Friday, May 30, 2008

World's Largest Vegan Burger

I can't be sure about actual world records, but this guy on theppk has made, in the very least, an epic vegan burger:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where I stayed while the Oma was in...

The week-end before I couchsurfed in Maastricht, Holland with my buddy Martin. I was cold at the time and was borrowing someone's sweater. That's Martin there on the left.

This was Janine's (an Aachen friend and CS host) humble abode. I got her the flowers.

She made wonderful curries and shared them with me. This one has things like mango, eggplant, snap peas, bamboo shoots, tofu and coconut milk in it.

Locked Out!

I was locked out the house today and I knew that our neighbors did not have an extra key. I piled these things up so as to get through my bedroom window above and prayed that no neighbors would notice.

Ok, so the winter garden's sliding doors were open and both windows to my room were cracked at the top (if you're American, you probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about). I stacked up the picnic table with a bench, and the platform outside the winter garden just as it's shown in the top photograph. Then, I skiddled over the winter garden's roof. That crack has always been there, but when I walked over it, I could guess that someone had previously been in my same predicament. Cue music, *She came in through the bedroom window...*

This morning I made rhubarb, coconut, rum cupcakes. My own random made-up recipe because we've got this rhubarb stuff in the fridge and someone's gotta use it. I like the wrappers and how they match the plate. They came from Holland and actually fit the cupcake tin, unlike all the Deutche ones I've tried.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'll be out for a while

The Oma is coming back, so I'm CouchSurfing in Aachen for a few days. I'll be reachable by Thursday or Friday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This is not my beautiful house!

I think I should make a habit of musical references on my blog.

I sleep on this couch thing. My room is always messy.

Upstairs winter garden. This is adjoined to the room that's next to my room.

Where I browse the internets. This room faces the front of the house.

Die Treppin.

Die Küche.

Dining room. The kitchen is on the right.

Living room.

The other half of our Wohnzimmer.

Through the door with the windows: downstairs winter garden.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Aren't pancakes great? Especially the kind with fruit in them. Especially the kind that you get to share with friends in the morning. Especially especially the kind that I can eat.

There is no recipe because I never measure what goes into my pancakes. Just a fuckload of baking powder.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Note: I'm translating a pamphlet from French.

The abbey where the beer is produced has been around since 1216, but the beer that you can find in the Belgian supermarkets today has only been in production since 1997. They had to adapt the 13th century recipe from the first ingredients to actual ingredients and also to the tastes of today. However it's still brewed with the ancient method of infusion.

Inside the beautiful abbey.

The malt grains are ground to obtain the flour that is then mixed with water to get the mix. That mixture is then brought to 63°, 72°, then 75°, until the boiling point of 100°, to allow the enzymes to transform the starch to sugar.
The filtration allows the sweet liqueur (the rape) to seperate. The rape is moved to boil for 90minutes. The hops is thrown in to bring the bitterness and aroma to the beer.

The rape is made cold again and transfered to the fermentation tank. The lid is shut and the rape is let alone to ferment for 5 to 7 days. The conical form of the vat allows the meed to collect at the bottom. The beer is then maintainted for two weeks at 0°C in a preservation vat.

Finally the beer newly filtered. To allow for the refermentation in the bottle, levening and sugar is put inside. The beer is then bottled and left to rest in a warm room (23°C) for 3 weeks to allow for the refermentation.

Fenny enjoying a Blonde at the abbey.

The beers
La Blonde Val-Dieu
Moderately alocholic at 6%ABV, gives it a convivial ambience, digestive, and apparative. It wets the mouth and developes an agreeable character that's aftertaste is bitter. The freshness of the beer's departure, however, easily subdues it .
Like most blondes, I found this one sweeter and lighter than the others.
La Brune Val-Dieu
More coloured and alcoholic (8%ABV), the aroma is stronger and doubled with the flavours of coffee and mocha. The mocha flavor helps the digestion and leaves a place for the taste of the tripple malt to not be too neutral and not too profound. The beer gives a mild bite to the tongue, considering that it is foremost a beer of digestion. Closed or temerate, la Brune is considered a beer of cirucumstance.
While we were sampling in the abbey, I feel like Amanda really got it spot on by saying that the brown had a distinctive bite. I enjoyed the complexity of the taste.
the beer bottle's label
La Triple Val-Dieu
This beer, at 9%ABV, is the result of a long fermentation, sculpturedafter its brewer. The strong and supple flavour does not hide its natural, aromatic composition from the taste buds, and at the end, an alocholic aftertaste. Associated with gastronimic properties, la Triple is classified as one of the great beers of the posh tables.
I don't remember too much of this beer, but that it was good and very alcoholic. I think that part to do with the quality, though, is that the alcoholic taste is extremely subtle. From my experience, beers of less esteemed quality, but equal ABV levels will loose their flavor for the high alcohol levels.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Baby + Smoothie

I found out today that a friend of mine (Juin, from Taiwan) had her first baby. It was two weeks earlier than she was expecting, but I figured she'd be early since she was so huge. Me and another woman from my Deutsch class went to the hospital after school to visit. She and her husband are so adorable and innocent. My friend held their baby for a while and he started to open his tiny little eyes. My friend already has two sons of her own (24 and 26, I think) and she was giving these new parents all these intructions.... I could sense they were a little over whelmed. I'm sure they'll do fine.

