Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fragments- January 29, 2010

Ahoy dear friends! It's finally Friday!

I got my bike back last weekend. When we picked it up they said "Here's your half new bike!" Most of the front end had been replaced. It's nice to have the freedom to get around easily again.

My therapist is moving on to bigger and better things at the beginning of March. I'm kinda bummed, but I feel okay about it. So, I suspect that means there's been some progress made!

I made a hilarious sock monkey a little while ago. He's a kabouter aapje (gnome monkey). I'm still laughing about it.

Kabouter Aapje

I have a confession. I suck at blog awards. It's not that I don't appreciate them, it's just that I suck at them. I'm trying to do better! I'll be posting about the two I got recently very soonly.

I made peanut butter cups this week. They were delicious and I shall be making a post about them next week.

If you'd like to participate in the weekly fragmented fun, go visit Mrs 4444 at Half Past Kissin Time!

Mommy's Idea

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Herb Baked Eggs

Before we got married and actually lived in the same time zone, I would talk to Martijn on MSN while he was getting ready to go to work in the morning and I was getting ready for bed at night. One day he told me he was running back and forth between the kitchen and the computer because he was making his breakfast. Naturally I asked him what he was making for breakfast. Here is an approximation of the conversation that followed.

M: Baked eggs!
Me: Baked eggs?
M: Yah!
Me: How do you bake an egg?
M: You know, in a pan on the stove...
Me: OH! A FRIED egg!

You see, the Dutch word for fried is gebakken. The Dutch word for baked is also gebakken. NOW the whole conversation was rather funny, but at the time the concept of a baked egg was quite baffling. Since then, the baked egg has been a bit of a joke between us. That's how I knew I HAD to choose Ina Garten's Herb Baked Eggs for this week's FNCCC! To round off the meal I also made the Endive, Pear, and Blue Cheese Salad.


Baked Eggs

Herb Baked Eggs
Courtesy Ina Garten

  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
  • 6 extra-large eggs*
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (I just used evaporated milk)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted French bread or brioche (Or just plain old toast), for serving
*This recipe was written for two servings and I thought 3 eggs a piece was a bit much, so I did two per person and kept the rest of the ingredients the same.

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat (I couldn't really be that specific with where the rack was because my oven has one place for a rack and that's where it was).

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)

Place 2 individual gratin dishes (a ramekin would work too) on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 (or two) eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper (I think that Parmesan cheese is pretty salty so I didn't add any extra salt). Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly (My broiler has a hot spot so I moved them about three times so they wouldn't scorch). The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.


Witlof & Pear Salad

Endive, Pear, and Blue Cheese Salad
Courtesy Ina Garten

  • 4 to 6 heads of Belgian endive (This is witlof in Dutch)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 ripe Bartlett pears, halved, cored, and sliced
  • 1/4 pound good Roquefort cheese (I used Danish Blue since it's a little milder and not nearly as expensive)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves

Trim off the core end of each head of endive and slice it in half lengthwise. Cut out the cores, separate the leaves, and place 1 1/2 to 2 heads of endive on each plate.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, egg yolk, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion (I swear this is magic. Make sure not to add the oil too fast or it will break and you'll be disappointed in the lack of magic). Toss the pears with some vinaigrette and place on the endive. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the endive leaves to moisten them. Crumble the blue cheese onto the endive. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve at room temperature.


THE VERDICT: I thought that the herbs in the eggs all worked really well together! Broiling the eggs like that made the whites firm but the yolks runny which is perfect for dipping your toast into. The pear salad was yummy too. I think that endive is a little bitter for my tastes, but the sweetness of the pears and the dressing really offset that. Make sure that you use really juicy ripe pears. Both recipes are very good and I'd recommend them!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- January 25, 2010

Last week went pretty much according to plan. I didn't end up making the Boernkool Stamppot, but we went to dinner at a friend of Martijn's and ate it there instead!

Tortilla Pie- Per husbandly request.

Brown Bag Burritos- I need to use up the leftover tortillas from the tortilla pie!

Herb Baked Eggs & Endive, Pear, and Roquefort Salad- I have a funny story about baked eggs, I'll tell you about it on Wednesday.

Cuban Pork Chops & Red Mashed Potatoes- I thought this was quite tasty and I pretty much have everything to make it, so why not?

