Flemish Style Beef Stew - with Trappist Beer!

Pin It This is my absolute fffaaavvvooorrriiittteee Belgian dish.  Normally served with a side of frites (you are in Belgium, after all), this dish will knock you off your socks.  I mean knock your socks off (sometimes I get the simplest phrases mixed up, it's so silly).  It seems like a lot of countries have a special beef stew.  The Irish have Irish Style stew, the French have beef bourguinon, the Hungarians have beef goulash.  I even saw a Mexican beef stew while doing some googling.   Something about slow cooked beef just turns my crank.  While each style is delicious in their own way, beef slow cooked in a dark Belgian Trappist Ale really gets me going.  I got this Stoofvlees (Carbonade à la flamande in French) recipe from my Belgian friend, so read on to find how the real Belgian's make it.
Requiring fewer ingredients than other traditional beef stews.  This recipe only calls for butter, beef, onions, beer (I used Chimay Blue, a popular Trappist Ale), bay leaves, thyme, flour, a slice of bread with mustard, and some salt and pepper.  So simple, yet so delicious.  Last time I attempted this dish, the beef didn't quite turn out.  Wanting desperately for it to be better this time around, I went to the butcher's shop down the street and ordered in my best French "Un kilo de bouef por Carbonade à la flamande, sil vous plait."  She came out with a hefty cut of beef and began chopping it.  She asked me a question, which I had no idea what it was, so naturally I responded "oiu."  She began chopping a bit smaller into stew sized pieces, so I am assuming she asked if I wanted it cut.  Overall, a successful trip to the butcher and the first time I had used any french in a longgggg time.
Start by melting some butter and brown the beef in batches, about 1-2 minute each side.  Once browned, remove beef and place in a bowl.  Repeat with 2 more batches.
In the remaining butter and beef juices, caramelize the onions over low heat with the cover on for about 10 minutes.
Once onions have caramelized, add 1 T of vinegar.  Add the beef, thyme, bay leaves, flour, salt and pepper.  Stir for 2 minutes. 
Add beer.  If beef is still sticking out of the liquid, add water until all beef is completely covered in liquid.
Top with white bread with mustard, and cook over low heat for 3 hours, until bread has dissolved and beef is tender.
Then we dished it up.  Serve with a side of boiled carrots and potatoes with parsley and a fresh baguette!  Or the more obvious choice, with Frites!  :)  The weather was so great we ate outside.  I was not expecting that.  Cross your fingers it stays nice for our next visitors!
Restaurant version from our favorite Belgian Restaurant.  Served with frites.  They are perfect to dip in the excess sauce.  While we really love their dish, but ours wasn't bad either! 

Stoofvlees (Carbonade à la flamande in French)
Recipe from: My friend Marijke

1 kilogram of stew meat chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 onions chopped
4 T unsalted butter
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 T vinegar
1/3 c flour
33 cl dark Belgian beer
1 slice of white bread with mustard (or a few small baguette slices, shown above)
salt and pepper to taste

Melt 2 T butter in a dutch oven.  Add 1 batch of beef, browning each side about 1-2 minutes per side.  Set aside in a bowl.  Add 1 more T of butter and brown the second batch of beef, set aside.  Repeat until all beef is browned.  In dutch oven, caramelize the onions over low heat with cover on for about 10 minutes.  Pour 1 T of vinegar over the onions.  Add beef, thyme, bay leaves and flour.  Stir together about 2 minutes.  Pour in beer.  Add water if needed to cover stew meat.  Salt and pepper. Cook on low heat about 3 hours.    Serve with boiled potatoes and carrots or frites.  Top with fresh parsley for serving. 

Bon Appetit!
And all mixed together for tomorrow's leftovers.  I can barely wait.

This is the furball we are babysitting.  We took her on a long walk while the stew slow cooked and she is all tuckered out. 
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White Asparagus Ham Roll Ups

Pin It While we were recently in Munich we saw white asparagus everywhere.  There were stands set up on the street, in the market, everyone was selling fresh white asparagus (or Spargel in German).  It is also quite popular in Belgium, and it's the season (late April-June).  Apparently it is all over Northwestern Europe, although I had never see it before in the states.  I wanted to try it for a while and finally got some the other day on promo, grown here in Belgium.  I made some yummy White Asparagus Ham Roll Ups.
The difference between white and green asparagus, is that the white is kept underground and never sees the sun, therefore doesn't develop chlorophyll...or something like that.  White, Green your pee will still smell.  Read more about white asparagus here.

