Upgrade Your Flavors!

We have a lot of new items to share your way! These come in the form of mustards, sauces and condiments! If you need to flavor up your food, we have the perfect suggestions for you! We want to introduce to you the Hengstenberg 1876 line-up, all the way from Germany! They have been available for a little while now, but let’s get YOU acquainted with them now!

There are three lines of thought here…

What can we say? They are all packed with different types of flavors to tingle your taste buds! These are perfect for adding to your regular BBQ grilling, everyday sandwiches and snacks and more! All of these items are made with the finest selected ingredients. All of these items are also BPA, gluten and lactose free! How awesome is that? These little friends come ready to serve, packed in resealable glass jars. They fit easily in the fridge and here’s something even more – they are vegetarian and vegan friendly! Even more awesome!

We wanted to show you what we have been up to with these new items! For starters, we’ve been busy learning a new smoker, so we decided to use the Whole Grain Mustard on our rub for pork butt, which ended up as pulled pork for sandwiches or on its own with other side dishes! Take a peek at some of the pictures we took along the prepping and cooking process! We will admit, it *is* hard to get a great looking photo of pulled pork once it’s all said and done, but trust us… it was OH SO YUMMY!

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Need a little snack? Need to flavor up your tailgate parties this season or need new flavors in general when it comes to dips for your appetizers? We made our own toasted bread and enjoyed the Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce on top for a nice flavor packed treat! By the way, it’s super easy to make a quick toasted bread spread. Just heat the oven to 350°F and slice up some pieces of baguette. I covered mine with a light layer of olive oil, garlic salt, black pepper and parsley. Keep an eye on them while they are in the oven, I think mine were in the oven for about 20 minutes, and be sure to turn them over a few times if you can. We simply opened the jar and spooned on some of the dip and enjoyed while the toasted bread was warm!

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And finally, we also smoked some MORE pork with the Smoked BBQ Sauce, however, we forgot to take photos of it when it was all said and done! But we can tell you this, it was DELICIOUS! This sauce would also be great for ribs! Also great for marinades and rubs, so think about adding these flavorful sauces to your next meal!

For more ideas and recipes – the Hengstenberg 1876 website is full of ideas to make your plain and ordinary meals into something of flavor!

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Take the Bitter with the Sweet.

Yes, go for it! Go ahead and be bitter! Today you can be! Today is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day! Start indulging in your favorite chocolate until the bitter end! Am I getting a little carried away here? I’m sorry! I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but there are just to many perfect ways to express today’s bittersweet day! And just because it’s a day for bittersweet chocolate, it doesn’t mean you have to forget about your milk chocolate. Because we’ve got them all covered today to celebrate Hachez all the way from Germany.

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Let’s first explore what makes chocolate bittersweet:

  • Legally, at least 35 percent pure chocolate with some small amount of sugar added.
  • Also known as: dark chocolate, when it is a European brand.
  • Characteristics: Usually darker and less sweet than semisweet.
  • No legal specifications for the term so not always darker and less sweet.
  • Semisweet and bittersweet can be used in baking interchangeably, depending on personal preferences.
  • Specific sweetness and color intensity varies by manufacturer’s recipes and cacao bean sources.
  • Uses: Baking and eating.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens (Chocolate Types, Selection & Storage)

So, let’s get this (tasty) bitterness out of the way, shall we? Let’s start with these two bittersweet chocolates made by Hachez. The Ecuador green package is a 58% cocoa and the São Tomé blue package is 73% cocoa. How bitter do you like to go?! Missing from our group would be the Madagascar in blue-violet package at 75% cocoa.

Hachez can impress even the best dark chocolate connoisseur. I thought I was a dark chocolate expert until I had some of the darkest Hachez chocolate (I believe 88% is my favorite) and I was blown away! It’s not overly bitter, it’s not “dry” or tastes chalky, it’s just a smooth, chocolatey taste that is very enjoyable! I tried both of these below and they are very good!

 

Back in 1890 Joseph E. Hachez refined superior cocoa from South America according to a simple recipe. The secret to perfect chocolate quality involves roasting the cocoa bean batch, meticulous conching and use of natural ingredients. We still adhere to this recipe today. Enjoy our chocolate compositions handcrafted with love and painstaking care.

