One of the great things about Austria is the abundance of good fresh produce, at least its been my experience. It seems that you can be very close to food here because there are tons of pastures everywhere I drive (about 3o minutes drive in any direction out of the city), all chockful of corn, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, paprika (German word for peppers which can be sweet or hot depending on type), grain…you name it, its out there! You can locate cows grazing on the mountain-side by the sound of their bells and you can smell the sheep and pig farms as you approach and leave. Almost everyone I’ve met has a garden, a chicken coop or at least a few plants, and when you visit the butcher or fish section at the food-store, the date of arrival and the provider (butcher/fisherman) the item came from are clearly posted.
My FIL (father-in-law) presented us with an entire crate of tomatoes with a few sweet peppers and cucumbers; all freshly-picked from the farm. Now, I have to backtrack here a bit, my kitchen is tiny and my refrigerator is the size of a dorm fridge (literally!); so this left me with quite a quandary as to what to do with over 5 dozen medium-sized tomatoes. As luck would have it, I was scanning through some of my favorite online recipe sites the week before and had saved to my recipe box a tomato bisque recipe. Hence, when life gives you tomatoes, make bisque!
Now while I am the self-professed queen of collecting and reviewing recipes, I’ve never followed one to the letter. I like to add my own little twist for my personal health and gastronomical delight. Further, I’ve found, after reviewing several sites’ offerings of a specific recipe, that there are basic rules, so that’s what I tend to employ with my own slant; isn’t that what cooking is all about- enjoying the process?