Archive for December, 2011

Blue Cheese and Crispy Sage

Though I didn’t know it a few years ago, I love sage, particularly when it is cooked to a crisp in a lot of butter. I also have a serious love for blue cheese, the more flavorful, the better.

That said, sage isn’t exactly something one eats in quantity on its own. The same can largely be said for blue cheese. So tonight I made a dish that I thought was just going to be a good way to use my kabocha squash and a few leeks I had in the fridge, but quickly realized is mostly an excellent vehicle for eating crispy sage and blue cheese. At the same time. Yum.

Enter the recipe for Squash Risotto with Blue Cheese and Crispy Sage. I had this recipe stored in my Springpad account, a resource I suggested to readers a while back as an excellent way to organize your recipes. Luckily, I also had all the ingredients at home, so no shopping was required. 

MY NOTES: This recipes makes a lot of food, so either make it for a group or with the intention of having leftovers. Most of the cooking time is in baking the squash, so be sure to start that right away. And don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting! Otherwise, there really isn’t a lot to comment on this one except to say that it is exceptionally easy, and that you definitely want the blue cheese and sage, as there isn’t a lot of flavor in the squash and risotto. In other words, that part would be pretty plain without the straight-from-heaven toppings.

Advertisements

December 14, 2011 at 10:52 pm 2 comments

On being Norsk: Krumkake

Ya, sure, ya betcha! Uff da! Ha det! Mange takk!

You guessed it: Jeg er Norsk. Twenty five percent anyway. My great grandparents (my mother’s father’s parents) came to America from a place called Bømlo, a small island south of Bergen off the western coast of Norway. All my life I have learned about being Norwegian. The art, national costume (for women, called a bunad), some of the language and of course, cooking and baking.

Christmas is one of the main times of the year when many traditional Norsk baked goods are made. The cookie my mother always did when I was growing up is called krumkake (pronounced kroom-kaka), literally meaning “crumb cake” (though Wikipedia says it means “bent or curved cake.”) They are incredibly delicate, like a very thin ice cream cone, and are wonderful filled with whip cream.

Last night I made krumkake, an annual ritual I have done each Christmas since I have been married (since I no longer live near my parents and my mom bought me my own iron). The recipe I use comes from the booklet that came with my Bethany Housewares iron (though I usually add a little milk), and each batch makes about six dozen cookies. As I’ve written in the past, I usually make 14-18 dozen before the holidays, and last night I made 17 dozen. While the ingredients are cheap and the cookies easy to make once you get the hang of it, krumkake is most definitely a labor of love. My iron makes two cookies at a time and takes about 35 seconds to bake. Then you roll them on a cone (before they harden). Before making the next cookies you must make sure the iron is hot again. Making a dozen krumkake probably takes about the same time as a dozen of any other cookie, except you can’t walk a way and let your oven do the work!

While making the cookies last night, I remembered something I did one of the first times I made krumkake by myself using my mom’s recipe. As any good Scandinavian cookie recipe should, it called for a stick of butter (which is unfortunate right now, given the shortage of butter in Norway). I mixed everything in my food processor, but couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t very smooth like when my mom made it. I started making the cookies and they really weren’t turning out well – they had a lot of unevenness in baking and holes I’d never seen in krumkake before. I called my mom and only then did we figure out what I’d done wrong – you have to MELT the butter first!!

I was able to salvage part of that batch, I think I may have tried to take out some of the larger chunks of butter and melt them, but it was weird because of the eggs. These days though, I am always sure to remember this very important detail. Ah the joys of learning to cook sans mama!

December 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm 4 comments


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 19 other followers