Sunday, November 24, 2013


Well, my son finally turned five years old this week, and I turned in his application for kindergarten and the magnet school program for next year.  Hopefully, he’ll be accepted to the same school that his sister goes to, a Spanish-immersion language school where their math and science classes are taught in Spanish and the rest of the classes are taught in English.  I really love it. I wish I had those opportunities when I was in school. 

And it was also a busy week, because the rugbrød bread is now at the top of my list of “bread that takes the longest to make.”  I had to start the sourdough starter last week because it was supposed to sit for seven days (ok, mine sat for six).  I’ve never made a sourdough bread before: this one called for buttermilk, water, rye flour, whole wheat flour, and some salt to be mixed together and then sprinkled with course salt before its covered and put in a cool place (but not in the refrigerator) and forgot about.  Then today, I had to get up and start this much earlier than I normally do.  I mixed a bottle of Carlsberg beer, some honey, salt, water, yeast, rye flour, and the sour dough mix together.  Then I stirred in some cracked wheat (because I didn’t have cracked rye), some water, and some crushed sunflower seeds into it.  In Denmark, they have special rugbrød molds, but I’m just using a regular loaf pan.  I didn’t take out any to preserve as a starter, but I could have if I wanted to.  Since I didn’t do that, I had to use three loaf pans.  The recipe says to let this sit for six hours, but I’m hoping science can do its thing in five hours.  After that, it calls to bake it at 350º F for two hours, spraying it with water every half hour or so (of which I had to get kind of inventive since my husband took my spray bottle to the garage where it’s lost and presumed dead.  I improvised with a Hello Kitty soy sauce dispenser.).  Technically, to do this the right way, the bread is supposed to cool on its own for a couple of hours and then wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for a day before slicing. Obviously, I should’ve made this yesterday, and since I didn’t, I’m going to try to accelerate all of this cooling business.  Maybe I should give it the cold shoulder? (I did manage to put it in the refrigerator for a bit, and I think it was fine to cut.)

Hearty and perfect for cold weather -- it was 25 degrees colder in Indianapolis than in Copenhagen. 
The rugbrød is the basis of an open-faced sandwich called smørrebrød.  There are probably hundreds of types of smørrebrød from pickled herring to vegetarian styles.  The one I chose was called frikadeller.  It’s basically a meatball made from pork and veal, but I couldn’t find any veal, so I went with just the ground pork.  (Of course, I am shopping in the days before Thanksgiving, so some of the shelves are a little bare.)  The pork is mixed with a little onion, egg, some soda water, salt, flour, a little allspice, and pepper.  Unlike the baked meatballs that I made from Belarus, these meatballs are pan fried in butter and flattened slightly to resemble small patties. I think there was a little too much soda water because the first batch kept falling apart.  I added a little more flour, and really, even at that, they still turned out more like patties rather than slightly flattened meatballs. But regardless, the flavor was excellent. 

Yes, I ditched the veal, but these were really good.
And now it comes time to assemble the smørrebrød.  It starts out by spreading some Dijon mustard on a slice of the freshly made rugbrød (although I think I would prefer yellow mustard), then topping it with a couple of the frikadeller meatballs and some kind of garnish on top of the meatballs. I used a recipe called syltede agurker, which is Danish Pickled Cucumbers to put on top of it.  This recipe is 98.1% like a similar recipe my mother would often make in the summer.  It’s thin-sliced cucumbers, cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper stirred together and refrigerated for a couple of hours.  Then it’s drained and sprinkled with dill weed.  I bought fresh dill for this because it was 99¢ for a bunch, but it’s a HUGE bunch, and I’ll never use it all.  Maybe I can find someone to pawn off some dill on. And maybe a loaf of rugbrød. 

Tastes like childhood, and the fresh dill just made my childhood even better. 
The bread was extremely hearty. And even though each ingredient is delicious, yet completely different from the others, when it was assembled, it all came together.  The reason I would’ve chosen yellow mustard over Dijon is that between the Dijon mustard and the vinegar cucumbers, it was a little too much bite.  But that was my only measly complaint.  Otherwise, it was the most wonderful thing I’ve eaten today.  And it was really filling.  One sandwich was plenty enough. I think this will make the best lunch tomorrow, and probably for the next couple of the days.  Of course, I chased this all down with a Carlsberg beer (but when I was at the liquor store, I found a dark rye ale called Rugbrød – it tasted something like Guinness -- I only bought it for the name). 

I suck at pouring beer into a glass since it was all foam.  So, I drank it straight from the bottle.
And at least this is a short workweek for Thanksgiving. It’s a common time to reflect on what you’re thankful for, and I suppose I’ve been thinking about it a little myself.  I’m thankful for so many things including my family and this blog, and my ability to think and read and write – it’s more than a lot of people have.

Mmmm. There are no words but mmm mmm. (Ok, that's also the sound I make with food in my mouth.) 

Up next: Djibouti

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