Monday, December 17, 2012

Beef, Mushroom and Farro Soup

We are so busy this time of year getting ready for Christmas. Meals tend to be hearty and easy. If they give us leftovers, all the better. Soup seems to fit the bill a lot.

This classic soup is fill of umami and will keep you satified on a cold winter night.

We used farro in this soup because we didn't have enough barley on hand, you can certainly substitute.

Beef, Mushroom and Farro Soup

1 T olive oil
1 lb stew beef
8 oz button mushrooms
2 yellow onions sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 c beef broth
2 c water
2 T soy sauce
1 t crushed, dried rosemary
1 c farro
salt and pepper

In a large heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the beef. Add the beef to the pot and sauté until cooked through. Add the mushrooms and onions. Sauté a minute or two until the onions are tender and the mushrooms have released their liquid. Add the garlic sauté another minute. Add the broth, water, soy sauce and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Add the farro. Bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat, cover leaving the cover open slightly and simmer for 20 minutes or until the farro is tender (it should still have a slight toothiness to it). If it seems too thick add another cup of water. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Serve with a crusty bread.

Makes 6 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese with Pickled Onions

Oh my gosh, where did the time go? This past month has just been a blur with Christmas shopping, a minor surgery, traveling for the holidays and work and lots of holiday craft projects. It's time I got back to sharing food with you all.

If you remember when I was last chatting with you all, I told you about the amazing dinner we had at Geranium in Copenhagen. One of our favorite dishes was this Hay Cheese Soup with Pickled Onions and Bread Crumbs.
Matt thought it was a fantasic inspiration for a macaroni and cheese. He was so right, though perhaps it is not as refined a version. This could top the list as my favorite version of our homemade mac and cheese. The pickled onions add such a wonderful bite against the creamy cheese while the pumpernickel bread crumbs add crunch and a toasty flavor.
Mac & Cheese with Pickled Onions
It is really quite an easy dish to make, you just have to remember to pickle the onions ahead of time. I like to do them in the morning for that night's dinner. The longer they sit in the brine the more pickled they will get.

Macaroni and Cheese with Pickled Onions

Pickled Onions

1/2 c white vinegar
1 1/2 T sugar
1/8 t crushed red pepper
1/4 t salt
1 c sliced onion

In a small microwave safe bowl heat the vinegar, sugar, red pepper & salt in the microwave on high for about one minute. Stir until the sugar & salt are dissolved. Put in a jar or plastic container. Add the onions & stir to combine. Refrigerate covered for at least 30 minutes. They get stronger the longer they sit.

Macaroni and Cheese

3/4 lb spiral macaroni
1 Tbs unsalted butter + extra for the top
1/8 C flour
1 C milk
1/2 C heavy cream
9oz mild cheese, chopped into small pieces (we wanted to use Vlaskaas, a Dutch cheese made with flax, but it was out of season, so we went when a young gouda instead. Graskaas made when the cows eat the fresh spring grass would be fabulous too.)
pinch dry mustard
pumpernickel bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cook pasta according to directions drain and set aside.

In a small saucepan melt butter over med-low heat. Add flour an stir constantly for 1 minute. Do not allow to brown. Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Stir until hot and smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Turn heat to low and add cheese. Whisk until melted. Add a pinch of dry mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pickled onions. Mic the cooked pasta, cheese sauce and pickled onions together. Spoon into a casserole dish. Top with pumpernickel bread crumbs and scatter a few small pats of butter around the top.
Mac & Cheese with Pickled Onions
Bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 4 - 5 servings

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eating Copenhagen - Geranium

When we first decided to go to Copenhagen this year our goals was to eat at Noma, called the best restaurant in the world for 5 years. So, that found Matt on his computer at 3am one July morning when the October reservations for Noma were open. After 70 minutes of not even getting into the reservation system he gave up. We hear approximately 20,000 people try to get a reservation each month they open up. We were a little disappointed, but we knew Copenhagen offered lots of other modern Scandinavian cooking.

Fast forward three months and we find ourselves at the national football stadium in Copenhagen. Yes, football stadium. We weren't there for a match, but to experience a meal we'll never forget.
Around the back of the stadium a modern entrance and elevator whisked us to the eighth floor and a sleek, window filled restaurant called Geranium. Our meal started in the lounge of the restaurant for snacks and champagne.
Geranium Geranium
Danish design, candles and a modern fireplace give the space the coziness that the Danes so love. We'd settled in with our choice of bubbly and the courses began arriving. Each course was beautifully presented and described by the staff. We were given the choice of adding a wine or juice pairing to the meal, we went for the wine pairing (might has well go all out).We've got 22 course so let's dive in.
Geranium Geranium
Seaweed chips with a little creamy dip on them. Crispy carrot and seabuckthorn. The carrot was a delicate shell around the seabuckthorn filling. We had seasbuckthorn at a few places in Copenhagen, an ingredient we'd never had before. It has a flavor a bit like persimmon. The silver dish
Geranium Geranium
Bread sticks with sea salt cheese and ramson. Ramson is a form of wild leek not too unlike ramps. Dried flowers and apple. Edible flowers were something we were to see in a few dishes throughout the evening and looks so lovely as well as tasting good.
Geranium Geranium Geranium
Pickled mushroom soup served in an egg cup. "Razor Clams," really these were a clam salad inside a cracker shell, so clever. Jerusalem artichoke "tree" and walnut oil. I love jerusalem artichokes and they made for such a wonderful cracker. Plus the presentation of the edible branches and leaves with the real was stunning.
Geranium Geranium
Burned Potatoes and sheep's milk butter. This dish had a fun story about being a boy scout and cooking potatoes over an open fire until they were black on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside. These were not burned on the outside, but soft and perfect with the spoonful of butter.

