Why is it that when family, no matter the size, almost always has food involved? There does not even need a reason to gather. Any opportunity to gather is great. For the cooks in the family, this is absolutely wonderous and joyful. I love cooking and baking and love to produce exclusive gastronomic delights. But, I also love to create traditional foods that mean something to our family. I am always on the lookout for more recipes to try and share with family. I know they appreciate it very much because there never seem to be any leftovers.
Of course, if you had not read it before I have a Scandinavian family. I also have some German and Irish and I try to work them in also when cooking. So this year at one of our usual gatherings I made some traditional open-faced sandwiches and baked goods. There are always trays of meats and cheeses and crackers and fruit.
I made Chicken sandwiches. I like to use sourdough bread because that is what my family prefers. But traditionally used is Pumpernickel or rye bread. I cut the skins off of cucumbers and then slice them very thin. I put them in vinegar and sugar and let them sit overnight. I cook the chicken in cooking wine and pickling spices. It is best if you can cook this the day before you need it. To assemble the sandwiches I first butter the bread. Then I add a layer of lettuce. I cut the chicken into as thin of a slice as I can and put that on top of the lettuce. I put a small spoonful of sour cream on top of the chicken. To that, I add one slice of a cucumber with a cut partway through it so I can twist it and put that on the sour cream. I slice small tomatoes to put in with the cucumber. To top it off I put a sprig of dill. (recipe is here in the blog)
Next, I made fruit sandwiches. With these sandwiches, you can use your favorite bread like my family likes but I use again sourdough. This sandwich is traditionally made with french bread. Cut the crusts off the bread. First, you butter the bread followed by cream cheese or blue cheese. The topping of this sandwich is strawberries and grapes. I like this mix rather than strawberries on one and grapes on another. This is a family favorite as is the chicken sandwich. I keep introducing new sandwiches to the family.
Another favorite is the heart-shaped waffles. I started making these on a cast iron griddle. I now have an electric griddle, so much easier.
The key to this recipe is getting the dough to the right consistency. The directions on how to make these are just like regular waffles except for cardamom. I crush the seeds myself. This is so much tastier.
We eat these hot and cold. Best served with whipped cream and berries.
This is the food that we have served at most of our gatherings.
Chicken & CucumberSmørrebrød
1 Tbs. sugar
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
¼ cup water
1 cucumber, sliced very thin
Poached Chicken Breasts (see below)
8 slices Pumpernickel bread
( I have used also dill rye)
8 tsp. butter, softened
8 leaf lettuce
8 thin tomato slices
Poached Chicken Breasts:
1 chicken breast, halved, skinned boned
½ cup white wine
½ cup water
1 tsp. pickling spices
In a medium bowl, combine sugar, salt, vinegar, and water. Stir in cucumber. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Poach chicken breasts in a skillet. (below) Then set aside the chicken to cool. Spread butter on each slice of bread, lay lettuce on the buttered bread slices. Thinly cut cooled chicken breasts and place them on the lettuce leaf. Drain the cucumber mixture and lay folded cucumber on top of the chicken piece. Lay a tomato slice on top of or next to the cucumber. Finish with a dollop of sour cream and a small piece of fresh dill.
Place chicken in a skillet with wine, water, and pickling spices. Boil, then simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Drain, the chicken is easiest to cut when cooled. Slice the chicken across the grain, thinly.
Makes 8 sandwiches
Strawberry & Grape Sandwich
8slices of sourdough bread
1 ( 3oz.) pkg. soft cream cheese (optional blue cheese)
8 grapes, halved
8 large strawberries, halved, hulled
Spread cream cheese on slices of bread. Then add the halved grape and halved strawberry to each slice of bread.
Garnish with fresh dill.
Makes 8 sandwiches
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
4tsp. dill weed (dried)
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
In a small bowl combine vinegar, sugar, water, and dill. Set aside. Cut the cucumber extremely thin. Place the cut cucumber in a medium bowl, gently pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers. Stir and refrigerate for approximately 4 hours.
Christmas cooking is around the corner and I hope to get all that photographed and maybe a video or two also. I will be looking for you then!