For me Claudia’s Chocolate Mousse is the mousse by which all others are judged. It is however, not a health food. Jan has started to make it on anyone’s birthday. Jan spent years perfecting the techniques of making the mousse, but she got bored with making just “chocolate” mousse. She now make a different variation every time she make it.
Tag Archives: Claudia Lueck
I had been planning to make cheese fondue for a Sunday dinner when Daughter Miriam begged off at the last minute. While I had not yet grated the cheese, I was left with a whole loaf of French bread cut into little cubes. I needed to think of something to do with these, if I was not going to dip them into melted cheese sauce. I could make salad croutons, a cheese strada, or bread pudding. Wife Jan is very fond of bread pudding.
Note: While none of us children copied down her recipe, this close to what my mother Claudia would have made as I was growing up.
Karl’s Bread Pudding
1 cup half and half cream
2 Tbs. butter, melted
2 Tbs. Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. nutmeg, fresh grated
½ tsp. kosher salt
Pinch cloves, ground
1 loaf French bread, cubed
½ cup currents
1. Put the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly.
2. Whisk in the cream and melted butter into the eggs.
Tip: The butter will most likely congeal into little lumps, but do not be concerned with this.
3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, and cloves.
4. Whisk to mix the ingredients.
5. Add the bread cubes and currents.
6. Fold the bread and fruit into the wet ingredients.
Note: This mixture will be really wet. This is as it should be.
7. Pour the pudding mix into a Pam-ed, or buttered, casserole dish that is large enough to take all of the pudding.
Tip: You want at least a quarter of an inch between the top of the pudding and the lip of the casserole. Otherwise, it might spill over onto your oven as it bakes. I always bake with a large baking tray on the lower rack to catch any drips. It is easier to clean a baking tray than a whole oven.
8. Let the pudding stand for ten to 15 minutes.
Tip: This rest allows the bread and almond meal to absorb some of the excess liquid.
Note: My mother would usually prepare the dish to this point the night before and let it soak, covered, overnight.
9. Cover the casserole with the lid—if it has one—or with aluminum foil.
10. Preheat the oven to 350° F
11. Put the bread pudding in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Tip: Until the center no longer jiggles loosely, but it is still not completely set.
12. Remove the foil and switch the oven to broil—still at 350° F.
13. Broil for another 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
14. Let the pudding cool for ten minutes and scoop out to serve warm or chill completely and serve as slices.
Note: I mentioned these treats in an earlier post and I felt I could not mention them without giving the recipe.
While I am sure that my mother was not the inventor of this dish—wife Jan insisted that her mother’s name be added to the title—it was a common holiday treat in our house growing up. Sweet Medjool dates stuffed with crunchy peanut butter and dusted with powdered sugar says “Christmas” in my house. These are easy to make, but they do not last long—even when there are no children around.
Wife Jan suggested that I haven’t made meatloaf recently, so I thought I would throw one together. I first learned to make meatloaf from my mother Claudia, but I have moved far awat from that beginning. Jan has been pushing me to add more vegetables to my dishes, so I planned to make this one more “loaf” and less “meat.”
My mother would add rolled oats to her loaf as a “meat stretcher. With five hungry kids and a tight budget, she was always looking for ways to make much of little. However, there are more reasons than economy to add starch to a meatloaf. One secret to a really tender meatloaf is to use a panade—this is a starch mixed with a liquid used to bind the meat together.
In the past, I had always thought that all you had to do was to add the dry bread crumbs and the milk to the meat and the binding would take care of itself. However, soaking the bread and milk together—before adding them—turns out to be an important step. The milk unlocks the starch molecules, so that they can recombine during cooking to bind the ground meat together.
Today, I decided to take this idea one step further. In the past, I have added a whole egg—as a second binder—just before mixing the meat. I thought that adding the egg to the panade would also break up the proteins in the egg—allowing them to combine more evenly during baking. As a finally though along these lines, I wondered if marinating the meat for a while might increase the flavor of end result. So into the panade went some Worcestershire sauce and spices followed by a brief resting period.
Karl’s Weekday Meatloaf
¼ cup bread crumbs
⅓ cup milk
1 large egg
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. marjoram
¼ tsp. black pepper, cracked
2 Tbs. butter
1 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup leek, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. thyme
½ tsp. marjoram
½ tsp. black pepper, cracked
¼ cup dry sherry
¾ lb. ground beef (15%)
1. Put the bread crumbs in a small bowl and stir in the milk.
Tip: Grate the dried ends of sour dough and sweet French baguette loaves into fine crumbs.
