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!

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Chicory and shrimp! April 16, 2010

Filed under: salad,side dish,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 09:24
Tags: , ,

I don’t really know how I feel about my endeavour, right now. Because I don’t particularly care for two of the ingredients: chicory and baby shrimp. Well, it’s not actually baby shrimp, it’s crangon crangon. But they’re the smallest shrimp I’ve ever seen or eaten. In Dutch we call them ‘Hollandse Garnalen’, which translates into Dutch Shrimp. That probably is because 80% of those shrimp are caught by Dutch (and German) vessels. But I don’t really like these grey shrimp. They’re tasting too fishy to me. I don’t particularly like it.

The thing is, the name implies that they’re local. And to some extent, that’s true. They’re caught in the North Sea, and the Dutch coastline borders only the North Sea. So in everyone’s mind, some fisherman walks out into the sea, catches himself a bunch of these shrimp, peels them, and then eats them. How local do you want your shrimp? It doesn’t get more local than that. Well, to some amateur fishermen this could be true. I’ve seen these shrimp on the beaches, not many, but they’re there. So they definitely live in the North Sea, and even make it to our Dutch coast. But the shrimp you buy in the supermarket aren’t local. They just aren’t. I know this because there was a Dutch TV-programme about it a while back. They traced the route these supposedly Dutch shrimp travel before they end up on your plate. What it boils down to is that they’re being caught off the coast of Denmark. Ok, so that’s a little north of the Netherlands, Denmark and the Netherlands share a group of islands (the Wadden Islands), so you could argue that it’s just around the corner. On board of the vessel that catches these shrimp, they’re boiled, then they’re sold in Yerseke, which is in the most southern part of the country. It could be IJmuiden too, at least some place with a fish auction. If you’re a supermarket, you buy your fish at one of these commercial auctions. We’re talking big fishy business. Then these little grey shrimp are shipped to Marocco. See, that’s how local these Dutch shrimp are. Maroccans peel the shrimp for a few cents where Dutch employees would cost ten to a hundred times more. So yes, economically shipping the shrimp to Marocco is a good decision. In terms of local produce it’s ridiculous. After the Peeling of the Shrimp (that would be a great title for a thriller, wouldn’t it?), they’re being shipped to Germany, where they’re being packaged. I think that after or before that they’re once again sold in Yerseke, or IJmuiden, or whatever, but I’m not sure about that. When they’re packaged they’re finally moving to the supermarkets, through a busy distribution system that will take the shrimps on a sight-seeing tour of the country.

You see, besides that I don’t much care about the taste of these shrimp, I have a little ‘local-produce’ concern about them. According to my supermarket, the shrimp I’ve just bought are caught in the North Sea and the Wadden (which actually means they could be from anywhere between Scandinavia and Spain, and they probably are). But they’re ‘green’ because no other fish are harmed in the process. But they are, because the Dutch trawlers use nets that drag over the bottom of the sea, and they catch other fish that are not so ‘green’. Anyway, I have enough reason not to buy them, but I did anyway. Because the recipe demanded it.

I must say, that after I was done with my salad and I ate it, I didn’t feel so bad about the shrimp and chicory. They were doing quite nicely in there. I liked the overall taste, and the way my extensive use of mayonnaise covered some of it up. And the excessive use of chives did do something good, too. Ok, I didn’t love it. And I’m not sure if I will make it again. But it was better than I expected. I’ll give these well-traveled shrimp some credit. And the not-so bitter chicory, of course!

Ingredients

2 chicory

100 gr Dutch shrimp (I suppose you could use any type of small shrimp, really)

3 table spoons mayonnaise

freshly cut chives

2 tea spoons soy sauce (Japanese)

1 tea spoon lemon juice

1 apple (Granny Smith)

2 table spoons freshly cut chives

freshly ground chili pepper (Ok, I don’t have that, I used chili pepper powder instead)

Cut the chicory in small bits. Mix the mayonnaise and soy sauce in a bowl, add chili pepper and lemon juice. Cut the apple into small dice, I left the skin on for extra colourful effect. Mix apple, shrimp, chicory and chives in the mayonnaise-mix. Enjoy!

