Tag Archives: food

Rapunzel, Let Down Your … Salad?

Another “Fairy Tale Food” post by Yours Truly on Enchanted Conversation today!

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“Once upon a time, there was a pregnant woman. In her neighbour’s garden, there was a planting of beautiful rapunzels. The woman had an irresistible craving for these rapunzels and told her husband that if she could not have any, she would die…”

Of course, we all know what happens—the husband steals rapunzels for his wife; the neighbour, who happens to be a sorceress, catches him; when the child is born the sorceress takes her as payment for the rapunzels; she imprisons the girl in a tower and calls her “Rapunzel” … and so on and so forth with the long hair and the prince and the happily ever after.

I loved that story as a child. I had only one little problem: What on earth, I wondered, are rapunzels? And why are they so amazing that a mother would give up her child for a handful of them?

Back then, I didn’t let it bother me—I just skipped on ahead to the satisfying conclusion where the prince gets back his eyesight when Rapunzel cries on him, and all is well. But once I grew up and the world became so much smaller thanks to Google, I made up for my childhood ignorance. And here is what I found out: Rapunzels are a salad vegetable…

To find out more about rapunzels (rampion) and learn how I make salads (with flowers, no less), go here.

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Conversing on Apples on Enchanted Conversations

Here is my first official article on Enchanted Conversations:

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FAIRY TALE FOOD: Apples & RECIPE OF THE MONTH: Fairy Tale Apple Pie by A.M. Offenwanger

Food and Fairy Tales – I bet you had no idea that I’m into those.

Enjoy!

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A Day for Apple Pie: A Picture Essay

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APPLE PIE

-pastry for a 9” double-crust pie, rolled out (I use this recipe – had some in the freezer still)

-6 cups peeled & sliced apples (about 6-8 large)

-2 Tbsp flour

-2 tsp cinnamon

-2/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Put the filling ingredients together in a big bowl, toss until the apples are coated. Put into the pie shell, top with the lid, seal the edges. Slash holes in the top crust. Bake for 45-50 minutes until it’s golden brown and the juice bubbles up through the holes in the crust.

Life, the Universe, and Apple Pie. Perfect for a snowy day.

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Project Unstick…

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…has reached the kitchen food cupboards, forcing me to cook and eat four-year-old packets of chocolate pudding and five-year-old jars of home-canned pears. Can’t just throw it away, can I? (Well, yes, I can, and do, if it’s stale or otherwise unappetising, but this stuff still tastes good. Properly preserved food can actually last a remarkably long time. And I was raised by war-generation Germans who taught me that wasting food is a sin.) But I also don’t want to stick it back in the cupboard. So I still have a collection of food out on the counter that I’m going to either use up in the next few days or finally chuck out.

It’s actually not that big a collection, considering – especially compared to the vast total quantities of food that I had piled all over the counters. It reminded me of the Hungry Planet project, where researchers took photos in different countries of what one family eats in one week. My collection is several month’s worth of non-perishables, not just one week’s, but still, looking at it all made me feel very fortunate and thankful.

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So I guess today I’ll be eating sushi (rice, seaweed, and a tube of wasabi all coming under the “past their best-by date” heading), and perhaps a pot of chicken noodle soup to get rid of that box of capellini noodles. If nothing else, this is making me eat something other than the same-old same-old.

Life, the Universe, and Everything in the Kitchen Cupboard. Project Unstick is having unforeseen side effects.

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Rearview Mirror on a Summer

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Long Beach, Vancouver Island

September has come, it is hers / Whose vitality leaps in the autumn…*

Except that my vitality ain’t doing too much leaping at the moment. I’m still scrambling to catch up with the long, busy, and, above all, “away” summer – you’ve seen a few of the pictures. We left home on July 9th; spent two weeks in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island; came home; then after all of two days I hopped on a plane (or rather, a series of them), and headed for Europe for a month. A few days of sightseeing in Munich; three weeks of family stuff (helping with a move, to be precise); then to cap it off, three glorious days in London.

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Marienplatz, Munich, with Mary’s Column and Old Town Hall

Six weeks, 1500 photos, a wealth of experiences and memories. My house and garden, meanwhile, went to pot. As for my writing – well, I was going to say that nothing happened on that front, either. But that would actually be quite untrue. No, I didn’t really put any words to paper (or screen, as it were). But among those 1500 photos are quite a few that I took specifically as references for my WIP (that’s short for Work In Progress, for the un-artsy of you). The whole time in Germany I was soaking up atmosphere, sounds, tastes, sights – all with a mind to how that could be put to paper. My hotel in London was a converted Regency townhouse – inspiration pure (I might just have to write a Regency novel one of these days just so I can set it in that street; it was called Burton Crescent in those days).

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Cartwright Gardens, Bloomsbury

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I want to go back…

One street over, Tavistock Square, was where both Virginia Woolf and Charles Dickens lived for a while and wrote To the Lighthouse and A Tale of Two Cities, respectively. Five minutes walk up the street was the British Library – I got to see original manuscripts by (i.e. stare in awe at the notebooks of) Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Oscar Wilde; my jaw literally dropped when in one of the gorgeous glass cases I saw the Lindisfarne Gospels, and in another the Codex Sinaiticus… But I didn’t just revel in high-brow literature – I stopped in at King’s Cross Station and took a look at the Platform 9 3/4 store with its trolley stuck into the wall, too.

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The one and only portrait of Jane Austen, by her sister Cassandra. National Portrait Gallery, London.

