Valentine’s Day – Dutch Style

Dutch men aren’t particularly known for being romantic. They don’t really buy into the whole idea that women need to be wined and dined. And from what I know of Dutch women, being the independent beings that they are, don’t really expect their men to be knights in shining armor. It’s certainly been an adjustment for me. Many times I would get upset at Hubby’s lack of romance, yelling at him that he’s supposed to do this and that because….well just because! Because that’s what I grew up expecting after watching Hollywood romance movies and hearing other women endlessly gush about their dates and presents. I must say that I’m much better now with my romance demands. But come Valentine’s Day, I still anxiously wait to see what Hubby has up his sleeves.

They say that there’s nothing more romantic than a man cooking in the kitchen. And that was certainly the case last night. While I lounged around the sofa, Hubby made a candlelit Dutch dinner for us.

First up: Garnalencocktail, Dutch shrimp cocktail. As you can see, shrimp cocktail Dutch style means the little small shrimp, not the big ones we use in the U.S. I really liked the more subtle ketchup/mayonnaise/whipping cream sauce rather than the stronger ketchup/Worcestershire sauce.

Second: Zuurkoolschotel, Dutch Sauerkraut Casserole. The Dutch may not be known for their haute cuisine, but they have comfort food down pat. This casserole is made up of ground beef, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and pineapples. When I spotted the ground beef on the counter, I thought that Hubby was making his usual Dutch meatballs. Instead, out came this surprise! The pineapples slices inside were a really nice touch. Not sure how pineapple, a tropical fruit, made its way into a Dutch dish. I just know it’s super yummy! Especially on a cold Bay Area day.

Third: In his haste to make the first and second dish, Hubby totally forgot about dessert, which he’s not really into anyways. So I took out some beschuit, Dutch biscuits that are light and flaky, spread some butter and chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag) on them, and topped them off with sliced strawberries. The Dutch usually eat beschuit with hagelslag for breakfast or as a snack, not dessert…but with strawberries it’s a perfectly good dessert for me.

After we finished our dinner, Hubby was absolutely pooped. “It took me an hour and a half to make dinner…and you do this every night!” he said. Dinner and gratitude? A Valentine’s Day win!

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