Hawai’i – Kaua’i – Maui / A Thousand Shades of Green

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Welcome to my sad attempt to combat my Hawaii sickness (a medical term which denotes the willingness to board the next plane to Hawaii). Please enjoy this extensive, chronological collection of pictures, to be found after an extra click. Continue reading “Hawai’i – Kaua’i – Maui / A Thousand Shades of Green”

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Artichoke Tapenade on Homemade Bread, Herbed Couscous Salad

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In the past two weeks I have been experimenting with the infamous No-Knead-Bread. I’ve found that a ratio of 3/4 bread flour and 1/4 whole wheat flour works best for me, tastewise. The recipe is pretty simple and the outcome reliable. I took it to game night with the neighbors last night and everyone loved it. I can definitely see it becoming a staple in our house. Once you start baking your own bread (at least where we live), there’s no going back to grocery store toast and limp baguettes … Last night I served the bread with a store-bought olive tapenade (acquired while panicky last-minute shopping for the snow storm), then felt challenged to make my own. I decided to go with a artichoke tapenade, which paired amazingly with the bread and a glas of Portuguese red (our current house wine). We had it for dinner with a herbed couscous salad from my personal recipe hero Ottolenghi (how can all recipes in one cookbook be so delicious?!). Enjoy!

For the artichoke tapenade:

In a food processor, combine 2 minced garlic gloves, 1 cup of pitted green olives, 1 tbsp capers, a small can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and quartered, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 6 tbsp olive oil. Pulse until almost smooth but still chunky. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice (optional).

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For the herbed couscous salad:

Put 120g couscous into a large bowl, add 160ml boiling vegetable broth. Cover with cling wrap and let sit for ten minutes. Meanwhile, cut 1 small onion into thin slices and fry in 1tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat until golden brown and soft. Cut three scallions into thin rings, coarsely chop a handful of pistachios. Chop a handful of flat parsley leaves, a handful of cilantro greens, the leaves of 3 mint sprigs and 5 dill sprigs, then puree in food processor with 90ml olive oil until smooth. With a fork, work herb paste into couscous, then add onion slices, pistachios, green onions and a generous handful of arugula. Season to taste.

Make Winter Great Again

The Great Snowfall of 2016 started on Friday around 1.30pm. It is now Saturday night, 10pm, and it has not yet stopped. On the verge of cabin fever, Karl and I decided to brew up some Glühwein earlier, with the help of a bottle of Tempranillo (part of our snowstorm supplies) and some mulling spices, fill it into a thermos and head on out into the stormy night. We’re in a state of emergency, no cars are allowed on the street other than plow trucks, so the whole town was a pedestrian wonderland. Here’s some pics from our walk – click for a slideshow or to enlarge! It was amazing.

Winter Sunday

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We woke up to utter grayness this morning, turned back around once, twice until finally ready to get up. What greeted us behind the living room windows was a scurry of snow flakes. Naturally, I got all excited. Then the coffee ran out. What else would you do in such a situation other than bundle up and go on a two mile walk to the local coffee roastery, taking advantage of the snow and get some fresh air? It didn’t stick, by the way. We walked through pretty neighborhoods and along one of the rare bike paths until we arrived at a nondescript building nestled in a corner off a main road that holds Ceremony Coffee Roasters.

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Inside, the incomparable smell of freshly roasted coffee, a cute little café/store with coffee accessories (French Presses etc.) and in the back, a bigger room with the actual roaster.

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It wasn’t our first time there, but I hope tit provides you with a long awaited new glimpse into our lives as well as an example of the things Annapolis has to offer other than pretty historic buildings and amazing water views. Karl and I are actually (mentally) constructing a food tour off the beaten path for future visitors. More on that (maybe) soon …

Düsseldorf/Annapolis

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We finally got around to go on a long overdue frame haul, urgentified by several beautiful Christmas gifts. Today’s peek into our apartment shows a set of prints I got from a very dear friend. One depicts Düsseldorf, where she lives (and we used to live), the other one our current turf Annapolis. I love the idea, I love the prints and I love that I was able to find exactly the frames that I had in mind.