Carrot, Parsnip & Horseradish Gratins- I'm assuming I'll be able to find parsnips. I've seen them here before but now I'm wanting to buy them they'll probably vanish from every store.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cuban Pork Chops & Sofrito Mashed Potatoes

I must confess, I have no idea who Guy Fieri is. He wasn't on Food Network when I was in a place to watch it, but he does seem to have some good looking dishes. This week, I got really ambitious and did TWO recipes for the FNCCC; Cuban Pork Chops with Mojo and Sofrito Mashed Potatoes.

Pork Chop & Tomato Smashed Potatoes

Cuban Pork Chops with Mojo
Courtesy Guy Fieri

  • 1 cup plus 1/4 cup orange juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops (My chops weren't this thick, I just cooked them for a shorter amount of time)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper (I just did a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (Again with the insane amounts of salt. I'd use maybe one TEASPOON of salt here.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin*
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder*
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder*
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano*
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine (I think you could just get away with water or chicken stock here)
  • 1 cup watercress, for garnish (I figured since this was just for garnish I'd leave it out)
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped, for garnish (Skipped)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced, for garnish (The only reason I didn't skip on this was because I had an avocado that was on it's last legs and needed to be used)

*I used the full amount of spices listed in the recipe (well, cut in half for two chops) and there was oodles left over. I think you could safely cut the recipe in half and still have enough for 4-6 chops.


In a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag, combine 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup lime juice, and vinegar. Add pork and let it sit and marinate for about 1 hour in refrigerator (I poured the marinade over frozen pork chops and let it thaw in the juice).

In a small mixing bowl, combine all dried spices. Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and rub with the dry spice mixture.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Place the pork chops in the pan and sear on 1 side until brown. Flip over and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic begins to brown. Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, and white wine. Simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced and begins to thicken. The chops should be cooked through.

Remove the chops from pan and put on a warm plate. Continue to reduce juices in pan by half. Pour over the chops and serve immediately.

Garnish with watercress, tomatoes and avocado (Garnish? We don't need no stinkin garnish!).


Sofrito Mashed Potatoes
Courtesy Guy Fieri

  • 2 tablespoons salt (Does this seem excessive to you? I skipped it completely)
  • 2 pounds potatoes (recommended: Yukon gold)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (I used a yellow bell pepper for both green and red)
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 ounces tomato sauce (I didn't want to open a box of tomato sauce for such a small amount so I just thinned out the remainder of the can of tomato paste which actually worked out perfectly)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (I substituted evaporated milk for the cream)
  • 3 tablespoons salt (Uh, really? Skip this too. Salt the potatoes to taste after you're done making them)
  • Salt and pepper (MORE SALT! YAH!)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves (I realized I didn't have any fresh so I sprinkled in a teaspoon or so of dry into the sauce)


Fill a large pot with water, salt (I didn't salt the water, but if you do, I don't really suggest that you use TWO TABLESPOONS of salt to do it with)and potatoes and bring to boil. Cook until fork tender.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat. When oil is hot add onions and peppers and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Lower the heat and add tomato paste and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by half.

Add tomato sauce (or cheater thinned out tomato paste) and bring to simmer for 5 minutes. Then stir in butter and cream and set aside, covered to keep warm.

When potatoes are fork tender, drain water and mash slowly adding the sofrito mixture. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cilantro.


The Verdict: Aside from the fact that the potato recipe called for FIVE tablespoons of salt for 4-6 servings, it's a pretty great recipe. I wouldn't think to add tomatoes to mashed potatoes but it actually worked out really well. The pork chops were absolutely fabulous too. I loved the tang that the marinade gave to the meat and the spice rub (with the salt adjustments) was just right with those flavors. Martijn nodded and mumbled his approval too while he was shoveling dinner into his mouth. I would recommend both of these recipes to anyone. The best part was that if you don't count the marinating time for the pork chops, dinner only took about a half an hour to make!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- January 18, 2010

I have somehow ended up with about 73lbs of dried chickpeas, so if you have any fabulous ideas for them I would LOVE to hear them!

Martijn's dinner group is here this week so that means HE will be cooking for ME. No complaints there.

Baked Falafel- See aforementioned reference to 73lbs of chickpeas.

Pork Chops- I found a good recipe to make for FNCCC, so I'll post about it on Wednesday.

