Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahru

We’re back…again.  But hopefully with the new year we will be much more dedicated, or at least that’s the plan.  There will be new movies, recipes, and new German words of the week on our white board which is currently displaying a random drawing of Orion the constellation to practice grammar and writing sentences. To play a little catch up the following are two recipes we made over the holiday season that are highly recommended.  I wish that I had found some great German Christmas movies to watch, but I suppose there’s always next year.

IMG_0515Eierlikor

For a while now I’ve been wanting to make eggnog.  I’m not really sure why, neither of us are big fans of the eggnog sold in stores after Thanksgiving, but whenever I see people drinking eggnog in movies (i.e. Christmas Vacation and a third of the Christmas Hallmark movies) it seems like it is so delicious, so festive and fun, besides homemade has to be better than whatever I can buy, right?  RIGHT. Initially the plan was to find a Martha Stewart recipe but as we both looked Kelsey came upon a recipe for German eggnog.  Called Eierlikor, translated as egg liquor, German eggnog is much thicker than what we are accustomed to here in the States and is so, so good.  The first initial batch we decided to try out on gift to Kelsey’s research group and she is still receiving compliments (although there may be a small chance they were just being kind). We used milk bottles and mason jars 8oz purchased at a locate craft store, three batches comfortably filled 12 jars of that size leaving just enough room to add additional liquid to loosen up the eggnog. Start to finish it took us about three hours to make and bottle.  It can can be enjoyed warm or cold, we served ours in double shot glasses topped with whipped cream and dusting of cinnamon.

Recipe borrow from here

Ingredients:

  1. 8 eggs
  2. 250g powdered sugar
  3. 375ml half and half
  4. 2 vanilla pods
  5. 250ml white rum

Instructions:
Step One: Beat eggs until foamy.  Slowly beat in sugar, half and half, then the rum.
Step Two: Creating sometime akin to a double boiler but with a pot and saucepan, fill a large pot (roughly half full) with water and warm on the stove.  Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan.  Slice vanilla beans in half and add to the egg mixture.
Step Three: Place saucepan into the heated water; stir constantly until the mixture is heated through and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  While the mixture is still warm pour into glass jars leaving a little room so additional liquid can be added to loosen up the eggnog.

IMG_0530Vanillekipferl

On the cookie side, I found an almond vanilla shortbread recipe that worked really well.  This is a popular Christmas cookie in Germany and Austria.  Admittedly I wasn’t very careful in my conversions and measurements causing the dough to be quite crumbly and delicate when baked, but they were still really good.  Since I was unable to find vanilla sugar in my grocery store I made my own, letting sugar and one split vanilla bean sit together for a week before I baked the cookies.  There are several recipes floating around on pinterest; the recipe I used can be found on this blog.

 

Next Up: All about German Fasching or Karneval, the week long pre-lent celebration. The other day Kelsey and I were talking about Mari Gras, mainly our disappointment in not being able to plan a last minute trip to New Orleans and deciding to make dinner reservations at the New Orleans themed restaurant on our street, and wondered if there was a German version of Mari Gras.  And the celebration days and food look like so much fun.

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we’re back!

Through the haze of starting a new position at work, football season, and weekends filled with visitors and traveling…and despite having been on a bit of a hiatus, this blog and donnerstags auf deutsch have been on my mind.   So with the first down weekend at home we’ve been able to have a little revival!

It’s officially winter in Pennsylvania, or at least I am ready to make that declaration since we now have 30 degree weather and Halloween has passed, which means it is officially hot cocoa season.  For this German Thursday, which actually happened on Friday, I made an Viennese style hot chocolate recipe. After doing a little bit of research on hot cocoa recipes from Germany, and then in other countries in Europe, I decided that I wanted to make a hot cocoa that was completely rich and outrageous and departure for the recipe I use on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa power box.  Austrian hot chocolate is very rich and thick, made with heavy cream or thickened with a egg yolk and topped with whipped cream, was exactly was I was looking for.  The recipe I chose Friday night was ridiculously simple and hands down the most amazingly decadent hot chocolate I’ve ever made.  Kelsey described it as almost drinking brownie batter.  In total honesty this is the hot chocolate that tops all other hot chocolates, which I realize is a serious statement, but I seriously think that it might be able to cure all bad days and maybe even the common cold or flu.  I used 60% dark chocolate chips, 2 % milk, and canned whipped cream (I did buy a 70% dark chocolate bar that was used the next night for another batch which was also quite good, but I preferred the 60% as I like my cocoa a little sweeter). I’ve found a few other recipes (here and here) that I plan to try throughout the season, but it might be a little difficult to stray from the first one I’ve tried.

