#34: Norway

Gledelig Jul! (“Merry Christmas” in Norwegian!)

This week was a surprise double-header in the ATW195S blog! We decided to travel to the Vatican for our meal, and then realized that we always travel to Norway for Christmas anyway! So we rolled that into the blog for the week ūüôā

THE DINNER: Hey guys, it’s the chef here! I wanted to fill you in on the background of Norwegian Lefse, since I’m the one that makes it in Brovskyland each year! Lefse has been around my family for years during the holidays; so much so that I thought we had Norwegian heritage (which we do not!). My Grandmother made it for days before Christmas just so that there was enough to feed all of our relatives who love it so very much. Grandma had a close friend who was Norwegian who taught her how to make it. Potatoes were inexpensive, had a long shelf life, were filling/hearty and were used in a variety of dishes and ¬†during the depression. ¬†It was all of those things that inspired her to add Lefse to her dinner table on Christmas.¬†

I was never really allowed inside the kitchen during Lefse making and as a child I never understood why that was. As an adult who has now been making it for the past decade, I get it! It is a difficult dish that requires a lot of concentration and skill. ¬†As far as the recipe for this week’s country meal, I can only offer one from the internet that is close to the one made by my Grandmother. Her recipe was never written down and as she and I both grew older she shared a lot about Lefse with me. She always said things like “just add a little of this and a little of that” and “you want the dough to feel like this.” Not very helpful when I was desperately trying to resurrect her Lefse meal. But eventually I figured it out and learned that each potato is unique in its size, water content and firmness. ¬†This is important when trying to figure out how much flour, butter and milk to add to get the perfect texture. ¬†


There are many different ways that Lefse is made and eaten depending upon the region, but it generally resembles a flatbread.


  • Tynnlefse¬†(thin lefse) is a variation made in central¬†Norway. Tynnlefse is rolled up with¬†butter, sugar and cinnamon¬†(or with butter and brown sugar)-This is the most frequent type consumed in the USA and in our home!¬†
  • Tjukklefse¬†or¬†tykklefse¬†is thicker and often served with¬†coffee¬†as a cake.
  • Potetlefse¬†(potato lefse) is often used in place of a hotdog¬†bun and can be used to roll up¬†sausages.¬†This is also known as¬†p√łlse med lompe¬†in¬†Norway,¬†lompe¬†being the “smaller-cousin” of the potato lefse.
  • M√łsbr√łmlefse¬†is a variation common to¬†Salten¬†district in¬†Nordland¬†in North Norway. M√łsbr√łmmen consists of half water and half the cheese smooth with flour or corn flour to a half thick sauce that greased the cooled lefse. Lefse is ready when m√łsbr√łmmen is warm and the butter is melted.














Ease of prep and cooking: FOUR and A HALF STARS out of five this Dinner!
This is perhaps the most challenging thing I’ve seen. It’s easy to say that these are the Norwegian version of the potato latke, but it’s so much more than that. Frying a latke is a lot easier in that the shredded nature of the potato makes for easier flipping and better continuity. The make up of lefse is that it’s ready to tear apart at any moment. I have watched my mom make these year after year and know it’ll be maybe 10 more years before I will feel comfortable attempting it… let alone for it to turn out. That’ll be probably 15 more years I’m sure. But please don’t let that deter you!! This is so much a tradition that it will take practice, but it will be worth it, like so many traditions are! Have fun. Be patient. Enjoy the food!

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE stars for Dinner.
I don’t personally care for lefse. But I’m not a huge fan of potatoes in general, so that’s not really fair to the lefse. This is something that the family, year after year, anticipates and drools over and fights over and laments over when it’s gone. It’s seriously a five star dish. It’s worth all the work. We have it every Christmas and, last year, was the first year in literally decades that we didn’t have the time to make it (as it takes days to prepare). I remember the outcry of sadness that ensued when there was no lefse at Christmas Eve ūüėČ so based on that alone you should know that this is spectacular. You should eat it warmed up– the butter and brown sugar melts away into the potato wrapper like a dream. Float away on clouds of potato bliss, guys!

