Thursday, May 16, 2013

Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve: the place for good food

When you think of Amsterdam, what comes to mind? (if you're not from here, that is)

Legal prostitutes, legal marijuana, canals, and lots of windmills, right?

Well, let me tell you about a place that is more about the windmills than about drugs and prostitutes. (FYI we have eight windmills in Amsterdam and none of them are at the goat farm)

Lots of cute goats in the fields

The Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve is one of my new favorite places. Nestled in a huge city park called Amsterdamse Bos, this goat farm is part petting zoo and part working organic farm.

Going for a ride. Who's driving?

They have lots of goats of course, and from these goats they get lovely milk which they make into cheese, yogurt and ice cream. They also have lots of nice chickens running around whose eggs they sell. In addition to chickens and goats, the farm is also home to a few cows, pigs, and a horse.

In their shop they sell the goat cheese, milk and other products, as well as the biodynamic eggs, and a variety of meats.

I picked up a package of ground goat meat, some cheeses and a whole bunch of eggs.

I couldn't resist the goat cheese with nettles. So yum!

I've been eating the eggs all week and they are fabulous! With factory farming so horrifying, it is such a relief to see the chickens running around freely and pecking about in the dirt and grass for their food. I just feel GOOD eating these eggs. I know where they come from and I feel happy about the lives of the animals. Plus they are tasty and fresh.

Chicken running free

We've been going through these eggs more quickly than usual. Unfortunately that means soon I'll have to take the hour long bike ride back there to get more. But I don't mind visiting the cute baby goats again, even though one of them tried to eat my jacket when I wasn't looking.

Any Amsterdam readers know of any other local farms that sell directly to consumers? I've heard of a few and plan to check them out as soon as the weather improves. Rain rain go away!

Green Smoothies

My smoothies contain quite a bit of fruit so they are not really in line with the hard core paleo/primal rules. But they are nowhere near as sweet and fruity as most other smoothie recipes I've seen out there. Three bananas or more per smoothie just sounds absolutely vile to me.

Do you like smoothies? Do you like green smoothies?

Ginger, mango, carrot, cranberry, lime and spinach!

I've been drinking a smoothie, usually with greens added, almost every day for the past two months since I cut most dairy out of my diet (besides cheese and butter). A smoothie for breakfast just sounds appealing, right? I crave them every day, especially the greens and the berries. I typically add half a small banana for creaminess and sweetness, and then throw in whatever greens and fruits I have on hand. Usually I'll also include a spoonful of flax seeds and maybe some nuts.

At first I was worried that the sugary-ness of them would be a problem for me, making me hungry and fat(ter). But that doesn't seem to be a problem so far.

Banana, raspberry, blueberry! Pretty!
Indeed I would say that maybe these smoothies are doing something good for me. Yesterday I bought a bottle of red wine at the grocery store and the cashier asked for my ID. At first I thought I heard her wrong...but then she asked again. After I handed my ID over she gasped and looked embarrassed. She asked "What do you do?!" in Dutch. Being flustered and embarrassed I just replied "wijn?" and pointed stupidly at the bottle.

Oh, I should add that the legal drinking age here is 16. I'm 41.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pesto Dressing: Oil-Free, Dairy-Free

A few weeks ago I was having an iMessage chat with my beautiful friend Carrie about creating pesto sauces without added oil or dairy. It wouldn't be very traditional but it could still be very yummy!

We talked about using extra pine nuts or even oilier nuts like macadamia to get a good consistency.

I haven't tried that yet but I did make two different pesto style salad dressings that I think Carrie would (mostly) approve of!


The first time I used a big handful of fresh basil, a clove of garlic, cashew nuts, water, a whole lime (without the peel), and a touch of salt. It was delish! I ate it on a big salad and also spread it on sliced tomato like a cracker. SO YUM!

Salad with lettuce, cooked purple cabbage, yellow bell pepper, lentils, tuna, tomatoes.

The second time I used big handful of fresh basil, a clove of garlic, hazelnuts, water, a half lemon (without the peel), and a touch of honey. It was also delish! I ate it on a big salad. I found it needed a touch of salt.

