First up, the Swedish dish raggmunk, or potato pancake. The raggmunk are prepared by making a pancake batter of wheat flour, milk and egg, into which shredded raw potatoes are added then they’re fried in butter. We opted for the traditional serving combination of bacon and lingon berries.
Continuing with vegetarian cooking, I decided to make the Turkish dish Imam Bayildi for dinner. Imam Bayildi contains my favorite veggies – oven roasted tomatoes and eggplant as well as caramelized onions. Yum!
The name Imam Bayildi literally translates into “the imam fainted”. There are a couple of stories behind the name:
1) A Turkish imam swooned with pleasure at the flavor when presented with this dish by his wife and he fainted upon hearing the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to cook the dish.
2) An imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant and her dowry consisted of twelve jars of the finest olive oil, with which she prepared each evening in an eggplant dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no eggplant dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the imam fainted.
After a long vacation I am always excited to get back in the kitchen! After so much meat and seafood I was ready for a few days of vegetarian dishes and headed to My New Roots in search of a delicious fall dish. The Pumpkin Miso Broth with Soba caught my eye and didn’t disappoint. So delicious! In her recipe she recommends dried seaweed, but in Belgium it’s so easy to find different types of fresh seaweed – including my favorite, samphire – so nice and juicy!
In Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and France, late April to late June is white asparagus season. During this period I always try to eat as much white asparagus as possible – we’ve already had them 4 times! Compared to green asparagus, the white ones are more tender and less bitter. Normally Koen and I always eat them the Dutch way, with Hollandais sauce, ham, smoked salmon and a boiled egg. This season we’ve been experimenting. A few tips from Jeroen Meus to keep in mind when preparing asparagus:
Poke the bottom of the asparagus with your thumbnail; if moisture comes, they’re fresh
Rub the asparagus together; if they make a squeaky sound, they’re fresh
Rather than cutting the end off, break it off with your hands; that way you don’t accidentally cut off any of the tender asparagus
Koen and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Roosendaal, first at his Aunt Maartje and Uncle Sjaak’s house and then at the Brörmann house for Christmas. Unfortunately Nikki, Brigiet, and Sofie could not make it to Roosendaal to celebrate with us – Nikki and Brigiet were in Friesland and Sofie was surfing in Spain! Christmas Eve, we all made special dishes – Koen and I made two types of meatballs – and enjoyed an evening with lots of laughter and delicious food. The next day began with Christmas brunch. The entire afternoon we took turns in the kitchen preparing for dinner. I made macarons for the first time! Oma joined us for our delicious dinner which included a game where we guess what Dook is thinking. Koen and I were the winners guessing Roy Donder’s huispak and Oma’s pearl necklace! After dinner we facetimed my family in the States where they were also enjoying Christmas dinner! Also, special thank you to Barbara for the beautiful photos from Christmas!
I love checking My New Roots for new ideas to try in the kitchen. This time I was inspired to make my own almond milk after watching her video and seeing how simple the process is! It is really unbelievable how easy it is to make your own nut milk – I think next time I am going to try oats or another sort of nut, maybe I’ll even go a little crazy and try combinations, who knows. I was surprised by how strongly the almond milk smelled and tasted like amaretto. Delicious! The only difference I could really taste between the homemade milk and store-bought milk is that mine isn’t sweetened. I don’t think I’ll add any sugar in the future, because I always use almond milk in my breakfast smoothies that already have fruit, so natural sweeteners.
Although I have been experimenting with many different regional cuisines, it was pointed out to me that I’ve yet to make any Persian food. After reviewing a list of Persian dishes, the Persian Pirashki caught my eye. But I was a little confused because pirashki sounds really Russian. So of course I looked it up and it turns out that there are many dishes in Iran that have roots in Russia. I had to brush up a bit on my geography and realized that the two countries are really close together, so it isn’t really that surprising that a few dishes overlap.
This was my first time making bread dough! Luckily I have seen Koen make it millions of times so I had an idea of what I had to do and what to expect my dough to look like. The result was a bit like naan, because it’s yogurt based. The combination of the yogurt dough and ground beef filling – yellow from the tumeric, was so delicious! From the recipe I was able to make 10 pirashkis, so Koen and I are having the rest for lunch today! Yum! Continue reading →