Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Denmark

Danish flag
Photo courtesy of user --Tom S-- on Flickr
Background: This section in the CIA Factbook mentions the word "Viking."  Can't fail to mention that.
Location: Northern Europe, on a peninsula north of Germany plus several major islands
Area: Over 43,000 sq km; 134th largest in the world
         Slightly less than twice the size of Massachusetts
Borders: Germany
Natural hazards: Flooding in some areas of the country
Nationality: Dane
Population: Over 5.5 million; 110th largest in the world
        Note: About 25% of the population lives in the capital
Capital: Copenhagen
Government: Constitutional monarchy
Chief of State: Queen Margrethe II
Source: CIA Factbook

It is usually a good sign that there will be plenty of recipes out there for a country if their cuisine has a Wikipedia page.  Sometimes, it also makes it a little overwhelming.  There were so many options out there for Denmark!  I was naturally drawn to stegt flaesk, because it is bacon.  Yes, bacon.  Honestly, I can't fully remember why I didn't choose this one.

Instead, I went with frikadeller, or meat balls.  Usually, if I heard Scandinavia and meatballs I would think Sweden, but it looks like they aren't alone.  Let's try to bring Danish meatballs to the forefront, shall we?  I decided that this recipe would work for my purposes.  Not thinking that I had enough work, I also picked a recipe for Danish cold potato salad.

A day before I was set to cook, I got an e-mail back from the Danish embassy!  The text of that read:
Thank you for your interest in Denmark!

I sincerely apologize that it has taken us this long to respond to your inquiry.

Authentic Danish cuisine is very much related to the seasons in Northern Europe. Open-faced sandwiches, called ‘smørrebrød’ are a staple of Danish cooking and eaten all over the country at lunchtime.

I recommend you start out at the website of New Nordic Food: http://nynordiskmad.org/en/

We hope that you will continue to explore Denmark and Danish culture!
Oh no!  I already bought all of the ingredients and had plans made.  What to do?

Well, it turns out that most of the recipes on this site were in Danish.  Unfortunately, I cannot speak or read Danish.  I may still keep trying to look through this site to find something, but it wasn't enough for me to change my plans.

Other than boiling the potatoes, I concentrated on the meatballs first.  It took me longer than it should have to mix everything together, and I'm not sure why.

As far as the options were concerned, I went with beef instead of veal and bread crumbs instead of oats.  I had originally been planning the oats, but changed my mind at the last second.  I just wasn't sure how it would all come together in my head.

When I mixed the liquids and spices in it got really soupy.  I just hoped that letting it sit in the fridge for an hour would help.
The potato salad, of course, required a lot of chopping.  My not-favorite part.  And I had to let the potatoes sit for a while to cool down so I didn't burn myself.

I think I tried to crack open the eggs when they were still a little too warm, and they didn't come apart as well as they should.  At least it did work in the end.  Just learn from me: Keep running it under cold water, even after you think it might have cooled off.
I mixed in the rest of the ingredients (except for the French mustard because that wasn't called out anywhere - oops).  It did not get to sit for the recommended amounts of time, but at this point we wanted to get to eating sooner rather than later.

When I took the meatball mix out of the fridge, it had not firmed up at all.  I ended up putting in a little more flour and bread crumbs.  Still nothing doing.  I just went with it, because I didn't have much of a choice.
The closest I could get to meatball form.  I ended up just going straight from the bowl into the pan.
I had to refresh the butter a few times.  It was also hard to tell when they were done, because the color didn't change as much as I would have expected.  This part took much longer than it should have because I could only fry a few at a time.  Oh well, at least it was finally time to eat.


Generally, I like meatballs.  Sometimes even love them.  However, I apparently am not very good at making them, or even their meat patty equivalents, as these look like.  This is my second attempt, and they didn't turn out the greatest either time.  They were kinda greasy and had a weird texture.  Now, I like some grease just as much as the next pregnant lady, but this was too much.  And maybe cooking them longer would have gotten out some of the weird texture.  I'm not sure.

Kevin didn't think they were bad, but didn't love them either.  I think a little less liquid might have helped.  Also, smaller scoops?  What am I doing wrong?

I did enjoy the potato salad.  It is a nice side for lunches, too.  Kevin isn't a fan of cucumber, but was able to at least minimize his dislike by mostly eating around them.  I don't know that this is my favorite potato salad recipe, but it is certainly workable.

Perhaps next time I should try to translate the Danish language recipes and see what I get.

Next time: Djibouti

2 comments:

  1. Eggs come in lots of sizes, and it does say to add the liquid gradually, so I'm guessing there was just too much liquid.

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  2. Frikadeller is a somewhat difficult dish, they easily fall apart or become too liquid like yours. Smørebrød or open sandwiches are much more interesting. You should look at that once you've made it around the world and go for another lap. Great blog, great idea! :o)

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