Source: Hachez (Product Packaging)

Even though it’s “bittersweet” day, below I thought I would share a photo of some of the Hachez superior milk chocolate, influenced by Venezuela at 43% cocoa and in a yellow package. Silky, smooth milk chocolate, very dreamy and delicious!

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We will be exploring Hachez chocolates some more in the future, so expect to see more delicious chocolate from them coming to the blog! We will also be exploring Hachez’s Taste Navigator in a future post, so look out for that, soon!

To end the post for today, I had to share one of my favorite songs from back in the day, “Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Enjoy!

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Christmas Traditions, Customs & More.

I thought it would be fun to search around for some sources to share some German Christmas traditions. My family background is mainly Latvian, pretty much everyone in my family (except my brothers and I), were all born in Latvia. My father and his family were from Latvia and then there is my mother who actually was born in Germany to Latvian parents. So while I, myself, am not German per say, there are some European traditions that are similar in nature from country to country.

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For fun, here’s an Advent and Christmas Quiz from the website, “The German Way & More“. My score? I received 7 out of 10 correct! Look at the brain on me!

From Advent, to the German glass pickle ornament myth, to yuletide, here’s an A-to-Z Guide to Christmas traditions. This “guide” offers some insight into the many different Christmas customs from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

If you were wondering what the differences are between Christmas in the United States and Germany is, try here to find a comparison chart with links to more information. One custom I can relate to is that my family always open presents on Christmas Eve. In the United States, the customary thing to do is to wait for Christmas Day to open gifts. I always thought I was really cool and special to be able to open gifts before all my friends. Growing up we never really left any cookies and milk out for Santa, maybe we had some stocking stuffers to open the next day on Christmas Day, but everything else was done on the Eve. Church, dinner and then gifts! While at the link provided above, you’ll find some good seasonal etiquette if you are traveling to Germany during the Christmas season.

I hope you find some interesting information while browsing through those links I provided. What are some of your holiday traditions? Share them with us in the comments!

As I wrap up this quick post for today, the elves are working up some holiday fun at Gourmet International for our holiday party! Stay tuned, we hope to share some photos and cheer from festivities that are to take place on Friday afternoon!

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Curious About What An Instant Pot Can Do?

Do you have an Instant Pot, known as the “electric pressure cooker”? An Instant Pot can cook food that would normally take a long time and cut that time in half or even less! My husband bought an Instant Pot maybe over a year ago or so and he loves it. It’s awesome when you’re cooking rice – we use it as a rice cooker. But wait! There’s more! We’ve even slow cooked ribs, made a pot roast and cooked some chicken. This post comes at a perfect time because today is National Comfort Food Day!

The other night I wanted to make a casserole or a homemade “burger helper” type meal, you know a type of comfort food, and I had the Bechtle Broad Egg Noodles on hand for such a meal. When my husband came home, he had different plans and made beef stroganoff instead! (Beef stroganoff is up there on my comfort food lists!)

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So I we are sharing the following recipe he found online for Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff. We want to make sure we properly give credit to Ashley of www.idonthavetimeforthat.com for this recipe that is quick and easy to prepare!

The recipe does state for you to start with the beef on the sauté setting on the Instant Pot, which my husband did start with, but then he also put the beef on a pan on the stove as he was getting other things prepped. I also think he wanted to make sure the beef was cooked evenly, as it was a little difficult with the Instant Pot, but maybe his settings were to high or not hot enough, he likes to manage how the beef is cooked from the start. Later it was all added back into the Instant Pot.

Check out the steam rising from the Instant Pot as onions and garlic are added to the mix! You can see the Instant Pot has a lot of depth to it, so I think this is another reason why my husband choose to cook a bit of the beef in another pan for the time being.

Our advice is to wait as long as you can before cooking your Bechtle Broad Egg Noodles, that way they are fresh from the boiling water and drained and ready for the stroganoff topping! So cook your noodles last-minute and then prepare to enjoy this meal!

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And here is the final product! So delicious and super quick and easy. It tastes really great as leftovers the next day as well!

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Cultivated From Fields of Gold.

What is that growing in that field? What is that golden glow in the distance? Why, that’s mustard growing out yonder! I did bring mustard to this WordPress party in early October and we’re bringing it back around. Why? Because mustard is delicious and pairs well with many things! And if you want to, you can keep your own Oktoberfest going with these Hengstenberg gourmet mustard mugs! The fun continues when you are done with the mustard because then you can use the mug for other things!

