Yes, pizza belongs to Italians. They do a pretty good job of it (hehe!) Every corner of Italy contends that their pizza is the best. And there are some pretty stellar rivalries. Roman vs Neopolitan? Thick and chewy vs thin and crispy? And when we move the contest over here to North America, it get’s even dicier. NY vs Chicago? Thin and chewy vs a thick pie? Every neighbourhood has it’s classic pizza that its lovers will defend to the death.
So to help break the tie and settle so many long fought battles, I present Flammekueche. That’s right, German pizza.
Borscht is a funny little soup. Beet soup. It’s pink. Or magenta. A staple in Northern and Eastern Europe. The kind of soup that your Oma or Babushka would make. It’s truly a cozy, comfort, stick to your ribs kind of soup. And one of Jim’s favourites. So it’s just a matter of time once winter gets here before he is asking for it.
It finally snowed here in Toronto the other night. We took a walk in it down the waterfront by where we live. I will admit, it was so pretty. But so windy!! So I was a tad of a baby, and we didn’t stay out as long as we had planned. But we did get a good snowball fight in, much to the amusement of the dog walkers who passed by. What a lovely feeling it was- that cold snow sticking to eyelashes and hair, the sting in the cheeks from the bitter wind. I am hoping for many more snowfalls before the season is over. Sorry to all you winter haters. But we can’t send winter back, so we might as well embrace it!
As a little girl, I got giddy for December. Actually I resented December. In that my favourite flavours were only relegated to that one month. I couldn’t understand that if everyone loved gingerbread and all the spices that go into it, why only use them one time of the year? What was to stop bakers from using them in November, or why are they forced to stop using them in January? One day I would grow up, and would change this.
I can’t believe a whole year has gone by since I started this whole blog thing. Boy time flies. What started because a few friends had kindly asked for me to share recipes through the years, has turned into a full fledged job! And while I started this as a way to share my musings regarding the various dishes that we’ve been eating here at home, or as a child growing up with German parents, it really also is a tribute to my mom.
This is a treat that totally reminds me of my mom. Growing up, one of my favourite things to put on toast was ‘pflaumenmus’ or plum butter. So thick and spreadable, a slight tartness mingled with the sweetness of the plums, with that rich, deep colour. I was hooked! Whenever we would go grocery shopping, six year old me would ask my mom if the store we were in is where we get the pflaumenmus (all my words in english, except for the key word!) “No”, she would reply, “we need to go to a special store for that.” By special, she meant the German deli!
A few times each year, our lives get really busy, with long days away from the house, leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening. It’s at times like these, that Birchermuesli comes to the rescue.
Long before the days of overnight oats, baked oatmeal etc, there was Birchermuesli. I wasn’t even really sure why it’s called Birchermuesli, so I looked it up (good ole internet!).
Germans love pudding.
Chocolate pudding. Vanilla pudding. Butterscotch pudding. There are so many creamy confections that just scream for a spoon to come along and slide into the velvety texture. This is not the same. This is a lovely fresh take on a pudding. While it takes advantage of all the summer berry bounty, it can really be made at any time of the year. Thank you dear freezer. Instead of containing dairy, its base is berries. And a thickener like corn starch. Usually it would be made with red currants, raspberries, strawberries, cherries or a combination of the above. Rote Gruetze can basically be translated as ‘Red Porridge’.
Growing up, my mom’s go-to treat for all of us was her marble cake, or Marmorkuchen, in German. It was so simple and yet it wasn’t. It wasn’t overly sweet. But my, the chocolate side was chocolatey, and the yellow side was lemony. As a kid, I would alternate bites so that I could savour each flavour to the full. We never got tired of that cake. We thought mom was the best when she pulled this out of the oven, and the aroma filled the kitchen.
My mother loved potatoes. She loved preparing them in all their different ways. Mashed, roasted, boiled, fried, schnee (the German word for snow is what she called the potatoes she would put through the ricer, and serve as is. And they did look like a mound of snow!) And one of my favourite ways was roesti. Here in North America we would call them hash browns. The shredded potatoes are formed into a thick pancake and slowly cooked in a skillet. The perfect roesti would be crispy on the outside and soft, almost creamy on the inside.