The Delightful Dutch Dish

How one can cook oneself back into local reality

Crème Brûlée August 27, 2010

Filed under: cooking,dessert — orangepumpkin @ 15:16
Tags: ,
A while back I read a recipe on crème brûlée (CB) and I thought I would never be able to make it. The whole thing sounded so incredibly hard to do! You had to separate yolks from eggwhites, and you could NOT let the whole thing boil, or else!
Anyway, I thought it was too hard for me. Besides, you needed some instrument that could possibly burn down your entire kitchen: a bunsen burner of some kind. I died thinking I had to handle something like that. But… I decided to get one last check before I would lay down the idea of making CB forever. I would check if my bible, The Joy Of Cooking, would have a recipe for it. If it did, I would definitely try.
Man-oh-man-oh-man! They did have a recipe. And instead of making it sound deliciously difficult, it was simple, easy, anyone could do it. No separating eggs, just a little scary burning the house down. I could handle that, I thought.
I ran out the door screaming with joy, off to the shops, buying my kitchenburner. That is: after I found out these things only cost 15 euros. I would’ve thought you had to invest several hundred euros before anyone would allow you to burn the kitchen down. It wasn’t. It was simple as simple could be.
I have been making CB every week since then. The first time I was in heaven. It went so incredibly well. I followed the recipe, I burnt the sugar, life was heavenly. And then the second time, I went experimenting. I learnt my lesson: don’t do that! Don’t ever do that! I didn’t have CB, I had some poor tasting horrible sauce that didn’t even remotely smell of CB. But still, without the experiments, I wouldn’t have tweaked the recipe in the right places and made some kick ass CB. I will share with you what I do to myself every week.
Mind you: my tastebuds die, go to heaven and never return. But my love handles (non-existing prior to the whole CB ordeal) have come to stay, forever. There’s a down side to everything, but it’s worth it!
You need (for 2 portions of CB):
250ml cream (for making whipped cream, just don’t whip it)
2 eggs (no separating)
lemon zest of half a lemon
vanilla sugar (1 portion of 7g)
kitchen-burning-down-aid
2 CB bowls
Heat the cream right until it cooks. Mix the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla sugar in a bowl. Mix in the hot cream. Stir well with a wire whisk. Put the mixture back in the pan and on low heat on the stove. Whisk constantly, make sure you also stir the edges. Let it slowly heat. They say ‘DON’T LET IT BOIL!’ and make it sound dramatic. The trick is not to boil it immediately, but slowly increase the heat. Keep stirring, don’t be made about it, but keep stirring. If it’s not going quickly enough, up the heat a little. Keep stirring, keep stirring, keep stirring. There’s no way I can tell you enough to KEEP BLOODY STIRRING. Don’t stop it.
When you keep going, you will find that the mixture will turn into custard. It will thicken. This is what you want. Right at the point of thickening, it isn’t a crime if it blobs (boils) a little. Your CB won’t die and fail and you won’t be punished by going to hell. I wasn’t, at least. I’ve lived to tell the tale. Keep stirring though. Turn down the heat a notch if you feel comfortable. If it’s all thick and creamy and wowza nice, take it off the heat entirely. Place the pan on the cold countertop of some sort. And don’t forget: KEEP STIRRING. This is vital. Because the bottom of the pan will still contain heat, it will also continue to heat the custard. It is of the utmost importance that you keep stirring for about a minute. Just stir (or whisk, don’t be sensitive about which term I use).
Finally: put the custard in the two bowls, and place those in the fridge for a few hours (at least 4, but honestly, if you can’t wait, no one will blame you for just finishing it right then and there). Useful tip: make sure your fridge doesn’t contain smelly things like garlic of onion, these scents will get into your CB and that is NOT good. Onion CB, nah, doesn’t seem too cool.
After it’s cooled down, put a layer of (light) brown sugar (which is not your usual sugar) over the custard. Fire up your burner, burn the sugar. It should just melt. That’s it, that’s your CB ready to be served.
How local:
Well, pretty local. Only lemons and vanilla aren’t grown here, but the rest is. Teehee!
PS: I think the separating of the eggs is to make the cream more light or white in colour. Which is nice, but totally unnecessary.
My next endeavour is to switch the lemon zest for coconut thingythingies (don’t really know what it’s called in English all of a sudden). That should be delicious as well!