It was a really blah and somewhat rainy evening in Michigan last night. We decided that it would be a good idea to close down my parents pool, even though the weather was super yuck, it had to be done. I had the bright idea of picking up some bratwurst from a local shop down the road to toss on the grill for dinner. Between adults watching children inside the house and adults out and about milling around a draining pool, bratwurst was grilling and some twice baked potatoes were warming up in the oven. Not much time was given to any other condiments for the bratwurst, but that was okay. Hengstenberg mustard was in the house!

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My mom is one who does not like hot spicy things, but she loves the Hengstenberg Medium Mild Mustard. I am one that likes sweet and tangy, so I’m a big fan of the Hengstenberg Sweet Mustard Bavarian Style. Lucky for us, we had both in the mugs! Since we were busy doing many things and taking care of business in the backyard with the pool, the only thing we really put on our bratwurst was the mustard. Not always do I load up my grilled food with condiments, I can be a plain Jane, and when you just use a really good mustard, sometimes that is just the only thing you need!

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Mustard goes well by itself with other food as well! Pretzels, pigs in a blanket, sauces, incorporated with salad dressings, meats, cheeses and more! Do you like mustard? What foods would you use mustard for? Are you spicy or sweet or maybe somewhere in between?

 

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Before I wrap up this post, I thought I would share a few mustard facts from MentalFloss.com:

Broccoli is a not-so-distant cousin.

As members of the Brassica or Sinapis genera, mustard plants are close relatives to a surprising variety of common vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, and cabbage.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans used it as more than just a condiment.

Pythagoras endorsed a poultice of mustard seeds as a cure for scorpion stings. Hippocrates praised mustard paste as a miracle remedy capable of soothing pains and aches; and ancient Roman physicians used it to ease toothaches. They weren’t alone. Over the years, mustard has been used for appetite stimulation, sinus clearing, and frostbite prevention. It’s now touted as a weight loss supplement, asthma suppressant, hair growth stimulant, immunity booster, cholesterol regulator, dermatitis treatment, and even as an effective method of warding off gastrointestinal cancer, so ask your doctor if mustard is right for you.

Source: MentalFloss.com

 

Side Dish Delish!

Do you find yourself trying to find something to add to your main dish – it doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner? Well, today we’ve got just the perfect side dish delish that you need to add with your next meal! Why not try adding Kartoffelland Fried Potatoes with Onion to your next meal? It is SO easy to prepare – just fry them up in a pan and heat them to your desire and BOOM! You’ve got yourself one of the easiest side dishes to go with your main course.

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Think about it… you could add this with your morning eggs and toast. A nice different twist to your regular hash browns. Or… maybe you have some left over ham or other meat that you need to cook up and eat – whip these potatoes up with the meat and you’ve got yourself a lunch meal! Let’s not forget about dinner – why not cook up some bratwurst, sauerkraut and Kartoffelland potatoes?! TA DA! Meal is done! So simple and easy to make!

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If these fried potatoes are not your thing, what about dumplings? Kartoffelland also has German Potato Dumplings that have easy prep: mix with water, form dumplings and boil! Speaking of these dumplings, I have had these before. They are a great side dish to any meal as well, perhaps our next go ’round with Kartoffelland, we’ll whip up some of the dumplings for us to share and view with you!

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I prepared the Kartoffelland Fried Potatoes with Onion for brunch yesterday. It was such a hectic morning – I was up early to get out and about with errands to run after making sure the oldest got on the bus. By the time I got home from hockey manager duties and dropping off a birthday snack to school, it was time to put some food in the tummy. I still had English muffins and I thought potatoes and eggs sound good, so why not? So I opened up a package of Kartoffelland potatoes and added them to the frying pan! I really didn’t add much more besides a little pad of butter to the frying pan. The potatoes are already in vegetable oil from the packaging, so I just decided a little bit of butter would be sufficient and let them fry up in the pan for about 15-20 minutes over a medium/low heat. After the potatoes were fried up, I had my toaster work on my English muffins and then I got a pan ready to make some scrambled eggs. I will admit, while getting the pan ready for the scrambled eggs, I let my butter get a little too hot as I was putting some of that Maintal Rosehip Fruit Spread on my English muffins. I took a little too long spreading the fruit and probably had a little too much butter in the pan for the eggs. The eggs didn’t look that pretty, so I spared you all from their odd appearance (but they tasted just fine). These potatoes are a great side dish for any meal!