Saturday, August 18, 2012

My German Kitchen


I love food.  I love to eat it, read about it, talk about it, smell it, watch TV about it and most of all, cook it.  I’m getting used to my German kitchen, but it definitely took some adjusting.  This is what my oven control looks like.  Google translate wasn’t much help here, but I think I've kind of got it figured out! 

  
One of my favorite things about traveling is trying and being inspired by different kinds of food.  It has also been a lot of fun trying out new things from the German grocery stores.  I can pretty much tell what most of the stuff is, but being able to read labels and nutrition information is a luxury at the commissary! 

We’ve been here in Germany now almost four months.  (One of those months was spent in a hotel room and eating out!)  People have asked me what I’ve been up to while Kyle’s at work.  (I’m not going to be a bum forever; I’m just enjoying my summer!  Teachers get used to those summers!)  I’ve been our own personal travel agent.  Right now I’m planning for our Mediterranean cruise that leaves in just over a week!  I’ve been a handy woman spiffing up our house.  I’ve been a gardener taking care of our yard that was forsaken for probably many years before we came to its rescue.  I’m a very good personal shopper, making sure we fit in with the Germans.  I'm Gizmo's dog-walker.   My favorite job (I guess hobby is more like it) that I’ve had this summer is cooking.

I did plenty of cooking back in Maryland.  We had a homemade dinner and leftovers to take to work for lunch everyday.  However, while you’re working full time with a 30-45 minute commute, you don’t always have the time or energy to create what you’re capable of.  Time has been on my side this summer in the cooking department.  I’ve loved having the time to browse my cooking magazines and old cookbooks, foodie blogs, Pinterest, and my favorite cooking websites for ideas and inspiration.  Here are some of the things I’ve cooked this past week. 

Ratatouille is a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy fresh summer vegetables.  You can pretty much use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  It sounds kind of fancy, but it’s super easy.  We ate it over zucchini cakes and with some fresh bruschetta over toasted bread cubes.  It makes a lot, but if you have tons left over, throw it in a blender to make pasta sauce for tomorrow night’s dinner.

Ratatouille

 This dinner was inspired by my Kona Brewery Koko Brown beer that I’ve been craving all summer and found in London.  I was saving the beer to drink with the perfect, grilled, summer meal and I was not disappointed.  We had hickory smoked chimichurri pork chops with grilled butternut squash, skewered pineapple and onions, and steamed broccoli.  I’m now obsessed with chimichurri.  If you’re tired of pesto, try chimichurri instead!  (Just make sure your significant other eats it also-TONS of garlic!)

Chimichurri chops

 Chana masala is an Indian dish that is savory and smells amazing when it’s simmering with all of the different spices.  It’s kind of like chicken tikka masala using chick peas instead of chicken.  The sauce is tomato based and is a bit lighter and fresher than chicken tikka.  We ate ours over cous cous with roasted vegetables.  (I love roasted vegetables.  Name a vegetable and tell me that it doesn’t taste better roasted.)

Chana Masala

This chicken is about as easy as it gets.  It's called "Please Your Man Chicken" and I found it on Pinterest. It would be great for an easy weeknight dinner.  It’s boneless, skinless, chicken thighs baked in Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and a little vinegar topped with whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.  It’s really delicious and sooooo easy.  Alongside the chicken we had sautéed zucchini and sweet potato cakes.  I was tired of the usual ways that we eat sweet potatoes so I came up with the cakes.  Just bake the potatoes, peel and mash them, add some flour, butter and an egg and whatever seasonings you like.  (I used a little brown sugar, cinnamon, ground chipotle, and a sprinkle of salt.)  Then throw them in a skillet just like you would a pancake.  They would also be good as breakfast pancakes with maple syrup, raisins, and toasted pecans (minus the chipotle of course).  

Please Your Man Chicken.  It did please my man, and me!

  Sometimes you just want old fashioned American cook out food.  I saw a TV program on Netflix that showed the best sandwiches in America.  One of the sandwiches was a burger from Atlanta that I couldn’t stop thinking about.  That means it’s time to get out the charcoal!  I cooked the whole meal outside on the grill with a cold beer in my hand.  (I love summer!)  With our burgers we had potato and onion packets and corn on the cob.  Simple, delicious, comfort food.

That is a tasty burger!
German "American" Buns

If you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself.  That’s definitely true when it comes to Mexican food in Germany.  When I have a craving, it usually has something to do with Mexican food.  The Mexican food we’ve had here is not up to par, so I make it myself.   Last week I made shredded pork tacos with rice and Mexican street corn, so our fix for this week was chicken tortilla soup.  (I know, it’s probably more Tex-Mex, but it’s still sooo good!)  Half of the goodness of chicken tortilla soup is all of the toppings- cheese, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.  I can’t have avocados, lime, and cilantro in the house without making fresh guacamole, so it went right along with the soup.  Mmmmm mmmmm good.  

Chicken Tortilla Soup

 If you’ve made it this far you must be a fellow foodie!  Let me know if you want any of the recipes.  Thanks for reading.  Happy eating!

3 comments:

  1. I hate your oven. It confuses me!

    I love the burgers! You can tell that the buns are "American Style" 'cuz they have a little flag in them!

    P.S. "American Style" feels like a new phrase to me...

    Happy cooking!

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    1. I had hatred for my oven at first when my muffins came out black, but now we get along :-) It's funny the stuff they put "American" on like some types of ketchup, Barbeque, sliced bread...There are also some very funny "American" brands of whiskey and bourbon that I've never heard of and sound very scary. We've been to eat at an "American" restaurant called Route 66. They served burgers, ribs, and steaks but they were definitely Germanized! They did however get the Sam Adams right!

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