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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jeg elsker gjetost

Saturday was book group, to discuss The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This book is a great book group book, with lots to talk about and an engaging plot. The book is set in Chicago and Western Michigan, which didn't do much to inspire me culinarily. However, in one scene a couple of the characters eat at Ann Sather's, a Chicago institution serving Swedish and American food. I've eaten at Ann Sather's, plus I grew up eating some Norwegian food, plus I had lunch at Broder last week, SO, I decided a Scandinavian menu was in order.

We started with gjetost, the brown, nutty, caramelized Norwegian goat cheese (gjet = goat, ost = cheese; despite what I thought as a kid, it has nothing to do with toast). We ate it the way my dad served it to us as part of Sunday evening "snack," back in the days before the consolidated meeting schedule: Kavli, thinly spread with butter and honey, then topped with thinly-sliced cheese. Divine.

The main course (on the light side, since I wanted everyone to have plenty of room for the finisher): baked scrambled eggs with smoked chinook salmon or golden trout, and havarti and jarlsberg cheeses; baby greens with raspberry vinaigrette and hazelnuts. To make the baked eggs, I put a slice of artisan bread (trimmed to fit) in the bottom of the ramekin, topped it with chunks of salmon/trout and havarti and finely grated jarlsberg, then poured the egg mixture (10 eggs for 8 8-oz ramekins, plus about 1/2 C cream and 1/2 C milk, lightly salted and peppered) over the top and baked at 325° for about 40 minutes--until puffed and not wobbly in the middle.

The really exciting part of brunch: the sourdough aebleskivers, with buttermilk syrup and marionberry and lingonberry jams. There are lots of aebleskiver recipes out there, mostly just variations on pancake and waffle recipes. They're all good, but the sourdough ones are about a million times better.

To make sourdough starter, mix 2 C flour and 2 C water in a large plastic or glass bowl, using a wooden spoon. Lightly cover with a thin dishtowel and leave at warm room temperature for 3-4 days, stirring a few times a day. When you're ready to use the starter, save some for future use (so you don't have to start over every time--1/2 C or so in a jar in the fridge that you stir every few days, and add flour to every so often), then mix in 1 beaten egg, 1/8 C oil (more if you're going to make waffles with the batter), and a mixture of 1 T sugar, 1 t baking soda and 1 t salt. When you mix in the dry ingredients, the batter will about double in volume. Cook it up right away (before the batter completely deflates), and enjoy!!

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Blogger ME said...

Mmmm, aebelskivers. A household favorite for Christmas and New Year's Day. Good thing I have time to get some sourdough started before then. Oh, should get a pan, too.

Mary Ellen

November 19, 2007 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Adriana Velez said...

Yum -- if we ever make it to Portland we'll have to time our visit around a book group brunch!

November 19, 2007 at 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two cast iron pans I've seen out there, and both work fine as far as I can tell. I would definitely recommend getting the Lodge ProLogic one, because it has enough flat area on the bottom to work with a glass stovetop.

November 19, 2007 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Skye said...

bummer that I missed this. My family has an aebelskiver recipe that has been passed down for generations. It's fairly involved and reeeeally good. I've never tried sourdough ones though, and I wish I'd had the chance to compare. I guess I'll have to make them on my own sometime.

November 20, 2007 at 11:45 PM  

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