Nothing like a little double header plot twist to spice things up!! We are heading south for the winter next week. Come along as we venture to South Africa for a little dinner and maybe some futbol ūüėČ

Wishing the happiest of New Years to you and yours!!!
‚Äď L & K

#33: Vatican City

Urbi et Orbi! (which is Latin for “To the City of Rome and to the world”)

That’s traditionally how His Holiness will kick off a speech to the masses gathered in Saint Peter’s Square. It seemed appropriate wince this week we took a little visit to the culinary world of Vatican City. Vatican City is the world’s smallest country, but for the longest time it dictated all of European power and sanctioned how monarchies ruled. Since we are Catholic, we felt like this would be an excellent country to explore during the Christmas week.

THE DINNER: I didn’t know that the Swiss guard were not only the protector of the Pope, they also run the kitchen! Every so often they put out a “Vatican Cookbook” which is not unlike the “White House Cookbook” that gets released from time to time. The recipe we picked is very old. In fact it dates back to the 12th century but became a Vatican staple in the 30’s when Pope Pius XII literally requested that the chef make him something “Roman”. How much more Roman can one get? Fettuccine is the essence of Roman and Italian cooking. Apart from that the fettuccine alla papalina¬†is this gloriously decadent version of carbonara–which as we all are aware is and will always be the cats pajamas. Everyone loves a good carbonara. The differences between a traditional carbonara and the papalina dish is that it uses cream, Parmesan, and prosciutto instead of the traditional carbonara version with pancetta; as well as the omission of peas (which my mom was grateful for, i’m sure) and the papalina uses significantly less cream in it’s sauce.

BTW, for all you history buffs, the word “papalina” translates from Italian to mean “skullcap” which is one of the traditional head coverings worn by the Pope when he is not serving mass. Fun fact.

The second addition to the menu this week was in honor of the Brovsky’s favorite Pope: Pope John Paul II. Now, I know what you’re going to say, “Kris, you’re not supposed to have a favorite Pope!” apart from the slight blasphemous notion of this, we really did adore Pope John Paul; and he blessed my mom after she walked all the way to the top of Mother Cabrini (while pregnant!) when he came to Denver. So we wanted to honor him by making his favorite dessert, which is Polish as he was. This dessert is like a cream puff if it met and married a cake and they fell in love and this was their child. It’s called the Papal Cream Cake or Krem√≥wka Papieska (in Polish).

Fettuccine alla Papalina Recipe: http://globaltableadventure.com/2013/10/03/recipe-the-popes-fettuccine-fettuccine-alla-papalina Kremówka Papieska Recipe: http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/polishdesserts/r/kremowka.htm?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shareurlbuttons_nip


































Ease of prep and cooking: ONE and A HALF STARS out of five this Dinner and for Dessert!
This was a cinch this week! The dessert was easy and the dinner! It’s good to note that the hardest part of all this will be not eating all the prosciutto before you fry it… that being said, the Pope is a simple man and though the basilica is an opulent place, these dishes are humble and satisfying. Those of you not akin to baking might find the custard chanllenging and that would bump it to a two or three star trial. But honestly, it’s mostly about patience with custard. Apart from that the pasta was very straight forward. Good clean lines all around. Total cook time was about an hour for both together.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR & HALF stars for Dinner and Dessert.
It was heavenly! Seriously it was that good. Almost a five, but we decided that the dinner needed fresh Italian parsley or garlic, but we can’t wait to make this one again! When searching for Papal food this week for our country, I can across “fettuccine alla papalina” and I immediately fell in love. Like really big-hold-a-sterio-over-my-head-outside-your-window-L-O-V-E…. it had it all. Prosciutto. Egg Yolks. Heavy Cream. Onions… PASTA. It’s love at first taste. I promise. Beyond that, it’s simple and easy, which makes for a home run as far as I’m concerned. We also loved that Krem√≥wka Papieska, which turned out to be a whole lot lighter than we anticipated, which was lucky since we stuffed ourselves with fettuccine ūüėČ it was refreshing, flaky, creamy and lovely.

