Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brunkål med Flæsk (Sugar browned Cabbage with Bacon)

Brunkål med Flæsk
Shhhh, don't tell anyone but I am so happy for cooler weather.   I not only get to dress warmly, but I get to cook totally differently.   And with the cooler weather, I also get to make some comfort food, at least it's comfort food for this Dane. 

Brunkål med Flæsk
 To begin with take a head of cabbage, core it and then slice it thinly.
    As soon as you've finished, put a large pot or pan on the stove and spread about a quarter cup of sugar in the bottom of it.   You want to caramelize the sugar, get it nice and brown, before you add the cabbage to it.

After adding the cabbage to the pan, stir it around a little and let the caramelized sugar coat the cabbage.

   While that's happening get a couple slices of nice thick bacon out and slice it into thirds.   I like to let the cabbage cook a little, maybe five minutes or so before I add the bacon to the pot.  I know I said a couple of slices, and the picture shows a lot more, but hey, a little bacon is good, but more is better.
 Add the bacon to the pot, give it another stir, turn the heat down low and let it cook.
  You don't need to add water or anything else at this point, the cabbage releases enough water to keep it moist and the bacon will release some of its fat as well.

At this point, let it cook down for a couple or three hours, until the cabbage is very soft and mushy.   Check on it from time to time and give it a stir but basically, just let it cook.

Almost ready, and if you can see, through the steam, that the cabbage has reduced by quite a bit and the bacon has also rendered down a lot.    I was hungry at this point, and the smells were so good, that I took it off the hob and dished some up. 

 When it's done, just take a nice big spoonful of it, place it on a slice of rye bread and eat it.   As you can see, I was hungry and forgot to take a picture of it before I dove in.  Sorry. 

This is how my mom used to make it, at least as memory serves me, of course I add a little more bacon to it, just cause I like bacon.   And when I serve this, after taking a bite, I can go back in time a little and remember lunches and dinners with my parents, especially my dad.   He loved this meal.  I even made this for my uncle when he came for a visit from Denmark once, and he was very appreciative, as Uncle Helge said, it's nice to have some familiar food, after eating all that foreign food.  Canadian food was a little too exotic for his tastes, he liked the familiar taste from home. 

yield: 4 servingsprint recipe

Brunkål med Flæsk (Sugar browned Cabbage with Bacon)

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 2 hourtotal time: 2 hours and 15 mins
Three ingredients make up this dish. Usually served hot on a piece of rye bread, this makes for a satisfying lunch or light dinner.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head of cabbage, cored and sliced
  • 4-6 slices good meaty bacon
  • 1/4 cup sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To begin with take a head of cabbage, core it and then slice it thinly. As soon as you've finished, put a large pot or pan on the stove and spread about a quarter cup of sugar in the bottom of it. You want to caramelize the sugar, get it nice and brown, before you add the cabbage to it. 
  2. After adding the cabbage to the pan, stir it around a little and let the caramelized sugar coat the cabbage. 
  3. As the cabbage is browning, take out the bacon and slice it into thirds.   Let the cabbage cook a little, maybe five minutes or so before adding the bacon to the pot.
  4. After adding the bacon to the pot, give it another stir, place a lid on top,  turn the heat down low and let it cook. You don't need to add water or anything else at this point, the cabbage releases enough water to keep it moist and the bacon will release some of its fat as well.  
  5. Cook over low heat for a couple or three hours, until the cabbage is very soft and mushy. Check on it from time to time and give it a stir but basically, just let it cook.  You can take the lid off the last half hour or so if desired. 
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Boston Cream Pie

I love a good Boston Cream Pie, and I attempted to make one for a friend this past weekend.  It was her birthday on Thanksgiving, but we weren't together that day so I conspired with her other half to make her a cake for our Tapas night, cause I knew we would have a houseful of mutual friends, and it seemed to be a fitting thing to do.  Last year I baked her a cake as well, a Vandbakkelser.   And she enjoyed it.  Or at least she was polite and said she enjoyed it.

But this year, I got ambitious and made her a full fledged Boston Cream Pie, from scratch.  No shortcuts.   The whole magilla.  What's a magilla anyway?    And what was I thinking?  Not only was I going to make a kinda fussy cake, but I was doing it on a day when I was expecting a lot of people.  Sometimes, I think I need something examined.     My head for starters.

I thought I had a recipe for it, but ended up googling for it.  And then I didn't do something smart like go to Foodgawker, no, I had to go to Epicurious, for their Classic Boston Cream Pie cause I figured they'd know how to do it right.   Well, gee, the instructions said to bake it for 55 minutes, but when I checked at 40 minutes, it was done.  I also should have paid more attention to the cake pan size, cause mine kinda, ballooned out and over.

