LefseStore.com has delicious, made-from-scratch potato lefse ready for your next event. This is lefse made from real potatoes. It is sent by priority mail to your hungry college student, your friends far away, or to grace your table. Order plenty to have on hand. We send it frozen so it arrives safely at your door.
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Right on Time
"My order arrived today just in time for Thanksgiving. Your service was great. If you see Denise tell her thanks for the help and Happy Thanksgiving."
Thaw the frozen turkey (that has no added spices or salts in it) 2-3 days before you put it in the brine.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and allspice in a large pot on the stove. Stir occasionally and bring to a boil. This is the "brine." Remove the water/salt mixture from the stove and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.
About 8-12 hours before you plan to serve the turkey, combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket or very clean appropriately-sized portable picnic cooler. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the turkey to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the turkey once half way through brining. Being in North Dakota, I monitor the weather and keep the turkey and cooler in the garage or on the deck to cool.
Ready to bake for dinner? Remove the turkey from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the turkey breast side up in its roaster or in a 9x13 cake pan and pat dry with paper towels. Spread canola oil generously over the skin of the bird. Roast per instructions for the size of your turkey.
Allow the turkey to rest in its roaster for about 15-20 minutes. It will be easier to slice and absolutely delicious. Slice and keep warm under foil in a lightly warm oven.
Gather your friends and family and make it an event. Serve crackers and cheese and maybe spiced apple cider or Glogg to lighten the day. Keep your butter and sugar, handy for trying out the less-than-perfect pieces. Make it fun for everyone and include the kids. Yes, you might get some flour on the floor, but you are making memories that last a lifetime and will be handed down from generation to generation. There is nothing better!
Cook your potatoes the day before and add the sugar, cream, butter, and salt after you rice and/or mix them. Cover the bowl with a cloth and refrigerate this flourless potato dough overnight. Lefse dough handles so much better when its cold. The next day, mix in the flour right before you're ready to start your baking day.
I form my dough (with flour) into tennis ball sized balls and place them in a 9x13 pan in the refrigerator. Then, after they are cooled, I take out one ball at a time out of the refrigerator (it needs to stay cold), roll it out, and bake it on the griddle. Other LefseStore readers form it into a log, cut off chunks, and proceed from there.
Use white potatoes when possible as they generally have less moisture. Then, you don't need quite so much flour which can toughen the dough.
Preheat your griddle for 10-15 minutes at 500 degrees so the lefse bubbles will be lightly brown on each side. Then, adjust the temperature to suit your taste. If the griddle isn't working right, consider getting a newelectric cord. Also, keep the griddle grease free.
I love my pastry board and cloth and lefse cozy. They're such simple products but make the process much easier. The pastry board and cloth are marked with measurements so you know how big to roll the dough. Before I had the special lefse cozy, I used a dampened towel to cool the lefse sheets. Both the pastry cloth and lefse cozy wash up perfectly and are very long-wearing cotton duck.
My brother and sister-in-law were here this week from Florida. He started telling stories of his travels to Norway and Sweden (his company has an office in Sweden these days). Seems he has some news from our family past that is quite interesting...Maybe your family has the same news!
It seems that back in the 1500's, the king of Sweden offered free land to any Finns who would live along the Swedish border near those cantakerous Norwegians. An adventurous Finnish soul and his son traveled over 1000 miles to claim their piece of land on the Swedish/Norwegian border. Along the way, they managed to have a few run-ins with the law, and there are several court records to prove it. They must have had some children, too, because we're here to talk about it.
I'll tell you more as I learn more from this period of our family history. Guess not everyone in my past was a Lutheran pastor.
Recipe for Swedish Glogg-- Great for New Year's Eve!
1 bottle red wine (can be inexpensive wine) 1/2 liter brandy or vodka 12 cardamom pods 2 sticks cinnamon, broken 5 cloves 1/2 orange peel in pieces 1 c. sugar
the spices and orange peel in cheesecloth or a tea strainer in a
saucepan with the wine and vodka or brandy. Add sugar. Heat to almost
boiling, simmer for about 45 minutes.
You may also add almonds,
raisins, or figs to the simmering wine mixture. Remove spices and
additions before serving. Serve very hot with an optional cinnamon stick
as a stirrer. This is a Swedish favorite and a fun holiday item.
Make this one a day ahead and refrigerate. You can also double this recipe. Reheat before Thanksgiving dinner.
1 can whole kernel corn 1 can cream style corn 1 c. sour cream 1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted 1 package corn muffin mix 2 eggs, beaten
Mix all ingredients together and place in a buttered or sprayed casserole. Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour (longer if you have doubled the recipe. Check center to make sure corn is done. A knife inserted in the middle should come out clean.)
