Monday, February 1, 2010

January 19th-22nd in Kleinenhain, during which I eat a lot.

I skipped a day, I know.

19 January 2010

Usual chores: feeding animals, cleaning terracotta pots, fetching firewood. As a dessert for lunch we made Bratapfel—apples stuffed with dark chocolate and marzipan and baked until soft and then covered in cream (or soy cream in my case)—and for tea Axel made apple cake, which was sort of like apple pizza (soft crust with apples and cinnamon on top). Delicious. Angelika and Axel have been amazingly supportive with me being vegan, which I appreciate immensely. I expected to have to be a bit vegetarian for most of my time doing HelpX, but they’ve bought me soy cream, soymilk and tofu and have gone out of their way to leave bacon or other such things out of recipes for me. I specifically looked for farms that were okay with vegetarian helpers, but I understand asking people to cook vegan for me is a lot to ask when I’m staying at their homes for 2+ weeks, so in my e-mails I offered to either provide some of my own food or eat vegetarian when need be, but no need yet!

Apple cake!

Other than that, I’ve been reading a lot. While I love the internet, I sure do read, write and sleep much more when I can’t be connected all the time. I finished my last book 2 days ago until I get the ones Lisa mailed to Hannah’s for me, which was Animal Dreams by Barbora Kingsolver. Angelika studied English and has a massive library of English books, so I’ve been drooling over that. I’m almost done with Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and I don’t think I’ve read this voraciously since high school. People should probably take my internet away more often.

20 January 2010

Today Angelika and I made pumpkin-apple jam! Making and preserving jam always seemed like an insurmountable endeavor, but now it appears, well, mountable, and I think I could recreate the process myself. For lunch was a nice stew with 4 types of green and yellow beans and another type of white beans frozen from their garden with smoked tofu and carrot and potatoes from their root cellar. Dessert was applesauce made by Axel. Mm-mmm! Learned the finer difference between the German words for “cake” and “kitchen”. I can now say, “I go into the kitchen” along with, “Would you like some coffee, tea, juice?” I really need to get my hands on a book of German grammar and conjugations so I can realize patterns and pick up the verbs more quickly. Yesterday I made them hummus with some ingredients (Tahini) we picked up, so today Angelika looked up the contents of Zahtar to see if she could recreate it herself and it is sesame seeds, thyme (we both guessed this correctly by smelling it) and crushed zuma. Neither of us had ever heard of zuma before, so probably easier just to buy Zahtar somewhere. I personally carried some along from a field trip I took with Hal to Fairway last summer, which was pretty much the best supermarket ever.

Angelika pureeing the jam in the background. This is sugar with pectin already in it. Magic!

The jams all lined up and vacuum-sealed! Since the jam is so hot, once you sanitize the jars with boiling water they make themselves airtight.

21 January 2010

Made green tomato and onion chutney today with Angelika and preserved it in jars! Soooooo delicious. I also made cashew “cheese” spread for Angelika and Axel because we had some tofu that was about to go off and it was a hit! We used it as a spread, but perhaps it will end up on pizza or in ravioli’s next! I only have a week left here and I’m a bit sad to go! Then again, it’s a whole week. Bought my train ticket to Bonn today to see Hannah!

The green tomatos, still hanging on from the summer!

All the ingredients before cooking.

After simmering for an hour or so (we didn't even blend this!).

22 January 2010

Today we made pumpkin chutney with apricots, apples and pistachios in it and Angelika bottled the apple wine in the workshop that had been fermenting for four or so months, which we tasted at dinner. I think I’m definitely getting a handle on this preserving thing by now. I’ve finally started writing letters, so hopefully I’ll crank a good number of ‘em out before I go back to America in a few months. I got hired back at Bryn Mawr as a Housemaster again this summer, so I’m pretty pumped that there’s some money coming my way again eventually. Now to get hired for a second session somewhere as well so I can hoard enough money to either move to the West coast and/or head back to Europe for another round of this farming and traveling. On my list to visit in the vicinity of Europe still are Bulgaria, Turkey, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Macedonia, etc. I think I want to stay in one place for a year or two before I head out again, but there’s always the chance I’ll change my mind by the end of the summer. Though I’ve realized there are a lot of places I want to visit in America too. Notably Anchorage, New Orleans, Seattle, Portland, Austin, the Grand Canyon and Roswell, so I can see the aliens, of course. I also realized after Krakow that I really want to work in a hostel and would probably be well-suited for it. At least, I think I’m generally pretty good at befriending strangers and herding them in the right direction and would be happy to do it.

The pumpkin chutney before it's done simmering.

And a bonus since I'm talking about food: Here's a picture of their mill in action turning those grains into flour!

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