Leberkäse with Green Peppercorns… A German Meatloaf of Neither Liver Or Cheese

Yumm Leberkäse. The first time I ever had some was after a  German class at the Goethe Institute . A bunch of us walked over to the Christkindlmarket  after our final class. Thick slabs of Leberkäse shared space on the  hot grill with bratwurst.In the dead of winter, I bit into my hearty sandwich with sauerkraut  and fell in love.  Certain Someones mother would serve it at times when we visited Essen, a pre made  loaf from a deli, that she heated up. All these years I was under the mistaken impression there was a bit of liver in that meat, that gave it that savory taste. You see Leberkäse breaks down in translation to literally Liver Cheese. It’s a Bavarian specialty . However other regions of Germany add small percentages of liver. So the Leberkäse can vary by region. When I told Certain Someone I was making this, he too thought there was a bit of liver in the preparation as well. Maybe in Essen there is. The final verdict of my Bavarian style Leberkäse passed his tough German expectations. In an ode to Essen and his mother I added some green peppercorns, as that’s how I remembered it served there.

You may ask why am I making Leberkäse in the middle of summer? For various reasons. Certain Someone is home after some travel and I need more things on hand to feed him while I’m working.  A girl has to be organized. It tastes even better the day after preparation. I can slice it cold or hot. Think of it as homemade lunch meat. We like to slice it thick and pan fry it with some onions. Try adding a  fried egg on top , or serve it up like a cold pate with cornichons or salads. The recipe isn’t as hard as you would think. You need either a meat grinder , a food processor or an immersion blender.  I added  pink salt or cure to mine to help it retain its pink color, as opposed to turning grayish in color. One more hint. If you are a bit lazy, use  a good quality ground pork and beef.The bacon still has to be ground in. But using pre ground meat is a time-saving option for those who are not as adventurous or lack all the equipment.

Some tips to remember. As you’re working with ground meats , the colder the better. In my research I picked up a common tip of adding crushed ice to the meat before that final blending emulsification. It also helps with the bubbly smooth airy texture of the final product. Some people add heavy cream. I added just plain  dry powdered ( goats )milk, as I always add that to my meatloaf’s (I  don’t know why, but it works. I believe its something about adding extra nutrients and extending the protein ).  All of this helps the fats stay suspended and the meat emulsify. The mixture needs to chill and rest for a few hours. As I added a cure, it was still baked on the same day only for color retention.

I used my trusty XYBOARD in the kitchen to research Leberkäse ,techniques,and take quick clear photos  while in the kitchen.It saved me  a lot a time going to different rooms for the camera, etc.

Leberkäse with Green Peppercorns
Recipe type: entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
A Bavarian meatloaf
  • 2 lbs stewing beef cubes
  • 1.5 lbs stewing pork cubes
  • ½ bacon( the fattier the better)
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cure , pink salt, etc (  scant ¼ tsp per lb of meat)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp dry powdered milk
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp mace or nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp paprika
  • grated lemon zest ( approx ½ tsp) optional
  • 3 cups crushed ice
  • 2 tbsp green peppercorns ( if you prefer use less)
  1. In a meat grinder grind your beef and pork, and bacon.
  2. Place ground meats in a large bowl.
  3. Add your minced onion and garlic.
  4. Add your spices, curing salt and dry milk.
  5. Mix well.
  6. At this point you can place the ground meats in a food processor or use an immersion blender ( the immersion blender needs to be used carefully as to not burn out. Give it a rest if needed.) Mix the meats with the crushed ice until it forms a smooth paste. You don't want the paste to thick but it airy enough. The ice keeps the fats suspended and aides in the emulsification.
  7. Once you get the desired texture (there can still be some clumps of ice and that is fine as it helps form air bubbles in texture).
  8. Add the green peppercorns and mix in with hands( after removed from the food processor)
  9. Chill the meat mixture for 1 to 2 hrs.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  11. Grease loaf pan or pans.
  12. Pack meat  mixture into pans.
  13. With a knife make a criss -cross pattern on top.
  14. Place pans in a larger pan with water to catch any fat drippings.
  15. Bake for 1.5 hrs.
  16. Remove loaves from pans and drain of fats.
  17. Serve warm or cold.
  18. It tastes even better the day after.

