Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Eats: Dutch Food

Hello! Tulip Time, a local festival, is in full swing this week. Along with the flowers, it's a celebration of Dutch traditions. While I can't claim that nationality as my heritage, I am a bit of a foodie, so I like to see what Dutch foods are offered in conjuction with the festival. 

Thus, earlier this week I had one of the two Dutch food plates offered during Tulip Time at a local restaurant, 8th Street Grille: Dutch pea soup (Erwtensoep), Pigs in the Blanket (Saucijzenbroodjes, meat-filled pastries), and Dutch Apple Bread. My husband had the other plate, which featured Dutch pot roast, red cabbage and mashed potatoes. 

Had learned that homemade stroopwafels ("syrup waffles in English)were going to be sold at the Dutch Marktplaats, a Tulip Time shopping/dining venue. I'd only had the imported version of this cookie (two thin wafers sandwiched with a caramel filling)before, so was curious to see what a freshly-made stroopwafel would taste like. 

I saw that the stroopwafel cookies were being baked in something that reminded me of a pizelle iron, so I asked the employees manning the booth if the cookies could be made in one. They didn't seem to know what a pizelle cookie was, though. (In case you don't, it's an Italian wafer cookie). 

I bought a package of their stroopwafels and sampled one at home:

It was good, but I have to admit, I'm used to the taste of the commercial version. The home-style one seemed richer and sweeter. From doing some online research, I learned that people do, indeed, make their own stroopwafels using pizelle irons for the baking of the cookies. The recipes were loaded with butter and sweeteners, which is why my cookie tasted so rich.

We'd had a late Easter dinner on Sunday, to coincide with our daughter's visit home from college. Had some ham left over from the meal, so decided to make Dutch Rye Bread for future sandwiches. This recipe came from Dandy Dutch Recipes, edited by Mina Baker-Roelofs. It's a small specialty cookbook I'd picked up awhile back from the thrift store.

Here's a couple of slices, ready to be made into my sandwich:

And here's the recipe:

Dutch Rye Bread

2 cups rye grits (see notes following recipe)
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons dark molasses
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix buttermilk and baking soda. Add molasses and oil. Add this mixture to the first bowl and mix well, but do not beat. Pour into a greased bread pan and set aside for 1/2 hour. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from oven and invert another bread pan over the loaf. Remove from pan when cold. Wrap with waxed paper and store in refrigerator. 

Notes: the recipe states that "rye grits are available in most health-food stores". I must admit I took some liberties with this ingredient, for I had something called "pumpernickel flakes" already on hand. From what I could gather online, it appears that rye grits are to pumpernickel flakes as what steel-cut oats are to rolled oats - in other words, the former is a less-refined version of the latter. I reasoned that I could substitute the pumpernickel flakes for the rye grits - I'd either end up with a flop, or else the bread would turn out fine, just a softer-textured version of the recipe. 

The recipe didn't specify what size bread pan to use, but I used a 8x4 pan. This seemed to be fine. 

Result: well, my flakes-for-grits substitution worked. It seemed hearty enough as is, though I assume using rye grits would have resulted in a coarser texture. The bread was a little sweet for me; I'd cut down on the brown sugar next time. And perhaps because of the molasses, it didn't seem like a rye bread to me. Instead, I was reminded of a bran bread I used to make (equally dense and sweet). It was very easy to mix up, but of course you do have to plan ahead for the 1 1/2 hours of setting aside/baking times.

And that's my touch of Dutch today, as in a few Dutch foods!

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