Sunday, July 31, 2011

Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)

I'm doing a 'Taste of Denmark' cooking demonstration in August at a local restaurant.    I'm kinda excited about it.   Not only do I get to cook something Danish, I get to share my love of Danish cuisine with some total strangers, yikes.  Just kidding.


Frikadeller with New Potatoes, Parsley Sauce and Red Cabbage
I had decided on the menu within minutes of being asked to do the cooking demo, and as I posted the other day, the menu will include one of my favourites, Frikadeller.    This is something I've been making for many years without a recipe.  I know how it's supposed to look and taste and feel, so when I'm making it, I just do it the way my mom taught me, with one little exception, I use my Kitchenaid, instead of stirring the meat mixture for a half hour.    However, one of the requirements of the cooking demo is to hand out recipes.  So, I decided to measure out everything and write it down.   And that's what I did yesterday.  
Dumped a pound of unseasoned ground pork into the Kitchenaid. (can't tell you how much I love this thing, my wonderful husband got it for me a few years back).    Added an egg, 1/4 cup milk, one small onion, finely minced.   Turned on the mixer and let it go.

Added 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
Added a scant 1/4 cup flour.  (Mom always said that you should add equal amounts of flour and milk.)

I let it mix for a few minutes.  Unlike most recipes with ground meat, you do want to let this mix for awhile.  When I used to mix it my hand, I would beat it for upwards of a half hour.  (and when I was younger and making it with my mother, I could never understand how she could do it for so long, come to think of it, I still can't.  I prefer my  Kitchenaid.)  Test for seasoning at this point by frying a little of the meat mixture and tasting it as soon as it is done.    Add a little more salt and pepper at this point if you like.   (I did, added a touch more pepper, as I thought it could use it.) 
To a frying pan, add some olive oil and a little butter, and as soon as it's hot, you're ready for the next step.
Dip the bowl of a soup spoon in the hot oil mixture and use it to form the meatballs, just like this.
Scooping up a little of the meat mixture in the bowl of the spoon and forming it against the side of the bowl.  Or you can use your hand to form it as well, but this way is a little less messy.    Dip the spoon in the fat everytime you scoop up a meatball.    Otherwise the meat will stick to the spoon.   And you do need to have some fat in the pan, it just doesn't work that well with a non stick spray, you want the flavour of the fat and the crispness that the fat imparts to the meat.

While they're frying, you can make the Parsley Sauce you serve with the Frikadeller and potatoes.
Make a roux out of butter and flour...
 Add a cup of milk...
Whisk it together and let it cook until it has thickened.
Chop up some fresh parsley...
Add that to the white sauce, whisking it in and let it cook a minute or so.

Let it come to a boil and season it to taste with some salt and white pepper.    My mom would add a little bit of nutmeg to this as well, but I don't like nutmeg so I didn't..

Serve it with some freshly boiled red potatoes or fingerling potato's and some Rødkål

Frikadeller
I had to taste.




Frikadeller makes about 12-15 meatballs ***

1 lb. Finely ground pork, unseasoned

1 Small minced or grated onion

1 eggs

1/4 tsp. Salt **

1/4  tsp. Pepper **

1/4 cup or so) Flour

1/4 cup milk

Butter and Olive oil for frying.


Mix meat, onion, eggs and salt and pepper together, (use a stand mixer if possible), and add the flour, mix together and then add milk until all the milk is incorporated, ¼ cup at a time. The mixture should not be stiff, but instead should have the consistency of a firm custard. Brown butter/olive oil in skillet, and form meatballs with the use of a soup-spoon against the inside of the bowl, (bowl tipped slightly and spoon dipped into the browned butter/olive oil), and form into slightly oblong balls approx. 7x5 cm (2x3 inches) (You can also use wet hands to form the meatballs) Brown on both sides, and continue cooking til done, approximately 10 minutes, turning from time to time to cook evenly.
Remove to a warming dish and make gravy from the fond left in the pan.  Or just serve it with a nice Parsley Sauce.  

Deglaze with a little water that the potatoes cooked in, then add a little flour and water mixed together and cook until thickened. Add a little browning agent to make a nice brown gravy.


** To check seasonings, dip out a small spoonful of the meat mixture and fry up to taste. At this point you can add more salt and pepper if needed.

***  You can also add an extra egg, another 1/4-1/2 cup flour, with equal amounts of milk and stretch out the meat a little.   Great if you get some unexpected company.    This should serve 4 people or two teenagers. 


