This Little Dishie went to Nosh

You’ve kind of heard me say this before, but one of my goals is to redefine the term “Foodie.” If you are someone who like to prepare meals you can call yourself a cook. If you’re someone who loves to thrill your taste buds with various flavor you’re an eater. Of course cooking and eating can and should also be a big part of being a Foodie, but that can’t be all that there is. So what is the definition of a Foodie?

A Foodie is someone who is passionate and cares deeply about food. And so, I believe that a true Foodie, can’t only care about flavors and techniques. A true Foodie has to care about issues like world hunger, labor rights and environmentalism (to name a few).

A few months ago I read about this great project, United Noshes, started by husband and wife team Jesse Friedman and Laura Hadden. Jesse and Laura, true Foodies by my definion,decided last year to embark on a multi year project in which they’d cook a full meal from every country that is a voting member of the UN and… wait for it… wait for it… raise money for the UN World Food Program.

Jesse and Laura research recipes and ingredients to keep these meals as authentic as possible and they invite guests to join! They ask that guests bring a donation for the UN world program. Do these seem like people I needed to know or what?

Last week I realized that they were just about up to Denmark so I offered my help via Twitter and then followed up with an email. Though I knew that you could request an invitation, I thought it was probably too late since the meal was planned for this past Saturday. I wrote Jesse a fairly extensive email about Danish food and meals and offered to send over a bag of my favorite Danish candy, Toms Guldkaramellers. Jesse sent a note of thanks in reply and then invited me to the Danish dinner! Of course I readily excepted and was even more in awe on their awesomeness when Jesse asked for a list of my allergies so he could be conscious while shopping and cooking.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I arrived at Jesse and Lauren’s Brooklyn apartment on Saturday and was greeted by an eclectic group of people. Jesse and Lauren, who turned out to be just as warm and lovely in person, had invited a couple of their IRL friends and then several other people were strangers like me who’d requested an invitation through the United Noshes newsletter. It was such a great group of people. I mean how often do you sit down with 8 complete strangers and have plenty of free flowing conversation, laughter and great food. Two of the guests were actually half Danish and many of the other guests had spent time there so we all had plenty of Denmark related stories to share.

Jesse makes pretty much everything from scratch and we were rewarded with truly authentic Danish delights. First, there was Jesse own version of Aquavit, for which he infused vodka with all kinds of spice. Aquavit is not my favorite thing so I took one tiny sip for the toast, “Skål” and then let someone else have the rest.

There was also pickled herring, another thing I avoided, and delcious frikardeller, pickled beets, Danish blue cheese, leverpostej (liver pate), potato salad creamed kale and fresh baked rugbrød (dark danish rye). Of course everything was washed down with a nice cold Carlsberg!

All in all it was great fun having a little bit of Denmark right here in NYC. We all left with full bellies (seriously I must get that Kale recipe from Jesse), new friends and a promise to return for another meal!

I’m sorry that my pictures are so bad, but definitely check out Laura’s beautiful photos over at United Noshes.

Advertisements

Copenhagen: Day 4

A little visit to Mad & Vin, the amazing market in the basement of Magasin Du Nord, a high end department store here in Copenhagen.

20120812-094821.jpg

20120812-094852.jpg

20120812-094837.jpg

 

And there was a bit of this yesterday too…

20120812-094908.jpg

20120812-100022.jpg

Copenhagen: Day 2

I went to dinner at the home of two old friends. My friend Mette is a wonderful cook and the meal was fabulous. Unfortunately, I was having so much fun that I did a terrible job of remembering to take pictures.

20120810-013802.jpg

D is for… Denmark; A Taste of (my second) Home

Hej

Danish Flag

Fun fact: Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen is currently considered the number one restaurant in the world. Another fun fact: The renowned chef/owner of Noma, Rene Redzepi, is exactly one day younger than me.

I’m thinking of writing to him and asking if I can get a meal on the house. Since we’re practically twinsies not to mention the fact that I’m quite the Dankofile (yeah, I totally made that word up) I figure it’s the least he can do, right?

After graduating from college I spent six months living in Copenhagen and I fell absolutely in love with Denmark. I made great friends and have travelled back often to visit over the past decade. but surprisingly I’ve never made Danish food so the 26 Dishes project seems like a great place to start!

Today I’m making Frikadeller, Danish pork meatballs, which are a classic Danish dish. Keeping things traditional I’m serving them with potatoes, pickles and braised red cabbage, (though I’m using a red cabbage recipe I’ve made for years, but it’s very similar to Danish braised cabbage so whatevs).

I could write a novel before I get in to the recipe about why I love Denmark so much, but instead I’ll just show you in pictures that I’ve taken throughout the years. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Frikadeller

  • 1/2 cup cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, cream or half and half
  • 1 medium onion; grated
  • 1lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Soak cracker crumbs in milk

Combine all ingredients except butter and mix well

Let mixture rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes

Form mixture in to approximately 2 inch meatballs, wetting hands in between to keep meat from sticking, and flatten slightly

Melt butter in large frying pan over medium high heat

Cook meatballs about 5 minutes a side until cooked through

Frikadeller can be cooked in batches

 

We are Danish meatballs. We are the happiest meatballs in the world.

FINAL VERDICT: B+

Like most traditional Danish food this meal isn’t fancy or nuanced, but it is hearty and tasty. I loved these because they tasted really authentic and reminded me of being back in Denmark. The pork is often mixed with veal, but I stopped eating vel when I was about 9 or 10, marking my first foray in to conscious eating. Even with just using pork and frying them in loads of butter, these frikadeller are surprisingly light.

Another reason to love Denmark is that they have some of the strictest food and agricultural standards in the world so, as with all my meat recipes, I really hope that you buy high quality, hormone and antibiotic free, ethically sourced pork such as Niman Ranch. And if you want to be truly Danish. make sure to wash down your frikadeller with lots and lots of beer!

 

Now that’s a Viking plate!

BONUS RECIPE:

My mom found this recipe in the NY Times about 300 years ago.

Braised Red Cabbage

  • 1 medium-size red cabbage, about 2 pounds
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 whole cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup orange juice

In large pot over medium high heat melt 2 Tablespoons butter

Stir in onions until and saute until soft

Add cabbage, cloves and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes

Add orange juice.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes

Stir in 1 Tablespoon butter and serve

Velbekomme!