Hello everyone! I’ll be taking a little time off to enjoy the summer as well as traveling home to visit my family, friends and to soak up the beauty of Denmark. I can’t believe that it has actually been 4 1/2 years since I was home last, so this vacation is long overdue :D I’ll see you back here soon.
This pasta salad war originally a caprese pasta salad with mozzarella, but I really don’t like to bite into chunks of mozzarella cheese. So I changed it up a little and replaced the mozzarella with a delicious feta cheese which I love. The dressing for the pasta salad is a wonderful blend of garlic infused olive oil, balsamic vinegar with a background of fresh basil, really flavorful. I hope you enjoy this easy to make and very delicious pasta salad.
Pasta Salad (8-10 servings)
12 oz. of your favorite pasta, cooked
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 oz. feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse, set aside. In a small skillet combine olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes (optional) over low heat. Warm oil slowly to allow flavors to infuse, 5-10 minutes. Do not let the garlic take on color. Set aside to cool slightly.
Place pasta in a bowl. Add olive oil mixture, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes and basil, toss to combine. Add feta cheese, toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!
Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats
Nougat is a sinfully delicious paste that is used quite often in Denmark. Nougat can be made from sugar or honey, toasted almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and/or pistachios. There are a number of different variations of nougat but the one I am using here is a soft nougat made with hazelnuts.
Nougatmandler is quick and easy to make. Make sure the ceramic bowl you’re using is chilled all the way and be aware that you may have to place the bowl back in the refrigerator for a few minutes, in-between each addition of the warm melted nougat. The final outcome is a crunchy toasted almond hidden in a soft shell of sweet nougat. Makes for a perfect little snack.
Nougatmandler – Nougat Wrapped Almonds
100 grams whole almonds with skin on
100 grams nougat
50 grams confectioner sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Remove almonds from oven and place in a ceramic bowl in refrigerator until completely cold.
Place confectioner sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Over a waterbath melt the nougat. Bring the cold bowl with almonds out of refrigerator and add 1/3 of melted nougat, stir with a small rubber spatula until nougat starts to set and thicken. Add the second 1/3 of nougat and repeat stirring. Place bowl back into refrigerator between nougat additions if needed. Finally, add the last 1/3 of nougat and repeat stirring. Pour nougat almonds into bowl with confectioners sugar and gently, using your fingers, work the confectioners sugar around each almond. In the end, place almonds into a sieve and gently tap the excess sugar off the almonds. Store almonds a covered container in a cool location. Makes for a wonder snack, enjoy!
Source: Mette Blomsterberg
For a beautiful, warm spring day like today I think we need a light and delicious Shrimp Salad served on a small slice of French bread. I’ve had my eye on this Shrimp Salad for quite some time now, and today is the perfect day for it. The most important thing about making it, is to make sure that you get as much liquid out of the shrimp and asparagus as possible and that is difficult to do with the fragile marinated asparagus without squashing them. I still ended up with a little too much liquid in mine but the salad was still wonderful and very fresh tasting. Perhaps next time I’ll try in addition to gently patting the asparagus dry, also letting them sit for awhile on some paper towels to try and absorb some more liquid. This is a really nice, refreshing Shrimp Salad with a hint of lemon. Enjoy!
Shrimp Salad With White Asparagus
200 grams small shrimp (peeled, deveined and cooked)
16-18 thin white asparagus (marinated in water)
1 deciliter Hellmann’s mayo
1 tablespoon ketchup
a small sprinkle of fresh lemon juice
a pinch of ground chili powder
If using frozen shrimp, defrost, drain and thoroughly pat dry the shrimp. Remove asparagus from marinade water, place on paper towel and gently pat dry. It is important to remove as much liquid from shrimp and asparagus as possible to avoid a wet shrimp salad. Cut asparagus into bite size pieces. In a small bowl add mayo, ketchup, lemon juice and chili powder, stir. Add shrimp and asparagus to mayo mixture and gently mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve with French bread. Enjoy!
Source: Dalsgaard i Skivholme
I have had a terrible craving for Marmorkage (Marble Cake), which is like a dear childhood friend to me. But I wanted it in a smaller format, like cupcakes. I found this one recipe with looked “oh so good” but unfortunately the result was a really bland tasting cupcake. I then pulled out Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book, hoping she might have a Marble cupcake in there, and thankfully she did :) You can always count on Martha and she definitely knows her craft! The cupcakes turned out sweet, soft and very tasty. Although it is almost a shame to cover up these pretty cupcakes, I must admit that a chocolate frosting does seem to complete them, but of course that’s optional. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did.
