Mini Baklava Cups

We all know bite size desserts are irresistibly good and I believe you are going to love these crispy little two bite Mini Baklava Cups. With their crisp, tissue thin layers of pastry topped with chopped mixed nuts coated in a lemony honey syrup, it will be hard for you to eat just one of these delicious mini nut cups.

Mini Baklava Cups

Mini Baklava Cups

If you are like me and invite friends over for a spur of the moment dinner, you more than likely will want to serve something sweet at the end of the meal. Fruit, ice cream or a store bought cake or pie are an easy option but they don’t offer much in the way of imagination. These tasty mini baklava cups are simple to prepare and serve, making them perfect for the your last minute meal yet they are pretty enough to serve at your fanciest of dinner parties. Your family and guests are going to love these little bite size morsels of crunchy sweetness…so much so, that you might want to double or even triple the recipe.

Mini Ballava Cups Are So Delicious That You Will Want To Double Or Triple The Recipe

Mini Baklava Cups Are So Delicious That You Will Want To Double Or Triple The Recipe

Mini Baklava Cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Makes 15 cups, adjust the recipe according

  • 1 pkg. mini fillo shells (I used Athens)
  • 1 c. chopped nuts (I used pistachio, pecan and almond)
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Syrup

  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

In a small sauce pan, heat honey, butter, zest and cinnamon over low heat just until butter melts. Add the nuts and mix well. Spoon the nut mixture into each shell. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until nuts are lightly toasted.

Combine syrup ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the mixture becomes syrupy. Cool slightly and pour a spoonful of warm syrup over each shell, let soak in a minute and then repeat. Refrigerate the filled shells for about an hour for the syrup to thicken. Remove the shells at least 15 minutes before serving.

Stored in an airtight container, they stay crunchy for a few days if they last that long.

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While true baklava only has a few ingredients, it is time consuming and it can be tedious working with the delicate phyllo (also spelled fillo) dough . Instead of making a large tray of baklava, why don’t you try these yummy bite size treats that even a novice cook can put together quickly. Delicate cups of flaky pastry filled with chopped nuts and warm honey, they are simply irresistable. I believe that you will enjoy the lemon component in this dessert as it nicely offsets the sweetness of the honey, giving them a tantalizing flavor that is found in many Mediterranean desserts.

 

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Salmon With Sorrel Sauce

Salmon With Sorrel Sauce is a legendary French dish that pairs a citrusy, creamy sauce with salmon. Sorrel, a tender acidic green herb, has a bright and slightly tart flavor, similar to a lemon or a sour green apple. It cuts both the richness of the sauce and the salmon just the way a white wine like a Sancerre goes so nicely served with the meal.

Salmon With Sorrel Sauce, A True Classic

Salmon With Sorrel Sauce, A True Classic

Salmon With Sorrel Sauce

Serves two, adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 bunch sorrel leaves, washed, dried and stemmed
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 salmon filets 4 – 6 oz. each, skinned
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. oil, just enough to coat the pan
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Combine the shallots and wine in a saucepan and cook over medium high heat until the wine has become syrupy. Add the cream and simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain the sauce and return to the pan. Tear the sorrel into small pieces and add to the cream. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, then simmer briefly just a minute or two (sorrel starts to turn dark if cooked too long). Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper just on the presentation side (skinned side). Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium hight heat, when hot add the oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, place the salmon presentation side (skinned side) down in the hot oil and sauté for about 4 minutes until the fish is well browned. Turn the salmon over and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until just cooked through. Plate the salmon and top with some of the sorrel sauce.

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When I came across some young, tender sorrel at our local farmer’s market, I knew exactly what I wanted to cook with it…the legendary Saumon à l’oseille that was made popular by the three star Michelin French chef Pierre Troigros. Chef Troigros served his salmon sliced very thin and presented on top of the sorrel sauce. My recipe is much less elegant and more typical of what you would find at a French bistro.

A few tips to share if you are going to prepare this recipe. It took longer to cook the sides of boiled baby Yukon gold potatoes and a stuffed tomato than it did to prepare the salmon and sauce so keep that in mind if preparing this recipe.  If you like creamed spinach, think of sorrel sauce as its very refined cousin. However, if sorrel is not available, you could substitute a bunch of fresh spinach leaves and add a little extra lemon juice for something with a similar flavor, just not quite as complex. This lemony flavored sauce pairs well with most fish but salmon is the most popular. The sauce is so good that you could easily enjoy spoonfuls by itself but save enough for this salmon dish or perhaps to top some sliced roast chicken and you will be rewarded for your restraint.

