Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pulled Pork Barbarcue

There was a time, not so long ago, when our house was filled with teenagers, laughter, antics and fun. But children grow up, get married and have families of their own.  Now it's just me and Mac in our quiet world. We both really missed the girls when they left home and we both struggled with empty nest syndrome. It is a difficult adjustment.
The biggest treat in the world for us is when our daughters and families come for a visit.
Our oldest daughter Amy is coming just after Easter for a visit with her husband Christopher and our darling 2 year old grandson Jonah.
So what's a mother to do?
The best advice I can give is get cookin' and freeze meals so you can enjoy every minute with your children and grandchildren.

My son-in-law especially loves pulled pork sandwiches. Pulled pork is so easy to make and freezes very well.
Buy a boston butt, it might also say pork shoulder on the label.  I can never remember which is the southern name and which name they use in the North.
You can use a crock pot but, here in Germany, I just use my good old cast iron stew pot. Cover your pork with water and add an onion for flavor.
Cover tightly and cook on low all day.
Basically I start it at 8 in the morning and forget about it until 6 or so in the evening. I take it out wrap in tin foil and allow it to cool for an hour or so.

Now the fun part.  You simply pull the pork apart with your fingers. Some people use a fork but I find it more fun to get "messy".

Now for all you people who want to take the time and make your own barbarcue sauce, well that's just great.  You'll find tons of recipes on the internet.

Personally, I use my favorite sauce right from the bottle to save time.

I mixed it up and put it straight into my freezer for the kids to enjoy when they get here.
I serve the pulled pork barbarcue with rolls and coleslaw.
I promise to put a picture of the kids plates and reactions on the blog when they get here.

Mac gives my "thinking ahead" so I can enjoy the visit a thumbs up!

However, he gives two thumbs up to having the house come alive again with the joy of  the kids visit!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mac has an answer to everything!

Many of you know that with Mac's night schedule that the first 3 months of being here in Europe has been very lonely for me.  It has been brightened by old friends who have invited us to our beloved "Clausen" for visits. Making new friends isn't always easy for me, but how lucky I am that my husband has all the answers.

Answer number one...."Let's make sure we get to church."  We did last Sunday. We are members of the Belfast United Methodist in Maine and we tried the Nagold United Methodist this week.  Interestingly, the pastor is American. He married a German lady and has been here 26 years.  There wasn't really time to have a conversation with him as 4 teenagers were confirmed this Sunday and the church was filled to capacity which Pastor Jonathan Whitlock said was not normal.

Answer two....."You need to cook something to keep yourself busy"

Mac knows that I love the German show "Cook Duel"
Two contestants bring a bag filled with ingredients.  Each contestant is assigned a chef and the chef must look at the ingredients and decide on the spot what he can make with the contestant's help. (The English have a version of this show called READY, STEADY, COOK.)
The Germans take it one step farther than the English by having a wine expert pair a wine with the meal and someone from a restaurant decorates a dinner table. There is a panal of three people who taste the concoctions and vote for the best tasting recipe on the German show.

So to that end, we found ourselves at REAL pronouced RE- AL. I knew this was pork but wasn't sure what to do with it, so of course, Mac insisted that we pick it up and I become a chef in my own version of COOK DUEL.

I unrolled the pork......hmmmm....what to do?  It was pounded so thin I suspected the Germans would stuff it with something.

I looked through the pantry and frig. I took out garlic, onion, pancetta and Krauter butter.  Krauter butter is just butter that herbs have been added.  Many of my German friends make their own by melting butter and adding parsley, onion powder and other herbs of choice.
I fried up the pancetta and garlic with the krauter butter in one pan.  Of course the onions had to go in another pan because I intended to put onions in my stuffing but not in Mac's. By now you are all aware of Mac's onion phobia.  I sliced up an avocado and brie cheese.  I put them in the blender with a tablespoon of water and half cup of sour cream and whizzed it smooth.

I placed the filling on the pork and rolled them. I placed the rolled pork back in the frying pan and seared them on both sides.
Now I was stuck.....I would have liked to use a salsa over the top as it had a guacamole filling but, sadly, I had no salsa. I think it would have been much better with a Salsa topping.  I resorted to the German answer for everything.  RahmsoBe.  I used the package and followed the directions.
I placed it in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
I served it up with a bit of salad, rice and carrots.
Mac gave it a thumbs up and but if it had had the Salsa sauce I bet he would have given it two thumbs up!
Mac says to tell you the answers really are church which is food for the soul  and cooking which is food for the body!
Maybe you are right Mac.....this time.....maybe you are right.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Out and About in the Black Forest (The Frogs and the Prince)

Ahhh the Black Forest.  It conjures such a romantic picture in my head.  Mac and I thought we'd share our Saturday journey with you.  We decided to start small and make a loop trip, no more than an hour and a half from our house.  All week we had the most beautiful sun and then Saturday dawned cold and rainy. I was disappointed because I am afraid you readers will start to think we don't have sun over here.