How Local?

shrimp: see above, pretty damn non-local

chicory: Dutch

chives: cut off in my own kitchen, but I bought the plant at the supermarket first

mayonnaise: made it myself

the spices & lemon juice were pretty non-local too.

 

Radish and Tuna April 9, 2010

Filed under: starter — orangepumpkin @ 17:51
Tags: ,

I found this recipe and it is such a lovely spring number, that I decided to make it. It’s not really Dutch I think, but I don’t care! Radish is something I deeply and profoundly love. I don’t see how someone could live without radish. The sharp peppery taste is such a joy! My taste buds are accustomed to most of the spicy tastes, and radish is definitely one of their favourites. I’ve asked,you see. I generally talk a lot with my taste buds, we have the most exciting chats! They usually go something like this:
Me: ‘Hmmm, avocado?’
Taste buds: ‘Oh hell yeah!’ and suddenly my mouth is watering, and I have to make sure I don’t look like some retarded drooling person.

Anyway, after a day out in the lovely spring sun, enjoying every single second of it, the cold wind, the warm sun, the singing birds, the new green leaves on the trees, I came home and I spotted a bottle of wine that had been there forever. And I decided I should drink it. I don’t usually drink wine, but I love white wine or rosé, especially on summer days. I don’t wish to imagine my summers without wine. So after one of the first true spring days I grabbed the bottle and I had a glass. After that I remembered I had gone shopping for some cute radishes and tuna to make some awesome food. And that’s what happened. I had radish, tuna and wine. (I keep typing ‘whine’, what is that? Wine, wine, wine, wine, wine!)

First I had to make my own crostini’s, because apparently, crostini’s were to be had. And the supermarket quit selling the coolest crostini wannabe’s ever. The directions included me putting some oil on a cut up baguette and then frying them in a grill pan. But I decided I would do things differently. I don’t have grill pan. I have an oven. And I have a toaster. The toaster has been on my countertop all week because I’ve been eating a lot of toast. I’ve been a bit lazy and stick in a frozen slice of bread, pulling it out nice and toasted a few minutes later. So, I cut up my baguette and toasted them. It worked nicely! I added a few drops of olive oil after toasting. It’s probably not the same thing, but I’m really not too bothered about it.

Next ingredient was mayonnaise. And I remembered some guy sharing a great recipe for a quick as hell mayonnaise (er, why does mayonnaise have two n’s? In Dutch it only has one, it’s shorter, and easier). It uses a stick blender. And since I’m the patron of lazy and easy, I should point out that I own an awesome stick blender. It has four different parts. It whips cream, it blends things, it chops up tougher things like meat. And the coolest feature (that I haven’t used yet) is: it crushes ice! I had to have such a divine stick blender. I simply had to buy it. And I had to buy it because my former stick blender was a one piece number and it was impossible to clean the thing without getting it all wet. So it wasn’t exactly clean most of the time, and that bothered me so much I had to buy a new one. One that could be taken apart properly.

Anyway, I made mayonnaise. And it wasn’t exactly awesome, but I’ll get to the super awesome mayonnaise sometime! The rest of the recipe, with my wine, was just great. And I enjoyed myself tremendously. I felt like spring. And I didn’t have any more potatoes! Ha! No more depressing winter food! Though I’d already kill for some raapsteeltjes again…

Ingredients

radish

baguette

3 table spoons mayonnaise

1,5 table spoons capers

2 table spoons olive oil

1 tin of tuna in oil (185 gr)

Wash the radish, cut off the green and the root, throw them in ice water (it makes them nice and crispy). Separate the oil from the tuna (you could save the oil for a salad, or throw it away like I did, I know, I will go to hell for that). Use a fork to mash the tuna a bit. Mix in the mayonnaise and the capers. Add some salt to taste. Slice the radish.

