Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Delectable treats

As usual, I've been busy creating delicious treats.  No parts of this one came from the garden, though.  This cake was just for fun:  for the little guy's second birthday!  But he didn't eat any of it.  He's only been eating noodles, bread and the occasional waffle or bowl of cereal lately, there's no room for delicious cake in that menu. 

The main flavor of this cream cheese came from my garden though:  habanero pepper!  I took one big, fat habanero, one package of plain cream cheese and a generous amount of curry powder, chopped and mixed and voila!  A very yummy, very spicy cream cheese was born.

This version of cream cheese is for the non-spicy gourmets:  it features a selection of herbs from my garden and windowsill.  I think I threw everything in here: chives, parsley, oregano, thyme maybe even tarragon and marjoram, a small onion and some salt and pepper.  Despite its lack of spiciness, it was still delicious.

This weekend was fun-I sorted out the good chili peppers that survived the frost from the questionable ones, then had to find a way to preserve them so that we can enjoy them through the winter.  We aren't such fans of dried chilis, we like sauce, so the search for a simple sauce ensued.  Finally, I found a very simple recipe for sambal olek with just chilis and a little salt and sugar.  So I roasted 300+ grams of red chilis, then pureed them to make a very spicy sauce.  The deadly habanero sauce was a bit more complicated:  I had to saute, carmelize, etc, etc.  But the work was worth it!  I made yet another very hot, very delicious sauce.  Yesterday I even whipped up another sambal with about 400 grams of yellow chilis!  It's excellent in squash soup.

These bad boys came from the garden.  Yesterday I carved the spooky mad jack-o-lantern, and today I carved the happy one.  Today I even used the cut out pieces to make some pumpkin-carrot-curry-sambal soup.  Yum!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Sweet Ride

Oh, woe is me, I feel so lame.  I hardly ever blog any more.  It's not so much for a lack of things to write about, it's more due to a massive lack of time.  I work too much, sleep too little, and when I'm not doing that or consuming some sustenance in the form of coffee or the rare meal, I'm hanging out with my kids.  That leaves little time for blogging.  But I must share this:  my sweet ride!  After being a righteous, non-gas consuming, non-CO2 emitting cyclist for nearly 9 years (well, not counting my 10-month experiment in Michigan), I've purchased a car.  The thought of even committing such an act was initiated by events that I cannot yet publish here, they are still much too secret and much too unsure.  Despite the unsureness of these acts of which I do not speak, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of speed, horsepower and six cylinders.  Then came a new job where I have to start at 8 am, and before which I have to get my kids off to the Kinderhaus.  With fall and winter creeping up on me and these early appointments, the only alternative to getting up at 5 am and leaving at the absolute latest at 7 was to get a car.  After many a trip and many a test drive between Dresden, Hamburg and Hannover, I found this lovely red jacket of steel for myself in Döbeln.  Not only is it a spacious, comfortable and powerful mama car, it's also an eyecatching fashion accessory in candy apple red.  To put it simply:  I love it. 

And now I feel even lamer.  This lovely red car has driven me to inner conflict.  Here I am, I used to be a committed cyclist, and thoroughly enjoy that nice extra of keeping fit while travelling to work and all the other places I have to go.  Why am I singing the praises of a gas guzzling six-cylinder that's probably going to make me fat?  I'm not some technology obsessed man, I've never cared about horsepower or cylinders, and I sure as hell never dreamed I'd be thrilled to own a station wagon!  They're right up there on my list near minivans.  I think there are two very important factors in this new development.  First, I'm an American, and I'm from Michigan.  If you've heard of Michigan, then you've heard of Detroit, the Motor City.  I'm not from Detroit (but my grandmother was!), and a good portion of car manufacturing is no longer done there, but still, I must have cars in my blood.  It's in our nature to travel on 4 wheels, not just 2.  I beat my nature for quite a while, and probably would have remained committed to my car-free lifestyle had I not grown up and turned my life upside down with a couple of kids.  This leads me to the second undeniable fact:  I'm getting older.  As depressing as it is, I have a gray hair that shines in my face every morning in the mirror, and this one I'm not going to yank out of my head like the last 2 or 3.  Maybe I'll dye it if any of its friends decide to join the party, but whatever.  I'll cross that bridge-by car, haha!-when I get there.  I don't feel like lugging my kids through ice and snow at 6 am this winter or biking 45 minutes in subzero temperatures and having my brakes freeze up on me.  I want comfort, I want to stay warm, I want to travel faster and I want to listen to the radio.  So, there you have it.