Things I cooked at yesterday's Scandinavian Cooking Class
I figured there would be a couple of things I probably would NOT want to try when I signed up for the Scandinavian Cooking Class. So why did I sign up? Because I had SO much fun at the pie baking class and this was the only other one with an opening. That should have been a clue right there. Surely they would have SOMETHING that I deemed edible.
This time I went extra early so I would have plenty of room to turn my truck around. My strategy worked perfectly. I was met with a smile by Gudron, Chef Ron's sweet wife from Sweden.
First up ..... gravlax. Not really knowing what the heck it was, I jumped right in. But first, we have to make the crispy bread on which it sits when we take a bite. Tunn bread would be the name. Ever heard of that??
I was a little leery when I heard yeast, ammonium salt, rye flour and powdered milk. Once mixed, we did the rolling pin thing, but this time with Lefse rollers that look something like this printmaking roller.
We cut a big hole in the middle to help keep it flatter than a pancake and baked it in the oven on pizza screens. Next up ... the gravlax. Anyone know what that is? Wasn't I surprised when he brought out this 6" piece of salmon that looked like it had been rode hard and put away wet.
You too can make this delicacy .... with salt, sugar, oil and salmon that you leave under a brick in the fridge for four days. The description turned my stomach pretty quickly as he mixed up the marinade and spread it on another beautiful piece. What a shame to ruin that salmon. Next he grabbed a knife and sliced the "done" piece paper thin, placing it on the pretty salmon board.
Apparently he ate this stuff for about 35 years before he discovered the SAUCE. You MUST have the sauce for it to be edible. It's so simple ... mayo, sugar, vinegar, dijon mustard and dill. This is the appetizer and this is how you eat it (see picture below).
I made a run to the wine bar first. I really wasn't sure I could get this down without a taste-killing chaser. Very tentatively I took a bite, having moved my chair out so I could make a run for the sink if needed.
This is RAW salmon. I know sushi eaters consume this stuff all the time, but it has never touched my lips up until now. Wasn't I shocked to find it tasted pretty darned good. Not that I would ever have another piece the rest of my life, but honestly the SAUCE was AMAZING!! It would be delicious on vegetables!!!!
Next on the menu was picked beets. My mom used to fix these for herself all the time. I've no idea where she got the craving, because they are horrible in my book, no matter how GOOD they are FOR you!!
Vinegar, sugar and spices were combined with canned beets and placed in the fridge to marinate. I could probably choke down one or two small pieces I thought, just so I didn't offend the Chef.
Over two big hurdles, it was time for the pickled herring. OMG ..... there is no WAY this is going in my mouth. Vinegar, sugar, allspice, mustard seed and onions were combined and boiled, to be poured over herring in wine sauce, drain the wine sauce first.
Scandinavians like their fish. It's their life apparently, and they will eat it cooked (or not cooked) every way you can possibly imagine. Luckily I got a whiff of the herring before it went in the pot. I felt very brave to try the raw salmon ..... I was NOT taking a bite of anything pickled with it's guts intact!!!
No WONDER they drink aquavit .... a lovely vodka concoction that surely takes away the flavor of the herring, or maybe they get sloshed and just don't care about the taste.
Things did get better with the meatballs and rice pudding. I'll tell you all about that part of the meal tomorrow!!!