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So, now that the cat’s out of the bag, I can finally tell you all about the horrible things that have preyed upon my love of food in the past 3 months.  This foodlova was getting her heart broken.  Not by Mr. Foodlova in the least, but by the new palate I have developed.  Yes, everyone hears about the “cravings” of a pregnant woman.  How lovely, to eat all and everything you like!  I was jealous of the stories of pickle and ice cream cravings because isn’t sweet and salty my favorite combo?  Yes, it is!  I could not wait to taste the deliciousness of this weird combination, but knew that I would love it, if I was actually craving it. 

But alas, the “cravings” have not hit me yet.  For the past 3 months I have been hit by something much more grave.  I have always wanted a superpower and usually picked flying as the one that would be most useful, but  I was graced with a different sort of superpower – the superpower of smell.  I know you are instantly thinking that I could smell pie baking miles away or fresh-baked bread that A.J. was baking over the ocean in Canada, but I must correct you.  It is not the delicious smells that I am referring to.  It is the horrid smells that have increased in volume?, I mean, power? Well, whatever smell does when it increases. 

I have come to smell the inside of the fridge from behind the closed bedroom door.  I have smelled the dinner of the hundreds of other people living in the huge apartment block, but most disturbingly of all, I have smelled the braising meat of the Turkish pizza shops littering the streets of the Netherlands.  Why oh why must I detest the smell of cooking meat?!  When we first moved here, I couldn’t get enough of the Turkish pizzas.  Now, I am getting to know the pain of the vegetarian and understand the feelings of the characters in The Year of the Flood

This superpower nose that I have been granted has made recent meals quite bland.  Macaroni, rice, bread, apples, soup.  I even got my Mom to bring over some Cream of Wheat for me to eat for dinner.  Now I bet you gentle readers would just love a whole blog about how to make Cream of Wheat, but I have so far saved you from that fate.  So, I have had to adjust and eat whatever seems to be my fancy of the day.  Anything with tomatoes, fresh fruits and veggies, cereal, toast, you get the picture.

Now, I am sure I have sufficiently spurned your appetite, but wait!  I have something for you here.  Since I am on the meatless kick, I have ventured into some vegetarian cooking.  Take this here quiche for example.  Have I ever made a quiche before? No.  Have I just broadened my culinary horizons? Yes!  Now why don’t you try out a vegetarian dinner for a change, too?  Good for the digestion, good for the environment and good for those of us with superpower nostrils.

note: Mr. Foodlova quoted me that no man eats quiche, but he still liked it even though he is a man.

Kale Quiche – adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart

I got this recipe from the archives of Smitten Kitchen.  She praises this recipe as one of her go-to’s so it was obviously very tasty.  She has a whole section on vegetarian fare that looks quite delicious.  I tweaked the recipe a little since I used frozen kale instead of spinach, just because they have it readily available here.  I also added less than it called for because I thought that it would be little overpowering.  And yes,  I know that it has eggs and cheese, but I was going for the meatless, people.   Iserved it with a side of corn on the cob.

Crust – Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee without the sugar

**click on the link and follow her instruction.  Mr. Foodlova was at work making the dough, figuratively, so I had to make this dough myself.  It was pretty easy, so don’t be scared!  Make one half of the recipe for one crust.

Insides- Smitten Kitchen spinach quiche

1 brick cream cheese (I used the low fat version and it worked well)

0.33 cup milk (or half and half or cream…)

3 eggs

1 package of frozen chopped spinach/kale, thawed and drained (I used about 2/3 of the box instead of the whole thing)

0.5 cups grated cheddar (I used 0.25 cups more cheddar and omitted the parmesan she has in the recipe)

4-6 green onions thinly sliced

0.25 tsp of both salt and pepper

Start by making the crust and letting it chill for 1 hour (I waited ~40 mins and it was fine).  While the dough is chilling, start with the inside.  Beat the cream cheese until smooth and then cream in the milk and eggs.  Next, toss in the spinach/kale, grated cheese and green onions and stir.  Season with the salt and pepper and set aside.

Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and press into a 9″  (28 cm) pie dish or quiche form.  My pie dish is actually an appletaart dish, so the sides are higher than normal and therefore I did not push the crust all the way to the top.  Pour in the filling and pop into a 425 degree farenheit (220 degrees celsius) preheated oven.  Bake until the crust is golden brown and the inside is set – 25-30 minutes.  Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

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I updated my blogroll and the “what I’m reading” page.  Check out the new links.  I also added a page called “Browse Recipes” with a full index of all the posts in one spot.  Now it is super easy to find a recipe!  Enjoy.

