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Anna N

eG Foodblog: Anna N - Thirteen Steps to Dinner

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Good morning! I think it's my turn and it's a scary thought to follow Kristen and Rachel. I know I can't compete with either of them for their generosity in sharing their experiences but I will do my best to make this as interesting as I can.

I have called my blog "Thirteen Steps to Dinner" and will reveal the meaning behind this as we go along. For now, here's The Dane's lunch for today.

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He HATES taking lunch and would prefer to spend his 10 hours in the machine shop foodless! I worry that anyone operating dangerous machinery on empty is ripe for an accident and so he allows me to pack him half a sandwich. The other half will be my breakfast.

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This is store-bought white bread (busy week!) with liver paste and bacon. His "goodies" are 2 home made chocolate chip cookies, one home made gingersnap and in the plastic wrap his all-time favourite, a marzipan and dried cherry square. He does not object to the goodies - just the sandwich! :laugh:


Edited by Anna N (log)

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Oh, boy! Anna, I agree that you have some tough acts to follow, but I've always enjoyed reading your posts. I look forward to hearing more about you and reading your blog.

I've been mystified by Soba's notice that the next blog was coming from the "wilds of Canada". When I saw your name on the food blog I thought "but of course!" I hope you're going to explain more about where you are in Ontario? I suppose we'll find out that Oakville isn't very wild, after all... :wink:

Blog on!

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I thought I would share with you a glimpse of the arena where I spend my cooking time. It is very compact but in most ways efficient. Compared to my last kitchen, it is a dream come true.

When we first moved here, I had the very silly notion that my kitchen would give away not even the slightest hint that a crumb ever touched the counters. It is part of a "great room" so looks directly into both the sitting area and the dining area and I thought I would like to keep it pristinely empty of any evidence that is was a working kitchen. The first time I tried to drag the KitchenAid mixer from storage to the counter that idea went the way of the unicorn. :raz: Now my kitchen is cluttered but workable. I rearrange things about once a week seeking the optimal but on the whole it works - for me - but drives anyone else crazy. And that suits me just fine. There's just not room here for more than one person.

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This is where I do the majority of the food prep and then make sure it is cleaned up so I have somewhere to plate. It looks and is small but after reading somewhere on egullet that in a commercial kitchen each food prep area is something like 14 inches in width, I figured if they can cope then so can I. Since we rarely eat at the bar, the bar becomes another area to put dishes prior to serving and I will put the warming tray on the bar if needed.

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And here's the answer to the "Thirteen Steps to Dinner".

Cupboard space in the kitchen is almost non-existent. The upper cupboards are only 11 inches deep and I'm vertically challenged so that only the two lower shelves in each cupboard are useful to me. The lower two-door cupboard stores my pots and pans. The drawers hold cutlery, cookie cutters, and such and the deep lowest drawer my small appliances: spice grinder, stick-blender, mini-chopper and a stack of face cloths for my two granddaughters who hate sticky fingers. Under the sink is like most under-sink cabinets - full of pipes and connections to the dishwasher. The cupboard to the right of the sink is narrow and awkward and so the only things in there are wraps and two large plastic bowls. So, if you have been following along - THERE IS NO ROOM for food! Hence, my pantry is downstairs, 13 steps down to be exact, and each time I want to make something I go down with a list and return with one or two baskets of ingredients and/or additional baking pans, appliances, etc. My freezer is also downstairs.

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The small hi-fi cabinet at the end of the bar is an appliance "garage" where I store my breadmaker, blender, juicer, etc. We will eventually replace it with something we design ourselves but that's a long way into the future - for now it works.

Time to get cooking. I am going to make a loaf of whole-wheat bread for my daughter. I try to make two loaves a week if I have the time. I make it in the bread machine but bake it in the oven. Then, if work does not interfere, I will make some Danish red cabbage and Danish meatballs for tonight's dinner.

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Anna, this is great! The wilds of Canada indeed.

Your kitchen looks really cozy, I bet it would be fun to sit at the bar and chat and watch you cook.

