A Tribute to Friends

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

I hope everyone is having a great day- the sun is shining here, I’ve got the day off, and I’m about to go for a jog with a friend, so I’ve got nothing to complain about 🙂

I wrote this post last week but decided to save it for today because I see Valentine’s Day as a tribute to of all those we love, parents, siblings, significant others, and of course, friends. So here goes.

Did you know that I also studied abroad in Paris? Yep, that’s right, I took a break from Germany and DC for a semester and spent a few months in La France.  With very little French skills, I soon became the “one who could speak German”- even my German host mom (yep, I couldn’t completely betray my beloved Allemagne) said my German skills made up for my lack of French (after 30+ years in France, she never lost her German directness). So needless to say, when a few friends decided to go to Strasbourg, a city right on the border with Germany, I was booked my train ticket immediately. It was one of our first adventures together, and I fell in love instantly- finally a city that just seemed to fit- a combination of everything I loved about Germany and France. On our first night there, I was determined to find some local food and still remember having some extremely delicious Käsespätzle (homemade noodles baked with onions and cheese-yum!) while my friends ate Blutwurst (Blood Sausage- eww!)- but what we didn’t eat that night was Flammkuchen or Tarte Flambée or whatever you want to call this delicious pizza-like local specialty. Clearly we didn’t know what we were missing. Despite this, we managed to have a fantastic weekend and took many more adventures together throughout the semester (and many more after). However, this trip to Strasbourg still remains one of my favorites from all of our adventures.

Since then, I have tried Flammekueche, so when I went Strasbourg in December with my Master’s Program, I knew I had to try the original. After searching the Weihnachtsmarkt for what seemed like forever, we finally found the beloved Flammekueche. We all agreed it was fantastic. They even had portable brick ovens to get the perfect thin, crispy crust (and some delicious Glühwein!)

Since then, I’ve wanted to recreate it, but was a little nervous because all I have is a toaster oven. Yesterday, I gave in. I went into it knowing it wouldn’t be the same but with the intention of making it the best I could. And well, it tasted pretty great, and two friends agreed 🙂

My first step was buying bacon. Seems pretty easy, but I’m not sure I’ve ever bought bacon before. I know, crazy, but to be honest, I don’t love bacon and only enjoy it mixed in with certain things and eat it very seldom. I went to the butcher counter and explained what I was making, but the butcher told me she didn’t have any, but that I could find it in the pre-packaged section. So I stood there for awhile and stared at the wall of prepackaged processed meat in front of me and settled for this, partly because it was the exact amount I wanted, partly because I knew it would work, partly because I wanted to get out of the processed meat section, but mostly because I was amused. Alas, let me introduce you to the American style bacon in Germany (who am I trying to kid, I’m still amused).

Flammekueche
Serves 3 to 4
Recipe lightly adapted from here

For the dough:
1c all-purpose flour (German 405)
3/4c white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry (German 1050) (I’m sure you could use more ap or 405 though)
2T canola oil
pinch of salt
1/2- 1c water

For the toppings:
1c sour cream or crème frâiche (for those of you in Germany- I used 200g 10% fat sour cream)
2-3 small onions (any variety, I used red because that’s what I had)
1T butter
100g bacon
salt and pepper
herbed salt- optional

Preheat oven as hot as it can go (somewhere between 400 and 450°F or 200- 230°C). If you happen to have a pizza stone, use that.

Combine flour, salt, oil and 1/2c water. Knead with your hands and SLOWLY add water until a dough forms and is no longer sticky.

Melt butter over medium heat. In the meantime, finely slice onions and sauté until slightly see through, about 5 minutes. Chop bacon and add to the onions for a few minutes.

Roll dough as thin as possible and transfer to a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet. Spread with sour cream and then add the onion and bacon mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and if you have it, herbed salt. I made two mini Flammekueche and tried one with the herbed salt and one without, and while the one without was good, the one with it was even better.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve and enjoy and think back on wonderful times spent with friends, new and old, far and near 😉

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