 1 cup of the raspberry sauce.
Assembling the torte
Cut the cake in half horizontally with a segregated knife
Put the bottom half in the cake ring.
Cover the cake bottom with about ⅓ or more of the cream mixture.
Drizzle with the raspberry sauce.
Put raspberries in a circle on the filling.
Add the top part of the cake.
Cover the top part with the whipped cream mixture.
Take the cake ring off and and put the rest of the whipped cream mixture onto the sides the sides of the cake.
Decorate the top of the cake anyway you like with the fresh raspberries and some of the sauce. Refrigerate three hours before serving . The cake keeps a couple of days in the fridge.
Recipe by Dr.Oetker test kitchen
Adapted and translated by the Sunnycovechef.com
Here are some more of my desserts made with fruit. Click on the photo for the recipe.
Think of chicken fricassee as a chicken pot pie without the pie. It’s a treasured dish, here and in Germany where it is called chicken fricassee (Hühnerfrikassee).
In this country, it is more of a home-cooked everyday meal, while in Germany its can be a fancy dish. In the 1960s, it was often served at weddings in a Vol-au-Vent (a small hollow case of puff pastry). It was part of my wedding dinner when I got married decades ago in Germany. But more often, chicken fricassee is served with rice, mashed potatoes or noodles. I had it with homemade Spätzle. The vegetables in this dish can vary; when in season asparagus is often added. Peas, carrots and mushroom are called for in most recipes. In the old days, canned white asparagus and canned mushrooms were added .
I have always enjoyed cooking this dish; it is the essence of comfort food. A few weeks ago, I was the personal chef of a friend of mine who was caring for her father during his last days. I made a big batch using two whole chickens, fresh asparagus, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and peas. I have made much smaller portions using chicken legs or breasts. The dish freezes well. I froze a portion for my husband to have when I go to Germany this spring.
I have prepared this dish many times. And I have to say, the secret is in the sauce. I boil the chicken with veggies to make a homemade broth. Usually, I do this a day before. When I was cooking the dish for my friends, I prepared a large casserole and put a sheet of puff pastry on the top. Then I baked it in the oven following the instructions on the puff pastry package. I have also made it with a homemade cream cheese crust in individual serving dishes. If you use a crust, make sure you have plenty of sauce because the dish tends to dry out while baking. That happened to me.
Recipe for Chicken Fricassee
This recipe will make 8-10 portions.
For the chicken broth:
2 small whole chickens
2-3 celery stalks (with leaves)
1 onion (with peel)
1 leek (or clean dark leek leaves)
A handful of parsley
1-2 tsp of salt
1tsp garlic salt
1-2 tsp pepper
8 ounces carrots (6 small ones)
6-7 ounces mushrooms
2 lb. green asparagus
4 TBs capers
3 TBs butter
3 TBs flour
4 or more cups chicken broth
1 or more cups of milk
½ cup cream or half and half
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 tsp. capers
1-2 TBs fresh lemon juice
Cooking the Chicken
Place the chicken pieces or whole chicken in a large pot and add the vegetables. Cover everything with cold water. Bring it to a boil, and skim off the white foam from the top. Reduce the heat and simmer in the covered pot until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Cook the chicken breast less until the meat thermometer reads 165° degrees. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and cool. Discard the skin and bones. Cut or pull the meat into 1-inch pieces. Strain the chicken broth and put the cooled broth in the refrigerator.
Preparing the vegetables
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and blanch the carrots for about two minutes until they are al dente. Do the same with the asparagus. You have the choice of blanching the mushrooms or sautéing them in a mixture of butter and olive oil over a medium heat. I have done both and honestly I can’t tell the difference.
The sauce and assembling the fricassee
Melt butter in a large sauce pan, add the flour and whisk for two minutes. Make sure you don’t brown the roux. Gradually add in the chicken broth, one cup at a time. Before you add another cup, whisk the mixture until totally smooth for a creamy sauce. Add milk, Worcestershire sauce, capers, and let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add cream or half and half, salt, pepper, freshly ground nutmeg and lemon juice. Add the chicken and bring it all to a simmer, then add the carrots, mushrooms, and asparagus . Season and serve.
If you want to add a crust, put the fricassee in a buttered oven-proof dish, cover the top with the puff pastry, and follow the instructions on the package. Cut some slits in the pastry and bake the dish until golden brown.
I would like to share with you some blog posts from prior Easter celebration in Germany. There are so many traditions and good recipes. Click on the photo for the link.
