Month: May 2015

Smoked Mackerel Smørrebrød with Dill and Chive Blossoms

“In a country where understatement and simplicity reign, it makes sense that the unpretentious sandwich is embraced as a national dish.” (npr.org) Danish Rugbrød, or rye bread, has been perfected over the last few hundred years, and the open-faced sandwich has been elevated to an art. Recipes for the dense, dark bread range from simple—containing just rye and wheat flours and cracked rye—to more complex—studded with seeds and sweetened with molasses or dark syrup. I prefer the more complex method, with layers of flavors created by the addition of more ingredients. The recipe I developed (coming soon!) has oats, cocoa, and blackstrap molasses, and flax, sunflower, and caraway seeds, in addition to the cracked rye. I also use Guinness instead of water! For these open-faced sandwiches, or smørrebrød, as they’re called in Danish, I opted for a zingy and light crème fraîche mixture instead of the traditional butter (the “smørre” in smørrebrød). This is perfectly acceptable, but if you want to hold tight to tradition, you need that first smear of butter before adding any …

Calvados Brie Fondue

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” (Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast) While my family is known to be crazy enough to have fondue dinners with as many as ten or twelve people, I’ve always felt that it’s more inclined to smaller settings. When you’re with one of the few people who bring about happiness like Spring, or if you’ve managed to set aside some peaceful quietude for yourself, a little pot of fondue can be just the thing you need to secure your contentment. This makes enough for a hearty dinner for one, or a nice appetizer for two. Ingredients Directions Cut or scrape the rind off the brie, and cut into cubes. Toss the cubes in the corn starch until coated and …

Mom’s Maple Pecan Cookies

“I want chocolate cake! With chocolate chips in it!” My young heart raced with the thought. “And chocolate icing…with chocolate shavings!” What else, I desperately thought, eager to not lose my chance of having the best cake ever. “And chocolate ice cream to go with it!” I concluded, triumphantly. I got my wish, believe it or not; my birthday cake that year was in the shape of a teddy bear head, with cupcakes for ears. It was chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, with chocolate on the side. My mom always knew how to pull out all the stops for special occasions. Or even everyday occasions. Biscuits, cornbread, and sheet cakes, which she began making as a young, Southern girl; trifle, Nanaimo bars, and butter tarts, adopted from her time in Canada; venison roasts following us to every place we moved, hunted and frozen from Thanksgivings in Tennessee spent at the family farm. Jam-filled muffins, saucy baked meatballs, and steaming hot monkey bread all made frequent appearances, much to our pleasure. I suppose, if I had to …

Bouillabaisse

“You can make as dramatic a production as you want out of a bouillabaisse, but remember it originated as a simple, Mediterranean fisherman’s soup, made from the day’s catch or its unsalable leftovers, and flavored with the typical condiments of the region—olive oil, garlic, leeks or onions, tomatoes, and herbs.” (Julia Child et al., Mastering the Art of French Cooking) Bouillabaisse is a summer soup, reminiscent of balmy breezes and the scent of seawater in the air. Unlike thick, cream-based soups, or chunky meat and vegetable soups, this bouillabaisse—with hints of citrus and saffron, and studded with fresh, briny seafood—energizes, and in fact finds itself rather at home on a hot, sunny day. Serves 2-3 Ingredients 1 cod fillet handful cooked mussel meat (or raw mussels in the shell) handful uncooked shrimp (OR fish and seafood of your choice) 900g (2 lbs) tomatoes 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 large garlic cloves 2 shallots 1 fennel bulb 4-5 stalks celery 1 cup dry white wine 1 cube vegetable or fish bouillon 1 cup water 3/4 teaspoon …