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Posts Tagged ‘Spring’

*I found this prepared post deep in my drafts. It may not be spring and there is certainly no white asparagus available at the moment, but I still wanted to share a simple, elegant, delicious recipe. I hope you all have had a wonderful start to your work week.

I love Italian and Indian food, both of which are very vegetarian friendly.

In the land of sausages and salami however, being a vegetarian doesn’t make traditional food very accessible.

I sometimes feel a bit guilty for refusing to eat the food that is so important to the German culture.

Luckily, there are a few traditional German dishes that I adore, in all their meat-free ways.

This simple, spring soup is one of my favorite traditional dishes, spargelcremesuppe or cream of asparagus soup.

Using the white asparagus from my CSA box, this recipe was not only traditional, but local, too.

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White Asparagus Soup

Adapted from this recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 c. chopped onion

2 Tablespoons butter

1- 1 1/2 pounds white asparagus, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces, heads reserved

2 small potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup cream

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dry white wine, to taste

Parsley for garnish

Method

  1. Peel the asparagus from the head down. Remove the heads and reserve for later. Cut off and dispose the woody ends of the asparagus then cut the remaining asparagus into small pieces.
  2. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in the butter until soft. Add the pieces of asparagus (minus the heads) and the potatoes, steam for 5 minutes. Add the broth and boil gently for about 30 minutes, or until the asparagus is very soft.
  3. Purée the soup using a hand blender.
  4. Bring the soup to a simmer and add the reserved asparagus heads. Cook at least 5 minutes, or until they are fork-tender. Remove from heat and add the cream.
  5. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Stir in a splash or two of white wine or vermouth. Garnish with parsley.
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During the month of May, my CSA box came bearing rhubarb two times.

Each time, I squealed with joy.

I love the sweet and tangy taste of rhubarb.

Luckily, the May newsletter from Biolandgärtnerei Hüsgen had a whole section on rhubarb. They wrote about the rhubarb fields and how the 1,000 rhubarb plants are cared for and harvested. They also provided three new recipes.

The recipe that really caught my eye was Rhubarb Tiramisu.

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Rhubarb Tiramisu

from Biolandgärtnerei Hüsgen

Ingredients

500 grams rhubarb

100 grams sugar

1 Tablespoon butter

250 grams quark

250 grams mascarpone

1 orange

1-2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

1 package Tiramisu biscuits

Method

  1. Combine the rhubarb, sugar and butter in a saucepan and cook over medium low heat until the rhubarb is a very soft compote. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  2. In another bowl, combine the quark and mascarpone with the juice of the orange. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Whisk in the powdered sugar to taste.
  3. In a medium-sized serving dish, create layers starting with the biscuits then 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture, top that with the cooled rhubarb compote and the remaining mascarpone mixture. Garnish the dish with the zest of an orange.
  4. Cool the tiramisu for at least 3 hours before serving.

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Over the last few weeks, strawberries have burst into season in Germany.

The tiny fruit stand down the road has once again set-up-shop, ready to share the bounty of their berries.

As I approached the stand last week, the smell of strawberries was so pungent, I felt like I was walking through the fields.

In honor of the fresh spring strawberries and their very compatible  blueberry friends, I made a delicious vegan tart.

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The crust was a simple combination of almond meal, maple syrup, coconut oil, salt and almond extract.

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After heating the maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt together over medium-low heat, I added the almond extract then poured the warm mixture over the almond meal.

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Simply fold the mixture until well incorporated then press into an oiled tart pan. P5076197

This crust is baked for 15 minutes before adding the filling.

Speaking of the filling…

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The filling ingredients are apple juice (I used Weber,) cornstarch, maple syrup, lemon juice, almond extract, lemon zest, salt, blueberries and strawberries.

P5076193Half of the apple juice is whisked together with the cornstarch then set aside.

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The mixture will look quite milky.

From here on out, I didn’t take any pictures, but the next step is to cook together the remaining apple juice and zest, maple syrup, lemon juice, almond extract and salt until it simmers.

After that, stir in half of the berries and cook until they release their juices before reducing the heat and adding the cornstarch mixer while continuing to whisk.

Once the mixture is thick, fold in the remaining berries and place the mixture in the prepared crust. Spread evenly, cover and refrigerate until set.P5076204

Delicious, fresh and spring-like!