Y’all, my Mom is here visiting (hence the massive breaks between posts!).  Awesome for me and Mr. Foodlova, but lucky for you because you will also reap the benefits here.  Yup, she’s been cooking for us all week.  I just smile writing that.  Home cookin’.  It feels so warm and comforting like a big hug over here in rainy and foreign Delft, Netherlands.  Not to mention, I get to sit around and watch her cook.  She has been taking care of me for a whole ten days and letting me just put my feet up since I have been so tired.  Why am tired, you might ask?  Well, I am expecting – that’s why!  Yay!

Since I told you all about all the great cheese and wine (no more!) and pannekoeken and appeltaart, and Belgian beer (no more either 😦 ) here, now I can tell you that I have been missing some of the old Canadian favourites – or craving them?  Sometimes a girl just needs to eat a little puffed wheat cake or Rice Krispie cake for that matter.  And can I get a hell-ya for an occasional KD?  Hell-ya! Yes, I know these are not to the calibre of what I normally put on this blog, but there are just some good-old crap treats that just feel like back home.

Anyways, that was a little bit of a side bar, back to Mom’s cooking….  It is that time of year when all the garden veggies are being harvested (I checked with Mom on it this time).  Seriously, it is one of my favorite times of the year.  Fresh garden vegetables – peas, beans, corn, beets, potatoes, onions, carrots, dill.  You can’t go wrong.  It all tastes so sweet, so fresh, so not like cardboard (winter anyone?).  It’s the time of year for corn shucking, pea shelling and eating carrots right out of the ground, soil and all.  Or you could rinse them off with the garden hose if you’d like.

When I was young, every year, mom would chop carrots, shell peas and break up green beans, blanch the whole batch and pack them up in the freezer for winter eating.  All that work, but the taste in the dead of Saskatchewan winter was all worth it.  She would also make pre-made kits of borscht.  My favorite all time soup.  I bet you guys could guess that I love beets, so hopefully you do too.

Borscht is basically the Eastern european essential winter dish.  There are several ways to make it.  Some cabbage based, some potato based, but all it really is is a pot full of veggies.  I guess my fam bastardized it a bit with ham, but it’s for the flavour, people, and that is what food is all about.

This is an easy recipe, on the heels of another easy recipe.  All you do is chop up beets, beet leaves (or kale), green beans, carrots, add corn, peas, cubed ham and you could even throw in some turnip or potato.  Cover it with water, add some s+p and boil it.  You won’t believe the flavour.  The finishing touch is a dollop of sour cream and some chopped dill.  This is a nice rustic soup, with a full fresh flavour (alliteration – woop woop), deep burgundy colour and creamy broth (due to the sour cream).  Thanks Mom!  you can leave a thank you note in the comments for my Mom, I’ll make sure she gets it 🙂

*don’t add rhubarb pictured on the side – that was just from the same harvest…

Borscht Soup – My Version based on Mom’s version based on Granny’s version, etc

3 large beets peeled and cubed (include washed and chopped leaves if you have ’em)

Fresh kale or swiss chard, chopped (only if you don’t have the beet leaves)

3 largish carrots, chopped

a handful of fresh green beans, broken into bite size pieces

1 cup corn

1 cup peas

1 cup ham, diced (get the real ham, not the pressed – it makes a world of difference!)

salt and pepper (salt is majorly important here since we are not using a broth, taste the soup before serving to check the salt, add if needed, makes you feel like a real chef anyways!)

optional: onions, potatoes, turnip, anything that grows in your garden…

250 ml sour cream

1 bunch fresh dill

OK, throw all the veggies (not the dill) into a big soup pot.  Cover the veggies with water.  I usually put enough water so that the veggies are floating.  If you like more broth, put more water.

Get that on the stove boiling and add in the cubed ham.  Boil until the beet cubes can be pierced easily with a fork and everything is a rich burgundy colour. You can really boil the crap out of this soup unless you added potatoes or turnip because they tend to go soft and mealy. 

Taste soup broth now – did you add enough salt and pepper?  The flavours should be bold and not bland – enhanced by the salt.  You put a lot of water and no broth, so you’ll need quite a bit of salt.  Taste it again….

Serve in deep soup bowls with a dollop of sour creme and a sprinkle of chopped fresh dill on top.  Stir the sour creme in and slurp it up.  It keeps amazingly in the fridge and tastes even better the next day.

