Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dining with the Bloggers - April 24th. 2007

At your service, it's Dining with the Bloggers, coming to you LIVE from Copenhagen!

Today, we're going to visit Susan. You probably know her as Farmgirl of the appropriately named Farmgirl Fare. She used to be a hardcore city chick, but these days, she lives with her donkey, dogs, cats and a herd of sheep (and a husband, no less) in Missouri. Farmgirl Fare is a foodblog, and then some. The most adorable stories about life on the farm, hilarious exchanges between chickens, gorgeous photos of farmlife and loads, loads more. I know there's a farmgirl hiding somewhere inside me, and there's no better place to live it out fully than at Susan's. If you don't know her already, you better get to know her - she's worth every minute.

The way Susan cooks is as local as it gets. Vegetables from the garden, beef from their own cattle - local and organic as far as possible. I know, it's probably a whole lotta darn hard work. But it also sounds fantastic. What I really love, though, are her posts on bread - as if raising sheep and all that isn't enbough, she's also building a small artisan bakery at the farm! And yes, I am a bread-fanatic, so of course, I'm eternally fascinated by this. If you're anything like me, you'll have to check out her tips on breadbaking here and you will have to keep an eye on Adventures in Bread, a site to which Susan is also a contributor. Her recipes are keepers - I've got the picture to prove it:

This is a version of her Oatmeal Toasting Bread. As the name suggests, it's got oats in it, and it toasts really well. Not that I think you need the toasting, 'cause even after two weeks in the freezer, it's still fantastic. Maybe the toasting qualities is what makes for this bread making the most fantastic croutons, though. It's a tad sweet and soft-crumbed, and I can't think of a reason why you shouldn't love this bread as much as I did. In mine, I left out the oat bran, and gave it a slow, cold rise, using less yeast. Oh yes, and I didn't have any old dough, so just used the variation without (and saved some for the next time, 'cause there surely will be a next time!)

Now, I'll wait patiently for Farmgirl's next bread recipe to be posted. I'm sure it'll be here soon... ;-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blog Party # 21: Let's Have a Picnic! Pressed Sandwiches and Orange-Carrot Juice

To say it has been a while since I participated in a blog event of any kind would be an understatement. Last time I did, it was for SHF 22 - heck, I can't even seem to answer the meme's I'm tagged for. I promise, I will - sooner or later (but if I was you, I'd put my money on later...)

But. Onto the event at hand. Blog Party! This is an event, now at it's 21st. installment (hey, I was there for the first one!) held by Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness. Martin and I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie (and Matt and her cute son, Alex) back when we travelled across USA last spring, staying for a couple of days with them in Knoxville. They took us book shopping (because surely, neither I, nor Stephanie own enough cookbooks) they took us to this gigantic market with only organic foods and we talked and talked for hours - about food, America and Americans, Europe and Europeans, tv-shows, dogs, children - you name it.

It was fantastic being welcomed into the home of someone you only knew from this obscure thing called the internet and feeling at home and at ease as fast as we did at Stephanie and Matt's. Stephanie cooked us one elaborate meal after the other and to top things off - they took us for a picnic! So you know, when I realized she was throwing ablog party with the theme of a picnic, I had to join!

And lucky me, I was actually part of a picnic style thing this past Saturday. One of my best friends is getting married Saturday, so we were just in time for throwing her a Bachelorette Party - and I was in charge of the food.

Amongst other things served was this:

A pressed sandwich. Simple, colorful, rustic yet elegant - and very tasty! Basically, it's foccacia (I made my own, but I'm a freak like that, you know) and grilled vegetables - you can choose yourself, but for this particular specimen, I used grilled zucchinis and baked bell peppers. For dressing, we made a parmesan-less pesto (mostly because we forgot to buy parmesan, but it turned out for the better, seeing two of the people present were off dairy-products at the moment, and well - you don't actually need it). We added some basil leaves between the layers of vegetables as well.

You need to use bread that is a bit sturdy/crusty and long and thin, like ciabatta, foccacia - or maybe a baguette would do nicely as well? Other than that, you're free to play it by ear - I wouldn't use really wet ingredients, like raw tomatoes - it might make things more than desirably mushy - but sundried or even semidried tomatoes might be good. Soft cheeses are awesome, too. Slice the bread the horizontal way, spread the dressing on the bottom and top, then layer your choice of filling on the bottom piece and put the top piece back on. Leave under something heavy, in the fridge, 'till the next day.

The beauty of this sandwich is that you can make it the night before - actually, you should make it the night before, because it gives the bread a chance to soak up all the juices from the vegetables which makes this sandwich pass the plain ordinary. Cut it into managable pieces before you're off for your picnic, wrap it up tightly and enjoy sitting in the grass.

Now, for drinks - I'd go for a nice glass of bubbly any day, but actually, this is almost as good. Martin got a juicer for Christmas and we've been on a vitamin high ever since. This is one of our favorite combo's - Orange and Carrot:

So I'd make us up a big batch of that just before leaving, pour it into a thermos and sip it along with my sandwich. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Summer suddenly seems waaaaay too far away! As does Tenessee - more picnics, Stephanie!:-)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Back to Basics.

Because it can't be all hardcore protein-feasts, all the time. Thursday night's dinner: brown rice, nutty and fantastic - and I'm no health fanatic, believe me, but brown rice I adore - dressed with a little tamari, toasted sesame seeds, half a diced avocado and chiffonade of parsley.

