…is the name of a great cookbook my Belgian AFS host family gave to me years ago. For some reason, I sort of forgot about it and haven’t used it much recently. Since returning from our trip to Belgium, however, I have already been missing the food, because indeed, everybody eats well in Belgium. Or at least, everybody eats well at my host family’s house.
This weekend I spent a day making 3 things in the book – Flemish asparagus, sweet and sour cucumbers with chives, and sugar bread.
The Flemish asparagus wasn’t really authentic because we can’t get white asparagus here. The white asparagus is grown with mounded dirt around the stalks to block out the light (and therefor the green chlorophyll). Leo made this dish for us last week with the real thing and it was much tastier, in my opinion. Tea still liked our green version and ate his whole plate. The sauce is mashed up hard-boiled eggs with lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. It might sound like a strange combination, but YUM!
The sweet and sour cucumbers with chives reminded me a lot of the quick pickle recipes I’ve seen but never made because Kyle claims he doesn’t like them. But he claims that he liked this. Go figure. (ONE CUP of apple cider vinegar to one cucumber and a tablespoon of sugar? This recipe was much more sour than sweet.) What I like best about it is it keeps for a week and there’s so much extra vinegar I plan to add another few cucumbers tomorrow – I’ll be testing Kyle to see if he truly liked it or was just being nice.
Of course my real reason for breaking out this cookbook was the sugar bread (suikerbrood) recipe. I have fond memories of my host father bringing a loaf home on Sunday mornings and eating pieces slathered with butter. Smelling it baking in the oven was nearly as good as tasting it. My version turned out alright, but not quite as moist as the one we ate in Belgium last week. That’ll be my excuse to try it again soon – I need to get the baking time just right, and until then, friends and family will have to force themselves to do me the favor of eating my experiments.
We also have another new recipe in the works, but it’ll be 3 weeks before we can sample it. Although we’ve been introduced to it by my Belgian family, it’s Italian. If it works, I may post more about it later. For now, here’s a clue: