Jan 3 2011


On a recent trip to Denmark, I fell in love with a Danish meatball called Frikadeller. This recipe comes from a very nice Danish man (who would like to stay anonymous). It was his mother’s family recipe for Frikadeller. I made the addition of soaking a slice of bread in the milk. If you opt not to use the bread, you still need to use the milk.

Frikadeller – Danish Meatball

1 slice of bread, soaked in milk (optional)*
¾ cup of milk
½ lbs. ground beef
½ lbs. ground pork
½ cup of flour
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil

Place the milk in a large bowl and add the slice of bread. After the bread has absorbed the milk – add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Use your hands to combine.

Refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes.

In a sauté pan, add equal parts of olive oil and butter. Form small meatballs and add them to the sauté pan. Heat until meatballs reach a light brown color. Flip them over to cook on the other side.

Photo courtesy of Alex Vasilescu. Alex is part of Foodie-isms team as our in-house expert food photographer. Delight in his food photography and eat with your eyes.

Jun 23 2010

sarmale în foi de varză acră

Romanian Stuffed Sour Cabbage

In Romania, sarmales are a special treat for Christmas dinner. They are typically served with mămăligă (polenta). We make them in large batches because they taste even better the next day. They can also be frozen.


2 or 3 large heads of cabbage
1 lemon, juiced
4 onions, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup of rice
2 lbs of ground pork
2 lbs of ground beef
1 Tablespoon of (sweet) paprika
4 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of pepper
32 oz. of sauerkraut (save the juice)
1lbs. of bacon, sliced
½ cup of water
1 Tablespoon of Vegeta*


Remove the core of the cabbage with a paring knife.

Add to a pot of boiling salted water the juice from 1 lemon. Immerse the heads of cabbage in the boiling water for a few minutes, peeling off each leaf with tongs as soon as it becomes pliable. Set the leaves aside.

In a skillet add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onion, celery, garlic and raw rice for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl add the sautéed mixture, ground pork, ground beef, paprika, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together.

To assemble the sarmales, remove the hard triangular rib from the base of each cabbage leaf with a small paring knife. Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of filling in an oval shape near the rib edge of each leaf. As you are starting to roll up toward the outer edge, fold the right side edge of the leaf towards the center. Continue rolling until your reach the top. Now you need to tuck the left side of the cabbage leaf into itself. Continue with this rolling method until you finish the meat mixture.

Line the bottom of a large roasting pan with a thin layer of chopped cabbage and sauerkraut. Place 3 or 4 strips of bacon across sauerkraut. Cover with a layer of stuffed cabbage placed side by side. Followed by another layer of sauerkraut, strips of bacon, and stuffed cabbage. End with bacon strips and sauerkraut covering the top of sarmales. Add any extra whole cabbage leafs on top to help keep moisture in.

Mix Vegeta in ½ cup water and stir to dissolve. Add Vegeta mixture, sauerkraut juice and enough water to almost cover all the layers of sarmales.

Cover the baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 3 hours.

*Vegeta is a gourmet seasoning and soup mix imported from Croatia.

Total baking time: 3 hours
Makes: about 35-40 sarmales

Mar 6 2010


Picadillo is a typical Cuban dish.  My husband’s grandmother was from Cuba, and Picadillo is one of the few dishes my husband knows how to make.   Years ago I added a few things to enhance the flavor of this simple dish.

1lb. ground beef
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 chopped bell pepper
1 onion
12 sliced Spanish olives (no pits)
1/4 cup raisins
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 15oz. can of tomato sauce
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf

Sauté onion and bell pepper in olive oil.  After 5 minutes add chopped garlic and the ground beef.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over low heat for 20 min.

Serve over rice.

Feb 27 2010

boeuf bourguignon

Eat Your Wine

Want a great meal with wine included? Then be prepared to throw out your old beef stew recipes because you will never make them again after you try this one!

Many years ago a friend from France had a lovely dinner party and prepared Boeuf Bourguignon. I was fortunate enough to have her share her family recipe and techniques with me.  I have been entertaining guests with this recipe ever since.

Boeuf Bourguignon 
Approximate cooking time: 4 hours


5 lbs. of chuck beef, cut into large cubes
9 Tablespoons of butter
6 Tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of Cognac, warmed
1 /2 lbs. of bacon, diced
3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, coarsely chopped
3 cups of coarsely chopped onions
chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
A teaspoon of thyme
1 bottle of Burgundy wine (I used a 2006 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir)
36 whole small onions
36 mushroom caps
Juice of half a lemon

• Roll the beef cubes in flour and brown them on all sides in a skillet over high heat in four tablespoons each of the butter and olive oil.

• Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper and pour the cognac over it to ignite. When the flame dies, transfer the meat to a three‑quart casserole.

• Preheat oven to moderate (350 F)

• To the skillet add the bacon, garlic, carrots, leeks, chopped onions and two tablespoons of chopped parsley. Cook, stirring, until the bacon is crisp and the vegetables are lightly browned, Transfer to the casserole with the meat and add the bay leaf, thyme, Burgundy and enough water to barely cover the meat.

• Cover and bake 1 1/2 hours.

Prepare a beurre manié by blending one tablespoon each of butter and flour and stir into the casserole bit by bit. Return the casserole to the oven and continue cooking 2 to 3 hours longer.

Brown the small onions in 2 tablespoons of butter with a dash of sugar. Add a little water, cover and cook until the onions are almost tender.

Sauté the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons each of butter and oil until lightly browned on one side. Sprinkle with lemon juice and turn to brown the other side.

To serve, add the onions to the casserole and garnish with the mushrooms and parsley. Serves 12.

*Beurre manié (French for “kneaded butter”) is a dough consisting of equal parts of soft butter and flour, used to thicken soups and sauces. By kneading the flour and butter together, the flour particles are coated in butter. When the beurre manié is whisked into a hot or warm liquid, the butter melts, releasing the flour particles without creating lumps.