Cranberry Sauce (You can make this several days ahead)
12 oz. fresh cranberries 1 1/2 c. water 1 1/2 c. sugar
Rinse cranberries (discard bad ones). Heat water and sugar to a boiling point and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cranberries. Return to boiling and cook another 5 minutes until cranberries pop. Pour into a container and refrigerate. These are delicious! Be sure to order your lefse for the holidays.
OK, you've made the turkey and it's in the freezer. Now let's turn to Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes. Again, thanks to Maxine for this recipe.
5 lb. potatoes-= 15 potatoes (use Red or Yukon Gold potatoes, not white)
Boil, drain, and mash potatoes ( do not overbeat). For every 5 lbs. of potatoes you use, cream together:
8 oz. softened cream cheese
8 oz sour cream (lite is good)
1 tsp. onion salt
1/4 cup half & half or milk (only if potatoes are dry)
Combine the above mixture with the mashed potatoes. Do NOT overbeat. Put potatoes in a sprayed casserole, refrigerate overnight.
Remove casserole from refrigerator and dot with slices of butter. Bake at 275 or 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until thoroughly warmed through. This may take longer if you made a larger batch. I stir the potatoes about half way through the warming stage. If the potatoes get done early, cover with foil and keep in a warm oven of about 200 degrees. These are delicious!
Short on time on Thanksgiving morning to get everything ready for the big day? Try some of these recipes. In fact, I'll add one new make-ahead recipe every day. This comes to us from my friend, Maxine who does this every year and swears by the ease of serving and preparing for the day of Thanksgiving. Here's our first recipe: Do Ahead Turkey. P.S. We know that you've already ordered your Thanksgiving lefse, right? So all you have to do is the rest of the dinner now.
Do Ahead Turkey
One to three weeks ahead--thaw and rinse your turkey, keeping the neck and giblets for gravy. Roast your whole turkey until done. Do NOT stuff. Remove turkey from oven and pour off the pan drippings (to use in gravy)--put in cup to let fat separate. Let turkey sit for 10-30 minutes before carving.
Line a disposable aluminum pan with heavy duty aluminum foil--leaving 10-12 inches extra on each side. Be generous. Carve the turkey into serving slices and place in the pan.
Pour chicken broth over the turkey, but it doesn't have to completely cover the meat. Place pats of butter over the top of the turkey. Bring top edges of aluminum foil together and roll to seal on top of the meat. Place in the freezer.
To thaw: take out of freezer the day before Thanksgiving and place in refrigerator. Warm in 300 degree oven for several hours until heated through (leave foil on meat during heating). Place hot, juicy turkey slices on your serving platter and enjoy!
Watch for another recipe each day of the week until you've collected them all.
This year is again bustling with lutefisk and lefse dinners at our local Lutheran churches. My church, Faith Lutheran in West Fargo, North Dakota, had theirs last weekend. Once again it was a sold out crowd.
We waited in the Sunday School rooms until our numbers were called. We met some folks who were new to town. We introduced them to others in the group from church and the community.
The lutefisk was just the right firmness, and of course, the lefse was perfect. We had a taste of rommegrot and cole slaw, too. Swedish meatballs filled the bill along with mashed potatoes and butter. It was delicious!
As one drives for about an hour west from Fargo across the
wide, awesome openness of the Red River Valley suddenly the land drops away
into tree carpeted hillsides, forested glens and patchwork fields. This is the Sheyenne River Valley. This is where I grew up.
One of the memories I have of growing up in this beautiful
oasis is seeking out and picking juneberries on remote, secluded
hillsides. It was a community
event…aunts, cousins. We’d each get a
Karo syrup metal pail and when full enough we’d contribute to the larger milk
pail. Many hands picking made the
accumulation hopeful, as the berry by berry handpicking was slow at best.
The fruit was heavenly.
We could hardly wait to get home to pour cream and sugar
over the delicious fruit and consume them fresh. Or our mother would make this incredible
sauce out of juneberries and rhubarb.
Then there were the jams, the syrups.
Now, well into my mid to late adulthood, this annual
summertime ritual has resurfaced. Most
if not all of the juneberry haunts are gone, victims of overgrazing. Most of my friends and co-workers have never
heard of juneberries. There never was
any opportunity to purchase juneberries at the super market.
I was hankering for this fruit of my youth.
Juneberries are in the rose family, related to the
apple. They are known by many names:
amelanchier, shadblow, serviceberry, saskatoon.
Obviously, they are native to this area.
