Posts tagged European

Schweinebauch

Recently we welcomed a new member to our group behind the counter; sometimes trying the products for the blog can serve as a valuable training opportunity.
WP_000326Looking into our deli case with all the new additions from Stiglemeier with our new guy Jason,  the first item to catch our eye is the Schweinebauch, bacon stuffed with beef & pork.  The outer skin of the bacon is chewy while the inside is a bit greasy with a wonderfully mild taste of pork & beef with hint of the onion used in the seasoning. The texture on the inside reminds me of a course bologna.

After a small sample of the Schweinebauch itself I wanted to see how it would be used on a sandwich. Not wanting to make a plain sandwich, Sydney stepped up and went about making a simple and tasty meal for us to try.

Sautéing some peppers & onions, she rolled the veggies into the slice with a light drizzle of Dijon mustard, then grilling the roll for a few minutes before placing it between two slices of our Bierbrot.

The combination was absolutely astounding, I knew it would be a great mix but we were all surprised just how good it was. The schweinebach picked up all the flavors of the onion & red peppers, with the Dijons flavor came across as a more sweet than spicy. The bierbrot rounded it all out with its unique taste.

For added spice we added a side of the Dijon for dipping but it wasn’t really needed. What we did enjoy was the Sweet Red Cabbage that is a familiar side from Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café; it has a sweet and tangy profile from the Granny Smith Apples used in the recipe.WP_000329

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Blogging and Business Lunch

What a beautiful Florida afternoon to enjoy lunch outside!  Most of the time when I’m writing about food in the market I’m sitting at my desk , a pen in one hand a fork in the other & a camera by my side. The food & drinks have always been good but often what really makes a meal truly great is the company that you’re sharing it with. Around the corner at the Willow Tree we call it Gemuetlichkeit, which is a sense of well-being and happiness that comes from enjoying the company of friends and family while savoring good food and drink.

I often ask my coworkers to sample our ‘exotic’ German delights and I’m usually rebuffed (I just don’t understand their aversion to a ball of fried herring marinated in vinegar?!?) Yesterday while I was out in store looking over some of our new items one of our beloved regulars came in and we picked up a jar of red pepper strips & started talking with Chef Josh about what items on the shelf would be great to add onto our deli sandwiches.

We all started kicking around ideas and Chef Josh took over and said that he’d have something special just for us made with items from our store. Theo thought it was a fantastic idea, so today I’ve been watching the clock in anticipation for what was going to be presented.  Working in the food service industry it’s not often that I get to eat lunch at ‘lunch time’, so I think I’ve got a good reason to be excited about taking a short break to enjoy the weather, a good meal with  great people.

Tom arrived just after Noon, I picked up a nice cold bottle of Ginger Beer and we went outside to sit in the shade of our sidewalk tables. I don’t think the afternoon could have been any nicer to enjoy the weather and a good lunch.  It was hot out today but sitting in the shade of our table’s umbrella with a cold drink…it was just down right pleasant. The Ginger Beer was not over sweet, and a smooth flavor that fell between Root Beer & Ginger Ale.

I had a few minutes to just chat with Tom about what he liked most about the deli. He described how limited the options were in the area for a quick lunch that wasn’t a sit down establishment. We both talked about the positive & negative aspects of how we slice our sandwich meats to order. While it takes a few extra minutes the freshness and quality is worth it.  He particularly enjoys the products we make in house, during the week he rotates between our Herb Roasted Turkey, Garlic Pork Loin & Chicken Salad. However his favorite fallback is Pastrami on either our homemade German Farmers Bread or Pumpernickel with Swiss cheese, onions & pickles.

Theo came out to join us and we all sat back and talked about good food and what Chef Josh was preparing, then as if right on cue Chef Josh came out with plates in hand.

We had a Smoked Pork Loin, with sautéed mushrooms, red peppers & onions, melted Mediterranean Gouda on our fresh brotchen with a red pepper & garlic aoli, and a side of tomato cucumber salad.

The sandwich was hearty, filling and almost caused me a sensory overload. The smoked pork loin was tender and juicy. Chef Josh has proven many times that he is a pro when in it comes to smoking meats. The red peppers, onions & mushrooms were sautéed long enough to let the flavors out and get the consistency just right. The red pepper and garlic aoli….oh just where can I start to express the raptures of a great aoli. Chef Josh set aside some of the red pepper strips from the jar just for this, he admits that it’s not a proper aoli because he cheated today using a tube of our Thomy Mayo. I know the leftovers were polished off by the staff afterwards. I know there wasn’t any evidence of it left on my plate I saved a few bites of me bread to clean it up.  Tom likes our new brotchen because it the fresh ones we make now have a better crust.

