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Haute Holiday Traditions - How a Norwegian Rolls

December 23, 2015 Bobbie Eskdale

Hello friends, Bobbie here!

Warning: This blog post contains my bold, brassy and rugged side so if you have a faint heart, maybe check out my past blog post here. If you too, have a Johnny Cash side to ya, then read on my friends!

Tis the season for holiday traditions and spreading ridiculous Christmas Cheer! I'm typically not for holiday traditions and you won't find an Elf on my shelf. Hallmark holiday gimmicks usually irritate me. The me who associated Christmas with bouncing around from house to house and looking into loved ones eyes who don't sparkle with Christmas joy, but rather pain. We all have a story and sometimes the holidays aren't the cheeriest of times for people. It's not because I am a 5 ft 2" blonde grinch. It's not because I'm a pessimist no sir-e-bob I just find that Christmas hasn't always been something I looked forward too. Basically this side of me that is acting like a threenager living in victim mode. Poor me, I am so loved by my family and friends, whaaa. Cut that shit out, Bob. I have decided to toss that story I have created for myself in the trash and light that bitch up. No more. There are several reason why it's just better to embrace the stupid Elf on the shelf and put a damn smile on my face but this yearI have a few big motivators. One, I am a mother. I have a responsibility to my babies to create the biggest, most exciting, most grand vision for them that includes being the cheeriest mother you'll ever see! Two, I owe it to my Mom. My mom is my rock. I definitely don't tell her enough and I find myself constantly rolling my eyes when she has planned or is requesting me to yet ANOTHER feast or family function. She deserves more than an eye roll. She deserves an island with unlimited supply of vodka paralyzers. 

For years, my mom struggled with us kids going back and forth between my Dad and her. Every-time she would drop us off, she would cry. Every-time it was time to pack up and head with the other side of the family, she cried. There have been many many holidays where she was alone. She has always had her family (which is the best family on the planet, BTW) but I know she longed for a solid partner to start manifesting the life and traditions she pictured in her mind. She would never say it out loud but I know she felt robbed of creating beautiful family traditions. The traditions I have been guilty of rolling my eyes at (I know, I'm a bit of a dick, sorry!). I am thrilled to say, she is happy and has found a solid partner! She is now trying to make manifest all the glory she pictured in her mind. One problem. Now my brother and I are all grown up it's not always easy to dedicate all our time to my Mom's vision. I was thinking about this the other day and thinking and having a little self talk. My Mom doesn't ask for a lot (well she does actually, she's constantly asking for sleepovers etc - ha!) but BIG TIME stuff, her love language (check this book out!) is time. All she ever wants is a little bit of our time. She isn't asking for an island, or money or diamonds. Although I know she wouldn't turn any of it down, ha! All she wants is some of our time. It hasn't been until recently that it really clicked. I think it's because now I am a mother and I know when Sawyer and Easton grow up I will want nothing but time with them. My mom called the other day, and she asked if we would come to Aunty Tammy's on Monday to make Lefsa. Lefsa is a Norwegian flatbread and the ONE tradition her Grandmother left behind for her. I didn't roll my eyes and I readily agreed. I could literally feel the light in her eyes ignite through the phone.

So Monday came and off we went. Bundled the kids up and headed on over to Aunt Tammy's. When I walked in the kitchen was covered in flour and potatoes. My mom looked like a lit up Christmas tree. She was so incredibly happy to see us, more so than usual. Typically she is just thrilled to have the kids call her Glamma Gamma but this was different. You could feel the joy and instantly I could breathe. The past few months I have been wound up like a effing top and on edge to say the least. That all melted away the moment I walked in the door. I instantly felt love in the house. This is what a "tradition" is. This is what it feels like. What a blessing for my kids to have witnessed their first family tradition. I felt embarrassed for my lack of enthusiasm about Christmas up until this point. I also felt humbled. I'm on a rollercoaster of emotions.

Christmas music blarring way to fricken' loud, baking and Grandmas Evelyn's sarcastic hilarious sense of humor. I loved it all! This is all my Mom has ever wanted. For me to participate in her tradition. Although I didn't mix, roll or flip I still felt the overwhelming joy of being apart of something special, watching my family dwell in complete joy. 

Amazeballs. Here's my Mom's sparkle.

Here's Mom and Aunt Tammy. Also known as Aunt Tammalama.

