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Category Archives: Culinary

Banging Around a Berlin Kitchen

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Overdue is normally a word reserved for library books, but it’s fitting here, as the cooking class that I took in Berlin happened the Friday before Thanksgiving. That was November 18th for those keeping track, meaning I’m a solid month behind schedule in getting this posted. Demerit.

I guess I could blame it on the fact that I’ve been busy translating the recipes or making a failed attempt at piecing the marathon seven-hour long evening back together. But neither of those are really true. Minus part of the piecing, but that took place on my RyanAir flight from Berlin Schoenefeld back to London EARLY Saturday morning when the alarm went off. I found myself scratching my head wondering how a harmless cooking class turned into nearly a full day’s work, three full-course meals, and more bottles of wine than we properly counted, but hopefully paid for. At least I hope someone did.

Just getting to this class was a victory because it had been on my list during the original installment of Culinary Hopscotch. But as these things go (and went on that trip), Berlin was smack dab where my bank account reached an all-time low and I mentally began the journey home. There were no funds for the Kochen & Würzen class that time, but this trip to Berlin would be different. I was on a mission; I had a second chance at my class, on a day when Blane Gish (an American expat) was hosting, and I would be there to cook alongside him. I was doing it come hell or high water.

And I did…with two of my American friends, and about 10 of our newest German ones. It was, hands down, the most rammed cooking class I’ve been apart of, with the exception of my demonstration-based classes where you could hardly see let alone get your hands on a whisk. Being that Blane was an expat, I had assumed the class would be taught in English. It was. Kind of. Since 7/8’s of the class was German-speaking, he conducted the class that way, with random English commentary sprinkled in. Despite wondering what the hell was going on for a good portion of it, I was in awe of his command of the German language. It’s something I want desperately to learn, but my God, it’s a major pain in the ass with all of those cases. I digress. Sort of. Blane handed my friends and I the recipes, and low and behold, they were entirely in German. We looked at each other, had a laugh, and decided to get on with it. Surely there was a plan for us Amerikaneren.

Basiskurs feines Geflügel

Gebratene getrüffelte Perlhuhnbrust an Kürbis-Lauch-Risotto

Wachtel aus dem Ofen, gefüllt mit Prosecco-Sauerkraut und Thymiankartoffeln

Entenbrust mit Zimt-Orangensauce, Pommes Dauphin und Gemüse der Saison

Ouittenmousse mit Cranberry-Kompott

Yep, those were the dishes we would be making that evening, and our method of finding our way around the kitchen and the recipes was to pair up with a German ally, and be shown the ropes that way. It worked, until my partner began pouring glass after glass after glass of wine, which made for a comical evening. Especially when we washed and dried the Wachtel (those are Cornish Game Hens for the uninitiated) together, laughing mostly about the English name for which I had no explanation. We walked through the recipe together, me pointing out the few German food-related words I did know, and her marveling at the fact that an American could even piece together a sentence or two of her native tongue.

After we  banged around the smallish kitchen, our class of 12-13 came together on three separate occasions over a fully prepared meal in the dining room. There was, of course, more wine to go with them. When the third of the three meals was nearing completion, I had a look at my phone. It was nearly 1:00 a.m., and it made sense to me why Blane had asked early on if we needed to be out of there at a certain time. No, no…we could catch a taxi home, so we weren’t on any U-bahn time constraints. But it all made sense now, and I could hear the nagging chime of my cell phone alarm bellowing at 5:45 a.m., telling me it was time to get up, surely hungover, for my early morning flight. Tick one for foreshadowing.

If you find yourself trolling Berlin’s duplicitous city streets–the ones that once forced out foreigners but now offer them staggering autonomy, the ones that once hid behind a wall that no longer stands, the ones who know their storied roots but watch progress grow where things have fallen down–make it a point to find Kochen & Würzen. You’ll learn your way around a German kitchen, but also find a place where everybody knows your name even when you can’t remember it yourself.

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Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

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Versatile Blogger Logo for Culinary HopscotchDid you hear the news? Culinary Hopscotch was given The Versatile Blogger award by Ukate! Her write-up about my blog was really too kind, and I’m ecstatic to formally accept the award. It’s kind of like a chain letter where I’ll get the chance to pay the award forward to another group of blogs, so if you’d like to nominate your own or a favorite blog you read, please leave a comment on this post with a link. I’ll be giving out my awards in November.

Per her instructions, in order to accept the award, I’m to dish seven random factoids about myself. Things that you wouldn’t otherwise read on the blog. This should be fun! So sit back and enjoy a little atypical slice of Culinary Hopscotch this week.

Factoids

1. I do not eat white condiments. No mayonnaise, ranch dressing, sour cream, cream cheese, or anything else that’s white and falls within the condiment family. Go ahead, toss one my way…it’s everyone’s favorite pastime, and chances are, I won’t eat it.