UPDATED:
I'll be doing cooking classes starting in June 2016 at a local organic food store.  And this is the first recipe I will be sharing. 



Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cooking Demonstration coming up

One of our local restaurants has been really working hard to do something a little different from the norm.   They've been showcasing local cooks/chefs on a monthly basis, and I've attended a couple of them.   A couple months back,  I, jokingly, said to one of the organizers that if they wanted someone to come in and do a cooking demonstration for Danish food, to let me know.   Well, they let me know, and I'll be featured in August.   Now it's time for nerves.     At any rate, me being me, my mind immediately started flipping through several menu ideas.   And I have to admit it, it wasn't hard to figure out a main dish.  And since I couldn't be satisfied with just coming up with a main dish, I had to figure out the side dishes and the dessert as well.
Here's the Menu:

Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs)
Kartoffler med Persillesovs (Boiled potatoes with Parsley Sauce)
Rødkole (Red Cabbage)
Blomkål med Urter (Cauliflower with Herbs)
Dessert: Æblekage (Applecake)

So what I'm going to demo for the guests are the Frikadeller and also the dessert if they like.   I'll have a little cooking station set up and will showcase and demonstrate how to make the Frikadeller and the Applecake.

And since this is a Food Blog, I'll be posting the recipes for each one of the dishes on the menu.   So stay tuned and I'll be back.

In the meantime, here's a preview.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Breakfast Burrito

From Denmark to Mexico, my tastebuds are all over the place.     I may have mentioned Earth Fare a couple of times here, I really enjoyed shopping there, so much so that while I did restrain myself a little, I also picked up some of what I would consider necessities, sausage and cheese.   I managed to score some of the Chorizo sausage they make onsite and cooked some of it up this morning for breakfast. 

 Chorizo sausage frying away, it was very flavourful. 

I also scrambled some eggs, (notice the little spot of butter there to the side, I usually take a small pat of butter and wipe it along the inside of the pan when I'm scrambling eggs, keeps them from sticking).
After the eggs cooked, it was time to assemble my breakfast.
First some tortillas, a little strip of salsa, then the Chorizo, some cheese 
Breakfast Burrito
Breakfast Burrito
The eggs and a little more cheese before I rolled it up, finished it with another strip of salsa and some more cheese.
Breakfast Burrito
Now you'll have to excuse me, it's time to eat.    



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ham with Green Kale or Skinke med Grønlangkål

I found some really lovely Kale at Earth Fare last week and had to pick it up.    And my mouth is watering in anticipation.   This is part of a traditional meal for Danes, during the Christmas season, but since I didn't get any over Christmas and in fact hadn't spotted any kale in any store til last week, (Christmas in July anyone?) I've been left with a craving for it.   I thought about having the full meal deal of  Skinke med Grønlangkål og Brunede Kartofler.   (giggle).   OK, in English it's Ham with Green Kale and sugar browned potatoes.    But as life has a way of getting in the way, I kept putting off cooking the kale, until the ham steak that I had in the fridge was already consumed, sigh.  So the other day, I bit the bullet and decided to make my Grønlangkål anyway.  
I was so excited to make this, but have to admit to having a temporary lapse of attention while I was cooking this.  Sigh, I burnt it.  But managed to salvage enough to eat, and it was very good.

You need to do as I say and not get distracted, burnt kale doesn't smell real good and the smell lingers in the air.

First off,  wash the kale

 
and cut the leaves off of the stems.   Discard the stems, they're not edible.  Well, maybe if you throw them into a pot for flavouring a soup, hmmm, something to think about.

Next chiffonade the kale, by rolling the cut leaves into a roll, and cutting across the leaves.

 You don't need to do a really neat job here, a rough chiffonade is just fine.  You want to pieces to be roughly equal in size for steaming.

Add a little water, maybe a cup (and don't do like I did, turn the heat on high and not put enough water in the pot, it burns really well that way), put a lid on and let it steam for about 10 minutes or so.
Mix up some butter and flour into a paste for a roux and stir this into the kale, it thickens the cooking liquid.


Keep stirring as it thickens, and add a little cream or milk to thin it out.  You want the sauce to be the consistency of white sauce.  If it's too thin, add a little more roux, too thick, add some more milk.  Continue to cook, stirring it often, for another five to ten minutes.   Add a little salt and pepper to taste and about a tablespoon of sugar at the end.  
Serve with some ham for a really lovely meal. 