A perfect companion for the meal was the tomato cucumber salad. Tom expressed it exactly, how on a hot day like today the cold salad was absolutely refreshing and next to the somewhat heavy sandwich. Josh used our Haus dressing which has this wonderfully strong dill flavor.

I was completely contented and a bit sad when it was gone, even Theo sounded a little down when he said “guess it’s time to get back to work” so back to the office I came with some good pictures a page full of quick observational scribbles.

For all our foodie friends Chef Josh gave wrote down the recipe for your enjoyment.

Pork Loin
Garlic
Spanish onion
Cucumber
BENDE Red Pepper Strips
Mushrooms
Tomato
Salt & Pepper
THOMY Mayo
Pumpernickel Bread
Mediterranean Gouda
WTC Haus Dressing

1. For garlic pork loin marinate in 1/2 cup olive oil and 6 roughly chopped cloves of garlic for at least 1 hour
2. For pickled red peppers onions and mushrooms take 1 jar of Bende Red Pepper strips and reserve 1/4 jar for aoli
While marinating pork make pickled veg take 1/2 of Spanish onion and julienne into 1/8″ strips
Slice mushrooms into 1/8″ slices in a mixing bowl combine Red Peppers and juice with onions and mushrooms, mix and let rest 30 mins
3. For tomato cucumber salad cut tomatos into hlf inch cubes. Place in mixing bowl.
Cut cucumber into 1/4 inch strips length wise, and then juliene 1/2 onions in 1/4 in strips place in bowl
mix in 8oz of haus dressing and chill for 20 min
4. Salt and pepper smoke on smoker at 225 for 10min let rest for 5min, slice in 1/2″ slices
5. For aoli combine 6 garlic cloves & the 1/4th jar of reserved red peppers, 1 Thomy Mayo tube in a food processor or blender until finely pureed and mixed through, salt and pepper to taste
6. Strain and sauté veg; Sauté to heat, not to cook.
7. Assembly of sandwich
Assemble on small sheet pan.
Take pumpernickel bun cut in half and toast on 1 side. Spread aoli on both sides of bread. Place 1/2 of 1 whole sliced tenderloin on the bottom half of bread
Place hot sautéed pickled veg on top of pork, place 1 slice of Mediterranean Gouda on top. Broil for 1 min to melt cheese
Place top bread on and cut in half on diagonal and serve with chilled tomato cucumber salad

We had enough to serve 5

1 hour prep

40 mins cooking

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Bratrollchen

Today’s subject is all in thanks to Chef Josh. Normally I like to take a look around and pick something that looks somewhat familiar or that had been recommended to me by a guest or co-worker. Not today!

Josh picked a jar of Bratrollchen out of the cooler and told me to write about it. Knowing that I have a new found love for our selection of canned fried fish.  I don’t know what my reluctance is to the jarred variety is but even after a year I still haven’t mustered up the courage to sample the Rollmops or Bismarckherring.

Carrying the jar back to the office I grabbed a small dish & fork I sat down at my desk and began my brief journey. Looking over the label I saw much of the same things that are used in the cans like: Vinegar, breadcrumbs, oil, etc. This jar also was kind enough to have an English translation Bratrollchen is Fried Herring, rolled.

Fried Rolled Herring balls

Oftentimes when I’m sampling something to blog about I tend to immerse myself into the item for a few minutes so that I don’t miss anything, today that didn’t really work out so well. I think I was distracted with the strong smell of vinegar that hit me as soon as I opened the jar; my concentration was completely broken right after Theo walked by and commented on the shape and color of the fried fish balls that I was forking out into my little dish. I won’t repeat what his observation was….but I will say that I agreed.

I cut the first one in half to look at what it was I was about to try. I wasn’t expecting to see what I did. The fish appears to be finely shredded first then shaped into balls, breaded, fried & then submerged in the jar of oil & vinegar, with carrots, celery, onions & mustard seeds.

The taste was exactly the same as its canned friends although obviously lacking the subtle metallic taste. What was really nice was that not once did I get a fish bone!

