It’s strange how history influences what we eat, or where a certain dish is eaten. Just like pizza went wherever Italians went, you can find Goulash wherever the Austrian-Hungarian empire went and then some. Originally coming from Hungary it was quickly adapted throughout. It can be made cheaply and without much attention. The German speaking military calls their field kitchen goulash canons, because its properties are great to make goulash.

I grew up with goulash and it was part of my diet for many years since it’s been offered regularly in company restaurants, or as goulash soup in bars as typical bar food. This recipe uses the crock pot which is great to get the meat tender, once it’s been seared and browned a pan.

Recipe: Goulash
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
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  • 1 pound beef, diced for stew
  • 2 peppers, red preferred, but any color is fine
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cans (14oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 3 table spoons of extra sweet paprika
  • 2 table spoons regular paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tea spoon caraway seeds
  • 1 cup of water or red wine
  • olive oil
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  1. Heat up the crock pot on high.
  2. Dice the onion and the peppers.
  3. I prefer to slice the garlic here, but using the garlic press is fine as well
  4. Brown the beef in a pan.
  5. Drain the fat and leave some to saute the onions in.
  6. Transfer the beef into the crock pot
  7. Saute the onions and the garlic in the same pan.
  8. Add them into the crock pot.
  9. Add diced peppers and 2 cans of diced tomatoes.
  10. Add the spices.
  11. Add some water and mix thoroughly
  12. Once the mixture is boiling (takes 1 hour or so), set the pot to low heat.
  13. Cook for 5 more hours and stir occasionally
  14. Serve with boiled potatoes or noodles and a green salad

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German Potato Salad

Yes, potato salad. Nothing special about it. Plenty of dishes called for this potato salad and it was just a given. You only start missing it when you can’t have it. Like when you move to California. They do have decent potato salad there as well. Mayo based. You start wondering why mayo based potato salad is different and can’t tell at first. Until you call your mother and ask how she makes potato salad and she mentions vinegar. Of course, it took me five more years to write down the recipe, since I had to make potato salad on request.

The only problem is the potato selection. Back home an entire vocabulary is build around it: Boils firm, good for potato salad and other secret words. None of them have been translated for me and I have to find out through experimenting. I know the standard red potatoes are just fine for potato salad and Yukon Gold are okay. I’ll conquer the secrets some day.

Recipe: German Potato Salad
Recipe type: Side
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Serves: 4
  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 8 oz bacon
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  1. Boil the potatoes and dice or slice them afterwards.
  2. Saute the onions until just a bit glassy, don't let them get brown.
  3. Fry the bacon and cut or break it into small pieces.
  4. Mix the dressing: broth, vinegar, oil, mustard, sugar, pepper.
  5. In a small pot, heat the mixture until boiling and stir it through for a minute.
  6. Add the onions to the potatoes and poor the dressing on top.
  7. If vegetarians are around, keep the bacon pieces on the side, otherwise add them.
  8. Mix everything through.
  9. Can be served warm or cold.

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Bacon and Green Bean Stew

Imagine your 8 year old in front of a plate of broccoli. That’s me sitting in front of this stew. We had it relatively often, since it was easy to make and the ingredients weren’t to expensive. And making a big portion of it wasn’t hard, either. There was just the resistance of a rebellious youth to deal with.
The stew eventually grew on me and I was happy when it was served. I didn’t have this dish for many years, since I had left for Munich and the US, because I was only rarely eating at my parents house, and when, it was usually a more festive meal. It is something for every day, something great for a cold fall or winter day. Warms you up from the inside.

Recipe: Bacon and Green Bean Stew
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
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Serves: 4
Easy stew
  • 1 pound green beans
  • ½ pound thick sliced bacon or diced ham
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • olive oil
  • pepper
  • salt
  • garlic optional
  • nutmeg optional
  1. Dice onion and potatoes.
  2. Cut the beans and bacon into ½-1 " pieces
  3. Heat the oil and fry bacon and onions in a large sauce pan until the bacon is light brown and the onions glassy. Don't let the bacon harden.
  4. Add some garlic, pepper and salt to taste.
  5. A sprinkle of nutmeg is optional.
  6. Add beans and potatoes and add vegetable stock until most is covered.
  7. Boil for 20 minutes and stir occasionally.
  8. Stir one final time until all the water has been soaked up by the potatoes

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Eggplant Pasta

It can’t get any easier than that. What do you do if your wife loves eggplant parmiggiano, but you really hate the breading and frying part of it? Here’s the answer. Just dice the eggplant already, fry them in the pan in oil and cover it in the same pasta sauce you’d be using for eggplant parmiggiano. Et Voila. You see, I speak multiple languages.

Oh, some trick in preparing eggplant. Follow the link.

Recipe: Eggplant Pasta
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
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An easy variation on pasta and pre-made sauce
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 pound of pasta (spaghetti, penne, you name it)
  • 1 pound of pasta sauce
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350-375 F
  2. Peel and dice the eggplant.
  3. Roast the diced eggplant in a pan.
  4. Transfer the eggplant into a fireproof dish.
  5. Add the pasta sauce.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Cook the pasta in parallel

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