Archive for the ‘Culinary Improv’ Category

From the Chick’s Køkken: Tollhouse Chocolate Chunk Cookies – C-L Style

In Culinary Improv on 07/10/2010 at 22:38

Hello again, gentle readers. Time for another recipe, requested by a classmate of the DH. You know, it is always a pleasant surprise when someone outside of our hygge little home, or outside of our family, asks for a recipe for something. Of course, that may be because we keep most of our goodies for ourselves (as my waistline will attest to), so most folks just don’t get a chance to take part. So, it’s always good to know that we aren’t the only ones who think some of these things are yummy. Though really, how can one go wrong with chocolate chip cookies? Besides perhaps using too little flour (done that), too much flour (done that), or not having chocolate chips (done that). 😮 What?! No chocolate chips?!? The world ends!!! Well, it would for me, as they are almost a required ingredient for any cookie I can think of, except maybe ginger snaps. But I bet butterscotch chips would work in those… mmmmm…

Anyway, after trying chocolate chip cookies once and ‘failing’, the recipe sat gathering dust for a while, until we finally broke down and decided to try again. One small problem – no chocolate chips. They’re not really a Danish thing, at least not like in the States where they come in different flavors (peanut butter, butterscotch, white chocolate, swirls), and industrial-sized bags with enough chips to make cookies for half of Denmark. Here, the ones I’ve found in the shops come in little 125 g bags. Like, a handful or something. Which is what one ends up eating anyway, when making chocolate chip cookies, thus defeating the success of said cookies before one starts, if that’s all you have. So we improvised. One bar of dark chocolate, and one bar of white chocolate later, chopped oh so effectively by the DH’s skilled hands, and heaven landed in our kitchen in the form of Tollhouse Chocolate Chunk Cookies – C-L Style. Feel free to give it a try yourself, substituting your preferred chocolate bar for either the white or dark chocolate, or just adding it in. After all, can you really ever have too much chocolate? I think not. 😀


Tollhouse Chocolate Chunk Cookies – C-L Style

520 grams all-purpose flour (Yes, it seems like a lot, but trust me on this)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
250 grams butter or margarine, softened (easier to work with softened, but cold works as well)
175 grams granulated sugar (or 3/4 of a cup, if you have cup measures; we do, so I use that, but the grams works as well)
175 grams packed brown sugar (or same as for the granulated sugar) (the better it’s packed, the more you can fit into the cup!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or 1 stick of vanilla bean (what we use), scraped and added to the mix)
2 large eggs
340-375 grams of chocolate, chopped relatively fine (we actually used a 200g bar of dark and a 100g bar of white, and the cookies were overflowing with lovely chocolatey-ness. This is almost a taste thing, really… if you love chocolate, stuff more in. If not, leave a little out. The minimum amount to still have decent chocolate to cookie ratio (IMNSHO) is about 225g)

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C (170 C if you have hot air)

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a bigger bowl (or mixer bowl if you have one), beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla extract/beans until creamy. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating them into the mix well. Gradually beat in the flour mix, then add the chocolate, and mix thoroughly.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet (baking paper FTW!), about 3 cm apart. (usually works out to 16 dough balls per cookie sheet, YMMV depending on how much dough you eat as you set them out) Pop them in the oven for 11-14 minutes, or until golden brown. (which works out to about 14 mins., but your oven may work differently than ours) Take them out and let them cool on the pan for a minute, then transfer them to a rack and start the next round. Rinse and repeat until all cookies are baked and smelling up your kitchen nicely. You should average 5 dozen or so, give or take, depending on how big your scoops of dough are.

Once done, grab a glass of cold milk and a handful of cookies, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. You earned it!