 I ended up cutting the 'muffin top' off.     I made my own custard from scratch, and didn't follow their instructions. Mine was better, I think.     The cake was so tender that it fell apart when I cut it into two layers.
The top totally fell apart, so I thought I would try to stabilize it by skewering it with some bamboo skewers, and then putting it in the fridge.   It didn't work.  I ended up sliding it into a bowl, where the whole thing came together nicely.  Then forgot to take a picture.  So here's one of what was left after the party.   It's amazing how much a good ganache can cover, isn't it?
 Horribly out of focus, but I think you get my drift.   The bottom picture is all that remained. sigh.  



The next time I make Boston Cream Pie, I'll just make a Genoise cake and then go from there.   I have to admit to being a little disappointed.  The glaze and custard were very good, but I didn't follow their recipe for either one.   I used my own.




Here's the recipe's:


Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan or 9 inch springform pan and turn oven on to 350 degrees.

Cake recipe
3/4 cups unsalted Butter, softened
1 1/4 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract  (I used my own home made Vanilla, recipe at the end)
2 large Eggs
2 cups Cake Flour (I didn't have cake flour so used 1/4 cup Potato starch in place of 1/4 cup of flour, sifted together two times)
2 1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder  ( I prefer Calumet brand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 Cups of milk

In the bowl of stand mixer, if you're lucky enough to have one, place the butter and sugar and beat together until really light and fluffy.  Test after a few minutes, you want the sugar to be dissolved into the butter as much as possible.

 You can also tell by how light the butter sugar mixture gets.   I used to do this by hand, and my mom would check it out and she was never satisfied, I'd end up beating it some more.   I was so glad when we got a hand mixer. The muscles in my arm got a workout when we baked cakes.   Sorry, got sidetracked there.   Keep beating the sugar/butter mixture til it's very smooth and the sugar granules have disappeared.  Then add one of the two eggs, it helps if you mix it up with a fork just a little bit before adding it in.  Beat that in really well, then add the other slightly beaten egg.  Continue to process a couple more minutes.  Then add the vanilla.   At this point you add the flour/baking powder/salt mixture a little at a time, just let it incorporate.  You alternate adding the milk at this point.   Finish it off with the flour, and place into a 9 inch pan or 9 inch spring form pan.    Don't be like me and put it into an 8 inch pan, you get 'muffin tops' that way.


Bake for 40 minutes and check for doneness.  My cake took about 40 minutes and I checked it at the 30 minute mark.
Take out and let cool on a rack.   Split the cake into two pieces, using a serrated knife or my trick, I use unflavoured dental floss and just use that to cut it into two pieces.  It's really pretty slick that way. 





Make your own favorite custard or use my recipe and use the cooled custard to place in between the cake layers.    I guess since I mentioned my recipe for custard you want it.  So here goes.  And I make it a little different each time, but I'm still playing with it.

2 cups whipping cream or half and half.
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2-4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold butter cut into cubes (optional, if using heavy whipping cream you may not need or want this)

Mix cream, sugar, cornstarch together and heat to almost boiling, whisking it as you go.    You do need to constantly whisk this, it can scorch in a distracted second.  Believe me on this, please.

  Beat the egg yolks together with a tablespoon of cream, then temper the eggs by pouring a little of the hot cream mixture into them, (if you don't, you get scrambled eggs) Then pour the tempered egg yolks through a strainer back into the cream, whisking it all the time.  This can get a little tricky, but I have faith you can do it too.

The reason for the strainer, well, you know those little bits of white that get stuck to the yolk, this strains them out and you don't have to strain the custard later.   Let the custard come to a low boil, it will thicken nicely.  If too thick, you could thin it, but I've never felt the need.  After it's thickened, whisk in the butter, and pour into a bowl.  Place a piece of plastic wrap over the custard, pressing it onto the surface and put the custard in the fridge to cool a little.

 To assemble the cake, spread the cut side of the cake with the custard and then top it with the other half of the cake.   So that the cut sides sink in to the custard.  I like to spread the custard between the cake halves while it's still a little warm, it seems to sink into the cake a little more that way.   Cover the cake loosely with some plastic wrap, and set aside while you make the glaze.  Well, I like to make a ganache, and spread it over top.  This was a special occasion cake so I went all out.

Ganache
4 squares Bakers Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped up a little  You can use a good Valhrona or even semi sweet baking chips. Whatever kind of chocolate you like.  
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Heat the cream to boiling and pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk together.  You can also make this over a double boiler if you like.   Just make sure you don't get any water in the ganache, otherwise it will 'seize' up and won't be useable.  Edible, but not spreadable.
Set this aside for a couple of minutes, let it start to set up a bit, then spread it over the top of the cake and put in the fridge for a couple of hours or so before you serve it.

