Denmark: The Happiest People on Earth

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Dear Subscribers:

It has been such a pleasure having your support since the inception of this newsletter. I want to take this opportunity to thank you and to encourage you to provide me with your comments and suggestions to continue to bring to you news that matter to you in the culinary world. Please take a few minutes to send me your feedback at www.cookparty.com/contact.htm. Your comments and ideas are very important for continued success of our business.

I just spent nearly two weeks in Denmark visiting family and friends and exploring parts of the country I haven’t seen in the past (I have been here many times before). Although a relatively small country in land mass and inhabitants, Denmark is a fantastic country to visit, aka the “Happiest Country in the World.” From the well mannered and etiquette-minded Danes who speak fluent English, to castles, the Little Mermaid to Hans Christian Andersen and Tivoli, Denmark promises to be a fun and interesting experience for everyone. The culinary scene continues to evolve in contrast to the food revolution happening almost everywhere in the world, but many dishes remain true and at the heart of Denmark, i.e. fantastic pastries and breads, and dairy products (to die for artisan ice cream, cheeses, whipped cream); the best hot dogs I have ever eaten anywhere; the best country dishes i.e. pan-fried plaice (a native buttery flaky flat fish) with new potatoes and cream parsley sauce; Greenland shrimp (delicious morsels); and of course, Aquavit (a Scandinavian caraway seed vodka-like drink) and Carlsberg beer (especially the Classic) are great, too. A peninsula (Jutland) and an island (Copenhagen) and many other small islands, form the Kingdom of Denmark bordered by the North Sea in the European continent.

By now you might be wondering what the Latin connection here is, and I say one can always Latinize any type of food. As a seafood producing and loving country, Danes eat lots of Gravlax, too. So, I came up with my own version to Latinize a typical Scandinavian dish and to make it my own. So, the recipe of this month is a Latinized version of this mouthwatering treat, so versatile and easy to make.

Many great things are happening around town these days including the upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept15-Oct15), a celebration of Latin culture in connection with the independence day of many countries which happen to fall within this period. One not to be missed event celebrating Hispanic Month is at Macy’s where I will be doing demonstrations of typical Latin American and Spanish dishes on Friday, September 26, at noon at Macy’s downtown, Lower Level, Culinary Council. Please continue to check our website (Upcoming Events) for updates and more information about this and other upcoming fun events. Muchos Saludos, Amalia.

RECIPE OF THE MONTH

Latinized Gravlax with Chilean Pebre (pair with Sauvignon Blanc)
(Fresh Atlantic salmon cured with Pisco brandy and Kosher salt on croutons and topped with spicy cilantro, green onion and chile pepper sauce)

Serves 8-10 as a heavy appetizer

8 oz. fresh Atlantic Salmon filet, skin on
1 tbsp. Pisco Brandy
3 oz. Kosher Salt
3 oz. Sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
6 sprigs fresh cilantro, bruised with the back of a knife

Pebre Sauce: 2 tbsp Canola oil; 2 tsp. sherry or red wine vinegar; 1 clove of garlic; ¼ cup water; ¼ cup chopped scallions; 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves; jalapeños or serranos, seeded, to taste; Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place all ingredients in a blender and process to a chunky texture. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Rinse and dry salmon. Rub with Pisco Brandy. Sprinkle the salmon with black pepper and salt and sugar, alternating one ounce of each at a time. Make sure the thickest parts of the fish are well coated with a heavier amount of the salt and sugar mixture.

Place salmon on a perforated pan with another pan underneath to catch the drippings. Cover salmon lightly with a small piece of cheesecloth and some plastic on top. Place in the refrigerator to begin curing process. Salmon will loose a lot of liquid slowly in a 72 hour period, amount needed to cure it. On the third day, rinse the salt and sugar off completely in cold running water. Dry the gravlax completely. If cured properly, salmon should appear transparent and compact (rather than juicy, raw and loose).

With a sharp slicing knife, slice salmon thinly on a bias, place on tortilla chip croutons and top with some Pebre Sauce and garnish with one sprig of cilantro. ¡Buen Provecho!

