(not my photo, credit to danschleifer23 on flickr)

The one thing on my list of “Dutch Food I Want to Eat” I didn’t get to this trip was bitterballen. They’re pub morsels, eaten piping hot with a good grainy mustard.

I found a recipe for them on The Dutch Table that calls them “fried gravy.” Now, gravy is Super-Not-My-Thing, but actually that makes a lot of sense regarding their texture. I think I may have to try to make these, but maybe figure out how to bake them instead… or try and convince my dad to add them to the Hanukkah frying cavalcade.

Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry)

[image: baingan bharta over rice]
[image: baingan bharta over rice]

If you are familiar with how baingan bharta is supposed to look, you may be taken aback by the above photo. I had found a recipe where you made the curry, then turned it into a dip. I did this so I’d have a good bread dipping appetizer for my Lady Evening with Lydia last week. It still tasted good over rice after the dip transformation, though.

Recipe originally from The ABCD’s of Cooking, tweaked a bit so I didn’t have to go to the store.

1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
1 onion
3 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-oz. can chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 small chili peppers (an Indian variety would be best, I used my SUPER CHILIS because I still have them in the freezer from last year and they’re still hella potent), chopped if you like spice, halved if you don’t
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 400. Poke holes in eggplant with a fork, then wrap in foil and roast for an hour. Set aside to cool a bit. When you can handle it, cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash with a fork and set aside.

Puree the onion in a blender.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add turmeric, coriander, cumin, and garam masala and bloom in the oil for a minute. Add the onion puree and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until it’s reduced to sort of a pumpkin puree-level of consistency. Add the whole can of tomatoes, chili peppers, and lemon zest. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and turn the heat to low. Stir and partially cover the pot. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the lemon juice and add salt to taste. (If you went the halved chili route, fish them out now and discard.) Serve over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Puree curry in a blender with 1 Tbsp tahini and 3 Tbsp plain yogurt. Serve warm with cilantro garnish and your grain-based or vegetable choice of dipping matter.


[image: jars of tomolives and curry eggplant relish]
[image: jars of tomolives and curry eggplant relish]

More pickles! These two jars I prepared for my friend Lydia, owner of the blog Truffle Wants Snacks. The larger jar on the left contains Tomolives, which are apparently a Southern thing. I made them with green Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes and darkened-a-bit-but-still-not-totally-ripe Indigo Rose tomatoes from my garden. Clearly I picked these a while ago—back in November after the frosts became unbearable for my plants. I was trying to find pickle recipes for green tomatoes, and came across a couple promising posts.

This line, from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen immediately jumped out at me:

Tomolives are just wonderful in a martini, served as a casual appetizer, skewered with sharp cheese, or plucked from the jar while you stare into the depths of the refrigerator wondering what to have for lunch.

Martinis, appetizers, cheese. Check, check, check. These are some of the many fine qualities that Lydia brings to a friendship.

(The curry eggplant relish recipe will be coming in a few days!)

1 quart unripe small or cherry tomatoes
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp white granulated sugar
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp black peppercorns
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
2 small red chili peppers (SUPER CHILIS!)

With a toothpick, skewer, or knife, poke holes in each tomato (I used a toothpick and poked them from the stem end down to the opposite end). Place the chilis, bay leaves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and mustard seeds in the bottom of a 1-quart jar. Pack the tomatoes in on top.

Boil the water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic cloves together for 5 minutes. Carefully pour into the jar. Refrigerate for a week before eating.

(I don’t actually pickle in the jars, I use cleaned 32-oz yogurt containers and then transfer them into the nicer jars when it comes time for presentation. Allows me to make sure all the good stuff is on top. If you do this, during the initial pickling give them a stir every so often to make sure everything get submerged equally.)

Garlic Shrimp

[image: garlic shrimp]
[image: garlic shrimp]

I think this will be the last of the recipes I post from our tapas evening. We made a couple other recipes, but they were not nearly as successful. This one was surprisingly simple and lovely. Oil-poached shrimp with garlic and chilis.

12 31–40 size raw shrimp, cleaned and peeled with tails on (this was 3 small-sized servings of 4 each, but I would gladly have eaten the whole thing by myself)
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 small chili peppers, cut in half

Pour the oil in a small pan and add the garlic and chilis. Heat over medium until the oil is hot but before the garlic browns. Add the shrimp and cook for 60–90 seconds on each side or until evenly pink. Pour shrimp and oil mixture into a serving dish and serve hot.

Shallot Jam

You will recognize this jam as the companion to the chicken liver spread I posted yesterday. We served it two ways—the other preparation was on toasts with goat cheese broiled on top and sherry-macerated raisins.

This recipe took me forever, because I just read “cover with water” and missed the line in the recipe that actually specified an amount. So I added probably 4 cups of water and was stirring the damn thing for ages.

I had never melted sugar like this before, just BAM sugar in a pot. I stirred it constantly because I was afraid the whole thing would burn, but apparently you’re not supposed to do that? According to the internet, you just shake the pot. I didn’t have any problems with crystals forming, so I guess I dodged a bullet.

6 Tbsp + 2 tsp white granulated sugar (100 grams)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 lb. shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water (or however much it will take to drown everything)
2 Tbsp unflavored oil (canola or vegetable or whatever)

Heat sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar caramelizes. Add the shallots and garlic and coat with the caramel. Cover with water. Add oil and a pinch of salt. Boost the heat a bit and cook, stirring, until it reduces down to a jam consistency and the liquid is pretty much entirely gone.

