Today we wanted to explore a bit of our Norse heritage. There are a lot of Norwegians competing in the Winter Olympics this year. If you are watching any of the coverage, I'm sure you've seen some of them, particularly in skiing events.

Our menu today is Kalruletter and Sot Suppe. Kalruletter is a meat-filled cabbage roll with gravy, served with boiled potatoes and carrots and sot suppe (literally translated: sweet soup) is a fruit dish. The recipe for the Kalruletter is primarily from Arctic Grub blog with the cabbage prep parts and baking directions taken from the Thanks for the Food blog. I had originally planned on following the later recipe, but when I googled Kalruletter for an image search, most had a white or brown gravy and not a tomato topping. So, this morning I switched gears and decided to follow the Arctic Grub recipe, except for the cabbage part, which I had already done. The Sot Suppe recipe came from Cheap Recipe Blog.


The Verdict:  The Kalruletter (cabbage rolls) was a success!  Chip even commented how much the filling tasted like the meatballs he had years ago at the Norway pavilion at Disney World - and that was without him knowing we were having Norwegian food today.  (He got home right as we were sitting down to eat and had missed the introduction.)  While we enjoyed the rolls, by the time we got to our 3rd kalruletter, the cabbage was a bit much.  Therefore, I would say that I would make this again, but only put about 1/2 the meat mixture into the cabbage and cook the other half as meatballs.  The dill gravy was a nice compliment to the flavor of the meat.  The Sot Suppe was a favorite for my youngest and I thought it was tasty, but the other two girls thought it was too sweet and Chip didn't like the flavors of the fruit.  It was thicker than I anticipated, and Ebabe kept saying it looked like fruit slime... and it was sort of true!


Kålruletter

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (you can use pork, beef, or chicken instead, if you prefer)
2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 TBSP cornstarch or potato starch
about 1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 TBSP butter for sauteing onion
2 heads of cabbage
water
salt for water


Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in salt. You will want to add in about 1 tablespoon per 2 liters (about 8 cups) of water. Once the water is boiling, add one whole head of cabbage and allow it to boil for 5-7 minutes, or until the outer layers turn slightly transparent.

Remove the entire head of cabbage from the water and allow it to cool off on a baking sheet until cool enough to handle. Repeat the same process for each head of cabbage.

Once the cabbage had cooled off enough to touch with your bare hands, remove the leaves from the core. They should be quite flexible and easily malleable, but if you get some resistance from the vein of the cabbage leaf when you try to bend it, shave it down with a paring knife. You should be able to get 16-20 leaves of cabbage.

Saute the onions over medium heat with the 2 tbsp of butter, plenty of salt and a dash of sugar. They should be caramelized and browned, adjust heat and avoid stirring too much but don’t let them burn. It will take about 15 minutes or so.

Combine the ground turkey with the sauteed onion, egg, salt, pepper, spices, parsley, cornstarch and cream/milk, either by hand or pulse in a food processor.

Next, add a lump of filling into the middle of the leaf, and wrap the edges of the leaf around the meat as to form a parcel or mini-burrito. Repeat this process until all the meat and leaves have been used. I made 20, using about 2-3 TBSP of meat mixture per leaf.

Place all of your cabbage parcels into a baking dish. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 375F for 35-40 minutes.

Serve the kålruletter with boiled potatoes and carrots and white gravy (recipe below).

White Gravy with Dill Recipe
2 cups milk
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
salt, pepper, freshly ground nutmeg

In a small sauce pot over medium heat, pour in the milk and heat up until warm.

Place the butter into a shallow sauce pan over medium heat, as soon as it has melted add in the flour and whisk until combined.

Gradually add in the warm milk, while constantly whisking until smooth and a bit thick or until it has the consistency you want from the gravy (add more milk if it gets too thick).

Season with dill, salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.




Norwegian Sot Suppe

Ingredients

5 cups water
1/4 cup large pearl tapioca
1 cup chopped prunes
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup mixed dried fruit, chopped (we used cherries, pears, nectarines,
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest from a lemon
1 TBSP lemon juice

Directions

Soak tapioca in a pot with the water overnight.

In the morning, add fruit, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest to the pot of tapioca.

