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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Easy Vegetable Curry

Let's talk a break from travel posts for a recipe. After being gone, I didn't really have a menu plan for the week, but I did have some vegetables in the house that needed to be used up. Matt has been asking for a curry for a while, so that seemed like a good way to go.
Easy Vegetable Curry
This curry could not be simpler. Just sauté your vegetables, add the seasoning and liquid then let it simmer for a while. The nice thing is you can pretty much make it with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Don't have leeks, use an onion. Don't have a squash, use a sweet or regular potato. Have some green beans or peas, throw them in too. A big part of the flavor for this comes from your curry powder, so use a good one.

Easy Vegetable Curry

1 T olive oil
2 leek (or one onion), sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
1 small squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 T curry powder (or more to taste)
4 oz blanch kale leaves, chopped
14 oz crushed or diced tomatoes
5.5 oz coconut milk
sirracha to taste
4 servings hot rice

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the leeks, carrots, parsnip and squash. Sauté until the leeks are soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and curry powder. Stir for about 1 minutes. Add the kale, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 - 40 or until the vegetables are tender.

Add sirracha and salt to taste.

Makes 4 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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Copenhagen - An Overview

After a wonderful couple of days in Iceland we were off to Copenhagen. We were looking forward to some of that great Scandinavian cooking we'd had in Stockholm last year. We were not disappointed, but before I get into some of the specific meals we had I thought I'd do a little overview of our time in Copenhagen.

We stayed at the quirky Anderson Boutique Hotel in the Vesterbro district. Since we were there for a week we booked a larger "Brillant" room in the Princess color scheme (our other choice was Mermaid).
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
The hotel just opened this May, so even though the building retains some of its historic character everything is shiny and new. We loved being under the eaves on the top floor. The room came with a European style breakfast, so we stuffed ourselves every morning on meat, cheese, pastries, yogurt, boiled eggs and granola. The hotel lobby is a great place to plan your day or evening over coffee or wine and the staff was very helpful.

A bit about the neighborhood. Vesterbro is one of those neighborhoods that is slowly gentrifying. There are lots of small hotels, shops, restaurants and bars in the area, but there are also sex shops, strip clubs and a few prostitutes on the street. It can be a bit noisy in the evening if you have a street facing room with the windows open. Still, it was a great area to be placed for touring Copenhagen. Central Station was just two blocks away with almost everything being within walking distance. We only took public transportation twice during our week there.

One of our favorite things about being in the Vesterbro was that the Mikkeller Bar was just around the corner.
Copenhagen Copenhagen
We can get some Mikkeller beers here in the States, but at the bar we could try all sorts of special brews from them and other breweries around the world. The staff was so knowledgable and always willing to give samples until you find just what you are looking for. My favorite was a very special beer from Boon in Belgium, called To Be Wild. This very sour beer has been aged for 3 years and has an amazing flavor that probably isn't for everyone. They don't offer much in the way of food, but a local butcher makes them sausages made with the beers which are not to be missed.
Doesn't that look like a cozy place for a drink? Speaking of cozy, the Danish have a word hygge which sort of translates at cozy, but means much more. It's about a sense of well-being and a good life. It is about sitting around a fire or at least a candle with friends having a drink and a good chat. It is truly a feeling you get all around Copenhagen, especially at cafes and restaurants. As a nation they must spend a fortune in candles, even our breakfast table would have one burning. It is a feeling that makes you want to linger.

It's a good thing we did a lot of walking because there is one thing in Denmark that would have added 10 - 20 pounds to me. It was any place featuring this golden pretzel and a window of treats.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
The Danish bakery tradition comes from Austria thanks to a bakers strike 1850 which is why the pretzel a symbol for bakeries there. We couldn't resist having an afternoon break with one every afternoon. (Apparently, the Danes can't either as the bakeries are very busy in the afternoon with people stopping for a snack or bringing things home for the evening.) My favorite was the Kanelsnegle, a flaky cinnamon roll with just a bit of glaze in the middle. Matt love the Spandauer, what we would call a Danish.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
Our favorite bakery was Lagkagehuset which has locations all around the city and was recently voted best in the city. We also enjoyed Anderson just outside central station at the gates of Tivoli.
Copenhagen 2012
I love that in Europe even if you just order a cappuccino you still get a little (or not so little in this case) sweet on the side.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
We spent most of our time in Copenhagen visiting the historic castles and more modern Danish design museums. We really enjoyed learning the history of Denmark at the castles. Though just wandering the streets feels like you are in a living museum with the cobblestones, towering church spires and old buildings.
Copenhagen 2012 Copenhagen 2012
It oozes with charm while still being a modern, working city. Next I'll share with you a bit about the Copenhagen Food Halls and Tivoli...stay tuned.