Because it is actually almost hot today, I made me a smoothie with frozen blueberries and kiwis with a wee bit o' orange juice. Y'all, I have not been hot since July, possibly August. Isn't that crazy?

EDA: I was checking out this one vegan blog that I like when a ran upon a smoothie that this person made. If you thought you knew about smoothie-making, think again.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Since leaving the south, I've really fallen in love with all things southern. Cornbread, black beans, bad country music (just caught glimpses of it on movies), driving nowhere, the lot. I'm constantly in search of the perfect cornbread recipe. Now, with cornbread, there's sweet and there's salty. I usually only have the ingredients around for a sweet cornbread, so that's the one I've been working on. I won't call this recipe perfect, but it ain't bad.

Makes precisely 12 muffins or 1 brownie pan.

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup corn flour or meal (actually, I used 175ml gluten free corn flour and 75ml vital wheat gluten to balance it out. What can I say? I'm an improviser.)
1 tsp (heaping) baking powder
1 tsp (heaping) salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup soymilk + 1tsp apple cider or other light vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tb buttah


  • Preheat oven to 350°F/ 175°C. Actually, I usually do this right before I mix the wet and dry ingredients together because I take forever.
  • Grease your pan! Unless you're using cupcake liners. Here's my method: pour a teensy tiny bit of oil in each muffin crevice. Get a paper towel, stick it in a bit of your buttah (I grab, very approximately, a 1/2 Tb), and spread that around with your oil. Also make sure to get the top of the pan, where the batter isn't supposed to go, but inevitably ends up. This gets things nicely greased and makes for easier cleaning. You don't even need to spread messy flour over the top.
  • Stir together soymilk and vinegar and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together sugar and buttah until smooth.
  • In a smaller bowl, combine dry ingredients. I like to whisk mine together.
  • Add the now curdled soymilk and the dry ingredients in the the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Fill the crevises or brownie pan until 1/3 of the way full
  • If muffins, bake 20min until a toothpick comes out clean. If bread, like in a brownie tin, bake approx. 30min until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

This still needs some tweaking. I'm going to try adding baking soda next time and see if I like them fluffier. as is, they're more cup-cakey. Could be the funny flour combo, though.

Things I like about Amerika

1) Wilderness and being able to swim wherever you want and naked, if you must.

2) Service. Everywhere from free water at a restaurant to peeing in a café without buying anything to painting your nails in a store without buying the nail polish (that may not be legal, actually) to just getting a waitress (or server, but I'm not about to pretend that I'm PC) to come around to you other than when she damn well pleases.

3) Music. In Euroland, Jam music = "huh?" + North America has some good indie pop.

4) Friendliness, which I've apparently forgotten about. My American friend (who's idea it was to come up with this list; we needed to get more posi about our country) had to remind me. I actually wouldn't believe her until a German friend who'd visited his girlfriend in SoCal recently vehemently agreed with her. Still, I think that a lot of people appear friendly in contrast to the Germans.

5) Guys. I'm not digging the whole androgynous Euro-look.

6) Products. Amanda's parents came to visit all the way from Alabama not too long ago and with them they brought things like instant grits (polenta is essentially instant, but still), Jimmy cake cornbread mix ( vegan!), Pop Tarts, Nature's Valley bars, vanilla extract, Secret deodorant.... I never new I'd find such comfort in a brand. Oh! Memories are fading back... How about Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Fruit Roll Ups? And Dove conditioner? Yes, these things I actually miss.

7) Drive-ins.

Well, that's about it for what I miss. Everything else I can do without.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Pleasant Week

The leaves have blossomed on many of the trees. I went for a hike with Amanda from Alabama and here is what we saw:

Amanda was set on visiting a brewery this weekend, so we checked it out on the internets and realized that there were two very close to us. Amanda, quite fortunately, has a car so on two seperate days we took lovely rides to each brewery.

Friday my kid didn't have school and Amanda didn't have to work, so we visited our first brewery. It wasn't as exciting as we'd hoped, but we did taste some very good beer for not too many Euros. + we got to see one of the guys that was on the pamphlet. When I saw him my face lit up and a whispered loudly to Amanda, "He's on the pamphlet!" while I pointed emphatically held it too close to her face that she could make adequate comparison.

^^brasserie de Grain d'orge ^^

Then we noticed that most of the people that walked into this café in the tiny town of Hombourg, Belgium looked rather alike. We guessed that more than a few were related in some way or another.

^^brasserie de Grain d'orge ^^

On Saturday we went to L'Abbey du Val-Dieu. It's owned by monks and unlike the former brewery, we did not see any of it's owners. I suspected them to be submersed in Gregorian chants whilst they smacked Bibles against their visages.

^^me and amanda drinkin' beer at the abbey^^

Friday, May 2, 2008


I thought I'd try and talk about a beer each week on my blog, since I'm basically in beer paradise here.

This week's: Duvel, a Belgian beer. The name means devil in Flemish, perhaps in reference to its high alcohol content of 8.5% ABV. It is the definative version of a Belgian Stong Pale Ale and is brewed with Pilsner malt and white sugar and hopped with two things that make no sense to me, so I'm not copying them from wikipedia right this second.

Taken in Maastricht.

Duvel has been in production since 1871 and is distributed to over 40 countries. If you look my photograph closely, you might notice that it has a shit ton of head. If you're American, you might think that I don't know how to pour a beer. Quite on the contrary, that's just how the Duvel rolls and I like it. You can drink it at that state or wait 'till it disintigrates a little, either way it's tasty and powerful.