Duck Schnitzel with Rødkål and Mustard Potatoes (gluten free)

duckschnitzel

 

Making gluten-free duck schnitzel is simple, but it is such a treat! Recently I was the happy recipient of some wild duck and goose breasts. My friend’s son is a prolific hunter and needed someone to give some meat to, so I was happy to oblige.

I made sure to pound the duck breasts so they were very thin and decided to serve it with traditional cabbage and potato accompaniments. Rødkål is a sweet and sour cabbage dish from Denmark and I did my own version of a hot German potato salad using hot potatoes and adding some mustard for an extra lift of flavor. Both vegetables went perfectly with the schnitzel and it was one of the best dinners I had cooked in a while. The best part was how quick and easy the dishes were to make!

Next time you have some duck breasts, give this a try or if you can’t easily come by duck breasts, try the classic Weiner Schnitzel which uses pounded veal cutlets, pork is also good.

Duck Breast Schnitzel

INGREDIENTS:

4 duck breasts pounded thin
2 large eggs, scrambled
3/4  cup of gluten-free bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
2 TBS good quality butter
Lemon wedges

METHOD: Pound the duck breasts out nice and thin. Scramble an egg in a shallow bowl and in another shallow bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the salt and spices. Place a skillet on the burner on medium-high heat and melt the butter.

Dip each duck breast first into the egg and then coat it well with the spiced breadcrumbs. Then place both duck breasts into the melted butter and cook on each side until the coating is browned and crisp – about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with lemon wedges.

Rødkål

INGREDIENTS:

3 ½ cups shredded red cabbage
1 small onion thinly sliced
2 TBS good butter
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
¼ cup of lingonberry or red currant jam
salt & pepper
1 ½ tsp Beau Monde- allspice, bay, cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmeg, black and white pepper
½ cup water

METHOD: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Add the cabbage and onion and some salt and sweat the cabbage and onions. When they begin to soften mix in the vinegar, jam, spices and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer with a lid on for about 40 minutes; add more water if it is getting dry.

Mustard Potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

5 medium sized yellow potatoes, boiled al dente and roughly chopped.
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ cup Dijon mustard

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Boil potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes and set aside. In a skillet sauté the bacon, onion and garlic. Roughly chop potaotes and place in a baking dish. Add the bacon mixture, apple cider vinegar, thyme and mustard. Stir to thoroughly coat the potatoes, then bake for about 20 minutes.

Holiday Baking Series: Gluten Free Æbleskiver (also called Förtchen, Futtjens, Ferdons or Fritters)

I like talking about ancestral food. I have found through personal experience that by preparing ancestral foods you can connect to the cultures of your birth in a fun and enjoyable way. It is like living history, but with food. My spiritual practice focuses a lot on ancestor veneration, i.e. honoring your ancestors. I have found the most profound way for me to do that is to expand my culinary repertoire and skills to include foods that had significance to those ancestors.

One of the most important days of the year to celebrate the ancestors is December 20th, also known as Mōdraniht or Mother’s Night when the female ancestors of one’s family linse are celebrated and thanked for, well, nothing short of making our lives possible. This is one of my favorite days of the year and I am doubly lucky as I have so many ancestors to celebrate, both from my adoptive and birth families! I celebrate this night by creating a holiday treat, usually a cookie, reflecting a particular branch of ancestry. In years past I have made :

Cuccidata, Sicilian Fig Cookies

Polenta & Sesame Biscotti

Pfeffernusse Shortbread

Last year we made these. I have always known them by their Danish name, æbleskiver, but I came across this recipe for a gluten-free version last year in Pinterest  and when I read the blog post, I knew I had to make these for Mother’s Night as the blogger who created the recipe and I share heritage from Holstein (which has switched around between being part of Denmark and Germany).

Here is what Heidi, the creator of this treat has to say about its origins:

“Förtchen are a traditional Christmas pastry in parts of northern Germany, especially in Schleswig-Holstein and in Denmark. My family’s original fritter recipe is much like a very dense cake-style donut hole.”