Grandma Evelyn here, pretty sure she's asking who F'd up and forgot the wine? Look at that face. I get it from her.

This is what a shit ton of Lefsa looks like. Grandma Great would be proud.

So now you are probably wondering, what do you do with Lefsa? Eat it. Is it the same as a crepe? How dare you, No. Do you dip it? Hellz no. Here's the scoop. You slather it in an insane amount of butter (sorry arteries) and sprinkle (err dump) a ton of brown sugar and you roll it like you would on 420 (JK, I couldn't resist, it's a joke). 

So I am going to share with you a Norwegian Lefsa recipe. No it's not Great Grandmas, she would roll over in her grave if I slipped the secret but here's one I found online. Haven't tried it and it probably won't be as delicious as the secret recipe, but hey everyone should Lefsa on!

Flatbread Recipe: Norwegian Potato Lefse

Norwegian Potato Lefse - Recipe courtesy of http://www.thekitchn.com/

Makes 16 small flatbreads or 8 large flatbreads

You can substitute two cups of leftover mashed potatoes for the mashed potatoes in this recipe.

1 pound starchy or all-purpose potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste
1 - 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For serving: butter, cinnamon-sugar, jam, peanut butter, cream cheese, cold cuts, cheese slices, gravlax, or any other topping your inner Norwegian desires

Peel the potatoes and cut them into large, uniformly-shaped chunks. Place in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Over medium-high heat, bring the water and the potatoes to a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are very soft and easily pierced with a fork, 10-12 minutes from the start of the boil. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Using a potato masher, potato ricer, or a dinner fork, mash the potatoes as thoroughly as possible; you don't want any lumps. Cut the butter into small chunks and mix it with the potatoes. Add the cream and salt. Keep mixing until the butter and cream are completely absorbed. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Transfer the potatoes to a storage container and refrigerate overnight or up to three days.

When ready to make the lefse, clear a large workspace for dividing and rolling out the flatbreads. Lefse are traditionally made with grooved wooden rolling pins, but a standard rolling pin will do the job just fine. A pastry scraper or sturdy spatula for lifting and transferring the rolled-out flatbreads is also handy.

Mix the mashed potatoes with 1 cup of the flour. At first this will be very crumbly and floury, but the mixture will gradually start coming together. Turn the dough out on the counter and knead once or twice to bring it together into a smooth ball. Roll it into a thick log and then divide it into 16 equal portions for small 6-8" lefse or 8 equal portions for large 10-12" lefse.

Roll each portion of dough between your palms to form a small ball. Cover all the balls with a clean dishtowel off to one side of your workspace.

Set a cast iron skillet or flat grill pan over medium-high heat. When a bead of water sizzles when flicked on the pan, it's ready.

Dust your workspace and rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll one of the rounds of dough in the flour and then press it into a thick disk with the heel of your hand. Working from the center out, roll the dough into as thin a circle as you can manage. Lift, move, and flip the dough frequently as you work to make sure it's not sticking. Use more flour as needed.

Roll the lefse gently onto the rolling pin, as if you were transferring pie dough, and lay it in the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until speckled with golden-brown spots. Transfer the cooked lefse to a plate and cover with another clean dish towel.

While one lefse is cooking, roll out the next one. Keep all the cooked lefse under the towel to keep them warm and prevent them from drying out. If the lefse start to stick to the pan, melt a small pat of butter in the pan and wipe it away with a paper towel to leave only a very thin coating of fat on the pan.

Spread the lefse with your topping of choice and roll it up to eat. Leftover lefse can stacked with wax paper between the layers to prevent sticking and kept refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for three months. They can be eaten cold from the fridge or warmed for a few seconds in the microwave.

There ya go, thanks for taking the time to read check out our haute holiday blog post and please I'd love to hear from you! As I age the the true meaning of Christmas is presenting itself, I will probably have an Elf on the damn shelf to talk about next year! Share your favorite holiday traditions with us! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Bobbie

 

 


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1 comment

  • Bailey

    Dec 26, 2015

    Bobbie,
    What a great blog post! Coming from a huge family I know what these family traditions are all about. It is great when you can just live in the moment and take it all in. I am glad you got to do that. Christmas is not about the presents or spending ridiculous amounts of money but getting to have the fmaily all together and catch up and enjoy one anothers company. I cannot wait to try the recipe you shared!
    Cheers beautiful!


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