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Tuesday, January 7

Holidays 2013

Our holiday break was busy and fun. A week before Christmas day we welcomed guests from California, a family of 4. It was the husband’s cousin, her husband and their adorable two girls. They spent 10 days with us. We traveled with them and they visited Munich, Rothenburg Ob der Tauber and Wurzburg on their own. The girls were lots of fun to play with and the adults were lots of fun to drink with. Good company. I even learned how to make Sushi (one of our favorite foods) from her husband; that was a delicious Christmas Eve dinner. For Christmas I made stuffed turkey breasts with pepper and apple stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and roasted Brussels sprouts. The weather for the Californians? Cold and grey.

Happy New Year

Hope you all brought in the new year with celebrations or non-celebrations of choice. We had a small party of our own. Initially we’d planned to go out to eat and then celebrate at home but almost every open restaurant had a pre fixe menu with multi-course meal and bubbly at midnight. Although that sounded nice, we invited one couple and planned a Spanish themed dinner (with tapas), played games, danced and drank Champagne at midnight.
photo courtesy of friend C.G.
On the menu was Albondigas (from Enrique Becerra in Spain) where we were introduced to the mint in meatballs. In Indian and Pakistani foods, as well as in Middle Eastern cuisines, mint is widely used in ground meats however it was unique to have it in Spain. (We learned that mint (and other Arabic influences) came to Spain with the Moors.)

Long story short, when we had Albondigas with mint in Spain they were delicious so I recreated them for NYE. Additionally, marinated carrots with cumin and oregano, Puff Pastry Tarts filled with Fig and Red Onion Confit with Manchego, seasoned Marcona Almonds, and Spanish Olives and Cheeses. For in between courses, I created my version of Escalivada. It is Spanish salad of grilled vegetables in olive oil. I made mine with a base of mashed potatoes, roasted peppers, tomato sauce and topped with sobrassada, Spanish sausage. It was something unusual but well received. I’d say frying the potatoes in the sobrassada fat was worth it.
photo courtesy of friend C.G.
For main course I pre-made the almond/saffron sauce for Chicken in Almond Sauce over rice. No photos since we had all consumed too much alcohol by that point.

It sounds like a lot food but it wasn’t. And we weren’t stuffed. We were drunk though and danced a lot. All in good fun and in the name of NYE.

Moving into 2014, one of our first meals was Sauerkraut & Potato Latkes. (also known as Kartoffelpuffers = potato pancakes) We bought sauerkraut few days before the guests left. Quick thinking, I decided this would be the appropriate first breakfast in Germany.

Sauerkraut & Potato Latkes or Kartoffelpuffers
Makes 5

1 medium potato, boiled, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup sauerkraut
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons schmaltz (vegetable oil also works)

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, sauerkraut and eggs and mix well. Add the flour, salt and pepper to the mixture.

Heat schmaltz (or oil) in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the batter to the pan, pressing lightly to flatten. They should be approximately 2- 3 inches, flattened. Fry until the latkes are golden brown on both sides, 3 minutes per side, using remaining fat as needed.

Serve warm or at room temperature. (If the latkes are too greasy after frying, drain briefly on paper towels.)


  1. Those potato-sauerkraut latkes sound great! I have a big jar of sauerkraut that I made before the winter and I've been thinking of how to incorporate it into recipes more. And those fig puff pastry tarts sound divine!

    1. Thank you- the latkes are perfect for breakfast.