And some more tidbits from her Aunt:

“Our German ancestors were from the most northern part of Germany, in an area called Schleswig-Holstein. That part of the country was once a part of Denmark and I suspect that this recipe is somewhat Danish in origin.”

Heidi has a wonderful step by step guide to making these on her blog  she also has a link to the original non gluten free version.

We flavored our æbleskiver by filling them with some chestnut cream we had bought when visiting Quebec City. It was a wonderful holiday treat! My hope is to make them sometime during the season this year, although not for Mother’s night as I like to do something different each year.

Dutch, Finnish or German? (My Pancake Has an Identity Crisis)

 

(…or maybe it is just a cultural mutt, like so many of us?)

I like to make connections in food preparation. It is the anthropologist in me. I am not satisfied just eating a deliciously prepared recipe. If it is unique, even if it is a common staple, I want to understand its origins, how it evolved and what makes it shine and how to make it gluten free! Every food has its own history, its own story of conception and origin. That is why I love historic recipes. I like to think about the first person who paired certain available ingredients and created what today remains a staple classic.

Learning about where a food comes from, tells you a lot about that place – what resources were common and available, how people prepared meals and in what vessels, what kind of crops or foods were in their environment? This is the kind of thing that endlessly fascinates me and takes me on my own culinary journey. This is why I am always saying you can learn so much about your ancestry by the foods of that culture – they are just a window to the rest of it.

By now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know about my love for pancakes and how they are a Sunday morning tradition on the homestead. You know the whole history, how I never liked them growing up, fell in love with crepes and other thin pancakes, struggled with gluten free pancake making etc. So although I have many pancake recipes that I love to make every week, I am always looking for other pancake recipes. I just can’t help myself!

I have come across a wonderful type of pancake recently – like a cake that you make in a cast iron pan (imagine that! Pan Cake) yet I have heard them referred to in several different ways: Dutch, Finnish and German. But as far as I can see, they all have the same basic recipe, flour milk and lots of eggs. So which is it? How did they get these very specific place names?

Wikipedia says the Dutch Baby and German Pancake are one in the same, and similar to a Yorkshire Pudding. The recipe derived from the German Apfelpfannkuchen – a type of apple pancake. It then goes on to say that the moniker Dutch Baby comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch, German-American immigrants, where “Dutch” is a corruption of the German Deutsch.

The Finnish Pancake, called Pannukakku in Finnish, has considerably less information about its origin. One blog post claims that what makes it Finnish is “that they are pancaked in the oven rather than the stove top”. Yet, we know that the Dutch/German version is also baked in the oven. So not really accurate, nor enough of an origin story for me. So I searched and searched and could not find any clarifying information and there is not much history between the two countries before the Second World War that I can discover in a quick search – any Finnish readers of my blog know more?

Regardless, these pancakes are really delicious – I especially liked its almost custard-like texture. When I made one for us a few Sundays ago, I topped it with sautéed apples and dusted it with powdered maple sugar, as a nod to the Apfelpfannkuchen. In Finland they are typically topped with berries and whipped cream and served around the summer solstice. So you still have some time to play with recipes and toppings before then!

(puffy right out of the oven)

As a basic recipe, I recommend Kelly’s from The Spunky Coconut, it is the one I used and it works perfectly, even though it isn’t totally traditional, it is gluten, grain and dairy free and the result looks just like all the other ones out there. If you would rather use milk instead of coconut milk, it should work just as well. The only thing I changed from Kelly’s recipe is that I used honey instead of stevia (I think I used about 2 TBS). This pancake puffs up in the oven, and then falls. If this happens, don’t worry, it is supposed to! Enjoy some this weekend!