Happy Easter 2022
from the Sunnycovechef
Many of you have followed my blog for years. It feels like a community to me, even though I don’t know each of you personally. There were times when your comments gave me great comfort, especially when I lost my mom and my girlfriend. Your sincere comments and condolence wishes meant a lot to me. Unfortunately, the comments are archived because of my new blog design. I am so sad about that. Maybe some day, I will find someone who can put them back where they belong. When I wrote the blogpost about my mom’s passing, I promised you the recipe for the wedding soup that I make. Well, here it is six years later, and I am finally getting around to doing it. In these times of war and loss we need comfort food.
There are many versions of wedding soups. Even in Germany, they vary in the different regions. What I am sharing with you is a recipe from Lower Saxony where I am from. I liked this soup ever since I was a child. Whenever I visit Germany I will look for restaurants that serve wedding soup.
My favorite in the soup is the egg custard cubes or Eierstich as we call them in Germany. The broth should be almost clear with a few vegetable pieces and egg custard. In my childhood, it was often the first course at a wedding or other celebration. Sometimes meatballs or bone narrow dumplings are added. The wedding soup was supposed to give the just-married couple strength for the upcoming wedding night!
The main ingredients in the soup is the broth. It takes some time and effort to make. I freeze half of the broth.
15 flour tortillas (taco size)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
12 ounces shredded Mexican blend cheese
7 TBS butter
9 TBS flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 (4-ounce) can diced chilis
½ cup salsa verde
½ cup crème fraîche
½ cup half and half
a pinch of chipotle peppers
salt and pepper to taste
6-7 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 cup slivered almonds
1 (6 ounces ) Kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella
¾ cup of the sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter over medium heat, stir in the flour and let it cook and thicken for one or two minutes (don’t let it brown or burn). Add the chicken broth (one cup at a time) and whisk it each time until it is smooth. You don’t want lumps in your sauce. Cook the sauce for 6-7 minutes until it thickens slightly. Add the can of chilis and salsa. Add the crème fraîche and the half and half and whip the mixture until smooth. Sometimes I add more crème fraîche to make the sauce thicker. The sauce can be made a day ahead, but heat it up before using it.
Mix the chicken, almonds, shredded mozzarella, and olives in a large bowl. Add the sauce and season it with salt, pepper and a pinch of dried chipotle peppers.
Preheat the oven to 350˙Fahrenheit
I had to use two dishes to bake the enchiladas:
1 10” x15” and one
1 8”x 11“ dish
Spray both dishes with a nonstick cooking spray. Add about ½ cup of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Place a large spoonful of filling on each tortilla. Roll it up and put them in a dish seam-side down. Once all the enchiladas are cuddling together, pour the sauce over them. The sauce should come up to about ⅓ of the pan. Sprinkle mozzarella and Mexican blend cheeses over the enchiladas. Cover the dishes with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling and the cheese should be slightly browned.
sour cream or crème fraîche
your favorite salsa
sliced avocados or guacamole
Recipe by ©Sunnycovechef.com
You will need an ice cream maker and food processor or mixer to make this recipe.
It makes about 8 servings. It is best when it comes out of the ice cream maker or is frozen for only a few hours.
⅔ cup fresh blackberries
⅔ cup fresh blueberries
⅔ cup fresh raspberries
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cream
1 cup half and half
½ cup milk (I used 2%)
Purée the berries, sugar, and lemon zest in a mixer or food processor. Let it stand or 10 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove all the seeds. Put the purée back into the mixer or food processor.Add the rest of the ingredients and purée until is mixed well.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacture’s directions. My old cranky ice cream maker needed 25 minutes.
Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm. Take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit for a few minutes to soften before serving.
Recipe from Allrecipes Magazine
click on the photo to link to the post
You will get about a pint of sorbet, enough for 6 smallish servings.
You will need an ice cream maker and a mixer
¾ cup red cherry jam
½ cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa
¼ cup of sugar
a pinch of salt
2 cups water
a pound of pitted cherries
¼ cup sugar
Put the jam, cocoa, pinch of salt, and sugar in a heavy saucepan and mix with a whisk. Gradually add two cups water, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to stir with a whisk. Put the mixture in a bowl, cool to room temperature, cover and chill overnight. This is important as the flavors need to develop.
The next day, pour the mixture in your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mine took 40 minutes, but I have a very old and cranky ice cream maker.
Spoon the sorbet into a container and freeze overnight.
