Month: December 2010


Smoked Salmon | Smørrebrød

Makes 12 canapés Throughout Scandinavia the smørrebrød, or open faced sandwich is the pretty way to eat lunch. I’ve turned them into dainty finger food, perfect for parties. Yum! Ingredients: 12 slices of dark rye bread or pumpernickel softened butter 1 package of smoked salmon 1/2 a cucumber, halved & sliced thinly thinly sliced red onion, to taste 1 lemon a few sprigs of fresh dill Method: Slice up all your ingredients so they are ready to go. Then, lay out the bread like a little chess board. I used pumpernickel because the petite 2″x2″ size is way too cute. Next butter up the bread. This keeps the bread from getting soggy. Then, lay thinly sliced cucumber halves on top of the bread. The thinner they are, the easier they’ll lay down. Next, up? Smoked salmon (one of my favorite ingredients). Folding each piece in half makes for a pretty presentation. And then? Sliced red onion. Again, thin is the name of the game here. Just look at the vibrant colors of this smørresbrød… you are making …

Read More

5 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Like a Dane (with poll)

1. On Christmas Eve, drop an almond in a vat of rice pudding – this dish is called Risengrød or ris al’amande. Whoever gets the almond is said to be blessed with good luck. Sometimes the winner is also given a special gift. 2. Drink a steaming glass of Gløgg in sub zero weather while walking around an outdoor crafts fair or listening to carolers. The hot red wine will make your cheeks rosy, and the spices with invigorate you with holiday cheer. 3. Make mountains of cookies, including shortbread and gingerbread. If you add a little cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, and ginger to the shortbread, you’ve got Pebernødder, or traditional Danish yule cookies. 4. Roast a goose or duck. I’m not sure where I could get a goose in my town, but in Denmark roast goose is a typical part of the holiday table and can be found almost anywhere. 5. Make a pile of rødkål, or sweet and sour red cabbage stewed with a little vinegar, diced apples, and some sweetener – perhaps apple …

Read More

Mulled Wine | Gløgg

Makes 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) Bottoms up! The orange peel brightens up this warm holiday drink, while cinnamon gives it familiar festive flavor. NOTE: If you’re making this for a potluck, just keep it warm in a crock pot! Ingredients: 1 cup water 3 slices fresh ginger the peel of one orange 3 cardamom pods 5 cloves 2-4 cinnamon sticks 1 bottle red wine (750 ml) 1/2 bottle port (375 ml) 1/4 cup sugar Garnish, for each glass: Raisins (to taste) Almonds, skinned (to taste) Method: Put on some holiday music or… even better… take a moment to dance around the tree, just like the Danish (wow, they actually use real candles on their tree – so beautiful and … daring!). When you’re sufficiently filled with cheer, coat the bottom of a pot with spices and the orange peel. Mr. Picky says “When in doubt, add more cinnamon.” Splash in the water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes to let the spices release their flavor into the water. Then, let the sugar …

Read More

Menu: Denmark

How’s your brain doing? I ask because mine seems to have gone missing and I could use a loaner. Here’s the proof: last night I wrapped 7 gifts without labeling them, only to have to unwrap half of them to see who they were for.  And yesterday morning was freezing, so I told my husband I was going out to “preheat” the car. The dear man just shakes his head and chuckles. Then I remind him that Santa still has the receipts to his gifts. The good news? Even without a brain, you can still feed your guests a wonderful meal. I’m living proof, thanks to Denmark’s tasty treats. Of these four dishes, I highly recommend the Frikadeller. Stick them on toothpicks for a party. Yum. Oh and definitely wash them down with Gløgg – not only because Gløgg tastes like winter wonderland, but because it is so super fun to say. Try it! Gløgg. Gløgg. Gløgg. Yep, super fun indeed. Danish Meatballs (Frikadeller) [Recipe] Tender meatballs are light and airy thanks to the addition of cream and a slice of …

