Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Dinner

I hope everyone in the States had a lovely 4th of July yesterday with good friends, great food and lovely fireworks.
Since we are still new to the US, we did not get to experience a real American 4th of July, but we were so lucky to be invited to spend the evening with some of the other local Danes in the community and our lovely Canadian neighbors.
We agreed on a pot lock dinner and I had to bring a salad.
But me being me – I couldn’t just bring 1 and ended up making 3 to my husbands great despair, because it meant that we ended up being 15 minutes late.
(In Danish culture it is common to come at the exact time that you are invited to and preferable not more than 5 – 10 minutes late in social matters)

Be we got there and I think everyone survived in spite of my tardiness.

I had a lot of good thing in the fridge from my CSA farm and since a lot of the local produce simply does not exist in Denmark it was unfamiliar territory for me.
But hey – trail and error is a great way to learn and they turned out really well.
I hope you will enjoy them as much as me.

Red Russian Kale, Baked Beats and Goats Cheese

Red Russian Kale (as much as you like – I had about 10 leafes)
3 medium beets
1 Lemon
Goats Cheese
Olive oil

Wash the beats and bake them in the oven for about 40 minutes with oregano, salt and olive oil.
Blanch the green leafs of the Kale for 1 minute and quickly put them in ice water afterwards to stop the boiling.
This gives them a deeper green color and makes them nicer in texture.
Drain the leafs and make sure to get of as much of the excess water as possible.
Melt a good knob of butter in a pan on a medium heat.
Cut the lemon in half and fry them in the butter – the cut side down onto the pan.
When the lemon has a nice caramel like color, you turn of the heat and press all the lemon juice into the pan with a little extra butter, salt, pepper and sugar to your taste.
In general a dressing should be a little bit to sour and a bit to salty.

When the beets are done, you let them cool off and then peel the skin of.
If you are lucky, you simply cut of the top and press the beet hard between your hands and it comes right out of its skin.
I used an apple corer to make the beets into cylinder shapes, but luckily they taste the same not matter the shape, so do it as you prefer.

Cut the kale into mouth size pieces and dress them in the still warm butter and lemon dressing.
Arrange all the ingredients on a platter and drizzle pieces of goat’s cheese on top.

Red Russian Kale is not a vegetable I know from Europe and I would say that it resembles Grøn Kål (a common kind of curly kale in Denmark) but with a slightly milder taste and flatter leaves.

Green beans, Spicy Green Wave Mustard and Bacon

1 pound of green beans
1 good bunch of spicy green wave mustard
1 pack organic bacon or pancetta
Balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic

Nip the ends of the green beans and blanch them – again staight into ice water afterwards.
Once they have cooled of, strain them into a colander and let them drip dry in the sink.
Fry the bacon/Pancetta in a large pan. If you use pancetta, then help it along with a little olive oil.
They need to be nice and crispy.
Put the bacon aside.
Now you have a pan with bacon fat/pancetafat and olive oil. Use this to make the dressing.
Turn the heat of, but keep it on the stove.
Give your 2 garlic cloves a good bash and put them into the pan to flavor the oil.
Then you put balsamic vinegar (about the same amount as the bacon fat) into the pan and let it deglace the pan.
This warm dressing should have a slightly sweet taste from the balsamic vinegar – but ajust it to you taste.
Wash and cut the spicy green wave mustard into bite sizes pieces and have a taste. If they are really spicy, put them straight into the warm pan. This will reduse the flavor.
If not, then wait till the pan is a temperature that you can handle the dressing with your fingers.
Take the garlic cloves out of the pan and mix first the mustard and then the beans in the warm dressing.
Crumble the bacon on top and arrange onto a platter.

Spicy Green Wave Mustard is a form of lettuce that has a strong taste of mustard. It is somewhat similar to wild arugula in strength, but has much larger leafs and a dijon hot mustard taste.

Danish Cucumber Salad With Dill

4 cucumbers
1 large bunch of chopped dill
4 tablespoons of vinegar (I use apple vinegar)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Peel the cucumbers, cut them in half and then into big chunks.
If the pits are really big you can take them out, but I never do.
Mix the rest of the ingredients into a dressing in the bowl that you will serve the salad in.
Mix the cucumbers into the dressing and let it set for about 30 minutes on the countertop, mixing them when ever you get a chance in between cooking the rest of the meal.
This is a very traditional summer salad and it goes perfecly with chicken, but you can eat it with almost anything.

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