19 December 2010


via FB's Topless Bread"

"When I spent Christmas in Ålborg in '76, we had cookies that looked like vaginas-- and were supposed to. What are these called, and do you have a recipe?"

Though I have not made these for years I am CURRENTLY, translating my bedstemor's recipe for all and will post under 'Missa' tab.

17 December 2010

BAKERY / Bageri: Danish Spice Cookies (Brunkager)

Little Danish Holiday Custom: 
If you are in Denmark during the holidays and are offered a traditional Christmas cookie
(Pebernødder / Brunkager), you must accept it.
Otherwise, tradition states...you ruin the spirit of Christmas!

The traditional cookie that every household in Denmark bakes for the holidays is known as 'brun-kager' and literally translates to 'brown cookie' - but, are known also as Danish Spice Cookies.

Every year...a part of me awaits their addicting smell and taste. With their annual arrival, the sweet smell of these traditional holiday cookie bring back the wonderful memories of my Danish childhood. We would know that the holidays were right around the corner when fresh scented aromas of cinnamon and spices would fill the air from our bedstemor's (grandmother) kitchen. She would fill many a huge tin full of these delicious morsels - and both young and old alike would raid these over the coming days before Christmas!

The recipe I present here is a combination of the one she used to make plus a little from that of our great-grandmother from Skjold in Jylland along with a little from our mother and mine. Thus, what you get here is a modern hybrid of multiple generations of cookie making.
One of my favorite parts of this recipe is  like a chemical experiment with wonderful froth bubbling forth from the combination of ingredients. Don’t worry this is normal and exactly, what you want.

Make these for the holidays and serve up with a nice warm cup of gløgg!

05 December 2010

TOPLESS Video of the Month : 12.2010

This month's video is courtesy of Event Klassen from CELF (Center for Erhvervsrettede uddannelser Lolland Falster) which is a center for vocational training for the area of Lolland Falster in Denmark.

LANGUAGE: Danish/Dansk
TITLE: Smørrebrød på den RIGTIGE måde / Smørrebrød the RIGHT Way

Personal Note: Though the language of this video is Danish, this instructional video for students will give both the novice and advanced topless bread maker proper instruction on how to make what is called a 'luksus' or luxury pieces of smørrebrød. 



Nature’s Holiday Antifreeze: Meyer’s Gløgg


Here's a wonderful apple version of an old holiday classic from my cousin Claus Meyer. Once you have tried this one, It's sure to become a part of your Christmas standards!

13 November 2010

Thanks...Sandwich 365!

Goodness me...almost forgot to share this recent sweet article from a blog called Sandwich 365. Being new to food blogging, I have to say I was flattered to find my little blog mentioned by another food blogger.

The article is an introduction for anyone interested in reading a little more about Danish open face sandwiches.

" Smørrebrød, Anyone?"

For anyone who loves how creative the art of sandwich making, visit this blog by my friend Keri. It will make you salivate with it's many wonderful posts celebrating this universally common food type and how varied we can make these creations.

You won't be disappointed!

08 November 2010

TOPLESS Video of the Month : 11.2010

This month's video is courtesy of Lonely Planet with it's little travel tips for visiting Copenhagen...it's a city of bike, smørrebrød and jazz. What could be better?!?

TITLE: "Copenhagen - Lonely Planet Travel Video"
Personal Note: The reference to one needing a strong stomach should be changed to traveler's should bring a healthy liver...since she is right about having a drink with any Dane.

14 October 2010

TOPLESS poll 2: Cheese

what's your favorite DANISH CHEESE?



Please pass the BUTTER / Smør

Nothing says you don’t care about your guests like a plastic tub or yellow brick  sitting placed on the table sadly awaiting the initial stab from a knife.  Drawing a cold bat of butter across a piece of bread and seeing it tear open the doughy soft goodness can easily deflate the anticipation of a nice piece of bread or  meal.

Such creamy goodness should never be taken for granted by any host/hostess.

So, the next time you need to serve your guests butter…try some of these tips and your extra care to presentation will be surely appreciated by all.

