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Archive for August, 2011

Kransekage

On August 23rd Joseph and I will be celebrating our Silver Wedding Anniversary, 25 years together with my Soulmate, my Best Friend and the Love of my Life. When I first met Joseph on that bus stop in Danmark and he looked at me and smiled, my life changed forever. Our lives together has been an adventure that I could never have imagined, not even in my wildest dreams.

Our wedding was held in Denmark and it was a small intimate affair filled with Danish customs, lots of singing , great food and drinks. It was a really fun wedding and the last of the guests did not leave until 4 am the following morning. The wedding cake we had was not anything like the big, beautiful American style wedding cakes you see today but rather a simple, yet elegant, classic Danish festive cake. The cake is called a Kransekage and it is used for festive events like weddings, baptisms and it is typically also served on New Years Eve. It is made with Marzipan and it’s crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

My husband Joseph was the one who suggested that I should make our wedding cake for our 25th Wedding Anniversary. My first instinct was “no way! that’s much too complicated and involved”. But of course, then I got curious and so I started looking around to see what I could find and eventually I saw Mette Blomsterberg’s TV show “Det Søde Liv” and she made it look soooo easy. And really when you think about it, it’s not that complicated, but all technique and a lengthy process.

Ingredients:

Cake:

500 gram Marzipan (cut into slices)

150 gram confectioners sugar

40 gram pasteurized egg whites

Glaze:

75 gram confectioners sugar (sifted),( plus more if needed)

30 gram pasteurized egg whites

Directions:

For the Cake: In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, place 150 grams confectioners sugar and half of the pasteurized egg whites. Start the mixer on low and add marzipan pieces one by one and the remaining egg whites. When the cake mass is homogeneous, remove from mixer and place in a zip lock bag. Store in refrigerator for at least 2 hours but preferably until the following day.

Double up two large baking sheets for extra insulation to avoid burning the bottom of cake. Use parchment paper.

Note: when rolling out marzipan, wash and dry your hands as often as needed to avoid them getting sticky. Divide marzipan mass into 250 grams portions. If marzipan feels a little sticky use a small amount of confectioners sugar to roll is into logs. Roll each portion into an 80 cm long log that’s even in thickness. Lightly tap the log with the palm of your hand along the edge towards you, to form a slight soft triangular-shaped log. Using an icing spatula or a regular spatula loosen marzipan from tabletop by pressing down hard while sliding spatula under the log. Measure off marzipan into exactly 8 cm, 10 cm, 12 cm, 14 cm etc until all marzipan is used up. Don’t forget to make sure there is a little leftover marzipan to form the round top for the cake.

Each measured out piece of marzipan is now formed into rings, pressing gently at the seam. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using the left over marzipan, roll a small ball that fit on top of the smallest ring, and press it slightly flat. When all rings are formed, use another baking sheet to gently press down on top of all ring to ensure they have the same height. Bake in a preheated 200 degree C (390 degree F) oven for 14 to 18 minutes. Carry in mind that the larger rings may need a little more baking time. Place rings on a rack to allow cooling completely.

For the glaze: Beat together sifted confectioners sugar and pasteurized egg whites on high-speed for at least 5 minutes. The glaze should be pretty thick and no longer flow together when beaters are stopped. Add more sifted confectioners sugar as needed. Load glaze into a decorating bag fitted with a size 2 round tip or make a cone out of parchment paper or use a plastic bag and cut a very tiny hole at the tip.

Place the largest ring on your serving plate. Begin decorating, moving the tip back and forth across the ring making sure to extend the tip out over the edge of ring to allow the glaze to droop down the outside in a loop style fashion. Place the second largest ring on top of the first ring and continue decorating, repeating until the smallest ring. Top cake off with the flattened ball on top. Allow glaze to dry at room temperature for a couple of hours before covering with plastic if cake is to be served in the following days. Enjoy.

Kransekage

My uncle Harald made the bride and grooms wedding clothes from tiny glass pearls. To this day he still gives me small pearl figures and designs. Amazing :)

Kransekage

Source: Det Søde Liv – Mette Blomsterberg

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Pasta Salad with sun-dried tomatoes

I was looking for a good Pasta Salad to serve for the “BurleyMen Club” :) aka Artist Blacksmith Group of Tidewater for their monthly meeting held at Gentile Forge. I came across this Pasta Salad and thought it sounded super delicious. Sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamate olives, what a winning combination. And it was delicious!….but….I’m now thinking that it might have been the wrong type of food to serve for all those MEN. Don’t get me wrong, they liked it, but the wrong type of food nonetheless. The sun-dried tomatoes may have been too refined, too delicate and too modern. This Pasta Salad would fit-in much better at my work with all the GIRLS there. I’ll try it out there for our next potluck.

Sun-dried Tomato Dressing

If your not able to find pitted olives use a Cherry Pitter, it works great. 

Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

Dressing:

7 oz Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, drained

2 small or 1 large Garlic Clove

3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Salad:

8 oz Spiral Pasta

20 Kalamata Olives (a good handful), sliced or chopped

1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, cut in halves

10 Basil leaves, julienned

1 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Directions:

In a food processor combine sun-dried tomatoes (drained), garlic, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Start the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady stream. Continue blending until a homogeneous mass. Store in an airtight container for 1-3 hours or preferably until the following day to allow flavors to marry. Note: this dressing recipe makes enough for 2 pasta salads.

Cook pasta in salted water until desired consistency, rinse under cold running water and drain. Add about 1/4 of dressing to pasta and stir. Add cherry tomatoes, olives, Basil and about 2/3 cup Parmesan, stir gently. Continue to add more dressing and Parmesan cheese to your liking. Note: reserve a small amount of Parmesan for topping. Enjoy.

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa

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Gamle Ole aka Stinky Cheese

Let me introduce you to my little friend, my childhood friend, Gamle Ole aka Stinky Cheese. This is a Danish cheese which is aged 40+ weeks and it taste AMAZING and I absolutely LOVE it. It’s a very sharp cheese and as the name indicates it’s very aromatic. When I bring it out my son makes sure windows and doors are flung wide open…I guess that means it needs air to breath…no? 

Gamle Ole Danish Cheese

My parents mailed me this cheese for my birthday. It was what I had wished for and I was so happy when it arrived in the mail. I posted about it on Facebook and my cousin Anita told me a story about how her In-laws kept their Gamle Ole outside in the mailbox so not to stink up the refrigerator, besides the mailman always delivered the mail directly to their door. One day there was a substitute mailman and you can imagine his surprise to find the cheese sitting in the mailbox. :)

I don’t keep my Gamle Ole outside in the mailbox as I am sure the Virginia heat would melt it away, but instead its securely wrapped in two layers and stored in a Tupperware container so it wont contaminate the entire fridge. I only eat Gamle Ole on weekends because I am sure my coworkes would not appreciate the aroma of, what my son calls “smelly feet”. But despite all the talk of how badly it smells, the taste is incredible. Denmark has long had a reputation of producing award winning cheeses and Gamle Ole is no exception. It won the Best Scandinavian Cheese award in 2010. It remains a controversial cheese meaning in short that you either love or hate it…as for me, I simply just LOVE it.

Beauty and the Beast

 Source: My Danish Kitchen

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