 “Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Savvy Gourmets program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”


The Ebb and Flow of Life and Some Lobster Rolls

Finally a moment to reconnect with me, my home, and blog. The past few weeks have been crazy busy , but in a good way.  I have so much to tell you. First I got a job! Yeah. Is it the sort of job I was seeking or used to? Not necessarily, but its in my field of expertise ( retail cosmetics management), and company I have long admired and respected. I had to take a pay cut, but its the sort of company you start from the bottom and that’s OK with me as I actually snagged a management position. And great benefits ! This is why we work. The first week I hit the ball out of the park and the powers that be are impressed with my knowledge and history. So for now it works for me and I am grateful. I think there are so many people who refuse to take a step back or settle in this ecomony, but I dont want to sit at home whining and broke  waiting for handouts from Certain Someone (he’s been awesome and very supportive by the way, but a girl has to have her own stash and means). I have met many like myself or even not that were making over six figures andf suddenly having to fall into service jobs or retail after being laid off. You do it with your head held high and joy and gratitude.

I also have been juggling Coco Cooks Catering , and have to date produced two successful events. I love it when people love my food and services. I have been studying and working part time in the industry towards this for years to learn the ropes and it is actually into fruition. I know the level of hard painful work involved and have no illusions of instant payoff and glamour. I do it because I love it. Word of mouth and reputation is huge and that’s how it all started thanks to French Foodie Mom and her social set. You never know and  must be ready when opportunity comes knocking. After the first event  everyone said I should I should focus on this and get my business affairs in order. Thanks to my generous aunt, I got the small start up moneies needed to be totally official and meet all requirements. with insurance, licenses, etc. It’s a lot of work and detail, but worth it. Can I give up the day job yet? No. But that day will be coming. Here is a great article in the New York times addressing that very issue. Read it if you want to take a leap into entrepreneurship. I think this is the wisest way to start and I realize it means burning the candle at both ends. But the payoff will be worth it.

My latest client  wanted a whole Cape Cod Surf and Turf Theme . She had very definitive views of what she wanted food wise and her decor which was lovely. Naturally I knew I had to add Lobster Rolls to my menu proposal as well. They were the hit of the party! I remember those fantastic lobster rolls I had in Boston a few years ago. There are two camps for making Lobster Rolls. The simple rich decadent tossed  in butter  method or the Celery  and Mayo way.

Here is a simple recipe  to celebrate the last few days of summer. My recipe in my head is for 200 mini Lobster rolls , but I will pare it down to give you an idea of proportions. The key to a great Lobster Roll, which will have people bursting into your kitchen demanding more, like the the party guests, is a heavily buttered toasted bun. I also used a mixture of Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream cut into the mayonnaise to add extra flavor, and reduce an overly mayonnaise, fatty taste. A little secret a chef taught  me along the way.

Here was the final menu for the event. The top hits being the Lobster Rolls, Beef Tenderloin Crostinis with choice of Horseradish Aioli or Red Pepper Aioli, and the Herb Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms topped with Tallegio. Oh and Shrimp and Deviled eggs with Wasabi! It was all so good.

Traditional Deviled Eggs and Wasabi Deviled Eggs

Old Bay Marinated Shrimp on Skewers

Herb Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms topped with Tallegio Chesse

Lobster Rolls

Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Red Pepper Aioli or Horse Radish Aioli

Cheese and Relish Platter with Coco’s Picklings Giardiniera

Warm Spiced Mixed Nuts ( Pistachios, Pecans,Cashews, Almonds)


