Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Germany: Heildelberg - Walking In The Footsteps Of Our Fathers - To Die For Bacon And Tomato Hash

     After the dreariness of last week, we needed a spectacular weekend...and I have to admit...it was pretty awesome.  It started Friday evening when Dear Husband cooked a fabulous meal.  His first course, Arugula with Bacon and Tomato Hash, is perhaps, one of the best treats I have ever had.  Recipe will follow at the end and you have to try it.  He followed that with Cornish Game Hens and Sweet Potato Fries.  We opened a bottle of our treasured Burgundy wine and the weekend was off to a smashing start.

     At mid-morning on Saturday and with the sun shining, we started our short drive to Heidelberg.  This beautiful city sits on Neckar River and is a short one-hour drive away.  Being a university town,  its Altstadt (old city) was bustling with college students, cafes and chic stores.

Heidelberg - City Gate and Old Bridge

     As we passed under the gates to the city and onto the Alte Brucke (old bridge), we all realized that we were walking over the footsteps of our fathers.  Grandpap Doc (Dear Husband's father) was stationed here just at the end of the World War II.  Poo-Paw (my father) was stationed here many years later.  We imagined them taking similar strolls - so many years earlier.  With warm fuzzies in our hearts, I took one more picture of a memorable spot and sent it to the Grandfathers.  Later that day, both had responded...providing us with little tidbits about their times in the city.

Heidelberg Schloss

     Sunday was just as nice.  After a light breakfast, we headed across the border into France (sigh!) and within an hour, we were in the small village of Bitche.  Sitting high on a hill in the middle of a valley, the Bitche Citadel is very impressive.  I think that a defensive stronghold has been here since the 17th Century and the current structure, deemed impregnable, dates back from the late 1760s.  We wandered for several hours around the fortress listening to the fabulous and informative audio tour.  For lunch, we found a small park in the town and enjoyed what may very well be our last outdoor picnic of the year.  We were back home in time for Dear Daughter to play outside and we could enjoy a beer on the patio.

     Of course, a visit to Bitche had to result in a photograph and what better person to pose for it...

Terrible picture - should have removed the headphones!
Picnic Anyone?
     If you only choose one of the recipes that I post on this blog, then make it this one.  Dear Husband found it on FoodNetwork.com and easily adapted it.  It is really stinking good...

Bacon and Tomato Hash

Bacon and Tomato Hash
(adapted from Nigella Lawson)

4 slices of very good quality bacon, coarsely chopped
     (Alternatively, if you find lardons - use those)
1 t olive oil
1 tomato, diced
2 t Worchestershire sauce
Black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in the pan and fry the bacon until crispy.  The bacon is also going to give off its  own fat so do not use too much oil.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain.  KEEP the fat in the pan!

Add the diced tomato (with its juices and seeds and gooey interior) to the pan and cook for several minutes.  Add the Worcestershire sauce, stir and then add the bacon back to the pan.  Mix that all up together and add black pepper to taste.

Now here are a couple of serving ideas:
1.  Place some clean, baby arugula on plates and heap spoonfuls of the hash on top. Serve with crusty bread.  This makes a great first course.
2.  Take a good quality baguette and cut it lengthwise in half (careful not to completely separate it.  Spoon the hash on the bread and top with arugula.  This is our version of a BLT.

We are on the road again on Friday afternoon - heading to Austria once more to hike in the Alps.  Tschuss!

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