Now that we were done with snacks, it was time to head into the dining room for the rest of our meal. I can't say enough about everyone who served us during the meal, they really added to the experience. You are served by a handful of servers and chefs from the kitchen. We didn't realize until after the meal that we were actually being served by the head chef and co-owner, Rasmus Kofoed.
Geranium Geranium
Jellied ham and tomato water, a light little jewel of a soup with surprisingly crisp flavors. "Dillstones" and fermented vegetables, such a stunning dish. The dillstones are actually a dill gel filled with smoked salmon. They were served with a fermented vegetable dip.
Geranium Geranium
"Elements from Ocean & Beach" was certainly a wonderful scallop dish, but the way it was served was the highlight. The broth is aerated in special two chamber glass which makes it all frothy like the ocean hitting the shore. Then it is poured into your bowl.
Heather-smoked hake, picked heather and moss. The heather smoke add such flavor to this and the moss was quite a surprise with a lot of texture.
Geranium Geranium Geranium
Rather than leave bread out through the whole meal this warm emmer and spelt bread is served as its own course with some beautiful butter. Next came a course that could have been our favorite, onions and melted hay cheese. A cheese soup studded with pickled onions. Bread crumbs are sprinkled on top from the inside of a horn. The mild cheese with the pickles was a perfect combination.
Geranium Geranium Geranium
"Irons and Minerals" consisted of types of cabbage topped with an oyster sauce. Lobster and hay aroma was presented with the lobster on a cover tray and a smoking bunch of hay. We were so surprised at how much flavor that hay added to the lobster even if it was just the scent.
Geranium Geranium Geranium
For the next course, herbgarden, the broth was seeped at the table like a tea and then poured over a bed of herbs. This was actually the least successful dish for me as I found the herbs to be overly bitter. The final dinner course was venison, red leaves and stems. Beautifully cooked venison was served with beets and a vanilla bean. I thought this would be heavy after so much other food, but the little bit of red meat was actually just want we wanted.
Geranium Geranium Geranium
Next we were invited into the kitchen for a palette cleanser. The kitchen was pretty calm as it was later in the service, but it was really fun to be back there and see everyone at work. I love the picture with their Bocuse d'Or awards watching over them. While in the kitchen, we were served and elderflower soda, really a jelly with a foam on top.
Geranium Geranium
Now it was time for desserts. First was a frozen herb tea with white chocolate, bright and light with a cold you don't expect with those flavors. The next dessert was gorgeous, "Flora Danica" and goat's milk cream. Look at those beautiful flowers against that white cream and dish. It tasted good too.
Geranium Geranium
The green chocolate eggs looked almost too pretty to eat on a bed of pine needles. Finally, we were served thin sweet carrot leaves to end the evening.
As we left, we were both given a folder with the menu from the evening and list of the wines we had (we had twelve wines throughout the meal), plus a box of sweets to take home for later.

Details: Our dinner reservation was a 7:30pm and we were there until almost 11:00pm, we were eating or drinking something that whole time. Geranium has one Michelin star and was named 49th best restaurant in the world this year. Eating there is an amazing experience, but one you will pay a lot for (Copenhagen is a city where a coke can easily cost you $6), Matt and I gave this dinner to each other as an anniversary present. They have a set tasting menu, but are will try to work around dietary restrictions. I think it would be very hard to eat there though if you didn't eat fish and seafood. They take online reservations and we had no trouble getting one a couple months out. Lastly, we found Geranium and a few of the other great restaurants we visited thanks to the wonderful Danish blog, Very Good Food.

I still have one more Denmark post for you, next time we'll visit the meat packing district...

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, October 29, 2012

Easy Kanelsnegle

We have our fair share of good bakeries in the Twin Cities. One of them, Patisserie 46, was recently called one of the best patisseries in the world! But none of the ones we've tried have the Austrian-style pastries we had gotten just a little addicted to in Denmark. In particular, I find myself craving a kanelsnegle around 4:00 in the afternoon.
Copenhagen 2012
(Kanelsnegle at a Copenhagen bakery.)