Do you cook mostly Danish food? What specific flavors are common in Danish food?

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Anna, this is great!  The wilds of Canada indeed. 

Your kitchen looks really cozy, I bet it would be fun to sit at the bar and chat and watch you cook.

Do you cook mostly Danish food?  What specific flavors are common in Danish food?

Thanks, Rachel. No, Danish food is a special occasion affair although we think up almost any excuse for a special occasion. I don't think of specific flavours in Danish cooking but rather a combination of ingredients that say Danish to me. Pork (with crackling!), apples, onion, herring, red cabbage, almond rice pudding, pickled beets, pickled cucumber and, of course, AKVAVIT! I think variety and open-face sandwiches and making do - making something interesting out of leftovers and inexpensive ingredients. I was not brought up Danish so I have no long tradition of Danish cooking behind me. I married a Dane and have tried to keep a few of the dishes that are especially important to him (and I love them too!). Even his mother was not Danish but Scottish. She, too, married a Dane so she mixed up British and Danish dishes pretty much as she pleased.

So the bread is in the bread machine and I took the opportunity to show you the bread machine (I know, so what!) but really I wanted to show you its home when I am using it - under the nerve centre of the house three long steps from my kitchen. This is my office. The Dane built my desk which folds down against the wall when we have company. My TV swivels so I can watch from the kitchen and I am often alone for 14 hours a day so it becomes my company - most of the time it's tuned to CNN because I am too lazy to change channels and what would I change to? FoodTV.ca? - not any more - it's pretty pathetic these days.

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And the cabbage is on the stove slowly braising:

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And the meatballs are resting:

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That cabbage looks interesting. From the pictures, you also threw in a chopped up apple, right? Is it braising in the vinegar that we see in that prep picture?

Ah, and great pictures so far. It's nice to get a feel for your work area -- my kitchen(ette) setup very much influences what and how I cook.

-------

Alex Parker

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Anna, it's great to see you doing this.

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That cabbage looks interesting. From the pictures, you also threw in a chopped up apple, right? Is it braising in the vinegar that we see in that prep picture?

Ah, and great pictures so far. It's nice to get a feel for your work area -- my kitchen(ette) setup very much influences what and how I cook.

-------

Alex Parker

Yes, that is chopped up apple and it is braising in vinegar, some butter and the red currant jelly. The apple will pretty much disappear with the long braise and I don't always add it. I keep a bit of the red currant jelly and some vinegar handy until it's almost ready and then adjust for the right combination of sweet and sour.

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Horray, I'm so glad to see you are blogging! I too have always enjoyed your posts, and since we have an "adopted" Danish son, this will be of even more special interest to me. (Finally, we're going to Denmark at Christmas this year.) His Danish parents have visited us a few times, and we have always enjoyed the food that his mom, Lise, has cooked for us.

I was surprised in your first photo to see a "closed" sandwich for the Dane :biggrin: but I guess that is more convenient for packing... or is it his preference?

Your kitchen is much like ours in layout and in size.

I'm looking forward to this. Thanks, in advance!

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I am keeping my fingers crossed that no work comes in today! I haven't had this much fun in my kitchen in ages.

I found most of a cuke in the fridge so have some Danish cucumber salad on the go. This will work great with the sliced cold meatballs later in the week.

It's a strange day, Tuesday, as most of the time I go to my daughter's house in the evening to look after my granddaughter while her Mom and Dad take the dog to obedience school. But with all this food on the go I have just asked them over here for dinner and then I will still have time to go there and babysit.

The bread is finished in the machine and is now resting on the counter prior to being shaped and put in the pan - why is all my food resting? |I am the one doing all of the work. :unsure:

What to have for lunch? Jinmyo has inspired me - I will toss together whatever I can and serve it over pasta! I love pasta but The Dane doesn't think much of it. Except spaghetti and meatballs and he insists that spaghetti is NOT pasta. But since being an egulleteer, I have learned that you can always make a tasty dish from some pasta, garlic, anchovies, hot pepper flakes and some olive oil - even when the budget is totally blown.

