January 13, 2008

Random notes from 20th Knut.

The Swedish saying goes, 'On 20th Knut, dances the Yule out' ('out' rhymes with 'Knut' in Swedish.) The tradition is to throw out the tree, decorations and so on 20 days after Christmas, and in the traditional calendar this is Saint Knut's day. The kids helped. They didn't just throw the tree out, they threw it out and then beat the needles off it with sticks. It's a tough line of work being a Christmas tree in Sweden. The kids ate some of the shingles off the gingerbread house and then that got smashed too.

I bit into a candycane, tree plunder, and became aware that my enthusiastic mastication had dislodged a good chunk of molar, leaving a sharp edge on the tongue side. The conscious effort of keeping my tongue still wore me out and I biked to the store and bought a packet of parrafin canning wax. I warmed up a pinch of the wax between tooth and gum and shaped it into a nice little cap which will have to hold me through until I can get a time at the dentist.

After watching the kids beat the tree with sticks (I am sure we are the only ones in Sweden who do that) I scrubbed my way to the bottom of the kitchen and made dinner.

Potato planks, variation on B. Crocker.

Wash spuds, slice into chunks, spread out on baking sheet and paint with olive oil. Sprinkle with half of your supply of the secret spice mix: a teaspoon each of salt, pepper, mustard, paprika and sugar. Bake at 200 C/400 F for 15 or 20 minutes. Pull out sheet, flip spuds, re-paint and sprinkle with remaining spice. Pop back into oven for another 15 or 20 minutes, until golden brown. Shift from bake to broil as needed.

Pappa Burgers.

Pappa Burgers are always a hit. When my wife makes them they are called Mamma Burgers, but those aren't quite as good. The story of the Pappa burger begins with the Wallenberg family, rich Swedish aristocrats. The Wallenberg butler invented a midnight snack for the family: The Wallenberger. My contribution to the recipe is to change the name since I don't have a butler.

Blend the following ingredients into a pink froth: Hamburger, couple of eggs, liberal dousing of cream, salt, pepper, bread crumbs. Form into patties and cover with bread crumbs. Fry in oil in iron skillet.

Pappa burgers are surprisingly healthy-- full of protein and oil giving the coveted Long Burn, plus the choline from the eggs is good for your brain, and milk fat has been shown to prevent cancer. Serve with low-sugar ketchup.


At January 15, 2008 10:04 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

wow. the tooth dreams of your youth are coming true.

re: potato planks. I chop up potatoes and nuke them for 13-16 minutes on high. They come out leathery with a semi-soft interior, delicious with mayo, mustard, ketchup, or cheese melted on top.


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