Monthly Archives: October 2015

New Wheels…

breeze-s3It took some time, and two, on loan mobility scooters, but finally after almost 3.5 months my new wheels have arrived. And they even look better than I was used to. An extra wide seat, plus lockable shopping box in the back. A shrill emergency sound  as a hooter, and extra mileage due to a larger battery.

I only have to get the seat a bit higher and get another klaxon for scaring tourists who walk on the road instead of the pedestrian path. Which happens all over town especially in the center of town, while they gawk at the houses along the canals, or are more interested in their social media on their mobile phones.

American Cookbook #15 – Turkey

American-Cookbook2 Leftover Turkey Spring Rolls with Cranberry Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

Makes 25 servings, about 50 rolls

This lends classic Asian flavors with an all-American twist. I suggest enlisting the help of a couple of people rolling the spring rolls. This takes up the majority of the prep time. Bake the rolls instead of frying them to cut down on the calories, but you can deep fry them for extra flavor. If you can’t find spring roll wrappers, use the egg roll wrappers. These don’t bake well, so deep-fry them instead. Use real soy sauce brewed from soybeans, and not the stuff with caramel coloring and salt.

Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

Shopping List:

  • 30 ml or 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 ml or 1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil (optional)
  • 280 gr or 2 cups finely chopped cooked turkey
  • ½ carrot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ gr or ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ gr or ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ gr or ⅛ teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning blend
  • 75 ml or 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 420 gr or 6 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 gr or ½ teaspoon oyster sauce (optional)
  • 50x 18 cm or 7 inch (square) egg roll wrappers


  • 70 gr or ¼ cup jellied cranberry sauce
  • 50 gr or ¼ cup white sugar
  • 60 ml or ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 dash soy sauce

LeftoverTurkeyTO MAKE:

  1. Heat the olive oil and sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  2. Cook and stir the turkey, carrot, garlic, black pepper, ginger, and garlic and herb seasoning until the garlic releases its fragrance, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, and continue cooking until the carrot begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cabbage, oyster sauce, and remaining 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.
  5. Continue to stir, until the cabbage is soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat, and set aside.
  7. Drain off any excess liquid.
  8. Preheat oven to 175° C or 350 degrees F.
  9. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. To fill the wrappers, separate and place the spring roll wrappers onto your work surface, with the points of the square pointing up and down in a diamond shape.
  11. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the turkey filling in a line across the center of the wrapper, and fold the bottom point up to cover the filling.
  12. Fold the two side points in on top of the folded wrapper, to fully enclose the filling.
  13. The two side points should be about 1 inch apart.
  14. Firmly but gently, roll the spring roll into a tight cylinder, and roll the wrapper over to firmly press down the remaining point.
  15. Set the filled wrappers seam-side down onto the parchment-lined baking sheets so they don’t touch.
  16. The rolls should be about the thickness of a finger.
  17. Bake the filled rolls in the preheated oven until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
  18. Mash the cranberry sauce in a saucepan over medium heat until the sauce is smooth, then whisk in the sugar, vinegar, and a dash of soy sauce.
  19. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, whisking the sauce, until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce reduces and thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
  20. Remove sauce to a bowl.
  21. Serve the rolls hot with the sauce.

BEWARE! Spring roll wrappers can be fried but NOT rice spring roll wrappers! Rice spring roll wrappers are eaten cold and uncooked.

Note: They freeze well so you have a snack for another time, if you can wait that long. 😉


Amount Per Serving 2 rolls
Calories: 236
Total Fat: 2.8g
Cholesterol: 14mg
Sodium: 562mg
Total Carbohydrates: 41.6g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7g
Protein: 10g

Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve and Lap-band [WLS] persons can eat 2 serving max !

PDF of this recipe: 20151029-AC-15-Turkey-Spring-Rolls-Cranberry-SweetSour-Dipping-Sauce

American Cookbook #14 – Tortilla

American-Cookbook2 Chicken and Mushroom Chimichangas

Makes 4 servings

This is not Mexican food. It’s a 100% American invention. They are not deep fried, they are pan-fried in a little oil. Serve with dollops of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa. Moist chicken and earthy mushrooms combine with fresh green chiles and pepperjack cheese encased in a crispy tortilla.