Note: Whenever I buy a loaf of bread the last few inches seem to end up on the shelf to dry out. When I have collected 3-4 of them, I grate them on a box grater and put the crumbs in a plastic bag in the freezer until I need them for a recipe.
2. Add the egg, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings and whisk them together well.
3. Set the bowl of bread mixture aside for 10 minutes, so that the crumbs can completely soak up the milk.
Tip: The milk and egg the mixture should be a soft paste.
Note: You want to break the egg up fairly finely, so mix the ingredients together well.
4. Melt the butter in a medium pan, over medium high heat, and sauté the onions and celery with the salt until they are just starting to pick up some color, about five minutes.
Note: My mother just threw the raw vegetables into the meat and trusted the baking to cook them through. By sautéing the vegetables first you both drive off some of the excess liquid in the vegetables and also add some of the good flavors of the Maillard reaction to your meat loaf.
5. Add the leeks and continue sautéing until the vegetables are soft, another 4-5 minutes.
6. Pull the vegetables to the sides of the pan and sauté the garlic in the hole in the center for one minute, until fragrant.
7. Add the tomato paste to the garlic and continue cooking and scrapping until the tomato paste has started to darkened, about three minutes.
8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the herbs, pepper, and sherry.
Tip: the sherry does three things, it add its own flavor, it rehydrates the dried herbs, and finally it helps cool the mixture, so that it does not cook the egg when you add it to the meat.
9. Put the beef in a large bowl and break it apart with a knife.
Tip: Meat is mostly protein and if you mix it too much the strands of protein will link together to make a tough, dense meatloaf. By breaking apart the beef you are letting the other ingredients in between the pieces of meat without working the strands together.
10. Scatter the panade and vegetable mixture over the meat.
11. Mix the ingredients together well.
Note: You are doing a balancing act when you mix your meat and vegetables. While the starches and vegetables keep the meat proteins from linking up they are also making bonds of their own. You want to mix enough to have enough bonds to hold your loaf together without compacting it into a solid sausage.
12. Pam a lipped baking sheet and a large bread loaf pan well.
Tip: My mother always baked her meatloaves directly in the bread pan. As a result only the top of the mat was exposed to the dry oven heat to brown. My family prefers that I turn the loaf out onto a baking sheet, so that five of the six sides get brown and crusty. (See Maillard reaction)
Note: Lining the baking sheet with aluminum foil is a connivance for clean up, but is an ecologically unsound practice.
13. Pack the meat mixture into the loaf pan.
Note: If you are not in a hurry, cover the meat with a sheet of plastic wrap and set the loaf in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to marinate.
14. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the meatloaf out onto the baking sheet.
15. Put the meatloaf in a 375º F oven and bake 40-65 minutes.
Note: How long you need to cook the meatloaf depends on its thickness, bake until the internal temperature reaches 160 º F.
16. Remove the loaf from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil to rest.
17. Slice the meatloaf into ¾ inch slices and serve with parsley potatoes.
The first time I made strawberry jam, wife Jan complained that it was too sweet. I cut the sugar way back and found I had to add some commercial pectin to get my jam to set. I had also tried adding some ginger and I found that it was not enough to rise above the strawberry flavor. Boosting the amount of fresh ginger did the trick.
Before I left home for the first time, I sat down with my mother’s recipe box and wrote down my favorite dishes. The recipe below is all that was written on both sides of my mother’s 3 x 5 card. When my siblings got together to combine all of the recipes we saved, one of my sisters had a different variation our mother uses of this iconic 1950’s American staple.
Note: I have not made this dish this way in years, so I do not have any pictures of it. Continue reading
We have had company for the last several days, so I wanted a Sunday dinner that was not hours of preparation. An American standard meal of meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans seemed like a good idea. Of course, I could not make it that simple I had to get spontaneously creative.
Before I left home for the first time, I sat down with my mother’s recipe box and wrote down my favorite dishes. About twice a month, my mother would make tacos—in those days, that meant beef tacos. While I have very fond memories of these grease bombs, they were neither very healthy nor really Mexican cuisine. Continue reading