P5076206

Mixed Berry Tart

Adapted from Clean Start by Terry Walters

Crust

2 cups almond meal

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon almond extract

Filling

1 cup apple juice

2 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

zest of 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh strawberries

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and lightly oil a 9-inch tart pan with coconut oil.
  2. To prepare the crust, combine maple syrup, coconut oil and salt in a small skillet and heat over medium-low hear, whisking continuously until the oil is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the almond extract.
  3. Place the almond meal in a large bowl and pour the syrup mixture over top, folding to incorporate the ingredients.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared tart pan and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove crust from the oven and press down any bubbly areas of the crust. Cool the crust on a wire rack.
  5. To prepare the filling, whisk together 1/2 cup apple juice and the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the remaining 1/2 cup apple juice with the maple syrup, lemon juice and zest, almond extract and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add 1/2 a cup of both the strawberries and blueberries. Stir the mixture until the berries release their liquid.
  6. Reduce the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to whisk until the liquid thickens up. Remove from the heat and gently fold in the remaining berries.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust, cover and refrigerate until the filling is set, at least 1 hour.

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Help

I’m not technically gifted.

My blog is simple.

Simple I can do.

I’ve been wanting to re-do my recipes page for ages.

The last time I even updated the page was in October.

October was 6 whole months ago.

I’ve made a lot of recipes in 6 months.

Yesterday, I finally sat down, determined that updating my recipe page was going to be the big project I would finish before going back to work tomorrow.

I spent 12 hours recreating the recipe page in Window’s Live Writer yesterday.

Every couple of minutes, I saved the draft.

The program was running really slow due to the number of photos on the page, so I decided to create a new page for each food category which would be linked to the main recipes page.

When I went to create the first new page, even though I’d just saved the updated recipe page, the recipe page draft disappeared.

I’ve looked everywhere on the computer.

Sebastian, the computer genius, couldn’t even retrieve it.

My carbonite back up only had the very first save I made, not the additional saves with the changes.

12+ hours of work… gone.

Crap.

Can anyone help me?

I’ve sent help requests to both Window’s Live Writer and Carbonite but have not heard anything back yet.

Any blogger tricks that I don’t know?

On a lighter note, my Grandma sent an old newspaper clipping from 1995 along with my Easter card.

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I’m the pudgy tall girl with her acid-washed jeans just below her armpits in the left. At least I look excited to be in the group.

The photo was from a music and theatre enrichment class I was in in 3rd grade. I was always one of the biggest kids. Even with boys and girls 2 years older than me in the photo, I was still the tallest.

I’m going to bring the clipping into school tomorrow to show my 3rd grade students what I looked like when I was their age.

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While working on my recipe page, I found lots of great recipes that I’d long forgotten about. Lunch today was inspired by one of my favorite meals from last spring.

Ravioli with Asparagus and Arugula

I didn’t have ravioli so used whole wheat penne instead. The dish was still delicious!

The tomatoes and arugula are from my CSA box this week but the asparagus is from the store.

Alright, I have school tomorrow so better get off to bed.

Please let me know if you have any ideas on how to recover my lost/ deleted page draft in Live Writer.

Thanks and good night!

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Two weeks ago, my friend Kim and I got up extra early, found our way to a gas station on an autobahn outside of Cologne, hopped on a bus and drove to the Netherlands.

P4165572 We were on our way to the Keukenhof tulip festival.

After a 5 hour drive, the view from the bus began to change.

P4165573 Fields after fields of brightly colored flowers greeted us around the town of Lisse.

P4165576 You know you’re in the Netherlands when the bike park takes up a quarter of the car park.

P4165589 The Keukenhof is a large, gorgeously maintained garden. Open for only April and May, tourists flock from all ends of the earth to see and smell the fragrant tulips, hyacinth and other spring bulbs.

P4165600 Unfortunately, the swarm of people greatly distracted from the beauty of the grounds. We were led through the tiny footpaths like packed sardines.

That part wasn’t fun.

P4165606 P4165619 It was really difficult to get photos without people’s legs and bottoms in the shot.

P4165636 Whereas Kim tried to avoid photographing anyone but the two of us, I found it so ironic that there were more faces than flowers, I found myself photographing the unbelievable crowds.

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One thing is for sure, the gardens are beautiful.

Spring is my new favorite season.P4165605 P4165620 P4165649 P4165650 P4165651 P4165671 P4165676 The color combinations were so inspiring.

I had planned to pack a lunch for our day trip but the 5:30 wake-up call was early enough- we bought our lunches at the Keukenhof.

P4165610 The most expensive cheese sandwich I have ever eaten.

Later on in the day, we also bought a Dutch sweet.

P4165711 Although these waffles looked delicious, they were too Belgian and we wanted something very Dutch.

P4165713 Our noses found the way to the Dutch caramel waffles.

P4165714 Yummy! Sticky, gooey, hot, sweet waffles!