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Unser Lauftreff (eigentlich ein Vorbereitungstreff) kulminierte heute im Cold Turkey 10k, einem 10km-Lauf etwa zwanzig Minuten mit dem Auto entfernt von hier. Der Kurs war recht hügelig, und da ich die letzten zwei Wochen Probleme mit meinen Knöcheln hatte und entsprechend so gut wie gar nicht gelaufen war, hatte ich meine Ziele im Vorhinein auf die Ursprungseinstellung zurückgesetzt: ins Ziel kommen. Es war kalt, lange Hose, Handschuhe, langes Unterhemd unter dem T-Shirt, Mütze. Am Ende steckten Handschuhe und Mütze im Hosenbund und die Ärmel waren oben. Es waren knapp 200 Läufer am Start, und in einem Wort: Ziel erreicht. Konnte die Sache entspannt angehen und entspannt durchlaufen und hatte viel Spaß und wurde stolze sechste in meiner Altersgruppe. Karl hat nach der ersten Meile ein bisschen angezogen, kam dreieinhalb Minuten vor mir ins Ziel und begleitete mich auf meinem Schlusspurt (in kleidsamen T-Shirts unserer Gruppe).

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Zur Belohnung gabs ein ausnahmsweise richtig schönes und weiches Langarmshirt, meinen neuen designierten Schlafanzug, danach zu Hause ein heißes Bad und einen entspannten Sonntag mit einer großen Portion Nudeln. Am Donnerstag ist Thanksgiving! Wir fahren nach Delaware bzw. Pennsylvania und freuen uns auf vier Tage Wochenende.

Hanging With Our Roomie

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Karl had the day off today for Veteran’s Day which he wasn’t aware of until late yesterday. We decided to do something fun & touristy in the afternoon, so we headed down the street to inspect the State House from the inside. It is literally about three minutes away from our house and was built in 1779, and it’s also where George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1783.

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The House of Representatives & Senate are only in session for a 90-day-period every year, starting in January. So no hustle and bustle there this time of year. It was hence pretty surprising when we were getting ready to leave, turned around & saw the Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, entering the building with his posse. His house is only about a thirty second walk from the State House though so maybe he decided to stop by to get something from his desk, IDK. (Probably not, he also had some camera people with him.)

Anyway, the room where Washington resigned was recently remodeled and they put up a bronze statue of our beloved housemate in the spot where he probably stood to deliver his speech.

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We snapped some selfies with our roomie, stopped by the Annapolis Museum Store (they have the nicest things!!! and I didn’t buy anything!!! will power much?!) on our walk through the city and headed home through the Academy. An unexpectedly nice Wednesday afternoon.

Billy Goat Trail

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This weekend’s hike took us to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park where can be found a rather rocky hike that at times resembles a climb – hence the name Billy Goat Trail. It lead us and some friends along the Potomac river, over large boulders and up steep cliffs; beautiful views abound. It was pretty crowded, but that didn’t really bother me; since it’s highly popular I figured we wouldn’t be alone on the trail. I will say that while fun, it was also a painful experience. You see, on Saturday morning we had a 5 mile race which went well, but at a price. My ankles were rather sore and on Sunday pretty much every step hurt. Oh well, nur die Harten kommen in den Garten. It was a gorgeous day, weatherwise, not too warm, not too cool, sunshine aplenty. So an active weekend on this end with good food, good drinks & good company.

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A Trip to Baltimore

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On Sunday we ventured out to Baltimore for the first time. We were actually hanging out, both literally and figuratively, at the climbing gym in Columbia, but were done there before noon. It was a wonderfully sunny autumn day, so I suggested heading to Baltimore instead of back home. I’d read that the Art Museum was free, and also there was this book thing I’d heard about and wanted to check out. As befits a museum of standing, there were some lions guarding the collection. They had some great stuff there, a lot of contemporary art, but also the collection of a couple of sisters – Claribel and Etta Cone -, who were good friends with Gertrude Stein, had no husbands/wifes or children and a lot of money, much of which they spent on art (Matisse, Picasso and the like).

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Afterwards we walked a few blocks up to an old, non-descript warehouse that only opens its doors on Saturday and Sunday. What’s behind those doors? Books, plain and simple. Or, more precisely: Free books. As many as you can carry. All kinds of books. Used books, mostly. Books the people or companys donated. I found one book I had been looking to acquire for some time now, very exciting. I also grabbed three others I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. Karl also found some stuff in the natural philosophy section.

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The little door on the left is the entrance to The Book Thing. I’m sure it wasn’t our last trip there. Love the place.