Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kriek Lambic

Last year, we took a trip to Amsterdam. I was surprised by how good all the food was. I had never pictured Amsterdam to have such good cuisine. One of my favorite things we had there was a special type of lambic called, "kriek". Kriek lambic is a type of beer made with dark cherries. It's red in color with a nice pink foam on top. Kriek is not really like our flavored beers here (such as pumpkin or blueberry) that lose the taste of the added ingredients after a few sips. Kriek definitely is a distinct lasting taste that is unmistakably cherry. In Amsterdam, Kriek was cheap, a few euros a glass. In Boston, more and more stores carry it with a price tag of about $12. (A bottle can give you about 4 glasses.) Sam Adams now makes their own Kriek Lambic but the most common type you can find around here (Foodies on Washington Street or Wine Emporium on Dartmouth Street carry it) is the traditional imported brand: Brouwerij Lindemans. Delicious and definitely worth trying.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

La Calçotada

Today in Andorra we had the opportunity to experience a calçotada, a popular gastronomical event held around this time where calçots, a type of green onion, are consumed in large quantities. Somewhat milder than onions but looking like thinner versions of leeks, calçots are native to eastern Spain and not really consumed anywhere else.

The tenderness of the long, center is achieved by planting the onion bulbs in trenches and successively increasing the depth of the soil around the stems throughout autumn and winter as they continue to grow. The catalan verb calçar apparently means literally to cover the trunk or bottom of plant with dirt, hence the onion's name calçot

The calçots are barbecued in large quantities over fire, then served - today they were divvied out and wrapped in newspapers. Once you receive your portion of calçots you must peel off the charred outer layer to reach the sweet and tender center. This is then dipped in the typical Catalan romesco sauce made from ground nuts, oil, garlic, and small red bell peppers, among other things. It is very much reminiscent of muhamarra from Arabic/Turkish cuisine. On the side it is typical to grill sausages and bread, both of which we also had today along with some wine.

The eating of the calçot is quite a production and, like with lobsters in the U.S., one is served a bib so as to not make a mess. We even got plastic gloves today. Despite waiting an hour in line (Andorran efficiency at its finest!) I'd say it was definitely worth the wait! Fun little festivals like this are definitely some of my favorite things about living in greater Catalunya.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Butter Chicken

You know we love to cook all kinds of things. A lot of the recipes we share on here can tend to be a little involved; but recently, we got a slow cooker and have been trying to find some good recipes to make in it. It's great, because we can still have a daily home-cooked meal without having a lot of active time in the kitchen every day. Lately, we've been preparing a dish the night before, letting it cook overnight, and then having lunch for the next day! P has done a Italian Meatloaf a few times, and I've made Butter Chicken twice now.

I had the Butter Chicken for lunch today, and everyone in the office commented on how good it smelled. It also tasted great! The recipe for it is below.

Butter Chicken


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lbs large skinless, boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons tandoori masala
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 15 green cardamom pods (optionally, you can string these together for easy removal)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk, shaken well before opening (NOT sweetened cream of coconut)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup raisins (either black or golden)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds


  1. Add the cut-up chicken to the slow cooker.
  2. In a separate large skillet, melt the butter and vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the dry spices and let them bloom for a few minutes in the hot fat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and tomato paste until no lumps of tomato paste remain. Next, pour in the coconut milk and use it to deglaze the pan if anything has begun to stick. Season to taste with salt. Pour into the slow cooker with the chicken and stir in the cardamom pods and yogurt.
  3. Cook on High 4 to 6 hours, or on Low 6 to 8 hours until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced to your desired consistency. Correct seasoning. Remove and discard the cardamom pods before serving--or at least tell your guests not to eat them! ;-)
  4. Serve with basmati rice or naan/chapati