Valentine’s Day 2014

We had a nice, relaxing Valentine’s Day. We both worked in the morning and had a relaxing afternoon and evening to ourselves.

After work, I stopped by Oxfam (my favorite little thrift store near my last class on Fridays), expecting not to find anything, and I hit the jackpot. I got a (new!) English book for work (3€!), a cute little giraffe, a set of three onesies with cows on them in a “milk carton”, a flower pot, a few picture frames, and the German version of the Rainbow Fish.

I brought home some salad, green asparagus and bacon for lunch – accompanied by some fried eggs with double yolks! – and the supplies to make something I was craving: a pear-chocolate tart.

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Tobias was in charge of the dough (chocolate dough!) while I peeled the pears, cored them, and left them for Tobias to cut. (He’s much better at that than I am.) I cut up half a block of dark baker’s chocolate and Tobias arranged everything on the baking pan. This is what it looked like before we put a top layer of dough on it:

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It was fun spending time together in the kitchen, and the tart was extremely delicious. It only made it until Saturday evening. ;)

We watched a movie later that night, and I fell asleep on the couch. A nice, relaxing day it was. Minus the trip to the post office to mail off Christmas packages…ahem. But a thousand thanks to Tobias for coming with me…otherwise I might not have mailed them until next Christmas! And somehow just being there together to complete such a mundane errand felt romantic on Valentine’s Day. That’s true love right there.

Oh yeah, and we also got some mealworms for the fishies, because it was Dr. Klaus’s birthday! He made it one year with us! And yes, of course we sang the “Happy Birthday” song to our fish. Ha. Way to go, Klausi!

I hope you all had a nice Friday, too, whether or not you’re a Valentine’s Day fan! Did you do anything special or nice?

Having fun with KitchenAid

Ever since we got back from the States, we’ve really been enjoying our newest KitchenAid attachments. We got the ice cream maker and the grain mill, and experimentation has already begun. (Though I must say, he hasn’t made any grain-based ice creams yet, wink wink!)

Because of weight limitations when traveling, we couldn’t pack the grain mill in our checked luggage. Having a big hunk of metal in our carry-on was a bit nerve-wracking, and on the way out of the US, they did want to run it through again, but it was all clear and we were able to bring it home with us.

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Ever since, Tobi’s been into making his own grains and flour. We find our grains at Al Natura, a health food supermarket, and then grind the grains as fine as we need them depending on what we want to make. On a middle setting, it’s great for overnight oats – especially if you leave the grains soaking overnight in milk and/or water, they make a great mix with yogurt and a bit of fresh fruit.

Nothing like a homemade parfait to make breakfast feel like a gourmet meal!

Getting the ice cream attachment to work was a labor of love, that’s for sure. European-model KitchenAids have an added washer cup due to safety regulations, so our attachment didn’t fit right away. After a lot of struggling, we were finally able to remove the washer and voilà! It fits.

So to make up for all the time he spent trying to get it to work, he made 4 batches of ice cream and frozen yogurt right away. Two batches of grapefruit sorbet (which we spent forever peeling!), mango sorbet, and frozen yogurt.

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It’s so much fun to be able to produce these things ourselves! I can totally understand the draw of growing your own vegetables, or raising chickens for eggs and so on. It’s a nice feeling being relatively self-sufficient and enjoying the fruits of your own labor. Look how proud he looks!

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Easter lunch: salmon

Tobias bought two whole salmon at the fish market a few weeks ago. We wanted to save them for a dinner with friends and had to wait a few weeks to use them, so we kept them in the freezer for a week or two. Then, on Easter Sunday, Matthias, Ariane and their 1-year-old son Émile came over for lunch. That salmon was realllllly good!

We (read: Tobi) used fresh garlic, limes, rosemary, and salt & pepper inside and then baked them in tin foil in the oven. They turned out rather nicely! And oh so pretty!

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I had to laugh at two points during the preparation. First, after preparing the fish in the sink (washing them, removing the scales), Tobi hung one of them up on the hook we usually use for dish towels.

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Salted tin foil! My guy sure likes his salt.

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Isn’t it pretty!? It’s the first time we used fresh garlic. That rosemary is so nice, too!

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And then, after we cooked it, the fresh garlic turned BLUE! It was quite a surprise when opening the tin foil!

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That last picture doesn’t necessarily look all that appetizing, but don’t be deceived! It was delicious! They’re big fish, aren’t they? Even with 4 people, we still had half a fish left over when we were done! But we took care of that on Sunday evening. Leftovers are the best.

Tarte aux poires et au chocolat

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Here’s one of Tobi’s latest creations in the kitchen: mini chocolate-pear tarts. He put powdered hot chocolate in the dough and also a layer of canned cranberries in the middle (and a shot of Endorphin Rush, our favorite hot sauce). On top is melted dark chocolate with chopped almonds.

Mmmmmmm…

Beer can chicken

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Back in November, Tobias gave beer can chicken a try. I had never heard of it before, but seeing as we had quite a bit of leftover beer from a little party, he decided to give it a shot. (Pun totally not intended!)

Now, obviously, the chicken didn’t taste like beer in the end. But the moisture from the beer did keep the chicken meat very tender and did give it a nice flavor. He took it a step further and soaked the chickens in a bucket of beer for a while before putting the beer can in and sticking them in the oven.

It sure was strange to see them standing upright in the oven, though! It looked a little bit like people!

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If you’re interested in trying it, here are a few recipes to try out! (1- Simply Recipes,  2- Food Network, and of course, 3- Martha Stewart)

p.s. That thing at the top of the chicken on the left is an onion! (He also stuffed them with apples and onions.)