Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lefse for two

If you know me, you probably know that I am very proud of my Norwegian heritage. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm originally from Minnesota. As you may or may not know, Minnesota is full of Norwegians. It actually has the largest Norwegian population in the Unites States. I have to say, since moving to Kansas City, which is full of Italians and the Irish, it is refreshing when I go back to the land of the Scandinavians and can say "uff da" without someone looking at me like I'm crazy.

My grandmother, Inez, was Norwegian, and all of our traditions growing up were Norwegian traditions, despite the fact that my Grandpa, Sam, was German. According to my dad, he was the most American man my dad had ever met, even though he was from Germany. As a result, my dad and his family didn't do any of the German traditions until recently. My dad decided to start one of the German traditions with our family, the pickle in the tree. This tradition takes place every Christmas, where a pickle (or pickle ornament) is hidden in the tree, and the first one to find it wins. Since my family is pretty competitive, we can't just casually try and find the pickle. It has turned into a race to the tree, and the tree almost being taken out while we fight each other searching for the pickle.

One of our Norwegian traditions is that we make lefse every holiday. Again, if you live in Minnesota, you most likely at least have heard about lefse. They even have lefse stands in most Minnesota fairs. It is a thin potato flatbread that you cook on a lefse griddle. When it is done, you spread butter and brown sugar on it, roll it up, and cut it into a few pieces. It is amazing. It is always the first thing gone at any holiday. Every Christmas morning, my dad wakes up early and makes lefse for everyone. It is my favorite time of year. I always help him roll the lefse out on the lefse griddle, but have never actually made it myself.

For our wedding, my aunts and uncles on my dad's side gave us everything you would need in order to make lefse. That includes a lefse griddle, a pastry cloth board, a wooden rolling pin, and a lefse stick (to roll the lefse). Since we are spending Thanksgiving with Joe's family in Kansas City, which means no lefse, I figured it was finally time for me to learn how to make it myself. My only concern was that we would not have enough room in our kitchen for all the lefse accessories, but somehow it all fit.

Since I don't have my family's recipe, I found this recipe off of allrecipes.com that claims to be the traditional recipe. It made enough for 15 servings. Since it is just me and Joe eating the lefse, I reduced the recipe down to 5 servings. Still alot for 2 people, but I plan on eating alot so it's fine :)

3 1/4 lbs potatoes                                          1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. and 2 tsp. butter                                  1 tsp. white sugar
1 Tbs. and 2 1/4 tsp. heavy cream                  3/4 cup and 1 Tbs. and 1 tsp. flour

First you peel the potatoes. When I started doing this it was taking forever, so I looked online for any tricks to peeling potatoes and found this. Basically, if you carve a line around the potato, boil it for 15 minutes, then dunk it in ice water for 10 seconds, the skin just peels of. Its for great for those of us who are lazy.

After the potatoes are peeled, you boil them until they are tender. When done, you run the hot potatoes through a potato ricer. I know, I didn't know what that was either until I was given one.

Once that is done, stir the butter, cream, salt, and sugar into the hot potato mixture, and then let stand until room temperature. Once they have cooled, stir in the flour until it has formed into dough. Roll the dough into balls slightly smaller than a tennis ball.

Spread ALOT of flour on the pastry cloth board, and then some more flour on one of the dough balls. Roll out the dough until it is about an 1/8 if an inch thick.

Once the dough is ready, roll the dough onto the lefse stick, and then roll the lefse onto the lefse griddle.

When you start seeing bubbles start to form on the lefse, turn the lefse over and cook the other side. When the lefse is done, put the lefse in a place where it is covered until you plan to use it. My family usually just uses a towel.

When you're ready, take a piece of lefse, spread on the butter...

and brown sugar...

then roll up and cut into a few pieces.

If you want to eat it like a Harms (my family) then just make yourself some coffee and eat as many as you can before anyone else can get to it.


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