You know when you make the perfect toasted tomato-and-cheese sandwich? With a tasty, juicy tomato in thick slices, and some sharp old cheddar, and coarsely-ground black pepper. With the stone-ground whole wheat bread toasted to the exact perfect crispiness, and the layers of tomato and cheese perfectly constructed. When nobody interrupts your progress, so by the time you slice the sandwich in two and sit down to take the first bite, everything is still fresh and warm.
And then, with that first bite, the top layer of toast scrapes the top of your mouth raw, so that every chewing motion hurts, and the pleasure of savouring your perfect sandwich is lost.
When I moved to the Netherlands, I was introduced to two typically Dutch dishes heavy on the Mighty Potato: boerenkool and hutspot. I’ve since stopped eating meat, and have yet to find a satisfactory vegetarian version of boerenkool, but hutspot remains one of my absolute favourite winter comfort meals.
Basically, hutspot is half-and-half potatoes and carrots, with some onions thrown in. Peel, chop, and boil them all up together, then mash them up with generous amounts of butter and milk. Add ground pepper to taste (and salt if you do salt), then nom-nom-nom. Freeze the rest in portions for later in the week (my standard cooking MO).
I bet real Dutch people have very specific ways they make this, and they’d probably be horrified at my cavalier recipe above. I change it up sometimes, too—for example, I rarely have milk in the house anymore so I use soy milk instead. And sometimes I substitute yams (are those the orange ones or are those sweet potatoes? I mean the orange ones) for some or all of the regular taters. And today my bromate made up a batch and he threw in a bunch of garlic as well.
There is nothing like a bowl of hot, buttery mashed potatoes after being out in the snow. Add ketchup or sambal or more ground black pepper or just eat it plain and steaming hot. All hail the magical potato!
Recipe for bean and avocado salad. Go light on the onions, heavy on the avocado and cilantro and hot peppers, and don’t fuss too much about the types of beans.
It’s amazing how quickly some people lose their shit when I tell them I don’t eat meat. I make a real effort not to get into that conversation unless it’s absolutely necessary. But this past weekend, I went with a friend to her sister’s cabin for a girls’ weekend with my friend, her sister (whom I’d only met once for under a minute), and two of her sister’s friends (total strangers to me).
In situations like this, I try to be self-sufficient, food-wise. I don’t feel comfortable saying “Hey, stranger, thanks for inviting me to stay at your lovely cabin. And by the way, here’s how you have to rearrange your food plans to accommodate me!” Continue reading →