As a little plot twist, we would like to let you know that we actually covered TWO countries this weekend as a double header! From Vatican City we moved over to Norway! Christmas time in the Brovsky house has always involved a trip to Norway— more on that in the next entry!

Season’s Greetings!!
‚Äď L & K


#32: Luxembourg

Happy Holidays!

This week found two of the four Brovskys in the process of moving. It also found us about a week away from Christmas!! Someplace extra magical this time of year is Colorado in the wintertime. It’s amazing how it’s warm one day and then completely snowy and cold and you know what they say about “Jack Frost nipping at your nose…”. So it’s a nice break to have when we get to gather around the table and have an adventure to a far off land. What an excellent way to travel without leaving your sweatpants, puppy and Bronco’s football behind ūüėČ

THE DINNER: Luxembourg’s position is a culinary wonderland. It sits in the best possible spot to absorb all means of cultural and culinary influence from Germanic and Latin nations. The pastries of Luxembourg reflect its neighboring relationship with Franc, however as in Germany and Italy, traditional everyday fare is centralized on the peasant influence and are typically very hearty and simple.¬† The nation is tiny but is greatly endowed with typical farming meats available in addition to river fishes (pike, trout, crayfish…) due to its natural resources.

You can’t really get more down to earth, working class than chicken. So we picked a traditional Luxembourgian dish: Hong am R√®isleck (Chicken in Riesling) served over egg noodles for our meal this weekend. If there’s something I love more than egg noodles, it’s wine; so bathing my meat in wine sauce and serving it over egg noodles is pretty much this Brovsky’s definition of heaven (if you recall our October journey to Russia…).¬† It was simple, which is what you’d expect from a peasant based dish for all accounts. The ingredients weren’t exotic, which again is a great change of pace with the busiest time of year swirling all around us. The dish had notes of everything you’d expect given what I’ve told you about Luxembourg being a melting pot– French influence in the Cognac and Riesling and of course BUTTER; German influence in the dumplings/egg noodles; Italian influence in its simplicity and in the cream base which is a kin to a b√©chamel sauce which for those paying attention like I was, is both French and Italian in origin. Hooray for the De’ Medici Family for giving us the creamy and succulent nirvana that is b√©chamel. Amen.

Hong am Rèisleck Recipe: http://www.girlichef.com/2013/06/HongAmReisleck.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+girlichef+%28girlichef%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail




















Ease of prep and cooking: ONE and A HALF STARS out of five this Dinner.
It really doesn’t get much more simple than chicken over noodles, which is something we were on the hunt for after last week’s Italian birthday bonanza. So it was nice to know that this recipe delivered on all fronts. I must give it maybe a half star higher for difficulty as you are dealing with cream sauce and this, if scorched, or left neglected will taste horrific and sad and generally ruin your life. I realize this sounds melodramatic, but friends, for the love of all things cream based, pay attention and take your time. Rushing will cause cream based dishes to fall apart in front of you, plus this one had the added difficulty of an egg yolk to temper in. If you rush that, you’ll end up with breakfast and not dinner. You have been warned.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR & HALF stars for Dinner.
We loved it. It was a solid meal. Trust me when I tell you that we were not anticipating something earth shattering or grandiose… I mean, Chicken in Riesling over egg noodles doesn’t sound like a culinary page turner, but it was amazing. It was delightful and a lot lighter fare than I was expecting. All that being said, I am reminded of so many countries that we have done so far that were good meals, but nothing to write home about; and Luxembourg can now join those ranks. It was a solid four and a half stars out of five, and that’s based on some pretty spectacular meals we’ve enjoyed so far on this journey that is a very respectable place to be. I don’t think that four and a half stars in those terms is anything short of wonderful.

Next week we BACK to Italy, but with a twist! We will be hitting the world’s smallest nation:¬†Vatican City! As it will be Christmas and we decided that we would pay homage to out Catholic roots, by eating like the Pope and Swiss Guard next weekend… and let me tell you, it should be nothing if not heavenly. Pun intended.

