Same Name, Different Dishes…..

Anyone who has traveled to Germany knows that hearty eating is in order and being carnivorous is handy. A popular dish in all the Guesthouses and most restaurants is schnitzel served in a variety of ways. Wiener style is simply breaded and fried served with lemon wedges. Rahm is in a cream sauce similar to a chicken fried steak. Jaeger is “hunter style” with a brown mushroom sauce. Zweible is with onions. Papricka is with sweet peppers. Schnitzel can also be done with veal or pork pounded out thin. In Hungarian cooking though “Papricka” is more about the spice itself rather than adding peppers and in the last minutes of simmering the meat in the reddish/brown sauce, you remove the pan from the heat, and stir/whisk in a couple of heaping spoons of sour cream, being careful to blend it thoroughly so you don’t have white streaks. When the mixture is smooth, you return it to the heat for only long enough to make sure everything is hot. (The chilled sour cream can reduce the temperature of the dish).

In actuality, the German dish is also referred to as Zieguener style to avoid confusion with the Hungarian version. We have some sweet peppers in the fridge we really need to use and I had said we would have Paprika Schnitzel tonight. I wasn’t sure if there would be veal at the store or only pork and was glad to see they did have veal. I also toyed with the idea of getting sour cream to do a hybrid of the dishes and decided not to bother with it. Had I really been on the ball I would have found the aisle where they have Spaetzle, the little dumplings Hubby really likes. I’d already been out for a while, and with the way they rearranged the store a few months back, I still haven’t found all the new locations of items, so I didn’t go on a hunt. Roasted potatoes will do s a side. (Okay, they’re the frozen type)   Hmm, I do have crispy crowns in the freezer, too. We’ll see which way we go with that.

Comfort Food…..

I’ve posted a number of times about Hubby and I cooking together as it’s something we really enjoy. I have my specialties and he has his (aside from grilling which is his domain). There are other times we experiment with recipes, although not as often as we probably should. It’s simply easier most times to make things we’re already familiar with. We also don’t generally prepare the classic meals of our upbringing since neither of us grew up with adventuresome cooking available. Granted, Hubby does still prefer his green beans cooked for at least an hour with a ham hock (we don’t have the can of bacon grease that sits on the stove) and don’t think of putting sugar anywhere near the cornbread. There is one local home cooking restaurant – Farmers’ Market – where I always opt for the kind of food I did grow up with. When they have it, my favorite is chopped steak covered in onions and gravy. That wasn’t one of their specials today so I decided to try their fried chicken. It was an excellent choice and while I do enjoy either Popeyes or KFC, this was truly reminiscent of home. Very lightly breaded and fried in hot enough oil to keep it from being greasy. I did have to wait a few minutes though as they had literally pulled the chicken directly from the fryer and I had no intention of eating it with a knife and fork. Since I do have to watch my carbs, I ordered sides of green beans and corn with the intent of bringing the corn home. Their portions are large enough so I had plenty anyway. I’ve never had dessert there, but suspect they probably make good pies. The only thing I find “off” is while they are one of the few places that serve catfish – they don’t have hush puppies. I’ve never quite understood that and the one time my friend asked about it, the young man admitted he didn’t know why they don’t serve them. Another of those mysteries in life.

Days Zipping Past….

It’s obviously been hectic or I would have posted. It’s a combination of things as it often is. There’s no actual let-up until Friday which will make it approximately two months of pretty much non-stop activity. Not that I will have spare time, but rather tasks will be spread out a bit more. Anyway, in the course of having a friend visit, I took her to Everglades City. We hadn’t been for quite some time and unfortunately our favorite place for lunch was closed since it was a Sunday and the other place was closed apparently for good. It looks as if it sustained some damage and was perhaps not re-opened. The assumption is back during Hurricane Irma, but who knows. We popped into the Island Cafe, an old-fashioned kind of place with an ice cream shop in the back part, which is separate from the main dining room. There was a lot of fried food, to include gator nuggets that we passed on. The food was good though, the service friendly, and the ice cream was excellent. We did stop at the famous Clyde Butcher Gallery on the way back and alligators were bellowing even though there weren’t any in the parking lot this time.