Cut the baguette in 16 slices, grill them with oil (or toast them). Put some tuna mix on the crostini, add a bit of radish. That’s it! And it’s quite alright.

How Local?

radish, Dutch, but from the supermarket

tuna, let’s not go there. Probably a million dolphins died for my one bit of tuna.

baguette, definitely Dutch

Capers, I have no idea, probably Italian asylum seekers

mayonnaise: the olive oil is from the South, the egg was local, the lemon juice was from the South again, the mustard was Dutch.

 

Carrot soup April 2, 2010

Filed under: soup,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 17:18
Tags: ,

When I took a closer look at my new cookbook, I noticed that they had a recipe for carrot soup. Which amused me. I don’t think I ever had carrot soup. I’ve had carrots in various different ways, but I don’t remember soup being one of them. If you don’t count pumpkin soup that needs a bit of carrot to add something extra to the flavour. So, I thought it would be nice to make carrot soup. And I would let my family enjoy my new cookbook to. So I took buses and a train and travelled for 2 hours to meet them. Of course I made sure I had the recipe. I wasn’t going to carry around the entire cookbook for one lousy recipe.

The next day I went to the shops to look for one of the ingredients. It was called ‘sereh’, or ‘citroengras’ in Dutch, but I think you’ll find it more helpful to know that it’s called cymbopogon, or lemon grass. Really, cymbopogon. That must be one of the greatest names for a herb/vegetable/thingy, ever! I don’t even know how to pronounce that! Anyway, I asked in two supermarkets that I payed a visit. They stared at me blankly. ‘Lemon grass?’ they’d say (lemon grass being the literal translation of citroengras), and I’d confirm, ‘Yup, lemon grass’. One girl asked her boss, the other didn’t even bother, in the end both supermarkets didn’t have it. Which must ultimately be because they weren’t Albert Heijns. I’m sure that the Albert Heijn would’ve had lemon grass. If only because they sell a stupid cookbook that demands you cook something with lemon grass in it. Because they didn’t even know what lemon grass was, I had to think of something else. Can you just leave out lemon grass? I asked myself. Is it a key ingredient? And I pondered about the thing while I ransacked the sweets rack in the supermarket. It must be. You wouldn’t want lemon grass in your carrot soup if it wasn’t a key ingredient, right? But there was no lemon grass to be had. And since I myself didn’t really have a clear idea of what this mystic lemon grass was (or tasted like) I assumed it was something ‘lemony’. And I thought of all the lemony things that were to be had. First of all, lemons. Should I add some lemon juice to my soup? Or some lemon zest? I mean, anything with lemon zest is great. In the end I settled for lemon balm. Which had just come up after a long winter. I ended up picking some young fresh lemon balm leaves, cut them up and put them in my soup. I have no idea if it completely ruined it or not. I’ll have to make the soup sometime again, this time only with lemon grass, and hopefully I will remember what my first attempt tasted like.

I liked it. The carrot soup was soft, easy on the taste buds, not too spicy. But it might have been a little boring, even. And that’s not really good. So maybe it will be incredibly exciting with lemon grass in it? In general it wasn’t really something I’d make anytime soon. Because it wasn’t exactly knocking my taste buds’ socks off. And anything that does that is a must repeat for me. I love knocking my taste buds into outer space with something good. I love the extra terrestrial experience and sensation that evokes.

