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Norwegian Themed Dinner

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    Posted: 16 November 2014 at 09:35
For our next themed dinner we’re going to Norway.

We’ve made, and posted, several Norwegian dishes in the past, such as roast chicken with saffron and cinnamon, and rosemary cod with vanilla rutabaga (http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/rosemary-cod-with-vanilla-rutabaga_topic4242.html).

For the themed meal we’ll be doing all new dishes, with one exception: Bergnsk Fiskesuppe (http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/bergensk-fiskesuppe_topic3216.html). We’ll be repeating it for several reasons. First, as an homage to Ron, who loves it, and who turned us on not only to that wonderful fish soup, but to Norwegian cuisine in general; second, because it sums up all that’s good about Norwegian food; and, last, because it’s delicious.

Below is our planned menu. If anyone has comments or suggestions for changes, we’d love to hear them. We especially want to hear why you would or would not include a particular dish.

Here’s the menu:

Bread: Urteloff (herbed bread)
Appy: Appetittbiter (assorted open-faced sandwich tidbits)
Soup: Bergensk Fiskesuppe (Bergen Fish Soup)
Main: Festtorsk (party cod)
          Surkdl (sweet & sour cabbage)
          Hasselbackpoteter (Hasselback potatoes)
Dessert: Tolslorte Bondepiker (veiled peasant girls)

Why those choices?

There are lots of holiday breads in Norway, but we wanted one that would be more everyday, and which would serve as a base for the open-faced sandwiches.

Open-faced sandwiches are usually associated with Denmark. But they’re just as popular in Norway, probably because it was part of Denmark for about four centuries.

We chose the Festtorsk because it’s more complex than most cod dishes in Norway, which mostly are simply boiled (well, simmered) or baked. The Surkdl and Hasselbackpoterter just seemed like natural accompaniments to the fish.

And we went with the Tolslorte Bondepiker---which also translates as vieled farm girls and peasant girls in the mist---simply because we liked the name.

Waddayathink?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2014 at 03:49
Sounds wonderful to me Brook....you've got my Scandanavian part all excited. I've been doing some reading on Norse cooking myself lately, and am about to pull the trigger on a menu from Iceland. I have not put the final touches on the menu...we'll just say that the fermented shark is most definitely out....I noticed that you quite wisely left lutefiskke (sp?)off your menu as well.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2014 at 06:44
Only cuz we want the best of edible Norwegian foods. Lutefisk is a lot of things, seems to me, but palatable isn't one of them.

On your Icelandic meal, where are you going to get some of those more esoteric ingredients?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2014 at 12:50
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

Only cuz we want the best of edible Norwegian foods. Lutefisk is a lot of things, seems to me, but palatable isn't one of them.

On your Icelandic meal, where are you going to get some of those more esoteric ingredients?

Luckily Brook I should not need too many out of the realm ingredients. My entree is going to be baked cod or haddock served with a butter/hard boiled egg sauce. The dessert will be icelandic pancakes (crepes) with jam and whipped cream.

I intend to make a very slow baked (8 hours) dark rye bread as well, and that calls for a local ingredient (local to iceland) called  "golden syrup", which I beleive is based on honey given the Nordic history of Iceland. It is available online for a king's ransom, so I will investigate other alternatives as well.

I will also serve caremelized potatoes as well, so that leaves just the appetizer to decide.

So far all  I need is potato starch (tapioca or cornstarch can sub) and the golden syrup for the rye b read...I'll let you know how I make out.

I think you would be very interested in this bread Brook....traditionally it is buried over a geothermal vent and left for 24 hours. I will do a post specifically for the bread whn this whole thing comes to fruition.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 November 2014 at 06:25
That bread does sound interesting, Dave.

Potato starch shouldn't be all that hard to find. It's a fairly commonly used ingredient, both in baking and as a binder.

More and more, as I do the research, I'm convinced that we really only need use "Scandinavian" as the qualifier. To be sure, there are some differences, country to country. But we can think of those as regional specialties within the overall cuisine.

A lot of this results, I believe, from the fact that most of Scandinavia was, in effect, part of a Danish empire for many years. This served as a culinary leveling agent.

To my mind, the real problem replicating Scandinavian food is acquiring some of those Arctic products. There is, for instance, a whole hatful of berries that only grow in the far north. Cloudberries come to mind, for instance. And reindeer, alas, isn't something you find at the local Stop & Shop.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2014 at 02:52
I agree wholeheartedly about just referring to it as a "Scandinavian" meal Brook.  After all The Danes did run basically all of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and of course Iceland for many years. The one thing I can find peculiar to Iceland is a much greater use of lamb in the diet. Free range lamb has become quite a staple in their diet as they graze on the grasses and berries during the long summer days. Other than that, the diet is just as a Swede or Norwegian's would be. A bit more venison in the Fin's diet.