Read More

About the Food of Denmark

Why Denmark, why? Just when I start to think the winters in Tulsa are dark and bitter cold, I learn about Denmark…and my heart breaks a little. You see, Denmark beats anything we’ve got going on in Tulsa. Situated way up in northern Europe, winter is not just a season in their great country, but a state of being. In the time up to Christmas, sunlight is scarce. The winter solstice on 22 December marks the shortest day of the year where the sun rises as late as 8:39 and sets as early as 15:36. That’s 3:36 pm, for those of you who don’t read military time… which makes 17 hours of darkness. Yikes. But where’s theres darkness, the Danes bring their own light. In fact, the winter season is alloted comfort and joy in the form of cozy fireplaces, warm candlelight, and good food. They call this warm, tranquil atmosphere “Hygge” and it is an integral part of Danish culture. From what I’ve read, the best way to warm up on a cold winter’s night …

Read More

Monday Meal Review: Czech Republic

“Mraaaoooowwww.” Kitty Cat shrieked. I flew backwards, arms in the air, desperately trying to keep the tray of Koblaneskys upright. The steaming buns, filled with spicy keilbasa, slid from one side of the tray to the other. Tripped up on his “always in the way” tail, I lunged and twisted, straining my back – not so much to avoid falling, as to avoid dropping the food. “Please, no, please no…” I prayed. I landed up against the counter, with the tray barely balanced. “Keiiiiiith!!!” I growled “I don’t. want. this. cat. in the kitchen.” I set the tray down and pushed the hair out of my eyes. “I told you.” Mr Picky whispered to the cat, scooping him up. “Out you go!” he said and delivered him to the cold winter day. I straightened up and glanced at the clock. Fifteen more minutes. Time to wrap things up. I spun on my heels and grabbed a few serving pieces. Pretty dishes clinked and clanked as I layered them on the table, making a festive “help yourself” arrangement. …

Read More

Sweet Prune Buns | Kolaches / Slivkové Koláče

Makes 2 Dozen This mildly sweet prune filling can easily be modified to suit your tastes – add more spices, thin it out with extra water… the options are endless. Ingredients: 12 oz prunes (or dried apricots) 1/2 cup water 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste) 1 batch Refrigerator Dough for Kolaches & Klobasneks Method: Roll up your sleeves and grab a 12 oz bag of prunes… Hello Mr. & Mrs. Newman! NOTE: If you don’t like the word prune, feel free to say “dried plums” – this always makes Mr Picky feel better. Otherwise he claims I’m trying to serve him “old lady” food. Place your “old lady” prunes, or hip “dried plums” in a small pot with water Cinnamon… And snow white sugar… Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, empty the dishwasher or write a thank you note. The prunes will get soft and start breaking apart. Help them along by pureeing with an immersion blender…  Taste the puree  and decide – more sugar? cinnamon? water? Adjust and then …

Read More

Spicy Kielbasa Buns | Klobasneks / Klobasnikis / Klobásové Buchty

Serves 6 NOTE: Exact portion sizes depend on the dimensions you choose for the sausage. If you like Pigs in a Blanket, you’ll love this authentic snack from the Czech Republic. Be sure to use high quality sausage and you’ll be on cloud 9 in no time. Ingredients: 2 kielbasa sausages (about a pound each) 1 Refrigerator Dough for Czech Desserts & Snacks Method: Gather the Kielbasa – if you are using all the dough, you will probably need two packages like this one… This brand is a tad bit spicy and so goooood. Cut the sausage into desired portion sizes –  I made mine about 2″ long and cut them in half since they were so wide. My goal was to make “finger food” for a party. If you’d rather serve these for a meal, cut them into 5″ portions and don’t slit them in half. Working with half the dough at a time, roll it out thinly. Cut into rectangles large enough to wrap around your sausage.  Mr Picky tells me your life …

