Wednesday, October 28, 2009

cocoa dusted pepernoten

These pebble-shaped cookie delicacies of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and anise are a revamped cocoa dusted version of pepernoten (literal translation is pepper nuts!) Pure genius. If cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and anise wasn't enough, the added goodness of cocoa take into a whole new realm of deliciousness. These little treats, as well as the original pepernoten, are given out during Christmas time to all the well-behaved dutch children.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Snoep and Drop

Hema is like the dutch Target. They sell everything from baked goods to bike lights. I have a preference for the baked goods and candies for that matter. The dutch have a serious sweet tooth. As do I. "Snoep" is candy in dutch. The picture above and below is just a sample of the insane amount of candy they sell at Hema. Above is more the sweet variety, that includes chocolates, gummies and hard candies. Below is the licorice. "Drop" in dutch. Many of the dutch licorices are extremely salty, but so good.


Harvest Time!! Fall fun! I love this time of year. In Holland, they don't normally celebrate Halloween. It's more of a yankee holiday. But in recent years, they've started to sell pumpkin affiliated ornaments and spooky paraphernalia. They've also started celebrating that most hallmark-y of hallmark holidays: Valentine's Day. Ah, Americanization of Western Europe one holiday at a time.  But back to Halloween. I love it. I was born on Halloween and have always had a special affinity for the pumpkin. Pompoen in dutch. The dutch have big heads. Literally very large heads. Me included. I used to be called pumpkin-head in school. Not funny. Okay, kinda funny. Anyway, I have a bit of a big head complex and an obssession with orange. (Orange is also an official Dutch color.) The photo above was taken at a dutch grocery store. It's sorta of a hybrid pumpkin gourd. I don't really think they're edible, but I like the way it looks.

I really should actually make something with pumpkin in it. I carved a pumpkin the other day and it had a soft spot and got super moldy within a day. So sad. Pumpkins are a bit labor intensive to deal with. More so than squash. You gotta get rid of all that stringy-ness and chop through it's hard exterior. It's really great though simply roasted with olive oil and salt and maybe a bit of cayenne. The seeds are also edible and nutrient-rich. Oh the beauty of the pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So, I just got back from Amsterdam on Sunday. Recovering still from both jetlag and over-indulgence of dutch pastries. Including this one. This beautiful, delicate and simple dutch treat. It's a take on the classic stroopwafel, which is basically sweet sweet treacle sandwiched between two waffle-type biscuit cookies (koekjes in dutch) with a slight taste of cinnamon spice. This stroopkoeken is like that, but instead of a waffle koekje, it's this magnificently buttery shortbread cookie. Not too sweet, but made with real roomboter (creamed butter). Way better than the overrated stroopwafel, in my opinion. To warm them up, you place a cookie on top of your hot cup of coffee or tea for a couple minutes. The syrup melts a bit and gives the cookie a lovely warm,  just out of the oven taste. Oh man, I am getting hungry and it's too bad because I forgot to bring some back to the States with me. Makes me so sad. Now I'll have to peruse some dutch internet import company to get my hands on these lovely sweet treasures again. Or I should just figure out how to make them myself.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Goudse kaas

I'm writing from Gouda, located in this tiny country called The Netherlands. These insanely tall Dutch people have a penchant for good cheese. I mean seriously good cheese. "Goudse kaas," is dutch for the infamous gouda cheeses. I've been here for only a day and a half and I have consumed so many different kinds of aged cheeses. Many are not even originally Dutch, but that didn't stop me from imbibing. Ones with cumin, a chedder with paprika, a brie-type cheese with truffle oil, a simple Gouda, a smoked gouda, muenster, a roquefort, a creamy cheese dip with garlic....the list goes on. Garlic in dutch is "knoflook."

An afternoon snack in Holland consists of a cutting board full of different cheeses and these little breads called krentenbollen that are basically slightly sweet rolls with raisins in them. And they're amazing! You simply slice open a little krentenbollen and slather with a bit of butter and add as much cheese as you can handle. The combination of a spicy, pungent or mellow cheese all go well with the sweetness of raisins and bready goodness. Lovely afternoon snack.

Now off to ride my bike along the canals!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Roasted root vegetables

The weather is a changin'. The crispness in the autumn air just makes me wanna stay indoors, wrap myself in a snuggie (I kid, I haven't delved into the realm of snuggie-dom yet, though I am tempted. I mean seriously, you can change the tv channel without your arms getting cold. And now there are animal print ones! Genius!) Anyways, I digress from my snuggie tirade. My point is that all I want to do is roast some good vegetables. Roasting is seriously the easiest culinary trick to make boring, bland vegetables taste so mouth-wateringly delicious.

For this batch of roasted veg, I had on hand turnips, sweet potatoes and red potatoes. I warmed up the oven to 350 degrees and then started choppin the tubers into about one inch thickness all around. Some came out in different shapes because of the various sizes of root veg, but they should all be about the same size for even cooking.

I put them on a baking sheet with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. Enough to really get them slathered well. Then I just added some salt and dried thyme and a bit of paprika. I didn't have any fresh herbs on hand, but obviously that would have made them even better. I kept them in the oven for about half an hour. I never really time it, I just check on them periodically til they look cooked through and a bit golden.

That's it. I added some black pepper, let them cool for a bit and then dipped them into some hummus from Sahadis. So good. The creaminess of the hummus is a great compliment to the earthy starchiness of the vegetables. Super easy dish!