Did you know there is a McDonald's only accessible by snowmachine that has reindeer burgers on the menu?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2014 at 06:18
Didn't know that, Dave. But doesn't surprise me. MickeyD's has specialty dishes in several parts of the world catering to local tastes. Some of them in New England sell lobster rolls, for instance.

As to the snow machine; living in the far north requires adaptation to the environment. Snowmobiles and helicopters are as common up there as Jeeps in our back-country.

Back in the '90s, Friend Wife and I had the great good fortune to spend several weeks in Swedish Lappland. One of our hosts described the climate thus: We have ten months of winter and two months of bad snowmobiling.

Although he said it jokingly, those of us who live in more clement climes often don’t realize the effects time of year can have on life in extreme climates.

We once met a Canadian Ranger and his family in northern British Columbia. They live 200 river miles from the nearest town. One of the things he explained, that I’d never given thought to, was that their bad times were spring and fall, not winter as we’d have thought. Reason: During those periods the river isn’t navigatable, or, at least, isn’t safely so. Come what may, therefore, in spring and fall---essentially four months of the year---they were stuck.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2014 at 09:18
Dave, is the Icelandic golden syrup different from the golden syrup that's common in England and most of Europe?



if it's not different, I can get it pretty readily around here. In fact I have an unopened tin just like above in my cupboard. I could probably get it to you fairly easily.

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A bit more venison in the Fin's diet.

I wonder if that's really true, Dave. When we were in Sweden it seems as though all we ever got to eat was reindeer and salmon.

I overstate it, of course. But all through Scandinavia they eat a much higher proportion of game than anywhere else I know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 November 2014 at 02:32
Originally posted by pitrow pitrow wrote:

Dave, is the Icelandic golden syrup different from the golden syrup that's common in England and most of Europe?



if it's not different, I can get it pretty readily around here. In fact I have an unopened tin just like above in my cupboard. I could probably get it to you fairly easily.


Yes it is Mike....I've done a bit more research and it seems like it's not a big deal. The advice on most of the Scandinavian sites is to just substitute corn syrup, so I guess I'm all set. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 November 2014 at 10:45
Originally posted by Hoser Hoser wrote:

Yes it is Mike....I've done a bit more research and it seems like it's not a big deal. The advice on most of the Scandinavian sites is to just substitute corn syrup, so I guess I'm all set. Thumbs Up


Good deal! Can't wait to see your results. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2014 at 05:33
So, we had our Norwegian dinner last night, and it worked out great.

First course was a selection of open-faced sandwich tidbits. I used commercial rye bread and , pumpernickel, shaped with my smallest cookie cutters, plus split gougeres for these plates.

Each plate held three of the mini-sandwiches, using a ham, shrimp, and anchovy mixture. Plus I added a couple of Jarlsberg slices. If anyone wants the recipes for the salads/spreads, just ask.

Here are the recipes for the actual dinner:

BERGENSK FISKESUPPE
One of the best fish soups I’ve ever tasted. Because we have a complete thread on this (http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/bergensk-fiskesuppe_topic3216.html), no need to post the recipe here. But if you sample nothing else from Scandinavia, do give Bergensk Fiskesuppe a try.

URTELOFF
(Norwegian Herbed Bread)


There are numerous Norwegian breads. Most of them are more rustic ryes and pumpernickles. This one is a soft, airy white bread that’s an ideal match for soups and stews, as well as a general table bread.

One note: The dough will absorb a lot more of the second flour addition than you might think. I used about half a cup, and it could have taken more. So let your fingers determine when the dough is ready.

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 ¼ cups warm water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
¼ cup (50 g) butter at room temp
4 cups (500 g) bread flour
¼ cup softened butter
¾ cup mixed fresh herbs such as dill, chives, parsley, basil, marjoram, finely chopped
1 egg beaten with 1 tbls water

Dissolve yeast in water in a large bowl. Add sugar and salt. Work ¼ cup butter into 3 cups flour as you would for pie crust. Add to yeast mixture. Knead 7 minutes until dough is pliable and smooth. This is a very slack dough, almost batter-like. Add a tablespoon or two more flour to create cohesiveness if necessary.