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

Shopping List:

  • 15 ml or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 85 gr or ½ cup diced onion
  • 60 gr or ½ cup diced Poblano peppers
  • 35 gr or ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 340 gr or 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1¼ cm or ½-inch cubes
  • ½ gr or ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ gr or ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 1 pinch dried Mexican oregano
  • 15 ml or 1 tablespoon water, or as needed
  • 115 gr or 4 ounces shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste


  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 30 ml or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 60 gr or ¼ cup guacamole (optional)
  • 60 gr or ¼ cup sour cream (optional)
  • 60 ml or ¼ cup salsa (optional)
  • 10 gr or ¼ cup cilantro leaves (optional)

poblano-peppersTO MAKE:

  1. Preheat oven to 200° C or 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Heat 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Sautee onion, Poblano peppers, and mushrooms in the hot oil, sprinkling with salt, until they soften and release their juices, about 5 minutes.
  5. Continue to cook until vegetables begin to brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Move vegetables to the edges of the skillet, leaving a space in the center.
  7. Drizzle 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil into the center.
  8. Add chicken breast pieces to the center of the skillet and sprinkle with salt, cumin, ground chipotle, and dried Mexican oregano.
  9. Cook and stir until chicken pieces are browned, about 5 minutes.
  10. Stir chicken and vegetable mixture together in skillet; remove from heat.
  11. Drizzle water over chicken mixture and scrape the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  12. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool to a warm temperature.
  13. Mix pepperjack cheese into chicken mixture, stir until thoroughly combined.
  14. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  15. Place a heavy skillet over medium heat.
  16. When pan is hot, heat a tortilla in the skillet until warmed and flexible, about 30 seconds per side.
  17. Place tortilla onto a work surface and spoon ¼ the filling into the center of the tortilla.
  18. Fold bottom of tortilla just over filling.
  19. Brush top and the exposed parts of the inside of the tortilla with egg white.
  20. Fold right and left sides towards the center like an envelope, enclosing the filling.
  21. Roll tortilla over to fully enclose filling in a rectangular packet.
  22. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
  23. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy skillet over medium heat.
  24. Brown chimichangas on both sides in the hot oil until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  25. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  26. Bake in the preheated oven until puffed up, golden brown, and the outside is crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.
  27. Spoon 1 tablespoon guacamole, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 tablespoon salsa, and 1 tablespoon cilantro onto each chimichanga.

Note: Recipe by Chef John


Amount Per Serving
Calories: 618
Total Fat: 32.3g
Cholesterol: 85mg
Sodium: 848mg
Total Carbohydrates: 48.2g
Dietary Fiber: 4.4g
Protein: 33.1g

Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve and Lap-band [WLS] persons can eat only half a serving max !

PDF of this recipe: 20151022-AC-14-Chicken-Mushroom-Chimichangas

American Cookbook #13 – Ham

American-Cookbook2 Hoppin’ John

Makes 6 servings

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 120 minutes

Shopping List:

  • 250 gr or 1½ cups dry black-eyed peas
  • 455 gror 1 pound ham hocks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 gr or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 950 ml or 4 cups water
  • 280 gr or 1½ cups long-grain white rice
  • 115 gr or 1 cup shredded smoked Cheddar cheese

ham-hocksTO MAKE:

  1. In a large pan place the peas, ham hock, onion, red pepper, salt and pepper.
  2. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1½ hours.
  4. Remove ham hock and cut meat into pieces.
  5. Return meat to pot.
  6. Stir in the rice, cover and cook until rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Sprinkle shredded cheese over top, if desired.
  9. Serve

Note 1: You can also use precooked diced ham.

Note 2: Can’t find any smoked cheddar cheese, use regular sharp cheddar which works just fine.

Note 3: Serve it with cornbread so it becomes a whole meal.


Amount Per Serving Main recipe.
Calories: 475
Total Fat: 9.3g
Cholesterol: 61mg
Sodium: 619mg
Total Carbohydrates: 64.1g
Dietary Fiber: 5.4g
Protein: 33.6g

Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve and Lap-band [WLS] persons can eat only half a serving max !

PDF of this recipe: 20151015-AC-13-Hoppin-John


Columbus Day… ?

Columbus Day, in the United States of America, is always celebrated on the second Monday in October.

When asked to describe Christopher Columbus, most people generally say two things.

  • He was a brave discoverer who, despite terrible odds, sailed across the Atlantic and proved that the earth was round.
  • He was a tireless, courageous hero who discovered the New World.

These are the ideas that comprise Columbus’s legacy. I’m here to dispel those ideas and, with as much candor as I can muster, introduce a few of my own.

1491 no one thought the earth was flat. The notion that in pre-Columbian times everyone thought the earth was flat is a myth conjured up in the 18th century. Misguided historians started parroting other misguided historians which trickled down to schoolteachers, and the idea was stuck.

