Nasi Goreng

One of my all time favorite recipes is an Indonesian style stir fry rice called Nasi Goreng. Because my background is Dutch there is a strong connection with Indonesian cuisine. After visiting Indonesia (almost a decade ago now) I discovered that the connection to the Dutch as well (not going into the history, as there are many factors of this that weren’t so wonderful). 

I make this recipe about twice per month and it gives me leftovers for several meals (I love hearing it and carrying it with me on cold outdoor trips with the kids).


The ingredients are pretty simple, but the key ingredient is something that cannot easily be substituted (but can be made from scratch). It’s a sweet soy sauce called Ketjap Manis. I order mine through Amazon and I keep it in the fridge (though it can be store in the pantry). 

You’ll need to cook rice (about 2 cups dry) beforehand (long enough to cool off a little). I usually make the rice in the early-mid-afternoon. 

You’ll also need some “scrambled” eggs (5-6 eggs with some salt and pepper) more crumbly than solid, which you’ll add to the chicken before the rice. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, heat a skillet at medium-medium-high, pour in the mixture and stir pan until crumbles form and are fully cooked.

The recipe

2 cups uncooked rice, cooked to directions
5-6 eggs scrambled with some salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 1/2 pounds diced chicken
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 onion diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups cooked rice
3-4 tablespoon Ketchap Manis

1. Cook rice, roughly 2 cups uncooked, according to package instructions

2. Scramble 5-6 eggs with some salt and pepper

3. Heat wok on high and add in sesame oil (I used to make this with peanut oil, but my son is allergic to peanuts, so we don’t use it anymore)

4. Meanwhile dice chicken and then transfer to the wok. Generously sprinkle with the curry powder and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until it starts to brown. 

5. Add in onions and cook for a few minutes (until they start to get glassy) before adding in the minced garlic (don’t want it to burn). Cook for another minute or two.

6. Add in the eggs and continue to stir

7. Add in all the rice and stir thoroughly

8. Add in the Ketchap Manis, I do this by sight. Start with the smaller quantity, stir in, then taste rice to make sure it’s not too salty/sweet.

9. Serve with some cucumbers as a side πŸ™‚

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Sourdough starter

I’ve recently learned how to use sourdough starter to make waffles and bread. Several months ago I started making bread, with yeast, you know…. The “normal” way. Then my father told me I was doing it wrong, that using a sourdough starter was a much better way to go. Well, I have to admit that he was right. I’ve now had my own sourdough starter, from my parents, for almost a month. I’ve made several batches of waffles and 4 different loaves of sourdough bread. I’ve even shared my starter with a friend and she’s now making waffles and bread too (AND she just found a recipe for blueberries sourdough muffins, which I plan on trying tomorrow!). The cool thing is that now my friend is posting about it too and she’s going to share her starter with friends too. That’s such an awesome thing, it makes my tummy all giggly with delight.

Anyway, back to my starter and bread and stuff. I made my first sourdough following Jacob Burton’s step by step video, with Stella Culinary, on YouTube, last weekend. I wanted to make the bread on Friday and instead found out that 1) I didn’t have enough starter (called my dad on how to actually “properly” grow it) and that 2) my starter didn’t pass the float test. That latter step was a little intimidating at first, because I didn’t know my starter that well yet. However, I then did a lot of reading, online, on what to do and how to do it. The best way to find out when your starter is ready for bread (float test, or dropping a dollop of starter in room temp water, if it floats it’s ready to be used to make bread, if it sinks it’s either not ready or it’s too far gone and needs to be fed) is to test the “float” status of your starter every hour, starting with the first hour after the most recent feed. I discovered that my starter is excellent at around the 2-3 hour mark. So on Saturday I woke up early, fed my starter, and then set the timer for about 2 hours. 

My starter passed the float test (room temp water, drop dollop of starter, if it floats make bread, if it sinks wait a little longer)

Now you can make bread, which I’ll do in a separate post. I think, for bread recipes, you need a fed starter; for waffles and muffins (a recipe to be tried today) you can have a fed or unfed starter.

