Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Following are a few impressions from my visit to the Garden and Plant Fair ("Jrön and Jedön") at my favorite open-air museum in Lindlar, North-Rhine-Westphalia (Germany).
The museum itself is a large and hilly site, in an area with beautiful countryside, containing many reconstructed historical buildings and artefacts depicting rural life of the past. Most of the interiors of the buildings are open to viewing and give a fascinating insight into the living conditions of the original occupants who lived their as well as providing examples of their skills and ingenuity.
The museum organizes different exhibitions throughout the year, my prefered one being the Garden and Plant Fair with vendors offering flowers and kitchen herbs and lots of helpful advice for novice and advanced gardeners.
For more information about the museum, you can visit the Museum's site here (available only in German).
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Beets are widely available and delicious year round, but actually their peak season is June through October, when they are at their most tender and sweet. When buying fresh red beets, make sure to look for unblemished bulbs with unwilted greens. Whenever you buy beets (there a quite a few varieties out there), it is always a good idea to buy them with their greens attached. That way, it's like getting two vegetables for the price of one. Around here I realized that there are two kinds of markets, either you can often get beet greens for free at the farmers' market because some people ask the vendors to chop off the tops when they buy their beets or it is almost impossible to find beets with their greens attached.
If you make this recipe, remember that it can be used for other types of greens as well. Also, the sautéed greens are fabulous on their own as a side dish, or you can toss the greens with couscous, , grains, your favorite pasta, or add them to a quiche, which I love to do quite often.
Red Beet Top & Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta
- 1 or 2 bunches of beet greens, use whole or chop coarsely if too large
- some good olive oil
- 1 scallions, washed, dried , thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced (optional, to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
- a few slices of your favorite country-style loaf or sourdough bread, toasted, cooled
- your favorite soft fresh goat’s cheese (it is nice to use fresh cheese from a local cheese manufacturer, if at all possible
- Wash the leaves in 2 or 3 rinses of water.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet.
- Add the scallion, garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and cook, stirring, until the scallion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
- Add the beet greens to the pan (with the water still clinging to the leaves) in 1, 2 or more additions (depending on the size of your pan and the amount of greens you are using).
- Stir for a couple of minutes, until the leaves have wilted and are nicely seasoned/coated with garlic and oil.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste, remove from the heat and let cool a bit.
- While the greens are cooling a bit, prepare your bread slices. Toast or grill them, then put them on a platter. Top with goat’s cheese.
- Pile the warm greens on top of the prepared bread slices and serve immedaitely.
When you serve greens, it is always a delicious idea to serve a plate with fresh lemon wedges alongside, as a lot of people, including my family, enjoy a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice with their cooked greens.
- goat's cheese from Milchziegenhof Minten (here)
- beet greens from the farmers' market in Jülich, Germany (here)
- pretty ceramic platter crafted by Monika Hilger from Keramik Design (here)
Sunday, June 10, 2018
Ceramics have a long tradition in the southern Westerwald region, thanks to the abundance of clay that is found there. The tradition is continued today by the numerous potteries in an area known as Kannenbäckerland.
The Kannenbäckerland has evolved into the center for ceramic handicraft as well as vocational training, therefore you will find the ceramics educational and research center (Bildungs- und Forschungs-Zentrum Keramik (for more info, pls go here) as well as the largest museum of ceramics in Europe (Keramikmuseum Westerwald) (for more info pls go here) where the history of this amazing craft can be traced.
On one hand, potters and ceramic artists produce traditional household items such as jugs and dishes in the grey-blue colours typical of the regional style of pottery. On the other hand, artists create more contemporary pieces that attest to the way ceramics have developed in this region.
The international ceramics market in Höhr-Grenzhausen attracts thousands of visitors every year. Here are a few impressions from my visit there last week, hope you will enjoy them.