Risks Pay Off…Deliciously

RQ12: Risk

RQ12: Risk

I am super-thrilled (not just super, and not just thrilled, mind you: super-thrilled) to have a new essay and recipe in the newest issue of Remedy Quarterly. Per the journal’s website,

Remedy Quarterly is an independent, ad-free food (printed) magazine filled with food memories and the recipes that inspired them, interviews with interesting and inspiring people in the food world, and vintage tips & tidbits. Our magazine gives people, whether professional food writers or top-notch grandmas, a place to share their stories and recipes, much like the community cookbooks that inspired us.

Each issue of Remedy is organized around a central theme, and I got lucky enough to discover the journal just as they were accepting stories related to the theme of “Risk.” Given my present circumstances, I thought the universe was trying to tell me something. Namely, that I needed to learn how to make a new Icelandic recipe and write about it and my adventure here, for the journal.

What recipe did I make, you wonder?

Well, as you may remember from previous posts, I am a big fan of Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir’s Icelandic Food & Cookery and had been having a lot of success making (and baking) her dishes. One of the recipes that particularly stood out was for hverabrauð, or “hot spring bread.” This is a steam-baked rye bread, very dark and sweet, which is still made in Iceland. In days of yore (and sometimes still today, just for fun and tourists), the steam-baking was accomplished by partially submerging the bread dough (in pots) into the bubbling water of a hot spring so that it would bake in its own steam. Most people—even in Iceland—don’t have a hot spring on hand, but luckily, there are several clever ways of replicating the results with slightly more contemporary-kitchen-friendly methods.

I made a number of different loaves, using several different methods when I was writing this piece, and ended up with (very slight) variations on Nana’s recipe which can be made on the stove-top (faster, but yielding a more muffiny-bread) or in the stove, at verrrry low heat, overnight, which gives you a final product that is more like what you buy in Iceland in stores. In order to slow-bake the bread overnight, you need some sort of container that can be sealed or which has a lid. Nana mentioned that in Iceland, people often use the rectangular cardboard liter-sized milk cartons, so that was obviously the route I took. This was a most recipe to play around with, and I have the pictures to prove it!

And…While I haven’t gotten my own contributor’s copy of the issue yet, I was excited to see from the sample images on the website that my recipe is accompanied by beautiful illustrations:

Hverabrauð Recipe

Illustrated Hverabrauð Recipe

Remedy Quarterly is only a print journal—”We want Remedy Quarterly to be something tangible—something that helps you slow down in this fast-paced culture,” they say in the FAQs—so I can’t link to the essay here. If you are interested in reading the piece and checking out the rest of the recipes and stories (which include, so far as I can tell recipes for apple, pear, and cardamom jam and fudge, and an interview with a man who makes his own bitters), you can order the issue online or, depending on where you live, go pick up a copy at a local shop.

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