Friday, March 27, 2015

Lucky Ducks

We are soooo lucky that we made our trip to Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum yesterday and not today. 

Not having electricity in the Amsterdam vicinity for a couple of hours today has caused a lot of people a  whole lot of stress.

Lucky Ducks ( Dutch)

Dinner at Kartika Indonesian Restaurant in Amsterdam

Yesterday we had dinner at an Indonesian restaurant called Kartika.

If you read my blog yesterday, you know that the rain was pouring down when we entered this small restaurant at about 4:15 pm. We were hungry after our train trip to Amsterdam, dizzying walk/tour through the Late Rembrandt exhibit in the Rijksmuseum, and brisk walk dodging the cars, bicyclists, and raindrops from the museum to the restaurant.

The kind owner would not ("Nay, Mijnheer") allow us to sit and wait for the restaurant to open at 5:00 pm, so we went next door to Starbucks for coffee/ hot chocolate.

Most folks I know would have found another place to eat, but we waited patiently at Starbucks and went back to eat Indonesian at 5:00.


Cute rice bowl.


We ate it all! Just the right amount of food for the two of us.
Restaurant was cold ( probably because we were too early!!).
Plates were cold.
We had to eat quickly while the food was still warm.

Will we go back to Kartika? Hmmmm.

Probably Not!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

You Know You Are In The Netherlands When

Your train traveling 140 kilometers per hour to Amsterdam is delayed because there is a baby deer running in a panic alongside a fence next to the train track, and the engineer said he has to get out and scare it off the tracks.

You have to wait in a long line to line up for the toilet in the Rijksmuseum.

You have to push your way to the front of way too many visitors at Rembrandt's Nightwatch.

You try to enter the Late Rembrandt exhibit at the Rijksmuseum, and you are told it is way too crowded at that moment, so come back at your appointed time.

You need a GPS to find anything you want to see in the Rijksmuseum.

You have to ask directions in the museum, because the maps of the museum on the iPad museum app look like chicken scratch.

You expect a sunny day and exit the museum to find it is raining cats and dogs. (And you left your umbrella at home.)

You enter your chosen Indonesian restaurant in the pouring rain to hear from the owner that he doesn't open until 5:00 pm, and "No, you can't sit and wait for the restaurant to open." Even if it is pouring rain!

You go to Starbucks for coffee while you wait for your restaurant to open, and the girl sitting next to you is speaking Norwegian.

You can't get your OV transportation card to work in the tram, and the conductor has to help.

You find the last empty seats on the tram.

The conductor shouts out in English that everyone standing should move to the front of the tram, "because there is more room over there than over here."

The conductor shouts out in English. "we are arriving at the Dam Square, Madame Tussauds, and the Red Light District. And a lot of other things."

You fall all over your fellow train passengers while making your way to a seat on the train from Amsterdam to the Beltway Apartment.

You sit in an S (silence) train wagon and smash your knee into the metal trash container attached to your seat.

You write this blog post while sitting on the train using FREE WIFI


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Guess Who Came to Dinner in Olst?

For my faithful blog followers, you will remember that my Dutch husband and I had the pleasant opportunity to have dinner on a real Dutch farm with the family of four precious daughters and four other guests last November. Click Here

While browsing the Internet this afternoon, I found this local newspaper article about our dinner at "De Riet." We had to laugh when we read about how we were described. 

Here is the text and a translation:

Bij De Riet in Olst schoof een oud-buurtgenoot aan die met zijn vrouw inmiddels al meer dan twintig jaar in de Ohio (USA) woonde en toevallig op vakantie in Nederland was. Zo was elke etentje uniek en bijzonder. 

"At De Riet in Olst, an old (former) neighbor and his wife who have lived more than twenty years in Ohio (USA) were by chance on vacation in The Netherlands and joined in for dinner. So each dinner was unique and interesting."

About the only thing they got right about us in this article is that we are "old." 

But the dinner was outstanding and delicious!

That is correct and the truth!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fishy Business

Recently someone asked what I did to fill my time since I was retired. As far as I know, that person has never worked, so I should have asked what they have been up to for all these years. But I didn't show disrespect and said I puttered in the garden and wrote a blog. Neither seemed to interest the questioner, so end of that discussion.

I enjoy those "don't have to do anything right now" moments, but this morning I had some fishy business to handle.

Back in early November 2014, we visited my blog friend Alie's Huisje Weltevree kringloopwinkel De Boelschuur in Urk. The winkel was grand, meeting Alie was even grander, and coming back to the Beltway Apartment with 10 kilos (22 American pounds!!) of frozen fish was astonishing! We were so overwhelmed by the fish gift from Alie that we found a place for it in the freezer and left it in Deventer over the winter. For the last few weeks I have been trying to get up the nerve to "tackle" the fish. 

Last week my hub's cousin gave us a long fish poaching pan. And it works on the top of our induction heat cooktop! So yesterday I took the huge bag of schol fish out of the freezer, put the bag in a large bucket in the pantry, and waited for it to thaw. In the meantime, I peeked into the bag and saw lovely headless spotted schol. Lots and lots of them.

This morning I checked the bag of fish. Noted they were thawed but still quite cold and searched for a simple poached fish recipe. My goal was to poach everything and then put most of the cooked fish into the freezer for other meals. No special flavors on the fish, just poached fish. I found a recipe and then went to work. This is what I did:

Simple Poached Schol Fish Recipe

Rinse each headless/cleaned fish in clear/cool running water.

Slice up 4-5 medium sized onions and a half garlic bulb and place in the bottom of the fish poaching pan. (Mine has a shelf that can be lifted out.) Then add lots of water. (Fish must swim!)

Bring this to a rolling boil.

Add a few fish to the boiling water. (I had room for 4-5 fish to poach without stacking them on top of each other.)

When the water returns to a good boil, set the timer for 5 minutes and turn the heat down so the pan will not boil over. At the end of 5 minutes, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp of the fish. (According to my recipe, it should register 175F (80C). In most cases, I gave the fish a couple of minutes more heat to hit that point.)

If you are planning to serve the fish immediately, prepare your fish sauce and veggies and enjoy.
In my case, I had 17 (yes, you read right) fish and planned to eat three tonight and freeze the rest. So I carefully wrapped the poached fish in aluminum foil ( 2-4 to a package) and cooled them for freezing.

As always, the worst part of this fishy business is the clean-up. But that is done, and tonight's fish dinner just needs a sauce, some rice, and veggies. 

Then dinner is served!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Not Etsy, But "Etsie"

I am not trying to sell anything here. While preparing for our trip to the Late Rembrandt exhibit next week, I ran across this bit of technology. If you are interested, click on the Make Your Own Etsie under the "etsie" of my son. Have fun!

More later this week about the train trip to Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum visit.

Make Your Own Etsie

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Some Real Characters in a German Garden on an Early Spring Day

(Everyone knows that I am no language wonder, so this visit to a garden in Germany yesterday may have a few German relatives ready to tell me to stick with English. But I enjoyed the garden and the fun characters I photographed there.)

"Willkommen" in our "Garten."

There are "Vogels."

And "Damen."

And a "Prinz."

And, of course, "Herren."

And more "Herren."

A hedgehog "Haus."

And a "Wasser" feature.

"Feders von Vogels"


Just like a girl's "Hut."


"Primel" in a vintage pan.

"Lampe" for a cloudy day or dark night.

"Guten Tag!" Hope you enjoyed a visit to our German "garten."