Garlic Lemon Cream Pasta

I’ve been on the hunt for a creamy lemon sauce for years and have tried a few that just didn’t do it. They either weren’t lemony enough or had way too much cream (Cliff has no gall bladder – too much cream or butter does him in). This one finally has the right balance of flavor and creaminess. Here’s the original, with my version below.

1 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 c chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup capers
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c artichoke hearts
1/4 cup cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 t herbes des Provence
1 lb broccoli florets (optional)
1 lb pasta

Heat butter and oil to medium in a deep skillet. Sauté garlic, shallots and lemon zest until tender and fragrant. Add broth and simmer until reduced by half and syrupy*. Add capers, lemon juice and artichoke hearts and stir until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in cream and add salt, pepper and herbes. Set aside sauce. Cook pasta and broccoli to desired doneness, drain and toss with sauce.

*I wasn’t happy with the ‘syrupy’ texture and wanted the sauce to be a little thicker, so I added a cornstarch slurry (1 T cornstarch and 1 T water whisked until smooth). Pour the slurry into the simmering sauce and stir well until thickened, then proceed as above.

Phew. Look at that — January’s on the way out.

Err…Happy New Year!

Our last post was about Fall Splendor. There was not a lot to report on in November or December. The usual Christmas Market stuff came and went — much the same as always. One nice change: my team members from Romania came to visit in Regensburg and they got a taste of the Christmas markets for once. In the past, we’ve had end-of-the-year workshops in November, before there is any reason at all to spend time together outside of the office. At least with the Christmas markets, there is Glühwein and fair food, and the hope for snowy conditions.

In bridge news, this past week the north end of the bridge was closed overnight one night while some huge trucks lined up on our island to remove some no-longer-needed pieces of the auxiliary bridge. Today I went out to see the differences…

view of the north bank
view of the north bank
view towards the Jahninsel and south bank
view towards the Jahninsel and south bank

…and could not ascertain any at all. It’s unclear whether the trucks cleared out bridge detritus that had always been invisible, or maybe something went schief and the event had to be scrapped. Either way: no visible progress since there were leaves on the trees.

But in the meantime, what with Easter’s early arrival this year, Fasching preparations are underway. Coming up: watch out for mustard in your Krapfen and remember to wear an ugly tie1 the crazy ladies at work can snip up on Weiberfasching.2 Maybe snap up one of these masks to protect your identity if you plan on getting kooky.

Mr Bean and Walter White rank as world leaders.
Mr Bean and Walter White rank as world leaders.
  1. Does anyone still do that? []
  2. Has anyone ever done that? []

Fall Splendor in the Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria

The weather this week has been a real treat. This is not normal for this time of year. Maybe it was just a last blast to finish off October before the long, slow slide into winter. We took advantage of it with some colleagues visiting from out of town.

We’d heard about the Waldwipfelweg1 from a couple different local sources. It’s an easy drive from Regensburg, off the eastbound A3 and north on little roads up into the hills. When we got there, a weird mixture of cheesy attractions, exotic livestock, breathtaking views, and hands-on nature center stuff awaited us. The llamas were mildly interested in us (and a couple posed nicely). The kangaroos and alpacas couldn’t be bothered. For an additional couple euros, we entered the Haus am Kopf2 and giggled at the upside-downedness and off-putting angles. Not only is the house upside-down, but also crooked. A giant teepee3 was there, but that can only be a manifestation of their Winnetou fascination. We skipped that completely.

The main attraction — the views of the valley below — was totally worth it on a day like that one. The hillside drops off below you pretty steeply, so that at some point you’re 30 meters off the ground. Towards the end of walk, you can press a button on some small displays to hear local the birds’ calls. Once back onto solid ground, there’s a short nature trail with some goofy optical illusions demonstrated.

After that, we drove to lunch out at the Kloster Weltenburg, and climbed up the hill to take in the sights above the bend in the Danube.

That was enough exercise to get us started thinking about desserty things again, so a stop at the Seidl Confiserie on the way back seemed appropriate.

  1. MIL’s new favorite word. []
  2. House on its head []
  3. Not that kind. Even though it was Halloween. []

Cilantro Citrus Rice

Originally taken from here, but it wasn’t limey enough for my tastes. Also, if I crack open an orange or lemon, I’m going to use all its juice.

This is great as a side or as burrito filling.

3 cups jasmine rice
appropriate amount of water for 3 cups of rice in your rice cooker
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
juice of 4 limes
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 orange
all the cilantro, fresh and chopped

Do the rice in your rice cooker with the bay leaves and salt. Remove the bay leaves when the rice cooker thinks it’s done. Don’t worry if the rice is still a little chewy at this point; it’ll soften up some more if you keep it hot in the rice cooker (the warming setting, or just don’t break the seal). Fluff up the rice and stir in the juices and oil. Add in the cilantro just before serving.

It’s not our Pfalz! Kulinarische Weinwanderung Freinsheim 2015

Summer’s done. The Herbstdult came and went, and our neighborhood’s Weinfest with it. Time for a short break to the other corner of the country, to a similar-sounding place that sort of used to be Bavarian outside of Bavaria. 1 Continue reading It’s not our Pfalz! Kulinarische Weinwanderung Freinsheim 2015

  1. But that Palatinate — Pfalz — should not be confused with our Upper Palatinate — the Oberfalz. Wikipedia knows more. []

Cathedral Dandruff and Bridge Update, August and September 2015

A couple weeks ago, a story appeared in the local newspaper to explain what was up with the construction equipment blocking pedestrian access to St. Peter’s Cathedral at the heart of downtown Regensburg.

Turns out they discovered hairline cracks in the masonry rather high up. The cathedral is one of the biggest draws to the town, and an iconic symbol of Regensburg. There’s no way they could block off access to the area — not with the hordes of river cruise and bus tourists from around the world. But they also could not afford to risk a piece of masonry falling on anyone. Result: a pedestrian shield set up around the falling rock stone zone.

Regarding the bridge work: there’s nothing new to report, at least as far as we laypeople can see. The south end (the city side) is still closed off, and the auxiliary bridge is still up on the north end (Stadtamhof side). I can’t fathom why they left the auxiliary bridge up still on this end. Its purpose has been served. Its ugliness is universally accepted. Tear it down! I like standing at the north end of Stadtamhof and looking all the way down the street, across the bridge, and over to the Dom spires. But it still feels weird for bike traffic to come zooming down the main bridge again onto “our” street after 5 years of that not being an option.

After a long, hot, dry summer, we finally got a few hours of rain at the end of August.

Foreboding Clouds (Landscape)

Foreboding Clouds (Portrait)

Superfluous Auxiliary Bridge