To begin, I would recommend purchasing the best butter available. My personal favorite is the  Danish brand Lurpak and I usually get unsalted butter.   A good organic one is also a good sustainable choice.  Lurpak makes an organic one – but, I have yet to find it in my area.

So now that you have your main ingredient handy, it is time to decide on presentation.

Here are a few ways to make this simple spread more creative:


buttercurlerTP_melon baller butter-balls + TP_butter-curl-press

butter curler                                   melon baller                               vintage butter curler press

BUTTER CURLER: Draw curler across chilled stick of butter and place in bowl of ice water to hold form. Drain well when ready to serve.

MELON  BALLER:  Dip melon baller in hot water and scoop away…like you would ice cream. Place finished butter balls into an ice bath or into a frozen metal bowl while you complete this task.  (Note: this replaces the use of two grooved  wooden paddles where the butter is formed between them by moving paddles in circular opposite motions).

MOLD METHOD (not shown):  Place room temperature butter into mold shapes making sure not to leave any air gaps. Place in freezer until firm and remove from  mold.

VINTAGE DECORATIVE BUTTER PRESS:  Chill press  – but, use slightly room temperature butter. Remove bottom part of press from top dye plate. Fill inside of dye 3/4 full with butter. Replace bottom press and turn over onto a flat surface with dye facing up.  With two hands evenly press down on opposite sides of the plate until you butter is forced through the dye shapes.  The butter should curl up into scalloped shapes…like the inside of a flower. Wipe underside clean, if necessary.


1. Cut butter into triangles with a warm blade and arrange on a plate.

2. Roll out butter between wax paper.  Chill  and cut using small cookie cutter shapes.

3. Use fun shaped ice cube molds / place in freezer until firm / remove.

4. Use candy molds /  chill / remove.

5. Use a pastry bag filled with butter slightly warm enough to push butter through using desired pastry tips.

6. Use an old wooden plunger type with added wooden decorative stamp.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR ALL: Unless you plan to serve butter immediately, refrigerate and remove to room temp minimum 15 minutes before serving to allow butter to soften.


butter-curlsTP_butter-balls + butter press

butter curls                                    butter balls                                 butter flower curls

USES:  danish cheese board / dansk ostebord, formal dinner or buffet


Coming up!

...more Entertainment Tip and Pet Peeves!

04 October 2010

TOPLESS Video of the Month: 10.2010

Welcome to the 'TOPLESS Video of the Month'....some old / some new / some videos hopefully just from me to you.

This month's video is a short one depicting a sweet little glimpse of a Danish vacation colony kitchen from 1950. 

LANGUAGE: Danish silent home video with text.
TITLE: "Smørrebrød, Feriekolonien Nordstrand ca. 1950"
Vacation colonies have over a hundred year tradition with the Danes. This piece of video history is from Colony North Beach (Feriekolonien Nordstrand) located next to the Kattegat between Rørvig and Nykøbing Zealand.

TRANSLATED VIDEO TEXT: "650 sandwiches must be buttered for the evening meal; in addition to extra ones."


08 September 2010

TOPLESS Video of the Month: 09.2010

Welcome to a new feature called 'TOPLESS Video of the Month' that will become a monthly addition to our posts and will enlighten newbies to the wonderful world of Danish smørrebrød (ala open face sandwiches).  Here you go: some old / some new / some videos hopefully just from me to you.

This month's video is an English interview with Danish chef Katrine Klinken.
Video shown in English/Danish.
Episode #42 – MyDenmarkTV.com from MyDenmarkTV on Vimeo.

Do you like Danish cuisine? If so, this is a must-watch episode of MyDenmarkTV.com. We visited the house of Katrine Klinken, a Danish chef, writer and teacher, to talk about the Danish food particularly smørrebrød, some trends and of course have Katrine make some nice open-faced sandwiches. We eyewitnessed Katrine making 5 yummy and healthy sandwiches.

Enjoy the episode!

07 September 2010


Hi Everyone!

Hope you like the new TOPLESS look.