Sometimes, you don't need the fuss. Sometimes, you just want the basics.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

[DANSK] Pariserbøf for the people

Mmh. That's one big lump o' meat we've got there (underneith all the colorful stuff - yes, that's right, there!). Actually, it's not that big a lump - I think this one was just shy of 120 grams. But I'm going too fast here - let me tell you a little about Pariserbøf.

Or actually, let me not. Because to be honest, I have no idea as to where this thing originated. I did try a Google search which came up with both England and France as countries of origin, but I've never had anything like this outside Danish borders. Sure, it must have some sort of sandwich-y ancestor. I suppose you could even call it the Danish version of the hamburger. But the true story, I don't know. I just know that it's good, and that Pariserbøf is what I often turn to when the protein-and-no-fresh-vegetables-in-sight-pangs strike me.

The last couple of years, it's been on a revival trip in some of the hip restaurants and café's around Copenhagen. Being a traditional Danish thing, something a lot of chef's try to incorporate into their menus and be proud of these days (and they should, too!) and being something a lot of the chef's I know love, how could they not let the goodness from the staff dinners flow out onto the menu?

But really, I like it best when it's made at home. Maybe because the man that, without discussion, makes the best Pariserbøf in the world is my Man - Martin - yes, I am counting my blessings, every single day - and maybe because at home, you're not stuck with waaaay too little beet and a plethora of raw onions when you want it the other way around. At home, you're the boss - at least in the topping department, heh!

What it is, when it all comes down to it, is a piece of toast (that white, cardboardy stuff, but it's all good here - you need it to suck up the juices) with a hamburger made from minced beef. You squish the hamburger onto the bread, salt and pepper generously and then fry it all in a liberal amount of butter - meat side first, then breadside. I never said it was healthy, did I?:-) I take mine on the medium-rare side, thank you.

And then, ooooh, then, comes all the good stuff - stuff that the dreams of at least some pregnant women I know are made of: pickled beets, raw onions, capers, pickles (our word for a concoction of different vegetables pickled in a mustardy sauce - I'll hopefully try making my own soon and will of course supply you with the recipe) fresh horseradish - and egg yolks. All piled on top of the still warm meat, the egg yolks melting out onto everything, making for a vinegary, smooth, crunchy, pungent topping. And, and...

Oh dear. I'm sure this most sound sooo weird. Writing it all down, I'm thinking... Oh well. I can't help it. I just love really, really like my Pariserbøf. And when food can make a girl feel like that, you just have to indulge, no matter how weird it may sound - don't you?:-)

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Merry Easter Egg!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Dining with the Bloggers - April 4th. 2007

I've decided to do Dining with the Bloggers whenever I've found something I have to tell you about, rather than every other Wednesday. And, ahem, because a dark, dark consciousness looms over me every Wednesday night when I haven't gotten of my sofa pried the medical books away from under my serious stare and done anything;-) So here we go - DwB, now on a sporadic schedule!

But today, oh today have I got something good for you! One: there's way too little blue and purple food in the world. Two: A fantastic food blog. How the two comes together? Well, that's probably my fault.

I have actually been to Texas. For a very, very short time, mostly just driving as fast as was allowed - we were on our way back to Florida on our roadtrip to meet up with a friend. But we did stop for dinner. At The Big Texan Steak Ranch. Probably not authentic at all - a tourist trap some might even say? - but they had huge steaks, corny interior and a table on a small stage in the middle of the restaurant with two guys trying to eat their way through a 72 oz. steak with accompanying potatoes, biscuits, gravy, shrimp cocktail and - well, you get the picture - so they could have it for free! I'm sorry, but we just had to.

Lisa, of Homesick Texan is a Texan to the very core. She lives in New York now, but this is actually a good thing, because that means she has to find ways of recreating her homestate's food - for all of us to enjoy. And this, by all means, don't mean slabbing big hunks of meat on the grill - maybe it means that too, but - what I really savour from her blog are her tex-mex things. Refried beans, Corn tortillas, Flour tortillas, Love Dip, Chicken Fried Steak, Cream Gravy. OMG. And she doesn't stop there. It's not all only tex-mex - it's just plain good (and good looking) food. To top things off, she also writes really, really well - opinionated, personal and honest, just the way I like. I still owe her a comment or a thousand, so you wouldn't be able to tell it by my activity in the comments section - but Homesick Texan is one of the blogs I follow devotedly.

And then, there was a recipe for Cornbread. What I really wanted to try was making corn tortillas, but finding masa harina here in Denmark is like finding a needle in a haystack. Cornbread though, that I could definitely make. With my imported blue cornmeal, because cornmeal isn't easy to come by here either. Shesh! It's hard to be a wannabe Texan around these parts.

So I went ahead, even though Lisa's recipe said yellow or white cornmeal, but figured I just had to make do with what I had. I'm glad I did, too. Now, I'm by no means an expert on cornbread, I only ever had it once, and that was in Charleston. I liked it back then, and I sure did like it now. Moist, slightly gritty and with a slab of salted butter on top - mmm-mmm-mmm. Easy to put together, just watch your fingers on that hot, hot cast iron skillet when it goes in and out of the oven. Definitely not the last of the Homesick Texan's recipes I'll try.

And oh yes, the blue/purplish food? It might look freakishly weird, but I just couldn't help smiling by the oddity :-)

Now I'll just have to find a way to make Lisa part with her recipe for the perfect biscuit...('cause it's not on the blog already, is it? I've searched and searched! Tell me, tell me, I need it!)