Tag Archives: lefse

Back at the keyboard- “L’Afrique”

My computer was defunct for quite a while. This was both good (I realize I waste a lot of time amusing myself here in this chair, and that time could be spent more productively) and bad (not having the photo files for my work or any of the other information I take for granted is very distressing .)  I read a book in one sitting while  I was computerless, and I don’t think I’ve done that for years. My daughter lent me her copy of Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” I remember seeing a different edition of this book (a paperback, I think, with a stark abstracted figural design and some barbed wire maybe? I remember red and black, will have to search for the book cover design) , on my mother’s bed bookshelf for years while I was growing up, and I can’t believe I lived to be so old without reading it. I tend to cringe when people say, “This book changed my life,” but I think this book may have changed my life. It certainly has changed the way I think about free will and human dignity.  I think I’ll betray my initial vow to update this blog almost daily, and shoot for weekly instead. I got a lot of stuff done when surfing was not an option, so… A lefse update for Writing GB- It does stay moist when stacked, and that was nice. It also stays quite warm for a long time- the lefses on the very bottom of the stack suffered a bit and did stick. But maybe I shouldn’t have stacked them 40 high! I’ll post a pic of a new page spread for an altered book. The owner of this book requested alterations with an “African animals” theme. I was a little frustrated, but gave it a shot.    Photobucket

Lefse Recipe

It all starts with leftover mashed potatoes. Real mashed potatoes, not that awful dehydrated stuff. The mashed potatoes need to be yummy in the first place- plenty of butter, milk and salt. Make sure your leftover mashed potatoes are COLD. If you try to make lefse with hot or even warm potatoes you’ll just get a gluteny mess. If you’ve made the potatoes kind of lumpy, you’d do well to run them through a food processor or a blender before trying to make lefse with them.

Measure your leftover mashed potatoes. You’ll add half as much flour as potatoes. I.e., if you have six cups of potatoes, add three cups of flour. Mix this up well with your hands until you have a soft dough. It should be a bit sticky. Now make golf-ball sized balls from the dough and roll each one out thinly on a well floured surface, turning a couple of times during the rolling. You should have a circle about eight inches in diameter. It looks a lot like a tortilla. You’ll have to keep sprinkling in more flour as you roll the lefse and it keeps absorbing flour.

Cook each piece on a hot, ungreased griddle (or an electric frying pan works well) for 30 seconds to one minute per side, till small brown spots appear. If it’s taking longer than this for the spots to appear, turn the heat up. Do not overcook the lefse- it may resemble a tortilla superficially but should remain soft and supple, more moist than dry.

Cool the lefse in single layers- don’t stack it while it’s warm! Once it’s cool, you can store it by stacking each piece with a piece of waxed paper in between. Should keep at room temperature for at least forty-eight hours, but I’ve never seen it go uneaten for that long. If it’s going to be longer than that, you can keep it in the refrigerator for about a week but that will dry it out a bit. Lefse freezes very well.

To eat your lefse: Our favorite is spreading it with butter and rolling it up into a tube. My grandparents liked to eat it with butter and a sprinkling of sugar. It’s a Scandinavian tradition to eat lefse with Lutefisk (cod soaked in lye, yuck!) on Christmas Eve. It’s also good as a wrapping for cheese, smoked fish, or leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Lefse plays a starring role in my favorite Ole and Lena joke- this particular version comes from Byflist at Blogspot (Thank you!)

Old Ole was in bed dying. Downstairs he could hear Lena rattling pots and pans. Pretty soon he could smell the sweet smell of potato lefse wafting up from downstairs. And Ole thought, “Oh, my darling Lena, she’s making me potato lefse for my last meal before I pass on.”

Ole could hardly wait as the smell kept getting stronger and stronger. But Lena, she never came upstairs, even though Ole thought the lefse should be ready by now. So, with the last of his strength, old Ole rolled outta bed. He crawled across the bedroom floor. He crawled down the stairs, real careful. He crawled across the parlor floor. He could see Lena’s skirt swishin’ by the stove.

Old Ole was nearly delirious by now, so he made his way across the kitchen floor and started clawing his way up the stove. But Lena slapped his hand with a spoon and said:

“Ole! That’s for the funeral!”

(Thanks to Catherine Jensen)