Rømmegrøt: Gluten Free Sour Cream Porridge

 

One of my favorite holiday foods is Rømmegrøt – a traditional Norwegian dish, a sour cream(rømme) porridge(grøt) typically eaten on Christmas Eve. I make it every year; it is one of our holiday traditions. I would say though it is delicious to serve any time during the cold winter months.

Last year I made another porridge type dish called Trondheim Soup, a gluten-free porridge. So this year I decided to devise a gluten-free version of Rømmegrøt. I have always made it in the past using cream of wheat, which obviously wasn’t going to work anymore.

Rømmegrøt is a rich, flavorful, stick-to-your-bones kind of food. Perfect for cold weather! It is also a tradition in Norway for children to put out a bowl of porridge for the Nisser–the elves on Christmas eve! Although these elves have nothing to do with Santa, they are associated with and originate from Norwegian farm life. These are the elves that look after the farm animals–and in return for their protection, they want their Christmas porridge on Christmas Eve, so of course we oblige, we owe it to the sheep, goats and chickens!

Rømmegrøt is very easy to make, it is a one pot meal. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of butter, cream, etc. in this dish, if you are using high quality fats, this is good for you, especially in the cold of winter. The most essential ingredient is the rømme – a very high quality full-fat sour cream. We use Green Valley Organics Lactose Free sour cream because Roberto is having trouble with dairy these days, and having good lactose free products just makes life easier. Just make sure the sour cream you use doesn’t have gelatin or other stabilizers added. Or you can just make your own!

Milk is another important ingredient. I used some local raw milk from Applecheek Farm, but you could use any organic milk – raw if you can, or grassfed if you can’t find raw. The only other things you need are a thickener – I used oat bran this year and then some salt. This delectable porridge is then topped with a pat of butter to make the all-important smørøya, literally: “butter island” (isn’t that awesome that there is actually a word for that?), cinnamon, sugar and dried currants or raisins. In Trondheim where I lived, this dish is traditionally eaten as the main meal on Christmas eve with a variety of dried cured meats. If you like you could try serving this for breakfast, or even dessert. It is just that good.

Rømmegrøt (recipe adapted from The Norwegian Kitchen)

INGREDIENTS:

1 quart of high quality, full fat sour cream
3/4 cup oat bran
1 quart of full fat milk
Salt to taste
Toppings: butter, cinnamon, raw cane sugar and dried currants or raisins

METHOD:

Simmer the sour cream for about 15 minutes over low heat, stirring often. Stir in the oat bran and bring to a boil, while continuing to keep an eye on it and stir often to prevent burning. If butterfat leaches out of the cream, remove it and save for later. In a separate saucepan, bring milk to a boil and use it to thin the porridge to the desired consistency. Then season with salt. You can use the reserved butterfat to swirl on top of the porridge to serve (instead of creating a smørøya). Serves 8. Recipe can be easily halved.

Norske Pannekaker: Grain-Free Norwegian Pancakes

(Norske Pannekaker: Grain-Free Norwegian Pancakes with Red Currant Jam and homemade Maple Breakfast Sausage)

I know I promised everyone another really great quick, easy, healthy and delicious DIY Holiday Gift in the series , but we had a little setback this weekend. We lost one of our bunnies, Lady Sassafras AKA “Sassy”. It was completely unexpected and so really left us in an emotional mess. Needless to say we were not feeling the joy of the season, so I decided instead of contaminating the last recipe with my bad energy mojo and sending it out to my loved ones, I will just save it for next year! Sassy will be missed and is in our hearts, a sweet fluffy bunny who always had an adventurous spirit despite a genetic disability she was born with that did not allow her use of one of her back legs.

(RIP Sassy)

As I have mentioned many times on this blog over the years, when this time of year rolls around I am always reminded of the time I spent in Norway and I like eating Norwegian or other Scandinavian inspired foods. This year I have really been getting into pancakes, so far we really love these Buckwheat Pancakes, Coconut Flour Pancakes and Oladyi (Russian Yogurt Pancakes) made with buckwheat flour.  But I was really missing those tender, almost crepe-like pancakes that melt in your mouth that I ate so often in Norway.