In fact, my Native American friends have talked about how juneberries
were an integral part of their diet, mixed as part of pemmican or a cooked side
dish. Juneberry trees, or more
accurately bushes, grow anywhere from 3 – 25 feet in height. They are relished not only by humans, but also
by rabbits and deer. And it takes
special vigilance to get the fruit before the birds do.
About eight years ago, I was at my favorite local nursery,
Sheyenne Gardens and I ran into a man whose pick-up truck had The Juneberry
Patch painted on its door. Dan Kelner
told me about his acres and acres of tended juneberry orchard near Velva, North
Dakota. He was attempting to establish
juneberries as an industry in the state, and he would be willing to get me
started on my own juneberry patch. That
set things in motion.
I worked up an acre of land of my Dad’s farm, and on
Memorial Day weekend, 2004, family members and I planted 1,000 beautiful
juneberry “cultivars”, started in Canada and delivered by Mr. Kelner. I planted two types: Smoky and Honeywood.
Farming is Risky Business--but the Birds Love it!
I’m more than willing to share all the ugly details of the
past few years, but let it suffice to say that it reminded me why I was never
tempted to go into farming as a means of self-support. Yes, juneberries are loved by deer and
rabbits alike. In fact, there were times
when I would ask to the air: would they not just leave a few to me? And, yes, you only net the bushes in which
you wish to harvest the berries. Bird
intuitively know when the berries are just right and will literally swoop in
and devour a whole orchard within hours.
I harvested my first crop of juneberries in the summer of
2009. The fruit was as heavenly as I
remembered them. I sold a small portion
of the berries, including some to a local coffee shop who baked them into
scones. Most of the berries we
froze. Last summer, despite my netting
the bushes, the birds somehow got under and denied me any. This summer has been the best results: 12
gallons of fruit harvested over a week’s time.
The difference in the type of berry is very obvious: the Smoky has a
much larger fruit, and usually has fewer berries on the tree. Both are equally tasty and sweet. Maybe the distinctive flavor of the berry is
the industry’s description of its almond flavored seeds (which are small and
eaten along with the rest of the fruit).
Picking is very slow as the fruit ripens unevenly, so
literally one is picking a berry, one at a time. It is best to go in company of several people
to make the picking as much a social event as to get the product.
Juneberries are very versatile. They can be baked into muffins, breads,
scones, as I mentioned earlier. They
make great syrups, jams, sauces, wine.
And, a creamery in Bottineau makes awesome juneberry flavored ice
cream. My wife enjoys them mixed into
her breakfast yogurt and also makes a great pie with my two favorite
ingredients: juneberries and rhubarb.
I'd like you to mee the Johnson family, Lester and his wife, Shirley and Lester's brother Maurice. They grew up around Colfax-Walcott, North Dakota and have a Swedish heritage. I worked with them in the Swedish food booth at the Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival in June. We had a blast working together.
And, you've got to enjoy some of these goodies in the video I took. I'll find the recipes and share with you as soon as I can. Now, enjoy the Johnsons with me.
I love it! The blueberries are here and they are scrumptious. Check out my favorite (so far) one-crust fresh blueberry pie recipe here. I've made others, but this one beats them all. Whip a little lemon curd into whipped topping and you have a wonderful blend of flavors. The lemon is a real key to making blueberry or Juneberry pie. My friend, Barry, grows Juneberries. I'll ask him to share his favorite pie recipe with us for next time.
I've had such fun the past few weeks getting reacquainted with dear friends through LinkedIn, Facebook,
and that new-fangled-Twitter. But it is through the old-fashioned use
of the telephone and e-mail that I reconnected with a former colleague
who is a wonderful friend. Her name is Kathy, and she has a business
called Virtually Solved Now (www.virtuallysolvednow.com). Kathy is a virtual assistant to clients all over the country.
introduced me to a new friend who is also a life coach named Judy
Nelson. Nelson, you say? Sounds like a relative (I'm a Peterson), or at
least a former neighbor, or--who knows--someone you might know from this
big state of North Dakota.
Coach Judy (www.coachjudynelson.com)
grew up in North Dakota and knows her lefse and krumkake, by golly. We
didn't get a chance to talk about lutefisk yet, but I'm sure that's
Here are some of Judy's comments:
the krumkake, my loveliest memory that now brings tears to recall is
standing on a stool in the kitchen while my mother cussed softlyat the
ancient black krumkake iron when the handle slipped as I waited to do my
job of rolling them up—but I ate more than I rolled. If you figure out a
way to package them, I will be your best customer! I would even buy the
And, about working with Kathy and her virtual assistant work:
is the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. The truth is
that I wouldn’t have a successful coaching and training practice without
Judy's words have really warmed my heart.
I love making krumkake with my family and look forward to introducing
this to my grandchildren, too.