Read More

Czech Potato & Pickle Soup | Polévka okurková

Serves 6-8 One bowl of this soup takes the bite out of winter. Thick, creamy, and vegetarian, you’ll be amazed at how well the flavors meld. Special thanks to Clifford A. Wright who shared a version of this recipe in his book, The Best Soups in the World. As he states in the recipe introduction: As they spoon some soup, your guests won’t be able to put their finger on what they like so much… Ingredients: 2 lbs potatoes *I used Yukon Gold, peeled & diced 2 1/2 quarts water 1 tsp lightly cracked caraway seeds salt 1 cup sour cream 1 cup flour a handful of chopped dill 4 sweet gherkins, chopped Method: In a large pot, add water to cubed potatoes… splish, splash, splosh… Then, if you’re in the mood, lightly crack caraway seeds in a mortar in pestle to release their aroma. Add the caraway seeds and some salt to the potatoes. Bring to a boil… NOTE: This could take a while with so many ingredients. Just keep an eye on it. …

Read More

On being picky and learning to eat globally: Clifford A. Wright

Right out of college I bought a cookbook with a really, really long name. Today the spine is cracked from years of use and comfy-chair reading. I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to do is “read” cookbooks – especially ones filled with good stories. The much cherished book even won the James Beard/KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year award and the James Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food in 2000. It is called… A Mediterranean Feast: The Story of the Birth of the Celebrated Cuisines of the Mediterranean from the Merchants of Venice to the Barbary Corsairs, with More than 500 recipes Whew. Like I said, long name. Since that time Clifford’s published many books including The Best Soups in the World. Hello, what a perfect resource for this Adventure! This man is talented – and I would love for all of you to get to know his work. So. I interviewed him. Hurrah! Hello, Clifford.. thanks for joining us! 1. What advice to you have for someone just learning to cook …

Read More

Refrigerator Dough for Czech Desserts & Snacks

Makes 1 large batch of dough for… – 2 dozen Sweet Prune Buns/Kolaches (Slivkové Koláče) – a dozen Spicy Kielbasa Buns/Klobasneks/Klobasnikis (Klobásové Buchty) Refrigerator Dough takes the stress out of party prep work. This Czech recipe is slightly sweet and tender. According to LaVina Vanorny-Barcus, in My Czech Heritage Cookbook, there are four ways to shape this dough. The first three are for sweets, the last one is for savory, or Klobasneks. 1. Cut a square; add filling in the center, then bring the four corners together over the top of filling. Pinch to seal. Let rise and bake. 2. Cut a rectangle; spread with filling, then roll up like a cinnamon roll. Cut log into discs. Take discs and pinch the two sides to hide the filling. Bake. 3. Make small balls with dough. Let rise, then press the center down with thumb or fingers until it looks a bit like a doughnut. Fill indentation with filling, let rise again, and bake. 4. Cut a rectangle – spread with meat filling. Roll up and …

Read More

Menu: Czech Republic

I walk around all winter long with a frozen nose. In fact, Mr. Picky tells me my nose is a lot like a dog’s nose, minus the moisture. I also wear socks to bed year round. Even with thermal socks, Mr Picky lets out a blood curdling scream when our toes touch. What can I say – my circulation is poor. And, yet… all this changed with our Czech Republic Global Table. My ice cube toes and nose are no longer. Hurrah! Fun, festive, and hot – these dishes will really thaw you out. Thank you, Czech Republic… my husband is forever grateful. Czech Potato & Pickle Soup (Polévka okurková) [Recipe] Based on a soup from Monrovia, this creamy potato soup is seasoned with dill, caraway, and a bit of chopped up gherkins. Refrigerator Dough for Czech Desserts & Snacks [Recipe] Take the pressure off entertaining: make this mildly sweet, tender dough the night before. Spicy Kielbasa Buns/Klobasneks/Klobasnikis (Klobásové Buchty) [Recipe] The Czech Republic’s answer to Pigs in a Blanket. Yum. Sweet Prune Buns/Kolaches (Slivkové Koláče) [Recipe] Load a tray …

Read More