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Broodje Van Kootje, Amsterdam, Netherlands,  Tasted on March 26, 2004 We really only had 24 hours in Amsterdam before we came home to the states. And honestly we didn't have good intel on where we were supposed to be eating. After wandering around downtown and rejecting the recommendations that our concierge made (super touristy yuck  - literally they had a special menu for tourists) we happened upon a little fast-foodish chain called Broodje van Kootje.

This odd little establishment served what appeared to be Dutch street food (we saw many stalls serving the same kind of fare) - a variety of sandwiches with all sorts of different fillings. Each sandwich served on fluffy sweet rolls is served with a dollop of butter. I'm always pretty positive on any cuisine where butter is a baseline ingredient. We ordered a bunch of different sandwiches to get a sense of the variety and quality.

We got one with tiny prawns and mayo. We also had one with raw beef, onions, salt, and pepper. It was like yummy fast food steak tartare served (of course) with a hard-boiled egg. The sausage with mustard sandwich was simple and slightly spicy.

The pea soup with sausage was also hearty and quite good tasting. They had their own variation of pizza too. Debbie was (of course) at first freaked out by the carrot and celery - though she seemed to accept the fact that the main ingredients were ham and cheese. But once she took a bite, she loved it. The bread was chewy and light, and the sauce had a slight bbq citrus curry quality. Quite good.

Want a hot mashed potato (I think) croquette? How about as a sandwich with butter? This was also enjoyable especially when dipped in the Indonesian soy sauce that was like a concentrated soy sauce.

This little two location chain is cute and serves yummy street food under a roof. And if your tired of traversing the city, checking out the museums, or wondering why so many Europeans seem so stuck in the '80's musically, then stopping in to Broodje van Kootje is the right thing to do.

     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

 

 

   

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  Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons. A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb or "head" grows beneath the ground. This bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchmentlike membrane. Today's major garlic suppliers include the United States (mainly California, Texas and Louisiana), France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; the Mexican and Italian garlic, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the Paul Bunyanesque, white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three. Depending on the variety, cloves of American, Mexican and Italian garlic can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Elephant garlic (grown mainly in California) has bulbs the size of a small grapefruit, with huge cloves averaging 1 ounce each. It can be purchased through mail order and in some gourmet markets. Green garlic, available occasionally in specialty produce markets, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves. It resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb, sometimes tinged with pink. The flavor of a baby plant is much softer than that of mature garlic. Fresh garlic is available year-round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins. Avoid heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, unbroken bulbs can be kept up to 8 weeks, though they will begin to dry out toward the end of that time. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days. Garlic is usually peeled before use in recipes. Among the exceptions are roasted garlic bulbs and the famous dish, "chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," in which unpeeled garlic cloves are baked with chicken in a broth until they become sweet and butter-soft. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using (unless added to a liquid-based dish, such as soup or stew). When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves. Though all of these products are convenient, they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, readily available and easy-to-store fresh garlic. One unfortunate side effect of garlic is that, because its essential oils permeate the lung tissue, it remains with the body long after it's been consumed, affecting breath and even skin odor. Chewing chlorophyll tablets or fresh parsley is helpful but, unfortunately, modern-day science has yet to find the perfect antidote for residual garlic odor.  

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