Weiß Spargel…

White Asparagus, Hollandaise & Lox

find it at Biscuits and Bobbins

As we continue with our Spargelzeit (asparagus season), you will be seeing many asparagus recipes. For those of you who may not be asparagus fans, I’ll try to sneak in a few other things… like chocolate chunk cookies with cranberries 🙂

Please join me today over at Biscuits and Bobbins where I will be guest blogging and sharing my recipe for white asparagus, hollandaise and lox. Blog pal, Jodi, a former pastry chef and major asparagus lover has been waxing idealisitically  to me over her memories of  the joy of living in Germany during white asparagus time (it’s big here in Germany, like, really big….) Since I can’t invite her over ( the commute from Atlanta, Georgia would make her just a bit late for supper) This is the virtual dish I prepared for her. Guten Appetit Jodi!

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Buckwheat Crepes, Asparagus, Proscuitto,Gouda & Mornay

Buckwheat Crepes, Asparagus, Proscuitto,Gouda & Mornay

I’m coming through this time with what I had planned. Wonders never cease. And this time of year it seems the asparagus never cease! As I mentioned, we’ve got sweet little huts all over the village with green and white asparagus and strawberries.  In addition to the prolific stands, like three in a two block radius… brimming with freshness, we have loads of crisp spears and red fruits at the market four days a week! Today I’d like to feature…

Buckwheat Crepes, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Gouda, Proscuitto & Mornay

Glazed Carrots, Apples and Horseradish


One of my favorite magazines in Germany besides my monthly Food and Travel is Landlust. Beautiful photographs from the countryside, fresh recipes and for me a chance to read German. Like giving a boy girly mags to learn how to read… oh that’s bad isn’t. Sexist too? Sorry. I will say though, my German exels in reading and translating recipes.

This month’s issue displayed gorgeous young vegetables, cooked simply, with interesting combinations and ingredients. I’m pleased it was the carrots with horseradish that stood out above the others. Eaten last night with a simple grilled steak and steamed broccoli, these carrots gave our meal a little umph! Sweet and salty with a little bite.

Carrots, apples & horseradish {Print Recipe}

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Lost, Found & Fresh

Lost, Found & Fresh

Since we’ve been pounding the cupcakes lately, and that ‘diet’ way back when only lasted three weeks, I thought I’d throw something fresh your way. I sort of lost my way just like Chloe’s black winter coat last week. She left it on the public bus Friday afternoon, the first really warm day of the year. I couldn’t blame her…It was one of those days where you forgot how cold the morning had started and by the afternoon you were practically peeled down to your skivvies…. practically nothing that is. So of course it’s like ‘what coat’? It was fortunate she even realized where she left it. We (O) called the HVV(public Hamburg transport) yesterday and the coat was indeed located and we needed to bring in identification and some sort of proof that it was ours. Like in case someone else left a black winter coat on the 283, direction Bahrenfeld between 3.15 and 3.45pm. O found a year old photo on the computer. Can you imagine rustling through boxes of snapshots or negatives looking for a picture? My idea was to bring the detached furry hood that Chloe refuses to wear, as proof we are the rightful owners. Our particle reference number in hand, we arrived at the Fundbüro. It was like walking into an OCD dream. The quiet, organized main office had two employees and no que… and racks on six walls with hundreds of lost, stranded keychains, all tagged by location found, date and a reference number. It was amazing.

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Sushi for St Patty

Sushi for St Patty

We strayed far from a traditional St. Patty’s Day meal. No cornbeef. No colcannon. No Guinness chocolate cake… although that’s definitely on my list. No green or otherwise beer. We had an evening at the sauna, and Irish meals after an evening of swimming and sweating, I do not crave. Sushi on the other hand, like spring rolls, is perfect. Having filled my luck quota this weekend with the coincidental green liner and napkin under the last round of cupcakes meant no tuna for us on Saturday. I literally was behind the man who bought the last tuna steak at our fish monger. The tuna I had imagined, during my twenty minute wait, spicing up with chili oil and mayo. The tuna I would place next to sweet mango and avocado. I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking tuna for St Patricks Day.  I’ve honestly never made sushi without fresh tuna. We still enjoyed fresh salmon, smoked salmon, shrimp and tofu.

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new york city the first day

new york city the first day

I arrived into JFK in pretty good shape. I stay hydrated with water and emergen-C’s and put lotion on my hands and face about every hour to combat the plane air sucking the life and elasticity out of my skin. Our section was so open it really lent itself to a relaxed flight. People= energy.  Few people=calm. I’m sure the flight crew enjoyed the break too. My only complaint was I didn’t start Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy early enough to be finished before the “entertainment portion of our flight” switched off. Damn you flight attendant lady. This is a very confusing movie. Not one to be watched on a 5×5 screen with poor sound quality. And missing the last fifteen? minutes didn’t help. It’s on the rental que!

A long rainy traffic filled hour later I arrived at my big kid’s apt. We ordered in and relaxed. Talked about life and the next few days. I enjoyed the fact that these days ahead were going to unfold. No big agenda’s or script to follow.

I woke up my first full day here imagining what it would be like to wake up in this city everyday. Such an array of so many really different people with such vast cultural and economic diversity.  So many thoughts traveling through so many minds every morning before millions of feet hit the floor.

