Wednesday, February 26, 2014

German Pancakes

Shrove Tuesday
(the last day before Lent begins)
is just around the corner
and I've been craving pancakes!!!

Years ago I purchased a crepe pan while
vacationing in Quebec City 
but had never actually used it.




So I thought I'd pull it out
and make these
easy peasy German Pancakes,
a recipe I received from
a dear lady in Manitoba!
Wish I could remember her name.








Our daughter was in the
Ontario Mennonite Children's Choir
at the time (20 some years ago)
and I was privileged to tag along
as a chaperone
on their trip to the Winnipeg area!
We had such fun and stayed with
such lovely folks who graciously hosted
the choir members.






We were so delighted to be served
these delicious treats for breakfast
one morning and I was gifted the recipe:

German Pancakes
These were served with strawberries and whipped cream and so delicious!!!!!  Typically these were made for supper and sometimes filled with meats and cheese.
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
2 Cups milk
Whip with a whisk.  This is a double recipe and you must use lots of real butter for each pancake you make! J. That's what our hostess told me.....and she was right! Butter always makes it better.
Flip pancake with two forks (I couldn't get the hang of this so I used a good old spatula) when it looks crispy and bubbly on the edges. Then let it cook on the other side just a wee bit longer. Roll the crepes and serve with syrup or dip into lemon juice and then cinnamon sugar.
Another way to enjoy them is rolled up with cottage cheese and fruit or whatever you like.
My favourite way to eat these is simply with lemon juice and a sprinkle of icing sugar.



Do you eat pancakes, crepes, etc. for
What are your favourite pancakes?


Till next time ....... keeping the crepe pan on top of the frying pans pile for now!



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Savoury Kringle Bread

It's cold outside,
a warm soup kind of day,
 the Olympic Game is on
between Finland and U.S.A.,
the sun is shining - showing all the dirty windows,
the farmer has a nice fire going in the woodstove,
and I have a hankering for baking
some savoury bread!

Have you ever made Kringle bread?
It's an Estonian Bread - fairly easy to master
and looks so pretty.
The most popular versions of
this bread 
are the ones with sweet fillings
but because I'd like to serve this with
soup today - I've decided to make it savoury.



Pesto, Sundried Tomato, Goat Cheese Kringle Bread


Dough:
2 Cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup lukewarm milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) dry yeast
1/8 Cup melted butter
1 egg yolk
Mix warm milk and sugar. Sprinkle on the yeast and let stand for 5 min. Add egg yolk, melted butter, flour and salt. Mix and knead till smooth. Let rise till double in bulk - approx. 1 hr.






Preheat the oven to 400F
Filling:
4 tsp. Pesto
3 Tbsp. chopped Sundried Tomato
1/2 clove garlic - crushed
4-5 Tbsp. soft Goat cheese
*or any combination you choose (see below for some options).

Punch down the dough and roll out into a rectangle. Spread with Pesto, sprinkle with tomato, garlic and cheese.











Roll tightly into a cylinder, starting from the long side. Using a sharp knife, spit the cylinder in half lengthwise, leaving the one end attached. 









Twist the two halves together, keeping the open cut layers exposed.
Form into a circle, weaving ends together. Pinch to seal and place in a greased pie plate or on a parchment lined baking sheet.



Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cover loosely with foil halfway to prevent excessive browning.





*Optional Fillings:

1/4 Cup softened butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 garlic clove - minced
3 Tbsp. flaxmeal/ground flaxseed

Sweet Filling Option:
1/4 Cup softened butter
4-5 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. ground almonds
(I'd like to try this combo sometime!)






Till next time ............ are you watching the Olympics?  Tomorrow is the big game for Canada!!!



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Waterblogging

This is my first ever "link" up
blog post.
Party and I've been invited!!!

I noticed Rhondi's beautiful watercolor
"paintings" on one of her recent posts
"The Secret of my Success in Watercolor Painting"
and was so intrigued by
her secret method.

Once I figured out how to download the iPhone App
(with Rhondi's help) I started "painting" to
my heart's content ....



Welcome to my first ever 'waterblog' exhibit:


Elegant Ajijic Cactus

Valentine Breakfast Flowers

Mexican Coffee Break



Brown-eyed girls

Memories of Lake Chapala


This honestly makes me want
to take some real watercolour painting classes!!!!

Be sure to head over to Rhondi's blog
and leave a comment....

Linking is fun!!!!!



Monday, February 17, 2014

A Taste of Mexico


La comida Mexicana es delisiosa!

We enjoyed some wonderful meals
with awesome Amigos
while on our recent holiday 
to Lake Chapala, Mexico.





Osso Bucco 
(Veal Shank) was a great choice.

















The Molcajeti
(a sizzling veggie and cheese dish)
was also a
delicious treat!












There were always 
delicious fresh salad choices
and this was my salmon stuffed
pasta meal - yum!








Margo cooked up some of the most wonderful
homemade fare,
like fresh shrimp, tacos,
beef fajitas, bananas Foster,
yummy homemade soups and salads,
just to mention a few.
Her meals were tasty and healthy.
I can't believe I didn't get any photos of them
(guess we were just too fixated on eating up the deliciousness).




Appies for a light luncheon with neighbours.


Barry and Margo's friends
invited us in for some delicious home cooked meals.
We enjoyed an authentic Italian Meal,
prepared by Connie and Wayne 
complete with amazing homemade meat balls
and tomato sauce for the pasta - oh my!
Not to mention the anchovy appetizers and Wayne's
peanut butter brownies!
They were such great hosts and made us feel so welcome!

