Tag Archives: Breakfast

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Dutch Stroopwafels (syrup waffles): the simple placement of syrup inside thin slices of waffle – a food originally made for the poor – is quite likely the best gosh darn treat I’ve ever and will ever taste in my life.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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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


Vegan Orange Muffins & Applesauce-Spice Muffins


My roommate’s senior show reception (for fine art) was last night, and as the genius she is, she decided to serve breakfast for dinner. Waffles, eggs, bagels, milk and orange juice were all served. Her mom doesn’t eat eggs and when I was thinking about what I could make to contribute, I immediately thought – Caron’s Questionable Vegan Pancakes recipe. As much as I really wanted to make one of Caron’s recipes, I thought, after pulling out all the ingredients, that muffins really were much easier to carry around a gallery setting. So I researched egg-less and vegan muffin recipes and ended up taking a few different things from a few different recipes.

I’ve mentioned before that vegan baking is amazing, which I feel most people don’t realize (and I can eat all the batter I want and not get sick! At least not from salmonella). They hear the word vegan and think it’ll be weird. Well, I can tell you, I didn’t tell anybody the muffins were vegan and everybody loved them! I have two different flavors – orange and applesauce-spice.

Vegan Orange Muffins
2 cups Jiffy baking mix (Michigan-made!)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup orange juice
zest from one large orange, (at least 2 tsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the wet ingredients on one bowl, and dry ingredients in another. Pour dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Try not over stir, or the muffins’ texture will change. Place in oven.
It will make 12 muffins.

Applesauce-spice Muffins
2 cups Jiffy baking mix (Michigan-made!)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the wet ingredients on one bowl, and dry ingredients, except walnuts) in another. Pour dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Add the walnuts. Try not over stir, or the muffins’ texture will change. Place in oven.
It should make 12 muffins, but for some reason I could only manage 11. Perhaps I had eaten too much of the batter in the making?

These muffins were delicious! The spices in the Applesauce-Spice really held the muffin together, and the orange-flavor was so unique and fresh! A great spring-time muffin! Plus, vegan muffins feel lighter to eat (depending on how you make them of course!).

Kim


English Beans on Toast


I always look forward to the international aisle at Meijer. How different my life would be without having ever tried Weetabix, Bonne Maman Fig Preserves, or known of the existence of this German mustard.

I’m a big believer in trying new things. There so many types of food out there, who knows what we’re all missing! Marmite, for example… Marmite is similar to Vegemite, a very popular thing to eat in Australia. I won’t talk about Marmite too much in this post because I will be blogging about it later this week. (Look out for that!) I’ll just say that I have not yet discovered HOW to like Marmite. That may sound like a weird sentence, but if you’ve ever tasted, or smelled Marmite, you understand.

I love British things especially, and I’ve always wanted to try “authentic” beans on toast, a breakfast or snack food in England. So I bought Heinz Beans with Tomato Sauce, in the British section of the Meijer international aisle. At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I do love trying new things, but at the same time I tend to gravitate towards my comfort food (yogurt and fruit for breakfast almost EVERY day – it’s a weakness of mine), so the beans sat in our pantry for a couple weeks, before I forced myself to SAY NO to yogurt and eat beans on toast.

English Beans on Toast

I don’t know why I waited so long; I knew I’d like it. Which I DID. Beans in a tomato sauce are great! We’re used to our baked beans, which are in tomato based sauce, but it’s almost a bbq sauce, whereas this is just a light tomato taste. I ate mine with over-easy eggs also on the toast, and it was DELICIOUS. Because of the tomato sauce, it’s easier to eat it with a fork instead of your hands.

What I thought: It’s great! For an entire traditional English breakfast, try it with sliced tomatoes, sausage and tea (black pudding is optional).

-Beth


Healthy Veggie Quiche!


I love Quiche. Quiche is exquisite. But it can also be pretty unhealthy with all the cream and cheese and crust. I tried to make it a little healthier (just a little, though ;P) by using cottage cheese instead of cream. SO GOOD.

Here’s a rough recipe:
3 eggs
approx. 9 oz cottage cheese
Shredded chedder cheese, 1/3 cup?
Spinach (microwaved until a little shrunken, maybe 15-20 seconds?)
10 slices of tomato, halved
Onion, chopped
Pie crust
salt and pepper to taste

Set oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, cottage cheese, salt and pepper together.

Put crust in pan, put in layer of spinach, then onions, then tomatoes. (It will be ruined if not in this order). Sprinkle cheese on top. Pour egg mixture over everything.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until it’s not too liquidy. Tell us what you think!

-Beth

Review: I loved this Quiche. I thought it was AMAZING. However, I don’t know whether to attribute the savory sweetness to the egg/veggie portion or to the crust. I might make this with out crust to find out! (And it’s even healthier!)
The cottage cheese is a unique new flavor, but it still works for quiche – it’s not too different from quiche with cream. It’s also firmer quiche than using milk.