Month: May 2010


Monday Meal Review: Belgium

Happy Memorial Day everyone! Please be safe and smart whilst celebrating … I like you and want you to stick around for a while longer 🙂 In the spirit of taking the holiday off, I’ll get to the point and jump right into the reviews. Enjoy! Vlaamse Asperges (White Asparagus a la Flammande) [Recipe] What I liked most about this dish: Vlaamse Asperges has three things going for it: the dish is elegant, the flavor is good, and there is next to no skill required to make it. This was my first time trying white asparagus and I was surprised to find them mildly sweet, with a slightly bitter undertone. Overally, I found the flavor to be remarkably less “asparagusy” than the green variety. If you struggle to get yourself or your family to like asparagus, white asparagus might be the way to go. Ever since I met my husband he’s claimed an innate hatred for hard boiled eggs. He even gagged once when I asked him try one to “prove it.” Little did he know the …

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Liege Waffles

Makes about 6 waffles Liege waffles are dense, yeasty, and studded with pockets of sugar. When you eat one room temperature, the little bits of sugar crunch in your mouth – an unusual, but addictive experience. Ingredients: 1 cup melted butter (2 sticks) 3 eggs 1/3 cup lukewarm milk 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 tsp instant yeast 2 cups flour 1 heaping cup sugar cubes (or 1 cup pearl sugar) Topping ideas: powdered sugar, strawberries, etc. Method: 1. Whisk together wet ingredients: melted butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. 2. Add yeast. Let sit for 15 minutes, if you can stand to wait.  If you can’t, it’ll be okay. 3. Add liquid to flour. I made a well, but it seemed kind of pointless since there was so much liquid. The batter will be so thick you will not be able to pour it, but not so thick that it makes a dough ball. 4. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 1.5 hours, or until about double in size. Of course, if …

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French Fries | Pommes Frites

Serves 2 Umm, let me explain the small amount of fries. We couldn’t keep our fingers off of them long enough to get a picture! I don’t need to tell you – French fries are tasty with just about anything. Try these homemade French fries for the fun and satisfaction of making them yourself! 🙂 NOTE: Please read my Technique post all about French Fries. Ingredients: 2 extra large baking potatoes (about 2.5 pounds total) quart of vegetable oil salt Method: 1.  Cut all edges of potatoes to make a rectangle. Slice into 1/2″ slabs. Cut each slab into several sticks. 2. Immerse in cold water for at least 30 minutes (you can also store them in the fridge overnight this way). Alternatively, rinse potatoes under cold water until water runs clear. You are trying to get rid of all the loose starch that will make the fries stick to each other. 3. Carefully dry off potatoes with towels right before frying. 4. Preheat oil to 320F. Cook fries in small batches (about a handful …

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White Asparagus a la Flamande | Asperges op Vlaamse Wijze

Serves 4 (as an appetizer or side) White asparagus tastes more mild than green asparagus, perhaps even a little sweeter. The topping is rather like a rich, lemony egg salad and goes well with the asparagus. Ingredients: 1 lb white asparagus 3 Tbsp melted butter 2 hard-boiled eggs 1 tsp fresh lemon juice 1 Tbsp minced parsley salt pepper Method: 1. Trim ends off the asparagus. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. 2. In a small bowl, mash egg with butter. Combine remaining ingredients. Mix together to make sauce. 3. Spoon sauce over asparagus and serve immediately. Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe White asparagus tastes more mild than green asparagus, perhaps even a little sweeter. The topping is rather like a rich, lemony egg salad and goes well with the asparagus.White Asparagus a la Flamande | Asperges op Vlaamse Wijze CourseSides & Salads LifestyleVegetarian Food TypeVegetables Servings Prep Time 4people 10minutes Cook Time 15minutes Servings Prep Time 4people 10minutes Cook Time 15minutes Ingredients 1lb white asparagus 3Tbsp …

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Baked Belgian Endive with ham and cheese

This recipe works great for nights that require something a little fancy, but you don’t have a lot of time to cook. Almost impossible to mess up, my version uses shredded cheese. You can get fancy if you want and serve this with a cheese sauce instead. Serves 4 Ingredients: 2 Endive 4 slices ham 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère dash nutmeg Method: 1. Preheat oven to 4ooF. Cut endives in half. Cook in boiling water for about five minutes. Drain well. 2. Wrap endives in ham and place in a casserole dish. Cover endives with grated cheese and sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Serve hot. Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe This recipe works great for nights that require something a little fancy, but you don’t have a lot of time to cook. Almost impossible to mess up, my version uses shredded cheese. You can get fancy if you want and serve this with a cheese sauce instead.Baked Belgian Endive with ham and …

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Belgian Beef Stew | Stoofvlees

