30.6.11

that's the way.






















That’s the way the cookie crumbles
That's the way the feeble fumble
That’s the way the pie humbles
That's the way the needle pricks
That’s the way the latch clicks
That’s the way the door bricks
That’s the way the Stevie Nicks

That's the way the pan flashes 

That's the way the market crashes 


That’s the way the piñata smashes
That’s the way the ash to ashes
That's the way the moon wanes
That’s the way the chest pains
That’s the way the box contains
That’s the way the mortal remains

--Tom Waits + HBF + MEM

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21.6.11

intrepid.

I don't even think she's on a bike, just wearing the helmet for protection.

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OK so I should really be working right now? But I just made something that literally took 5 minutes of effort and left me wondering, "Why don't you just cook like this more often?".

Here's how it went tonight, but I'm sure this could be streamlined: take a bag of Cheap Dirk Fish (mine was Alaskan salmon). For each filet, sprinkle/rub unto/onto it: about a tbsp of Surinamese masala + a tsp of Surinamese X-Hot sambal. Broil for 12-15 minutes (probably 5 minutes too long, but I don't like to undercook Cheap Dirk Fish). Remove from oven and slather/drizzle each filet with 1 tbsp pumpkin chutney from De Avondmarkt and 1 tbsp of ketjap manis (this is why you didn't salt anything earlier). Broil for another 5 minutes without burning the sugars in the ketjap and chutney. Zero effort, big happy mouth time.

A banana-cardamom milkshake would've been the perfect sleeping pill afterwards but there is work to be done.

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There'll be more to this post when procrastination comes a-callin' again, but for now, I don't want to forget that The Girl Who Ate Everything was just on a terribly well-researched trip to Sweden and has lots of good info here on her blog, but also here on Serious Eats.

And, uh....here's this. Don't watch the original until after you see their version, but do watch it to appreciate the effort that went into the tribute. I didn't really laugh until he made the vinaigrette and then I had to watch it again.



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20.6.11

more_recon.

Above: Tjon's stall at the Dappermarkt, selling their standard stuff.

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Could one do a vegetarian version of this that would rock? I think so. Some kind of eggplant or chickpea filling?

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My first Surinamese venture this week will be a slightly weird one: sjoerkoro, a Surinamization of the Dutch word zuurkool, which is, yes, what we Americanos know as sauerkraut. I'm doing this because the weather here has been decidedly unsummery, and also I'm, as always, trying to do one healthy thing here or there.

I've never made this before b/c it just sounds wrong: the primary ingredients are sauerkraut, tomato, habanero, and salted beef. OK, maybe I can imagine it being OK. I report back later.

REPORTING BACK LATER: Totally good. I did a vegetarian version that was basically like this:

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sjoerkoro.

500 gr sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
50gr butter
1 onion, chopped
2 canned tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 madame jeanette/habanero, whole
black pepper

Yes, saute onion in butter, add everything else, stir, cover, simmer for 20 minutes. There are slightly fancier recipes out there, but this was mindless and a nicely different way to eat sauerkraut. Don't really understand how leaving the chile whole works, but...it does. Poke a couple holes in it with a pin if you want more heat.

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summer's kiss.

Procrastination afoot. And thus, blogging afoot. But we are fighting valiantly against our baser instincts, mostly b/c we really do have things to be doing.

So, may I present some efficiently-delivered brief notes from the last week of eating:

1) Went to La Perla again, ordered the same food, it was just as good as the first time, kind of unsurprisingly, which was, yes, a surprise.

2) Went to the beach for the first time this year: it was pretty good except for the sunburn, a beach tradition in which I do not normally participate.

3) Surinamese food makes me so consistently happy that I'm forced to wonder why I don't make it more often. It's so reliable in terms of dopamine delivery.

The latest reminder was: a full take-out meal from Riaz on Bilderdijkstraat for the first time in years, and it was...above average. We didn't order a ton of food, but what we did order was interesting and distinctive. Service was friendly if a bit slow and exhausted-seeming, and the prices were pretty reasonable.

Pictured below is my herheri with bakkeljauw, herheri being a mild stew of ripe and unripe plantains, sweet potato, and cassava, enlivened by the presence of spicy salt cod, homemade pickles, and a sambal or two. Unique flavors, and the whole thing felt more healthy than not. We also tried the jarabaka, a kind of dryish catfish masala with rice (jarabaka = pangasius), also good if carefully straddling the too-salty line. Baras were fine but not as good as Hangalampoe, IMHO.

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13.6.11

la perla.


Last night at La Perla, I said something like, "I haven't experienced this kind of unqualified pleasure at an Amsterdam restaurant since...", and then I couldn't think of when the last time was.

Now I think I know: Marius is the only other Amsterdam restaurant I can think of that is such an obviously great place to be that (paradoxically, I guess) you kind of forget where you are when you're there. Very nice.

Pictured above and below are the calabrese di spilinga and the finocchiona, both of which I would order again together in a second, they were completely complementary: the calabrese di spilinga features these little dark red hills of pungent and assertive 'nduja (which I would never have identified as sausage if the menu hadn't told me it was); the finocchiona's sweetish fennel sausage provided a nice counterbalance.

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Another element that worked in La Perla's favor last night was that we tried some of the food at Hanneke's Boom first. It's a great location and the vibe outside is nice and relaxed in a way that feels far from Amsterdam's normal non-beach terrace culture. The food, however, immediately reminds you that you are actually still in Amsterdam: careless, careless cooking.

And by that I mean whoever cooked this stuff couldn't actually care about how food tastes, or at least didn't taste this food: the hummous was decidedly moldy-tasting, the carpaccio had some kind of cheap and shitty long-ago-grated Parmesan emulator all over it; the scallops and chorizo with orange was a nice idea but didn't taste like anything (how do you make chorizo not taste like anything?) and was kind of definitively ruined by these bitter greens that were scattered over all of the appetizers....etc.

But yes, La Perla made everything OK again. As Dennis said, this is one of the only places in Amsterdam that makes you feel like you could eat there again the next day, or at least very very often, which is exactly my plan.

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7.6.11

eastern daylight time.

Above: Hilly and Anat at Paradiso.

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So, yeah, hi there. It looks like I will be going to Sweden for ten days in August, which will be my first time in Scandinavia. In the manner of past adventures, I will be using this here post as Planning Central.

Which, much like last year's Sardinia trip, is proving difficult to research. Sweden is apparently not the biggest tourist destination of all time, and the people who do visit are focusing their efforts on Stockholm and areas south.

I, on the other hand, am just landing in Stockholm and then heading north. Far north, first to Umeå, and then up north of the Arctic Circle towards Gällivare and the land of the midnight sun...looking forward to the outcome of my insomnia vs. no darkness. Will it be easier to sleep if I can't worry about the sun rising?


View Sweden in a larger map

rainy days and mondays.

And beer, and cheese, and sausage. This is some of the best osseworst I've had, handmade and smoked by some dude who  lives/works/smokes sausage around the corner from the bar. The bar being In de Wildeman.

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5.6.11

euphemistically.

It's fish taco season again. This, however, isn't one: there's an over-easy egg inside this one, alongside guac, homemade pickled jalapenos, two salsas, chipotle slaw, black beans, and fresh cilantro..with a little feta on top. Chomp.

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3.6.11

best, laid, plans.

Just checking in. Everything's fine, about to begin some kind of detoxification from weeks/months of abuse, let's see what happens.

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