Cheese, Sausage and New York

File this posting under random thoughts and observations.

I’ve noticed this year that I’ve seen a LOT of people here (usually student-age) wearing the famous I [Heart] NY t-shirts. It seems too prevalent and too much of a fashion thing to be just the result of a lot of tourism to NYC. The other night, while pointing out to G yet another person sporting one of the shirts, he reminded me that the Dutch do have a special connection to NY. I guess those early Dutch expats were sending back t-shirts to their relatives here in the Netherlands with an I [heart] NA(msterdam) logo, the same way American expats now send back wooden clogs to the family members back home.

Yeah, the whole conversation was much funnier in person.

Speaking of jokes getting lost in translation …
Going through my Twitter feed this morning (I finally got the new Twitter!), I saw a link to this humorous “grilled cheesus” t-shirt. Funny stuff, but I realized that I kind of missed the joke about “The Goude News” upon first reading. Sure, if you pronounce Gouda the English way (gooda), it makes sense and it’s funny. If you pronounce it the Dutch way, you miss something. (If you go to the Wiki page for Gouda, you can listen to the Dutch pronunciation.)

As the famous saying goes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I know just enough Dutch now to ruin certain jokes for me. Don’t even get me started on this season’s first episode of The Simpsons and their references to Den Haag (The Hague) and such. I guess it was a bit like the Flight of the Conchords‘ joke in that episode when they referenced the Wellington Botanical Gardens. Sometimes jokes work best when you’re not so well-informed! (And in the case of this whole paragraph, if you don’t know what the person is talking about, the whole thing gets confusing. Apologies.)

On the other hand, Dutch pronunciation, when heard by an English-speaker, can be both eye-opening and amusing. We learned about Vocking sausage/meats/liverworst the other night. One of our Dutch friends had a bit of fun with us on that one. Let’s just say that the V in Dutch often has more of an F sound, and leave the rest to your own imagination. I do try to keep this blog somewhat clean. My parents might be reading. 😉 That said, I do recommend Vocking if you’re here in Utrecht. Very tasty! I gather it’s only really available in the Utrecht region, though, as the owner wants to keep it strictly an Utrecht thing.

Woordenboek Woensdag: Maaltijd

Zucchini Tart [Day 178/365]
While we were out shopping last week, G asked me if I knew what maaltijd meant. He said he’d seen it quite often on restaurant signs, but didn’t know what it meant. He was doing better than me; I hadn’t even noticed the word! For me, it was a bit confusing, because when I think of mal/maal, I think of something bad, thanks to the Italian and French that I know, not to mention their somewhat negative connotations in English. So to think of a “bad time” (tijd=time) in regards to a restaurant, I knew my Italian and French weren’t helping any here. It turns out, though, that it’s not really that far off of English. Maaltijd means meal, as in meal time. Ah! That makes much more sense!

I still hadn’t noticed the word, though, until today, when I was checking the latest Waar In Utrecht game and saw that the prize for a correct answer is now a maaltijd from Stamppot To Go. Hopefully, I’ll be able to win one of the prizes soon!

Speaking of maaltijden, I thought I’d share a recept (recipe) for the maaltijd I made last night. It was a hodgepodge of recipes — some tried and true, some new — that turned out heerlijk (delicious)! The main dish was a zucchini, ricotta and feta tart, which I found the recipe for here.

I think there is some sort of frozen pie crust available here, but it’s not in the ready-shaped form that you can buy in the US, not that I have room in my tiny freezer to keep pie crusts in any size. Fortunately, Lizzy posted a recipe last year for a very easy-to-make pie crust that doesn’t require the cutting in of shortening/butter that makes me hate making crust from scratch. This one uses oil instead and it’s so fast and easy and quite delicious. Since I was going to need only one crust, I simply halved the amounts without any trouble. I also played around a bit with the oils, since I knew I was going to be making a savory dish. Instead of 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, I did a mix of olive oil, a smidge of sesame oil, and then finished it off with regular vegetable oil.

Finally, as I was cooking the zucchini, I was worried that it would all be a bit bland. I like spices and I love spice blends, especially the ones I make myself, so I sprinkled a bit of one of my latest favorite spice blends, Kayotic Kitchen’s ras el hanout, over the zucchini as it was cooking in the pan. I didn’t use a lot, but just enough to give it a nice depth and warmth of flavor.

I was really happy with how the whole dish turned out — we paired it with a nice side salad — and I’m so glad there are leftovers for my lunches!

Eet smakelijk!

Cheese Anniversary

Big Ball o' Cheese
You know how each wedding anniversary supposedly has a different type of gift associated with it, such as paper, wood, silver, or diamonds? Well, perhaps there’s a similar gift symbolism for expat/immigration anniversaries. If so, it would seem that cheese is the two-year anniversary gift.

On Friday, when we went to the Potdeksel to meet up with some friends, they surprised us with that lovely wheel of cheese you see. It even came in a charmingly Dutch gift box.
Cheese Anniversary
It’s a delicious wheel of good ol’ Hollandse Edam, looking quite official with its stamps and identifiers.
Hollandse Edam
Most importantly, though, it’s delicious! Heerlijk! Lekker!
Lekker [Day 147/365]
We have fabulous friends!

Links 234

I’ve not got too much to say today, since the past few days have been little more than me wrestling with Dreamweaver as I try to build a website for my editing service. Plus, despite my ability to ramble on here about next to nothing, I find it difficult to write about myself, particularly in regards to selling myself. And describing my editing services? Oy. I suspect I need to say a bit more than, “You write it; I’ll make it better.”

So since I have nothing of interest to say, I’ll just direct you to this link for a recipe by my Dutch cooking guru, Kay from Kayotic Kitchen. She posted this recipe for ham, cheese and chicory (endive) rolls served atop mashed potatoes. I saw the recipe this morning and knew immediately what we’d be having for dinner tonight. I’ve made endive wrapped in ham, topped with a cheese sauce before, but with today’s rainy, cold weather, this just sounded perfect and comforting. I highly recommend checking out her site. I’ve linked to some of her recipes before, because every single dish we’ve tried has been a winner.