creamy green pea soup with smoked salmon

Tonight was an evening of deliciousness. I made my favorite soup.

This soup is fantastic. Very decadent tasting and definitely a meal for two people. It is a wonderful with crusty fresh bread.


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 green onions, cut into rings
  • 15 g fresh dill, cut finely
  • 450 g frozen green peas
  • 750 ml chicken stock
  • 225 g potatoes ( 1/2 inch cubes)
  • 75 g cream cheese
  • 100 g smoked salmon, in pieces


  1. In a soup pan, heat the oil.
  2. Add the green onions and half of the dill, saute for 1 minute.
  3. Reserve 3 tablespoons of peas.
  4. Add the remainder of the peas and the chicken stock.
  5. Bring to a boil for about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Puree the soup using a hand blender.
  7. Add the potatoes and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes until soft.
  8. Add the rest of the peas and the cream cheese, and simmer until the cheese has melted.
  9. Add the smoked salmon and the remaining dill and bring the soup to a simmer.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.


feta: the cyclops cheese

by Lucky Bielka
I am a feta snob. Not all feta is created equal. Along with real Greek feta, our grocery store also sells some strange small pre-cut plastic-tasting squares that are disguised under a feta label. Definitely not the same thing.

The ancient Greeks would agree. Feta can be traced to the Byzantine Empire and specifically Crete 8000 years ago in a written description by Homer in the Odyssey.  Yes, in this case a cyclops (Polyfimos) is described making this cheesy wonder. (source: Somehow it makes me really happy to think of it as cyclops cheese.

Anyway, as for a description, feta is officially based on goat's milk or a combination of goat and sheep's (no more than 30%) milk. While cow versions are available this is pseudo-feta (I am a cheese snob). Real feta ;) matures for a couple of months to get its own fantastic feta-ness and is stored (and distributed) in a brine.

I would provide more information here, but the enthusiasm that is will fill in the gaps with such alacrity I feel that my own description may be inadequate. (The font on this site is insanely small, but the information is all there in it's very own cheese-PR glory.) You can *even* find out how much you have learned with the feta-invaders game which includes some interesting Greek/The Entertainer type of background music.

So, back to the cyclops cheese, feta is white crumbly salty “semi-firm” brined cheese. While I've combined it in quite a few recipes to good effect, to be honest, I personally think that feta at its best is served cold in thin slices next to a cold salad with crispy cucumber, tomato, olives and red onion, otherwise the subtlety of its flavor may be lost. But who can deny its delicious contribution to Spanakopita (spinach and feta wrapped in feather light phyllo dough) or crumbled into scrambled eggs?

Feta isn't exactly diet cheese, but its flavor means that a little goes a long way. That's how I've chosen to look at anyway.

Do you have any favorite feta recipes or feta opinions? (Some people, I understand, just don't like goat- or sheep-milk-based cheese. I understand. I feel the same way about tripe and durian.)


from "the big night"

recipe: chicken with feta sauce

ammmsterdam revived

After three years asleep, I decided to awake this resting blog. Ammmsterdam started as a restaurant review site, but I've decided to make it something more... to make it about a full exploration of food.

I think that writing about food is both aspirational and terrifying. Aspirational since not only do I love food myself,  but I believe in it. "Believe in food?" you ask. I believe in not only its importance in gathering people together, in creating childhood memories, in become an icon of culture and cultural celebration, but I also believe in its importance in terms of making us strong and healthy.

The terrifying part also has to do with the aspiration and the wish... the fear of failure. And if I succeed in becoming a food writer, in immersing myself in food, surely I'll become corpulent, self-indulgent and hedonistic. I want to make sure I keep balanced in this quest to write about food for a living.

All of this to say, the time has come. This blog won't become about food snobbery (she says determinedly). It will talk about both the indulgent and healthy. It will talk about social/cultural elements of eating as well as the joys of drinking beer on a sunlit patio, it will talk about my own attempt to become healthier through better food choices (rather than dieting) as well as moments of weakness and joyous self-pampering.

I struggle with believing in many things. My inner cynic is loud and is quite a bully. But I believe food. What I know about food:
  1. I am an omnivore. I will (probably) never cut out entire food groups. No one has yet convinced me that moderation in all things is a bad thing. I will never be completely cheeseless, grainless, meatless or sugarless. Health and environmental problems related to food seem to have to do more with habit rather than individual experiences.
  2. I love that different cultures celebrate food in different ways and that often food memory represents a coming together, a celebration or a comfort. 
  3. I need to eat healthier. Part of this will be an exploration of how I, as a food lover, can remain so without growing wider and wigglier than I already am. And how, in fact, I can lose some weight despite my foody joys.
  4. I do believe in ethical eating. I haven't quite figured out how to incorporate this into my life in a meaningful way, but I strive towards a greater conscientiousness than I currently use when buying food for sustainable, ethical sources.
  5. New and different makes me happy. While I have no desire to repeat the one encounter I have had with tripe, in general, I love trying new things, textures and tastes. Food exploration is fun :)
  6. Markets have their own special energy that seems to have to do with getting closer to the source of food. Living in a city, it is often as close as we can get to actually pulling that carrot out of the ground. There is an earthiness about the smells and an anticipation of eating that I've never experienced in a grocery store.
OK. That's all for now. I have millions of ideas for what format this blog should/will take. It will probably use a bit of all of them. :)

I hope you'll come with me.