Homemade Gatorade

October 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

So, I was really sick on Friday, the kind of sick where you can’t eat anything but jello and Gatorade and other things that don’t exist here. It’s really weird, because I’d think that Denmark would have its own version of a non-carbonated electrolytic sports drink. But when I finally managed to drag myself to the store, the only products that were advertised as sports drinks were Faxe Kondi and Carlsberg Sport. Faxe Kondi contains glucose, sugar, and caffeine, and is carbonated. Carlsberg Sport, also carbonated, contains sugar, glucose, quinine, and some acidity regulators that may be helpful when you’re sick (sodium citrate, sodium carbonate, sodium monophosphate, potassium carbonate) but there’s no indication of quantity, so I can’t tell if there’s enough to be effective. Sodium, and potassium especially, are good as you lose electrolytes when you’re ill. Phosphate, I think, is helpful against nausea but I’m only basing that assumption off of the fact that Emetrol is phosphorylated sugar syrup, and Coke syrup is used sometimes for nausea in children. Speaking of which, because we didn’t have any Emetrol in the house, I found that eating a couple of spoonfuls of honey at a time does the trick, and helps with a sore throat as well.

Anyway, I decided to make my own “Gatorade” based off of a comment in this Instructables article. The original recipe on Instructables called for a packet of Kool-Aid for flavoring, but of course, there is no Kool-Aid mix here, so I decided to go with fresh-squeezed citrus juice.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 L water
  • 0.5 L fresh-squeezed citrus juice (I bought some grapefruits that were on sale, but I think lemons and limes would be better)
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/3 to 1/2 tsp “light” salt (This is a salt mixture that contains part sodium chloride, part potassium chloride, part magnesium sulfate, and iodine. It’s marketed as “Seltin” here.)

Mix well and serve cold. (I dissolved the honey in a bit of hot water first, then added more water to make 1.5 L.)

This homemade grapefruit Gatorade was ok, although it was a bit dilute and maybe needed some punching up. But it definitely works! I might experiment with various recipes.

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Budget food: iceberg lettuce

October 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

My favorite food right now is iceberg lettuce. Here’s why it’s so great:

  • It can be found at every grocery here, including the small budget ones.
  • A head of iceberg is pretty cheap (usually from 8 to 10 kroner or $1.49 to $1.86).
  • It abates hunger. Seriously, try to eat a head of lettuce and still feel hungry.
  • It’s versatile. Check out this article for some recipes. (The article is called “The Charms of the Loser Lettuces;” even lettuce can cultivate snobbery, apparently. Lolz.).
  • It may not be as nutritionally dense as other lettuces, but it’s still not too shabby.
  • It has a fantastic crunchy texture.

Why I love lettuces in general:

  • Lettuces are often a main element in salads, and salads are pretty much the best food ever. The whole concept of a salad is to create a mixture of textures and flavors, giving them an interesting mouthfeel. Salads can give a cooling element to a warmer/spicier meal.  There are endless combinations of salads, and you can serve a salad with pretty much everything. Salads are acceptable to most diets, as well. I would say that this universality indicates that the salad is probably doing something right.
  • Lettuce can be nutritious. Romaine lettuce has a pretty good amount of vitamin A and C.
  • Lettuce may be relaxing, as it contains lactucarium (particularly, the lettuce Lactuca virosa).

Fennel is actually good

October 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Coincidentally, this week the New York Times had an article about easy entertaining that included variations on a blended squash soup! The starters also included fennel salads, which reminded me of a dinner I made a while back that I thought I’d share with you. Even though the NYT is obsessed with fennel salads (their archive is filled with permutations of that and blended squash soups, sorbets, grain salads, and other darling viands of the upper class), that doesn’t mean that this vegetable is limited to snobs. There’s nothing special about a fennel bulb; in fact, it has a very mild flavor. The first time I saw a fennel plant, I thought you were supposed to eat the fluffy top leafy part, which is much more “anisey”-tasting and it felt like I had just brushed my teeth with Tom’s of Maine toothpaste.

