off my larder shelf: best little bistro in holland

December 29, 2012


you’ve probably figured out by now that i love to travel. whenever i do, i try to suss out the best local food, try a restaurant that i’ve read about, or even better, one whose cookbook i gush over.

i have been meaning to write to you about a lovely little restaurant on my (kind of!) recent trip to amsterdam. but first, this; if you ever find yourself in that wonderful devil-may-care city, hop on a bicycle as most amsterdamers do, and ride jauntily around the historic canals to take in the beauty and general good dutch cheer. do this of course before you grab an authentic heine, or stop in a ‘coffee’ shop (the latter dwindling down to but a very few in modern day holland).


and of course, you must eat some cheese! especially if you like a good gouda as much as this cat.

ok, let me get back to the reason i’m roaring. It’s called aan de amstel and (imo) it’s not only the best restaurant in holland, but the best restaurant i’ve eaten at in a long, long time. it’s a tiny little place a few underground stops from the center of town, owned by yvette van boven and her cousin joris vermeer whose ethos surrounding the growing, making and eating of food mirror my own. the food is so fresh, so of-the-time-and-place-that-it-is, and yes, so honest, that i could hardly stop gushing about it long enough to consume it!


i was in such gastronomical rapture, my wits not completely about me. so please, do not rely on me to give you an ingredient play by play. the first course was a glorious fish, beet, fennel and olive carpaccio. my main was that earthy beauty up on the right. fall greens, peas and flowers (!) in a vegetable based risotto style dish, made not with rice, but little round pastas and topped with a wedge of soft cheese. the flavor and texture combo was ridiculous! M’s wild meat, fall root, and greens dish was apparently just as ridiculous tasting if i were to judge by the intermittent groans and lapses of silence. our shared dessert disappeared between and beneath fighting spoons, and, if i’m not mistaken there were a couple of victorious aperitifs involved.

so of course, you really must go to aan de amstel if at all possible. but that is not all i am here to roar. yvette has come out with two amazing books that have the same honesty and vibrancy as her restaurant.

i had really hoped to get this post up before the holidays. because both are so beautiful they would make wonderful gifts. but i hope i’m not too late for the gift giving season still! because, you can always give it to you!


homemade cookbook

winner of the dutch cookbook of the year award in 2010 and nominated for loads of other awards, home made is a powerhouse of d.i.y. with over 400 pages. there’s cheesemaking, jamming and pickling, even fish smoking – not with one of those expensive smokers – yvette presents a d.i.y. way, which i must admit is pretty genius. there are tutorials on everything from risotto and gnocchi, to bread baking, tea blending and liquor making. i am in love with this book as much as i am the restaurant. it’s as beautiful as the food is tasty. there are so many amazing cookbooks on the market these days, i find to really get me roaring about a new one it has to be more than a collection of solid techniques and inventive recipes. i want it to be visually exciting as well, i want heart and soul.  this book is overflowing with both.


yvette wrote home made winter because she said, after finishing her first book, she had much more to say. it’s full of hardy wintery fare like soups, roasts and indulgent desserts. there’s also more cheese, and more cocktails! there’s a clafouti tutorial, which i love because it’s true – clafoutis are not just for warm weather. the photos are gorgeous, of the food yes, but even more beautiful are the photos of the sultry land of which the food comes from. tip: next volume is homemade summer and it’s out in the spring. beware cookbook collectors!


if i have enticed you to purchase one or both of these books then please, pop over to my amazon larder page to buy. there you’ll find details on how the 6% amazon associates fee i receive from your purchase of these, or anything i list in my larder supports the humane society of the untied states efforts in correcting the terrible conditions that factory-farmed animals are forced to live and die in each day.

i haven’t been roaring about new books here in a while, so here’s some exciting news: since the last time we spoke about this, you, me, we have contributed $372.00! (amazon associates receive their fees for the two months prior, so i’ve just received info regarding september’s fees) and since it’s the season of giving, i’m going to round up that number to an even $400. for all of you kind peeps that have made a purchase from my amazon larder in the last few months, a big tigress-sized thank you!

good tidings to all this holiday season – here’s to an enlightened 2013!

off my larder shelf:
a flavor of the month shout-out on books & kitchen things. why?  ’cause your
purchase on my amazon larder contributes to a very important cause and I’ll match your contribution. go!

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