Serves 2-4 (on a bed of French fries) Stoofvlees is a typical stew in that there are as many variations as there are people making it. Depending where you live in Belgium, Stoofvlees might have more or less vinegar, slightly different spices, and a textural range from soupy to thick and sludgy. My thick, hearty version sits well on fries, but if you want it more “soupy,” feel free to add more beef stock. Ingredients: For the marinade 1 pound stew beef, cubed 1 onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 rosemary sprig 1/2 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp pepper 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 1 tbsp coarse mustard 2 tbsp oil For the stew vegetable oil 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 1/2 cup Belgian beer 1 – 1 1/2 cups beef broth 2 bay leaves 1 Tbsp molasses salt pepper Method: 1. Add meat to a small casserole with lid (or plastic bag). Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over meat and squish around to combine. Refrigerate for at least an …

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You’ll Never Go Hungry in Belgium (with polls)

Photo is courtesy of the CIA World Factbook. This stunning art-nouveau home was built between 1901 and 1903 for painter Georges de Saint-Cyr. There are over 400 kinds of beers in Belgium. Most are made from barley, although some are made from wheat. When a baby is born, the Godparents give out white Jordan almonds to family and friends. Chocolates are popular. One kind, called Fruits de Mer (fruit of the sea) is a seashell shaped mixture of chocolate and ground hazelnuts. Brussels has more than 2000 restaurants. The Belgian pieman, Noel Godin (a.k.a. George the Glooper), throws pies in the faces of people who take themselves too seriously. In 1998 he hit his 50th victim when he creamed Bill Gates! Belgium is home to the largest aviary (bird zoo) in Europe. The Parc Paradisio houses over 2,500 birds. Belgium uses about 46% percent of its land for farming and livestock. The country grows about 80% of what they need. …

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Technique Thursday: How to make awesome French Fries

The fries in Belgium, plucked fresh from noisy street vendors, are something special. Each bite begins with the satisfying crunch of a crackling, golden “skin”, followed immediately by soft, steamy insides that melt, almost immediately, on the tongue. With just enough oil to help it all slide down, the fries – amazingly – are never greasy. You’ll be happy to know that you can experience Belgian-quality fries in you own home. The key is twice-frying the potatoes. Basic Recipe (full recipe with step-by-step photos will be posted on Monday) 2 extra-large Idaho or Russet potatoes, cut into fries (about 2.5lbs) vegetable oil, for frying salt Soak potatoes in ice water until needed, for at least 30 minutes (or, alternatively, rinse in cold water until the water runs clear). This step removes loose starches and helps assure crisp fries. Heat oil to 320F. Cook fries in small batches until soft, but not golden, about 4-8 minutes (depending on thickness). Let sit for at least a half hour to drain over paper towels. Heat oil to 375F. …

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Menu: Belgium

When I had trouble deciding which dishes to make (big surprise), you guys helped me out on our Facebook page by suggesting I make it all! Yikes!  Although I’ll be busy, I am happy to oblige… I mean who wouldn’t love a menu like this… Vlaamse Asperges (White Asparagus a la Flammande) [Recipe] White asparagus cooked until tender with a chunky sauce made with hard-boiled eggs, butter, lemon juice, and parsley. Baked Belgian Endive with ham & cheese [Recipe] Barely bitter endive, wrapped with ham and topped with grated Gruyère. If you’re looking for a quick, yet impressive side dish, this will do the trick! Stoofvlees (Flemish Stew) [Recipe] Stew meat is slow cooked in beer, beef stock and a mixture of mustard, thyme, vinegar, garlic, onion, paprika and a few other goodies. The longer stoofvlees cooks, the better the flavor. Pommes Frites (French Fries) [Recipe] Belgians love this popular street (and restaurant) food with mayonnaise, steak, or Stoofvlees. Homemade fries are also wonderful plain, with a dusting of coarse ground sea salt. Waffles from Liege [Recipe] …

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About Belgian Food

In general, Belgian food is a balancing act between the rustic and the exotic. Belgians love most any kind of meat, not limited to chicken, beef, ham, and veal, but including specialties like pate, goose, duck, boar, partridge, and any kind of sausage. Escargots, or snails are also popular, as are mussels, trout, perch, turbot, shrimp, and eel. Even with such an extensive list, many Belgians claim steak and French Fries their most beloved dish. Still others enjoy Stoofvlees (meat stew) with the French fries, or Waterzooi, a soup made with fish or chicken and vegetables Anyone in a noshing mood during happy hour will be happy to learn that Belgians are known for making hundreds of cheeses and beers. I wish I had the time to try them all. Oh, to dream. My stomach just smiled.

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Monday Meal Review: Belarus

I cannot lie. Sure, I’ve tried. But I learned early on that lying is much more humiliating than the truth. No matter how bad the truth seems to be. Of course, not being able to lie has its distinct disadvantages. Like having to admit embarrassing things, like how I got stood up this week. No, not by my husband (he knows better than to do that – love the sweet man). Remember the lightening bolt of good fortune I had a few days ago? When I ran into a real, live Belorussian (at Dillard’s), the week I was cooking Belorussian? And I invited her to come show me her country’s cooking traditions? And she said yes, she’d be “happy to”? Yeah. That’s who stood me up. I wish I could tell you something much cooler.  That she turned out to be a spy and was sent back to the motherland. How, on her way, she managed to send me a telegram (delivered by white doves) apologizing for missing our dinner date. Included with the telegram, of course, were …

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