Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hey, Good Lookin', Whatcha Got Cookin'?

Another Scandinavian Saturday is upon us; and having already prepared tasty Norwegian cuisine with each of our children taking a turn as my helper the past several weeks, tonight I was joined by Susan herself as my kitchen companion. She started by offering to give me the night off so that she cook using up some of the ingredients bought for a (non-Scandinavian) meal earlier in the week that she never got to make due to all the leftovers that had to be consumed instead. However, I found some recipes that would enable us to use our on-hand ingredients in a Norwegian way, so together we made this meal:

smoked salmon deviled eggs

We ate 'em before we got the camera out, so no photo available. However, this one was a no-brainer. We had most of the three dozen dyed Easter eggs (remember?) still on hand, so the boiling and cooling was already done. Hard-boiled eggs are easy for Suzanna to swallow (remember?), and deviled eggs are a treat that we don't often have but that are a logical menu item at Easter (along with potato salad and egg salad). I peeled the eggs, halved them, removed the yolks, and arranged them on a decorative glass platter made especially for deviled eggs. Susan deviled the yolks and folded chopped red onion, capers, and smoked salmon into the mix before filling each egg half. The girls wolfed them down in no time at all.

main course
chicken in gjetost sauce
roasted root vegetables

Susan cut a variety of root vegetables into rough cubes: parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, carrot, sweet potato, onion, and potato. She tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and grilling seasoning and roasted them in the oven. Delicious--and we predict that the leftovers will make a delicious soup (thrown into a food processor and then heated in a pot with chicken stock, seasonings, cream . . . yum!).

We had a whole chicken in the freezer, so I removed the skin and cut it into serving-sized pieces, rubbed them with salt and white pepper, and browned them in butter. Then I simmered the chicken in sherry and chicken stock. I removed the chicken and added heavy cream and chopped parsley to the sauce. Once it was thickened, I added a cup of shredded gjetost cheese, poured the sauce over the chicken, and garnished it with more fresh parsley. The sauce had a rich, salty flavor, and the chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender. Except for the butchering of the poultry, this was an easy-to-make recipe that I would happily make again.

lingonberry cake

Susan tossed together the ingredients and baked this before preparing the vegetables, so it was cooled sufficiently and ready to serve by the end of the meal. She poured into a baking pan a standard batter--flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, and egg--and then spread over it some lingonberry preserves. She sprinkled a streusel over the top--oatmeal, butter, sugar, and vanilla--before baking. I topped each piece of cake with a generous amount of Schwan's vanilla ice cream before serving, and Susan and I had coffee with our dessert.

It was fun to cook alongside Susan, and it was another great meal as part of our new tradition of Scandinavian recipes on Saturdays.

P.S. Another great new tradition on Saturdays: having the girls wash and dry dishes with me afterward. Not content merely to dry while I wash, they have taken to bargaining with me: if they dry such-and-such, may they be allowed to take over the washing of this and that? So we switch off the washing and drying duties, and I put away whatever belongs on shelves beyond their reach. Great to have the help and the additional visiting time!

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