 The first point of interest for you will be the frog crossing signs.  Yes, you see it correctly, that indeed is a frog on the sign.
In Germany, Great Britain, Northern Italy and Poland many frogs and toads are killed on the roads while migrating to their breeding grounds, in some places special tunnels have been constructed so they can cross under roads. Some local wildlife groups run toad/frog patrols carrying them across busy roads in buckets.  I kid you not!  Our friend Margit and her daughter Melanie (you met them in previous blogs) used to be part of the bucket brigade in Clausen.

These green barriers keep them from migrating across the road and the frog patrols find them easier to catch and carry them across the streets.  I've said before Germany is a "green country" with it's strict recycling laws but it is also passionate about wildlife preservation. Even the little creatures.

Mac had planned a picnic.

He had olives and cheese, pickes, wurst and more wursts. Strawberries and plums too.

But, the best part was the smoked fish.  He chose 4 different varieties and from the store and they were all yummy.

This was our view as we had our picnic.  I must confess, it was a rather BRITISH picnic.  My British friends are a very hearty lot and I have had picnics with them whilst my lips were turning blue.  They are seemingly unaffected by cold weather.  Being from Maine I should be more used to cold weather, but I suppose I will blame my angst for the cold on being born in Texas. We finished our lovely feast and ran to the car where we turned the heat up full blast and put on our seat heaters.  AHHHH, much better and now we were ready to start the next part of the journey.

This view will be even prettier when the leaves come out.

This is the little village of Unterifligen nestled in a valley.

Mac and I decided to stop in the village of Glatt. We heard it had a Wasserschloss.  That's a moated castle.

Glatt Castle
From 1533 to 1547 the castle was owned by Reinhard von Neuneck. It is one of the earliest Renaissance castles in Germany.
It changed ownership various times after that until the Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen came to own it. The castle became the property of the municiple city of Glatt in 1970. It is now a museum. We decided not to go into the actual castle as we wanted to take the kids there when they visited. We know our little grandsons will enjoy the suits of armor inside.

I found an angel in the courtyard.  My twin sister and cousin Ellen love angels so I posed for the picture just for them.

Mac chose to hang out with this unusual creature.

Since it was a cold day we decided to check out the Cafe in the Castle.  Just to get out of the cold you know.

This was one of the most romantic "tearoom/cafe" we had ever seen.  There were tables tucked away in 7 or 8 rooms and I don't know how the waitress could keep track where everyone was sitting.

We had such a lovely picnic but Mac and I weren't opposed to some coffee and cake. I had the strawberry chocolate.

Mac was missing Maine and decided on the Blueberry cake. It boasted a cookie dough bottom and a meringue topping.

Mac gave today a thumbs up.  It would have gotten two thumbs up had it not been so awfully cold.
While we were walking back to the car Mac asked me if I gave him a kiss would he perhaps turn into the Prince of Hohenzollern.  I smiled my special smirk, you know the one I reserve just for him and said, "Darling if I kissed you, you will most likely become one of those little frogs we saw earlier today."
Mac just shook his head and laughed at me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Off to recycle!

We live in one of the "greenest" countries in the world now.  Germans are great recyclers. This is your typical glass recycle place.  We had to do this even back when we lived in Clausen.  It is your responsiblity to take your glass to this area and drop it off.  First bin is for brown glass, second for white glass, third for green glass and the fourth for aluminum cans.  Jaxson and I took a walk to recycle our glass today.
The little Spring flowers were everywhere on our walk. It was a lovely sunny day.
The recycle place is beside my favorite bench which says,
"With a friend by your side no path is too difficult".  I hope to make some friends in this village soon.
Some of you have been asking for more recipes and I promise to post some soon.  Haven't been feeling my best.
Mac says thumbs up he didn't have to do the recycling.
BUT, he give two thumbs down for not being able to take a walk with me on this beautiful sunny day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Out and About in Clausen

We stayed with our old neighbors Ruth and Oma.  The stone house is the house we used to live in and the white house next door with the car in front of it is Ruth and Oma's. That's our car in front of our old house.

This was our old driveway.

Part of our old yard. A fence to keep in the renter's dogs is now there....we didn't knowing asking for one was an option back then.

Oma Rosel and Mac
 Oma was very happy to have us there as you can see.

Ruth loves Easter (Ostern in German) Here is her inside Easter tree.

We excused ourselves to go up to Margit and Helmut's house for a quick cup of coffee.
We were thrilled with the surprise of getting to see Melanie their daughter who is pregnant with a baby girl.

I could only manage to get one picture from this camera shy bunch!
We had a lovely visit and then back to Oma's because Christoph was going to cook lunch for us.

This is Christoph cooking us lunch. Christoph went into the army when we were there and became a chef.
Mac will help me turn the picture the right way later.

Ruth decided that it had been so long since Oma had been out.  If anything happened such as a fall, we'd all be there to help Oma. So, we did the very German cake and coffee at a restaurant.  Thankfully, since Oma doesn't walk we weren't forced to do the hour to two hour manditory walk before cake.
Oma and Ruth had the Strawberry with tiny layers of chocolate.

I had the hazelnut cake.

Mac had his favorite Bienenstich cake.

Mac gives our Sunday a thumbs up and says to tell you that we are going to do more exploring in the Black Forest next Saturday.