Save room for sugar cookies and coco!!
‚Äď L & K

#31: Italy

Mi Amore,

In celebration of my mother on her birthday, we dedicated this weekend to her favorite country/food which is Italy! A very wise Italian sayings goes, “Anni e bicchieri di vino non si contano mai”. This translation is: “Age and glasses of wine should never be counted”. So ageless and a enjoying the drink of the gods is how Italians prefer to live… and we got on board with that mantra this weekend!

THE DINNER: In the words of our favorite Austrian Chef, Wolfgang Puck, “Italian food is all about ingredients. It’s not fussy and it’s not fancy.” My mom’s favorite Italian chef is Lidia Bastianich (if you haven’t checked out Lidia’s Kitchen, you’re missing out, seriously). I mean this woman, makes Italian cooking so accessible and fun. She’s delightful. The recipes that mom pulled for the weekend was one entree, as normal, and then a surprise bonus meal that I alluded to at the end of last post, which was a breakfast meal! We have yet to explore breakfast on ATWI-195-S (that’s cool kid short hand for the blog, btw), so we were really stoke to venture into other times of the day for Italian cuisine.

In Italy, like so many European nations, the sensibility is to eat a good breakfast, followed by light snacking or wine at lunch, typically crudite; and then a large dinner/supper type meal around the early evening. This is something we do most often in Brovskyland actually, so it’s sort of the normal around here. The breakfast, is also a Brovsky staple, it’s known in England as “toad in the hole” and in Italy it’s called “egg in a basket“. For a pop culture reference: Please refer to the movie Moonstruck to see Olympia Dukakis make this for Cher.¬† It’s topped with sweet Italian peppers and it’s delightful. The main course she picked was one of Lidia’s recipes that we had never made before: Paccheri with Seafood. It’s interesting because though it’s seafood, the base is not cream like so many dishes but tomato. A trip to the Italian market was a bonus but not a necessity for this week’s adventure also. Italian cooking is nothing if not accessible to everyone.

Italian Egg in a Basket Recipe: http://www.sargento.com/recipes/1172/italian-style-eggs-in-a-frame/
Paccheri with Seafood Recipe:






























Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five for Breakfast /// THREE Stars our of five this Dinner.
BREAKFAST: This one is pretty simple. Eggs –> bread –>hole in bread –>fry –> top with wondrous fried sweet peppers and cheese and parsley and basically go straight to heaven. This one is super easy and basic. It’s so easy, in fact, you’ll have the problem of eating them faster than you can make them… real talk.
DINNER: This one was a hair trickier. Maybe just due to the seafood being of several different varieties. I mean, you have shellfish and non shellfish items cooking together and that can cause timing issues. You want the clams/muscles to open but you also want the meatier items like shrimp/scallops to cook all the way without being rubbery. Beyond all that, it was very simple as far as ingredients… save the surprise ingredient of saffron, which is typically more of a Portuguese or Spanish addition. It was really clever and fancy, but make sure you have some on hand before undertaking!

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE and out of five for breakfast // FOUR & HALF stars for Dinner.
BREAKFAST: This was amazing. I can’t explain in enough detail how warm and comforting eggs and bread and cheese and crispy fried awesomeness will make you feel, so honestly you’re going to just have to try this one for yourself. It’s yolky, rich and satisfying– and a MUST. All breakfast should be like this. I think I dreamed of these eggs. Twice.
DINNER: The dinner was tricky, but overall was just lovely. I really enjoyed mom’s pick of rigatoni! I have never had the ones that size before– i mean they were massive. The great thing about those were their ability to sustain the seafood. The noodles were strong enough to be significant next to the meat and that was a trick. The sauce was spicy and really a great departure from the typical cream based seafood dishes we see so often. We called an audible and added some basil too, which I would highly recommend. We also served it with some of that lovely Italian bread from the morning and a nice Chianti (no Hannibal Lecter noise effects needed…).

