Alkmaarse kaassoep (Alkmaar cheese soup)

From our Sinterklaas Avond dinner last night. To stick with tradition, and the ethnic traditional, we serve a meal of Dutch foods, which it turns out aren't bad, just boring: Alkmaarse kassoep (cheese soup), Huzarensalade (Hussar's salad), Gestoofde Runderlappen (Dutch stewed/spiced beef), Boerenkool met aardappel (kale and potatoes), and Windmill cookies (which I have yet to make, but there's a recipe on epicurious) to finish things off. The soup is my favorite.

Alkmaarse kaassoep (Alkmaar cheese soup)

Origin: Classic Dutch Cooking
Yield: serves 4
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Ethnicity: Dutch

  ● 3 tbsp butter
  ● 1 onion, chopped
  ● 1/2 cup flour
  ● 5 cups milk
  ● 1-1/4 cups mature (sharp) Gouda
  ● 1 small celeriac
  ● salt
  ● toast (croutons)

1. Melt the butter in a pan. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, then gradually stir in the milk.
3. Continue to cook, stirring, until slightly thickened. Add 1/2 cup of the grated Gouda and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel and finely dice the celeriac, then cook in a pan of boiling water, for about 10 minutes, until softened.
4. Drain the celeriac and add to the soup with the remaining cheese.
5. Season to taste with salt, ladle into warm soup bowls and garnish with chives. Serve immediately with toast or croutons.

Some variations I've seen online:
• Add more cheese, less milk
• Color with powdered saffron, thicken with pureed potatoes, flavor with 1/2 tsp crushed caraway seeds.
• Top the soup with a cheese crust made from a mixture of three crushed rusks, 1-3/4 cups grated Gouda and a pinch of milk paprika sprinkled over top. The pan should then be placed under a preheated broiler until the crust is a golden brown.


Boerenkool met aardappel (Dutch kale and potatoes)

The side dish for our annual Sinterklaas Avond dinner.

Boerenkool met aardappel (Dutch kale and potatoes)

Origin: Classic Dutch Cooking
Yield: serves 4-5
Ethnicity: Dutch

  ● 3.5 lbs kale, tough stalks removed, finely shredded
  ● 2-1/4 lbs potatoes, peeled
  ● 11 ounce smoked sausage
  ● 1/2 cup milk
  ● 2 tbsp butter
  ● salt
  ● butter to serve

1. Steam the kale in a little boiling for 10 minutes, then set aside to drain.
2. Boil potatoes in a large pan and half cover with water. Put the drained kale and the sausage on top, cover and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes.
3. Remove the sausage and drain the vegetables. Return the vegetables to the pan, mash well, and stir in the milk and butter until smooth.
4. Season to taste with salt and serve with the sausage and some butter on top.

Our own variation:
I make this as a side dish so I leave out the meat. I merely mash the potatoes, then mix in the previously steamed kale. I Add about 1-2 cups of smoked Gouda cheese, and spread the mixture into a baking dish. I make the dish ahead, then heat it at 350, covered, for about forty minutes.


Gestoofde Runderlappen (Dutch stewed/spiced beef)

Our main dish for Sinterklaasavond.

Gestoofde Runderlappen (Dutch stewed/spiced beef)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 4-8 hours in a slow cooker
Difficulty: Easy

  ● 3 lbs round steak, cut into six pieces
  ● 1/2 cup butter or bacon drippings
  ● 3 medium onions, sliced
  ● 1 cup water or dark beer
  ● 3 tbsp vinegar
  ● 1/2 tbsp mustard
  ● 1 bay leaf
  ● 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  ● 5 peppercorn

Directions (my version):
0. To get bacon drippings, I fry the bacon that I'll offer at dinner as topping for the soup, salad, and potatoes, then remove it from then pan, drain, and let cool before I crumble it and set it aside. Now I have bacon drippings.
1. Pound meat and rub each piece with salt and pepper. Heat bacon drippings (or butter) in skillet until very hot. Brown meat thoroughly on both sides.
2. Remove meat and place in slow cooker.
3. To drippings add onions and fry lightly, then remove to slow cooker.
4. To slow cooker add water or beer, vinegar, mustard, bay leaf, cloves, and peppercorns. Cover meat and cook on low for 8 hours, medium for 6 hours, or high for 4 hours.


Tomato basil relish

We were having mozarella garlic chicken sausages at our tailgate, and I have tomatoes coming out my ears thanks to a very productive garden, plus a little basil left that is still struggling to make it in this heat. So rlish it was. Tomato, basil, garlic, onion, oil and vinegar relish.

Tomato basil relish

• 1 cup tomatoes, cored and seeded

• 1/4 cup (?) red onion
• 1/4 cup (?) fresh basil
• 1-2 garlic cloves
• 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp olive oil

The biggest different between this and bruschetta is the size of the ingredients. I took the centers completely out of my tomatoes and diced them. I put the onion and basil (and I'm not sure about the amounts here because I just eye-balled it) into my food processor with the garlic cloves (I used two small cloves) and process until very fine before adding to the bowl of tomatoes. I stirred to mix well and eyeballed the ratios. The second biggest difference between this and bruschetta is the consistancy, because I think of bruschetta is wet, while I kept the relish moist to dry.

This was great on the chicken sausage dogs, but a little sweet. If you're not fond of slightly sweet relish you can add a little more garlic to make it even spicier, or use a different vinegar (or maybe even no vinegar—fresh ingredients speak for themselves!).



Semi-fried green tomatoes

I've posted this recipe before, but for one thing it was hidden inside another recipe and hard to find, and for another, I haven't tried making something new in a while (for shame!) so I have no new recipes to report right now and Jon feels like we need to post something here...

We love this recipe. There's lots of room for variations, too. I've tried this it corn flakes, I've tried it with panko, and last night we tried it with whole wheat panko (because that's all they had at the store). I think my favorite is the regular panko, but others preferred the corn flakes because you can get a more even coating on the slices with that. Also, the original recipe called for them to be served with fresh homemade salsa, but we felt they were fantastic on their own. Others I think might enjoy them with something like a ranch dressing. And The cayenne is not entirely necessary, either, as any seasoning (or none) will do.

Semi-fried Green Tomatoes

  ● 1/2  cup flour
  ● 1 tsp salt
  ● 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  ● 1 large egg
  ● 1 tbsp milk
  ● 1 cup cornflake crumbles or panko
  ● 4 medium green tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  ● 1/4 cup canola oil

In a shallow bowl combine the flour, salt, and cayenne.  In another shallow bowl beat egg and milk together. In a third shallow bowl place corn flakes, well crumbled (I go over mine with a rolling pin), or panko in a third bowl.
Coat tomato slices with flour mixture, then dip into egg mixture, then coat with crumbs/panko.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 4 tsps oil over medium heat.  Fry tomato tomatoes in batches for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown, adding more oil as needed.  Drain on paper towels before
placing on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375℉ for 4-5 minutes or until tender.

I don't have a finished product picture (we were too hungry and they disappeared to fast!), but here's a before...