Columbus knew the earth was round, the Queen of Spain knew the earth was round, and pretty much anyone in education knew the earth was round… the Ancient Greeks had proven it 2,000 years before Columbus was even born.

1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered a new world. Glossing over the fact that the natives living in the New World got there 14,000 years before Columbus “discovered” it.

Leif Ericson technically found the New World 500 years before Columbus ever set sail. Although Columbus’s arrival did mark the beginning of a new era, semantically speaking he didn’t discover the Americas.

I’m not here to argue semantics however, I’m here to argue for Columbus’s true legacy… a legacy that I believe can be defined by detailing what transpired between Columbus and the Lucayan Natives who occupied what is currently known as the Bahamas.

1493 Columbus’s initial voyage to the New World was revelatory but not particular fruitful. Columbus knew he stumbled onto something big, but he remained myopically focused on gold rather than the discovery of a new landmass. This myopia was partially fueled by the Natives themselves, for they wore gold jewelry that Columbus immediately took note of in his journals and the source of that gold became his primary objective from then on out.

A better trade route to Asia be damned…

Christopher_ColumbusThis set the precedent for the remainder of Columbus’s interactions with the native peoples. On his 1492 voyage, Columbus described them as healthy, generous, hospitable people. When the Santa Maria was shipwrecked, the Lucayan Natives worked for hours to rescue the ship, saving the crew and cargo.

When Columbus returned home, he took twenty-five Lucayan Natives with him. Of those twenty-five, seven survived the voyage.

Where there was kindness in the natives, Columbus saw weakness, and he concluded his 1492 journal with this: “I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased.”

Upon returning to Spain, Columbus sold the Queen on the idea of a new world in wealth and prosperity beyond her wildest dreams. She in turn outfitted him with seventeen ships, 1,500 men and an arsenal of swords, crossbows, and cannons.

So Columbus returned to the New World… this time armed to the teeth. Upon arrival, he demanded that the Lucayan people give his men food and gold, and allow them to have sex with their women. When the Lucayans refused, Columbus responded by ordering that their ears and noses be cut off, so that the now disfigured offenders could return to their villages and serve as a warning to others.

Eventually, the natives rebelled. Columbus saw this as a perfect excuse to go to war, and with heavily armed troops and advanced weaponry, it wound up being a very short war. The natives were quickly slaughtered, having only spears, rocks, and other primitive tools to fight with. There are eyewitness accounts of fallen Lucayan warriors being fed to hunting dogs while they were still alive, screaming and wailing in agony as the dogs feasted on their limbs and entrails.

11755295_sDespite quelling the rebellion, Columbus still didn’t have the gold he wanted. Not wanting to return home empty-handed, Columbus rounded up 500 Lucayans Natives, chained them below the decks of his ships, and returned them to Spain so they could be sold as slaves. Of those, 300 survived the voyages.

Another 500 natives were enslaved and kept in the New World. They were forced to feed, care for, and even carry Columbus’s men around on their backs. This resulted in many Lucayans fleeing to the mountains to escape enslavement. Columbus’s men took to hunting these refugees down for sport and, after murdering them, using their bodies as dog food.

Despite all these awful shenanigans, Columbus still didn’t have enough gold, so he set up a tribute system whereby natives who brought him gold would receive a token to wear around their necks. This token gave them a sort of ‘get out of jail free’ card for a few months, so they wouldn’t be required to produce gold until the token expired. Any native without a token who was caught not meeting their gold quota was punished.

The punishment? Instead of wearing a token around their neck, Columbus’s men would cut of the natives’ hands and force them to wear those instead.
Awful, yes? It worked though, and by using this tribute system Columbus finally got his cheddar.

His greed mildly satiated, Columbus began rewarding his lieutenants with sex slaves – particularly young girls who had been forced into sexual slavery. In a letter to a friend, Columbus remarked upon how girls between the ages of nine and ten could be used as currency.

”A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.” Christopher Columbus, 1500

And, in addition to smallpox and other diseases which wiped out huge segments of the native population, the sudden influx of forced labor in the New World resulted in a mass imbalance in the ecology and workforce of the Native peoples.

It’s estimated that over the next fifty years, the final death toll from post-Columbian disease and starvation was in the range of 3 to 5 million people.

Columbus’s gold exports also resulted in the paralysis of the gold economy of the Gold Coast in Africa. This led to the rise of African slaves as the dominant commodity in that region, which inadvertently makes Columbus the father of the transatlantic slave trade.