UPCOMING EVENTS: AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER 2008

AUGUST 2008
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Sunday, August 10, 2008, 11-2 p.m.
Baptism & Celebración Al Estilo Guatemalteco
The proud parents of a beautiful baby boy celebrate the baptism of their first child in the company of friends and relatives —Guatemalan style! The menu promises a wide array of traditional dishes, sure to delight everyone.
Private Event in St. Louis Park

Thursday, August 14, 2008, 6-9 p.m.
Summer Entertaining: Tapas y Flores ( Bachman’s on Lyndale, Greenhouse)
Join Private Chef, Amalia Damgaard, and Bachman’s Floral Specialist and Macy’s Floranova Flower Show Designer, Dan Kotecki, for festive tips on home entertaining in our fun and casual setting. Imagine the aromas and flavors of the Mediterranean invading your senses while sampling fabulous Spanish cuisine. Menu: Ensalada Sevillana (Oranges, capers, Manzanilla olives stuffed with anchovies, and butter lettuce with sherry-tarragon vinaigrette); Paella de Pollo y Mariscos (Rice, chicken and seafood with peppers, fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil, saffron, rosemary and wine); and for dessert, Coctel de Sangría (fresh fruit in sangria sauce). Cost $45. Limit 20. (Register soon, this one of a kind event will sell fast!)
Register at: this website. Go to the Contact Us page and click on the PayPal button (pay by credit card).
Bachman’s Flagship Store and Corporate Office
6010 Lyndale Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55419 (612) 861-7600. For map/directions, visit Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden Center.

Sunday, August 24, 2008, 2:30 p.m.
Secrets of Guatemalan Cooking
During the annual Guatemalan Potluck Picnic (1-6 p.m.), private chef Amalia shares her culinary and cultural insights while growing up in Guatemala and demonstrates a traditional recipe.
Guatemalan Picnic at Rosedale Park Pavilion (more details to follow soon)

Monday, August 25, 2008, 6-9 p.m.
Pintxos – Tapas for a Summer’s Evening
Around 9 p.m. every evening in San Sebastian, an old town at the heart of Basque Country in northern Spain, just 20 km from the French border, locals begin the txikiteo. They stroll from bar to bar in small groups – cuadrillas – to sample tapas and drinks. Join Amalia for our take on this time-honored celebration of traditional Basque cuisine. Menu: Bacalao a la Vizcaína (salt-cod, red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, capers and olives); Pipérade Basquaise (tomatoes, bell peppers, herbs and scrambled eggs and ham); Poulet Basque (chicken stew with tomatoes, onions, peppers and white wine); Crêpes flambées aux pommes (Calvados-flamed crepes with apples). Paired with Spanish and French wines (tasting flights of two wines included).
Register at: HYPERLINK “http://www.cooksofcrocushill.com/” Cooks of Crocus Hill, Edina
3925 West 50th Street Edina, MN: (952) 285-1903

SEPTEMBER 2008
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 5-8 p.m.
Eden Prairie’s Chefs Showcase
Join us at this unique After Hours Event by the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce. Taste fine cuisine paired with complimentary wine tastings with cooking presentations by Private Chef Amalia Damgaard and more.
Register at: HYPERLINK “http://www.epchamber.org” Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce
Bearpath Country Club
18100 Bearpath Trail, Eden Prairie, MN 55347 (952) 975-0123

Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 12-1 p.m.
Sabores de America Latina – Flavors of Latin America
A very special annual celebration in a bilingual format of Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage Month. Participants enjoy a wide array of Latin dishes along, art, culture and music, and much more… the Latin way!
Target Corp. Downtown
Private Event

Thursday, September 18, 2008, 6-9 p.m.
Delicious Wishes/The Make-A- Wish Foundation Celebrity Chefs Night
Join us for a unique food and wine experience benefiting The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota featuring demonstrations by Private Chef Amalia Damgaard and more held at the Roth Luxury Kitchen Showroom in Minnetonka, a beautiful facility featuring high-end appliances and a culinary center for live demonstrations.
Register at: The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota
Event location: The Roth Luxury Kitchen Showroom
1300 W. 47th Street • Minnetonka
952-933-4428 HYPERLINK “http://www.rothdistributing.com” www.rothdistributing.com

Friday, September 26, 2008, 11 a.m. -1 p.m.
Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at Macy’s
Private Chef Amalia Damgaard demonstrates some of her own recipes at a very special event at Macy’s Culinary Council downtown. More details to follow soon!
More information at: Macy’s Hispanic Heritage Month

Monday, September 29, 2008, 6-8:30 p.m.
Chiles and Steak
Chile peppers and culture anyone? A class designed for the adventurous steak lover. Learn the background, the techniques and the various ways to prepare beef and chile peppers. Menu: Churrasco con Chirmol (Guatemalan steak with charred tomato-mint and chiles salsa); Costillas Adobadas (grilled ribs in spicy adobo sauce); Ensalada de Pimientos (Argentinean red bell peppers marinated in garlic-olive oil-herb sauce); Papas Chorreadas (potatoes with chile confetti and light butter-parsley sauce).
Register at: Royal Pantry Cooking School, Hopkins
1001 Highway 7, Eisenhower Community Center: Room 206
Hopkins, MN: (952) 988-4018

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