The fence is finally finished and if the freezer repair guy has ordered the correct parts, that will be taken care of Friday. Fortunately, it still functions well enough to not impact the refrigerator and we got everything moved to the one in the garage. It’s a filter issue apparently designed so it takes a repairman to get to it. He pulled all the drawers out and in truth, they did need to be cleaned, so I suppose that’s a good thing. That task simply hasn’t been at the top of my priority list. Ah well, so it goes.

Paris Trip, Day 6….

The weather did turn although the rain held off until we were inside Musee D’Orsay and broke a couple more times as we made it to lunch after and were unsuccessful in finding a cab until we took the RER to Les Invalides where we picked one up. But first, the museum. The Musee D’Orsay was built as an impressive train station for the 1900 World’s Fair. There was also a lovely hotel and incredibly ornate grand reception hall. It was ultimately turned into a museum in the late 1970s and is quite large. It is where the main Impressionist exhibit is up on the fifth floor. There are others on display also, but by the time you finish the fifth floor you generally need a break. Many other periods of arts are shown, lots of sculpture and periodic special exhibits. Sis took plenty of photos and of course it was special interest to see Monet paintings of Giverny since we were there yesterday. The Reniors are always a sight and Pissaro is featured among others. We did get a bit of a late start because Sis was extra tired from yesterday’s adventure and we decided not to roam in the rest of the museum.

We went to the nearby café for a light lunch and it was very tight quarters. Fortunately, the place was only about two-thirds full. Sis had what was basically a chef’s salad and I had the vegetable soup as I had not done so yet. As we make our way through some of the French “musts”, she had tarte tartin for dessert and hot chocolate since the rain had also dropped the temperature. It had been a long time since she had hot chocolate made from scratch.

Even though it will be my third (her second) time to go to the Alsace restaurant close to here for dinner, the hotel had a fairly limited menu and we dined here last night. There is an Italian place where we had lunch the other day, but Sis isn’t enthused with that idea, so we’ll play tomorrow night by ear. It will be our final night for dinner and I may ask the hotel staff.



Paris Trip, Day 3……

Okay, had a bit of a disappointing start today although it worked out. I was not paying close enough attention to the Metro station and got us on the wrong line initially. We got turned around in the correct direction and the museum we plan to visit is closed for the next three years. We do have the lovely view of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero and there is always something going on down there. Except, as we make the long trek with more wind blowing than is good for Sis, we discover a sad, but logical change. There are now glass (bullet proof I assume) barriers all around the Tower. You have to get into an appropriate line depending on what you want to do in order to pass through security. Since there was not a line for “just wander around and look”, we made the other very long trek from the tower to the Ecole Militaire Metro with the nice café next to it. The grassy fields leading to the tower east and west are also blocked off although the wide paths on either side are open. We had another leisurely lunch then made our way to the Rodin Museum.

It was a bit more crowded since it was a Sunday, but not too bad. Sis was extra pleased with the amazing rose garden on the grounds. I thought I had “forgotten” the roses which seemed odd considering how many and how beautiful they are. When I talked to Hubby a while ago he reminded me we usually go in the winter and the roses aren’t in bloom. Oh yeah, right.

There were a lot of steps involved today and it’s kind of worn Sis out. (Back issues with steps and Metro stations here are not geared well for elevators/escalators.) We’re planning to stay at the hotel for dinner tonight. Most museums are closed on Monday so it’s off to the original Galleries Lafayette tomorrow.

Paris Trip, Day 2…..

I know, where are the photos? I am inept at getting photos from my phone to the blog and thus that will continue to be a lapse for the foreseeable future. For all the months of planning and weeks of prep for this trip, there are certain things one cannot control. The downturn in weather (which seems to be shifting back) has been manageable, although did cut yesterday’s wandering short and we barely avoided a problem today. Being very well organized and getting our Metro passes ahead of time for today through Thursday did not of course take into account the nearby Metro station (and who knows how many others) would be closed today due to the on-going “Yellow Vest” protests. Sigh! I finally decided to treat it as an unexpected “tour” since we did have to go by a number of notable landmarks in the taxi. There was also the interaction with the cab drivers as they muttered at closed streets, re-routing and impatient drivers who were equally frustrated. So, yes, I tipped a bit more than I ordinarily would.