Feeding your starter is very simple and there are two ways to maintain a starter: in the fridge (feed weekly) or on your counter (feed every 12 hours). 

My fridge starter (her name is Abigail) before her weekly feed

Weekly fridge feed:

Take starter out of fridge. Open jar and stir contents (it may have separated a little, and have a golden-ish liquid on top, this is normal and does not mean your starter is dead). Allow to adjust to room temperature a little (anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours) by leaving it on the counter. The resting process is not necessary, if you are short on time, and I’ve tested out feeding a starter directly from the fridge with no issues. A slightly warmer starter seems to feed better, however, so that’s what I’ve been doing. 

Once the starter is ready remove about 1/4-1/2 a cup of starter, place in a bowl that can be covered. Add 100g (4oz) of lukewarm water and 100g (4oz) bread flour (or other wheat based flour), stir and let it rest (covered) on counter for several hours (6-12 hours). 

After the resting/feeding period stir the starter and put back in mason jar (pint sized is good). The starter you have left over can be tossed, used to make another counter starter, make another starter, or used in a recipe (like muffins or waffles).

For the counter starter:

Remove all but 1/4-1/2 cup starter, add 100g flour and 100g lukewarm water. Stir everything together and cover. This will need to be done every 12 hours (I do first feed around 8 or 9am and then the evening one around 8 or 9pm). I have accidentally skipped a feed and if that happens, feed your starter as soon as possible. Continue to feed as you normally would (if you remember 24 hours later, do next feed at 12 hours, if it’s a couple hours before the next feed, say it’s 4pm, you could do another small feed at 10pm and then again at 8am). You can use the discard to make waffles, muffins, another starter, or bread. You can also keep feeding and make the starter bigger, this will be needed when making most breads (which usually call for roughly 500g of starter).

This is my counter starter (his name is Fred)

If you want to make your own starter King Arthur has an excellent tutorial on their website. 

These are the waffles I make. It requires overnight resting (roughly 8-12 hours), so this is a great recipe for using up your “discard” starter at night or when you feed your fridge starter.

This recipe is excellent for making sourdough sandwich bread. But it definitely requires two bread baking pans (at least for my starter it has and my friend, who’s also made this, she found the recipe for me). As you can see in the picture below, it could not be contained.


Thankfully I caught it in time and was able to salvage it.


My favorite recipe (my father introduced me to this), which I’ll do a separate post on, is Jacob Burton’s from Stella Culinary. He has a YouTube video on the step by step process of making a simple sourdough bread. The first time I made it, it definitely didn’t feel simple, but after having made it three times now it seriously makes THE best sourdough bread I’ve ever tried.


So far I’ve really been enjoying the process and I look forward to making this part of my routine. It’s certainly pretty budget friendly, since the last recipe only requires flour, water, and kosher salt and you can easily make several loaves of bread with one bag. An artisan bread like this could easily cost $6-10, but even King Arthur flour only costs $4.99 for a 5-pound bag. I’d say that’s a win. 

Le Creuset Yogurt

I have a large stock pot/Dutch oven pot from Le Creuset. It’s purple. I love it. It was a Christmas gift (picked out by me) from Mr. Man Cold almost two years ago. I use it for everything, from pasta sauce, soups, and puddings to more recently using it for yogurt and sourdough bread. I’ve just ordered a proofing basket, for making sourdough bread (because a towel, secured with a rubber band, in a plastic mixing bowl wasn’t cutting it after three attempts), and I can’t wait to try it. I’ll do a separate post on my sourdough bread, because it’s so much fun!

Anyway… Back to my purple pot… Last week I ran out of time to start my yogurt in the crockpot, so I got the (very) bright idea to make the yogurt in my Le Creuset. 