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, October 16, 2012

Eating Iceland

Matt and I are back from our latest traveling and eating adventure. This time we headed to Iceland and Denmark. Jetlag is hanging on hard, but I wanted to share all our experiences with you. Our first stop is Iceland...
Iceland 2012
Iceland is an amazingly beautiful place especially at this time of year with the fall colors against the black lava rocks and snow covered peaks. There is something otherworldly about it, with its steaming geysers and huge waterfalls.
Iceland 2012
Thanks to Icelandair you can stopover in Iceland for up to a week without any added charge to your airfare when flying on to Europe, Scandinavia or Russia (or from those places to the US).

So let's talk about the food. Iceland is becoming increasingly known for its food and restaurants. I recommend if you want to go to any of the better known places, get a reservation. We discovered this our first night when we went to Forrétta Barrin which was recently voted one of the best restaurants in Reykjavík. It's a little off the beaten path in town, so we thought we'd take a change on getting in on a Saturday night. We were told we could have a table, but only for 50 minutes. Since we were pretty tired from being up for almost two days, we figured a quick meal was no problem.
Iceland 2012 Iceland 2012
Forrétta's menu is small plates, but not necessarily meant to share, The idea is you have three dishes and a dessert as your meal. Because of our short time limit we ended up just sharing four plates. The best and most unusual was a combination of salt cod, beef belly (yes, beef not pork), horseradish and chorizo.
Iceland 2012
The food was wonderful and I loved the atmosphere, but we felt the service was a little odd. I think some of that is just a difference of country and some was being tourists without a reservation.

The next night we went to Grillmarkadurinn where we had made a reservation in advance.
Iceland 2012 Iceland 2012
Iceland 2012 Iceland 2012
A beautiful restaurant decorated with the natural elements of Iceland like lava rock and stone. The long piller lights in the photo above are actually covered in fish skin. Their menu is also based around what is available locally from farms and the sea.

Grillmarkadurinn offers a couple different ways eat. You can order a starter and main, do the tasting menu or create your own tasting menu which the restaurant will serve in an order they feel works best. The tasting menu seemed to be very popular, so we ordered that. Oh, were we stuffed with wonderful food. When they brought our last dish I actually groaned. Here are a few of the more unusual dishes.
Iceland 2012 Iceland 2012
The first dish here is Minke Whale with a dipping sauce. The whale was seared like tuna. It was tender and had a flavor like the best beef, much less fatty than we expected. The tempura dish was squid and dried fish. Dried fish is very popular in Iceland. People eat dried fish chips with butter on them like crackers. As a tempura, it had a little bit of a chewy texture and a much milder flavor than expected.
Iceland 2012
Lobster with roasted orange. The orange added amazing flavor. In the back you can see some of the Icelandic lamb.
Iceland 2012
The dessert "potluck" was amazing with fresh fruit, sorbets, mousse, ice cream, a brownie and our favorite, a banana flan. Grillmarkadurinn also has a very popular fish restaurant called Fiskmarkaðurinn.

One thing we noticed eating out in Iceland (and also in Copenhagen) was a difference in the service than what we are used to in the States. We are used to ordering drinks right away and then spending time with the menu. At every restaurant, we were asked the first time the server came to the table if we were ready to order our food. Then once we had our food, the server didn't come back to check on us or see if we needed more drinks (with the tasting menu it was different because they kept bringing dishes).  I'm sure this is because they don't want to bother you while you are eating, but we get so used to a server checking in here in the States it feels odd. Most people linger over meals so, you need to find your server and ask for your bill when you are ready to leave.

A few other notes on our Iceland visit. We stayed at the Hilton Nordica which is a beautiful hotel just outside of downtown. It was about a 15 minute walk into the city center or the hotel offered buses a couple times a day. They had a wonderful European breakfast buffet with meats, cheeses, bread, yogurt, eggs and English staples like sausage and beans. One unusual thing they offered was shots of cod liver oil...we declined.

Since we were only there for two days, we used Reykjavík Excursions to get to the Blue Lagoon on Saturday and take a Golden Circle tour on Sunday. A Sunday tour makes a lot of sense since most businesses are closed on Sundays.
Iceland 2012
The Blue Lagoon was absolutely lovely and the perfect antidote to jetlag. It was easy to get there with buses that picked us up at our hotel and delivered us afterwards. The Golden Circle was a great way to see a lot of Iceland in a little time. We had a wonderful tour guide who kept us interested with Icelandic history and current events.
Iceland 2012
I thought it was great that the tour took us to major sites, but also included a stop at a family farm to learn how they are growing organic, fresh vegetables in the Icelandic climate using geothermal energy.

It was a quick visit, but both Matt and I ended by saying we would go back to Iceland in a minute. Next time we'll stay longer and rent a car to see more of the island. Plus I never got to try the smoked puffin!

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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