Anyway, I did not tell my sister about the feature exhibit at the Middle Ages Museum because I wanted it to be a complete surprise. As we ascended to the top floor and entered the specially lit room with the five very large Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries, she was in fact delighted. The proverbial “icing on the cake” is they still allow photographs without flash. They are as lovely as ever. The other displays are enjoyable and the ruins of the building that date to Roman times are well showcased.

We stopped for a coffee and Coke Light for sis, and then strolled to the Luxemburg Gardens. They are in fact more park than garden with lots of trees and wide paths for waling and the perimeter with joggers. The wind was still up although that was nice for the miniature sailboats in the fountain/pond. Lunch was a lovely, lengthy event with a table by the window at a nearby café. A proper croque monsieur, frites and green salad. The weather shifted again and with the Metro still closed, we managed to grab a taxi with only a little rain hitting the umbrella I had brought. We wandered a bit when we returned to the hotel and discovered a couple of cool things. That included a pause for ice cream and sorbet. We popped into a bistro to make dinner reservations, then back to the hotel for a bit. Sis didn’t want a full meal so had onion soup, some of my salad and she saved room for a chocolate crepe. My beef with mustard was underdone despite a discussion with the waiter which is not unusual as their definition of “medium” is subject to interpretation. I managed most of it though. Back to the hotel and more adventures lined up for today.

Slipped Up Again…..

Last week was especially hectic and in playing catch-up, posting to the blog didn’t quite make it. Ah well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. On Sunday, we had an extra task thrown in, although going to have a beer isn’t a bad thing. In all seriousness, it was Cinco de Mayo and we had already decided we wouldn’t attend any of the celebrations for two reasons; we tend to stay away from big crowds and Monday was a workday. However, I had a text that Exit One Taproom (I’ve posted about them in the past) was unveiling their new “Welcome to Florida City” mural as part of their Cinco de Mayo event. They were hoping I could get a photo into the paper. As it turned out, I needed Hubby to go to a place not far from there to get a photo of an old house for a piece I was submitting on Monday.

Exit One wasn’t as crowded as I expected when we arrived and it is always fun to watch a mural being painted. Not surprisingly, they weren’t quite on the schedule we’d been told, so we didn’t see the final product. (I did see it yesterday when I drove by). Interestingly, of the four artists, only one of them wanted to give me his name and we chatted for a bit. He’s been working on art projects for about two years and he was also wearing a tee shirt with a design he did for the line of clothing his girlfriend has.

We enjoyed our craft beers when we went inside although we had only one and didn’t have anything from the Tacos and Tattoos food truck the way we usually would. We left the partying crowd to have fun and actually came home for pizza. We always order pizza on Friday of course, but had been at the Seminole and then Pub 935 after.

Working on “Welcome to Florida City” mural at Exit One Taproom

Competing for Time…..

This was going to be a busy week anyway. Multiple commitments, a friend coming into town, and some critical tasks as I am involved in preparing for two different fundraisers for two of the boards I sit on. So, a carefully orchestrated event was severely impacted by Mother Nature with only hours in which to respond. Several phone calls and quite a bit of scrambling, FB messages, and emails flying about that day and the next in setting up a new date. That, of course meant me being unable to attend an already scheduled event on the new day, but we’ll split, and Hubby will go to the function before he joins me at the rescheduled one.

The out of town friend in for a visit comes with the usual tasks of cleaning in prep, etc., and a couple of bedtimes later than usual, which doesn’t actually help with my insomnia. Related to dining out, I’m trying to decide how to creatively use some of the leftovers. Not a big deal, simply something to think through.

Next we have a crisis develop in another non-profit I work with, and it’s too complicated to get into, plus at the moment, we appear to have only bad choices. This is never a situation I like to find myself in, and yet, it’s not the first time either. Experience in such matters does help. I can delay things for a short while and hope a better solution falls from the sky or whatever.

On the other hand, there is absolutely no way I need to be concerned about getting bored. And to put things into perspective, two different friends have asked for prayers as members of their respective families have been entered into hospice and another friend is giving updates on the state of her daughter (several years younger than me) who is recovering from a stroke.