Although the Keukenhof gardens were beautiful, after a couple of hours we were both feeling a bit irritated by the crowds and needed some space to move.

P4165704 P4165709 We needed to get out of the gardens and into the fields.

P4165729 My friend Kim is a beautiful person, both inside and out. She really has a way to make everyone feel calm, comfortable and beautiful. Even a photo-shy person like me was able to relax while Kim took flower photos.

P4165745 “You need to have photos of you too,” she said. “20 years from now a bunch of photos of flowers won’t matter, but the way you looked as a 25 year old who lived in Germany and travelled to Dutch tulip fields will matter.

P4165625P4165752  P4165756 How right she is.

P4165732 All day, I had my family strongly on my mind.

When I was in 8th grade, my mom and I went to Whidbey Island, Washington to visit my Aunt Bev.

While there, on the same Palm Sunday weekend only 11 years earlier, my mom, aunt and I went to the tulip fields of Skagit Valley.

Seeing the tulip fields in Washington is still one of my favorite memories, and sorry to say it Keukenhof, but the Skagit fields have you beat.

In honor of family ties, here are a few photos from the day that reminded me of my family back home.

P4165660 This one’s for you, Mom, the Jan Bos hyacinth.

P4165726 Ben, if anyone can spin a joke on a long Dutch word, I know you can.

P4165641 Whenever I see bleeding hearts, I think of you, Christopher. Are they still your favorite flower?

P4165767 Here’s a flower-covered airplane float that I knew you would like dad, especially since you didn’t have to sit through a parade to see it.

P4165727 Patrick, you would totally do this. You can’t see from the angle of the photo, but the suited man is also enjoying a beer from atop the street sign.

So, there you have it. Although the Keukenhof tulip festival was a sight to be seen, it was hard to enjoy the sights due to the hordes of people.

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Regardless, I still had a wonderful day with a fantastic friend, and that’s all that really matters.

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Behind the Times

Although I’m a bit behind the times on this Friday afternoon, I wanted to share a few photos from the Bad Godesberg Flea Market last Sunday.

I went to the market with Jan, Zoe and Will. While waiting for a lift, I snapped a few photos of the budding trees outside my apartment.

P4105319 Bursting buds.

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Sunday was sunny and hot with blue skies abounding.

P4105325 As you can imagine, the market was packed!

P4105326 Everyone was out- wandering about, buying and looking at the items for sale.

P4105323 From wild and wacky to collectible and classy, this tiny flea market seems to have it all.

P4105324 P4105329 After a couple of hours, we were all getting a bit hungry. Rather than having a quick and light bite like we’d imagined, we ended up eating at a buffet-style Lebanese restaurant called Sheba.

P4105330 There were many vegetarian options which were all good. You pay by the plate size so are able to eat as much as you can fit on a plate. I would definitely go back as the food was fresh, flavorful and different.

P4105331After lunch, we wandered through the market a bit more before stopping to eat ice cream.

Most of the ice cream parlors in Germany are run by Italian families. They work through the summer months selling the most creamy and delicious ice cream you could imagine, then pack up shop over winter and head back to Italy.

P4105332 As the afternoon activity came to an end, I caught a few more photos of the gorgeous Spring blossoms in Bonn.

P4105334 Speaking of bright red and gorgeous, want to see what I picked up at the flea market?

P4105335 I found an enameled cast iron grill pan in impeccable condition.

P4105338 When I asked the cost and the lady responded with “9 Euros,” I was so excited I didn’t even try to bargain her down.

Gotta love a good price!

P4105336 Already this week, I’ve made a panini pressed between this and my other cast iron pan as well as grilled tofu and zucchini.

If you ever visit Germany, try to find a local flea market. They are a guaranteed good time!

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P4055044 Sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb. Delicious!

For breakfast this past week, I enjoyed oatmeal with a fresh strawberry rhubarb sauce.

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The sauce was very simple. Just a matter of chopping up the fruit and simmering until it was tender. P4055032

I cooked the apples, lemon juice and rhubarb for a little while first then added the strawberries later. P4055041 Vanilla sugar, my new love.P4055046 Good morning, sunshine!

Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal

For the Fruit Sauce

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 apple peeled, cored and diced

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 Tablespoon vanilla sugar, or to taste

For the Oatmeal
1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup soy or rice milk

1/2 cup water

1/2 banana, mashed

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

For the sauce, combine the chopped fruits, water, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil, and simmer on low heat while cooking the oats.

Separately, combine the water, milk, oats and salt. Simmer on low heat, until the oats thicken to a porridge like consistency. Remove from heat, and stir in the mashed banana and cinnamon.

Serve the oatmeal topped with the fruit sauce.

Makes 2 large servings.

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