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On the Sunday morning before Memorial Day, we forged ahead (ignoring the advise of chirpy Traffic Blonde) and set off for We The North to the annual Fritzimar soiree in Vancouver, B.C. Holiday travelers, apparently still at home making pancakes and drinking Mimosas, were few and I-5 was a breeze. Our jets cooled at the border crossing, however, and we inched ahead for thirty minutes before it was our turn to lie about not bringing food into Canada.
We got to the Stanley Park area this time without getting hopelessly lost, won the Vancouver parking lottery, and arrived ten minutes early.
The Fritzimars are a clever couple and this year’s Memorial Day dinner theme, “United Nations”, was another winner. Each dish on the menu was named after a country in the United Nations: Swiss cheese, Irish ham, Swedish meatballs—you get the drift.
It was a beautiful day in their neighborhood so the table was set outside among the flowers, patio trees, and ocean breezes. With an eight course meal, its wise to pace yourself, but that proved difficult from the beginning. We started with appetizers in the sun on the rooftop garden of their building—delicious sausages from seven countries served on Persian flat bread, along with Irish ham, Spanish almonds, and Russian dressing. Back to the townhouse patio, we settled in for a veritable parade of vacation spot cuisines.
A break after the salad gave everyone a chance to loosen their belt, walk off a few calories, and compete in the annual Name That Tune contest—consisting of songs with the name of a country in the title. The Macbeths won, hands down, shouting out both singers and song titles in mere seconds.
Back to the table for the main course, a delightful cheese plate, dessert, and Port. We rolled out at around 7:00 and headed for home, pleased to find the border crossing swift and the drive South easy.
Another beautifully cooked, tasty, well-paced dinner party with time to stretch, enjoy, and celebrate good food with great friends. Thanks to our hosts for sending their menu and the Butterscotch Cookie recipe.
A CULINARY TOUR OF THE COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD
Czechvar beer (light and dark)
Canada Dry ginger ale and tonic water
French Rabbit chardonnay
Chateau Canada Bordeaux
Sausage platter: Mexican, Spanish, Hungarian, Turkey, Italian, Polish, Chinese
Persian flat bread
Hungarian goulash soup with Swiss steak, swedes, Chinese cabbage, Bermuda onions
Spanish omelet with Canadian bacon
Greek salad with bulgur
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: NAME THAT COUNTRY (OR FORMER COUNTRY) SONG
Belgian endive purée
Frenched French green beans
Danish blue cheese
French vanilla ice cream
Brazil nut brownies
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized slices
- 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Sugar Dredging Mixture:
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
Sprinkling salt: Fleur de sel, Maldon, sea salt, or Kosher salt for sprinkling. (Do not use fine grain table salt as the flavor will be way off and unpleasant.)
Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Vigorously whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside. Mix together the brown sugar/white sugar dredging mixture in another bowl and set aside.
Place 10 tablespoons of butter into a thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat. The butter will foam a bit before subsiding. Once the butter takes on a tan color and begins to smell nutty take it off of the heat. Add the other two tablespoons of butter and mix it in until it melts
Pour the brown butter into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar and salt and mix. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix together, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once.
Add the flour mixture in three increments being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom once or twice. Mix just until the flour is incorporated. The dough will be very thick.
Take 1/2 to full tablespoon-sized pieces of dough (you can make them a bit bigger or smaller to your liking, just make sure the pieces of dough are all the same size) and gently roll them into ball shapes.
Dredge them in the sugar dredging mixture until well-coated. Place on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little bit of the sprinkling salt (be reserved with the salt as very little goes a long way).
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges have browned a bit. Be careful not to over-bake. Allow to cool on the sheet for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Tastes best with a glass of milk for dipping.