Cook over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan until tapioca is clear and the fruit is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Allow to cool. Store in refrigerator

If you are like me, you have never heard of Timor Leste, or East Timor.  This small island nation located between Indonesia and Australia is a relatively new nation, gaining independence from Portugal in 1975 before being taken over by Indonesia and eventually becoming a sovreign state in 2002.  I stumbled across it when I was doing research on countries that are participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics and was somewhat intrigued since I had never even heard the name before.  You can read a bit more about Timor Leste here.

Timor Leste has one alpine skier competing in the games this year.  This is somewhat ironic in that the official language of Timor, Tetum, does not have a word for skiing.  Yohan Goncalves Goutt's first slalom run will take place in two days, on Thursday, Feb. 22nd.

Our menu for Timor Leste was Batar Da’an and rujak. The recipe for Batar Da'an came from the 196 Flavor blog and the Rujak recipe came from the International Cuisine site. The kids and I thought the Batar Da'an was tasty and while we weren't overly fond of the dressing, we enjoyed the combination of flavors in the rujak(fruit salad). Chip didn't like either one. I will say that while it was initially filling, I was hungry again within an hour.

Batar Da'an

INGREDIENTS


1 lb fresh or frozen corn
½ lb dried mung beans
2 lb squash butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cups water
2 onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Prior to cooking, soak the mung beans in water for at least 10 hours, overnight is best.

Drain the mung beans, then boil them for 10 to 15 minutes in a large amount of water.
Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 6-8 minutes in a dutch oven or large pot. Add water, squash, beans and corn to the onion and garlic and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rujak

INGREDIENTS

1 orange sliced
1 mango, diced
2 cups watermelon diced
2 bananas, sliced
1 pear, diced
1 cup grapes
Whipped cream
½ cup toasted nuts

For the dressing: 2 green chillis (dice into very small pieces) 1 TBSP brown sugar 2 TBSP lemon or lime juice 2 TBSP fish sauce

DIRECTIONS

Mix all the fruit ingredients together.  Set aside.  Mix up the dressing and pour over the top. Add whipped cream and nuts.
There are 10 Israeli athletes competing in the PyeongChang Olympics.  Seven figure skaters, 1 short track speed skater, 1 alpine skier, and one skeleton racer.  As I type this up, I am watching an amazing performance by one of the Israeli male figure skaters and the next performer is also from Israel. 

Our menu for today consisted of shwarma, Israeli salad, and Elal Shani's famous cauliflower.  Everything was fairly quick and easy to prepare, which worked well for me after a full day of work and volunteering.  Dinner got a thumbs up from almost all of us!  I really liked the cauliflower and will prepare it that way again to break up the flavorless monotony of steamed vegetables. 






I'm going to start with the recipe for the schwarma, since it the chicken should marinate overnight.  The recipe for the schwarma is from The Joy of Kosher.  The youtube video on how to make Elal Shani's famous cauliflower was sent to me by my friend Cheryl.  The Israeli salad recipe comes from the Melanie Cooks blog.  The kids said that the salad and schwarma tasted just like the stuff we've gotten at the Mediterranean grill nearby - I think that means we did it right!


Schwarma

Ingredients

1 pound chicken breast
1/3 cup canola oil
1 TBSP turmeric
1 TBSP ground coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pitas

Directions

Slice chicken into thin strips. Combine the oil and spices and mix into chicken. Marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge to intensify the flavor. Heat a frying pan on medium/high heat and place spiced chicken strips in pan. Cook in pan for about sixteen minutes - about eight minutes per side. Make sure chicken gets a nice crunchy exterior. Remove from pan and leave as is or chop chicken into even smaller pieces. Serve with chopped fresh vegetables (see Israeli salad recipe below) in a pita.

Elal Shani's Famous Cauliflower

View the video preparation on youtube.

Ingredients

Head of Cauliflower
Salt
Water
Olive Oil
Green Onion
Tahini Sauce 

Directions

Place the entire head of cauliflower into a large stock pot with a lid.  Add just enough salt water to cover the bottom of the pot about 1/4 inch.  Steam the cauliflower over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes.  Remove cauliflower from the pot and allow to cool completely.  Preheat oven to 430 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once cooled, spread a thin coat of olive oil over the cauliflower and salt generously.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Top will brown and crisp.  Slice and serve with tahini sauce and green onion.