Viennese Hot Chocolate

Viennese Hot Chocolate

Viennese Hot Chocolate (2-3 servings)
1 1/4 c. milk
6oz chocolate (60-70%)
1 egg yolk
Whipped Cream (garnish on top)

Heat milk and chocolate in a saucepan, whisking frequently, do not boil.  Once the chocolate and milk have combined, taste milk and add sugar depending on your preferences, and remove from heat.  In a separate bowl temper the egg yolk with two tablespoons of the heated milk and chocolate mixture.  Whisk this egg mixture into the saucepan and return to heat.  Stir constantly to thicken the mixture and heat through, take care not to boil as the egg will curdle. Divide hot chocolate between three cups (tea cups were the perfect size) and top with whipped cream.

I’ve been wanting to see A Coffee in Berlin for some time since I read several reviews a few months ago in the New York Times (or maybe it was Roger Ebert’s website) when it was playing in select cities in the US this past summer.  A Coffee in Berlin (or Oh Boy as it was originally titled) follows Niko, a twenty-something, unemployed law-school dropout living in Berlin who has been living off school funds provided by his father (who doesn’t know Niko’s left school).  The entire plot takes place in one 24 hour period as Niko travels around the city meeting with his father (after his funds have run dry), friends, and new people…attempting to get a cup of coffee.

Several reviews compared A Coffee in Berlin to Frances Ha and various Woody Allen movies, which on the surface I can agree; Niko can be described as awkward, lost, maybe a little lazy or selfish but somehow charming. The movie does have a plot but it is mostly all internal, and the movie is in black and white.   But the comparisons, at least in my opinion, end there.   Frances Ha was about Frances going through the typical mid-twenties growing pains in regard to the way friendships change and reconciling your dreams and what you want to do with being responsible finding a way to support yourself financially and emotionally.  A Coffee in Berlin is different, Niko is lost and doesn’t know what to do with himself or really the people around him, but on a larger scale this movie was more about Berlin and Germany and the past what it is to live there now.  I don’t know if I can describe this correctly or if this is the intention of the movie, but I mention this because of two scenes. In one,Niko and a friend visit as actor on set of a WWII film. The other, Niko meets an older man, back in Berlin in his old neighborhood after being away for 60 years, who recounts his recollection of Kristallnacht. I think this is a movie that will work for some and not for others.  It’s funny and sad and thoughtful and at times cringe-worthy.  For me, it was well worth the wait (it’s now available for instant stream on amazon); visually it’s beautiful, the soundtrack is that comfortable lazy jazz – if that’s your thing, and overall I thought it was lovely a film that has made me think…or made me really think about what I wanted to say in a review.

As far as language resources, I think I’ve found an online program that works for me, well at this point I really just need to make it a habit to devote time regularly to working through the lessons.  The online German course from DW-WORLD.DE teaches grammar as well as vocabulary and phrases.

Until the next time, I will be combing through German cookie recipes I plan to work into my Christmas cookie baking this year and drinking hot chocolate. bis später.

Glühwein and Glühweinplätzchen

German Thursday August 21st

So with school just starting I completely failed at updating the blog. I made these recipes back at the end of August when Alison let to go home for a weekend. Since Alison was going to be gone I didn’t want to do anything extravagant. Also lately it had been feeling like fall outside, so I decided that I would make a warm drink and maybe some cookies.

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Honigbienen

Hallo! Oh my gosh we are getting so far behind.  I’m going to continue blaming travel and being lazy, binge watching The Killing and Hemlock Grove, shopping for Halloween/Fall candles enjoying the last few weeks for summer before the semester begins.

Actually last Thursday Kelsey was away and, since it was my birthday, I spent the entire day eating brownies and ice cream.  To make up for all of the German Thursdays we have missed, this week’s German Thursday will move to Saturday.  We have big plans for German meatballs, maybe some homemade pasta, bread or a dessert, and hopefully some imported beer. Kelsey is in charge of recipes for the week so look for those in our next post. Upcoming movies for Saturday will include Keinohrhasen, because I’m always on the look out for a new rom-com; The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, another German silent horror film from the 1920s; and Das weisse Band, because we are still on a kick of German horror films.  I hope to round out the movie selection of this week with another rom-com or some kind of a happier film.

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eine sehr späte

And we’re somewhat back to our regularly scheduled program…sort of.

As mentioned in our last post, we have been pushing the autumn season (and the weather seems to be cooperating) through sheer force of will; mostly through burning pumpkin scented candles, watching horror movies and tv series, turning the ac lower and closing the blinds.  Before we left for our cousin’s wedding Kelsey and I watched three German horror movies: Anatomy, Vampyr, and Nosferatu.  I’ve had some difficulty locating and obtaining some German horror films; it seems like when it comes to foreign films in the horror genre, you’re always hearing about Japanese horror (no doubt they are terrifying.) I was able to find several lists online, but was very limited to what was readily available in my libraries’ collections.

