Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We The Foodie People...Week 4: Dutch

Hallo! Yes, yes, I know...I should have posted yesterday as I promised, but my little one is teething, so I spent yesterday morning trying to soothe her, doing research for food this week and get the grocery shopping done...ugh, I really don't like grocery shopping alone. Then last night, we went up to a private estate sale...only everything was FREE! Oh, and Ben didn't get his post up last week, so you'll be seeing a BUNCH of pictures this Thursday! We've been busy and have added things to our home...which is always fun. But why am I updating you on the "life" side of our lives? Food is my department!

While I was doing my research for the Dutch week, I was surprised to find out that the food is very similar to Northern French food...oh-so-good! So buckle up and get ready for a breeze through our week of Dutch food!

Okay, so I couldn't help it! Lilyana has to make an appearance no matter what we're talking about! Cute, eh?

Her father began reading out loud before she was born. When I was pregnant, she would move around when he spoke and when he poked her, she'd poke him back. *laughing* They're so cute together. She still loves to hear him read...and we're already getting her started on "foodie" books! The Duchess Bakes a Cake is one of her favorites...I think she loves the contrasting colors in it...oh, and the cake!

Dutch Day 1: Gehakt in bladerdeeg...or, seasoned ground beef in puffed pastry with salad and bread. It was sooooo wonderful to have salad again! The beef dish was interesting, not a favorite of mine, but then again, I'm not a huge fan of ground beef. Ben really liked it, though!

And here we have Varkensrollade...or herbs and garlic rolled in pork, with buttered Brussles Sprouts (YUM!!!) roasted potatoes and bread. Eating Dutch food was fun, because they eat a huge variety of meat and fish. This one had a nice buttery sauce, too. I'm a saucy person... *grin*

See! What did I tell you! Here you see me making another sauce for the next day! Yes, I wear that apron a lot...it's comfy, cute, coordinates with my kitchen, was made by a very good friend of mine and if those excuses aren't good enough, then I'll just say that I love it!

Ahhhh, it was really hard to decide which meal was the favorite this week, but this was one of them!
Flensjes met zalm, or Crepes with Salmon. I called them Dutch Enchiladas. *smile*
The filling had butter, spinach, cream cheese, parmesan, and salmon. We had marinated tomatoes and bread on the side.

Okay, so Ben didn't learn that it was considered bad table manners to play with food at the table...but if you look at this picture of my plate two years ago, I guess I haven't learned either (mine was a smiley face, too).

A peek at the inside of our Dutch Enchiladas...I'm going to have to make those again!

Summer time is here again, and that means it's time to can!! I got 14 pounds of strawberries for $1.14/pound, so I canned some pie filling. Now I need to work on my cherries and pick my blueberries...

Cherries? Okay, so we've learned that when I eat cherries, the cherries run through the baby...

A gift from my true love...and it matches my kitchen!!! Homemade ice cream is sooo good!

Lilyana really enjoys looking at our food. I think she's going to be a foodie baby and grow up to be a foodie person like her parents.
Kipfilet met sinaasappelsaus...Chicken fillets in an orange sauce. This dish was very...different. The sauce over the chicken had fresh orange juice, Grand Mariner, and a bit of a kick from the cayenne. I served it with brown rice and fresh steamed broccoli.

Oooo, you can't see all of it, but Ben's waiting for me to put the camera down so that he can eat his crepes and homemade ice cream. Speaking of homemade ice cream, I need to go make some more.

Sorry baby, you have a few more months before we give you any!

Okay, so we had to take the RV down to the RV fixer-upper, which meant leaving Holland and heading into the Basque Country...talk about foodie people! Just when you think the main course is on it's way, they bring something else! A restaurant not for the faint of heart...
And I have no idea what my husband is doing....

We were back in Holland on Saturday, and Saturday usually means saving the best sounding meal for last.
Gegrilleerde mahi-mahi op z’n Curaçao or Grilled Mahi-Mahi, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and grilled potatoes. Another meal on our favorite list.

So, for those of you who have been trying our recipes, we talked about this week and settled on the enchiladas!

