An Epic Jam Making Sunday
30 Jars of Jam
It began a week ago when Ronald, a local organic farmer, told me that his strawberries were just right for making my jam and I knew I had to do it soon because I'm going to Germany in a couple of weeks.
With that in mind I stocked up on organic sugar that I like to use (this sugar is not as fine as regular sugar) and made sure I had enough jars and lids. For some time I kept a recipe for homemade pectin and this was the year I was going to try it. Last year I made strawberry jam, and mixed fruit jam, using strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and my rhubarb that I grow in my tiny little plot in front of my house. My husband's favorite is the mixed berry jam. He likes his jams spreadable and I like mine runny, dripping off my toast, and excellent over vanilla ice cream. Last year I had used powdered pectin to give the mixed berry jam the consistency my husband likes.
On Saturday I visited my friend's Birgit and Robert, who have a wonderful piece of property, where Robert has planted a variety of usual fruit trees, berries, and a fantastic vegetable garden. It is a cooks paradise. We picked several pints of ripe blackberries and some green apples, not quite ready to eat but great for my homemade pectin.
On Sunday morning I bought my flat of strawberries from Ronald at the farmer's market. At the market I also noticed that, "Dirty Girls,” another local farm, (I love the name) had strawberries for jam on sale. I couldn't resist and bought another half flat. Here I was with 19 pints of strawberries and some additional fruit waiting at home.
Northeim, A Small City In Germany
Northeim is a typical small german town about 200 miles north of Frankfurt. It is 15 minutes from my village. This is where my father was raised. In the middle of the town you have a "Fußgänger Zone" an area reserved for food traffic only. Here you find many shops and restaurants. This is where you shop, meet people, have a bite to eat, or enjoy a sunny day in an outside cafe. Each town has at least one or more Italian cafes. All these places are run by Italian serving delicious ice cream, cappuccinos, and more. My favorite is the hazelnut gelato.
When in Northeim, I always stop in the bakery Rolf and walk out with a bag of goodies. It is a great bakery with a variety of cakes, breads, rolls, chocolates, and seasonal fruit tarts. This is as good as a French patisserie. My favorite is a hazelnut mini cake. I do like hazelnuts.
This little tea shop has been in this cute little fachwerk ( brick and timber) house for over a decade offering a variety of teas from all over the world. There are black, green and every herbal tea you ever dreamed of. A lot of the teas are flavored. My favorite is an organic dried fruit tea called Waldfrucht or Rote Grütze. My favorite black tea is an Assam tea spiked with pieces of vanilla called "Ostfriesen Sonntagstee".
Last year a new store opened, offering a variety of flavored vinegars, oils and liquors. You can choose from a large variety. I try different vinegars every time, a foodies paradise.
The farmer's market has been on the main square for decades. Here you get seasonal vegetables, fruits, cakes, breads, fish, meats and sausages, a Turkish delicatessen truck , local honey, you name it.
No German town would be complete without a hot dog stand, a butcher shop, and a Turkish fruit store.
I'm in Göttingen, a charming old university town in lower saxony in Germany. It is often called the Heidelberg of northern Germany. Göttingen has a population of over 100,000 people, a quarter of them students at the George August University. The town center successfully combines its origins as a medieval merchant town with an atmosphere of a modern university town. It has a town hall that dates back to the 13th century with beautiful frescos inside that are worth a visit. In the cellar below is a nice restaurant, a remodeled modern Ratskeller called Buller Jahn. Göttingen's landmark is the Gänseliesel figure on the fountain at the market square in front of the town hall. You kiss the statue when you get your PHD. I'm sorry but I don't have a picture of the fountain, it was a construction zone when I was there this time. You have to wait until my next visit. The town is about 12 miles from my family compound. It has a variety of many different restaurants, cafes, and more. I'm sitting in a cafe , enjoying a moment of solitude from my large family. Here in the northern hemisphere fall is in the air today, it is cool in the morning, the air is crisp, and the wind blows off the first leaves. The summer was short this year. I'm ready to go home next week. The images of the rim fire in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California sadden me. My sister in law and a friend are in the midst of it. Our cabin is not far away. Now back to Göttingen. It is a town with people from all over the world which has every ethnic food you can imagine. But I'm going for a curry wurst at my favorite stand. Unfortunately, the stand is being renovated. I'm very picky about my curry wurst so I decide to go to my favorite cafe instead "Cron und Lanz". This cafe or Konditorei as it is called here in Germany is an institution, a place to see and be seen. Their pastries and chocolates are fantastic. My girlfriend has the raspberry tart, I indulge in the wiener (Vienna) waffle and a caramel nut mini tart. Yummy.
My favorite Cafe in Göttingen, Cron und Lan
The Farmer's Market in Göttingen
Arriving in Frankfurt, Germany
If you don't have time for downtown Frankfurt enjoy a quiet moment at the airport and go to the Paulaner restaurant . This restaurant is located above the "Fernbahnhof", away rom all the hussle and bussle of the airport. It is on the opposite end of the Hilton Hotel. The Paulaner offers authentic Bavarian food. The food is good and don't forget to order a beer.
The airport also has a German version of Whole Foods called Tegut. I often get a snack or fresh fruit there. This store is located near the parking garage.