And my recipe for making my own Vanilla Extract.
One vanilla bean, opened and the seeds scraped out
1 half cup of Brandy
Open the vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a sharp knife.   Place vanilla bean and the seeds back into the little bottle you bought the bean in, and pour brandy over it.  Make sure the bean is submerged.  Cap it and place in the cupboard for one month.   Every couple of days, take out the bottle and turn it over a little, just shake it up.   After one month you can start using it.   And the best part, after using some, just fill it up with a little more brandy (if you didn't pour it all over the fruitcake), cap it and let that little bean perform some more magic.  

So there you have it, my adventures with a Boston Cream Pie.     Next time, I'll do a better job, well at least I'll try.  
 

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

November Tapas Night


Can't believe it's been a month since the last Tapas night.   We had a houseful again last night and some totally awesome food as well.   I did notice that a lot of it was just a little 'lighter' than usual.  Probably cause too many of us stuffed ourselves at Thanksgiving.    I was also running behind myself yesterday, just could not get myself together,  probably because I was making a Boston Cream Pie for a friend, and it got a little tricky.   I'll be posting pictures and the how not to's a little later on.

And the pictures this month, really, are pretty lousy.   I apologize.  Next month, I'll use the other camera.  It seems to be better at taking pictures on the fly.  And I didn't get the picture of the caramelized onions on cream cheese, but I did taste it and fell in love.  But I'll make soon and post about that as well.   And without further ado.

 Rice Salad, really tasty.  Nice and light.
 Deviled Eggs, with toppings made from Peppers that were grown by the cook.   And I'm so sorry this is not a better picture.   I was told the eggs were yummy, but by the time I got over there, they were gone.  Next time I'm just going to have a plate in my other hand when I take pictures.
 In the foreground a Spicy Asian Bean dip, very nice.  And with a wonderful WHOOOHOO afterbite.   Sorry, I like spicy, and especially when it's layered spice.
In the background, goat cheese rolled in Herbe de Provence and some home made Labneh with Za'atar and EVOO.  (I made it, and it was very nice)

Add caption

 Enchilada's. 
 Kathy pureed some cilantro and added it to the sauce, really made a lovely statement. 
 Marinated Beans and Mushrooms
Blanched Green Beans, Mushrooms and Pimento's in an Asian Dressing.    I did overcook the beans a little, but they were still tasty.
Just blanch some beans, and quarter some fresh mushrooms, and pour some Asian Soy based dressing over top, add a jar of drained pimento's and a couple tablespoons of Sesame Oil.  Place in fridge and let marinate for a few hours and voila!  They were very tasty. 
 Sliced bread, cold cuts, Marinated Beans and a Noodle Kugel.   I love it when Robin makes this.   This is so totally delicious.
 Smoked Pork served with some Kumquats.   Very popular, in other words it all got eaten.  I did manage to taste it though, and it was so good.
 I made some sponge fingers and dipped some of them in the ganache and sandwiched others with the traditional whipped cream and jam.    They were OK, not great.  
 These were different.  Craisins, green onions and cream cheese.   I had a couple of them.   I just have to try and remember the ingredients though.  Oh wait a minute, I just wrote them down here.  Sorry, it's getting onto the silly season.

 Have you seen these yet?   Caramel filled Apples.   Now this is my idea of a Caramel Apple!   Easy to eat and totally yummy.   Tammy used my Caramel recipe to fill the apples, and said it was very easy.  
 What's left of the Boston Cream Pie I made.  I'll be posting the recipe later.   Let me just say this, it was a little tricky.  But oh, so good. 
Last and not least.   I didn't get a picture of this in the pot last night so I had to fudge it and take a picture of the soup Jon left me.   Which was so nice of him.   This is a Tomato Florentine soup and was so good.

So there you have it, a round up of the wonderful food people made and brought, but even better a reminder of another great party with good friends.       

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Awesome Green Bean Casserole

I wonder when I read someone else's blog whether or not they actually make and eat the foods they say they will make for Thanksgiving.  Well, in this house, I do make and eat the side dishes I say I'm going to.   I might change it up a little, but we're traditionalists here, and you can't stray too far from tradition.
Awesome Green Bean Casserole

With a couple of exceptions that is. I really, really, really dislike that gloppy mess most people serve as a green bean casserole.   Ugh.   Can you see the shudder from there?   I tried to suppress it, but just couldn't.

