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Archive for the ‘Norwegian’ Category

As I was perusing some recipes, trying to decide what to concoct today, I came across a recipe on the Sons of Norway website for Almond or Nut Cake. Since I’m still trying to rediscover my culinary heritage or whatever I figured this would be a point in my favor. I was intrigued by the ingredients list: eggs, baking powder, sugar and almonds. That’s it. I’d never seen a cake recipe that looked like that before so I had to see if this would really work. What do they say about curosity and the cat?

The first problem was that I didn’t have enough almonds. I only had half the almond called for in the recipe. But I still wanted to try it so I halved the recipe. Maybe not always a good option. Second, I don’t have a springform pan so I figured this small casserole dish I have would do the trick. I began beating together the eggs and sugar, going after the elusive “until light” consistency called for by the recipe.

Light? Exactly what does light mean? I know what stiff peaks are. But light? Maybe one person’s light is different from anothers. Hmm. So I beat the eggs and sugar until my arm felt like it was going to fall off, folded in the pulverized almonds and dumped it in the pan.

A few minutes into the cooking time I had a bad feeling. The bad feeling got worse when I started to smell scrambled eggs. Ack! When I pulled that “cake” out of the oven and turned it out onto a plate, this is what it looked like:

This is your brain on drugs.

This is your brain on drugs.

 

Clearly, I had not beaten the eggs enough. Maybe halfing the recipe wasn’t such a hot idea, either. The egg had settled to the bottom and made itself into a nice, sugary omelet. The nuts rose to the top. This is the grossest thing I’ve produced in a long time. 

On the plus side, I made thyme bread today based on Mom’s suggestion and it is every bit as good as the rosemary bread. Maybe even better. I spread some cream cheese on it and was in afternoon coffee break heaven!

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I love crackers and bread. If it can hold cheese, I’m on it. So I was excited to find this recipe for Norwegian Flatbread. Yey! It’s bread, it’s in my heritage quest, and the recipe says it’s good with mild cheeses. How can this be bad? The recipe was straight forward: make a dough, roll it out very flat, crisp over high heat and enjoy.

Cattle Feed

Cattle Feed

There were a few ingredients in this recipe I’d never worked with before. First, pureed potato. The recipe didn’t say what kind, so I used Russett. Coming out of the food processor was something that was reminiscent of stuff I sprayed off of old dinner trays when I was the dishwasher at a rest home.

Second, rye flour. I did manage to track down rye flour at my local megamart. Maybe that was where I went wrong. Within the bag was a product that looked exactly like the grain we used to feed the cows to lure them into the barn to get milked.

Alien Crap Patties

Alien Crap Patties

Undaunted, I scraped the potato puree into a bowl, added the rye flour, salt and water. It didn’t really want to come together, but I forced it to. Grr. The recipe didn’t specify what kind of flour to roll the dough out with, so I used AP flour. Maybe i should have used rye flour. I don’t know, but they didn’t want to roll out. They either stuck to the rolling pin or they absorbed a cup of flour. I ended up with a bunch of something flat, foreign, and rather poo-looking.

By this point I was irritated, but determined. I fired up my skillet and went to town crisping the alien crap patties. I waited and waited. And waited. Aged a little bit. Got a gray hair. And still the “flatbread” barely browned, barely crisped and wouldn’t even burn.

Norwegian Crap-kers

Norwegian Crap-kers

This is what I ended up with. Woody, floury, rye cardboard. Good with mild cheese? Whatevah. Good with Friday trash pickup. If I had a dog that I hated, I would feed him this flatbread.
So what can we learn from this culinary disaster? I wish I knew. Maybe rye flour is different in Norway than it is in Georgia? Maybe I had too much moisture? Not enough? The wrong rolling pin? The planets were not in line? Of course, for all I know this recipe was posted by some cheeky yahoo as a joke, and he’s sitting somewhere laughing his keister off thinking about all the suckers trying to make this flatbread! I guess this makes kung faux pas #4.

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Angry Metalhead Lefse

My mom scared me when I asked for my grandma’s lefse recipe, warning me not to try it at home. Ok, not exactly, but she did tell me that I shouldn’t make it without someone who’s done it before. Hey you can learn anything on the net, right? So I came across this You Tube video. I’m trying to decide whether I’m intrigued or frightened…

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I have a lot of Norwegian ancestry. I get excited when Norway is in the news. I root for Norse athletes in the Olympics. My home town is full of “I-wegians” (Iowans of Norwegian descent) and is one of the few places where you can find lutefisk on the Sunday brunch buffet. It’s probably that lutefisk that made me run screaming in the other direction when confronted with traditional Norwegian cuisine.

But the challenge was put out there by a few of my family members to try some Norwegian food, and far be it from me to back down from a challenge. So earlier today I hit the web in search of some palatable recipes to celebrate my heritage.

Skeptical? You betcha. Lutefisk recipes? Uff da. They abound. But to my delight I did find a number of recipes that not only sounded edible, but even downright tasty. Since I had a large amount of spinach calling my name from the fridge, I decided on Spinach Soup, or Spinatsuppe.

Spinatsuppe

Spinatsuppe

I followed the recipe with a few minor exceptions. First, I halved it since there’s only two of us in the house. Second, I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Third, I used regular pepper instead of white pepper since I was out. The recipe was deceptively simple, yet yeilded a delicate soup with really rich flavor. The hard boiled eggs on top were a little strange to me at first, but considering I love hard boiled eggs on a cold spinach salad it made sense. They were a nice touch. I would definately make this again.

This dish was too light to be a meal on its own, so I took the opportunity to make Alton

Alton Brown's Roasted Vegetable Spread

Roasted Vegetable Spread

Brown’s Roasted Vegetable Spread. This stuff is the bomb diggity. Not only is it rediculously easy, but it is TASTY. I spread it over my homemade bread, lightly toasted, and had a fantastic meal.

So the Spinach Soup definately warmed me up to some dishes from my ancestry. I’m not sold yet, but I’m definately planning on persuing more Norwegian recipes. I found some interesting ones here. More on this later.

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