Salad with lettuce, turnip greens, chickpeas, serrano pepper, tuna and tomatoes.

Without the added water and perhaps with more nuts the consistency would be excellent for a more typical pesto style sauce. I'll probably try a bunch of variations as I adore pesto! (with basil and with other herbs, especially cilantro and arugula)

In case you are wondering why I avoid the oil and dairy here, there are a few reasons. Carrie comes from a vegan, nutritarian perspective which disallows animal products and avoids added oils. (she wouldn't like my honey and salt, but it can easily be left out) Basically I think it is better to limit processed fats in the diet when possible. Even olive oil is not found in nature in a bottle. So I try to get my fats from whole foods most of the time. Why no dairy? Well, indeed I do love my cheese but sometimes it is nice to skip it.

Coming up tomorrow, my trip to the local goat farm! Fresh eggs from wild chickens! Fun!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Discovering New Veggies

One of the most fun things about traveling to a foreign land or moving to a new place is discovering new and tasty foods. Living in a new country, I occasionally see vegetables that I haven't tried before.

Perhaps they look familiar and yet a bit strange, like the pointy cabbage called spitskool I wrote about last week.

Lately I have seen nice weedy looking greens at my local farmer's market. They weren't labeled with a name and I didn't ask what they were. But of course, I bought them. I ate them. I had no clue what exactly they were but they tasted fresh with a slight bitterness. I thought they might be a cultivated milder variety of dandelion greens.



Yesterday I saw the greens again in my organic grocery store. But this time they were labeled with a little sign. Raapsteel. Well, hmmm. The adventure continued as I have no idea what "raapsteel" is!

A quick visit to google tells me raapsteel translates as turnip green. But I tell you, I see the roots and there are no turnips attached. It is likely one of the closely related Brassica rapa varieties including mizuna, mustard greens, and rapini. I am a huge fan of rapini and mizuna so I am very happy to discover a new variety to stuff in my pie hole.

What about you? Discover any new fruit or veggie lately?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Living Like a Cavewoman

Maybe one of the most fun and awesome projects I have heard of in a while!

This cool Amsterdam girl is planning to live like a cavewoman for 100 days this summer. OK, that sound good. But she's doing it in the city of Amsterdam! Wow!

Check out her blog: What About Wilma


 Summer is a good time for this project. Other times of the year it would definitely not be fun to walk barefoot in the cold city, and bedtime when it was dark would mean sleeping 16 hours a day. Now it's light until at least 10pm, in fact I went to bed last night while it was still light out.

Amsterdam is a very charming and small city but it is also noisy and crowded and hectic. It will be interesting to see if this cavewoman project brings her peace and calmness. I worry mostly about her stepping on broken glass and cigarette butts with bare feet, although I used to walk barefoot around Los Angeles which I suppose is even worse.

It's also great to see a paleo girl project like this, much of the paleo-sphere is full of cavemen. Nice to see a lady doing something so cool!

I love her project and I hope I can stalk her around town!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Breakfast Time

Today I had a nice dual breakfast after gardening on my balcony. In case you are wondering, I repotted some herbs and planted some old potatoes that were sprouting. It's an experiment to see if they will make more potatoes!

I started with a smoothie made of:
1/2 frozen banana
frozen strawberries and cherries
fresh spinach
spoonful of coconut butter
flax seeds
water



It came out looking like poo. Yummy poo though!

For the second round of breakfast I made a little scramble with:
1 organic egg (for more info about eggs in NL, read this great guide)
smoked wild salmon
spoonful of goat cheese
bitter dandelion leaves from my balcony weed patch :)


Delish!

What did you have for breakfast?

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

I bought some beautiful red-tinged spitskool the other day and wondered what to make with it.


Stuffed cabbage sounded nice, so I looked up some recipes on the web to get an idea of the process.