Marble Cupcakes (makes 16 cupcakes)
Ingredients for Cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted, not self-rising (210 gram)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk, room temperature (78 ml)
1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature (78 ml)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (113 gram)
1 cup sugar (222 gram)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (30 gram)
1/4 cup boiling water (60 ml)
Ingredients for Chocolate Frosting:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (120 grams), coarsely chopped
2/3 cup unsalted butter (150 grams), room temperature
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar (160 grams), sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Directions for Cupcakes:
Line muffin pan with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C).
Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Combine milk and cream, set aside. Using an electrical mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beat until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract. Add flour in three increments, alternating with the milk mixture. Beat until combined.
To make chocolate batter. Measure out one generous cup of batter, place in small bowl. In a separate small dish combine cocoa powder and boiling water, whisk until smooth. Stir cocoa mixture into reserved batter until fully combined.
Fill prepared cup liner with alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each three-quarters full. Run a skewer through the batter in a figure-eight motion to make swirls. Bake until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer muffin pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Directions for Frosting:
Melt chocolate over a hot water bath. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electrical mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add confectioners sugar and beat until smooth and light (about 2 minutes). Add vanilla extract and chocolate, beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (2-3 minutes).
Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes. Enjoy!
And so this is how the story goes. I was suppose to have been born in April and my mother was going to name me April, but I decided to come early and surprise everyone. I arrived on March 31st, just shy of being an Aprils fool :) and my mother no longer wanted to name me April, but had no other name picked out for me. So she let my siblings (Jonna, Benny and John) pick out a name for me and I believe it was my oldest brother John who came up with my name…Gitte. Tak John, det er jo et dejligt navn. Happy birthday to me :D
This year my birthday cake is a delicious Carrot Cake from Claus Meyer’s book Meyers Kager. The cake is not overly sweet which is nicely offset by the tart and sweet cream cheese frosting. I did have a wee bit of trouble with the temperature and baking time. I think Claus Meyer may be baking with a convection oven and so the cake actually baked a lot faster than anticipated. The original baking time called for 75 minutes but the cake was done after 60 minutes. I also had to cover the cake with foil after the first 45 minutes to prevent further browning but all ended well and the cake got great reviews. This cake is definitely a keeper.
Ingredients for the cake:
75 g hazelnuts (2.6 oz), chopped
200 g unsalted butter (7 oz), room temperature
250 g sugar (8.8 oz), divided into two portions of 125 g each (4.4 oz)
6 large eggs
200 g shredded carrots (7 oz)
200 g almond flour (7 oz)
50 g all-purpose flour (1.7 oz)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50 g golden raisins (1.7 oz)
Ingredients for the frosting:
400 g cream cheese (14 oz)
115 g unsalted butter (4 oz), room temperature
225 g confectioners sugar (7.9 oz)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (~350 degrees F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the chopped hazelnut out onto the baking sheet. Toast in oven for 5 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.
Lower oven temperature to 175 degrees C (~345 degrees F). Grease a 22 cm (~8 inch) spring-form pan with butter, add a couple of tablespoons of sugar, shake and turn the pan to coat sides and bottom with sugar, discard excess sugar, set pan aside.
Separate eggs into yolks and egg whites, set aside. Beat butter and half of the sugar (125 g or 4.4 oz) until white and creamy. Add egg yolks to butter mixture one at the time, continue to beat until well incorporated. Add shredded carrots and almond flour to butter mixture. Sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder and cinnamon, add to butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Add toasted hazelnuts and raisins, mix only until incorporated. Set mixture aside.
In a large clean, dry bowl add egg whites and using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks start to form. While continuing to beat, add remaining half of sugar (125 g or 4.4oz) and beat until you have stiff, shiny peaks.
Using a spatula add a small amount of whipped egg whites to dough mixture, stir until combined. Add remaining whipped egg whites in half increments and gently fold the whites into the dough. When all incorporated pour mixture into prepared spring-form. Bake in the middle of oven for 55-60 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. (Note: I loosely covered the cake with foil to prevent further browning after the first 45 minutes of baking). Allow cake to cool completely on a baking rack before applying the frosting.
To make frosting:
Add cream cheese, butter and confectioners sugar to a bowl and beat until smooth and silky. Spread frosting onto cooled cake and serve. Enjoy!