However, a few years ago I saw the recipe for this Green Bean Casserole on the Pioneer Woman site and decided to try it.  All I can say is YUM!!!!!!!    OK, so I get a little enthusiastic about this, but it really is that good.   And best of all, you can change it up, shake it up, make it your own.   It does lend itself to that.   You can even make it vegetarian and gluten free.   How about that?
Personally, I like the bacon in it, but if you substitute mushrooms, that works as well.   And if you thicken the bechamel sauce with cornstarch or potato starch, it makes it gluten free as well.  Just sayin...

Wash your beans and then chop off the ends and stems, and either cut them in half or leave them whole, it's your call.   (forgot to take pictures of this, but you can figure it out, right?)

Blanch your beans for a couple of minutes, then take them off the heat and cool them down with some ice water.     Set them aside while you get the rest together.   And then put them into a greased casserole dish.

Cut the bacon into lardons and cook in a skillet until they start to brown, then add a chopped onion, cook until the onions start to carmelize, and turn a lovely shade of caramel, then add the garlic and cook another minute or so.    Set aside.

Grate two cups of cheese, cheddar, sharp cheddar, colby Jack, whatever you like.  Personally I prefer Colby Jack cheese.  Set aside while you make a basic white sauce.(a lot of setting asides here, huh?)    A couple cups of milk or half and half, some butter and flour (or cornstarch if you are gluten free).


 Cook until thick, then add the grated cheese, stir that around until the cheese is melted, than add the bacon and onion you just cooked.  Taste it, then add some cayenne and some salt and pepper to taste.   I usually put in 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne to start with, then add more if I think it needs it.   You can also use mustard instead.   Both of them will 'amp up' or intensify the cheese flavour.  Give it a stir and for the final touch, add some chopped pimento's.  Just for color, and they do add a little flavour as well.



Now for the final step, well next to last, well OK, so there is a couple more steps here.   Sheesh, stop counting. 


Pour the sauce over the cooked beans and give them a stir so that the sauce coats each bean with love and cheese.

 Spread some buttered Panko bread crumbs over the top, (omit this if you're going gluten free, or use gluten free bread crumbs).   Or just dot it with some butter like this.














Place in a hot oven, about 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.   Remove and serve.   Oh and don't get surprised if even your kids love this, it is that good.

The first time I made this, there were six of us at dinner, and this is all that was left.

 Almost half of it eaten.   The next time I made it,  I took it to a potluck and people were scraping the bowl, personally I think they would have picked it up and licked it, the sauce is so good.  


I just had a thought.  Make the sauce by itself and serve over some baked potatoes.   Now that would be an awesome meal. 

Recipe: Awesome Green Bean Casserole

2 pounds Fresh Green Beans, ends cut off
4 slices bacon, cut into lardons or strips    *** Vegetarian instructions at bottom           
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour  ** or 2 tablespoons Corn or Potato Starch
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 cup grated Monterey Jack Cheese (or a little more if you like, which I do)
1 jar sliced pimento's, drained (4 oz. jar)
extra milk for thinning if necessary
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons butter

Cook the beans for about 4 minutes, drain and dump into some ice water to stop the cooking process, then drain and place in a well greased casserole dish.
 Cook the bacon until almost done, then add the onions, continuing to cook them until they begin to caramelize a little.   Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.    Set aside while you make the sauce.

Make the white sauce, melting the butter and whisking flour into the butter, letting it cook a minute or so to get the raw taste of the flour out.  ** Gluten Free instructions at end.   Then add a half cup of milk, whisk that in, then add the rest of the milk and half and half, whisking it well.  Let it cook, continuing to stir until the sauce thickens.    After it has thickened, continue to cook for another minute or two, then add the cheese, pimento's, cooked bacon and onions, and the seasonings.  Stir together and pour over the green beans.  Stir to combine, and top with the Panko bread crumbs and dot with butter.  Or melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan, then stir in the bread crumbs and combine.   Sprinkle on top of casserole and bake for 30-45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.   Serve.

** Gluten Free.   If you're making this gluten free, whisk the Corn or potato starch into the milk and heat, until thickened.   You can also add a couple of tablespoons of butter towards the end.  If you need it a little thicker, add a little more cornstarch mixed in with some cold milk,  and whisk it in.

