Friday, April 18, 2014

Make your own Easter Peeps

Its not hard to make your own marshmellow peeps using a toothpick and some chocolate sauce or melted chocolate.  Use white chocolate and food coloring to be a bit more creative than I was, haha!  Great activity for your kids on Easter weekend as well.

Let me know what you do and show me some of your photos.  Come on now, be creative and have some fun!

Happy Easter y'all!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Berliner Kindl German Restaurant– Authentic German food to fill my cravings!

Why is it always difficult to find a good, yet authentic, German restaurant? I’ve thought about that and as a person with a German heritage I’ve asked myself that many times and I’ve arrived at a conclusion.  Or better yet, conclusions, because I believe there are several reasons.  But before I give you those, you may be asking:  Why should I care!?  Haha, well that’s a good question too.

I care because I am German and have some fav foods from that cuisine.  You should care because unless you have actually tried good authentic German food then you’ve never truly had German food.  It doesn’t mean you will like all German food – I sure don’t.  But there are some phenomenal foods from this cuisine that you have to try.

Now for my conclusions …   
First it’s because in the U. S. of A. we love to take a cuisine and Americanize the crap out of it.  Yes, this has made many a food much, much better.  But this very American practice has made it difficult to find the authentic version or in many cases to even know what the authentic version really looks or tastes like.

Second is the fact that in order to fit into that American dream of making a profit and living the dream, often times cheap imitations are created that are in no way equal or even close to the authentic version.  Cheap can work but all too often you get what you pay for and it tastes nasty or at least not like the original.

Third is that because of the former two we have heard all we think we need to hear about that cuisine and have no time or resources to waste on it.  Or we have tried one of the former two and don’t wish to repeat that performance any time soon.

Lastly is that we think sauerkraut is all that German food consists of and we just plain don’t like it.

I understand each and every issue but I’m here to tell you that there is more to German cuisine than sauerkraut and sausage – much, much more.

Take Weiner Schnitzel for example, one of my all-time favorite foods.  Sure, we’ve heard of it but we can’t get past the name because it brings to mind either a hotdog or a hotdog dog.  There are actually many types of schnitzel and they are a gift to mankind.  Really, they are.

I tell you all of that to tell you that we do have a good German choice near-by in Black Mountain at the Berliner Kindl German Restaurant.  Berliner just refers to someone from Berlin and Berliner Kindl (meaning Berlin child) in the Bavarian vernacular of German is the name of the symbol on the coat of arms of the city of Berlin.

The menu offers a variety of German foods from bratwurst to schnitzel to leberkase.  Yes, sauerkraut is available if you’re a fan.  I took my wife who said she didn’t like German food but would find something to eat.  For the record, she realizes now that she didn’t know what German food really was and does like it.  Of course I had to choose one of the schnitzels but choosing was difficult since it all sounded so delicious.

Schnitzel is merely a thin boneless meat that has been pounded out, encrusted with flour and fried.  It can be made from veal, lamb, chicken, beef, pork and etc.  Usually it is made from pork in Germany but if it has an additional name then you need to understand what it means in order to know what you’re ordering.

Here’s a key for you to understand the different types of schnitzel.

·         Cordon-Bleu – this schnitzel came from Switzerland and is stuffed with ham and cheese.
·         Hächen Schnitzel – breaded, boneless, skinless breast of chicken.
·         Jägerschnitzel – or hunter’s schnitzel is a schnitzel with a mushroom sauce.
·         Käse Schnitzel – schnitzel covered in melted cheese.
·         Lemon Schnitzel – natural schnitzel pan sautéed in a lemon sauce.
·         Naturschnitzel – natural schnitzel is schnitzel with salt and pepper with no or very little sauce made from sour cream added to pan drippings.
·         Paprika Schnitzel – schnitzel topped with a tomato based sauce seasoned with paprika and red peppers.
·         Parisian Schnitzel – a classic French style schnitzel made without breadcrumbs, it is a veal cutlet pounded thin, dipped in flour, then egg and fried.
·         Puten Schnitzel – breaded slice of turkey breast.
·         Rahm Schnitzel – schnitzel with a peppered cream sauce and often will have mushrooms as well.
·         Schnitzel Holstein – schnitzel topped with a fried egg, onions and capers.
·         Schwiene Schnitzel – breaded pork cutlet.
·         Vegetarisches Schnitzel – vegetarian schnitzel is a meatless patty made from soy, tofu or seitan and is obviously a more recent version.
·         Wiener Schnitzel – Viennese schnitzel is a thin veal cutlet that has been pounded out, dusted with flour, batter with beaten eggs and coated with bread crumbs before being fried.
·         Zigeunerschnitzel – gypsy schnitzel is a schnitzel with bell peppers, mushrooms and onion slices in a sauce of tomato paste, red wine and chicken broth. 

My wife order the Schnitzel dinner ($14.95), pork schnitzel served with home fries and German potato salad (my wife loves potatoes!).  She went out on a limb to order, not knowing what it would taste like, but she trusted me and it paid off for her.  She loved it!

I order the Wiener Schnitzel ($17.95) a lightly breaded and fried thin veal cutlet with no sauce but fresh lemon to squeeze over it.  The meal also included home fries and red cabbage.  Just wonderful.  There is nothing quite like good weiner schnitzel and Berliner Kindl made it beautifully.  This is a food that I grew up eating and that I crave at times.  It is so good to know that I don’t have to travel far to get it again.

Anther craving of mine is a schnitzel sandwich with pork schnitzel on a bun.  I love this with pickles and a little ketchup.  It may not sound good but boy I’d kill to have one right now!  I can now drive to Black Mountain and have my schnitzel sandwich for lunch – oh, life has gotten to be so good!

