Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Next Best Thing

These are just about as close to being chocolate chip cookies with out actually being chocolate chip cookies. They are but humble meringues. As in, no flour. Ergo no gluten. And these in particular are chock full of nuts and chocolate chunks. Delightful and delicious.

40 grams egg white (one large egg white)
100 grams powdered sugar
100 grams almonds (or hazelnuts) chopped
100 grams dark chocolate chopped
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Brown the chopped nuts lightly in the oven. Mix the egg white and sugar with vanilla and vinegar until it gets peaky. Fold the other ingredients in. Drop with a spoon on baking parchment, and bake for ten minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.

That easy.

I've added the cocoa powder, vanilla and vinegar, otherwise this recipe is taken from a Nikolaj Kirk cookbook. The bigger the chunks of chocolate, the more you will fool yourself into believing that you have a real chocolate chip cookie on your hands.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

French Onion Soup

Oh, now this is real childhood favorite of mine! In the picture you actually see it as I did as a youngster. My parents got these Danish bowls together, and after divorcing, my Dad took a few of him up north to the Chicago area, and when he died, I took them back to their place of origin. I also ate my cheerios from these bowls, broth when I was sick, strawberries with sour cream and brown sugar for an impromptu dessert...these are the bowls of my childhood. And I'm so happy I have them again, even if it does mean my dad is dead. Life is bittersweet like that.

French onion soup on the other hand is warm, delicious, inviting, comforting and cheap to boot. You'll need:

10 yellow onions
few drops Worchester sauce
salt to taste (or few drops Tamari sauce)
broth (beef broth is usually used, I make do with vegetable)
slices of stale bread
grated cheese (gruyère, sharp cheddar etc)

I start off my slicing my onions. Some halve the onions first, slicing thin lunar shapes. Some slice through the whole onion, creating rings. I like halving them, and slicing along the poles. Makes for a chunkier bite of soup I find.

Sauté gently in a bit of butter and oil until they go a bit glassy on you.
Add a few tsp of sugar to caramelize slightly.
Now add a tbsp of flour or so to thicken and brown.

*Now, I have to add here, that if you use a beef broth, you should be fine, colorwise. I prefer not to, opting instead for vegetable broth, but this gives a light colored soup that's otherwise meant to be on the dark side. So at this stage, I add my Worchester sauce and Tamari to get the onions nice and dark before adding my broth.

I add about 1.3 liters or so since that's how much water I can boil in the kettle at once. Let it bubble for a while before tasting it. Add a few pinches of dry or a sprig of fresh thyme at this stage. I like to let mine boil down until it's quite thick with onions.

Now arrange the soup in an oven-proof bowl, lightly set a slice of bread on top, and cover with grated cheese. Grill in the oven until bubbly and brown as you like it. I like mine slightly less brown than most, but it needs a bit of crunch to be just right.

My kids aren't quite hooked on this yet, but I'm planning on breaking them in with this recipe this winter!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chocolate-covered Caramel Crunch

This recipe is well known on the internets. I think this was the guy who started it all. But in these matters, I don't mind being a sheep. It's worth it. The recipe is easy, delicious, and best of all, impressive. If you make it for guests, they'll be flabbergasted that you've mde your own Daim, or Skor as it's called in the US. Just don't let on how easy it was.

You'll need:

enough crackers to line a baking sheet (matzoh crackers make this an appropriate Passover treat)
1 c unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 c packed light brown sugar
big pinch of fleur du sel (optional)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c toasted coarsely chopped almonds

1. Line baking sheet with foil, making sure you have enough to create a tall rim around the pan. Line pan with crackers, breaking up pieces if you have to, to fill in any cracks. Preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C.

2. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat. Stir frequently until the mixture begins to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add in vanilla. If you are using unsalted crackers, add in salt. Pour caramel over crackers and spread evenly with a silicone spatula.

3. Put the baking sheet in the oven, reducing heat to 350° F/190° C. Bake for 15 minutes, watching carefully that the caramel does not burn.

4. Remove from heat and cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes until chocolate melts and then spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and fleur du sel or whatever toppings you desire. Let cool completely and then break into pieces, storing in an airtight container.

I happened to have some pecan-meal on hand which I used in lieu of the almonds, but the variations on this are endless!

Monday, November 9, 2009

More of Them Apples

This dish is an old Danish favorite. It translates to "apple cake", but it's not apple cake like the one most people think of, which I'd more call a "kuchen". This is a concoction consisting more or less of apple sauce, a crispy topping, and whipped cream. Everybody's grandmother has their own recipe.

You'll need:
Bread crumbs

Start with your apples. Peel them, core them, cut them into biggish chunks, so there's still some texture. In a pot, simmer them with just the slightest bit of water, until they go all mushy, but not too liquidy. Add sugar to your liking, a little vanilla is a good thing too.

Now, while those are bubbling gently, and reducing, gently toast some bread crumbs with a little sugar in a pan. You want them to have a golden color, perhaps a dark golden color, but this requires guarding them lest they burn on you.

Whip the cream.

Now, if you're the patient type, I suggest layering your apple sauce and crumbs, and then waiting until they're almost completely cooled before adding the whipped cream to the whole thing.

If you're the impatient type, like some people I know and happen to live with, make individual servings while it's still nice and warm, and then race each other to eat up before the whipped cream melts completely.

*Some people use crumbled up macaroons instead of crumbs. They're sweet by nature, and don't need any toasting.

**Some people also add sherry or a port wine to the crumbs/macaroons. This is always a welcome addition in my family.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Them Apples

We have been on Bornholm for a few days of R&R. The people whose house we live in let us know that we were welcome to partake of their garden's apple booty. So we did.

We had Æbleflæsk (Apple/Pork concoction), Æblekage (dessert made from apple porridge, with sweetened crumbs and whipped cream on top), and washed it all down with Æblemost (apple cider, with no alcohol content) and Æblecider (apple cider with a high alcohol content). We're all appled out.

The Æbleflæsk is a favorite, so I'll start with that. No pictures unfortunately. We ate it up before I could even grab my camera!

- You start by taking slices of pork breast (about 500 gr, at least), with the rind still on, and frying them up in a skillet. It will sputter a lot, so take care. Turn them often. When they are browned and crispy, take them off and lay them on some kitchen towel. There should be some melted fat left in the skillet. Add about a thumb of butter to that, and when that's melted, add slices from 3-4 large apples in the skillet. Fry until they go soft, but still have their shape. Now, serve on thick slices of buttered rye bread, with the slices of pork on top.
Dig in - it is heavenly.

I'll try to make some more Æblekage so I can share the recipe, and pictures with you!