***  Vegetarian, substitute Mushrooms for the bacon and follow the other instructions. 

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kringle


You know you're in a Dane's kitchen when you go in the spice drawer and find not one, but two bottles of Cardamom seeds, as well as a half dozen Marzipan logs. I kept finding the Marizpan on sale, and I just 'had to' buy it.   
And I needed both for this recipe.
Marcipanstængerne (kringle)

Kringle (Staenger med fulde)
The recipe I have is one I've been using for years, and it makes two Kringles, at least the way I make it,  and while I love Kringles, I can't eat all of it in one go.  So I decided to make it for Boat Club last week.   And it made me realize, I need to make some more and just keep it in the freezer for those days when I just have to have a little something extra.  Besides which, it freezes like a dream and is so handy to have on hand for unexpected company anyway.  And I have lots of Marzipan on hand.

These are also known as Stænger med Fulde, which translates into Bars with filling, or Marcipanstængerne.  Lots of names, but we'll just call it a Kringle for right now.  


This is an extremely soft dough and is best worked with in a cold kitchen after you've taken it out of the fridge.   And don't skip the cooling part, please.   I had to cut it short last week, and it made it very hard to work with the dough.   In fact, if I'd planned better, I would have made the dough the day before, and then baked it off on Monday.   The next time I make it, that is just what I will do.   And then I'm freezing the suckers  Kringles.

Cardamom Pods

Cardamom Seeds

Also, I use freshly ground Cardamom, I hull the seeds and then use my handy, old fashioned, mortar and pestle to crush the seeds.   You can use a spice grinder for this if you like, but I love to do it by hand.   And hey, I just love the smell of the Cardamom.   If you buy the ground Cardamom, be aware, you are getting the whole thing ground up, hull and seed, and it won't be as strong.

To start with, set out your egg and let come to room temperature.  Scald your milk and let it cool to lukewarm.     Get the yeast ready and set aside while you get the rest of the ingredients together.   I know, picky, picky, picky.   But you do need to be picky here.   Take it from someone who's tried the shortcuts and had to eat the evidence.

Since this is a very soft dough, you don't really need the Kitchenaid, but if you have a sore shoulder like myself, it sure is nice to have.   However, I think it makes the dough a little softer than need be.

Recipe:  Danish Kringle  (Marcipanstængerne) 

½ cup margarine or butter (I use butter, it tastes better)
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ tsp. Salt
1 package dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (105 deg.-115 deg.)
1 egg
½ cup luke warm milk (scalded then cooled)
1 tsp. Ground Cardamom
¼ chopped nuts
Almond or Pecan Filling
Glaze

Dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar.
Cut butter into flour,salt in large bowl until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir yeast mixture, egg and milk into flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Dough will be very soft. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 but no longer than 24 hours.


 I like to grate the marzipan if I can, then add it to the bowl with the butter and sugar.   You could also cut it up into small pieces.

I also like to get my hands in there, and smush it together.  giggle.  Nothing like playing with your food.  I never said I was all grown up, food is still fun to play with. 




Prepare filling.
 Divide dough into halves, 

return half to refrigerator.
 
  Roll other half into a rectangle 15 x 6 inches on floured cloth covered board with floured stockinet-covered rolling pin. (I’ve never done the cloth or stockinet thing, just floured the board lightly and also rubbed a little flour onto the rolling pin. 

 I also use a plastic cutting board which is exactly 15 inches long ) 

Spread half the filling lengthwise down center of rectangle in 3 inch strip.

Fold sides of dough over filling with 1 ½ overlap.


 Pinch edges to seal.

Marcipanstængerne (Kringle)

Carefully arrange kringle on greased cookie sheet in oval or horseshoe shape. Or like me in two pieces, cause I'm just not coordinated enough to make the oval or horseshoe shape.  Pinch edges together for latter. Cover, rise for 30 minutes. 

Bake until golden brown 20-25 minutes in 375 deg. oven. Spread with glaze and chopped nuts.
Marcipanstængerne (Kringle)


Marcipanstængerne (Kringle)



 After spreading with glaze, (or just dribble the glaze over in pretty patterns) you can cut them into slices.  Sprinkle with some sliced almonds as well if you like.   I also like to cut them into wedge shapes, but you can cut them however you like.
 I prefer using Odense brand marzipan, but this was one I found on sale, and so I stocked up on it.  I found it a tad bitter, so the next time I use some I will increase the sugar by a 1/4 cup and see how that works.

 

Fillings: 
Almond Filling
1 roll marzipan, (6 oz. Size)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened until smooth
Mix together.

 You can also use chopped nuts in the filling, or even some raisins or ?  I'm also going to try some pastry cream in the middle with some raisins soon.   Make it more like a Danish patisserie offering. 
Or:
Pecan Filling
Mix 1 ½ cups chopped pecans,
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
Mix together

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. Water
½ tsp. Vanilla
Mix until smooth. Stir in additional water if necessary, ½ tsp. at a time.




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