Source: slightly adapted from Meyers Kager
I think it’s about high time that I make something Danish again and with Easter approaching I thought this lunch or dinner plate would be great. For this particular Danish dish, I choose to rename the dish rather than translating it because the name is not all that appetizing. If you google translate the name it gives you “dirty” or “filthy” eggs, and so smiling eggs sounds a little better to me.
Skidne Æg is an old-fashioned dish and today in Denmark it can still be found on the Danish Easter lunch table, but it can be served anytime really. It used to be served on the Saturday before Easter which was known as Skiden Lørdag (dirty Saturday). I should explain that in Denmark this Saturday is flanked by two holidays on either side; Skærtorsdag (Maundy Thursday) and Langfredag (Good Friday) on one side and Påske (Easter) and Anden Påskedag (Easter Monday) on the other side. So the Saturday in-between the holidays was the day when you were busy cleaning house from having company and needed something easy for dinner, and this is indeed a very easy and delicious dish.
When you make Skidne Æg you can use a spicy mustard or perhaps a milder Dijon mustard or a whole grain mustard, just choose whichever is your favorite mustard. When you cook the eggs you want them to be, what in Danish is referred to as “smiling” eggs. The outer layer of the yolk should be slightly firm and the yolk center soft, so not hard boiled and not soft boiled, but in-between. Actually, I like them a little more on the soft boiled side, so again boil the eggs the way you like them :) I hope you enjoy this classic Danish dish.
Skidne Æg (serves 2)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 liter milk (16 oz)
3 tablespoon mustard (your favorite kind)
salt to taste
toasted dark rye bread (Rugbrød), fresh fried chopped bacon, top with chives
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add eggs and boil until soft boiled (cooking time varies depending on egg size, I used a size large egg and boiled for 7 minutes). When done boiling, pour out boiling water, add cold water and let sit for 1 minute. Peel eggs and set aside.
Meanwhile in a small pan, melt butter. Once butter is melted add flour and whisk vigorously while cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add milk in increments while stirring until you have a slightly thick Bechamel sauce. Add mustard, stir and let simmer for another two minutes. Season with salt to taste. Add boiled eggs to sauce and allow to heat through. Serve with toasted dark rye bread and enjoy!
Source: My Danish Kitchen
This winter seems to be going on forever and I don’t recall it ever being this cold in Virginia before. We, of course, have not had the extreme amount of snow that the rest of the country have experienced, but we did get one big snowfall which turned out to be a lot of fun. All the neighbors in our neighborhood, got together and helped shovel snow from each other’s driveways, and the day was wrapped up with a party, with lots of good food, at a neighbors house.
And so while we all continue to hunker down inside our homes, waiting for spring to arrive, I can recommend this wonderful Italian beef stew which is sure to warm your soul. I adapted this recipe from a Danish food blog called Dalsgaard i Skivholme, which I enjoy reading. The stew is very flavorful and equally good with or without the Rosemary, so I left the Rosemary as optional. Also the original recipe had white beans in it which I left out due to danger that my cooking pot would otherwise overflow. Please enjoy!
Italiensk Oksebov – Italian Beef Stew
500 gram beef cubes
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
14 oz diced tomatoes
7 oz tomato sauce
1 glass white wine
chili powder – a dash
sugar – a dash
apple cider vinegar – a splash (1-2 tablespoons)
fresh rosemary, 1 twig
Trim beef cubes and cut into bite-size pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and sear beef in small portions. After searing beef, place the meat into a large cooking pot and add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Lower heat of pan to medium-low, add a 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions to pan and cook until translucent, add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. Pour onion and garlic into the seared meat in cooking pot. Add mushrooms to pan and cook until slightly golden, add wine and simmer for another minute. Add mushrooms and wine into the beef mixture. Add chili powder, sugar and apple cider vinegar to beef stew. Add fresh rosemary (chopped or whole) to stew and let simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!
Source: adapted from Dalsgaard i Skivholme
Now that the holidays are over and we are settling back into our everyday routines, I think we need something quick and easy on the dinner menu. And this pasta dish is so easy to make, not to mention very delicious. The recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis and I just made some slight little changes. Enjoy!
Garlic and Anchovy Farfalle (serves 4-6)
1 pound farfalle pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups baby spinach leaves (6 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until tender. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Rinse spinach in cold water, drain and set aside. In a large pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and garlic, cook for until aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Add spinach and salt, cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add cooked pasta to pan, add 1/2 of the grated cheese to pasta, add some of the reserved pasta water to pan, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Pour pasta into serving dish and top with remaining cheese. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Source: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis