Monday, December 28, 2009

Harira Stew

When my family and I were in Morocco this past summer, I made it a point to try the national soup, Harira. It's the soup traditionally eaten to break the fast of Ramadan, but it's eaten any time of the year besides. And every local eatery with respect for themself serves it, most likely coming from a pot of ginormous dimensions simmering the whole day through.

I had several versions. With lamb. With chicken. Vegetarian. All excellent. I tried my own hand at it on a cold winter's eve, gleaning elements here and there. The traditional must-have elements are there, but I beefed it up a bit physically, to make it heartier. I stuck with the veggie version though. I imagine this fairly easy dish will be a great hangover cure New Year's Day.

2 onions
half tsp cinnamon
half tsp turmeric
half tsp cumin
half tsp ground ginger
1 can tomatoes
a few pinches of saffron
1 liter broth
1 cup lentils (f.ex Puy)
1 can garbanzo beans
2-3 carrots, cubed
1 or 2 handfuls whole buckwheat
1 tsp freshly crushed pepper ( I used red peppercorns)
salt, to taste
cayenne, to taste, if you'd like it spiced up a bit.
lemon wedges

Gently fry up the onions in oil, adding the spices to fry along.
When the onions and spices are soft and incorporated, add the remaining ingredients, one by one, letting them incorporate. Let simmer until lentils, carrots and buckwheat are soft.
Add, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
The more it simmers, the more the buckwheat will absorb, so add water accordingly.

Serve with a little fresh squeezed lemon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Baked Salad, Better than You Think.

Have I ever mentioned the fact that I get a CSA box thingie at home, from Årstiderne? I have? Well, I'm still getting it, despite the fact that it's pretty predictable, since Autumn and Winter rolled around, and the pickings got slimmer and slimmer. We're pretty much down to turnips, potatoes, kale, white cabbage, jerusalem artichokes if we're lucky....*sob*. It's pretty boring. A few weeks in a row now, they've thrown in some endive, which is fitting, since in Denmark they call it julesalat aka "Christmas salad". It sat there in the fridge for a spell, while I looked at it, scratched my head, and wondered how the hell I was going to get my kids to eat it. As a kid I saw my dad chomp on the stuff raw, but I never saw it consumed any other way.

*Cut to 25 years later, enter Belgium*

Turns out, in Belgium (which you can read about on the innernets), they bake it. With cheese. Sign me up!

The rundown is this:

- Slice your endive lengthwise, remove damaged outer leaves, cut off knobby bit at bottom.
- Steam gently for app. 10 minutes.
- Prepare a small amount of Bechamel sauce, adding a handful of grated parmesan here, and a handful of grated gruyère there, stirring until well incorporated.
- Arrange the steamed endive in am oven-proof dish,
- If you want to get crazy, wrap the endive in slices of ham, parma or serrano would be nice, but the Belgians use thick slices of boiled ham, which just ain't my style. No ham is just as nice though, if you're a veggie.
- Pour the cheesy Bechamel sauce over your endive, and throw some more grated cheese on top.
- Bake on medium/high until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

I swear, my 2 yr. old couldn't get enough! My husband thought baked salad was a bit much, but truly, it was delicious.

Another version to try out is to add slices of chorizo on top, instead of ham, and add cheddar to the sauce, instead of parmesan/gruyère. A little on the Tex-Mexy side, but not bad, not bad at all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Moist, Dense, Perfect Gingerbread

This is another re-post from my family blog. From back in 2007 I think. But still just as fine as it ever will be. I am a busy bee with my last term paper, my innumerous jobs, and taking to the streets on the behalf of our climate.

This cake is...perfect. I remember tweaking it just a tad here and there, as I didn't have the exact sugars called for, but nevertheless, it was...perfect. And popular.

Kille Enna's Gingerbread

300 grams flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
50 grams dark chocolate
250 grams butter
2 dl boiling water
3 tbsp fresh finely grated ginger
200 grams dark muscovado sugar
200 grams molasses cane sugar
4 eggs

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl.
Melt the chocolate in a water bath.
In another bowl, whisk the butter until frothy.
Add hot water, ginger and sugar and whisk well.
Add one egg at a time while whisking.
Fold the chocolate in the mixture, then add the dry ingredients. Whisk well.
Pour into a buttered and floured cake pan (20 cm x 25 cm).
Bake at 170 Celsius for 45-60 minutes.
It's done when a knife comes out clean.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mini German Pancakes

This is a re-post from my real bloggy blog, back in February 2008. It bears repeating!

Picture eaten by Blogger - sorry!

Out of the blue the other day, I suddenly remembered a recipe my mom used to make every so often on Sundays, after church. It was a big, fluffy, eggy pancake that got drowned in lemon juice with a sprinking of powdered sugar. As I've written before, I haven't missed all that much stuff from my years in the States. But lately more and more things keep popping up in mind, and then I can't let it go again until I get it out of my system.

So the other day, I called my mom for this recipe and I've already made it three times since! It's a German Pancake, and there are loads of recipes out there on the net for it. It's originally supposed to be just one big oven baked pancake, but I modified it so some brunch guests could have a couple of mini pancakes each, which was a hit.

This recipe is really easy. To use a poetic Danish term, it's like scratching your ...

Half a cup flour
Half a cup milk
2 eggs
pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter

Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius. Disperse the butter in the holes of a muffin tin, and preheat in oven until butter is melted. While that's happening, whisk the other ingredients together in a bowl until they are JUST incorporated. It's very important not to overwhisk the batter. Disperse on to the melted buttered muffin tin, and bake for roughly 10 minutes. My convection oven is extremely effective, so you may need more. Don't open the oven until it's done, or the pancakes will deflate before they're done.

Serve with lemon slices and powdered sugar, or whatever your heart desires.