Tuesday, June 17, 2008

War Chips & Grolsch

Following my favorite Dutch team in the UEFA Euro 2008, decided to relive grad school days, hanging with the boys from Enschede. So, in homage, prepared some Dutch grub and got into some online chat with the old crew. In return, there were reports of attempts at Indian cooking over in Holland. Suffice it to say, my contribution won the photo challenge, and apparently was a better than passing attempt at the real thing.

patatje oorlog
Patatje Oorlog. Translation: WAR CHIPS. Basically, well-salted thick cut chips, smothered with mayonnaise, Indonesian-style satay sauce, and minced onions. A war on chips! Intimidating the first time I encountered it, but oh so delicious!

From right to left, we have Grolsch, a lager from Enschede. As all of my Dutch friends were from Enschede, no other beer was tolerated. To quote, "Heineken es slootwater. You get the idea. In the middle, stamppot a sort of mash, in this case kale, carrot and potatoes, with a pool of gravy in the middle. Traditionally eaten with rookworst, a kind of smoked sausage. I did the best I could. Finally, on the left, melk chokolade hagelslag. Basically, jimmies... spread on buttered toast.

Getting fat? You're doing it quite well, actually. And as for the Oranje? Group Winners...the second unit beat Romania today 2 - 0.... good times!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Koshi no Hatsuhana Junmai Ginjo

First flowers of Koshi, from Niigata. SMV +3, semaibuai 55%, 15% abv.

Pale ginger colour. Restrained nose of yubari melon, touch of watermelon (just the watery aspect) of it, and a hint of herbalness. On the palate, a refreshing, watery sensation, not very fruity, cucumber, long after taste of bitters. Clean. As it warms to room temperature, a bit of sweetness comes on, but the dry herbal finish remains. R. likes this. An auspicious start.

Land of Infusion

While in India a few weeks back, I had an interesting drink that I felt compelled to re-create at home. It was a "martini" of sorts, vodka-based, but infused with lemongrass and "curry leaf."

First, about the curry leaf (Murraya koenigii), in Tamil, karuveppilai, sometimes known elsewhere as "sweet neem." It has a very particular taste, and it is an essential ingredient in many many Indian dishes, predominately in the South, but in Gujarat and Sri Lanka as well.

So, when I got back from India, I picked up two bottles of plain vodka (Fris), and gave infusion a whirl for the first time... no, for the second time, but whatever... complete novice at this...

The curry leaf infusion really, really took - strong flavour and aromatics... very true, particularly on the nose - not quite as sharp on the palate though. The lemongrass, not so much... I had a full stalk in there, infused for two weeks... it's subtly there on the nose, but not too much on the palate.

Anyways, I went ahead and put some of my infusions into the shaker... 2 parts lemongrass to 1 part curry leaf... not bad... very round and smooth, good flavor of curry leaf, great, great nose of curry leaf. I've got to work on the lemongrass though, perhaps bruising the stalk first would help?