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Vietnamese Style Shrimp Salad

This Vietnamese Style Shrimp Salad takes its inspiration from a Bahn Mi sandwich. While it has all the flavor of this famous street food, what is lacking is the bread or “bahn”.  This colorful, crisp salad topped with spicy shrimp and crunchy peanuts is the perfect remedy for those of us who feel like we have over indulged lately.

Asian Shrimp Salad Inspired By A Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwich

Vietnamese Shrimp Salad Inspired By The Famous Bahn Mi Sandwich

I believe you will enjoy this Vietnamese style salad. The flavors are toned down from what you would get if you visited this interesting country but if you would like a more pronounced flavor, this is certainly a recipe that you can make your own. If you don’t want the shrimp to be dressed in the sriracha mayo, make extra salad dressing, adding a little sriracha for spice, and toss whole the salad in it. Want extra veggies…cucumbers, radishes, etc. can be added. If you don’t care for cilantro, substitute basil or mint. Serve this dish along with toasted sesame rice crackers or fried shrimp crisps and you have a tasty lunch or light dinner.

Vietnamese Style Shrimp Salad 

Recipe serves 2, adjust accordingly

Shrimp

  • 3/4 lb. small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 – 2 tsp. sriracha or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 scallion, sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Salad

  • 4 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1/2 c. carrot, julienned
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1. c. shredded red cabbage
  • 4 c. lettuce of your choice
  • 1/4 c. chopped roasted peanuts, garnish

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, tamari, ginger and garlic. Set aside half of the dressing. To the remaining dressing, add the carrot, bell pepper and cabbage, toss and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the shrimp and cook until pink and done, about 1 or 2 minutes, depending on size. Drain and place in a bowl of cold water to cool. When cool, drain and pat dry. In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, sriracha, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Add the shrimp, scallions and cilantro and mix well.

When ready to serve, add the lettuce to the bowl with the marinated vegetables and toss well. Taste and add some the reserved dressing, as necessary. Place salad on each plate, top with shrimp and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.

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If you’ve never tried Vietnamese food but enjoy other Asian dishes, my salad or bahn mi sandwich are a good introduction to similar dishes you might encounter during travels to that area of the world.

Bahn Mi Sandwich

Bahn Mi Sandwich

The delicious tastes of sweet, sour, spicy and salty found in Vietnam’s food are flavors that are also found in nearby Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and China. Many foods were also influenced by the French during their stay in Vietnam. Whether enjoyed at a street side vendor or in a restaurant in Vietnam, many of their famous dishes are easily replicated in your home kitchen. Traditional ingredients from your own market such as lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, basil, mint, fish sauce, soy sauce and chilies all add to flavors that I believe make each of these Vietnamese recipes ones that you will enjoy.

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Spaghetti Squash With Sausage Ragù

If you love spaghetti but are trying to limit the amount of pasta you eat, Spaghetti Squash With Sausage Ragù is a dish you should try. Italian sausage, tomatoes, onions, herbs and red wine are slow simmered until they become a rich meat sauce. It is served on top of spaghetti squash and finished with grated Locatelli Romano cheese. Delizioso!

Spaghetti Squash With Sausage Ragú

Spaghetti Squash With Sausage Ragú

My husband and I are trying to cut bread, pasta, rice and potatoes from our meals for one month and so far we are doing great. With a delicious meal like this one, we won’t mind putting pasta on the back burner for a while. If you want to eat a little healthier, eat gluten free, cut down on carbs occasionally, or just want to have something different, do give this recipe a try.

Spaghetti Squash With Sausage Ragù

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Serves 2, adjust the recipe accordingly

Ragù

  • 1 lb.  ground Italian sweet sausage
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced fine
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups of basic marinara sauce (homemade if possible)
  • 1  14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. red wine
  • pinch fennel seeds
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water as needed
  • Locatelli Romano cheese, grated (optional)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan then add sausage. Break up as finely as possible with a spoon and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the onions and cook until soft, add more oil if mixture seems dry, then add the garlic. Cook until the meat has become brown. Pour in the marinara sauce, add the diced tomatoes, the wine and all of the seasonings and stir well. Reduce heat to very low and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour  until the mixture is thick and develops a rich deep flavor. You may have to add a little water occasionally if the sauce gets too thick during the simmering process. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush the flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 to 60 minutes until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.* Remove from oven and cool  enough to handle. Scrape the flesh into strands and place in a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil, toss and taste for seasoning.

