I've been itching to get into this Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 thing for a while, and was extremely excited when I was selected for February! Preparing an as-authentic-as-possible Norwegian Feast in New York was quite an undertaking, and as I began preparing this post, I realized there was so much I wanted to tell you about each recipe. As a result, please consider this your introductory post, which comes complete with links to more detailed posts about each recipe, the ingredients, the history behind many of them, and why my husband, R and I chose to make them for this event.
Here's a bit of back story. R is from Norway. He's from a small town (by my standards!) on the Southwestern coast called Haugesund, so the theme for our Norway in New York feast is foods from his region of Norway. R and I were married last June, and since we met I've been exploring Norwegian recipes off and on. For our wedding, his sister and brother had our guests play a game. They passed out 12 balloons, one for each of the twelve months of our first year of marriage. When a guest popped their balloon, they had to complete the task written on the piece of paper they found inside during the month they'd been assigned. This is all to say that R's other sister was charged with translating some of their family recipes for us. She did this all the way back in October, I think, but I was studying for orals then and, if you'll remember, not cooking. So several of these recipes are R's old family recipes, translated by his sister.
Another source for these recipes is a book that R's parents gave me for my birthday (also last October!) called Norwegian National Recipes, by Arne Brimi and Ardis Kaspersen. These are very authentic recipes, organized by region. All of the recipes used here come from the section dedicated to the region around Haugesund.
Another view of Norway!
Before we get started with the food, I must mention that this was totally a joint effort between R and myself. We split the cooking and I relied on him to translate recipes and to make sure things were done according to tradition. I would also like to dedicate this post to R and to my family-in-law, for introducing me to Norwegian cooking. You can click on the title of the recipes below to be directed to a post which explores each recipe in more depth.
Okay, so let's start with appetizers and drinks. The first thing we made was a Norwegian Berry Drink called Rå bringebærsaft. As someone who doesn't drink alcohol a whole lot, it was really refreshing to have a non-alcoholic drink meant to compliment a meal.
We then set out a spread that consisted of Stavanger Herring Salad and its accompaniments:
Along with the Herring Salad, we made Potato Lefse, a Norwegian flat bread:
Herring is also normally served with a Cold Potato Salad, so we did that, too:
The Herring should be scooped up with, or wrapped inside, the lefse with a helping of potato salad on the side.
For our main courses, we cooked up two dishes. One a bit more time intensive than the other. The first one, which takes a bit less commitment, was a Sour Cream Porridge, or Rømmegrøt. Rømmegrøt is usually served with a cured mutton called fenalår, which I explain in more detail (and show you!) if you click through to the recipe.
Our next main dish was one of R's favorites. It's called Komler, and it's basically potato dumplings stuffed with a little piece of bacon, simmered in meat broth. It's served with boiled or mashed carrot and rutabaga, as well Norwegian sausage. You can find all about it in its dedicated post.
For our desserts, we made two of R's favorites. The first is called Dronning Maud Pudding, named for Norway's first queen. It was developed in Haugesund, but the name was changed for reasons I go into in the dedicated post.
Our final dessert is called Kvæfjordkake, named for a fjord in the north of Norway. It also goes by the name of Verdens Beste, or World's Best, and after tasting it, I'd have to agree. It's built around two pieces of meringue baked on top of a thin layer of cake, that then sandwiches a filling of vanilla cream. I predict that it will be the next big thing. So click through and read about it now!