If you crave authentic German food like I do or haven’t found any recently or have never tried the good stuff … make the drive and stop by Berliner Kindl.  You will be so happy that you did.

Contact Information
Berliner Kindl German Restaurant
(828) 669-5255
121 Broadway
Black Mountain, North Carolina 28711

Berliner Kindl German Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Asheville Foodie Update

It's been two months since my last post and I've missed out of some very cool important Foodie events.  I've also missed assisting requests from local Foodies to promote what they were doing coming into the Spring.

My apologies to each one that I didn't respond to and to those that may use this site to get your Foodie updates around Asheville and Western North Carolina.  The drought of information is ending though and I'll be back involved with the incredible culture of food, local products and community that we are blessed to have here in Asheville.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you the reason for my absence ... yet.  But I will soon.  It's very exciting and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

For now, cheers!   It's good to be back.

Asheville Foodie
aka:  Kevin

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Glass Onion in Downtown Weaverville

Ed and Natalie Hannibal, Chef / Owners of Glass Onion in Weaverville, North Carolina, are relatively new to the area.  Opening their ‘Global Italian’ restaurant in early 2012, they have become a topic of conversation in the local foodie arenas.  Creative, eye-catching, mouthwatering fare is the norm establishing another excuse to go into downtown Weaverville. 

After they quit their jobs in the Hampton’s, both were head chefs at a couple of the most well respected venues there, they chose Weaverville as their destination to open up a restaurant of their own.  Selected after a country wide search to find “the friendliest and most promising site”, Weaverville became home for the Hannibals who consider this their dream come true.

Using local products from farmers in the area and insisting on organic and sustainable ingredients, the dishes from the menu taste fresh and full of flavor.  The food presentations have your eye in mind as well as your taste buds.

The dining room reminds you of an earlier era with wood floors, dark wood tables and chairs and a pressed tin ceiling that has been painted white.  A small bar with a few stools has been added toward the front of the dining room and some track lighting installed but you still have a sense of another more relaxed time.  It has a very fitting ambiance for a restaurant on Main Street in downtown America.

I went for lunch with a friend and of course we had a lot to catch up on so we were there for quite some time.  The staff was very nice about not rushing us and allowed us the time to talk.  In this age of ‘turn and burn’ it was comforting to not feel pushed to leave.

We began our meal with the Graham Cracker Crusted Fried Calamari with Marinara Sauce ($9.) which came highly recommended by our server.  I’ve never experienced anyone adding graham crackers on their calamari and was interested to see what they were like.   A beautiful golden brown, the graham cracker crust provided a hint of sweetness to the calamari.  It was fascinating for me.  I never would have considered putting the two together and was unsure about the combination but I kept eating them.  Yep, it works.

I ordered Chef Ed’s version of Eggplant Parmesan ($12.) one of the specials that our server described to us.  I truly love Eggplant parm and was pleased to see that this version contained some of the freshest ingredients I’ve seen on one.  Fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes layered over breaded eggplant slices lying on a bed of cappellini and tomato sauce.  It smacked of fresh ingredients and was mouth-wateringly, plate-scraping good.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it again.  I’m sure eggplant shouldn’t create that kind of reaction with people – haha!

Yes, I recommend the Glass Onion and the Hannibals’ creative indulgences.  Let me know what you think after your experience.  I can’t wait to hear.

Contact Information
Glass Onion
(828) 645-8866
18 North Main Street
Weaverville, North Carolina 28787

Glass Onion on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Kung Pao Chicken

One of our favorite Chinese dishes to order is Kung Pao Chicken.  We love the spicy chicken and peanuts over fried rice.  It doesn’t take long for me to begin to wonder if I can make a version of this dish at home so we can eat it any time we want.  Well, this is the result.

I believe there is a bit of flexibility with the recipe and that you can tweak it to your particular tastes but hopefully you’ll appreciate this dish as much as we do.  I add a little more chili paste and cayenne peppers to my dish once I plate it up; so my wife doesn’t have to struggle with a dish that is too spicy for her.

1 Lb Chicken, skinless, boneless, cut into ½” pieces
1½ TBLS Red wine
2 TBLS Soy Sauce
1½ TBLS Sesame oil
2 TBLS Cornstarch
2 TBLS Water
1 oz Chile Paste
1 tsp Rice vinegar1
1 TBLS Garlic, minced
 1½ TBLS Brown sugar
3 oz Green onion, chopped
3 - 4 oz Peanuts2

8 oz can Water chestnuts
½ oz Cayenne pepper flakes

1 You can substitute distilled vinegar for the rice wine vinegar.
2 Substitute your favorite nut for the peanuts such as cashews or almonds.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the water.

Marinade the Chicken
In a bowl, combine ¾ TBLS red wine, 1 TBLS soy sauce, ¾ TBLS sesame oil and 1 TBLS cornstarch/water mixture and mix well.  Place the chicken pieces in the marinade and stir to glaze all of the chicken with the marinade.  Cover, place in the refrigerator for 30 – 60 minutes.  This can be done in a zip-lock baggie instead of a bowl.

Make the Sauce
In a small bowl, combine ¾ TBLS red wine, 1 TBLS soy sauce, ¾ TBLS sesame oil, 1 TBLS cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar, garlic and brown sugar.  Mix ingredients well and then stir in the green onions and peanuts.  Place this into a skillet over medium low heat and heat the sauce until it bubbles slightly around the edges.

Making this Kung Pao
Remove the chicken from the marinade.  Place the chicken in a wok or skillet over medium high heat.  Sauté until the meat turns white.  When the sauces begins to bubble around the edges add the chicken to the sauce and allow it to cook slowly over medium low heat until the sauce thickens.

Serve over fried rice.

For a fried rice recipe, click here.


Serves:  4