Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fleischküchle & Terrifying German Children's Books


It's pretty much German Meat Loaf ... but awesome. 

1 pound ground meat, lean (turkey or ground round or ground sirloin)
2 eggs
¼ cup milk or stock (used to temper beaten eggs: can use soy, dairy, soup stock)
½ cup chili sauce (NOT CHILI!!)*, or tomato paste, or ketchup (all good choices)
1 cup panko crumbs
Chopped veggies:
2 small stalks chopped celery (I microwave the chopped celery to soften them a bit)
½ medium onion chopped (I like them either sautéed or raw: both work)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons minced garlic or garlic paste
Dry Seasoning:
Salt (at least 1 teaspoon)
Pepper (at least ½ teaspoon)
Crushed Italian seasoning (basil, rosemary blend)
1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon canola oil to blend for heavy frying pan
Stock or water – enough liquid to cook patties at least 2 cups
Stock or water – enough liquid to make gravy, 1 to 2 cups

In a large mixing bowl, beat two eggs and milk. Add tomato ingredient (tomato paste, chili sauce, or ketchup). Add chopped vegies. Beat together. Add dry seasoning.  Add panko crumbs and blend. Let the panko soak up the liquids. Add ground meat and blend.  Stand a few minutes or chill to firm.  Form meat into balls, about hand ball size, and flatten to 1 inch thick patties.

Heat blended oils in fry pan over med-high heat.  Lay patties in pan.  Let those brown, covered 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Add stock and let it reduce to dripping, and add more if needed, to cook patty all the way through: 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove patties from pan.  In a small bowl, mix cornstarch or flour in ¼ cup cold liquid to make gravy base. Add gravy base to drippings in pan and thoroughly blend.  Add 1 cup liquid to drippings, blend again. Heat dripping/stock mixture to boil for 1 minute.  Simmer and stir until reduced to desired thickness.  Add patties to gravy and serve hot.

*Chili sauce does not taste like chili – it is a lot different!


Bite Sized and Seasoned Garlic Red Potatoes

1 ½ pounds Bite-sized or cut-up red potatoes (Ping-Pong ball sized or smaller)
2 Teaspoons freshly crushed black pepper
1 Tablespoon crushed dried Italian spices (Rosemary, basil, etc.)
½ package Good Seasons Zesty Italian seasoning packet
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons minced garlic or garlic puree
½ cup Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse potatoes. Microwave wet potatoes for 9 minutes on High setting. Toss pepper, dry spices, Good Seasons powder and 2 tablespoons crushed garlic in a large bowl.  Stir in olive oil and lemon juice. Add potatoes and toss until coated in oil, garlic and seasonings.  Spread potatoes in casserole dish and bake 15 minutes. Turn potatoes over in dish and toss them in 2 more tablespoons of crushed garlic. Sprinkle garlic-coated potatoes with Panko crumbs.  Set oven to broil. Broil the potatoes (about 2-3 minutes) until the crumbs just start to brown.  For crispier potato skins, bake at 475 degrees instead.

So, we have meat loaf and potatoes ... German style!

Everything Dwight Schrute said on the office is true ...

Well, about his German culture.

Whenever I would see an episode of the office where Dwight did something German, I had a huge laugh and thought, someone on that show has a German Oma like me. From singing Schlaf Kindlein Schlaf, to Pelznickel, to his horrifying children's books, Dwight was spot on.  I wanted to take a minute today to reflect on Struwwelpeter and his terrifying tales that are a right of passage for kindern across the world ... with German Omas.

Look familiar? Like a nightmare from the past? Struwwelpeter is a collection of cautionary tales meant to terrify educate children about manners, hygiene and general safety.  Some of the highlights include the girl who plays with matches and incinerates herself, the boy who won't stop sucking his thumbs so they are cut off and the boy who won't eat his food so he withers away until he starves to death. 


What? You read the Three Little Pigs for subtle inferences about hardwork, forethought and politeness? Germans don't do subtle. 

Now, you may be saying, that is just an old school/out of date representation of the time.  But, not only are these stories old as the hills Alps, they are still being printed now.  Exactly. As. They. Were.  I have seen new copies in German stores that look just like my Oma's retro books.  When my German friend was staying with me in college, I took her to my Oma's house and showed her the books. She explained that everyone has a copy of Struwwelpeter and that the illustrations, however disturbing, never change.  

As much as I gripe about the little boy who appears — based solely on the cover — to have undergone electro shock therapy,  I have a weird endearment to him.  When we were clearing out my Oma's house this year, we all fought over Struwwelpeter. That's right, everyone wanted that little freak.  Because, for some reason, kids begrudgingly love him.   

And, I guess, not all the stories are that bad. I mean one kid just flips over the table at dinner and his parents are mad at him. 

Actually ... he may have died too? 

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