Tag Archives: food

Peaches

Once again, it’s peach season – my favourite season. Well, apart from Christmas. And spring. And early fall. And… Whatever, you get the drift. And as I was thinking about how much I love peach season, I was reminded of one of my earliest blog posts, from 2010. So I looked it up, and thought it might be worth reposting. Here it is, from 22. August 2010 (excuse the rough edges; it was early days in the blogosphere for me). The picture is brand-new, though, from just now. Aren’t they gorgeous?

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Peaches

On the third day, God created plants. And I’m quite sure that at the very end, when he’d made all the other stuff, he said “Now, for the crowning achievement: The Peach!” And he created it round and fuzzy, juicy, yellow-and-pink and delectably sweet. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and morning were the third day.

I didn’t make any canned peaches last year, so we were reduced to buying the ones from the grocery store. The kids weren’t impressed; it’s just not the same, they said. And they are right, of course. Now, the thing is that when I was a kid myself, back in Germany, tinned peaches were one of my favourite things, a high treat that we didn’t get very often (there’s a fun recipe called “Falsche Spiegeleier”, Fake Fried Eggs, with is half a canned peach in a flat dish with vanilla custard poured around it. It does look like a fried egg, and is quite a yummy dessert). I thought they were wonderful. But then that was before I came to Canada, and experienced the marvel of real, fully-ripe, still-warm-from-the-sun peaches picked right off the tree. In fact, perhaps it was the peaches that lured me over the Atlantic to permanently settle here? (No, don’t tell my husband. It had nothing to do with marrying him at all. I only married him for his guitar, anyway.)

One of the things I like best about summer is bringing home a box of peaches from the farmer’s market or the orchard down the street, and having them sit on the kitchen counter for a few days, getting ever more ripe and tender; and then, while leaning over to get something from one of the upper cupboards, getting a big nose-full of that incomparable scent of soft sweetness. It’s beyond me why the makers of fake foods think they can reproduce that aroma with “peach flavouring”. Hah! I scorn their attempts, I laugh in their faces – hahahah!

Now to put all that goodness into jars for winter, when the snow flies and the scent the house is filled with is cinnamon simmering in the potpourri burner on the windowsill.

Life, the universe, and Peach Season. I love it.

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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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