Saturday, March 29, 2008

Isa Pizza

I had a long day and when I got home this evening, I just felt beat... and hungry. I'd defrosted some Isa Pizza dough earlier and had gotten some tofu at the Plus (typical German grocery chain). I decided to make a green garden purée...

so I blanched half of a block of tofu (really helps the tofu absorb other flavors), steam some peas and zucchini, sautéed some onion, added it to the peas and zuc., then sautéed a bit of eggplant with garlic. I puréed together the tofu and steamed veggies with my handy-dandy emersion blender (my absolute favorite kitchen utensil) so it turned a nice light green colour all together; sweet, like spring-time. Oh, and there were seasonings added. If I were you, I'd head for the nooch, peppah, fresh basil and maybe some salt. Then I threw on the eggplant and mixed that in, folded it in my pizza crust, serrated the edges appropriately, revealed by my awesome photo shoot.

It was real big. Plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.

Time to clean and meet people in the city for the evening!

Cheezy Quakers, S'mores, Three Country Point

I seriously heart southerners. Who else would drive by your place on a Friday afternoon to check if you were in? For Germans, it's a serious faux-pas. (side linguistic note: Shouldn't that be "fait pas" or something? "Not do" rather than "fake not"? Or maybe I just don't know what I'm talking about.) I was cleaning the house because I didn't know when my host family would be back (they still aren't), and I hadn't vaccumed all week plus I had quite a few dirty dishes (as you'll note from my baking excursions as you continue reading this narration). We had a coffee and she waited patiently while I finished everything.

Then our question was, "What to do now?" We had an entire Friday afternoon on our hands and Europe at our doorstep! Amanda, the lovely Alabamian, suggested: three country point! A brilliant plan! So we high-tailed it to her loud, muffler-less automobile and found our way to the site where the lands of Belgium, Holland, and Germany intersect. It stands atop of a substantial hill and also marks the highest point in the Netherlands! We found it truly remarkable. Very improper tourists as we are, each of us forgot her camera, so I stole this photo from Wikipedia:

Red is Belgium, Yellow is Netherlands, Black is Germany. You see that little triangle of red that's between Belgium and Germany? I think that that's supposed to mark the land that encompasses Kelmis, my technical town of residence, because in the early 1800s or something, it was it's own seperate country on account of its substantial copper resources; the surrounding contries did not want conflict inflicted by it. Sort-of like what Belgium is in the first place, but that's another story.

Then we went downhill to the Netherlands to buy marshmellows, chocolate, and crossed our fingers for the chance of Graham Crackers or something similar. The latter we did not find, but were happy with the substitution of some Theebiscuits, as they were referred to in their Dutch name. Because of my German skillz, I was able to read the ingredients and decipher that niether the chocolate nor the biscuits contained animal products. The marshmellows, I knew before we embarked on or mission, did contain gelatin, which is a translucent, colourless, brittle, nearly tasteless solid substance, extracted from the collagen inside animals' connective tissue, specifically that of (I believe) our friend, the pig, but I'm not sure. (Thankyou, wikipedia.) Nevertheless, we lone Americans knew that the Europeans had to succomb to the delicious campfire treat known as a S'more. Ethics were temporarily cast aside and I made my way determindly to the check-out, after a short stop in the beer asile.

^A Euro S'more^

Taking advantage of the free house, I invited some Eurofriends over to share my hearth. The Frenchman pretended to be disgusted when he tried his first, "proper" S'more, but we knew that he was really just trying to hide the orgastic pleasure bursting with rich, chocolatey flavour inside his mouth. There was a German/Dutchman as well, who partook of a biscuit and marshmellow sans chocolate as he didn't care for the cocoa-rich sweet very much. He found it odd that he was supposed to eat the entire marshmellow, despite it's charred exterrior, but he indulged all the same. Amanda and I reminisced the days when we could eat about 100 S'mores in one girl-scouty evening and not vomit. After one each on this evening, we were quite full.

And last, but not least, I made some Cheezy Quakers from Céline's have cake, will travel! blog.

recipe here.

They were everything I'd expected them to be and oh so much more. They'd be a great addition to a light, brothy soup or just to serve up to some guests at afternoon tea. They're nice and flaky and I found them cheezy, but my omni friend, Amanda, did not. However, she still enjoyed them. Next time, I think I'll try adding some dried basil, oregano or thyme to the mix to make it a little more diverse.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Does anyone know how to pronounce that word? I haven't a clue, but I do have a feeling that it's not the way that I say it. That sounds like a job for wikipedia... but later.

Because I'm at home alone, I can do whatever I damn well please at whatever time I want, so at 9 last night, I started making gnocchi. It's a good thing to have hanging around in your freezer because... well, who likes pasta out of a bag, anyway?