Next week we head farther north on the same continent to the very often forgot about nation of Luxembourg!! It’s sort of melting pot for so many of it’s neighbors so it sounds like it could be completely interesting!

Till next week, Ciao Bella!!
‚Äď L & K

#30: Thailand

It’s beginning to look a lot more like Christmas around here!

But luckily, week #30 finds us with unusually warm weather for the weekend and not chance of snow in our immediate future. Baking, shopping and lots of holiday music have been filling our free times. Parties and festivities are gearing up too! Also, moving and packing, which never seems to come at a convenient time here in Brovskyland– but certainly is demanding that the Brovsky’s be buried alive in packing peanuts and boxes. It’s always an adventure around here!

THE DINNER: This week we took a culinary vacation to Thailand this weekend, and it was delightful. When picking recipes it was important to us, as previous stated in other posts, that we tried our best to steer away from typical and cliche cuisine and really try to get an authentic and general picture of food for the country. It seems that, particularly in Asia and Europe that this is tricky as so very much of their food has been Americanized and mainstreamed for mass consumption. So, as you guessed it: Pad Thai was not going to grace our weekend menu.

We decided on a chopped Thai salad with Sesame Garlic dressing paired with a traditional chicken dish Gai Yahng. The Gai Yahng is basically a marinaded and grilled chicken with a really incredible sweet chili sauce that was beyond words. The Gai marinade was basically garlic and cilantro and vinegar and then there was this Yahng portion that was the chili sauce. That was wonderful. It was basically sugar and vinegar and red peppers all reduced down to a jelly/sauce that was the consistency of honey. Delightful. Spicy but also sweet and lovely. Both the chopped salad and the Gai Yahng paired great together. We remarked that it was light and satisfying meal.

Gai Yahng Recipe:http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Gai-Yahng-Thai-Grilled-Chicken-with-Sweet-Chile-Sauce
Thai Chopped Salad with Sesame Garlic Dressing Recipe:
















Ease of prep and cooking: ONE STAR out of five for this Dinner.
This meal was incredibly simple. I think start to finish we maybe spent an hour on all of this, and it included the grilling time. Nothing was particularly hard to come by, we were able to get the meat and veggies all at our normal super market in fact. So sad we didn’t get to visit the P.O.M for this Asian adventure though! It was good to have a classically clean meal– though exotic in many ways: grilled chicken and salad is one of Brovskyland’s most loved meals, so it was a hit. I will call attention to the fact that mom literally eighth-ed a whole freaking bird… so if you’re nervous to do that there’s lots of youtube videos on chicken landmarks and how to half and quarter a whole chicken. My mom learned from her grandma who live on a farm with live chickens. So there’s always that option to. As well as purchasing the already cut meat– but take it as a piece of chicken advice, as a cook, this is an adventure. Do something that makes you nervous. Cut the bird. #Lifeskill

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE and out of five for the Dinner.
As mentioned above, it was a hit in our house. The chicken marinade was more garlic and cilantro based (which tasting the chicken by itself without the sauce, made it more savory and not as “Asian” inspired as a teriyaki glaze or sesame glaze usually is). The dipping sauce, which was a cinch to make btws, turned out to be the consistency of honey and was sweet but also tangy. Mom and I anticipated wanting to kick up the heat on this recipe with extra Thai sauces (Like Garlic Spice and/or Sriracha) but in the end, the tangy after kick of the paired sauce for the Gai Yahng was perfect. It didn’t overpower, but sustained the need for heat. The salad was a piece of cake. It was lovely to boot. The dressing was surprisingly complex but not hard to make— absolutely more ingredients than I usually have in a dressing. It all played so well though with the kale and veggies. We used ginger instead of lemongrass as was an appropriate substitute by our recipe, and it turned out well.

BOTTOM LINE: We loved this one. In fact, as I sat at my work desk munching on the remains of the chopped salad, I’m already plotting to make the dressing in bulk.