What you see is a result of a good day of no pain out of days/weeks/etc of many.
It's amazing what can happen after a lengthy time of personal reflection and need for creativity.
Let me know what you think of the LABOR of my DAY...in this revamped blog design - plus, don't be shy about anything else that can be improved of content/formatting/navigation/etc.

Old format


Guess I need to redo everything else now...when I get another pain-free day.

Change is good.
: )

06 September 2010

Danish Style Potato Salad (cold)

Here is a little Danish take on a very American side dish.
Though the flavors of this potato salad are not your typical mayonnaise based variety, once you taste this wonderful new combination of flavors it will surely become part of your side dish repertoire.  This version is set apart from it’s American counterpart in that it is devoid of the usual competing flavors and textures of other chopped vegetables.  It uses small firm potatoes versus large ones as the main ingredient with only the melding of flavors that come from the fresh garden herb ingredients of the sauce to bring out an amazingly fresh and light take on this side dish classic.
If you don’t have crème friache or Greek yogurt available or in the house, you can easily substitute 1/2 and 1/2  or a light whipping crème with sour crème in 16 tbsp: 1tbsp ratios. Ex: 16 tsp (1 cup) crème with 1tsp sour crème…or if available in your area, buy creme mexicana – it’s their version of crème fraiche and taste equally as good.
Here is my version of the perfect potato salad for this last summer day holiday weekend.
I heart this version!

Danish Style Potato Salad (cold)

serves 4
Note: Both potatoes and sauce can be made the night before an event. Just do not mix together until half hour before you serve this dish.
2 c Greek yogurt non-fat
2 c creme fraiche
2 tbsp grated shallots (optional)
2 tsp coarse salt…to taste
freshly ground white pepper…to taste
dijon mustard (optional)
freshly squeezed lemon juice…to taste
1.5 lb  cooked small firm potatoes (new potatoes or creamers…work the best!)
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly snipped chives
1:  Boil potatoes to still a little firm – but, not crunchy.  Save water for stock (if you desire). Carefully remove skins and set aside to cool.
2:  While potatoes are boiling you can make the sauce. Mix wet ingredients together in a bow. Taste salad sauce and adjust as needed. Remember, if you have never made this non-mayonnaise version before you might think it too sour – but, that is ok. Now add the various onions, fresh herbs and other dry ingredients.  Again adjust taste of sauce, if needed. Set aside. Cut the potatoes into bite size piece (if necessary) and turn them into the salad sauce at least ½ hour before serving.
Serve with  grilled meat hamburgers / grilled fish / hotdogs
Bon Appétit!



Kold kartoffelsalat

Tilbehør til 4
2 dl ylette 1,5%
2 dl creme fraiche
2 spsk revet chalotteløg…valgfrit
2 tsk groft salt
friskkværnet hvid peber
dijon sennep til smag
friskpresset citronsaft til smag
750 g små kogte faste kartofler
3 spsk hakket frisk persille
2 spsk klippet frisk purløg
stegt kød / fisk / pølser
Bland ylette og creme fraiche. Smag salatsaucen til med løg og krydderier. Skær kartoflerne i små bider størrelse, og vend dem i salatsaucen mindst ½ time før serveringen.

velbekomme! Karen E Lesney on Foodista

19 August 2010


Today, I am introducing a little feature that will be called

When serving these little morsels the host/hostess should snip them into little bundles to allow guests to take a tiny bunch without...having to rip them free from the mother ship. There is nothing worse than a guest trying to take a few and having to tackle the mighty bunch. 
USES:  danish cheese board / dansk ostebord
Karen E Lesney on Foodista

13 August 2010

NEWS / Nyheder: Copenhagen Cooking 2010

Copenhagen cooking man

  Copenhagen cooking logo  Copenhagen cooking woman

For the sixth consecutive year, the Danish Capital of Copenhagen is hosting it’s annual food festival, Copenhagen Cooking 2010.  This ten day city wide event provides gastronomic opportunities for both the large and small appetite and scales…and we don’t just mean the weight that may be gained by enjoying all this wonderful Nordic cuisine!

