Sweet & Spicy Cornbread


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I felt compelled to make a sweet cornbread today. I found a recipe, got out all the ingredients, and began my work! I then noticed that I could definitely throw in some pepper jack cheese and jalapenos that would make for a delicious spicy cornbread.

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What to do but make a sweet AND spicy cornbread! I hoped for the best and threw in the cheese and pepper.

Ingredients:

1 cup wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter
1/4 cup honey
dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup cheese
1/4 cup chopped jalapenos

 

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Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter in saucepan until liquid.While the butter is cooling, combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet in another bowl (don’t add cheese or jalapenos yet). Mix the butter into the wet mixing bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix. Now stir in the cheese and jalapenos, being careful not to stir too much. Poor into a greased tin and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes*.

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* I actually lost track of how long I baked this, but I believe it was 30-40 minutes.


Amsterdam + Bruges + Foreign Food = totaal koel week


For my job, I travel occasionally. I work in marketing but I work with lots of sales representatives, who mainly do the traveling. But for the big industry tradeshows, it’s important having the marketing team join them, to meet business partners, to be more connected to the industry, etc.

Which is amazing for myself. I never dreamed of having a job that brought me to The Netherlands! At least this early in my career! I never thought I’d even go to The Netherlands!

This was my second year going on this work trip. It’s great, because all our meals are expensed, and the restaurants we go to are vastly more expensive than what I’d pay for traveling on my own!

This is a journey of the food I ate: “Smakeleijk eet”, as they say in Dutch!

On the first night, a co-worker and I went out to eat, and when asked what I wanted to eat, I said “Something different and unique.” Somehow, I found myself eating pizza, though at an admittedly fancy Italian restaurant. But even the proscuitto on it didn’t liven up this relatively boring meal. AND I couldn’t take the left overs with me, which I love doing.

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I love traditional Dutch breakfast. I love it more than North American breakfast. Even than English breakfast! I love meats and good cheeses and eggs with tomatoes and cucumbers, and of course the sweet jam or Appelstroop (apple syrup, a staple in Holland!). The hotel I stayed at this year even had smoked salmon in the breakfast buffet!

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They also had this wrapped sausage thing, which I found tasty, but didn’t know what it was. I just found out that it’s raw beef sausage. Yum? But actually, it was seriously really great. I wonder if I can find it in the States?

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The presentation of coffee and tea is way more impressive than in the States. At really nice places in the States, the presentation for these drinks can be nice, but in many places in Europe, any standard restaurant makes ordering coffee or tea a nice little experience, with a little Biscoff cookie or other treat! I miss that when return to the States!

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Dutch Stroopwafels (syrup waffles): the simple placement of syrup inside thin slices of waffle – a food originally made for the poor – is quite likely the best gosh darn treat I’ve ever and will ever taste in my life. It’s fantastically delicious! (Fresh or packaged!) I ate so many of these while I was there!

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Cadbury, and other chocolate companies sell what’s called “drinking chocolate” which I’m sure is beyond amazing. But that’s still just measly powdered chocolate. This, below, was a chunk of chocolate that you stir into a cup of hot milk. And you get extra chocolate treats on the side. It’s not, but it’s almost too much.

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Below is a delicious “Dutch Coffee” which involves coffee, a Dutch liqueur and I think someone said something about egg?? I forget, but it was WONDERFUL. I tried looking it up, but Googling “Dutch coffee” brings up mainly “Dutch coffee shop” results.

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Below is a delicious mint pea soup that I got at the restaurant connected to my hostel, St. Christopher’s in Bruges. (Stay there if you go to Bruges! It was great!)

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When I bought this salami panini, I was regretting getting something so simple on my first night in Bruges, but it was quite literally melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I was also sure that I’d only eat half of it, but to my astonishment, I ate that gosh darn entire sandwich.

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And after the sandwich, I still had room for this Belgian Waffle! I’m not huge on too much sweet, so I told him to put less chocolate on it than normal. He acted as if it was blasphemous, but obliged. “But it’s Belgian Chocolate!” I had pistachio ice cream, because I’d deluded myself into thinking it would be less sweet than other flavors, like chocolate.
It was quite good, but, as you might have guessed, very sweet for me. I only ate half and then, sadly, chucked it.

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Presentation doesn’t matter – as long as it tastes good!


