Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Swedish Thursday dinner

Well, I'm going to be the very occasional contributor to Cooking Kama Sutras and don't hold your breath over that I'll post a recipe I've never tried before.

Although I do like to cook, I'm much more inclined to bake the cookies, the cakes and the breads than try to figure out what to cook for dinner. My mother laughed at me when I proclaimed as a high-schooler I would marry someone who cooked for me. Well, I did marry someone who cooks for me, albeit not as often as we would like since we have two picky toddlers to fed as well.

But one of our tried and true meals involve Swedish pancakes (or yes, they look like little crepes) and the kids love them and usually there's always milk, egg and flour at home. Make enough pancakes and you'll get full, I promise. The trick is to learn when to flip the pancakes, just when they get golden brown on the bottom and solid on the top. The trial-and-error-ones are my personal favorite when I munch while cooking ... I use a cast iron skillet for silver dollar pancakes and a thin spatula to flip the pancakes.

Swedish Pancakes

1 1/8 cups of flour (2 1/2 dl)
2 1/2 cups of milk (6 dl)
3 eggs
4 oz of margarine (30-50 g)

Mix the flour and half the milk to an even batter with a wire whisk in a large mixing bowl. Add rest of milk, then stir in the eggs.

Melt the margarine in the pancake skillet, pour the melted butter into the pancake batter and have a paper towel handy to wipe off the melted butter from the side of the pan. (By pouring melted butter into the batter, there's no need to re-grease the pan between each pouring of batter.)

Keep the heat from med-high to medium, pour about a tablespoon per silver dollar pancake (otherwise about half cup of batter for a big pancake).

When the surface is solid (light brown), turn over and brown the other side.

Whisk the batter between each round to prevent the flour from sinking to the bottom.

Keep warm by placing under a paper towel until there's enough to serve, or if you are the mom, keep feeding the kid(s) as soon as the pancakes leave the skillet.

Enjoy with favorite jam (lingonberries, raspberries, blueberry) or applesauce or whatever strikes your fancy.

Keep any leftovers in refrigerator covered under plastic wrap. Leftovers can be reheated for 20-30 seconds in microwave or eaten cold. Excellent to pack in sack-lunches.

Part of the traditional Swedish Thursday menu is split pea soup followed by pancakes. I've yet to convince my family that this combination is a great meal, but I do enjoy my pea soup which I always make during the holiday season when there's leftover ham.

Swedish-style Yellow Pea Soup

2 cups dried yellow peas
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 tsp salt
1 tsp marjoram or thyme
Optional: 1 lb pork ribs or ham (cubed)

Rinse peas in a colander, pick out any peas that looked damaged, and then soak overnight in 5 cups of water a big stock pot. Discard water.

Pour 2 quarts of water over peas. Cook together with onion, salt, marjoram or thyme and ham on low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until shells of peas split.

Serve warm, garnish with sweet mustard if so desired. Then eat your pancakes.

The soup freezes well, so the extras can always be the emergency lunch or dinner when you don't feel like more planning than thawing out a package of soup in the fridge overnight.

(Of course, I buy my peas 'Lars Own Yellow Peas' at IKEA in the food section where you can also find Swedish style mustard.)

Recipes from Vår Kokbok (pancakes) and the packaging of Lars Own Yellow Peas (soup).


Camille said...

Welcome to the blog, Lena, I'm really excited to see what recipes you'll be posting. Those sweedish pancakes look so yummy! Where did you get that fabulous cast iron skillet?

Lena said...

Bed, Bath & Beyond actually.

Those 20 percent coupons keep flooding my mailbox and I lucked out one day when they had camping cast iron skillets on sale.