Tuscan Pot Roast

Tuscan Pot Roast

I’d ruled this recipe out a few times for a couple reasons, the first being that it serves 6-8 and I’m usually only cooking for two, and second because it contains mushrooms.

For whatever reason, I decided to go ahead and try this one day last week – mushrooms and all. There were some challenges finding the right cut of meat (details below) but all in all, it turned out to be a pretty tasty dish – and indeed, very similar to a dish I’d eaten in Tuscany. Served this with egg noodles.

I was tempted to just skip the mushrooms altogether, but my partner does like them, so for his sake and the sake of following the recipe as closely as possible, I decided to include them. I did not find dried portobellos (didn’t really try very hard) so I randomly chose champignons noirs. Known in English by the rather unappetizing name of cloud ear fungus, I found their flavor to be very mild, without that typical mushroomy flavor, and therefore tolerable. Still ended up picking most of them off of my plate though.

As I mentioned, I was making this for only two people and ended up with a couple days of leftovers. I was worried that reheating this would dry the meat out, but instead it seemed a bit more tender after sitting in the tomato sauce.

The Raw Materials*

Ingredients for Tuscan Pot Roast
Ingredients for Tuscan Pot Roast
What the Recipe Called For What I Used Where From
1/3 cup olive oil Oilio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dirk
1 2 1/2- to 3-pound bottom-round pot roast 2 1/4 lb ezeltje Slagerij Veldt
2 large onions, quartered 6 small Vers! biologische uien Dirk
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (2 cups) 2 stalks Bioke biologische bleekselderij Dirk
2 large carrots, thinly sliced (2 cups) 2 Bioke biologische wortelen Dirk
3 garlic cloves, minced bio knoflook Dirk
1 6-ounce can tomato paste 140 gram can 1 de Beste tomatenpuree Dirk
1 cup dry red wine 1 de Beste biologische huiswijn Dirk
1 1/2-ounce package dried mushrooms (such as portobello) .75 ounces Sabarot champignons noirs Nuri Genco
1 tablespoon kosher salt Salina zout Dirk
1 teaspoon dried oregano Silvo oregano Dirk
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, chopped, liquid reserved 2 400-gram cans 1 de Beste gepelde tomaten Dirk

Modifications and Substitutions (Netherlands)

Since standard cuts of meat are different here than in the U.S. as are often the ways of describing them, its rarely a matter of just finding a translation. I spent some time online trying to figure out what the Dutch equivalent of bottom-round pot roast would be. I found no useful information and just printed out a diagram of various cuts of meat and showed that to the butcher along with how I planned to prepare it. In the end, it was suggested I use what is called ezeltje. I asked him to write it down so I’d know what to ask for next time. When I arrived home, I Googled the word and my search results included images of donkeys. I then started to panic a bit wondering how I managed to end up with donkey meat. After a minute I realized there were also some recipe results and was relieved to see that the word also describes this particular cut of beef; the U.S. equivalent is called tri-tip. Whew!

The meat itself worked out well enough though I’m still not sure it was quite the right cut that this recipe was calling for.  I’ve since found this chart and this diagram which may come in handy next time.

I could not find dried mushrooms at Dirk, but since I never buy mushrooms – dried or otherwise – it could just be that I wasn’t looking in the right place. I’d seen them before at Nuri Genco and randomly chose champignons noirs as there were no portobellos.

Would I Make it Again?

Yes. Maybe without the mushrooms next time.

Get the recipe for Tuscan Pot Roast.

Tuscan Pot Roast
Tuscan Pot Roast

*About Measurements

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup

The second chicken soup recipe I’ve tried over the past week. This was a bit saltier than the slow-cooker soup reviewed in a previous post as one would expect due to the bouillon used in this one. The lemon was subtle, but noticeable. The bone-in chicken was a little more work as compared to the boneless thighs used in the other recipe, but the extra flavor provided by the bone is a fair tradeoff I think. One could save some hands on work by buying pre-chopped veggies, but I find them tastier when I chop them myself.

Overall, a tasty and easy recipe. I makes a pretty big batch, so it was nice to have the leftovers on hand for weekday lunches.

The Raw Materials*

Ingredients for Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup
Ingredients for Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup
What the Recipe Called For What I Used Where From
2 tablespoons olive oil Oilio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dirk
4 carrots and/or parsnips, cut into bite-size pieces 4 Bioke biologische wortelen Dirk
2 stalks celery, chopped 2 stalks Bioke biologische bleekselderij Dirk
1 large onion, chopped 4 small Vers! biologische uien Dirk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme Provence D’Antan Thym de Provence Bio Taxmax
kosher salt and black pepper Salina zout & Cook Cook zwarte peper Dirk
2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed 6 Vers kipkarbonade, skin removed Dirk
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth 1.5 liters/3 cubes Maggi kippen bouillon minder zout Albert Heijn
1 cup small pasta (such as alphabet or stellette) Ankara Yıldız Şehriyeli (stars) Nuri Genco
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice juice of 1 lemon (citron) Dirk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley platte peterselie Nuri Genco

Modifications and Substitutions (Netherlands)

I’ve not found anyplace to buy split chicken breasts. Boneless, skinless is the only option I’ve encountered which is a shame since they tend to dry out when cooked and in the case of soup, the bone is often providing much of the flavor. So rather than use chicken breast, I chose kipkarbonade – a cut I’ve never seen sold in the U.S. so I’m not exactly sure what the English word is. I guess you would call it chicken ribs. It worked out fine in the recipe – a little more work removing the chicken from the bones than there would be with split breasts.

Chicken broth is another thing that just isn’t sold here the way we Americans are used to. Your choices are either bouillon cubes or concentrated liquid bouillon but both have to be mixed with water. The ingredients of the standard liquid bouillon sold in the supermarket don’t look any better than the cubes, so I don’t bother with it. Fortunately there is a low-salt version offered by Maggi so I usually use that.

Everything else in the recipe should be available at a standard supermarket, except for some reason, Dirk does not carry any smaller types of pasta so I popped over to Nuri Genco and chose some cute little stars.

Total Time Including Prep

About 1.5 hours.

Would I Make it Again?

Yes.

Get the recipe for Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup.

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup
Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup

*About Measurements

Salmon, Black Bean, and Corn Tostadas

Salmon, Black Bean, and Corn Tostadas

I had low expectations of this recipe, but wanted to give it a shot. I’d tried a few disappointing salmon taco recipes in the past and I did not expect this to be much better. I was wrong. This was delicious! Since the tortilla is fried, the mushiness problem I’d experienced with the taco recipes was not an issue at all. This one’s a keeper.

The Raw Materials*

Ingredients for Salmon, Black Bean, and Corn Tostadas
Ingredients for Salmon, Black Bean, and Corn Tostadas
What the Recipe Called For What I Used Where From
1 tablespoon olive oil Oilio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dirk
4 6-ounce pieces skinless salmon fillet 2 bizalm filets (2 people) Albert Heijn
kosher salt and black pepper Salina zout & Cook Cook zwarte peper Dirk
4 tostada shells 2 Tortillas Guanajuato mais tortillas Tjin’s International Foodstore
1 cup black beans, rinsed Bonduelle zwarte bonen Dirk
1 cup fresh corn (from 1 or 2 ears) 2 ears AH zoete maiskolven Albert Heijn
1 1/2 cups shredded romaine lettuce Vers en voordelig mini romain sla Dirk
1/2 cup salsa verde La Costena salsa de habanero verde Nuri Genco
1 lime, cut into wedges 1 lime Dirk

Modifications and Substitutions (Netherlands)

Had to hit four different shops to get the ingredients for this one, so there was some searching involved, but successful in the end.

Tostada shells were nowhere to be found. I was going to skip this entirely but decided to just take the extra time to fry up some “fresh” corn tortillas. I only had olive oil on hand which was not optimal since it can’t be brought to the proper temperature for frying, but still worked out okay.  I was out of Rapeseed oil which would have been a better choice for frying.

