#8: Iceland

Gott Kvöld! (that means “good evening” in Icelandic, btw)

For all of our anticipation, this week really was totally uneventful.  It was just your typical week. So covering Iceland for our meal this Sunday, came in as a much needed adventure to spice things up! There is seldom a dull week in Brovsky-land, so it was a great change up. To be totally honest though, we were a little trepidatious about tackling Iceland after doing our research…

Trepidatious, you say? The Brovsky’s?! No way…
But we were just that. And here’s why:

The Dinner: For Icelanders, the whale is the end-all-be-all of cuisine. This dates back to it’s location and primary form of commerce: Whaling. Today, whale is still consumed as a frequent dish in the country, though it’s roots in whaling have long since passed. They were gracious with their use of this animal, so naturally, many of the recipes out there use all the parts of the whale. I mean, the Icelandic chefs know more options than a Peyton Manning audible when it comes to preparing whale meat. We’re talkin’: Pickled. Steamed. Grilled. Fermented. Fricasseed. You name it… They prepare it. It seemed like whale would be impossible to come by here in Colorado, so we opted for a seafood dish without it.

We decided on Ofnsteiktur Fiskur með Lauk Og Osti (Icelandic Fish Casserole) served with noodles and for our voted addition which was dessert, we picked Buttermilk Aebleskivers (Buttermilk Pastry Doughnuts). The Icelandic Fish Casserole was super simple and we only had one “hitch in the giddy-up” with this trip to the grocers… the recipe called for “emmenthaler cheese”. Neither my mom nor myself have ever heard of this cheese before– and since she is a veteran cook and I am an avid (obsessive more like) Food Network watcher, this was unusual at best. So, after not finding any cheese by that name at the super market… we turned to Google for solace. Perhaps we could find a substitute??  No. No sub was required because a simple Google search turned up the answer… emmenthaler cheese = Swiss cheese. We had a good laugh and once we located the Swiss cheeses- the name  “emmenthaler” seemed to be everywhere.

The Aebleskivers on the other hand were a little more advanced and required not a trip to google, but Youtube for a quick tutor on how to turn these little “popover” like pastries! Here’s what it looked like– we weren’t able to film our endeavor of it– it was all hands on deck for this one and thank goodness I happened to have my knitting needles in the car!

 

 

Ofnsteiktur Fiskur með Lauk Og Osti Recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-fish-from-iceland-103714
Buttermilk Aebleskivers Recipe: http://bakingbites.com/2008/09/buttermilk-aebleskiver/

 

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five for the Casserole. TWO and a HALF for the dessert.
The casserole was really simple. It was basically a one pan wonder! The only hiccup was the cheese, and even that was an easy clear up when it came down to it. No strange ingredients and very clear instructions made this one a snap! The Aebleskivers, however, required a more advanced touch. Ours didn’t turn out as beautiful and round as they should have. One look at the video tutorial should be enough to show why. We haven’t mastered what is clearly a very incredible pastry skill yet to these babies (i mean knitting needles as cooking utensils?! Crazy awesome, my friends!). Non-the-less, we look forward to trying to master this one because they were spectacular!!

Best dish of all time scale: THREE STARS out of five for the Casserole. FIVE out of FIVE for the dessert!
Let me just tell you… if one could eat themselves to death via pastry– Aebleskivers would be the most fluffy, warm, melty way to come to your end. It would be totally worth the many potential hand burns, fire alarms and gained pounds that mastering the Aebleskiver would bring. They were a must make again for all four of the Brovsky clan. Well played, Iceland. The Ofnsteiktur Fiskur með Lauk Og Osti was really yummy and paired well with the buttered egg noodles suggested by the recipe. The Swiss cheese was interesting in a good way with the mellow cod. Tangy and stringy. The best part of the sauce was a slight hint of the stone ground mustard.

What’s in the cards for next weekend on our journey into culinary madness, you ask? Well, we decided that in honor of Independence Day we would visit The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave! Next weekend we will have a good old fashioned American meal!

Maybe the holiday paired with our tribute will have good mojo for the US Men’s Soccer team!?
#IBelieve #USMNT

 

góða nótt! (Good Night in Icelandic)
Cheers!
– L & K

 

 

#7: Switzerland

What’s shakin’ bacon?!

