I wish you all a Happy Easter or Fröhliche Ostern as we say in German.
Quickly, let me give you my recipe for avocado toast. Take a slice of your favorite bread (toasted or not) and spread a ripe avocado on it. Or just put slices of avocado on your bread. The choice is yours and anyone can do it. If you want to, add a fried egg and call it breakfast or lunch. Or add anything else you like. I see coffee shops and restaurants that sell these toasts for a lot of money. There is a way to elevate this simple toast into a culinary delight by adding finely chopped, preserved lemon rind. Anytime you bite into one of these crunchy little lemon cubes, your palate will experience an explosion of flavors from the floral notes of the released lemon oils to the salty fermented umami crunch.
Preserved lemons are more than just lemons, as they capture the glorious perfume of the lemon and excite your palate. They will enhance almost any dish. Sprinkle them on a salad, a chicken dish or anything else you can think of. Preserved lemons add a fermented quality that regular lemons don’t have with their tart, salty and slightly bitter taste.
Preserved lemons have been a staple in North African cuisine since the 11th century. It is a way to preserve lemons for use long after their season is over. Paula Wolfert introduced them to the American audience in 1970 with her award-winning cookbook Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco. If you want a true Moroccan preserved lemon, add the spices.
Those who have followed me, know about my lemon trees and my ongoing love for lemons. My blog has many recipes using my Meyer lemons, which I treasure. For years, I have made preserved lemons with some of them, but I have never blogged about them. So, I thought it is time to do so. I have given many jars to my friends and wish I could share them with you too. My niece and her husband took a jar with them back to Germany. I have added whole cloves, dried bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds and black peppercorns. In my last batch, I used just kosher salt, and I think that’s what I prefer. Usually, I use the rind and peel only, removing the pulp and rinsing the peel thoroughly to remove most of the salt. Then, I cut them into into tiny cubes, the smaller the better. I read somewhere that the pulp is great in cocktails, but I haven’t tried that. Lately, I have been adding some preserved lemon when making my chicken stock.
Making preserved lemons at home is easy; it just takes time. Mine have lasted a year or longer in the fridge.
I am leaving for Germany in a few days and I am not sure that I will post again before Easter. Easter is one of my favorite time to visit my family and friends. The arrival of spring is a happy occasion after the long winter. Everybody is happy and ready to embrace the warmer weather and longer days. The restaurants and cafes move their tables outside, as every ray of sunshine is greeted with a smile and spring is celebrated with holidays and festivities.
This year is especially nice because the Easter holiday is later in April. I am going to be able to not only to celebrate Easter but also the first of May. In my village, this day is celebrated with a walk through the forest into the next village. Along the route, there are stands with drinks, some of them being little shots of Schnaps (a gin-like drink). The word Schnaps (according to wikipedia) refers to the fact that the drink is a consumed with a quick slug from a shot glass. In the evening, the celebration continues with a gathering around the May tree in the center of the village where Maibowle (May punch) is being served. This punch is wine steeped in an herb called sweet woodruff. I'll post more about my trip when I return, but in the meantime, I will add some photos from my trip on Facebook and Instagram. I can't wait to be with my German family again. Read about one of my previous trips and deviled eggs here.
In this nutty, chewy, not-too-sweet almond lemon cake, whole cooked lemons are being used. It is not your average lemon cake. Click here for the recipe.
Here is an easy-to-make pound cake that is infused with lemon juice. A great combination and perfect any time of the day. Click here for the recipe.
I wish you all a Happy Easter or Fröhliche Ostern as we say in German.
Every year, I eagerly await the time when the persimmons ripen in our little town of Santa Cruz. They are a sure sign that fall has arrived. I don’t have a tree myself, but friends and locals are willing to share their bounty. Hachiya persimmons are the ones I get most of the time. They are teardrop-shaped and have to soften before you can use them. Fuyu persimmons are the flat-looking ones that are great sliced in salads and other dishes. Persimmon trees can grow up to 70 feet tall, and one of these wonderful trees grows in my girlfriend’s son’s garden.
I have been cooking and baking with persimmons for years. Read more about persimmons and the recipe for my persimmon bread on a previous post (click here).
Each year, I can't wait to make this chutney. The recipe comes from a twenty-year-old local newspaper clipping. The chutney is great with a variety of different foods. This year, I am going to make it part of my Christmas cheese board. It is also great with fish, on duck breasts, or with any food you can think of. In the photo above, I am serving it with my muffin quiches without a crust . These quiches make a healthy snack. (click here to get the recipe)
My chutney is rather mild and not overly sweet. The fresh ginger gives it a great flavor. Since I am hosting our book club next week, I am giving each member a jar of my chutney and persimmon bread as a gift.
I really shouldn't do this, instead I should go for a walk to give my old body some exercise before a very long flight. But I just have to share this because fig season is almost over and I love this mustard. Have you noticed that I am running a little behind when it comes to seasonal cooking? Later on, I will try making this recipe using dried figs and add it here.