I whipped up a delicious meal for dinner today! I started with sauteed garlic and mushrooms, then I plopped two eggs on top and let them start frying. then I sprinkled chipotle gouda and smoked liverwurst on top and flipped that over for a most delicious over-easy concoction. 

It was all too big for the spatula, resulting in a dish that “flopped” (literally, but definitely not figuratively!)

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Spicy Island Cornbread – Ethnic Vegetarian


Kim here with a great spicy cornbread recipe!

I have made only one recipe from the book, The Ethnic Vegetarian, but the names of the recipes alone make this book so appealing to me. Not only is there spicy island cornbread, but there is South African corn pudding, fruit and sweet potato fritters, peanut biscuits, caribbean sweet potato bisque, and black bean and plantain fritters. Seriously. this book is for me. I don’t own it, but rented it from my local library. I know I need to own this now.

The  spicy island cornbread was amazing, and I didn’t even have tofu or hot sauce like the recipe calls for. (I love spicy cornbread, but I was home for the holidays and I took all the hot sauce from my parents for my own apartment. Talk about backfiring.)

The recipe I did was similar to the original and goes like this.

Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour (I used the latter)
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cayenne pepper
1 large egg
1 cup milk (original recipe calls for soymilk)
4 tablespoons sour cream (original recipe calls for 2 oz soft tofu)
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tsp orange juice (I used this to replace the lack of hot sauce, it was delicious!)
1 tsp grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper.

Beat egg, add milk, sour cream, butter, orange juice, and orange zest. Mix together.

Combine wet to dry ingredients. It will be bery thin liquid. Pour into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes 12.

This was a delicious and spicy bread. Peppery and sweet and buttery, and would have been spicy if I put in the hot sauce. If you really don’t like spice, you can omit the cayenne pepper. It will still be a great muffin!


Weetabix vs. Oatibix



Years ago, I fell in love with Weetabix, a British cereal made of shredded wheat. It comes in big biscuits, but once you add milk, it resembles oatmeal. Nothing could compete with Weetabix (except maybe Kashi). Then, in the international aisle at Meijer, I saw

OATibix?

Whaaaat?

I bought it, tasted it and fell in love with it. It outshined Weetabix by FAR! The way it absorbed the milk and its nutty oat flavor. It’s just fantastic.

Isn’t Oatibix beautiful?

BUT, true love cannot always last forever…

Oatibix was only on the shelves for two weeks! I never saw it again! I craved Oatibix, but couldn’t find anything to compare! I raved about it to Kim, who was studying abroad in Austria at the time and never got the chance to try it!

I said to myself, Beth, next time you’re in England, head straight to Waitrose and STOCK UP.

Just see how it soaks up the milk. AMAZING.

Well, Oatibix isn’t easy to find, even in London. Finally though, after several grocery stores and questions to staff, Kim and I found some and bought 4 boxes!!  I wanted more, but I didn’t know if I could fit it in my luggage. :’(

We’ve been eating it so sparingly, we still have a box and a half and we’ve been back for 2 and a half months.

So, in the States, Weetabix will have to do. Meijer’s international aisle is slimming down, (or, more accurately, the European sections are downsized, while the “Mexican” and “Italian” sections have grown) so even Weetabix might go away.

Okay, this picture looks delicious, but it never soaks up the milk the way Oatibix does. This picture is very poorly displaying it’s faults.

I’ve just discovered some really depressing information. If I were to order 6 boxes of Oatibix from England, I’d spend £73.56, or $90! £50 of it is the shipping. I could probably buy a lot of other stuff to ship with it… but not gonna happen anyway…

I guess I’ll just have to move to England or something. Weetabix and Oatibix are both heartily delicious.

All done.

-Beth


Nostalgia for a German/Austrian/Dutch breakfast.


Kim and I often feel nostalgic for our times abroad – the scenery, the people, the culture – and of course the food.

The other day, we were longing for the traditional breakfasts of central Europe. Or at least German, Austrian and Dutch breakfasts. We did a good job putting together a fantastically reminiscent meal of pretzel rolls, meats, cheeses, homemade Preiselbeeren jam (cranberry jam), homemade appelstroop (thick apple syrup), with tomato and cucumber.

When I was visiting a friend of mine in Cologne, Germany, her family’s breakfast table had an assortment of dense rolls, jams, chocolate spreads, cheeses and meats. My friend said she normally ate Meusli for breakfast during the week, but this was a special occasion, so they brought out the goods!

