My phone alarm sounds at 11:25 a.m. – ding ding ding ding ding. I throw on my coat, adorn my earphones, and head into the cold – popping a King Mint into my mouth as I haul the empty stroller down our front steps. The sun is shining – that bright globe I’ve missed so much. My boots click on the cobbled road as I cross the street, passing by a lane of Antwerp city bicycles ready to transport anyone from here to there. I walk at a clip place – I have a habit of always cutting it close.
So this takes the traditional idea of plain pasta and makes it something special. A bit of olive oil and whatever herbs you have in your garden, fridge, or growing on your windowsill – make these noodles fabulous. Tuck them under my White Wine Coq A Vinny or Belgian Beer Stew to complete the meal. Preppin’ 10-12 ounces (300-350 grams) wide egg noodles (or Italian tagliatelle works too) 1 cup (25 grams) loosely packed fresh Italian parsley, minced 1/2 (15 grams) cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves 2 Tablespoons minced fresh chives 2 Tablespoons butter 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Snow in Rome, frozen canals in Holland, and just a general-OMG it’s SO cold in Belgium feeling. . . winter seems to have a tight hold on us in Europe. How in the world can you cope with the coldness of winter? With beef. And beer. How about beef and beer, slow-cooked in the oven for hours? Yes. That’s the ticket. Eat it by the fireside for an extra special winter treat. In March. I’ve taken the traditional pot roast and stew recipes from the U.S. and combined them with my Belgian favorite – stoofvlees – to create this one.
The metal gate glides open and the guard waves me through. I hand him my passport and he smiles. Asks me to pull my car off to the side. I turn the engine off and step into the cold, walk the short distance to the guard’s booth. Another mom traverses the second barrier, hands the French-speaking guard her ID. The two frozen men in the tiny booth joke they want chocolate in return for the favor. I offer Girl Scout cookies instead. There’s document signing, ID checking, photo-taking, etc. etc. etc. After giving them a blood sample and a promise
“Waar is de vuilnisbak?” the little seven-year-old girl looks at me with dark brown eyes. Her head is cocked. A mischievous smile plays on her round face. She is taunting, entertained, and curious. I bite my lip. Where is the what? “Ah, sorry,” I say in my best Dutch accent – flash a toothy smile in her direction. “Can you say that again?” She blinks. “Waar is de vuilnisbak?” she repeats. Her eyes tease me again. Her head leans another inch to the left, so it’s now horizontal to the floor. She’s so cute and yet. . . She knows