Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Syttende Mai!

That's Happy May 17th, which is the Norwegian Constitution Day. It is a national holiday filled with parades, flag waving, traditional dress, marching bands and, of course, food! Here in Seattle, the Ballard neighborhood will have a day full of festivity including a traditional Norwegian luncheon, children's crafts, outdoor entertainment with dancing and singing and a parade that draws thousands of viewers.

In 2005-2006, we hosted an exchange student from Oslo, a delightful girl named Maren. She was a senior in high school at the time. We learned about many wonderful Norwegian delicacies from Maren, such as Karamellpudding (caramel pudding), Blotkake (whipped cream cake) and Lefse (a kind of thick crepe).

I am thinking about Maren and missing her, so Norwegian food is on the menu today. One of my favorite dishes is Risgrot, rice porridge. It is a bowl full of warmth and yumminess. A few simple ingredients and some time stirring and it's ready.

Rice Porridge based on notes from Maren (serves 3-4)

2/3 cup rice (can use short or long grain)
1 2/3 cups water
3 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
butter and cinnamon to top, if desired

Combine rice and water in a saucepan over medium high heat and then reduce heat to simmer until most of the water is absorbed. Pour in the milk, return to higher heat and cook until rice is tender and the porridge is thickened (about 20 minutes). Stir often so it does not stick. Serve with butter and cinnamon.

If you have any rice porridge leftover, you can make rice pancakes.

Rice Pancakes adapted from Norwegian Cooking, edited by Bjarne Hakon Hanssen
Makes 12 4-inch pancakes

1 1/4 cups cold rice porridge
3 eggs
3 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
butter for pan
berries and sour cream for serving

Place all ingredients except the butter, berries and sour cream in a food processor and process until smooth. Let the batter sit for 15 mintues. Melt a little butter in a non stick pan and drop scant 1/4 cups of batter in. Flip when the surface begins to look dry (they are delicate, so flip gently). Serve warm, with berries and sour cream.

I wish I had a photo to share with you, but before I could get a good picture the pancakes had been devoured by my boys. So, imagine a stack of thin golden pancakes with raspberries and blueberries layered between and a dollop of sour cream on top. Take it from me, a mouth watering sight.

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