We spent a few days in Quebec for my birthday again this year , and we happened upon a European grocery, and we got a lot of really delicious items, including some wonderful red currant jam. Norwegians don’t use maple syrup very much and instead regularly use jam on pancakes and waffles.

On our return I decided to start looking for gluten-free (preferably grain –free) pancake recipes that would work for Pannekaker to eat with the jam. I knew I would be eating more grain over the holidays, which tends to not be so good for me, so if I can find grain-free substitutes it is better. I experimented with a few until I came across this one from Tropical Traditions for Coconut Flour Crepes. In fact they have a lot of great coconut flour recipes there. These were perfect, they really “ate themselves” to quote my husband. The only thing I did differently was use butter to fry them, instead of coconut oil – which I am sure would be great too, but Norwegians do love their butter. I served them with more butter, sprinkled cinnamon and topped with the red currant jam.

Roberto seems to have developed an intolerance to cow’s milk (even raw). So we do a lot with coconut milk these days while we are waiting to breed our goats so we can get some goat milk (hopefully this summer). However, if you want to try another version, with heavy cream and without any flour at all, Soli from I Believe in Butter whose mother is from Sweden, gave me this recipe her mom developed. I am sure they are fantastic and taste super authentic  – they are pretty much the same as Norwegian pancakes anyway, but each country likes to claim them for their own and why not? They are awesome! Try some today, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as a holiday dessert!
For more Norwegian Scandinavian recipes that are great from this time of year please check out the recipes on this link.

DIY Holiday Gift Series: Decadent Chocolate Truffles

 

WARNING: the next few weeks will be possible SPOILERS for family and friends

Scandinavian Snowball Truffles

Truffles are so good, so decadent, and so seductive. For someone like me who doesn’t usually get all the fuss about chocolate, I can easily get behind truffles. Deliciously creamy bites of dark chocolate bliss are a sure winner for everyone and this is certainly the time of year to indulge.

But what if truffles were made with good, wholesome ingredients, so even as an indulgence you are getting a lot of good things your body needs along with it – like healthy and beneficial fat such as coconut milk, coconut oil, fair trade dark cocoa powder and allergen friendly chocolate?

Years ago, when I had a Trader Joe’s near me, I would get boxes of their truffles to give as gifts to people. So I knew one DIY holiday gift I wanted to make this year was truffles. I was inspired by Nourished Kitchen’s recipe (the post is worth a read – it tells her sweet and lovely wedding story) and in fact my Solstice Spice truffles are almost exactly like Jenny’s Mayan Chocolate Truffles. But I wanted to branch out a bit from her recipe and make a flavor with all the spices that remind me of Yuletide kitchens in Norway – cardamom and anise with coconut, and this is how Scandinavian Snowball truffles were born.

As I indicated last holiday season, when I “came out” on the blog as a Pagan, I talked about the Winter Solstice and how we celebrate this time of year. I follow the spiritual pathways of my Northern European ancestors who call this celebration time Yule. For Pagans of various denominations, this time of year is also about a birth, the birth of the Sun. Just like other religious celebrations during this time of year, we celebrate a festival of lights and honor the warming sun which on the Winter Solstice ends the darkest time of the year, giving birth to longer days. So this time of year I like to honor the sun and remember with fondness the time I spent in Norway, by incorporating the flavors and food culture into my celebrations. This celebration was the inspiration for the flavor of these truffles – warming and spicy.

To make it easy for my recipients, I made each flavor in a different shape. One I cut into “rustic” (to borrow Jenny’s language) triangular shapes, and the other, I used my hands to roll into a traditional ball shape. Each truffle is about a rough teaspoon in size. Each recipe makes about 100 truffles. As always, I included a card with the package that contains the ingredients. I made the package from a square of natural, unbleached parchment paper and tied with raffia.

