Have you ever found yourself standing at the point where two roads converge, reluctant to choose one or the other because you know they both lead to–and come from–something wonderful? Well, that pretty much describes my life in a nutshell! A born and bred Midwestern farm girl that made my way to the “big city” and then back to the country again, I’ve always found myself pulled between my roots and the big, wide, open world. Now, as I’ve settled into adulthood and myself, I’ve realized I’m happy where I am: planted firmly in the middle of the crossroads where I can appreciate it all!
Whether it’s theatre or showing dairy cattle, George Strait or Shakespeare, wine or whiskey, Lonesome Dove or Pride and Prejudice, I always seem to be falling in love with things that appear to contradict each other. I mean, if you check in with me at one point, I’ll be out in the barn caring for my dairy heifers and our two pygmy goats, but then an hour later I’ll probably be heading out to go to rehearsal for whatever play I’m doing at the time. Hey, at least I’m never predictable, right?
My love for food, and cooking/baking, is kind of that way, too. My dishes are definitely at the crossroads between international flavors and down-home country goodness. This is especially true since I’ve met and married my husband (often referred to in this blog as JW, or The Dutchie) and learned about the food from his homeland, The Netherlands.
But even before that, I was obsessed with all things Italian, loved Latin flavors, adore sushi, and will happily devour any classic American comfort dish you pass my way.
So welcome to life at the crossroads, where all are welcome and encouraged to kick back and enjoy some great food, share some good stories, and celebrate all of the different flavors that life has to offer!
What to Expect:
I started this blog to share my favorite recipes and to give a snapshot of my life as a mom, wife, farmer, cook, and overall lover of life. You’ll see a little bit of all of that. When it comes to the food, you can expect some of this:
- I’m a big proponent of tasting as you cook. Any time a recipe is at a stage where you can (meaning no raw meat), and especially before you serve it, always give it a taste to check the seasonings. Some people prefer stronger spice notes, or more salt, or what have you. Tasting something before you serve it gives you that last chance to adjust those flavors before you share it with your loved ones.
- Let’s be real here: not all of my International recipes are fully authentic. Most are Americanized in some way, so please know that going in. Some are pretty darn close to the real thing, and some are nothing like what they’d actually serve in that region, but fit in with our American way of looking at food. When it comes to the Dutch recipes, though, those are as close as possible to what my husband grew up eating, mostly because I learned how to make many of them from his mom.
- Garlic Salt and Seasoned Salt. I have other staples in my kitchen, but pretty much anytime I’m cooking with beef or ground pork that’s not already seasoned, I season with a little bit of these two while the meat is browning. No measurement here; just a good sprinkle over the top of the browning meat.
- If a recipe calls for milk, just assume it’s calling for whole (Vitamin D) milk. I don’t even have any other fat percentage in my house. We drink whole milk, and I certainly always cook and bake with it. If you want to use 1% or 2%, that’s up to you. I just think whole milk makes everything taste better! And yes, it’s just as healthy as the others…maybe even more so! Check out this study!
- I typically use unsalted butter in all of my cooking and baking. Really, the only time we use salted butter around here is for spreading on toast/breads. Use what you prefer.
- That “use what you prefer” goes for a lot of my recipes, actually. You can easily customize just about everything to your personal taste. Prefer cheddar to Colby jack shredded cheese? Cool. Want to add a different veggie to a casserole? You do you, friend!
- A note about Dutch ingredients: like any other countries, the Dutch have favorite seasonings and other items that can be tricky to get in the states. I’ll try not to include any recipes with ingredients that are hard to find even in rural America, but I can’t promise that will always be the case. If there is something that’s hard to find, I’ll be sure and make a note of it, and where you can find it (providing a link if one is available). Generally, you can find most ingredients on Amazon, or at online specialty stores such as Vander Veen’s The Dutch Store. If you’re lucky and live near a Jungle Jim’s International Market, all the better! They’ve got an awesome selection of Dutch ingredients (and everything else under the sun!! Seriously, if you’ve never been, clear the entire afternoon and go check it out!) Please note: I’m not an affiliate (meaning I don’t earn any money for encouraging you to shop at) of Vander Veen’s or Jungle Jim’s, I just know that’s were you can find a lot of Dutch products!
I think that about covers the major highlights! I hope you are able to find some new favorites with me!
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