See you later, I'm going to go and eat this while it's still warm.  


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sweet and Sassy Bites at July Tapa's Night

I've been thinking and thinking and thinking, and trying to figure out what to make for Tapa's night this week.  I think I got it.  "giggle",   but when I went to make it, discovered I didn't have all the ingredients on hand, and the local grocery store didn't have any Sriricha sauce for sale.  Here's the link for  Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Hot Wings over at Tasty Kitchen anyway.  It really appealed to me.   But, even though I didn't have any Sriricha sauce I did have some Frank's RedHot Sweet Chili Sauce and also a jar of Sambal Oelek in the fridge so...

Sambal Oelek on the chicken

Sweet and Sassy Bites ready for the oven


I had fun and played around a little with them, and it turned out pretty good.   *Note to self, next time don't pour the entire bottle of Frank's over the chicken, just baste it.   Also, chicken wings were $2.29/lb at the store and boneless, skinless breasts were $1.99 a lb.  Guess what I bought?   Yup, the breasts.  I bought two packages and made one into my Buffalo Bites,
Buffalo Bites ready for the oven

and the other package made some Sweet and Sassy Bites.    I always like to make one tried and true recipe and then one that I've never made before.
Front to back, Tapenade, Buffalo Bites with Celery and Blue Cheese and Sweet and Sassy Bites.


So that fit the bill.   I also made some  Tapenade,  and this time I amped it up a little,
Smashed Garlic Cloves in EVOO

Ready to process


and 'boiled' a couple cloves of garlic in some olive oil, and added them and the oil to the tapenade.   Everyone seemed to love that one.  At least they kept going back and there was only a scant teaspoonful left when the party was over.   And of course had some Ciabatta rolls and dipping oil as well.
Ciabatta Rolls

As usual our guests brought a wide variety of foods.   Everything from an incredible Mango/Avocado/Jalapeno salsa which went amazingly well with the Sweet and Sassy Bites, some wonderful Corned Beef, an interesting Italian Meatloaf Bruscetta, some Seafood Gumbo, a lovely fresh fruit salad, cheese and crackers, a pot of 'Stinky' Cheese with fig conserve on top,and even dessert.   Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Pie and Ice Cream.   (get the feeling we eat well here?  We have such great cooks in this area.)

  I wish I'd gotten pictures of all of it, but it was hard trying to get a clear shot of the table without people in it, and I did miss getting pictures of a couple of the dishes.


Sweet and Sassy Bites

2 lbs. Boneless Chicken breast, cut into chunks (can also use Chicken Wings if you like)
1 bottle Frank's Chili Sauce
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp. + Sambal Oelek  ( to taste, I like stuff on the hot side so...) 

Combine the chili sauce, the Sambal oelek and the ginger.    Pour half of it over the chicken chunks, and place in a 425 deg. oven for 15- 20 minutes. Take out and remove any excess sauce at this point.   (I used the whole bottle and that was too much, it was too saucy).  Place back in oven under broiler for just a couple of minutes to brown and caramelize the sauce a little if it hasn't happened already.   Serve with the reserved sauce for dipping if you like.   If you like it hotter, add more Sambal, or leave it out completely.    I think my guests liked it, there were only a couple of pieces left at the end of the evening.  

And here's Karen's recipe for the Salsa;


Avocado/Mango Salsa

1 lg mango
3 tbsp red onion
3 tbsp green pepper
3 tbsp red pepper
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chives
1 tbsp cilantro
1/2 lg avocado
1/2 - 1  jalapeno  *


Dice it all fine and mix together.  This looks so pretty when finished, with all the colors and it's fantastic for a summer side dish.   I think I could eat it all by itself.   Serve with Sweet and Sassy Bites or some chips.
* The original recipe didn't contain Jalapeno, but Karen added that,  just a little but it really amped up the flavour. 

So that's it for July Tapa's Night.    I really enjoy having people in, we always have a good time, and really great food.    

Friday, July 22, 2011

Favorite Brands

I have certain brands that I just plain like, and to my mind the food's just not going to taste right without that special ingredient.    
I love Mezzetta's Garlic Stuffed Olives.   They're great in a dish by themselves, chopped up in some Tapenade or reclining in an ice-cold martini.    I try to keep a jar in the fridge at all times.  I think that they are that good.  Hard to find in my neck of the woods, and a little bit pricey, but worth it.  Especially when I can find them on sale.
Tapenade

 Another brand I really enjoy (but can't get here.) is Litehouse dressings .  They have a Light Blue Cheese dressing that's full of flavour and not vinegary at all, just cheesy.     Their Jalapeno Ranch dressing is out of this world and I use it for my deviled eggs, adds a nice little zip.   They used to have a Jerk sauce that was so awesome that I cried when they discontinued it.  Well, not really, but I wanted to.   They can be found in the refrigerated section in the produce department.