Israeli Salad

Ingredients

3 medium tomatoes
3 mini cucumbers 1 medium onion
½ bunch parsley
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Dice the tomatoes, cucumbers and onion into small pieces, put in large bowl and mix well. Put parsley in a food processor and pulse several times, until minced, then add to vegetable bowl and stir until combined.  Put olive oil and lemon juice in a cup and whisk with a fork until combined. Pour over the salad and toss until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste and mix well.




Just to let you know, we are taking the next several days off from Olympic cooking due to one of our children being on a school trip.  We will resume next Tuesday!
Ecuador is making its Winter Olympic debut featuring Cross Country Skier Klaus Jungbluth Rodriguez. The 15km freestyle race takes place on Friday, the 16th.  While he isn't expected to medal, what an accomplishment to have been the first athlete in his country to compete in the Winter Olympics!

Our foray into Ecuadorian food was to try mote pillo and ensalada mixta.  Both recipes were quick and easy to make.  I had high hopes for the mote pillo since it is basically scrambled eggs, but only one member of the family - the one who doesn't like much flavor - enjoyed it.  The rest of us are apparently too married to the way we usually make scrambled eggs.  The ensalada mixta was great - but it's hard to go wrong with a salad.  That said, give mote pillo a try and let us know what you think!  



Both recipes below are exactly from their original source.  For the Mote Pillo, that source is the Latin Kitchen website and for the ensalada mixta, the source is Laylita's Recipes blog.


Mote Pillo

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground achiote (annatto) powder
1 pound cooked hominy
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup skim milk
4 ounces crumbled queso fresco plus extra for serving
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
ground cumin, to taste
chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and annatto powder. Sautee until the onions turn translucent.

Add the cooked hominy and stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Season with salt, ground pepper and ground cumin to taste.

Add the eggs and the milk, and stir to cook the eggs.

Taste for additional seasoning. Remove from the heat.


Add the queso fresco and stir to incorporate and melt the cheese. Serve warm with chopped cilantro and additional queso fresco.



Ensalada Mixta

Ingredients

  1 head of lettuce, washed and leaves cut or torn into large pieces
  2 tomatoes, sliced or quartered
  ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  1 avocado, sliced or diced
  1 TBSP finely chopped cilantro
  Juice of 2 limes
  2 TBSP olive oil
  Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  To make the dressing whisk the chopped cilantro, lime juice,
  olive oil, salt and pepper together.
  
  Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and avocado in a large bowl.
  
  Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.
Scotland.  Although they compete as part of the Great Britain team, there are quite a few Scots participating in the 2018 Olympic Games.  You can read about all of them in this article from the Scotsman.

Today's story is all about how difficult it is to get certain ingredients for these multicultural recipes here in the US.  I determined fairly early on that we were going to make Cullen Skink.  I didn't think  it was going to be a problem to find everything.  Boy was I wrong!  It was next to impossible to find smoked haddock.  I called about 8 groceries within a 20 mile radius who have specialty seafood departments.  I called the seafood store in the town next to us.  I looked online.  Well, the only place i could order Finnan Haddie (brand name for most smoked haddock) would have cost me $21 in shipping fees above the $20-40 cost.  So as much as I try to make these recipes as authentic as I can, I also don't have $40-60 to drop on each country.  Thus smoked haddock was out.  After some further research and discovering that Cullen is the name of the fishing town on the Moray Firth where the recipe originated and skink means beef soup (right?!) I decided to attempt the skink with smoked whitefish instead of smoked haddock.  I know the flavor won't be exactly the same, but hopefully we get a taste of Scottish cuisine.


I purchased the only smoked whitefish I could find and it came fully scaled with an eye.  This is not really my thing, so I passed the duty of scaling and filleting to my husband.  One funny side note though - isn't this an interesting case of truth in packaging...


Our menu for today:  Cullen Skink, bannock, spinach, and cranachan for dessert.