While Kim and I were eating our dinner, Kim said she could be in Austria right then, sitting in her host family’s kitchen. The only thing missing was the liverwurst pate!

Kim’s breakfast at our friend Barbara’s in Tettnang, Germany

When I was in Amsterdam for work, our hotel breakfast included slices of bread, salamis and ham, cheeses, tomato, cucumber, and of course Appelstroop.

Breakfast at my hotel in Amsterdam

A terrible photo of Appelstroop

So anyway, our dinner:

The Preisselbeeren jam and Appelstroop both turned out to be ridiculously easy to make.

Preiselbeeren Jam (Cranberry Jam)
On stovetop, cook cup of cranberries on medium heat. Spritz about half a lemon’s juice (a tablespoon) and add cinnamon, sugar. Cook until the cranberries have burst and become a spreadable delicacy!

preiselbeeren jam (with ricotta on bread)

Appelstroop (Apple Syrup)
The appelstroop is made of apple juice, lemon juice, whole anise, cinnamon and sugar. In a saucepan, add 6 cups of apple juice, two anise (seeds?) and a teaspoon or two of cinnamon. Boil until it’s 1/3 the amount, then add 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to boil until it’s a syrupy mass. BUT DON’T BOIL TOO LONG 0r the sugar will thicken too much, and you and that pan will be spending a lot of time with each other, you scraping off incredibly goopy syrup with a knife.

Anise – similar in taste as fennel, liquorice or tarragon. Pairs well with cinnamon.

Review: It was delicious of course! I love discovering food, or new ways of eating the same food, in this case, from different regions of the world!

-Beth


Cherry Cheese Scones



A rare occurrence, but Kim and I followed this recipe exactly, and guess what? They turned out amazing! Many times, when we’re just cooking for the two of us, we skimp on or swap ingredients, to make it healthier, and the dishes (usually) turn out tasting good, but nothing to rave about. THESE are rave-worthy!

Kim was craving the scones we had while in London, specifically the ones from our hostel cafe, which were fantastically buttery and rich. (with clotted cream and jam!) So she insisted we follow the recipe to see how close our Joy of Cooking got to English scones.

The English, historically and/or traditionally, have something called Afternoon Tea or High Tea (or just Tea, actually) that is served with little biscuits, scones and light sandwiches. We wanted to have a traditional “Afternoon Tea” while there, but they’re quite expensive – cheapest was £19 per person!

Kim had these juicy dried cherries – they were halfway between normal cherries and dried cherries. I’ve never seen that before, but I’m glad I’ve been introduced to them – they’re delicious! Very sweet on their own, but delicious.

Kim and I LOVE to mix sweet and savory, so of course we opted to make cherry cheese scones, so we swapped out the blueberries from the Joy of cooking recipe and added the cherries and cheese, hoping the consistency wasn’t changed too much by the cheese, and nixed the streusel topping. (Okay, I lied, I guess we did change the recipe…) Oh, and we forgot the vanilla extract too, but I think that worked in our favor, with the cheesiness.

Cherry Cheese Scones (altered from this recipe in Joy of Cooking cookbook.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend with flour mixture until it’s crumbly. You can do this with a pastry cutter, grinder, or with your hands (my favorite way!) But we ground in in a grinder this time.

In a second bowl beat the egg, then add the cream. Add to flour mixture and stir/blend until dough comes together. Don’t overmix the cough, or your scones will be tough.

Spray the pan and transfer dough to pan. Knead the dough 4 or 5 times and mold into a flat round shape and cut into eighths, and separate the triangular pieces so each side bakes with a crusty exterior.

Bake for about 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. I’d check after 15 minutes though, to see how they’re doing. Scones are best eaten fresh, but they were alright the next day too.

What we thought: DELICIOUS! I raved about them to everyone. I already remade them for co-workers and will make them next week when my friends and I have our own little afternoon tea! Cheers!

I know what a scone is, but what is clotted cream, cumpets, or lemon curd???
A brief history of the scone.
Wait, the English don’t pronounce it scone as in cone?

UPDATE: And speak of the devil (scones), a new YouTube food channel, Sorted, I started watching, literally yesterday, posted scones today! And they look so good, I think I might just have to make them tonight, for dessert!

-Beth


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