INGREDIENTS: Solstice Spice:

20 ounces chocolate with high cocoa content, chopped coarsely (or chips) – I used Enjoy Life: Dairy, Soy and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chips
4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
2 vanilla beans, opened and scraped
pinch unrefined sea salt
4 cups full-fat coconut milk
4 TBS coconut oil
cocoa powder ( @¼ cup) and a few dashes cinnamon mixed, for dredging truffles

INGREDIENTS: Scandinavian Snowballs:

20 ounces chocolate with high cocoa content, chopped coarsely (or chips) – I used Enjoy Life: Dairy, Soy and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chips
1 tsp cardamom, ground
½ tsp star anise, ground
1 vanilla bean, opened and scraped
pinch unrefined sea salt
4 cups full-fat coconut milk
4 TBS coconut oil
cocoa powder and desiccated coconut mixed (@ ¼ cup each), for dredging truffles

METHOD:

1. Toss chopped chocolate into a mixing bowl with the spices, scraped vanilla bean and a dash unrefined sea salt.
2. Bring coconut milk and coconut oil to a slow simmer in a saucepan over a moderate flame.
3. Pour coconut milk and oil over the chopped chocolate and seasonings then stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is thoroughly melted and the mixture, or ganache, becomes thick, uniform and glossy.
4. Transfer the mixture into a loaf pan or glass baking dish with sides lined with parchment paper, and allow it to harden in the refrigerator for eight to twelve hours, or overnight.
5. After the chocolate has hardened in the refrigerator for eight to twelve hours, remove it, unmold it from the parchment paper and carve it into irregular bite-sized chunks or for balls, use a one tsp measuring spoon
6. Toss the chunks with cocoa powder mixture and serve. Makes about 100 tsp sized balls and/or rustic chunks per recipe.
NOTES: Unless you live in a very hot climate, these truffles should keep at room temperature indefinitely.

* Be sure to click on the DIY Holiday Gift Series tag to see all the posts in this series!

Homemade Nutella for Norway

 

I really wish I had a Norwegian recipe to post today. I have been really saddened by the tragic events in Oslo on Friday. As many of my readers know, I spent a year in Norway as an exchange student, in between high school and college, and I have very fond and vivid memories of my life there. The people, culture and independent spirit of Norway all have a very special place in my heart. I formed many long lasting friendships that year and still have many good friends and loved ones that live there, and a lot of them currently reside in Oslo. So  Friday and Saturday were scary days waiting to hear from everyone.

Photo Courtesy

JEG ELSKER NORGE!

I have been comforted these past few days by these words by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg:

“You will not destroy us. You will not destroy our democracy, or our commitment to a better world. We are a small country nation, but a proud nation. No one shall bomb us to silence, no one shall shoot us to silence, no one shall scare us out of being Norway. We must never stop standing up for our values. We must show that the Norwegian society can stand up to these testing times. We must show humanity, but not naivety.”

I keep reading this over and over and praying for the truth in those words. As an American, experiencing 9/11 and seeing the aftermath of such events and in many ways the loss of our many freedoms and our independent spirit, I can only hope that the Norwegians will keep that alive.

Although I know this does nothing, other than feebly lend support and love to my Norwegian friends and Norwegians all over the world, you can check out some of my Norwegian and Scandinavian inspired recipes from the past. Comfort food really is a comfort and can aid in feeding our spirit during trying times.

I spent all of Friday sweating over steamy vats of curds and whey and fluffing cheese curds at The Cellars at Jasper Hill – that is something for another post though…so when I got home that night, I hadn’t heard anything about what was going on in Norway. One of my best friends lives in Oslo, and so Roberto really was worried about telling me what had happened, but luckily she had posted on my facebook wall that everything was OK, and like a lot of other Norwegians, she and her husband were out of the country on holiday.