Having no idea how to prepare white asparagus or what to do with it, I did some research.  First off, I saw you have to peel it.  Whaaaa?  Peel asparagus?  If you need help you can watch this German go mad on the asparagus.  That's what I did.  Then I found this delicious recipe on Food and Wine, which is what you should do, too.  
First lightly butter your baking dish and preheat the oven to 350 F (176C).  Then peel the asparagus, you don't need my help since you learned everything you needed to know from that awesome youtube video.  Peel top to bottom, just like the dude.  I used a regular peeler, in spite of his advice (it worked okay, but if you have a peeler like he does, it's probably better).  Don't throw away the peels, we will use them later. 
Put 8 c of water, your stems and peels and some salt in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling add the asparagus (bundled, if you like).  Continue over high heat for about 10 minutes or until asparagus is tender.
Remove cooked asparagus and set on a towel to dry.  Strain your water from excess peels and save 1 1/2 c of the liquid.
Melt butter, whisk in flour, and reserved liquid from above.  Add Salt and Pepper and a dash of nutmeg.  Whisk until slightly thickened.
  Wrap 3-4 spears in slices of ham.
Top with the gratin sauce and cover in shredded gruyere cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Mmmmmm, it is sooo tasty.

White Asparagus Ham Roll Ups
Not really adapted, straight from Food & Wine

2 pounds white (or green) asparagus
8 c water
3 T unsalted butter
3 T flour
1 c reserved asparagus liquid
dash of nutmeg
salt & pepper
6 slices of good ham from deli
1 c shredded gruyere

Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C).  Peel the asparagus as the German in the video.  Fill a large pot with 8 c water, asparagus peels and stems, some salt.  Once water is brought to a boil, add the asparagus (bundled into 6, if you like).  Cook on high for about 10 minutes.  Remove asparagus and set onto a towel.  Pat dry.  Strain 1 1/2 cup of the asparagus liquid.  Reserve.

Melt butter in a small sauce pan, whisk in the flour.  Then add the reserved liquid, whisking constantly until sauce thickens.  About 5 minutes over medium heat.

Wrap asparagus in ham slices.  Set in shallow lightly buttered baking dish.  Top with sauce and cheese.  Bake for 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Note: I made a half batch, which is what is pictured.  Following the recipe will make 6 bunches of Asparagus Ham roll ups.

Bon Appetit!
Serve with a side salad topped with sea salt, vinegar and olive oil.  This dish is a keeper.  Taste tester kept saying "Did you know it was going to be this good?"  Verdict: Getting white asparagus again while its still in season.  Of course you can make this recipe with green asparagus, but if you can find white in your area, I would definitely recommend!!  --- kinda looks like a hand?? Trust me it's not! 

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Hump Day Happenings - Savino Photography Giveaway!

Pin It Hump Day Happenings - because once you get over the hump, it is practically the weekend.

It's time to add another element to the blog.  Don't get me wrong, I love cooking and traveling, but I also need some variety in my life, so I don't have to spend every minute of my free time on pinterest's food and drink page...because that is where I am headed.  Okay, I admit it, I am already there.  Hump Day will be different every week, and a little random... because I need variety in life!

First things first.  In a few months, I will be an auntie! YAY!  :) The sad part is that I will be living on the other side of the Atlantic for 1.64375 more years.  Anyway, the future mom-to-be, my S-I-L (and college roommate of 3 years!) is quite the photographer.  She has been doing photography as a hobby for the past few years and I wanted to feature some of my favorite shots on the blog.  In addition, we will be giving away an 8x10 print of your choice of number 3, 5 or 6 below!  She took a few of these last spring when her and my brother came to visit.  We spent a lovely long weekend in Prague with them, but they used our apartment as their base for the rest of their travels.  Check out her website Savino Photography.  She also does photo shows in the Milwaukee area, so if you are in the neighborhood check her out! Her next show is on Saturday, May 19th in Brookfield, WI at the Brookfield Farmer's Market-Market & More!  See her website for details.

