Skolebrød + 2 years old!

August 24, 2011 § 34 Comments

5 & Spice is two years old (two years young?) today!  Admittedly, in the scheme of blogs, that’s not very old yet.  But, to be perfectly honest, when I first started writing, I’m pretty sure I expected that by the end of two years, I wouldn’t have anything left to say.  Instead, I feel like I keep having more to say, more that I’m excited about, more I want to share with you.

It’s like one of those conversations where, each time it starts trickling off and you think maybe it will end, instead a new and even more exciting topic comes up, and you keep talking, until finally you look up and notice that the sun is rising, you’ve been talking all night, and you can’t think of any other way you would rather have spent your time.

I’m not one of those people lucky enough to have discovered early on that they have a calling (to those of you who do, I am way jealous!), however, having stumbled into this little world of developing, photographing, and writing about recipes (okay, okay, and writing about my random thoughts and stories), it feels suspiciously close to one.  It’s more of a persistent beckoning, perhaps, than a “haloo-there” call.

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Lefse

December 31, 2010 § 48 Comments

I’m finding it remarkably difficult to write this post.  It’s always hard for me when I really, really care about something.  You see, lefse for me, and many of my friends, is not just lefse.  It’s so much more.  But, maybe for the sake of those of you who haven’t had it – or haven’t even heard of it – I’ll start with what it is.

Homemade lefse (particularly when fresh) is hands-down one of the best foods on the face of this earth.  Truffles, caviar, foi gras, lobster, you’ve got nothin’ on lefse.  It is an inordinately traditional Norwegian potato flatbread.  Simple.  Soft and supple, a bit like a tortilla, but almost lacy thin and seductively buttery.  Hot off the griddle, they are absolutely unbelievable.  Our favorite – and the most traditional – ways of serving lefse are either wrapped around a hot dog and ketchup (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!  You’ll never look back.) or spread with butter and cinnamon-sugar (brown sugar is equally tempting and adds a lovely caramel accent).  Really you could use them to wrap up just about anything, including, it turns out, the phenomenal combo of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.  They are so good, I can’t even begin to wax adequately eloquent about them.  I would have to be a bard of potatoes.

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Norwegian Heart Shaped Waffles (Vafler)

May 19, 2010 § 35 Comments

Monday (the 17th) was Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day.  It’s like the Norwegian version of the Fourth of July, except that it’s a waaaaaaay bigger deal.  Norwegians are ferociously patriotic, doncha know.  It’s a day when, as a kid (or even adult), you’re allowed to eat all your favorite foods – even ice cream and hot dogs for breakfast!  There is a parade in every town with the children and the teachers marching in front of the capital buildings (in Oslo you get to wave to the King and Queen!).  And, everyone turns out waving their flags, and dressed in traditional woolen embroidered costumes called bunads.  You sing songs and have parties with neighbors and generally have a grand ole’ time (and if you’re partying in true Norwegian fashion, you also usually get totally wasted, but we won’t go there).

This, kind of amazingly, was the first Syttende Mai I’ve had when I haven’t gone to celebrate with my family.  Luckily, a wonderful band of my friends were willing to come over and parade with me around my neighborhood, sing songs (we even had guitars and mandolin), hear troll stories, and eat all the traditional food I prepared.  I took the day off of working and just stayed home and cooked!  We had a whole smorgasbord of treats from hotdogs, meatballs, red cabbage, and smoked fish, to boller, sour cream porridge, whipped cream cake, and vafler.  Trying to choose which of these foods is my favorite would be like trying to choose a favorite child (er, if I had children).  But, I’m going to share a recipe for vafler, Norwegian heart shaped waffles, with you because they’re just so iconic.

If there were to be an ‘ultimate Norwegian snack food smack down’, I’d pit vafler against boller, and honestly I have no idea who would win.  Both are beyond delicious, and you find them all over the place.  You can get freshly made waffles in many cafes across the country, served plain with butter, or with jam and sour cream.  They’re heaven with a cup of coffee.  Sometimes in the summer, kids will even make waffles and sell them at stands – kind of like a lemonade stand.  Trying to walk past the scent of waffles being freshly griddled without buying one to eat is like torture.  It’s a fabulous business ploy.

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