Baked Fish with Salsa- I'm going to use a salsa chicken recipe and replace the chicken with fish. I can't forsee anything horrible happening, can you?

Boerenkool Stamppot- This is a good Dutch winter dish that's basically potatoes smashed with curly kale and served with a rookworst (type of smoked sausage).

Fresh Pasta & Sauce- This is my fast go-to meal for when I don't feel like doing anything except boiling water for dinner.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

magicJack Winner!

I only had 17 entries on this one, so everyone had pretty good odds of winning. I wish I had one to give to everyone, but until I find a corporate sponsor willing to bankroll these things I'm afraid that's just not a possibility.

I typed everyone who entered into my spreadsheet in the order of their comment.

Then I went to and had it pick the lucky number between 1 and 17.

So the winner is lucky number 13! Sarah of I Blame My Mother said "I would call my siblings. We got rid of long distance on our home phone and my cell doesn't get good reception in the whenever I have to make a long distance call, I have to sit outside."

Congrats Sarah! I'm glad you don't have to sit outside in the cold anymore. I'll e-mail you for your shipping information.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010

Since I don't have enough to do in my life, I've decided to participate in Book Chick City's Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010.

The goal is to read 12 thriller & suspense books in 2010. I'm pretty sure I can handle that since that seems to be one of the genres I enjoy the most! I don't have a set list, so I'll just add them as I go along.


2. Moonlight Becomes You by Mary Higgins Clark

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Fragments- January 15, 2010

As I was drifting to sleep last night I thought of a really clever intro for my Fragments post today, but I must've been exhausted because I can't figure out why I thought it was clever. Maybe I forgot the clever part.

I've been going everywhere by bus and foot this week and I really HATE having to rely on the bus system. I'm glad it's there for when I -want- to ride it, but it takes SO MUCH LONGER. Plus... there really is no polite way to say this... some people need to jump on the deodorant bandwagon. I mean, really. I don't want to be smashed up against your smelly person in the bus. It's bad enough being smashed up against an UNsmelly person!

We took my bike to the shop for an estimate. I didn't think it was going to be CHEAP to fix, but I also apparently underestimated the huge amount of damage it had taken.


I had a bent front fork, bent front wheel, bent FRAME, broken steering pin, broken brake handle, broken pedal and some other things that I can't figure out to translate for you at the moment. The total there at the bottom? It does say €306.99 incase you thought maybe you'd hit your head and started seeing more numbers than should be there. The man is supposed to transfer the money to us to cover the repairs though so that's good.

Speaking of my bike, the bike shop is calling it "the tall one." I guess that's okay since that's what people call me too!

Poor Martijn developed an abscessed tooth and had to run to the dentist (in Germany) to have a root canal on Thursday. He had to go back in this morning for what was supposed to be a five minute procedure (taking out the drain for the abscess and repacking it) but when the dentist got to poking around in there he discovered that the roots of Martijn's teeth actually go down to his knees and that the whole thing hadn't been removed properly. An hour and a half later... well, you get the idea!

We're going on a "date" to IKEA tonight because Martijn's desk chair finally gave up on life this week and we need to get a replacement. They don't sell the one he had anymore so I hope we can find one he'll like. This also means that I don't have to cook! Hooray for meatballs.

I started using Windows Live Writer to publish a few posts and I don't think I really like it that much. It is all shiny and magic but it takes me twice as long to format posts how I want them. I know a lot of people like it, but blegh. I shall continue to use my old Livejournal editor and go to flickr and gather my photo links myself. It's supposed to be more convenient but for me it's really not!

EDIT: Since I'm a forgetful flake and forgot to mention this the first time around! One of my sweet friends here compiled a post of ways to help the Haiti earthquake victims and how to avoid the scams. There is a ton of great information so please check it out.

If you'd like to participate in the weekly fragmented fun, go visit Mrs 4444 at Half Past Kissin Time!

Mommy's Idea

P.S. I'm giving away a magicJack! Check out the magicJack Giveaway post for more info =)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge: Pork Sate

The January 2010 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

We could choose our own meat/tofu , but the required part of this challenge was marinate. Marinades serve two purposes, to: 1) add awesome flavor and 2) tenderize tougher meats.

