Sunday, January 29, 2017


Today was cold and snowy. There wasn’t much accumulation, but it was enough to make you want to stay inside. This past week has been stressful to say the least. I welcomed the chance to divert my attention from watching the world burn to making delicious things in my kitchen.

Not bad for the first time, but it's pretty evident my pie making skills definitely have room for improvement.
I didn’t make a bread, per se, although there were plenty to pick from. I made something I’ve been wanting to try for a while: Appeltaart, or Dutch apple pie. I’ve never attempted something like this before. I started out mixing together 2c of flour, a stick of butter plus 4 ½ Tbsp more, 2/3 c of powdered sugar (or caster sugar), 1 tsp of cinnamon, plus 1 ½ eggs (saving the other half for later). I think the recipe forgot some parts because I had to add enough water for it to come together. Then I had to work the dough with some extra flour to make it soft. While I was preparing the dough, I had my daughter peel and core four Granny Smith apples. I asked my friend who lives in the Netherlands how they make them, and he said typically the apples are either sliced thin or sometimes they’re chopped. So, I tried it chopped. Then I tossed the apples with some powdered sugar, cinnamon, and some golden raisins (I went with golden raisins because I hate regular raisins—they’re the fart of the fruit world.). So, I took my dough and divided it ¾ to ¼, rolling out the larger portion and lining my spring form pan with it. After I placed the dough in the pan, I poured in my apples. Then I rolled out the smaller ball of dough and cut strips out of it, using these strips as the latticework on top. I even took some of my extra dough and cut out a couple of oak leaves to place on top. (I tried my best to avoid having them look like Christmas trees, and I thought using maple leaves would make them look like a weed leaf.) I took the little bit of leftover egg and brushed it on top and left it in a 350ºF oven for about 65 minutes. I was disappointed that all of my latticework fell (wonder if I could fix this with either wider strips or sliced apples instead). And the outer edge of the crust was kind of hard. But otherwise, I thought it tasted good. There was nothing wrong with the flavor at all. All I need is some vanilla ice cream.

Kind of reminds me of Andorran trinxat, but that just means they know comfort food when they see it.
The main dish I picked today was Boerenkool Stamppot. This super easy comfort-food recipe is the perfect dish for cold days like today. I started out by peeling and dicing four potatoes and a small onion and throwing it in a large pot. Then I tore up half a bunch of kale and threw it in, too. Covering all of these with water until it was just covered, I also added in a bay leaf and salt and pepper (to taste). I let this boil for about 20-25 minutes until the potatoes were tender. After draining the liquid and removing the bay leaf, I mashed up all the vegetables and added some milk and butter. Then I poured in some sliced smoked sausage that I heated up (I actually used Polish kielbasa instead, but truthfully, I can barely taste a difference between the two.). I added a little more salt and pepper as I stirred everything together (it’s especially good with smoked sea salt). I loved everything about this. My friend said that they use bacon bits, and even though I bought some bacon, I forgot to fry it up. I believe it was a hit with everyone.

I really liked this. However, it's probably not the type of dish I'd bring to an office pitch-in.
The other dish I made is called White Asparagus Salad. White asparagus is a little hard to find, especially this time of year. I know I’ve seen it before. I think there’s even a purple/red asparagus, too. However, the two stores I went to didn’t have it, so I went with green asparagus. I cut off the hard ends of the asparagus and boiled the top parts for about 10 minutes before putting them in the fridge to cool. In a bowl, I mixed together a ½ c of mayo (I use the fake stuff), some chopped chives and parsley, and a hardboiled egg that I chopped up. To serve this, I laid out a lettuce leaf, placed my cooled asparagus on it and lined the sides with tomato wedges. Then, I placed the mayo-egg mixture on top of the asparagus. I actually kind of liked this. I’m not used to eating asparagus cold, but it was really not that bad. If you take a bite of asparagus with the sauce and then take a bite of tomato, it’s really good. I liked this, but I’m not sure if others did. Well, I know my husband ABHORS asparagus (“slimy green worms” he calls it), and I think the kids liked the asparagus and tomatoes but not necessarily with the sauce.

Overall, I loved it. Now, it's just time to go to the Netherlands and do this for real. 
Overall, I loved it. I know there are tons of recipes I missed that I wanted to make. I pulled a recipe solely for its name: Naakte kindertjes in het gras, or Naked babies in the grass. It’s basically green beans and navy beans; I just didn’t have time to make this one. The Netherlands is also famous for its Dutch raw herring, for which I promised my husband I wouldn’t make. Traditionally, it’s served with raw onions. However, if I ever got the chance to go to the Netherlands, I really want to try it. We may have a “leader” (=”tyrant”) now who finds fault with all kinds of people, but I think that if we would just sit down and try each other’s food and talk about it, we’d realize we’re more alike than we are different. Eet smakelijk [Bon Appétit]!

Up next: New Zealand

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