I also like Siljans Crispbread, but they're not widely distributed, so unless you're in a major metropolitan area or can afford the shipping costs it just isn't worth it. And since I don't live near a major metropolitan area or near a Scandinavian Deli  and don't want to spend more to ship it than to buy them, I make do with Wasa Crispbreads and they do just fine.

As you may have surmised before, I'm kinda drawn to spicy food, and one ingredient I love to use in my Chile Verde is Stoke's Green Chile Sauce.  I can't find it in my state, but I've been known to have a case shipped in from time to time.  

There you have it, just a few of my favorite things.  Well, favorite brands, at any rate.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cuban Sandwich

I was half way through putting dinner together tonight when I realized that what we were having would make a great post.   And would also be another hint on how to make leftovers into a whole new meal.  (and no one needs to know they're leftovers either).
Cuban Sandwich


A true Cuban sandwich should start with a loaf of Cuban Bread, but as I think I've said before, we're a little limited in our choices at the grocery store here, so I used a French bread instead.

Split your bread and spread some mustard on both sides,  then layer some pickles, thinly sliced ham and, wait for it, the leftover roast pork from the pork roast, very thinly sliced and last but not least, some Swiss cheese.
Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

Close up the sandwich and put in either a cast iron pan, lightly buttered, and then put a weight on top of it, or use your sandwich press or just the George Forman Grill (which is what I use).  Press down and let it brown and cook until the cheese is melted and the outside of the bread is a golden brown.  Cut on the diagonal to serve.    ( I didn't have Swiss cheese, but did have some Monterey Jack and it did a good job).

Pardon the pictures, but I was in a hurry and didn't stage them very well.   Just know this, we had a nice meal, it was quick, easy and delicious.  And I got to use up some leftover roast pork, that wasn't quite enough for a full meal, but with the ham, we had more than enough to eat.   

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bahamian Mac n' Cheese

Bahamian Mac and Cheese
I fell in love with Bahamian Mac n' Cheese when we visited the Bahama's the first time,  and in subsequent visits as well.    I used to go into Munchies (a local restaurant) and order a side of Mac n' Cheese and some Peas n' Rice for lunch every day while we were there.   There was just something about that combination of flavours that hit the spot for me.     And I learned how to make both the Mac n' Cheese and the Peas n' Rice when we returned home.      For today I'm just going to make the Mac n' Cheese to go with a ham steak I have.

Here's how the original recipe was explained to me, and how I wrote it down.


Bahamian Mac n Cheese
Box Mueller's large elbow mac cooked
2-3 large eggs
a large block daisy cheese(Irish mild cheddar)grated (whole ting!) (up to a full pound)
tin condensed milk
celery, onion, green pepper couple teaspoons of each chopped
a couple bird peppers all smash up with spoon-NEVER finger! You'll go blind if you get it near your eye!
Grated Cheese, Monterey Jack and Cheddar
Grated Monterey Jack and Cheddar (mimics mild Irish Cheddar)

Finely chopped celery, green pepper and a green onion

Soften the veggies a little in a strainer on the pot of cooking macaroni.

Mix the grated cheese into the hot macaroni

Add the eggs and evaporated milk and stir it up.

mix all up-not TOO hard to smash the noodles now!
and bake @ 350 for an hour (til set) or til top turns lil brown around edges.
Good luck to you miss
Just out of the oven.


And why mess with a good recipe?   I pretty much make it like that to this day.    We don't have bird peppers here so I use a Thai pepper or a red jalapeno and just mince it up.    This bakes up so well, and best of all, you just slice it into squares and serve it, either hot or room temp.

Personally, I'll take it any way I can get it.

History lesson, very short.   Fresh milk, meat and produce used to be at a premium in the Bahama's.  Which means that many recipes there evolved using evaporated or condensed milk in place of fresh milk. And before electricity, the locals preserved a lot of their food using means other than refrigeration or freezing.  Salt pork is still widely used in many recipes, and the use of fresh locally available fruits and vegetables are incorporated in many dishes.