Glühwein

Simmering!

According to Austria.info

  • 1/2 medium orange
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or granulated sugar
  • 20 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry red wine
  • Rum (optional)

Directions:

  1. Stick the cloves into the orange. Put all ingredients in a pot and bring it close to boil. DO NOT BOIL.
  2. For additional taste cut 2 oranges in to bite size pieces and add to the wine.
  3. Let simmer.
  4. Remove clove, cinnamon stick before serving it into lightly pre-warmed glasses.
  5. Decorate glasses with a slice of orange.
  6. Enjoy and drink responsibly.

Four years in Germany means certain traditions you miss that they just do better. Weihnachts is one, Fastnacht is another. NYC tries to have a Weihnachtsmarkt that recollects the experience, but it’s only a pale shadow reminiscent of it. The three main types of drink I would have in Konstanz:

Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, citrus, sugar and at times vanilla pods. For children, the non-alcoholic Kinderpunsch is offered on Christmas markets, which is a Punch with similar spices. Another popular variant of Glühwein in Germany is the Feuerzangenbowle. It shares the same recipe, but for this drink a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and allowed to drip into the wine.” (Wiki)

~Jessica

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Cardamom walnut cookies

Adapted from epicurious + recommended by a friend

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. For the 2 coatings: Mix 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom in large bowl. Mix 1/2 teaspoon cardamom and powdered sugar in medium bowl. Set mixtures aside.
  2. Combine remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom, butter, vanilla extract, lemon peel and salt in another large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until well blended. Add flour and chopped nuts. Beat until smooth dough forms, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Gather dough into ball and wrap in plastic; chill 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Using hands and generous 1 tablespoon dough for each cookie, roll dough into forty-eight 3/4-inch balls; transfer to baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on sheets.
  4. Add 12 warm cookies to large bowl of granulated sugar and cardamom and toss gently to coat. Repeat with 12 more cookies. Let remaining 24 cookies cool completely on sheet. Sift powdered sugar and cardamom mixture over. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container.)

~Jessica

P.S. You might note these were not dusted in any sugar or extra cardamom — my uncle is pre-diabetic, and I wanted to reduce some sugar content!

Fried salmon with fresh tomato and avocado salsa

Adapted from My Colombian Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound salmon
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Drizzle olive oil over the salmon. Coat completely. Combine cumin, salt, and pepper and sprinkle mixture over the fish.
  2. When the pan is hot, place fish, skin side down. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon, cover and grill an additional 3-4 minutes, more or less, depending on your taste. When the fish is cooked to your liking, remove from the pan and top with the avocado salsa.
  3. To make the salsa: Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the lime juice over the salsa and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Set the salsa aside until serving.

I picked up an avocado at the corner green grocer. Had diced white onions and no fresh lime (not the season), and leftover (Whole Foods organic) cilantro from last time. I bought some local cherry tomatoes of different shapes and colors from Whole Foods, splurge! I forgot and used 1/2 lemon instead of the 1/2 lime still in the fridge (it was very dry though). I steamed a broccoli crown (over cooked a little bit more than the 4 minutes I should have done) for extra vegetable. And served over a bed of 1/2 organic brown, 1/2 Chinese white rice.

~Jessica

Avocado salsa

Adapted from Food 52

Ingredients

  • clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • ripe avocado, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 jalapeño, (omitted because I don’t handle spice)
  • 1/2 tomatillo, roughly chopped
  • scallion, roughly chopped
  • handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Fold everything gently together in a large bowl. Some of the avocado will mash naturally, but most of it should keep its shape, which tastes divine. Do the garlic and lime juice first, letting them mellow out while you chop up the rest of the ingredients. Serve fresh.

I first read about this in my Google News feed, on Salon. Took way more than five minutes to prep though. Served atop of my crispy pan-seared salmon on vegetable pasta.

~Jessica

“Recipes” for the perfect at-home pedicure

Ingredients

  • Epsom salts
  • tea tree oil
  • white vinegar
  • sugar
  • honey
  • peppermint
  • olive, coconut, or Argan oil
  • jojoba oil

Tools

  • a cuticle remover
  • cuticle pusher
  • a foot file
  • nail buffer
  • an orangewood stick
  • nail clippers
  • nail file

Steps:

  1. Soak
  2. Exfoliate
  3. Trim and file
  4. Moisturize

To soak, add a tablespoon of white vinegar, a few spoonfuls of Epsom salts, and a few drops of tea tree oil in hot water, for 15 minutes. Dry feet.

To exfoliate, mix sugar/salt and honey and olive oil. Rub into skin for a minute. Wash off with warm water.

To trim, use the cuticle remover and nail clippers. To file, use the foot file and nail buffer and nail file. (Use a sturdy foot file and focus on the heels, balls of feet, and edges of toes.) Apply cuticle oil (lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, coconut or olive or Argan oil, and Vitamin E oil) to the skin around your nails.

To moisturize, some jojoba oil and a drop of tea tree oil (or rub a rich cream on your feet, top and bottom. Don’t forget your heels and cuticles. Calves optional.)

Before bed, apply foot lotion, then add some socks, and hop into bed.

Links: Real SimpleWomen’s Health, Cosmo.

Plum berry smoothie

IMG_20180814_075852.jpgAdapted to meet Michael’s approval

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla kefir (or whatever yogurt you have)
  • 2 large bananas, peeled (frozen ahead of time if you remember)
  • 1 plum, frozen, quartered
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 dates
  • 3 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Pour in the almond milk. Add the kefir/yogurt and chia seeds and dates, to soak a bit and soften. Add the frozen plum. Add the two bananas, halved. Rinse your blueberries, and de-stem them if needed, before adding. Add the ice cubes. Blend all. Serve cold.

I froze my plums that I had quartered and de-pitted. I now have two more cut plums sitting in the freezer for the next couple of smoothies.

~Jessica

Blueberry banana smoothie

IMG_20180813_093705Adapted according to Michael’s preferences

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate kefir (or whatever yogurt you have)
  • 2 large bananas, peeled (frozen ahead of time if you remember)
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 3 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Pour in the almond milk. Add the two bananas, halved. Rinse your blueberries, and de-stem them if needed. Add the kefir and chia seeds. Add the ice cubes. Blend until ready to serve.

I read that you can also freeze plums with a similarly nice slushie effect, so I quartered and de-pitted one for the next batch, sitting in the freezer now.

~Jessica