The point I’m trying to make is, Christopher Columbus was awful. He discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs. And good ol’ Chris Columbus, sex slaver, mass murderer, and champion of sociopath imperialism, has his own federal holiday. This is an honor shared by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

Columbus Day was established in the 1930’s by a male-only Catholic organization known as the Knights of Columbus. They wanted a male, Catholic role model their kids would look up to, so they pressured Roosevelt into making it a federal holiday. So it is not an American tradition, it’s a recent mistake!

If you look at anyone closely enough, you’ll always find dirt. In the case of Columbus, I did not simply find dirt, I found a soiled, wretched horror show of a human being. That being said, it’s incredibly easy to defile a historical figure. I find it much harder and more rewarding to deify one.

History is full of terrible people and terrible things, so instead of casting a shadow where there is already darkness, I would much prefer to cast a light. And I would like to conclude this essay by casting that light on…

BartolomeDeLasCasasBartolomé de las Casas started out a lot like Columbus. He was a wealthy adventurer who traveled the New World, where he owned a large plantation with many slaves. Unlike Columbus, however, de las Casas underwent a radical transformation in his life. After witnessing the violent atrocities committed against the Natives, he gave up his land, freed his slaves, became a priest, and spent the rest of his life fighting the brutal colonization of the New World.

The only way he could make peace with the horrors he witnessed was to try and help as many people as possible. His stand against the cruelty and imperialism of the Spanish Crown eventually earned him the title of “Defender of the Indians.” Bartolomé de las Casas spent de next 50 years fighting for their equality. He is considered to be one of the first advocates for universal human rights.

So try and intend to honor Bartlolomé de las Casas, and proclaim Columbus Day to hereby be known as Bartolomé Day. (I realize Bartolomé is his first name, but it rolls of the tongue quite nicely.)

Because when I consider Bartolomé de las Casas, both the things he did and the person he was, I think… now THIS is a man whom children should learn about in school.

Christopher Columbus left his home and found a new world.
Bartolomé de las Casas left his home and found his humanity.

And so, in the name of those who cast light where there is darkness, and in the name of those who are seeking, finding, or simply remembering their humanity. I say to you…

P.S. I stumbled upon this via StumbleUpon, I don’t know who wrote this earlier, but they get all the credit.

My Ship Has Come In…

MS-HEELS4FUNFor a change I was this evening not part of the audience, but part of the crew. The “Heels4Fun” ladies went on their maiden voyage, on their own Love Boat (or Love Boot as it’s called in Dutch). The MS Heels-4-Fun left port at 8 PM with 85 paying guests on board.

They all came to see the latest show by Amy Huiswijn, DonnaTella Vergatsie, Rachel BeauJolie and Charité La Bustier. To give everyone a taste of a cruise ship the staff of the bar walked around in sailor outfits. I was helped by Nicky de Boer, as a hostess on this wonderful ship, while I, as Financial Director, was also dressed up as one of the crew.

While the bar staff tried to break some ice, a little to loudly, screams were heard of: “We’re sinking! We hit an iceberg!”

The cast who mostly lip-sing, sang all life this evening. Below some photos from the show. Most are by me, some are by Edward Gubbels (who sat in a better location). Just click on a photo and it opens in a new window,

If you’re in Amsterdam on November 22, we do a matinée performance, the tickets go on sale Monday October 12. Tickets only € 12,50 pp for a once in a lifetime experience!


The sound my (on loan) mobility scooter was making lately, got worse and worse. So yesterday I called the service department and told them what was going on, and also asked if they had heard back from Social Services (WMO) about a new scooter. Of the latter they didn’t know and they would call me back. On the complain they could act swiftly, for a change, the next day.

NOT-my-burnt-mobility-scooterEarly this morning a service technician arrived, he thought he knew what was wrong with the scooter and opened it up… he noticed immediately something was wrong, very wrong. The fuse had burnt a hole through the outer skin of the battery, and the three of us, the battery, scooter and I could have gone up in smoke and burnt meat. I’m not a big fan of barbecued meat especially if its me, myself and I, or to eat. But in my mind’s eye I could see the fun of it.

Now the scooter is parked in the downstairs hallway, sans batteries. I just hope to hear from the service department soon when new batteries will be available, so I can be on my way again.

No wheels means not that I stay at home, tonight I’m going to hear the Messiah sung by the GALA choir (Gay And Lesbian Amsterdam) at Old Lutheran Church (Oude Lutherse) on Singel, and tomorrow evening my “ship comes in…” (You have to wait for that story).