 **To enter the 8x10 photo giveaway:
1.) Comment with your name and email below
2.) Like A Globetrotter's Fare on Facebook
3.) Share this entry on facebook, by clicking share in the top left corner!
Winner will be announced in next Wednesday's Hump Day Happenings Post (May 2nd)
(One entry for each of the above, winner will be drawn randomly and must live in the continental USA)

1.) Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands (Just outside of Amsterdam, where you can see field of Dutch Tulips in full bloom in the spring!)  <3 Tulips 

2.) Brussels Royal Gardens, only open a few weeks of the year to the public. 

3.) Halifax, Nova Scotia - Peggy's Cove Lighthouse Area

4.) Peacock!  Beautiful Colors!  

5.)  Tea for Three! 

6.)  First sign of Fall Leaves

7.)  Music to my eyes

8.)  Old-Fashoined Gas Station

9.) Old Shed
10.)  Eiffel Tower at night
Aren't her photos great?!  She has lots others on her website, Savino Photography. We have one of the Milwaukee Skyline hanging in our living room.  It reminds us of good old Wisconsin!  
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Greek Style Quinoa Salad

Pin It As everyone else in the food blogosphere, I am officially obsessed with quinoa.  When did this all start, you ask?  (as if you really would ask that.)  I will tell you anyway.  I think it was when I made Cilantro Lime Quinoa Salad three times in one week and then two the next.  Seriously.  Lucky for me, quinoa is Über good for you... in such large doses however, I am not so sure.  Needless to say, it's time to venture out to other ways to prepare quinoa (and maybe max out at 1-2 times/week?).   Although, after trying this dish, limiting my usage will become more difficult, as it was excellent!

I have always wanted to prepare something Greek, anything Greek.  Hard to believe, I have never really made anything Greek before, so when I came across this Greek Style Quinoa Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen, I had to make it!  If you haven't been to Kalyn's Kitchen before, you should definitely check it out, she has some great recipes!

While you quinoa is cooking, chop everything: green pep, red pep, cucumber, grape tomato, olive, feta, and a little bit of fresh mint.  Make your vinaigrette, too.  Cool your quinoa.  I stuck mine in the freezer to speed up the process, as I was getting a little impatient and really hungry.

Layer all the veggies, olives, cheese & mint over the chilled quinoa.  Taste Tester gave me props on my presentation (that was a first!).
 Another nice color combo. 
Top with the vinaigrette and mix.  Let flavors settle for 20 minutes before serving (the longer you can wait the better.. this is hard, I know).  I had leftovers for lunch the next day and it was sooo much more flavorful.  Which leads me to my recommendation, make it a day in advance.

Greek Style Quinoa Salad
slightly adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

3/4 c quinoa (rinsed)
1 1/4 c water 
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 cucumber
1 c grape tomatoes
1/3 c kalmata olives
1/4 c crumbled feta cheese
1/4 c mint (I prefer a little less, depends how much you like mint)

1/3 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp cumin
dash of cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse quinoa 2-3 times.  Pour rinsed quinoa in a small sauce pan over medium heat for a few minutes, to toast the quinoa a bit.  Add water, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer with cover on for 10 minutes.  Do not remove cover but turn heat off.  Leave on burner covered for 10-15 minutes.   Remove cover.  Your quinoa should be nice and fluffy.  Chill.

Whisk together EVOO, lemon, cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use

Chop peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta and mint.  Once quinoa is cooled, mix veggies and olives with quinoa.  Add feta and mint.  Top with dressing and mix.  Salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Voila.  Another tasty way to prepare quinoa and perfect bring to work leftovers.  Bon Appetit!!

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Veg Out Detox: Take II - Bring your Salad to Work Day and Life in Belgium

Pin It Post two on vegging out.  As mentioned in post I, we need it.  Towards the end of vacation, I was feeling a little sloth like.  I am already starting to feel better.

