Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Quick Meal That Wasn't

Halloween isn't so much a Scandinavian thing, so I had been racking my brain trying to think of an appropriate Nordic menu for last night's Scandinavian Saturday supper and hadn't come up with anything. Because I was in charge of chaperoning the girls for their afternoon and evening of trick-or-treating (remember?), Susan asked if I'd rather have a Scandinavian Sunday this week, and that was just fine with me.

However, because of a full day of Halloween events, I got very little done yesterday that I needed to for work and was hoping to catch up a bit today. So I selected a menu that I thought would be relatively quick . . . but I was wrong. Every Scandinavian meal seems to take me a long time, I guess because it's always something that I've never made before, so I have to follow the recipes carefully and make just one thing at a time in order to maintain my concentration and not burn whatever dish I'm working on at the moment! Moral of the story: still didn't get any work done today, but it was another fine meal.

I had Hillary, my helper this week, arrange some gourds to serve as table decoration.

We got to use a soup tureen tonight! Fancy.

We filled the tureen with blomkål suppe ["cauliflower soup"]. We sautéed onion, garlic, and curry powder in butter, then added carrots and celery, and finally added cauliflower (three kinds: white, orange, and purple!) and fresh parsley. We added turkey stock and chicken stock and set it to boil. In a separate pan, we melted butter and whisked in flour and whole milk. We took that off the heat and added half-and-half. Then we added that to the stock and vegetables, adding dill and other seasonings to the soup. It simmered for a long time and was burn-your-tongue hot when we ladled it from the tureen into our soup bowls, stirring in sour cream at the last minute for extra creaminess.

Hillary made salat med agurk ["lettuce salad with cucumbers"] all by herself! She tossed some mixed salad greens and chopped cucumber in a cucumber-ranch dressing. She put individual portions at everybody's place setting and added sea-salt-and-pepper croutons to each plate. Refreshing!

We baked reke, krabbe, og kamskjell med dill og hvitløk ["shrimp, crab, and scallops with dill and garlic"]. It was essentially an Italian shrimp scampi recipe with extra seafood and with dill for a Norwegian touch! We marinated the seafood in olive oil, white wine, kosher salt, and black pepper. Into some softened butter, we mashed garlic, shallots, fresh parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, the zest and juice from a fresh lemon, panko, kosher salt, and black pepper. That served as the topping for the seafood, which we baked until the crust was brown and the butter was bubbling. It was sinfully delicious!

For dessert we served fersken blåbær smuldre ["peach blueberry crumble"] with vanilla ice cream. We mixed peaches and blueberries with the zest and juice from a fresh lemon, sugar, flour, and cardamom and poured that mixture into individual ramekins. With a mixer we combined flour, white sugar, brown sugar, kosher salt, cinnamon, and diced cold butter to make the crumble with which we topped each ramekin. It looks terrific, doesn't it? However, I added too much cardamom; the peaches weren't cooked through; and I wasn't thrilled with the gooey-ness that the flour created in the juice from the fruits. Live and learn.

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