Mushroom Hunting in the Nuremberg’s Reichs Forest

A short Sunday hike in Nuremberg’s enchnated Reichs forest (Reichswald) just outside of Brunn caught us off guard.  There were so many beautiful mushrooms snuggled in pillows of moss and growing on dead wood.

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img_1919Now, we are no mushroom experts, but there were a few that we recognized – the Red Cracking Bolete and the Bay Bolete – and took home to make into a nice warm German dish of Steamed Bread Dumplings with Sweet & Sauer Sauce.  This was our first try making this traditional dish into a vegan meal, and it is still a work in progress, so there is no recipe yet.

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We knew it was cold outside, but it wasn’t until we were deep in the frozen forest that we started to feel the chill.  We were greatful for our thermos full of hot tea and such a lovely setting to enjoy it in.

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Homemade Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is a very special part of our Thanksgiving traditions.  If we could only pick one dish to prepare that represents this sacred family event for us, Pumpkin Pie would win.

It’s so very special to us that we start making it in late summer by harvesting Red Kuri Squash (Hokkaidokürbis) at the end of September and processing them into pumpkin purée that we make our filling with.


Pumpkin Purée

Makes 450g / Prep Time 20 min / Total Time 45 min

600g Red Kuri Squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Water to cover
1 teaspoon Sunflower Oil

Directions:
Place squash in a large pot and cover with water.  Add oil.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer on medium-low
heat for 15-20 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft.
Drain off liquid, purée, and let cool.  It can either be used right away,
or frozen in portions for future use.

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie:

Serves 8 – 12 / Prep Time 15 min / Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

1 Pie Dough Round
1T Flax Seed Flour
110mL Water
150g Sugar
1/2t Salt
1t Cinnamon
1/2t ground Ginger
1/4t ground Cloves
450g Pumpkin Purée
340g Almond Milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 218°C.
Prepare your pie dough in a pie dish and place in the refrigerator.

In a tall measuring cup, purée flax seed flour and water with a wand mixer
until smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin purée and flax seed mixture.
Whisk in sugar mixture and then almond milk until smooth.

Pour into prepared pie shell, cover dough edges with a pie crust shield,
and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce temperature to 177°C, and continue to bake for 70 minutes,
or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 12 hours before serving.

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Day Trip to Oberrimbach

Today we took a trip down memory lane and visited the tiny village where my mother-in-law grew up.  Oberrimbach (Germany), is nestled between farm fields, hills, and the Steiger Forest.  Nowadays, there isn’t much out there – no grocery store, bakery, doctor’s office, post office – nothing except a little bed and breakfast with a restaurant that has been around since 1935.

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After a nice franconian country-lunch, we took a walk around the village and visited the old family bakery, the house where she grew up, her favorite place to sled on her book bag in the snow on the way home from school, and the little community pool built in the 1940s that she swam in every summer – for an entry fee of 10 cents!

We strolled past the farm houses that her friends lived in, visited the church where she made her confirmation, and picked apples in the church yard and fed the horses in the neighboring fields.

Oberrimbach (as well as the entire Steiger forest region) is easy to reach by car from Nuremberg.  It’s a great place to go hiking or just drive out for a Sunday stroll with the family to enjoy the colorful Fall landscape.