Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Butternut Squash & Pear Soup, sooo good!





My sister and her boyfriend came over for dinner this evening, and I wanted to make something special and in season.. So after some research and combining a few different recipes I came up with this one. It is was a HiT! 
This is a YUMMY soup for a nice cold Fall Day! It is savory & sweet with a little spicy {kick} to it, (not too spicy mind you, because I dont like spicy but this one is delish! 

BUTTERNUT Squash & PEAR Soup


2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 small leeks (rinsed & chopped)
2 tablespoons mild Curry Powder
6 pounds Butternut squash (about 2 large)
3 ripe Pears
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
Gorgonzola crumbles for garnish


Directions:
Warm the butter, olive oil, leeks, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the pears. Cut into chunks.
Add the squash, pears, salt, pepper, and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and pears are very soft. Puree it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. (You will have to do this in batches since it is a lot.)
Pour the soup back into the pot. It should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the salt and pepper and serve hot.
Once served in bowls, add a bit of Gorgonzola crumbles for garnish. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Danish Rhubarb Custard Recipe from Petersgaard Manor



This recipe I had to tweak a little to get the right temperatures for cooking. The original recipe called to bake it for 30 min at 395F, but I found that baking it as I state below works better. I made this for the first time the other night and my whole family loved it. Even my sweet all American hubby thought it was yummy:-) I will be making this more! 

On the very south of Denmark, on the Island of Sjaelland, amidst yellow fields, green forests and pastures lies Petersgaard Manor.  Built in the early 1700, as part of Frederick IV's national riding districts. Now the manor is run by the Iuel family. Here is a delicious dessert recipe that they make at the Manor. It is actually called a Rhubarb Cake, but is more like a custard in consistency with a "creme broulee" type of crust. YUM!!


Rhubarb Custard 

2 1/2 lbs fresh Rhubarb
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean pod
1 quart whipping cream
6 eggs + 2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla sugar or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean pod
1 Tbs Cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
The strained rhubarb juice

  1. Rinse Rhubarb stalks and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Place in greased baking dish with the 1 cup sugar and open sliced down the middle 1/2 Vanilla bean. Cover with aluminum foil and let bake in 395F preheated oven for 1hr or until the Rhubarb becomes cooked all the way thru.
  2. Remove the compote to a strainer over a pan and let all rhubarb juices drip for about 1 hr. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, whip the cream until it become fluffy. Than place whipped cream, 8 egg yolks, vanilla, cornstarch and sugar in a large thick based pot over low heat. With a whisk blend it all together, and do NOT LET IT COOK. It needs to become thick and airy. Remove from heat and let it cool. 
  4. Once it is cool, add the 6 beaten (till stiff) egg whites to the cream mixture. 
  5. In a 9x11 greased dish, place the rhubarb compote to cover the whole bottom. Than the whip cream mixture on top, making sure not to fill all the way to the top (as it can tend to poor over during cooking).
  6. Place it on a covered baking sheet on middle rack in a preheated 395F oven for  about 15 min. This will give it a "creme brulee" type of crust. (Make sure not to burn). Than once it gets the darkness of crust that you prefer turn oven down to 350F for 30-45 min, until custard is stiff around edges and still a little jiggly in the middle. 
  7. Remove from oven and let sit until cool. (It will stiffen the colder it gets).
  8. To serve drizzle a tiny bit of the strained rhubarb juice on top. (Optional)
"Velbekommen!"




Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vintage Inspired Halloween Tumbleweed Decoration







I spent my Tuesday on creating this new fun vintage inspired Halloween Decoration. I simply LOVE the Vintage Halloween decorations that are all the rave these days. Especially the black and white ones. Well, I wanted to create something fun, cheap and pretty to look at so I picked my brain and came up with this. It reminds me of what we have in Denmark for Fastelavn, something called a "Fastelavnsris". Grabbed my 3 yr old girl, and baby boy in stroller and off we went on a "Halloween Walk". We looked around and with scissors in hand first clipped a few branches off a bush. But unfortunately none of the leaves had fallen off and they were all still green. When in the corner of my eye what was there...a big tumble weed that the recent storm ad "blown in". PERFECT! The best part of this is, that is only cost me.....drum roll please......ZERO $! Yep, I made this out of things I had laying around the house. So here is the recipe so you can make  your own. Feel free to make as many as you want! I only ask (since this is my original idea) that if you want to make your own and post it on the web that you link it back to my blog. AND SEND ME YOUR PICTURES! I want to see what you all can come up with ;-) 
Thanks and have fun creating!

You will need:

A tumble weed or your local naked twigs.

Black spray paint

Vintage Halloween Images printed to desired sizes. I used these, but you can google "Vintage Halloween Postcards" for more ideas;


Modge Podge

Black tissue paper

White tule

Glue gun & paint brush

Scissors

Some sort of card stock (I used the bottom of a orange Gymboree box)

Vase

Fabric to tie around your vase ( I used the edging of an old black skirt that I used to wear when I was 20!) Cut it and zigzag it kind of messy like...pulling and tugging too...creates a cool worn out effect).

