Two weeks behind; I’m getting there!

This was the beginning of Dutch week. To be honest, I’ve never had an interest in the food from the Netherlands but we do have a friend who is Dutch and I did this for him. Hi Bob! Bob and his wife, Nicole, currently live in South Carolina but we met them a few years ago through mutual friends when they lived here in Austin. Through the years they have become some of our favorite people and I always look forward to seeing them when they come down to Texas. They usually make a couple of trips a year, one earlier in the year and then another later in the year. They came down during the summer but I had already booked the Netherlands for the winter so I told them I’d cook for them when they came back down. And that was the plan.

Well, then Nicole went and got herself a lucrative contract with a gallery in New Orleans and now they can’t travel as much. Way to go, Nicole! Of course I’m kidding, it was/is an amazing opportunity for Nicole and we are so very proud and happy for her! My friend is famous! If you’d like to check her out (and you really should!) please visit her website or The French Art Network, with whom she works. Saying Nicole is talented is an understatement and I’m constantly in awe of her work. I bow down at her abilities. I am not worthy!

But I am worthy of this meal! Stamppot was a suggestion made by Bob, who said that unfortunately the Dutch aren’t known for their food. We had other friends live in Amsterdam for a bit and they agreed, their favorite food to eat while living there was actually Indonesian. Well I had already done Indonesia so “boring” Dutch food it was.

This was far from boring! It’s really easy to make because all you do is boil and them mash veggies. A child could make this. Well, a child with a good handle of cutlery because you do have to chop up a lot of veggies beforehand. The cool thing about stamppot is that it’s very versatile. From what I gather, you just need to have a couple of root vegetables and a green and you’re good to go. I used potato, sweet potato, turnip, carrot, leek, and cabbage. Bob made a kale stamppot a few days later that look amazing so I will definitely try it kale next time. The recipe called for rookworst, which is a Dutch sausage, but I couldn’t find it so I used kielbasa. Bob suggested smoking it next time to get a richer flavor and to also use a sausage made by Salt Lick, a local barbecue place.

I ate multiple servings of this and I was stuffed afterwards. The girls did eat this as well. The four year old picked at the stamppot but really enjoyed the sausage; the baby stuffed her mouth with both. James also liked it but said it was heavy. It was but that didn’t stop me! I ate it for lunch the next day, and the day after that, and was sad when it was gone. I had planned on incorporating it into our Thanksgiving dinner but I forgot about it until later. Whoops! This would be perfect for the cold weather weare (finally!) experiencing here in Austin so I’ll probably be making this again soon. I’ll just have to make sure I go for an extended run beforehand so I don’t go into a carb coma.



Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

By the time I prepared this meal, my injera batter was two days old so I was hopeful that whatever needed to happen would happen and my injera was would be

Well, it wasn’t necessarily Everything was there, ready to go live, but it was still in the test phase. This injera was an improvement from the previous day in terms of sponginess and it was less sour but it still tasted off. It was just very, very tart and I didn’t really enjoy eating it by itself. Normally I can munch on injera alone, I don’t even need to fill it with anything, but my injera definitely needed some filling.

And this filling was great! James actually chose this recipe and I was really pleased with the curry. I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with sweet potatoes so I always take an opportunity to do so. Most of the work for this meal came in cutting up the veggies and then once they were in the pot, I got to party in my kitchen! Of course that means I just stood in the kitchen and hid from my kids.

Thankfully this meal worked out because I would have be sad two days in a row and that would have been terrible. Hahaha! Oh, when I thought being sad two days in a row over food was the worst it could get!


Ginger Stewed Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes, and Celery and Rice

Even though I’ve been doing this for almost seven months and have made over seventy meals, I still expect every one to be amazing and the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I know that’s a tall, HUGE, order but it’s true. I guess on some level I just feel that if I’m putting this much effort into it, not just cooking but the researching and shopping, that it should pay off very well. The reality is that not every meal can meet my ridiculously high standards and I need to settle down with that way of thinking.

I’ll take “Duh Melissa” for $200, Alex.

This meal was on the lower end of my satisfaction meter. It was a decent meal and it was something that could be prepared any day of the week. On that alone, it’s very family friendly and I probably will save it for future use and it might even turn into a “Go to” meal but I wasn’t super impressed. I thought the ginger would make the chicken more exciting but not really. I think my sauce should have been thicker but I don’t know if that would have really made a difference. The potatoes tasted like something I’ve had for Thanksgiving but I will say the orange extract did give it a slightly more interesting flavor.

Surprisingly, I liked the celery and rice the most. I was really worried about the celery because it is such an overpowering flavor but the ginger brought a down a notch. Also helping it was the pepper. Scotch bonnet peppers are used A LOT in Jamaican cooking but I wasn’t able to find them. I even went to a Afro-Caribbean market but they didn’t have them. Scotch bonnets are a cousin of the habanero and rocoto pepper. You might remember the rocoto pepper from Peruvian week. Also, a little tidbit, in Mexico, the rocoto pepper is called a manzano pepper because of its apple like shape. Anyway, Scotch bonnets are fiery like habanero and tangy like rocoto/manzano. I don’t like fiery but I like tangy so I used the latter. That might have also helped the celery and rice, having little big of tang, but I think the biggest factor was the ginger.

So, you know, this meal was good. It was fine. I’d eat it again. The girls liked the rice and potatoes but were pretty uninterested in the chicken. I think the oldest even ate the potatoes for lunch the next day. Double duty meals are always great!

Recipe, recipe, recipe