This yearly sold out event provides one with ten days of amazing flavors to experience.  The organizers and participants are a pretty smart bunch who have developed an amazing array of categories for everyone to enjoy with lectures and food to enjoy:

HEALTH, ECOLOGY AND CLIMATE / Sunhed, Økologi og Klima
EX: New Nordic Every Day Food Workshop
FISH AND SEAFOOD / Fisk og skaldyr
SPECIAL EVENTS / Særarrangermenter
GOURMET EXPERIENCES / Gourmetoplevelser

Ex: Gourmet Hotdog Challenge 2010…this take the Danish Hotdog to a whole new level!
previous post on them
BEVERAGES / Drikkevarer Ex: Snaps Tasting and Food for Snaps

COOKING FOR KIDS / mad i børnehøjde
CASUAL BITES / Et Godt Måltid

Take a full peek at the all the events happening here: http://www.copenhagencooking.dk/?lang=en

Here is an excerpt interview from this year’s program:





Rene Redzepi, noma

Strandgade 93
1401 København, Danmark
3296 3297



What do you think it means to Copenhagen that I now have the world's best restaurant?
Hopefully it can help to attract Foodies and other (people) interested in food to town - and generally helping to put Copenhagen on the gastronomic world map.
What does it take to Copenhagen maintains its position as gastronomic hotspot?
Focus and an understanding and ability to especially, cooperate among the restaurants,
but also with the official Denmark.
What is your ambition for the next five years?
To continue to develop noma.
How was your best food experience?
My wife's 5 course dinner in the winter 2010.  She had been practicing a whole month and
surprised me at home.
What do you allow to inspire you when you are seeking something new?
Usually it’s nature.











Hvad tror du det betyder for København , at I nu er verdens bedste
restaurant ?

Forhåbentlig kan det være med til at tiltrække foodies og andre
madinteresserede til byen – og generelt være med til at sætte København på det
gastronomiske verdenskort.
Hvad skal der til, for at København bevarer sin position som
gastronomisk hotspot ?

Fokus og at vi forstår og formår at samarbejde. Specielt restauranterne imellem,
men også med det officielle Danmark.
Hvad er din ambition for de næste 5 år?
At blive ved med at udvikle noma.
Hvor havde du din bedste mad oplevelse?
Min kones 5 retters menu i vinteren 2010. Hun havde øvet sig en helt måned og
overraskede mig hjemme.
Hvad lader du dig inspirere af, når du samensætter en ny ret?
Oftest naturen.

Whether you have tickets or not for this wonderful event, there will be other restaurants participating to give everyone a possible taste of this annual event.

Tickets may still be available here: www.billetnet.dk

Download a copy of the Copenhagen Cooking Program 2010 here.

Should you happen to run into our cousin Claus Meyer…tell him hello!

12 August 2010

Introducing Kids to TOPLESS Sandwiches

Let this time of the year before school starts up again be the time to get the kids involved in making their own healthy lunches.
Here is a great little diagram from the Danish website: http://www.2gangeomugen.dk (which translates to '2 times a week').  This chart illustrates the five important components of a healthy child's lunch using a child's hand.  The Danish phrase Gi' madpakken en hånd literally means "give the lunchbox a hand".

dk flag
thumb = VEGETABLES…raw greens, salad or as a topping
index = BREAD…euro pumpernickel or whole grain
middle = MAIN TOPPING…meat, cheese or egg
ring = FISH…at least, once a week.
little = FRUIT…fresh and sweet


thumb = VEGETABLES…maybe carrot sticks
index = BREAD…white – maybe whole grain
middle = TOPPING…balogna and cheese
ring = NO FISH…rarely, tuna…no EFAs
little = FRUIT…maybe apple, orange or banana

If we look at the USDA’s MyPyramid for Children, one can see that the new guidelines are close to the Danish model.kidspyramid

LEGEND to MyPyramid
orange = GRAINS
red = FRUITS
yellow = OILS 
blue = MILK
purple = MEAT + BEANS

Thus, finding a healthy compromise for American children to enjoy using the Danish model is an easy goal.