This week was fun for so many reason. World Cup soccer, starting a new job that has day hours, birthdays, longest day of the year…etc. I should mention that “etc” there stands for my parents celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary! The week ebbed and flowed like a well oiled machine for the first time in a while.

After painting chairs, watching some soccer, visiting Bass Pro Shop, playing soccer and having a blast in the pretty Colorado sunshine– we were hoping that Switzerland would be kind to us on our streak! It was indeed that. Swiss food is definitely influenced by German food– since that is their vernacular anyway, this makes perfect sense. When Americans think about the Swiss;, visions of Swiss chocolate, bank accounts, army knives and fondu come to mind immediately. We didn’t feel like fondu was going to be a challenge, so we went in search of other means this week. We came across a recipe for some traditional Zurich Veal and Rosti.

Rosti are basically the Swiss equivalent of the potato latke. Coarsely shredded potato pancakes fried in oil and though they ever so subtly pay homage to hash browns, they pair so nicely with the sauce from the veal. (Note: you can also use pork for this recipe). We chose to use veal to be as authentic as possible, since this is our general mission: eat like we are natives. The Zurich Veal had a wonderful Marsala-like sauce with mushrooms, onions and sage…not to mention cream based, which as we all know, all the best sauces are cream based.

Rosti recipe:  http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/crisp-rosti-potatoes.aspx
Zurich Veal Recipe: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/zurich-style-diced-veal-zurcher-geschnetzeltes

It was a very simple meal considering it took no time to cook and required zero prep. It was a quick meal to, which inevitably makes it perfect for recreation during the week or after this project is over.  Decadent cream sauce and crispy pancakes were honestly something everyone would like.

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STARS out of five. Switzerland seemed to be the easiest of the countries we have tackled this far. We used a mandolin to slice everything and the rosti literally had three ingredients. All the instruction and measurement in the recipe itself had already been converted to standard measurement by some angel, so we didn’t have to waste time and brain cells on Google conversions for this meal. That was a relief (please see Guatemala from week five for why that really made a huge impact). Be sure to take care with the potatoes for two reasons. 1) HOT oil, my friends and 2)take time to remove the water when you get to that step or it may take forever to fry.

No strange ingredients on this one. The veal was a little hard to find, as it’s not a popular food item for the carnivores that reside in the big CO; though it might be easier in a less pro-activist part of the US.


Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five. What a delight it is to have two perfect scores in a row! Switzerland had a hard go of filling Australia’s large shoes from last week, but it lives up to the challenge! Seriously decedent. Wonderfully paired. Definitely a meal we will recreate as time passes.

We arbitrarily picked next week’s country– and we are proud to announce that we will be eating the cuisine of Iceland! Doesn’t that seem totally adventurous?? I think we have a lot to look forward to on this front. Due to popular demand, the results of the poll that appeared after last week’s post, we will be making a meal plus a dessert from Iceland… and as a walking, talking sweet tooth, that is some kind of wonderful.

 

Here’s to cheering on the US men’s team for another week!
Happy eating!
– L & K

 

#6: Australia

G’Day Mates!

That’s right, we took a little trip “down under” for this week’s quest into food love! We decided that since Australia came in second for the user poll results, that we were determined to pay tribute. This weekend was an incredible adventure all around. Mom and I went up to Buena Vista for our annual girls weekend rafting trip and boogied our way down some class 5 white water! We came back down just in time to celebrate father’s day and to make our weekly country meal.

THE DINNER: Since it was father’s day this Sunday, we let my dad pick the menu for Australia and then found him a little surprise to make the meal even more father friendly (Hint: it involves libations!). Australia is simply put into the category of typical English/British food style; lots of meat and potatoes sort of dishes. Dad was considering something iconic like “shrimp on the Barby” , but the cliche was not something that interested him this time. He picked a standard for any Aussie gathering, which was sausage rolls and potato salad. We were happy to oblige this one.