I brought the milk (1 gallon organic whole) to 180+ degrees (my thermometer clips on to edge of pot, so I occasionally checked it). Then I moved the pot to the back of the stove and let it cool off to the 110 degrees (while this was cooling I turned on the oven to let it preheat to the lowest possible temp, 170, and then promptly turned it off). Take out 1 cup and add 2 tablespoons of yogurt (from last batch), then add this mixture back into the pot and swish gently with a whisk until mixed. Put top back on, place on top of thick towels and place in oven (with light on) for 10-14 hours. 

The yogurt was significantly thicker than when I did it in the crockpot. I believe this is because the Le Creuset is cast iron and retains the heat longer, which is ultimately the goal when wrapping it in towels and placing it in the oven. I will definitely be doing I like this going forward, because it was soooo delicious. 

2 Quarts of the gallon of yogurt

Marinara, simple and tasty

I’m a huge fan of anything homemade and even more so when it’s simple and tasty to boot. Yet another great find on Pinterest, but I modified it to my own liking. 

I don’t think I need to go into a long drawn out post on this one, though I’d certainly love to make this entire recipe from all fresh ingredients (and make my own diced tomatoes from my “potted plant garden”), but right now I have to use canned diced tomatoes. 

I buy diced tomatoes on sale (less than $1 per can, for the 28oz cans). A jar of decent marinara sauce costs upwards of $7 and with how little it costs to make it from scratch, I can’t justify spending that much. This recipe makes roughly 2-3 jars of sauce, so it’s a pretty good budget saver. I freeze the leftover sauce in mason jars and put them in the fridge (24 hours before I need them) to defrost for use. I’m no a huge fan of canned tomatoes, but hopefully my potted tomato plants will do well this summ and I won’t have to buy canned for much longer. 

So here’s the process for making the sauce. Heat a pot, or sauce pan, at medium-medium-high and add olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch everyday extra virgin olive oil, first cold press). 


Add diced onions and cook, until almost glassy, and then add minced garlic. Cook until everything is soft and aromatic. Mix in the spices, and stir to combine, before adding in the remaining ingredients. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, wine (I use Chardonnay from the Gallo family, nothing fancy and I buy the tiny bottles, because I am not a huge alcohol drinker and we’d just end up tossing it all), olives, salt, and pepper. 


Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to low and cook for 30 minutes. Check every so often and stir as needed. After the 30 minutes I stick blend the entire thing until it’s pretty fine. 

At this point I add my baked meatballs to the sauce and cook for another 20 minutes. 

Recipe
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced onions
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Teaspoon Oregano
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 28-ounce can diced/stewed tomatoes
1 8 ounce jar Kalamata olives, drained (reserving 1 tablespoon brine to add to sauce)
3/4 cups white wine (Chardonnay)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat sauce pan and add olive oil
2. Add in diced onions and cook until almost glassy/softened.
3. Add in garlic and cook until aromatic (roughly 1-2 minutes, don’t allow garlic to burn)
4. Add in spices and stir to coat onions/garlic
5. Add in remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to boil
6. Cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally 
7. Stick blend to your desired smoothness. 

Note: I add my oven baked meatballs at this point and cook for additional 20 minutes.

Meatballs – in the oven

Seriously, I have yet to find a recipe that is better. I was never very good at frying bacon (always seemed to burn it) or making meatballs (they always came out hard like hockey pucks) in a pan. So I started making both in the oven. 

Bacon

Bacon is so easy in the oven!!! Place bacon on a baking sheet (line with aluminum foil, to catch grease), place in oven (unheated, don’t preheat!), turn oven on and set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and let bake for 15-22 minutes (depends on the number on slices, I find 7 slices need at least 22). Remove from oven and place (or as I do roll up) on paper towels. Bacon is perfect every time. 