While blanching the cabbage leaves I made a mix of raw ground beef, shallots, garlic, salt, rosemary, cinnamon, and a little cooked white rice. After the leaves were slightly softened, I dolloped a spoonful of the mixture into the middle of each leaf and rolled it up burrito style, securing with a toothpick.

I added the cabbage bundles to a quick tomato sauce made of canned tomatoes to which I added shallots, garlic, hot chile and some leftover bacon. The cabbage bundles simmered in the sauce for about 30 minutes, until I tested one and the meat was cooked through.

I removed the toothpicks and served the stuffed cabbage topped with a tomato sauce and grated parm on the side for diners to add if they liked.



Oh man! It was pretty darn good! We agreed that the rosemary and cinnamon made a nice spice combination.

I think next time I would cook the cabbage a little longer as it was a little chewier than some liked. I thought it was fine but I think it would be easier to eat if the cabbage was softer. I also thought perhaps I'll try it next time as a layered dish, lasagna style.

In case you are wondering about the addition of white rice, some of the recipes suggested the addition of bread crumbs. I am trying to avoid wheat, so I thought I'd add white rice in honor of the Perfect Health Diet.


Do you make cabbage rolls? What are your secrets for a tasty dish?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Veggie Pad Thai Sans Noodles

Inspired by a recipe I found on Health-Bent, I decided to make a healthier version of traditional pad thai.

Yummy veggie pad thai!

Just like most people, I like pad thai in restaurants. Problem is, it's typically full of sugar and other questionable ingredients. So I thought it would be nice to make a more whole foods version with all veggies topped with a healthier sauce.

Mostly I followed the recipe from Health-Bent, but I used evil peanut butter instead of almond butter because I had it on hand and I like it. I also used shallots instead of onion, and used only 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and mostly water sauteed.

In addition to the zucchini noodles they showed, I used a mix of grated cauliflower, grated broccoli, sliced nappa cabbage, and a bit of carrot. I was already prepping and chopping veggies for another recipe I planned to make, Vietnamese summer rolls.

That's a lot of chopped veg!


Delish! I squeezed the juice of a lime over it, topped with cilantro and slurped it up! I'll definitely make it again. Thanks Health-Bent!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Chocolate Smoothie

I finally picked up "unprocessed" chocolate powder and made a smoothie with it.

Some research says that chocolate is darn healthy. Check this out!

I hadn't eaten in 17 hours or so and I was very excited to have a smoothie. I made this one with:

1/2 banana
frozen raspberries
spinach
spoonful of cocoa powder
some unsweetened dried coconut flakes
water

I topped it with a little local bee pollen and some flax seeds. It was so good!!! Not too chocolatey or sweet but just a nice cocoa flavor.


No, I didn't put any onion in it, that is just my onion garden that I am getting ready to plant on my terrace.

After writing about this now I want another smoothie...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hummus Lettuce Wraps with Mackerel

Some people think beans are evil and unhealthy. I am not sure about that but I like them.

Some people think beans are one of the healthiest foods we can eat. I am not sure about that but I like them.

So I eat them for now, unless I decide I don't like them or I am convinced that they are evil and unhealthy.

I made homemade hummus today. Have you ever soaked chickpeas? (garbanzo beans for you Americans) Check this out! After just soaking overnight they more than triple in size! That's a bargain food in my book. Imagine soaking your cash overnight and it triples in quantity, wouldn't that be nice?

So I made hummus without adding oil. Most would say this is not real hummus, and I can live with that. I'm just trying to avoid processed food right now and even olive oil is not a whole food. I made the hummus with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, water, a dash of salt, and a bit of cumin.

Then I slathered it on a piece of lettuce, topped with sliced tomato, sliced serrano chile, lime juice and some smoked mackrel. Roll it up and stuff it in your face!


Have you had smoked mackerel before? I haven't, but it is gooooood! A source of omega-3 fatty acids and it is supposed to be a sustainable fish. Well, the package said duurzame, so I hope they aren't lying!

A yummy lunch or snack, and you could even play around with the presentation and make it into a nice canape for guests.

It's even better with some fresh herbs like mint or cilantro.