Chicken Liver Spread

[image: toasts with chicken liver spread and shallot jam]
[image: toasts with chicken liver spread and shallot jam]

That photo has two recipes on it, I’ll put up the shallot jam in the next few days. Brown on brown on brown, such a feast for the eyes!

Today will just be focused on the chicken liver spread. I was going to call it pate, but apparently I already a recipe by that name. Plus I have Julia Child’s recipe for chicken liver mousse. I guess I can’t try another chicken liver recipe until I get a thesaurus. The book calls this one “chicken foie gras,” but that’s way overselling it, not to mention super pretentious. This is just a good basic spread recipe—much easier than the other two I’ve posted. The taste is perhaps a little less… refined? than Julia’s because of the absence of a mega-ton of butter and cream, so you get a bit more of the actual taste of livers. Which I think can be a good thing!

2 Tbsp butter
10–12 oz. chicken livers—drained, rinsed, and trimmed of any green bits or large chunks of fat
1 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp freshly chopped aromatic herbs (we used tarragon, thyme, and parsley)
1 tsp white granulated sugar
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add livers, sherry, herbs, sugar, and 1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt). Cook until the livers are cooked through (poke them apart and look inside, if they bleed, they’re not done). Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

(P.S. tarragon is delicious)

Marinated Anchovies

[image: toasts with marinated anchovies]
[image: toasts with marinated anchovies]

Mom and I made a bunch of tapas today. It was exhausting. But now I have a bunch of recipes for here! We used The Best 100 Tapas by Esperanza Luca De Tena as our guide, but we didn’t really follow any of the recipes precisely. So here is our interpretation.

10–15 white anchovies (we used Wild Planet), which I believe had 12 in the tin)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper

Remove the spines from the anchovies using the tip of a knife. Try to keep them as intact as you can, but it’s okay if they fall apart a bit (see the photo at the top of this post). Place in a bowl.

Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, parsley, and tarragon. Whisk in the olive oil and add the bay leaf. Pour mixture over anchovies. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24.

Cut 1/2″ slices of the baguette. Lightly toast bread (mostly just to get it warm). Remove bay leaf from mixture. Spoon some liquid over the bread, then lay anchovy pieces on top. Drizzle some more liquid and grind pepper on top.

Scallion Pancakes

[image: scallion pancake with dipping sauce]
[image: scallion pancake with dipping sauce]

For a more in-depth look at how exactly to roll the pancakes, take a look at Serious Eats, which is where I got this recipe. I halved it (because my little desktop green onions could only yield so much!) and changed a few little things. Next time, I think I’ll add one of my chile peppers to the scallions inside the pancake for some extra kick.

1 cup AP flour (plus extra for rolling)
1/2 cup boiling water
sesame oil
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
vegetable oil
kosher salt

Put flour in food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the boiling water until the dough just comes together (it will probably end up being not the entire amount). Remove from workbowl and knead a few times on a floured surface. Shape into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for a half hour (or overnight in the fridge).

Divide dough into two balls. Take one half and with a rolling pin, roll out on a floured surface into an 8-inch round. With a pastry brush (or just lightly with your hand), lightly coat with sesame oil. Roll up into a cylinder, then twist the roll into a spiral, tucking the end underneath. Reroll into an 8-inch round.

Coat with another layer of sesame oil, then sprinkle 1/2 cup of green onions on top evenly. Roll up again (carefully) and twist into a spiral, and roll down into an 7-inch round (carefully, dusting more flour around if things start sticking). Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and lightly press in.

Repeat for other half of dough.

Heat vegetable oil (Serious Eats recommends 1/4 cup, I just used enough to coat my pan) in a non-stick 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, slip in one pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, shaking pan so that it heats evenly. Be careful when flipping so that you don’t get oil everywhere. Remove from pan, let drain on paper towels, and cut into wedges. Repeat for second pancake. Serve with…

Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp minced green onion (basically whatever you have leftover from filling the pancakes)

Mix together.

So my first pancake turned out uneven and sort of burned in spots because I didn’t keep the pan moving enough and wasn’t cognizant of the oil temperature.

[image: slightly burnt scallion pancake]
[image: unevenly burnt scallion pancake]

So look more like the top picture and less like this one. (Of course, the ones on Serious Eats look way better, but I do what I can.)


This is a fairly simple recipe—you could jazz it up with paprika, sriracha, roasted red bell peppers, etc. But it’s pretty good on its own with a bunch of veggies or pretzel sticks to dip!

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini (or make your own, see below)
2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8-1/4 tsp ground cumin
2-4 Tbsp olive oil

Optional step for ultra smooth hummus: remove skins from garbanzo beans.

In a blender (or food processor, but I find a blender makes for a smoother product), combine the garbanzo beans, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and cumin. Pulse to combine roughly. Turn machine on low speed and slowly drizzle in the oil. Increase speed and run until the hummus is smooth in consistency. Check seasoning, then refrigerate for an hour to let the flavors meld.

rounded 1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Toast sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat. Let cool, then empty into a coffee grinder. Pulse 10 or so times to reduce the seeds to a paste. Empty into a bowl and add the oils and salt. Mix to combine.

Note: clean the coffee grinder by grinding some uncooked rice to a powder, discarding said powder, and then wiping it out with a damp paper towel.