Monday, May 18, 2009

Technology: love it hate it

Note: I composed this last night with the intention to attach my photos and post it this morning. Uh, think again. I am fuming like there is no tomorrow. I downloaded the photos from my camera to Picasa, just like I always do. Then, just like I always do, I told the computer to delete the photos and wipe the memory card clean. Big Big mistake. For some ungodly reason, only ONE photo made it on to Picasa. And it wasn't even one of the good ones. I'm sorry, but where did the other 41 go? Into outer space? So below I've made a few notes where I would have had inserted my carefully considered photos. Oh that makes me mad. Note to self: delete only AFTER you've confirmed that photos have successfully loaded in Picasa.

It's late and I haven't written since Friday. I purposely took a break from my computer after spending nearly seven hours last Friday attached to it like a Siamese twin. At the end of my marathon session, I said Enough is enough. I have to say that I didn't miss it at all. A computer--more specifically, the Internet--is great for all sorts of reasons, but getting away from it and having a real life with real people is critically important. And enjoying some real soup never hurts, either.

Food wise, the weekend was relatively low key. Friday night it was homemade pizza and salad. Despite my oven challenges, I got the crust cooked exactly right this time, and I remembered to use whole wheat flour in my dough mix, so it was a double bonus night. On Friday afternoon I visited Steffan's Bageri (the bakery where I begged for a job) and asked if they had considered my offer to work for free if they would teach me to bake bread. I wasn't surprised, but I was definitely disappointed to learn that No, they would not be able to help me. "But wait, I want to help you!" is what I was thinking... Oh, well, time to move on. But just to show no hard feelings, I bought a pastry on my way out the door. That's not true. I bought it because it looked damn good. As we all know, looks can be deceiving and, sadly, in this case it was true. Don't you hate it when a fine looking pastry disappoints? It wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't special in any way. It was ordinary with a capital O. A brief description: Tart crust on the bottom, marzipan inside, cris-crossed lines of pistachio-green marzipan on top, and everything covered in chocolate. On top sat a tiny little marker noting the pistachio flavor. If I haven't mentioned it before, the Danes are really into marzipan. I like it just as much as the next guy, but I was sort of hoping for a different taste in this beautiful little tart.

Saturday lunch was leftover cauliflower/potato/leek soup along with some cheese and crackers and fruit for dessert. Saturday dinner got a little more interesting when Alan offered to make Matafans Savoyards. What you say? It's basically French hash browns, but you would never hear me say that to Alan. And truthfully, it's different and better for two reasons. Raw eggs are mixed with raw, grated potatoes along with garlic and salt and pepper. The eggs act as a binder to make little pancakes which are fried in an inch of peanut oil. Unless you have experience as a fry cook (or perhaps have a fryer machine), frying is nothing short of challenging. Getting the quantity of oil right, perfecting the temperature, avoiding a grease fire, and so on. It's hot, messy, dangerous stuff. Alan had fun making this recipe but because some of the potatoes fried too long and were burned, he gave his dish a 25 percent. He served it with salad and burger patties, which he lovingly molded in mini-tart pans before grilling. He finds that the burger patties I make are too big and thick, so he was going for a more dainty pattie, I guess. They turned out nicely, and I suppose we'll start to implement the tart mold technique going forward. But we'll see. I sort of like using my hands.

[Insert photo of Matafans Savoyards and photo of Alan grating potatoes.]

Sunday is a blur. All I remember is a trip to the beach and this. Do you think? No, we couldn't have. But hunger makes people do strange things. Actually, now I remember. It was sandwiches for lunch and a lovely golden split pea soup for dinner.

[Insert photo of seal carcass found on the beach. What I wrote above just doesn't have the same effect without the photo. Arrgh]

I grocery shopped today for most of this week's food. I plan to make a shrimp dish, sarma, another Eastern European specialty, and some sort of pasta. I found an enticing-looking jar of cherries in rum at the Fakta discount market and put it in my cart thinking I would figure out something to do with it. As I drove home I remembered that I've wanted to try to make a clafoutis for a long time. Now clafoutis are customarily made with fresh, not jarred, cherries, but we make do with what we have. Plus, I loved the fact that the cherries were soaking in rum. So I found a recipe on line and went to work. Clafoutis is extremely simple to make and so pretty. Since I'd never had it before today, I don't have anything to compare it to, but it tasted delicious. Creamy, not too sweet, and the fruity-tart taste of the cherries (and rum!) complemented the eggy custard perfectly. It's funny, to me the clafoutis tastes like a crepe but in a completely different format. I suppose that's why some people like it for breakfast, not just dessert.

[Insert photo of the Clafoutis. It was SO pretty. Double Arrgh.]

Dinner tonight was Greek salad with grilled chicken but sans Kalamata olives. I forgot to buy some. Even without them, the salad was light and refreshing. After buying block after block of bad feta cheese, we've finally found a brand that tastes like real feta.

[Insert photo of feta cheese. Okay, this one is not much of a loss.]

Our veggie box arrived today, one day early because there is a holiday this week in Denmark. Thursday is Kristi Himmelfart's day, or Ascension day. It's a Christian religious holiday observed in Denmark and other Western European countries. I haven't quite figured out if there are any special traditions on this day (such as Hveder for Store Bededag that I wrote about in an earlier post), but I will try to find out. My next post will focus on the contents of our box.

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