On April 21 and 22, 2012, Krauted Haus Supper Club will be having their next event, “Eat Your Veggies.” And believe me, if it is anywhere near as good as the last creole-themed get-together on February 12, this is one you won’t want to miss. In order to whet your appetite for the mad culinary skills of these Berlin-based ladies, I’ve decided to relive some highlights from that delectable evening we enjoyed.
I had the pleasure of visiting their venue in Neukölln for Nou Pral Manje (“We’re gonna eat” in Creole), a celebration of Soul Food in a variety of forms. The meal began with sea-salty Oysters Rockefeller, and then continued to a rich, melt-in-your-mouth concoction of Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese. The spicy Blackened Catfish was surprisingly delicious (not a huge catfish fan but I enjoyed every bite), and the dessert of Sweet Tea Pie with candied yams and pecans was a delightfully sugary, nutty, cinnamony finish to the meal. It was very winter-weather satisfying paired with the final cocktail, Bourbon milk with powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
The Krauted Haus (a play on Germanizing ‘crowded house’) team consists of Samantha (Sam) Garfield and Sophie von Oswald, a self-taught food obsessed duo with a passion for taking classics and adding their own special flair to the enjoyment of the dozen or so guests they host a for a couple of evenings row every other month.
The ladies shared some of the background behind how they came to the idea of doing a creole theme. “We were going to do Mexican, but then to be perfectly honest we chickened out a little because it is so hard to do Mexican well. Then we thought about Creole – so much of it is in the comfort food realm, and it is cold outside, so we knew these dishes would be crowd pleasers. Plus we’ve been wanting to experiment with seafood for a while.”
Sophie and Sam described their process of finding inspiration: they brainstorm a theme and then research several types of recipes on the internet. When they find a series of dishes that they like, then they get creative. “Take the Bay Leaf Julep that we served as an example. The Mint Julep is standard, but we love bay leaves, so we tested that out and it was great. Or the Crawfish Mac and Cheese – okay after the fact we found out that someone else has done it before, but at the time we didn’t know that, and we tested and tasted until we created a version that we liked. We just take the classics and switch it up, and most of the time it works out strangely enough.”
When a fellow diner commented that bacon was really in fashion and maybe they should consider a bacon theme, they laughed knowingly. “Actually our last dinner was entirely pork themed. Every. Single. Dish. Even the dessert course had a pie with the crust made out of bacon. It was a little excessive. We each gained five pounds during that one. We even cured our own bacon. Took a big pork belly, seasoned it with juniper berry and garlic and cured it for several days. The only thing we didn’t do was use the curing salt to make it pink, so ours was more brown.”
Wow, that impressed me. Curing your own bacon. Haha, I cannot even imagine being that committed to the cooking process. But I sure as heck can appreciate it from an “eater” point of view. Fabulous!
Seats go fast, so email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to experience Sam and Sophie’s fantastic hospitality.
And if you would like to read about more meals the dynamic duo has whipped up, check out the following resources: