Waar In Utrecht

Quizmaster and Burgemeester
Saturday afternoon we stopped in briefly at Café De Stad in order to attend the presentation of the 2011 Waar In Utrecht (Where in Utrecht) calendar. Waar In Utrecht is a quiz in which a photo of a location in Utrecht is posted either on Twitter or through the website — or is part of a calendar — and the player has to guess where that spot is located. It’s player-driven, in that the person who guesses correctly via Twitter is then the one to supply the next photo. There’s usually some small prize such as a free ice cream or stamppot for the Twitter version, and a variety of prizes for the calendar version (a new photo each week).

I’ve played — and won — a few times, and now it seems that one of my photos made the final cut for the 2011 calendar. The quizmaster/organizer e-mailed me last month to see if I had any Sinterklaas photos that he could use, and he found one of mine that he thought would work. I was pretty sure the photo had made it in to the calendar, but got my final confirmation this weekend when I saw this photo. That’s my photo of Sinterklaas! (Appropriately, Saturday was also the day that Sinterklaas arrived in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, I missed the arrival this year. Someone else will have to supply the photo for 2012.)

Alas, the calendar presentation party was packed, and we couldn’t stay long, so I didn’t get to buy my copy of the calendar. I’ll just have to order mine online, most likely. But at least I can say I was at the same party as Utrecht’s mayor. Burgemeester Wolfsen was the first recipient of the new calendar.
Burgemeester Wolfsen

Foto Vrijdag 2.41 St. Antonius Gasthuis

St. Antonius Gasthuis
Just down the street from the Rietveld-Schröder House is the St. Antonius Gasthuis. Two drastically different styles of architecture on one street, but both are eye-catching. The Gasthuis was built in 1910 as a hospital and remained in operation until 1983, when it moved to Nieuwegein. The majority of the hospital was torn down, but the main entrance building (the part first built in 1910) was turned into houses and apartments.

To see a photo of the gasthuis in its full, original, and massive glory, check out this website. It’s in Dutch, but you can see a photo of the building, nonetheless. Prins Hendriklaan, the street on which it stands, looks much different now! Today, it’s a quiet, residential, tree-lined street.

Southern Food Goes Fancy

Pulled Pork on Corn Cakes
Corn cakes and pulled pork. That’s pretty southern to me. It’s also pretty much heaven on a plate. I love corn and I love the pig in all its many cuts. Recently, while checking foodgawker, I came across this recipe for Mexican Corn Cakes and Shredded Pork. As the blogger herself put it, southern, southwestern or what, it’s a great dish. I couldn’t resist, and since I still had some corn meal left over that needed to be eaten, I figured now was a perfect time to try this dish.

I kept pretty true to the recipe, only subbing parsley for the cilantro, since G isn’t a fan, and swapping out goat cheese for the feta cheese, since I already had some that needed to be finished. I left off the final tomato slices and I swapped out red pepper flakes for the jalapeño. I also cut the recipe in half, and served it with some asparagus tips that were on sale that day.

Overall, I was really happy with the recipe. The corn cakes were delicious and now I need to remember to track down some more corn meal either at the Saturday market or at the toko. It’s one of those ingredients that was easy to find in the southern part of the US, but requires a bit of hunting now that I’m living here in the Netherlands. The only thing I would do differently in the future is to maybe add some vinegar to the pork and maybe serve the pork on the side, instead of atop the corn cakes. I’d still keep the avocado and sour cream on the corn cakes, though. I just thought the taste of the pork got lost against the corn cakes and sour cream. Ultimately, though, this is definitely a dish to make again. It looked so pretty, too!

For my vegetarian friends, you could easily just skip the pork part of the dish. As I said, I’d serve the pork (or maybe some shredded chicken) on the side the next time, or just serve it without the meat, as well! It was a nice taste of home and inspired me to make some BBQ pulled pork sandwiches a few days later. Yum! (It should be noted that I made a ketchup-based BBQ sauce, not a vinegar sauce. North Carolina readers will understand.)

Back in the Saddle

Mijn Fiets [Day 171/365]
You know the old adage “It’s like riding a bicycle”, meaning it’s something you don’t forget? Yeah, I may have proved that one wrong. I finally bought my very own bicycle today, but I’ve yet to ride it properly. I had G end up testing it out for me when I failed to get it going without almost riding it into a wall. It was lunchtime and there were tons of people around and I was fast running out of any ability to not be horribly embarrassed and mortified. Plus, I was worried about running over the mail delivery people nearby who were doing a good job at not laughing and pointing at me.

I was up by 5 a.m. this morning, albeit unintentionally. Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll get up early again — this time on purpose — and go practice when fewer people can see me wobbling all over the place. My memories of riding a bike and the reality of it were two drastically different things! I used to ride my bicycle for hours on end, practically flying on the wind. Unfortunately, that was 20+ years ago.

Still, I finally have a bike again and I’m sure it will come back to me eventually. Hopefully without anything getting broken! I’m thinking of naming my bike Sally after the song by The Phoenix Foundation (you can hear the song and the whole album at that link), partly because of the line “you look like Kodachrome, you’ve gone a little yellow”, in honor of my very first bike, which was a yellow one.