Saturday, December 22, 2007

Italian cooking in Denmark

Did you know that there is a season for mozzarella? Neither did I. But there is. After going to a specialty store to get ricotta cheese (which can ONLY be purchased at specialty stores) I really should have asked if they had some sliced mozzarella - but foolish me, I thought you could get it sliced really easily elsewhere. After all, there are BAGS of pre-grated mozzarella, why not sliced? Thankfully, you can get little soft balls of the stuff in salt water. I just have to figure out how to slice it without crumbling it or slicing off my thumb.

I have come to hate my California Cooking cookbook with a passion. Although my lasagna recipe does not come from there, the author swarmingly insists that *buffalo mozzarella* is the best, and can be purchased at your local cheese specialty shop. My local cheese specialty shop is an hour drive away, you fucking pansy assed cocksucker! I was lucky to find the damn ricotta! The local gourmet store, specializing in wine, has some cheese, but it was these kind folks who informed me about the seasonality of mozzarella. Thankfully they had fennel seeds in a big bag in the back, or I’d have been lost. Cayenne powder and mace powder, however, do not exist anywhere outside of Italy or America.

On the other hand, unlike Israel, Denmark has plenty of pork, so I could make Italian sausage. No, they don’t have it pre-made. Unfortunately, Denmark is so ecologically friendly that the concept of a one-use lasagna dish is anathema. I’ll be using my roasting pan.

Then there was the small matter of tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is my nemesis. I could not find it in Israel. Here in Denmark, there is tomato sauce, but the can I grabbed out of the tomato sauce can basket was not tomato sauce, but peeled tomatoes. Let this be a lesson for cooks everywhere - double check the label. Thank god I have a hand blender! In less than 10 seconds I had sauce-like tomatoes. Then there was the incident where I defrosted the wrong package of meat. I blame the Danish Boy for this one. It is really hard to read his handwriting when the label is frozen into a fold in the object. What I read as “beef” turned out to be “beef and pork.” So this will be a very piggy lasagna.

As for side dishes, don’t make me laugh. I’m lucky to make one dish tonight, let alone another one. “Oh,” I hear you say, “but what about salad? That’s really easy!” Fuck you - there is no salad during winter! I could probably defrost some spinach, but I don’t think that is what was intended when they shredded and froze it. I could also pay exorbitantly for genetically modified salad imported by truck from Spain (frozen, then defrosted in the back room), but apart from tasting disgusting, I’m not so sure that it’s not healthier just to drink more orange juice (also imported and packed full of preservatives). We are pretty much down to root vegetables for the next few months. But I must say, parsley and celery root is very good when sautéed with carrots.

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