Tag Archives: Pretzels

City Of Night (Berlin)

11 Oct

Just as Prague seemed to be a city living in a fairytale world, Berlin seemed to be living in the horrors of the past 80 years. I was amazed by how openly the city shared its dark past, Holocaust, Cold War, and all. Here’s a portion of the wall that lies near Brandenburg Gate, open for all to see.

Near Checkpoint Charlie lies this extensive Berlin Wall memorial that explains the history of the Holocaust in Berlin from Hitler’s start in politics to the Soviet occupation of East Berlin. It’s incredible how much Berlin emphasized openness about its horrific past instead of trying to simply ignore it.

As an America, I was proud to see that even in the difficult times of the Soviet occupation that America was able to provide the trapped East Berliners with hope.

This marker of where the Berlin Wall used to exist marks the city streets as a reminder to people of how lucky they are to be free. As a tourist, it was amazing to be able to really see how artificially isolated East Berlin used to be within the city as a whole.
By incorporating history throughout the city to teach visitors, Germany plays an important role in keeping atrocities like the Holocaust from happening again.At the heart of the city stands The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a looming, omnipresent reminder of the atrocities that the German government enabled. The memorial consists of 2,700 concrete slabs in varying heights, enabling visitors to walk through the memorial and feel the weight of being surrounded by darkness.

Just past the Brandenburg Gate lies the commercial district with many museums, shops, cafes, and this very impressive faux Mickey Mouse  entertained tourists on a lighter note.

One of the most exciting thing we did in Berlin was to visit the Reichstag Building where we were able to go inside and walk around the walls of Norman Foster’s breathtaking glass dome. Berlin’s hot new landmark represents the openness of the government with the glass dome, visiting availability, and the view from the inside of the dome into the debate chamber of the German Parliament.bThe central mirrored cone (seen here) filters in sunlight and collects rain water. Make sure to register to tour the building in advance because visiting is free, but reservations are required.

Giant pretzels seemed to be everywhere in Vienna, but they were even more abundant in Berlin, go figure. I love this bicycle vendor selling cheesey and regular pretzels in the middle of one of the parks. I’m not even a big pretzel person, but those cheesey ones were delicious!

 

Mitte, Berlin’s equivalent of Soho, was full of tiny cafes and trendy stores. This is the perfect escape from the city’s more commercial areas. The shops were full of unexpected vintage goodies and unique items that are perfect to bring home as nontraditional souvenirs. Tukadu is an awesome little store where customers can pick their own kitschy beads and pendants to create custom jewelry.

I love the adorable signage for this frozen yogurt place (or maybe it was a cafe come to think of it). The baby pink, bubbly letters, and sweet bear logo all make this a wonderful juxtaposition to the often gloomy atmosphere of the city.

 

Speaking of bears, I absolutely fell in love with this cuddly rose-colored teddy bear at the Steiff Store. As far as designer toys go, no one does it better than Steiff. I was bummed that there was no toy factory to visit in Berlin, but this store was a great way to embrace my inner child.

Here’s my sweet little sister Emmy playing with another one of the amazing animals at the Steiff Store. Something about being surrounded by hundreds of stuffed animals seems to being out the best in everyone.

Check out this sweet pastel cafe setting. The colorful chairs and dainty daisies are a lovely light-hearted escape from the heaviness of the city. 

I love this clever idea of placing potted plants on tables in place of flowers both to serve as decoration and as self-applied garnishes to any meal. I definitely want to start setting my table with useful herbs whenever we entertain instead of wasting money on flowers that will have to be thrown out in only a few days!

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Homemade Pretzels: The Ultimate Superbowl Food

31 Jan

Unlike millions of Americans, this weekend I do not plan on watching the Superbowl. I know that to many people this is unthinkable, but personally I would rather use the few hours when the rest of the world is glued to their TVs to take a figure drawing class, go to yoga, bake something, or tackle a craft project from my Pinterest. If like me, you don’t actually care about the Superbowl I invite you to join me in dedicating these few hours of downtime to doing something that will make you smile and get your new week off to a good start.

If, however, you DO plan on watching the Superbowl, I highly recommend that you make these homemade pretzels for whomever you are watching the game with. The men and children in your life will idolize you for it.

Initial dough prior to being kneaded

I know that there are dozens of pretzel recipes floating around the internet, and to be fair I have never tried any of the other recipes, but this is the one I swear by. I first made these pretzels almost two years ago for my boyfriend, and now whenever I ask him what I should make the answer is always the same…”Pretzels!” These don’t look quite as pretty as Wetzel’s Pretzels (when I make them at least…maybe yours will be more attractive), but they taste almost exactly like them. My boyfriend, Goose, is a pretzel-aholic so he when he says these are the best, it must be true!

Kneaded Dough

The secret to these babies is dipping them completely in butter as the final step. Sure, you could just lightly drizzle them, or you could even use olive oil if you are trying to be super healthy, but to truly enjoy this delectable game day treat, go for the butter!

Heated dough rising

Homemade Pretzels

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Rolled out pretzel dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 Package active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbs packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 Cups flour, plus more for kneading
  • 10 Tbs ( 1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 Tsp fine salt
  • 1/3 Cup baking soda
  • 2 Tbs coarse salt (pretzel salt)

Pretzels fresh out of the oven

Directions:

  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan until it’s about 110 degrees, then pour the warm milk into a medium bowl and sprinkle it with yeast
  2.  Let the yeast soften for about 2 minutes, then stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon
  3. Microwave 2 tablespoons of butter and soften if in the microwave for 20 seconds, then stir it into the mix
  4. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour and the fine salt to make a sticky dough
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, incorporating more flour as needed, until smooth and firm, then shape the dough into a ball
  6. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour (when the house is too chilly, I turn on the heater or place it by the hot stove)
  7. After an hour preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  8. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn onto a lightly floured surface.
  9. Divide the dough into 6 pieces, then roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a long rope (the recipe recommends 30 inches but mine are never quite that long)
  10. Hold the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch to form a pretzel shape
  11. Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow dish and dip each pretzel in the solution
  12. Place the pretzels on your baking sheet and sprinkle with the coarse salt
  13. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  14. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in a shallow dish then dip the hot pretzels in the butter, turning to coat
  15. Place on a wire rack to let excess butter drip off and serve the pretzels warm

Butter-Coated Pretzels

Whatever you end up doing this Sunday, enjoy yourself!