What’s on tap for this week?

hyggesnow

 

It’s coming up to Christmas (as we  all know) and this year is a little different for us since we will be entertaining my husband’s parents at our house come this Friday. 

Christmas is a big thing for the Danish.  I married into a great culture of tradition that usually means a Christmas Eve feast.  We can’t be present for the actual Eve celebration, so we’re going to try and bring a bit of that to the Hyggehus.  You may wish to read more about the Danes and their “hyggelig” in my post, “Life in the Danish Hyggehus”. (That’s a photo of our house that was taken a few years back. )

I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, that Kev and I don’t eat meat.  We do eat fowl and fish, but nothing that comes from a four-legged creature.  The Danes love pork.  Well, you can see the dilemma in this situation, but we usually do make a compromise (I ask for forgiveness from all the true vegetarians and the porcine world at large).  We concede to one piece of pork roast to keep things copacetic for Christmas.

Of course, it’s even worse when I’m planning on cooking said pork myself.  Rather than work with a slab of pork roast, I am choosing to do a pork tenderloin in the crockpot (where I will only have to look at it very infrequently) along with some delectable vegetable dishes.

Here’s the menu:

Spicy Pork Tenderloin

Potatoes à la boulangère

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Baked Parsnips and Carrots

Followed by:

Coconut Cream Cake and coffee.

libations

 

Drinks will begin with an apéritif  of either Aalborg Danish Jubiloeums Akvavit with its hint of dill and coriander to prepare the palate for the spiced pork or, Danish cherry-wine cocktail, Kirsberry over ice.

The wine for dinner will be a nice Riesling and we’ll follow up with a lovely glass of Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port.

Recipes:

Spicy Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin (1 lb.)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup apricots (this recipe called for preserves, but I prefer to use dried and heat on the stove with a little water until they become soft.

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/8 tsp. cumin

sea salt and ground pepper

1 Tbsp. olive oil

(I have a feeling I may be ramping up the spice-factor)

Cut evenly spaced slits across the top of the pork tenderloin.  Insert pieces of garlic. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat apricots with 1/4 cup of water, lemon juice and spices. If necessary add water so the fruit does not stick to the pan. Coat the pork with the olive (use clean hands to smooth it over the entire piece. Yuck! What I do for family!) Roast the pork in a slow cooker/crockpot for 1 hour.  Spread fruit compote over the pork and roast for a further 3 hours on low until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving with the apricot sauce over top.

 

Potatoes à la boulangère

400 g peeled potatoes, thinly sliced

1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced

Fresh ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup (generous) vegetable or chicken stock

1/4 cup (generous) skim milk

1 tsp. butter

Layer potato and onion slices in a shallow, oven-proof dish (pepper each layer).  Mix stock and milk and pour over potatoes. Dot with butter.  Cover with foil and bake  for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

200g red cabbage (tough core removed), finely sliced

1 medium cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

1 Tbsp. wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. butter

2 Tbsp. water

fresh ground pepper, to taste.

 

Put all ingredients in a heavy-bottom, lidded pan.  Season to taste with pepper.  Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.  Stir well and replace the lid.  Reduce hat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice.  When tender, serve.

Can be cooked in the oven for the same length of time (at 325 degrees).

 

Baked Parsnips and Carrots

2 parsnips

4 carrots

1 Tbsp. butter

salt and fresh ground pepper

pinch of cumin

1 Tbsp. water

Peel parsnips and carrot. Cut in half cross-wise, then cut length-wise into strips.  Place in baking dish and dot with butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cumin. Add water.  Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Can also be done in a covered dish in the microwave on High Power for 12 –15 minutes (or until tender).

 

Coconut Cream Cake

1 organic white cake mix

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

1 can coconut cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk

flaked coconut for garnish

In either a 13 x 9 or 2 round pans, bake cake.  Allow to cool.  Pierce top all over with a fork.  Blend cream, condensed milk and coconut extract. Pour over cake.  Sprinkle with flaked coconut.  Let stand overnight.  Refrigerate for a while before serving the next day. 

I intend to shake a few green and red sprinkles over top to give it a real Christmassy look.  The white cake with the coconut looks very much like snow.

 

What are you serving for your Christmas celebration?

(Recipes came from either my head (combining some internet recipes) or these two books: The Pocket fat, carbohydrate & fiber counter by Carol Bateman and Anne Lindsay’s, The Lighthearted Cookbook.)

Original Poetry Sunday (on Saturday)

cherry bowl Click for source.

Cherries, Ripe (a recipe)


pluck one from the bowl

put it to your lips

feel the cool

smooth surface

snap the strand

that once drew life

from the branch

pierce the skin

with a cuspid

striking to its heart

of stone

mash the flesh

with molars

or wisdom–

if you’ve got it

drain the pulp

of its scarlet hue

the sweetness

and the sharp

at its core

incise the remnants

from the pit

and spit out

the carnage.

repeat.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009 Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


Spuds

colc

Around the Davison house, not liking the humble potato was considered anathema! Rarely, did a day go by where my mother (or even my father) was not peeling spuds. We had a family of 4 so that meant at least 6 big spuds in the pot. We had them so many different ways: boiled (skins off and on), tossed in a stew, sliced up and fried, baked in aluminum foil in the oven, or my favourite way: mashed.