*I have cooked the squash both cut side up and cut side down. When roasted facing down, the squash tends to steam and will produce wetter and softer strands. I personally like the results of roasting it cut side up better as the strands are a little drier and have a texture more like pasta.

To serve, place some spaghetti squash into each bowl, top with ragù and sprinkle with a little cheese if desired.

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Spaghetti squash is very versatile and can be topped with many different sauces. I’ve made spaghetti squash with chicken meatballs and tomato basil sauce for a lighter Italian meal.

Spaghetti Squash And Chicken Meatballs Marinara

Spaghetti Squash And Chicken Meatballs Marinara

I’ve also made Thai style spaghetti squash with chicken meatballs which was another wonderful way to use the squash that you might not have though of.

Thai Style Spaghetti Squash With Chicken Meatballs

Thai Style Spaghetti Squash With Chicken Meatballs

As you can see, you can make delicious meals that might have been originally made with some sort of pasta but by using spaghetti squash you cut back on carbs and calories. While my husband and I won’t give up pasta, rice, potatoes and bread permanently, a month of doing without them is going to be easy. Tell me my dear readers, have you tried substituting different vegetables for pasta or rice in your meals lately?

 

 

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Mini Cheesecakes, A Decadent Bite Of Deliciousness

Mini Cheesecakes, A Decadent Bite Of Deliciousness are the perfect way to end a meal or the year, in fact. With New Year’s Eve in a matter of days, I thought it might be nice to share a recipe for something sweet for your holiday celebrations.

These single serving versions of a classic creamy and rich cheesecake with a sour cream topping are delicious little bites which can be served plain or garnished with toppings of your choice. They are a quick and easy dessert that can be made ahead of time and they freeze well. That makes them ideal for serving at your New Year’s Eve gathering or just grabbing one for yourself as an indulgent little treat.

Mini Cheesecakes, A Decedent Bite Of Deliciousness

Mini Cheesecakes, A Decadent Bite Of Deliciousness

My mother used to make these mini cheesecakes with their sour cream topping for the holidays and they were always the dessert she was requested to bring to social gatherings. She made hers with a vanilla wafer as the base for the cheesecakes and served them plain. I think she would like how I’ve tweaked her recipe and the way I’ve garnished them…one with a sweet cherry sauce, another with dark chocolate sauce topped with a milk chocolate and pecan praline and the last drizzled with a salted caramel sauce topped with a caramel pecan.

Mini Cheesecakes With Sour Cream Topping

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Makes 12

  • 1 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 c. gingersnap crumbs
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted

Place the crumbs and melted butter in a bowl and stir until well combined. Line a 12 cup muffin and cupcake pan with foil liners. Place a heaping tablespoon of crumbs into each liner and press firmly into place with a small glass or the back of a spoon.

  • 2  8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 eggs (large)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Place the softened cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice into a bowl and beat with a hand mixer at medium speed. Scrape down the sides often and beat until smooth and creamy. Spoon mixture into the foil cups, about 3/4 full. (Do not over fill or you won’t have room for the topping. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes until the cheesecakes puff up but still have a little jiggle then remove from the oven but do not turn it off. (The tops may be cracked and will deflate as they cool but that is OK).

  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Mix the sour cream, sugar and vanilla until it is well combined. Spoon about a tablespoon of the sour cream mixture on top of each partially baked cheesecake and smooth to the edges. Return to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes more until the topping is set. Cool, then remove from the pan and refrigerate for about 4 hours or until well chilled. Remove the foil liners, garnish, if desired and serve.

A Tray Of Mini Cheesecakes

A Tray Of Mini Cheesecakes

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I do hope you get a chance to try these mini cheesecakes and if you decide to serve them to your friends, I believe you will receive rave reviews as my mother did and I now do. They are the perfect size for when you want just a little something sweet.  Enjoy!

As the year comes to an end, I’m reminded that when people gather together at midnight on New Year’s Eve and sing Auld Lang Syne, the song of friendship, they pledge that whatever may change in their lives, that old friends will not be forgotten. With that thought in mind, I want to take this time to thank each of you who have enriched my life through your friendship and I hope you will continue to visit Back Road Journal in 2017. I wish you a new year that is filled with peace, happiness and very good health.

