Sunday, February 22, 2009
Our recent nibbles
On my most recent day off, I made German lentil soup.
The recipe is from "My Favorite Recipes" by Horst Mager, who owns the Rheinlander restaurant in Portland. It calls for bacon but I just substituted some of the ham that we have left over(kept in freezer) from thanksgiving and it was delicious. yummy yummy. We added saurkraut on top which made the soup doubly delicious. Mr. Mager says, in his intro for the soup, that in many parts of Germany people add saurkraut to their lentil soup. Since I had a can of saurkraut sitting around and since I love to just eat the stuff plain, I thought it would be a wise choice to add it. And it was, indeed.
When I was home for christmas I found a couple jars of an old plum jelly that I made back in 2004. That summer was great for plum harvests and everybody in Talent had more plums than they knew what to do with. I picked tons of the tiny, bouncy ball sized plums and carefully pitted each one. Then I cooked them with a bit of sugar and natural pectin. Strained the mixture and canned it. This was my very first all-on-my-own canning project*. It's really amazing the sorts of things one does with a lot of free time and a large country kitchen. I mean my current kitchen is the size of the stove that I cooked that jelly on.
This jelly is actually some of the best plum jelly I've ever eaten and when I started to run out of it(i used to eat it with toast every morning) I tucked the last few jars away and forgot I had any left until a couple months ago. The years of sitting in a cool basement doesn't seem to have disturbed the flavor or quality at all and I am really enjoying the 1/2 pint jar that I dragged back in my suitcase. It's delicious. Now, I'm glad I abandonded them for so long because I've enjoyed the taste memories that it provides but also realizing just how good the jelly is, the jelly that I made with my own little hands.
*Of course, now that I write those words, I'm not sure if the plum jelly was my first ever all-on-my-own project or not. I made Blueberry jam the summer before I went off for school (summer 2000) because I just knew I wouldn't be able to stand eating something so common as store bought jelly(I never ate the stuff as a child), but my mother may have helped with that project. At least, she must have been available for questioning and canning advice.