We made the sausage roll the same way you make pinwheels and it tastes like meatloaf in the style of beef wellington. It is basically like meatloaf stuffed in puff pastry and it was every bit as delightful as it sounds. Heavenly, in fact. The potato salad was basic in assembly and with all it’s moving parts, this one paired well with the sausage, which turned out to be surprisingly spicy from the herb additions. Many variations on this one, but basically they all come down to the same thing: meat (be it beef or lamb or both) and pastry cocoon. Totally “man food” for dad’s day!

The surprise, you ask? The Aussies are known to be one of the best producers of wine in the world, so we felt like it was our duty to ring in father’s day with an Australian toast. CHEERS with wine and Fosters!

Sausage Roll Recipe:  http://www.theowlwiththegoblet.com/2014/03/australian-sausage-rolls.html
Potato Salad Recipe:
http://www.gonnawantseconds.com/2011/09/inas-potato-salad/

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five. Australia was a wonderful patron for us this weekend. We were wiped out from our aquatic adventures, so it was pleasant to not have a demanding culinary adventure this time around. This meal was quick and painless as far as making it and for the effort, the return on the deliciousness was unparallelled. We would have gladly spent three times the time on this meal just because taste wise it knocked our socks right off. Ingredients were readily available and recipes were clear.
Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five. This country was outstanding. We were going back for seconds and we can’t wait to make this one again. The filling was flavorful and the pastry was flaky and soaked up all the pork drippings. I didn’t care for the potato salad, I felt overwhelmed by the dill, but Mom and Dad both adored it.

The next country was decided upon in a very Brovsky way– world cup style! We are known to be futbol fanatics, so this one should come as no great shock. The best cup match we have watched this go around was the Swiss taking on Ecuador. Switzerland was a total underdog and in stoppage put a goal in to take the “W”. Doesn’t get more exciting than that. So well played, Switzerland! Next week is for you!

 

Catch you on the flip side, guys!
– L & K

 

 

 

 

 

#5: Guatemala

Hey Food Lovers!

Hope that the sunshine has been finding you these days! It’s been soo lovely outside and with that has come vacations and lots of soccer in the Brovsky house. Mom and Dad went up to the Tetons to fly fish for the weekend and I stayed in town to play an incredibly irrational amount of futbol. So we had a weekend away from the kitchen last week.

 

SO BAD NEWS: We didn’t get to talk to you guys for a week
THE GOOD NEWS: This weekend we doubled up to make up for it! YAY!

THE DINNER: We decided upon Guatemala per the pole results and it was truly amazing! We had many choices as far as food goes for this country. Though tostadas and dobladas all looked just as simple, nothing sounded more lovely than empanadas. We definitely wanted to go completely from scratch on this one and it was not as difficult as we anticipated it to be (or perhaps we are just getting to be that good). Either way it was fun! We went with the traditional beef empanadas with the traditional fixings (sour cream and lettuce) along with a corn salsa for some spice.

A few interesting things that came up during this one:

  • Almost all the ingredients were measured in metric… so that took some googling
  • The cook temp was in Celsius, so that one was a shout out to Mrs. Spohn and Mr Pickett for solidifying that in the far recesses of my high school mind many years later
  • The typical empandas are baked, though fried anything always sounds lovely.
  • There was an excessive amount of dancing around the kitchen because the empanada making itself was a total riot
  • There were hard boiled eggs in the stuffing… that one was a real curve ball. Not something we were anticipating!

Empanada Recipe: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e3/28/3c/e3283cf0168d77400fbf4e7077abeab6.jpg

 

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Dough rolling and empanada stuffing

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: 2.5 STARS out of five. This one was really pretty easy and since they are baked it was not hard to determine done-ness and they didn’t have to be “babysat” like frying oil would have been. I will say that metric conversion slowed up the process ever so slightly, but it was still quick!  
Best dish of all time scale: TWO stars out of five. This country was really lack luster. The food wasn’t bad, bland or gross by any means, it was just without a memorable impression. It was simple and standard and somewhat forgettable in that respect. Nothing to right home about but certainly a solid meal.

 


That’s pretty much all she wrote, folks! See you next week to see how the Aussies do it!! 😉

As the Quatemalan say— Adios and Buen Apetito!
-L & K