Mini Lobster Rolls
Recipe type: Entree
A entree or appetizer for a summer soiree.
  • Lobster Claw and Knuckle Meat ( wholly cooked frozen and defrosted)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream
  • Celery finely minced
  • Celery Seeds
  • Celery Salt
  • Melted Butter
  • Mini Croissants (cut in half) or a split Hot dog Bun type of bread for an Entree
  1. Remove the lobster meat from the shells and place in bowl.
  2. Depending on quantities needed , take 1 part mayonnaise to ⅓ part cream fraiche or sour cream. You don't want to much of this and you want the lobster salad to hold and not be soupy.
  3. Add minced celery( again depending on quantity and taste)
  4. Add a pinch of celery salt and celery seeds to taste to build up to taste.
  5. Mix thoroughly and chill until ready to use.
  6. In a separate pot melt the amount of butter needed to dip and toast the quantity of bread you are using.
  7. If you serving these as appetizers cut the mini croissants in half and split lengthwise.
  8. In a grill pan or skillet pour in some butter to soak the bread in.
  9. Place the buns split open to absorb the butter and lightly toast on each side. Set aside until ready to fill.
As I made this recipe for a very large crowd, I am giving you the ingredients and method, as opposed to actual quantities of ingredients.

Off to do another proposal for a client on this rare day off. Life is good. Enjoy it and embrace it.

Various Pickled Peppers and Scuppernong Fail… Ideas for Meatless Monday

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Food Blogs are full of culinary success stories. Few of us own up to our failures. As you know I’m on a canning kick this summer,but have failed miserably with my confitures. Now my pickles have been exceptional! No jam or jelly I have attempted this year has set properly. Yes I used pectin and still fail. I don’t know about you but the thought of remaking and reprocessing doesn’t appeal to me at all. A peach brown sugar /balsamic jam turned into a lovely glaze for pork and chicken. So not a complete fail. I read one high brow blogger in her air of superiority claim

Pectin was for the timid…

Well color me timid, because if it doesn’t work with pectin, its not going to work for me without pectin. And some fruits need that Pectin push more so than others due to natures genetic makeup.

I find my inspiration to blog from the grocery aisles , travels,dining out, and markets. I saw these ugly yet beautiful Scuppernongs in the new market around the corner. I have always been fascinated with name Scuppernong. It resounds in my mind and I can’t place the origin. Scuppernong are a form of muscadine that’s prevalent in the Southern states, particularly North Carolina. Wines and jellies are common culinary applications . Scuppernongs have thick skins and seeds, but yield plenty of juice. After mashing , cooking , and straining, my beautiful golden jelly did not set. They still sit sealed , as I wonder what to do with them. Perhaps a pate fruit? I hate waste.

I have had some success over the past month. They are proving popular as I give them away to friends.

I love pickled onions. And I love heat. Playing around with various peppers I came up with the this great pickle to use atop sandwiches or serve up with greens. Use your imagination.


Pickled Onions and Peppers

* I’m not exact giving measurements , as that would depend on your batch. But this roughly makes 6 pint jars. Vary your peppers according to taste and heat sensitivity.

  • 2 large red onions, sliced
  • 2 Habenero Peppers
  • 6-7 Serrano
  • 2 Cubannelle or other sweet pepper
  • 2-3 whole all spice
  • 1 teaspoon hot mustard seed
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic sliced into slivers
  • 1/4 cup Coarse Kosher Salt
  • White Vinegar
  1. Slice your peppers. Leave the seeds in the Serranos, but seed your Cubanelles and Habenerros.
  2. In a lidded food grade container, place your sliced onions, and peppers.
  3. Cover with salt and add water to cover.
  4. Let soak overnight in the refridgerator.
  5. Drain salt water off the onions and peppers.
  6. Sterilize jars and lids.
  7. Heat White Vinegar and all spice to a boil.
  8. Pack the onions and peppers tightly with some garlic slivers for each jar.
  9. Pour hot vinegar solution over the vegetables leaving slight head space.
  10. Cap and Seal.
  11. Process for 10 minutes in a water bath.
  12. Let flavors settle in jar for at least 2 days .


This recipe follows the same principle as above. I was walking with my friend Beth last week at the Logan Square Market and knew I had to pickle these babies. I added fresh basil and local Wisconsin garlic to the mix. Pickled whole, they will be beautiful on and Antipasti or relish tray for the heat lover.