From the Chick’s Køkken: Apple Pie with Crumble topping

In Culinary Improv on 18/09/2010 at 18:56

I often find it hard to believe some of the marvelous things that my DH manages to create in the torture chamber/hall of hell that is our kitchen. Obviously the room can’t be that bad, since we’ve had a 98% success rate with American recipes translated into danish ingredients and measurements (imagine wafer-thin, extra-crispy tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, product of a bit too little flour we think) and a 99% success rate with our own little inventions, and even the less than perfect entrees that don’t make these hallowed electronic pages were certainly edible by pretty much anyone’s standards. So why do I persist in my views? Because I think our kitchen has it in for me. Not a day goes by that something doesn’t go wrong when I cross the threshold. Like somehow it knows that it’s me walking into the room, versus the DH, and the appliances have a quick powwow with the utensils to determine which one is getting their pound of flesh or life’s blood out of me this time. It’s enough to give a girl a complex, I tell ya!

That having been said, the following recipe was made with no sacrifice of my delicate flesh or sanity, but by the magical hands of myself and the one, the only, the DH! *crowds cheer wildly and throw potholders* (Ok, by us and our bright and shiny new KitchenAid mixer, Berta, in fire engine red! [for the folks who remember fire engines in that color] I’m composing an ode to the lovely Berta now, which will get posted later) So on to the food!

Apple Pie with Crumble topping

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I generally use more, got a thing for cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (again a bit more, to taste, if you don’t like it, don’t use it)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (the DH’s favorite spice besides garlic, which just doesn’t work in apple pie in my estimation)
6 cups tart cooking apples (equivalent of 6 medium or so, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices… most recently I ended up with like 15 apples, so we made a double batch and froze half for another pie in our future)

Combine all filling ingredients except apples in large bowl; add apples and toss lightly until everything is good and coated. Set the bowl aside and cover to let it ‘steep’ for a bit, while you make the crust. Makes it all nice and juicy that way. Besides, I always end up doing the apples first, then the crust, instead of being proactive and doing the crust first. I hate the drudge work.

Butter Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter
4-5 tablespoons cold water

(If you have a stand mixer, it makes crusts wonderfully. Just my 25 øre as a proud KitchenAid owner)
Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water just until flour is moistened. Mix thoroughly until you have a nice big ball, then divide dough in half. You can freeze one dough ball, together with your extra apple filling, and have a future pie all ready (how we dealt with the extra ball of dough). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured cutting board or counter. Grease the inside of your 9 inch pie dish (pie dish, tart pan, whatever the heck you’ve got that works, it’s all good), then fit the dough into the dish. Easiest to do if you fold the rolled dough into quarters, then unfold it and press it firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the crust at the edge of the dish, then crimp or flute the edge if you want to add a bit of flair. For extra flair, brush the edge of the crust with a tablespoon of melted butter, then sprinkle some granulated sugar on top.

Crumble topping:
(You can do this after you get the pie crust in the dish, it takes 5 minutes tops, and can very easily be done in your stand mixer to save the squishiness between your fingers)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine
(extra) 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or allspice (if you like. I do, so I did)

Combine flour, sugar and butter (and spice if you add it) in a bowl and mix until crumbly. (Could it get any easier? I think not!)

Putting it all together:
Take the wonderfully steeped apple filling and put it in the waiting pie dish, then sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top of the filling, making sure all apples are covered. Pop into a warm oven (400 degrees F, 200 degrees C) and bake for 45-55 minutes. Remove and let cool at least a bit, serve alone or with homemade vanilla ice cream, sharp cheddar cheese, or your favorite side dish for apple pie.



PS:  Whenever a recipe says ‘tart cooking apples’ I am really clueless. Yes, Granny Smiths are the quintessential pie apple, but would others work? We found out with our most recent baking, as we had a big bunch of Dansk-raised Discovery apples that we’d ordered from our greengrocer a couple of weeks back. They were a bit too tart for my taste, as well as too grainy in texture (I prefer Gala, Fuji or JonahGold apples for eating myself, love the crispness), but I didn’t want them to go to waste. So a few slices and dices later, and they became pie. I was a bit worried that they would be too soft, but the DH absolutely LOVED them because of that very fact. They were so wonderfully soft and gooey, I think he prefers them over the Granny Smiths, at least for baking. Just a tip, if you were curious like I was. They worked like a charm in the pie, perfect flavor, good texture, I highly recommend them as a fallback apple for pies.