Meatballs

I found a recipe a while back that used all ground pork in their recipe, I like pork, but I prefer a mix, so I changed it up a bit. I use half ground pork and half ground beef. There’s also milk, bread (good bread!), seasoned bread crumbs (I buy plain and add my own seasoning), garlic seasoning* (I create my own with equal parts salt, organic garlic powder, and black pepper), eggs, and cheese (I use a 3 cheese blend, Romano, Parmesan and Asiago). Soak bread with milk then add remaining ingredients. Mix, I prefer to do this with my hands as opposed to a spoon, until throughly combined. I do it with my hands because the bread pieces (soaked with milk) need to be broken apart a little further (especially if it has a good crust on it). You could break it apart with a potato ricer, before adding he remaining ingredients, but there’s something cathartic about the squishiness. 

Once it’s all together you’ll need to form the meatballs. Here’s where I turn on the oven (set to 350 degrees again, but here you will need to preheat).  I’ve got two sizes I like to make an 1/8th of a cup (or 2 tablespoons) and newly attempted 1 tablespoon sized meatballs. Let me say, right now, that the smaller size is awesome; easier to cut into smaller pieces for the kids and poppable for adults! I use a 1 tablespoon scoop and I’ve just purchased a 2 tablespoon one as well, which I’ll test out next time. Spray your dish/tray with a non-stock spray or coat with oil. Place formed meatballs on dish and place in oven.

You can see, in the picture below, that there are still some larger pieces of bread visible, I like it that way. This recipe will make roughly 80 mini meatballs or 40 1/8th cup sizes meatballs. 


The larger ones…


Place in oven and cool them for 35-45 minutes (shorter time for the smaller ones and longer for larger). The way I know they’re done is when I life a meatball off the tray it’s got a crispy bottom). 

Recipe

3 slices Italian white bread (not wonder bread!)
1/2 cup milk (I use whole organic)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
3 eggs (whisked)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic seasoning* (see above)
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/2 cup three cheese shredded blend (Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago)

1. Soak bread with milk, allow bread to fully absorb milk.
2. Add meat, whisked eggs, garlic seasoning, breadcrumbs, and cheese and mix thoroughly
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
4. Spray Pyrex dish with nonstick spray.  Shape mixture into meatballs and place in dish, making sure that meatballs are not touching.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on size. Start checking at 35 minutes. The bottoms of the meatballs should be toasted/brown colored.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a little bit. I make my own marinara sauce and transfer the meatballs to the sauce for further cooking/absorbing flavor. This is totally optional, as these meatballs are delicious on their own.

I’ll make a separate post for the marinara sauce, also a delicious (and simple) recipe.

Zipzicles have arrived

The Zipzicles came in the mail today (thank you Amazon Prime!) and I’ve filled them with my homemade yogurt and berry syrup. 


These were very easy to fill. Open the zip pouch, blow a little air into the bag, use a small funnel to fill (inserted in the opening), and fill with favorite liquid or yogurt.


I have them cooling in the fridge and will update to see how the kids like them. I filled 6 tubes with the yogurt/syrup mix.

Finally have a chance to update here. I gave them to my daughter and she likes them well enough, but only seems to suck down half of the yogurt and then she’s done. She seems to be out of the yogurt kick for the moment, but I’m absolutely certain it will come back. The next time I make these I’ll have her help me, which always seems to motivate her to eat more things (or if she sees me eating them).

Kroketjes… Dutch Yumminess

I was born in the Netherlands and there are certain foods that aren’t available here, that are delicious, and sometimes very time consuming to make, so it’s a true treat when we can make it.

I’ve been craving kroketjes (pronounced crow-ket-yus) recently and I decided I was going to make them from scratch. To say this is an involved process is a huge understatement. There’s a lot of heat this, cool this, heat this, cool this, cool this, heat this, and then you can eat it. The waiting between heating and cooling makes this, at minimum, a full day’s work. I decided to do it over 2 days, because with kids it’s impossible to leave the littles “unattended” for too long (and especially when two of the procedures requires constant attention). 

