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Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

I thought you might like to see where all the action takes place.  I’m renting a fully-furnished apartment in Berlin, which thankfully has a well-stocked kitchen. Aside from a few santoku-style knives, a grill pan, and some wooden cutting boards, it had just about everything I needed going in.

Well, nearly.  The two-dozen metal canisters on the shelf to the right?  Those are our spices from the U.S.  That’s right.  We imported our spice collection. When it comes to packing, having a traveling companion who shares your priorities is a perk!  (It also means you both neglect to pack winter gloves.)

But back to the kitchen.  I love that the open layout allows me to chat with guests while I cook or clean up.  My last kitchen was a hot, stuffy closet.  This one is a definite improvement, because it has the most crucial household appliance ever: the dishwasher.

I’ll never go back to hand-washing.  Never!

On (all too rare) sunny days, the kitchen fills with natural light.  Now that the days are finally getting longer, I have more time to dream up and photograph new dishes. (more…)

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Guess how these cookies got their name?

First, I started making them at 10PM, only to realize that I was out of eggs and short on chocolate, thus requiring a run to the corner store.  Second, I’d forgotten to factor in the one-hour chilling time for the dough.  They were finally done around 12:30AM.  But hey, I’d waited six months to finally make these—what was a few hours?

Americans ex-pats typically crave strange, hard-to-find things like Kraft Blue Box, chipotle peppers, cream of mushroom soup, and Saltines. Chocolate chip cookies are another doozy. Good luck finding any of the essential ingredients in Germany: brown sugar, chocolate chips, or vanilla extract.  I hadn’t had much luck.

brown gold…

But then my friend, Liza, brought me back a bag of fancy chocolate chips from her last trip to the U.S.  A plan was hatched. My dad good-naturedly agreed to haul a 2-lb. bag of brown sugar in his luggage at Christmastime.  And the vanilla extract problem I solved by macerating a vanilla bean in a mini bottle of vodka:

Finally, it was cookie time! I started with a recipe billed as no less than “The Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World.”  Although I might not go quite that far, if you like a chewy cookie…these were totally worth the wait!

(Makes 22-23 medium cookies)

-1 1/2 c. flour
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2  tsp. salt
-1/2 c.  (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly colder than room temperature
-1/2 c. sugar
-3/4 c. tightly packed light brown sugar (I used dark but recommend light)
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
-7 oz. bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips
-1/3 c. chopped walnuts, toasted (optional) (more…)

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Surprise! I’ve changed continents. Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy my dispatches from my new home, Berlin—where every trip to the grocery store is an adventure, the produce is fresh and cheap, and the cashiers are surly but move at the speed of light.

Like so many others, today’s recipe started with one irresistible seasonal ingredient:

chanterelle mushroom

It’s mushroom season in Germany, and these beauties (chanterelles, or Pfifferlinge) have been cropping up all over menus in Berlin.

I stumbled upon a brimming basketful in the market this week and began plotting ways to highlight their deliciousness.

IMG_1473

In a nod to my new surroundings, I settled on German cutlet (Schnitzel) marinated in tangy lemon juice, gently pan-fried, and swathed in a creamy mushroom-herb sauce.

turkey schnitzel

This dish is a fantastic study in contrasts: the crisp coating against the sultry sauce; the bright lemon against the rich, mellow mushrooms.  In short, delicious.  Guten Appetit! (more…)

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A moment of silence to remember the creator of the mouth-watering street snack, the Döner Kebab

 

doner-kebab1

Credit: The Local

A German news site, The Localreports:

In sad news for anyone who has been drunk and hungry at 2 am, the man who invented the döner kebab sandwich nearly four decades ago in Berlin has passed away.

Mahmut Aygün, the Turkish immigrant who revolutionised German fast food with his tasty creation, died at age 87 this week after a serious illness.

Aygün came up with the now ubiquitous döner while working at the “City Imbiss” snack shop in West Berlin in 1971. Cutting meat off a huge rotating spit, he was inspired to put it in pita bread and dress it up with vegetables and yoghurt sauce. Selling for two marks, the döner quickly became a staple of German street food alongside Teutonic favourites such as the bratwurst.

Although Aygün went on to considerable culinary success in Berlin, he didn’t make money from the thousands of kebab shops across Germany that copied him because he failed to patent his invention.

Still, he will be remembered by countless legions of döner kebab fans around the world.

“The news of his passing fills me with sadness, but I’m also overwhelmed by a sense of everlasting gratitude,” Andreas Tzortzis, a London-based editor and self-professed döner connoisseur, told The Local on Thursday.

Learning to love the meaty snack while living in Berlin for several years, Tzortzis – who has Greek roots – initially had to overcome his hesitation towards the Turkish treat.

“I actually stayed away from döner during my first two years there, but eventually realised my folly after ravishing my first one at three o’clock in the morning around the corner from my apartment in Prenzlauer Berg,” he said. “After that, the döner gave me comfort during both the deep dark of the Berlin winter nights and the lazy days of summer.”

But for Tzortzis, the divine sandwich created by Aygün almost forty years ago became much more than just good drunk food.  “There were even a few good döner places in Berlin you could enjoy while sober,” he told The Local.

Dying to try one, but find Berlin a bit of a stretch?  Head over to Cafe Divan (Georgetown) or Hamburg Döner (Leesburg) for a bite.  You might also try shawarma at Shawarma King (1654 Columbia Rd., NW ), which approximates (if not replicates) the kebab experience.  I’m not exactly sure what the difference is, so I’ll be investigating.*

*Explanations here and here, but no nice, succinct answer.  This post on chicken shawarma is also vivid.

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