Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Food for Jill

My friend Katrine recently called me in the middle of the day with an item # from the Crate and Barrel catalog she was browsing. Apparently I talk about cupcakes... just a little.

Can you imagine how often I'd have to bake ridiculously cute cupcakes to make this worth it? I'd have to make more friends just to have someone to eat them all.

In the real world, here's what I'm cooking:
These empanadas were made for a play date with Katerine and her two boys. They are perfect for little hands and can be filled with just about any meat or veggie you have that needs to be used up. Here's the recipe I use, although it changes a bit every time. The handmade dough is totally worth it- the vinegar gives it a different flavor than regular pastry.

Thomas and I have finally gotten to break out the grill (oooh and there's a whole porch project going on with herbs and cushions and flowers- can't wait to start enjoying devotionals outside!). In preparation, I splurged at a pampered chef party a few weeks ago and purchased a grill basket. Tonight's dinner was steak, couscous, and grilled veggies. This was so easy- cut veggies, toss in olive oil and spice of choice, and grill!

During orientation, Thomas met a Norwegian student whose fiance came to visit (all the way from Norway!) over Easter break. I was delighted when they suggested a small dinner party so we could meet her and ecstatic when they asked me to make accompanying dishes for their Swedish meatballs. Per some of their suggestions and a little bit of research I tried creamed peas, boiled potatoes, and Norwegian Almond Cake with fresh cream and berries. None of this food was particularly interesting to look at so there are no pictures.
I felt very domestic soaking peas overnight and cooking them for 2.5 hours. It was all delicious and worth making twice.

Creamed Peas (Gronn ertestuing)
via Son of Norway

2 cups dried peas (found in the Latin section of the grocery store)
6 cups water (plus extra if needed to keep peas covered in water)
3 Tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Rinse peas well and pick out foreign objects. Place in water and soak overnight in a cool place. Let them simmer in the water they were soaked in, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Mix the flour with the butter and add to the peas and let simmer about 10 minutes longer. Add salt and sugar to taste.
**Before mixing in the flour I removed some of the water (about 1 cup) from the peas.

Norwegian Almond Cake (Mandelkake)

1-1/4 cups sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons yogurt/plain
2 cups flour
1/4 cup ground almonds (I used almond meal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
Powdered sugar to sprinkle

Cream Butter and sugar together.
Add eggs. Add extract and yogurt.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a seperate bowl and then add to batter.
Add ground nuts and flour intermittently. Mix well.

Coat a bundt pan with butter or Crisco and lightly dust with flour- tap out excess.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Cool before removing cake from pan.

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