Pickled Michigan Cherry Pepper Poppers

* makes 4 pint jars

  • 1 pint/punnet of pepper poppers or cherry peppers.
  • White Vinegar to cover
  • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Dried Italian herbs
  • 2-3 cloves whole garlic
  1. Stem and soak whole pepper with seeds intact in salt and water solution.They may float so you can weight down with plate. Soak for 4-6 hours.
  2. Drain.
  3. Sterilize jars and lids
  4. Heat Vinegar , sugar, and dried herbs to a rolling boil.
  5. Pack whole peppers, basil, and garlic in jars tightly. They may crush a bit and that’s OK.
  6. Cap and seal.
  7. Process in water bath for 10 minutes.
  8. Let set for 2 days in the jar.


I suggest you consider these pickled vegetables to jazz up your Meatless Monday Fare. Think Falafel sandwiches!

Kentucky Pulled Pork

I like to call this Kentucky Pulled Pork. The recipe was given to me by a genuine Kentuckian, Mel Doerr. Now Mel is what I would like to call my spiritual adviser, who I have consulted with for years. His intuition and instinct are always been dead on, so naturally I trust his recipe. He gave me this recipe for a crock pot style slow cooked pulled pork ,handed down from his grandmother.What makes it true Kentucky Pulled Pork is that shot ( or two ) of Bourbon you are going to add.Yes sir, Bourbon! No need to slave over an open pit barbecue, turn on that crock pot this summer and save some electricity while staying cooler in the process. Mel also mentioned his coleslaw, but didn’t provide a formal recipe. The draw to his coleslaw was pineapple. Pineapple and Pork are always delicious. This recipe is really easy. Yes it takes approx two days with marination and cooking, but it’s worth it and wont cause you a lot anxiety in preparation. It practically cooks itself!


Kentucky Pulled Pork

*time preparation approx 2 days. 10 hours slow cooking.

  1. Marinate all ingredients over night in a non reactive food grade container with lid.
  2. Place in Crock Pot with a little extra liquid (water) and set for 10 hours.I also added an optional few drops of liquid smoke toward the end of cooking.
  3. Serve with coleslaw.

Coleslaw With Pineapple

  • 1 head of cabbage shredded
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 small can of crushed pineapple with its syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 carrot grated
  1. Mix all ingredients together. Start with the 1/2 cup of Mayonnaise and add more as needed. You don’t want your slaw too runny.
  2. Adjust to taste
  3. Chill and let set for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator


Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Bacon

Consider this a creative variation of a BLT sandwich.In this case I skipped the L (lettuce). I love fried green tomatoes with a spicy remoulade. Having purchased some , with a slab of hickory bacon , the creative juices were flowing.I posted about Fried Green tomatoes before. Paired with a sweet and spicy remoulade, this sandwich is full of tangy zip. So if you like fried green tomatoes and want an usual sandwich, try this . If you don’t eat bacon , try substituting turkey bacon instead. Enjoy.


Perfect Fried Green Tomatoes

4 green tomatoes
1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk with a few tsp of vinegar/lemon juice
( allow to sit for 5 minutes or more)
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup corn meal
1 tsp cayenne pepper
vegetable oil

  1. Prep your station with a dish of buttermilk, a dish of
    beaten egg, and a dish of corn meal .
  2. Mix 1 tsp of cayenne
    and salt in the corn meal.
  3. Slice green tomatoes into 1/2
    inch rounds.
  4. Dip each slice first in buttermilk, then egg, then
    dredge in cornmeal.
  5. Heat approx 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a fry pan.
  6. Fry tomato
    slices until golden and crispy on each side.
  7. Drain finished pieces
    on paper towels.
  8. Sprinkle with additional salt if desired.
  9. Set aside until assembly of sandwich.

Spicy Sweet Remoulade

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix.
  2. Chill until ready to use.

Assembly of Sandwich

Components Needed:

  1. Bread of choice ( Italian loaf, sandwich roll, kaiser roll, etc)
  2. 3 strips of crispy bacon for each sandwich
  3. 2-3 slices of fried green tomato
  4. Remoulade to spread

Spread Remoulade on each slice of bread. Place the fried green tomato slices. Top with bacon.