My thoughts started about 4.30am. I actually try to stay on an early track for these short trips to ease the transition back. I walked out the door about 10am and started at the bottom of Broadway (downtown) and made my way to Madison Square Garden. The day went a little something like this…

We all know how many hundreds/thousands of food stands are  on the streets here. I love them all.

But this cupcake one deserved a snap shot

These got me thinking, “I would like to have something sweet now”… O’s line following a meal. So I just happened to pass this great specialty food store you might have heard of and got myself a chocolate chip crumb cake with a fantastic proportion of crumb to cake. Like a lot of crumb. Good crumb I might add.

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Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

We had a nice evening at the Blankenese Pool and Sauna this week. You’ll have to go to the link as I couldn’t hijack any images to show. We started with a few laps in the 25 meter pool to stretch out. Whether alone or surrounded by excited children, we always enjoy this beautiful floor to ceiling windowed, light filled  building. France too has wonderful pools throughout the city but Germans really prioritize health through hydrotherapy and wellness centers. One can even take an insurance paid ‘wellness’ trip.

Followed by a swim we head to the steam room a little before 5.30pm to get warmed up. I like to open those dirty, clogged pores that I’ve been slathering with creams and oils to fight the cold weather. We breath in humid, steamy air while we wait for the attendant to come with little bowls of salt.

Armed with salt, we scrub that layer of dead skin with little remorse .. the bodies largest organ of elimination (the skin) rewards us feeling as silky as a baby’s butt. Each of us have a go at our own bodies, and O and I finish doing each other’s backs. We sit on little face cloth sized towels in a small room and I do my best to remain silent. The salt pulls beads of sweat out of our skin and we are soon seriously dripping. If we time it right, little pots of honey are offered next. I could do this every week. Great stuff.

I’ll mention here, there are a few beauty care pieces I’ve yet to pull together in this country. For instance, I wanted to ask the lady who entered the steam room just after us, where she gets her bikini wax but a) it’s hard to get the right words out in German and b) it might leave her feeling a bit hesitant to take the last seat on the tiled bench next to me. So I didn’t. I’ve really learned to think before speaking since living here. This has been a very positive lesson for me. Normally I am a serious/funny kind of a female wise cracker and it doesn’t always work… in English. And forget it in German.  Click here if you want to read about my first and only waxing experience… Wax on wax off- an experience. This is optional reading… not just something you want to accidentally scroll to at the bottom of the page.

Let’s continue…Next is the main hot dry sauna. Each hour there is a special aroma and steam procedure. Citrus, eucalyptus, lemongrass. I was one of three women and eleven men sitting naked and close together. Large, thin, hairy backs,  all shapes and sizes but nobody cares. We had a chamomile/ elderflower mix. These guys do an ausbildung(internship/training) for this… Most German people who don’t attend University will complete an internship in something, even if you work at the grocery store. I’ve only seen men doing this job. They come in with towel skirts or shorts and scoop scented water onto the hot coals, then wave and snap a towel (not the one on their waist). The scented heat wafts across my face. I cover it with my hands, feel the heat, breath deeply and concentrate on nothing. Sometimes, ice chips are offered. I eat them and hold them against the souls of my feel and back of my neck, feeling them instantly melt.

In the fifteen minutes, that had felt like sixty, I had moved from the third step to the first.  Heart rates up, we exit with the sauna guy. We head to the showers and choose warm, ice cold or my favorite, the rain cycle. A mix of warm and cool water that varies between a pitter patter and pelting against my skin. With skin washed, we don our robes, take an apple or grape juice, sometimes a tea over to the lounge chairs and rest. I try to focus on a mantra.. om nama shivaya… instead of writing this post. But I also try not to fight my thoughts. I try to let them flow through. If I say the mantra in my head I can stop thinking for a few minutes and I feel relief.

We relaxed here for a good 30-40 minutes. Sometimes we go for a second round but that night Chloe was at home on her own and had been on a bike ride, or so I thought. I’m a bit of a paranoid and since we couldn’t be reached by phone – I was not 100% relaxed. So we called it a night and headed home for spring rolls, green salad and quinoa salad.

I used rice paper, glass noodles, napa cabbage, red cabbage, orange and purple carrots, red and yellow peppers, cilantro, mint and basil.

Here’s the process of dipping the rice paper in warm water. The trick is getting it wet and elastic but not over doing it or it cracks. These photos were taken by Chloe 🙂

Swish it around in the water then carefully let the excess water drip off. Then I lay it on a stone tile or a plate would work.

I’ve got all my very thinly sliced veggies, cooked shrimp, rice noodles and herbs ready to fill the wraps. I start with the shrimp and mint leaves. Honestly though, sometimes I forget the order between the one hundred and twenty seconds it takes from one roll to the next. Like this one for instance, I put the mint on first and didn’t notice till processing my picks…

Then some cooked glass noodles…

Your veggies, cilantro and basil….Thai basil is the best here but couldn’t find any this day.

Now we begin to roll. I pull the ends up on each side…

Then fold the side closest to me up…

Tuck it in and roll…

Roll it as tight as you can without busting the wrapper. This might take one or two practice rolls…

Here’s what you’ll have on the inside… note shrimp coming out. These were my rolls shot the next day as I ran out of good light. They still tasted great but the wrapper degrades a little. They are a super lunch though. You want to wrap them tight in plastic wrap to store.

These were so much fun to take photos of and edit. Glorious color. Think of all the vitamins!

I eat them with thai chili sauce… I could drink the stuff. love it so much.

Ok last one… probably..

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