Paper clips (as many as you have images to hang)

Needle nose pliers


  1. First find your tumble weed or twigs, trim down to desired size, spray paint it black. Let dry.
  2. While it is drying, go online and choose some of your favorite vintage Halloween pictures. (These are from flicker and you need to click on your image, then "view all sizes" and than right mouse click to Download them. Print them out according to the size you want. Your computer should have an option during printing set up preferences of how large you want them. E.g. I printed most out at 25-35%. Than cut them out.
  3. Next, use your cut images as a measuring tool to see how big you want your yellow card stock. (You use this for the back of your Vintage Cards). I cut mine about .25" outside of the line, so as to create a type of 'frame'.
  4. Next do the same thing with your black tissue paper. You want to layer: Orange Card stock-Tissue paper- Image on top. 
  5. Than with your paintbrush and Modge Podge, glue it all together. 
  6. While that is drying start cutting out small "ribbon like" pieces of Tule, and tying them in small knots, so they look like bows. (Its alright not to cut fine., perfect edges with your fabric to make it look all more Vintage and Old.)
  7. When all your images are dry, cut the edges out so it is kind of cutesie'ish..is that a word? lol
  8.  Than use your glue gun to attach the tule bows to the card.
  9. With Pliers unwind your paper clips and than wind the paperclip around the plyer head. (So as to create a "swirly" kind of spring". Stick bottom of paperclip thru tule bow and clamp the bottom together.
  10. Place crumpled up tissue paper into vase and stick your dried Black Tumbleweed inside. Start attaching your cute Vintage Images!
  11. Tie your fabrics around the Vase. (Tule & Black skirt).
  12. Last but not least "web" your  hot glue around your twigs to create creepy spider webs.




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fastelavn; The Danes version of Halloween

Thought I should post a bit about this tradition that I grew up with in Denmark. It happens around February. The children dress up and play games. They also eat lots of candy, but we dont go "Trick or Treating" for candy persay. They do it, door to door asking for money. (Oh the good times!)....Now that I am all grown up and live in the US, glad no kids knock on my door asking for cash! lol Anyhow, read about it, it is quite interesting. 







Fastelavn is the name for Carnival in Denmark which is the either Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday. Fastelavn evolved from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating in the days before Lent, but after Denmark became a Protestantnation, the holiday became less specifically religious. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, with children dressing up in costumes and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast. The holiday is generally considered to be a time for children's fun and family games.



Some towns in Denmark are renowned for their large Fastelavn festivities and parades. Traditional events include slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel"), which is somewhat similar to using a piñata. The Danes use a wooden barrel, which is full of candy and oranges and has the image of a cat on it. Historically there was a real black cat in the barrel, and beating the barrel was superstitiously considered a safeguard against evil. After the candy pours out, the game continues until the entire barrel is broken. The one who knocks down the bottom of the barrel (making all the candy spill out) becomes kattedronning ("queen of cats"); the one who knocks down the last piece of the barrel becomes kattekonge ("king of cats").
There seem to be some small local traditions which are closer to the carnival traditions of other countries, including Ash WednesdayCarnival parades, Pancake Tuesday and eating special food after Ash Wednesday, but they are not particular to Danish culture.In Denmark and Norway a popular baked good associated with the day is Fastelavnsbolle (lit. "Fastelavns bun", also known in English as "shrovetide bun" or "lenten bun"), a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Similar buns are eaten in other northern European countries, for example the Swedish SemlaÍsafjörður is the only town in Iceland that celebratesFastelavn on the same day as the Nordic countries, the day being known as Maskadagur (from the Danish word maske, meaning to dress-up or put on a mask).
Another popular custom (especially among the children) is the "fastelavnsris", with which children ritually flog their parents to wake them up on the morning of Fastelavns Sunday (Quinquagesima).
Fastelavnsris have many shapes and forms and differ from area to area. In some areas they are bunches of twigs, usually from fruit trees and preferably with buds. Those are often decorated with feathers, egg-shells, storks and little figures of babies. In other areas, they are a bent willow-branch, shaped like an ankh and wound with crepe paper that has frizzles cut with scissors. Both varieties may be decorated with candy as well.
The custom is known already in the 18th century in Denmark and it has several roots. There is probably no doubt the custom originates from an old fertility ritual, which has been absorbed into Christianity. The more serious one is that after the reformation, particularly pious people used to flog their children on Good Friday to remind them of the sufferings of Christ on the cross. A similar custom is mentioned in the book "Frauenzimmerlexicon", published in 1715 in Leipzig (Germany), which describes how bachelors and virgins "bid each other goodmorning" by flogging each other and spreading ashes on each other. This custom is also known in Denmark.
Earlier, it was mainly the young women and the infertile who were flogged. It was also common that a young man would carry his "fastelavnsris" and (of course gently) strike at young women he met on the street. Later it became the children's special right to flog their parents on this day. In any case, the reward given for the flogging would be a fastelavnsbolle.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My First Real attempt at Halloween Decor





Here is a little view of my New Halloween Decor. And I get to highlight some of my classic books like Frankenstein, Sleepy Hollow and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde). I have really enjoyed decorating this year. Also trying to find ways to make new homemade things with my little 3yr old daughter. She loves "Activities" as she calls them. And notice the cool Bat Jar at the end of this page? Here is the link to the tutorial. It was so Cheap & fun!

Chocolate & Chocolate......LOVE!



It is Sunday evening, and when we are home and not out and about visiting family, I like to prepare a special meal. And....an ever so yummy dessert. I looked around at what I had in the pantry, checked out all my fav food websites, and started to throw something together. These yummy Cookie recipe is based off of Foodnetwork Ina Gartens recipe, but I tweaked it a bit to fit my fancy. I can never go wrong when making her food! Anyhow, these were Delicious! 
Try them they are oh so easy!





Double Chocolate Almond Cookies



Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix together. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined.
Add the chocolate and almonds and mix until combined. Using two tablespoons or a small ice cream scoop, drop the dough two inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment. Bake for 15 minutes.
Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets. The cookies should be very soft when they are removed from the oven ( You will be tempted to start eating them while warm, but do not do it! They will be too soft and fall apart..... be patient, they will firm up as they cool.)

To be enjoyed with a tall glass of ice cold milk!
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