Goedemorgen! Mark and I are in Amsterdam! We’ve just returned to our friends’ place here after 10 days in France and we’ll be here a few more days before reluctantly heading back to the States (it was very difficult to leave Nice). Last night I made dinner for Brad and April to help thank them for their hospitality…and all the pancakes Brad’s been making us every morning. I’m always a bit out of my element in kitchens other than my own, but I managed to make an edible meal. It has a long name:
Lentils with Roasted Vegetables Seasoned with Various Flavored Salts Found in Provence
This made way too much food for 4 people because I can’t control myself
3 cups brown lentils
1 large or 3 small onions, sliced
1 enormous carrot, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
red wine, for deglazing
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
8 small-medium tomatoes on the vine, quartered
1 huge bay leaf
about 2-3 Tbsp of tomato paste (Holland has these tiny little cans half the size of a small can at home; I used all of one)
thyme or Italian seasoning
freshly-ground black pepper
flavored chunky salt(s): I used a large smoked variety, tomato & basil, and herbes de provence
First of all, I don’t know how common a practice this is, but the grocery store we went to in Amsterdam shrink-wrapped everything; they were worse than Trader Joe’s. So first I had to free all of the legumes – I mean vegetables; I’m still thinking in French.
Next I heated the oven to 200 degrees Celsius, or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Or rather had Brad heat the oven because I couldn’t figure out how to work the crazy Dutch oven. And by Dutch oven here I mean an oven located in Holland, not what I usually mean by Dutch oven. Then I prepared the vegetables I wanted to roast. I quartered the tomatoes and tossed then with olive oil. Not shown, I also sliced the bell pepper and put them in this pan.
I chopped the eggplant into large-ish chunks and also tossed them with olive oil:
Both of these pans then went into the oven to roast. They were each probably in there for about half an hour.
Then I sliced the onions and diced the carrot:
I pressed some garlic:
I put some olive oil and a little regular salt in a large saute pan and heated them up, then added the onion slices:
I let them brown then added the garlic:
I added the carrots:
Deglaze with red wine as necessary and cook until the carrots begin to get soft.
I added the lentils – which in English are the real legumes of this meal – tomato sauce, and bay leaf, then covered with water. At home, I’d have used veggie broth. I let them come to a boil then lowered the heat, covered, and simmered.
Meanwhile I checked the roasting veggies. Here are the peppers and tomatoes.
I removed the tomatoes to a bowl, reserving their juices.
Then I dumped the juices and peppers into the lentils. I also seasoned them at this time with Italian seasoning (I’d probably have grabbed the thyme at home) and freshly-ground black pepper.
Here is some salt I picked up in a small store in Vieux Nice.
I sprinkled some of the tomato & basil salt on the tomatoes and set aside.
I put some of the smoked salt on the eggplant:
Meanwhile the lentils had finished cooking. (By the way, you’ll want to check them periodically and add more water or broth if necessary.) Remove the bay leaf.
I also boiled some haricots verts, which I salted with the herbes de provence sel. Not shown, I had cooked some basmati rice as well, and heated up some ciabatta I’d bought in the store.
And this was everything:
At the risk of making an over-long post, I’ll share a few other Amsterdam pictures as well. One of our first nights here, before we went on to Paris, Brad made us a delicious dinner of pasta with homemade tomato sauce, with perfectly breaded croquettes of eggplant and zucchini:
Brad and April moved to Amsterdam just before the New Year, leaving a succession of really nice houses in the States. I was jealous of them for being able to make the move (which was for a job), and even more jealous when I saw the very cool apartment they managed to get just outside the city. I especially love their kitchen:
Thanks to the kid sitting behind me, I didn’t sleep on our overnight flight here. Shortly after dropping my stuff off at their place, Brad and April whisked me to the daily Amsterdam market. One of the best stalls was the fresh hot nuts:
I also liked the spices, although I’m afraid they were later surpassed in awesomeness by the bulk spices in the Nice market.
I was shocked to find fresh tempeh in the market!
After later collecting Mark, who had stayed back to take a nap, we went to the American Book Center, an English-language bookstore I had read about earlier and which Brad and April recommended. I probably spent too much time in here and of course bought a couple of books. I highly recommend this place, and it’s quite large. This is part of the SF and fantasy sections on the second floor (or rather first floor, since we’re in Europe), while the non-genre literature section takes up the entire third (second) floor.
Just around the corner from ABC is an Indonesian restaurant Brad recommended, Kantjil & de Tijger, where I got this enormous plate of vegetarian food. The server was very friendly about making sure I got only individual dishes that didn’t have eggs.
Later we walked around the city at dusk:
The next day we did some more walking around this charming city. This shot is infrared:
If you love bikes, this is the city for you. The bridge over this canal, like all of the many bridges and all the streets, is completely lined with parked bikes. This is probably the most bike-friendly city in the world.
And the first of several pictures of me and Pig I’ll undoubtedly be posting…
Up next: Paris!