In the kitchen with Dr. Eric Louer

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Tarte Tatin (Upside-down apple pie)
Dough (for two pies)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. melted or softened butter
Scant 1/2 cup warm water
Mix all ingredients and form a ball. Refrigerate dough until firm
Use half for tart, other half can be frozen or refrigerated for other use, like a quiche
Tarte Tatin
1/2 cup sugar
7 medium size Golden Delicious apples
4 tbsp. butter
Make caramel by boiling 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp. water, taking care not to burn caramel
Pour in a pie dish to evenly cover bottom
Cut 4 tbsp. butter in small pieces and place on caramel
Peel, core and cut apples
Place apples on caramel with rounded side down, using apple wedges to fill gaps
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes
In meantime, spread ½ of the dough on a floured surface and roll into a circle a bit bigger than the pie dish
After apples have baked for 20 minutes remove from oven, cover apples with dough and bake at 400 degrees for approximately. 25 minutes or until pastry is golden
Let pie cool then invert onto a serving dish, larger than the pie, with a lip
Pie can be served with ice cream or Crème Fraiche
Crème Fraiche can be prepared by blending equal parts sour cream and heavy cream and letting set for a few hours.


Eric Louer, doctor of veterinary medicine, is a long way from his birthplace and from where he first learned to care about and treat animals. Three thousand, five hundred miles, or so. But the good doctor has been a fixture in West Milford since 1994 as both the owner and practice director of the Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital (GLAH) in Hewitt and a resident of the township.

Born in Caen in the Normandy region of France 53 years ago, his family moved around some to accommodate his father’s engineering job. As a child, he had the usual complement of pets; turtles, hamsters and cats, but by third grade his interest in animals blossomed. He was a fan of the American TV shows “Daktari” and “Flipper.” Soon, all of his reading revolved around animals.

In France, as in America, entrance to veterinary school can be challenging but Louer succeeded and graduated in 1984 from Alfort University of Veterinary Medicine in Paris.

After graduation, Louer spent a year in his country’s service, working with military dogs. Following that he became a partner in a mixed practice, 80 miles north of Paris.

“It was mostly a small animal practice but we had some large animals, too. We had 5,000 cattle to take care of,” he said.

He enjoyed working with farm animals but the economic environment changed. Small farms were gobbled up by big farms and there was a shift towards more agriculture.

Coming to America

Even busy veterinarians have to take a vacation and Louer took one lucky ski trip to Switzerland. That’s where he met Carol, a Jersey girl, also on vacation. After crisscrossing the ocean, Louer decided he would come to America and the couple married here in 1990.

When he arrived in the States, he attended the Animal Center in New York City and the New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania to become licensed in this country.

While waiting to take his examinations, he became a technician at an Emerson veterinary facility. When he earned his license in 1991, he became a veterinarian and associate in Emerson. Opportunity knocked when a practice became available in West Milford in 1994 and he answered the call.

The Louers are the parents of Ryan, 21, who is looking towards medical school, and Kevin, 19, who wants to pursue engineering. That should keep Louer working for some time to come.

A day at the office

As the owner of the practice, Louer works four 12-hour days at the facility and catches up on paper work on days off.

He has three full-time veterinarians on staff as well as an office manager, a staff of technicians and Carol Louer works as a part-time administrator. All, he said, are very attentive to the well-being of the pets.

Louer’s practice consists mainly of canine and feline patients with an occasional ferret in the mix. In general, the practice consists of medical, surgical, dental and radiology care. And sometimes an animal control officer may call on Louer for wild life emergency care. Take “Brutus” for instance, a 725 pound black bear who was hanging around the Elks club several years ago.

“They (New Jersey Department of Wildlife) called and said a bear was trapped. He had an old injury, his nose was ripped, just dangling, and I did reconstruction surgery,” said Louer.

When “Brutus” woke up from his anesthesia, he was released in West Milford – but he didn’t come back for his follow up, Louer said.

The most common visits to the GLAH involve gastrointestinal problems, skin issues, ear infections, lameness and fight injuries. New techniques, drugs and equipment are available.

“There’s a lot of variety and it makes it interesting, sometimes stressful but not routine. Medicine is a changing field,” Louer said and reported great improvements in pain management and anesthetics.

But with all the innovative treatments available, there still comes a time when a pet nears the end of its life.

“That’s the worst time, a kind of failure that we cannot extend life or treat incurable diseases. It’s always very emotional; pets are part of a family," he said. "When there’s no option, no treatment possible, and the animal is suffering and dying – there’s a point for a peaceful end.”

Louer said pet owners should be alert for changes in their pets; lethargy, refusal to eat or drink, coughing or vomiting, for example.

“They have bad days, too, but you need to be observant of abnormal behavior.” He advises practicing preventative measures; flea and tick products, heart worm medicine and routine dental care.

Time off

Louer is an avid squash enthusiast as well as a biker. He enjoys swimming, scuba diving and travel, especially to France to visit family. He likes the rural nature of West Milford and spoke highly of his clientele and the friendliness of the community.

When it comes to the kitchen, the doctor is definitely in. He is famous for his desserts and bakes birthday cakes for his staff. He enjoys traditional French cooking, using many of his mother’s recipes.

By submitting his recipe for Tarte Tatin, he is helping to promote French cuisine into the wilds of West Milford, as well as eliciting a lot of “mmmmm, delicious” comments.

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