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Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

These days I have an abundance of fresh basil leaves. I don’t have much of a green thumb but basil plants and I somehow get along really well. And so I am trying not to let this wonderful aromatic herb go to waste by making some basil pesto. It is quick and easy to make and, although I have not tried it myself, I have read that pesto also can be made using walnuts, unsalted cashews, almonds, pistachios and even¬† sunflower seeds. Besides using pesto on your pasta, it can also be used as a sandwich spread, baked into bread, add a little to your soup or marinara sauce for extra flavor. Today I am freezing mine by dropping spoonfuls into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, I pop them out of the tray and into a freezer bag for later use. Enjoy!

Basil Pesto (makes approx 1 cup)

Ingredients:

2 cups packed basil leaves

1-2 large garlic cloves

60 grams pine nuts

1/2 cup reggiano parmesan cheese, shredded and loosely packed

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

lemon juice, a big squeeze

salt to taste, a pinch

Directions:

Place basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and cheese into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. While the food processor is running, add olive oil and lemon juice. Scraping down sides, process until desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

Source: My Danish Kitchen

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Greek Tzatziki Sauce

I have been eyeballing the Greek Tzatziki sauce for quite some time now. Does yogurt, cucumber, garlic and dill not sound perfectly delicious to you? or does it sound a bit foreign and odd? Well I assure you that it’s a wonderful creation! If you decide to make this sauce I would recommend that you make it one day before you intend to use it. Place it in the refrigerator overnight to really allow the flavors to develop. Also, make sure to use a plain Greek yogurt which has a thicker consistency. If you decide to use regular yogurt, you’ll need to let the liquid drain from the yogurt for 2 hours before using, to get the thicker consistency.

Making Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki sauce of course goes perfectly with the Greek Gyro sandwich. The first time I tasted a Gyro was actually in Denmark when I was a teenager and it left a big impression on me because it was super delicious….nothing like I had ever tasted before. Since then I’ve had Gyro’s from time to time, some better than others, and I finally decided to make the Tzatziki sauce myself. This recipe is truly wonderful, even my husband who does not eat yogurt or cucumber, really liked it – imagine that! Some other uses for the Tzatziki sauce could be served with Pita wedges as an appetizer, goes well with lamb, fish, chicken, veggies and falafel. I hope you enjoy this sauce as much as we have ūüôā

Greek Gyro

Ingredients:

Tzatziki Sauce:

1 english cucumber, seeded

1 teaspoon salt, to draw out liquid in cucumber

1 lb Greek yogurt, plain (1 1/2 cup or 450 grams)

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tablespoon dill, chopped

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Gyro:

chicken, cut into bite-size pieces and cooked to your liking

onion, slice and cook until soft and sweet

Pita bread

lettuce

tomatoes

kalamate olives

feta cheese

Tzatziki Sauce

Directions:

To make Tzatziki Sauce: Peel cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds using a spoon. Chop or shred cucumber and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt to draw out the liquid. Place cucumber in a sieve to drain for at least 1/2 hour. In a small bowl combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and dill. Once the cucumber has finished draining, add it to the yogurt mixture and give it a quick spin in the blender until you have your desired consistency. Place in refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours before serving to allow flavors to develop, or even better, leave it refrigerated overnight.

To assemble Gyro: Wrap gyro in aluminum foil and heat in toaster oven for a few minutes until warm. Add the warm chicken and onions. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce. Wrap loosely in foil to hold Gyro together and enjoy!

Source: adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

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Leverpostej

Leverpostej

Making Danish Liver Pate probably got me more excited than any other recipe I have had the pleasure to blog about. You absolutely must experience a warm, home-made Liver Pate. Fresh out of the oven, served with fried mushrooms and bacon or topped with some wonderful pickled beets. This is actually the first time I have made it myself. I have been wanting to make it for the past 25 years but somehow the thought of making it by myself was always overwhelming. And¬† now that I have finally made my first-ever home-made Liver Pate, I can’t quite figure out what the fuzz was all about.

Leverpostej – Danish Liver Pate

Liver Pate is everywhere in Denmark. It can be found, dare I say, in all self-respecting grocery stores. It is a way of life, as natural as the air we breath. The store-bought Liver Pate is very good but there is something to be said about a home-made Liver Pate and I think it is definitely worth the effort! The Pate can be served cold or warm on an open-faced sandwich often topped with either pickled beets, crispy fried onions, mushrooms, cucumbers or Danish Sky which is basically a beef jello. It can be made plainly with just one topping or it can be quite an elaborate Sm√łrrebr√łd creation.

Liver Pate is not the most pleasant food to prepare, truth be told, it’s really kinda gross. BUT, the end result is making me feel like I’m in heaven. Let me just say that there¬†are hundreds of different ways you can make Liver Pate. I’ve heard of adding potatoes, apples, anchovies, Bechamel sauce – or not, a lot of spices – or not, high-fat – low-fat, animal fat (called Sp√¶k in Danish) vs just margarine, so there are many, many variations out there. This recipe is the one my Mother and Father uses and I think it’s simply just wonderful. Thanks Mom and Dad for helping me make my first ever Liver Pate! ūüôā

My Mom and Dad, √Öse and Ove

Please note that when you go to look for the fat (sp√¶k) used in this recipe, it’s not something you’ll typically find sitting in the freezer section at your grocery store. Simply just ask the butcher in the meat department if they can give you a couple of chunks of fat. Often times, they wont even charge you for it ūüôā

Ingredients:

For the Bechamel Sauce:

1 deciliter milk (3.4 oz)

4 deciliter water (13.5 oz)

1 extra-large vegetable bouillon cube (10 grams, 3/8 oz)

50 grams margarine (1 3/4 oz)

4-5 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the Liver mixture:

500 grams Liver ( 1 lb)

80 grams fat (2 7/8 oz)

65 grams smoked bacon (2 1/2 oz)

50 grams onion (2 oz)

3 whole large eggs

Directions:

To make Bechamel sauce: In a saucepan add water and milk. Break-up vegetable bouillon cube into liquid and bring up to warm temperature, turn heat off. In a pan, melt margarine. Add flour and whisk until smooth, continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add warm milk/water in 1 cup increments while whisking. Mixture should be like a thick gravy. Add salt, pepper, allspice and nutmeg to taste. If you get lumps in this gravy simply just run it through a sieve. Pour gravy into a covered Tupperware container and allow to cool in refrigerator.