For the cherry compote, sprinkle some sugar over the pitted cherries and let it stand for a few hours at room temperature.
When I made the sorbet the second time, I partially defrosted about a cup of pitted cherries, chopped them into small pieces and added them to the sorbet five minutes before it was finished in the ice cream maker.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
recipe for Jumbo shells stuffed with Swiss chard and Artichokes
This recipe makes about 8 servings
Use a 13 x 9-inch baking dish or two smaller ones
16-20 uncooked jumbo shells (about 7 ounces)
2 cups or more of marinara sauce
1 tsp Calabrian Chile sauce or Sriracha sauce
1 tsp fennel seeds
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
About 5-6 cups Swiss chard, kale, or spinach
1 (12-oz) marinated artichoke hearts
1 can (15.5 -oz) cannelloni beans
1 (5.2-oz.) Boursin cheese
4 oz. shredded provolone or Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large kettle of water to boil, season with 3 TBS of salt. Pasta water has to taste like ocean water. Add the shells to the boiling water and cook for about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. You don’t want the shells fully cooked because you will bake them once they are stuffed. Drain the shells and rinse them with cold water. Spread the shells on a paper towel to prevent them from sticking together. Then cool them.
Spray the baking dish with oil. Coarsely grind the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle. Mix the marinara sauce with the fennel and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the sauce in the baking dish. I added more sauce than the original recipe called for.
Filling and finishing the dish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop the garlic very fine. Wash the chard, removing the stems, and chop it coarsely. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Add the garlic and sauté it for 30 seconds. Add the chard and stir, adding ¼ cup of water. Cover and cook for a few minutes until the chard is tender. Add the coarsely chopped artichoke hearts and heat uncovered for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and cool the mixture.
Rinse and drain the beans, mix them with the Boursin cheese and 2 TBS of olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Stir the bean and vegetable mixture together until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Carefully spoon the bean and cheese mixture into the shells and arrange them in the baking dish with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the cheese over the shells and bake uncovered in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. The cheese needs to melt and sauce should be bubbling. Increase the heat to a high broil, and broil until cheese begins to brown.
Here is a link to the original recipe
Recipe by Ann Taylor Pittman in Food & Wine
Posted by ©Sunnycovechef.com
11 ½ lb USDA prime rib ( 4 ribs)
2-3 TBS kosher salt
2-3 TBS pepper
1-2 TBS garlic salt
I seasoned the meat with kosher salt, pepper, and garlic salt and put it in the fridge uncovered for 3 days. Do not skimp on the seasoning.
The third day I let the roast come to room temperature for 4 hours. I then put the roast on the bottom rack in a cold oven and turned the heat to 250 degrees. The internal temperature of the roast was 118 degrees after 3 hours in the oven. I turned the oven off and let the roast sit in the oven for 3 hours. When I took the roast out the oven the internal temperature read 130 degrees. My husband cut the bones off which we reheated a couple days later in a 500 degree oven. The meat was perfect.
I made gravy from the juices and some beef stock. I served the roast with mashed potatoes, red cabbage and horseradish sauce. My girlfriend Susanne made creamed pearled onions, and they were delicious and went nicely with the rest of the meal.
Why am I posting this now? I will need a reference for the next time I make this roast. It took some research on my part to come up with this recipe.
Recipe by © sunnycovechef.com
I am trying!
This recipe makes about 45 biscotti
5 oz (1¼ cups) ( 125g) dried apricots
3.5 oz (100g) semisweet chocolate
9 ¾ oz (2 cups) (280g) unbleached white flour)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
2 oz (4 TBS) (60) g soft butter
6 oz (¾ cup) 175 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 oz (¾ cup) (100g) slivered dry roasted almonds
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350˙Fahrenheit
Cut the apricots and chocolate into small pieces.
Stir the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until creamy. Add the eggs one after another. Add the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Don’t over mix. Add the apricots, almonds and chocolate and mix them into the dough.
Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and form 2 loaves (10 inches long and 3 inches wide) next to each other on the cookie sheet. Using floured hands will help with forming the loaves. Bake the loaves for twenty minutes, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325˙Fahrenheit.
Cut the loaves with a serrated knife into ⅔ inch slices. Put biscottis on two baking sheets and back each for about 20 minutes at 325˙ Fahrenheit. Make sure they don’t brown too much. Some of mine had baked just a little bit too long. Cool the biscotti and put them in a tin.