It all began with a basket of Italian figs that my girlfriend Diane gave me.
This mustard would be great on a cheese plate or on a turkey sandwich. In France, figs and fig mustard is often served with foie gras, and in Germany it is served with a Weißwurst (veal sausage). This is not a sweet mustard, but it is full of flavor with the taste of the figs and a hint of vinegar.
I can never get enough of different sauces and spreads. I like them thin or thick, and I like them as leftovers used with a salad, a sandwich, or a piece of meat or fish. For me, the right sauce makes the meal. When I visited the Burgundy in France (click here to read about my trip), I had the most incredibly thick eggplant sauce next to a piece of fish with the most delicate flavor I have ever tasted. The great chef had added some African spice, and I have no idea what it was. However, I remember tasting something similar in Morocco. Well, my sauces are nothing like that. They are straightforward, easy to make, delicious and can be used in many ways.
I got the idea for the romesco sauce from my blogger friend, Mary Ann, who writes the thebeachhousekitchen blog. She made her romesco sauce as an appetizer with cruditées. I have made this recipe many times and usually eat it as a sandwich spread or with a salad. It is a healthy substitute for richer foods like mayonnaise or butter. For the salmon, I used a recipe from myrecipe.com. This recipe uses canned tomatoes instead tomato paste and cumin as a spice rather than smoked paprika. I don't purée this sauce as much as Mary Ann’s sauce, leaving it coarser for the salmon. Both sauces are delicious.
The inspiration for the sorrel sauce came from the blog, Back Road Journal, and Bon Appetit. I added more sorrel because I have an endless supply of it in my tiny wild garden. Sorrel is a tart, slightly sour herb, oxalis, another common name for this herb means "sour". I think it has a distinct lemony flavor and I find its tartness refreshing. I prefer to purée the sauce in a mixer until smooth. I love the taste of this rich and tangy sauce. It compliments a piece of salmon and other fish. I could eat it on steamed veggies or a chicken breast. It would also taste great with shrimp, chicken or salmon skewers.
Here is a link to to Mary Ann’s romesco sauce and Karen’s sorrel sauce. Both sauces can be made a day ahead. I had leftovers and ate them for several days.
As you probably all know, California has had a lot of rain over the last two months. But today the sun is shining and our neighbor’s fruitless plum tree is in full bloom. The beach is littered with everything that has washed ashore. It is time to collect some driftwood.
It rained and rained and rained some more. The trees fell to the ground and the wind was furious. I was lucky because I had electricity, so I cooked and cooked and cooked. I cooked a whole duck. I made a winter “farro" salad and tried a new recipe for hummus. I am working on these recipes, and will post them later. Cooking distracted me from the scarier and darker moments of the tempestuous weather. I was fortunate to be able to stay in my home and not having to evacuate like so many others.
Life is all about change and loss. What prompted me to write this was a sentence I read this morning from my blogging friend, Jo, at https://coastalcrone.com about being brave enough to change. At this stage in life, I have to contemplate changes I do not look forward to but have to face. And will have to deal with sooner or later. I usually push most of them aside. I prefer the joyful, well-lived life. Don’t we all.
But during those dark hours of rain and storm, I grieved for the loss of my oldest friends from Germany. She died last summer in a horrible car accident. She would be there forever, or so I thought. Gabriele has always been very special to me. She was like a sister. We met in boarding school when she was fourteen and I was fifteen. She fled East Germany with her parents and siblings and later worked her way to becoming a principal and advocate for special needs children.
During one of my visits, we went to a Turkish home and she told the reluctant father that his severely handicapped daughter had to attend school in Germany—by law. I was sure we would get in trouble. Another time, she saved my life when we hitchhiked as young girls in Germany. I remember so many stories full of laughter and tears, as well disagreements and hurt feelings. Why am I posting this? I am not so sure. I have mixed feelings.
What I want to say is: Be kind and gentle with the world and especially your friends. When we said goodbye last May in Germany, she hugged me and cried. Little did I know it was the last time I would ever see her.
“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.
In honor of my friend, Gabriele, I would like give you the link to one of her favorite recipes: seafood pasta.
It has been three years since I started my two blogs. I had no knowledge nor any experience when it came to blogging. With the help of some friends I was able to get started. I have enjoyed the process of embarking on something new where I could share my love of cooking and traveling with others. At the beginning I spent a lot of time in Germany taking care of my ailing mother. Blogging enabled me to have something else to do. I quickly connected with other bloggers around the world who had similar interests and I enjoyed reading their stories. The connections I have made are very important to me. They have become part of my life . The blogging community feels like an extended family to me.
I also wanted to organize my recipes to make them more accessible to my friends and myself. In my Wanderlust blog I share trips and experiences I have encountered. Overall, my blog has provided me with a creative outlet that connects me with people from around the world. I find it fascinating. I am thrilled with the surprising number of people who visit my blog. Thanks to all of you for showing an interest and connecting with me. It is greatly appreciated and I am thankful for the comments and encouragement. You have enriched my life. Hopefully, I can provide you with some interesting and delicious tidbits of life, traveling, and cooking.