A while back I read a recipe on crème brûlée (CB) and I thought I would never be able to make it. The whole thing sounded so incredibly hard to do! You had to separate yolks from eggwhites, and you could NOT let the whole thing boil, or else!
Anyway, I thought it was too hard for me. Besides, you needed some instrument that could possibly burn down your entire kitchen: a bunsen burner of some kind. I died thinking I had to handle something like that. But… I decided to get one last check before I would lay down the idea of making CB forever. I would check if my bible, The Joy Of Cooking, would have a recipe for it. If it did, I would definitely try.
Man-oh-man-oh-man! They did have a recipe. And instead of making it sound deliciously difficult, it was simple, easy, anyone could do it. No separating eggs, just a little scary burning the house down. I could handle that, I thought.
I ran out the door screaming with joy, off to the shops, buying my kitchenburner. That is: after I found out these things only cost 15 euros. I would’ve thought you had to invest several hundred euros before anyone would allow you to burn the kitchen down. It wasn’t. It was simple as simple could be.
I have been making CB every week since then. The first time I was in heaven. It went so incredibly well. I followed the recipe, I burnt the sugar, life was heavenly. And then the second time, I went experimenting. I learnt my lesson: don’t do that! Don’t ever do that! I didn’t have CB, I had some poor tasting horrible sauce that didn’t even remotely smell of CB. But still, without the experiments, I wouldn’t have tweaked the recipe in the right places and made some kick ass CB. I will share with you what I do to myself every week.
Mind you: my tastebuds die, go to heaven and never return. But my love handles (non-existing prior to the whole CB ordeal) have come to stay, forever. There’s a down side to everything, but it’s worth it!
You need (for 2 portions of CB):250ml cream (for making whipped cream, just don’t whip it)2 eggs (no separating)lemon zest of half a lemonvanilla sugar (1 portion of 7g)kitchen-burning-down-aid2 CB bowls
Heat the cream right until it cooks. Mix the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla sugar in a bowl. Mix in the hot cream. Stir well with a wire whisk. Put the mixture back in the pan and on low heat on the stove. Whisk constantly, make sure you also stir the edges. Let it slowly heat. They say ‘DON’T LET IT BOIL!’ and make it sound dramatic. The trick is not to boil it immediately, but slowly increase the heat. Keep stirring, don’t be made about it, but keep stirring. If it’s not going quickly enough, up the heat a little. Keep stirring, keep stirring, keep stirring. There’s no way I can tell you enough to KEEP BLOODY STIRRING. Don’t stop it.When you keep going, you will find that the mixture will turn into custard. It will thicken. This is what you want. Right at the point of thickening, it isn’t a crime if it blobs (boils) a little. Your CB won’t die and fail and you won’t be punished by going to hell. I wasn’t, at least. I’ve lived to tell the tale. Keep stirring though. Turn down the heat a notch if you feel comfortable. If it’s all thick and creamy and wowza nice, take it off the heat entirely. Place the pan on the cold countertop of some sort. And don’t forget: KEEP STIRRING. This is vital. Because the bottom of the pan will still contain heat, it will also continue to heat the custard. It is of the utmost importance that you keep stirring for about a minute. Just stir (or whisk, don’t be sensitive about which term I use).Finally: put the custard in the two bowls, and place those in the fridge for a few hours (at least 4, but honestly, if you can’t wait, no one will blame you for just finishing it right then and there). Useful tip: make sure your fridge doesn’t contain smelly things like garlic of onion, these scents will get into your CB and that is NOT good. Onion CB, nah, doesn’t seem too cool.After it’s cooled down, put a layer of (light) brown sugar (which is not your usual sugar) over the custard. Fire up your burner, burn the sugar. It should just melt. That’s it, that’s your CB ready to be served.
How local:Well, pretty local. Only lemons and vanilla aren’t grown here, but the rest is. Teehee!
PS: I think the separating of the eggs is to make the cream more light or white in colour. Which is nice, but totally unnecessary.My next endeavour is to switch the lemon zest for coconut thingythingies (don’t really know what it’s called in English all of a sudden). That should be delicious as well!

 

Scrambled eggs January 9, 2010

Filed under: cooking,meat,side dish — orangepumpkin @ 20:21
Tags:

Eggs and I, we don’t really mix well together. Except when there’s other ingredients involved as well, that’s when I love boosting my cholesterol with some really health-unfriendly eggs.