Translated from a German recipe (Lecker)
Click here for the recipe
Click here for the recipe.
Click here for the recipe.
Recipe for French Apple cake
A 9-inch Cake pan with a removable bottom.
3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large different kind of apples (4-5 cups)
2 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 TBS dark rum
½ tsp vanilla extract
8 TBS (115g) butter, melted, then cooled
1 TBS lemon juice
Apple Syrup (optional)
peels from the apples
¼ cup sugar
½ cinnamon stick
2 cups of water
Melt the butter in the microwave and let it cool. Preheat the oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit (180˚ Celsius) and put your rack in the middle of the oven. Spray or butter a 9-inch (20-23cm ) baking pan with a removable bottom. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Peel and core the apples. Save the apple peels. Dice the apples into bite-size pieces and sprinkle with lemon juice. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer until foamy. Then add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the rum and the vanilla and mix together. Stir in half the flour mixture, then half of the melted butter. Repeat with the rest of the flour and butter. Just stir enough to combine the ingredients. With a spatula, fold in the apple pieces, making sure they are well coated with the batter. Scrape the mixture into the baking pan. Smooth the top with your spatula. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes (up to an hour) until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 5 minutes, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan.
If you make the syrup with the apple peels, sprinkle it on top of the cake. Serve the cake with whipped cream. Ok, you can use ice cream if you prefer..
2 cups apple peels (packed in).
¼ cup sugar
2 cups water
While the cake is baking, cook the apple peels for about 10-20 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a bowl. Put the syrup back into the pot and boil to reduce the liquid until it becomes a thick syrup. Spoon onto the the top of the cake.
Cooking the apple peels in water and straining them also makes a great apple juice.
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan adapted by David Lebovitz
posted by ©Sunnycovechef.com
The Páte Sucrée
¼ pound (113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup ( 100g) sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
The Lemon Curd
grated zest of two lemons
juice of two lemons (about 6 TBS )
3 TBS water
½ cup (100 g ) sugar
¼ pound (1 stick ) (113 g) butter
¼ tsp salt
3 whole eggs
The Blueberry Topping
3 cups blueberries (500g)
¼ cup sugar
2 TBS water
The Pâte Sucrée:
With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy, about two to three minutes. Add the salt, vanilla and egg yolk and mix until combined. Add the flour and mix for a short time. Put the dough on a dry surface, and with the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you until you get a ball that holds together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk. Chill the dough for several hours or overnight. Take the dough out of he refrigerator and let it stand for a a few minutes to soften a little. Roll out a 13-inch disc of dough between two square pieces of floured parchment paper or two sheets of plastic wrap (which I prefer). Loosen the sheets while rolling it out, so it won’t stick to the paper. Flip the dough around while rolling it out and keep loosening the plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Roll out the 13-inch circle of dough that is 1/8 inch thick. Chill the dough with the wrap for a few minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and roll the dough around a pin to put it in the tart shell. Alice Waters gives instructions to only remove one sheet and flip the dough into the tart pan and then remove the second sheet. I think both methods will work. Use any dough scraps to patch any cracks. Chill the tart in the freezer for ten minutes before baking. Put the tart directly from the freezer into a preheated 350˙F oven and bake for about 15 minutes until slightly golden.
Slowly over a low heat, heat the lemon juice, water, sugar, and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks in a bowl and very slowly drizzle the lemon mixture into the egg mixture stirring constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat while stirring all the time, scraping the bottom of the pot until the curd thickens, about 5 minutes. Be careful with your heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle. Strain the curd through a fine sieve and pour it into the baked tart shell while still warm. Spread evenly.
Divide the blueberries into 1½ cups each and put half of the three cups into a saucepan. Add the water and sugar and cook over a medium heat for about five minutes, smashing the blueberries with a wooden until they turn into a thick jam. Fold the remaining cup and a half of blueberries into the jam, and heat for about a minute to warm them. Spoon the blueberry topping evenly over the lemon curd. Cool until the curd has set. My tart tasted the best the following day.
recipe by Alice Waters
posted by ©Sunnycovechef.com
(makes 10-12 pancakes)
1-1 ½ pound zucchinis (2 or 3 zucchinis depending on size)
a generous amount of salt
freshly ground pepper
a smidge of ground nutmeg
3 smallish eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup chopped chives or dill
2-4 TBS vegetable oil for frying, more if needed
The Yogurt Sauce
1 cup Greek yogurt
2-3 cloves garlic, grated
salt and lemon juice to taste
Trim the ends (but do not peel the zucchini) and grate them on the large holes in a grater. Put the grated zucchini in a colander over a bowl and generously sprinkle with salt. Let it drain for about 20-30 minutes and then squeeze out as much juice a possible with a kitchen towel.