 

 

 

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Wishing You Peace

Wishing You Peace At Christmas And Throughout The New Year

Wishing You Peace At Christmas And Throughout The New Year

Wishing You Peace At Christmas And Throughout The New Year

Merry Christmas

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Taste Testing A Standing Prime Rib For Christmas

Christmas is not the time to experiment with a new recipe to serve your dinner guests but that is what my husband and I will be doing…sort of. We are serving a standing prime rib, many families traditional meal for Christmas, but we are preparing it sous vide for the first time. The cut of meat is far too expensive for it to not to be perfectly cooked so we did a taste test ahead of time. Not only did we want to find a degree of doneness that everyone at the table would like, we also wanted to know that the topping baked on after the sous vide process would give a nice tasting crust to the outside of the meat.

We used a cut from a prime rib having one bone, it was a 1 and 3/4 pound rib eye steak (sometimes called a cowboy steak) and was 2 inches thick. That is about a third of the size we will be preparing for our holiday dinner but the cooking technique will be about the same and the results should be similar. 

Perfectly Cooked Meat, The Taste Test Was A Success

Perfectly Cooked Meat, The Taste Test Was A Success

For those of you that have a home sous vide circulator and have never cooked a prime rib with it, I thought that you might enjoy seeing how our experiment turned out. The inside of the meat was cooked to 129 degrees for medium rare in the sous vide, seared in a skillet, coated with a herb rub and put under the broiler for a nice crust. As you can see from the photo, we served the meat cut into quarter inch slices, alongside stuffed twice baked potatoes and green beans almondine. Everything was delicious and got our stamp of approval for our Christmas Eve dinner we will be sharing with our friends.

Sous Vide Rib Eye "Cowboy" Steak…That Big Hunk Of Meat Needed A Platter Not A Plate

Sous Vide Rib Eye “Cowboy” Steak…That Big Hunk Of Meat Needed A Platter Not A Plate

My husband used a recipe for Herb Crusted Sous Vide Prime Rib from Chefsteps, and adapted the recipe to our 1 3/4 pound cut of meat. Since the meat was smaller and wouldn’t stand on its own in the oven, he only crusted one side and put it under the broiler for a few seconds. He will be following the recipe exactly on Christmas Eve.

You always worry when preparing an expensive cut of meat if it will turn out perfectly cooked and this one was. The flavor of the rosemary crust was delicious and the meat was tender, juicy and cooked to medium rare that our guests will enjoy. We can now buy and cook our large prime rib with confidence after having done our taste test.

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If you are wanting to serve a new recipe to your family and friends for the holidays, I do suggest trying it out ahead of time. It will let you have the peace of mind of knowing that what you cook will be a memorable meal (in a good way) to all that were at your table. 

My husband bought his latest and greatest toy, a Joule Sous Vide Circulator*, and is now the “mad scientist” in our kitchen. I’m sure you will be seeing lots of new dishes prepared by him in the future if this test was any example of sous vide cooking. 

*This is not a sponsored post, my husband did a lot of research before buying a sous vide circulator, and decided on this particular unit. We believe the recipe will work with any unit that you happen to own.

 

 

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Braised Short Rib Stew

Braised Short Rib Stew is a deeply flavored dish of succulent chunks of beef short ribs slow cooked in a red wine and mushroom broth until the meat is meltingly tender. Towards the end of cooking, potatoes, carrots and pearl onions are added to the beef and soak up some of the rich, flavorful sauce. The end result is mouth watering delicious.

Braised Short Rib Stew

Braised Short Rib Stew

While the stew cooks in about three hours, this is a recipe that benefits from preparing it a day ahead of time. The flavor of the dish develops over time and the cooking liquid can be defatted after being refrigerated which is a win, win situation as far as I’m concerned.

Braised Short Rib Stew

Recipe serves two, adjust accordingly                                    Preheat oven to 325 degrees

  • boneless beef short ribs, 2 per person about 6 inches long by 1 inch thick, cut in half
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme

Place short ribs, wine, garlic, rosemary and thyme in a ziplock bag, seal and refrigerate. Let marinate for 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove the short ribs and dry thoroughly. Reserve the marinade and herbs.