So in lieu of posting a Norwegian recipe, I am going to post about making homemade Nutella, because the first time I ever tasted Nutella it was in Norway. The first time I had it, I thought it was a Norwegian invention, and I was hooked! When I returned to the US, after my year in Norway, I was lucky to be able to find it in the grocery stores here, and so it has always been a staple in my house. Then I married an Italian (Italy is the actual birthplace of Nutella) and we just always had a jar in the pantry…until we noticed the ingredient profile had changed and it now included soy lecithin and vanillin – artificial vanilla …so we stopped buying it. We have found and tried several organic and more healthy versions, but they never really tasted that good, and were expensive.

In comes The Spunky Coconut blog. I am an avid fan of both the blog and the cookbook – The Spunky Coconut has really changed my life in a lot of ways, her baked goods are all gluten and grain free and don’t contain weird fillers and gums, like a lot of gluten-free baked goods do. I have tried several of her recipes, and they have all been fantastic – perfect taste and texture every time – and they don’t require any tweaking, which makes my life so easy!

So when she posted a recipe for homemade Nutella on her blog, I felt like our prayers had been answered – especially for Roberto.

The only thing I changed about the recipe was by adding a bit of maple syrup at the end to taste. Roberto, the official taste tester felt that it wasn’t sweet enough. I probably ended up adding a little shy of ¼ cup of it after all was said and done. The recipe makes 3-4 small mason jars full, and she says in the comments that she actually froze one jar of it – but I am not sure if it turned out OK.

Roberto’s tasting notes: Regular Nutella is now way too sweet for us (we have cut down on a lot of sugar and don’t use any refined sugar products), and it has more of a bitter dark chocolate taste than regular Nutella, however because it is less sweet, he says it is more versatile. He has been enjoying it spread on The Spunky Coconut’s Boulder Banana Bread (minus the walnuts, I usually add about 2 TBS of almond butter).

Let’s Get Cultured! Filmjölk!

I have been making my own yogurt for about two years now and so far filmjölk, a Swedish countertop cultured yogurt is my favorite. There are several reasons why, the first is the absolute breeze it is to make. You don’t need any special equipment. To make your first batch all you need is the bacteria culture, some milk and cream and a clean mason jar. That’s it. It takes just 24 hours to culture and less than 5 minutes to mix up. It really can’t be easier to make artisan, organic yogurt at home for literally a fraction of the price of store-bought yogurt. This is a great example of a product you can make at home for so little cash and effort that you literally can’t afford not to make it yourself.

Another and equally important reason I love it is for the taste. Many people describe filmjölk as yogurt with more of a “cheese-like” flavor. In Norway it is known as kulturmelk – translation, cultured milk. But it is not like American buttermilk; it is thicker and has more of a yogurt taste, although I find it to be sweeter and less sour than yogurt in general. Filmjölk is similar to cultured buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt in consistency, but fermented by different bacterium, Lactococcus lactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides, giving it a different taste than other cultured dairy products and giving filmjölk its characteristic consistency – thinner than yogurt, but a bit thicker than buttermilk or kefir.

Forms of filmjölk have probably been around since Viking times, but the first written records of it are from the 18th century.  Still a long history, which makes sense since Northern Europeans, especially Scandinavians have a long history with dairy animals and before refrigeration the need to culture and preserve dairy was a necessity of life.

Due to its non-committal flavor it can be used in a variety of ways from sweet to savory. We usually eat it for dessert with homemade granola. But I also use it as a substitute for sour cream, or even regular cream as a component to a creamy pasta sauce, or on top of beans and rice. If I don’t have any quark about, filmjölk can be used in its place.

In order to make my filmjölk thicker, I add about ½ cup of heavy cream to the full fat milk. Once your first batch it made, you just save some of the filmjölk to make subsequent batches. I usually save about ½ cup from my batches, and mix the subsequent batches in a 24 oz. mason jar using Vermont made Stafford Organic Creamery un-homogenized Creamline milk and heavy cream. I get my filmjölk cultures from Cultures for Health.

Make some today! This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday! Link up and share your tips and recipes for living a simple life.