Hete Bliksem and Gehaktballen (Literally – Hot Lightning and Meatballs)

by Lana Stuart on April 15, 2010 · 19 comments

Hete Bliksem and Gehaktballen

The internet is a wonderfully incredible thing, isn’t it? Just think back about 15 years or so. How did you communicate with people then? Telephone, sure. Letters, maybe. You surely didn’t sit down in front of a computer and dash off an email that was instantly delivered almost anywhere in the world, did you? Incredible I tell you. And the people you meet on the internet may be from next door or half way around the world.

I’ve always enjoyed technology. I became interested in it when my Daddy started working for Valmont Industries way, way back. Valmont was best known for their circular irrigation systems. You see them all over the country. Those big towers shooting life-giving water onto crops while they slowly, silently circle around and around a field. That’s what Daddy did when he began working at Valmont. He designed irrigation systems for farmers. But the more he learned about technology, the more he thought it might be possible to tie an irrigation system into a PC to have it controlled remotely. This was back when almost no one owned a PC. Most computing was done by scientists in white coats using huge mainframe computers. PCs were hugely expensive. Far too expensive for the typical farmer to purchase, but Daddy could envision what we now experience every day. An affordable PC in most households. His idea for computer-controlled farming applications generated a lot of interest at Valmont so they partnered with IBM to explore the possibility. Because of Daddy’s interest in and aptitude for technology, and because it was his idea to start with, he was asked to head up the special project.

I remember the first PC that Daddy owned. It looked exactly like this one.

There was no mouse. You didn’t need it because everything was text. And I remember the first computer game I ever played. It was called Colossal Cave. Some of you will remember that game. It still frustrates me that I never could win it.

Oh, wait, I’m really rambling aren’t I and I know you’re wondering what any of this has to do with cooking. But I guess I’ve said all that to explain my fascination with technology. It was a little later in life that my interest started, but once it did I knew I’d found what I was meant to do. I’ve worked for years in technology-related fields doing everything from college-level teaching to direct tech support to supervising a help desk with a large crew of technicians. Currently, I’m a full-time webmaster and do some graphic design work as well. All opportunities provided by technology.

I would say that during my career opening up the worldwide web is probably the most significant technological development that I’ve seen. And the most useful. And sometimes the most frustrating. But the way it brings us together is remarkable.

Take this recipe for instance (I know you were wondering when I’d get around to the cooking part). Just a few days ago I was complaining to a blogging friend, Kay, on Twitter that I was in a cooking funk. I just couldn’t think of anything that I really wanted to get in the kitchen and cook. So, Kay being the great friend that she is, challenged me to cook a recipe that she would send me by email. Kay is a fabulous blogger and an incredible photographer. Her blog, Kayotic Kitchen, is a complete joy to read. Oh, didn’t I mention that Kay is Dutch? That’s right. Tweeting to Kay in The Netherlands about my lack of cooking interest and receiving inspiration immediately from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Amazing, I tell you. Amazing.

The recipe she challenged me to cook is called “Hete Bliksem,” which translates literally to “Hot Lightning.” I can’t explain why it’s called that because it’s not hot in the least unless maybe I didn’t use enough black pepper. Anyway, when I first saw the recipe I thought, what in the world….apples, potatoes and bacon….together?? But, because it was a challenge, and it’s very hard for me to back away from a challenge being the competitive soul that I am, I forged ahead. And I am so very glad that I did. The Hete Bliksem is very similar to regular mashed potatoes, except that it has a slightly sweet note in the background from the apples and smokiness from the bacon. Y’all…this is really good. Even if you think you can’t imagine apples and potatoes together, please try this. You’ll be glad you did. Kay said that she and her family enjoy Hete Bliksem with either her Dutch Meatballs (Gehaktballen) or her Stoofvlees. The recipes for both are on her site and I’ve linked to them for easy access. I made the meatballs this time, but I’m definitely going to try the stoofvlees soon.

If you want to have your own trans-Atlantic culinary Hete Bliksem adventure, here’s what you do:

6oz bacon (in one piece) Since we can’t easily get slabs of bacon, I used 6 ounces of the thickest cut I could find
half a pound sour apples (I used Granny Smith)
half a pound sweet apples (I used Fuji)
1 1/2 pound potatoes
2 oz butter
black pepper
little sugar
butter

Here are Kay’s directions in her own words:

Leave the bacon in one piece and simmer it in 1 cup of water for about an hour. Make sure the water doesn’t flee the scene. Peel the apples, remove the core and cut each apple in four pieces. Peel and wash the potatoes.

After an hour, take the bacon out of the water and finely mince it. Put the potatoes in the bacon water, add the sweet apples, top with the sour apples and sprinkle the bacon all over. Let it simmer for half an hour, keep an eye on the water level but try not to add water until absolutely necessary.

Drain everything but save the cooking liquid. Mash the potatoes, apples and bacon and use the cooking liquid if the mash appears too dry. Season with about 2 oz butter, salt, a little sugar and a generous amount of black pepper.

Enjoy!

Hete Bliksem and Gehaktballen (Literally – Hot Lightning and Meatballs)

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Hete Bliksem and Gehaktballen (Literally – Hot Lightning and Meatballs)

A traditional Dutch recipe for Hete Bliksem Gehaktbal (Hot Lightning), a mash of apples, potatoes, and bacon. Accompanied by Dutch Meatballs.