A little side note about life in Belgium:  In Belgium, most employer's have a canteen (cafeteria).  Additionally, most people eat at them.  In the U.S., I was used to bringing my lunch everyday. Anyway, here, we get meal vouchers - which is a certificate that is the same is money that can be used in the canteen or the grocery store or a really great Mojito joint in Leuven (a univeristy town, outside of Brussels, my colleague introduced me to).  That's my favorite way to use meal vouchers.  One mojito, one meal voucher.  What could be better?  It feels like you are getting free mojitos (and they are the best mojitos you will ever have).  Every month, the day we get our meal vouchers feels like Christmas.  Now, I am thinking about Mojitoooooooooooos!
Back on track (I know, I know.  It's hard to do when you start thinking about Mojitoooo), the food is decently priced at the canteen, but as for taste and variety... it could use some work.  Apparently, Taste Tester's canteen is amazing.  They will grill you up a steak or make you a to-order pasta dish any day of the week.  While that sounds fabulous, I don't think it would do anything good for my waistline.  I normally get a cheese and veggie sandwich everyday.  Everyday. Well, if the soup is decent, I will get a soup with salad and on really special days, I splurge and get French Fries (I mean frites!).  Yes, everyday I have the option of eating frites at lunch...very. hard. to. resist.  But, that's all I eat from the canteen (there are other choices, I just haven't tried them.  I could be missing out, for all I know).   So, I started bringing a lunch every now and then to mix it up, even though, to be honest, I am not all that sick of eating the same sandwich/soup/salad combo every work day for the past year.  For a food blogger (if I can call myself that), I am pretty sure that is a sin.  Regardless, I brought this salad for today's lunch.  While it is extremely simple and a bit basic, the mix of colors, textures, and flavors make it pretty tasty.  And easy to bring to work for lunch!

Almost a rainbow of colors (I counted Avo for purple, since the outside is purple-ish).  If I would have planned better I would have gotten some purple leaved greens (I guess they aren't greens if they are purple,  are they?).   Are there any blue tinged veggies?  Anyway, the hard boiled egg adds protein to sustain your hunger longer and the avocado provides a good source of healthy fat, also some nice texture changes.
My to-go all set to bring to work.  The next morning I topped with sunflower seeds (adds even more protein and healthy fat!).  At work, I peeled my hard boiled and topped with ranch dressing.  I was a little paranoid that the egg would smell, but it was no problem.  Would I eat it at my desk?  I don't know if I would go that far, but in the Canteen it was a non-issue.  

Salad For Work


2 cups mix romaine and spinach, washed and dried
1/3 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/3 cup chopped cucumber
1/3 peeled and chopped carrot 
1/2 avocado
Handful of grape tomatoes
1 hard boiled huevo (hard boiled to perfection: see how below)
Top with Sunflower seeds

1/8 cup sour cream
1/8 cup milk
Ranch Seasoning packet, to taste (Next time, it'll be home made)


Hard boil you egg.  Put eggs covered in water in a sauce pan.  Bring to boil.  Cover the pot, turn off heat, and leave eggs sit for 12 minutes.  Rinse with cool water.  Mix salad greens with vegetables.  Top with sunflower seeds.  Store in fridge over night.  For the dressing, combine sour cream, milk, and enough ranch seasoning to give it a nice ranch flavor.  The next day, peel and add your hard boiled egg to the salad and pour dressing over the top.  Put cover back on container and shake to mix.  Salt & Pepper to taste.

I had a mango yogurt for dessert, and this held me over for the afternoon.  What's your favorite way to brown-bag it?? Pin It


Veg Out Detox: Take I - Strawberry & Grapefruit Salad with Mint

Pin It I can't help but think of what a great barbecue side dish tonight's dinner would be.  Speaking of...what happened to the nice weather?  Feels like February all over again, and the dreary weather is supposed to continue through out the week. Blah. Sounds like someones got a case of the Mondays.  Well, I certainly do.  Anyway, as I mentioned, after  last week's heavy (but delicious) eating, it is time to veg out.  Veg out we did, with tonight's light and refreshing, Strawberry & Grapefruit Salad with Mint.  The mint and the vinaigrette give it the perfect amount of zip.  This salad would be great with any fruit combination, any nut topping, or topped with a nice goat or feta cheese.  As with most throw together dishes, almost any combination will do.  I think this will be the first post of a few good detoxifying salads and we need it!
For April, the strawberries have been surprisingly good, and on sale!  This weekend I plan on going to a farmer's market and start getting more into cooking with what's in season.  In addition, it looks like I just found a great web site about eating organic and sustainable in Brussels.  Might be useful for my Brussels friends: Click here to go to tebiki.be, "An English Guide to a Sustainable Life in Brussels."  This could have been useful a long time ago!
Strawberry & Grapefruit Salad with Mint
Adapted from kraft foods