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Horray, I'm so glad to see you are blogging!  I too have always enjoyed your posts, and since we have an "adopted" Danish son, this will be of even more special interest to me.  (Finally, we're going to Denmark at Christmas this year.)  His Danish parents have visited us a few times, and we have always enjoyed the food that his mom, Lise, has cooked for us.

I was surprised in your first photo to see a "closed" sandwich for the Dane  :biggrin:  but I guess that is more convenient for packing...  or is it his preference?

Your kitchen is much like ours in layout and in size.

I'm looking forward to this.  Thanks, in advance!

Susan - the closed sandwich is a man thing - he used to work in the white-collar world and took |"proper" open-faced sandwiches for lunch but in a machine shop it seems men have to be "mannish"? An open-faced sandwich might just signal something??? Who knows what. Anyway, it's closed sandwiches at work and open ones at home. And at home, rarely white bread.

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The upper cupboards are only 11 inches deep and I'm vertically challenged so that only the two lower shelves in each cupboard are useful to me.

Is there any place where you can keep a step ladder so the top shelves don't go to total waste? Step ladders are a short person's best friend (I have 4 of them :laugh: )

BTW, where in Ontario is Oakville?

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Anna I am so happy to see you blogging. I think if I were invited to your house and had a look at the kitchen I would become very optimistic, it is laid out in such an efficient "excellent home cook" way.

Funny about the open-faced sandwiches... My husband is from the northernmost tip of Germany (near Flensburg), within walking distance of the border. We used to drive to Romo to go swimming :smile: Anyway, his mother and aunt spoke Danish at home, and still, whenever we visit his aunt around dinnertime, she lays out a tray of those things. :wub: And then we proceed to work through an entire bottle of Hansa rum Grogg... :blink:

But A. refuses to touch cabbage...

Susan, Christmas celebrations are wonderful in that part of the world -- I can hardly wait for my first cup of mulled wine at the Weinachtsmarkt. Let us know how you enjoy it!


Edited by Behemoth (log)

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Is there any place where you can keep a step ladder so the top shelves don't go to total waste?  Step ladders are a short person's best friend (I have 4 of them  :laugh: )

BTW, where in Ontario is Oakville?

I have a small stool (seen under the garbage can) which my granddaughters use to reach the sink in the bathroom and which gives me a leg up in the kitchen. I also have a two-step stool which is kept in the front closet but I am not steady on my feet - never have been - so that's not a good solution for me most of the time. I even have one of those "reachy" things that extend the length of your arm but I just know that one of these days I will pull something heavy on my head with that!

The top shelves don't go to total waste. I keep the medicine cabinet up there away from the girls and some stuff that I use only occasionally - but with so little space it's a shame that half of it can't be used by me on a daily basis!

Oakville is about 40 mins from Toronto - if you drive there at 3 AM on Christmas morning. :raz: It is west of Toronto and east of Hamilton, right on Lake Ontario.

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Hi Anna, I'm excited about your blog, great title!! and just think of the work out you get when you cook, makes me want to move my pantry to the basement!

I also married a Dayne, but that is actually his name...he's mostly Finnish! haha! :wub:

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Lunch was fast and delicious - pasta with garlic, anchovies, evoo, slow-roasted tomatoes (which I made and froze a week or so ago) and a dusting of parmigiano reggiano.

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The bread is in the oven.

The cucumbers are about ready to "pickle".

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The cucumbers will be lightly salted, put between two plates, the brass pieces put on top to weight them down, and they will be left for an hour or two. Then I will literally wring them out in a clean towel, put then in a container and pour a hot sugar/vinegar combo over them. They keep a few days in the 'fridge.

The meat for the meatballs (Frikadeller) has rested for more than an hour and I will now take it out of the fridge add the rest of the ingredients, beat it until my arm aches (or I may break down and use the KitchenAid :shock:) and then it must rest again for another while. I do not know the science (if any) behind these long rest periods but making these is almost a religious ritual and we all know what happens if you mess with ritual.:huh:

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Hi Anna, I'm excited about your blog, great title!! and just think of the work out you get when you cook, makes me want to move my pantry to the basement!

