For Christmas we invited over some friends to enjoy a Dutch-style dinner. In Dutch we call it ‘gourmetten’ and it’s similar to what the Americans call raclette, apparently. But with raclette the focus is on melting cheese and with ‘gourmetten’ cheese is just a side dish, the focus is on the meat.
It’s a do-it-yourself cook-at-the-table dinner, with lots of little meats, vegetables, little potatoes. There is one shared grill on top, and everyone has his own little pan to cook things in under the grill. It’s a lot of fun and Dutch people love doing it for Christmas.
In the Netherlands, we just go to the supermarket and buy ourselves a ‘gourmet’ platter with all kinds of little marinated meats, sausages, and tiny burgers. But they don’t sell those here. Any meat you buy here is big, very big.
So Yasu and I had to prepare everything ourselves, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen, but it was fun to pre-cook together. We prepared lots of meaty things, like turkey cordon bleu, tiny soy pork satays, roast beef and spring onion rolls, marinated beef strips, tiny sausages, meat balls. Also some cheesy things like bread-crummed chees sticks, and sliced veggies with cheese on top. And we even made our own garlic butter, Dutch egg salad, and tuna salad to serve with the bread. We served it all with a small variety of dip sauces.
Of course, we made way too much, but we didn’t want our guests to go hungry and we can always do another ‘gourmet’ party tomorrow for the second day of Christmas (which we officially celebrate in the Netherlands). They weren’t familiar with this kind of cooking, but I’m happy to report that they loved it!
Of course, we also prepared dessert. Yasu got to bake his Christmas cookies, for which he practiced. He baked a large batch of sugar cookies, which he decorated beautifully and colorfully with icing, blue sugar and chocolate chips. His cookies were popular but not as popular as his boiled chestnuts, a popular snack in Japan, which were all gone by the end of the night (most of them left in Kosuke’s happy stomach).
I made a batch of french-vanilla-red-velvet-cream-cheese-and-walnuts cupcakes, which were huge and delicious, but I forgot to take pictures of them.
Yasu and I spent lots of hours grocery shopping and at least ten hours in the kitchen cooking and baking, but the whole process was fun to do together (it’s a good thing Yasu is on winter break now) and it was worth it. We had such a wonderful Christmas meal and our guests really enjoyed it as well. And tomorrow we get to do a private ‘gourmet’ do-over with all the leftovers.