Cover and let rise in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 435F

Remove dough to a floured surface and work in as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a smooth dough. Roll the dough out to 10 x 20 inches. Spread softened butter across the dough. Sprinkle with finely chopped herbs. Beginning with the long edge, roll the bread up jelly roll fashion and place seam down on a parchment covered baking sheet. With a sharp knife make diagonal cuts, on top of the bread’s surface, about 1-inch apart. Cover and let rise 20 minutes. Brush with egg wash and bake 20 minutes

FESTTORSK
(Norwegian Party Cod)


We tend to jump on salmon as being iconically Scandinavian. But the fact is, cod is much closer to being Norway’s national fish. Norwegian’s eat it in all sorts of ways, plain and fancy. This is one of the more fancy versions, well worth the effort.

As should be obvious, this is more a method than an actual recipe. You just have to eyeball quantities, based on the amount of fish you’ll be using. I made my own pickled onions, using Michael Simon’s recipe. But you can just as easily go with a commercial version.


Slice cod filets into uniform square serving pieces. Dip in slightly beaten egg white and salted zwieback crumbs. Lightly brown fish in margarine. Lay half of fish pieces in an oven-proof casserole. Mix a few chopped pickled onions with a little butter and top each section of fish with a spoonful. Make a second layer of remaining fish. Sprinkle one tablespoon grated Jarlsberg or other mild cheese on each section and to with cooked spinach mixed with a little mayonnaise. Bake in 450F oven for 5-8 minutes. Serve at once. Decorate with tomatoes and parsley

SURKAL
(Norwegian Sweet/Sour Red Cabbage)


Just about every country in northern Europe has a sweet & sour red cabbage dish. Differences are sometimes subtle. This Norwegian version is marked as special both by the use of current juice, and the absence of other sugar.

Sm head red cabbage (about 1 ½ lbs)
1/3 cup bacon fat
1 lg apple, chopped
2 tsp salt     
2 tbls caraway seed
1 cup current juice or vinegar
2 tbls sugar if using vinegar

Quarter the cabbage, remove the core, and slice thin. Toss with the salt and caraway seed.

Melt the bacon fat in a large, heavy pot. Layer the cabbage and apple. Pour in the current juice.

Cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours.

HASSELBACKPOTETER
(Hasselback Potatoes)


I remember with Hasselback potatoes first became popular. Seemingly overnight they swept the world, and everyone was doing them. Don’t know exactly where they originated, but they’re incredibly popular in Norway to this day.

Personally, I prefer making them with the skin on. Norwegians, far as my research shows, almost always peel them.


4 med oval baking potatoes
2 tbls butter
2 tbls butter, melted
Salt
Grated Jarlsberg cheese
Paprika

Peel potatoes.. Using a wooden spoon or pair of chopsticks as spacers, slice potatoes almost through, making ¼-inch slices. Leave about a half inch on each end of potato. Hold in a bowl of cold water, to prevent discoloration, until needed.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Butter a casserole. Drain and thoroughly dry potatoes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake. After 30 minutes brush again with melted butter.

Five minutes before complete, sprinkle with cheese and paprika.

Total baking time should be about 50 minutes.

TILSLORTE BONDEPIKER
(Peasant Girls In The Mist)


I fell in love with this dessert as soon as I read the name. It’s also called Veiled Peasant Girls and Veiled Farm Girls. All three evoke an image borne out by the actual dish.

Traditionally, this dessert starts with whole apples. Using applesauce is an adaptation from Andreas Viestad, and it’s a good one.

1 ½ cups bread crumbs
3 tbls superfine sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbls unsalted butter
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups applesauce, chilled
½ cup chopped hazelnuts

In a nonstick skillet combine the bread crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter, stirring constantly until crumbs are uniformly golden. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff

Layer the applesauce, bread crumbs and cream in individual glass bowls, creating at least two layers. The top layer sold be whipped cream “veiling” the dish. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2014 at 05:37
Source Materials

Although the internet was invaluable for learning about Norwegian food culture, I actually relied more heavily on two books.

Authentic Norwegian Cooking (Ekte Norsk Mat), Astrid Karlsen Scott, Nordic Advenures, Olympia, Washington, 1976

Kitchen of Light, Andreas Viestad, Artisan Press, New York, 2003
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2016 at 09:05
Good grief - I missed this one, too! I do apologise, my friend.

This is an amazing dinner menu and a great discussion. I could dive into that entire dinner - especially now, as I look out my window onto several inches of crusted snow, and a reading of 13 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.

Outstanding work - one that makes me want to embrace my Scandinavian blood yet again.

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2016 at 09:07
Dave! How did yours turn out?
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