Ingredients

  • 6oz bacon (in one piece)
  • half a pound sour apples
  • half a pound sweet apples
  • 1 1/2 pound potatoes
  • 2 oz butter
  • black pepper
  • little sugar
  • butter

Instructions

  1. Leave the bacon in one piece and simmer it in 1 cup of water for about an hour. Make sure to save the cooking liquid.
  2. Peel the apples, remove the core and cut each apple in four pieces.
  3. Peel and wash the potatoes.
  4. After an hour, take the bacon out of the water and finely mince it.
  5. Put the potatoes in the bacon water, add the sweet apples, top with the sour apples and sprinkle the bacon all over.
  6. Let it simmer for half an hour, keep an eye on the water level but try not to add water until absolutely necessary. Drain everything but save the cooking liquid.
  7. Mash the potatoes, apples and bacon and use the cooking liquid if the mash appears too dry. Season with about 2 oz butter, salt, a little sugar and a generous amount of black pepper.
http://www.lanascooking.com/2010/04/15/hete-bliksem-and-gehaktballen-literally-hot-lightning-and-meatballs/

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linda April 15, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I’m working right now, but I just got my RSS feed article for this crazy recipe. It’s distracting… All I can think about is “How can I get invited to your house for dinner!” The stuff you keep turning out looks awesome.

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2 Lana April 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Thanks, Linda! This was such an interesting recipe. Very delicious.

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3 Kay April 16, 2010 at 1:56 am

That looks good! It’s called Hot Lightning not because of the spiciness, but more because of the liquid inside the apples the dish gets much hotter than a regular mash would. It stays warm longer than regular mashed potatoes, too. You can also do half apples, half pears btw.

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4 Lana April 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

So that’s why! I couldn’t figure it out but now it makes sense. That half apples and half pears sounds good, too.

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5 Mags April 16, 2010 at 8:51 am

We had a computer very similar to that one and it cost about three times as much as the computers do nowadays. I used it to print my monthly calendar (I could have bought a thousand calendars for the price of that computer…LOL)

Great looking recipe. So different!

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6 HoneyB April 16, 2010 at 8:52 am

Time goes by so quickly – when I was in HS there was no computers and we took typing classes….computers existed, just not in the schools yet.

Your dish looks wonderful! I’m glad you were inspired to make it and thank you for sharing!

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7 Barbara @ moderncomfortfood April 16, 2010 at 9:12 am

Wow! This is one of the most unusually delicious looking recipe I’ve seen in quite a while, and I can absolutely see why you accepted the challenge of making it. Did I say wow? Thanks a million for sharing.

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8 Pam April 16, 2010 at 11:44 am

Oh, Lana. That looks so good! And bacon makes anything better. Not sure if you have a Walmart near you, but I know our Walmart sells slab bacon. I’ve bought it several times since my husband uses it sometimes when he is smoking meat.

I’m in the same funk you just mentioned, and living up to my “Bored Cook” name. LOL

This recipe is going in my “Must Try” category! Thanks for sharing!

Pam

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9 Lana April 16, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Pam – Good to know I could get the slab bacon at Wal-Mart. And doesn’t everybody have one near them? LOL! Thanks.

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10 Pam April 16, 2010 at 11:48 am

Forgot to mention…

Your post was very laughable to me (about the computer age) because I had this conversation recently with my 15 year old son. I was cleaning out a closet and he saw a stack of my old records. He thought they were the funniest thing ever…these huge discs as he called them. When I described that CD’s and DVD’s didn’t exist and told him how we listened to records he told me “That is totally lame, mom.” LOL

I remember working for an international company in my early twenties and was so excited when we no longer had to use a”Telex” machine to send info to our overseas contacts. That thing was like sending morse code and you had to abbreviate everything to make the message shorter so that it didn’t cost as much. It was just then that we had started using a FAX machine, and we were amazed at how easy it was to just slip that piece of paper in, send it off, and they received it moments later. Who knew what was to come next!

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11 Lana April 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Oh my gosh, I had forgotten about those old Telex machines! I’ve used those many times. You could hear the Telex all over the building when it was running!

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12 akmoni April 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm

It is snowing outside today and that your post looks so comforting!

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13 Kathy Gori April 16, 2010 at 4:54 pm

who could resist a recipe with that title?? certainly not me!

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14 megan April 16, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I remember in the easly 80’s, I worked commission sales in electronics. We sold console tvs and well as portables, VCR’s and Sterios. The only computer we sold was the Commodor 64. It makes me laugh how far we have come. It seemed so space age back then. LOL
Also before “the internet”, I use to get recipes of message boards called prodigy. How far we’ve come, amazing!
This recipe sounds delicious. I have actually grated apple into my mashed potatoes before and love it so I know this would be great. I love that it uses both sweet and tart apples!

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15 Lana April 16, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Megan – I was on the Prodigy message boards way back when. Actually, I was one of the founding members of Prodigy and did beta testing for them. Still have a little lapel pin somewhere that all the testers got for their efforts. We were so cool!

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16 s. stockwell April 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Oh my, this is something to splurge with? and congratulation on your technology acumen. You are authentically ready for the 21st century!

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17 Neena April 17, 2010 at 2:52 pm

This recipe looks intriguing. Wish I had more to cook for than myself, I would try it. I remember when your Father started the computer division for Valmont Industries. He came home one day and asked me what I thought a good name for the division would be. The only thing I could think of was Val-Com, a combination of Valmont and computer. Must have thought it would work, because that is the name that was chosen. He would be up until 3 in the AM working on putting together that program and still be in his office by 7:30 or 8:00 AM. Work ethics like that do not exist anymore.
.

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18 clive April 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm

I made the dutch meatballs for dinner tonight. Beyond delicious. Thanks

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19 Lana April 22, 2010 at 10:22 am

Glad you enjoyed them, Clive. We both have Kay to thank for this great recipe!

Reply

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