Ingredients:

400 gr carrot, diced (the big ones, winterpeen)

lemon grass

garden cress

100 ml sour cream

1 shallot, cut up

1 clove of garlic, cut up

500 ml chicken broth

Fry shallots and garlic for 3 minutes in oil. Add carrot and fry for another minute. Don’t turn the heat too high, or the carrots will burn. Cut up the lemon grass in length. Pour the broth over the shallots etc, add the lemon grass. Bring to a boil and boil for about 20 minutes). Remove lemon grass and use a stick blender to mash the soup. Remember: once blended the soup will be thicker and you don’t want your pot to explode on your new clothes, unless they’re orange and it won’t show, so turn down the heat and make sure the soup isn’t actively boiling. Use half of the sour cream and stir it through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put a spoon of sour cream in the plates, add the soup, and add some freshly cut off garden cress. Serve with a baguette and butter.

How Local?

Well, everything was extremely local, especially since I didn’t use lemon grass, which is probably from God knows where. Everything was Dutch, but from the supermarket. Except the lemon balm, which was about 50 yards from the kitchen window.

 

Raapstelen / Turnip Greens March 26, 2010

Filed under: cooking,main course,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 17:42
Tags: , ,

This never happens to me, but right now it did. I walked into the supermarket and I looked among the vegetables for my almost favourite spring veggie: raapsteeltjes (turnip greens). And I saw them. Not marked as such, not a sign of how much they cost, but they were there. And I grabbed them. I was probably the first person in my supermarket to buy them, because they weren’t entered in the system with a proper identifying code or something. They had to enter the code by hand, wait for what seemed at least half a century, and then could I pay for them. And I felt so incredibly great for being the very first person to buy and eat them. Raapsteeltjes ROCK!

I just totally love them, and I can’t really tell you why. But what I did with them was incredibly simple: I made a stamppot. Just mashed potatoes, a little salt, cream cheese and raapsteeltjes. And there you have it: the most wonderful dish of the year! I absolutely love love love it when it’s spring. You know, it was one of these very first spring days ever. With incredible warm weather, sunshine, blue skies, bird song and not one malicious thing to be found. And I had raapsteeltjes for dinner. All I mean to say is: this is probably one of my most cherished spring days. My most favourite day of the year is the first day they cut grass to sun dry it into hay, the smell of fresh cut grass is so immense and lovely I could thrive on that alone, for all eternity. I love love love that smell. The love for the smell of fresh cut grass is unsurmounted, but raapsteeltjes come incredibly close. But there is one other vegetable that I absolutely love and adore. Almost as much as the smell of fresh cut grass. And I’ve seen signs that they’re for sale. So I will grab my bike, ride it to the farm where they grow the most insanely divine sort, buy them, and return to die while eating. I will report on my love for asparagus in one of my next posts. Because truly, nothing in food land ever surpasses the incredibility of asparagus. The fresh asparagus, cut in the morning, had for dinner in the same day.

I just absolutely love love love spring. And all the lovely and utterly non-depressing vegetables that go with it. Dear spring, after an incredulously white, cold, long winter, I’m glad you’ve finally arrived. Please stay! At least for another 10 years or so, because I think I’ll get seriously upset when I have to endure another winter in less than 365 days…

Ingredients

250 gr raapstelen

400 gr potatoes (mash ’em)

2 spoons cream cheese

salt to taste

Boil & mash potatoes, add cream cheese. Rinse and cut up turnip greens (in bits of about 5 cm/2in), and rinse ’em well, there might be loads and loads of sand in them. Stir them through the potatoes. Add some salt (probably best to do that when mashing, but I’m a little uncoordinated sometime, I add salt as an afterthought).

Serve with meat, I had jalapeño beef thingy on the side, and it was brilliant!

