Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Family Files: Part III

My dad and I may not really look alike, but we are alike on the inside.  We have some similar characteristics (our go-go-go vacation attitudes, for one!) and like the same sorts of movies and museums.  We decided to check the Deutsches Museum (kind of a German Smithsonian).  Filled with planes, ships, spaceships, machines, and an extremely memorable (and LONG) mining exhibit, it was just our kind of place.

Fun.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Food I Didn't Make

I have culinary adventures both in and OUT of my kitchen.  Enjoying some family Bubble Tea (Perlentee) time in Munich.



Family Files: Part II

We left lovely Austria and headed back "home" (well for me, anyway) to Germany.  We drove through pastoral Bayern (Bavaria) and admired the cows.  We paused in a tiny alpine village to see the church, to stretch our legs, and admire the awe-inspiring views.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Half German Half Swedish

Headed up north to Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony).

And.

SWEDEN!

Looking forward to discovering the other half of my ancestry.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Family Files: Part I

My family came.  We went to the Alps.  And to Salzburg.  And to St. Gilgen.  It was lovely.  Perfect weather.  Time together.  Grateful that it could happen.

Love you all!  So glad you could be here with me in this place.


I think I was first in line when they were handing out families :)

Orange You Glad...

I like Orange food didn't you know?  Especially when it tastes like Oranges.  I can't figure out if Oranges were named after Orange, or if Orange was named after Oranges?  Very confusing.  Something to ponder while I made this:


The most time-consuming cake in the world.  And OH so worth it.  Oh my, yes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pancake Days: Orange and Blackberry (almost) Gluten Free


What we eat for breakfast says a lot about who we are, culturally.  That makes me sound a little like Dr. Emma, "excuse-me-while-I-button-my-tweed-suit" the breakfast anthropologist.  No matter.  I grew up eating cereal every day.  Hot breakfasts were served for lunch or dinner (think coffee cake, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and bacon).  Here in Germany, breakfast is also cold.  People eat bread plain (like a pretzel or a Quarktasche) or rolls with jam, cold cuts, cheese, butter, or nutella.  They also eat muesli and yogurt.  I rather like this system too, and I've gotten quite used to it.  I just can't QUITE get on board with the sit-down hot breakfast.  It just seems like too much food, too warm, and too early.

Except.

I have a real thing for pancakes.  Thick.  Fluffy.  Golden.  Delicious.  Pancakes.  It's kind of a recent thing.  An infatuation, if you will.  Not sure if it will stand the test of time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chocolate for Breakfast

Starting my day off right with kefir, kamut, cocoa powder, and frozen cherries.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jakobuskirche

One of the quieter corners of the Altstadt is home to the Jakobuskirche, one of the many Lutheran (known in German as "Evangelisch") churches in the city.  Tuebingen is heavily Protestant, a strange characteristic in the predominately Catholic south.

It was a lovely sunny day, so I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the neighborhood.  All that pretty green!


And for the V family, I saw a little boy, about ten years old, on the bus who was the spitting image of A!  Really.  I kept surreptitiously staring at him thinking "wow, I CAN SEE THE FUTURE!" 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

American Food: Marshmallows

I've been cooking and baking for a long time.  At this point, I know what a pinch of salt looks like, the science behind a good cookie dough, and what consistency a cake batter should have.  I know when to flip a pancake to get that perfect golden color, how to tell if a watermelon is ripe, how to bake a loaf of bread, and that grilled cheese sandwiches are never done when you think they are.

I know a lot.  I am so grateful to all the people who taught me to cook.  Grateful, too, for the time and space I've had to experiment.  I'm quite simply blessed.

But there's still stuff I DON'T know.  How to work with sugar is one of them.  It's incredibly frustrating, to be honest.  Sugar has a mind of its own and is devilishly sticky.  For bowl-scraping-don't-waste-a-drop people like me, it's especially aggravating.
After a long and unsuccessful search, I decided to make some marshmallows.  They don't really exist here (except, uhm, in mouse-shapes?) and we're cooking out again tomorrow.  S'mores are one of the hallmarks of American cookouts.  I needed to introduce them to the Fatherland ;)  Continue reading to see HOW.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Pudding for Pudding


For lots of people, Rice Pudding is the ultimate comfort food.  They have memories of their grandmothers ladling spoonfuls of the stuff filled to bursting with plump juicy raisins and sweet cinnamon.  I don't remember the first time I ate rice pudding, but it certainly wasn't in such a setting.  It was probably at summer camp or somewhere institutional like that.  Since it was clearly not memorable, I probably found it just ok.  For whatever reason I have always found it a bit "blah."  It just never excited me the way a chocolate layer cake or a crumble or ice cream would, until now.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

On Repeat

Have you ever liked something so much that you wanted to make it again and again?  I have.  Just pulled a second batch of orange cookies out of the oven.