One of my favorite foods on our coast is the California King Salmon. We did not have much of a season in the past few years but this year they are back again. I'm able to buy local salmon fresh off the boat. It is expensive, but I like the flavor better than other wild salmon. I usually try to get steaks as they are a little cheaper and I don't mind picking out the bones. I often put a rub on the salmon an hour before my husband barbecues them. For the rub mix together 3TBS of brown sugar, 1TBS of ground cumin, 1tsp chili powder, and about 1tsp of salt and pepper. This rub is enough for several filets and will keep. Use it depending on your taste.
When I have guests I serve a filet instead. I season the filet with butter, garlic salt, and lemon juice and bake it at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. I always make sure that I have leftover salmon to eat the next day with a salad, or to make salmon cakes.
I enjoy eating me salmon cakes with my green sauce.
The recipe for my salmon cakes vary a great deal, depending how much leftover salmon I have and what is available in my kitchen and garden. I often soak some old sourdough or similar bread in milk, squeeze out all the liquid and add to the salmon. I add dill, tarragon and other herbs. I love eating my salmon cakes with my green sauce.
You know summer is here when the first tomatoes appear at the farmer's market. There are beautiful large heirloom tomatoes, and my favorites, the small dry farmed ones. I eat them every day, for lunch, dinner, and snack. Sometimes I just eat them plain. I have made my stuffed tomato recipe for years. They are fabulous with rack of lamb.
A recipe that I've made for years are my stuffed tomatoes. They are fabulous with rack of lamb. You can use large tomatoes but I have also used smaller ones. I often vary the recipe by adding different herbs or vary the amount of zucchini or mushrooms, increase the amount of parmesan. If you you don't add the cheese you have a lovely vegan dish vegan dish. Bake any leftover stuffing in a greased gratin dish sprinkled with parmesan.
I spent a glorious week in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in our little cabin. To get there we have to go through the central valley of California, the fruit basket of our nation. Many farms sell their produce on site . Right now the apricots are ripe and I couldn't resist. So here I was with pounds and pounds of wonderful apricots, 2 boxes to be precise.
First I gave all my neighbors and friends some, then I made jam with 10 pounds. I used Alice Water's recipe from her "Chez Panisse Fruit Book." I loved the first batch so much that I made another one. I tweaked her recipe by using less sugar and more lemon juice.
Each time I doubled her recipe. The first time I let the apricots and sugar stand overnight in a covered bowl , stirring several times. For the second batch I let the apricots and sugar stand for a couple of hours but I added the juice of a lemon . This time I stirred often and the sugar dissolved faster.
I like my jam soft with pieces of fruit.
Mushroom & Chèvre Crêpes
I love these crêpes and have made them many times. This is a recipe from Lou Seibert Pappas "Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Home Cook." They are wonderful by themselves or with salmon steaks.
This recipe makes between 8 and 12 crêpes (7 inch diameter )
Cooking with Children
Whenever I am cooking and children are around I like to involve them, even if they only get to lick the bowl. I find that children are curious and love to be involved in preparing food. It takes time and patience but it is worth it. At this stage in my life I have to borrow children from my friends.
Last week my friend Britt visited, bringing her daughter and her four grandchildren. I decided to make crêpes with them. The day before I prepared two different batters, one savory, and one sweet crepe batter.
I put out different fillers for them to choose and make their own. For the savory crêpes I used cooked turkey ham, cheddar cheese, avocados, and cherry tomatoes. For the sweet crêpes I bought an organic hazelnut spread ( a little healthier than Nutella, but still yummy ), different homemade jams, soft, spreadable cream cheese, fresh strawberries , blueberries, chocolate sauce, bananas , nuts, and chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.
We cooked the crêpes together, and Ruby, the oldest, was able to make perfect crêpes at the end. The savory ones were their favorite, they loved cutting the cheese on their individual cutting boards. We had a lot of fun together and I was happy to be around
My husband loves corn and clam chowder. Yesterday I didn't feel like shopping , so I had to cook with what I had in my pantry, my refrigerator, and my garden. My husband said that this soup was not benign but aggressive . I think what gave this soup a tangy flavor was the fresh rosemary and lemon thyme.
You can adjust this soup to your taste . I have used 4 slices of bacon instead of pancetta. Just make sure you drain the fat. I have made this chowder with two cups of half and half and 2 cups of water. I have increased the amount of clams to two cans. When corn is not in season I use frozen corn.
This apricot cake is fruity and rich in flavor. The marzipan gives it an added flavor. I used a German recipe for Aprikosenkuchen. This cake can be easily transported and it is great for picnics and tea in the afternoon.
Aprikosenkuchen is a seasonal treat in parts of Europe and there are many recipes using fresh apricots. I put a little piece of almond paste in each apricot half to add some richness and flavor but you can be creative and add something else instead. This cake makes a great addition to a picnic, potluck or afternoon snack. The marzipan adds a wonderful flavor to it. Only your fingers are needed to eat these little morsels.
Lemon Cesar Salad
I have a drawer in my kitchen with my favorite recipes. I also have folders with recipes and I have shelves full of cook books and let's not forget my magazines. In years past I would invite people and then start looking for recipes I could prepare. The covers of Gourmet and Bon Appetit were always intriguing. I mix and match and have fun.
But let's get back to my drawer. Those recipes are special, they are my favorites. Some of the pages are full of stains , some of them are handwritten , some of them are torn out of magazines or newspapers, and I have made them over and over. One of them is a recipe for Lemon Cesar Salad that my friend Linda Ristow send me years ago. It is a vegetarian version of a Caesar salad. My family and friends have enjoyed this salad over and over.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.