at last.

The Mara has only been looking for a European power supply pizzelle maker for the last 10 or 15 years. Yesterday: bingo, right across the street at the Blokker, just in time for her damn berfday. Here's the family recipe.



3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 and 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
1 to 3 tsp anise seeds (depending on your anise love, yes i know)

In a medium bowl combine eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla. In a separate small bowl, mix flour and baking powder until combined. Stir into the egg mixture and add anise seed. Drop by rounded spoonful onto center of preheated grid in the pizzelle maker. Close lid, allow to cook until steaming stops, anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds, experimentation will be necessary, and you will burn some. Cool the successes on a wire rack and then store in airtight container. Makes two to three dozen, depending on how good you get at it.



Above: De Prael on Sunday, featuring completely reasonable non-cheesy piano jazz. Might be a good appetizer for the slightly later and historically more raucous session at the Engelbewaarder if you're into that kind of thing.


Our own kitchen is still not a hotbed of thrilling cooking these days, but what with the Super Bowl lumbering into view this weekend you kind of can't go anywhere on the internet without running into somebody's idea of what appropriate food would be.

So let me completely unnecessarily add our diminutive quack to the fracas. Something on Saveur led me down the ol' bunny hole into a bunch of Dale Talde recipes that we're going to try and steal.

Buffalo Cauliflower.
Kung Pao Chicken Wings.

more to come...


sriracha ranch dressing.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp sriracha
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives or scallions
1 or 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste



i've got a lovely bún chả.

Even without the rice noodles and nước chấm, this is totally worth doing, but yes doing the whole thing as intended is probably pretty spectacular (stolen from here). Basically you make a quick Vietnamese caramel sauce for 8 minutes, cool it down, then add that plus shallot, fish sauce, etc to the ground pork and let it marinate for a couple hours. Then make small patties or balls out of the mixture and pan-fry or bake them and serve them with nuoc cham, lettuce leaves for wrapping and fresh herbs. Or also with rice noodles as originally intended (in fact, the noodles are the bún, so really my version without them is just...chả?).


bun cha (vietnamese pork meatballs).

2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp cold water

450g/1 pound ground pork or pork/beef mix
1 large shallot, or half a red onion, minced fine
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped fine
1 red Holland chile or jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 head iceberg or Bibb lettuce
fresh cilantro
fresh mint
homemade quick cucumber pickle



confiture de lait.

Ja, not a whole hell of a lot going on in the kitchen these days. Today I'm making dulce de leche for the first time b/c, well...nothing else really sounds good. Apparently there are a couple possible ways to make this, I'm going for the least potentially explosive one.




Here's where a revision of Michel Roux's beef stew and a recipe for stoofperen will appear, written by my good friend and alias Paul Tatos.




Good weather for guitar playing and finally finishing Breaking Bad (we're mid-season five so no spoilers pleeeze). Sustenance was provided by this surpirsingly good cabbage experiment.


red cabbage gratin (i'm pretty sure this sounds better in many other languages). 

1 not-giant head of red cabbage, shredded
1 cup half and half
1 and 1/2 cups skim milk
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp raw sugar
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan
¾ cup finely chopped almonds



methi lab.

haiku for a deep, dark spice cabinet.

One hundred grams' worth
of dried fenugreek leaves.
What possible use?



gastrobar ron.

My extra-luxurious birthday present from Megasubtiel Corp. (and Groupon) this year was lunch at the recently Michelin-starred Ron Gastrobar. It was, well, many things, but mostly it was a slightly surreal and great afternoon well-spent with the folks from Megasubtiel (including their supremely well-behaved and generally amazingly placid new hire) in a restaurant environment about which I literally have nothing bad to say.

Will we ever be able to do it again in total pimpish style like we did today (considerably less than half our lunch is pictured here)? Mmm...not any time soon, even with Groupon's help. Will we come back relatively soon and sit at the bar for, say, one €15 plate of really really good deboned BBQ spareribs and a shockingly affordable (for Amsterdam and Michelin) superlekker gin and tonic? This sounds extremely likely.

Pictured below: view from the table; view from my seat; Gin & Tonic menu; oysters; smoked eel from Rokerij Eveleens "in het groen" with leek salad and red quinoa; uitsmijter with fried mushrooms, an egg over-easy, and duck liver confit; pan-fried salmon with lentils, eggplant, and capers; deboned BBQ spareribs with smoked beet, homemade sambal, and horseradish (this one's a cellphone pic); my dessert of really good chocolate cream puffs with Bailey's ice cream and banana; J-Kim's dessert of guava, cream cheese, and some other small things I couldn't really figure out; and the grand finale of cosseted baby foot served in an organic wool footie.



The abomination above is sauerkraut, caramelized red onions, homemade Thousand Island dressing, and melted Gouda. It is...not a bad thing to have waiting for you after a workout, and/or is possibly even the justification for your workout.


thousand island dressing /crack sauce.

1/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup mayo
1 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp mustard
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cornichons, finely diced
3 slices bread & butter (zoetzuur) pickles, finely diced

1 tsp caraway seed, optional


year one.

All battles still in progress, but not in a totally depressing way. If you've talked to me in person recently I've probably discussed or at least uninformatively alluded to something I'll now refer to as Headspace Maintenance. It is still in progress. Everything is still in progress.

Somewhat relatedly, a wise old friend just reminded me of a book that I think my parents either owned or gave to me at some point, or somebody gave it to me, it obviously made a huge impression, ha. But it came into the public consciousness in 1984 or so, so it was shared with me probably decades ago, before I would've believed anything in it, or would've possessed any critical-thinking capacity at all, and its unfortunately banal title is meaningless enough for me not to have remembered or recognized it by that information alone. When I saw the (also superbland and uninspiring, sorry to be so critical) cover though, it kind of came back to me a little. Anyway, it starts with the following paragraph:
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Overall bestselling self-helpiness of the original publication aside, I'm thinking that this general mindset, while perhaps being even older than the 1980s, may still possibly be worth looking into.




Wellllllll....a lot happened in 2013. We laughed. We cried. We took cat tranquilizers and ate cereal in our sleep. Today: a new day dawns, or it did do some hours ago. And mere moments from now, I shall go crashing noisily out into the spent-firework-littered, empty-streeted wilderness of 2014, my brain steely-eyed (?) and my mettle pre-tested (actually my mettle pre-tested out of 2014 and just skipped up to 2015, totally unexpected), and the whole of my being fortified with an impenetrable (?) combination of a mystic's deluded optimism, the gentle cynicism of the elderly, and the near-silence of the socially fatigued.

Oh right, above is an awesome pho from a couple days ago, and below is the (pre-saucing) Christmas Day continuation of our plan to "have a nice meal together": this is warm-smoked salmon with caraway sauerkraut, leftover mashed potatoes, leftover brown butter, and a little dab of strong mustard on the side. It sure didn't taste like leftover anything: this is what we should be doing with salmon and sauerkraut from now on. The only thing missing was a fresh-baked loaf of pumpernickel.