2 c washed and dried baby spinach (or your choice of greens) 
1  1/2 c strawberries, washed and sliced
1 grapefruit, sectioned and peeled 
1/2 c almonds toasted
2 Tbs freshly chopped mint leaves

Raspberry Vinaigrette:
1 clove garlic diced
1/4 c raspberry vinegar
1/8 c olive oil
1/8 c water
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
and a squeeze of lemon if you are feeling zesty (I normally am)

Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a glass jar and shake.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, mix the spinach, strawberries, grapefruit sections and mint.  Pour vinaigrette over salad.  Top with toasted almonds.  Serve immediately.

Bon Appétit! 
I just love the raspberry vinaigrette!  Who knew it is so easy to make fast, healthy salad dressings at home?  I will definitely be using this vinaigrette when I make my all time favorite goat cheese salad (a new favorite I never knew I liked until moving to Belgium!).  Do you have any great detoxifying salad recipes?  I am on the hunt! 

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Bavaria: A Romantic Vision with Castles, Pretzels and Beer!

Pin It After Salzburg, we headed up the Romantic Road to Neuschwanstein Castle.  As I mentioned in the Highlights of the trip post, this castle was built by "Mad" King Ludwig.  While he grew up in a large castle, he took the throne at 18, and wanted to build an even bigger and more majestic Castle, which became Neuschwanstein.  The poor guy only ended up living there for about 170 days, and never finished most of the rooms.  It is also the basis on Walt Disney's vision of the Sleeping Beauty castle. 

While I was really excited to go to the castle, I apparently didn't do enough research before hand.  As we pulled up from the Romantic Road, due to "some scaffolding" the castle looked like an industrial factory from the distance.  I thought there's no way that can be it.  But it was, Neuschwanstien, FULL of scaffolding.   The website says due to the climate it will need to be renovated section by section over the next few years.  Being used to seeing scaffolding on many of Europe's old Churches, this was not a surprise to me, however I did not expect the entire front half of the castle to be covered in scaffolding, which made it impossible to get the photo I dreamed of.  In the picture on the left, you see the side covered.  The whole left (front) of the castle is also covered (no picture, as it was not so pretty to take one). :( Tip: Check the latest status on the renovations, so you know what to expect before you go!

Tip: if you are going to the castle and taking the bus up, stop on St. Mary's bridge afterward.  If you go on immediately when the bus drops you off, you will barely be able to move due to the rush of tourists.  Instead plan on visiting the castle in the late afternoon and take in the views from the bridge on your way down.

Though King Ludwig II was a bit "mad," he sure picked a majestic setting for his beautiful castle!  
 Paul's parents enjoying the view from St. Mary's Bridge.
At the castle entrance. 
Once we were done touring the castle, we headed to the capital of Bavaria, Munich!

We got there just in time for dinner at the Schneider Haus (right off of Marienplatz).  We all ordered the Saurbraten, which is a German style pot roast made with beef.  It was to die for!  Juicy, tender and flavorful!  Paired with some excellent German Weiss Beers.   

After that, we headed to, where else?  but the Hoffbrau Haus!  
The next day, we walked around the city for a few hours.  Click on the link, if you would like to read more about Munich.

We were then off to our next stop, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a well preserved medieval village and perfect for an overnight stop.  It has city walls which you can walk around, great traditional food and many Christmas shops (and a great Christmas market in December) all year round, in addition to many other traditional shops, full of one of my favorite German souvenirs, Cuckoo Clocks! 
Wouldn't this place look magical with a blanket of snow?!

The Cuckoos! 
They are soooooo cute!!  If only they were in my price range.  I got a glass cuckoo ornament that will just have to do for now.

Back to Brussels, we are, and in the need for a few weeks of healthy eating!   Meat and potatoes are tasty, but I think we need to  "veg" out a bit!  

As always, if you would like any details on where we stayed/ate!  Just comment below! 
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