Romanesco

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Creepy food hall of fame

Have you ever seen this before? I didn’t think so. I had never seen it in the U.S., but it’s all over the place here. It’s called Romanesco, a strange monster-like head in an even creepier pea-green color. If broccoli and cauliflower were to… you know… breed, I think this would be the love child. It makes me nervous just looking at it. Nevertheless, we bought one at the market and cooked it. I’m always up for trying a new food, despite (sometimes ugly) appearances. While I don’t have any pictures of the final product, we just roasted it with its parents and some carrot for about an hour. And actually, it was quite tasty. I’m even starting to think it’s pretty (must be the accountant in me, it has the Fibonacci sequence in it, nerd alert!). Call me smitten.

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Spaghetti & (mozzarella-stuffed) meatballs

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One of our favorite meals

You want a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Look no further. We use the (in)famous Scott Conant’s recipe for his mouth-watering Scarpetta spaghetti. You can check out a pretty good adaptation of the recipe here. It all comes down to the ingredients. As in, they better be the freshest of fresh. We took it a step further and even used fresh, handmade spaghetti noodles found at our Noordermarkt, but that’s your call. Just don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

As far as those huge balls of meat, we like (who is surprised) Giada’s recipe found within here. They are each stuffed with a perfect oozing cube of mozzarella. Do yourself a favor and make sure that is fresh too. You won’t regret it!

Vietnamese chicken soup

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Perfect rainy weather meal

Amsterdam is known for its constant rain, so a good way to combat the winter blues? A hearty soup! I sort of made this up as I went along, but basically boiled vegetables (hearty ones like carrots, celery & onions) in chicken broth and in a separate pot, boiled pieces of chicken in water. Once both were done, I threw the chicken in the soup and used its water to boil vermillion (you can sub this for rice noodles) and added that to the rest once it was cooked. Go ahead and salt & pepper to your own taste (for me, a lot). For garnish on top, I added cilantro, mint, bamboo sprouts and a squirt of lime juice. The lime juice is essential! It really gives the dish its Asian flair.

Cool American

Here is a good lesson in how the rest of the world views Americans. No, not that they (we?) like ranch dressing, just that they (again, we?) are cool.

Behold:

Not Cool Ranch. Cool American.

Ranch? What is ranch? The rest of the world may never know (or care). And it doesn’t matter, because they are (I guiltily confess) delicious. Way to go, Americans. Keep on being “cool”.

Egg salad tea sandwich

The other night, my girlfriends and I got together for a tea party. I use the term “tea party” loosely because our “tea” at this party was actually a warm tea cocktail with rum and lemons. That’s just how we roll. Naturally, I wanted to make something that was still on point for the occasion so went with this: The egg salad with salmon and dill… tea sandwich. Otherwise known as the tea sandwich not for wimps. Yes, it was complete with triangular portions & removed crusts which I consumed at a later time. And naturally, I neglected to take pictures of it at the party. Thankfully (more for me than for you), I had enough ingredients to make it again. This time, on toast for brunch. You won’t hear me complaining about having it twice in one week.

You can find the recipe HERE. (Note: I really like their egg peeling technique. I also really like peeling eggs in general. It’s so satisfying! …No?)

Chimichangas

Those of you that barely know me know that I love Mexican food. It might have something to do with my heritage. Guess what? It’s not too easy to come by in Europe! Go figure. I have had a hard time finding corn tortillas (finally did at 9Euro a bag), decent salsa (Tostitos brand will have to do for now) and I’m still on the hunt for real chorizo (might try to make my own!). But, we did have a glorious Mexican feast made right at home recently.

Behold the Chimichanga.

I used the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Spoon Fork Bacon. (Note: Since I like my Mexican extra caliente, I subbed out the poblano for two spicy red peppers. Also, I used Cholula, my absolute favorite hot sauce, instead of the Sriracha, and larger tortillas since this was no appetizer.)

Rigatoni & goat cheese

Made this a couple nights ago for some girlfriends. Not the most beautiful presentation/photograph, but the flavor made up for it. You can find the original recipe HERE. I should have served it up in our ramekins to make it prettier. Maybe add chopped basil on top. For shame, Julie, for shame. We also had roasted chicken and garlic green beans, but those were even less picture worthy (i.e. sort of ugly).