Monthly Archives: November 2012

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 some sugar in the bottom of it.  About a quarter cup or so.    You really don’t need taht much, the cabbage actually becomes quite sweet when it’s cooked long and slow.  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 it’s 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.

Totally Awesome Green Bean Casserole


Hi, I know we just had Thanksgiving, and all that fun stuff is over with, including the infamous Green Bean Casserole.    You know the one I mean, it’s got canned Mushroom Soup, canned Green Beans and is topped with French Fried Onions.   Which actually is probably the only thing I like about it.    However, a few years ago I stumbled on this recipe at the Pioneer Woman’s website.   It changed my opinion about Green Bean Casserole forever.    And if you happen to have a vegetarian or two to serve, this can be adapted for them.   For me, I’m  a hopeless carnivore and also love my bacon so I make it as written.    Oh, and if you’re doing it Gluten Free, just thicken the Bechamel sauce with some cornstarch or potato starch.

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.

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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.

Here’s the recipe.

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.

Tomato Bites


 

I really had fun with making stuff for Tapas last month, but I just couldn’t focus on just one thing though.I made the  Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart

Steamed shrimp

and served them, made a couple of Hot Cheese spreads,

and then I made these.

Tomato Bites and it’s all Paula Deens fault.   If I hadn’t been half listening to her show, I would never have made either the Cheese spreads or these.   And they were pretty darn tasty.   Oh and if I hadn’t had that other sheet of puff pastry handy as well, which helped, cause I used it.

No real recipe for this, just follow the directions.

1 sheet Puff Pastry, thawed and unfolded.  Take your rolling pin and just press it out a little.

Next slice some Roma Tomatoes, fairly thin, and set aside.

Grate some Parmesan Cheese or use the prepared stuff, either one is good.

Take a fancy round cookie cutter and cut rounds out of the pastry dough.

Place the tomato slices on top of each round and then top that with about a teaspoon (or more) freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.   Put them on parchment covered baking sheet and sprinkle with some Italian Seasoning and bake in a 375-400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is browned and done.   The Parmesan cheese will have melted down into a nice crusty explosion of yum.   Serve warm or at room temperature.

Don’t they look yummy?   They were.   I will be making these again, so simple, easy, and good.   Next time I might just put a teaspoon of cheese under the tomato, or even use a combo of Mozzarella and Parmesan to top them.   So many possibilities.

Marinated Olives


Do you need a little something to go with that cocktail, or just want a little nibble of something savoury?   I found this recipe while doing a search for another recipe awhile back, and bookmarked it so I could go back when I had a little more time.    Here is the  link to the original recipe.     I thought it sounded so intriguing.  And something that would be fun to do.  I was going to make it for Tapas night but time got away from me, again,  but I did get it made it the other day anyway cause I had lots of black olives left over from my Spider Cake, and I couldn’t waste them, could I?   And since I also had a jar of green olives in the cupboard it was a no-brainer that I had to make them now.   And gee, somewhere along the way a jar of Kalamata olives jumped into my grocery cart as well.

So here it is, and I have to admit to forgetting to add the zest of lemon and orange to it, but honestly, they were good.   I took them with me last week to a gathering and asked everyone’s opinion on them as well.   I got a thumbs up from everyone, and in fact ended up with only a few olives left to take home.

Warm up about 1 cup or so of Olive Oil, I used EVOO cause that’s what I had.  Add about 1 Tablespoon of Herb de Provence, and 1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes, I let it get fairly warm, but not hot, then dumped in the olives and garlic and let it all heat up again.  It really smells good when it’s heating up.  I added about 2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar to the pot, gave it a stir and I then let it cool down in the pot before transferring the whole thing to a quart mason jar.   And I did taste test a few along the way, cause otherwise how do you know if it’s any good.   Store in the fridge until needed, sampling a few along the way.   Olive Oil will solidify a little when refrigerated, so don’t PANIC, just take out what you want and let them sit out for a little while before serving.   The olive oil works as a confit and helps to preserve the olives by the way.