Sydney & Aaron were the only other brave souls working that took up my offer to try some. Aaron felt that the vinegar taste was a bit strong but he really liked the texture. Sydney was also very happy at the absence of bones, saying that the texture was way more pleasant than the whole fried fillets we had tried last time. Sydney commented further that she thought it would probably taste even better served hot.

After all the Bratrollchen were all finished off I fished out the pickled veggies that had fallen to the bottom of the jar. Thinly slivered onions, carrots, celery & mustard seeds…they were all quite tasty.

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Head Cheese on the Brain

Since I began this blog 3 months ago I’ve been joking, dancing around and downright avoiding the topic of Head Cheese. When I take my daily strolls out into the market I always see them in the case, I stop and consider them for a few minutes before breaking eye contact and moving on down the way.

 I’ve spoken with several guests, and of course the wise and knowledgeable staff I’m blessed to work with, but the explanations are sometimes either by the book or incredibly vivid descriptions of the process & parts involved.  I also looked around online to see what head cheese is all about and that was perhaps a really bad idea.  It’s probably just me but the words Coagulate & Congeal really make my stomach turn.

 Well after several weeks of letting all the information soak in I am much more comfortable with the idea.  I’ll say this; there are all kinds of variations throughout the world that enjoy this kind of cold cut. Because head cheese isn’t actually a cheese but different cuts and pieces that are set in a meat jelly.  Some kinds are more jelly than others, and some are made using the stomach as natural casing.

I figured today I would go for broke and try all 3 kinds of head cheese that we carry. Maybe I’m being gutsy or maybe I’m just trying to get it all over with at one time, perhaps it’s a bit of both. Feeling as open minded as I was going to get I went up front and asked Chef Josh to cut me a small sample of each kind. We spoke for a few minutes while he pulled them out of the case one by one and sliced them out for me. I learned that Blutwurst (Blood & Tongue) is actually a variation of head cheese, making sure I cover all my bases he sliced of a piece for me. Heaven forbid I miss out on the Blood & Tongue!

Looking at my odd little plate I couldn’t help notice the smell of vinegar that emanated from gelatinous slices before me. Taking a deep breath (well not to deep…vinegar) I started at the top left and worked my way around.

The first was a Sulze by Schaller & Weber, it’s appearance is pretty straight forward, you can see the chunks of ham clearly embedded in the clear aspic (jelly). The ham was good, nothing out of the ordinary. The jelly however had a light salty taste and a hint of onion. It melted in my mouth and that was an unpleasant surprise for me.

The second was also in the Sulze class of head cheese from our friends at Bavaria sausage. Their version uses a lot of jelly in which you can see big chunks of ham, carrots, celery & pickles immobilized inside. This was the hardest to eat because of the rubber like texture the jelly had (however since it didn’t melt in my mouth like the first one I’d consider it a plus). I also knew from the first bite that this is where the strong vinegar smell was coming from. That taste was at the forefront; however after a moment I was able to taste all the vegetables. It was almost like having a cup of vegetable soup in a sliced form, a very strange experience.

Third in line was a big slice of the Presskopf. This was the first head cheese I saw put out when we opened the market. It contains the tongue and cheek of the pig. This particular kind was made with the stomach as the outer casing.  Visually this one is a marvel, because the shape of the pig tongue is discernable in the slices. I had to stop for a few minutes before going on with my sampling. It helped looking at the ceiling and NOT thinking about what I was eating. It didn’t help that Linda walked in and made a gagging sound when she saw what I was eating. Way to kill the moment. The taste wasn’t nearly as bad as the first two, and the texture was a major improvement. It was a bit grainy but I would choose this one above the other two if asked for a recommendation.

Last to go was the Blood & Tongue. I had to cringe when I first thought about it but I’d already come this far, after a few bites I realized that the grainy texture must be the tongue since it was almost identical to the Presskopf. Instead of using jelly to bind the meat chunks it uses…blood.

 I recognized the taste as being vaguely familiar, and had to really think when I would have had anything remotely close to this. Then it came to me, last year for our wedding anniversary my husband and I went to an Irish restaurant and I tried Blood Pudding. This was prepared differently but the taste was very much the same. I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it today. Granted I’m not about to buy a pound of it to take home but it certainly is something I would be able to heartily recommend. It has a very strong black pepper flavor that is not overwhelming but rather a nice balance with the pork.

Overall it was a good experience trying out the different kinds, although the taste is really sticking with me as I write this all out. I think I may start keeping a bottle of scope in my desk….

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