Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bold Flavors Before Bible Camp

We had Scandinavian Saturday on a Sunday this week! It was Hillary's turn to be my helper yesterday; but because of the girls' theatre performances, she wasn't home in the afternoon to help with any cooking (they didn't get home until about 7:00 P.M.)--and Susan and I were gone, too, a good chunk of the afternoon attending the show. So I decided to cook a Scandinavian meal today instead (Hillary can help me next Saturday when we'll get back "on track").

I usually prepare supper for Scandinavian Saturday, but today I made dinner instead so that the girls could eat with us. You see, they're headed off to Bible camp south of Medora this afternoon (having loved their stint at Bible camp there last summer--refresh your memory here, here, here, and here). I also usually prepare an appetizer as well as the main course and dessert, but today I skipped the app so as not to send them to camp too full to enjoy their supper and snacks there. Here's what I made:

main course
potato gratin with parsnips and sweet potatoes
venison with bleu cheese sauce

This recipe comes from Norwegian chef Andreas Viestad. I sliced potatoes, parsnips, and sweet potatoes (one could substitute rutabaga for sweet potato) and baked them in a creamy sauce (heavy cream, whole milk, garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg, grated Jarlsberg cheese), topping them with more cheese toward the end. It was a bit like scalloped potatoes but with more flavor.

We still have plenty of venison in our deep freeze, thanks to Susan's hunting father and brother. I made use of it with this recipe, which went nicely with the vegetable dish above. Venison seasoned with juniper berries is pretty Scandinavian, but juniper berries are hard to come by in local grocery stores. However, we found that ingredient at Le Gourmet Chef when we were in Bloomington, MN for the family reunion earlier this month. I dredged the venison in flour seasoned with juniper berries, salt, and pepper and then fried the steaks in butter and olive oil. Then I made a sauce of red onions, red wine, beef bouillon, marjoram, and bleu cheese and spooned it over the steaks. Very bold flavors!

fresh summerwhite peaches

We bought this variety of peach simply because these peaches were already ripe when we were grocery shopping last night (the yellower, more familiar Georgia peaches were not), but they made for a nice change of pace. Summerwhites have a gently sweet flavor and taste slightly of the fragrance of flowers. I ate mine unadorned, but Susan and the girls added cinnamon, sugar, and whole milk and liked them that way, too.

While I was cooking, Susan was helping the girls get packed for Bible camp. Now that we've eaten and they've loaded their things into the vehicle, we're ready to go. Stay tuned to Pensive? No, Just Thinking for more details about their time at Badlands Ministries this week!