Where to next week in our journey around the world? Well, in honor of my Mom’s birthday next weekend, she got to pick the destination! And we are VERYYYYY happy to report that Italy will be our country to cook Sunday! Also as a slight departure from our typical regime, my mom will be pulling the recipe this week. Not to mention, there might be a surprise addition to the usual cooking… think: “The most important meal of the day”.

(We are incredibly excited as Italy is our Brovsky spirit animal. We make Italian food for our comfort food around here, so this one is very close to our hearts! ‚̧ We cannot wait!)


Till next week, Ciao Bella!!
‚Äď L & K

#29: Denmark

Happiest of Happy Thanksgivings, friends!

Spent this week gearing up for American Thanksgiving; it made me remember that there is so much to be thankful for. It’s incredible to think that so many nations don’t have a national day of thanks, and though it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday bustle, the real essence of the day is time shared with family and friends over a warm meal. It’s basic and lovely; and completely taken for granted (by myself included). So I personally wanted to give you a very short list of the things I am thankful for this year (and again it couldn’t possibly be in it’s entirety):

  • Family, friends and people who make me smile at work
  • Health and Happiness of those said people
  • How excited my dog ALWAYS gets to see me when I have been away for the day
  • Taste Buds– these babies are totally under thanked
  • Freshly ground coffee and early mornings
  • Laundry when it comes out of the dryer

THE DINNER: I am also thankful for the Danes. Turns out they invented the picnic! They are all about the crudite and the petite fours. Pastries are a huge deal in Denmark (DUHHHH, guys, think about it. Danishes!) so it’s no surprise that they love to snack for their meals. One of the biggest thing is sandwiches. These are open-faced and typically not vegetarian. They call these sandwiches “sm√łrrebr√łd” which is where we get the English word “smorgasbord” which refers to “lots of options to choose from”. That’s precisely what the Danes gave us— zillions of options and all of them were scrumptious. We decided that after turkey palooza, it would be nice to have a light soup and sandwich night for Denmark’s Sunday adventure.

The two open-faced sm√łrrebr√łd that we picked were polar opposites– one was salmon to celebrate the Nordic influence to the Danish cuisine and the other was beef tenderloin to celebrate the German influence. The soup we picked was a traditional potato soup that was ham and cream based and it definitely reminded me of New England Clam Chowder without the clams, substitute the ham instead. It had cabbage in it too, which we all decided was absolutely brilliant.

Sm√łrrebr√łd Sandwich Recipe: http://globetrotterdiaries.com/recipes/foodbuzz-24×24-smorrebrod-open-faced-sandwiches-eating-denmark
Danish Potato Soup Recipe: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/danish-potato-soup

























Ease of prep and cooking: TWO (ish) STARS out of five for this Dinner.
It wasn’t that this one was difficult, per say, it was more a matter of “too much of a good thing” makes for a jam packed kitchen. It was a lot to take on, but it was worth it. I think doing two sandwiches and a soup was crazy, but crazy like the fox that gets to eat all the deliciousness that ensues type of crazy. It was not that any component of any of the dishes was extreme. Scrambled eggs, brazed tenderloin, chopped veggies and soup bones. All ever elementary, but again a lot at once. Individually, they all got around a one out of five stars, but collectively, our hair was on fire for ten minutes in there. Again, worth it. We’d do it again.

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE and out of five for the Dinner.
I always knew I was a fan of Danish food. I have loved their pastries with a furor that would Pablo Neruda blush, but let’s be real, their actual food-food is incredible!! The pickled onions on top of the tenderloin with the horseradish mayo? Brilliant. The cream cheese in the scrabbled eggs with locks and dill? Phenomenal.¬† The soup with ham and potatoes and cabbage and cream and (add lovely ingredient here from the long list)? Sensational. IT WAS ALL AMAZING. Individually and together, soup and sandwich night to Denmark was a raving success. All the Brovsky’s in Brovskyland gave it the Five star salute.

Next week we make the journey to Asia to visit our foodie friends in Thailand! We are looking forward to the challenge!

Give Thanks!!
‚Äď L & K