Just a little background. In the Netherlands you can get food out of a wall. I know, it sounds a little weird, but it’s the fast food of the Dutch, and it’s soooo yummy. The most common places to get it out of the wall (see picture) is at a central train station (which there are several of) or in large cities. Or you can go to a snackbar and get “frieten met mayonnaise” (French fries with mayo) and many other deliciously fried foods (along with kroketjes). Admittedly not necessarily healthy and definitely a treat, but oh so worth it.

kroketjes out of a wall

 

Doing a search on Google, for images of “frieten in the Netherlands”, results in many images of fries with mayo slathered all over them. And the Dutch don’t stop at mayo, there are so many options and flavors/dips you can get.

So….. I did a quick search on Pinterest and the options seem to be very limited and many of the recipes are either in Dutch (not a problem here) or are poorly written/described. I did find one that seemed promising, so that’s the one I’m going with.

Here’s the step by step images (kind of) with descriptions:

Start off with 500g of eye round roast, I chopped it into large cubes, 1 large carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 1 onion, sprig of fresh parsley (or a teaspoon or so of dried), 3/4 teaspoon of anise seed (I think it was too much, it’s pretty strong stuff, so I’d probably use 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon next time), a half stick of cinnamon, and 1 bay leaf. Put this all in a pot (I used a 4 quart pot) and cover fully with water. Bring to a boil (stirring constantly to avoid the beef from sticking to the bottoms) and then reduce to low. Let cook for 3-4 hours. My stove has number settings from 1 – 10 and I set it to 2. You could easily do this in a crockpot on low for several hours (I’ll try this out next time to see how long this would need to cook, but I assume at least 4-6 hours on low). 

Beef eye round with veggies and spices

You want the beef to pull apart very easily with a fork. Take the beef pieces out of the broth and chop/shred it to very small pieces. Set this in a container and place in the fridge to cool. Strain the broth and reserve about 2 cups of the liquid. I cooked it down a little further, to make the flavor more dense, but this is no a necessary step. Put this in the fridge as well, until fully cooled (roughly 4 hours).

Shred the beef

After the cooling process you’re ready to make the roux, or as it is referred to in Dutch ragout (rah-goo). This is a pretty simple, yet key, skill to have. The recipe calls for 60 grams each of butter and flour. This does not break down evenly to the tablespoons for tablespoons recipe you would normally find. It came out to a little more than 1/3 cup (just remeasuring it came out to 6 1/2 tablespoons of flour). If you have a digital scale, this will help significantly. 

Melt the butter in a large skillet, do not do this too quickly (I did this on medium heat) until just before it starts to brown. Sift in the flour and stir until it’s combined and there are no more lumps. Continue to cook (and stir) for 3-4 minutes, until completely smooth. 

Butter and flour roux, needs another 2 minutes

After the 3-4 minutes add the 2 cups (1/2 liter) of cooled broth to the mix and stir until fully combined. Then add in the shredded/chopped beef. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to fully combine. Cook (and stir) for another 3-4 minutes. 

Roux with shredded beef

Now this needs to cool another 3-4 hours (at this point this will probably be overnight, depending on when you started the process). I cooled it overnight.

Now comes the construction of the balls of roux and rolling them in fine breadcrumbs, egg, and rough crumbs. I ground my regular breadcrumbs in a food processors, for the fine breadcrumbs, and then used panko mixed with regular breadcrumbs, to get a rougher consistency. 

Set out three deep plates one with 2 cups fine breadcrumbs, one with 2 whisked eggs, and one with the panko/regular breadcrumbs mix (1 cup of each). Roll out 1/8 cup sized balls of roux. Roll around in the fine breadcrumbs, roll around in eggs, and then roll around in the panko mix. Set these on a plate until you have all of the roux rolled out and breaded. These then all need to go into the fridge for another 2 hours, to set (again).

From roux to breaded yumminess

And now it’s time to fry them, after they’ve cooled (for at least two hours). Mine went for three.