Henry and Barb (neighbouring snowbirds)
 served us a lovely chicken dinner
with Barb's famous homemade Polish Dill pickles and
yummy beet salad.
We had so much fun, eating, playing cards, and
getting to know each other.

We were SO impressed with the sense of community
in this small Mexican town which is a Winter home 
for so many Canadians - they enjoy getting together,
sharing meals, meeting each other, and becoming 
friends for life!

A recent murder there was a rare
and unfortunate tragedy
This apparently was not a random act
and could have happened anywhere in today's crazy world!



Barbecued Chicken Stand featuring delicious roasted onions and chili peppers too - we did a take-home meal - so good!


This weekend we invited some friends in,
stoked the fire to heat up the room,
put a Mexican blanket on the table,
blended up some margaritas,
and enjoyed a Mexican Fiesta of sorts.
For a few hours, we forgot
about the below freezing temperatures
outside and basked in the memories
of a warm vacation!

Our menu included:
Salsa and Tacos
Chicken Fajitas with all the fixings
Corn and Black Bean Salad
Lettuce Salad with Avacado and Lime dressing
Papaya and Grapes
and lots of conversation and fellowship

These were on the dessert table too ....


Coconut Macaroons - super easy!
3-4 large egg whites
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
5 Cups sweetened shredded coconut
Whip the egg whites with the sugar, vanilla and salt till glossy and foamy.
Stir in the shredded coconut and mix well.
Drop batter in 2 Tbsp. mounds onto parchment lined cookie sheets approx. 1 inch apart - I used my ice cream scoop.
Bake at 325F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool completely and store for up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
Can be dipped or drizzled with chocolate if desired.




We had a great evening!
Thanks for coming, Wally and Carolyn,
and braving the cold for a "taste of Mexico" with us!


Beautiful Lake Chapala



Till next time ............ stay cozy and start dreaming of Spring - positive thoughts, positive thoughts!!

HAPPY FAMILY DAY IN ONTARIO TODAY!!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow Bank Graffiti

Very "cool" Snow Bank
Graffiti
on my way to
work
this morning!!!

GO CANADA GO......




Haven't seen the snow banks
quite this high since I was
a kid,
and that's a LONG time ago - smile!!

HAPPY V-DAY EVERYONE.



Monday, February 10, 2014

Gringo's Go To Market!

Our short visit recently
to Ajijic, Mexico
offered many local markets
They were all a treat,
to say the least!

Ajijic Market


The Wednesday market very near to us
right in Ajijic, is the primary
fresh local food market.
As the farmer and I enjoyed the
sights, smells and sounds, our hosts
did their weekly shopping.

Margo prepared a delicious
lunch of freshly cooked shrimp  - oh my!!
What a treat!


Chapala Market

The 4 mile walk to Chapala was 
well worth it.
Delicious breads, cheeses, fruits,
veggies and such tempted us.
Some of the meats were not quite as appetizing,
as you can see.
We were rewarded with a delicious fajita
lunch that included free margaritas!
Needless to say,
we took the bus back to Ajijic
and even managed to have an 
afternoon siesta!!!

Tonala Market

On Sunday we travelled by taxi to the famous
Tonala Market near Guadalajara.
A delightful, bustling and colourful market.
We noticed there were few Gringos but
many Mexican family shoppers.
Known for it's lovely hand blown glassware,
 handicrafts, pottery, ceramics and household items,
it didn't disappoint!
Notice the breads that were shaped like
turtles and alligators, the delicious churro sticks,
and the huge stuffed jalapeño peppers
that we had for our lunch!




These "cooling the tongue" drinks tasted
wonderful as we ate those jalapeño popper whoppers!

It was a full and fun day.
Our evening was spent relaxing and watching the
Super Bowl while snacking on
delicious homemade American food - hot dogs of course!

So many of our most memorable experiences included
good home cooked food and fellowship.

More on that later ............

Have a WONDERFUL VALENTINE'S DAY/WEEK!!


Heart shaped arrangement at the Chapala Market





Till next time ........... more memories of Ajijic, Mexico.





Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Get-Away in Ajijic

We had a wonderful time in Mexico!
2 short weeks ago we
left the Great White North
with minus 27 Celsius temps
for the balmy plus 24 Celsius get-away.

We stayed with our "snowbird" friends
who have been wintering there
for the past few years.

They have a lovely rented condo
in the Mexican town called Ajijic
(pronounced Ah-hee-heek)
on Lake Chapala.



This is an inland area surrounded by
the rugged Sierra Madre mountain range
on the edge of the fresh water Lake Chapala.






Ajijic is located just 30 minutes
from the huge city of Guadalajara.
The high elevation (5,046 feet above sea level) here provides
a very stable and pleasant humid free climate. 



When we weren't out for long walks,
discovering the sights, sounds and
tastes, we found that
the condo's great mirador (balcony)
was the perfect spot to soak up the warm hot sunshine
and relax!



Our gracious hosts Barry and Margo


We did a lot of walking on the
rustic cobblestone streets.





and stopped to admire the beautiful plants
and flowers.
Such a refreshing change from our snow
covered and frozen gardens back home.....


























The Cacti were amazing...
growing wild on the surrounding mountain sides
and deliberately in the gardens and gloriettas 
(Mexican style round-a-bouts).  
I was so intrigued by these cool plants!


















Ajijic is known for it's low cost of living
and world class medical care.
No wonder the snowbirds choose this
as their Winter Get-Away!!


The local food, restaurants,
and markets were second to none.

More on that next time .......... stay tuned.



Disclaimer - my handy "point and shoot" camera went on the fritz (not to mention my computer problems - ugh) so I had to resort to my cell phone camera - please accept my apologies for the quality and sometimes visible finger on some of these photos.