A recipe for gnocchi is very simple and standard: Cook a potato or two, mash, add olive oil and salt and herbes or whatever else you'd desire in realm of flavor, toss in flour until it becomes soft and not sticky or crumbly. Whatever recipe you do have, though, remember that it makes a hella lot and that it's very time consuming because, if you're like me, you'll want to make each individual pasta that you roll out perfectly pretty like all the rest.

Here's the roll of dough that I cut into "pillows."

I've made gnocchi before, but last time it didn't turn out nearly so good. The dough kept on being too sticky. This time I got a perfect consistency with 1.8lbs of cooked potato (we have a scale at home) and 200ccm (just short of 1 cup) gluten-free corn flour (that's all I had in the cupboard). It gave it a super-nice texture and colour. I don't know about y'all, but I really like yellow foods.

I'll make a meal with these later and let you know. For a much more comprehensive tale of gnocchi, take a look at veganyumyum. I swear that I do read more blogs than just hers, but this is my favorite.

I rolled 'em out on a fork.

I layed them out on sheets and stuck them in the freezer until they were cold enough for me to put them in little plastic bags for more convenient storage.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I just went through and catagorized all the old posts, so if you want to know more about food, language, places, culture, etc., you can just click on the "key word" in the margin and it'll take you posts having to do with just that.

EDA: oh wait. It's not in the margin. Well, maybe it'll be good and maybe it was a waste of my time, but hopefully not the latter.

Easter Saturday

This is what it looked like when I got up around 8AM on Saturday. I had some terrible zombie dreams with Russel Brand in them. I was in the middle of this drug deal that'd gone wrong, so there was gun fire, but like in the movies, so people would be shooting right at me, but I'd never get shot. Plus there were zombies coming to attack, which exacerbated things.

Here are some photos of a CouchSurfing party from Saturday. The hostess made all of these great international dishes. I mean, they were really good. I could eat most of them.

There was Tabouli. A classic.

A potato thing with corn and greens. They were yummy.
Fried plaintains with spicy stuff. I'd never had something like this before and rather enjoyed it.

some kind of Bruschetta thing:

I threw together this fruit salad in just a few minutes because I gave up on the cake frosting of a Lychee cake just before I had to catch my bus. I was way too embarassed to bring the cake. I mean, it would've been like be showing up without pants on and being like, "Sorry, but I don't know how to iron!"; or something like that.It was just banana, orange, apple and kiwi and I poured a little bit of lemon juice and coconut milk over it. People liked it :)

Here's me, catching snowflakes on my tongue.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Neighbors Rock

Last night I was getting on the N7 Bus that would eventually, in a very roundabout night bus sort-of way, take me back to Kelmis. The N7 is a really long ride (about 45minutes), so I was really happy when I noticed that two of my neighbors were sitting across from me. They're brother and sister and live with their parents still while they go to school and work. The brother was hilariously drunk and told me lots of umgangsprache, or slang, on the way back, much to all our delight (and perhaps the surrounding passengers as I caught a few snickers from the corner of my eye).

When we got out of the bus at our shared stop, I searched my pockets for my keys. They weren't there. My family is out of town and there seemed to be no chance of me getting anywhere at 3AM Easter morning. The sister, young, but very sensible, told me to sleep by their place and we'd get it sorted out once the sun came up.

It turned out the my host father did indeed give their mother an extra key to the house, so now I'm back home, have fed the rabbit, and am about to go back over to their place for breakfast. Oh, I have such great neighbors....

EDA: I went back over for breakfast and one of them quizzed me on the umgangsprache I'd learned last night. "Auf die Twelve," was one they'd taught me. I think it's an equivalent to "I'm gonna smack you up." Then asked what another one was; I could only remember that it started with a "p." The brother simuluntaniously eyed his mother and grandmother and asked me, very quickly, to drop it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More on Heidy

I don't know how many of you are berrated for your system of beliefs on an almost daily basis, but coming from someone who is, it's not great. Okay, normally I don't really care because half of the people are doing it half-jokingly, and I can laugh it off. But still, I'm generally not respected for how I choose to consume both for my nutrition and my generally way of living. It was so refreshing to meet with a bunch of kids who share the same beliefs as myself. We talked about how we cope with others' assaults, vegan things that we enjoy, animal rights, and the lot. Sure, I get this through my vegan internet forum, but I learned that it isn't nearly so satisfying as it is in person. Thank you, new vegan friends, for caring.

A More Perfect Union

Barack Obama made a brilliant speech the other day about race in America. Not the presidential competition kind, but that to do with the colour that Americans have been struggling to gain moral footing over for the past two centuries. The media and the American people have been wondering how much race would come into play in this election and I'm quite pleased that the man himself was first to take the stage in a statement that clarified our best and worst thoughts that all Americans, like it or not, maintain about the colour of each others' skin.

