Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

Vegetables

Pickled Cucumbers

condiments, Dinner, Preserve, Snacks, technique, Vegetables, vegan, VegetarianTove Balle-PedersenComment
 Pickled Cucumbers

Pickled Cucumbers

My parents grew their own vegetable in their large vegetable garden, and of course my mom made sure to preserve the large amount of produce by pickling and freezing. We all loved my moms pickled cucumbers, with our dinner or on the open faced sandwiches. Especially on liverpate. So when I found crown dill and pickling cucumbers at my local grocery store, I had to try my moms old recipe. I have a hard time learning that the pickled cucumbers in my world are called pickles here in the States, but eventually I might learn to accept it. 😉

5-8 jars.

Ingredients:

Brine:

  • 200 g salt

  • 2 liters (68 oz) water

Pickling:

  • 1500 g pickling cucumbers

  • 1250 ml vinegar

  • 780 g sugar

  • 13-15 slices fresh horseradish

  • 5 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 2 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 8 crown dill (1-2 in each jar)

  • 6-8 dried red chilies

Direction:

Combine the salt and water in a pitcher and stir until the salt has dissolved. Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly and snip off the blossom end stem. Prick cucumbers with a table fork. Set aside. Pour the salt water over the cucumbers. Place a plate on top to keep the cucumbers submerged. Let stand 12 hours in the refrigerator. Drain the cucumber and place them in scolded* jars. Add horseradish, dill and the spices to the jars.

I sliced 4 of the cucumbers in thick slices for some more spicy pickles. I placed the slices in 2 smaller jars with 1 fatalii chili in one and 1 habanero chili in the other. HOT HOT HOT  🌶 🌶 🌶  

Boil the vinegar with the sugar, and pour it in the jars, making sure to cover the cucumbers completely. Place the lid on the jars, not tightening them completely.

After 2 days, drain out the vinegar and let it come to a boil, maybe adding more vinegar and sugar. Pour the vinegar over the cucumbers again, adding new horseradish and/or sodium benzoate. Seal the jars tight. Do not boil the horseradish.

*You need to clean the jars and sterilize them by soaking them in boiling water. Same goes for the lids. Submerge the lid for a few minutes in a bowl of boiling water. Rinse jars and lids with alcohol like strong vodka or cognac. 

These will keep for a few months at room temperature, but you can keep them in the refrigerator  too. In my house they won't last long.

Vegetable Bearnaise

condiments, Sauce, Dinner, Sides, VegetablesTove Balle-PedersenComment
Vegetable Bearnaise.JPG

 

When you talk sauce, I'm a true Dane. I love sauce, and lots of it. But if you go the classic French sauce way, you have to use large amount of butter or other fats. I learned to perfect the traditional sauce bearnaise made in a blender or made sous vide. And even though they taste delicious, and a little goes a long way, it would be nice to have a sauce bearnaise where you can indulge in the tasty sauce, without eating a whole stick of butter with your steak. Vegetable bearnaise is the answer. With only 6 tablespoons of butter in a big bowl of sauce, that serves 6-8 sauce lovers, this is definitely on the healthier side, compared with the original bearnaise.

You can add pretty much any vegetables you like, just bear in mind that more carrots will give you a sweeter bearnaise. and generally the color of the vegetables will influence the color of the sauce. 

If you like a spicier bearnaise add a dash of cayenne or chilies to the mix. And for a garlic bearnaise add 1 cloves of garlic the last 5 minutes of the simmering. 

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:

Reduction:

  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon, save some leaves for finishing the sauce
  • 4 small or 2 medium shallots, minced
  • ½ cup (1 dl) white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup (1 dl) dry white wine
  • 6 whole black peppers (for the reduction)

Vegetable base:

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • ½ medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 2-3 celery stalks, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • ½ medium cauliflower, in florets
  • ½ cube chicken bouillon 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon

Finishing touches:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, salted and cold
  • 2-4 tablespoons reduction, to taste
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves only, coarsely chopped 
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

Reduction:

In a small saucepan, combine sprigs of the tarragon, shallots, vinegar pepper and wine over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat, strain the liquid and set it aside to cool. You can make larger amounts and freeze it in smaller portions in an ice cube tray.

Vegetable base:

Place the ingredients for the vegetable base in a saucepan, and bring it to a boil, turn down the heat and let the vegetable simmer covered for about 20-30 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. 

Put vegetable base, butter and reduction into a blender*. Season the sauce with salt and more reduction. Mix in the tarragon just before serving.

Enjoy!

