I had some pleasant memories this morning. We stopped in a local town to buy vegetables from the Hutterites who drive in from up north to sell their wares. Peas in the shell just sounded delicious to me.
As I sat there this morning, shelling the peas with a tray and bowl in my lap, I was reminded how, as a child, it was always my job to shell the peas for my mother and grandmother. My left thumb would get a little green, but I so enjoyed getting these little nuggets out of their pods. Yes, my thumb is sort of green today also.
So, no doubt about it, tonight the Trout and I are having creamed peas. There are just enough for the two of us.
On our short trip to Washington State, we found quite a few fruit stands selling the seasonally ripe apricots. One place we stopped had at least 4 varieties. I did not write down the names (sigh) but the lady I talked to told me one would be excellent for a tart and the other would be wonderful for jam.
So, almost 10 pounds of apricots later, we headed back to Montana. I had to make an Apricot Tart. Just had to.
With much improvising since I am not at home in my kitchen, I came up with this recipe. I looked on the Internet at several and then kind of tweaked and twaddled my way to this ending. Therefore, I really can't give credit to anyone, since I am not sure where all I looked. I knew that these apricots were very fresh and a beautiful color and I wanted the tart to be very simple.
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
I combined the crust by hand and added enough water until it felt right. I then refrigerated it while I worked on the apricots.
1 1/2 pounds apricots (possibly 8 large or 12 small)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla
Half the apricots and cut each side into 2 or 3 wedges. Put in a bowl and add the salt, sugar and vanilla. Toss gently and let set while you prepare the crust.
Arrange the wedges on the rolled out pastry which is about 13" in diameter. Scrape remaining sugar in the bowl over the top of the apricots. Fold up the edges of pastry, extending over the top a short distance.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375 degrees for an additional 40 minutes or until the crust is browning and the apricots are bubbling nicely.
I have never been so fond of apricots as I was this day, cutting into this tart!!
You are wondering about the jam. Well, that is a whole 'nuther story. Stayed tuned because I am not done with it yet.
I have been overwhelmed with the response and words of kindness on my blog anniversary. You will never know how I wish I could give each and every one of you this cookbook. It is a beautiful book of the many lives that were driven out of Europe because of religious persecution, only to finally find "home" in Iowa. I know all of you would enjoy reading it as well as trying some of the outstanding recipes.
So many of you are bloggers from when I started and found you and you found me. Several of us even email each other when there are blogging problems, so I feel I have gotten to know so many of you.
Then there are the newer bloggers that have found me. Every blog is different because every personality shines through so beautifully. Of course, there are some old friends, a former high school teacher, a friend of my daughter who has spent time in our home, bloggers from England, France and yes, a new friend from Sweden. I am so pleased she commented.
That being said, I chose a winner by putting all your names into a hat, the old-fashioned way, and I had the Trout "fish" one out. I thought that was quite appropriate.
I am so pleased to announce that the recipient of Seasons of Plenty is KATHLEEN from
Cuisine Kathleen. Kathleen send me your physical address and I will put this in the mail today.
Some of you have asked if this book is available elsewhere. Check Amazon here to pick up your own copy.
For several years now, the Chamber of Commerce of Leavenworth, Washington, has been sending us brochures of what is happening in this community. It has always been a wish to travel to Leavenworth to enjoy this town for ourselves. There is virtually some sort of fest going on each month of the year.
Leavenworth was incorporated in 1906. A timber community, the Great North Railroad was located there since the 1900's. The railroad relocated in the 1920's and this greatly affected the economy of the town.
Leavenworth struggled until 1962 when a committee was formed to transfer the city into a so-called Bavarian village. The population of this town in 2009 was 2347 people.
The homes and businesses are painted and decorated almost exactly like what you would find in Germany, in Bavaria. The whole town atmosphere is very German. We were a little disappointed in the wines. There are quite a few wineries in this area, and tasting rooms which let you sample before buying. For us, the wines did not meet expectation. We are disappointed though did buy a bottle of dessert wine which went well with the apricot tart I baked.
Oh yes, we came back with close to 10 pounds of beautiful apricots. Some went into the tart and the others into a "gourmet" jam that is still in production. You will have to come back later to find out about this jam. A work in progress.
Leavenworth is located on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. The scenery is gorgeous, not unlike Germany. The "committee" that wanted to bring life back to Leavenworth was quite astute in thinking of a German theme for this town. First of all the background was made for it. The people are very friendly though I did not find one who spoke German. The bakery was closed, but I was told the couple who own it are originally from Germany. No one else speaks the language.
