Post #634 A Smorgasbord Of a Cuisine

April 11, 2019 at 3:20 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #634 A Smorgasbord Of a Cuisine

To anyone who’s read the blog for a while, it will come as no surprise that Partner/Spouse and I typically watch about 65% cooking shows during our weekly quota of television watching.  Most of the shows that fill our DVR are cooking shows.  Most of those shows are ones we’ve seen before, usually multiple times.  We like to watch British cooking shows, imagine that, but we also watch a lot of international cuisine, too.  We watch Italian and Mexican style cooking, a bunch.  There’s one show we record and watch regularly about Scandinavian cooking.  As far as we can tell, it’s the only one of its kind on American television

It’s called (appropriately enough) New Scandinavian Cooking.  It has multiple hosts, but primarily it’s a young man named Andreas Viestad.  The show gives a thorough background of the area, its history and attractions, festivals, etc. while discussing the recipes.

It’s predominantly fish, given the area and what they have, but they also do quite a bit of pork, lamb, and beef.  Not very much fowl, but I would guess that’s due to the need for eggs.  So, we bought one of their cookbooks.

Not a major revelation, since it was exactly like the show, but fun nonetheless.  But this post isn’t about that book.  It’s about this one:

You recall a couple of weeks ago, we were wandering around and found a used bookstore that was phenomenal?  We found this one there.   It’s called The Best of Swedish Cooking and Baking and was written in the early 60s.  You can tell from the picture, that’s the original dust jacket, and it was only $4.  I’ve already browsed through it from cover to cover twice.

I love these unexpected treasures.  Over the years, we’ve picked up so many of them.  The history they contain is amazing.  This one relies heavily on the smorgasbord, a buffet style of eating using farm to table ingredients.  And to assist the cook, the recipes are simplicity itself.

For instance, take the Anchovy Eye.  Four ingredients, including the crackers used to eat it.

  • 1 egg yolk, intact
  • 1 small onion minced finely
  • 8 anchovy filets, chopped finely
  • crackers, or toast points

Place the yolk in the center of a small saucer being careful not to break it.  Arrange the onion in a circle around the yolk.  Arrange the anchovy around the onion.  Arrange the crackers or toast points around the edge of the saucer and serve at room temperature.  If you don’t like the idea of raw ingredients, you can cook the whole thing (not the crackers) quickly in a tablespoon of butter.  Don’t overcook it.

But that’s how many of the recipes are.  Very few ingredients and next to no cooking or prep time.

In the TV show, some of the recipes are more detailed.  He made a breakfast dish with a bunch of kids consisting of fresh made muesli.  He had the kids put their favorite seeds and grains into a dry pan and toast them lightly over an open fire.  They put some thick yogurt in a bowl and topped with the toasted muesli and some grilled fresh fruit and a drizzle of local honey.  The kids ate it like ice cream.  One time, he put a heated pot in some insulated towels, placed a roast on veggies in it, took it on a long train ride, and had dinner at the end of the ride.  Basically, a slo-lo with a train ride.

The book has a recipe for hard cooked eggs.  Think of deviled eggs, but for the filling mix the yolks with two tablespoons of softened butter, and two anchovies finely diced.  Mix until well blended, then fill the eggs.  Line a small serving tray with lettuce leaves and a line or two of sliced tomatoes down the center.  Lightly salt the tomatoes, and arrange the eggs in lines on either side of the tomatoes.  It looks attractive and I’m told it tastes great.

One of the things I like best about the older cookbook is it has recipes that are part of the American lexicon of cooking.  There’s a recipe for Great Luncheon Salad.  Basically, it’s a green salad with the addition of cold cooked potato slices and some kind of meat.  The dressing is the standard vinaigrette.  But it’s a good salad.

The place where this book shines is the chapter on Canapes.  Call ’em appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, or starters, they’re all the same thing.  Small bites of savory food to whet the appetite for the main meal, or to enhance a cocktail/drinks party.  There’s a recipe for a Sandwich Torte.  A torte is a rectangular cake, but a sandwich torte is a rectangular sandwich with bread instead of cake, and the filling is various things like salmon cream, boiled egg cream, etc.  Then chilled till firm, and sliced to eat.

Home made pate on crackers is popular.  Home made cheeses are popular.  Soft cheese, hard cheese, home made crackers, home made dried and/or smoked sausage, all in various combinations with a small dollop of some complementary condiment will make a party.

Large platters of sliced sausage of various type, sliced cheeses, sliced pickled vegetables, bite sized chunks of various raw vegetables and fruit make a great smorgasbord.

Meatballs made from everything and in every size are everywhere in a smorgasbord.  I was surprised and amused to find one of my favorite dips in the book – barbecue sauce mixed with grape jelly!  Sweet and savory, heated through, meatballs dipped in this stuff are pretty tasty.

The book also goes into soups, main courses, and desserts, but I won’t go there just now.

Hope this was fun.  Holler with any questions or comments you may have!

As always,

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