Friday, March 30, 2012

Seen in Frankfurt -- Freßgass

Get Your Fresh, Hot Zeppelin Liver Sausage

Stephan Weiss Butcher Shop Founded 1907

The Zeppelin Liver Sausage was Named in 1909
in Honor or the International Air Show in Frankfurt

The Hindenburg left Frankfurt for NY on a fateful day in 1937.


Not your Average Police Car

One of the frequent perqs offered to German employees is a company car that can be used off hours as well.  Not surprisingly, the German government offers tax subsidies in the form of lower taxes on the benefit of a company car.  The German auto industry is heavily dependent on this subsidy.  I wonder whether the police let their employees use these cars during off hours.

Killing with Kindness

Some of you might remember my pride at not being a plant killer. Well, I was feeling so good about my Dieffenbachia this past December that I wanted to do something nice for it.  I added a small amount of liquid fertilizer and topped up the soil a bit.  I spoke a few kind words to my plant.  I thought, how nice to have an old friend right next to me these past years.  In the course of a few weeks my plant started turning brown and losing leaves.  I think it's dead now.

Before Kindness

After Kindness

I'm going to do a complete soil transplant this weekend and see if my plant comes back.  If not, I'm going to buy a new one and treat it like s**t.  They don't call it dumbcane for nothing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I May Not Lose Weight, but ...

Is this healthy?

I'm into beans for breakfast. No flatulence jokes, please. After I had used up all the black beans and thrown out the rest of the kale that was going stale, I opened up a jar of white beans (weiße Bohnen), I'm guessing we'd call them navy beans and that they belong to the species Phaseolus vulgaris. The fried egg on top, of course, is a no-no if you are trying to live a healthy life. I added about a teaspoon of ketchup and several splashes of green jalapeno hot sauce to the beans. What I notice is that the beans do a much better job of satisfying my hunger than the starchy foods (muffins, croissants, baguette, cereal) that I am wont to eat for breakfast on a normal morning.  A stomach full of beans gets me to my lunch hour without snacking and withoug being overly hungry for my mid-day meal. With my starchy breakfasts, I usually am ravenously hungry by no later than 12:30.  Ideally, I would make it to 1:00 p.m.

Wikipedia extolls the virtues of the little white bean.  "The small, white navy bean, also called pea bean or haricot, is particularly popular in the United Kingdom and the US, featured in such dishes as baked beans and even pies, as well as in various soups such as Senate bean soup.  Consumption of baked beans has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.  This might be at least partly explained by high saponin content of navy bean. Saponins also exhibit antibacterial and anti-fungal activity, and have been found to inhibit cancer cell growth.  Furthermore, navy bean is the richest source of ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid among the common bean varieties."  I have no idea whether these claims are true, but I feel that I have done a minimum level of due diligence to feel comfortable about my breakfast choice.

Progress Report

Your Tax Euros at Work*

Yesterday was an unseasonably warm and sunny day, so I hopped on my bike to get some exercise.  My route takes me past the site of the new European Central Bank headquarters.  It has been almost two years since I last showed pictures of the building site and an artist's rendering of the finished site.  Now, the main tower is over 100 meters, and the expansion of the former wholesale market looks pretty far along as well.  I'm rooting for the Euro Zone to survive the current crisis.  Frankfurt, of course, is invested heavily in the success of the Euro.  No one wants to be the home of a loser currency!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Old & New Update -- New Neighbors

A long time ago I posted a few pictures of old and new buildings next to one another here in Frankfurt.  On a recent walk, I noticed some changes.  The grand old 19th Century building that has been shuttered for several years is being turned into a condo building (Pic 1).  Across the street, a large condo building is going up. 

"Timeless Elegance"

Why didn't they tear down the building in the middle?

Banker Children -- This, too, can be yours for roughly EUR 6,000.00
per Square Meter upwards (that's about EUR 550 per square foot,
cheap by London and Paris standards, but unaffordable still). 
Prices available on request only.

Heart and Soul

Most people who own rental properties regard them as investments and rarely get attached to them.  Real estate is just another commodity, to be bought and sold at market prices and maximized profit.  Back around the turn of the 20th Century, German buildings often contained wonderful displays of loving detail on their facades and in their interiors.  Sandstone sculpture and stucco fixings.  Perhaps this was testimoney to a more sentimental idea of home and hearth.  Maybe it just reflected the abundance of cheap labor.  Today it is unaffordable for most people.  Frankfurt's inner city lost numerous buildings during World War II.  Even though residential areas were not intenionally targeted, a walk through the Westend in Frankfurt quickly reveals where the bad bombing days happened.  The closer one is to the commercial areas on the edge of the residential neighborhoods, the fewer older buildings remain.  The houses built after the war usually lack character.  They were built to satisfy a desperate need for housing, and resources were at a premium.   I hardly bother to look at buildings built during the 1950's and 1960's.  They are obvious and boring.  I live in one.  The bricks in our cellar are made of war debris.  So it is with great joy that I pass by the house below, in most respects a typical 50's building -- but with a twist.  Someone loves or loved this building.  I'd like to meet the owner or owners and learn about the history of the house.  What stood in its place before the war?  What was left after the war?  When and how was the house re-built?  I'd like to meet the person who came up with the idea for the mosaic and the person who created it.  Does the mosaic accurately reflect the atmosphere in the building?  If so, it is a place in which I could imagine living.

