Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Netherlands in an RV

 Last night was the night for the Netherlands. I chose a meal that would represent the hard working country. On the menu: Brown Bean Soup, Crunch Dutch Bread, Dutch Cucumber Salad and Holland Butter Cookies. Click on any of the recipe names for the link to the recipes that I used.
I really do love to make bread!
 As with any of these countries that I've cooked from....if there is a cucumber salad variation, you may as well already figure that I will find the recipe and use it!
 I think that pretty much every person in America has had a variation of this cucumber salad before.
 This was the first rise on the Crunch Dutch Bread.
 The Netherlands is a constituent country consisting of 12 provinces in Western Europe and 3 islands in the Caribbean. The European portion of the Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. The country also shares maritime borders with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. The capital and largest city is Amsterdam. The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, but, if one were strictly speaking, Holland would technically be North and South Holland, which are 2 of the provinces...but the referral as the Netherlands as Holland is generally accepted.
The land area is 16,039 square miles and the population is 16,819,595 according to the 2014 census. About 20% of the land area and 21% of the population are located below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made, due to centuries of extensive and poorly controlled peat extraction.

 The Crunch Dutch Bread is supposed to be shaped into "bowls" and then you let it rise again. These are my "bowls"...rather pathetic, aren't they?
 This is the crunch topping. It is made with rice flour.
 It gets slathered on the rolls like this.

Much of the Netherlands is formed by the estuary of three European rivers, which together with their distributaries, form the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Most of the Netherlands is very flat, with the exception of foothills in the far southeast and several low hill ranges in the central parts of the country. Twenty national parks and hundreds of other nature reserves are located within the country. There are no native forests in the Netherlands. They were all cut down, the last in 1871.
 Here is the beginning of the Holland Butter Cookie recipe. I remember a couple of Baked Lava readers asking me several years ago if I ever screwed up in the kitchen. I promptly answered, "Of course!" Who doesn't? Here is a prime example of one of those screw-ups...and I must say that this one was absolutely not my fault. This was a poorly written recipe and the measurements are way off. There is way too much liquid (keep in mind that while baking, sugar is considered a liquid) and not enough binder. The way that the Holland Butter Cookie recipe was written and published, it does not work. The measurements are off.
 I'll admit that being the recipe tweaker that I am, I did cut the original recipe in half and I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Other than those two things, the recipe was made as-is. These cookies did not bake up in 8-10 minutes. They took more like 15 minutes and they were still very gooey, but I had to take them out of the oven because they would have burned. They sat on the baking sheet for a full 15-20 minutes before I attempted to remove them with a spatula. Keep cruising down...
 I ended up with this gloppy mess. I gave the recipe 2 stars in my review because after they cooled down and became rocks, they still tasted fantastic. But, I was disappointed with this recipe and you'll see how I managed to salvage it into something semi-edible.
 This is the start of the Brown Bean Soup. What's not to love about a soup that starts with butter and bacon??

 There are three Caribbean islands that are also part of the Netherlands. Bonaire is part of the ABC Islands located within the Lesser Antilles island chain off the Venezuelan coast. The islands are of mixed volcanic and coral origin. Saba and Sint Eustatius are part of the SSS Islands. They are located east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Although, within the English language, they are considered part of the Leeward Islands, the French, Spanish, Dutch and locally spoken English consider them part of the Windward Islands.
The highest part in all of the Netherlands is located on Saba. It is Mt. Scenery at an elevation of 2910 feet.
The Netherlands is the tenth most populous country in Europe and it ranks 63rd in the world. The official language is, of course, Dutch.
The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and is, today, regarded as a highly liberal country due to its lenient drug policy, legal euthanasia and on April 1, 2001, it became the first country in the world to recognize same-sex marriage.
 This is how I wound up salvaging the cookie recipe and recreated it into something edible. I pressed the dough into a pie pan and baked it off for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Although I loved the flavor, I detested the recipe. I didn't want to lose that amount of butter. I think I can play around with the measurements and remake this into a fantastic cookie recipe...eventually.
 This is the Brown Bean Soup after I simmered it for about 40 minutes.

 Then I used the immersion blender on it and it became something I imagine out of Hansel & Gretel...very thick, very hearty, very filling and like a porridge. We loved this soup. I have always liked the canned bean and bacon soup and now I know how to make it!! SCORE!

The Netherland's cuisine is based around fishing and farming. Dutch cuisine is simple and straight-forward. A great example would be the Brown Bean Soup recipe. The food is comprised of many vegetables and little meat. Breakfast and lunch are, typically, bread with toppings. Dinner is meat and potatoes. It is a high-fat and and high-carb diet that reflects the dietary needs of the laborers who molded the country. Dutch cuisine also contains many dairy products. Potatoes became a very important part of a Dutch diet after being introduced to Europe from South America and by 1800, they became a staple food. Beer is widely drunk and is more popular than wine.
 Dutch Cucumber Salad
 Brown Bean Soup...just a fantastic, simple, hearty, porridge-style soup that really would hit the spot on a bitterly cold winter's day. Oh, by the way, I could not finish that bowl last night...that's how filling it is.
 Crunch Dutch Bread...I'd love to make this recipe again and leave the whole "crunch" part off...I just don't think it was necessary. The bread is delicious.
And those unfortunate cookies that I remade. Like I said, the taste was phenominal...but the recipe was utterly "off" in measurements. Do not make this recipe as written with any hope of is an epic fail. As you can see, they even fell apart on me the way that I made them. We nibbled at bits and pieces of them but, most likely, the rest will wind up in the garbage because food does have to have some sort of visual appeal to go along with taste.
I am chugging right along as far as countries/territories go. The Netherlands was my 94th country in the whole Around the World in an RV project. The countries/territories that are coming up are: 95-Estonia, 96-Hong Kong and 97-the Coral Sea Islands. Watch for the Hong Kong blog for a new poll to be put up to vote on the next few countries/territories. And, as always, until we meet up in Estonia or I get creative in the galley and come up with a new recipe, Bob and I wish you all PEACE!


  1. Hi Laurrie. How do you think the soup would be without blending it? I love bean soups but not crazy about blended liquid type soups.

    1. Hey there, Cherry...the taste would be the same without blending it. It would have a lot more texture. The recipe, if I recall right, said to remove 1 cup of the soup to blend to give it the porridge type texture. I just used an immersion blender...there was still quite a bit of texture left in it. I didn't blend it completely smooth. I'm like you, I don't like a soup that is completely smooth. Even my beer-cheese soup has texture in it from the onions and peppers.

    2. But, to answer your question, I think it would be just fine. It's all subjective to how your tastes are. Some people dig soups that are completely smooth and this could be done like that.
      Me...give me some texture and we'll get along just fine. ;)

  2. If you had a deep fryer, you could look into making Ollie Bollen, or Croquettes. maybe even Bami Balls. Herring is always good (salted of course), very dutch.
    Us Dutch also like french fries with mayonaisse (special kind of mayo from holland).
    The crunch bread looks good, think I'll have to try your recipe on that

  3. Here's a good link, I don't spell the dishes very well, but they are really good once tasted

  4. Thanks, Karyn Lee...I appreciate the link!

  5. I like blended soups, but for something like this, I'd probably prefer it unblended.

  6. I don't like soups that are blended into oblivion. I think this would taste absolutely fine unblended. I liked it blended up a bit...the thick texture and such. But, unblended would be equally delicious, as well.


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