*Be careful when blending hot liquids, it can make the lid pop off, and you may risk getting serious burns on you skin. You can remove the small cap on you blender lid and cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel. You need to hold on to the lid and towel. This will let the steam from the hot soup escape and avoid the lid from popping off. You can also get blenders like the Vitamix, where you can blend hot liquids, without any hassle.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

BBQ, Dinner, Sides, Vegetables, VegetarianTove Balle-PedersenComment
 Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

I love almost all thing mushroom, and grilled portobello mushrooms is right up my alley. It's a quick side for a backyard BBQ. Adding the parmesan make a perfect flavor combination.

The sesame seeds on the photo, is an accidental 'cross contamination' from the chicken on the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • ½ cup (1 dl) freshly grated parmesan
  • about ¼ stick (ca 30 g) butter, salted and soft
  • a splash of olive oil, for brushing the top of the mushrooms 
  • A sprinkle of chopped parsley

Directions:

Preheat the grill.

Clean the portobello mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove the stems. Brush the caps with olive oil and set aside gills side up.

Mix butter and parmesan, and divide it evenly over the mushroom caps. Grill over hot grill for about 10 minutes. You want the mushrooms to be soft, but not mushy.  Let the mushrooms rest for a few minutes, to soak up the butter.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup

Appetizer, Dinner, Soup, Thanksgiving, VegetablesTove Balle-PedersenComment
 Butternut Squash Soup.

Butternut Squash Soup.

I love the fall season. Fall is the best excuse to make soups, and butternut squash soups are a fall staple here in the US. I earlier posted a roasted version, and to be honest I can't tell which is the best. 

This version is made mostly vegetarian, if you loose the cream and the sour cream and bacon topping. The crispy tart apples plays well with the clean flavors from the soup.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2-3 large potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
  • 400 ml (1¼ cup) water
  • ½ lemon, the juice of
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1½ dl (little over 1 cup) heavy whipping cream

Topping:

  • 3-5 thin slices of bacon (+ a sprinkle ghost chili powder)
  • 1 crisp apple, cut in small dices, dressed in juice from ½ lemon + ½ teaspoon honey
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 chili thinly sliced
  • creme fraiche (sour cream)

Directions:

Microwave the whole butternut squash for 2 minutes to soften it a bit, making it easier to cut.

Cut it in half, peel, deseed and dice the butternut squash. Peel and dice potatoes and carrots. 

Sauté the vegetables in a large pot in olive oil for a few minutes. Add water, chili, ginger and cumin. Bring it to a boil and cover it and cook it for 15-20 minutes, until the squash is tender.

Purée the soup in batches in a blender* until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender.) 

Add the cream and season the soup with lemon juice, salt and pepper, heat soup through before serving.

Serve the soup hot with your favorite garnish and a slice of good bread.

*Be careful when blending hot liquids, it can make the lid pop off, and you may risk getting serious burns on you skin. You can remove the small cap on you blender lid and cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel. You need to hold on to the lid and towel. This will let the steam from the hot soup escape and avoid the lid from popping off. You can also get blenders like the Vitamix, where you can blend hot liquids, without any hassle.

Creamed Cabbage

Dinner, Sauce, Sides, VegetablesTove Balle-PedersenComment
 Creamed Cabbage

Creamed Cabbage

Creamed cabbage is for the mostly served with Danish meatballs. The creamy white sauce is not made with cream, but with the water from boiling the cabbage and some milk. This make this side a lot lighter than if using cream. Taste-wise I don't think you miss much, well I have never had it with cream, so what do I know???

Even though the creamed cabbage is a very simple dish, the way you eat it is different depending on traditions and geography inside Denmark. My dad (from Jutland) sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top. My mom (from Copenhagen) sprinkled cracked black pepper on top, while I sprinkle nutmeg on top. 

So my Danish friends and others what do you favor on top of the creamed cabbage??

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 large green cabbage 

Sauce:

  • 25 g butter 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 dl) water (from boiling the cabbage)
  • about ½ cup (about 1 dl)  milk
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Remove outer leaves of cabbage, and cut cabbage into quarters and remove the hard core.  Slice the cabbage across the quarters width-wise. To get uniform slices I use a mandolin.

Boil the cabbage in salted water until tender 5-8 minutes. Drain the water from the cabbage, saving some of the water for the sauce.

Sauce:

Melt butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Add the flour and a sprinkle of salt, stirring constantly, until all the flour is incorporated with the butter. You don't want it to get a golden.  Whisk in a little at a time of the hot water (from the boiling of the cabbage), making sure to not to have any lumps left, then whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens and gets a bit shiny, 2 to 3 minutes. Add more milk if the sauce is too thick. You want a thick sauce, because it will get some water from the drained cabbage. 

Add the cabbage and season the creamed cabbage with salt and pepper.

Serve the creamed cabbage immediately.

Enjoy!