K114 Westend

Whenever I see signs of craft, I am reminded of my maternal grandfather.  He was born in Germany in 1903 and trained as a master painter (Malermeister) and electrician.  Everything he did, he did slowly, with great attention to detail.  Our simple wood-frame homes in the US had elegant wallpapers from exotic materials.  The wall painting was flawless.  His old-fashioned canvas drop cloths were splattered maps of strange, unexplored worlds that called me to leave my suburban shelter and travel.  In the last apartment where he lived in Florida, my grandfather had an unfished mural of a Rheingau landscape on his screened-in balcony wall that he had painted on wet plaster.  I salute every flower of love and respect for beauty and place that blossoms in this desert of efficiency.

Creative Advertizing

This one's for you, Mr. Anchovy:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Another Reason Why I Blog

I have to thank the local blogger, StadtkindFFM, for opening my eyes further to some of the minute details of city life.  He (I'm guessing the gender) regularly posts pictures of street art and graffiti in Frankfurt.  I've got mixed feelings about graffiti.  I like it in inverse proportion to the level of damage done to buildings and other property.

Not Sure what it is but it Caught my Eye.
The little sticker above does not bother me at all.  It reminds me a bit of the famous Kilroy was Here Graffiti that was still going strong when I was a teen.  Anyhow, I find that I pay much more attention to my surroundings since I've started blogging.  I'm looking for new material for my blog, and that is a good thing.

My Creative Juices are Flowing

With a tip of the hat to The Underground Baker and a wink of the eye, I’d like to introduce the public to the latest création of the Bloggerboy Experimental Food Labs:  Huevos Oldenburg TM.  The ingredients are quite simple:

2 Poached Eggs
1 Toasted English Muffin
3 large spoons of Kale (ca. 1 cup)
3 to 4 heaping tablespoons blackbeans in chili sauce
Salt & Pepper
Green Pepper Sauce (if more spice is desired)

 I found a can of Fuego Schwarze Bohnen in Chilisauce (sic) in the pantry, so this stuff must be readiily available in Germany.  I used jarred kale “á la Oldenburg” (Grünkohl nach Oldenburger Art). 
Preheat a plate.  Split and toast a muffin.  Mix the beans and kale in a small pan and heat on a low flame.  Add salt and pepper and a bit of water if needed to thin the mixture.  The German chili sauce in which the beans were packed was not very spicy, so I added three shakes of McIlhenny's Tobasco Brand Green Jalapeno Pepper Sauce to the bean and kale mixture (also readily available in Germany).  I find that the green sauce has a “bright”, wake-you-up kind of burn that is well suited to a breakfast dish.

Place the muffins on the plate in the oven.  Poach the eggs and place them on the muffins.  Spoon the kale and beans over the eggs and viola:    Huevos Oldenburg TM.  Appearing soon at a restaurant near you.
"deftig würzig".  Yum.

That's Supposed to be "Chili-Soße"!

Not my Best Poached Eggs

Gotta work on the Food Photography.  (not fully in focus)
Tasting Notes and Musings:  Kale is not one of my favorite foods.  I never crave it.  If mixed with the beans and chili sauce as here, it adds texture (think sawdust), and the musty flavor (the jar label uses the term “deftig”, which might best be translated as “down-to-earth”) remains under control.  The splashes of green chili sauce really make a difference, brightening up the meal.  I had huevos rancheros on my recent trip to the US, and I really miss this dish at breakfast places in Germany.  I’ve had huevos served in the US with three basic kinds of sauces, the last one being quite rare, in restaurants at least:  1. Tomato-chili sauce or salsa; 2. Enchilada sauce; and 3. A meat sauce similar to American chili con carne. 
I don’t remember where I was when I had huevos with meat sauce, but I bet I was in Texas.  It strikes me as Tex-Mex.  I’ve never seen huevos with meat sauce since then.  It certainly was a fusion dish, but it really hit the spot.  In San Diego, the huevos were served with an enchilada sauce mixed with re-fried beans and a generous cumin note.  Cumin!  That’s what my recipe needs: the classic Mexican spice known as Kreuzkümmel in Germany. You will notice that I substituted English muffins for tortillas, following the tradition of Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine.  We're fresh out of tortillas at the local grocer, but they do carry English Muffins, a recent development.  I notice that eggs with black beans also have a tradition in Mexico as the dish Huevos motuleños.
If you are not familiar with Oldenburg, well, there isn't much to say.  It's in the north but not on the water.  A quiet place.  I think of the town as, well, down-to-earth.  The dialect is "Platt" or Low German (literally "flat" German), and Oldenburg's "national dish" is, you guessed it, Kale served "fatty and down-to-earth".  ("Oldenburgs Nationalgericht ist der Grünkohl. Das Gemüse wird fett und deftig zubereitet und kommt bevorzugt mit Pinkel, Kochwurst und Kasseler auf den Tisch.")  Attentive readers will remember that Kale made an earlier appearance at this blog.
So, I have ventured into unknown territory, combining the peasant food of two radically-different cultures and serving it on the bread of a third country.  This is fusion cooking at its best!  Burp.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pictures Added

As promised, I added a couple of pictures of the upstairs at Baguette Jeanette to my earlier post.  We were the first breakfast guests at nine a.m.  The Germans really do follow a radically different weekend schedule than I do.  A place like this would be full by eight-thirty in any decent-sized US city.