A Trip to the Farmers Market

Farmers Market
My dad and I made a visit to the farmers market this morning to get a few things, including some okra! I was tempted by the apple butter, but worry that it won’t fit in my suitcase. As for the pimento cheese, I’m not sure how well that would travel. Oh well, at least I can get molasses in Utrecht.
Farmers Market
The market is actually a large area with multiple open-sided “barns” like the one pictured above. Some sell just food, while others focus more on flowers and fruits. There are also areas for buying meat and such. Most items sold are local (and certified) although there are some areas where the items don’t have to be completely local.
Farmers Market
Halloween is fast approaching, so there are plenty of pumpkins from which to choose. There are small ones for autumn decorating, medium ones for cooking, and large ones for all of your Halloween jack-o-lanterns and other decorations.
Farmers MarketFarmers Market

Some areas were heavy on the flowers and reminded me a bit of the bloemenmarkt at Janskerkhof. I think the prices were relatively similar, although the selection wasn’t as extensive. Most flowers were for planting, rather than the loose flower stalk bunches (like the tulips, gerbera daisies, roses, etc.) that are such a common site throughout Utrecht.
Farmers Market
There was a nice mix of fresh fruit and vegetables, though, with varieties of apples, pears, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, corn, squash, and much more.
Farmers Market
Farmers Market
Farmers Market

Dogs weren’t allowed inside the market area, but a few hovered on the fringes. (No idea what happened to my camera on this shot.)
Farmers Market
There’s plenty to see at the markets, whether it’s the fresh produce, amusing signs that bring to mind Josephine Baker, or just the people watching. Best of all, there’s plenty of tasty stuff to take home at the end of it all.
Farmers Market
Farmers Market
Farmers Market
Farmers Market

ETA: Right after I posted this, I realized my dad had used the half-peck of apples we bought to make one of his delicious apple pies. Fresh from the oven!
Dad's apple pie

Veggie Cookies

Veggie Cookies
I like vegetables a lot. I also like small round foods, something to which veggies lend themselves easily. This particular recipe for vegetable cookies is one of my favorite recipes from Kayotic Kitchen, and that’s saying something because I’ve loved just about every single one of her recipes that I’ve tried. This dish is a fun, healthy way to get some more veggies into your diet, while feeling like you’re eating a less-than-virtuous snack food.

One of the reasons I like this recipe so much is because you can change it up depending on your mood and what you’ve got on hand. That’s also why my photo doesn’t look anything like Kay’s photo, since I made mine a bit differently. Mine may not be that pretty, but they sure are lekker(tasty)! My version of the recipe today started off with a bag of chopped mixed vegetables. While the grocery stores here are one of the few things that make me homesick for the US, I still can’t complain that much, because what they lack in variety, they make up for in convenience. Most grocery stores here sell a variety of pre-chopped vegetable mixes that are handy when you need a mix of things, but don’t want to buy full sizes of each individual vegetable. They’re not as expensive as the pre-cut veggie packs in the US, either, or at least they’re often close enough in price to the whole vegetable that it’s sometimes worth the few extra cents. I particularly like them for my lunches, which are often something like these veggie cookies, or a mix of veggies and lentils. It’s a quick way to throw together a healthy lunch without a lot of fuss.

Groenen
The mix I went with today was probably around three or four cups worth before it cooked down and is a simple medley of carrots, leeks and cauliflower; the soup vegetable mix as it’s marketed. I followed the basic recipe by cooking them briefly until they’d softened up a bit, then I added in about a half-cup of flour, a handful of shredded aged gouda, a few chopped olives just because, and decided to give the whole thing a bit of an Asian flavor by seasoning with a dash of sesame oil, some soy sauce, and some ground ginger. Once that was all cooked for a few minutes more to get rid of the flour flavor, I turned the heat off and added one lightly beaten egg. Stir and then put spoon-sized dollops on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for around 20 minutes at around 200C. As I said, this recipe is such a great one, because it gives you a lot of leeway to play around with the flavor combinations. I’ve used other vegetable combinations before and also chopped them more finely, while using different spices to season them, too. They’re pretty addictive, no matter which way you make them, but at least you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in these!
Flavour [Day 88/365]

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On an unrelated note, thank you for your questions and suggestions regarding my blogger’s block. I’ve got some ideas in mind already and will be answering your questions later on this week. Feel free to keep asking questions. I’d start answering them now, but I didn’t get any sleep at all last night and spent most of the night up reading or doing taxes (in Dutch, which is confusing and a nightmare) and now I’m feeling too thick-headed to write anything decent.

Dutch Irish

As I’ve been reminded, today is St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve seen a few people online mention that they were making colcannon for various potluck parties today. Since I’m not Irish and this blog is about my life in the Netherlands, I thought I’d discuss stamppot, which is essentially the Dutch version of colcannon.

They’re basically the same dish: mashed potatoes with kale and some bacon mixed in. Delicious, I call it! The Dutch also do other variations with sauerkraut, spinach, curly endive, or carrots. I used to make my own American variation on it, I guess, because I liked to mix corn into my mashed potatoes. Stamppot is often served with rookworst (smoked sausage) or gehaktballen (meatballs) and gravy.

A Stamppot-To-Go restaurant recently opened here in Utrecht, on Nobelstraat. They’re open from 4-9 p.m., designed to be a handy way to get a healthy dinner on the table when you’re pressed for time. They sell the different types of stamppot, and some of the traditional accompaniments, as well as soups, including the classic erwtensoep (split pea soup).

(Editor’s Note: Sadly, Stamppot-To-Go has since closed.)