Overall, the Cullen skink was pretty good.  It was a good combination of flavors, without being overwhelmingly fishy.  I would make it again, but it won't make it into our regular rotation.  The bannock was good in small chunks with some butter.  My biggest disappointment was the cranachan.  The adult version was just too dry/bitter for my taste.  The kids version was sweeter and more palatable, in my opinion.

The recipes below reflect the changes I made and translated from metric to standard measurements.  For the original recipes, please click on the recipe link in the title of each recipe or on the individual links to the blogs listed below.

In the Cullen skink recipe, which originally come from the BBC Good Food blog, I substituted the smoked whitefish for smoked haddock and increased the amounts of potatoes, milk, water and fish used.  For the bannock, the main recipe from the Curious Cuisiniere I used has a detailed history of Scottish bannock and details on how to make it over the campfire.  I found a few other recipes that explained how to make it with oats and milk, rather than wheat flour and powdered milk so I altered that to what you will read below. Again, follow the link for the original recipe.  And lastly, the Cranachan was made following the very detailed directions with pictures from Christina's Cucina.  I read somewhere to change out the Scotch whiskey for orange juice to make a more child-friendly version, so I halved everything to create an adult and child version.

Cullen Skink (with smoked whitefish)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut small cubes
3 cups water
12 oz smoked whitefish
2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBSP finely chopped chives

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add onion and fry gently until transparent. Cook for about 5 minutes but do not allow to brown.  Add potatoes and water and bring to boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile in another pan, cover the haddock with the milk and cook gently for about five minutes until just tender. Remove from the milk and, when cool enough to touch, flake gently into large pieces, removing bones. 

Add milk and flaked fish to saucepan containing potatoes and other ingredients and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped chives.


Scottish Bannock

Ingredients

1 ½ c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ c ground old fashioned oatmeal or oatmeal flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 - 1 ½ c milk

In a medium bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut into the dry ingredients until well mixed.





Add the milk gradually, mixing until the batter has a thick dough consistency.  You may not need to use the full amount of milk.
 
Grease a 9-inch skillet and warm over medium heat. Place the batter into the warm skillet and press it to roughly 1 inch thick. 





Cook the bread for 10-15 min. Once the bottom is a dark golden and the top of the batter is starting to dry out, flip the loaf. Our bread split into smaller chunks when I tried to flip it, so we flipped all the little pieces.  Bake the loaf on the second side for about 10 minutes. 




Let the bread cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 


Since I followed the Cranachan recipe almost exactly (remember I split everything in half and substituted orange juice for the Scotch whiskey for this half), I will just put the link to Christine's very detailed directions below.

Cranachan



Ghana.  Not a country you might think of when you think of the Winter Olympics.  In fact, Ghana has one athlete competing in the skeleton event and his name is Akwasi Frimpong.  You can read more about his journey to the PyeongChang Games here and watch him compete on Thursday the 15th.  It's also worth mentioning that a Ghanian born athlete, Maame Biney, became the first African American woman to qualify for the US Olympic team in speedskating.  You can watch her compete tomorrow (Feb 13) in the short track event.

For the dinner menu, I prepared Chicken Chinchinga, yam balls, and Ghanian vegetable curry.  Full disclosure:  I modified the recipes slightly, mostly because I didn't need to make as much as it wanted me to make.  What follows below is my modified versions.  For the original recipes, please click on the name of the recipe.   For the chicken recipe, it called for grilling the kebabs with onion and green pepper.  Since we had a very similar kebab two days ago, I decided to forgo the grilled veggies and just made chicken kebabs.  Following my forgetful pattern, I forgot to add the suya powder to the chicken before my husband began grilling, so he spritzed the 1/2 cooked chicken with water and added it at that point.  I also had a weird mishap (read deep frying oil volcano) with the yam balls which resulted in me having to throw a batch away.


The Verdict:  The chicken was very tasty!  I would definitely make it again.  The yam balls were also surprisingly good (and I do not like yams usually).  I am not a curry fan, but this one was a decent blend of flavor.  My oldest really liked the curry but wasn't a fan of the yam balls.  The younger two liked the chicken, didn't care for the curry, and thought the yam balls were just okay.

The recipes for Chicken Chinchinga and the yam balls came from the Waakye Leaf food blog.  The recipe for the Ghanian vegetable curry came from Recipes Wiki.