2. My name is Kyle because my father insisted I was going to be a boy. My mother fought with him until she didn’t feel like it anymore, and they decided I would be Kyle either way. Ironically, I have younger twin brothers.

3. I hate black toilet seats and will do whatever I can to avoid them at all costs. Rumor has it that I dislodged one from a toilet at a pub near Cambridge when I studied abroad. I can neither confirm nor deny this rumor.

4. I learned French in high school, and still have a rather unusual command of the language. I’ve also spent time post-college studying German. I love languages and probably should have majored in one or the other.

5. I was on ABC’s The Bachelor when it was filmed in Paris during 2005. Travis Storke was the suitor, and now, he is one of the characters on the talk show The Doctors. I barely talked to him during the taping, but remain friends with a bunch of the girls from the show. It’s like a post-college sorority!

6. I play Fantasy Football and my boyfriend does not. He laments Sundays because I sit around with beer and yell at the TV…all…day…long.

7. Said boyfriend and I have three pets: a Newfoundland named Henri, and two cats named Tom and Brady. My boyfriend’s name is Brady and his father’s name is Tom, which as you can imagine, leads to some hysterical looks from people when they meet the cats for the first time.

 

Thank you again to UKate for the kind nod for Culinary Hopscotch. I really appreciate it, and of course, I will get her the recipes from my Indian cooking class in London.

 

 

On the Menu this Week

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On the MenuMajor delay on getting the post up this week. Apologies! I wasn’t able to post from my iPad, and I’ve been traveling this week. Engage effective problem solving skills, or in this case, post tardy and beg for forgiveness. Since I left the kitchen behind this week and a hungry man caring for the critter kingdom, I’m listing recipes that are easy enough for the non-cook to execute. Have a great rest of your (short) week!

Monday:

Angel Hair Pasta with Light Red Sauce and Bulk Sausage Meatballs, Caesar Salad & Garlic Bread

Tuesday: 

Pan-Fried Steaks, Scalloped Potatoes, & Green Salad

Wednesday:

Frito Taco Salads, Beans, Rice & Mexican Caesar Salad

Thursday:

Dinner Out

Friday:

Cinnamon-Crunch Chicken, Lemon-Steamed Spinach & Polenta

Bon Appetit!

On the Menu this Week

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On the MenuIt is officially fall. The leaves are changing, and I picked up a handful of gorgeous red ones this morning to make an art project out of. I love this time of year. The holidays are on the horizon, we’re forced to bundle up when we go outside, and I can finally delve into some heartier recipes, especially since we both have mini colds. Have a great week, and sorry for the one-day delay!

Monday:

Chicken Vegetable Soup & Latkes

Tuesday: 

BLT Pasta Casserole & Caesar Salad

Wednesday:

Foster the People Concert

Thursday:

Beef and Garlic Italian Stir Fry, Jasmine Rice & Green Salad

Friday:

Daube de Boeuf with Crusty Bread and Caesar Salad

Bon Appetit!

On the Menu this Week

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On the MenuBusy, busy, busy is the theme this week! From one set of guests this past weekend to another coming into town tomorrow, there isn’t a lot of time to think about mega meals with laundry lists of ingredients. Have a great week!

Monday:

French Onion Soup with Tri-Cheese Toast & Fork ‘N Knife Caesars

Tuesday: 

Fried Tacos, Refried Beans, Mexican Rice, & All the Trimmings

Wednesday:

BBQ Beef Sandwiches with Orange-Jalepeno Coleslaw & Pepper and Scallion Potato Salad

Thursday:

Robert Earl Keen Concert

Friday:

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops with Argula-Basil Rice Pilaf & Green Salad

Bon Appetit!

On the Menu this Week

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On the MenuFall has arrived in the Pacific Northwest! We’re in for some rainy days, so most of this week’s menu  reflects that. Of course, we’re also back up to 75 degrees at the end of the week. So much for consistency!

Monday:

Oven-Fried Chicken, Chive Mashed Potatoes, & Roasted Acorn Squash

Tuesday: 

Rigatoni with White Bolognese Sauce & Green Salad

Wednesday:

Andouille Sausage Jambalaya with Fresh Veg & Yellow Rice

Thursday:

Dinner Out

Friday:

Papardelle with Lemon, Herbs and Ricotta Salata, Garlic Bread & Caesar Salad

Bon Appetit!

On the Menu this Week

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On the MenuLooking for weekly culinary inspiration? You’ve come to the right place!

Monday:

Polenta Burgers, Roasted Asparagus, Criss-Cut Fries

Tuesday: 

Dinner Out

Wednesday:

Chicken Drumsticks with Vinegar Sauce, Herb Rice, Caesar Salad

Thursday:

Pasta with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese, Steamed Broccoli, Garlic Bread

Friday:

Chicken Schnitzel, Herb Spaetzle, Green Salad

Bon Appetit!