I was pleasantly surprised to find salsa verde at Nuri Genco. Seems the shop is starting to carry some Mexican products.

Total Time Including Prep

About a half hour.

Would I Make it Again?

Yes!

Get the recipe for Salmon, Black Bean, and Corn Tostadas.

Salmon, Black Bean, and Corn Tostadas
Salmon, Black Bean, and Corn Tostadas

*About Measurements

Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash

Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash

Instead of fusion cuisine, I think this could be classified as confusion cuisine. All good stuff in here, but the combination is just a bit much. You’ve got part Mediterranean and part…what…Autumn? Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t awful, just a salad with a touch of ADHD.

The Raw Materials*

Ingredients for Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash
Ingredients forChopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash
What the Recipe Called For What I Used Where From
1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 Vers en voordelig flespompoenen (about 700 g) Dirk
3 tablespoons olive oil Oilio extra virgin olive oil Dirk
kosher salt and black pepper Salina zout & Cook Cook zwarte peper Dirk
1/4 cup red wine vinegar Kühne aceto di vino rosso Nuri Genco
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill Vers en voordelig dille Dirk
1 small head radicchio, leaves torn (6 cups) radicchio Genco Versmarkt
1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed Gülcan kikkererwten Dirk
1 cup crumbled Feta (4 ounces) Minos Griekse Feta Dirk
1 tart apple (such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady), sliced Vers en voordelig Granny Smith appel Dirk
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved Kalamata olives Nuri Genco

Modifications and Substitutions (Netherlands)

No modifications or substitutions needed for this one. Had to hit two different Turkish supermarkets for three of the ingredients – the red wine vinegar, radicchio, and kalamata olives. I wouldn’t have expected any of these items to be non-supermarket fare, but I guess they are.

Would I Make it Again?

Umm, not as is. I think this would work really well with these substitutions: walnuts or pecans instead of chickpeas, goat cheese instead of feta, balsamic instead of red wine vinegar, skip the olives, and maybe even Belgian endive instead of radicchio. Yeah, I know, that’s quite a list of changes, but it’s what I’d do next time.

Get the recipe for Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash.

Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash
Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash

*About Measurements

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup

Autumn has arrived early this year which means soup weather is upon us! Few dinners are easier than the ones you can make in the Crock-Pot. Just a little bit of chopping, add water, and eight hours later you have dinner. Makes the house smell nice all day too.

This soup was hearty enough for a meal. Not very salty, but better to salt to taste rather than risk over-salting the whole pot. I tend to prefer things less salty, so this worked fine for me.

The recipe instructs you to remove the onion, but I didn’t feel that was necessary, plus it was all in pieces so I just left it in there.

The Raw Materials*

Ingredients for Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup
Ingredients for Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup
What the Recipe Called For What I Used Where From
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds) 8 kipdijfilet (still not quite 2 pounds, but close enough) Dirk
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces 8 small Bioke biologische wortelen Dirk
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 4 Bioke biologische bleekselderij Dirk
1 medium onion, halved 2 small Vers! biologische uien Dirk
2 garlic cloves, smashed bio knoflook Dirk
2 bay leaves 2 Silvo laurierblad Dirk
kosher salt and black pepper Salina zout & Cook Cook zwarte peper Dirk
1/2 cup small pasta (such as stellette or alphabet) 1/2 cup ankara kuskus Nuri Genco
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Vers platte peterseli Dirk
crackers, for serving Vitalu volkoren crackers Dirk

Modifications and Substitutions (Netherlands)

Everything’s smaller here than in the U.S. and that goes for chicken and veggies too, so a little bit of adjustment there. But the nice thing about cooking vs. baking is that it’s not a science. No need to be exact.

Otherwise nothing difficult at all. Dirk does not have any very small pasta varieties that would work well with this soup, but I had just the right amount of Israeli couscous on hand which worked perfectly. In the past I’ve used whole wheat elbows in a similar soup recipe, but they just didn’t work well – made the soup floury tasting. I’m not sure if it was the shape or that they were whole wheat, but either way, the couscous worked perfectly so I’ll stick with that in the future.

The most hard-to-find item in this recipe is probably the slow cooker. Not the standard kitchen appliance as in the U.S. I brought mine over with me, but if you need to find one in Amsterdam, there’s a great kitchen store in the Pijp called Duikelman – you can find slow cookers for sale there.

Would I Make it Again?

Yes.

Get the recipe for Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup.

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup
Slow-Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup

*About Measurements

Seared Steak with Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Salad

Seared Steak with Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Salad

Again, the highlight of this meal is the black-eyed pea salad – easy and delicious. The salad would also be great for a quick lunch.

The Raw Materials*

Ingredients for Seared steak with black-eyed pea and tomato salad
Ingredients for Seared steak with black-eyed pea and tomato salad
What the Recipe Called For What I Used Where From
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the grill Oilio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dirk
1 15.5-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed 1 400 g can Mediza Black Eye Bonen Nuri Genco
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved 250 g Tommies Snoeptomaatjes Dirk
1/2 English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced 1/2 Bioke Komkommer Dirk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves fresh thyme leaves homegrown
2 tablespoons cider vinegar AH puur & eerlijk biologische ciderazijn Albert Heijn
kosher salt and black pepper Salina zout & Cook Cook zwarte peper Dirk
1 1/2 pounds hanger steak, center membrane removed, cut into 4 pieces 3 pack Ierse Biefstuk (Irish Beefsteak) Dirk

Modifications and Substitutions (Netherlands)

Cuts of meat continue to be difficult for me. Partly because I don’t even know the various U.S. cuts very well. I really couldn’t tell you the differences between one steak or the other in most cases. So trying to figure out the Dutch version of a given cut of meat is something I don’t spend much time doing. It’s not as though there’s all that much to choose from in a typical Dutch supermarket anyway. So this time around I just went my usual route and bought the standard supermarket biefstuk. Not that great really, I should get it from the butcher next time. On a weekend I’m more inclined to look further, but not today.

Aside from that, there were two items on this list that I couldn’t find in my usual supermarket (Dirk). However, the black-eyed peas were easily found at Nuri Genco and the cider vinegar was at Albert Heijn.

Total Time Including Prep

About 45 minutes.

Would I Make it Again?

Yes, but with better steaks.

Get the recipe for Seared Hangar Steaks with Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Salad

Seared Steak with Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Salad
Seared Steak with Black-Eyed Pea and Tomato Salad

*About Measurements

Grilled Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops with Carrot Salad

Grilled Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops With Carrot Salad

The carrot salad is the star of this easy pork chop dinner.

The Raw Materials*

Ingredients for Grilled Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops With Carrot Salad
Ingredients for Grilled Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops With Carrot Salad
What the Recipe Called For What I Used Where From
1 cup couscous 1 cup Bia Cous Cous Dirk
1 pound carrots, grated Bioke biologische wortelen Dirk
2 tablespoons olive oil Oilio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dirk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill Vers en voordelig dille Dirk
2 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios Snacks pistachenoten gezouten (chopped in a mini chopper) Dirk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice juice of 1/2 lemon (citron) Dirk
kosher salt and black pepper Salina zout & Cook Cook zwarte peper Dirk
4 bone-in pork chops (1 inch thick; about 2 1/2 pounds total) 2 varkenskarbonade (for two people) Slagerij Veldt
1 tablespoon fennel seed, crushed Yona Venkel heel (also chopped in the mini-processor) Nuri Genco

Modifications and Substitutions (Netherlands)

As you can see, most ingredients are available in the standard supermarket. Exceptions being the pork chops (varkenskarbonade) and the fennel seed. The standard supermarket pork chops are cut very thin around here so I almost always get them from the butcher who will cut them to whichever thickness I specify.

Time For Prep and Cooking

About an hour total.

Would I Make it Again?

Yes. While this isn’t my favorite pork chop recipe around, it’s quick and easy to make and the carrot salad really makes the meal.

Get the recipe for Grilled Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops With Carrot Salad

Grilled Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops With Carrot Salad
Grilled Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops With Carrot Salad

*About Measurements

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