Leavenworth is not on the main drag running through the state of Washington. It is a little drive to reach this village. But on the way, you are entertained by the farmers.
How often have you driven through the "bread basket" of America, only to wonder what is planted in those fields next to the highway? It is always a guess. Well, the farmers of Washington have placed signs along the road by their fields telling you what is planted. How great is that!!! I saw field corn, seed corn, sweet corn, wheat, peas, potatoes, wine grapes, Concord grapes, gala apples, bosc pears, cherries. The list goes on and on. Did I forget apricots?
If you have the chance to be in central Washington, want to shop the stores that carry everything German including a constant Christmas season, nutcracker museum, doll shops, and food. I did not mention the food.
Several very nice German restaurants where you can order anything from bratwurst and schnitzels to sauerbraten and of course....
This must have been close to 5 pounds! Roasted and lying on a bed of sauerkraut, rot kraut and spaetzle. Along with a beer, it was a good German meal.
I will draw the winner of my anniversary giveaway tonight and share with all in the morning.
When I remember back to my childhood, growing up in the Amana Colonies in Iowa, many pleasant thoughts come to mind. It was beautiful place, where children could grow in safety and with a faith that would last a lifetime. Everything was centered around family and church. Usually three generations, sometimes four, lived under one roof, and those roofs were covering very large homes.
The photo below, to me, is how I remember home. The bricks houses, the grape trellis covered with leaves and grapes in abundance. The windows; quite often 9 panes of glass above and 9 panes below.
My family home, built in 1872, with the same family owning it until we needed to sell it in 2001, after my mother passed away.
Our home had 9 panes of glass above and 6 below. I am not remembering the significance right now why some had 9 below and some had 6 panes of glass. You could sometimes see the little bubbles left in the glass during it's making.
Some of the homes were wooden and some were made of sandstone. No matter, these were homes where our parents and their parents grew up and then where we children were also raised.
And in the end, we are all put to rest in the same way. There are no family plots. You are buried in the order in which you died. The tombstones are simple; made of concrete with your name, date of death and the length of your days on earth. In years past, the tombstones only recorded the year of birth and the year of death.
I have taken you on a very short tour of my Amana. No matter where I have lived or what I have experienced, it all comes back to my childhood, growing up in Amana.
In October, it will be 3 years since I started blogging on Schnitzel and the Trout. I have not always posted in a timely fashion, but today, this is my 500th posting. The Trout asked me how I could possibly have that much to talk about. HA!! It really has been easy. But more importantly, it has been fun.
I have been able to share some fun events, lots of traveling, some sadness and some family recipes. I have also talked some about my roots, being born in the Amana Colonies in Iowa. I know several of you have visited the Colonies and some of you are curious about what they are all about.
Amana is a seven village German community in Iowa where people talk with accents and many of those people have never set foot in Germany. It is a great place to raise children, to grow up in safety and lots of love. I still have many childhood friends from Kindergarten whom I connect with on a regular basis. Having said all this, I no longer live there. I moved away when I married, but there are cousins I still visit and friends when I have a chance to go back.
So, for this 500th posting, I am giving away a cook from the Amana Colonies. Not only is this a cookbook, but a history book of the community and its religious beliefs and how they came to settle in Iowa. It also contains the rhubarb pie recipe I posted on July 5.
The recipes are outstanding. I use the book often to remind me of my beginnings; the food that was present on our dining table, lovingly prepared by my mother and grandmother. Several of the recipes in the book came directly from my mother.
If you are interested in winning the Amana Colonies cookbook, Seasons of Plenty, please leave me a comment by midnight, July 27, and I will announce the winner on Thursday, July 28.
I also want to add that it is so thrilling for me to have comments from all of you who read me regularly. I appreciate my "followers" because that is what keeps me writing. I know many of you are still lurking out there also. I am puzzled that several of you are visiting almost every day...weekly for sure, but I don't know your name. Someone from Sweden visits so very often that I feel I know you, but you have never left a comment. This is the time to step out of your screens and let me know who you are. Now onto the next 500!!!
Words are not important here. I would think most anyone in the world recognizes this structure. I took this picture from a different viewing point and I think it is my very favorite picture of the Eiffel Tower.
Be it early morning, afternoon or in the evening when the Eiffel is lit with bright lights, you have to admit it is magnificent!! I was also able to capture this picture without any tourists in the photo. That is a real accomplishment.
Be sure to come visit me on Sunday when I am having my first giveaway and an anniversary of sorts!!
There are so many bridges over the Seine in Paris, and they are all beautiful. Of course, with that "tower" in the background, the view is all the better.
