Poffertjes

I find it amazing that after almost two years of blogging, I’ve never put up a Dutch recipe.  I have a handful that I always tell myself I need to cook, but for some reason I have yet to put pan to stove and do it.  You see, the Netherlands and I share a bit of history.

It all began way, way, WAY back my during my senior year in high school when we had a rotary student from Holland come study in my hometown for the year.  Her name was Elvira and she and I instantly hit it off.  When the year ended and it was time for her to leave, I had a hard time saying goodbye.   I decided then and there that I would head overseas the following summer and spend some time with her family on the other end of the pond.

Elvira (in the middle) and her two sisters

I spent a month overseas and learned how truly American I was.  From the languages to the customs to the people, my eyes were opened to many new adventures and lifestyles. I instantly fell in love with the country.  Upon coming home, I signed up to spend a semester overseas through my university.   I studied the Dutch language and a few months later, I was back on a plane to Utrecht, Holland; this time for six months instead of one.

Me posing in front of a tulip field.  Gotta love 90′s fashion.

Anyone who’s ever studied abroad can share with you what an incredible and life changing experience it is.  I could practically write a novel about my time there, but I’ll save a few of the stories for later posts and future Dutch recipes, of which I have many.

Of all my European memories, the ones that stick with me the most revolve around the food.  Every Wednesday and Saturday I would wander down to the Utrecht farmers market and smell the fresh scent of baked goods wafting through the afternoon air.  Fresh stroop wafels, gevulde kookjes and these little treats, poffertjes, filled the bakery carts.  When you walked up to the stand they would make them there as you watched and hand a small bucket over, still warm and steaming from the cool winter air.

The Entrance to the Weekly Farmers Market

Typically poffertjes are served up with powdered sugar and butter, but being the precocious food blogger that I am, I decided to take a slight deviation for the norm.  I think you’ll be happy that I did.

Start out by warming up a bit of milk in a small saucepan until it’s lukewarm and no hotter.  You’ll add in a packet of yeast next and we certainly don’t want to kill those tasty little critters by subjecting them to scalding temps.  Set your milk mixture to the side.

In a separate bowl combine together some flour and a pinch of salt.  Traditional poffertjes call for buckwheat flour, but I didn’t have any on hand so I used all purpose.  If you have buckwheat, feel free to do half and half for a more classic dutch treat.

Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly pour your milk in, stirring as you go.

Once the milk is incorporated, stir in an egg, a little lemon zest and a splash of almond extract.

Now set that beautiful batter to the side and let it rest covered for about 45 minutes.

While your batter is resting, you’ll grab up a few handfuls of your favorite berries and a little maple syrup.  Toss it into a small saucepan and heat it up for about 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors.  You can use a spoon to mash up the berries a bit and release all that fab flavor into the syrup.  Emulsify if desired, strain out the skins/seeds and keep your syrup warm.

Once the batter is ready to cook up, heat a poffertje pan on medium and add a little butter to each pocket.  If you don’t have a special pan, you can also use a pancake griddle.  They won’t be as round, but trust me, they’ll still be plenty tasty.

Spoon in a bit of the batter to each pocket and let it cook up for a minute or two on each side.

Drizzle a little of the warmed syrup over the top and dust with a sprinkle of powdered sugar to finish it off.   Smakelijk Eten!

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Poffertjes

Yield: about 30 poffertjes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 min

Ingredients:

11/2 Cups Milk
2 1/4 tsp Yeast (1 Packet)
2 Cups Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Egg
1 Lemon, Zested
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Cup Berries (Fresh or Frozen)Black, Blue or Strawberries all work well
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
Powdered Sugar, For Dusting

Directions:

In a small saucepan, warm the milk until it's lukewarm.

Remove it from the heat, add in the yeast and set to the side.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour and salt.

Form a well in the flour and slowly add in the milk mixture, stirring to incorporate.

Add in the egg, lemon zest, and almond extract.

Cover and let rest for 45 minutes.

If you have a poofertje pan, that works best, but you can also just make mini pancakes on a griddle. Melt a bit of butter in your pan (or on the griddle) and spoon a small amount of batter into each hole. Cook for a minute or two on each side until golden brown and cooked through.

In a small saucepan, heat the berries and maple syrup for about 5 minutes or until the juice begins to release. You can smash them a bit with a spoon to help the process along.

If desired, emulsify, strain out the berry seeds/skins and serve syrup warm over poffertjes.

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Cheesy Bacon Bean Dip

Football lovers rejoice! The Super Bowl is almost here. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the big game. On top of the fact that its arrival ushers out the long, cold month of January (it’s only 31 days, but I swear it feels twice that long), I also find that it provides me with an excuse to create some seriously satiating appetizers.

I’ve been toying with the idea of a bean dip for some time now. While there’s always freedom to experiment with flavors, a couple of requirements were necessary for this endeavor straight out of the gate:

  • It had to be hot because, let’s be honest, hot dip rocks.
  • It had to be cheesy because, well, I myself am a bit cheesy (this girl does love her Wisconsin dairy).
  • Last, but most definitely not least, it needed to be crudité worthy, therefore satisfying my veggie intake needs for the day.

Well, get ready, because I achieved all three goals and scored a two-point conversion in the process with the bonus addition of protein-charged beans to the mix. The final result is flavorful football fare that will leave you and your guests filled and content.

Kick off your Super Bowl party right by cooking up a couple slices of fresh-cut bacon. When the bacon is crisp and hot, remove it from the pan and chop. Reserving a teaspoon or two of the grease, slide your heat dial to medium and drop in a bit of diced onion and fresh garlic.

Sear it up for a minute or two and then toss in a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans.

Swirl around the pan for a couple moments allowing them the opportunity to heat up.  Dial the heat back down to medium low and stir in a bit of sour cream (light is ok), mayo, and one of the two chopped bacon slices.  Transfer the hot mixture to a food processor and spin until smooth.

Finally, drop in a few handfuls of pepper jack cheese, a pinch or two of Parmesan and a few choice flavor enhancers including oregano, Worcestershire and hot pepper (to taste).  Add salt if needed and sprinkle the remaining chopped bacon and a little green onion over the top.

Even if your team doesn’t make it to the big game this year, you can be assured that between the clever commercials and the over-abundance of pigskin-dedicated fare, you’ll finish the evening with a satiated appetite and, if you’re lucky, a coveted Super Bowl win.

And if not, there’s always next year.

This post is being shared over at MSN’s Kitchen Cookoff.  Be sure to drop by and show a little love!

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Cheesy Bacon Bean Dip

Yield: About 2 Cups of Dip

Total Time: 25 min

Ingredients:

2 Slices Bacon
1/4 Onion Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 15 Oz. Cannellini Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
3/4 Cup Shredded Pepper Jack
3 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire
1/4 tsp Oregano
A Few Drops Hot Pepper, to Taste
Optional Garnish: 1 Green Onion, Chopped

Directions:

Cook up the two bacon slices until crisped and brown. Pull out and chop.

Reserve a teaspoon or two of the grease and on medium heat, brown up the onion and garlic.

Add in the beans and stir around for a minute or two to heat them up.

Turn the heat down to medium low and add in the broth, sour cream, mayo and one of the chopped bacon slices.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth.

Pour back into the pan and add in the cheeses, Worcestershire, oregano and hot pepper. Add salt if needed.

Garnish with the remaining bacon and a chopped green onion. Serve with crudités and pita chips and/or a hunky loaf of fresh baked bread.