Archive for March, 2012

Favorite Shots: Three Colors

Ever since I was little, I have liked the combination of yellow, green and blue. Yellow and blue together are good. Green and blue, not so good. Yellow and green…the worst.

Other awful color combinations that are nearly always off-putting: orange and green, purple and orange, orange and black. Ok, I’m not feeling orange today, I guess.

Anyway, the trifecta combined with that glorious vintage car make this shot one of my favorites.

Shout out to all my Canadian fam,

L

Pipe Dream #96: To Come Across

Jess is adorable. She is one of those girls that never has an unkind word to say, and when I’m around her, I feel like someone cares about my life. I think her personality comes across in these shots. I hope you can see it!

L

some



Pipe Dream #95: To Eat Snow Despite – Schneebällen

Remember that one time I went to Rothenberg? Me too. :]

Sidenote, my blog jumps around in time like H.G. Wells. I hope you don’t mind. I do live my life in real time, but you get the mad version. English people say ‘mad’ like we say ‘crazy.’ It is precious.

Anyway, this cute, Christmas-y medieval town had many cobbles and LED lights, but it also had tourist food. Duh, I know. Rothenberg is famous for its Schneebällen, or snowballs. They are big, deep-fried dough balls of awesome, and they are all over the city.

Other sidenote, I love eating snow. Everyone’s mother always tells them that snow is actually really dirty and it dehydrates you because your body has to work so hard to make it warm…but I would like to persist in my unbelief at this point. Clean snow tastes so good! It actually does. And I feel so much more refreshed after eating it. How could it not be clean and hydrating? I’m probably no better at de-toxifying my body than those tea drinkers, but I’d like to think I am. Anyway.

We stopped at one little bakery place, and I got to watch how they make them. I have named the German guy who made them Roberto because he looked somewhat Italian.

First, Roberto rolled out the snowball dough into a thin sheet with a rolling pin.

Then he sliced it into strips with this neato cutter thing, which reminded me of those quilting tool embosser things on Cake Boss. He didn’t cut the dough into actual strips; he cut almost to the edges.

Next, he put the quilted sheet into what looked like a huge tea steeper. The dough only filled the steeper halfway. My guide, Gerhardt, spoke some polite-sounding Deutsch words to Roberto at this point, and he paused very handily so I could snap this picture.

But instead of steeping the dough in water, Roberto actually steeped it in…trans fat! Actually, I don’t know if deep-frying oil is trans fat, but I can only assume that it is bad for you, and when I think of fat that is bad, I think trans fat. That sentence makes so much sense. He probably left it in there for two minutes.

When the dough popped out of the steeper, it had magically become a snowball! A very round and knotty snowball.

I think the traditional Schneebällen are dusted with powdered sugar, but who wants powdered sugar when you could have white chocolate nougat? That is what I had. It was grand.

Here is a recipe I found online for snowballs. I don’t know if it is great, because I haven’t tried it, so risk it at your peril. But seriously, at worst you will be able to eat a bunch of melted white chocolate.

Holler atcha,

L

Schneebällen

Adapted from justapinch.com

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons spiced rum

1 tablespoon cream sherry

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups sour cream

1 teaspoon nutmeg

cooking oil

powdered sugar

Cream sugar and eggs together, and then add the remaining ingredients except flour. Add the flour in gradually (cut it in with a pastry cutter, knife or with your hands) Cut in the rum, cream sherry, and sour cream to make the dough, adding flour from board as necessary. Knead about 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is stiff and shiny and pliable, then cover and chill in fridge at least one hour.
Roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick and cut into strips. Make the strips into a ball by wrapping them around each other. Fry in hot oil until golden brown on one side, then turn over and fry the other side until golden brown all over. Drain on paper towel and when cool, sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

 

Favorite Shots: Alien City

This is the Alien City. Whenever my sessies and I drive by, we say, “It’s the Alien City!” and then think about how sweet it would be to climb up the towers on the winding stairs and explore all the amazingly technological buildings.

At least, I wonder that in my head. I think it’s actually an oil refinery. Either way, it never fails to delight me. I love the contrasting lines in this shot.