I drank Bavarian beer in Munich, Württemberger wine in Stuttgart, and English cider in London; I ate pork roast with dumplings in the Hofbräuhaus, lentils and spätzle in the old part of Stuttgart, and beef-and-ale pie in a pub by King’s Cross. I got claustrophobic in the Bloody Tower as one of the bloody masses of tourists and sat in silence in the Stiftskirche in Stuttgart among a few other visitors stopped in to pray. I revelled in train rides and was moved to tears by world-famous paintings. And in between, I packed boxes and unpacked boxes; walked to the grocery store, walked to public transit, walked to visit people, and on Sundays went for walks by way of recreation.

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Beef pie and Symonds cider, in honest-to-goodness London pub

And now I’m back home in the land of peaches and salsa and grapes, where one has to take the car even to buy a jug of milk. I have limitless wi-fi again, so I’m catching up with what I’ve missed on the internet (which I haven’t actually missed that much – I’m considering making this a lifestyle). And I’m bound and determined to get back to writing. I have great good intentions to regularly sit down and work on my, well, work. One can always be optimistic, no? I certainly have enough inspiration to carry me along for a while.

Life, the Universe, and a Long Busy Travelling Summer. Now to process all those impressions…

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Franz Marc, “Birds”. Lenbachhaus, Munich. So beautiful it made me cry.

*opening line from a poem by Louis McNeice, Autumn Journal

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Lenten Soup

lentil soup

It was so cold and miserable yesterday, I had to have something hot for lunch. There weren’t any leftovers, and I didn’t feel like having anything from a can. So I made some lentil soup, from Puy (French) lentils I’ve had in the cupboard for, oh, probably three or four years. (Me in bulk food store: “Oh, look at those lovely [lentils, peas, beans, walnuts, hazelnuts, mixed dried vegetables, chunks of chocolate, etc etc]! I’ve been meaning to try  making [lentil/pea/bean soup, nut bread, veg soup, real chocolate cake, etc etc.]” Buy food. Sit food in cupboard. Periodically open cupboard and consider food. “Oh, look, I never did get around to making [lentil/pea/bean soup etc etc]. Must do that.” Close cupboard, forget about food. Months later, open cupboard, consider food…)

Anyway, I just sort of randomly threw this soup together. Lentils have the advantage that they’re the instant-food variety of the legume world, i.e. they cook in under an hour, as opposed to dried beans which have to pre-soak and then simmer away most of the day. So lentils lend themselves relatively well to impulse cooking (haha, see what I did there? Im-pulse).

So here’s what I did:

Lentil Soup

3c stock (I used ham stock I had in the freezer, but I think even water would work)

1/2 c Puy lentils, rinsed

3/4 tsp salt (could have used less)

chopped green onions

1/2 grated carrot

black pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp dried lovage, pinch dried oregano, large five-finger pinch frozen parsley

Dump in pot, bring to boil, turn down heat, simmer for about 45 minutes. To serve, I threw in some grated cheese. Very tasty and warming.

I also found out something: for a while now, I had this theory that the words “lentil” and “lent” are related – that perhaps we call lent lent because people used to eat more lentils then; or vice versa. But, alas, I was wrong. “Lentil” comes from Latin lens, meaning, well, “lentil”, while “lent” comes from Old English lencten, meaning “springtime”. I guess eating lentils in lent is just a coincidence. It was a plausible theory though, don’t you think?

Life, the Universe, and Lenten Soup. I think I’ll have the rest of it today.

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Master Peaseblossom, or What’s In A Salad

IMG_20160530_101217This spring, a patch of peas sprang up in one of my garden beds. I didn’t ask for them to be there, they just showed up. I have a suspicion that they came from one of my attempts to grow pea shoots in the winter in a tray on the counter; the leftovers got dumped in the compost, and that’s probably where they ended up, in that garden bed.

So now they’re blooming, and yesterday I made a salad with a head of lettuce from the garden, and just for fun decided to toss in a few pea blossoms (or peaseblossoms, if you want to go Shakespearean). No, Nick Bottom, I didn’t add Mustardseed, Cobweb or Moth, sorry.

The Offspring were of mixed opinions on the matter – actually, most of them didn’t eat the blossoms, just the lettuce. The one that did, though, really enjoyed them. Pea blossoms taste like fresh green peas (as do pea shoots). Edible flowers are lots of fun, although I do understand why people would be weirded out at seeing a bouquet on top of their lettuce.

Anyway, in case you’re interested, I thought I’d share my salad dressing recipe. It’s a basic yogurt vinaigrette (well, actually, not vinaigrette, as it’s not got vinegar in it – so is it a limonette?).

IMG_20160529_185108SALAD DRESSING

-1/4 c plain yogurt
-1 good squirt of lemon juice (let’s say 1 Tbsp)
-a glug of salad oil (or 2 Tbsp)
-salt & pepper to taste (or 1/4 tsp each)

-you can add 1/2 tsp prepared mustard, like dijon (if you want your Mounsieur Mustardseed), and any or all chopped fresh or dry herbs that strike your fancy. This one has chopped parsley, dill, lemon thyme, chives and green onions, because that’s what I happened to have in the garden.

-whisk together or shake in a small jar or gravy shaker. Put in the bottom of the salad bowl, toss lettuce in it (or pour over thinly sliced cucumbers or any other salad veg, toss). Top with whatever edible flowers you happen to have on hand. Serve immediately.

So there you have it, salad with peaseblossoms. As Nick Bottom would say:

BOTTOM: Your name, honest gentleman?
PEASEBLOSSOM: Peaseblossom.
BOTTOM: I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your
mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good
Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
acquaintance too.
(Midsummer Night’s Dream, III, 1)

Life, the Universe, and Peaseblossoms. What’s in a salad? A salad, of any other veg, would taste as nice…

 

 

 

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