It all started when I was a really young and little orange pumpkin. For Easter the easterbunny (he’s a hare, at least in Dutch) would scatter some eggs all over our garden and we (my siblings and I) would go out and look for them. There were two types of eggs: the ones I would eat, and the ones I wouldn’t eat even if I’d be tortured. The first are chocolate eggs, and to me, there never were (or are) enough chocolate eggs around Easter. The second would be boiled eggs. And to me, there are always way too many of those, not just around Easter. How can a sane human being eat a boiled egg? That’s what I’ve asked myself for most of my life. I don’t get it. Poached eggs aren’t much better I’m afraid.

After the whole egg search was over, we would go inside and have breakfast. The table was set with all kinds of lovelies, it was a very festive breakfast. There would be a bowl of boiled eggs and there would be a chicken (wow, that chicken, sweet memories) filled with chocolate eggs. I would silently eat one (or maybe two) slices of bread, and then I would ask my mother nicely if I could start on the chocolate eggs. She never said yes. Before I could eat something sweet (including chocolate spread on my bread) I had to eat a boiled egg. It was torture. In my tiny brain I had two options: eat the boiled egg just like my siblings, and then start on the chocolate eggs (until my mother would intervene and say that it was enough, unless… and there was something more about boiled eggs), or not eat the boiled egg and watch my entire family eat chocolate egg after chocolate egg. Trust me, to a child, that is a very simple choice: two types of tortures, and only one included eating some chocolate eggs myself.
Eating the boiled egg was a real challenge, I hated the taste, I hated the texture, I hated the smell (I still do), and it would take forever. But I managed. And I ate at least one boiled egg a year.(Oh, and they were hard boiled, which is the worst, especially with the blueish yolk. I understand that for preservation’s sake (they were in the garden after all), you can’t serve moderately boiled eggs, but the memory itself is traumatic. Who knows how much therapy I need now that I remembered the blueish yolks?)

My father, on the other hand, was an avid egg-eater. He ate them boiled, fried, scrambled, poached. Anything would go for him. He was one happy egg-eater! He never did anything in the kitchen, except bake his egg for Sunday lunch every once in a while. And he would lovingly bake some bacon first, throw on lots of herbs, top it off with cheese, he was a happy man!  And everytime he was making himself an egg, he would say that one day, when he was young and naive and stupid, he thought he’d write a cookbook on how to prepare egg in one hundred different ways. ‘Or a thousand’, he’d say when he added just a little bit more salt. Because one period in his life, he’d lived on eggs. He didn’t have anything else.

It’s a bit strange to have that as my father and not really like eggs myself. But there you go, I don’t. But there are exceptions. And today I will give you the recipe of the most brilliant way to scramble eggs. Because I love them this way. I could live on eggs for quite a while like this. I change little bits of the recipe every time I scramble some eggs, so can you!

Ingredients:
1-2 eggs per person
half a table spoon red pesto (which contains tomatoes, I use Bertolli)
grated cheese (as much as you like, probably around 150 gram in my case)
250 gram diced ham, bacon or chicken
bit of salt
3 sun dried tomatoes (don’t overdo it, those can be really quite distinctive in any dish)
herbs (lots of herbs, I use this pre-mix of Fair Trade (which is a Dutch/Belgian brand, the mix is called ‘Sun dried tomatoes’), with: sun dried tomatoes, black pepper, garlic, red onion, paprika, olives and basil, it’s gorgeous!)
pepper
some olive oil

Put meat  in frying pan and fry until done. add eggs, wait a while and then add herbs, salt and pepper and stir until the eggs are solid. Add the pesto, sun dried tomatoes (yes, I add extra, can’t have enough tomatoes), stir some more. Add the cheese when you’re happy with the scrambledness of your eggs. Let the cheese melt completely, while stirring. I always add a truckload of cheese, I love it nice and cheesy =D (but remember: cheese is bad, it contains a crazy amount of calories and it’s not so good for your cholesterol. I don’t really mind, I’d rather die of a heart attack because of scrambled eggs, than be entirely miserable for the rest of my life without them!)

How local?
Eggs: 2-5 km
cheese: 50-100 km
pesto: is ‘Italy’ vague enough? It’s about 1500 km from my house anyway (if this Bertolli-plant is located in the north of Italy)
ham: no idea? Should be Dutch though, about 200 km?