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!
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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 

06 July 2010

BAKING / Bageri: TWISTED BREAD (snorbrød)

 abstract graphic showing bread dough over an open fire

There are a few distinct memories I have from those long danish summer nights when the sun simply seemed to bounce on the horizon and never go away. The one memory that forever will remain with me are the ones from when we lived on my grandfather's dairy before the age of seven.

The grounds that surrounded the dairy and the main house were perfect for a child to enjoy and explore. But, on special nights when a little bonfire would be light near the refuse pile of the dairy...our grandmother (bedstemor) would make a batch of TWISTED BREAD / snobrød for us kids to enjoy baking on a stick over that fire. Though my sister and I were too young to do this on our own, our older cousin Jan would let us hang out with him and his friends near the fire...enjoying the wonderfully fresh baked goodness of our little breads.
It's nice to be part of a family tradition.  According to our mother, our grandmother also made a variation of this simple bread dough for her to enjoy when she was young.  Since these recipes were originally made for children to enjoy, I therefore never received any direct instruction on how to make the dough with our grandmother.  What you have here are two  clipped recipes I found in her collection.  Now it is yours to discover and enjoy.
Also, allow me to suggest two methods of what to use to hold the dough:
Method One: Use 1/2-3/4" dia wooden stick with bark shaved back to hold the dough.
Method Two: Use a wire coat hanger twisted loose with the open wire end holding the dough. This method requires additional protection from the heat of the handle part as the metal is a good head conductor.
CAUTION: With both methods, be careful not to burn the dough...and especially, yourself!
(modified recipe translation says...)

Twisted Bread Over a Fire or Grill

225 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 dl warm water
15 g yeast

Assemble all ingredients in a bowl.
Dough should be as solid as to be able to wrap around a stick/skewer or roll into sausages.
Let the kids (or adults) roll the dough into finger-thick sausages and twist them around the  stick or around standard barbecue sausages roasted over a campfire like sausages baked in bread.
Cook for  5-10 minutes while turning them slowly making sure not too close to the embers as the dough will burn.

SPECIAL NOTE: These can be made over a grill or over embers in an open fire or backyard fire pit.  Make sure to not put the dough directly into the flame as it will not bake - but, char Allow enough distance for the dough to hover over glowing embers. Be careful not to burn yourself.  And always remember to never leave children unattended with fires.
Twisted Bread for Kindergarten..or Adults!
300g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
50g butter
2 dl cold milk

Mix the baking powder into the flour. Then add salt chopping the butter into the flour. Knead the dough together with the cold milk. As the dough comes quickly come together, divide the dough into 6-7 smaller pieces rolling each into thick sausages.These can be wrapped around prepared sticks and the, bake over embers. Dough is easy and kids will no doubt think that is very exciting...as well as adults!
Tak bedstemor!


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