Chicken Chinchinga

Ingredients
3 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 TBSP olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
2 TBSP grated ginger
1 small onion
1 chicken bullion cube

Suya spice
2 TBSP roasted peanut powder (I used my food processor and ground dry roasted peanuts into a powder)
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP paprika
1 TBSP of garlic salt
1 TBSP  Onion powder
1 Maggi cubes
Salt to taste

Directions 


Blend the ginger, garlic, onion, stock cube and Maggi seasoning with the oil to form a smooth paste.  Put the chicken in the marinate, and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Remove from fridge and skewer the seasoned chicken pieces on kebab sticks.  

Combine all the ingredients for the suya seasoning and mix together.  Sprinkle the skewered chicken with the suya seasoning and grill until chicken is fully cooked, rotating during cooking to brown all sides evenly then serve.  

Yam Balls


1 medium Yam
7 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 egg yolk (keep the egg white)
1 egg (add the remaining egg white and whisk into a mixture)
Pinch of ground white pepper
Pinch salt
1-2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

Directions

Peel and cut the yam into one inch cubes.  Place them in a pot of water and boil until the yam pieces are soft.  It took maybe 8-10 minutes.  Drain the water from the pan, add the butter, egg yolk, garlic powder, white pepper, paprika, and salt.  Mash all the ingredients together while the yam is still warm, then put the mixture in the fridge until it cools.

While it is cooling, place the leftover egg white and the 2nd egg in a bowl and whisk until fully blended.  Put breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.

Once the yam mixture has cooled, roll into small balls, dip into the egg mixture and dredge through the breadcrumbs, making sure each is coated evenly.

Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan. Carefully drop a few of the balls into the hot oil with a wooden spatula and cook them until they rise to the top and are golden brown and crisp. This usually takes about 3 minutes if your oil is the correct temperature.  Once golden brown, remove the yam balls and allow them to drain on paper towel, then place them in a warm oven until ready to serve.  Repeat this process until all balls are cooked.

Ghanian Vegetable Curry

Ingredients
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
6 TBSP olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 TBSP salt
3/4 TBSP cayenne pepper
1 15 oz can chick peas, drained 
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 zucchini, sliced
2 TBSP raisins
1 cup of orange juice
10 oz fresh spinach leaves

Directions 

Heat 3 TBSP of oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven.  Once heated, add sweet potato, eggplant, peppers, carrots, and onion and saute for 5 minutes.

Heat 3 TBSP of oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add garlic, tumeric, curry powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper and saute for 3 minutes.

Pour garlic and spice mixture over the vegetables in the Dutch oven.  Add the chick peas, almonds, zucchini, raisins, and orange juice.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add spinach to the pot and cook about 5 more minutes, until spinach has fully wilted.  Serve warm!

Since the Olympics are being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea this year, our focus for the second night of Olympic cooking was Korea.  A friend of mine gave me some suggestions and referred me to two websites to find recipes.  I opted to go with one of her suggestions, Bibimbap.  We are fortunate enough to live near an H-Mart which is where we were able to find a few of the ingredients:  the gosari and the Korean cucumber (K-Cuke).

I have to say that if I was regularly cooking Bibimbap, I would need a much larger kitchen, several more bowls, and a few sous chefs!  I had all of my family helping chop, mix, and saute.  




It was good family time!  We made a few amendments to the recipe, shredding the carrots in the food processor instead of cutting them in matchsticks; and since we were all scrolling through the recipe on my ipad, I missed adding the egg during the final step.  Oh well.  We had plenty of protein.  




Overall, we all enjoyed the meal.  Four of the five of us had sirloin, while one opted for the tofu protein option instead.  Three of us put the Bibimbap sauce on the top of our food, while the younger two dipped pieces in a separate bowl of sauce.  We went with slightly less gochujang (red chili pepper paste) than the recipe called for and it was spicy enough for me! The only part that most of us didn't fully enjoy was the gosari, which had a unique texture.  It wasn't bad, just different.  

If you chose to make Bibimbop, I would highly recommend that you click through the link to the Korean Bapsang blog for detailed directions and photos of each step.  The photos and tips were very helpful!  This recipe made plenty for our family of 5.