Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fish, Wine, and Hveder

So Hannetjie sent me her rhubarb cake recipe. Problem is, I need to translate the measurements before I post it. I'll be back with it soon.

Yesterday, while at my local supermarket, I discovered that there is a vendor who visits each Wednesday with fresh-caught Atlantic fish and other seafood. I was delighted to see his impeccably neat and tidy caravan with the freshest looking fish I'd seen in a long time. I picked up a fillet of Torsk, a relative of cod. I simply placed it in a baking dish greased with olive oil, sprinkled on some salt and pepper, and baked it until it was opaque and flaked easily with a fork. I served it with roasted stove-top potatoes that were so simple to make. All I did was chop three smallish baking potatoes into cubes, boiled them on the stove for 10 minutes until they were soft, drained and then tossed them in 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. I drained them again, and sauteed until they were golden brown. It's important initially to let the potatoes cook undisturbed for at least 5 minutes to get that nice brown color going. At the 5 minute mark I added one finely chopped yellow onion and continued to cook for another 10 or so minutes until I liked the look of it. Everything was golden brown and slightly crispy. I added salt and pepper to taste.

To use up the last of the purple cabbage, I made the salad I made a couple of weeks ago, but this time I added roasted, salted peanuts instead of walnuts. My husband said he much preferred the version with walnuts, but I thought the saltiness of the peanuts was a great complement to the apple and orange pieces and lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.

We've tasted two wines in the past week. One is a Beaujolais that I bought with the intention of giving as a gift (I love the fun, flowery label), however, I had had a particularly rough day when I ran for the wine opener and got into it as quickly as I could. This with some cheese and crackers totally hit the spot. The other wine is also French, a Muscadet that was a perfect match with the Torsk.
Tomorrow is a religious holiday in Denmark. It's called Store Bededag, or "Big Prayer Day." I read a story about a tradition that started hundreds of years ago related to bread and Store Bededag. All the shops close for this holiday, and it's impossible to buy bread. Therefore people started to make their own special rolls called Hveder. They're made from wheat and yeast and other typical bread ingredients. The key is that you make them the day BEFORE Store Bededag so that you can enjoy them with butter and/or marmalade the next day. It's a special treat to commemorate the holiday, and our daycare provider Inger stressed that the Hveder must be toasted in the oven before any spreads are applied. My Danish friend Kira reminded me to buy some Hveder today, so evidently times have changed and it's socially acceptable to purchase rather than slave in your kitchen for Hveder. While I have a recipe, I don't feel much like baking today, so I shall indeed venture out for some bakery Hveder. Also, my understanding is that while there are certainly those who spend the day in reverence, many Danes use it as a time to simply relax with family and friends. A quick follow-up: until I got to the bakery this afternoon I did not realize that Hveder are really just plain old rolls; the kind that I see bagged on the shelves of the bread aisle in the supermarket. The difference is that it's a custom to eat them on Big Prayer Day, many people splurge on the special kind from the bakery, and they need to be toasted.

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