You can change it up with dried basil or thyme or oregano or a mixture of all of them just make up 1 T.Add the zest of an orange and the zest of a lemon. Finish with a splash of balsamic and heat for 2 minutes.

1 Cup Black Olives
1 Cup Green Olives
1 jar Kalamata Olives (one cup)
2-3 cloves garlic, slivered
1 cup EVOO
1 Tablespoon Herbe De Provence
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Orange and Lemon zest. (don’t be like me and forget it, sheesh).

Heat up olive oil with the herbs, then add the olives and garlic and heat.  You don’t want to cook them, just heat them through.   Add the balsamic vinegar and heat for another minute or two and then let cool in the pot.    Add the lemon and orange zest.   Place the olives and oil into a clean mason jar and store in the fridge.  The Olive Oil will solidify, so don’t panic.  Take them out a half hour or so before serving, and don’t dump the olive oil.  You can use it on some pasta later on.

I just got hit by a thought, I wonder how some Feta Cheese would go with this?
Since I still have a few olives left, not many, but a few, I think I’m going to try that.   I’ll let you know how it goes.

Peggy’s Paparito’s


If you’ve read my blog at all, you know I like a bit of spice in my food.  More specifically, I like Mexican type spice.  Well, Jalapeno’s, Serrano’s, Guajillo Chilies, Habanero’s, Anaheim Chiles, to name but a few.    I actually posted this recipe on my other blog a couple of years ago, but decided to revisit the recipe.   OK, I made some the other day, which is why I’m featuring it again.

A few years back I had the pleasure of meeting and making friends with a lovely lady named Peggy.   She was a transplanted Texan, and loved all things Tex-Mex.    She gave me the following recipe, and it ranks right up there with all the other Tex-Mex foods I love.

And you know, it would be a great light dinner as well.

I only know this cause I’ve done it.

To start with, boil a couple or three potatoes.  Red Potato’s, yellow potatoes or any other firm fleshed potato works best in this dish.  Burbanks or Russets, not so much.  They’re too mealy.

Cook the potatoes til they are done and set aside.  Peel them if you wish or not, personally I like unpeeled.  Peels are good food.   Chop them roughly or slice them into nice uniform pieces if that’s how you like your potatoes.   Does not matter at all.  Set them aside, you’re not ready for them yet.

Heat a pan and cook up some sausage.  I’ve used hot sausage, sausage patties, bulk sausage, really, whatever floats your boat.  If you use regular sausage, you can always amp up the heat a little with some jalapeno’s or some pepper flakes, or…    Cook until done.  Set aside.

Add a little oil to the pan if you like, or use the sausage fat, then cook off one chopped onion in the grease.   Cook til almost done, then add the potatoes, and brown them just a little.   Add in the sausage just towards the end.   Add some chopped green pepper if you like or do as I do, add in a small can of canned green chiles.  Stir that around, just a little.  Set aside, and keep warm.
Then scramble up a couple of eggs per person, or just one if you like, cook til soft set and set aside.

Warm up some flour tortilla’s, then divide the meat/potato mixture amongst how many people or tortilla’s you’re making and roll them up with some grated longhorn cheese.

Pour some warmed green tomatillo sauce over the top, sprinkle with cheese and place under the broiler to melt a little.

Serve hot.

Peggy’s Paparito’s
Stir fried potatoes with skins  ( I do about 3 potatoes for the two of us)
Scrambled eggs  1-2 per person
Grated long horn cheese
1/2- 1 Onion
Chorizo sausage or sage sausage, fried and crumbled
Diced green chiles and/or diced green pepper
Add a diced jalapeno or two if you like a little more heat, which I do.
 Flour tortilla’s
Mix above ingredients together and roll in a flour tortilla, burrito style.
Serve with warmed Green Chile sauce poured over and a sprinkle of cheese.
1 can green Chile sauce (Herdez  brand or another one like that.)

And if you have too much filling, it freezes beautifully, and you’ve got a head start on another breakfast.