Thursday, September 27, 2012

Icelandic Food

What's on the menu Iceland?

By now you know the highlight of my week is trying the new recipes from the different countries, well, I had a hard time with Iceland.  They had a lot of recipes that sounded pretty good but the ingredients were a little exotic (puffin and crowberries) or not in season (rhubarb) or too expensive (lamb) so I spent a lot of time looking for something my kids would enjoy!  I think I did it :) AND beets  were involved (gasp)!!

These days Iceland can get fresh grocery supplies pretty easily and the cuisine of Iceland is probably pretty similar to that of the rest of Northern Europe, but before the days of commercial jetliners things were different.  The spring and summer meant lots of fresh berries and hearty vegetables that grew in the gardens, sheep and birds to eat and since it's daylight almost 24 hrs a day- lots of time to fish in the sea.  But in winter, when it gets cold and remains dark for most of the day, the people had to rely on cured meats and fish and canned or dried fruits and vegetables.  Icelanders couldn't be wasteful and only eat the choice cuts of an animal- it was eaten from ears to hoof and many recipes I found had me cringing a little - I am not good with internal organs. If you'd like to check out a great blog I found on Icelandic cooking check out - that's where I found a recipe that really intrigued me - Red Beet Salad, or as I have re-named it - Pretty Pink Parfait (with yummy surprise ingredient)!

Red Beet Salad (or Pink Surprise?)

My daughter used to LOVE vegetables but these days I can't get her to eat anything (is this a common 5 yr old problem?).  I grew up having pickled beets pretty often (maybe because both my parents were from Wisconsin) and I really like them, but my husband and kids make the yucky face whenever I serve them.  Well, beets were pretty common in a lot of the Icelandic recipes so I'm doing it - and I don't think they are going to mind a bit (as I write this they haven't tried it yet - I promise to update)
For the recipe you will need:
  • 1 can or jar Pickled Beets
  • 1 large sweet apple
  • a little of the beet juice
  • lemon juice - I used 3 T lemonade mix (I only had 1 old lime)
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • sugar- I used about 2 T
1.  Combine the cream, sugar, lemon, and enough beet juice to make it pink and whip until soft peaks
2. Chop beets and apples into small cubes and add to cream mixture. 

 That's it and know what?  I couldn't even tell there were beets in it and it was GOOD!!  I might even serve it as dessert instead of a side dish like it was suggested :) 


Another Icelandic treat!

Another little treat we tried from Iceland was Skyr.  What, you might ask, is Skyr?  It is the very delicious yogurt of Iceland.  One website (I can't remember which one anymore) was upset that people compared it with yogurt, saying it was different, but it was basically a thick, strained yogurt made from cow's milk.  Since most of the water is removed from the milk to make it, it has more protein than regular yogurt and is usually only very lightly sweetened so it is a very healthy food.  The brand we found (at Mollie Stones, a supermarket similar to Whole Foods) was Siggi's and it had only 4 ingredients - skim milk, agave nectar, vanilla and active cultures.  It was a little expensive when compared to the other yogurts but some of them have 28 grams of sugar and only a few grams of protein.  The vanilla skyr had 14 grams of protein, 9 grams of sugar and 100 calories - a pretty healthy breakfast for a picky kid like my daughter and then I don't feel as bad about serving her sugary whipped cream with her beets.  Whatever, I don't feel bad about it anyway- SHE'LL EAT  BEETS!!!!!

*revised later that evening - she ate ONE bite the little stinker! My son followed her lead without even trying it but my husband, brother and I all thought it was pretty good.  My husband even thought it was jello bits at first.  She did love the yogurt at least :)

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