To endless delights,

L

Pipe Dream #94: To Find The Bright Spots

I have an annoying habit of finding the glass half full in my friends’ problematic situations. “What? Your cat just got run over by a semi? Well, at least you can buy a kitten now. Kittens are so much better than cats.”

Anyway, I like to surround myself with other happy people, and Karalie is one of the especially bright spots in my life. Enjoy her sparkly self!

L

Pipe Dream #93: To Savor Airplane Food – Scottish Flapjacks

Every place that I have visited has what I like to call its “tourist foods.” You know, like if you go to New York, you’re going to get a slice of pizza or a hot dog from a street vendor. And if you visited Switzerland, you wouldn’t pass through without savoring some milk chocolate. Even though it is may be on a plane, it is still probably the best chocolate you will have ever had in your life. Sidenote, the Zurich airport was so class and clean. Can’t get OVER it.

Anyway, this post is not about Switzerland or New York. Mostly, it is about Scotland, and a little about chocolate. Scotland has about four tourist foods, as far as I can tell. Haggis, shortbread, whiskey, and flapjacks. If you want to know about haggis, and I assure you, you DO want to know about haggis, click here.

I tried it. Not as bad as you might think. My friend Christy thought it was the best thing ever (and it was definitely not the pig testicles that this pretty thang ate in France once). I should do a post about shortbread, but I haven’t actually made that yet. And whiskey? You can find out about that yourself.

 

But what we are really talking about here are flapjacks. They are not pancakes, which is what I thought when I first heard the term. They are more like caramel-flavored granola bars. They get softer as they sit because of all the brown sugar. Man, I do love brown sugar. I can’t help it. Everything about it is more excellent than white sugar. Some recipes contain no flour, but this one does. And also, I’ve added in a number of substitutions in the ingredient list, in case you don’t have golden syrup on hand. It is not super common in the States.

The kitchen was feeling ambitious, so these got dripped, dipped and drizzled until they looked nice. And then a bunch of nice-looking people et them ‘til they were eaten.

Heart,

L

Flapjacks

By School

1 pound 8 ounces butter (or margarine, but don’t even think it!)

1 pound 8 ounces demerra sugar (or brown sugar; I don’t know about the conversion. Sorry.)

1 ½ tablespoons golden syrup (or corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup, or maple syrup, or honey)

14 ounces oats (any kind will do)

14 ounces self-raising flour

optional additions: cherries, cinnamon, allspice, raisins, what have you

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (170 C). Line two 9×13 inch pans with parchment paper. You could halve this recipe, if you want a smaller amount.

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a large saucepan. Sift together the flour and oats and stir into the syrup mixture. At this point, you can also stir in any fruit additions and things. If you want to add chocolate chips, wait a bit until the mixture cools so they don’t melt. If you are adding in spices, sift those in with the flour.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly golden. If you would like a more crispy flapjack, increase the heat to 375 degrees (180 C). The baking temperature matters more for the consistency than the baking time with these.

Favorite Shots: Collectable Crockery

So there is this lady at school. Her name is Gran. We call her Gran because she is like the Grandma of the entire student body. Her sole function is to invite us over to bake cookies and chat to us. So I went over to her house and made cookies. It was restful and warm. Not surprising, considering that her house is called Green Pastures.

And now for Two Things, one of which is an interesting fact, and one of which is a cultural truth combined with a piece of advice:

1) All the houses in England have names, even in the small towns. It’s really dear.

2) When in England, do not refer to how “cute” someone’s “yard” is, even if they have the cutest yard you have ever seen in your life! It sounds pretty condescending, and I think the word “yard” is considered to be a dirty piece of ground or something like that. It is offensive.

And now moving on from that random sidenote. When we got around to making the cookies I was impressed by the fun crockery that kept popping up everywhere. Mixing bowls, soufflé pots, teacups; you name it, that kitchen had it. We had a good time, chatting, drinking tea and nibbling crumpets (see below for the real deal).

Here’s to my teacups everywhere: I love you. Please find me soon.

Lauren


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