A Market to Grow….

I’m going with “Third time’s a charm” on this particular project. A few years ago I did a post about the Verde Garden Market in Homestead close to Homestead Air Reserve Base. There are 22 acres and a farmers’ market adjoins it. They had completely refurbished the market to add a commercially approved kitchen and an area where they could serve food, put in a number of picnic tables and display area for art as well as places for the fruits, produce, and a couple of refrigerator cabinets. I was so excited when I toured and told as many people as I could. Unfortunately, things never took off, nor did the next try at it.

Last week, I was back with the group that is now in charge, which is a combined program. Redland Ahead (I have posted about then before, too) is a non-profit with goals to:

  • Work in unison with FIU to provide support to the FIU’s Agro-Ecology program in South Florida in expansion of the newly awarded FIU Hispanic Land Grant University status.
  • Support the training of underserved populations and Veterans to become farmers & explore careers in Agri-business in programs offered by FIU and UF (TREC).
  • Support training to improve the profitability from existing or future crops through university and private development of incubators, commercial kitchens and other ventures in the Redland community.

The main farming program provides up to a year of training and then the opportunity of a low-cost lease on acreage to begin farming. In general, the individual starts with approximately one-quarter acre and can expand up to four acres. The products can then be sold at the Redland Community Farm and Market at Verde Garden and other venues.

The commercial kitchen option is available for someone who may not be interested in farming, but may have a talent for, and desire to be in, a culinary career. Small batch producers who create baked goods, candies, jellies, and so forth can use the kitchen at the market and sell there. Perhaps someone wants to develop their own line of sandwiches, soups, or other hot items, and operating a food truck or opening a café is not feasible. A part time arrangement at the market is a workable way to begin. Currently, Tuesday through Thursday 12:00-4:00 p.m., is when Phillip Bryant and Veronica Valdivia are on-site with Johnnie’s Pit BBQ. Since the market is open seven days a week, other food vendors will be welcome.

Redland Community Farm and Market is open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., seven days a week. Twice monthly Friday night events are also held with extra art, music, and food choices. The purpose of the Friday night events is to extend the regular hours from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. and help spread the word about the market. A special note, as of this post, is road construction at 127th which was the most direct route. The detour is from 288th onto 132d through a residential area to SW 280th St. Detour signs are posted.


Having Perrier in the Desert….

No, there’s not a punchline here; merely one of those odd events that occurred when we were in Saudi Arabia for Desert Storm. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Hubby and I were assigned to the same very large organization that provided logistical support, to include water production and distribution. That actually is another subject, but when people think of what it takes to equip and support a large fighting force, ammunition, fuel, food, and maybe medical support come to mind, rather than something like water. Each country, however, can have different foodstuff requirements for their personnel. Americans for example, include pork products in rations, whereas Muslim units obviously do not.

Anyway, French troops were part of the Coalition put together to defeat Saddam Hussein. Our unit was set up out in the desert about 150 miles toward Kuwait, although not very close to the border. After the “Lightning Victory”, forces were drawn down as quickly as they could be and redeployed back to their respective countries. That, too, is a massive effort and in some cases, items needed during the war were left behind for different reasons. Now, I wasn’t in the location where this particular event took place although the individual who told me about it was generally accurate. Large metal shipping containers that get loaded on trains and ships come in two standard sizes of 20 feet and 40 feet long. They are about 5 feet high – maybe 6. Apparently, part of the French logistics support was Perrier in the small green glass bottles and for whatever reason, they had two 40 foot containers packed full they decided not to ship back. (It was probably a matter of available transport.) They simply turned the containers over to our guys and next thing we know, little bottles of Perrier are being distributed among a number of our units. Now, it so happens as we relocated out of the desert and into the edge of a major Saudi Arabia military complex, an ice plant was part of the complex. Not surprisingly, shipping ice out to our units was greatly appreciated and for the remaining several weeks, we had a pretty steady supply of ice. I will admit, swigging iced-down Perrier while winding up desert operations wasn’t something I expected to do. On the other hand, it is a memory that’s stayed with us.