Anyway, we were making dinner for vegetarian friends, so we came up with a fennel salad as a starter, eggplant parmesan as the main, a zinfandel wine, and a ginger-maple-blueberry parfait as the dessert. I served the parfait in tall glasses with tall, skinny spoons; and topped them with a blop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of chopped crystallized ginger, a mint leaf, and a whole ginger cookie (small wafer-like cookies I found in Irma; I think they might have been Scottish).

Unfortunately, I can’t find the original recipes that I combined to make the fennel salad, but basically I made a vinaigrette out of lemon juice, zest, toasted and ground fennel seeds, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Then I tossed that into a mixture of crispy greens like frisée, thinly-sliced fennel, and romaine. Top with toasted pine nuts. It’s pretty basic/classic. There may or may not have been something sweet in there but probably not, since the dessert was so sweet. This salad is fresh, crisp, and simple, and goes well with a heavy, gloppy main like the eggplant parmesan.

Budget food: blended soups

October 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on groceries, head down to the nearest Rema 1000, Aldi, Netto, Fakta, or other discount grocery store that has cheap vegetables. $1.25 for a kilo of carrots is a pretty good deal. Throw a few different ingredients into a soup, blend it, et voilà! A cheap and elegant dinner.

Soups I’ve tried blending, with success:

Carrot, pumpkin, parsnip, and ginger soup

  • Ingredients: onions; garlic; carrots; one hokkaido pumpkin; one or two parsnips; lots of fresh ginger root; vegetable broth powder; salt, pepper, and apple cider vinegar to taste. Sauté onions in butter until soft, add garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute. Add water and broth powder, and the other vegetables. Optional add-ins: chopped fresh red chilis, curry powder, nutmeg (buy the whole nuts and scrape them on a cheese grater). Top with dollop of 10% Greek or Turkish yogurt, sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Cabbage/vegetable soup

  • Blending this soup makes it seem more substantial. Plus, cabbage is really cheap and goes a long way.

Parsnip, leek, celery, and parsley soup

  • This is a beautiful green soup that looks chic with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of chopped parsley and ground black pepper. I substituted some of the parsnips with celery root.

I could also imagine that this would be a good way to get people to eat a particular vegetable that they aren’t so crazy about, like broccoli or cauliflower.

Mushrooms, mushrooms!

October 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

I really enjoy seasonal fall foods. Here in Denmark, mushrooms are a big deal, especially chanterelles. The best way to prepare them, I’ve been told, is to butter them. A few years ago when I lived in Malmö, we ate at a restaurant called Mrs Brown, which specialized in regional Scanian cuisine. I ordered a mushroom salad and on the plate that arrived sat a greasy pile of basically just mushrooms. This “salad” was amazing and I’ve been trying to find a recipe that’s similar. The other day, I tried to make my own mushroom salad by sautéing chanterelles, walnuts, and shallots in butter, and adding sage and black pepper. But I think it needed more kinds of mushrooms mixed in.

I also made a normal brown mushroom sauce that turned out really well, and you can find the recipe here. I didn’t have shallots so I used normal yellow onions. I served it with “oksefilet” (a cut of meat that was on bulk sale at Irma; it looked like a filet mignon), roasted brussels sprouts, mixed greens, and red wine, with a dessert of chocolate mousse.

Danish café sandwich

June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

When my aunt was visiting a while ago, I had a really nice sandwich at a café near the Lille Havfrue. I’ve been trying to recreate it; I think it basically goes like this:

Ingredients:

  • Soft brown rye roll (maybe lightly toasted?). Danish rye bread is different than the stuff in the States, which has caraway in it.
  • rygeost (soft, fresh, spreadable, smoked Danish cheese)
  • smoked salmon
  • baby mixed salad greens
  • fresh, uncooked asparagus– thinly sliced in diagonal slices
  • thin radish slices
  • fresh dill? I think there was some kind of fresh herb.

Spread the cheese on one half of the rye roll. Top with smoked salmon, dill, then greens and vegetables, then the other roll half.

Orange you glad you’re reading this post?

June 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Hello! This is my new food blog. I thought that I should move all of the food posts and photos from my Facebook, because food is kind of boring, and it should be in its own place instead of boring up my Facebook page. In said blog I will post recipes that I’ve liked, comments about food and cooking, and reviews of Danish foods that I’ve tried.