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Weihnachten im Juli, Horrorfilme, und Kartoffelsalat

Apfelsaftschorle, Kartoffelsalat, und Lebkuchen

Hallo! We’ve been playing a bit of catch up with our weekly Donnerstags auf Deutsch due to visitors last weekend and some last minute traveling that happened this past week.  So we are having Deutsch Samstag and will be watching our German Films on Monday through Wednesday.  We’ve also spent some time over the past two weeks compiling several different German language resources which I hope to post about soon.

 

Kartoffelsalat

Okay on to the food.  After the amazing wurst and pretzels we had last week it was hard trying to plan an appropriate follow up that would also be fast and easy to make.  We recently had some really good German Potato Salad, so I decided to look into recipes for a quick meal.  However I was so very wrong in my assumption that it would be really easy to find a simple authentic recipe because, as I learned, there are many regional variations of authentic potato salad and I spent hours looking at recipes.  There’s potato salad with a beef broth, or pickles, some with mustard, and others with hard boiled eggs.  For more information on the types of potato salad recipes and links to the recipes I found, as well as recipes we have used and are collecting for future Thursdays, check out our new and improved recipes page The recipe I made was a Bavarian style Kartoffelsalat, meaning this did not have mayonnaise and was more sour and served hot.  Er, or at least I sincerely hope that description is correct.

I did modify this recipe just a tad, using a little less vinegar, used honey as our sweetener, and added an extra two slices of bacon…well, because bacon. I also suspect I had too many potatoes because I couldn’t figure out how to use the scale to weigh the potatoes.  Overall I was really pleased with the recipe and in the future would use all of the called for vinegar, Kelsey was also a fan, however I think next time I would like to try a “creamy” recipe.

Apfelsaftschorle

Apfelsaftschorle is a German apple drink that is basically a 60/40 mix of apple juice and fizzy water.  I wanted to try to find a drink to balance the sourness of the kartoffelsalat and this was perfect.  Actually Apfelsaftschorle is sold commercially in Germany; our grocery store didn’t sell this which made me a little sad.  Of course we later switched to the hard cider we had left over from last Thursday which worked just as well with the potato salad.

Lebkuchen 

Or German “Gingerbread” that really isn’t gingerbread.  Lebkuchen, Pfefferkuchen, or a honey cake, is a German cookie that is similar to gingerbread, but in my opinion is much sweeter and spicier.  We’ll probably revisit Lebkuchen when we get to the actual holiday/Christmas season later this year and provide more of a detailed history then, but in the meantime if you would like to read more about the really interesting history of Lebkuchen you’ll find descriptions here, here, or here

Usually in July I start to become anxious for the fall season; I typically declare the start of autumn on the Monday after my birthday at the beginning of August-thus giving myself free reign to burn pumpkin candles, add cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice to my coffee grounds, drink lots of apple cider, and listen to my Halloween playlist on the drive to work. Anyway, I don’t know if it was all of the apple strudel I had last weekend, or the cool weather we’ve been experiencing in central PA, or the Christmas movies that have been on tv, but it definitely felt like fall this week and I was in the mood for gingerbread.

There are many recipes for Lebkuchen, and I found several contenders.  The recipe I used was simple, would totally recommend, and was on a Huffington Post article about the history of Lebkuchen.  The glaze I made was different from the one provided within this recipe, instead I just mixed powered sugar and apple juice.  As a side note, I thought it was somewhat interesting to find many recipes where there was no fat (butter or shortening) in the dough, and the recipe I used had neither.  However in the future I think I would try a recipe with butter to see the difference.  I didn’t add any dried fruits or nut since Kelsey is not a fan of either in baked good.

Horrorfilme

Keeping with our fall theme of the week I spent some time looking at German Horror films. Raised to have an adoration for horror movies of all times, I was pretty game to see what was out there, sadly my choices were somewhat limited due to library holdings and what is currently available on netflix. I’ve become obsessed dedicated to finishing season one of Helmlock Grove on Netflix, so we will watching Anatomy, Nosferatu, and Vampyr on Monday. Check back later for movie reviews, notes about German Expressionist films, and a German Horror movie list.

Donnerstag Nummer Vier

Today we had a special guest so we made something with meat & used Oktoberfest favorites:

*(though no German films were viewed)

Dinner: Brätwurst gewickelt in eine Brezel und Bretzeln mit Zimt

(Bratwurst wrapped in a pretzel and cinnamon pretzels)

Plus this recipe inspired two other posts: Variations of  Bratwurst and The Long & Interesting Life of the Pretzel! They would’ve been in this post, but this post would have been super long.

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