Here are some of my posts from the last three years. Click on the picture for the recipe.
Tell me which are your favorites?
I get up very early these days since I am recovering from jet lag. I love the early hours because they are quiet and peaceful and I have them all to myself. What a treat! It takes awhile for me to adjust and get back into the groove.
Do you remember when I wrote about packing light? Well, I didn't this time. Whenever we have a car, we seem to overdo it. We took a lot of stuff to the village for the wedding: gifts, dresses and shoes just for the wedding. What can I say? My grand nephew really liked his Hawaiian shirt and the flip flops were also a hit. Originally we had planned on returning with an empty canvas bag. However, both my husband and I managed to fill it up. My husband bought a gargoyle at a garden show in our little town where we stayed for my niece’s wedding. I managed to fill up the rest of the bag.
Continue to read about my trip on my
Wanderlust Blog ( klick here)
Cooking helps me to reconnect and what is better than a good breakfast.
These banana pancakes might do the job ( klick here for the recipe ).
These crustless little mini-quiches or muffins also make a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are filled with vegetables and even taste good cold
(klick here for the recipe).
I need protein for my morning meal and these delicious pancakes pack in 10 grams of protein and are ready in 10 minutes. They have three ingredients: a ripe banana, one egg, and 2 tablespoon of whole wheat flour.
In general, I am not a pancake person, but when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light I was intrigued. I have made them several times, sprinkled them with some blueberries, roasted nuts and a little bit of maple syrup. I like these pancakes because they are soft and fluffy and only have 228 calories without the toppings. This is important to me right now since I have expanded a bit over the holidays . I don't like to deprive myself of good food—and don't like being hungry.
Sometimes when life has too many hurdles and I don't have the answers or solutions, I go for a ride or a walk into the countryside. Nature gives me a helping hand. It smiles upon me and let's me forget the worries of the world. It calms my fears and reminds me that there is always a new beginning and beauty wherever I am.
Last week, before New Year’s 2016, my husband and I went on such a ride exploring the country roads off beautiful Highway 1 along our Pacific coast. As an afterthought, I took my camera. This stretch of highway between San Francisco and Santa Cruz is stunning and beautiful—and I can never get enough. But the small roads off Highway One are even better—and not so crowded. One of my favorites is Swanton Road, which parallels Highway One in a horseshoe for about 8 miles. On the way back to Santa Cruz, we stopped at Davenport Landing, another small horseshoe-shaped road on the ocean side of Highway One. There is a place that raises abalone, which I’ve never tasted and hope to get to one day. I have always loved the little town of Davenport, which reminds me of early days of coastal California. Davenport has a great glass studio, Lundberg Studios, where I have gotten several special pieces. They even have a great seconds studio. There is also a wonderful inn and restaurant, called the Davenport Road House, that has live music Tuesdays and Fridays. All the locals seem to like the Whale City bakery, that has a great menu and delicious home-baked treats. Not to mention beer & tacos for $2 each on Thursday nights. With live music..
On the ride back to Santa Cruz, I always go along West Cliff Drive. As many times as I have walked along West Cliff Drive, I never tire of the beauty, serenity and ruggedness of the views where the Pacific Ocean meets the land mass of North America. So many many times, I have sat on one of the benches along West Cliff contemplating my life, sometimes with tears, but always soothed by its never-ending beauty. I am so privileged to call this place home.
As the sun sets on our Pacific coast many of you have already started the New Year hoping for peace and new beginnings. No matter where you are I wish you all a happy and peaceful
filled with love, happiness and renewed hope.
I would like to thank all of you for the kind and encouraging comments and for visiting my humble little blog. It means a lot to me to be able to share this part of my life with you.
and cheers to a new year wherever you might be. I hope to be able to share some new adventures and recipes with you and wish you all the very best.
These savory little mini-quiches are just right for my new life as a student. There are easy to carry with you and make a great healthy snack. They taste good, even when they are cold. You can customize them to your own liking and add only those veggies you or your loved ones enjoy.
I would love to make them with young children and have them choose as what vegetables they would like to put in them—a great way to introduce kids to new veggies. I think the potatoes are a necessity, but you could try sweet potatoes. I put in mushrooms because I like them and I had some leftover cooked kale. I think spinach would be just as good, if not better. I added some zucchini and that tasted good too. I would like to experiment with little pieces of ham or bacon to make it like a Quiche Lorraine without the crust. As you see, the possibilities are endless.
Yes, I enrolled in our local junior college to take a class in digital photography. The junior college gives people the opportunity to go to college and prepare for a job or a four-year university education. It gives people like me a chance to be a life-long learner. I can wholeheartedly support such worthy institutions. When I came to this country many moons ago, a different junior college gave me a chance to get an education, for which I'm forever grateful.
It's apple season and time to make my Apple Strudel Cake.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. It means a lot to me and I would love to hear from you .
Comments in English and German are welcome!
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