Pork Sate

Pork Sate with Peanut Sauce

1/2 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp ginger root (optional)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground coriander (I realized I was out of this and crushed the heck out of some coriander seeds with my mortar and pestle instead)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
2 tbsp oil (vegetable, peanut, olive)

Stuff to be marinated:
1 lb pork (loin or shoulder cuts)

Cheater alert: If you have a food processor just toss everything except the pork in and blend until smooth.

Chop the onion, garlic and ginger root very finely. Mix it into the rest of the marinade ingredients.

Cut Pork into 1 inch strips.

Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill or place the whole lot into a ziplock bag and chill.

Let the pork marinade for 4-8 hours (no more than 24).

If you use bamboo skewers make sure to soak them in warm water for at least 20 minutes before using.

Gently slide strips of meat onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.

Broil or grill at 290 C/550 F (or pan fry on medium high) for 8-10 minutes (until the edges start to char), turn and cook another 8-10 minutes.


Peanut Sauce

3/4 cup coconut milk
4 tbsp peanut butter (I used about twice this amount, it just seemed too runny otherwise)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander (again, I used the mortar and pestle to crush the seeds)
1-2 dried red chilies (keep the seeds for heat), chopped (I used crushed dried chilies since that's what I had)

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.

Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon seasoning mix. Mix well, and stir often. The aim is to heat and melt the peanut butter, but don't let it boil!

This was a little different than the "Dutch" sate you find here, but we both quite liked it! The sauce was really good but I might play around with the marinade a little more next time I make it. Thanks cuppy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Smoked Salmon BLT

This week, I'm going to tell you what the verdict of the Giada De Laurentiis FNCCC recipe was before I even tell you what it is. It was so good that we ate it all before I took a picture. It looked like a regular sandwich though, so you're probably not missing much by not having a picture.

I chose the Smoked Salmon BLT. I chose it because I couldn't see how it could possibly go wrong, which was a good thing considering the GREAT week I've been having. Luckily I was right, and I'm saving this for a "HELP I NEED A FAST DINNER" option.

Smoked Salmon BLT
Courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

(I didn't really measure anything aside from the mayo mixture.)
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
  • 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices multigrain bread (I just used these little multigrain bake at home breads... they're sorta shaped like ciabatta and they work really well for the "special" sandwiches in my life)
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon
  • 1 cup arugula, divided
  • 2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, sliced

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, and fresh dill. Spread the lemon mayonnaise over 1 side of each slice of bread. Arrange the smoked salmon on 4 slices of the bread. Break the bacon in half and put on top of the smoked salmon. Top the bacon with 1/2 cup of arugula and arrange 2 to 3 tomato slices on top of the arugula. Cover with remaining slices of bread, lemon mayonnaise side down.

The Verdict (again): You should make these. They're delicious and take about 5 minutes. Martijn said he very much approved! I served them with homemade tomato soup.

P.S. I'm giving away a magicJack to a lucky reader! Go check out this post for info!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

magicJack Giveaway

Well my dear lucky friends, it's about time that I do another giveaway! Since I like MY magicJack so much, I've gotten my grubby hands on another one to give to one of YOU*.

Pretty much everything I said in my original review still stands but I'll go over the main points again.

magicjack giveaway collage

A magicJack USB device that has a phone jack in it. This means you can plug your regular telephone into your computer and make unlimited domestic calls for $20 a year. You can pay a little more and get good rates on international calls as well, but at the moment that hasn't been a need for me. Currently they only have US (and a very few Canadian) based telephone numbers but that can still often work out well for those of us living in another country who have family back "home." You can get a local to your family number and that way they won't be making expensive international calls to talk to you.

Keep in mind the following-
  • US (and a few Canadian) phone numbers are available (you can check the area code you'd want a phone number for here)
  • You need to have a good broadband connection (unfortunately satellite internet won't work)
  • You need to have a Windows PC or Intel based Mac
Now for the good part! I'm passing onto one lucky reader your very own magicJack complete with 1 years worth of service ($40 value). What do you need to do to win? Well, leave me a comment so I know you want to be in the running (if you're reading this via an RSS feed, click through and comment on my blog please so I don't miss your entry). I'd love to hear who you'd call or who you'd gift the magicJack to if you win! Winner will be chosen by using next Sunday evening (Netherlands time) January 17, 2009. Open worldwide, but remember the telephone number limitations.

*Thanks goes to my mom for sending this along for me to give away to you!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday Fragments- January 8, 2010

Let’s just jump in here!