In the meantime, mix the flour with the baking powder. Put the drained zucchini in a bowl and add more salt to taste. Stir in the eggs, dill, nutmeg, pepper, and mix well. Add the feta and flour mixture.
In a large skillet, heat the pan and the oil until it shimmers. Drop a heaping tablespoon of zucchini batter in frying pan several inches apart. Flatten them a little bit with a spatula and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes each side. If they brown too quickly, turn your heat down to medium. Put them on a plate lined with a paper towel and keep them warm in a preheated oven (250 degrees) while you fry the rest. Add additional oil if needed.
The Yogurt Sauce:
Combine all the ingredients and serve with the pancakes.
Recipe from NYT
This recipe makes approximately 4 cups (enough for 6 servings)
1 ½ Ib (680 g) mixed berries
2 cups (½ liter) cherry juice
3 TBS Creme Cassis
1 vanilla pod
4 TBS sugar
3 TBS cornstarch
Clean and wash all the fruit, take the pits out of the cherries. I have a cherry pitter that works well. Half the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrap out the beans. Add the sugar, vanilla beans and pod to the juice and bring to a boil. Mix the cornstarch in 3-4 tablespoons of cold water add to the boiling juice and cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly until the juice thickens and gets shiny. Add the fruit and Creme de Cassis and simmer for another 2 minutes. At this point you can add more sugar to sweetened the dish. I don’t add additional sugar but I have to have my homemade vanilla sauce with Rote Grütze.
Translated from a German recipe
by © Sunnycovechef.com
Here are some more asparagus recipes, click on the photo for the recipe
The dough makes four large ( the size of a cookie sheet) pizzas. I made one at a time and that was plenty for my husband and me.
The topping is enough for one Flammkuchen
3 3/4 cup (17oz ) (500g) all purpose flour
1 cup plus 6 TBS lukewarm water (250g)
4 TBS olive oil
1 TBS salt
extra flour for rolling out the dough.
½ lb. green asparagus
1 TBS olive oil
3/4 cup Crême Fraîche
a pinch of nutmeg
A handful of grated cheese
some slices of prosciutto torn apart
Smooth the Crème Fraîche with salt pepper and a little nutmeg.
Wash the asparagus and peel the lower ends. Cut off the woody ends and discard. Cut the asparagus on an angle into ½ inch slices leaving the tops intact. Slice the tops in half. Heat a frying pan, add the oil and then the asparagus, season with salt and pepper. Fry the asparagus for about two minutes until it turns dark green.
Grate the cheese.
Preheat the oven at 500 degree Fahrenheit for 30 minutes before baking the Flammkuchen with the cookie sheet at the the lowest shelf in the oven. If you are using a pizza stone preheat the oven and the stone one hour before. I used my convection-bake setting in my oven.
Add the water, olive oil and water and then the flour to a large bowl. I used my KitchenAid to mix the ingredients until they came together, then I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes by hand until is was shiny. While kneading I pulled the dough with one hand holding with the other hand. It takes some work and effort . Cover the dough in plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I found the dough better to work with after a couple of days.
Roll out the dough on a flat surface sprinkled with flour. Every time you turn the dough brush off the extra flour on the upside of the dough and add more flour to the surface. Rolling out the dough takes awhile because you want the dough as thin as possible, about a millimeter thick. Turn the dough often and take your time.
Cut parchment paper the size of your baking sheet, 12-16 inches. Put the parchment paper on a board from where you can transfer the Flammkuchen to the hot cookie sheet. Add the rolled out dough, spread the Créme Fraîche mixture evenly over the dough. Add the asparagus evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the cheese over the asparagus. Slide the Flammkuchen with the parchment paper onto the hot cookie sheet and bake in the lower half of the oven for 5-7 minutes. Turn the sheet around half way through. Its ok for the edges to burn, you want that crispy flamed taste . Make sure that the buttom has some brown spots. My last Flammkuchen turned out perfect.
Remove the Flammkuchen from the oven by sliding it onto a board, cut it into serving portions and enjoy it as soon as possible.
Watch the video even if you don't speak German. Click on the link below.
Recipe and video by ThomasKocht
translated by ©Sunnycovechef.com
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.
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