From the Chick's Køkken: Hot Cauliflower-String Bean Salad

In Culinary Improv on 29/09/2008 at 21:46

I love food. Oh gosh, how I love it. As is evidenced by my waistline, most definitely. We are working on that still, which I’ll post about a bit later, but in the meantime, it’s important that we adjust our recipes to keep food tasty, but adhering a bit better to lower fat and more natural ingredients. Finally, we have a few recipes that are ready for posting here, which we hope you will enjoy.

Oh, and for anyone considering ordering our particular brand of construction dust seasoning, I hate to say it but we are officially out of stock, and will not be replenishing our supply any time in, say, the next 5 years or so. Yes, you heard it here first, our kitchen is done. DONE!!! Barring a few minor, cosmetic, things, the evolving kitchen has finished its mutating, and now bears a distinct resemblance to a spread in Bedre Bolig og Have (Better Homes and Gardens for the danishly-challenged). Which means that now, we can do anything Betty Crocker can do, maybe even better. And we’re working on the cookbook to prove it!

So, enjoy the recipe, and stay tuned, as I intend to get up a few more over the next weeks. Honest! Props to my sister-in-law Trine for getting her blog going, and including some recipes. She’s an excellent cook, so make sure to check her out.

Hot Cauliflower-String Bean Salad

1/2 Head fresh cauliflower
3 Large handfuls fresh string beans (approx. 350 grams)
10-15 Cherry tomatoes, halved, skin still on (unless you really hate tomato skin, then peel away)
Some Butter/Country Crock/Lätta to taste (yes, this is a random measurement, thus ‘to taste’)
5 Cloves fresh garlic, chopped up
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook string beans and cauliflower, drain and set aside. Heat up the butter in a pan, add garlic and tomatoes, cook until garlic and tomatoes are warmed up and butter is slightly bubbly. Dice up cauliflower and beans, put in a bowl and add the butter-garlic-tomato mix, then toss until the cauliflower and beans are covered. Serve with a steak or other type of beast, and it should satisfy even the hungriest man or woman sitting at your table.

Enjoy! 😀

From the Chick's Køkken: Pesto Chicken with Sweet Tomato Sauce

In Culinary Improv on 04/08/2007 at 23:04

Lest you, gentle readers, think that all that comes out of this chick’s kitchen are desserts, sadly that is not the case. Woman cannot live by sweets alone, though I know of a dog who would dearly love to give it a chance, and a husband who believes that dessert is a right written into the Danish constitution.

Of course, in my quest to change my non-cooking ways, I have managed to once again brand myself novice cook (literally) while recently removing a lovely dinner from the oven. The air was redolent with the scent of herbs and baked chicken, and several shades of blue with the colorful curses and whinging that followed. The dog ran in fear even while hoping I would drop the aforementioned dinner, and my DH ordered me into the bathroom to stick the offended appendage under cool running water. Yes, this definitely less than Betty Crocker stuck the back of her hand to one of the sides of the oven. Why? Oh, why not? I’ve already cut myself three times, broken four glasses, and fattened up the dog with dropped food on too many occasions. (Have I ever mentioned that he eats leeks? Yes, my dog eats leeks. Won’t touch a cheeto, but loves his veggies) Why not try cooking myself while working on dinner? Perhaps the better question is… why do I keep trying, when the kitchen is surely out to get me? Knives line up for their chance to part my delicate flesh from its bones, forks jostle to be first in queue to sink their tines into some part of me, why shouldn’t the oven attempt to get in on the fun by luring me in, then singeing off as much of me as it can before I jump back, yelping and cursing the need to step foot into this hall of hell at all.

However, never fear. This particular recipe was pulled off without any of the damage, to either myself or various glassware, mentioned above. How is that possible? Simple. The DH cooked. 😀 Enjoy!

Pesto Chicken with Sweet Tomato Sauce

4 Large Chicken Breasts
2 Packages of Bacon Strips
2 Cans, Stewed Tomatoes
2 Leeks, large
2 Large Peppers, your choice of color
A dash of ketchup (or catsup, your choice)
A dash of sweet chili sauce
1 Medium onion
2 dl Milk or Cream, depending on desired thickness
1-2 Mozarrella balls
Some Pesto , to taste
Fresh Basil and Oregano
Salt and pepper
Rice for four

Blend ketchup, tomatoes, sweet chili sauce and milk together until thoroughly mixed. Clean leeks and chop into small pieces. Cut peppers into strips. Chop onion into large pieces.

