Sunday, March 31, 2013

German Breakfast 101

One of my favorite meals has to be traditional German breakfast. While most of that is probably caught up in the memories that surround my German breakfasts, it really is an extraordinary meal.

My German II students have a unit on traditional German mealtimes, and I like to devote most of that to German breakfasts.  We always eat a German breakfast at the end.  I turn my classroom into a restaurant, and I grade them on their etiquette.  Most of my students rarely eat a meal at a table with others, so I use this as a teachable moment.  (Tragic, I know.)  They wait until all have been served to start eating.  They have pleasant conversation with their dining companions.  They eat German style.  Left hand (not elbow) on the table at all times.  And they love it.  And most of them love the food too. 

So what exactly comprises a traditional German breakfast? 

The cornerstone is das Brot. You will receive a basket of various rolls (Brötchen), warmed in the oven. 

You take one, slice it open, and always, I repeat always, start off with a thick spreading of butter. 

Do not, under any circumstances, use margarine. You must use real butter, and you must use a lot. I use European-style butter. It is creamier (see also: fattening) than American-style. 

Next, up you can get creative. If you want to go a savory route, add a slice of Käse or Wurst, or better yet, both. You will need several kinds of both Käse (Gouda, Emmenthaler, Brie, perhaps) and Wurst (Prosciutto, Salami, ham, perhaps) to try. 

So you have enjoyed your 1/2 Brötchen with toppings, and now you're ready for something else.

That is what is so wonderful about a German breakfast. You enjoyed that? Awesome, do it again. Not so much, go a different route this time. Perhaps something sweet? Try a Konfitüre. If you're lucky, they'll have red currant.

Nutella? Honey? Quark? It's all there too. (Quark is a spreadable cheese that can either go savory or sweet, depending on toppings. Think cream cheese mixed with ricotta cheese mixed with yogurt.)
Need a break from all the bread? It's time to eat your boiled Ei. Serve as such: 

Müsli and Joghurt will also be available

If you want to have a real Schlemmerfrühstück (gourmet breakfast), you'll need Fleischsalat or KrabbensalatFleischsalat is made with bologna, mayo, and pickles. Krabbensalat with crabmeat, mayo, and pickles. Might sound not so hot, but on the vessel of the delicious German bread, anything can be good, and these two salads do not disappoint. 

To drink, KaffeeTeeOrangensaft, and if you're lucky, Sekt

And there you have ein traditionelles deutsches Frühstück. 

Guten Appetit! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Window Treatments a la Pattiwagon

I don't have any experience making curtains, but I have become a somewhat accomplished seamstress in the past year, and I have some great equipment.  So I didn't hesitate when my friend Jackie asked me to make curtains and some other decor for her nursery.  (After all, it was really for Bates.  And who wouldn't want to do something sweet for such a sweet boy?  Check out pictures on Jackie's blog.  You will melt.)  Curtain making was basically a lesson in precise measuring, clean cutting, and straight sewing.  Three things I can always practice.  It also gave me something to do during March Madness  Sadness.

I was happy with how they turned out.  So happy that I think I'll have to work on my own window treatments.  As Casa de Pattiwagon is sorely lacking in that department. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bring on the Bargain Barn

I made my second ever trip to Goodwill's Bargain Barn yesterday and came home plus a sack full of clothes and minus $6.90. I documented my first trip here. After scrapping the button-down shirt into dress project I mentioned there, I needed some redemption on the refashioning. 

Eschewing the skeleton costume (Know I'll regret that one!), I opted for more wearable items to work on. 

I started out with this shirt. (I think it's a shirt at least?) It was enormous, offered no shape, and had weird vertical seams and a drawstring bottom. But I liked the pattern, so I wanted to see what I could do. 

After taking in the sides about 10 inches, taking out the white vertical seam and drawstring bottom, I ended up with this:

I'm very happy with the results. Imagine a big smile on my perfectly made up face in the photo above. (Also imagine my perfectly coifed hair. Ahem.)

Here's a preview of tomorrow's project. Pepto pants, anyone? 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tomorrow's To Do List

1. Sourdough pancakes
2. Run
3. Bargain Barn! 
4. "Nerd Jokes" bulletin board
5. Finish midterm grading (blech!)
6. Curtain date with Jackie
7. College basketball
8. Work on painting

Yep, it's Spring Break!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Milk Jam 2K13

I received this book for recently, and I immediately knew it was right up my alley.  It's the kind of cookbook I dream of writing one day.  It has tons of recipes for preserving food, and then "real food" recipes using all the preserves.  It's categorized by seasons, which I love.  Obviously the winter recipes are a little sparse.  Needing to whet my canning appetite, I chose milk jam as the recipe of the day yesterday.  (I'll save Preserved Porcini Mushrooms for later.)

It's milk and it's jam. What's not to love? Not convinced? 

Now?  Thought so.  I am most intrigued by its use in coffee.  I've been drinking cold-drip coffee syrup mixed with water lately, and with the milk jam, I can envision the cafe con leche of my dreams. 

I set out to make it about 5PM last night.  We've been here before.  I boiled the milk, heavy cream, and sugar for two hours, as the recipe stated.  I set up all my canning supplies.  At this point, about 7:30, I'm feeling really good about my prospects of finishing the project at a decent hour. (And by the way, I had bread dough and pizza crust going as well.)  Do others engage in this behavior?  Just wondering. 

I put everything in the canner, seal it, and wait patiently for the pressure to rise.  (The recipe explicitly states to use a pressure canner.)  It rises.  To 1psi.  The recipe calls for 10psi.  An inordinate amount of steam is escaping from the lid.  Clearly I need a new gasket.  And a new gasket I do not have.

So I scrap the canning, put the jars in the fridge, and hope that perhaps a gasket will appear on my doorstep while I sleep.  

As that didn't happen, I went to the hardware store today and bought a new one and installed it in about 30 seconds.  Who knew how easy that was?  Aunt Jane, I'm looking at you. 

I pour all of the jars back into a pot today, heat up the milk jam, wash my jars, and start the process over. 

Canning was successful, but the milk jam came out a lot more like milk and a lot less like jam.  I'm not sure if this is right, but next time I want to cook it down further before canning.  I had a bit of extra that I left out of the canner and let cook on the stove. It turned into a perfect dulce de leche, which I spread over a piece of toast for a perfect Monday evening dessert. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Roundup: This and That

is amazing.  My sister gave it to me for my birthday along with other kitchen goodies.  The smell of it is so intoxicating, it actually inspires me to clean.  Is it weird that I have given serious thought to wearing it as a perfume?

race in Little Rock?  Yeah.  Didn't happen.  For a multitude of reasons, toenail-related and otherwise. Instead, I went to Tunica to play trivia in the Mid-South Tournament. No prizes, but lots of fun.

would be milk jam.  Or at least my first attempt at milk jam.  My parents gave me two cookbooks, one of which is full of non-traditional tantalizing canning recipes.  Milk jam caught my eye, as it reminded me of my favorite It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia recipe, milk steak.  Look for a more detailed post about this endeavor.

And that
would be scrambled egg pizza.  What up, Hog and Hominy?