I am working on a way to get delicious krumkake to the masses. (Watch for more news in the future!) We at LefseStore.comare
a little bummed because our supply of electric krumkake irons had a
defect so we're waiting for another shipment of good irons. Soon!
It's been so beautiful outside for a few days now. The unprecedented flood in the areas around Fargo is receding a little. During church last Sunday, our pastor called for volunteers during the service to get up and serve--in a very tangible way. Flood volunteers needed food and would a few parishioners get food and deliver it to the hard-working sandbaggers in the country? About 15 people got up and said "yes." So cool! Faith in action, Friends.
For many of us here in Fargo its like we live in an oasis with the flood waters going around most of us who are insulated from the ravages of the river. Not true for so many others who live near the river and especially for those who live in the country and have never, ever been flooded before.
Our Thrivent chapter delivered food to the flood volunteers this week. A really simple thing to do, yet very needed. The church volunteers made scalloped potatoes and ham, green beans, buns, candy bars, and lettuce salad for the National Guard members who were working the dikes.
Meanwile, we're expecting more snow in the way of a winter storm watch for the weekend. Unbelievable! Everyone is tired of the winter and want the snow to go away and stay away. Of course, I wouldn't be a true North Dakotan or Scandinavian unless I added, "It could be worse." Yeah, I suppose.
We're finally getting above freezing temperatures here in Fargo, North Dakota. And, with it, the streets are full of mud and levees. Spring around here means another flood from the Red River of the North, the Wild Rice River, and the Sheyenne River and just the run-off from the snow-covered fields. We expect it to hit in another 10-15 days, but everyone is preparing with sandbags and moving things out of the basement. In 1997, the city of Grand Forks, ND (just north of Fargo) flooded. The whole city. Even today, I have friends who quake at the thought of another flood. The trauma remains with them.
Meanwhile, Easter is fast approaching. We have lefse for sale ready for your Easter dinner. I still love the kitchen smells in the spring. My granddaughters are coming over soon to make Easter eggs. This will be their first year of Easter egg hunts, too.
It's Monday, and they tell us to expect another snowstorm tomorrow. UGH! I still remember the blizzard of 1967 that blanketed all of North Dakota with so many feet of snow we had a hard time getting out of the house. I was a school girl then and thought it was all fun and games. In fact, my brother and I had a three-day Monopoly game going. He won.
That blizzard lasted for three days of unrelenting wind and snow. We couldn't see our neighbors across the street. It left a snowbank that was two stories high and ran for about two town blocks down the street. They never did plow it out, because it was simply too high. Our neighbor's VW Beetle was five feet under snow. The neighbors to the south lived in a mobile home. We had to dig out their doors as they were surrounded on all sides. Very scary when you think about it.
Sometimes during storms, Mom and I would start baking. My brother's favorite was (is?) Betty Crocker's Children's Cookbook recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It was a great way to pass the time and share some family favorites. Next blog, I'll share the recipe. You can find other free recipes at LefseStore.com, too.
Meanwhile, we've had a touch of spring and warmer weather (40's) here. My friend and I traveled to Detroit Lakes, MN this weekend and stopped at their local bakery. I had a sweet little Swedish Dream cookie from them. It crumbled like a Russian Teacake and had crushed almonds on the inside. Does anyone have the recipe for this Swedish delicacy? I'd love to see it, try it out, and share it with our friends.
It's also getting close to Easter. Lenten services are going strong at church on Wednesday nights, and the kids are serving dinners. Wonder if I should get the lefse grill fired up soon. We still have fresh lefse ready for the holidays.
It's time for Valentine's Day preparations around the house and in the kitchen. I put up my cherubs and hearts already. My grandchildren especially love my heart-shaped sugar cookies. I use my grandmother's recipe that isn't so sweet. You can check out more recipes on our Free Recipes page. The girls like to sprinkle red sugar on the top. Sometimes I frost them with a pink powdered sugar frosting. It's all so much fun to do together with my loved ones!
Making memories is what its all about. Try making some today
Here's Grandma Peterson's sugar cookie recipe:
4 c. flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1 c. shortening 1 3/4 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1 c. thick sour cream 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla
In a large bowl mix the shortening, sugar, and eggs until light. Add sour cream and mix gently. Stir in the mixture of flour, soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the vanilla.
Separate into 2 sections and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick on a sugar (or flour) coated countertop (or pastry board). Cut into circles or shapes with cookie cutters or tops of drinking glasses. Sprinkle with colored sugar or wait and frost when cool. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes. Watch so the edges don't brown too much. Cool on wire racks or paper towels. Frost with a powdered sugar frosting if you'd like. We usually just eat them plain with our coffee. Magne tak!
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