Slice a pocket into each chicken breast. Cut up mozarella into chunks to fit into pocket, add fresh basil, oregano, garlic and pesto with mozarella. Wrap each stuffed breast with strips of bacon. Add a thin layer of pesto on outside of each wrapped breast.

Pour sauce mix into large casserole dish (glass). Make a bed with chopped leeks, peppers and onions in middle of sauce. Place stuffed chicken breasts on greens sprinkle with fresh basil and oregano, salt and pepper. Place dish into oven at 200 degrees Celsius and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Serve with rice and garlic bread or baguettes.

From the Chick's Køkken: Lauridsen Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

In Culinary Improv on 20/07/2007 at 17:48

Now, another installment of Culinary Improv. This particular recipe comes from the DH’s family, designed to be simple and easily prepared. It has turned out wonderfully every time we’ve made it, even in our slightly less than Martha Stewart-perfect kitchen, and has received raves from our resident taste-testers, his work colleagues. We present it for your chocolate indulgence now. Enjoy!

Lauridsen Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate cake:
500 g Sugar
250 g Flour
6 tbls Cocoa
2 tsp Vanilla sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
6 Eggs
250 g Melted butter or margarine
1 dl coffee or juice

Chocolate buttercream frosting:
500 g Confectioner’s sugar
115 g Butter, softened
1 tsp Vanilla extract
3 tbls Milk
115 g Cocoa

Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly, add liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly, pour into cake pan and bake at 200 degrees C for 50 minutes to an hour, until knife or toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Cool on rack or counter.

Mix ingredients together thoroughly, beating in large bowl until smooth; spread over cooling cake, making designs as desired. Feel free to lick all bowls and beaters clean.

This cake can also be enjoyed without frosting, with the addition of chocolate chips, marshmellows, with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, or with a large glass of cold milk. Indulge yourself in the chocolate!


From the Chick's Køkken: Cheesecake – Randers Style

In Culinary Improv on 19/07/2007 at 12:29

Thank you for dropping by. We hope you’ll give one or more of our recipes a try sometime, they’re just little things the DH and I whipped up in our continually evolving kitchen. These recipes are improv, snatched from various online places and adjusted to our tastes – so feel free to add, subtract, multiply or divide (within reason, your results are your own if you do) as you see fit. Construction dust seasoning can be ordered, for a limited time only (we hope), in individual 100 gram packets; please contact Wren or the DH for more information. 😀

Cheesecake – Randers Style
300 g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
125 g non-salted Butter, softened
50 g Sugar
250 ml Cremefine with Vanilla
200 g Cream cheese, softened
250 g Sour cream
75 g Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
300 ml Strawberry puree
1 dl Gelsugar

Time to prepare: As long as it takes. You can’t rush good tastes. ;D

Start with the crust: Mix the digestive biscuit crumbs, butter and sugar thoroughly then press into bottom of tart or springform pan. Bake at 200 degrees Celcius until brown and settled; remove and let cool on counter.

Now the filling: Whip the cremefine & vanilla together until stiff enough to turn the bowl over without spilling. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar together until smooth, then fold in cremefine gently and mix thoroughly. Spoon into pan over crust, then chill in your fridge.

Last but never least, the topping: Combine the puree and gelsugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly; cover and microwave at full power (100%) for 2-1/2 minutes, then remove and stir before pouring over chilled cheesecake. Go wild, it’s your party, drown the cheesecake in the sauce. Then chill in your fridge.


The DH and I made this little delicacy last night so he could take it to work. It seems one of the traditions here that I am learning about is that those taking vacations will bring in a cake or other treats for celebration. So, as his summer holiday begins next Monday, it’s his turn to feed the office hordes. I certainly hope they enjoy it, and I really really hope he brings home a piece or two for us to have, too. Otherwise we have to make another one just for us. 😀