After the Great Lefse Debacle last week (let’s just say there was a salt snafu), I was determined to reclaim my crown as Lefse Queen of Western Pennsylvania. (OK, so there’s no such thing, but I do – usually – make a mean batch of lefse. Minnesota worthy lefse, no less.)
“LEFSE!!!! So good…If you ever try it with whole grain flour, let me know how it works. I’m tempted to try, but it’s so much work and I don’t want to waste anything.”
She’s right. Lefse is a LOT of work. You peel a buttload of russet potatoes, cut them up, boil them, rice them, let them cool, make the dough, roll out rounds, cook each one on a griddle, then let them cool under towels for several hours. And the flour mess! Goodness! No matter how careful you are, it gets everywhere.
Lefse is made from potatoes, butter, half-and-half, white flour, salt and sugar. The rolling is intense because you have to get the round paper thin or it won’t cook right. Whoever mans the griddle has to be sure to flip at just the right time to avoid crusty edges.
It’s a very intense process.
Lefse is usually at least a two-person job. But because I’ve been thinking the same thing as Marie about changing the recipe (which might be a felony in Minnesota) and using more healthy ingredients, I decided to venture out on my own, like Hermey in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” After all, I had my reputation to mend. So today, unbeknownst to my lefse-making crew, I made a small batch using fat-free half-and-half, light butter, and whole wheat flour. I’m quite sure my Grandma Katinka rolled over in her grave.
Unlike regular lefse, these rounds popped a little as they cooked on the griddle because of the whole wheat flecks. Sounded like a soft crackling fire in the fireplace. Made me smile. I rolled and grilled and rolled and grilled while listening to Classic Vinyl on Sirius. (Nothing says lefse-making quite like “Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo,” right?)
I’ll still make the “real” stuff, but I think I’ll throw in a few whole wheat rounds in the next shipment. Call it a free sample. The true test will be my dad. If he likes it, I should probably market it. Dad is to lefse what Heidi Klum is to fashion. He should have his own show.
So do you lighten up your tried and true family recipes? Do you even dare? I mean, some things can’t and shouldn’t be messed with. But some foods, those cherished recipes from childhood, if we want to eat them responsibly, are worth trying to give them a healthy overhaul. If you do it in the privacy of your own home, no one would ever have to know.