Here are some great links from teamnutrition.usda.gov:
Be a Healthy Role Model for Children
MyPyramid for Kids Worksheet

Plus, the easiest way to educate kids is to get them involved in the making of meal.

Make this first step with teaching them healthy sandwich alternatives like making their own healthy version of ‘topless bread’ sandwiches.

First, there are a few tips from the Danish model to follow:
  1. Avoid any processed foods, if possible.
  2. Always use multigrain bread made from whole wheat flour or equal.
  3. Teach kids healthy amounts to use for real butter or mayonnaise with olive oil. 
  4. Always use some form of greens on the sandwich
  5. Include some organic fresh fruit or veggies as their treat. (ex: carrots, snap peas, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli florets, grape tomatoes, etc.)
  6. Avoid beverages with high corn syrup/fructose/etc.  Teach kids that natural juices are the best...especially, when combined with homemade soda water!And use simple sheets of aluminum foil or parchment paper to separate multiple sandwiches, if necessary.

Now, here are a few American examples that can easily be used to find inspiration in being able to adopt the Danish lunch model:

peanut butter banana 
Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter with Bananas and Honey

peanut butter apples
Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter with Sliced Tart Apples and Dried Cranberries

Turkey Salami with Mayo and Crunchy Onions on top (not shown)
Tuna with Grape Tomatoes (not shown)

cucumber cream cheese 
Cucumber with Herbed Cream Cheese

Tomato and Egg (not shown)

egg salad face 
Egg Salad with Shredded Carrots on Top

Tomato and Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese and Fresh Basic leaves
Low Fat Cheese (try…light havarti) with Sliced Red Bell Pepper (not shown)
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Slivered Almonds
Make up your own healthy alternative…the possibilities are endless.
Remember kids learn from example.

So, join them in making this new healthy and creative way of making their lunches.   All kids want to be cool and have something different that the other kids will envy.  When kids are given a sense of independence and encouragement in creativity…the results can be many for these open face sandwiches. Who knows…perhaps, they may influence their schoolmates in joining this new way of enjoying a healthy American version of their Danish open face sandwich!

Now I am sure this is one thing that will make both you and your child smile. 
: )

02 August 2010

August is National Sandwich Month

Welcome to NATIONAL SANDWICH MONTH (August)...
now there is no excuse not to go TOPLESS!

With picnics in full swing and school just around the corner, what better time than to expand the sandwich repertoire than with some openface sandwiches. Make this sandwich type a healthy staple of your daily menu. Using the healthiest multi-grain bread and the  freshest of ingredients, you can make the TOPLESS art of sandwich making a fun filled family event.  

Here is a sampling of typical open face sandwiches:

TOP: Danish salami with remoulade/fried onions/diced green onions on European style pumpernickel bread
BOTTOM RIGHT: Sliced hard-boiled egg with tomato/diced green onions on European style pumpernickel bread.
BOTTOM LEFT: Sliced boiled new potatoes with mayonnaise/tomato/diced green onions on European style pumpernickel bread.

Join us in learning how to make TOPLESS sandwiches this month a part of your everyday sandwich routine!

28 July 2010

TOPLESS ITALIAN: Summer Avocado-Tun(a)

Serves: 4
Time: 20-30 minutes
Difficulty: easy
(modifications by me)

Every culture seems to have their own version of 'going topless' when it comes to sandwiches. This holds true for the Italian brushcetta. Taking inspiration from the summer season, our topless version starts with an Italian foundation of toasted country bread, olive oil with a touch of garlic and finishes up piled high like it's hearty northern counterpart with two summer fresh ingredients of avocado and tuna (Danes call it 'tun').

4 thick slices artisan country bread
1 garlic clove, sliced in half
olive oil, extra virgin
1/2 butter leaf lettuce
1 can albacore tuna (tun) in water
1/2 lemon + zest
3 tbsp mayonnaise
freshly ground pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 avocado, cut into small cubes

1:  Mix tuna with mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and plenty of pepper.
Stir well together, allow to stand in the refrigerator for up to half an hour.