I also married a Dayne, but that is actually his name...he's mostly Finnish! haha!  :wub:

Don't even think of it! By the end of the day my floor looks like a version of Costco with all the stuff that has to be trucked back down there!

I think that's great to be married to a Dayne who is really a Finn! Shouldn't you volunteer to do a Finnish Blog? Hint hint. :biggrin:

Here's the bread - it stuck to the pan on the one side, as you see, but otherwise it came out pretty good. I tossed my non-stick pans as they had become rusty where the non-stick coating had worn through and bought a couple of cheap pans. These will have to last until I can afford a couple of commercial grade ones.

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The cucumber salad is done. I will refrigerate it until we are ready to have cold Frikadeller sandwiches.

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The red cabbage is cooked and I will just re-heat a small portion for tonight and post a photo later.

I have also steamed some tiny Yukon golds and will peel them and just before dinner glaze them in some butter and sugar. So, dinner will be Frikadeller, red cabbage and glazed potatoes. No dessert tonight as daughter and son-in-law will have to leave quickly to get the dog to school and I will have to walk over to their home to babysit before 7:30 - the youngster is having dinner with a friend and will be taken home around that time.

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I'm enjoying your blog, Anna! I think I'm craving a Frikadeller sandwich.

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I

Oakville is about 40 mins from Toronto - if you drive there at 3 AM on Christmas morning. :raz: It is west of Toronto and east of Hamilton, right on Lake Ontario.

Unless of course you are driving past the Ford plant, in which case it doesn't really matter what time of day it is, it's a 20 minute drive to get through there :raz:

This is wonderful Anna. I'm really looking forward to this! :smile:

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Unless of course you are driving past the Ford plant, in which case it doesn't really matter what time of day it is, it's a 20 minute drive to get through there :raz:

This is wonderful Anna.  I'm really looking forward to this! :smile:

Thank you, Marlene. Ah yes, the Ford Plant - since I no longer have a car, I no longer have that problem! :biggrin: But on the other hand.......................

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Anna is blogging!! yeah!!

Don't worry about your kitchen size, you still have three times the counter space I do.... :blink:

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Susan - the closed sandwich is a man thing - he used to work in the white-collar world and took |"proper" open-faced sandwiches for lunch but in a machine shop it seems men have to be "mannish"?  An open-faced sandwich might just signal something??? Who knows what.  Anyway, it's closed sandwiches at work and open ones at home.

I guess I should have thought of that. :smile:

And at home, rarely white bread.
The bread, now there's something... I don't quite understand the appeal of some of the dark, dense, dry bread that Morten likes. But he will eat any bread, and loves bread with dinner. Before he came to live with us, we hardly ever ate bread with dinner, and then we developed the habit.
Susan, Christmas celebrations are wonderful in that part of the world -- I can hardly wait for my first cup of mulled wine at the Weinachtsmarkt. Let us know how you enjoy it!
I certainly will. We have heard so much about their Christmas and New Year celebrations and they are so rich with with tradition. Actually, that is why we picked this time time of year to go. (I'm trying to stop worrying about freezing to death.)
Edited by Susan in FL (log)

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I'm enjoying your blog, Anna! I think I'm craving a Frikadeller sandwich.

Anna, pics are beautiful. It's so good to see I'm not the only eG'er with a kitchen comfortably packed. :laugh:

Fettucini with EVOO, anchovies, garlic, red pepper, and Parmigiano was the first meal my now-husband ever cooked for me. He still does that one by request when I want a night off. :wink:

And please, what is your special recipe for the Danish meatballs -- including ritual of course.

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Anna is blogging!! yeah!!

Don't worry about your kitchen size, you still have three times the counter space I do.... :blink:

I do know - having following you on egullet for so long. And it's not just the space you don't have but the access to ingredients that we in North America take so much for granted. I guess I must sound as if I am complaining about my kitchen but I am not really - it's a dream compared to what I had to deal with for the past 20 years. Sometimes I really do have to pinch myself to make sure I am awake and that it is all real.

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