In case you didn't know, Obama was prompted to take this stand after his preacher made a televised sermon damning America for its narrow views of the races held within.

Here's Obama's writted speech as well as CNN's recording of it from Obama's website. With this speech I do see a chance for change.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Last Night's Dinner and "Hey! It snowed again!"

Last night's dinner was a miso, rice noodle soup. I fried up some onions in a teensy bit of peanut oil, added ginger, fried a little more, then added some chopped seaweed stuff that you use for sushi, water, miso (about 1 big Tablespoon), a little bit of vegetable bouillon, pepper and the noodles. It was delectable and eated with my favorite pair of Hello Kitty chopsticks.

rachel 042

And here's that damned snow that I woke up to this AM.


I went to Heidelberg over the week-end. It's a very touristy town- lots of Japanese. It has a rather large Schloss, or castle and.... I'm going to keep this entry short because I don't have a functioning computer (again! I've been oppertating for about 3 weeks since the start of 2008 and let me tell you, it is not convenient!) and the Dad keep checking in every 5 min to see if I'm done.
So, I met with some other vegans from my PPK thing and stayed with an American who coincidentally knew a friend of mine from Sewanee. Small world.

I'll leave y'all with some food pics.

One of the vegans made a whole bunch of baked stuff....

and then we went to eat out at this all-vegetarian restaurant....

that last one is mine. And now I'd better go before I piss anyone off too much.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Meat is for "Pistachios"

A friend of mine posted this rant on his myspace. He's this big tough guy with a strong New Jersey trash accent. Don't read this aloud to your children, but please do to yourself. It took me about 5 minutes.

Irrational fears

I'm incredibly afraid of swimming in a body of water of which I cannot see the bottom. It's incredibly ironic considering I do it at least once a day (or night) in the summers in TN. I think that I'm mostly afraid of anything biting me or touching my feet in general. I picture animals such as crawdads, really big carp, snapping turtles, alligators and sometimes squid reaching out to grab my ever-so-delicious-looking appendages. I'm also pretty sure that a monster similar to that of Loch Ness surely lives in the Res, it's just that no one's ever sited it yet.

One of these days, when I go lap swimming alone in the Res or Lake Dimmick and I don't come back, you'll know that I didn't drown; I'm a distance freestyler for Christ's sake. Some giant monster came and devoured me. At least I don't let it get to me too much. Although I do tread water horizontally, which my friends probably find a bit odd.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Germany's Next Top Model

That's right. There's a German version of it and Heidi Klum does it. It's so much better than the American version: less bitching, more fashion. Plus Klum is a much less overbearing mediator.

Last season there was this really effeminate American black guy that was one of the fellow judges. He spoke terrible German and had amazing charisma. Because he now has his own German talk show (so I'm told), he's been replaced by this older Frenchman who is living up to my standards. Sometimes when he's thinking he purses his lips and it's quite adorable.

Unlike the last season, I understand everything they're saying and sometimes I learn new words like, "Hochkreuz."

My least favorite so far is Gina-Lisa because she has long, white hair, way-too-tan skin and a voice like she smokes a pack a day. My favorite is Raquele because she's Swiss, looks healthy, and has confidence in what she's doing.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Is this turning into another vegan food blog?

Well, here are some more things that I ate:

The other day we had a baggette in the house that the Dad's girlfriend brought over. I knew that no one was going to touch the day after and who could pass up on an opportunity to make Fronch Toast? The recipe is from VwaV and has chickpea flour in it. Chickpea flour generally has a rather unpleasant taste, but some magical reaction happens when you cook with it.

The maple syrup 'round here is absurdly expensive: You can only find it in those fancy, little gourmet bottles and they're about €5 a pop. It's nice to have, though, as an unproccesed, animal-free sweetener and also because a maple syrup-lime juice combination in some soups results in utter amazingness. I learned that from Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

We had some Fennel Honey in the cabinet and I thought I'd give that a try.... Blech! Sometimes I forget that I don't like the taste of absolutely everything. Fennel is one of the few things that I really despise. Most slices are topped instead with a bit of margarine and puder zucker.
And here's a shot of my lunch today. It's another Ethiopian dish from Kittee's cookzine: Papa Tofu; Yemiser W'et, or, lentils in a spicy red gravy. I added in the green beans because 1) I simply have to have something green in every meal and 2) to give it texure. They were perfect.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A March Snow


It snowed again and this is sort-of what it looked like!


Yesterday evening it snowed a bit as well. I was walking through the city with a friend and fellow aupair. It was beautiful while we bitched about the dreadful aspects of our jobs in complete understanding of one another.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ethiopian Food

Make it. Find it. Eat it. That stuff is just the shizzaz. Anything that you can eat with your hands makes my "good" book. I made something from Kittee's cookzine, Papa Tofu, today. I forget what it was called, but you can just try something for yourself. Here's the link to that part of her blog.