After a full weekend of racing at the Holland-Beker, Jess and I enjoyed a Monday off from rowing training. I dedicated my off-day to exploring the countryside around Hillegersberg, where Uncle Bob and Cathinka live, by running with Cathinka and biking the dikes in nearby Delft with Bob. At the end of a day spent exploring outside, Bob and Cathinka treated me to a family dinner at home with the three of us and their grown foster-daughter, Michelle, who was visiting from nearby Utrecht. In the photo gallery, you can see photos from my morning run with Cathinka, where we ran past a working windmill, as well as photos from my bike adventure with Bob, and photos from a visit to the Markthal (market hall) in Rotterdam.
For dinner, we first enjoyed a chilled gazpacho course that Cathinka learned to make during a trip to France. The gazpacho was made with traditional tomatoes and herbs, with the refreshing addition of honeydew melon. Next, Cathinka stir-fried mixed vegetables in a large wok while Bob pan-fried fresh white-fish. The mixed vegetables were pre-chopped, seasonal vegetables available at the nearby grocery store, which had an incredibly varied and colorful produce section! My Uncle Bob is an avid cook, and attends a monthly gathering of enthusiastic cooks who meet to learn new recipes and prepare a four or five course meal for each other, with wine pairings. Next time I am in the Netherlands, I will have to see if we can coordinate a visit to that dinner, too!
Gazpacho with melon – serves 4
A melon baller would be useful for this recipe, but if you do not have one, simply cut your melon into bite-sized cubes.
You will need:
- 1 small honeydew melon, balled
- 2 pounds whole large ripe tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 T chopped chervil (or French parsley)
- 2 T chopped basil
- 1 t thyme
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 T bouillon paste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and immerse tomatoes for one minute.
- Drain and cool tomatoes under cold water.
- Peel off tomato skin and cut tomatoes into quarters, remove and discard the seeds. You can save the tomato water for later if it separates easily.
- In a food processor, chop the tomatoes along with sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion.
- Pour the food processor mixture into a saucepan with about 3 cups of water and the bouillon paste.
- Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes.
- Turn off heat and allow to cool.
- Once cool, stir in the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
- Chill soup in the refrigerator.
- Halve your honeydew melon and scoop out at least 2 cups of melon balls. Add to soup and continue to chill until serving.
White fish and mixed vegetables – serves 4
Use any fresh, thin filet of white fish for this recipe.
You will need:
- 1 T sunflower oil
- 2 T soy sauce
- packaged chopped mixed vegetables
- 1 T butter
- 2 T olive oil
- 1.5 – 2 lbs of fish
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add sunflower oil and packaged vegetables, and stir to keep the vegetables moving.
- Add half of your soy sauce and stir to coat, adding more if desired.
- Meanwhile, heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil.
- Cook two filets of white-fish at a time, flipping after about 3 minutes on each side. When filet is fully cooked, the edges will crisp and the fish will flake easily with a fork. The filet will become more opaque while cooking.
- Season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper before serving.