Pasta and Red Onions

Sarah’s out on the town this week in London and I’m scrounging around for foody things at night — trying to resist the temptation to try out the new restaurant on our street.


  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Red onions
  • Herbs de Provence (or I suppose you could get your own mixture of parsely, sage, rosemary, thyme, simon and garfunkel)
  • Pasta
  • Hard cheese (I used parm; I’m sure Romano or Grana Padano would be fine)

The story:
After work yesterday I bought some red onions, knowing I might not have the chance again for a while, and wondered what I was going to do with them. There was a pasta sale at Kaufland recently, and we’ve got oodles of noodles lying around the apartment (not kidding, but I’ll put them away soon, I promise).

I threw some olive oil in the bottom of a skillet — not quite enough to cover the bottom — over low heat (3 out of 9 on our stove), and tossed in 2 small (think Clementine-sized) sliced red onions and a bunch of garlic coarsely chopped into slivers once it got hot. I wasn’t quite sure what else would be needed. Jul suggested fresh basil or oregano. I thought those sounded great, but don’t have any fresh basil and oddly couldn’t find the oregano. I did however, in my search, stumble upon an old jar of Herbs de Provence. Dumping on about a tablespoon (I guess) of the Herbs made it smell awesome.

Meanwhile I got a pot of water going for my pasta. I used the Eliche cut (single helix scaly looking things), which worked well with the strands of red onion. I cooked the onions and garlic and herbs until the pasta was done — maybe a little bit longer, then combined them in the pasta pan (heat off, but still on the stove) and I grated a big hunk of parmesan into it and mixed it up well. Pretty good improvisation, if I may say so, considering I normally just cut up what Sarah tells me to.

Trip to Weimar and Erfurt this past weekend

I took Friday off (I’d been planning to work half a day, but that fell through) and Sarah and I spent the afternoon on the train on our way up to attend pal Adam’s housewarming party in Weimar. He graciously put us up for the weekend — saving us a 4.5 hour trip back on the same evening. Saturday morning, he gave us a tour of Weimar and you know what? It’s a really cute little town. Smaller than Regensburg, but fiercely proud of what it’s famous for (primarily home to renowned playrights Goethe and Schiller and the seat of the Bauhaus design movement from the early 20th century).

Oddly enough, we didn’t see any Weimaraners.

Sarah headed back to Regensburg on Saturday afternoon to prep for her trip to London on Sunday, while Adam and I hopped a train to Erfurt to meet up with his friend Cathy who gave us a great tour. I really like the looks of Erfurt and I’m sure that Sarah missed out by taking that trip to London. So I guess we’ll just have to come back.

I stayed the night again in Weimar with Adam at his spiffy new apartment — which reminds me a lot of our old apartment — and spent most of today getting back here to Regensburg.

You can click on the pictures below to make them bigger and see their descriptions and stuff.

DB: c’mon, work with me here.

The Deutsche Bahn website is not the easiest to navigate, in my opinion, but recently they’ve made efforts to increase its user-friendliness.

Though it still chafes that you can buy tickets via your mobile phone (for verification by the conductor on-screen) or computer (print your own paper ticket) up to 10 minutes prior to departure, unless you want to buy a BayernTicket online. You have to do that three days in advance or suck it up and wait in line at the station at the ticket counter or use a ticket automat.


What a pain.

If pie ≈ Kuchen and Kuchen ≈ bread, then bread ≈ pie?

And how does Torte figure in here?

Sarah’s been experimenting with crusty baked goods lately, ever since she got back from Poland with some equipment. We’ve shied away from pies, quiches and tarts our since having moved to Germany because of the crappiness of the oven in our old place. Now that that’s no longer an issue, we’ve got another desserty avenue to explore and share with the locals (which I often do at work).

But, were I to bring in a cherry pie to share (last night’s test run was definitely worthy), what would I call it in German? suggests Kuchen for pie. I would have guessed Torte, I suppose, but maybe my concept of tarts and tortes is off. And if pie translates to Kuchen, and the pumpkin/banana/zucchini bread I bring in to share counts as Kuchen what does that imply about pie’s relationship to bread? Should just give up and introduce it as “Cherry Pie” and be done with it?

I am sure this is one of those math things.

Is the long, dark winter over?

I guess it has been for a few days now, according to the orbit of the earth around the sun. But I’m not so sure — last night before bed it was sleeting ominously.

But there were offerings of pineapple and fresh spinach at the grocery store on Saturday. Those are good signs! In celebration of the coming of spring, I decided to switch the default theme of this blog to one I made based on Rémuzat. If you’re reading this blog through a feed reader, you probably won’t notice a change. If you’ve explicitly chosen this theme in the past, you might not notice a change now. If you prefer one of the other themes, they’re available in the sidebar menu under “Themey Stuff.”

Cheddar Bacon Scallion Scones

Scone success at last! We’ve made scones before – they’ve always been sad and hard. I think the combination of a normally functioning oven and a good recipe made the difference. We might tinker with this in the future to make sweet scones as well.

