Thursday, 9 October 2008

Booking and Cooks

My friend Hazel came for lunch today. This is what I made for us.

First of all there was rice dish. Only this was made not with bouillon stock, but with the water and juice from boiling a gammon joint (I think that translates in American to 'a ham'). For dessert I just cut up three or four kinds of fruit and served them with sweetened yoghurt.

The 'main course' if you could call it that, was my second experiment with making crust-less mini-quiches. I've adapted a crust-less quiche recipe from the Tightwad Gazette, reducing the flour, increasing the filling and using a muffin tin instead of a pie plate. I like easily portable food for the nights we take food to eat after the running club.

Mix together 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of cheese (but not processed cheese; use something like Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack or Parmesan), 1 cup of milk (or cream, powdered milk, evaporated, yoghurt), 1/2 cup plain flour, seasonings that complement the fillings. The filling is 2 cups of cooked meat and/or vegetables. Cook at 425 F (220 C) for about 20-30 minutes, depending on if you have a fan-assisted oven.

In this case, the filling was tuna, leftover steamed cabbage, beetroot, potato and kohlrabi, supplemented with steamed broccoli, carrots, onion and mushrooms to make up the 2 cups. I added a bit of paprika, salt and pepper and a tiny bit of chili powder. Hazel had seconds of everything, so I assume she liked the experiment. Bill certainly wolfed down the leftovers that evening when he got home.

Hazel talked about her recent visit to Krakow. She mentioned visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau and although she described what she saw very matter-of-factly, I found it chilling to hear. I was reminded of my visit to the Holocaust museum in Dallas back in...would have been 1989, and that led us onto discussing the architecture of European houses that whole rooms could be hidden, and people in them.

That seemed to launch us into discussing books about that part of history and I could think of several to recommend, but I couldn't come up with the proper names for any of them, I could only remember the authors. So I've looked them up; I would highly recommend any and all of them.

Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

The Hiding Place, Corrie tenBoom

Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl

A Desert in Bohemia, Jill Paton-Walsh

The first three are written by people who lived in that time about their experiences. The last is fiction, set on the border of the Czech Republic. The first two are set in The Netherlands.

I've been to Anne Frank house, but hadn't thought to visit the ten Boom house which is not far away. Given that Amsterdam is to us much like Vegas is to Salt Lake City or Dallas to Oklahoma City, it's likely I'll go there again sometime. I'll have to remember to check out that museum. Hazel and I agreed that Europe has been a difficult place to live what with all the wars and upheaval, no matter what side one was on. I've definitely had a soft life compared to my European ancestors!

Fortunately the conversation lightened up a bit after that and we had some good laughs before she had to go. I'm definitely going to get together with Hazel more often!

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