This time with cocoa powder in the place of part of the flour ( I also used more orange zest and used spelt flour in place of the whole wheat flour).


Sweet.

Monday, May 7, 2012

FYI: The Goodness Keeps Going

***
Welcoming Monday with cocoa-orange-coconut qinoa.  Happy breakfasting.  Thank you God for the little things in life.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

For My Grown-Up Taste Buds

My maternal grandmother always had this bowl of potpourri on the table in the basement kitchen.  I remember  being fascinated by it for several reasons.  Firstly, because when I held a chunk right under my nose it was strong enough to make me want to sneeze.  Secondly, because it was her favorite shade of cranberry-red that populated the whole house.  Thirdly, because there was a whole dried pomegranate, right smack dab in the middle.  When I shook it, the seeds inside made a pleasant rattling sound.  One Christmas I remember running down to the kitchen to check on that potpourri bowl (the work of a seven-year-old is just never-ending!) and finding a new addition.

There, right next to the pomegranate was a ball the size of an orange wrapped in foil to look like, well, an orange.  My mom explained that it was her favorite sort of chocolate, orange-flavored.  I was certain (one of my many drastic seven-year-old opinions) that nothing could be quite so gross.

Fast forward 12 years (uhm.  wow.) and I've discovered the delights of orange and chocolate.  Not sure how it happened, but one morning I woke up determined to make orange chocolate cookies.  Thankfully this bright and cheerful blog had a post dedicated to orange cookies.  After dipping them in a little chocolate, I had my fix.

No pictures for now :(  If I manage to get my act together before I devour them, I'll add some ;)

It Rained Again

I have now been to Stuttgart twice.  It rained both times.  The first time, it was sorta ok because we were inside for most of it.  This time, it was less ok, because we were at Fruhlingsfest.  Fruhlingsfest is a cross between a giant carnival and a beer-drinking extravaganza.  It's a bit like Oktoberfest in Munich, just less well known, not as crazy, and smaller.  We set out in the rain, optimistic that it would brighten up later.  Hah.  We got to Stuttgart in the pouring rain.  It stopped as we walked into the fairground, but rained intermittently for the rest of the day.  It would pour furiously for 10 minutes, stop for twenty, brighten up for a bit, and then repeat the cycle.  After wandering through the entire area, we decided to pick a Biergarten.  We (rather Americanly, I must say) settled on the first one we saw.  They allowed half the group in, and then told the rest of us we needed to wait at the third entrance.  We figured it would be a few minutes wait, maybe 15 or so, and then we would be allowed in.  Wrong.  One and a half hours later, we were STILL standing in exactly the same section of the line, plaintively singing along to Sweet Caroline and huddling under our umbrellas.  Not fun.  We left after the guard explained that the wait could be a couple more hours.  Uhm.  Experience not worth it.

We made our way to a quieter section of the fest filled with booths selling Dirndls and Lederhosen and traditional cuisine like potatoes, spaetzle, and wurst.  Lots of wurst.  We found our own table with an umbrella.  Good thing too, because it was pouring.  *le sigh*

Later we found an Irish bar to watch the Chelsea-Liverpool game.  It smelled like home and the bartenders were actual Irish(wo)men.  It was odd and strange and wonderful to be in a place where English was the preferred language.

Sorry for the bad pictures.  There was just no time (or motivation) what with the weather and the large group to stop and snap good ones.  Here's the Biergarten we stood in line for forever:


View from our umbrella-table:



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beets Me




I made pasta once before.  It was sticky and eggy and not quite delicious.  Passable, yes.  Fabulous, no.  Pasta is cheap, and I don’t like it all that much anyway, so why bother making it?  After discovering the blog Pure Vege, that I highlighted in a previous post, I knew that attitude had to change.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lemon Tea Bread

I've been having a less-than stellar week.  It's been a little tough to keep my head above water for whatever reason.  When I feel that kind of stress, my go-to activity is cooking.  Somehow the motions and and control are calming.  Evaluating, mixing, spreading, baking.  I love the repetition and the peace.  Today I made lemon tea bread, because I was craving a sweet dessert.  I adapted this recipe to use up some of the packages and ingredients (including lemons) currently populating my corner of the fridge.  Pumpkin Lemon Bread was born.


Continue reading for the recipe