How local?

potatoes 30-50km (I have no idea, except that they’re Dutch)

raapstelen 50-100 km (they’re Dutch, but from the supermarket)

beef  errrrr… probably Dutch, no idea though

 

Winterpostelein / Winter purslane March 19, 2010

Filed under: cooking,main course,vegetable — orangepumpkin @ 21:28
Tags: , ,

Wow, I might have hit a bit of a zone here. I found myself at my favorite vegetable shop that mainly sells local produce like there is no other. I went there because I needed potatoes. They sell great potatoes. The ones I truly love. I could choose not to live without them, but that would be a bit much on the potato-love. I don’t want to OD. So just to get sane again I look at my downloaded and printed picture of The Potato Eaters. Yikes! No more depressing earth-fruits of doom! And then I go and buy another two kilograms of the stuff. Yeah, don’t know when that happened, but somewhere this winter I fell in love with Texelster. They’re red on the outside, sublime on the inside. And they need cooking before they reach their utter sublimeness. (Ok, I just googled ‘Texelster’, to show you a link of some kind, and I just found a whole lot of inspiration to post an ode to the Potato. Right now would be a good time to run away screaming and kick me into Potato Eater mode.)

Anyway, I grabbed a nice bag of my red little friends, and I decided I would make another stamppot. Because it’s starting to grow on me. I kind of like it. It’s cute, simple, and this way (with fresh, local, organic ingredients) it’s even better than pasta. No it isn’t, but I’m trying to kid myself here, please don’t disturb my nice little ‘I ♥ potatoes’-bubble, OK? Anyway, it’s not half bad and I’m ok with skipping a little more of the pasta, the tomatoes and the Italian (or any other Southern dish that creeps up to me when I least expect it).

So, I looked around and saw that ‘raapsteeltjes’ are still not in season. I started to cry and sob and I was nearly kicking and screaming, but then I remembered I also liked winterpostelein. And they had that. So I bought it. And I bought some cress. And I went home, I boiled the potatoes, made some awesome stamppot, and I was happy. And once again quite local. Ok, the potatoes are a serious deal here, I’m not parting with those (as am I not parting with my favourite apple Granny Smith, which is imported from France). Next to the nice red gorgeous potatoes lie… potatoes in a layer of dirt, obviously grown right next to the winter purslane and all other insane local vegetables that have made their way to my soul, but I won’t touch them. These dirt covered potatoes will lie there until doomsday, if it’s up to me. I take my red-skinned friends home. Pah!

Anyway, the stamppot I made was great. So I might be back, but only a little, you never know what happens next week.

Ingredients:

potatoes, 400 grams

winter purslane, 200 grams

garden cress, 100 grams

spoonful of cream cheese

salt to taste

Boil them potatoes, cut up the purslane, cut off the cress. Drain the potatoes, add the purslane, cress, creamcheese and salt and start mashing. That is all it takes! Honest. Serve with some kind of meat or other. Or don’t bother, just add more cheese!

How local?

potatoes 50-100km, grown in the Netherlands

winter purslane 2,5 km

garden cress 50-100 km, grown in the Netherlands

salt and creamcheese probably Dutch, but there’s no telling.

 

A world of excuses February 26, 2010

Filed under: restaurant — orangepumpkin @ 10:53
Tags:

I found out recently that I have a whole truck load of excuses not to post anything. The first excuse being: I haven’t done much cooking. So there isn’t really much to blog about. That’s great, but so against my own rules, you know. But I have the best of excuses for why exactly I haven’t cooked up anything lately: I’m not at home on Fridays. See? That’s one hell of a reason not to cook AND not to post anything. But it has to change!

Starting today. So, today I didn’t cook. But I did eat! I eat everyday, I’d be terribly anorexic and dead if I didn’t eat everyday. I haven’t been eating many overly Dutch dishes lately, especially not on Fridays. But, today I think I did. I went to a restaurant, and this restaurant cooks with local produce. So I ate a cow that grew up mere kilometers away from the restaurant. I didn’t eat the entire cow, I ate a sliver of it. The cow was some very local dish-thingy. It was called ‘noagelholt’. No idea what it means, it’s not exactly a Dutch word. It tasted of some herb rather than meat. And mainly, it was OK.