So, it was time to make my own. Kanelsnegle is a cinnamon roll, but unlike the bready rolls we tend to see here in the states, these are flaky, like a danish. Now, I could make my own butter laminated bread like I did for the Daring Bakers Danish Braid Challenge, but I wanted something that I could make quickly in the morning for fika in the afternoon. This called for that time saver, frozen puff pastry.
Easy Kanelsnegle
What an easy way to whip up a fresh batch of light, flaky cinnamon rolls. Are they exactly like what we got in Copenhagen? No, of course not, but they were close enough to satisfy. Plus, since they were much smaller, they don't feel like such a huge indulgence.

Easy Kanelsnegle (flaky cinnamon rolls)

1/2 package of frozen puff pastry (1 sheet), thawed
unsalted room temperature butter
1 T sugar
1 egg
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place a silicone mat on a baking sheet. Unfold or roll the puff pastry out on top of the mat. Spread with a light coat of butter, leaving about 1/2 inch on one short side unbuttered. Sprinkle on the sugar and a generous amount of cinnamon (I didn't measure the cinnamon, I just sprinkled until it looked well covered.)
Easy Kanelsnegle
Whisk the egg together with about 1 tablespoon of water. Roll the pastry up with the unbuttered side being last. Put a little of the egg and water mixture on that unbuttered end to seal the roll.
Easy Kanelsnegle
Slice the roll into 1/2 - 3/4 inch discs. Place flat side down on the baking sheet. I pressed them down slightly. Brush with the egg and water mixture.
Easy Kanelsnegle
Bake for 15 minutes or until risen and brown. Move to a rack to cool.

Make a glaze by stirring a little milk into some powdered sugar. Just a couple tablespoons of sugar should be enough. You want a thick glaze and will need much less milk than you think. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more as needed. Spoon the glaze on top of the cooled rolls and let harden.

I think these rolls are best served at room temperature.

Makes 8 small rolls. (I actually only used 1/2 of a sheet of puff pastry which made 4 rolls which were the perfect sweet with coffee for Matt and I.)

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Torvehallerne and Tivoli

Let's get back to Copenhagen. One of the places Matt was really looking forward to visiting was Torvehallerne, the food halls.
Copenhagen 2012
The food halls, in the Nørreport neighborhood, are two large glass buildings that are a foodies delight.
Copenhagen 2012
Inside the buildings are stalls selling all things food; fish, meats, bread, cheese, candy, wine and even kitchen tools. Mixed in with these retail stalls are small restaurant/bars. It was a perfect place to stop for lunch. At lunchtime, the food halls we pleasantly busy, when we walked through in the early evening they were very busy with people grabbing a snack and a drink after work.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
Our first stop was Hallernes Smørrebrød for a few of the open faced sandwiches so popular in Denmark.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
There was quite a selection of fresh sandwiches, so we got three to share; potato with mayo, onions, chives, thyme and fried onions, liver paté with bacon and pickled beets (the Danes are some of the biggest liver paté eaters in the world), and smoked herring with a raw egg yolk. They were all fantastic and full of flavors. As someone who typically eats my herring pickled, the smoked herring was really eye opening, so tasty.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
Then it was time for something sweet so we headed to Agnes Cupcakes.
Copenhagen 2012
We had a quince tea and pear cupcake and a raspberry cheese. These were lovely, moist cupcakes with interesting flavor combinations. I've never seen a raspberry cupcake so studded with raspberries.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
Many of the sides of the food halls open up completely and spill out to the plaza which is full of fruit and vegetable stands as well as picnic tables and a fire pit. I found someone serving glasses of hot glögg which was perfect on a chilly afternoon in the sun.

One place everyone told us we had to go in Copenhagen was Tivoli, an amusement park, garden, concert venue. It was closed most of the time we were there, but on our last night it was open redecorated for Halloween. On our way though, we had to stop at one of the most popular places to eat in Copenhagen, a hot dog stand. We had to see what all the fuss was about.
Copenhagen 2012
We order two dogs. The first was a French dog, which is basically a hot dog in the middle of a baguette. Good, but not a taste sensation. The second was a Danish specialty, the Ristet dog. A Ristet is topped with ketchup, mustard, remoulade, pickled cucumbers and fried onions. It was totally messed to eat on the go, but incredibly good. Need to make that one at home. With a good snack under our belt, we had the strength to explore Tivoli and all its lights.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
We aren't really ride people, but we had a fun evening walking around people watching, drinking warm drinks, shopping in souvenir stands, and watching shows in Danish. There are tons of food options in Tivoli from high-end at the Nimb Hotel (which is attached to Tivoli) to quick family fare. We were craving noodles, so we went to Wagamama. We'd eaten at the one in London, so it wasn't new to us, but their fresh Asian cooking is always good.

Next time I'll tell you about our splurge dinner at Geranium...

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski
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