25 November 2010

Double Take: Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas (sort of)

Whilst everyone is gathered around the Thanksgiving table in the US today, I’m stuck at work. I’ve been reading facebook status updates all week: 3 days til vacation, 2 days, Today will feel like Monday and Thursday at the same time!, etc. Well, not me. I really can’t complain though, I had a wonderful week of vacation at the beginning of November, am taking a weekend trip to London soon, and will be spending Christmas with most of my immediate family (yay!). But on Thanksgiving Day, I went to work. And ya know what that means? It means I am incredibly lucky to have picked the field of environmental science when I got my bachelor’s degree. And even luckier that I decided I wasn’t ready for the real world so I went to graduate school for a master’s in biology. All of that led me to a point where, when Bender announced he got a job offer in Germany, I was able to get a job there too. I am thankful for the ability to work in a foreign country. This time last year, I knew I had a job lined up for me, but did not yet know when I would start. Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of when I started my job. Today is a day of giving thanks, and I am thankful to be at this point in my life and to be able to call it good. And incredibly thankful that you are reading my blog so I’m not talking to myself over here!

18 November 2010

Double Take: Tabbouleh

One of my favorite lunch places in Winston-Salem served a great Tabbouleh. It was always a little too heavy on the dried cranberries, but it was always enjoyable. So when I saw a different Tabbouleh in the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, I got excited. Bender and I also ate a lot of salad during the three weeks of summer (way too hot to turn on the oven when our apartment had zero circulation, zero fans, and zero air conditioning), so I was also on the lookout for more salad recipes. Thus, this Tabbouleh recipe made the list.
But I’m just now getting around to making it. Outside my window, I see fall in Germany in full swing: cold and rainy. My seven day forecast is calling for wintery mix soon. I’m not thrilled. I’m wanting those three ridiculously hot weeks of summer back!

Oh right, you’re here to hear/read about this Tabbouleh, not my dislike of the weather.  This recipe definitely brought a bit of summer into my mouth! The warmth didn’t exactly extend to my apartment, but that’s okay. I guess you can’t expect too much out of shredded lettuce, bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, mint, garlic, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Unfortunately, this recipe is the first one in a while that is not linked online, and since I followed the recipe almost exactly (I did halve it), I can’t post it. But I’ll take you through the steps and give you some recommendations!

15 November 2010

Double Take: Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Tabitha started getting excited about fall soups long before fall actually arrived in North Carolina. So I started looking at our “To Make” list that takes us into January and realized our mistake: we didn’t have a single soup on the list! I had already gone through the list, so I asked Tabitha to do the same. Would you believe that I had rated 28 recipes, but her two top choices I hadn’t rated at all? I didn’t rate them for a simple reason: there was no way Bender would even try them. She’d picked out two pumpkin recipes and Bender just doesn’t eat pumpkin. And I can’t buy canned pumpkin here. I couldn’t imagine that prepping the pumpkin for soup would be difficult, but it just wasn’t something I was terribly interested in trying if I were the only one eating it. So I picked one of Tabitha’s two recipes to make for our Double Take series and gave her my blessing to make the other one without me.

 I've been learning a lot about pumpkins since I moved to Germany. For instance, the rest of the world calls all winter squash “pumpkins.” I only thought something could be called a pumpkin if I could turn it into a jack-o-lantern. Boy was I wrong. And then I learned that Libby’s agrees with the rest of the world and that their canned pumpkin is generally butternut squash. Huh. I’ve never enjoyed pumpkin pie and my mom certainly did not cook with pumpkin, so it was never something I really thought about. So readers, what is your definition of a pumpkin?

Roasted pumpkin sure is pretty. 

13 November 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge: Soufflé

Slightly fallen but oh-so-delicious Hot Chocolate Soufflé

When I first saw the Daring Cooks Challenge for November, I was dismayed. My oven still isn't fixed and the hosts for this month made it clear that you had to use the oven. I told Bender what the challenge was, explained to him that our oven doesn't keep the correct temperature, and then he came up with a brilliant suggestion: Why don't you use someone else's oven? Duh. How dumb am I? Of course someone will let me use their oven if I promise him/her soufflé! 

04 November 2010

Double Take: Smothered Enchiladas

I love fake enchiladas. And when I say fake, I mean I use flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas. I don’t know what it is, but I just don’t like corn tortillas. I’ve even had homemade tortillas made by someone who learned how to make them by watching his mother in Mexico. But I just don’t like them. So I always cheat and use flour tortillas. I assumed I’d have to do that with these enchiladas as well, but for some reason the recipe writers at Southern Living agree with me and both of their enchilada recipes call for flour tortillas. Yay!

Enchilada deliciousness! 

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