Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) Makes about 30 meatballs and ¾ cup gravy
This was one of Papa’s favorites at Dania Hall events. The Holm family enjoyed going to the Frikadeller Dinner, hosted by the Dania Lodge. The meatballs were oblong and a bit flattened. They were served with gravy, creamed potatoes, and red cabbage. Frikadellar is a Danish dish with many variations. Traditionally, the meatballs are made with ground veal, pork, and beef. My recipe does not use veal, but you could replace some of the ground meat with veal. The mixture is formed into balls and then pan-fried with oil or butter. I use olive oil. The gravy recipe makes three-quarters of a cup of gravy—you may want to double the recipe if you’d like more gravy. Some cooks use tomato juice instead of the milk or cream. And, you can use egg whites instead of whole eggs.
11/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cream or milk
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon pan drippings from the meatballs
3/4 cup cream or milk
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, combine the beef and pork. Add the chopped onion and mix well with your hands. Add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, flour, eggs, and cream. Mix well. Shape into oblong egg-sized meatballs. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs. Brown the outsides, then continue cooking until they are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the skillet, drain on paper towels, and keep warm. In the same skillet, brown the flour in the drippings. Slowly add the cream, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and becomes the consistency of gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Santa Margarita Pasta (Serves 4 to 5)
This is what we eat when it gets hot out here in the Santa Margarita hills. It looks a lot like Mines Road in Livermore where we lived for many years. This is a fast and easy recipe that can be served immediately or refrigerated for a picnic. Enjoy!
Jon and Nadia Stebbins
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet yellow Vidalia onions, cut into 1-inch dice
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into a 1-inch dice
Salt and pepper
½ to ¾ teaspoon paprika
Pinch red pepper flakes
8 ounces penne pasta
6 cloves garlic
1 each red, green, and yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish
The trick to this recipe is to have everything done cooking at the same time. In a pot over high heat, bring the pasta water to a boil. To cook the chicken and vegetables, I use 2 frying pans, adding 2 tablespoons of oil to each pan. Since the vegetables usually take a little longer, I start them first. Add the onion to one frying pan and cook until translucent, stirring frequently. While the onions are cooking, add the chicken to the second pan and sear on all sides before seasoning with salt, pepper, paprika, and red pepper. (Add more red pepper if you like.) Add the pasta to the boiling water when you start cooking the chicken. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the pasta until al dente. While the pasta cooks, continue to sauté the chicken until it is no longer pink in the middle, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.
When the onions are almost translucent, press the garlic through a garlic press into the onions. When the garlic just begins to brown, add the peppers and sauté until they have cooked but still have a little crunch to them; be careful not to overcook.
When the pasta is ready, drain it and turn it into a large bowl. Add the chicken and vegetables and toss thoroughly to coat the pasta with the sauces from both the chicken and the vegetables. Serve immediately, topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
Brunede Kartofler (Sugar-Browned Potatoes) Serves 4
Grandma Ida Holm, the daughter of Danish immigrants, became known as one of Livermore’s better cooks. In 1918 she was asked to oversee food preparation for a rodeo. This fundraiser for the Red Cross began Livermore’s tradition of an annual rodeo. Grandma Holm’s kitchen always hummed with activity on Christmas Eve as dinner was served to forty or so family members. This is one of my favorite recipes of Ida's—a traditional Danish dish of caramelized potatoes that she served with green kale.
Merilyn "Tilli" Holm Calhoun
2 pounds small new potatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and slice them; rinse them in cold water. In a frying pan, melt the sugar over low heat, stirring continuously until it is golden brown in color. Stir in the butter until well blended. Add the potatoes to the sugar and butter, shaking the pan gently until the potatoes are evenly glazed and golden brown. Serve warm.
Asparagus with Tarragon Vinaigrette (Serves 6)
While working at Concannon Vineyard in the ‘90s, I helped to publish the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association cookbook, Cooking a Honker. We had the “miserable” job of testing recipes, paired with wine. This was one of my favorites from Donna Wilcox.
Nancy Calhoun Mueller
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
¼ cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons tarragon-flavored white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sauvignon blanc
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, or 1¼ teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 cups baby lettuce leaves
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and coarsely chopped
Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and bring it to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Place the asparagus on a steamer rack in the pot or directly into the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to ice water to cool. Drain and place on paper towels. The asparagus can be prepared in advance, covered, and refrigerated for up to 6 hours ahead.
In a bowl, combine the shallots, vinegar, wine, tarragon, and mustard. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the baby lettuces on a large platter. Arrange the asparagus on top of the lettuce. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the hazelnuts.
Amaretto Squares (Makes 40 squares)
Phyllis Jorgensen Fachner
1 cup ( 2 sticks) butter, softened (½ can be margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1½ tablespoons amaretto
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 300˚F. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg yolk and beat well. Stir in the orange zest, amaretto, and salt. Add the flour and blend well. Evenly line the bottom of an unbuttered 15- by 10- by 1-inch jelly roll pan with the dough, pressing it out with your fingers.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg white until foamy. Spread it over the dough and sprinkle with the almonds. Bake for 45 minutes or until brown. Remove from the oven and cut into squares while warm.
Sophie’s Danish Cookies (Makes about 6 dozen cookies)
This is my favorite family cookie recipe, which comes from Sophie Jorgensen Holm. My mother, Tilli, would make these for Christmas. She would make the dough in advance, leaving it in the refrigerator for several days. I would sneak in and eat the raw dough. It was my favorite, cooked or raw!
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, plus more for buttering the cookie sheet
½ teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in ½ teaspoon water
3 eggs, beaten
4½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
In a bowl, cream together both sugars, shortening, butter, and dissolved baking soda. Stir in the eggs and mix until well blended. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the shortening mixture and mix well. Shape the dough into rolls, about 2½ to 3 inches in diameter and about 8 inches long. Wrap in waxed paper and chill for at least 2 hours, or until firm.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F and butter a cookie sheet. Remove the dough from the waxed paper and cut it into ¼-inch slices. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until a light golden brown.