But, this is starting to be a nuisance. It started quite a few years ago, I believe in Hungary. Lovers or close friends will write their names on a lock, click it onto the bridge wires and together, throw the key into the river below. It sealed their friendship and love. Many also have the dates on them. It is interesting and I found, rather appealing. Officials think that it is a form of littering. At this point, it would be a tremendous job to remove all these locks and keep them from going up again. Besides, the lock salesmen are doing a fine business.
Okay, we will admit that we are small town Midwesterners who have never tasted Fallafel before. Heard lots about it, have seen recipes for it, but have never tried it. So, off we went to one of the most "famous" fallafel restaurants in Paris. With Metro map in hand, we found it easily though the day was a little rainy.
And so, the pita filled with fallafel and red and green cabbage...it was outstanding. There were at least 6 or 7 of this round little babies in my pita. Thank you, thank you, for letting us taste this treat. I doubt it will be the last time.
In our little apartment in Paris, we enjoyed our oysters on the half shell with a crisp bottle of white wine.
The above photos are of an absolutely beautiful restaurant in Paris, "Julien" on rue du Faubourg St-Dennis, just a short walk from our apartment. The decor was so "old time Paris". Besides that, we had a fantastic meal of salmon and a roasted chicken with mushroom sauce. Enjoy the photos below.
The architecture in this area was so beautiful. I had to take a picture of the arch. See the lion on the bottom sticking out his tongue? Don't we all feel like that once in while?
And then, of course, for some reason, most Americans want to go to the cemetery looking for a particular grave site.
We made the trek to Pere Lachaise cemetery and thanks to the kind efforts of a Parisian, he led us to several interesting monuments and then to Jim Morrison's resting place. By far, the largest crowd this day in the cemetery was standing around this grave. Understandably, they were all Americans, of many different ages.
This is the monument to the artist Gericault (1791-1824). It was quite beautiful and our French "guide" for our visit, had a strong connection to the artist. When I told him I did not recognize the name, he asked me to study him when I had the chance. He seemed quite proud of this Frenchman.
His most famous painting The Raft of the Medusa is engraved on the stone.
You might think this is a jewelry store. The crystal chandeliers, the lights....we'll, not quite. But, for some, it does hold the next best thing to jewels. French macarons!!
Here is my little green bag that I walked out of that store with. Laduree is well known for the best tasting macarons.
Here is what we bought and I think I can remember the flavors. Starting from the left, coffee, violet, cherry, strawberry mint, raspberry, vanilla bean, pistachio and chocolate. These 8 little "jewels" cost $17 American dollars. The Trout and I cut each one in half so that we could enjoy all the flavors. Was it worth it? Yes, because we do not get these but once a year if we are lucky.
You ask what is a macaron. Americans think coconut, but not so, these little gems. They are made with egg whites, very strong flavors and lots of patience. I have never tried making them and really do not have much desire to try. However, a blogger friend of mine, Cathy at Wives with Knives has perfected the procedure to making beautiful macarons. I hope you will check her blog here to find out how they are made.
One of my very favorite artists has always been Monet. His "Waterlilies" was on display at the Musee de l'Orangerie. The museum was closed the last time we were in Paris, so we were anxious to see it this time.
I think the reason I like Monet so well, is that he was an impressionist artist. Simple, wonderful colors and beautiful. I guess I would call his paintings very feminine and soft.
The crowd was small when we arrived and we were quite surprised that people were photographing, without flash, in front of the "guards." Usually photography of any kind is not permitted. So, sheepishly, we did take a couple of photos without getting into trouble.
An interesting drive took us to "Le Village des Bories."
These dry stones huts are well worth the drive to visit near the village of Gordes. Instead of going into a lot of detail about them, I refer you to the following website to give you more information. They are uniquely built by the way the stones are laid...using no mortar. They date back to the 14th or 15th century.
Of all the small villages we have walked through in the last few years, there is always one that tugs at me a little more. One that means more to my inner self than the others. One that makes me say immediately, "I really like this place."
This year there were two of these villages that spoke out to me. Lacoste and Oppe'de-le-Vieux. These small, stonework villages made of limestone, just had such beautiful character.
It's looking like some tender loving care could go into this walk-way. It is also what helped my knee go into a place it has never been. I am still trying to recover from the over-use I gave it.
And then you walk along and WOW!! This was unexpected. Yet, these beautiful little old villages draw artists of every kind. Actually, I was kind of posing like this myself at the moment. I just love these surprises.
Taking the walk toward to town of Oppe'de-le-Vieux. The cypress trees are so impressive.
And, of course, the view. Now, who would not want to wake up to this every morning?