2:  Toast the four bread slices over a grill (use a toaster - if it can accommodate thick slices). Rub in one side with garlic.  Place on serving plates and splash with a little olive oil (if you have a high quality olive oil you use for dipping bread...use that one).

3:  Add salad leaves, avocado sliced into rough pieces along with tomato halves.
Sprinkle a little salt, pepper and some drops of lemon juice.

4:  Spread tuna mixture on four slices. 
Top with salt, pepper, olive oil and thin slices of red onion.  Finish off with a little of the lemon zest and some watercress (if you have any). 
It's okay to have it pile up and fall off to the sides.
This bad boy requires good hand to mouth coordination with a knife and fork...but, all the work will be well worth the effort.

It may sound like a lot of ingredients and work for just a tuna sandwich...but, once you taste everything together you won't ever doubt going topless again.

Bon Apetit / Buon Appetito!
Enhanced by Zemanta
Karen E Lesney on Foodista

10 July 2010

TRAVEL: Taking a Tasty Topless Bite Out of Aamans

Reading this Saturday's edition of the online New York Times Travel Section summed up everything I have been saying about the wonderful city of Copenhagen and how it is no longer the place of mere fancy and fairytails. The city is coming into it's own and has become the shining star of eco-conscious innovation and cuisine.  So, if you don't get to stop by our cousin's little restaurant NOMA make sure you make a detour to this one while discovering the city.

And NYTimes selection for eats...topless bread style is right here:

an excerpt from the NYTIMES / Travel Section / 36 Hours in Copenhagen / July 10, 2010

"COPENHAGEN is making news these days. Beyond clichéd tourist sites like the Little Mermaid and Tivoli amusement park, the Danish capital has emerged as one of the most eco-minded and creative cities in Northern Europe. Top-notch contemporary art is proliferating, and a fledgling fashion scene is starting to take off. After dark, a bevy of innovative restaurants has burnished Scandinavia’s gastronomic credentials, most notably Noma, which in April was ranked first on the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Meanwhile, upstart jazz and world music clubs are creating a night life without borders. And when it’s time to stagger home, Copenhagen finally obliges: the futuristic, driverless Metro is now open all day and night. 

The fried herring may taste like something from an old-school Copenhagen tavern, but Aamanns Etablissement (Oster Farimagsgade 12, 45-35-55-33-10; aamanns.dk) opened last year as a modern take on the fading institution, complete with minimalist décor, homemade akvavit and microbrew beers and sodas. Besides herring (115 kroner), served a number of ways, the frequently changing menu may include smorrebrod (165 kroner) — traditional open-face sandwiches — made with pork breast, with apple, salad greens and balsamic vinegar. "

A person cannot leave this fair country without tasting a particular part of it's cuisine that you will certainly want to bring home and further discover on your own. If you make it by Aaman's  to satisfy your hunger, your personal eating options can vary from stopping in for a bite or taking advantage of their wonderful take away menu. In order to provide the freshest ingredients to their clientele, their menu changes somewhat week to week. So, be sure to check it out online before you place an order just to wet your palette.  If it is a nice sunny day in Copenhagen, I would recommend their placing an order to go.  This you can do before you leave your hotel/home and they can have it ready for you, deliver it or simply stop by and grab a bite to go.  Aamans does a wonderful job of packaging your edible topless bites in divided box as seen below.

If this is your first time in Copenhagen or tasting the smørrebrød (aka topless bread), do not hesitate to ask your server about these delicately decorated open face sandwiches.  There will surely be one there waiting for you with your name on it!

Address Øster Farimagsgade 12, Copenhagen, 2100
(Area Near Kongens Nytorv & Nyhavn)
Transportation Bus 14, 40, or 95N to Webersgade or Sølvtorvet
Phone 35-55-33-10
Fax 35-55-33-46
Web Site aamanns.dk
Cuisine Scandinavian
Price Dinner 2-course menu DKK280; 3-course menu DKK315;
4-course menu DKK360; 5-course menu DKK405
Hours Mon-Sat 12pm-4pm and 6pm-11pm
Credit Cards Accepted AE, MC, V, DISC
Closed Mid-July through beginning of August 


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