Cut Liver, fat, bacon and onion into 1 inch pieces. Starting with the fat, bacon and onion, either run them through a meat grinder twice or process in a food processor until you have a slightly lumpy mixture. Liver should only go through meat grinder once or add Liver to food processor and blend until pretty smooth. Mix together Liver and fat mixture. Add the 3 whole eggs and cooled Bechamel sauce, stir to combine. Pour into small aluminum forms (I got 4 small forms full) and if freezing cover top tightly with aluminum foil and store in freezer safe bags. When ready to cook Liver Pate, fill an oven-proof dish with warm water 1/2 way up the side of aluminum form. Bake uncovered in oven at 200 degree C (390 degrees F) for 1 hour 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Source: my parents Ove and √Öse Frandsen

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Champagne Cream Sauce

Champagne Cream Sauce

When I first made this cream sauce I was blown away, I mean, really blown away. I’ve had many¬†fantastic¬†cream sauces at different restaurants before,¬†but this sauce tops them all. It is sweet and rich in taste, but not too rich. You can of course control the amount of cream you put into the sauce, which I put in very little cream and more champagne, and it is still incredibly rich in taste. The combination of the sweet carrots, shallots and champagne, pack this sauce full of flavor.

So when we had company visiting I wanted to serve something different, something special, not the typical run of the mill and this Champagne Cream Sauce immediately came to mind. And as an added bonus, it is pretty easy to make. No need to be slaving away over a hot stove for hours and hours. I served this with a mix of my favorite ravioli and a salad.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoon butter, divided

2 shallots, finely minced

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoon tomato puree

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup Champagne

3 tablespoon flour

Heavy cream

Directions:

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet. Add the shallots and carrots and saute over medium-low heat until tender. Add the tomato puree and stir, cook until the mixture has begun to caramelize, 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and Champagne and stir to blend. Bring to a simmer and reduce to about 1/3.

Once the sauce has reduced, heat the remaining 3 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and whisk, let it cook for 2-3 minutes to form a roux. Add the roux to the carrot mixture in the skillet and stir to mix well. Whisk in a little heavy cream and more champagne and/or chicken stock until the sauce has reached desired consistency. (Here I tend to go a little heavy on the Champagne). Pass the sauce through a strainer to remove the shallots and carrots. Serve warm atop your favorite Ravioli.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Fotocuisine

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Raspberry Sauce

Raspberry Sauce

This is a delicious raspberry sauce with a gorgeous red color. Perfect for brownies, cakes, pies, ice cream. Do make sure to strain out the seeds so your sauce will be smooth and not crunchy.

Ingredients:

2 pints fresh raspberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoon raspberry liquor

Directions:

Combine raspberries and sugar in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until berries are broken down, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and liquor. Strain through a sieve to eliminate seeds.

Source: adapted from Emeril Lagasse

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Spagetthi al Pomodoreo al Forno

Spagetthi al Pomodoreo al Forno

I decided it would be fun to go to a cooking class at the Kitchen Barn. The class was hosted by Janie Jacobson and it turned out to be a really good class with lots of good information and some very delicious food. I was hoping for a little hands-on, but the class turned out to be an instructional class only. So what was on the menu you ask me, here it is:

  • Spaghetti al Pomodoro¬†al Forno (Spaghetti in Sauce with Baked Tomatoes)
  • Black-eyed Pea Salad with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Dressing
  • Tiramisu

I kept debating back and forth¬†which dish¬†I liked better and¬†the Spaghetti won……I think….or was it the Pea Salad? I guess that means I’ll just have to make them myself and test taste¬†them¬†again. In any case, I wanted to share with you the Spaghetti al Pomodoro¬†al Forno¬†dish. It’s made with anchovies and fresh tomatoes which are baked in the oven. Now, I have never cooked with anchovies before¬†and¬†let me just say this. They¬†are wonderful, however, I found it difficult to use real anchovies with their tiny little translucent bones. I know they simply just melt into the sauce but I think I’ll use anchovy¬†paste next time. The anchovies do¬†give a¬†nice subtle background¬†flavor that makes you go hmm what is that? Delicious. Note: the original recipe¬†suggested 10 anchovy fillets, I used only approx 5 anchovy fillets.

Roasting tomatoes and anchovies

Roasting tomatoes and anchovies

Ingredients:

1 lb Spaghetti

2 lb fresh tomatoes

5 anchovy fillets in oil, drained

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes

3/4 cup olive oil

15 sprigs of fresh parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To prepare the sauce slice the tomatoes horizontally into thick slices. Cover the bottom of an oven proof baking dish with a layer of the sliced tomatoes. Place the anchovies on top of tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Pour olive oil over tomatoes. Place baking dish with tomatoes in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Coarsely chop parsley and set aside until needed. Bring a pot of cold water to a boil. Season water generously with salt and cook spaghetti until desired consistency, drain and set aside. Once done, remove tomatoes from oven and pour over spaghetti. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and toss well before serving.

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