Flensjes met zalm
Dutch Enchiladas
Makes 18 crepes

3 eggs
pinch of salt
5 oz flour
1 cup milk

1.5 oz butter
1 oz flour
1 3/4 cup milk
½ cup whipping cream
6 oz grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
½ tsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb 5 oz fresh spinach
4 oz cream cheese
3 tbsp chopped basil
2 eggs
5oz salmon fillets cut into strips

Crepes: Lightly beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Add the flour and milk and mix into a smooth batter. Let it settle for 30 minutes. Make the crepes in a crepe pan or a 6”frying pan. For every crepe put a bit of butter in the pan.

Spinach and salmon: Melt the butter, mix in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Mix in most of the milk and all the whipping cream, let simmer for 5 minutes. 2 oz Parmesan, coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Put the sauce to the side.

Heat the oil and stir fry the spinach until it is reduced. Drain and squeeze out the juice. Chop the spinach. Mix the cream cheese with the remainder of the milk (1/5th cup), basil, 3 oz. Parmesan, the eggs, spinach and salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 395ºF. Divide the filling over the crepes, place the strips of salmon over the filling and roll them up. Pour one third of the sauce in an oven dish. Put the crepes in and pour the rest of the sauce over them. Sprinkle the remainder of the Parmesan over the dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake covered for 30 minutes and 15 minutes more after discarding the foil.

Yup, she's tired again! And so am I! But there is work to be done and I'd better get going before she wakes up.

Enjoy the recipe and if you try it, let us know what you think!

Monday, June 20, 2011

We The Foodie People...Week 3: China

Well, leaving the British Isles wasn't as easy as we thought it would be! Instead of finding ourselves in China on Monday, we realized that we were taking the slow boat there...

Yup...with all of the 32 pie wedding chaos that went on, on realized that we had only actually eaten in our own home three nights that week! :( Such a sad discovery...especially since I had salmon marinating in the refrigerator for one of our B.I. meals. So, we decided to eat one more course before heading off into the land of rice and sesame oil.

Lilyana was pleased as punch! Why? Because that meant that her father would be grilling again!

I had my hands full in the kitchen preparing our Cheese Fritters, so I wasn't able to hang out in our back yard and snap pictures, so Ben grabbed the camera and took a self portrait. Isn't he cute?

YUM! I really do like salmon, especially when it's been grilled. For our very last meal in the British Isles we enjoyed Grilled Salmon with a Whiskey Butter sauce, Grilled Whiskey Beets, and Cheese Fritters over fresh garden greens...and yes, the greens were fresh and they came from our garden! After this meal, we both decided that we liked whiskey better in desserts...so we made Sourdough Bread Pudding with a Caramel Whiskey sauce.

The next day we found ourselves in China, which meat rice for dinner almost every night. Ben had a few requests this week, so after finding recipes for those, I set about to find other recipes that were all different. I was thrilled to discover that the Chinese people love garlic! Towards the end of our week in the British Isles, I was very tempted to throw some garlic into our meals...but I resisted the temptation to ensure that I was keeping the recipes as authentic as possible. When I cut into my first clove of garlic last week, I savored the smell and jumped up and down when I saw that the recipe called for not only one garlic clove, but FOUR!!!

Ni hao! Or "Hello!" Our very first meal of the week was Broccoli Beef, at the request of my husband. This was the first time that I've had broccoli since Lilyana was born, and I was oh-so relived to find that it didn't bother her at all! Hurray! More broccoli for me! This was personally my favorite meal of the week.

Ah! My little kitchen helper! It is really just too fun to have a little one in the house. Lilyana is using her voice more and more every day, and when she's awake she almost always has a smile on her face. She's even laughed a few times! I still can't believe how fast she is growing!

Kung Pao Chicken was next on the menu! This is one of my favorite dishes, though I would rather eat it without the peanuts...but we had to keep it as authentic as we could! Ben would have been much happier without the green onions on top, but he was willing to sacrifice his personal preferences, too.

This was another meal that forced me to ignore my dislike of certain flavors. During those long weeks of morning sickness, I consumed one too many ginger supplements, and even though ginger was one of my all-time favorite things to eat before getting pregnant, I have a hard time with it now. It's very sad, and I'm trying to get over it... So, aside from the ginger flavor in this meal, I really did enjoy the Stir Fry Ginger Beef. It had a unique combination of flavors...fresh cilantro, a slight taste of honey, the heat from the peppers, and the subtle hint of ginger.

For our last meal in China, we had some Chow Mein. Neither of us had tried Beef Chow Mein before. I always thought it was made with chicken. This was an authentic recipe, however, and Ben said that it tasted more like the Chow Mein he had at a non-Americanized Chinese restaurant that he's been to. Chow Mein is one of Ben's favorite Chinese dishes, which is why I saved it for the end. It's always fun to go out with a big bang.
The end of our week in China? Yup...and we had ordered a Wok to cook with last week, only we sent it to the wrong address on accident and so we had to use a frying pan instead... Oh well...

Oh yes, she's MUCH sweeter than a doughnut...
We were going to be away on Saturday evening attending a wedding, so we didn't have dinner at home that night. We did, however, eat doughnuts for breakfast! That seemed like a pretty good Chinese breakfast to us! *grin*

Now we're on to the next week, and we're still having fun! Chinese food is good, but I'm glad we're done with it...the smell of sesame oil does get old after a few days....

We've been thinking about taking reservations for dinner...only we haven't come up with a name for our "restaurant" yet. Oh, you still need a recipe, don't you? How about...

Kung Pao Chicken

1lb boneless-skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” pieces)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons green onions (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos/Soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 C dry roasted peanuts

Combine chicken and cornstarch in a small bowl and toss to coat. Heat sesame oil in wok over medium heat, add chicken and stir fry 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from wok.

Add green onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and powdered ginger to the wok and stir fry for 15 seconds.

Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and add the sauce to the wok.
Return chicken to the wok and coat with sauce. Stir in roasted peanuts. Heat thoroughly. Top with additional green onions if desired and serve over white rice.

My little sleeper....she does this a lot....

If you try the recipe above, please leave a comment telling us how you liked it! And don't forget to check back next week to hear about our week in Holland!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"In Other News": aka. Our life outside of food......

Hello Everyone! While Mommy is busy in the kitchen, Lilyana and I thought that it would be good to let you know what is going on during those few times we are not eating the marvelous meals prepared by our live-in gourmet chef. Life proceeds at its normal breakneck pace, and this will give you a glimpse as it goes wooshing by..... (Great word, "wooshing", you can almost feel the wind rushing through your hair when you say it, "wooshing". Go ahead, try it, you know you want to, and there isn't anyone nearby to hear you. Unless you are reading this while at work, and then it would be wise to limit "wooshing" in such environments. Maybe a whisper "woosh", just to tide you over until later!)  

The bright eyed baby continues to grow!
Big event of last week was a WEDDING! Long time family friend was tying the knot, and that meant helping out in the kitchen. Everyone likes the kitchen crew, and we like to be liked. Plus, you get to munch the entire time, and don't have to wait for the photos to be done, and the wedding party to arrive! Tiffany and I are very fond of costume dramas, and often discuss being more "Upstairs" or "Downstairs" type of people. In this case, we were fully "Downstairs"......

Pops holds the baby so Mom and Dad can work. You can tell he is put out by this fact. 

Don't do it Anton! Think how long it would take to work all of that off! P-90X wouldn't cut it.....
Since I am writing this post, and not Tiff, I can brag on my wife a bit. The bride requested that instead of a wedding cake, she would like to have pies instead. So, with my wife at the helm, and my parents and siblings to serve as the capable crew, 32 apple and apple-berry pies were made the day before the wedding, enough for 250 guests. They were a hit, if you had any doubts!

Beautiful and delicious. Take that you $2000 wedding cakes!

After the wedding we were exhausted! Eighteen hours in the kitchen, over two days will do that to you! So, we decided to flop back, the baby grabbed her silver rattle, and we relaxed on a Sunday afternoon!

No more pie!
That doesn't mean I can't munch on something else.....
Brothers Matthew and Nic recently returned from the Bahamas, where they were vacationing with the great G-ma! They brought gifts, and so I present to you....... Jamaica Lilyana!

Hey, mon!

Chilling with the pineapples. They show great hospitality.....

Speaking of fruit. What do you get when you cross 5 pounds of American strawberries with 2 quarts of Russian vodka? Strawberry cordial! Now we just have to be patient for the several months it takes to age.

"Money, like vodka, turns a person into an eccentric." ~  Anton Chekov (It turns strawberries eccentric too!) 

Mommy is showing her patriotic side again, dressing up the baby in flag swimsuits to go run through the sprinklers.

Trying to get any metal casting done has been tough. What with a wife to feed and a baby to clothe, there is hardly time for anything else! I am worked to the bone! **grin** Well, even so, I finally got around to using one of the Christmas presents my wife got me, and tried my hand at sand casting. For the first few hours, I learned how not to sand cast. Thanks to some web searching, and a bit of help from the experts on YouTube, I finally got my first casting poured!

An odd assortment of things on the table.....

Resting between failures. The ladies in my life are good at cheering me up.

Ready to melt some metal! Yes, my wife is an angel, and let me work in the kitchen, and use her good oven mitts.

A button, and a pendant. Oh yeah!

Enough metal work, this is also the time of year for planting. Yes, a liiiiiittle bit late, but there was this baby who came along, and she kind of messed with our whole schedule. So, we are just now getting to these things.

Tomatoes in the foreground and a sweet little peach in the background......

Practicing CPR on the kirvish (bunny, for you non-Assyrian readers).....

That is the "wooshing" for this week. Come back on Monday to hear all about our next set of fabulous meals, and every couple of Thursdays we will give you more "In Other News" segments! Say bye, Lilyana......

"Are they gone yet, daddy?"

Monday, June 13, 2011

We the Foodie People...Week 2: The British Isles

So, you came back for week two?

While we were eating food during our Assyrian week, we were discussing what to do for week "B". We tossed around several ideas, and then (after watching a British show...) we thought that making homemade Fish'n'Chips would be oodles of fun! But we were so settled on Indian food for week "I" that we came up with a great idea..."B" week would cover the British Isles!

Unfortunately, last week was insanely busy due to a wedding on Saturday. The bride, who is a friend of ours, wanted Apple Pie instead of a wedding cake, so we made 32 pies for the event. Since we were oot'n'aboot prepping, cooking and serving at her wedding for a few days, we ended up only eating three meals at home! :( But we enjoyed all of them and have pictures to share!

The first meal wis Scottish (of course *grin*). We haed chicken breasts cooked in lemon, honey an' rosemary wi' side dishes o' Tattie Cakes an' Green Beans glazed in a wee bit o' beer.

Actually, a good many of the recipes that we used called for beer...

What recipes?

'Allo govnah! Fish'n'Chips to name one! The batter for the fish was...interesting. You take the fish, dredge it in flour, then dip it in this thick beer batter and then fry it. Now, I will admit that I've never been much of a deep fried food person, and therefore don't fry a bunch of things...so I'm still working on oil temperatures. The flavor was good and Ben really liked the batter...so I'll try the recipe again once we've finished with our experiment.

This dish was our favorite of the week! I marinated the beef in whiskey, Dijon mustard and some other things before Ben grilled it. The beets were also grilled, but they marinated in vinegar and rosemary before he put those on. The other side dish was Colcannon, or mashed potatoes with kale...YUM! Each piece of this dish complimented the other just beautifully! We'll be making this one again!

So what do you think? Good food this week? How about a recipe? I think we'll post....*drum roll please*...the Colcannon recipe!


1 lb potatoes
½ lb Kale
1/3 C Half-n-half
1/3 C Milk
Chives/Scallions (as much or as little as you like)
1/3 C Butter

Removed the kale stems and chopped the kale finely. Cook and mash the potatoes. Add butter. Once the potatoes are getting close to being soft, cook the chopped kale in salted water for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the half-n-half and milk with the chopped chives. Beat the milk mixture into the mashed potatoes, then add the kale. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yup...cooking makes her tired. If you do try the recipe, please let us know how you liked it!
Check back later this week for our family update!