I got a new 2010 agenda for myself so I could try to keep better track of my appointments. I was filling in a few things that I had dates for this year and I got to May. I discovered that someone had been helping me add things to my calendar.

Picture 3228

My wrist seems to be healing up okay, but I’m still pretty black and blue in certain areas.  My bike is in the shop and they should be calling with an estimate tomorrow or Tuesday. 

Martijn and his co-workers were discussing the shortage of salt here.  He was joking that he needed to fly to my parents house near Salt Lake City, fill up his suitcases with salt, come back here to sell it on and make a slew of cash!  One of his co-workers said “Oh, do they have salt there?”  Martijn replied with “They don’t call it Salt Lake City for nothing!”  Then another one piped in with “Because then it would be called Zoetermeer!”  Zoetermeer (a village next to The Hague) is literally “sweet lake".”  So essentially, I’ve moved to a place with the exact polar opposite of Salt Lake City- Sweet Lake City.  I knew things felt off here for a reason!

Speaking of the salt shortage, it makes me giggle that the first priority is the bike paths.  Who cares about those dang cars, let’s let them slip slide all over… the cyclists need to be safe!  Not that it matters to me right now.  Poor mangled bicycle.

After Christmas sales here aren’t really quite the same as they are in the US, but you can scoop up a good deal every now and then.  I’d mentioned that I was longing to start my very own Christmas village and my sweetheart spotted the village things were 75% off at one of the hardware stores here.  They had some WAY cool larger village houses but since we’re short on space we decided to get a smallish 5 house set with the figures and trees and such included.  It’s not the worlds most amazing village but it will be cute when it’s lit up and up on the shelf.  PLUS, instead of paying €50 as it was originally marked, we snagged it up for €7,50.

If you didn’t see it, I posted about the cheese I made.

Unknown Mami’s comment on my sock post yesterday cracked me up.  She was shocked to find out that I can’t knit and is thankful to know I’m not actually perfect.  I’m so not even close to perfect, I’m just a good pretender!

Thanks again to Mrs. 4444 for hosting this madness!

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Happy Feet

You know what fills me with glee and happiness? Awesome socks. Awesome socks that FIT my giantess feet. Most men's socks (99% of ladies socks don't fit me) are not awesome socks and therefore my sock glee and happiness is often rather limited.

I suspect that my mom got sick of hearing me moan and groan about how terrible it was to have giant feet and no cool socks and she decided to do something about it! I am up to four, yes FOUR, lovely pairs of hand-knit-by-mom socks. I smile every time I put them on!


Thanks Mom!

P.S. You're probably wondering why I don't just knit myself some awesome socks. One of my deep dark secrets is that I do not yet know HOW to knit. I guess a girl can't know how to do everything, can she?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

At this rate I'll be in a full body cast by February...

Just five days into the new year and I'm already sporting this:


In the background you can see that it looks rather snowy and icy.  It IS rather snowy and icy, however slipping and falling on the ice would just be TOO SIMPLE for me.  Instead, the fates decide that I need to get hit by a car.

I am amazingly incredibly lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it I guess).  I was headed to the store on my bike to run a quick errand and some person didn't decide to take the .3 seconds to look in their mirror and opened their car door right into me.  If they'd opened it a second or two earlier, I would've run head long into it and probably flipped over the front of my handlebars and head first into the car window.  I was just in the right place for the door to hit me and knock me over.  I'm a pretty colorful shade of purple at the moment, and I have a bruise the exact shape of my left handbrake (eerily exact) on my upper arm.  My neck is really sore, along with the rest of me from the fall.  Thankfully the wrist didn’t get broken, it’s just really really bruised.

Speaking of my left handbrake... well it's no longer in working order.  The handlebars have been completely knocked off kilter (not just loose, the pin inside is probably broken), I have a bent front fork and who knows what else.  Martijn doesn't have the tools (or the time) to fix it and since it was the door-flinging-assailant's fault I don't think it would be fair for Martijn to have to fix it in the first place.   We’ll be taking it into the shop for an estimate.  At first I was hoping that it wouldn’t be too costly to fix, but after Martijn told the guy that he didn’t ONLY need to pay for my coat to be cleaned the guy was really less than friendly.  So because I am spiteful (and in pain), I hope it’s REALLY REALLY expensive to fix just because he was rude.  HAH!*


*I realize this is petty and horrible, but geez... it's not my fault he didn't look before flinging his door into me. I am the one who should be cross and grumpy!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Homemade Herb Cheese

We took a FNNCC vacation last week, but we’re back into the swing of things again this week! The chef is George Duran from the show Ham on the Street. From what I read on the website, it looks like a rather interesting show, but since we’re Food Networkless here in the land of clogs, windmills and cheese, I don’t know if it’s actually any good! Has anyone seen it?

