a lot can change in 20 or 30 years

My dad’s friend created a DVD full of scans of old slides for him; these are some of my favorites of the batch. Click any of these for a closer look or this link to see a slideshow on flickr.

Sour Cream Enchilada Sauce

Sometimes the red stuff is too heavy and ingredients for green are impossible to get here. So here’s an alternative with my personal favorite dairy product ever, sour cream. Makes enough for one 9×13 of enchiladas (12-16).

1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2 c weak chicken broth
1 c sour cream
2-4 jalapeño or 1 t chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped

Over medium heat, melt butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour until there are no lumps and cook, stirring constantly until roux is slightly browned. Stir in chicken broth a little at a time and cook until thick and bubbly. Turn heat down to low, stir in sour cream and peppers until smooth and heated through. Jalapeño will give a bright heat; chipotle will give a smokier flavor.

Chicken Enchilada Filling

This is completely invented. Anyone reading this more than likely knows of my Mexican food dependency. I especially love enchiladas filled with shredded chicken, but my attempts at this were always pretty bland. In a fit of pique, I threw together a sauce to combine with the shredded chicken and my trusty tester Cliff told me I had hit it out of the park. We like things pretty spicy, so adjust as needed to your own taste.

2 lbs chicken (I use skinless, boneless breasts, just because they’re easier to deal with)
1 onion, quartered
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
2-3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 T dried minced onion
1/2 tsp pepper sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 small cans chopped mild green chiles

Put chicken, onion, carrot and celery in a large soup pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked. Remove chicken and set aside to cool, covered with a towel.

Combine all remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir well, adjusting seasonings to taste. After chicken cools, shred with two forks. Add sauce to chicken and stir until well distributed.

cripes, what do they make those tiles out of?

So, I’m hearing about those tiles on the heat shield of the orbiter (I feel scientific when I call the space shuttle that) — you know, the ones damaged by falling foam which ultimately led to the Columbia disaster and are causing all the teeth grinding presently.

“Dang it, tiles got damaged again.”

“Should we tell ’em to get out there and try to fix it? They have a repair kit now.”

“Mmm, well, that could be risky — they could nudge another tile loose in the process of fixing the one damaged by *foam* falling apart during lift-off.”

Clearly, I am not the expert here (I’d *probably* have another job if I were) — but what the heck do they make those tiles out of? Buttercream frosting? Eucharist hosts? Filo dough?

Oops, time for dinner.

cravings of the impossible

Yeah, I love Zeppelin!I try to not write about food all the time here on the ol’ Regensblog — even if I’m thinking about it all the time — as I’m sure it makes people who haven’t seen us in a long time worry that we’re approaching legendary size. Well, we’re not. The trend for both of us is: lighter.

I feel like I could do very evil things in exchange for one of these right now…Having reassured you, concerned reader, I now feel like it’s OK to share with you just how good a Reuben sandwich (pictured at left) sounds right now. How good? Really. Darn. Good.

It shouldn’t be that hard to do this. We’ve got several frying pans. We’ve got one of those nifty pseudo-waffle-iron sandwich-griller things. Swiss cheese is not a problem (you just have to be a little more specific — it’s known as Emmentaler here). Rye bread (or pumpernickel, if I decide to go for a Schwarz instead) is abundantly available. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen bottles of Thousand Island salad dressing in the specialty section of most supermarkets. And I’ve heard good things about German sauerkraut.

But the essential ingredient is missing: corned beef. I know that they *have* it. I’ve eaten here in Germany (Hamburg, to be specific) in a Labskaus dish, so I know it exists. But we’ve never seen it for sale at the butcher counter at any grocery store, and we haven’t looked for the canned variety (and Sarah would not allow me to buy a can of it even if we could find it — I just checked).

Locals: help me fulfill this need of mine. Where can I get corned beef from a deli or deli counter around here? I’ve been sitting around thinking about a nice, hot Reuben with a crispy spear of dill pickle (fresh from a barrel, where they’re not too salty and have more delicate, nuanced flavors than the ones from a glass jar) on the side and a modest mound of potato chips.


Time for an overhaul. This recipe has served me well for a long time, but there’s an easier way to handle the bulgur, compliments of Ina Garten via Kitchen Parade. Try to make this a day ahead of when you want it, because it really benefits from some chill time.

1 c bulgur wheat
1/2 t salt
1 t olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 c/175 mL boiling water
3 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 large clove garlic, chopped fine
1/3 c fresh mint, chopped
1 1/2 c parsley, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
pinch cinnamon

  1. Put bulgur, salt, olive oil and lemon juice in a deep bowl. Pour boiling water over bulgur stir just to combine. Cover with kitchen towel and set aside for 45 minutes.
  2. Stir tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, garlic, mint and parsley together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Add bulgur to vegetables, add dressing and toss well. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and toss again before serving.

gotta get outta Regensburg

Seen enough pictures of the riverbanks and cathedral here yet? Even *I’m* getting tired of these kinds of shots, but I’ve got to keep practicing with this camera in preparation for our next big trip. And I must say, we can hardly wait. This is the month ideally suited for independent work — pretty much everyone else is gone for at least a week or two — so I’ll be here for all of it, basking in the silent glory of a rarely ringing phone on my desk. Then, just when they all come back to start up the school year again, we’ll be heading to Venice to board the big boat for our trip around the eastern Med.

Until then, sorry — there’ll be more pictures of Regensburgy stuff.

it’s nice to hang out with your work peeps now and then

Last night Sarah and I, along with many of my coworkers and their Lebenspartner, had a delightful grill party at Kerstin and Christoph’s house. I took my camera and both lenses and the tripod and even an extra battery along, particularly because there would have been great shadow and lighting and candid portrait exercises.

But I forgot to put the CompactFlash card in the camera before we departed late yesterday afternoon, and thus all was for nought. I suppose back in the old days, the fatal mistake would have been forgetting to bring film.

Oh well, the point of the get-together was to spend some time together **not** talking about work, and as such it was a great success. I think this was largely thanks to the significant others being there. If you work with people you like, try a social outing with wives/husbands/boyfriends/girlfriends etc. It’s refreshing, particularly if your group’s stress levels are rising.