Heat a small pot (I think mine is 3 quarts) with canola oil. I filled it enough so that it would cover the kroketjes with about 1/2-1″ of oil. Heat it to 180 degrees Celsius (roughly 350 degrees Fahrenheit) and add up to three balls of kroketjes. Fry for 5 minutes and then remove and place on paper towels (to catch excess dripping oil). You’ll want to keep an eye on the temperature as soon as you add the cold ones to the oil, you’ll notice a drop. Adjust heat accordingly. I was adjusting heat between 6.0 and 7.5 to keep the temperature between 178 and 182.

One other important thing to note, make sure you handle each ball carefully (as you transfer them from plate to spoon to oil) so as not to crack the breadcrumb coating. If it cracks the roux inside will leak out and cause the oil to splatter. You’ll notice, in the above picture, that one of the kroketjes is floating (that’s a sign it has leaked some of its contents). I use a slotted spoon to easily transfer each ball in and out of the oil, but I noticed that I broke two in the process of putting them on the spoon.

All in all a pretty decent recipe, but the anise seeds were too powerful and I would either remove them or use significantly less.

The best way to enjoy these is when they’re still hot. You can smoosh them on a hamburger sized bun and eat it with some Dijon mustard. I prefer them both plain and with mustard.

The recipe/ingredients:

The meat and broth:
500g eye round roast (cut in large cubes)
1 onion
1 stick of celery
1 carrot
1 sprig parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 cinnamon stick
3/4 teaspoon anise seed
6 cups water 

The roux (ragout):
60g butter (about 4 1/3 tablespoons)
60g flour (about 6 1/2 tablespoons)
Shredded beef (from above)
500ml (2 cups) of broth (from above)
Salt
Pepper

For shaping kroketjes:
2 cups fine breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 cup regular breadcrumbs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt

For frying:

Canola oil (fill pot enough to cover kroketjes with 1/2-1″)

1. Combine all ingredients for the meat/broth in a 8qt pot or larger, bring to a boil (stirring to avoid the beef from sticking to pot), then reduce heat to low and let cook for 3-4 hours (until beef shreds easily with a fork)

2. Remove meat cubes and shred/cut beef into smaller pieces, place in container and cool.

3. Strain the beef broth from the spices/veggies and place in a container to cool for at least 3-4 hours.

4. After meat and broth have cooled it’s time to start the roux. Melt butter on medium heat and then sift in flour. Stirring constantly, cook for another 3 minutes. 

5. Add in the 2 cups of cooled broth and stirring until well combined. Add in shredded beef and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper (original recipe also called for nutmeg, but my son is allergic, so I left it out). Stir and cook for another 3 minutes, then remove from heat, transfer to a container, and allow to cool (in the fridge) for 3-4 hours (this was overnight for us).

6. Time to make the balls and roll them in the fine breadcrumbs, egg, and panko/breadcrumb mix. I threw 2 cups of regular breadcrumbs into my small food processor, to made them fine (pulse for about 1 minute).

7. Set up three plates, one with the fine breadcrumbs, one with the two eggs whisked, and the third with the 1 cup of panko and 1 cup of regular breadcrumbs. 

8. Roll out a ball of shredded beef roux (about of 1/8 cup), roll it in the fine breadcrumbs. Next carefully roll this ball in the whisked egg. Finally place this on the panko/breadcrumbs mix and throw additional breadcrumbs, from the same plate, onto the ball. Repeat with the remaining shredded beef roux.

9. Place these on a plate (try not to stack too deep), wrap with plastic, and place in fridge to cool for at least 2 hours.

10. Time to fry. Fill a 3 quart pot 3/4 full with canola oil or an oil of your choice, that works well for frying. Heat to 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). Meanwhile set up a plate or strainer/bowl lined with paper towels. Gently add 3 cooled kroketjes and fry for 5 minutes. Place fried kroketjes on paper towels and repeat until all kroketjes have been fried.

11. Enjoy these on a roll of bread with some mustard and a side of french fries.