I just spend two whirlwind days in Paris.  We jumped on the high-speed train and bulleted into France to see the wonders of the City of Love.  We walked the Champs D’Elysées, we climbed the Arc de Triomphe, we saw the Eifel Tower by night and climbed Montmartre to see Sacré Coeur.  Oh yeah, and we spend hours with thousands of other people in the L’ouvre Musée.  Hours.  But, what I can tell you, on this here blog, is that I ate.

I ate fresh-baked croissants for breakfast (still will forever remind me of the Van der Valk in Wolvega), crusty baguette from a boulangerie, crudités, “french” fries and pizza.  Ok, italian style pizza does not count as a French delicacy, but I just can’t resist a stone oven baked pizza.

 

We also stepped into a chocolaterie for les bonbons chocolat and into this candy shop.

An old fashioned homemade candy and cookie shop.  I felt like I was in Charlie and the Chocolate factory.  Which, just happens to be one of my wildest dreams.  Yes, you guessed it, I have a sweet-tooth, especially when it comes to life-sized gummy bears and chocolate rivers.

This dream store provided me with homemade lollipops and Mr. Foodlova and Mama Foodlova delved into the cookies.  We bulleted back to the Netherlands with full tummies.  Ahh, Paris!

I may be a bit early with this “recipe”.  Are potatoes being dug up yet?  I think you could probably pull up some small ones just for this occasion or make your way down to the market.  It is the most sublime little concoction you ever will taste.  It heralds from a small farmhouse a few miles outside of Ituna, Saskatchewan.  From my dear sweet Granny.

You know how everything your Granny makes just stays with you your whole life?  Her cooking is straight up meat and potatoes.  Farm food.  It is the organic, healthy, whole foods everyone is into these days.  My Geege (grandpa) just laughs at the whole movement.  He says, in his endearing Polish accent, that he’s been growing organic grains his whole life and Granny’s been planting and harvesting organic whole foods from her 1 acre garden to feed the family from the start of time.  Ok, not the start of time, but it’s been happening since my relations were fresh off the boat from Ukraine and Poland. 

I used to loooove getting to spend the night out at the farm.  During the day we would run around in the muddy yard, feed the cats, make forts and play the ridiculous games that you can only make up when you are young and filled with imagination.  Geege would be out in the fields and Granny would be hard at work.  Washing clothes and running them through the press to squeeze out the water (anyone know what I am talking about here? super old school).  Then she’d bring it all out and hang it on the line.  She’s call us all to the garden and set us upon the peas while she pulled up dinner.  We’d just be as happy as pigs in mud there.

At night we’d all go to bed early under homemade feather tics and just have the most peaceful sleeps with no sounds from the city.  I would always wake when Granny would be tinkering in the kitchen, early in the morning, with the kettle on the stove for tea.  I would tip-toe on the freezing flour in my nighty and pull up a chair from the 1970’s? 60’s? 50’s? table, my feet dangling from the stool.  Granny would greet me with my special Ukrainian nickname and ask if I wanted some tea.  She would quickly change the question with a wink and say,”How about some hot chocolate instead?” Only at Granny’s would we get hot chocolate for breakfast.  The morning was so peaceful at the farm and everyone would slowly rise as the sun came up.

Well, now that you are sufficiently enamoured with my Grandparents, I will finally give you the secret potato recipe.  Boil new potatoes, warm cream and fresh dill in a saucepan with salt and pepper.  Pour over the potatoes and dream of summer days on the farm… 

***uploaded onto It’s a Blog Party! Check it out for this and many more recipes of the week.

New Potatoes in Cream and Dill Sauce – from Granny Foodlova

It’s gonna be hard to give you real measurements here, but they truly are not needed.  Here are the important bits: use only new potatoes from the garden or supermarket, do not over cook the potatoes, serve immediately while still piping hot.  This is great with beans from the garden and roasted ham, beef or chicken from the oven.

A pot-full of new smallish potatoes, halved or quartered

1-250 ml carton of cream (real cream or it won’t thicken, I’m talking full fat here people)

a heathy dose of chopped fresh dill

s+p

Boil the potatoes until still firm.  Drain the potatoes and replace them back in the hot pot.  This will dry them out, so as not to dilute the cream sauce.  In a saucepan, pour the cream and add the fresh dill and salt and pepper.  Stir on low heat until the cream thickens a little.  It will bubble up and thicken naturally.  Pour over the potatoes and make sure every inch is covered with cream.  Savour or devour and shake your head at how amazing this 3 ingredient side could possibly taste this good.

Foodlova

I'm an ex-Olympian and I have a serious passion for food. I guess you could call me a food lova! What about you?

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