That was all for the Dutchness in my eating extravaganza. After that I had a typically French dish called ‘coq au vin’. Don’t we all know what that is? It’s a feathered friend dumped in wine. And it was good. I got to eat with my hands, something I hardly ever do, and I had all these bits and pieces of bone and cartilage in my mouth. Ok, so that last bit is the reason, the sole reason, I don’t gnaw meat of off bones. It’s disgusting and beastly and my poor highly refined taste buds are killed in the process. That’s too much of an offer to me. I just can’t do it. I’ll have some homeless guy go through the dumpster and finish off my chicken bones, see, I can turn my pickiness into a good deed! Only problem is, there aren’t many homeless guys going through dumpsters in the rural areas of my country. And that’s where I was gnawing of bits and pieces off this chicken wing, in a rural area. Where they have cows, and something called ‘noagelholt’, whatever that may be.

I also had a dessert. Errrrmmmm. What on earth was it again? Something to do with ice? No, that was a few days before that. Back then I had ice cream and brownie or something or other. But this time my company had a cheese plate (whereas the a few days ago I was the only one eating dessert, while probably the whole restaurant was looking at me, waiting for me to finish the damn ice cream and brownie). Gosh, what on earth did I stuff my mouth with? It was sweet. And it had a weird twist to it. Oh, now I remember. It was definitely more French to the table. And it was made of tonka beans! I’d never heard of the things, and it tasted great. But now I’m checking Wikipedia (my long lost friend, to whom I turn in cases of dire need and existential questions like ‘What is a tonka bean?’), and OH BOY. Yup, that’s a very ‘Oh, boy!’ kind of bean, that tonka bean. Did you know that it contains large amounts of coumarin? And that these stop bloodclotting? And that they might be carcinogenic? Oh dear! Oh, and coumarin can be lethal. Yikes! Ok, not to panic, I’m still alive and I’m actually typing this a few days after I’ve eaten them, so I probably didn’t get too much of these suckers in my system. And I don’t have any abnormal bruising anywhere, so I’m probably quite safe.

So it’s time to tell you that my dessert was GREAT! Despite the deadly tonka beans from hell! I lived to tell you that it was tasty and almost perfect. ‘Coz I had ‘crème brulée’! And that’s one big sucky dessert to make, I have been told. I’ve never tried, I’m not French and I’m not attempting to become anything like a good cook. I just buy crème brulée every now and then. I like it! No, I love it. I love the hard shell on top, that you can break only by tapping your spoon on it. So, this instant I was picking up my spoon, while my salivating glands were going wild, and I tapped the caramel layer on my crème brulée… and… that’s where it wasn’t perfect. It sucked. My dessert didn’t say ‘tock, tock’. It didn’t speak to me at all. It looked great, but once trying to break the hard layer that was supposed to be there, it wasn’t there. It was a bit of a gummy layer and not at all hard enough to break. Of course, I was immediately so terribly sad and heart broken that I nearly didn’t eat my dessert. But then my table mate took a fork and said ‘Oh, let me try these tonka beans’, and dug in. Wowza! That, my friends, is a horrible thing to do. Especially to me. I’m like the evil mistress of food. Don’t touch my crème brulée, suckers! I’ll eat you alive! So I dug in, and apart from the not so good top, it was still all great! The taste was nice and slim and not so fat. So I thought it was a great and healthy dessert. Especially considering the fact that I have this family thing of high cholesterol. Well, I don’t know if I have any elevated cholesterol levels, I just know that half my family does. Which is a great reason to stop eating saturated fats. But I don’t. I just love butter, milk, whipped cream. And I could never settle for the ‘light’ version of things. But this crème brulée might just be the light version, and it was great!

How local?

I have no idea. Apart from the cow and the restaurant’s statement about local produce, I did eat these bloody tonka beans. And they’re not from anywhere near where the restaurant is situated. They’re not from this world. They’re from South America. Like my favourite avocado’s. I know, my life totally sucks. So it’s quite a good thing these tonka beans are probably not good for you anyway!