3 c flour plus extra for dusting
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 c butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c cheddar, grated
3 green onions, chopped
3/4 c buttermilk
8 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F/204°C.

Combine dry ingredients. Add in butter and work with your hands to combine – make sure to work all lumps of butter into flour mixture. Add cheese, green onions, and buttermilk, and mix together. Add bacon and egg and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Bacon Cheddar Scallion Scones - PC191357Turn dough out onto a floured flat surface and knead a few times to smooth out the dough – it will remain lumpy and sticky. Form dough into a ball, then flatten into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Cut the disk into wedges (we got 8). Spread wedges across a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a little room around them. Bake for 16-18 (we went for 20) minutes, or until the bottom of the scones start to brown and the cheese in the scone begins to turn golden. Best served warm.


I had a bit of a day trip on Monday. Monet, Leigh and I set out at 6 in the morning for Bolesławiec, Poland, a town not far from the German border and famous for its pottery. Apparently, collecting Polish pottery is a big thing with American military families stationed in Europe. So much so that there are bus trips to shop this town and guides to the shops produced and distributed by people who have been there. I didn’t really get it when I got invited – I just thought it sounded like a fun trip.

I get it now.

I kind of went on a ceramic kitchenware shopping spree. I bought stuff I needed. I bought stuff I didn’t need. I bought stuff I didn’t know existed.

It’s nice stuff. All handmade in Poland, it’s cheap but not so cheap that I feel I’m exploiting a workforce. There is a quality rating system so that you know what you’re getting and what kind of treatment it can withstand. Here’s what I’m talking about:

I can’t wait to go back!

Romanian Airports: ce faci?*

I just got back last night from another trip Romania. I think the trip was a success, but we’ll know for sure in a few days (hopefully not weeks) and ultimately in the long term over the next year or so.

View Larger Map

I was headed to Iaşi, my most frequent destination in Romania (I have been known to visit Timişoara from time to time and Sibiu once — so far). There are no direct flights to Iaşi from Munich or Nuremberg. But you can get to Iaşi after stopping and changing planes in Timişoara, Vienna, or Bucharest (or maybe others?).

It’s fine, as airports go, I guess. But it really gets on my nerves that that there is apparently no way to go from the domestic arrivals to international departures (or the way around) without going past the ticketing windows and through the security lines a second time — the first being when you boarded your first plane.

Am I just crazy, or don’t other airports allow you to exit one plane and get on another without an additional trip through the metal detector and x-ray machine? The infuriating thing at Bucharest is that when you’re exiting the plane, you can see a clearly labelled path intended for transfers so you to shortcut past the ticket windows, but there’s a security dude there (looking mighty bored and scowly) shooing anyone who tries to use it up the stairs and out of the secured area. So everyone taking a connecting flight has to get re-screened.

*”Ce faci?” (pronouced like [chay fahtch]) means “How are you?” or “Zup?” or “What’s going on?” as near as I can tell. I wonder if it’s a literal translation of “what does [he/she/it] make?” Romance language experts, what do you think? I like looking at Romanian words and finding their cousins in Spanish and the little bit of French I’ve gleaned from three vacations there the past couple years.

Reminds me of
Romanian Phrase Spanish French Italian English meaning
(Bună) dimineața mañana demain (good) morning
la revedere arrivederci goodbye
Nu înțeleg I don’t understand
urgență emergency
târziu tarde later
Cum te cheamă? ¿Como te llamas? What’s your name?
Cu plăcere with pleasure (you’re welcome)
Atenție Attention! Look out!
sete sed thirst
Unde e toaleta? ¿Dónde está ..? la toilette I’m off for a slash
șăptămână semana semaine week

the kitchen update

[This is a bit overdue. I’ve been busy.]


It’s almost done.

I took some unexpected time off of work this week and got A LOT of stuff done. Granted, it wasn’t necessarily the most efficient method (we did a lot of running around chasing equipment), but we did OK and we’re both pleased with the results.

We got all our stuff from IKEA (where else?) via a rental minivan on Monday. We started putting the big countertop/drawer unit together on Tuesday and got it done after about 6 hours (including a short lunch break). We were pretty happy with the way it looked but tired from all the driving of screws and such. We were gathering our equipment up for the exciting next day of drilling screws through plaster into…who knows what… for the purpose of mounting shelves when I noticed our screws and wall anchors (Dübel, auf Deutsch) required an 8mm drill bit, and I don’t didn’t have one of those.

So we marched off to the hardware store bright and early this morning and got a suitable one. Came home, measured carefully, incorporated all the tips from all the more experienced home improvers in my social circle, and proudly mounted one shelf quite nicely. And then we checked our screw inventory only to find we could support only one half of another shelf with our current supply. So…another trip out on the bus…this time to a different hardware store, with bus service more than once per hour. Of course we wanted the exact same kind and size of screw and wall anchor set — specifically the brand recommended to me by people who’ve used them, but they didn’t have the right size-kind-brand combination at the 2nd hardware store. We opted for the right size and kind, but wrong brand. And, these screws have those wacky 6-pointed star heads. Good luck getting those suckers out. Heheh.