Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Harvest Season Begins - Clauer Hoffest

Somewhere I once read that in Japan, the women all change their outfits on one undeclared day, heralding the arrival or Spring. How a season can arrive on one day is a mystery to me; I'm used to seasons slowly creeping into the next. Take Fall for example. Fall is the harvest time in Germany, a season in which vintners go painstakingly through their vineyards to start production for the next release of wine. This is not the case in Germany this year. The summer has bled into the harvest and created a very hospitable environment to enjoy the harvest.
This year, we enjoyed the harvest with a local, family-run vintner, with the party they threw.

Frankly, the Workaholic and I have both been exhausted in the last little while and we were reluctant to take public transit to the middle of nowhere, walk on the side of a country road and rely on the GPS of our smart phones to get us to our ultimate destination. But the Heidelberg Crowne Plaza set up an oyster stand. I was willing to get lost in the woods for the promise of succulent oysters and sparkling wine. Thankfully, both the Crowne Plaza and the Clauer Sekt lived up to my expectations.

After a walk that lasted eternity, walking in the ditch, against oncoming traffic, we arrived amid a field of retro-tractors. These, although amusing, were not Sekt and oysters. I quickly surveyed the surroundings, found a sign and was in my happy place. There are places I need orientation and there are places with sparkling wine. The 2 groups are normally mutually exclusive.

Wine and festival: we ran into friends, shared some wine and danced to a swing quartet. A decent party by any measure. Are we ready to return? Perhaps next year. We may have a better idea of how to get there on the train.

Clauer Wine:
Public Transit to Clauer Vineyard: Grab a bunch of friends and split a taxi.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Lady who Lunches

Last week, surrounded by great self-made fanfare, I returned to my blog. Now I am faced with a few harsh realities:
  1. days are getting shorter leaving less daylight hours to take photographs of food
  2. taking pictures of your food at the work cafeteria makes you look like a weirdo
  3. the "Program" the Workaholic insists on following is restrictive (it's a program, not a diet)
  4. I spend a lot of time cooking as a result of aforementioned Program
Last week had a few fun lunches that were relatively easy:
  • the homemade summer rolls
  • a chickpea and arugula salad
  • a quinoa and black bean salad
  • black bean salad with fresh corn, avocado and tomatoes
The chickpea and arugula salad has been a mainstay of the program. Easy to prepare and it keeps overnight.
chickpeas (from a can, then drained)
chopped tomatoes
chopped grilled eggplant & zucchini
(tip: grill a bunch of things & add to sandwiches, salads or dinner through the week)
chopped red onion
red wine vinegar
olive oil

Part of the pleasure of bringing my own lunch when we have a fully catered canteen is the reaction of my coworkers. When I brought my Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, my lunch date asked me if he could be in the picture. Behold my salad & my coworker:
Cooked quinoa
Black beans (dried & then cooked)
red onions
olive oil
apple cider vinegar

The next day, I had the pleasure of a surprise visit from an old friend. I was so engrossed with catching up, I got back to my desk only to realize, I had no photos. I quickly called the Workaholic and he has happy to oblige. I quickly discovered that the Workaholic is in a much darker environment than I am.

Black beans (the dried kind are the best I can find in Germany)
grilled corn, shucked
chopped tomaotes
chopped avocado
lime juice

Fruit Salad:
1/2 Kiwi
Cranberry juice to keep it from looking gross

That's it. A week of lunches. Let's see if I can find anything new this week. While still adhering to The Program, of course.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Reconnecting through lunch

Hello again!

It has been a while since I was last here. Eons ago, I took on a new job that allowed me to either cook or to write about cooking. If I gave up the cooking, I would have had the time to write about food but no material. An uncomfortable situation. I chose the food.

I'm back because an old friend, Emily, is running a contest of sorts on her site. She encourages everyone to get creative with their lunches. Because I have come to the conclusion that my cafeteria's offering of fries & schnitzel is not always my friend, I have been packing a lot of my own lunches. Today was a Vietnamese-style summer roll with a peanut dipping sauce and chopped mango and strawberry.

The rolls are filled with Thai basil, lettuce, bean thread, MSC-approved shrimp, mint, and slices of carrot, radish and red chilies.  The peanut sauce has chili oil, peanut butter, maybe soy sauce, maybe rice vinegar, maybe green onions. I'm not really sure because it was leftover from something else. Because I planned this lunch ahead of time, the actual assembly was 20 minutes for 4 rolls. It took me more time to make the fruit salad that I only realized was necessary after I saw all the empty space in my lunch box.

Summary: both the Workaholic and I were content. And it was the envy of my co-workers who had spaghetti with meat sauce.
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