  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 c. mushroom broth (made by soaking several pieces of dried porcini mushroom in boiling water, then strained through a coffee filter to remove any sediment)
  • 4 c. beef broth
  • 1 additional c. red wine
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste

Heat oil a heavy ovenproof pot or Dutch oven. Season the dried short ribs and brown well on all sides in batches (do not overcrowd), add a little more oil if necessary. When brown remove to a plate.

Add the chopped vegetables to the pot, stirring up all the brown bits, and sauté until tender and light brown. Add the reserved marinade and herbs, cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Return the meat to the pot.

Add the bay leaves, both broths, additional wine, and the tomato and anchovy pastes. Bring the ingredients to a simmer, cover the pot and place in the oven. Braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender. (The stew can also be cooked on the stove top at a low simmer, if you wish). Remove from the oven to cool, then refrigerate covered overnight.

Remove any congealed fat, then gently rewarm stew on the stove top. Remove the meat to a bowl, strain sauce, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Put the sauce back into the pot along with the meat. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

  • 2 c. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, and cubed
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 c. frozen pearl onions

Now add the potatoes and carrots to the pot and cook uncovered on medium high for ten minutes. Add the pearl onions and cook until the vegetables are tender. If the sauce is too thin, make a slurry with 1 Tbsp. flour and a little red wine and add to the sauce. Cook, stirring gently, for a few minutes more, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Serve the stew in warm bowls.

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The braised short rib stew is perfect for a chilly night when you are looking for a heartier, comforting meal. Since I like to make this dish a day ahead of time so that the flavors can meld to produce a rich, flavorful sauce, I find that it’s a perfect meal to share with friends. I suggest making extra as I believe your guests will be asking for a second helping.

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Restaurant Bareiss, Deserving Of Its Three Michelin Stars

The best of the best…it wasn’t a hard choice when trying to decide which meal my husband and I enjoyed the most while in Germany this year. Restaurant Bareiss, in the well known resort Bareiss, located in the small village of Baiersbronn-Mitteltal was the hands down winner. While we had many delicious meals in other restaurants in Germany, nothing could compete with the lunch prepared by Chef Claus-Peter Lumpp, who has earned three Michelin stars for the restaurant year after year since 2007.

We had made a reservation months in advance for one of the eight tables in the elegant dining room of Restaurant Bareiss. We wanted to make sure that we would be able to experience one of the chef’s multi course tasting menus during our three day stay at this Black Forest resort. Our lunch was everything we hoped it would be.

Click on any photo to enlarge and see a slide show.

We were graciously welcomed into the beautiful dining room by Thomas Brandt, the restaurant manager. After being seated, we ordered a glass of rosé Champagne to enjoy while we decided on our meal. There was a choice of four different complete menus as well as an à la carte menu from which to order. We chose the tasting menu and soon the delicacies started to arrive. The first to come to the table was an Apéritif Étagère, a little tower of canapés, each one a tiny work of art.

Over the course of the next several hours, we were served small, artistically composed dishes. The lunch started with both a cold and warm amuse bouche of mushrooms. I loved the presentation, it reminds you that wonderful mushrooms can be found growing in dense forests of this region.

Click on any photo to enlarge and see a slide show.

After the delicious small gifts from the kitchen, it was on to the creative main courses which were classic French in style but with a modern regional German twist. The first course served was a variation of assorted goose foie gras with fragolino grapes and salted caramel along with a thick slice of brioche.

Assorted Goose Foie Gras With Fragolino Grapes And Salted Caramel

Assorted Goose Foie Gras With Fragolino Grapes And Salted Caramel

Next were two seafood courses. The first was a flamed scallop with smoked sweet corn cream and sour cream. This was a lovely dish with variations on corn including popped and even an ice cream. A white halibut with nut risotto, lemon and butter sauce followed.

Click on any photo to enlarge and see a slide show.

White Halibut With Nut Risotto and Lemon Butter Sauce

White Halibut With Nut Risotto and Lemon Butter Sauce

The fourth and fifth courses were meat based. The fourth was sautéed veal sweetbreads with celeriac, lamb’s lettuce and black truffle vinegar. When I mentioned to Mr. Brandt that I wasn’t sure about this dish because of the sweetbreads, he told me that Chef Lumpp would happily prepare the dish with filet of veal which made me very happy. My husband went with the dish the way the chef intended it to be and we decided both versions were delicious.

The fifth course was variations on deer. There was a saddle of roe deer that came from the Bareiss hunting grounds served with rose hip and romanesco as well as a small dish of braised shoulder of deer.

