August 30, 2010

Do You Know What Aebleskivers Are?

 (Photo by Stana,

So what are aebleskivers anyway?  (Pronounced "EE-bull-skiv-ers", even just saying the word is fun! )

A holiday in Denmark often begins with a breakfast of these little pastries. They are a pancake, but fluffier.  They are a cupcake, only lighter.  They can be the main course, the appetizer, a snack, or the dessert!  You can fill them with absolutely anything that makes your mouth water, whether sweet or savory.  I'm thinking fresh fruit, pie fillings, chocolate, applesauce, ham and cheese, bacon, sausage, pastry cream, raisins, coconut, peanut butter, honey, Nutella, or pudding.  Soft and fluffy in the center, but crisp and browned on the outside.  Are you drooling yet?

Want to have fun while experiencing fine Scandinavian cooking? Here's what you need.

First, you need a pan made with heavy cast iron or cast aluminum with half-round wells about 2-1/2 inches in diameter.   What you do is, fill each well with batter, about 2/3 full.  Spoon the filling on top and then add more batter.  Or, depending on what you have chosen to put inside the aebleskivers, you can cook them without the filling and inject pastry cream, etc, with a pastry bag or decorating set.  You can also cook them without any filling but dip them in sugar, honey, jam, or whatever you want.

You need a batter.  Either use a mix especially for aebleskivers, or find a recipe for them, or use a pancake batter.  If you choose to use pancake batter, you need to make it lighter. Omit the egg in the mix directions.  Instead, whip three egg whites and fold them into the batter.

The hardest part is probably deciding what to put inside the aebleskivers!  Something savory?  Something sweet?  For breakfast?  For dinner?  For snack?

But don't worry--you can try them all!  Have bacon aebleskivers for breakfast, ham and cheese ones for lunch, and chocolate aebleskivers for dinner's dessert.

The next day try fruit aebleskivers for breakfast and pudding ones for snack.  Your kids will watch for the aebleskiver pan on the counter.  You may even be able to bribe them to clean their rooms with the promise of  aebleskivers! 

August 24, 2010

BowWOW, Dog Trivia Worth Barking About!

Can you pass a dog trivia quiz?

1.  What dog breed gets its name because it strikes out with its front paws when fighting?

2.  Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not sweat by salivating. They sweat through what?

3.  What is the name of the dog from "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas"?

4.  Dalmatians, with all those cute black spots, are born what color?

5.  Dogs are mentioned at least how many times in the Bible?

6.  What is the name of the dog on the Cracker Jack box?

7.  What was the name of the dog in TV show "The Partridge Family"?

8.  What kind of dog did the TV Series detective Columbo have?

Answers:  (1) boxer,  (2) pads of their feet,  (3) Max,  (4) white,  (5) 14 times,  (6) Bingo,  (7) Simone,  (8) a Basset Hound

August 12, 2010

Just When You Think You've Won the Rat Race . . .

Returning home from visiting a friend in Northern Virginia, we got in a big-time traffic mess.  What a trapped feeling when you're at a standstill with traffic all around you.  There's no turning around and no turning off.  You can't even go straight ahead.  But what an opportunity to read bumper stickers!  After all, it always seems as though both lanes on either side of you are moving when your lane isn't.  So there are always new bumper stickers to read!

Three that I remember are:
  • Just when you think you've won the rat race, along come faster rats.
  • I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.
  • As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.
Since then I have taken note of other "memorable" bumper stickers.
  • I've run out of sick days so I'm calling in dead.
  • I'm out of bed, what more do you want?
  • I hate coffee--it keeps me awake at work!
  • Keep on working.  Millions of people on welfare depend on you.
  • Old upholsterers never die. They always recover.
  • i souport bublik edekashun
  • I may be fat, but you're ugly, and I can diet.
  • Change is inevitable--except for vending machines.
  • Money isn't everything--but it sure keeps the kids in touch!
  • Due to recent cutbacks, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.
So what's on your car . . . or your neighbor's car?  How about the parking lot at work?  Please comment!


August 6, 2010

It's About Thyme

So what can you do with the herb thyme?  It is very versatile when preparing food.  It enhances eats, fish, sausage, eggs, and cheese and soups.  It blends well with the flavors of garlic, basil, and lemon.  So use it with the fresh garden vegetables you're getting this summer.  Thyme can even enhance some fruit desserts like applesauce, rhubarb and berry cobblers.  Thyme is simple to grow, too, because it actually does best in relatively poor soil. 
There are over 200 varieties of thyme.  My favorite is lemon thyme, which I currently have planted in my back yard.  It has grown like a bush.  When I mow my yard, I purposely mow a corner of it so the fragrance is released and I can smell that amazing lemon thyme scent!

Since ancient times, thyme has been associated with courage and has been used as a natural antidepressant.

In the Middle Ages, ladies embroidered images of thyme on scarves for their knights to wear in battle, believing it would give them courage.  The Romans put thyme in their bathwater to give themselves courage and strength before battle. They also used thyme to treat depression.

So how did thyme get this reputation?  The scent of thyme is invigorating and pleasant. It  is considered a circulatory system stimulant and is said to raise low blood pressure, which is often a cause of lethargy and depression.
     People once believed that fairies made their homes in thyme patches, so families often planted a patch specifically to encourage fairies to feel at home in their garden!
      When the Greeks said that someone "smelled of thyme" it meant that the person was elegant, refined, and stylish.  Quite a compliment!

      The next time you're feeling depressed or need that extra courage and energy to face the day, try smelling a bit of thyme. Or drink some thyme tea. Let us know how it works!   I'm not sure you'll want to embroider an image of thyme on your clothes like the Middle Ages ladies, but it's something to think about!

      Fresh Tomato Soup (with thyme)
      (Not as easy as opening a soup can, but certainly better tasting!)

      1/2 cup chopped onion
      1/4 cup butter or margarine
      1/4 cup flour
      2 cups water
      6 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
      1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
      1-1/2 teaspoons salt
      1 teaspoon sugar
      1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
      1 bay leaf
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      Thin lemon slices (optional)

      In a large saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste.  Gradually add water, stirring until thickened.

      Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt, sugar, thyme, bay leaf and pepper; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tomatoes are tender (approx 30 minutes).  Remove bay leaf.  Garnish with lemon.

      This recipe makes 4  servings (1-1/4 cups each serving).