There were a bunch of recipes that looked like a lot of fun so I have some bookmarked to try later, but the one I eventually settled on for the challenge was George’s Mom’s Homemade Herb Cheese. As with the cottage cheese I made for the Alton Brown challenge, the cooking time of 5 minutes is completely insane. I don’t know how to get your milk hot enough that fast without starting it on fire!! I halved the recipe because I wasn't sure if it would be tasty and I didn't want a giant wheel of cheese just to go to waste!

Tomato & Basil Cheese

George’s Mom’s Homemade Herb Cheese
Courtesy George Duran

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 pint half-and-half (I used evaporated milk- koffiemelk for NL folks)
  • 1 cup white vinegar (Oh white vinegar, is there anything you can't do?)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, not in oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve (I sorta forgot this)

(Things you also need that aren't mentioned and might be useful to think about beforehand are a container you can make holes in for the cheese and a thermometer to know when your milk reaches the right temperature)

Drill holes into the bottom of a round plastic storage container approximately 6 inches wide and at least 4 inches high (I used an old yogurt bucket), and set aside. Line a colander with cheesecloth and set aside.

Cheese Making Bucket

Put the milk and half-and-half into a large pot over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches 195 degrees F. There will be a slight simmer and the top will be very foamy (This took about a half hour on medium heat on my stove). Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the vinegar. Put the colander into the sink and pour this mixture into the cheesecloth. When most of the liquid has passed through, add the tomatoes, basil, and salt and stir gently to incorporate. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and transfer the cheese to the plastic container. Set the container on a rack on a sheet pan to catch the whey. Put a plate on top and weight it down with some heavy cans to squeeze out the excess liquid. Let rest for 1 hour, remove the cheesecloth, and return it to the plastic container with the plates and weights. Put it into the refrigerator overnight. To serve, put the cheese onto a plate and brush with a little olive oil (oops, forgot this part)

The Verdict: I took this to a New Year's Eve party and everyone seemed to like it. I didn't add enough salt (which was totally my fault because I didn't use the amount called for in the recipe) but it didn't RUIN it... just made it a little less flavorful. I was impressed with how firm it got, but it is still a little crumbly so be aware of that if you try it. This is a keeper, and I think it will be fun to play with different goodies mixed in.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Friday Fragments- January 1, 2010

It's Friday, and you know what that means! Happy Fragmented New Years!

  • I'm not making resolutions this year. I've learned that I set unrealistic expectations of myself and fall into a horrible funk when I can't mark "save the world" off of my list.

  • We spent Oudejaarsavond with a bunch of Martijn's co-workers and friends eating oliebollen, waffles and lots of cheese. At midnight we went outside and watched fireworks for a good hour before we headed back inside to thaw out. Around 3 am, I dragged my sorry butt home and fell asleep. TODAY I feel old and tired! I had a good time though, and I suppose that's what is important. We didn't have anything crucial to do today so it was okay to stay in bed until almost noon.

  • Christmas 2009 was held on the 29th and 31st of December instead of the 25th thanks to the USPS and TNT Post taking their sweet precious time delivering things. I appreciate my husband for not letting me mope all day on the 25th and for facilitating a candle light dinner to cheer me up.

  • I spent the past few days feeling a little under the weather. Enough to feel like crap but not so much that I felt like it was acceptable to stay in bed and do nothing. I am feeling better now and I hope I can stay un-sick through the rest of the winter. Wouldn't that be nice?!

  • My paid flickr account is going to expire this week, so I clicked on over to renew it. It's 24.95 per year, but I feel like I get enough use out of it that it's worth it. But wait, you get a super amazing deal if you buy two years at once!


    It's ONLY 47.99 for two years... a savings of... wait for it... ONE DOLLAR AND NINETY ONE CENTS! Really flickr? I mean, really? Thanks for the amazing deal. I'm so floored by your generosity.

As always, head on over to Half Past Kissin' Time for more random brain dumpings!

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