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Next a cheese trolley was pushed over to the table to be served with a selection of grapes, honey, jams and mustard. By now we were getting full, so we didn’t take any fruit and only chose three cheeses from a choice of about fifty perfectly ripe cheeses to share between us. To finish this wonderful meal there was not one but several delicious sweet courses prepared by pastry chef Stefan Leitner. Again, we shared the dessert courses. After all, this was only the second day of our trip and my wardrobe had to fit for the remainder of our holiday.

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Jürgen Fendt, the talented sommelier at Bareiss, selected several different glasses of wine from their 20,000 bottle cellar to accompany our lunch, each was a perfect pairing. From beginning to end, everything about this meal was perfection. My husband and I were so pleased when Chef Lumpp came out of the kitchen to ask how we enjoyed the meal and, of course, we gave our very enthusiastic approval.

It Was A Pleasure Meeting Chef Claus-Peter Lumpp

It Was A Pleasure Meeting Chef Claus-Peter Lumpp

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This extraordinary meal came at the start of our almost month long holiday through Germany and Austria. There is a saying in Germany “nach dem essen sollst du ruhn, oder tausend schritte tun” which translates to after eating, you should rest or do a thousand steps. In Baiersbronn, it is certainly easy to do both as the region has great food and hundreds miles of well marked hiking trails and wonderful wellness resorts. After this meal, I made sure that plenty of steps were taken during the remainder of our holiday.

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The Wald And Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe

As you approach the Wald and Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe, you feel like you’ve been invited to stay at a stately country home of an aristocratic German family. The hotel is located on lovely landscaped grounds and consists of several buildings, the most notable being “The Hunting Lodge”. The lodge was built in 1712 by Count Friedrich II and was the former summer residence of the Hohenlohe royal family.

The Wald And Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe Hunting Lodge

The Wald And Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe Hunting Lodge

You know you have arrived at the entrance to the property when you see a large bright red stag statue standing next to the village road.

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The hotel is spread out among different buildings on the property. The rooms and suites are located in the main house or the contemporary spa attached to it, the hunting lodge, the gatehouse, or the garden house. All of the rooms are designed and decorated differently. Usually, I would choose to stay in a historical building like the lodge but the two times we have stayed here, I’ve requested a room in the modern spa annex. It is connected to the main house which makes it convenient for using all the hotel’s facilities. It is also nice not to have to go outside to another building if the weather is bad.

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When you book a room at this hotel, the price only includes breakfast which is served in a lovely glass walled conservatory. In the afternoon you can have tea and cakes in the comfortable fireside lounge.

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There are several choices when it comes to where you can dine. The Jägerstube is an informal and comfortable restaurant that serves regional cuisine. There is also a bistro at the spa that serves light and organic dishes. Besides these two restaurants, there is also the Forest Tavern on the grounds but it has never been open when we stayed at the hotel.

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We’ve eaten twice in the beautiful Gourmet restaurant which is formally decorated. They have a new chef since our last visit and we thought the food was very good. It is rated sixteen points by Gault Millau German restaurant guide.

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For a before or after dinner drink, there a small cozy bar and a separate cigar lounge.

The large spa is on three levels with separate men’s and women’s sides with thirteen treatment rooms. The spa uses Vin Sano products which are made from local grapes, using the seeds, cold-pressed grape seed oil and extracts from red wine. There are seven saunas and both an outdoor pool and an indoor pool with a fireplace as its focal point.

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There is also a high-tech fitness room, a tennis court and a twenty-seven hole golf course next door to the hotel. There are also walking trails throughout the area.

The peaceful countryside location of the hotel is in the area of Germany called the Hohenlohe, lying between Stuttgart and Nuremberg, in the German state of Baden Württemberg. It is an ideal base for exploring this area of southwest Germany, including Heidelberg and the well known Romantic and the Castle roads.

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If you like to travel the back roads like we do, you won’t have to travel very far to find charming towns with half-timbered buildings and castles perched on cliff tops in this lovely area of Germany. Many of the castles have been restored into private homes, romantic hotels and museums.

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We’ve only stayed for two days on each of our two trips to this hotel but there is so much to see in the Hohenlohe region that I have a feeling we will return again in the future. I can just imagine how beautiful this area must be in the spring and summer when the rolling hills are a bloom with wildflowers and fruit trees.

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