Monday, August 31, 2009

Eating more like a Dane

A potpourri of food we've consumed in the last week.

Yes, I know I wrote about this magical fruit just last week but we simply cannot keep our hands off the nearby berry patches. Yesterday Alan and I (Anatole "helped") picked close to 5 pounds and plan to make more jam. I thought I would share one of my most favorite ways of enjoying it, which is sort of Danish-American. The rugbrød is Danish all the way, the peanut butter, while technically produced in Denmark, is really an American specialty, and the jam is unequivocally Danish (but only because it's made from Danish blackberries!).

New Baking Pan
For my birthday Alan presented me with two new baking pans. He knows me well. One of them, made in Germany, is the largest bread loaf known to man. It's over 13" long and 6" deep (compared to the standard 9" x 5"). What's great about it is that you can simply double any bread recipe and end up with twice as much bread which lasts twice as long (I'm thinking of grain breads and other heartier loafs that keep longer than regular white bread).

Every week in our CSA box from Aarstiderne we receive a delightful little pamphlet that includes recipe ideas for the contents of that week's box. Last week a recipe for Blomkålsgratin (Cauliflower Gratin) caught my eye and I scanned the ingredients and steps to see how much of it I could understand. The ingredients were basic and the instructions seemed relatively simple so I used Google to translate it in detail and decided to go for it. Turns out, this is a tasty way to use up a head of cauliflower. The only inconvenient part is beating the egg whites and folding them into the mix but then again it is supposed to be souffle-like so this step is key. The cooked texture is a bit strange if you're not used to souffles and gratins of this type but, for something different, I suggest you give it a try. I served it alongside fried potatoes and a simple salad of shredded carrots for an all out vegetarian meal.

Blomkålsgratin (Cauliflower Souffle)

1 head cauliflower
4T butter
5T flour
2c milk
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
5 eggs

2-3 quart baking dish

Bring 4c water to boil. Wash and cut cauliflower into small pieces; place in boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes to blanche. Remove, run under cold water and drain/dry. Melt butter in a saucepan. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to form a paste. Cook on low and slowly incorporate milk. Stir continuously to get a smooth, even and thick sauce (will thicken upon boiling). Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and remove from heat.

Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Add yolks to the sauce one at a time and mix well after each addition. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold gently into the sauce.

Butter your baking dish and sprinkle in a handful or so of breadcrumbs on the bottom. Pour in about a quarter of the sauce and alternately add cauliflower and sauce ending with sauce.

Place your baking dish in a shallow dish of water and bake at 350F for 35 minutes until light golden brown.

Serves 4.

My notes: I translated the ingredients and instructions from Danish to English and replaced metric measurements with U.S. Also, I baked mine in an 8" springform pan and placed it inside a large tart pan filled with about a half cup of water.

Our first Danish fair
Over the weekend we paid a visit to Ambufest, the annual local fair. Anatole loved the kiddie rides and got to fish for plastic ducks and win a prize. Alan and I navigated a foreign language fair and managed to figure out the ride ticket system, where to find shelter during intermittent thunderstorms, and why you can't leave a Danish fair without æbleskiver. The word æbleskiver translates to apple slices which is funny because there's no apples in the recipe and the shape of the treat is round, not sliced. They're akin to elephant ears in the sense that it's fried dough, and oh my heavens are they fantastic. Dipped in powered sugar and eaten hot it is one of the finest junk foods imaginable.


  1. Æbleskiver are sooo good!!! In the old, old days, there used to be slices of apples inside the æbleskiver, but I have no idea what that tastes like. Don´t think many do. But if you want to find out, I´ve found a recipe for you. It´s written in Danish at the top of the page, but is translated into English further down:-) Here´s the link:

  2. Thanks for the link, Kira!! I will TOTALLY check it out...