In our extended family, my uncle Jimmy (on my mom’s side) was known as “The Masher”. This was not due to his inappropriate advances on ladies; it was because he was the expert on mashing potatoes for supper. When he was in the house, my dad stepped aside to let “ The Masher” take over.

I used to love if my mother would add carrots and mash them in with the potatoes, but mashed turnips were great as well. My father’s favourite however, was the traditional dish of “Colcannon” which combined cooked cabbage, and sliced green onions (or as he called them, scallions) with mashed potatoes and loads of butter. I’m not one for the green onions, unless they are sauteed in butter or stir-fried in an Asian dish, but HE loved them!

These days, when I make Colcannon, I like to add a bit of a Scandinavian flavour using carraway seeds to give it pungency. This is not as untraditional as you might expect, since if you know your history, The Vikings actually founded the city of Dublin, Ireland (Dubh Lin, meaning “dark pool”). So, in fact, I’m bringing the two historic cultures together in my own mash. Enjoy!

Kat’s Colcannon

Ingredients:

6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 cups of chopped cabbage, cooked

3 green onions (tops removed) – washed and sliced

2 Tbsp. organic butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. carraway seeds

1/4 cup milk

Freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Put potato chunks in large pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium (keeping lid on at a tilt). Cook until fork-tender. In a separate pot, cook cabbage until soft. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large frying pan. Add carraway seeds and stir for a bit. Add cooked cabbage and sliced green onions and saute for a minute to blend flavours.

Meanwhile, mash potatoes with milk and the other Tbsp. of butter. Fold in the cabbage/onion mixture with a wooden spoon or large spatula. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

At this point, you can either serve the colcannon, or put in a large casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. You can also use a beaten egg-yolk painted on with a pastry-brush to glaze the top for a nice crust.

(Day-old Colcannon is great stir-fried in the pan with butter and served with your favourite fish or meat.)

This recipe serves 6-7, but feel free to double it for a bigger crowd!

*Keep an eye on your dashboard for my famous Irish Whiskey Cake!

The Easy-Bake Oven Mystery

The other day, I was in the parking lot of my local grocery store ( I spend a good deal of time at grocery stores – being not just a lover of food, but also a lover of shopping for food as well). As I made my way into the store, I passed the back of a car where a woman was loading her groceries and I noticed a box tucked in the trunk. It was a new-toy box and it housed a modern-day Easy-Bake Oven. I almost said to her, “Oh, some little girl’s going to be very happy this Christmas!” For some reason, I didn’t, but it did make me think: what little girl wasn’t happy to receive the Kenner Easy-Bake Oven? Or perhaps, what little boy? I mean Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay had to start somewhere, right?

Okay, so maybe they didn’t actually have one, but you know what I mean.

As a child, I loved to fool around in the kitchen, helping my mom with stirring batter and adding garnishes and mixing various dry ingredients, etc. I used to go to the library regularly and often would come home with big kid-sized books filled with fun, easy recipes to help children learn their way around a kitchen.

When the Easy-Bake Oven came out in the late Sixties, I wanted one desperately. I wrote to Santa and asked for one nicely. I pleaded with my mother to make sure that Santa knew I was a good girl and I deserved the shiny, turqoise, tin oven with the silver cake pans and the accompanying cookbooks. I even appealed to my father to put in a good word (little did I know, that he had a real “in” in the Santa department).

When Christmas morning came, I was crushed to discover no EBO! I was incredulous! Still, I put on a brave face and accepted the Barbie doll house and the new doll-clothes and even the target-shooter that Santa (suspiciously) wanted me to have – where the chicken laid the egg whenever I hit the cardboard barnyard with my rubber-tipped missile from the plastic gun.

The most devastating thing about that Christmas, was that my good school-friend, Jane Thompson got the exact Easy-Bake that I wanted. It was turquoise and shiny and chock full of pans and spatulas and recipe books. Jane made no bones about how wonderful Santa had been to her and I was green, er turquoise, with envy.

I was already jealous of Jane because her grandmother was a knitter. She used to knit Jane fantastic doll clothes for her Barbies and even knit a funky bikini bathing suit for Jane, herself, one summer. My grandmother, ironically, was the baker. She baked wonderful rolls, pies, cakes and her specialty was homemade donuts. When she came to visit from Nova Scotia once a year, she would bake up a storm, but she couldn’t knit a stitch.

So, why was I the one with no Easy-Bake Oven? To this day, it still baffles me, but a stint with Jane Thompson’s oven laid all my keen fascination to rest.

One day, I was over at Jane’s house and she suggested we play with her Easy-Bake Oven. I remember how much fun it was for a budding chef, like me, to empty the packets of cake mix in the tin cake-pans and add the water (or milk–I can’t recall), stir it all together and pop them in the two-story oven – it even had a light inside to do the baking. When the cakes came out not long after, we iced them with green frosting and then we had to eat every last morsel.

I’m not sure whether it was all the sugar, the excitement at finally getting to use an EBO, or a combination of both, but when I got home, I spent most of that night barfing up all that Easy-Bake Oven goodness into our toilet. I never mentioned that particular toy ever again and eventually, I taught myself how to knit.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Here’s a funny little cake-song, I found on YouTube:

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